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Abandoned scrolls and archivy themes in Tangled

Madame Razz about to use the spell from the glowing book in the “inner library” in an episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power, sorta like an unorganized archive

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how two episodes of Tangled (the series, not the movie), have “abandoned scrolls.” This post will focus on that and more, as archives are not explicitly shown in the series, but there are archivy themes without a doubt.

In the episode, “Keeper of the Spire,” Raps, Eugene, Lance, and Cass travel to The Spire to get information on the last part of the scroll. In the process, they meet the pretentious “keeper” of the spire (later it turns out she isn’t the real keeper but only formerly the keeper’s assistant), who calls herself Calliope and she holds various artifacts in the spire, a closed-off museum of sorts. As a scholar of sorts who can do magic tricks, she also has a messy library. There are a lot of archivy vibes to this episode too, as they have to climb to the top of a mountain to get to a “vault” (which is just a tower with artifacts) but an archives is not explicitly shown. The real keeper, at the end of the episode, makes Calliope the keeper of the spire; Raps also gets the scroll she is looking for.

Before going further, I’d like to say the mention of keeper got me really excited, partly because it connects to what I talked about when I reviewed the prelude episodes of Recorded by Arizal, where the protagonist wants to be a keeper. As it turns out, many archivists see the words recordkeeper (the long form of the term “keeper”) and archivist as the same. In that review, I noted that “keepers are curators, guardians, protectors, custodians, caretakers, or guards who visually lay hold onto something, like records, similar to roles that archivists have.” I’m not sure if any of those who worked on Tangled considered the same, but I know Yssa Badiola, the creator of Recorded by Arizal undoubtedly did so, without a question, because she stated that the “main driving idea/theme” of the series is a “discussion of record keeping and learning,” which is great for a series to focus on!

Apart from this is the episode “Rapunzel and the Great Tree,” Raps, Cass, and her compatriots travel through a huge tree. In the process, they come across an archive of scrolls, as you could put it. Of course, it is deserted, and no one is there to help them, leading Raps to read a scroll that turns her kinda evil and almost kills her! Where was the archivist when you needed it! So, yeah, there are some archivy vibes to that episode, without a doubt. Finally, in the episode “Islands Apart,” the scrolls are revisited by Cass and the evil blue fairy (actually Zhan Tri but in a different form), and are still there, even though the tree was basically destroyed in the previously mentioned episode. Screenshots of the scrolls in each of those episodes is shown below:

Abandoned scrolls in “Rapunzel and the Great Tree”


Abandoned scrolls in “Islands Apart”

The Keeper (Calliope) returns in another episode, “Race to the Spire.” In the episode, Calliope is challenged by Cass, who wants to get to the spire in order to get a spell that can allow her to control those in the brotherhood. Again, you could say that the spire is archivy. Raps, Eugene, and Pascual travel there with “Calliope” (actually Cass). Finally, there is the episode “A Tale of Two Sisters.” In this episode, Cass and Raps visit an underground area where memories are stored in mirrors like diaries. In that way, it has archivy elements, although it is the underground storage area/testing ground of Mother Gothel. Later, the Enchanted Girl (the evil blue fairy) manipulates one of the mirrors by removing a key piece, making Cass think that Raps has turned against her when she hasn’t. I liked the mirrors as a place that memories are stored, as it’s a bit like a videotape, but better. The episode has some strong Cassunzel vibes, which makes it worth watching, just as much as these archivy themes!

Mirrors and more mirrors in “A Tale of Two Sisters”

That’s it for this post, which is a bit shorter than most of my posts on here, but it was a subject that needed to be covered on this blog, as it has strong archivy themes. As always, comments are welcome, as are suggestions of shows I should write about.

By histhermann

Marylander with MLIS who loves archives, libraries, genealogy, reviewing pop culture, and writing fictional stories. UMD '19 & SMCM '16 grad. I've been running various WordPress blogs for a while now, about genealogy, libraries, archives, and more.

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