Disney What-ifs: Belle’s Mother

Sorry, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any original content (or content at all, for that matter). My posts take a ton of work and video games require a lot less effort, so… Yeah.

Anyway, here’s another post about the most elusive of all creatures: Disney mothers. This time, Belle’s mother, absent from Beauty & the Beast.

Belle's Mom copy

Rosalie loved books, though it was hardly surprising. Born the oldest of three daughters to a renowned literary scholar at the university in Paris, she had access to one of the finest libraries in all of France from a very young age. Though, as a woman, she was unable to officially attend the university, her father strongly believed in educating all of his children with a strict curriculum of mathematics, literature, philosophy and natural science, and allowed Rosalie to sit in on all of his classes.

And so it was that Rosalie met a bright young man at the university, Maurice, who was studying the sciences and who fancied himself an amateur inventor. She could not help but be fascinated with his creations, some of them impractical but all of them imaginative. There was also such an earnest enthusiasm in him that she found infectious, and soon she found herself falling for him. She helped root his inventions in reality with pragmatic thinking and lots of library research, and he kept the sometimes too-serious Rosalie young at heart.

After knowing each other for two years, Maurice proposed to Rosalie. He had created a contraption for the task: a box designed to open with a crank that revealed an expanding sign bearing his proposal. Unfortunately, the mechanism had jammed and failed to open. After several minutes, a lot of elbow grease, quite a bit of hammering and a bit of help from Rosalie herself, she could at last give her emphatic yes.

Rosalie and Maurice were joined a few years later by their daughter, Belle, who had inherited her father’s imagination and her mother’s beauty. Soon, Belle became as voracious a reader as her mother, and the young girl spent countless hours in the university library alongside her mother. Belle also regularly assisted her father with his inventions, fetching tools and reaching into small spaces that his own hands could not fit inside. Rosalie regularly had to be the grounding force when Belle and Maurice were swept up in idealistic fancies–Belle was constantly fantasizing about all of the places she had read about and wanted to visit, and Maurice encouraged her dreams by designing a mechanized hot air balloon to take the journey. Fortunately, Rosalie managed to stop them before Maurice could construct the device that would have undoubtedly blown up half of Paris.

Rosalie loved Paris, loved the university in which she had grown up, but the city streets were dirty, the winters harsh, and Rosalie was often sick. Belle would read at her mother’s bedside whenever a particularly violent cough would keep her bedridden. Soon enough, when struck by a severe bout, her doctor recommended fresh, country air as the only likely cure for her persistent illness. Sad to leave Paris, the family moved to a small, provincial town far from Paris. They chose a lovely house on a private lane with plenty of room in the basement for Maurice’s inventions and a lovely den in which Belle could read the few books they could bring with them.

However, it was at her mother’s bedside that Belle spent most of her time, reading to her as she always did during her convalescence. They no longer had the entire library contents of the university at their disposal, but Belle was happy to travel into town to the bookkeeper’s and was his most loyal customer. Belle would return home and tell her mother of the happenings in town–which were always the same–and of the people–who always seemed to treat the book-loving inventor’s daughter as something of an anomaly. At least the townfolk were kind, and always asked after Rosalie’s health, even though few had actually met the bedridden woman.

Rosalie was most entertained by Belle’s stories of Gaston, a local hunter who had been enamored with her since their very first day in their new town and had been pursuing her with gusto. “Perhaps you should consider accepting him,” Rosalie suggested one day. “It sounds like he is a handsome young man, and as a hunter your family would never want for food…”

“Mother,” Belle replied with a smirk, “Gaston does not even like to read.”

“How positively primeval,” said her mother, and nothing further was said on the matter. In fact, Gaston was so out of the question as a suitor to Rosalie that, from then on, she always referred to him as “that hunter.”

As Rosalie’s illness grew worse, she did her best as the realist in the family to inure her daughter to the possibility of her health not improving. She instructed Belle on the keeping of their finances, which had always fallen under Roslie’s purview– considering Maurice’s often scatterbrained behavior–and gave her advice on the managing of their household, most of which duties Belle had long since assumed.

“And make sure your father eats,” Rosalie had instructed. “When he gets caught up in a project, sometimes he forgets. And you will have to make certain that there is food on the table. I know the last thing you want to do is discourage your father’s ambitions, but no matter how revolutionary an invention of his could be, it will not bring any bread if it does not work. You need to keep him grounded when I am not here anymore.”

Despite the doctor’s hope for her improved health in the fresh air, Rosalie passed away just a few months after moving to the country. Belle had wanted to return to Paris, but in the end they decided to remain in their new home, if only for the sake of their finances. The city was expensive, far more so than the expense to travel to fairs in neighboring towns where Maurice could exhibit and possibly sell his more successful inventions.

Rosalie’s family coped each in their own way. Maurice thrust himself even more deeply into his work, trying to keep himself occupied to keep the grief at bay. Belle disappeared into her books, the more fantastical the better, to take her away from the banality of life without her mother. One day, she decided, she would travel the world, to find the adventure she was always reading about in the books that she and her mother had once shared.


Artist’s Notes:
So, I like to reveal trade secrets about the design of these characters because I spend so much time trying to get it right that I want someone to know how hard I worked. It’s difficult with animated characters to make the parents similar enough to their children that they’re recognizable, but not look like carbon copies of each other. (Frozen, anyone? They didn’t even try.) Unlike with most of my Disney mothers, she is not a composite of other people, at least not in the face. She is all Belle. It’s interesting because I spent a lot of time staring at screen shots trying to find the right angle that I started to notice the differences in art style between animators, or for different shots. Far shots they don’t have a lot of detail, but for super close-ups, there’s just so much of it. This is the shot I used in the end (left) and compare it to a more “typical” Belle look (right):

Closeup Far shot

The second one is a lot more cartoony and she looks a lot younger, too. It’s not just the hair, either. Granted, Belle is squinting in the first picture, but her eyes aren’t typical the Disney-fied ginormous things, and her lips are way more pouty, the nose is more elegant… So, yeah, I definitely picked the first photo for the base, altered the face shape a bit, picked some different lips from another shot and shifted the eyes so they were actually looking in the correct direction.

The gray hair was a challenge. At first, I didn’t have any, but then I realized Maurice’s hair is all white. My reasoning is that they probably waited a long time before having kids, or they just couldn’t until Belle decided to make her appearance. So, since they were maybe a bit of an older couple, even if Rosalie was younger, they could both be going gray. Here’s the original without the gray, which I like better, but that’s just because I really wasn’t happy with the stripey-ness:

Belle's Mom copy

I tried to look at some other older Disney characters for reference but, like Maurice, they just go for the all-white or all-gray look, probably because it’s easier to animate. One exception is Mulan’s mom, who has two big swaths of gray on the sides, which really does work for her hair style, but Rosalie’s was so wavy that doing some stripes at the temples wasn’t going to look right. Even Ursula’s got two gray stripes on the sides, but her hair’s white to begin with, so big deal.

Her body and blanket are actually Cinderella’s. I tried to make my own bumps under the sheets, but it wasn’t going well, so I cheated.

Also, yay for me continuing my streak of not having mothers die in childbirth!

Related Posts:
Disney What-Ifs: Jasmine’s Mother
Beauty and the Beast Gender Swap
Disney Without Magic: Beauty and the Beast
Disney What-Ifs: Aladdin’s Mother
Disney What-Ifs: Ariel’s Mother

Obligatory Copyright Notice: Beauty and the Beast, all of the character names and original images  belong to Disney. Rosalie is a creation by me and is a work of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.


Pride and Family Guy

Yesterday, I had “Slumber, Dear Maid” stuck in my head (see here for the clip–skip to 5:15 for the song, 7:30 for the relevant bits for this post), so instead of watching the entire 6 hour miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, I came up with this:

Shut up, Mary

I think it’s probably some sort of cardinal sin to combine Family Guy and Pride and Prejudice, but I just had to. The more I think about it, Mary is definitely the Meg of the Bennett family.

I’m not sure if anyone who likes Family Guy cares about Pride and Prejudice and vice versa, so maybe this crossover is a lost cause. Let me know in the comments!

Relevant Posts:
The Case for American Dad
Applied Cryogenics at the Turn of the Millenium


Obligatory Copyright Notice: Family Guy and Peter Griffin images copyright of Fox and Seth MacFarlane. Pride and Prejudice image copyright BBC, original book by Jane Austen. This is a work of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.

The Saga Continues Ad Infinitum

Okay, so here’s the summary of my chair saga for those not caught up.  (Although I’m not sure anyone is following this or even cares.  From an engineering point of view, I’m fascinated, but maybe that’s just me.  Whatever.  It’s my blog.  I can’t cartoon or Photoshop with my chair out of commission, so there we are.):

Attempt 1
Attempt 2
Attempt 3: Phase 1 & Phase 2

The twist-tie/glue solution is stable! Unfortuantely, there’s still some gap-iness between the pieces, but not much.  It’s enough that prolonged pressure will kill it, but that just means MORE TWIST TIES!!!! Last time, I twisted them horizontally around the thin side, mostly to hold the vertical rubber bands in place.  Plus, the pieces broke in just such a way that parts of BOTH pieces got snagged in the loops, which is what I wanted.  However, that’s at the bottom (or the outside, when the fold-out arm is closed).  Now, I just need to reinforce it for when it’s open.


It’s hard to see under the goop, but this time the twist-ties are going vertically around the pieces, just like the rubber bands did, plus I added in some figure eights where appropriate for more stability and to prevent slippage.  The ends of the twist-ties are twisted together, woven underneath some of the vertical stuff, and gooped substantially.

I’m fairly confident this will be the last major stage.  If I’m still concerned, I have some ideas about looping long twist ties around the little nubs (in black, near the screw) that will be under the covers that snap in the top, (hopefully) acting as a counter-weight, but that will have to wait until this set is dry.

If all goes well, all I have to do is 1) counterweight, 2) coloration (if possible.  I don’t know if Sharpie or other sorts of coloring will stay on top of the glue or if it will just clump into little sharpie droplets), 3) Final coating (to fill in the gaps for smoothing and sealing purposes) and 4) cleanup (that dandruff-looking stuff is all errant, dried goop, easily removable with some elbow grease).  Yikes.  Now that I’ve said it, that seems like waaaaay more than one final day of this.  Ug.

The Saga Continues Some More

Phase 2 of Attempt 3 in the Fix-My-Broken-Chair Saga continues. To catch up:

Attempt 1
Attempt 2
Attempt 3, Phase 1

The rubber bands held together reasonably well, but there was still some inner separation between the chair pieces themselves.  However, in anticipation of this, I moved on to Phase 2, which involves rubber band cross pieces for stability.  This was a failure, but at least I didn’t have to wait a day for it to dry to find that out.  The pieces just weren’t sticking and I couldn’t easily slip them underneath and around all sides for added stability.  So, since I’ve already successfully used twist-ties for this exact purpose, and the fact that the ties will be stronger anyway due to their metal core, that’s what I used.  Voila:



Because I couldn’t pre-goop the ties as I would normally do, I set down a layer of goop, looped the ties, then gooped the hell out of it for stability.  We’ll see what happens next time. Fingers crossed!

The Saga Continues

Okay, so here’s part three in my I-broke-my-chair-and-now-I’m-trying-to-fix-it saga.  To catch up:

Part 1
Part 2

So, second attempt failed, but not completely.  The glue held together on the outside, but not so much on the inside.  This means that there was a stretchy sheath around the pieces that mostly held it together, but it was weakening and probably wouldn’t have lasted long. Future attempts might involve me buying a different type of adhesive that isn’t quite so flexible, but my tube of adhesive is almost finished as it is, so when it’s gone that will definitely be my next step.

Here’s attempt number three, which will be in two parts.  Today, I’m laying the groundwork with vertical rubber band stripping that will (hopefully) be enough to pull the pieces together where the glue wasn’t strong enough.  Like so:


It’s hard to tell because the rubber bands and twist ties are both green, but there are two strips of rubber band going around both sides of the hinge-y part, and twist ties to hold them in place and give a little bit of pressure to help seal it.

Part two will begin when it’s cured, and there will be horizontal rubber bands going the other way.  Hopefully the multi-directional rubber band lattice will be enough to counter forces in all directions. At that point, if there are signs that it will hold permanently, the whole thing will get a nice black sharpie job to match and then another layer of sealant to prevent catching and peeling.

I’m growing less and less optimistic.  My plan for surrender will be to order a replacement arm from the company, no doubt at my expense because the instructions warned about putting too much pressure on it, which is precisely what I did. Right now, my escapades are costing me nothing, because I’ve been using only those tools I already had on hand.

I Am Not MacGyver

In my previous post, I detailed my plan to fix my broken desk chair with twist-ties, tape and some adhesive.  Unfortunately, my setup was a little too tight, and it basically squeeze out all the adhesive before it set, leaving just enough to make little spider-web-y tendrils between the pieces.  Fortunately, the stuff is easy to get off an I can do this as many times as necessary until it finally cures with enough adhesive to stay. I’m less optimistic with this attempt, and have concluded that I am definitely not MacGyver. Here’s the skinny:

Attempt 1: FAILURE


Attempt 2: In Progress

Closeup for inspection:
***Disclaimer: Cat toy not intended for scale reference.***

As you can see, we’ve got bubble wrap trying to hold the two pieces together in a forward/left-erly direction, with a nice coating of the adhesive around it to give it a bit of extra hold.

I’ll give you another update within the next day or two to announce whether it works or whether there will be a third post in my 165-part series on the repair of my chair. I’ve got a few more ideas before we resort to desperation tactics involving power tools.

(If this was made of wood, I’d be golden.  Metal plate, couple of screws, maybe some wood glue and we’re done. But noooo. It has to be plastic.)

Sorry for the long absence!

Hey, all.  Sorry for the long absence.  I wish I had some new content for you, but the reason I haven’t posted was a combination of Christmas break and being super busy with work and my personal projects.  So instead… STORY TIME!

I got an awesome present for Christmas: an attachment for my desk chair with a keyboard tray and built in mouse-pad. Sweet! Check it out:


***Note: NOT me. Lame stock picture of it found on Google.***

Unfortunately, yesterday I BROKE this fine piece of equipment by putting too much weight on it while standing up.  But lo! I have Gorilla Glue! I can glue it back together!  Unfortunately, I don’t have a vice clamp and the break is in such a place that it has to be glued back together on the chair itself or I won’t be able to get the foldable armrest/mouse pad back on.  (Also, I couldn’t get it off in the first place). It’s a very snug fit, so much so that even just to get the pieces to line up again, you have to put significant pressure on it from awkward angles. Some people might balk at this challenge, but not me.



Post-it notes for forward thrust, twist-ties for sideways/diagonal thrust, mechanical pencil for a tourniquet dealie, and Scotch tape to prevent slippage.


*mic drop*