This blog post will explain the artistic reasoning behind every detail for the picture above. For those who don’t know, the picture is in reference to Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure – a Disney channel show whose final episode will air on March 1st. If you have not seen the show, the first two seasons are on Disney Plus and are definitely worth a viewing. You will not be disappointed.
As you can tell by the title, the picture is called There’s Still a Chance to Save Her – a line from the episode Be Very Afraid. An alternative title is The Fight for Cassandra’s Soul.
I found inspiration for the picture from not only the show but also from a song called Illusion by VNV Nation. Particularly the first verse and chorus. The chorus goes,
Please don’t go, I want you to stay
I’m begging you please – please don’t leave here
I don’t want you to hate for all the hurt you feel
The world is just an illusion, always trying to change you
Here is the link to the song if you’d like to give it a listen:
And now, to explore each detail in the picture and why I chose to do what I did. Let’s begin with the characters themselves.
Cassandra has her back turned on Rapunzel, Eugene and Corona. Cass has left this old but good life behind and is refusing to look back. Cassandra is standing in a very stiff position – her back is arched, her shoulders raised, and her arms pinned to her side. This is to show Cassandra’s determination to continue in the new path that she has forged for herself.
However, her compressed lips and – most importantly, her tears – question her resolve. They betray her conflicted feelings. While it appears she has fully committed to the darkness of her soul, her conscience is still alive, whispering to her the wrongness – and guilt – of her actions.
Cass is also holding Shadow Blade, a sword that was forged from the Black Rocks. Cassandra uses this weapon to cut the bridge between herself and Rapunzel – doing to Rapunzel what her own mother did to her (we’ll get to that later). The cutting of the bridge signifies Cassandra removing Rapunzel out of her life forever.
Rapunzel, with tears in her eyes, is leaning forward and her hand outstretched, pleading for Cassandra to come home. I purposefully placed Rapunzel on the edge of the bridge. This signifies that Raps is trying to reach for Cassandra as far as humanly possible but if she takes one more step, she, too, may suffer the same fate as her friend. Rapunzel is being anchored by Eugene, both physically and emotionally – being there for Raps when she needs him the most.
In Rapunzel’s outstretched hand, she is wearing the friendship bracelets she made for herself and Cass. These bracelets made their first appearance in the episode Beginnings where we learn how she and Cassandra became good friends. The bracelets emphasize Rapunzel’s outstretched hand; the invitation that, despite what has happened, her sister-like love is still intact – Cass must only accept.
Rapunzel is also wearing the purse Cassandra gave her as a token of friendship in a flashback in the episode Rapunzel and the Great Tree. There is no major significance to this, but I thought it would be a nice nod to another moment in their relationship.
As stated previously, Eugene is holding Rapunzel’s hand, being there for her. However, Eugene’s focus is on Cassandra and not Rapunzel. Eugene, though he once despised Cass, is greatly concerned for his friend. I consider Eugene’s relationship with Cass to be like a little-sister-big-brother. They are frenemies but will do anything to keep the other from being harmed.
The background portrays two different worlds – two different worldviews. Cassandra stands in the Dark Kingdom where the Moonstone originally fell. The lighting of the Dark Kingdom – as well as its name – represents an evil, fearful, and dangerous world. The further you go in, the harder it is to return. Rapunzel is pleading with Cassandra from the brightly lit Corona. The lighting of the kingdom represents the goodness and safety of the side Rapunzel stands on.
In the background, on Cassandra’s side, we not only see the Black Rocks but also the Red Rocks. In the episode Be Very Afraid, the Red Rocks pop up because of Cassandra’s fear of having to potentially killing Rapunzel. The Red Rocks spread and soon infect the inhabitants of Corona until it was resolved by Rapunzel and Varian. I briefly thought about adding the Red Rocks to Rapunzel’s side as a nod to the episode and to represent Corona’s own fears. However, I decided against it. It would mess with the aurora of Corona and what it stands for. By leaving the Red Rocks solely in the Dark Kingdom, it emphasizes Cassandra’s conflicted feelings.
We see the Enchanted Girl evilly smirking in the background – happy to see her new pupil doing exactly what she wants. We first hear her voice in Rapunzeltopia but finally see her in Rapunzel’s Return. In the show, the Enchanted Girl strokes Cassandra fears and insecurities. While appearing to sympathetic towards Cass, she manipulates Cassandra’s insecurities against Rapunzel. The Enchanted Girl, in a way, represents the selfish, dark side of Cassandra. Cass listens to the Enchanted Girl’s twisted truths for several reasons: she’s hurt, tired of not being understood or seen, and impatient for her time to come. Cassandra’s position is sympathetic but not right. Therefore, I included the Enchanted Girl who is a warning and an affirmation to Cassandra and her journey. It serves as a warning to us as well. If we’re not careful, we too can end up the same way – listening to our fears and insecurities and acting on them in a selfish, hurtful way. We must be very purposeful to not be this way – especially when we think our soul isn’t in any danger. Cass thought – perhaps, thinks – the same.
In front of Cassandra, we see a torn picture of Rapunzel and Cassandra. Rapunzel had painted it, I assume, on their way to the Dark Kingdom. It is perfectly ripped right between them – a symbolism of a friendship rendered apart. In the very last scene of Beginnings, Cass tears this picture in anger towards Rapunzel, seemingly to confirm a sisterhood lost. I added the torn picture to add to the sense of Cassandra’s downward spiral.
Just below Cassandra, we see a broken music box. It made its appearance in Rapunzel’s Return. In that episode, we learn about the circumstances of Cassandra’s adoption. Cassandra is Mother Gothel’s biological daughter. When Cass was four, she had a music box that she adored listening to which, incidentally, plays the melody of Waiting in the Wings – a song where Cassandra sings of her desire to be finally seen for her talents. Young Cass sings a heartbreaking reprise of Waiting in the Wings. Here’s a snippet of it:
“Mother knows how much I love her,
But she’s always doing other things,
So I’ll keep waiting in the wings,
I crave so much and yet I kept on waiting,
One glance, one touch,
And still I kept on waiting,
And when it came, it came with strings,
So I kept on waiting in the wings.”
On the night Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel, she abandons Cassandra. What makes it worse is that four-year old Cassandra watched helplessly as her mother cut the cottage bridge, hop on a horse, and didn’t even look back. Young Cass dropped the music box and it broke in unison with her heart. The Captain of the Guard, who was present when this all happened, adopted Cass on the spot but even that cannot fully remedy what Gothel did to her. The broken music box represents Cassandra’s broken early childhood and her insecurities.
On Rapunzel’s side, we see a picture of Cassandra and Rapunzel together. We see Eugene in it as well but its torn. It was probably done by Cass when she absolutely despised Eugene. I, personally, find that absolutely hilarious. The picture made its first appearance sometime in the first seasons. It periodically reappears throughout the show. This symbolizes the friends, her dad, and the life Cassandra chose to leave behind. However, there still is hope for her. She still has a chance to go back home – she just needs to accept Rapunzel’s offer.
Anyway, those were my artistic reasons. I created this artwork in Corel Painter; the first time I’ve ever used it. I hope you liked it! Let me know if you remember when the picture of Rapunzel and Cassandra made its first appearance. 😉