This Plot Hole In ‘The Little Mermaid’ Has Disney Fans Shook

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Little Mermaid, alias Ariel, could’ve saved herself a boatload of trouble had she merely written Prince Eric a note. So posited Mary Falls in a plot-hole fan-theory picked up by The Huffington Post a while ago.

In other words…Ariel is a moron. Falls breaks down the conundrum:

“Well I found myself thinking, Ariel could have saved herself a lot of trouble if she had just learned to read and write. She could just scrawl out an explanation of her situation for Prince Eric like, “Hey Blue Eyes, I saved your life and then you fell in love with my voice, which I could probably get back if you just used your love to try to suck it out of my throat through my mouth here,” but like nicer and in princess language. Then they could go ahead and seal the deal.”

A valid point, as far as logistics of animated films go.

It’s safe to say Ariel had an education, vis-a-vis her aristocratic bloodline. She at the very least, was able to read music.

“But then I figured, if she was the daughter of a king, she probably could read and write. She probably had the finest underwater education available, especially since she was the star of the under sea orchestral extravaganza, which had absolutely no room for scrubs.

Then it occurred to me, duh – they can’t write underwater without those special pens, and they’d have to be able to walk to The Sharper Image to get those.”

Ah. The contract with Ursula, which rendered the Sharper Image pen unnecessary. A mere fishbone did the job!

But I’ll be damned, she signed that contract with Ursula.

Not to mention, Ariel’s penmanship is perfect and also in English, not merpeople language.

“So, Ariel is completely flipping literate and, in point of fact, has excellent penmanship!

Falls goes on to say maybe Ariel was trying to ~play it cool~ and be sexy mysterious water fish a la The Shape of Water.

“I had to give her the benefit of the doubt and think, well maybe she didn’t want to explain herself cause she was trying to be a cool water fish about the whole deal and take her game to the next level. Except she tried to explain herself on the beach while dressed in a sail and miming like an adorable lunatic.”

Falls concludes:

“Crushingly, Ariel absolutely could’ve closed from moment one and happens to be a moron.”

A good point, though I’d argue the term ‘moron’ could be applicable to anyone willing to trade their voice plus their entire family and community to hang out with a complete stranger.  Nevertheless, I find some faults with Falls’ theory.


-Maybe Ariel thought there was only writing under the sea, with fishbone pens. The only frame of reference for a ‘real’ pen would be via Scuttle, who we know is an unreliable historian.

-All we see Ariel write is her name, which could be written the same in just about any Romance language.

-Hans Christian Anderson wrote the original story, meaning it was originally translated from Danish to English, meaning merfolk language being translated for the benefit of English viewers is not a far stretch.


h/t HuffingtonPost