Prepare to feel old and crusty, millennials: Disney's The Little Mermaid turns 26 today. That's right. Twenty. Effing. Six. Do you know how old that would make Ariel today? Forty-two years old. She could be your mother! (Maybe she is your mother?!)
OK, now I'm just talking madness. But I'm not the only person who has breathed crazy stories about The Little Mermaid into existence. Plenty of Internet stans have their thoughts about who Ariel and the gang really are. The only difference between them and my, "Ariel is your mother!" theory is the stans have facts. I'm just crazy.
Here are the five most bananas TLM theories we found on the Web. And, yes, that Frozen/Tangled
nonsense FACT makes the list. (Oh! And some hypothesis about Ariel and Hercules being cousins or some shit. Yup.) Read on, and be amazed.
Ariel's sisters all have different mothers.
TheJongasm asserts that, like many kings, Triton wanted to make sure his bloodline was spread wide so it would last a long time. To do this, he slept with a group of elite mermaids to give birth to his seven daughters—which explains why all the girls look different. All daughters accept Triton's queen as their maternal figure, not their birth mothers. And get this: Ariel is the prized child because her birth mother is actually the queen. In other words, Triton is a player.
Ariel destroyed Prince Eric's economy.
This makes a lot of sense when you think about. Ariel, a mermaid, married Prince Eric, whose seaside kingdom probably required plenty of fishing to boost the economy. Because Ariel didn't want Eric's subjects possibly fishing and killing her aquatic friends, she made him stop ocean activity altogether. Listen: What Ariel wants, Ariel gets.
Frozen (2013), Tangled (2010) and The Little Mermaid are all connected.
BuzzFeed popularized this theory from Tumblr, and it's too good not to include on our list. According to a crafty fan, Elsa and Anna's (Frozen) parents were traveling to Rapunzel's (Tangled) return celebration in 2010, but their boat sank. In tribute to them, Rapunzel and her husband Flynn went to Elsa's coronation ceremony in 2013. (You see this in the movie.) Because of the proximity of all three kingdoms—Corona in Germany, Arendelle in Norway and Ariel's in Denmark—it is very possible the sunken ship you see in The Little Mermaid really belonged to Elsa and Anna's parents.
Ariel and Hercules are related.
Because they're both redheads, right? Well, it's a little more complicated than that. The above video lays out these facts: Ariel's father is King Triton, who is Poseidon's son, according to Greek history. (Ergo, peeps, Poseidon is Ariel's grandpa.) Here is where it gets interesting: Poseidon is Zeus' brother. (And Hercules is Zeus' son.) That makes Hercules and Triton first cousins. The offspring of your first cousin is your first cuz once removed, which makes Ariel and Hercules once-removed first cousins. Damn. Did you keep up with that?
Ariel's mother is one of the mermaids in the original Peter Pan (1953).
KMACK TIME is about to throw you for a loop. According to his video (see above), the red-haired, blue-tailed mermaid in Peter Pan is Ariel's mother. This makes sense, given TLM came out in 1989, making Ariel's date of birth somewhere around 1973. Because Peter Pan came out in 1953—and the mermaid was 16 in the film—that would make her 36 in 1973. In other words, peak mama age. Mind. Blown.