Sofia and the Return of Princess Ivy

A magical Sofia the First special called The Curse of Princess Ivy came out in 2014. It had everything--dragons, drama, fun a wicked princess, and a guest appearance by Rapunzel. Of course, that was back when Sofia's amulet was still purple and summoned Disney Princesses to help her when she was in trouble (with the exception of Pocahontas). Now that Sofia has reached the next level of being a wise and benevolent princess, her pink amulet sends her to help troubled princesses. The last episode of the show used this ability to reacquaint Sofia with the vengeful Princess Ivy and teach us that there is more to people than what they appear to be.

From a design standpoint, Princess Ivy is very unique. Her hair is reminiscent of Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians with its split black and white aesthetic, but her face looks like that of a pretty youthful princess. She has a long dress with frills and ribbons like most classic princesses. However, the lack of bright colors that are iconic of other princess dresses is a hint to her true demeanor. Princess Ivy first appears as a curse to punish Princess Amber's immoral act of stealing Sofia's amulet. Amber is blinded at first by Ivy's classic princess traits, much in the same way that the Snow Queen charmed Kay. Amber looks up to Ivy at first, who uses her charm to flatter her. However, her true intentions were made clear when she used her black and white butterflies to suck all of the colors out of everything in Enchancia.

Ivy's personality may seem similar to that of a wicked queen, but her presumably good sister (who we never see) banished her before she had the opportunity to gain enough power to become queen. That's why when Amber frees her, she seizes the opportunity to take over Enchancia, appealing to Amber's love of compliments as fuel for her evil schemes. Ivy just wants a kingdom to rule, and she wants to rule it her own way, without color, like her homeland. She is very similar to Princess Kale from Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, who is jealous of her sister Anya for becoming queen instead of her. Ivy's most dangerous power, though, is her dragonflies, which erase people's memories. Thanks to the dragonflies, everyone forgot about Ivy by the end of the special except for Sofia. The dragonflies were not involved in her repeat appearance from last week.

"Ivy's True Colors" aired this past Friday. It showed us the new powers of Sofia's pink amulet in action. When the amulet brought her the island Ivy had been banished to, Sofia was as surprised to see Princess Ivy as she was to see Sofia. Ivy wanted no part in accepting Sofia's help until a skunk that she had befriended named Roma fell prey to a sleeping curse that also affected all of Sofia's animal friends in Enchancia. It was only then that Ivy realized she needed Sofia's help in freeing her black and white butterflies to pollinate the flowers that could cure the curse, even though it meant that her black and white world would be tainted with color. That was when Ivy realized that she was no different from any other princess when it came to her love for her animal friends.

The episode also saw the return of Miss Nettle, another character from an earlier season of the show. Miss Nettle was a rival to Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who felt unappreciated for her talents and sought revenge on Royal Prep Academy. She was defeated by Sofia and her friends but made a brief appearance in a later episode, where she tried to take back a magical flower that she had invented because she felt unappreciated yet again. In "Ivy's True Colors," she assisted Sofia and Ivy in harvesting the flower that cured the sleeping curse on the animals. She and Ivy later became unlikely allies, as they were both villains who turned out to be misunderstood, just like most antagonists from Sofia the First, beginning with Cedric the Sorcerer.

One thing I love about Sofia is that she has a way of charming everyone and solving problems without violence. In fact, that's the reason that Elena chose her to defeat the wicked sorceress Shuriki. Sofia's optimism and innocence are downright irresistible no matter how wicked someone may appear to be at first. She always assumes that people are misunderstood first unless they prove themselves otherwise. That's why Princess Ivy is only black and white in appearance, but her personality is more grey. Though it would be dangerous for her to have too much power, her island prison seems to have successfully mellowed her out and taught her the meaning of true friendship.

In a tradition that began with Snow White letting the wicked old crone into her cottage, princesses have always believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt. Belle solidified this by finding the good in a seemingly monstrous beast. Now that Sofia's powers have gone to the next level, she brings out the best in people more than ever before. Even though Ivy started out as a villain, Sofia helped her see that even she is capable of love, causing her to turn over a new leaf. Since Miss Nettle did the same and became friends with Ivy as a result, perhaps all a bad princess needs is a true friend to help them see the light and become good.


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