Zarya in a Tiara Is the Best Thing Ever

The latest Mysticons episode, "Game of Phones," began with Princess Arkayna calling up her newly-discovered twin sister Zarya and asking for her tiara size. "I don't do tiaras," Zarya scoffed in response. Of course, in perfect comedic timing, the next shot was of a very unhappy Zarya sitting on a griffon with a small yet hilariously out of place golden tiara fastened to her short purple hair. This scene was very funny because it portrayed a symbol of femininity on a character who openly dislikes all things girly. It also goes to show how far the princess trope itself has gone in modern times from being a symbol of feminity to being a symbol of strength. More and more princesses are now warrior archetypes, while damsels in distress have become all but obsolete.

Of course, Zarya, in particular, is a special case. Like Proxima, the red herring in the "twin sister" story arc, Zarya was raised without a family or an identity. However, she and Proxima handled their similar upbringings very differently. Unlike Proxima, who internalized her angst until she turned to the dark side, Zarya became openly cynical, joining a pirate crew in her youth and regularly making snide or sarcastic comments. Until this point in the show, she seemed to be mostly in denial about being a princess even though she quickly accepted Arkayna as her sister. Zarya is exactly the sort of person who would say princess culture is bad for society, which made it both hilarious and revealing of the fact that princesses are just like everyone else when it forced on her anyway.

In making Zarya wear a tiara for the griffon performance, Arkayna meant to present her to Drake City as their new princess for the first time. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as planned, but we still got to have a few laughs along the way. One thing that irks me about Mysticons is that it tends to gloss over important plot points in favor of action sequences. We never actually got to see the people of Drake City's response to learning that there was a secret princess nobody knew about. Even their obnoxious stepbrother Gawayne immediately began calling Zarya his stepsister without truly reacting to the news for the first time. I was wondering if the show would ever address how Zarya reacted to being a princess as a notorious tomboy, so this episode was satisfying in that respect.

Of course, I personally would love to see Arkayna and Zarya in full regal ballgowns, but Drake City doesn't seem to be the type of kingdom where royalty is required to dress so formally for public events. In fact, Zarya's signature jeans and hoody were a big contributor to why her tiara looked so hilariously out of place. Many modern princesses do wear jeans, and there's nothing wrong with that, just like there's nothing wrong with wanting to dress up from time to time. In seeing Zarya's full outfit for the performance, it is very clear that one thing in this picture does not belong. Not every girl can react like Amy Farrah Fowler did in The Big Bang Theory to receiving a tiara.

So, why is Zarya in a tiara basically the best thing ever? Well, for one thing it rhymes, making it a lot of fun to say! For another, it shows that any girl can be a princess, even one who's a tomboy and wants absolutely nothing to do with it. Now that Zarya knows she has a family, she will have to accept the good along with the bad. It's clear that she already loves Arkayna as her sister, but having a family is complicated. Sometimes it means having to deal with things you don't want for the people you love. For Zarya, that thing is being a princess. It almost makes you wonder how Proxima would have reacted, but her submissive nature seems more fitting for the role. I think Mysticons does a good job of encouraging kids to be nice to their siblings because Malvaron's sister went rogue along with Arkayna's almost-sister. Now Zarya is just going to have to grin and bear it.


Hope35 said…
IMHO of the 5 sisters (still counting Proxi as I'm being hopeful post redemption she'll be able to join the others in the royal family in some way and have the happy life and family she craves and needs) only very youthful happy Piper would be the most enthused about wearing a tiara/crown because she'd be the least likely to think about the public obligations and sometimes painful sacrifices that come with the shiny ornament.

I wouldn't be shocked if Kay used to tease Em about wearing a tiara when they were younger and tried to force her to wear one unsuccessfully a time or 2, with Em feeling too tomboyish, grounded and concerned to even want to consider that kind of thing especially as just a form of play. LOL

I actually even thought if I were casting the Mysticon roles I MIGHT have made Zee be the Knight instead of the Ranger because having a Princess and her Knight turn out to be long separated twins has so much rich dramatic and humor potential.

And Em would be a fine Ranger too but I would not be shocked if her weapon in that case would be a magic axe instead of a bow and arrows.
Hope35 said…
I was just thinking of this article again so if you'll indulge me quoting a line from it here, "Unlike Proxima, who internalized her angst until she turned to the dark side," to me this just shows the writers dark side more than Proxi's.

Proxi actually is a fairly realistic looking fictional character (short and chubby, wears glasses and cute but not drop dead gorgeous) and I think could've been a good audience avatar for at least some of the young girls watching the show if a little more care were taken to prevent her being corrupted.

IMHO she's not quite the cynic Zee is (but might have some cynicism anyway) but she has every bit of the emotional strength, determination, love and hope that Zee has but Zee's a good old Mysticon so there's NO WAY they're going to make her an evil villianess but Proxi, yeah let's have the shy geek with low self-esteem have her hopes shattered and turn her evil.

Anyone who thinks that's good writing hasn't seen any actual good writing for a while.

And our wait for a possible resolution (seeing how she's freed from the mask's evil influence and her own fears as we hope she will be) continues to expand. The show's on hiatus again and the only word is the next ep will debut in the "early summer" (though that could mean anytime up to the end of July) and then the following one during the "summer" (potential long wait kiddies, autumn equinox is 9/23 this year so that means the end of summer is 9/22).

Sadly on another Zee note though, it might take us a while if ever before we really learn anything about her and Kay's birth father. I saw a recent tweet by creator Sean Jara answering a fellow fan's interest in learning more about this noble king and he sadly replied it was something he would have had done on the show if he had more than 40 eps but it's unlikely to happen. Any talk I see seems to indicate this show is 40 eps and done. I wish it could have more eps too but we might have to file that as an impossible dream and just follow the upcoming books to see where they take the story.

If you look up the ratings and compare the start of season 1 to the ratings later in season 1 and all of season 2 and you'll see why Sean said that - I can't help but wonder if this show had featured its original concept of an all boy team would it have done better in the ratings? I think even now a show featuring a team comprised of all girl heroes is a tough fight for getting a good amount of boy viewers who would not want to be caught watching a "girls show" and I'm not sure if the product sales and international ratings are good enough to send this show a life raft.
Hope35 said…
Also re: Zee and a ball gown? The only kind I could picture her wearing is one that would allow her to kick butt as needed, either something like the skirt she had on her dress at the coronation in ep 3 or perhaps something like the heroines in Barbie & the 3 Musketeers wore, with long skirts that could easily be removed and converted to capes, allowing them to fight in the shorter skirts and boots that were hidden underneath the big skirts (though Zee probably wouldn't bother with the short underskirt and just wear tights or pants under the big skirt).

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