“W a r n i n g” May Contain “S p o i l e r s”
Once Upon a Time | Character Review; Mulan
Mulan is portrayed by guest star; Jamie Chung who’s starred in films such as the Hangover II, Sorority Row and Sucker Punch. She’s a twenty-nine year old American actress.
Mulan in its earliest forms began as a Chinese poem entitled “Ballad Of Mulan”. The warrior is original called Hua Mulan & she takes the place of her father in the war. The earliest accounts believe Hua Mulan lived in the Northern Wei dynasty. She is a legendary figure from ancient China who received high merit in her career but refused the awards and retired to her hometown. Hua Mulan wishes to be with her family at the end of the poem instead. In this version she is not found out to be a woman and fought as a warrior for twelve years before retiring from war duty. This poem is one of the first poems in Chinese history to support the notion of gender equality.
Once Upon a Time → Mulan;
Mulan is quickly shown to be a strong fighter, who is focused, serious and determined. She fights alongside Prince Phillip for sometime before saving Princess Aurora who is surprised to see his friend is a woman. A possible reference to the idea of woman fighting wars in that time and reference to the notion of gender quality that the poem Ballad of Mulan is noted to be.
Some find that Jamie Chung doesn’t fit as Mulan in the show. I however disagree. I enjoyed her presence on the screen. I find she gives Mulan the strong look that you think of when you read about the warrior. Her attitude in the show is not that of a woman who is shy, & modest but that of a warrior; strong, focused, & intelligent. Mulan as a warrior has to be quick on her feet, think and calculate plans as well as being able to execute them.
Jamie is able to show Mulan’s fierce courage and emotional ability. I find Mulan is a woman who while is able to guard her emotions gives off the idea of tough love. She stands by Prince Phillip’s wishes to allow the wrath to take his soul, even when she offers her own so he may be with Aurora. This I believe shows her courage by offering her own life, and shows how selfless she truly is. This is the true meaning of a warrior and I admire how Jamie was able to keep her emotions top notch for that scene. We were able to see her care, but quickly understand the situation and allow her emotions not to overtake her. Mulan is a woman with an incredible emotional connection within herself. I find these words she speaks completely true to who she is as a person.
“Even if I don’t believe in his methods, I am going to honor his wishes. I’m going to keep you safe.”
Mulan is shown to be very loyal to Princess Aurora when Prince Phillips soul is taken by a wrath once he is marked. She is loyal to his wishes to protect Aurora and over time it seems they develop a friendship between one another. Mulan is kind to Aurora but firm as well, trying to help the Princess come to terms with the idea that it is no longer the fairy tale land she remembers and she must learn to stand up to the dangers. Mulan does not baby the Princess and I appreciate that. Mulan is open and honest with the Princess which is refreshing. It was also great to see that Mulan was kept perfectly in character no matter what happen — Mulan kept her word to protect Aurora even as going as far as almost giving up the compass to save her life even though it would have prevented Emma & Snow from returning to their home.
Mulan is quick to suggest Snow White, Mary Margret as the new leader from their interactions so far. Snow refuses but this reminds me again of the poem in which Hua Mulan does not accept the rewards she is bestowed with. While it does not seem like a reward, being a leader is a high honor to be given and Mulan does not want it even though she is highly qualified to lead. Instead she chooses to pass the honor onto someone she believes is fit for the role. I think this also shows her ability to make good decisions, as she quickly thinks of who would best be fit to lead.
I think Jamie brings forward the beauty of Mulan not just physically but overall. She’s a warrior & leader. I find Jamie a very beautiful woman & in the show she still is but I like that when you see her as Mulan you do not just see the beauty. You can see her strength as a warrior as that is what Mulan is & has been based on. Before she was found out to be a woman she was looked at in a different light. In the show even Aurora openly is surprised idea that she is a woman. I find Jamie kept her facial expressions and character in check throughout her entire arch so far on the show and believe if she returns she will continue too. I support this version of Mulan in which Jamie has brought to life and continue to wish her well on her career as she deserves to show her talent.
I am in awh of Once Upon a Time and its ability to tie in together all these fairytales from my childhood. I am always intrigued and glued to the television each time it airs. I admire the hard work that goes into each episode from the crew, to the writers, actors and everyone else working on this show. I can see each week it plays that they are trying to bring forth the best they can, which is appreciated. Their ability to make this more ‘adult’ and real makes you be able to sit back and enjoy it without feeling like it’s cheesy. So all I have to say in the end is this is one of the best shows I’ve come across on TV in years and I wish it a good run! I am completely in love with this show. The portrayal of Mulan is wonderfully done, and I am happy to see one of my favorite characters alive in such a creative & wonderful series.
Good luck Jamie! & Bravo Once Upon a Time for again, bringing forth some of the best characters and writing! I look forward to continuing on this journey with everyone with this fantastic show.
Here’s the wonderful poem that has inspired the updated versions of Mulan as many of us know today. [Once Upon a Time / Mulan the animated movies]
Ballad of Mulan
The sound of one sigh after another, As Mulan weaves at the doorway.
No sound of the loom and shuttle, Only that of the girl lamenting.
Ask her of whom she thinks, Ask her for whom she longs.
“There is no one I think of, There is no one I long for.
Last night I saw the army notice, The Khan is calling a great draft.
A dozen volumes of battle rolls, Each one with my father’s name.
My father has no grown-up son, And I have no elder brother.
I’m willing to buy a horse and saddle, To go to battle in my father’s place.”
She buys a fine steed at the east market; A saddle and blanket at the west market;
A bridle at the south market; And a long whip at the north market.
She takes leave of her parents at dawn, To camp beside the Yellow River at dusk.
No sound of her parents hailing their girl, Just the rumbling waters of the Yellow River.
She leaves the Yellow River at dawn, To reach the Black Mountains by dusk.
No sound of her parents hailing their girl, Just the cries of barbarian cavalry in the Yan hills.
Ten thousand miles she rode in war, Crossing passes and mountains as if on a wing.
On the northern air comes the sentry’s gong, Cold light shines on her coat of steel.
The general dead after a hundred battles, The warriors return after ten years.
They return to see the Son of Heaven, Who sits in the Hall of Brilliance.
The rolls of merit spin a dozen times, Rewards in the hundreds and thousands.
The Khan asks her what she desires, “I’ve no need for the post of a gentleman official,
I ask to borrow a camel fleet of foot, To carry me back to my hometown.”
Her parents hearing their girl returns, Out to the suburbs to welcome her back.
Elder sister hearing her sister returns, Adjusts her rouge by the doorway.
Little brother hearing his sister returns, Sharpens his knife for pigs and lamb.
“I open my east chamber door, And sit on my west chamber bed.
I take off my battle cloak, And put on my old-time clothes.
I adjust my wispy hair at the window sill, And apply my bisque makeup by the mirror.
I step out to see my comrades-in-arms, They are all surprised and astounded:
‘We travelled twelve years together, Yet didn’t realise Mulan was a lady!'”
The male rabbit is swifter of foot, The eyes of the female are somewhat smaller.
But when the two rabbits run side by side, How can you tell the female from the male?