Ariel puffs up her cheeks while petting a puffer fish in The Little Mermaid live-action remake.

There Was One Change From the Original That ‘The Little Mermaid’ Needed More Of

Tell us more about the daughters of Triton, please.

The general consensus about the newest of Disney’s live-action remakes seems to be that The Little Mermaid is one of the best ones yet—and as someone who’s already seen it twice in theaters, I can’t help but agree.

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Is it because the original is one of the most iconic stories of the Disney Renaissance, and the core of this new live-action take remains the same? Is it because of the honestly amazing cast, headed by Halle Bailey in the lead role of everyone’s favorite mermaid? Is it because of the music? Probably a mix of all these elements and more.

What’s certain is that I have absolutely no notes to give this new The Little Mermaid—except one: I wish we had spent just a tad more time with Ariel’s sisters. Of course, Ariel is very much the protagonist of The Little Mermaid and it’s perfectly understandable for the story to focus on her, but since this new live-action remake made the decision to drastically change Ariel’s family and give her sisters new names, looks, and lore, it would have been nice to have gotten to know them a bit more before their youngest sister went and got herself into a deal with a sea witch.

Good thing there are always other ways of finding out the details of any world-building when the main canon does not provide them.

So who are Ariel’s sisters in The Little Mermaid?

The daughters of Triton have always been seven—that’s true for both the original animated version of The Little Mermaid and for this remake, as well, and it’s one more than the original story by Hans Christian Andersen.

The change may have been made to echo the idea of “the seven seas,” an expression that has been used throughout history and various pieces of sea-related media to identify all the bodies of water on Earth. By splitting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans into their respective Northern and Southern regions, one could also get seven as the number of distinct bodies of water into which the ocean is usually divided—together with the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean.

In the 1989 movie, Ariel’s six sisters admittedly don’t do much. They do have a song, “Daughters of Triton,” right at the start—if everything had gone according to Sebastian’s plans, they would have introduced themselves, showing off their A-starting names, and then left the stage to Ariel “in her musical debut […] to sing a song Sebastian wrote”—Ariel who is, of course, off to exploring shipwrecks and collecting dinglehoppers and snarfblats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKcRh8__xcM&pp=ygUZZGF1Z2h0ZXJzIG9mIHRyaXRvbiBzY2VuZQ%3D%3D

The setup is similar in the remake, but the sisters have a much different premise. They don’t live in the underwater palace, for starters, and all gather in the presence of their father during the Coral Moon. That’s because each of them rules a different sea in their father’s stead, and so the Coral Moon is a chance for them to update him on how things are going in each of their domains. 

As leaders interested in the well-being of their oceans and their people, they share Triton’s view of humans as destructive and dangerous, something that of course puts them in direct conflict with their youngest and much more open-minded sister. It’s a family tension that barely has time to emerge before the plot takes us forward—the sisters ultimately are onscreen for just a couple of scenes before they appear to bid their goodbyes to Ariel in the finale—but it definitely would have been very interesting to follow.

https://twitter.com/DATSOIVEY/status/1661872997811060738

Still, one of the movie’s official companion books, The Little Mermaid: Guide to the Merfolk, is a very good source of more facts about Ariel’s sisters and their role in the vast expanse of the underwater kingdom. The sisters are of course mentioned in the novelization, as well, but it’s this particular companion book that tells us more about their personalities and their domains.

What do we know about the six sisters from the new The Little Mermaid?

As we know from the movie, each of Ariel’s older sisters rules one of the seas—even though the names that appear in Guide to the Merfolk are all fictional, something that contrasts with the fact that the countries Eric points out to Ariel in the movie are very much real.

So first up—because hers might be the face that first caught most people’s attention—is Indira, played by Simone Ashley of by-now well-established Bridgerton fame. According to the lore, Indira rules the Brinedive Sea, where she leads with kindness and excellent diplomacy skills.

Then there’s Karina, played by actress Kajsa Mohammar, who hails from the Saithe Sea, described as the coldest one and covered in ice. By contrast, Tamika, played by Sienna King, rules the warm and sunlit Fracus Sea, filled with brightly-colored fish and corals.

Corals are also abundant in the Chaine Sea, which is looked after by Mala, played by Karolina Conchet—who is fiercely protective of them as well as everything else within her domain. Caspia, played by Nathalie Sorrell, rules the Apneic Sea, which sees its fair share of snow. Finally, Perla, played by Lorena Andrea, looks after the Piton Sea, where the waters are deep and filled with mysterious creatures.

Of course, that leaves Ariel—her domain is technically the tropical-inspired Carinae Sea, but that is also where King Triton usually resides, so she lives with him rather than by herself like her sisters.

According to the Heroes and Villains Wiki, Mala is actually the oldest of the sisters, followed by Indira, Caspia, Tamika, Karina, Perla and of course, Ariel. That means that the six Princesses are inspired, in order, by Attina, Alana, Adella, Aquata, Arista, and Andrina from the original 1989 animated movie.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of them and maybe even their respective domains if there’s any more The Little Mermaid content headed our way in the future.

(featured image: Walt Disney Company)


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Image of Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.