Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Gender Roles - Women: 2.5 Stars
Princess Eilonway displays some independence early on, but most of her spirit disappears after Taran discovers a magic sword and leads her out of the Horned King's castle. Eilonway quickly steps aside and allows Taran to take the role of leader. She supports him and makes the difficult journey with him, but Taran is clearly the hero of this story.
Gender Roles - Men: 1.5 Stars
Taran doesn’t look the part of a warrior, but he has the attitude and mindset. He’s more interested in his own glory than preserving the peace, and appears to be willing to go into battle without provocation. He has no particular training or skill, and yet he quickly takes credit for the escape from the Horned King’s castle. He demeans the princess by calling her a silly girl, and only acknowledges her contributions after she’s broken down into tears.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 2 Stars
Eilonway wears a simple dress and a pair of flat, practical shoes that allow her to run when she’s in danger. For the most part, she could’ve been just another girl from town and there seems to be no real reason that she’s cast as princess. Unfortunately, she isn’t given enough of a personality or background to give her much dimension beyond her pretty face.
Plot: 1.5 Stars (Spoilers)
Eilonway helps Taran escape from his dungeon at the beginning of the film, but is never given a second chance to influence the story. She agrees, reluctantly, with Taran's plan to find the black cauldron. She is the only one who has nothing to offer the witches in exchange for the cauldron when they find it, and is forced to step aside when Taran agrees to offer his magic sword. Eilonway is always accompanied by an odd magic bubble which is never put to any use. She might have used this trinket to turn the witches' frogs back into people, or to perform some small act of heroism over the course of the film. But unfortunately, her own piece of magic seems to be little more than an accessory.
Character Development: 1 Star
Eilonway’s character is mostly flat and emotionless. We know that she was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Horned King, but we know nothing about where she came from, or if she has any intention of returning to her lost home. She never speaks of her parents or her country. She never even speaks of defeating the Horned King who imprisoned her. She simply follows Taran on his quest so that he’ll have someone to kiss when the story’s all over.
Love: 3 Stars
The romance between Taran and Eilonway is a bit awkward and feels forced. They embark on an adventure together and defeat an evil king, but they never share secrets or vulnerabilities. They don’t even work together on strategy or planning, as Taran makes all the decisions on their quest. At one point, when Taran begins to question his own worth - recognizing that he’s not much of a hero without his magic sword, Eilonway takes the opportunity to tell him how much she believes in him. Taran attempts to return the sentiment, but ends up expressing his gratitude for all of the friends that have joined him, without dedicating any special words or compliments to Eilonway in particular.