Encanto’s Mirabel didn’t get a door and a room because she didn’t get a gift, but Abuela was also powerless and had her own door – and here’s why.
Every Madrigal descendant who got powers in Encanto was also given a personalized room with a door that had their image carved in it, which is why Mirabel didn’t have a room – but Abuela had her own door, even though she didn’t have powers either. Although Disney has explored different genres and styles for decades, the studio continues to be best known for its animated adventures. Its latest hit, Encanto, follows a recent trend at the Mouse House of exploring different cultures, traditions, and folklore through a story about generational trauma with a touch of magic, a theme of which the doors form a central part.
Encanto takes the audience to Colombia to meet the Madrigal family, led by matriarch Alma Madrigal a.k.a. Abuela (María Cecilia Botero). Years ago, while fleeing from an armed conflict, Alma lost her husband, Pedro, and was left alone with her baby triplets (Julieta, Pepa, and Bruno). By a miracle, Abuela’s candle got magical qualities, keeping them safe from their pursuers and building a sentient house for them, which they affectionately call “Casita“. The candle continued to burn for decades, protecting Casita, the Madrigals, and the whole town, while also granting special gifts to each Madrigal descendant – except for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the first in the family to not get a gift during her ceremony.
When each Madrigal descendant is granted a unique power, Casita gives them a room that is a lot bigger on the inside and which is a representation and extension of their special gifts. Each room has a door with the image of the room’s resident carved into it, and these are shown throughout the whole movie. As Mirabel didn’t receive a gift during her ceremony, she didn’t have her own, special room and instead lived in the nursery, but there’s another, powerless Madrigal family member who had her own room and personalized door: Abuela. Abuela having her own door but Mirabel not getting hers is seen as an Encanto plot hole, and different interpretations and reasons have been suggested, mostly based on Mirabel’s possible “hidden” power as well as Abuela’s. The most reasonable explanation for Abuela having her own door (which, is worth noting, glows like any other even though she doesn’t have powers) is that the candle and Casita gave it to her because she’s the Candle Keeper and “Miracle Guardian”, as was as the leader of the Madrigal family.
If this interpretation of Abuela’s door is to be believed, it suggests that when she’s gone, her door will become Mirabel’s. It’s worth noting that, during the musical number “The Family Madrigal”, there’s a very quick look at the inside of Abuela’s room, which looks like a regular one precisely because she doesn’t have powers. This means that her having her own door but not a special room is more of a symbol of her position as the Candle Keeper and overseer of the family, rather than a more obvious reflection of her character.
As for Mirabel not getting a door during her ceremony, it;s widely acknowledged that Mirabel’s “power” is as the guardian of the family’s magic itself and Mirabel being Abuela’s successor, so instead of getting her own room and door, Casita’s front door became Mirabel’s. This is supported by how at the end of Encanto, when Casita is rebuilt, it comes back to life when Mirabel puts the handle on it, and the design on the front door has Mirabel at the front and center, symbolizing her as the new matriarch. Encanto is full of small details that grant multiple rewatches, and while Abuela having her own door even though she lacks powers can be easily explained, there’s still debate over why Mirabel didn’t get one or if Casita’s front door became hers from the beginning, although discreetly.
Next: Encanto: Every Madrigal’s Room Not Shown (And What They Might Look Like)
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