In “Bravely,” Merida’s family and, by extension, the Kingdom of DunBroch, are stagnating. The castle is falling apart. Family members are repeating behavior patterns that no longer serve them or the kingdom, and the gods have noticed. That’s not a good thing. Feradach, the god of destruction, is charged with keeping the balance. When places or people are no longer able to grow and become better, he’s in charge of destroying them, so creativity and people can grow anew.
Merida catches Feradach outside the DunBroch castle, chases him through the forest and finally catches him. Cailleach, however, holds a soft spot in her heart for DunBroch and Merida’s family. She strikes a bargain. If Merida can get her family to change within the course of a year, they will be spared. If not, Feradach will bring the kingdom down.
Merida’s use of archery to calm her mind and her shooting technique are closely related to the principles of traditional archery as I learned and taught them. The repetition of the act, the focus, the calmness that are required to shoot well help create a place for the spirit to rest and the mind to soar. On pages 41 and 42, her archery is clearly written in a couple of paragraphs, and it is glorious.
Laced with subtle humor and quick turns of phrases, “Bravely” evokes the spirit of “Brave.” For those who want more of Pixar’s PG-13 animated film, “Bravely” delivers a distinct adventure, which may have you asking, “How much do I need to change and how much do my patterns of behavior still serve me?” (This article uses affiliate links. If a link takes you to Amazon and you buy something, our blog gets a small finder’s fee. It doesn’t cost you anything additional, and it helps keep us caffeinated.)