By MARY WARD
I am a child who was raised on Disney animated films.
By the age of four I could easily quote the whole of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Snow White. Two years earlier, I had staged quite an aggressive campaign for our family to name my younger sibling Aladdin. (In my defence, that was only if it was a boy. Mary 2 was my suggestion for a girl…)
When I was five, my parents cottoned on to this obsession, and thought it would be a great idea to rent Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame from our local video store. It was the only Disney animated film that I hadn’t seen yet – and while I would like to think that they picked it out as a way of introducing me to the world of Victor Hugo novels – they probably just brought it home because they didn’t want to sit through another rendition of ‘Part of Your World.’(I was Ariel. Seriously.)
However, there was one man who made it his mission to thwart my parents’ plan for a quiet night in with the family.
His name is Judge Frollo. He is the bad guy in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
And he’s bad.
Frollo is so bad that the film opens with him killing the sanctuary-seeking mother of a deformed child. He is so bad that, when he finds out a person of a certain race has escaped from his prison, his reaction is to burn down the ALL of the houses in the city of people belonging to that racial group, purge style. He is so bad that he tries to burn the story’s heroine at the stake, and when that fails, he physically assaults her and throws her against a wall.
This guy makes Scar from the Lion King look like a harmless pussycat.
My previous Disney viewing experience had not prepared me for this level of villainous menace within the one character. And I did not take it very well.