The BBC show Merlin tells an alternate tale of the sword and the stone. Merlin, is a sorcerer in a world that outlaws magic and is told his destiny is to protect Arthur, the will-be king of Camelot. He continually uses magic to save Arthur despite the consequences if he is caught. In this clip he ages himself to use his magic more freely which serves as a form of shapeshifting.
Though Merlin is using his magic for the good of Arthur and the kingdom, he also uses it to his personal gain or to play tricks on Arthur himself.
He is constantly using his magic to get himself out of tricky situations and generally enjoys taking advantage of the moments he is free to use it. Merlin’s chaos and law breaking leads to the creation of a united realm under King Arthur. Aside from this clip he is youthful and seen as ridiculous, or a jester and works as Arthur’s manservant.
Bellatrix Lestrange, a menacing and somewhat insane trickster from the Harry Potter series, is a rare example of a dark female trickster. Her story picks up imprisoned in Azkaban for involvement with the Death Eaters, but she soon breaks free. Bellatrix, an estranged relative of Sirius Black, holds a special hatred for Harry and taunts him whenever possible. She is especially good at goading others to engage with her (ex: sarcastically asks Neville how his parents are doing when she was the one who killed them), and in this clip she runs away from Harry cackling and yelling “I killed Sirius Black!”
In the movie Aladdin, the main character Aladdin can be seen as a trickster. He starts off as a lone figure, a “street rat” who is on the outside of society stealing from others. Since he is young and out of power, his swift movements and clever wits help him get out of situations easily. His best friend is a monkey, a common animal associated with tricksters in films, as well as a magical genie who allows Aladdin to become a psychopomp- a threshold into the two worlds. Towards the end, he transitions from someone who has a hungry drive for power and love, into an honest man who allows his friend, Genie, to become free.
I chose Phil as my trickster because he was the first I thought of – Hercules was one of my favorite movies growing up. In this clip Phil is shown to have a strong sexual appetite, hes a satyr which means he is half goat half man, he lives on this isolated and very far removed cliff, and he goes by two names. He exemplifies many common traits of a trickster.
I chose Loki, known as the trickster God from Norse mythology. There is a wealth of myths and stories of how Loki causes trouble for the other Gods and Goddesses of Asgard but frames it in a way so that he can swoop in at the end and save the day, a common trickster trait. Loki even though referred to as a God, is in fact a Giant from another world and thus feels like an out cast in what has become his home on Asgard. Loki is a common contemporary character as well, appearing in Marvel’s “Thor” movies as well as the tv show “Supernatural”.
When I did the trickster reading and came across the world “uncivilized,” Stitch immediately popped into my head. Stitch is the definition of chaos and is in fact chaotic in two worlds. He goes in between worlds, he’s incredibly smart, and his presence creates transformation not only in the lives of human family but in his alien family, too. Also his body is incredibly flexible and undefinable.
I picked Jerry from Tom and Jerry, because I think he is one of the most iconic tricksters. Jerry (the mouse) continually tricks Tom (the cat) to escape his wrath. Although Jerry does not have an evil/dark side to him, he is sly, cunning, and very elusive which are all common traits seen in tricksters. Jerry is not your typical trickster animal, like a fox or a spider, but is still an animal that is evasive and very difficult to catch. Jerry often works alone which is also an indicator of a trickster.
I chose Swiper from the children’s show “Dora the Explorer” because this was my favorite show as a toddler and therefore one of my first encounters with a TV Trickster. Swiper plays the role of a trickster because he consistently disrupts and annoys Dora just for his own enjoyment. Additionally, he is a fox, an animal that is often displayed as a trickster. Lastly, he always seems to work alone. (I apologize for the quality of this video, I was having trouble finding anything better!)
(Clip shows how Snape is mean to Harry (but chooses not to kill him); also shows shape-shifting from person to death-eater)
Snape does a lot of bad things throughout the chronicles of Harry Potter, in fact, he is thought to be the antagonist for most of it. He’s mean to Harry (the protagonist) and does some seemingly bad things like kill Dumbledore. In the end, however, we find out he’s been doing all of these things to protect Harry. Tricksters end up as benevolent people in the long run, like creating the world, but in the short run he keeps the audience guessing his true colors (ambiguous personality- does he really know himself?). Also, in the end, he kills Voldemort and (re)creates society by setting everyone free of his evil. He feeds his sexual appetite (or love), by protecting the woman he love’s son (Harry). He is possibly even trapped by his love for her (because he now feels the need to protect Harry). He also does some shape-shifting into a death-eater and member of Order of the Phoenix. Lastly, he is deceitful and acts as a “double agent” to Voldemort and Dumbledore alike.
In the 2012 comedy “Ted”, director Seth MacFarlane animated the beloved toy figure Teddy bear and brought him into the adult life of our protagonist John. As a living teddy bear who tried to have an adult life along with his best friend John, Ted fit into the imagery of a trickster in a few ways – he is trapped by his physical image for good (who’d imagine a toy bear to lead a human life, let alone have humanly fun?); he is cunning, manipulative and sometimes disruptive (he was a problem in John’s romantic life, but also made John’s childhood dream come true); he has supernatural power and could easily came across the boundary of life and death (can be easily ripped apart and die, yet come back alive magically).