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Happily Ever After

Danielle became Queen, and her wicked stepmother and stepsister were made castle servants after she requested that the King and Queen show Rodmilla and Marguerite the same curtesy that they bestowed upon her. Danielle didn't have her father or mother, of course, but she had the family she had come to know – the servants in her home, her best friend Gustav, and Henry, who became her husband. With all she longed for in life – love, it's assumed Danielle lived happily ever after. One would expect a fairy tale to end that way, afterall.

At the end of the film we're brought back to the “present” which is still the past to us, as the current Queen is meeting with the Brothers Grimm. She had the last line in the film, and it's an important one because I think it expresses the theme of the entire movie, and the legacy that Danielle left behind.

And, while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.

One could probably take that literally and say that the Queen was simply saying the Cinderella existed, which I think is partly true, but when I take in all that Danielle has said in the film, and all that she held dear to her, like her Utopian ideals, I can't help but read a little more into it. I can't help but think that Danielle taught Henry how to live, in the truest sense of the word.

Henry said himself that Danielle made him feel alive. Before her, his life was dull and meaningless. He took things for granted. He was arrogant and didn't care for others. He saw people for their stereotypes, and rarely saw anyone for who they really were. In the short time he had gotten to know Danielle in the film, he changed his views of gypsies, and started to see servants as people. He planned to open a university where anyone of any station could study. All of these changes in him happened within a short time of knowing her. It's easy to imagine what an impact she made in his life for the long haul.

Danielle on the other hand was always full of life, but was held back by her station, and by the cruelty of her stepmother. Despite what held her down, she made the most of life. That's evident from her complaint to Henry early in the film.

You have everything, and still the world holds no joy; and yet you insist on making fun of those who would see it for its possibilities.

Danielle couldn't have anything growing up after her father died. As Queen, I imagine nothing held her back. She would have access to any book she wanted, she'd be in a position to help people, and most of all, with those she loved in her life around her, she would have true love in her life. Mushy, I know. With nothing holding her back, Danielle would finally get to live freely, without limitations.

While Danielle gave so much to Henry and showed him what true living was with conviction and passion, Henry was reponsible for saving Danielle. By marrying her and helping her deal with her wicked stepmother and stepsister, Henry took away all that was holding Danielle back so she could finally live freely. They both did live. They lived because of each other.