Danielle de Barbarac (b. 1494) is the main protagonist of the 1998 film Ever After: A Cinderella Story. She is the only child of the widowed Auguste de Barbarac and the late Nicole de Lancret. Although Danielle seems to have been born into a respectable position in society as a landowner and a lady, she is used by her stepmother, the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, as a house slave.
She is portrayed by Drew Barrymore (adult) and Anna Maguire (child).
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life (1494 - 1502)
- 1.2 1502 - 1512
- 1.3 1512 and onwards
- 2 Physical Appearance
- 3 Personality
- 4 Possessions
- 5 Relationships
- 6 Quotes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Sources
Early life (1494 - 1502)
Danielle's mother, Nicole de Lancret, died giving birth to Danielle in 1494. Not much is told about Danielle's life before 1502, except that her father raises her and that he and Danielle are very close. She receives an education of sorts from him; not an uncommon thing for women of rank in 16th century France. He appears to regularly bring back books for her from his travels and reads them aloud to her every night. He also appears to often indulge Danielle's desires, as seen in 1502 when Danielle makes him reduce his trip to Avignon to one week instead of three through a rock-paper-scissors contest.
1502 - 1512
In 1502, Auguste de Barbarac marries the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent with the intention of giving Danielle a mother and two sisters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. However, two weeks after their homecoming, Auguste dies of a fatal heart attack as he begins his journey to Avignon. Danielle is left in the care of Rodmilla, who already resents her new stepdaughter and Auguste's preference for her. We may assume that Rodmilla immediately starts treating Danielle as a servant because later in the film, Danielle says that Rodmilla never showed her any motherly affection.
We also see that in 1502, Danielle has a friend called Gustave who appears to be around her age. It is furthermore established that Danielle is a wild girl who chews on bones at dinner and has mud fights with Gustave. According to Gustave, Danielle almost never looks like a girl.
1512 and onwards
In 1512, the once-flourishing estate has fallen on hard times due to Rodmilla's negligence of the estate and expensive lifestyle. There are only three servants left from the household that there used to be: Paulette, Louise, and the retainer, Maurice. Danielle treats them as family and equals, although the other servants always refer to her as mistress, demonstrating their high regard for her.
The first meeting with the Prince
Danielle meets Prince Henry when he steals her late father's horse. She uses an apple to knock him off the horse and continues to attack him with apples until he is revealed to be the prince. She then lets him take the horse and is given twenty francs for her silence regarding the theft.
Later, she dresses up as a courtier with the help of her now-artist friend Gustave and tries to use the Prince's money to free her servant and friend, Maurice, whom Rodmilla has sold into slavery to pay off her debts. The Prince then intervenes and frees Maurice for her. Struck by her courage and outspokenness, the Prince follows Danielle, and they have a philosophical discussion on how society works. When the Prince demands to know who she is, Danielle gives him her mother's name, telling him that she is the Comtesse Nicole de Lancret.
The invitation to the ball
After Danielle escorts Maurice back home, Rodmilla immediately scolds her for not having told them that the prince was coming to return the stolen horse, stating her intentions for Marguerite to seduce the Prince. After being interrogated by Rodmilla, Danielle is left to her chores.
Shortly afterwards, Danielle walks in on Rodmilla, Marguerite, and Jacqueline stealing her wedding dowry, which consists of her mother's dress and shoes. Rodmilla and Marguerite lie about their intentions, claiming that they want Danielle to go to the royal masque with them. Danielle is flattered by their apparent wish to treat her as a part of the family.
The second meeting with the Prince
While digging with a pig for truffles, Danielle is uncharacteristically upset at the sight of her dirty hands. Leaving the pig, she goes swimming in a nearby river, where she bumps into the artist-in-residence at the royal court, Leonardo da Vinci, who is trying out a new invention that enables him to walk on water. She screams, knocking da Vinci into the water. Onshore, she meets the Prince again, and they talk. As the Prince becomes increasingly enamored by her, Danielle becomes worried about maintaining her masquerade, partly to protect Maurice, but also because she is falling in love with the Prince.
Back at the manor, priceless objects have started to disappear. Danielle is astonished to hear from Jacqueline that, following her first meeting with the Prince, he asked the King to abolish the enslaving of debtors and criminals. Marguerite reports that everyone was talking about the Comtesse Nicole de Lancret, with whom the Prince is apparently enamored with. Danielle drops a cup upon hearing this, causing Rodmilla to look at her suspiciously.
At the market, Danielle sells produce from the farm together with Paulette and Louise. Pierre le Pieu appears and tried to court Danielle, but she bluntly refuses him, seemingly not for the first time. After he leaves, the Prince, escorted by Marguerite, Rodmilla, and Jacqueline, come to the stall where Danielle is. Shocked upon seeing him, Danielle throws a chicken into his face and hides, preventing the Prince from recognizing her.
At the manor, Danielle is tending to her stepmother's fireplace while Rodmilla talks to her. Rodmilla then shows a rare moment of maternal affection to Danielle when she tells her that she sees Auguste in Danielle. She amends this immediately by telling Danielle that she is "built for hard labor" and that she did not love Auguste.
The third meeting with the Prince
When Maurice finds Leonardo da Vinci's kite stuck in a tree on the farm, Danielle takes it flying out in a hayfield while Gustave works on a painting of the nearby royal castle. They talk, and Danielle tells Gustave that she wants the Prince and Marguerite to marry so that her stepmother and stepsisters move into the palace, leaving her to turn things around at the manor. She denies that she likes the Prince, but Gustave suspects that she is lying. When the Prince then rides up to Gustave, asking after Leonardo da Vinci, Danielle hides, but Gustave tricks the Prince and Danielle into meeting at the manor, although the Prince still thinks that she was "Nicole".
Danielle, on foot, gets to the manor quicker than the Prince, who is on a horse, by taking a shortcut through the forest, and she breathlessly greets him at the door in a noblewoman's outfit. Together, they go to a Franciscan monastery after the Prince openly confesses to being in love with Danielle and asks her to call him Henry instead of Your Highness.
At the monastery, Danielle is enraptured by the number of books that the monastery has. When Henry invites her to pick one, she says that she no sooner could "choose a favorite star in the heavens". She reveals that her father used to read books of science and philosophy to her every night before he died and that her greatest wish is to hear his voice again. She treasures his books, especially Utopia by Thomas More. The Prince remarks on how passionate Danielle is.
On the way back from the monastery, the carriage that Danielle and the Prince were using breaks a wheel. Danielle suggests that they continue on foot. However, they get lost, so Danielle climbs a rocky cliff to find the castle. Then, they are ambushed by gypsies. Using her cunning, Danielle strikes a deal with the gypsies, and they let her go with anything that she could carry, so she carries the Prince away. Amused, the gypsies let them stay with them for the evening, during which Danielle convinces the Prince that being king is worthwhile, contrary to his previous beliefs. They then share their first kiss, after which the Prince escorts Danielle back home.
The theft of Danielle's possessions
The next morning, Danielle oversleeps. When Rodmilla and her daughters go to wake her, she refuses to make them breakfast. Later, Danielle catches them trying on her dress on Marguerite. This time, they don't try to cover up the theft, and Danielle accuses them of hunting royalty like it's a sport. In response, Marguerite insults Danielle's mother, causing Danielle to punch her in the face. Holding her mother's shoes, she chases Marguerite into the kitchen where Marguerite threatens to burn Danielle's book, Utopia, unless she gives the shoes up. Danielle relents, but Marguerite burns the book anyway. Rodmilla gives Danielle a lashing as punishment for punching Marguerite.
Later, Jacqueline tends to Danielle's wounds from the lashing, and they bond. It also turns out that it wasn't Danielle's book that Marguerite burned, it was a copy from the library of Prince Henry.
The fourth meeting with the Prince
Danielle goes to meet the Prince at the ruins of Amboise, where the Prince recounts his childhood there in the now-abandoned palace. Danielle tries to tell him the truth about her identity, but the Prince doesn't notice her upset countenance. When he tells her that he is in love with her, Danielle loses her resolve and leaves.
When Danielle gets home, Rodmilla confronts her about her stolen identity. It also turns out that Danielle had hidden her mother's dress and shoes after Marguerite and Rodmilla stole them. To prevent Danielle from attending the masque, Rodmilla locks her into the pantry. Eventually, Leonardo da Vinci and Gustave come to rescue her. Da Vinci makes her wings for her dress, and Danielle goes to the ball. Once there, the Prince sees her and wishes to propose to her. However, Rodmilla, refusing to lose, tears Danielle's costume and exposes her as a fraud. After the Prince rejects her, Danielle flees the ball, crying. On the way, she trips and loses a shoe, and she continues to run all the way home.
After the masque, Rodmilla sells Danielle to Pierre le Pieu. Once at le Pieu's castle, Danielle tries first to run away, but le Pieu puts chains on her legs. However, Danielle then attacks le Pieu with a knife and holds him at sword point until he released her. Outside, the Prince arrives and is surprised to see that Danielle had already rescued herself. The Prince apologizes to Danielle and then proposes to her with the shoe that she lost at the ball. Danielle accepted.
Rodmilla and her daughters are summoned to court, where Danielle asks the king and queen to treat Rodmilla and Marguerite as they treated her. She assures Rodmilla that she will never think of her again. Afterwards, Leonardo da Vinci gives Danielle a portrait of herself as a wedding gift, and she and the Prince lived happily ever after.
Danielle is very beautiful with long, brown hair and blue eyes, both as a girl and as an adult. As a girl, she wears it loosely or in a braid. As an adult and a servant, she always wears it braided at the front. When she is pretending to be a courtier, she wears it in more varied, refined styles that usually feature a hairnet or some other piece of jewelry. As a princess, her hair is tied back in a relatively simple style.
The colour scheme of her clothing is blue, white, and green as a rule, although as a courtier or princess she sometimes wears red.
According to her servants, Danielle looks a lot like her mother, who we do not see in the film. According to her stepmother Rodmilla de Ghent, she has something of her father in her eyes.
Danielle is kind, compassionate, spirited, intelligent, outspoken, and brave. She is well-read, as evidenced by her love of books and quoting of Thomas More's book Utopia. She is fearless when it comes to saving people, as seen when she rescues her servant Maurice from slavery or the Prince from the gypsies. However, she is less adept at standing up to her step-family, although in the course of the film, she improves. Her outspoken beliefs make her overwhelming to others, including the Prince, who wonders at her having so much conviction, and Marguerite, who dismisses her as crazy. Danielle is also cunning, as shown when she strikes a deal with the gypsies.
Danielle does not seem to possess much after her stepmother took over the manor, but she still has her mother's wedding gown and shoes, which constitute her wedding dowry, and her father's book, Utopia by Thomas More.
Auguste de Barbarac (father)
Danielle is characterized at the beginning of the film as "a young girl who loved her father very much" by the Grande Dame. This is true: Danielle treasures every moment with her father, asking him to come home sooner from a trip to Avignon, and expressing a strong desire to spend as long as possible with him. She was terribly upset at his death.
Nicole de Lancret (mother)
Although Danielle never knew her mother, she revers her. She is happy when compared to Nicole, and when Marguerite insults Danielle's mother, she goes berserk.
Rodmilla de Ghent (stepmother)
As a young girl, Danielle is overjoyed at the prospect of Rodmilla being her new mother. On one hand, Rodmilla's hatred of her stepdaughter has made Danielle hate her in return. On the other hand, she still craves Rodmilla's approval, letting Rodmilla get away with lies if she shows the least bit of motherly affection for her. However, what finally breaks their relationship is that she and Marguerite burn what they think is Danielle's book. From then on, Danielle no longer depends on Rodmilla, either physically or emotionally, and at the end of the film, she confidently tells her that she will never think of her again.
Jacqueline de Ghent (stepsister)
Danielle's relationship with Jacqueline is good, although distant at first. As the film progresses, the two girls become closer, especially after Marguerite chooses to burn Danielle's book.
Marguerite de Ghent (stepsister)
Danielle and Marguerite do not like each other and openly fight, either verbally or physically, several times during the film. Danielle thinks that Marguerite is a "spoiled, selfish cow" who hunts royalty for sport with her mother.
Prince Henry of France
At first, Danielle thinks that the Prince is insufferable, arrogant, and inconsiderate. In the course of the film, her opinion of him changes as he begins to act more selflessly and openmindedly, and she falls in love with him. They are married at the end.
Danielle and Gustave have been best friends from at least the age of eight. In general, she is the dominating force in their friendship. Danielle tells Gustave everything, including about her accidental deception of the Prince, proving just how close they are and how much she trusts him.
Louise, Paulette, and Maurice
The three servants are all that is left of the large household the manor used to have. They seem to be halfway between parent figures and friends to Danielle and she considers them family.
Leonardo da Vinci
Danielle is friends with da Vinci, and she is interested in his inventions. He is a kind of fairy-godmother to Danielle, as he swoops in to rescue her when she is locked up by Rodmilla and crafts her a magnificent costume last-minute for the masque.
Pierre le Pieu
Danielle does not like le Pieu and his invasive advances on her. She treats him with disdain, even when he tries to force himself on her.
- "What bothers you more, Stepmother? That I am common or that I'm competition?" - to Rodmilla
- Danielle is the "Cinderella" of the story.
- While the disappearing act, which is characteristic of the original Cinderella story, is retained in this film, it also happens three times before the ball.
- The interpretation of the character of Cinderella in this film is considered a feminist one. It stands in contrast to many conventional film adaptations of the fairy-tale and subverts/reverts the "damsel-in-distress" trope.
- Kenny, Neil. An Introduction to 16th-century French Literature and Thought. https://books.google.dk/books?id=QemnAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT27&lpg=PT27&dq=16th+century+french+gentry&source=bl&ots=eBWedvqoH9&sig=Dgj2I6YwG7XqntXKm822gKseREU&hl=da&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjbwqLHz6_bAhXmHpoKHXabCQkQ6AEIWjAG#v=onepage&q=16th%20century%20french%20gentry&f=false