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I've never seen a human this close before. He's very handsome, isn't he?
~ Ariel, as she looks at Eric.
A girl rescued me. She was singing. She had the most beautiful voice.
~ Eric talking about Ariel.

Prince Eric (later King) (simply known as Eric) is the deuteragonist of The Little Mermaid and a supporting character in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. He is Ariel's love interest and later husband, father of Melody, son-in-law of King Triton and Queen Athena and brother-in-law of Ariel's Sisters.

In the first film, Eric has decided to date Ariel after she saved him from drowning during a storm.

He is voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes in the original film who also does the voice of Spider-Man in the 1990's Spider-Man animated series and Rob Paulson (who also voiced P.J. and Carl Wheezer) in the sequel.

Personality

Eric is a hopeless romantic and appears to be rather dreamy, believing his true love certainly exists, but simply hasn't been found by the earliest points of the film. After being rescued by a mysterious girl with a beautiful voice, he immediately falls in love and makes it his primary goal to find her and marry her, feeling deep gratitude for her actions. Eric would later prove his commitment towards romance by risking his life at the climax for the safety of Ariel, proclaiming he's lost her once and refuses to lose her again.

As demonstrated in the first film, Eric is initially shy around girls, as seen in the love song "Kiss the Girl", where, although he did not know at the time that she had rescued him from drowning, he wanted to kiss Ariel, but was initially too shy to do so, however, he eventually overcame this shyness and would have kissed her, if it had not been for Flotsam and Jetsam tipping over the boat they were in. By the climax of the film, Eric's shy nature; regarding girls has completely disappeared, this is evidenced by the fact that, after Ariel is permanently transformed into a human by her father, King Triton, he not only lovingly embraces the woman he loves, but they also share their first kiss.

Appearance

Eric has fair skin, short black hair, and ice blue eyes.

Eric's primary mode of dress is a white, long sleeved collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, teal blue trousers with a red sash, and black boots whose tops are folded over to reveal a lighter blue inner lining. His shirt collar is open to the point that it reveals his clavicles.

When he was saved by Ariel from drowning and ended up at the shore, his clothes were in shreds and he was barefoot, implying that he lost his boots after the shipwreck.

At the time he was hypnotized by Vanessa (who was Ursula in disguise), Eric wore a far more royal outfit. It is a navy blue long sleeved royal uniform; it includes a black belt with a gold buckle at the midriff; gold buttons; red lining the collar, down the chest, and cuffs along with red epaulets; he wore a matching pair of dark blue trousers with red lining and black shoes. At his wedding to Vanessa (later Ariel), he wore another military uniform; a white coat with gold buttons and two vertical gold stripes lining the chest; a white sash, a navy blue collar and cuffs with gold lining and golden epaulettes; blue trousers, and black boots with golden lining at their tops. He also wore white gloves. At the back of his coat it has tail ends in each sides.

During his fight against Ursula and rescues Ariel, Eric wears a combination between his primary outfit and his royal outfit; he retains his white long sleeved collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up from his primary outfit and wears his blue trousers with gold linings and his black boots with golden lining at their tops from his royal outfit.

In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Eric retains his primary outfit throughout the film. In the beginning of the film where they christened their daughter Melody, he wears his royal outfit at the end of the original film only his pants and boots are changed to white to match his military white coat. During Melody's 12th birthday, Eric retains his first royal outfit but in a minor color change which resembles his white military uniform. His royal uniform is white with the collar and epaulettes are gold and his belt is also white, his trousers are now navy blue to match up his black shoes.


Abilities

  • Expert Sailor: As demonstrated in the first film, and its sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Eric is an excellent sailor, despite him being of royalty.
  • Expert Swimmer: As demonstrated in the first film, and its sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Eric is an excellent swimmer.
  • Dancing: As demonstrated in the first film, Eric is an excellent dancer.
  • Singing: As demonstrated in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Eric is an excellent singer.
  • Swordsman: Due to him being of royalty, it can be assumed that Eric is highly skilled in swordsmanship, as he is seen utilizing a sword in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, but the exact level of his skills are never demonstrated in the second film.

Biography

The Little Mermaid

Eric first appears while on an extensive sea voyage. It is never mentioned where Prince Eric was sailing from or what royalty he descends from. During the first scene of his appearance, Eric hears from working sailors on the deck that because their voyage day is peaceful, that King Triton was in a favorable mood. Upon further questioning, Eric learns that Triton is the ruler of the mer-people under the sea.

Later while still at sea, Eric talks about his search for love. His confidant and oldest friend Grimsby gave him counsel on the subject. While Eric was virtually attentive of the advice, he was determined to find love on his own terms. Coincidentally, Ariel, the youngest of King Triton's beautiful daughters also was searching for love among other goals in her life. She spotted Eric from the vantage point of the ship deck she climbed to one night during a party among the sailors. She admired the handsome prince as he played and made music with his best friend Max the dog.

The next time Ariel saw Eric was during a terrible storm at sea. Eric's heroics aboard the ship, included saving his dog Max and getting other sailors to safety, was ended when an explosion occurred, sending him off the ship. Ariel retrieved his unconscious body from the depths of the sea and swam him to shore during the night. Eric slept until morning, waking to the sound of Ariel's beautiful singing for him, professing her love for Eric. At the sound of Max and Grimsby arriving, Eric was left alone with the lingering vision of a girl singing to him. Prince Eric rescued Ariel after she became human and was being chased by Max on the same beach she carried Eric to. Although unable to full determine where he had seen Ariel's strikingly familiar face before, Eric took her into his home. Adding further intrigue was the fact that Ariel could not speak. As part of her contract with Ursula the Sea Witch to become human, she could only rely on sign, body language and her looks, all of which even the scheming Ursula admitted were in high marks in Ariel's favor. Eric would spend considerable time taking Ariel around the kingdom in carriage rides and visiting different places in town. One fateful evening, the two enjoyed a splendid boat ride amidst willows trees and lily pads, and fireflies. The mood was accompanied by Sebastian's own lyrical contributions, encouraging Eric to kiss Ariel—a goal of Ariel's to accomplish before a time limit expired on her human transformation as per the agreement she made with Ursula. Literally lips-length apart, this nearly came true until Ursula's eels Flotsam and Jetsam intervened, upturning their boat.

Eric later fell into a melancholy, unable to settle on what was waiting for him: the love of his life. During a night out on the balcony, Eric heard mysterious singing coming from the beach. It came in the form of a beautiful brunette girl named Vanessa. Her voice sounded exactly as Ariel's (unknown to Eric was the fact that Ursula took Ariel's voice as payment and later used it in her guise as Vanessa to seduce Eric), instantly hypnotizing Eric into falling in love with her. By the next morning, Ariel awoke to the heartbreaking news that Eric and Vanessa were going to marry by sunset that same day which also was the last day of Ariel's human enchantment. On a ceremonial ship, decorated for the wedding, Eric was rescued from marrying Vanessa after Ariel and her sea friends Flounder, Sebastian and Scuttle along with Max, crashed the wedding. Ursula's disguise was revealed after the shell necklace she wore containing Ariel's voice was broken. Ariel's voice returned just in time to reveal her love for Eric and that she was the one Eric loved all along. Before they could consummate their love with a kiss, Ariel fell upon the ship deck with no use of her legs as they returned to fins, revealing her true species as a mermaid. Ursula also turned to her octopus-legged self again and kidnapped Ariel, taking her back under the sea with her. Eric took a row boat out and followed as far as he could before diving beneath the turbulent waves.

Ursula had taken Ariel as her prisoner until King Triton and Sebastian arrived to confront her. Ursula revealed the binding contract she and Ariel drew and made a counterproposal to release Ariel in exchange for Triton's surrender of his crown, trident and kingdom. Triton's parental instincts gave in and agreed to her terms. After Ariel's father was turned into a member of her ghoulish garden, Ariel attempted to fight Ursula but was overpowered. Before Ursula could harm Ariel, Eric made the save with a harpoon to her arm. He swam up to his boat before being dragged back down and get tied up by Flotsam and Jetsam. After Sebastian and Flounder helped free him, Ursula attempted to kill Eric with the trident's powers. Ariel struggled with Ursula again, causing her to misfire and thus the trident killed Flotsam and Jetsam, angering her. Eric and Ariel reunited briefly before Ursula grew to gigantic size, emerging from the sea depths.

Ursula caused a monstrous maelstrom that trapped Ariel in the dry center, allowing Ursula to play a cruel game of target practice with the use of the trident, firing lightning at Ariel. In the maelstrom, Eric swam aboard a wrecked ship that had a broken bow sailing mast. He steered the ship towards Ursula on a collision course resulting in Ursula being impaled on the broken mast. Eric then barely swam back to shore after Ursula's dark magic was undone, freeing the garden of trapped merfolk and the King, all restored to their original forms. Eric passed out once more on the beach. Ariel stayed once more at Eric's side until he regained consciousness. King Triton also stayed and watched this with Sebastian, gradually realizing how much his daughter truly loved the prince. Sebastian suggested an allegedly constant quotation of his stating that children must be let free to lead their own lives. After a brief chuckle between the two, the King stated how much he was going to miss his daughter and then turned his trident into the water and granted Ariel her humanity. By the closing minutes of the first adventure, Eric and Ariel married and shared their first official kiss.

The Little Mermaid: The Series

The prequel television series is set before the events of the 1989 film and focuses almost entirely on Ariel. However, Eric makes very brief cameo appearances in three episodes. Preserving the continuity where Eric and Ariel only first met in the original film, the two never met each other in the television series, despite appearing side-by-side.

The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea

Eric continued his role as a deuteragonist in the stories involving Ariel. He retains his status as royalty while balancing his role as a husband. Eric and Ariel eventually welcomed their first child whom they named Melody. When Melody's life is threatened by Ursula's vengeful sister Morgana, Eric and Ariel decide that until Morgana is dealt with, Melody must no nothing about the sea or her mermaid heritage. 12 years later, after Melody goes out to sea, Eric personally directed his royal fleet to search for her. He also persuaded Ariel to become a mermaid again in order to search the sea for Melody as she knew the sea and Melody better than anyone. Eric also commanded the fleet to engage Morgana during the all-out battle that later followed upon rescuing Melody.

Along with his wife Ariel, the Prince is very loving and caring towards their daughter and both he and Ariel have demonstrated the depths of their love for their family as they would go to extremes to protect their daughter.


House of Mouse

Eric appears as one of the guests in the 2001-2003 animated television series House of Mouse, usually sitting next to Ariel. His notable appearance is in the episode "Goofy's Valentine Date", where in that episode Ariel was seen staring affectionately at him. In the same scene, Goofy reads out the valentine specials on the menu, sobbing away his misery for not having a Valentine's Day date.

Sofia the First: The Floating Palace

Although Eric does not appear in this Disney Junior television special, he was mentioned once by Ariel when she told Sofia the First that Eric needed Ariel's help when his ship sunk.

Live-action appearances

Let's Go to Disneyland Paris

Prince Eric made an appearance in this 1993 Disney Sing Along Songs video.

Once Upon a Time

Eric OUAT

Eric in Once Upon a Time.

Eric appears on the third season of the hit fantasy drama and he is played by Gil McKinney. It is implied that like many of the denizens of the Enchanted Forest, he was likely transported to Storybrooke by the Dark Curse. His first appearance is in the episode "Ariel", which takes place before the Dark Curse. In his kingdom, Prince Eric holds a ball. He is immediately drawn to Ariel and he asks her to dance with him. While they dance he tells Ariel that he will be leaving the next morning on an adventure to see the world and asks Ariel to go with him. Ariel relays this information back to Snow White who tells Ariel to be honest with the prince however Ariel is reluctant as she does not want to be rejected by the prince by telling him she is a mermaid.

Ariel later returns to the dock by Eric's palace as she is about to yell Eric's name her voice has vanished. Regina tells Ariel that Ariel will not have a second chance at true love and that she took her voice so Ariel can never tell Prince Eric how she truly feels.


In tears, a muted Ariel heads back to the sea. 29 years later in Neverland, Regina Mills and Mr. Gold are by the banks of the lake. Regina whispers something into a sea shell that causes Ariel to appear. Regina returns Ariel's voice to her and asks her to go to return to Storybrooke so Ariel can retrieve a weapon from Mr. Gold's shop that will be strong enough to stop Peter Pan. Regina then promises Ariel that she can be a human permanently and if she goes to Storybrooke, she will find Eric there. After Ariel completes her mission and permanently becomes human, she finds Eric working as a fisherman. The two of them are then reunited and reconcile.

When Storybrooke vanishes all of its residents, including Eric and Ariel, are sent back to the Enchanted Forest. Eric is kidnapped by Blackbeard and is left all alone on a deserted island. Ariel eventually finds Eric on the island where they are reunited.


Printed material

Kingdom Keepers

Prince Eric has yet to make an appearance in the Kingdom Keepers books, but he is mentioned by Ariel in the fourth book. Here she says she spends her days at Disney's Hollywood Studios very lonely for they keep Eric at Magic Kingdom, in the current show at Cinderella Castle.

A Twisted Tale: Part of Your World

In this reality, with Ariel having been unable to defeat Ursula or reclaim her voice, Eric has remained under her influence for the last few years, essentially becoming little more than a figurehead for Ursula's plans to expand her influence on the surface as he becomes known as the 'Mad Prince', spending more time composing amateur concerts as a reflection of his fascination with Ariel's voice. However, after Ariel reclaims her voice, this also results in Eric being freed of Ursula's influence, allowing him to begin discreetly working with Ariel to undermine Ursula's plans, as well as keeping Ursula herself in check by drawing her attention to the various details of ruling on the surface world that she hadn't considered. After Ariel is able to defeat Ursula and rescue her father, she is able to arrange a compromise with her father where she will spend at least one week each month acting as an ambassador to the surface world, with Eric getting a tattoo of Ariel's name in mer runes to symbolize their commitment to each other even if they will not officially marry yet.



The Little Mermaid Musical

In the 2007 Broadway musical adaptation of the Disney film, the role of Eric was originated by Sean Palmer and notably replaced with Drew Seeley after Palmer's departure. It is explained through dialogue that Eric's father has passed away, and it is Grimsby's duty to help Eric find a bride so he can return to the throne properly, despite Eric's affinity for exploring the seas.

Eric contributes singing vocals to the opening song "Fathoms Below", and performs two solo songs: "Her Voice", a song about Eric's obsession with Ariel's voice that had been written for the original film but discarded, and "One Step Closer", a new song where Eric helps Ariel express herself through dance. Eric also provides vocals in the quartet "If Only", where he expresses confusion over his attraction to Ariel, and his fear that if he finds the girl with the right voice, he might lose Ariel.

A new subplot in the stage musical is a singing competition where the eligible princesses in all the land are invited to sing for Eric. The princesses perform in the song "The Contest", which is set to the tune of Ariel's song "Part of Your World".

Trivia

  • Prince Eric is the first official Disney Prince not to sing in his film;however, he does sing in the musical and at Melody's christening in the sequel.
  • Eric is the first Disney Prince to be saved by a Princess.
  • Prince Eric speaks the first non-musical line of The Little Mermaid being "Isn't this great? The salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face!"
  • Prince Eric is the second Disney Prince to kill the film's villain, the first being Prince Phillip and the third being Aladdin (or fourth if you count Beast defeating Gaston).
  • Eric is the first Disney Prince to have a dog as a pet. The Beast/Prince Adam is the second.
  • Eric is one of the only two Disney Princes to be hypnotized. (Prince Charming is hypnotized in Cinderella III.).
  • Eric is the first Disney Prince to be featured being able to play a musical instrument. Prince Naveen is the second
  • Eric is the only character in the Official Disney Prince lin-eup to be a father.
  • Prince Eric is the first Disney Prince to be seen bare foot. The second being Prince Adam/Beast, the third Aladdin, and the fourth Flynn Rider.
  • Prince Eric is the first Disney Hero to have his life saved by his respective love interest. Ariel saved him from drowning and from being destroyed by Ursula when she obtained the Trident. The second Disney Hero to be saved by his love interest is Li Shang in the movie Mulan.

Prince Eric first appears in Kingdom Hearts II as prince on the surface land of Atlantica.


Kingdom Hearts II

Eric was saved by Ariel after his ship was wrecked in a storm. While he was unconscious, Ariel sang to him, and when he woke up, he recognized nothing about Ariel than her voice.

To be able to be with him, Ariel signed a contract with Ursula that allows her to become human for three days in exchange for her voice, and unless she makes the prince kiss her before sundown of the third day, she will belong to her forever.

Eric met Ariel at the beach where he was brought ashore but did not recognize her because of her loss of voice. On the second night, he and Ariel were out on a little boat and almost kissed, until Flotsam and Jetsam interrupted them. The next morning, Ursula turned into a human girl called Vanessa and cast a spell on Eric to make him fall in love with her. However, Sora interferes with her plan and breaks Ursula's charm, thus giving Ariel her voice back and breaks Eric out of the spell. Eric, having recognized Ariel, confesses his love to her, but Ursula takes her back to the sea.

He then rescues Ariel and defeats Ursula with the help of Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Upon her defeat, Ariel reveals to Eric about her true identity, but he admits that it does not change how he feels. The romantic scene makes King Triton finally change his mind and let his daughter be with a human prince.

In the ending credits, Eric and Ariel, having finally become human, are seen getting married in a ceremony gathered with humans and merpeople where they eventually kiss.

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