It may have struck you at this point that I am, indeed, a Masters of the Universe / Princess of Power fan. Not just of the show, but of the various incarnations, from golden books to comic books, from newspaper strips to really weird, bad movies.
I love it all. I have many, many, many dolls, nay, ACTION FIGURES (!) to prove it.
The greatest failing of this most wondrous world so far is that there had been no full She-Ra reboot since the 80s. We’d seen her again, of course, brought into her brother’s story lines as creators (male, usually. Always.) saw fit.
But no more.
On November 13, a glorious day that shall forever be marked in history, She-Ra triumphantly returned to the streamed screen. I was excited about the new incarnation, and I already went on about it here (“She-Ra is Now Even More She-Ra“).
He-Man and She-Ra (1980s)
It’s already long binged. Because I’d waited a long time for this. I’m not going to review it (at least, not yet), because many people will say smart things. Instead, I’ll focus on a tiny minor thing (à la geek), since I was especially curious to see how the lack of He-Man Mythos (there are hints!), and the fact that everyone knew She-Ra’s real identity (Adora, for the uninitiated) would play out.
It plays out nicely (no spoilers), and the creative team works it to its peak potential. Well done. And it made sense. Adora had always been very similar to She-Ra. She’s ambitious, strong, a fighter and leader, loves her friends, shows up to events, worries about saying the wrong things, and will stand up to the Evil Horde over and over again because it needs to be done.
She is the heart and soul of the gig economy, of the never rest, always work mentality, THEY EVEN BASED AN ENTIRE EPISODE ON THAT VERY FACT!
Princess Adora will make you feel like a slacker even if you work 16-hour days and are so lonely because you have no Great Rebellion to dedicate your life to, only shitty contract after shitty contract, and drown your sorrows not in pillow fights and giggle fits with friends, but by eating all of the Ben and Jerry’s almond-based ice cream you can find AND WHY DO THEY KEEP DOING PEANUT BUTTER ONES AND WHY DO YOU KEEP EATING THEM, YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE PEANUT BUTTER omg my life is so empty help me.
Adora is a great hero.
*looks at inadequacies* *sobs*
So, what exactly did she lose by not having her twin brother or a secret identity (which, in the original series, he insisted she keep)?
Okay, never mind that first question. That’s dull and can be answered with a simple “having a twin brother.” Let’s focus instead on the more pressing question of why did Prince Adam want his secret identity kept secret?
Was it to protect his loved ones? I mean, he’s the heir of a kingdom constantly under siege by cackling skeletal buffoon (that’s Uncle Buffoon, to you!). He has guards around him most of the time. His family is royal and ergo already a target for everyone seeking to do evil. His best friend is the captain of his royal guard (I <3 Teela). He mostly spends his days wandering the halls of his castle and the forests of his kingdom, relaxing and laughing and napping, with his equally lazy green tiger buddy, Cringer, convincing everyone he’s too incompetent to ever take over the throne, perhaps as a clever ploy to shed any responsibility and live the life of a wandering, napping hero.
Wait. Could… could Prince Adam actually want to keep his identity secret, not because he wants to protect his family, but because he wants to protect his, well, his Adamness?
Because he likes to slack off, and nap, and goof off, and waste afternoons laughing at silly wizard tricks? Because he doesn’t always want to be on call, a muscled hero there for your every whim and need, to share a moral or cut a ribbon?
Could it be that Prince Adam is actually keeping his identity secret because he loves himself? He loves his sanity? He loves being Prince Adam, and finds joy in the slow moments of life more than in the quick, exhausting and demanding pace of battle? Of expectations?
Prince Adam would nap this gig economy away. He’s a one percenter, sure, but even if not, he’d live on a beach, charming people into letting him sleep beneath their most prized banana trees, living his days chewing on forbidden fruit and telling stories to laughing children while petting his green tiger, snoring at his side.
Prince Adam wouldn’t be all things to all people. Prince Adam believes in being some things to some people, when He-Man is needed, and then just… being. Just existing. Breathing in the air around him, slightly tainted with the explosions from Skeletor’s latest attack, not remembering the battle and weariness, but remembering the freshness of the air before the attack. And how fresh it would be again, if he napped long enough.
Catra and She-Ra
Prince Adam isn’t necessary for Princess Adora to shine, no. He’s not necessary for her to become She-Ra, and fight off the evil Horde. He-Man has his own story, and it’s his to tell.
We need Adora to inspire us to fight evil, to be kind and funny, and to stand up for what we believe in. To be relentless, because evil is relentless. To stand and keep standing, and believe in our strength and power, when all else is stripped away. That love can make a difference, and that it is not a weakness, but our greatest strength. We need to be reminded that we can make a difference, even in the face of seemingly unstoppable evil.
But Prince Adam is also still a hero we need. Prince Adam reminds us to hoard the secrets that will imprison us to more work. He reminds us that ambition isn’t all things, and that you must really shine at times, but that you don’t have to do so all the time. That life doesn’t always need us to be “on.” To be the hero. Prince Adams shows that standing up doesn’t mean never sitting down. Prince Adam believes in naps, and wants you to believe in naps, too.
Be like Princess Adora. Fight the good fight.
Then be like Prince Adam. Have a nap.