Ariel’s mother, or ‘Queen Athena’, is an important character in ‘The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning’, an animated film created by Disney in 2008.
She was Queen of Atlantica, alongside her husband King Triton and her seven daughters.
Queen Athena sadly died when she was crushed by a pirate ship, while celebrating her anniversary with King Triton and their daughters (definitely not the best anniversary gift she could have gotten…).
Who Was Queen Athena?
A ruler of the undersea city Atlantis and a beloved wife and mother, Queen Athena was a kind, compassionate soul.
She had a beautiful singing voice and adored music – a trait that she passed onto her daughter Ariel, who would become the protagonist of ‘The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’.
Athena and Triton had been childhood friends, which then blossomed into an iconic romance beloved by subjects and family alike.
After her tragic death, King Triton erected a statue of her in his main courtyard, over which he would mourn each day.
What Did Queen Athena Look Like?
Queen Athena was extremely beautiful, with long scarlett locks, green eyes, a purple/lavender clam bralette and a tail of gleaming aqua.
Being the Queen of Atlantis, she wore a delicate crown on her head.
Her youngest daughter Ariel resembles her the most, sharing the same red hair, purple bralette and aqua tail.
It’s perhaps this likeness to her mother that sparks King Triton’s protectiveness over Ariel, which can be seen in the films.
As Ariel grows and in turn becomes a mother herself, her resemblance to the beautiful Queen Athena only grows.
How Did Queen Athena Die?
Queen Athena’s death is featured in flashbacks during ‘The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning’.
On their anniversary, the queen, Triton and their seven daughters are enjoying one another’s company in a nearby cove.
Triton gives Athena a music box, which plays their unique special song (titled “Endless Sky”).
This is a beautiful and poignant scene, as this song is featured as a significant lullaby sung to their daughters, especially Ariel.
Pirates aboard a ship soon advance upon the scene, attacking the family and surrounding merpeople. Most escape, and Triton carries Arista, Aquata, Adella and Ariel to safety (four of his daughters).
Another two of his daughters (Andrina and Alana) swim to safety, but Attina, the eldest daughter, accidentally traps her tail between rocks.
Queen Athena rushes to her aid and rescues her, but is tragically killed herself when trying to save the “Endless Sky” music box.
The pirates seemingly lose control of their ship, and it crushes Athena.
How Did Queen Athena’s Death Affect Her Family?
After Queen Athena’s death, Triton is truly heartbroken.
Given his late wife’s passion and love for music, Triton in his sorrow bans music from Atlantis, and throws the music box into the ocean.
A hatred for humans blossoms within him, leading him to ban all contact between Atlantis citizens and land-dwellers.
These actions are met with resistance though, particularly from Ariel.
Though all the daughters have inherited Queen Athena’s musical talent, Ariel’s talent shines the strongest.
Later in the film, when she encounters the human prince Eric, her father’s hatred toward humans proves to be a difficult obstacle to overcome.
What Happened To Ariel After Queen Athena’s Death?
Queen Athena’s death greatly affected all of her daughters and husband alike, but the ‘Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ films focus mostly on Ariel’s story.
In the 1989 film ‘The Little Mermaid’, Ariel is fascinated by the human world above – despite her father’s misgivings and orders for the merpeople to have no contact with land-dwellers.
Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric, a human prince, and this leads her to strike a deal with Ursula (an evil sea witch) to become a human and gain his heart.
What Has Queen Athena Appeared In?
Though Queen Athena has to date not had a prominent solo feature in ‘The Little Mermaid’ film franchise and media (disappointingly!), she is frequently mentioned and also featured in flashbacks.
This is most evident in ‘The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning’, where in the film the story of Queen Athena’s death is told in a series of flashbacks. Ariel also frequently refers to her mother.
In the book ‘Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch’, published in 2016, Athena is mentioned as the only person in Atlantis who treated Ursula (the evil sea witch and also King Triton’s sister) with dignity and kindness.
There is good news for Queen Athena fans, though – in the live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’ (set to be released in 2023), it is said that Queen Athena will be more prominently featured, and that the film will delve further into her relationship with Ariel.