The Disney Princes may not get as much attention as their ballgown-wearing love interests, but that doesn’t mean that fans don’t have their favorites. Whether it is based purely on which is the most attractive animated character, or which seems to be the better person, every Disney fan secretly has a crush on at least one of the various charming Princes (even if it’s not Prince Charming).
But when it comes down to it, who is actually the best of the Princes (and unofficial Princes)? Could Flynn Rider, the charming and rogueish reformed thief of Tangled be the greatest hero of them all? Or is the more classic Prince Eric, the swashbuckling sailor royal from The Little Mermaid a more princely choice?
10 Eric: Is Actually A Prince
Getting the obvious out of the way, it does have to be said that of the two, Eric is the only one who is technically a Disney Prince. While Flynn/Eugene does eventually marry Rapunzel, who turned out to be the Lost Princess of her story, he was raised a poor orphan with no royal blood. Admittedly, the animated series does eventually reveal Eugene to be a Lost Prince himself, but for the events of the original film, he doesn’t quite make the grade. Eric, on the other hand, is a Prince through and through. He has a kingdom to take care of (which he gives Ariel a tour of), and appears beloved by his people.
9 Flynn: Is Motivated & A Self-Starter
Growing up, Flynn realized that he would have to take care of himself, and built up quite a career – admittedly, as a criminal, but still! He changes his name, creates a new persona, and follows his dreams with real passion and motivation. (Even when those dreams change along the way.) This is the kind of Prince that can be relied on to get things done! Eric, however, is a little less driven – and can be seen sneaking off to sea to enjoy time on the waves when he should arguably be actually running his kingdom.
8 Eric: Is Better With Animals
It may be a small thing to some, but there is something to be said about humans who are loved by animals – and that is certainly Eric. He has his adorable dog, Max, and not only does Max love Eric, but Eric is willing to leap overboard in a storm to try and save his companion. In comparison, Flynn seems to get off on the wrong foot with every animal he meets, from Max (the horse, not Eric’s dog!) to Pascal.
7 Flynn: Is Willing To Be Vulnerable
Eric is the epitome of a hero, rushing off to save the day and the damsel in distress. There’s not a whole lot of vulnerability about him, though, other than the fact that he nearly drowned.
Flynn, on the other hand, opens up to Rapunzel about his history and his feelings in a way that makes him far more in touch with his emotions than most other Disney men. He talks about his desires to become someone else after his childhood, and is quicker to reveal his feelings than many.
6 Eric: Takes On A Literal Giant Sea Witch
As well as Eric’s various riches and personality traits, let’s not forget that when he thought he would lose Ariel, he rowed out to the open ocean in a tiny rowboat in order to try and rescue her – despite the fact that this would mean taking on an evil sea-witch bigger than his castle. That takes some real bravery (and maybe a little bit of recklessness), and his quick thinking in figuring out how to defeat her also wins him some points here.
5 Flynn: Gives Up The Riches He’s Always Dreamed Of
Flynn makes it clear from the start of Tangled that all he is really interested in is money – namely, to become extremely rich and go live quietly on a private island. Maybe with a castle, too. However, when it comes down to a choice between Rapunzel and the stolen crown that would get him the money he has always wanted, he is willing to give up the crown in order to be with her. Of course, this all goes horribly wrong, but that doesn’t mean his heart wasn’t in the right place.
4 Eric: Selflessly Takes In A ‘Shipwrecked’ Stranger
Flynn isn’t the only one who has a selfless side. When Eric finds a young woman on the beach that he assumes has been shipwrecked, he immediately takes her in to live with him – an impressively selfless act.
Add this to leaping into the ocean to save his dog, risking his life to try and save Ariel later, and almost everything he does (when not under Ursula’s spell), it’s clear that Eric is quite simply a selfless human being. Unlike Flynn, who has to unlearn his selfishness over the course of his story.
3 Flynn: Has A Sense Of Humor
One thing that the earlier Disney Princes lack is a sense of humor – something that Flynn has in spades. He’s far more self-aware than Eric, and has no problem making fun of himself (later on) and is often found making wisecracks. Overall, he just seems like he would be the more fun Prince to be around – and the less seriously stoic and heroic of the two.
2 Eric: Is Patient And Supportive
As well as taking Ariel in after finding her on the beach, Eric is also surprisingly (and impressively) kind and supportive of her when she is figuring out how to function on land. He takes her on tours, he teaches her how to dance (and how to use a fork), he finds her confusion over human items charming, rather than offensive, and he helps her find her way.
1 Best Prince – Flynn: Sacrifices His Life For Love
However much Eric does for Ariel, there’s absolutely nothing that can really compare to Flynn’s big sacrifice – where he is willing to die in order to let Rapunzel live a free life. Of course, this ends up with her magical tears resurrecting her anyway, but the act of choosing to cut her hair off so that Mother Gothel can’t keep using it to stay young, even knowing he would die when he did, is more powerful than anything in Eric’s story. Add in the personal growth and the kindness that Flynn shows despite being a poor thief, and it’s clear who the winner should be.
NEXT: Which Disney Prince Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?
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