Artist Alexandra Mihai recently transformed Disney’s princess lineup into a group of dice throwing D&D players.
When you think about Disney princesses what comes to mind? While the first answer for a lot of recent moviegoers is probably Let it Go, the follow-up mental image likely involves some improbably gorgeous young woman singing about how much more they want from their lives with a chorus of friendly woodland creatures. Probably the last thing most people would think of is Dungeons & Dragons. It’s not hard to see why either. While the fantasy sensibilities of the game would seemingly fall right in line with many of Disney’s films, the game’s frequently dark and violent tone perhaps isn’t the best match for the ultra pink, hyper-femininity at the center of Disney’s highly profitable (and occasionally controversial) princess marketing. That being the case, there are some who believe that D&D and Disney are a perfect fit.
Take Romanian artist Alexandra Mihai, for instance. An avid fan of both Dungeons & Dragons and Disney, she recently produced a piece that envisioned the company’s princesses as players at a tabletop RPG. According to Mihai the piece (inspired by another artist’s similar DC comics illustration), was in part a response to the way Disney markets and sells its princess products.
“I really have a big pet-peeve against how Disney Princesses are marketed towards little girls. They’re dumbed down, sparkled up, and uber-pink,” she said. ‘Despite this, knowing the stories they come from, I can’t help but appreciate them. They have strong personalities, they may not make the best choices, or for the best reasons, but they’re capable, brave, kind, and they don’t let adversity alter their essence.” This quintessential imperfection, in turn, reminded Mihai of her experiences playing D&D. “To me, the beauty of a character comes from its rough edges, its flaws, not from the pedestal they’re put on, as a paragon of beauty and perfection. So that’s why I chose to draw the princesses, as D&D players. I think it shows that every princess is a heroine, above all else.”
Mihai would go on to affirm that her work overall has strong ties to her experiences with tabletop RPGs. “Dungeons & Dragons is amazing. It’s the best hobby I’ve ever participated in,” she said. “Ever since I learned how to play, a big focus of mine has been portraying my characters and those of my friends, and the amazing environments we were experiencing via the DM’s descriptions. It’s been one of my biggest motivators throughout the years.”