Study Guide

Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee in The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale

Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee

Our leading lady doesn't seem to fit in back in her home country of Kildenree. She's not a people-speaker like her mom, and instead she's an animal-speaker—so in other words, she'd much rather hang with animals than drink tea and act like a princess. She just doesn't know how to act or what to do when it comes to playing her royal part.

Separation, Elevation, Delegation

Ani's mom might want her to live by the royal principle of separating, elevating, and delegating, but Ani can't seem to live up to her mom's example. No matter how hard she tries, being a princess just doesn't come easily to Ani—perhaps because she doesn't want to be regal and separate from people. It's hard to fall in line when the line really doesn't appeal to you, after all.

Ani's so disinterested in royal affairs, in fact, that she doesn't even seem to care about having her "crown princess" title revoked—and definitely not nearly as much as Selia cares. When Selia finds out the news, she gets ticked at Ani:

"You cannot just allow her to take away what is rightfully yours." (3.2)

Though Ani isn't thrilled about being sent off to Bayern to be married, losing her crown princess title isn't what bugs her—the status just isn't all that important to her. While Selia might care about titles and crowns, Ani doesn't put much stock in them—instead she's bothered about being sent off to marry someone as part of what amounts to a royal business deal.

Seeing Ani in her home country helps us get an idea of what life's been like for her leading up to her fateful trip to Bayern. Being a princess might sound grand to other folks, but to Ani, it's nothing special.

Loosey-Goosey

It's not long after Ani becomes a goose girl that she starts feeling more comfortable just being herself. Coincidence? We think not. We also don't think the book is about what class she is or how many fancy clothes she has—it's about figuring out who she is and sticking to it. In Ani's case, it takes a forced change of scenery and having her identity stolen to really get comfortable in her own skin.

In Bayern, with Selia pretending to be Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Ani finally gets to decide who she wants to be. No longer forced to play the part of princess, Ani—for the first time—gets to decide who she wants to be. Check out what she says after she's been kicking it as a goose girl for a while:

She was little like her mother, though that was all she had ever longed to be. She lacked the gift of people-speaking, that power to convince and control that laced every word her mother uttered. She did not possess that grace and beauty that all in a room turned to watch. But had the queen ever told a nursery story to a room of captivated listeners? Or handled fifty head of geese? Ani smiled at the thought, and then she surprised herself by feeling proud. I've done that much. What more can I do?(10.74)

Though Ani's always known she's not like her mom, here she realizes that this is totally okay—and she can create her own identity all by herself. Did you notice what she says here about comparing herself to her mom? Ani realizes that her mom has a bunch of great skills that Ani doesn't, but Ani's got some stuff going for her that the queen doesn't have either. She's no longer defining herself in terms of what she isn't, and is starting to recognize all the different awesome things she is.

A Noble Noble

At first, Ani's pretty self-absorbed, and thinks her life is unfair because her mom is harsh and gives her a hard time about acting more princess-y. Even though Ani doesn't want to admit it though, her life is pretty grand, which she realizes once she's hanging out in Bayern. Despite realizing how cushy things were back at the palace, though, Ani isn't interested in taking back the crown that's rightfully hers at first—she only steps up once Selia has threatened a war against Kildenree.

This little factoid is super important to how we understand the princess. She doesn't return to her role as princess because she misses a soft bed and nice things—what drives her is the protection of her home. And because of this, though she may not like following the rigid rules for royalty, she shows herself to be a top notch leader, the kind motivated by collective good instead of personal gain. So while it takes Ani a while to reclaim her title, when she does, we understand that she won't abandon it again easily.

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