Villain Smackdown: Ursula Versus Mother Gothel

Leah SikesBlog

ursula versus mother gothel

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the cruelest of them all? Have you ever wondered who is really the worst of all the Disney villains? We’re putting them to the test to find out once and for all. Today’s lineup: Ursula versus Mother Gothel!

Okay, I know my mirror on the wall reference wasn’t the right movie, but I couldn’t resist.

Ursula Versus Mother Gothel

Before we begin comparing and contrasting, here’s a bit of quick reminder background info on the two villains facing off today.

Ursula is the villain from The Little Mermaid

ursula from the little mermaid

Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Image Courtesy of Disney

For her big evil move, she tricked Ariel into signing her voice away in exchange for a pair of human legs for Ariel.

Her overall goal is to usurp the throne from King Triton and turn all the merpeople into little souls for her underwater garden.

She tries to thwart Ariel’s love story by turning herself into a human to steal away Prince Eric, and eventually steals King Triton’s trident for the ultimate power.

Mother Gothel is the villain from Tangled.

mother gothel from tangled

Mother Gothel from Tangled. Image Courtesy of Disney

Mother Gothel uses a magical flower to stay young, but after the flower is taken to save the newborn princess, she loses access to its power.

In order to stay young, Mother Gothel kidnaps the baby princess, as her hair now possesses the same magic as the flower.

She keeps Rapunzel locked away in a tower for her entire childhood, never allowing her to leave, and only loving her for her magical hair.

I’m going to compare and rate these two on four different fronts: deception, evil cackle, magic use, and their final rise to power.

I’ll give them a 1-5 star rating in each category, and then give an over evilness rating based on the results from each category, deciding who is more evil of the two overall. For the purposes of this test, 1 star=least evil, 5 stars=most evil.


Both Ursula and Mother Gothel tell pretty big lies to achieve their end goals.

Ursula tricks Ariel into thinking she just wants to help the poor mermaid fall in love, but in reality, she has no plans to let that happen.

She gets Ariel to sign her voice away in a pretty intense contract. 

ariel signing evil contract for ursula

Ariel signs her voice away to Ursula. Image Courtesy of Disney

Ursula also tries to trick Prince Eric into marrying her when she turns herself into a human woman.

Mother Gothel is a pretty big master of deception as well. She spends nearly 18 years lying to Rapunzel, convincing her she loves her as her daughter, and hiding her true identity from her.

mother gothel mother knows best tangled

Mother knows best. Image Courtesy of Disney

I don’t know about you, but I think Mother Gothel’s continuous deception is far worse than Ursula’s one-time lies to get her way. 

Kidnapping someone and not telling them who they are is pretty evil!

Ursula: 3/5 stars
Mother Gothel: 5/5 stars

Evil Cackle

Okay, this one is a fun one! Let’s compare who has the best evil cackle.

What makes a good evil laugh? I want it to feel evil to its core, and to send chills down my spine.

Here’s Ursula’s evil laugh:

And here’s Mother Gothel’s (this is the only clip I could find on YouTube):

I do think there’s something to be said about Mother Gothel’s laugh being somewhat loving that’s creepy, but really Ursula is the clear winner here.

She has the far superior evil cackle!

Ursula: 5/5 stars
Mother Gothel: 2/5 stars

Magic Use

Both Ursula and Mother Gothel use magic throughout the movies in order to get what they want. 

Ursula has innate magic powers, while Mother Gothel relies on a magical flower, and then Rapunzel’s hair.

Ursula gives Ariel legs, and takes her voice away from her. She also regularly transforms merpeople, and eventually turns herself into a human. 

ursula's magical powers

Ursula’s magic powers come from within herself. Image Courtesy of Disney

When Ursula steals King Triton’s trident, her magic powers intensify further.

Mother Gothel, on the other hand, uses magic to stay alive. She completely relies on it—without the magic flower and Rapunzel’s hair, she would be dead. 

mother gothel brushing rapunzel's hair in tangled

Mother Gothel brushes Rapunzel’s magical hair. Image Courtesy of Disney

In fact, it’s Rapunzel’s hair that is her downfall.

Ursula is able to use magic to really get what she wants and to do whatever she wants. Magic is Mother Gothel’s end. Both use magic effectively as a means to an end, but Ursula definitely has more control over the powers.

Ursula: 4/5 stars 
Mother Gothel: 3.5/5 stars

Final Rise To Power

Wow, this is a toughie. 

When I first think of the end of the movies, it seems like Ursula is the clear winner. She becomes ten times her size, defeats King Triton, and steals his trident. 

ursula with king triton's trident

This scene is pretty scary! Image Courtesy of Disney

The scene is intense, and you really feel the despair of it all.

When thinking back on the end of Tangled, it’s much less grandiose in my memory.

But Mother Gothel takes the one thing away from Rapunzel that she loves: she stabs Flynn Rider. While it’s nowhere near as terrifying as Ursula’s rise to power, I feel like it’s almost worse.

mother gothel stabs flynn rider

Mother Gothel stabs Flynn Rider. Image Courtesy of Disney

The act also forces Rapunzel to perform the ultimate sacrifice: cut off her long, magical hair to save Flynn.

It’s a really close call, but I think the end of The Little Mermaid beats out Tangled in evil-ness by just a hair.

Ursula: 4.5/5 stars
Mother Gothel: 4/5 stars

Overall: Ursula Versus Mother Gothel

I took an average of each of the scores and then rounded to the nearest whole or half. For my final tally, I give:

Ursula: 4/5 stars
Mother Gothel: 3.5/5 stars

That makes Ursula the winner of this villainous battle, by .5 stars! She really is a great Disney villain, and I think it’s fitting that she wins this match-up.

And while we’re on the subject, go check out these Ursula DisneyBounds!

What villains do you want to see go head to head?

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About the Author

Leah Sikes

Leah Sikes is a graphic designer and contributing writer for WDW Magazine and Dad's Guide to WDW. When she's lucky enough to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, you catch her hanging out with the 999 Happy Haunts. She also loves running in the parks (when it's allowed at the marathons).