Friday, July 17, 2015

WBI: Diaval

I shamelessly admit that Diaval was my favorite character in Maleficent, and less shamelessly admit that I am thrilled that Sam Riley will be Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But I am not here to talk about that. I am here to talk about Diaval, the raven. He was cool.

After Maleficent saves his life from a farmer, Diaval begrudgingly swears his life to the evil fairy and acts as her servant. As they endeavor to raise Aurora from afar, Diaval befriends the girl, and agrees to fight a fight that was never his own.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Θ2457@
Role :: Henchman (Maleficent’s servant)
Motivation :: idealism (work-related items, dogs), insubordination (life debt), lifestyle (raven), personal/material gain (Aurora’s welfare)
Bonus :: Name (Diaval)

A Study

forced—Maleficent saves Diaval’s life because she can use him; rather than die at her hands, Diaval resentfully accepts life as her servant, “volunteering” to help her in her dark quest

wings—having been separated from her own, Maleficent comes to rely on him as her wings, eyes, ears, and confidant

tool—she also shapeshifts him according to the needs of the moment; his most common alternate form is that of a man, but he’s also been a wolf, horse, and dragon

obedient—despite a mild dislike for his job, Diaval never strays from Maleficent’s instructions; he is her greatest ally and most trustworthy helper

independent—though he never wavers from her instructions, Diaval also has a mind of his own; he refuses to be turned into a dog again and he lets Maleficent know if he disapproves, even if he doesn’t necessarily voice his opinion aloud

watchful—he keeps his eyes open for Maleficent, Aurora, danger, the kingdoms; even though he’s just a raven, he’s a protector in his own right

gentle—the fairies Aurora is entrusted to are so incompetent that Diaval and Maleficent are forced to raise their nemesis themselves; Diaval is a key instrument in nurturing the baby

charming—and then he goes and kisses Aurora’s hands when they’re formally introduced for the first time <3

birdbrain—do not be fooled: even though he’s a charming man, he is still a bird on the inside; he is not stupid, but he feels about things very much the way birds do

devoted—he would have died for Maleficent, even after her crazy, cruel rampage; yet, just like everyone else, at the end he forgives her, and they become guardians together

Big Idea

form vs. self—Maleficent turns Diaval into whatever she needs according to the situation; this does not change the fact that Diaval is still a bird. He still hates being a dog, because he’s a bird. Shapeshifting is always a cool concept, but we tend to give our characters human characteristics because we know what it is to be human. I enjoyed seeing the bird in Diaval.

twisted tales—in the original Sleeping Beauty, Diaval’s name was Diablo. For my friends who speak Spanish, we know that means “devil.” Diaval is closer to the English word. Diaval turns into Maleficent’s dragon, and once again, he is the only competent member of her staff. There are nods to the original movie in Diaval’s role, but allowing him to turn into a human and giving him a greater focus in Maleficent helped give him a more important role in the story.

slave to sidekick—in the end, Maleficent gives Diaval the chance to leave: it’s not his fight. He’s sarcastic and annoyed, but he follows her anyway, even when they are threatened with death. The fight was hard, he saw her murder others, take over the innocence of the Moors, and worse. And yet, in the end, when she steps down and resumes her role as a protector, he stays with her. Somewhere along the way, he paid his debt, and he decided that he was willing to stay with her still. Because that’s what friends do.

Best of all, he says the best line in the movie.

“No truer love.” –Diaval, Maleficent 

Did you watch Maleficent? What did you think of Diaval as Maleficent’s henchman?


  1. Aw, he was one if the best characters! I really loved this movie more than I thought I would. I hope to see it again.

    I like your analyze of Diaval. I've never really thought of him as Maleficent's henchmen though. At first he felt forced in his service to her. And she's not someone who considers herself to need friends. But it becomes apparent that even though they don't let it show with all their bicker that Diaval and Maleficent are friends. They might never admit it, but they truly are and at times they are all each other has.

    1. I agree! It definitely was better than the original Sleeping Beauty, which I'm glad of, although it definitely isn't one of my favorites ever. Of course, I'd see it again, so there's that.

      I think the reason I see him as a henchman is because he truly starts out as a henchman. She forces him into subservience with subtle threats—but as she stops needing Diaval as a henchman, she stops becoming a truly "evil" villain, as well. And so by the end, they aren't any kind of villains or henchman—they are friends, and the dynamic of their relationship has changed. But, I totally agree with you in the context that Maleficent stops being a villain!

  2. I only vaguely remember seeing Maleficent, but I do remember Diaval :)

    1. Well, I'm glad you remember him, because I think he was worth remembering.

  3. Diaval was TOTALLY awesome. I didn't like this movie a lot, but I loved all the Maleficient/Diaval slow burn fanfiction. I always love it when the mooks in movies are good, which wasn't necessarily the case with all the weirdo trees in Maleficient, but Diaval was totally kickass. And his birdiness (??) was interesting to see too.

    1. Right? Certainly not the best movie I've ever seen, but I do enjoy Diaval quite a bit! They certainly portrayed the characters in an interesting light, and I do enjoy his birdiness. I don't know of anyone except him who has ever complained of being turned into a wolf. XD

  4. DIAVALLLLLLLL. I agree. He was the best character in Maleficent. The best. And he was the main reason why I rewatched the movie, like, the next day. I actually had a secret hope that he would turn out to be Aurora's prince charming, but I realize that would be slightly creepy since he is a bit older than her. And he's a raven. *sad face*

    1. I know, right? He just made me smile. I totally don't blame you for rewatching, or thinking him her prince. But, more than he's older than her, he's kind of her father figure to Maleficent's mother figure. And I know this is a time of liberalism and free love and whatever but I have a lot of concerns with people falling in love with their fathers. And with birds. Totally my opinion but...

    2. Well, when you put it that way...


    3. I mean, it was a spontaneous thought... But still.


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