The so-called "damsel in distress" of the Disney movie "Hercules" has always been one of my absolute favorite characters. She's not helpless; she's sassy, smart, and independent. Consequently, because she is so different from many other characters written before her, I find her to be the most relatable. Her character growth is one of the many reasons why Megara is so real.
1. She's carelessly confident.
Megara knows she's beautiful and she knows the effect she has on some people, but she doesn't necessarily go out of her way to use this to her advantage.
2. She's not immediately taken by a self-proclaimed knight in shining armor.
From the very beginning, she stood out from most of the Disney princesses by not really caring about the arrival of a beautiful, strong man. Hercules clearly tries to impress her from the moment they meet, but she doesn't put much stock in the encounter. I'm not sure I would have the strength to have the same reaction if I met Hercules.
3. She doesn't need anyone to save her.
Though I'm not sure how she would've gotten out of this situation, she seemed pretty confident.
4. She has a past.
Megara isn't just a simple character, she has a complex past in which she gave her soul to save the life of someone she loved, only for him to leave her for another girl. So in actuality, she's not perfect. She may be confident and independent at this point, but who she became was because of the obstacles she faced in the past. What makes Megara so real is that we can see that she was a completely different person in the past, but she became stronger and made the best of the situation she had in learning to simply care for herself.
5. She's honest about her feelings.
Although she had to deceive Hercules for Hades, she was completely honest with how she really felt. She made it clear that she didn't trust people.
6. Eventually, she can't help but to be charmed by the right guy.
Her facial expressions and body language reveal that she's still closed off, but is definitely falling for Hercules. At this point, we know she doesn't want to get hurt more than anything, but yet this particular guy is somehow breaking down the barrier.
7. She has inner battles.
She knows she cares about Hercules, but she is still at war with herself. Megara tries to talk herself out of the feelings she's forming for him. Sometimes we try to tell ourselves one thing when deep down we know we truly believe differently. As much as we tell ourselves how something won't be worth it, if the heart is already deeply involved then this is often a war our logical thoughts can't win.
8. She's not invincible.
From her feelings to a giant column crushing her--Megara isn't invincible in any way. She is made to be a complex character with a past who is strong in her independent beliefs. This is noble, but we all know eventually we can't be invincible to what we really feel. She sacrificed her own life for Hercules and in turn he also saved her and proved he was worth it. In the end, Megara was a normal woman who became who she was meant to be. Like all of us, she fought it for a while, but when the time was best, she rightfully gave in.