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Merida has dark orange curly hair. She has a Caucasian head, with light blue eyes, a nose and a mouth with gnashing teeth decorated with lipstick. This face is also seen on Stephanie, Sophie and Katharina. Merida wears a dark blue torso. The top of her torso is light nougat, and has a golden neckline with a triangle coming down the center separating it from the rest of her torso,being plain dark blue. She has dark blue sleeves with golden elbow pads, at the elbow. Merida has a long dark blue dress piece connected to the bottom of her torso. At the bottom of the dress there are golden Celtic patterns and above that golden sparkles.
Merida is the only daughter and first child of chieftain Fergus Dunborch, meaning she is a princess and one day will take the role of Queen.
Merida is first seen as a child playing hide-and-seek with her mother Queen Elinor on her birthday. Then she sees her father's bow on the table and asks him to shoot an arrow with it. Fergus, her father, presents her with her own bow as a birthday present. She accidentally shoots an arrow into the forest and goes to retrieve it, but is distracted by a trail of Will O' the Wisps that appear before her. The Wisps lead her out of the forest and to her parents. Elinor tells her that the wisps lead you to your fate, but Fergus doesn't believe it. Suddenly, Mor'du (a giant bear) attacks, and Elinor and Merida flee while Fergus stays behind to fight the demonic bear, though Merida wants to help her father.
Years later, Merida Queen Elinor is trying to make Merida into a proper princess of royalty despite Merida's objection. One day when there are no lessons, she goes riding on her horse, Angus. She shoots arrows at targets she sets up in the forest. She even climbs the Crone's Tooth and drinks from the Fire Falls in joy. Merida returns home to join her family at dinner. As she enters, Merida listens to Fergus telling her three younger triplet brothers the story of his battle with Mor'du until she interrupts and tells them that their father lost his left leg in the battle, and Mor'du is waiting his chance of revenge. Moments later, Elinor tells Merida that the three Lords are coming to present their suitors to compete for her hand in marriage. Not wanting to get married, Merida angrily storms out of the Great Hall to her bedroom.
As she is complying, Elinor enters telling her the story of a king who divided his kingdom for each of his four sons to rule, but the eldest wanted to rule the entire land and so brought war, and his desire to follow his own path led to the downfall of the kingdom. Merida still refuses to listen, but Elinor is adamant and tells Merida to go through with it even if she doesn't want it. Merida is still determined she will not marry whoever wins the games.
Days later, the Lords arrive in DunBroch. Elinor prepares Merida in a tight dress and they all gather in the Great Hall for the presentation of the suitors. Each of the Lords present their sons. Elinor proclaims that only the firstborn of the great leaders may compete in the games which gives Merida an idea of how to get out of the marriage, she declares that she chooses archery for the Highland Games.
When the competition begins, Merida sneaks her bow and arrows behind her throne. As the suitors shoot at the targets, she sneaks off and appears on the field, declaring she will shoot for her own hand. Ignoring Elinor's protests, she strikes the bulls-eye of the first two suitors' targets. When she shoots an arrow through the full length of Wee Dingwall's arrow and through the target, she smiles, until she sees her furious mother.
Elinor drags and throws Merida into the tapestry room as they have an argument with each other about Merida's actions, with Elinor calling her a child and Merida calling her a beast for trying to ruin her life. Merida then slices the family tapestry between the pictures of herself and Elinor in a fit of rage, and Elinor throws Merida's bow into the fire. Merida tearfully runs away from the castle as Elinor quickly fishes the bow from the fire, feeling horribly guilty and she too begins to cry.
Merida is weeping as she rides Angus through the forest until they come across the Standing Stones and a trail of wisps leading them to a woodcarver's cottage. Merida discovers that this old woodcarver is actually a witch, and demands a spell. The witch tells her to get out, until Merida offers to buy all her carvings with her pendant in exchange for a spell that will change her fate. The witch gives in and conjures up a cursed cake, which she says that she did for a prince who had wanted the strength of ten men and got what he wanted. Merida takes the cake and heads back to DunBroch.
Elinor enters the room, and Merida gives her the cake on a false peace offering and Elinor eats a piece, then suddenly starts feeling sick. Merida escorts Elinor to her chambers and puts her in bed. Suddenly Elinor starts transforming into a bear. Merida is horrified at the spell's effect and with her brothers help gets Elinor out of the castle. They travel back to the Witch's cottage but they find her gone. Then they find the witch's cauldron with a ghostly image of the Witch in the potion-controlled automated voice message telling Merida that she has until the second sunrise to break the spell or her mother will remain a bear forever. Baffled, Merida accidentally sabotages the cottage, so Merida and Elinor take shelter in the remains of the cottage for the night.
The next morning, Merida teaches her mother to catch fish, and they both start bonding. Then Elinor heads into the forest and Merida follows her; but Elinor is not herself, and starts attacking her daughter until she returns to herself. Merida is confused until they see a trail of wisps and follow them to the ruins of a castle. Merida falls through the floor into a throne room and realizes it was the kingdom from the story Elinor was telling her about. Merida sees a stone with three figures and a split stone with the fourth figure and realizes that the curse has happened before, when the prince sought to change his fate, resulting in his kingdom's downfall and his transformation to Mor'du. Then she sees Mor'du and he attacks her until she barely escapes with Elinor's help and they flee back to the Standing Stones. Merida realizes that Elinor will become like Mor'du unless she sews the tapestry back together to mend the bond torn by pride in hopes it will break the spell.
That night they sneak into the castle. Peeking into the Great Hall, they see Fergus and the lords on the brink of war. It is up to Merida to stop this, as her mother's a bear. Elinor, fearful of being seen and attacked, freezes into a stationary position while Merida walks into the room and tells them she was in conference with Elinor. he tells them of the story of the selfish prince who brought chaos to the land, and reminds them that legends are lessons and they ring with truths. The clans had been enemies until they were threatened by the Northern Invaders and joined forces to defend their lands. When they won the war, the clans made Fergus their king for bringing them together and made an alliance. Merida then tells them that they should be free to follow their hearts and find their own love. The Lords' sons agree with this and confess to their fathers that they didn't want to fight over a girl who doesn't want any of it. So they all agree; but Merida notices a guard staring at Elinor's frozen pose and distracts everyone by telling them to got to the cellar to celebrate. When everyone is gone, Elinor is proud of her and they both head to the tapestry room.
As Merida is looking for thread and needles to mend the tapestry. When Fergus enters the room, Elinor is terrified, Merida tries to calm her, but her mother flees in horror as Merida tries to tell Fergus that the bear is Elinor, but Fergus refuses to listen. He locks Merida in the tapestry room for protection and the Lords go after Elinor. Merida starts crying again and calls for help, her brothers show up but they, too, have been turned into bears for eating of the cursed cake. They release Merida, and all four ride on Angus while Merida frantically sews up the tapestry. They follow a trail of will o' the wisps to where Elinor was captured. Merida fights Fergus to keep him from killing Elinor, until he is convinced when the three bear cubs help stop him, and he realizes they are his sons.
Suddenly Mor'du appears and attacks the soldiers and Fergus. Then he attempts to eat Merida until Elinor saves her daughter just in time and starts fighting Mor'du. After slamming Elinor into one of the stones, he turns to kill Merida, who is holding up a spear against him, until Elinor pulls him back and smashes him against a cracked menhir, which then crushes him to death. A wisp of something rising from his body reveals the image of the prince, who nods to them as if in acknowledgement and gratitude and then disappears. As the sun starts to come up, Merida realizes it is the second sunrise; she grabs the tapestry and throws it around Elinor. Merdia hugs her mother crying thinking she has failed. But Merida feels a human hand touching her hair and realizes Elinor is human again. Fergus comes and hugs his wife and daughter and kisses Elinor. Merida reminds her she is naked under the tapestry and Fergus tells the lords not to look as the triplets, now human once again, come running naked and hugging their parents and sister.
Later, Merida and Elinor are sewing a new tapestry together of Merida and Elinor as a bear. Then they both ride on their horses and journey around Scotland, their mother-daughter relationship and bond even stronger and closer now.
- Merida's face has lipstick, which Merida never wears and hates, as her personality is of a tomboy type, not "girly" type. She also is missing her freckles.
- Merida's figure appears to be based on her controversial neat redesign used by Disney in Disney Princess merchandise line instead of her original wild and spontaneous appearance created for the film.[source?]
- She is the first Disney princess to originate from a Pixar film.