- “And when he dismissed her again, the old woman's ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful Enchantress.”
The Enchantress is the one who placed the spell on the Prince, the castle, and everyone inside the castle for the Prince's cruel ways. She is cunning, taking on the disguise of an old, helpless woman seeking shelter to test the Prince's heart. Her morality, however, is up for debate, particularly because of the debate over the Beast's age when he was cursed, and how she cursed everyone in the castle rather than just the guilty party (such as Chip Potts, who was undebatably a child at the time), as well as being implied to have cursed the forest surrounding the castle making it dark and infested by wolves and bats so only few would dare to enter.
Powers and abilities
The Enchantress possesses tremendous magical powers:
- Shapeshifting/Glamouring: The Enchantress has the power to either change her physical form or shape into another, or to change her appearance to look like another person, as seen by how she concealed her true, bitter form with the disguise of an frail old woman. In the Disney Comics prequel, however, she was also capable of shapeshifting into various animals, including a raven, a weasel, a bear, an owl, and a wolf.
- Empathy: The Enchantress has the power to feel and understand other people's feelings, emotions, and desires. Through this, she was able to sense that the Prince had a cold heart devoid of love and true beauty.
- Teleportation: As seen in The Enchanted Christmas, the Enchantress might have the power to transport herself from one place to another instantaneously - she appeared before the Prince in all her magical glory after he closed the door on her. However, it was never specifically confirmed as to whether she really possessed this ability. However, she was implied to have used this ability to escape Maurice when he tried to catch her in owl form in the Disney Comics prequel, as when he looked in the bag he contained her in, he could only find it empty.
- Spell Casting/Cursing: The Enchantress has the ability to cast magical spells or powerful curses designed to cause negative effects to occur - she transformed the Prince into a beast to match his cold, unloving heart, his servants into objects, his entire castle into a bleak fortress, and even the forest surrounding the castle into a foreboding place filled with wolves, bats, and other vicious creatures so only very few would dare to enter.
- Enchanting: The Enchantress has the ability to bestow magical powers or attributes onto an object - the rose she offered was enchanted to bloom and serve as a reminder to the Beast of how much time he had to break the spell as well as what got him into his predicament to begin with. Presumably, she also created the Enchanted Mirror that served as the Beast's only window to the outside world.
Disguised as an elderly beggar woman, the Enchantress went to the castle of the Prince on a cold winter's night (and possibly stormy, due to the presence of lightning and elements of rain on the stained glass windows depicting the event), and she asked if she could stay overnight to be protected from the cold in exchange for a beautiful rose she was carrying. The Prince, unimpressed by the beautiful gift and repulsed by her appearance, refused and shut the door in her face, despite her warning not to be deceived by appearances for beauty is found within. Then she knocked on the door again and this time she revealed her true form to the Prince. Seeing how powerful she was, the Prince sought her forgiveness, but the Enchantress put a curse on him: for his selfishness and cruelty, he would become a Beast until he learned to love another and earned her love in return. She also cursed all the servants turning them into anthropomorphic objects, the castle became dark and lonely and the woods became infested with wolves. In addition, she also gave him a time limit that would enact upon his twenty-first year: After that period, the enchanted rose, which will have fully bloomed by then, will start losing petals, and if the last petal falls without the Beast getting love in return and experiencing love, he will be doomed to remain a beast for all eternity, and his staff, the palace, and the forest will likewise remain cursed. Ten years later, her spell was broken by Belle, and the Beast learned the error of his ways thanks to the actions of the Enchantress.
The Enchantress made a brief appearance in the midquel as part of a flashback experienced by both the Beast and Forte relating to the circumstances behind the curse, specifically that it occurred on Christmas Eve (thus explaining why the Beast hated the holiday). The prince, who was shown as already being irritated at having a book for a present from Lumière, and the poor playing of Forte's pipe organ beforehand, opened up the door to find the Enchantress's hag form outside. She asked for shelter and tried to give a rose, although the prince refused, citing he didn't need a rose, and told her to leave in a very rude way before closing the door. The Enchantress, however, transformed and teleported inside, told him of his cold heart, and proceeded to curse him, his servants, his castle, and the forest surrounding the castle. Interestingly, the film omitted the Enchantress's warning that he not be deceived by appearances beforehand.
An emoticon version of the Enchantress appears in the intro to the Beauty and the Beast entry of the As Told by Emoji short series.
In the live-action musical remake of the first film, the Enchantress was played by Hattie Morahan, who also narrated the opening sequence. Her role in this film was expanded.
Like the original film, one night, the Enchantress visited the Prince disguised as a hag, and offered a rose for shelter from the storm brewing outside. When the Prince laughed at her offering and turned her away, she revealed her true form as a beautiful, magical woman, and cursed the Prince for his arrogant, unloving heart: she transformed him into a hideous beast and his servants into household objects.
Her spell was so powerful that all memory of the Prince and his staff was erased from the neighboring village as well. She also left behind three magical artifacts: the Enchanted Rose that she had initially offered him, a mirror that allowed its user to see anything he or she wished to see, and a book that could transport its reader to anywhere he or she wished to go. If the Beast did not learn to love another and earn her love in return by the time the last petal of the Enchanted Rose falls, then the spell would become permanent – the Prince would remain a Beast for all time, and the servants would lose their humanity. It was also shown that, with each petal that fell from the Enchanted Rose, a part of the castle would crumble, and the servants would develop more characteristics of the household objects they were transformed into.
Later on, it was revealed that the Enchantress lived in the village, but in the guise of a beggar woman named Agathe, and was once mocked by Gaston for her misfortune. Though the book she had left the Beast with was once dismissed by him as just another cruel taunt (there was nowhere in the world he could go where he would not be shunned for his appearance), it was through the book that Belle learned the truth of her mother's tragic death, and the Beast realised how he had misjudged Maurice. When Gaston abandoned Maurice to be devoured by wolves, Agathe rescued him, and returned him to the village where he told everyone of Gaston's vileness, but she was unable to defend Maurice when Gaston convinced the villagers that she was untrustworthy.
The Enchantress then traveled to the Beast's castle, arriving just in time to see Belle admit her love for the Beast despite him being dead and that the last petal had fallen. With that, the Enchantress restores the rose and the curse is lifted – the Beast and his servants are transformed back into human beings, the crumbling castle repairs itself back to its former majestic and imposing state, and the village regained its memories of the Prince and his staff. In the end, the Enchantress gives a fleeting smile as she watches the Prince's staff reunite with their loved ones from the village.
The Enchantress appeared in the first and thirteenth issues in flashbacks at the beginning of the issues. In the first issue, it relayed the events from the prologue of the film before Beast woke up and discovered he hadn't returned to his human form, causing a tantrum from him. In the thirteenth issue, an alternate take on the prologue was shown (implied to be the Beast reflecting how things might have turned out differently) where the prince let her inside and even placed the rose in a vase.
The Enchantress appeared in some flashbacks pertaining to the Beast's transformation. Besides her most recognizable form, she also briefly appeared in the disguise of an old lady that the Prince told off, and transformed into a crow and flew off before Lumiere had a chance to apologize to her, causing the Prince to (correctly, as it turned out) suspect she was a witch. The crow landed nearby where Belle witnessed the prince's behavior and asked her father if all men were monsters. An indeterminate amount of time later, the Enchantress in her crow form also interfered with a shot by the Prince, and then became a weasel after he left. In addition, during the present day events of the comic (set a few years before the events of the film proper), it is heavily implied that the Enchantress used shape-shifting to attack Belle at various points, including as a Bear, an Owl, and a Wolf, the first one near a cellar, and the last two while on the way back to the village with Maurice capturing the owl form only for her to teleport.
The Enchantress, here named Circe, was expanded upon in the Serena Valentino novel The Beast Within with a more sympathetic role. She was revealed to have sisters (who are strongly implied to have been the same characters who manipulated the Evil Queen in the earlier novel Fairest of All), and that she had cursed the Prince as revenge for earlier blowing off her request for marriage, and that the beggar disguise was to ensure it. While Circe was against her sisters' antics and did not want to interfere with the Beast, the sisters send her to Ursula to bargain for the Beast's second fiancée, Tulip Morningstar, in exchange for something else. Her sisters then sent the wolves after Belle with the intention of murdering Belle and ensuring the curse can never be broken, though this ironically resulted in Belle and Beast actually developing a romance. When she returns, her sisters trick her into falling into an enchanted sleep. Eventually, her sisters manipulate Belle into returning to her father and for Gaston (a former friend of the Prince) to lock Maurice up and for Belle to expose the Beast to ensure the Beast died and thus the curse was unbroken. They were also revealed to have manipulated Gaston into stabbing the Beast, although Circe eventually removes the curse due to being touched by Belle and Beast's last moments.
Circe appears in the third novel by Serena Valentino, which was centered on Ursula the Sea Witch. Taking place after the events of "The Beast Within", Circe was captured by Ursula and placed in her garden of lost souls to be used as a bartering tool to get her sisters to do Ursula's bidding. When Ursula was skewed by the sunken ship thanks to Prince Eric, Circe was freed along with the rest of Ursula's victims. When she learns of Ursula's death and the events that led to it, she immediately goes to Tulip's castle for answers. She learns that her sisters had a hand in killing Ursula, along with Tulip's nanny who is also a witch, in order to save her. She is ultimately touched by her sisters' sacrifice and is last seen with the nanny on the cliff watching Eric and Ariel's wedding ship sail away.
She reappears in this book trying to find a way to wake her sisters and stop Maleficent.
In the novel, the Enchantress is revealed over the course of the plot to be Belle's mother, Rosalind, with flashbacks exploring her history with Maurice prior to Belle's birth, before she is captured by Monsieur D'Arque as part of his campaign against magic after she cast the curse on the castle. The novel also explains that she cursed the Beast because his deceased parents had succumbed to pressure and turned against the magical residents of their kingdom several years ago, believing that the Prince would follow their example and oppress magic. In the course of the novel, D'Arque's actions are exposed and he is shot in the back by Gaston, but also Rosalind and other magical beings are released from the asylum, Rosalind is so weakened by her long imprisonment that she is only able to restore the Beast's servants to their human form, the Beast choosing to remain as he is so that his servants can be spared.
In the Kingdom Hearts series, while the Enchantress does not make a physical appearance within the Series, she is mentioned by name in Kingdom Hearts II.
When Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive at Beast's Castle, they are greeted by Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts. They explain to them that their Master has been acting peculiar and strangely, and not knowing that Sora and friends know the Beast, they tell them the story of how the Beast came to be. After hearing the background story of how the 'Prince' was turned into a Beast that Donald and Goofy proclaim together;
Donald: "The Prince is a Beast?"
Goofy: "The Beast is a Prince?"
As the castle servants speak of how to deal with their current situation, Donald states they should find the Enchantress. The way he is speaking and his physical movements give an indication that he was being hostile, maybe even thinking they could force her to change Beast back into a human being. Though Mrs. Potts states they should deal with their current situation at the time.
The enchantress largely has the same role as in the original film, although with a few differences, specifically regarding the nature of the curse: First, the Enchantress had the spell be slow-acting, with all affected, or at least the servants, gradually changing further into their current forms. Second, the deadline for the blooming of the rose is omitted. Lastly, it stated that the reason the Enchantress cursed the entire inhabitants of the castle instead of just Beast was because of their acting as enablers of the prince's bad behavior.
- It is currently unknown if the Enchantress is a fairy, spirit, angel, celestial maiden or some other kind of positive entity. However, The Beast Within suggests that she and her sisters are witches.
- For unknown reasons, her appearances in the glass murals and The Enchanted Christmas are completely different.
- In a flashback in the thirteenth and final issue of Marvel Comics' serial for Beauty and the Beast, an Enchantress was mentioned to have found the Prince's horse, Thunder, after it had escaped, and acted as its new owner, although it was not made clear whether this was the same enchantress as the one who cursed the Prince and his servants.
- The exact nature of the Enchantress's curse varied between sources. The original film, the Marvel Comics serial, the Disney Comics serial, and The Enchanted Christmas strongly implied if not outright showed that the curse's effects were instantaneous; yet the Broadway musical as well as Serena Valentino's novel The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince indicated that the curse process was gradual.
- Similarly, although the musical stated her motive for cursing the staff in addition to Beast himself had to do with their enabling his behavior, the New Adventures of Beauty and the Beast conflicted with this, as Lumiere and Cogsworth were explicitly shown telling off the Prince for his rude behavior to an old crone during a visit to town (actually the Enchantress in disguise), as well as Lumiere trying to talk the prince out of killing a fawn with his blunderbuss.
- Because she is the younger sister of Lucinda, Ruby, and Martha, Circe is also cousins with The First King and Snow White (and the Evil Queen through marriage). However, she does not attend the King's wedding to the Evil Queen in Fairest of All, while her sisters do.
- Her voice actor in The Enchanted Christmas, Kath Soucie, coincidentally voiced Paulette, one of the Bimbettes in the original film, who bore some resemblance to her.
- For unknown reasons (implied by Cogsworth to either be on orders from the Beast or simply a pact not to tell anyone), the servants never actually revealed to Belle the reason behind their and the Beast's current forms, or even that there was a curse. In the 2017 film, they do tell Belle about the curse, although they never tell her how the curse can be broken.
- In the initial draft by Linda Woolverton, Cogsworth (then nameless) explicitly confirms to Belle that the Beast specifically forbade discussing the circumstances behind the curse.
- In Once Upon a Time, the Enchantress' function is attributed to the Blue Fairy because of her great opposition to Rumplestiltskin/the Beast. It's also Blue who gives the magical rose to Belle to keep an eye on a dying Rumple. Zelena the wicked witch is another replacement to the character, mainly because she was responsible for Lumière's transformation on the show.
- There initially was supposed to be a sequence in the film where the Enchantress would have chased the Prince through the Castle turning the Staff into objects while trying to hit the Prince.