Melody is a sassy, tomboyish, and socially anxious, but well-mannered princess with an adventurous spirit. She inherited her mother's natural curiosity as well as her father's determination. Her parents wanted her to enjoy ordinary life throughout her childhood and tried to suppress her Atlantican nature to keep her from harm. Unfortunately, they underestimated how much her mermaid half would affect her life.
As her Atlantican nature kept resurfacing in her, Melody kept feeling more and more drawn to the ocean without knowing why and compelled her to collect all sorts of items from the sea, a parallel to her mother at age sixteen only in reverse. More often than not, Melody found herself incapable of fitting in with children her age due to her mermaid half, making her appear out of place, such as talking to marine creatures and pretending she has a tail in the eyes of her peers. Because of this, Melody was shunned by her peers throughout her childhood, which had highly adverse effects on her; Melody became socially inept, insecure, and even self-loathing to a small extent. Eventually, she came to believe that she had no place in the world. But once she discovered the existence of merpeople, Melody immediately wished to live among them, believing them to be the only ones in the world who could empathize with her and relate to her.
However, after becoming a mermaid, Melody matured from that mindset as she slowly began to see that she was still the same person she was before and that life in the ocean wasn't better, but merely different. She ultimately realized that what she truly wanted was not to be a mermaid but accepted for who she was. As such, she gained a better perception of herself and the world and found out that a life of honesty and self-acceptance was the only key to her happiness. Despite no longer wishing to be a mermaid, Melody still retains her passion for the sea and shows much joy in getting to know her grandfather and aunts, as her heart belongs to the ocean just as much as it does to the land.
Throughout the film, Melody displays multiple signs of social anxiety disorder, such as her inability to maintain eye contact during conversations, general shyness, dislike for attention, and dislike for most social encounters. As part of her social anxiety, Melody is also shy around attractive boys, becoming quite flustered when Alex, a handsome merboy, tried befriending her in Atlantica. She later met him again after the wall was disintegrated, with both recognizing each other. Despite her social anxiety, she is usually confident and sassy when in her comfort zone. This is evidenced by the expressive demeanor while swimming in the ocean and when she imitated Sebastian's speech in his accent as he tried to lecture her about the consequences of sneaking out into the ocean.
Unlike her mother, Melody doesn't seem to care much for her femininity, as evidenced by her lack of interest in activities often associated with girls and her interest in physical activities.
Melody is a beautiful preteen girl with straight black hair, most often tied back with a green hair tie in a ponytail, pink lips, aqua blue eyes and always barefoot. She seems to have inherited a relatively even blend of traits from her parents: She inherited her mother's eyes, nose, facial structure, and beautiful singing voice, as heard in "For A Moment", a duet between Melody and her mother; Eric gave Melody his skin tone, smile, and thick eyebrows. Melody's hairstyle seems like a blend of both of her parents, as it's the same black color as Eric's while being as long as Ariel's.
For most of the film, Melody wears her undergarments, which is a separate pair of white pantalettes and a white camisole; the pantalettes cover the bottom half of her stomach.
At the ball, she wore a pink ball gown with a light pink bow on the back and pink heels.
As a baby, she wore a white-and-pink christening gown and a bow of the same colors.
Her casual outfit, worn at the end of the film, is a Munsell yellow dress with short puffy sleeves, a bronze bodice, a white contrast collar, and her hair tie is white instead of green.
She retains her camisole in mermaid form, but a salmon-pink tail replaces her pantalettes and legs; her navel is also visible. Oddly, the merteens she meets do not notice she does not wear a typical seashell bikini top like other mermaids. Since she found it, she wears her locket that has her name on it.
Powers and abilities
- Aquapathy: Due to Melody's mermaid heritage, she is capable of speaking with aquatic fauna; as she can understand and communicate with aquatic/marine creatures. Like her mother, Ariel, she retains this power in her human form.
- Thermoendurance: Due to having mermaid blood, Melody is highly resistant to extreme temperatures, as shown by her ability to withstand the cold of the Arctic Ocean. Unlike her mother, Ariel, she retains this power in human form.
- Speed Swimming: As a mermaid, she could travel from the arctic to Atlantica and back in a relatively short amount of time. Because she decided to stay human, Melody lost this power.
- Underwater Breathing: In Melody's mermaid form, she could metabolize oxygen from the water. Melody lost this power when she chose to stay human.
- Skilled Swimmer: Due to Melody's mermaid heritage, she has a natural affinity for water and inbuilt swimming skills, including the ability to hold her breath much longer than normal humans.
- Dancing: As demonstrated in the film, Melody is an excellent dancer, a talent that she inherited from both of her parents.
- Singing: As demonstrated in the film, Melody is an excellent singer, a talent she has inherited from her mother, Ariel.
- Oxygen: Melody cannot breathe underwater while in human form; if she remains underwater for too long, she will lose consciousness and eventually drown. Despite this, Melody can at least hold her breath for long periods.
- Socializing: Since Melody grew up in isolation with few individuals to interact outside her own family and never fitting in with her peers, she developed a social anxiety disorder. As a result, Melody lacks Eric's charisma and Ariel's confidence. She also tends to be nervous while meeting new people, especially when interacting with attractive boys. However, after accepting herself, Melody is significantly less anxious and more in control of herself.
In the film's prologue, about two years have passed since King Triton gave Ariel his blessing to become a human and marry Prince Eric. Since then, Ariel has officially become the princess consort of Eric's realm and has given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Melody. On the day of Melody's christening, Ariel and Eric take their newborn daughter out on a ship to meet her grandfather, King Triton, and six aunts: Aquata, Andrina, Attina, Arista, Adella, and Alana. Because Melody is the first individual in history to be born to land and sea, her birth is a monumental event celebrated by humans and merpeople alike. Triton presents Melody with a locket that bears her name, meant to remind his granddaughter that she will always be a Child of Sea and Shore no matter what. However, the celebration is interrupted by Morgana, who has come to avenge her sister Ursula. Morgana kidnaps Melody and threatens to feed her to her shark Undertow if Triton does not surrender his trident. Though Triton almost complies, Ariel and Eric are able to thwart Morgana's plan. In retaliation, Undertow attacks and is about to devour Melody before Triton saves her by turning Undertow into a harmless anchovy with his trident while Eric grabs his daughter and carries her to safety. Morgana vanishes, but not before vowing revenge. Fearing that Melody's mermaid heritage will encourage her to connect with the sea, allowing Morgana to use her as leverage, Ariel reluctantly decides Melody must live an ordinary human life, not knowing anything about her roots or the merpeople's existence until Morgana is captured. Though disappointed, Triton agrees to keep the merpeople away from the castle for Melody's sake but tasks Sebastian to keep an eye on the girl and inform him should her safety ever be threatened. Triton tosses Melody's locket into the sea and departs. Ariel and Eric then have a large sea wall constructed around the castle to separate the two worlds.
Melody grows up as an ordinary human princess, unaware of her Atlantican ancestry, and banned from entering the sea. Despite the ban, she is subconsciously drawn to the sea due to her mermaid half constantly resurfacing regardless of how deep Eric and Ariel try to bury it. This development causes a problematic relationship between Melody and her parents as they have told her that the ocean is dangerous in hopes that she will avoid it. However, her obsession with the ocean's mysteries and beauty compels her to explore it regularly against her parents' wishes. The only ones aware of Melody's activities are Sebastian and Scuttle, who promised the young princess not to inform Ariel of her disobedience but encourage her to confess her passion for the ocean to her mother. Melody is reluctant to do so, thinking her parents would not understand her perspective and would likely restrain her even more if they found out about her going into the sea behind their backs.
On her 12th birthday, Melody discovers the long-lost locket given to her, but she hurries back to the castle once Scuttle reminds of her birthday party. Unknown to her, she is being watched in a crystal ball by Morgana and Undertow. Morgana takes this as the perfect opportunity to succeed at the one thing her sister never could. Later, Melody reaches her bedroom just in time before Ariel walks in. As Ariel helps her get ready for the party, Melody heeds Scuttle's advice and tries to tell her mother that she does not want to attend the party due to her inability to fit in with her peers, who perceive her as "weird." Ariel believes she is merely nervous and assures her that everyone feels the way she does at some point during their adolescence and even admits that she was rather nonconforming herself in her own teenage years. Sensing that Melody is troubled by more than just her party, Ariel helps her boost her self-confidence, which prompts Melody to tell her mother what she truly wants. But Eric interrupts the conversation and escorts his daughter to the ballroom.
During the party, Melody dances with a young prince, but trouble soon arises when Sebastian accidentally ruins the dance and destroys the cake. She goes over to him to see if he is alright, but everyone starts to laugh at her for talking to a crab. Humiliated, she runs out of the ballroom in tears and goes back to her room, believing herself to be nothing but a failure who has no place in the world. Ariel comes in to try and comfort her. But Melody becomes distracted when she learns that the locket she found earlier has her name written on it and opens it to reveal a picture of mermaids swimming in Atlantica, a place which Ariel had her believe was only a fairy tale. Ariel realizes she has been sneaking out into the sea and angrily forbids her from going near it again. Melody demands to know why the sea is prohibited to her, only to receive vague and improper answers. Tired of Ariel's blanket statements to justify the ban, Melody takes the locket and runs out of the room in frustration.
Wanting to find answers about the locket and its meaning, she takes a rowboat and sets off on a mission to find Atlantica despite Sebastian's protests. Just as Melody heads out into the sea, Eric and Ariel discuss the issue with their daughter. Eric believes that Melody is now old enough to deserve an explanation and that withholding all the answers to her questions has done more harm than good. At this point, Ariel realizes that she is making the same mistake as Triton once made with her and decides to tell Melody the truth. Before she can go further, however, Sebastian alerts her and Eric that Melody is gone.
Once Triton learns of Melody's departure, he, Ariel, and Eric organize search parties to scour the ocean. Ariel blames herself for pushing her daughter away, believing she should have told Melody the truth sooner. Knowing Ariel's familiarity with the ocean, Eric convinces his wife to accompany Triton while he stays to lead the search on the surface. Ariel reluctantly agrees and requests to be temporarily turned back into a mermaid by her father to advance the search. Triton complies, and Ariel dives into the ocean.
Meanwhile, Melody meets Undertow, who offers to take her to the sea witch Morgana and discover her locket's meaning. Melody accepts, and her boat is towed into Morgana's lair in the Arctic Ocean by her manta ray minions, Cloak and Dagger. Having spied on Melody long enough to know her dissatisfaction with human life, Morgana tells her that the locket has her name on it because it's a sign of the ocean calling her. She tells Melody that she failed to live happily as a human because her destiny is to live in the sea as a mermaid. Melody is intrigued but skeptical about Morgana's claim, as she doubts she can become a mermaid. However, Morgana surprises her yet again when she reveals a potion that can turn her into a mermaid. Excited, Melody accepts and is transformed into a mermaid by a drop of the potion. She then dives into the sea to test her new abilities and is amazed, but quickly becomes worried when Morgana reveals that the potion's effects only last a few days. Not wanting to return to her lonely human life, Melody asks in desperation if there is any way to make the spell permanent. The sea witch tells her the only thing powerful enough to do so is the trident she claims was stolen from her by King Triton. Knowing the trident is tied to Triton's bloodline and, therefore, can only be removed from its resting place by Triton or his family, Morgana sends Melody on a quest to retrieve it.
While searching for the trident, Melody tries to use a map Morgana gave her, and due to the ticklish sea kelp, the whale she rides sneezes, forcing her off of it, and the map gets broken. Later on, she befriends a penguin named Tip and a walrus named Dash, who help her find Atlantica. A day later, the trio finally reaches the underwater kingdom. Melody's amazement causes her to stray from her quest and bump into a young merman named Alex and a group of teenage merpeople who befriend her. To her surprise, however, she is shy and awkward around them, just like she was around her peers back home. She realizes that she is still just as socially inept as before and silently wonders why nothing has changed despite having renounced her human life and begins to form doubts about whether being a mermaid would truly improve her life. Tip and Dash then pull Melody back to the task at hand.
The trio manages to sneak into the throne room, where they witness Triton swimming anxiously around his throne. Seeing the Sea King in this mood, Melody faces a moral dilemma and finds it suspicious that a powerful monarch would steal anything at all. Nevertheless, Melody is compelled to finish the mission and takes the trident when Triton attends to Ariel's arrival, dropping her locket in the process with no time to retrieve it. Before delivering the trident to Morgana, Melody stops by her old home to somewhat remorsefully reflect on her old life. Tip and Dash ask what purpose the sea wall surrounding the castle serves, to which Melody bitterly replies that it was meant to keep her away from the ocean and decides to head back to the Arctic. A few days pass and the trio finally reach the Arctic at one evening, and after Undertow scares Tip and Dash away, he pressures the reluctant Melody to finish what she started and give the trident to Morgana. She is about to do so when suddenly Ariel arrives, having followed Cloak and Dagger to the hideout, and warns Melody not to trust Morgana.
Melody is shocked to see her mother as a mermaid and immediately realizes why she was drawn to the sea all her life, but is furious that Ariel kept this from her. Morgana tempts Melody to give her the trident, reminding her that she has given her everything that her mother kept away from her and claiming she is not worthy of her trust. Ariel tries to explain that she was desperate to protect her and that keeping the truth from her was the hardest choice she ever made, as well as the one she regrets the most. Unfortunately, Ariel's pleas only fall on deaf ears as Melody's anger gets the better of her and gives Morgana the trident.
Morgana reveals her true colors and harnesses the trident's power. Ariel moves in front of Melody to protect her from Morgana's wrath, but the sea witch wraps her in one of her tentacles. Morgana begins relentlessly mocking Ariel for the years of wasted efforts to protect Melody, revealing the truth about the girl's connection to Atlantica and Triton. Melody and Flounder attempt to free Ariel, but Morgana throws them both into a cave. She seals the entrance with a thick layer of ice while sadistically reminding Melody that she will cease to be a mermaid at sundown, which will occur momentarily. She leaves them to die and turns Undertow back into a shark before ascending to the surface while taunting the helpless Ariel. Triton and Eric arrive with two platoons of soldiers. However, Morgana uses Ariel as a hostage to keep the two forces away from her and creates an ice tower while continuing to abuse the trident's power. Eric angrily demands the witch to release his family, but Morgana attacks and injures him. As Scuttle distracts Morgana, Ariel manages to free herself and rushes to Eric's aid.
Meanwhile, Melody desperately tries to escape the cave before finally breaking down in tears. As she blames herself for the whole ordeal, Morgana's spell wears off, and Melody instantly loses her mermaid powers, rendering her human once more and placing her in mortal danger as the water engulfs her. Melody begins to pass out from lack of oxygen, but fortunately, Tip and Dash manage to trick Undertow into ramming the ice and help Flounder carry the half-conscious Melody to the surface.
On the surface, Morgana uses the trident to make all sea creatures bow down to her while terrorizing the humans with the ocean's overwhelming power. Melody takes the opportunity to climb up Morgana's ice tower and manages to grab the trident, freeing everyone from its influence. Morgana tries to take back the trident, but Melody stabs one of her tentacles with it, allowing her to toss it back to Triton. As Morgana reacts, she pushes Melody off the tower and sends her falling to her doom. Although Dash saves Melody at the last moment by using his belly to cushion her impact, the fall puts her into shock, and she passes out. While catching his trident, Triton angrily confronts Morgana and tells her that never again will she nor any of hers threaten his family. He imprisons her in a block of ice, causing Morgana's ice tower to begin collapsing, sending her sinking into the ocean depths. As Morgana's lair collapses, Tip pushes Dash and Melody away from the tower and brings her to Eric, who tries to revive her to no avail.
Melody, still in a state of shock, remains unconscious for several hours. At sunrise, Eric and Ariel begin to fear the worst and prepare to have her brought home for medical treatment. Suddenly Melody wakes up in confusion while being carried in Eric's arms, much to his relief. Eric brings Melody to Ariel, who hugs her daughter in relief upon seeing she is safe and sound. Melody apologizes to her parents for running away and stealing the trident, but Ariel comforts her and takes full responsibility for the incident for not telling her the truth sooner.
Melody explains that she never meant for any of this to happen but only hoped that she could have a better life as a mermaid instead of continuing a failed life as a human where others teased her for her oddity. Ariel disagrees with her, as she does not think of her as odd or a failure but as the brave and amiable girl that she and Eric could not be more proud of even if she had not just saved the entire ocean and assures her that her heart is what defines her, not her species. After listening to Ariel's wisdom, Melody finally understands that being a mermaid makes no difference for her inner self and that it is time to accept all her strengths and weaknesses to prosper in life.
Triton and Melody then officially meet, and Melody immediately hugs her grandfather, delighted to finally getting to know him. Triton feels that Melody has earned the right to decide which world she wants to belong to, being his granddaughter and a child of two different worlds. As such, he gives her a choice; she can come with him to Atlantica as a mermaid to live with him and her aunts or return home to Ariel and Eric as an ordinary girl. Melody is conflicted, having been given the option to realize her dream of connecting to the ocean but is also uncertain about leaving her beloved mother and father, especially now, with her newfound appreciation for her human half. After giving the matter some thought, Melody politely refuses Triton's offer and tells her family that she has a better idea in mind.
Back in Eric's Kingdom, Melody reveals that her ultimate choice is to remain human, having come to accept her true self, an ordinary girl who belongs to the surface and the ocean. As such, she uses the trident to disintegrate the sea wall, effectively uniting the two worlds. Humans and merpeople celebrate and embrace each other as brethren. Melody reunites with Alex to resume their friendship, Ariel and Eric share a passionate kiss, Sebastian enthusiastically spreads the word of the union, and Melody gets her locket back. Then Triton creates a rainbow to symbolize the hopeful future for both the land and the sea. Now that she has accepted who she truly is and has full access to both ancestral homes, Melody has finally found balance in her life.
- Melody is the first Disney character to be the child of a Disney Princess.
- Melody is the very first human-merperson hybrid in history, making her birth a significant historic moment in both human and Atlantican history.
- Melody's bedroom is Ariel's guest room when she first took human form and stayed with Prince Eric.
- Although Melody inherited many of Ariel's personality and physical traits, her mixture of black hair, thick eyebrows, and blue eyes make her a perfect blend of both her parents.
- Despite popular belief, Melody inherited more of her father's personality than her mother's. Unlike Ariel, Melody is not giddy, playful, bubbly, and sensitive. She is rather unfeminine, well-behaved, headstrong, and daring, just like Eric. As it's not uncommon for girls to take more after their fathers than their mothers, this isn't unexpected.
- Melody means "song" in Greek.
- Ariel most likely gave Melody that name to honor Atlantica's passion for music.
- Since it was Morgana using Ursula's magic potion that turned Melody into a mermaid, it is unknown if salmon pink would be her natural mermaid tail color.
- Though "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea" received mostly negative reviews for its plot and animation, Melody was generally considered the highlight of the film and earned praise for her character growth, likability, and Tara Strong's performance.
- In a rather amusing coincidence, Tara Strong would later voice two of Ariel's sisters in the prequel, "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning".
- Although a princess by birth, Melody is considered an unofficial Disney Princess due to debuting in a sequel.
- Melody is currently King Triton's only known grandchild.
- Melody is the first in Triton's bloodline to be born on land.
- Having taken over for her mother (from "The Little Mermaid") Melody is the third child of a predecessor's main character to take over as the protagonist in a sequel, with the first being Nicky Ferris (taking over from Sharon McKendrick in "The Parent Trap II") and the second being Kiara (taking over from Simba in "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride").
- The first dress Melody is seen wearing is pink, the same color as her mother's first dress in the first film.
- Melody's dream was the opposite of her mother's: Ariel was a mermaid who wanted to be a human, and Melody is a human who wanted to be a mermaid. Their motives were also different as Ariel wanted to become human because she was fascinated with human creativity and longing for more than what the ocean had to offer. Melody wished to become a mermaid hoping that it would make her a better person and satisfy her curiosity for the ocean's mysteries.
- Melody finds the musical locket she had gotten when she was a baby, and her mother finds the music box of her late mother; they recognized the song.
- Melody makes the same back pose when she is transformed into a mermaid, just as her mother did in the first movie.
- Melody has a relationship with her mother similar to Ariel's relationship with her father, King Triton: Melody's relationship with her mother is initially strained due to Ariel forbidding her to enter the sea. (unaware at the time that Ariel was trying to protect her from Morgana. This ignorance caused her to believe that her mother hated the ocean). Despite this, they have a mutual love and adoration of each other as mother and daughter.
- Incidentally, Tara Strong, Melody's voice actress, later voiced the Ariel parody character Princess Clara from "Drawn Together".
- Melody's hairstyle for most of the film appears to be almost identical to child Ariel from the flashback sequence of the TV series episode, "The Evil Manta".
- Tara Strong, Melody's voice actress, has stated that Melody is one of her favorite roles.
- There are two different versions of the sequence where Melody transforms into a mermaid. In the original version, the drop of the snowflake-like magical potion landed on Melody's left foot and created a ripple on her foot. In the Special Edition, the potion drop landed on Melody's left foot once again; but this time, her left foot also turned purple and green.
- The two different versions even showed Melody's left foot's different sizes while Morgana gave her the potion.