Encanto’s new theory suggests that Abuela effectively predicted the magical powers that her three children would be endowed with. Led by the formidable matriarch Abuela Alma (Maria Cecilia Botero) Encanto introduced the friendly Madrigal family to the world, and also acutely showed how the tragedy touched Abuela’s life. A few years before the main events of Encanto, fleeing the armed conflict in Colombia, Abuela’s husband, Abuelo Pedro, was killed, as a result of which Alma was widowed, and their triplets, Juliet, Pepa and Bruno, were left without a father.
It was at this moment of despair that a magical miracle happened. The candle held by Abuela gained magical power that protected her and her children, creating an enchanted city and a reasonable home for the Madrigal family called Casita. The miracle also bestowed magical gifts to every member of the Madrigal family on their fifth birthday. It started with the eldest of the triplets, Juliet (Angie Cepeda), who gained the ability to heal with food, Pepa’s mood (Carolina Gaitan) influenced the weather, and Bruno (John Leguizamo) had visions of the future. These magical gifts passed on to the next generation of Madrigals, with the exception of Juliet’s youngest daughter, Mirabelle Madrigal (Stephanie Beatrice), whose gift did not manifest.
According to a fascinating theory (via Reddit), the gifts of Juliet, Pepa and Bruno were predicted in the Encanto flashback scene, which depicts the early life of Abuela Alma. The memories appeared in Encanto as a montage of cute romantic scenes depicting how Abuela Alma and Abuelo Pedro first met and fell in love with each other. While the memory was playing out, a fluttering yellow butterfly attracted Alma’s attention to Pedro, which is a subtle reference to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magnificent book “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. This was followed by successive scenes that can be seen as references to the subsequent gifts of their three children. The first one reflected how intelligent and perceptive Juliet had the power to heal with food when Alma and Pedro sat together and ate arepas. The second showed the couple bathed in golden sunlight at their wedding, foreshadowing how Pepa’s mood affects the weather. Finally, Bruno’s gift for seeing the future was demonstrated by Abuela Alma, who showed Pedro paper clippings showing that she was pregnant with triplets.
How Encanto’s theory of Abuel works
In many ways, Encanto Abuela’s theory deserves praise, and part of the reason for this is that Encanto is a film that is extraordinarily accurate in terms of plot rhythms. Encanto’s narrative pays special attention to details, as evidenced by such trifles as the motif of yellow butterflies, which can be seen everywhere, or the number of steps in Bruno’s room, showing his growing distance from his family. More importantly, the strength of this theory of Abuela lies in the fact that every detail of the memories as a whole corresponds to the magical powers of Juliet, Pepa and Bruno. Perhaps equally important in this regard is that the scenes of the montage of memories appear in the same order in which the Encanto triplets were born. This birth order of Juliet, Pepa and Bruno was even confirmed by director Jared Bush (via Twitter) when he wrote: “Juliet is the oldest, healing helps everyone, and she is the most responsible, Pepa’s “middle child” is more emotional, because Juliet was the oldest. “an adult,” Bruno is a baby… which makes his departure even more tragic.”
Conversely, it can be said that the disadvantages of the theory lie in the general vagueness of memories in relation to magic itself. For example, it’s easy to dismiss the scene where Abuela and Pedro are eating together as nothing more than cute, but irrelevant. Similarly, the sun shining on their wedding day may be a mere coincidence, while the paper clippings just show that she is going to have triplets or even that she plans to have three children. However, this assumption underestimates the aforementioned accuracy of Encanto’s narrative. In the memoirs of Abuela Alma and Abuelo Pedro, it is shown how the couple ate arepas together during courtship. This is an important point, because arepas are not just the main Colombian food; it is also the food that Juliet uses to treat various members of the Madrigal family and townspeople throughout Encanto. Indeed, Mirabelle even sings the line “My Mom Juliet can make you feel best with just one Arepa” in the “Family Madrigal”.
Using sunlight as a reference to Pepa’s powers is rather unconvincing. The fact that it was sunny on the wedding day seems like a bad argument in favor of this Encanto theory, even if it is a perfect counterpoint to Pepa’s own wedding day, immortalized in “We’re not Talking about Bruno.”