Warning: Contains spoilers for Encanto.
In Encanto, Abuela Alma’s descendants are blessed with supernatural gifts once they turned five years old, with each gift reflecting something about each character. The Madrigals’ special abilities elevated the family while also enabling them to better support their community. However, such high expectations also had profound downsides on each of them.
After suffering great loss fleeing from danger with her three children, Alma was saved by a magical house and ever-burning candle, which granted each of her descendants their own special power. The Madrigals believed that their powers were what made them special, and so it was especially devastating when Mirabel did not receive one on her fifth birthday. Mirabel was determined to prove her worth despite lacking a gift, which drove her to seek a way to save the magic the Disney musical when their house started falling apart.
As amazing as the Madrigals’ abilities were, they also came with burdens that each character had to overcome. Their powers reflected aspects of their personalities, revealing something about each of them that they might have never shared otherwise. Here’s every character’s gift in Encanto and why they had them.
The Madrigal matriarch, Alma, technically didn’t have a power of her own, but without her, no one else would either. Alma was given the magical Encanto to raise her triplets and honor her late husband’s sacrifice to give them a better life. As the keeper of the candle that never burned out, which bestowed supernatural gifts on her descendants, Alma had the important role of protecting its flame and ensuring that the magic continued. Because of her, her family in Encanto was able to support the community with their gifts as well as honor the Madrigal name. Yet, over time Alma grew so fixated on preserving the flame and its legacy that she stopped seeing anything else, including the ways in which she was actually hurting her family. Abuela Alma was as unchanging as the constant, endless candle.
Pepa, one of Alma’s three children, was given the ability to control the weather with her emotions. Anytime she felt overwhelmed or upset, a storm cloud would appear above her head, growing and shrinking along with the intensity of her feelings. From a young age, Pepa had to keep herself in check for the sake of everyone around her, never really able to fully unleash her feelings without facing very immediate consequences. In the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” she revealed that she had to celebrate her wedding during a hurricane as a result of her powers going haywire. She has many go-to remedies for whenever her emotions, such as stroking her hair and repeating calming mantras to herself, but they are rarely enough to properly tame the unpredictable weather, with Alma often having to tell her to calm down before she created something truly unpleasant.
Pepa’s oldest daughter, Dolores, has the gift of superhuman hearing. Her gift allowed her to be the first to know any kind of gossip in the community, as she was able to hear just about anything – but Dolores’ magical ability also proved to be a burden, since she struggled to keep secrets. Being constantly focused outward on everyone else made it difficult for Dolores to look inward, preventing her from ever seeking things that she might want. She admitted as much in Encanto, and was resigned to her cousin Isabela marrying the man she loved instead of pursuing him herself.
Pepa’s second child, Camilo, gained the magical gift of being able to shapeshift into different people. His transformations were instantaneous, even changing the clothing to match the new look, and he regularly fooled his family with the trick. Camilo’s gift might not be as beneficial to the community as some of the others’, but he definitely took advantage of its entertainment capabilities as one of the more comedic characters in Encanto. Camilo enjoyed playacting as other people, relying on quick wit and his sense of humor to uplift those around him. Of course, always pretending to be someone else could make it more difficult for Camilo to develop a strong sense of who he was. Sadly, Camilo was one of the least developed members of the Madrigal family, so little else is known about him other than his affinity for pranks.
The youngest Madrigal, Antonio, went through his candle ceremony at the beginning of Encanto. He was very nervous about doing something so significant, and so public, by himself, even pleading with his older cousin Mirabel to walk beside him. He was worried for nothing, however, since the ceremony blessed him with the ability to speak with animals. As the youngest, Antonio often felt separated from the rest of the family, having only Mirabel for company in the nursery. Perhaps because of this, Antonio’s gift ensured he would never feel alone again. He could make friends wherever he went, and animals regularly followed him throughout the rest of the movie.
Another of Alma’s triplets, Bruno disappeared after Mirabel’s failed candle ceremony. Bruno’s gift let him see the future, but most of his predictions were so ominous that they upset everyone around him. Such a depressing, even downright frightening, power did not work well with the image of the Madrigals that Alma wanted to promote, and Bruno’s predictions became such a problem for the family that he eventually decided to leave. Bruno spent the next 10 years hiding within the house’s walls while the family refused to ever even mention him. His gift required a kind of complete, unflattering honesty that did not mesh well with the rest of the family, especially Alma, who strived for a more idealized version of the truth. Bruno’s gift also made it easy for others to blame him for their problems, even though his predictions weren’t actually his fault, but he selflessly took the blame anyway in order to protect those he held dear.
Alma’s third child, Julieta, possessed the power to heal people with food. When an injured person ate any food she made, their health was quickly restored. In many ways, Julieta represented the ideal selfless mother in Encanto; her warmth and kindness soothed any who came to her for help, and she always did what she could to support others. Julieta’s gift also emphasized the importance of a home-cooked meal, especially one prepared and enjoyed by family. Food can bring people together, as seen by the Madrigals all gathering around the dinner table. Her gift was an incredibly useful one to have, but also emphasised the sacrifices she made – as if Julieta constantly prepared food for others, when could she ever have time for herself?
Julieta’s oldest daughter had a gift as seemingly perfect as herself. Isabela could conjure beautiful flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors, which decorated the floor at her feet and anything else she touched. At the beginning of the Encanto movie, Isabela thought she could only make perfect roses and other pretty things, but later in the film she accidentally conjured a cactus in a fit of rage. Such a small thing brought her great joy as she realized she could make imperfect plants too, which meant that maybe she also didn’t need to be perfect all the time. Isabela spent her life carefully monitoring her every movement, never able to feel fully free, and her gift represented that. By controlling her image, Isabela also greatly limited her potential, and Mirabel helped her see how much more she could create when she stopped trying so hard.
Isabela’s sister Luisa also struggled with expectations, which she laid out in the Encanto song “Surface Pressure.” Luisa was blessed with super strength, which let her carry an unfathomable amount of weight with ease. Her gift meant everyone in the community turned to her for help with their heavy-lifting, and Luisa’s hardworking nature didn’t make it easy to ever say no. Although her power prevented her from growing physically tired from all the work, Luisa became mentally exhausted from carrying the overwhelming expectations that those around her placed on her shoulders. Her gift made her strong, but Luisa always feared she wasn’t strong enough.
Julieta’s youngest daughter was also the only one without her own supernatural gift. Mirabel tried to make up for this and prove to herself and her grandmother that she belonged, but she still felt like she could never actually do enough to make her Abuela proud. By Encanto‘s ending, however, it was clear that Mirabel’s faith and love for her family were what empowered them. Only when she truly lost faith in herself did the house start to crumble, and her support was what helped her family’s gifts shine once again.
Everything We Know About Encanto 2
Given the resounding success of Encanto, it’s not hard to imagine a sequel eventually entering production. Encanto 2 has yet to be officially announced, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Six years passed between Frozen and Frozen II, Disney’s other biggest animated franchise of the past few decades, meaning it could just be a matter of waiting for Encanto 2 to get the green light. Lin Manuel Miranda is confident that an Encanto sequel will work, and many members of the original cast would also be willing and eager to work on Encanto 2. Encanto 2‘s story could see Mirabel taking over Abuela’s role as matriarch of the Madrigal family, the family coming into greater contact with the world outside of Casa Madrigal, a twist in which more family members lose their powers, or all of the above. Regardless, any sequels or spinoffs to Encanto are sure to be met with plenty of anticipation should they be announced.
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