|Occupation||King of Atlantica|
|Family||Poseidon (father; deceased)|
Neptune (grandfather; deceased)
Ursula (sister; per deleted scene)
Athena (wife; deceased)
Marina Del Rey
|Appearances||The Little Mermaid|
The Little Mermaid: The Series
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
Kingdom Hearts II
|Voice Actor||Kenneth Mars (1989-2006)|
Jim Cummings (prequel)
King Triton is the King of Atlantica and a fictional character who first appeared in the Disney animated movie The Little Mermaid. He was voiced by Kenneth Mars in the first film, by Corey Burton in the second film and by Jim Cummings in the third film. His character is somewhat similar to the mythological Greek sea god, Poseidon.
Triton is the king of the underwater kingdom of Atlantica. He is a big merman, the husband of the late Athena and the father of Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, Alana, and Ariel. Also, he is the father-in-law of Eric and the grandfather of Melody.
He has a forceful magical trident which appears to be made of gold, it emits a glowing light and typical sound when in use. Furthermore, he has a crown and two arm bracelets, which also appear to be made out of gold. He is the overprotective father of Ariel.
History with Ursula
His archenemy was Ursula, the old sea-witch who was once a senior member of the Court of King Triton. For many years, she has sought a way to exact her revenge upon King Triton for exiling her from the kingdom. A concept abandoned for the film had the both of them as siblings, though it’s used in the musical.
The prequel film, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, depicts Triton as a devoted and loving father and husband in the first place. After his wife's death, he becomes extremely strict due to the grief he suffered over his queen's death but he comes to terms with the incident at long last, showing this by permitting music back into Atlantica after previously banning it in the wake of the tragedy.
The television series, set before the events of the original film, shows Triton to be a wise ruler. He is bigoted towards humans (possibly due to the death of his wife; despite the fact that Athena's death was an accident) despite the evident fact that merpeople are half-humans. Though he's constantly at odds with Ariel regarding humans and risky adventures, he has shown to have a large feeling of guilt and remorse for breaking his daughter’s heart.
In the original film, Triton is shown to be a caring father. And yet, his bigotry regarding humans often led to personality conflicts with Ariel. He is shown to have an explosive temper while he is provoked. Furthermore, it was implied that he might have had genocidal thoughts on humans in general for a very short time, or at the very least didn't particularly care if a human ended up drowning, as while arguing with Ariel shortly after his discovery that Eric was rescued by her, Ariel pointed out that Eric would have died if it weren't for her, with Triton unmovingly stating that it was "one less human to worry about" in response, confirming shortly afterwards that he doesn't even know what Eric is like. His explosive temper, while pushed far enough, was also shown to lead to aggression, as he eliminated most of Ariel's human artifacts as a way to "get through to her" after the possibility of losing his daughter to the human world was brought into play. Despite this, he showed guilt at once, as his fury expression softened to one of despair. After Ariel goes missing (after becoming human) he blames himself for the situation and tirelessly spends his time searching for her, unable to rest until she's safe at home, showing he is able to admit when his hostile actions, in spite of the reasonings, have gone too far. Earlier in the film, he confided in Sebastian out of the fear that he could have been too strict with Ariel as well, having a hard time keeping her safe and being a loving father.
By the time of the sequel, Triton has become accepting of humans. He has a notable soft spot for his granddaughter, Melody and highly values her safety. He's presented as still very wise, though incredibly toned down temper wise. However, his warlike nature remains in times of crisis.
King Triton is an elderly, big merman with bushy, light grey eyebrows and long, white hair. He has a thick, white beard and mustache and a widow's peak hairline. He is well muscled and wears gold gauntlets with several studs on them on each wrist. As a merman, Triton's lower body is that of a dark blue fish with cyan, translucent fins. Assigns of his royal status, Triton wears a yellow, five-pointed crown that somewhat resembles a sea star on his head, and carries the legendary trident, a golden, three-pronged weapon with forceful magical abilities. And what’s more, he has blue eyes.
According to Disney's Greek Mythology, Triton met his cousin, Hercules, as a boy. They went to school together. Triton accidentally summoned a Sea Serpent, but luckily Hercules and he defeated it.
The Little Mermaid
When the original film begins, Triton is xenophobic toward humans, and Ariel's fascination with humans casts a strain on their relationship. According to Triton, contact between the human world and the merworld is strictly forbidden. After an initial argument over Ariel over her latest trip to the surface, Triton orders his loyal servant, Sebastian, to keep an eye on her. When Triton learns that Ariel has saved the life of a human being, he loses his temper and, determined to turn Ariel over to his views of humans, destroys her collection of human things, completely ignoring his daughter's pleas to stop. In the aftermath, Triton, instantly regretting this action, leaves a tearful Ariel alone in her grotto. Later on, after Ariel runs away from home in search of the sea witch Ursula, Triton orders a search for her, unaware that she has accepted Ursula's deal and become a human. When Sebastian, who had been watching over Ariel, arrives from the surface and tells the king about Ursula's scheme, Triton quickly goes out with Sebastian to find her. When Triton learns that Ariel has signed an agreement with Ursula, he willingly takes his daughter's place despite knowing the cost of his choice. Triton is temporarily transformed into a polyp, but when Ursula is killed, he is restored to his original form and regains both his crown and his trident. By the end of the film, Triton has softened his attitude towards humans, and allows Ariel to marry her love, Prince Eric, the man who killed Ursula and, subsequently, saved Triton's life.
The Little Mermaid Series
King Triton also appeared in The Little Mermaid animated TV series. According to the cartoon series, Triton was the son of Poseidon, his grandfather was called Neptune, and as a child, his nickname was "Red" for his red hair. Although his anti-human sentiments remained, he could sometimes be persuaded to recognize his mistakes, such as when he apologized to Ariel for scaring her so much that she failed to return home after a human charm bracelet was accidentally locked around her wrist, or when he was persuaded to help Ariel rescue a man trapped in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean (Implied at the end of the episode to be Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote the original tale).
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
Triton appears in the sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return To The Sea. He seems to trust humans by the time of this film. His weakness in the film is his love for his granddaughter Melody, and this is exploited by Morgana, Ursula's younger sister and his second rival. But when he has his trident back, he punishes Morgana by freezing her in a giant ice cube. Triton's character in this film is less menacing and intimidating when compared to his other appearances in all other films and the TV series (aside from the scene where Melody goes to Atlantica with Tip and Dash to get the trident where King Triton mopes over Melody's baby photo and sees his servants preparing a feast and becomes angry and says Do we have time for this?! I want every available creature in the ocean on patrol! and angrily orders his men to find Morgana (by pushing the table aside and pounding it while shouting at them "FIND HER! FIND HER!" and scares Tip and Dash in the process, and later when he realizes the trident is missing and orders his merpolice to increase the search parties and the searching to go on by saying Double the search parties! I want the searching to continue!).
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
In the 2008 direct-to-DVD prequel The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, an opening prologue shows King Triton's wife, Queen Athena. The pair had a loving relationship. Ariel's free-spirited personality is what casts a strain on their relationship in this film, and he is particularly angered when he discovers that the leader of the (illegal) Catfish Club is Sebastian, throwing his confidante into prison for this. He eventually comes to see the error of his harsh decisions, pardons Sebastian, lifts the ban on music and appoints Sebastian as his court composer at the end of the film.
The Princess and the Frog
King Triton made a small cameo appearance in Disney's 2009 film The Princess and the Frog as a float in Charlotte's and "Naveen's" (Lawrence in disguise) Mardi Gras wedding.
Kingdom Hearts series
King Triton's Trident is notably used to activate the world's Keyhole in Kingdom Hearts.
Triton saves Ariel, Sora, Donald, and Goofy from some approaching Heartless. He is immediately distrustful of the three newcomers when they mention the "Keyhole" and later confronts them in Ariel's Grotto and advises Sora to leave since he is the Keyblade master, claiming that the Keyblade master is capable of nothing but to bring ruin to the worlds. Ariel retrieves an item that can activate the Keyhole, but Triton destroys it before it can be revealed. Ariel falls victim to the plans of Ursula who steals the Trident, leaving Triton injured. After Ursula's defeat, Triton asks Sora to seal the Keyhole by using the Trident to uncover the Keyhole. After this, he becomes more trusting to Sora and his friends.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
King Triton is mentioned by Ariel, Sebastian, and Ursula, but makes no appearance.
Kingdom Hearts II
Triton returns as ruler of the sea but is concerned more than ever for Ariel after she saves a human, Prince Eric, from death and has fallen in love. He asks Sora to help her forget about the human world and practice her singing. Triton discovers a statue of Eric in Ariel's Grotto, and in his anger, he destroys it. Ariel once again falls victim to Ursula's plot and becomes a human for three days. By the end of the three days, Ursula captures Ariel and threatens to finish her off. Triton learns that she has signed a contract with Ursula, and not even he could break it. Instead, he replaces Ariel's signature with his own, in a bid to save Ariel's life. Ursula transforms Triton into a lowly sea creature and takes his Trident. The Trident is used against her by Eric and kills her. Triton finally accepts Ariel's love for Eric and allows her to stay with him by turning her into a human. He is seen in the end credits bidding farewell to Ariel and Eric with Sebastian and Flounder.
Relationship with his daughters
The reason for his constant clashes with Ariel, as told by Ron Clements and John Musker (directors), is that he is very strong-willed and independent, as his daughter. She is also the favourite of his offspring because, as a child, he also had red hair and sees himself most in Ariel.
- The original Triton is from Greek Mythology and, in some depictions, has a two-pronged tail.
- After Athena's death, King Triton throws away the music box he gave her as a gift, bans music, and raises his daughters in a strict manner.
- He has a fascination with dinosaurs, as seen in the TV show episode "Land of the Dinosaurs".
- Coincidentally, he is comparable to Tops the Triceratops of The Land Before Time as both are fathers yet also control-freaks.