Encanto: Abuela Decides What Gift Each Madrigal Gets - Theory Explained

Encanto introduced the audience to the Madrigal family, in which each descendant has been granted a special gift except for Mirabel, and a fan theory suggests that Mirabel didn’t get one because the one who decides the gifts is Abuela. Walt Disney Pictures continues to be a dominating name in the animation world, and in 2021 it brought two animated movies: Raya and the Last Dragon and Encanto, the latter becoming a big success once it was released on Disney+ following a 30-day theatrical run and receiving critical acclaim for its story, music, emotion, and cultural fidelity.

Directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard, Encanto takes viewers to Colombia to meet the Madrigal family, led by matriarch Alma Madrigal a.k.a. Abuela (María Cecilia Botero). Years ago, while fleeing from an armed conflict, Alma lost her husband and was left alone with her baby triplets (Julieta, Pepa, and Bruno), and by a miracle, her candle got magical qualities, keeping them safe from their pursuers and building a sentient house (Casita) for them. Since then, the candle continued to burn and protected Casita, the family, and the whole town, while also granting special gifts to each Madrigal descendant – until it was Mirabel’s (Stephanie Beatriz) turn. Mirabel was the only one to not get a gift, leading her to feel left out of the family.

Related: Encanto Subtly Revealed Its Mirabel Power Twist At The Beginning

Encanto sees Mirabel dealing with those feelings while also doing her best to save Casita, her family, and the miracle when Casita begins to crack and everyone’s powers start to weaken, and to add more drama and conflict to the mix, Mirabel also had to deal with Abuela’s strict ways. A reason for Mirabel not getting a gift was never revealed, making way for various fan theories on why that happened and even exploring the possibility that she had a secret gift all along. Among those fan theories is one that suggests Mirabel didn’t get a gift because of Abuela, who is the one who distributes the gifts, making Mirabel’s story quite sad.

A theory posted on Reddit suggests that Abuela has a gift too, and it’s that of distributing the gifts to the rest of the Madrigal descendants. Abuela does so by focusing on their defining traits and also her own opinions of them – for example, Bruno (John Leguizamo) was given the gift of seeing the future as Abuela saw in him the future that her husband couldn’t have and “the hope of being forewarned"; Julieta (Angie Cepeda) is a healer because she was her mother’s little helper as a child, and Pepa (Carolina Gaitán) is the moody child, so her mood changes like the weather. She did the same with her grandchildren: Isabella could do no wrong in her eyes as she was the first grandchild, Luisa was strong-spirited and eager to help, Dolores was always telling her everything she heard, and Camilo doesn’t know who he is.

The reason why Mirabel didn’t get a gift, then, is because Abuela didn’t see any defining trait or inclinations in her, but Casita stepped in and “claimed” her as its own. Other viewers have added to this by suggesting that Mirabel was meant to be Abuela’s successor from the beginning, which was her true gift, and she didn’t get her own room because she was meant to take Abuela’s. Abuela certainly had a lot of power over the Madrigal family, and her strict ways and big expectations might have gotten the best of her when choosing a gift for Mirabel, and she ended up unintentionally hurting her granddaughter. This Encanto theory adds some darkness to this mostly cheerful and colorful story, and like many others, it’s up to every viewer to decide if it could be possible or not.

Next: Mirabel Accidentally Sabotaged Her Own Gift In Encanto - Theory Explained

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