Oh, so you did mean the ocean, cool.

I think to a degree we’re going to agree to disagree here bc there isn’t actually a way to prove some assumptions at the base of my reading…

1) the ocean chose Moana because Moana chose the ocean first. We were shown the toddler clapping reaction for a reason, and the I Am Moana scene showed that Moana’s own choices and decisions were always key and the ocean followed them. That’s what the themes of the movie AS EXPRESSED EXPLICITLY IN SONGS are building up to

2) the ocean isn’t all that smart. It helped Moana coerce Maui into teaching her because it was on her side principally in any conflict she had with him. And it gave zero fucks about Moana’s people going back to sailing or not, it just needed a second hero because Maui would not have willingly returned to put the heart back. The ocean itself can’t coerce people in any way, it relies on them working out their goals and agency on their own.

…actually, wasn’t Moana chosen right after she heard the story of Maui and Te-Fiti’s heart? I bet what happened is that her immedaite three-year-old reaction to the story was IMMA GO THERE AND BE THAT HERO and that’s why she ran to the ocean – and it was like OH FUCK YES SOMEONE WHO’S WILLING TO HELP HERE COME HERE LIL BABY

3) …I was going to say I didn’t think Moana’s father was chosen before her but actually now that I think of it it makes as much sense as anything. He gave up on the mission right after the first rough patch (which, to be fair, was someone dying)… actually the same way Moana did at one point, but Moana then dove and got the heart back and continued with the mission anyway, and he didn’t. The movie is built on the the themes of choice and identity after all.

It’s so important that Moana has been
chosen because she wanted it, not because of anything else, but truly because
she herself at the age of about 1 and a half decided that the best thing that
could ever happen to her was to be able to go on an adventure against dark
forces and inevitable death.

is something that so rarely happens in any piece of fiction, that apparently
there are some people who have difficulties accepting that that is what it is.
Like, seriously, Maui’s line about the “you got chosen because the ocean
wanted people to go wayfinding again” honestly seems to be just him
talking out of his ass and even if that played a role, there is one glaring
hole in that theory and that is that we are talking a thousand years here.

a thousand years, the darkness spread, ships vanished, humans stayed on their
islands. If it was just a question of the ocean simply finding a “curly
haired non-princess”, why didn’t it do so eight hundred years ago or

did it specifically wait for the one child who loved the ocean, who loved
adventure, who wanted to go right then and there even though she could hardly

also think that the ocean specifically wanted someone to restore the heart who
could understand Te Ka’s struggle. The ocean and Te Fiti must have been at
least acquaintances, and probably best friends, I am sure the ocean didn’t want
to send just anyone but only someone who truly wanted to do this.

yeah, I agree that Moana was chosen because as a child she was incredibly
excited about doing this thing and that is what the ocean needed. I also don’t
think that the father was chosen before her, because wanting to go out in the
sea is not the same as wanting to actually sail across the world and act out a
legend he very clearly didn’t even believe in.

^^^ true

also… I originally took Moana’s father’s disbelief in Te Fiti’s heart and anything supernatural as a sign that he hasn’t had anything like that happen to him

but then I thought it would make as much sense if he DID have something supernatural happen to him and came out of it so, so much worse for the wear, he just wants to forget and deny it, because the best he can think about ‘the ocean has an agency and is choosing people to be heroes’ is ‘my friend was deliberately murdered by the ocean’…

anyway this is of course too convoluted a twist for a children’s movie

really the biggest problem I have here is the thousand year gap, like really? not a single child with stars in their eyes just like Moana’s ever wanted to go be a hero?

but then I thought: what if Moana’s island is the one that’s closest to the one that Maui got stranded on? what if there truly are horrible, terrifying storms on the ocean that it can’t control? what if others had tried to sail to the fish hook and failed, and only someone from Moana’s island could get close enough before a storm started for the ocean to just carry them the rest of the way?

it had to be someone from Motunui, and okay, it’s still difficult to buy that no-one with a hero’s heart was born for a THOUSAND FUCKING YEARS but easier with a small community that’s true

…also um are you sure it’s been a thousand years because I don’t think the village is large enough to go for a thousand years in isolation without, y’know, terrible inbreeding… granted i don’t know a lot on this topic so maybe it did take place and there’s just no visible effect? the conclusion is I D K and i like overthinking children’s cartoons

don’t know about the father either way, but I also think the “the ocean
murdered my friend” would be a little too dark for this movie though.

the thousand years, I had a problem with that at firs too, but the point is,
Moana doesn’t just have stars in her eyes, she is very different in every
single aspect from anyone else on her island (and therefore conceivably from
anyone else on any other islands at that point in time too). It’s not just that
she wants to explore and has a huge curiosity (which, granted, I am sure others
have a lot too, like the father and his friend), but it is specifically that
the idea of monsters and death made her clap as a tiny little toddler.

is that she is very versatile and inventive and most of all, that she always
finds the best way out. She gets out of Maui’s
cave in minutes, gets the heart back from the Kakamora easily, jumps into the
kingdom of monsters without a second thought. She gets thrown around and poked
by a giant crab and still escapes using her wit and ingenuity.

she realizes that Te Fiti is not there, she immediately comes to the right
conclusion and looks for the spiral in Te Ka (I honestly did not come to this
conclusion when I first watched it, even with seeing the spiral, I thought Te
Ka had absorbed Te Fiti somehow or something) and then finds the exact right
way to calm Te Ka down so that she can replace the heart.

I mean with all of that is that she does not just want to be a hero, she does
all of this not for a reason (the “let’s save the world” is always
secondary, first always comes that she actually wants to do all these things
because they are appealing to her in themselves) but because in her heart she
has this hunger to do them. Monsters? Yeah, sure, bring them on! Sailing
through the ocean without knowing how? Of course, I’d love to!

attitude is what makes her the chosen one. Her actually wanting to do the
things the chosen one will have to do. I know that with all the TV and movies
and animes out there, it is hard to stay objective with what exactly it takes
to do those things when superheroes do them all the time without flinching, but
the difference is that superheroes and magical girls and all those other TV
characters always have another reason, saving the world, saving loved ones,
even saving themselves.

does have a reason like that too, she does have a world to save, but that is
not the actual reason she does it. The reason she does it is because she wants
to. She wanted to when she was barely able to walk and talk. And I have never
seen that anywhere and nor do I think that being born with this overwhelming desire
to do really exhausting and dangerous things anyone else only does only
reluctantly and only for an external reason is something that happens often.

the contrary, I don’t think it happens at all much. And that is where the
thousand years get believable, because if the ocean truly waited for someone
who would leap into the jaws of inevitable death not to save the world, not to
save anyone but truly just because they think it’s about the greatest thing you
can do, it would have to wait a long long time.

didn’t want just someone who reluctantly goes and saves the world, it wanted
someone who was truly excited about it and who truly wanted to go on this
adventure for internal reasons not external ones.

Also, I do think you are right with saying that Motunui is
probably the only island or one of a very small number of islands from which
someone could even safely sail to Maui in the
first place. The ocean saved Moana from the storm, yes, but it could only do so
because Moana was already really close to Maui’s
island. If the storm had happened further away (and I agree, there seem to be a
lot of big storms there), the ocean could not have done anything.

So we are talking about Moana being more or less one out of 10000,
taking about 500 people on Motunui at a time, three generations living together,
20 generations, 3 other islands of the same size in the same vicinity, which is
already generous, it was probably far less. But even this number is not really that
big, it’s not even one in a million and really if taking all the things I said
above into account, it’s quite believable (especially with the “they’d
have to understand that Te Ka is Te Fiti”, I think that is a big one).

So with that, I think it is believable that the ocean needed
a thousand years to find someone like that. Especially since we see that
everyone, Maui, Tamatoa, the Kakamora, the ocean, don’t even need a second
thought to know what the heart is, everyone still very much knows it, meaning
that for gods and elements like the ocean, a thousand years is probably not
even that much, more like the blink of an eye.

And the darkness didn’t spread that fast either, since if we
do go with the assumption that Motunui is relatively close to Maui, it’s also
relatively close to Te Fiti, so it should be one of the first islands to feel the
spread of darkness and it only now does. So conceivably, the ocean only started
to look for a child like Moana a few hundred years ago. But even if it had
started to look the instance Te Fiti turned into Te Ka, I do think it would have
had to search for a long time, as I said.

The question of inbreeding is interesting, but doesn’t apply
if we assume that the population of Motunui kept steady for those thousand
years. What we are shown in the first crowd scene in the ancestor song and then
in the last crowd scene when the boats get towed out of the waterfall is about
the same amount of people, each about 400 (there are about 200 visible and it’s
clear that in both shots only about half are shown from the angle they are
filmed), so since not all people of the village can have been there (infants,
old people), let’s go with 500 people.

Other crowd shots we see (when Moana presents as chief with
her father and mother, when the chief gathers everyone to talk about the
darkness coming) confirm this in that in each of them about 200-300 people are
visible and both don’t include children or very old people.

So if we start with 500 people and every single couple has
two children (to keep the population steady, this is just a roundabout, it
doesn’t have to be exactly two children per couple), each generation would
still have a lot of choice of non-related partners, especially if we take into
account that being related to each others ancestors after the fifth generation
doesn’t even matter at all anymore (meaning, if someone has the same
great-great-great grandparents as their partner it’s not inbreeding anymore
because the gene pool is already sufficiently different).

But yeah, as long as you keep the population small,
inbreeding is not a problem. And I know that feels unintuitive, at least it was
for me, because it feels like, wouldn’t it be better to make a lot of children
so that there’s more choice, but as the awesome @face–the–strange explained
to me (with the help of inbreeding diamonds, lol), the more children everyone
has, the more chance everyone goes and makes babies with everyone else and then
in the third or fourth generation everyone is related.

If you keep it relatively small (can’t start too small though,
over 200 or so would still be necessary), and have few children, there’s fewer
people you are related to that pick other people as partners to whom your
children then are also related to, so your progeny’s choice for an unrelated
partner stays far bigger even in subsequent generations.

Since on Motunui they canonically tell the stories of their
elders and therefore likely know who is related to whom even in the fourth or
fifth generation, I do not think that inbreeding is a problem at all, since the
population does not grow but remains steady at about 500, so finding an
unrelated partner should never be a problem.

yeah, I definitely love overthinking children’s cartoons too. 😀 It’s a great

“it is specifically that the idea of monsters and death made her clap as a tiny little toddler”

I mean… toddlers don’t really UNDERSTAND monsters and death? there’s only so special you can be at 2 years old. I don’t find it unrealistic that Moana was the only one on her island to be like that in her generation, but the ocean is full of other islands and it’s been ONE FUCKING THOUSAND YEARS. That’s like… if we count a generation every 20 years that’s 50 generations, and not a single time not a single kid was born who would also laugh and clap at the scary stuff?

And yes, Moana is crafty and quick and confident, but again – how unique are these traits? Rare, sure, but ONE THOUSAND YEARS AND AN OCEAN FULL OF ISLANDS. If one in a thousand people has these traits and there is a hundred people on one island in a generation, there’s one every ten generations – PER ISLAND. EDIT: If we take two hundred people in a generation, as you pointed out is closer to reality, that’s one every five generations. Per island.

To put it into more specific perspective: one thousand years is the time that has passed since Kyivska Rus (proto-Russia and proto-Ukraine) adopted Christianity, since Norman invasion of England, and it hasn’t been 1000 years since the Catholic/Orthodox schism. The entire history of Russia as a country to the north of Ukrainian lands spans less than 1000 years. The Mongolian invasion was less than 1000 years ago. 1000 years ago, Instanbul was still Constantinople. The Inca empire hadn’t existed 1000 years ago.


DISCLAIMER: all of the above was written BEFORE i read the part where you get to the math, and you estimate Moana as being one in 10 000, which makes it more believable but also doesn’t really make sense in itself imho

I don’t think that the ocean was capable of determining of Moana would know that Te Ka was Te Fiti (unless the logic was ‘well that’s obvious, of course she will’). That’s HER achievement, HER PERSONALLY being awesome, not the ocean’s achievement for finding someone for whom… this was an innate trait… visible at 2 years old?

the ocean picked her as a fearless, adventurous and kind 2 year old, again. She wasn’t chosen as an adult for all the wondrous things she became by then, which are yes, fair enough, pretty unique. But there’s only so unique you can be as a toddler. The ocean isn’t that fucking precognitive and I’ll fight for that.

…there is, however, another thing to this, as my conversation with my friends in person brought to light. Moana, for all that she was great and chosen, also didn’t set out just because she wanted to – which is to say, she did, and she got her tiny boat upended by the waves outside the lagoon, and she decided not to, just like her father before her. Moana really started her journey after, and because, HER ISLAND WAS NOW DYING. One thousand years is the length of time it took for the situation to become REALLY DESPERATE. Moana’s uniqueness was not so much as a kid with Very Special Personality (which I honestly overestimated even at 1 in 1000, seriously more like 1 in 50 at best nd even that seems like overselling it), but as a kid with that personality IN THAT SPECIFIC TIME AND PLACE. She was chosen from the bunch of kids that were listening to that story with her, not from ALL THE HUMANITY FOR ALL THE TIME.

Maybe until her, the ocean kept expecting that someone will set out on a journey and find the heart of Te Fiti on their own, and only became impatient enough to just GIVE IT TO SOMEONE by the time it was clear humanity just won’t survive another generation of twiddling their thumbs.

Aha, 500 people does sound more realistic for not inbreeding. I just, uh, am not really good at counting people. Whoops and thanks.

(also love your point about telling the stories of their elders and knowing who is related to whom! blessed be genealogy)

…really, I’m so adamant on the whole MOANA CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE IN ONE THOUSAND YEARS because it’s kind of. my worldview and my strong preference in fiction. a more or less average person in particular circumstances is WAYYY more interesting than A COMPLETELY UNIQUE PERSON NOBODY CAN EVEN RELATE TO BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST THAT INCREDIBLE

my enjoyment of this movie rests on Moana being while not completely average at the time she was chosen, maybe like… one out of twenty. She had this specific temperament and the kind of upbringing by her grandma and her father (and her mother, presumably, not that we know anything about her personality) that led to her being adventurous, fearless and empathetic

(and btw yeah the scene with the turtle is just as important as the clapping scene! the ocean chose Moana because she was kind at that age already! I keep forgetting because it’s not really a classical hero requirement, but of course this is a Disney movie)

it’s the same thing as with the ocean NOT choosing Moana to bring wayfinding to her people and this being her unrelated personal quest: not spelled out explicitly, but it’s just not fun if it’s any other way


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