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La Muerte

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Aw, you're so cute when you beg

—La Muerte

La Muerte, is the Ruler and Queen of the Land of the Remembered, and is a supporting character in The Book of Life. She is the estranged wife of Xibalba and is an ancient, immortal goddess of benevolence, kindness, goodness, generosity, purity, forgiveness, mercy, hope, love, passion, light and death.

She first entered the plot of the film when she and her husband Xibalba made a bet concerning who the mortals Maria, Manolo and Joaquín.

Physical Appearance

Despite being as old and ancient as time itself, La Muerte retains her vision of youth and radiant beauty. She is made entirely of white sugar candy, with black licorice hair and glowing, multi-colored eyes in shades of gold and red. She wears a red dress decorated with cempasuchil, marigold flowers, with lit white wax candles at the hem of her dress.

She also wears an extremely large, wide-brimmed sombrero bedecked with more lit candles and marigolds (her favorite flower), small skulls, pink-plumed, curly, swirly feathers, and palm leaves.

She also wears a circular gold locket on a choker.

Personality

La Muerte is a kind, truthful, sweet, generous goddess whose belief in the goodness and pureness of mortal-kind stems from her own heart, as well as from that of the departed and deceased mortal people who are now her citizens and subjects. She cares for everyone and anyone, no matter who they are, and will assist anyone who is need of her help, believing humankind to be completely pure. While La Muerte is very forgiving towards those who truly want to repent, she is also well known for her weakness for wagers. The only known bad side to her is when someone (i.e. Xibalba) cheats in wagers and bets, making her angry despite her sweet disposition.

Abilities

  • La Muerte can travel by disappearing and reappearing in nearby places, leaving a trail of flower petals.
  • She can also transform in many forms such as Mary Beth and an old woman.
  • She can levitate.
  • She can generate and control fire.
  • She can summon a person's body parts back to them if they've become detached.
  • In tandem with Xibalba and The Candlemaker, she can restore the dead back to life.

In The Book of Life

La Muerte and her husband, Xibalba, have been estranged for over a thousand years. Due to having a previous bet, in which Xibalba cheated, she rules the Land of the Remembered, while he rules the bleak Land of the Forgotten. Upon arriving at San Angel together to observe The Day of the Dead festivites, La Muerte remarks that Xibalba's heart has become as dark and cold as the land he now rules. The two have different ways of valuing human beings, as showed when La Muerte stops Xibalba from 'taking' an old man's life. When Xibalba begs for her to trade lands with him, LaMuerte playfully teases and scolds Xibalba reminding him that he is down there by his own doing. She also says that he "is not the man [she] fell in love with all those centuries ago."

Hoping to distract his wife and make a play for the Land of the Living, Xibalba suggests they make another wager. La Muerte is enraged at first, but accepts the idea of a betting game. This leads them to finding Manolo, Joaquin and Maria playing together. This leads to La Muerte choosing Manolo as her champion and blessing him to always have a good and pure heart. As part of the bet, La Muerte makes her husband promise not to interfere with the affairs of man should he lose the wager. Xibalba agrees and the wager is set.

La Muerte reappears on the day Maria returns to town at the bullfighting arena where she slaps Xibalba for staring at Maria and cheers for Manolo when he appears in the arena. She appears after the fight when Manolo sings and Maria hears his anguished song, obsering that the mortal girl was moved by Manolo's words. La Muerte appears again, when Manolo serenades Maria on her balcony.

She is not seen again until Manolo, along with his mother and grandfather, reach the Land of the Forgotten to tell her that Xibalba cheated in their wager. Upon learning of this, La Muerte roars in anger! Xibalba appears, thinking his wife wishes to see him and reconcile. Instead he sees Manolo and his relatives along with his infuriated wife. Learning about Xibalba's whole scheme involving the two-headed snake staff, and the Medal of Everlasting Life, La Muerte along with Carmen and Manolo demand Xibalba assist in bringing Manolo back to life. When he refuses, La Muerte tries to persuade him by calling him "Balby", but when he still refuses she becomes angered until Manolo suggests the alternative of his own bet. Offering up the right to give the Land of the Forgotten to her husband, La Muerte convinces Xibalba to give Manolo a fair chance.

La Muerte watches as Manolo meets his worst fear in the bull arena, and is happy to see him emerge victorious, as is the Candle-maker, and, to some extent, Xibalba. The three of them then give Manolo his life back. Later, the three of them use their powers on The Day of the Dead to bring Manolo's deceased family to help defend the town. After the town is saved and the Medal returned, La Muerte and Xibalba reconcile on the top of the church.

Back in the present day, the Tour guide (Mary) finishes her story and then leads the detention children back out to their bus. Waving goodbye, and saying one of the name of the youngest girl the guide reveals herself to have been La Muerte the entire time with the intention of teaching those children something about living and life.

Relationships

Xibalba

La Muerte is Xibalba's wife. They first met many thousands of years ago and many centuries ago. He calls her mi amor (my love).

They have a complicated relationship due to their different beliefs and the completely different, opposite antagonistic kingdoms, lands and realms they rule. La Muerte believes that humankind is completely good, true and pure. She is a sweet, kind character completely made out of sweet sugar candy and everything that is good and pure in the world, which makes her highly regarded and beloved by all mortal beings, by both the living and the souls and spirits of the dead . On the other hand, Xibalba thinks and believes that humankind is selfish, greedy, sinful, concerned only in its own interest. He is completely made out of black tar and everything icky in the world, and therefore hated and feared by all mortal beings both the living and the souls and spirits of the dead.

Despite their differences, La Muerte and Xibalba complement each other very well.

When they first appear, she was shown to be somewhat playful (presumably because it was the Day of The Dead), calling him "my love" and briefly reprimanding him for almost killing an elderly mortal man despite the end the man's life already being near. When he begs her to trade kingdoms, lands and realms with him, saying how much he has come to hate his, she gets rightly defensive, telling him that the only reason he ruled and lived where he did was because he had cheated in their last wager, and expressed her great sadness and disappointment in him for not being the man she'd fallen in love with so very long ago. Xibalba advised her not to focus on too much on the past, calling her "mi amor" though he was met with an angered grunt.

When he proposed a new wager she was slightly angry but couldn't help considering it. He bet that if his boy (Joaquin) married Maria, then he would finally rule over the Land of the Remembered. She, in turn, bet that if Manolo married Maria then he, Xibalba, would stop meddling and interfering in the affairs of humanity. When he complained about it, saying it was the only fun and enjoyment he ever gets outside of being ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, she was quick to call off the bet. In the end he reluctantly but lovingly agreed, much to her enjoyment. They then shook hands on it, making the wager official.

Ten years later, the wager appeared to be settled, looking as though Maria would have no choice but to marry Joaquin. With this, La Muerte accepted defeat and took her new place and role as ruler and queen of the Land of the Forgotten. She wasn't thrilled about it, but she honored the agreement. However, she later learned that he had cheated from Manolo. Extremely outraged, she summoned him to her by screaming his name at the top of her lungs and berated him, much to his shame and chagrin.

She then demanded that he give Manolo back his life, saying that "it was only fair." He refused, prompting her to ask politely and calls him affectionately by his nickname and pet name Balby. When he refused again, she angrily demanded that he do it, only to receive the same answer.

Later, she watched on in joy and amazement as Manolo ended up winning the wager. She then watched with Xibalba as both the living, the calavera, the calaca, and the Remembered band together to defeat Chakal. At Manolo and Maria's wedding ceremony, she watched with a smile, and listened to her husband Xibalba as he told her how she had "won his heart all over again." She then accepted his heartfelt apology, and pulled him in for a passionate kiss that sent up fireworks from her sombrero hat.

Back in the present, as the museum tour children leave, she changes back into her true goddess form to share another romantic moment and another passionate kiss with her husband.

Trivia

  • Her body is made out of sweet sugar candy.
  • La Muerte and Xibalba had many bets in between the time Manolo, María and Joaquín were children, until they were grown up. They mostly tied.[4]
  • La Muerte used to crush on and date mortals before she met Xibalba.[5]
  • The candles on La Muerte's dress and sombrero are humans' lives that mean something to her.[6]
  • La Muerte inherited the Land of the Remembered from her mother.[7]
  • La Muerte has a close resemblance to "Santa Muerte" a Mexican Goddess that bring people a swift and just death and prevents violent and unworthy demise.
  • The candles atop of her sombrero might be an indicator of her emotions as shown in the part where she Shouted in fury when she realized Xibalba cheated once more and the flames of the candles enlarged and thus lighting the whole dark place of the Land of the Forgotten.
  • La Muerte is said to be a few centuries younger than her husband, Xibalba.
  • La Muerte had won a different wager before with Xibalba. Though it wasn't fully depicted.
  • She transform into a mortal twice in the film: as Mary Beth and as an old lady inside the story.
  • La Muerte's ears aren't visible.

Gallery

Toys

Posters

Movie

References

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