King Triton is a major character who first appeared in the 1989 Disney animated film The Little Mermaid.
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The prequel film, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, initially depicts Triton as a devoted and loving father and husband. After his wife's death, he becomes much more strict, but eventually comes to terms with the incident, showing this by allowing music back into Atlantica after previously banning it in the wake of the tragedy. He served as one of the main characters for most of the film, but later becomes a protagonist near the end.
The television series, set before the events of the original film, shows Triton to be a wise ruler. His opinion of humans is also well-depicted. Though he's constantly at odds with Ariel regarding humans and dangerous adventures, he has shown to have a large feeling of guilt for upsetting his beloved daughter.
In the original film, Triton is shown to be a caring father. However, his opinion regarding humans often led to personality conflicts with Ariel. He is shown to have an explosive temper when angered.
By the time of the sequel, Triton has become accepting of humans. He has a notable soft spot for Melody and highly values her safety. He's presented as still very wise, though incredibly toned down temper wise. However, his aggressive nature remains in times of crises.
A muscular merman with a long white beard and hair, and a turquoise fishtail. He wears gold vambraces on each of his arms, matching his golden crown. He is usually seen wielding a triton.
Triton was the Son of Poseiden. As a young man, he had green skin and webbed feet. He changed slightly in the Little Mermaid Series. He is the Father of the Daughters of Triton
In the original film, 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.
Triton first appears at a concert in Atlantica, presented by the seahorse serving as the host. After Sebastian the crab, the distinguished royal court composer and Triton's loyal servant, is presented, Triton and Sebastian have a discussion about how they anticipate the concert due to Ariel, Triton's youngest daughter, is supposed to make her musical debut. But Ariel turns out to be absent, to Triton's extreme fury.
After an initial argument with Ariel over her latest trip to the surface, Triton orders Sebastian to keep an eye on her. When Triton learns that Ariel saved the life of, and fallen in love with, 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 horrified over his actions, leaves Ariel tearfully alone in her grotto in shame.
Later on, after Ariel runs away from home in search of the sea witch Ursula, Triton orders a search for her to apologize for what he had done, 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. Ariel apologizes to her father, who attempts to destroy the contract between Ariel and Ursula, to no avail. Upon learning from Ursula that Ariel had signed an agreement with Ursula and that she may be willing to make an exchange for someone even better, Triton willingly takes his daughter's place, despite knowing the cost of his choice. Triton is temporarily transformed into a polyp, but after Ursula is destroyed, he is restored to his original form and regains both his crown and his trident, as well as his regal status.
By the end of the film, Triton has softened his attitude that he was making a mistake thought humans are vicious, but he's wrong. Noticing how Ariel loves Prince Eric (who has destroyed Ursula and, subsequently, saved Triton's life and the entire kingdom of Atlantica) as much as Triton loves his daughter as well as considering Sebastian's statement "Children got to be free to lead their own lives," transforms Ariel into human once again, allowing Ariel to be with Eric. He is later seen at the wedding of Ariel and Eric, where he gives his daughter a heartwarming hug and accepts Eric as son-in-law.
King Triton also appeared in The Little Mermaid animated TV series. According to the cartoon series, Triton was the son of Poseidon and the grandson of Neptune, of whom he had many fond memories. 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).
He does seem to have some confidence in his daughter's abilities, as he once allows her to go and explore the source of a trail of pollution. He would later travel to the surface (said to be one of the first times he had been there), using his trident to create storms to drive the last bit of pollution away.
Triton's rule of Atlantica is also shown in some detail. Besides Sebastian, he also confides in an elderly sea turtle named Dudley, who serves as an advisor.
Triton appears in the sequel, The Little Mermaid II: Return To The Sea. He seems to trust humans - or at least his son-in-law, Eric - by the time of this film. Upon the birth of Ariel and Eric's daughter Melody, he attends a celebration of her birth that takes place at sea. As a gift, he gives Melody a special locket that reveals a picture of Atlantica. However, his love for his granddaughter proves to be a weakness, which is exploited by Morgana, Ursula's younger sister. Morgana attacks the ceremony, desiring to avenge Ursula, and demands Triton's trident in exchange for Melody's safety. While Ariel and Eric are able to foil Morgana's plot, Ariel makes the decision to withhold all knowledge of Atlantica and mermaids for Melody's safety. A sea wall is put up around the kingdom, cutting Triton off from his daughter and granddaughter.
Twelve years later, Triton is met at sea by Eric and Ariel, who explain that Melody has gone missing. Triton transforms Ariel into a mermaid to assist in the search. Triton and Ariel eventually find Melody with Morgana. With Melody ignorant of her true heritage, Morgana had convinced the girl that Triton had stolen the trident from her. Melody had been transformed into a mermaid and tasked with retrieving the trident, as only Triton or one of his descendants could remove it from its resting place. Despite Ariel's protests, Melody gives the trident to Morgana, resulting in an epic battle. Eventually, Triton is able to retrieve his trident after Melody steals it back. Triton then uses the trident to freeze Morgana in a block of ice, which sinks to the bottom of the sea. Triton offers to allow Melody to become a mermaid permanently. However, she instead requests that he remove the sea wall, reuniting the humans and the merpeople.
In the 2008 direct-to-DVD prequel The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Triton appears and serves as the main anti-hero, but becomes one of the main protagonists near the end of the film. An opening prologue shows King Triton's wife, Queen Athena. The pair had a loving relationship. However, Athena was crushed to death by a pirate ship while trying to save the music box, King Triton gave her as an anniversary present. Triton was so broken-hearted by her death that he banned music from Atlantica and forced everyone to follow a strict daily schedule. 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.
In the film, Jim Cummings took over as the voice of Triton since his original voice actor Kenneth Mars was unavailable at that time due to health problems - Mars died three years after the prequel film's release.
- King Triton possibly based on Neptune, the Roman god of freshwater and sea.
- The original Triton is from Greek Mythology and has two finned feet.