Prince (later King) Eric is Ariel's husband and deuteragonist of The Little Mermaid. He is also Melody's father. He is the fourth official Disney Prince. He loves Ariel very much, grateful for her heroism and enchanted by her beautiful singing.
Eighteen-year-old Eric Eric, along with his man-servant Grimsby and crew of sailors are enjoying another day sailing out in the sea. Eric overhears sailors talking about King Triton, ruler of the merpeople, which makes him curious, but Grimsby brushes it off as nonsense. He is about 5”11.
One night, as Eric is celebrating his birthday out in the sea, it is revealed the crew is awaiting the day that Eric marries. Eric has turned down at least one princess as a prospective bride, the princess of Glowerhaven, claiming that he is still looking for the right girl. When a storm hits and lightning sets the ship ablaze, everyone manages to escape to the lifeboat, but Eric climbs back onto the burning ship to save his pet sheepdog, Max who was trapped. He manages to toss the dog into the sea, but he is still aboard once the fire reaches some explosives on the ship, causing the ship to explode. When Ariel finds an unconscious Eric in the water, she drags him to shore and sings to him, but before he can fully regain consciousness, Max and Grimsby arrive, forcing Ariel to dive underwater. Eric tells Grimsby that the former had been saved by a girl with a most beautiful singing voice, but Grimsby, thinking Eric has swallowed too much seawater, carries him back to his palace.
When Eric is seen again, he is on the beach outside his palace with Max, still haunted by Ariel's singing voice and playing Ariel's song on his tin whistle, and has been searching the kingdom for her. But then Max starts to bark excitedly and run off, making Eric follow the dog, who leads him to Ariel, who has been transformed into a human by Ursula. He initially finds her familiar, but her lack of a voice, due to Ariel trading her voice for a pair of legs, makes him think that she cannot be the girl who rescued him. However, he brings her back to his palace and they spend time together. After some advice from Grimsby, Eric takes Ariel on a tour of his kingdom. That evening, the two go on a boat ride in which Sebastian leads a group of animals in a chorus of "Kiss the Girl" in an attempt to get Eric to fall in love with Ariel and kiss her, so that she can remain human. Just as the two come close to kissing, Ursula's eels, Flotsam and Jetsam intervene by tipping over their boat.
That night, as Eric plays Ariel's song on his tin whistle, Grimsby advises Eric to forget about his "dream girl", and focus on the one "warm, caring, and right before his eyes". He apparently does so, throwing his flute into the sea. But before he can approach Ariel, Ursula, who has transformed herself into a human girl named Vanessa arrives and uses Ariel's voice trapped in her seashell to hypnotize Eric into believing she is the girl who saved his life, causing him to forget all about Ariel. Eric almost marries Vanessa, but before the vows are completed, Ariel's seagull friend Scuttle learns Vanessa's true identity and leads the same group of birds and sea creatures that sung to Ariel and Eric on a mission to stop the wedding while Ariel, with the help of her companion Flounder, swim to the wedding ship. During the chaos, the seashell around Vanessa's neck is smashed, freeing Ariel's voice, allowing it to return to its rightful owner. Eric, who has come out of the trance spell, sees Ariel who is finally able to talk again and realizes that Ariel is in fact the girl he has been looking for.
But before they can kiss, the sun sets, and Ariel is transformed back into a mermaid. Vanessa transforms back into Ursula, takes Ariel as her prisoner, and dives into the ocean. Determined not to lose Ariel again, Eric goes after them, diving into the sea to help his endangered love. He hits Ursula with a harpoon, and Ursula instructs her pet eels Flotsam and Jetsam to strangle Eric, but Flounder and Sebastian extricate him. Ursula attempts to finish Eric off with a trident she has gotten from King Triton, but due to Ariel's intervention, she accidentally destroys her eels instead. Eric and Ariel attempt to escape from an enraged Ursula, who enlarges herself into a giant. Ursula then separates Eric from Ariel as she traps the mermaid princess in the bottom of a whirlpool Ursula has created. While Ursula is concentrating on finishing Ariel, Eric climbs onto one of the shipwrecks that have surfaced as a result of the whirlpool, takes control of the ship and steers it toward Ursula who is about to pulverize Ariel by using the trident. Suddenly, Eric kills Ursula by plunging the ship's splintered bow through her belly, saving Ariel, as well as the entire underwater kingdom of Atlantica, in the process. Ursula, while also being backfired by the energy of the trident, uses her last breaths to bring the ship down with her, but Eric jumps off in time.
Eric manages to reach the shore and collapses from exhaustion. When he wakes up, he sees Ariel, transformed back into a human (courtesy of King Triton), and the two embrace finally kissing for the first time. The film ends with their wedding, at which Eric and Ariel exchange vows, and Triton accepts Eric as his son-in-law.
The prequel television series is set before the events of the 1989 film, and focuses almost entirely on Ariel. However, Eric makes very brief cameo appearances in three episodes. Preserving the continuity where Eric and Ariel only first met in the original film, the two never met each other in the television series, despite appearing side-by-side.
The first cameo occurs in Season 1 episode "Thingamajigger". This episode implies that Eric plays a significant role in altering Ariel's perception of humans. Through dialogue, Ariel says that despite her fascination with human things, she is fearful of humans because of the stories she's been told since she was little. But when she witnesses Eric release a trapped dolphin from a net, she starts doubting the truth of those stories. To avoid messing up the film's story, Ariel does not see Eric's face, and Eric does not see Ariel at all.
In the Season 3 episode "Scuttle", Ariel and her friends stop a bunch of pirates from boarding a vessel, which turns out to be Eric's royal barge. Ariel does not see Eric at all, but Eric briefly glimpses Ariel from a distance, though Grimsby brushes it off as his imagination.
In a later Season 3 episode "Ariel's Treasures", Eric is seen briefly aboard a ship, from which a human item falls and is later collected by Ariel.
In the 2000 direct-to-video sequel, Eric is a supporting character. Although happily married to Ariel, the couple have a problem in protecting their daughter Melody from Ursula's sister, Morgana. Morgana blames everyone on board Eric's ship for killing Ursula although it was only Eric who skewered Ursula. Eric does not contribute to the plot, instead playing a supporting role in helping Ariel and/or Melody. However, he was the one who convinced Ariel to temporarily transform into a mermaid to help their daughter. After Morgana is defeated and encased into a sea-witch-sickle, Ariel and Eric owe Melody an apology. In the end, he was reunited with Ariel and Melody as humans and merfolk began celebrating together. This makes him the first and only father of the Disney Princes in the franchise and this movie.
House of Mouse
Eric appears as one of the guests in the 2001-2003 animated television series House of Mouse, usually sitting next to Ariel. His notable appearance is in the episode "Goofy's Valentine Date", where in that episode Ariel was seen staring affectionately at him. In the same scene, Goofy reads out the valentine specials on the menu, sobbing away his misery for not having a Valentine's Day date.
Once Upon a Time
Eric appears on the third season of the hit fantasy drama and he is played by Gil McKinney. It is implied that like many of the denizens of Fairytale Land, he was likely transported to Storybrooke by the Dark Curse. His first appearance is in the episode, "Ariel", which takes place before the Dark Curse. In his kingdom, Prince Eric holds a ball. He is immediately drawn to Ariel and he asks her to dance with him. While they dance he tells Ariel that he will be leaving the next morning on an adventure to see the world and asks Ariel to go with him. Ariel relays this information back to Snow White who tells Ariel to be honest with the prince however Ariel is reluctant as she does not want to be rejected by the prince by telling him she is a mermaid.
Ariel later returns to the dock by Eric's palace as she is about to yell Eric's name her voice has vanished. Regina tells Ariel that Ariel will not have a second chance at true love and that she took her voice so Ariel can never tell Prince Eric how she truly feels.
In tears, a muted Ariel heads back to the sea. 29 years later in Neverland, Regina and Mr. Gold are by the banks of a lake. Regina whispers something into a sea shell that causes Ariel to appear. Regina returns Ariel's voice to her and asks her to go to return to Storybrooke so Ariel can retrieve a weapon from Mr. Gold's shop that will be strong enough to stop Peter Pan. Regina then promises Ariel that she can be a human permanently and if she goes to Storybrooke she will find Eric there. After Ariel completes her mission and permanently becomes human, she finds Eric working as a fisherman. The two of them are then reunited and reconcile.
When Storybrooke vanishes all of its residents, including Eric and Ariel, are sent back to the Enchanted Forest. Eric is kidnapped by Blackbeard and is left all alone on a deserted island. Ariel eventually finds Eric on the island where they are reunited.
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