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The Mind-Blowing Encanto Candle Theory That Will Change How You View Abuela Alma

"Encanto" fever has swept the world. The film tells the story of the magical Madrigal family, who help take care of their small Colombian town thanks to the fact that they all have a special ability — well, all of them except our protagonist, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Fans have fallen in love with the enchanting Madrigals, and when a fanbase falls in love with a movie, fan theories often follow.

Fan theories come in all shapes and sizes. Some rely on a small bit of information or background detail that is used to open the door to a bigger, sometimes universe-shaking idea. Others merely shift the perspective on the story, often revealing a darker side that you may not have considered. In the "Encanto" fandom, fans have theorized that the Casita is actually inhabited by the spirit of Pedro, that Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero) sees her family as magical tools, that Bruno's (John Leguizamo) departure from the family so broke Abuela Alma's heart that the family refrained from talking about him afterward, and that Mirabel is not giftless after all, but magically linked to the Casita's abilities. 

Fans posting to the fan theories subreddit have a brand new theory connected to Abuela Alma and the magical candle that originally granted her family their abilities. And it's a theory that just might change the way you think of her.

Fans think that Abuela Alma subconsciously chose her family's gifts

In a thread on the r/FanTheories subreddit, u/TrashbagTatertots posits that the person who holds the candle can subconsciously choose the gifts of their progeny through their hopes and dreams for the child's future. This is why all of Alma's children and grandchildren bear useful skills that would have helped the Madrigals foster peace, harmony, and prosperity in Encanto. They note that each of the triplets bears a magical ability that are "all things that Alma would have been desperate for as the governess of a new community that had nothing but the clothes on their backs and a magic house to babysit the children for them."

To wit, Pepa (Carolina Gaitán) can control the weather with her emotions, and thus can "ensure sustainable food." Bruno is gifted with the ability to predict the future, which would allow him to "warn of coming danger." And Julieta (Angie Cepeda) is able to cook meals that foster physical and emotional care in others, thus providing "healing for the injured and sick."

U/TrashbagTatertots points out that many of Alma's grandchildren also have particularly useful magical abilities. Take, for instance, Dolores' (Adassa) super-hearing, which helps ensure "that anyone who gets lost, hurt, or otherwise separated from everyone can still be heard calling for help." Or look at Isabela (Diane Guerrero), who is there to help "carry all the family's success into the new generation as a symbol of its literal growth and fertility."

And Mirabel? She's Alma's torchbearer — the one who will be the Holder of the Candle after Alma's passing. In fact, u/TrashbagTatertot thinks Mirabel is the one who picked Antonio's gift thanks to the toys she's given him.

The Madrigals get their power back because Alma finally lets go

Not only does u/TrashbagTatertot believe that Mirabel is Alma's successor, but they also think that the reason why all of the Madrigals get their powers back at the end of "Encanto" is because Alma has "finally accepted that she should step down. She's learned to let go, she no longer needs to guide the Encanto, she's been ruling out of fear that she would lose her home again.. and she did." They then add, "[Alma] faced her worst fear and realized that it really wasn't so bad after all, because her granddaughter was able to lead the family through the strife she was afraid to face."

This theory has proven to be popular on the subreddit, gaining over a thousand upvotes at press time. "This is one of the most beautifully well thought out theories for a Disney movie I've ever heard," said u/deathbyoats. "Detailed and fits with the story's themes of loss and family trauma. Well done!" said u/Vexelius. "I would be disappointed if this wasn't the intention of the writers from the beginning, it's just too good!" said u/Steverz.

Whether or not the film's writers intended for this theory to reflect the reality of "Encanto," they've definitely inspired the movie's fans to dream.