- This article is about the character from The Little Mermaid. For the Hercules version of the character, see Triton (Hercules).
- “I consider myself a reasonable merman... I set certain rules and I expect those rules to be obeyed!”
- ―King Triton to Ariel.
King Triton is a major character who first appeared in the 1989 Disney animated film the Little Mermaid. He was voiced by the late Kenneth Mars in the first 2 films and by Jim Cummings in the 2008 prequel. He is based on the Greek god Triton, who is the son of Poseidon.
The reason for his constant clashes with Ariel, as told by directors Ron Clements and John Musker, is that he is very strong-willed and independent, like his daughter. Ariel is said to be Triton's favorite child, because as a child, he also had red hair and sees himself most in Ariel. The strong resemblance between Ariel and her mother, Athena, probably also plays a role in his favoritism.
Triton is the ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantica. He is a muscular merman, the widower of the late Queen Athena, and the father of Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, Alana and Ariel. He is also the father-in-law of Prince Eric and the grandfather of Ariel and Eric's daughter Melody. As King of Atlantica, he has in his possession a powerful magical trident which appears to be made of gold. It emits a glowing light and a typical sound when in use. Furthermore, he has a crown and two armbands, which also appear to be made out of gold.
His archenemy was Ursula, the old sea witch who was once a senior member of the Court of King Triton. For many years, she had been seeking a way to exact her revenge upon him for banishing her from the kingdom.
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 the main antagonist/anti-hero 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 xenophobia 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 xenophobia 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.
Triton's supervising animator in the original film was Andreas Deja. King Triton is an old, large merman with bushy, light grey eyebrows and long, white hair. He also has blue eyes. He has a thick, white beard and mustache and a widow's peak hairline. He is well muscled and wears gold gauntlets with several studs on them on each wrist. As a merman, Triton's lower body is that of a dark blue fish with cyan, translucent fins. As signs of his royal status, Triton wears a yellow, five-pointed crown that resembles a sea star on his head, and carries the legendary trident, a golden, three-pronged weapon with powerful magical abilities.
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 became a human. Triton is briefly seen suffering extreme remorse over what he had done, blaming himself for Ariel's disappearance. 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.
In the 1992 Disney Special "Sebastian's Party Gras", Sebastian and his performing friend, Sam Wright, are back for another spectacular show at New Orleans Square in Walt Disney World! Kids at home are invited to "Twist And Shout", join a "Conga Line" and do the "Limbo Rock"! Combining colorful animation and engaging live entertainment, "Sebastian's Party Gras" introduces the Little Mermaid's father, King Triton, who urges Sebastian to conduct his concerts under the sea only! But through the magic of music, the King changes his tune, learning that when you "Give A Little Love", "Life Is A Magic Thing" indeed!
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.
On the show, King Triton and Poseidon are the same character, portrayed by Ernie Hudson and had a similar backstory to the movie. In this version, his daughter is Ursula and not Ariel. He lost his wife, killed by a pirate and develop a xenophobic grudge against humans and use the voice talent of his daughter Ursula for to lure sailor. However, she prevent to attack the Jolly Roger, saving Captain Hook and his crew. In grudge with her father, she steal a magic bracelet from his vault, allowing to become human. She becomes a pub singer and befriend Hook. However, this last conclude a pact with Poseidon to trap her singing voice within an enchanted shell in exchange for squid ink, for to neutralized his nemesis Rumplestiltskin. Instead, Ursula steal herself the ink from the vault for him just as her father arrives to take the procured item away. Angered that the ink has been crushed, Hook remove her voice so the King can never used her to sink another ship again. Betrayed and developping a great heat against the human and her own specie, Ursula choose she no longer wants to be a mermaid and use her father's trident to transform her fin into tentacles, becoming the Sea Witch.
King Triton plays a role in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, again as Ariel's overprotective father who openly berates the worlds outside the ocean floor. In the original game, he appears to have impressive knowledge of the worlds outside Atlantica, despite said worlds supposedly being a secret. Triton also shows awareness of the Keyblade and its lore, proving he's been aware of the events of the Kingdom Hearts universe even longer than the protagonist Sora. He is voiced by Kenneth Mars in English, and His Japanese voice is done by Taro Ishida.
Triton makes his first appearance in the series' flagship installment, Kingdom Hearts where he forbids Sora, Donald, and Goofy from interacting with his world in their quest to find and seal the keyhole, knowing Ariel's fascination with worlds outside of Atlantica would lead her into trouble during the trio's mission. However, after Ursula causes havoc in search of the keyhole, as well, Triton leaves it in the hands of Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Ariel to stop her, eventually revealing the keyhole to be within Ariel's grotto.
In Kingdom Hearts II, the king's worries are switched from Ariel's obsession with the worlds outside of Atlantica, to the human world above the sea surface. To revert her mind from it, he asks Sora, Donald, and Goody to help Ariel instead focus on Sebastian's concert, in which she's set to sing in. Things take a turn for the worse when Ursula returns and attacks, taking over the sea and transforming Triton into a polyp. However, due to the actions of Prince Eric, the heroes are able to save the day, and the king, teaching Triton the surface isn't all bad, thus allowing his daughter access to the surface, as well as Eric's hand in marriage.
King Triton made a few cameos in the series House of Mouse. In "Jiminy Cricket", he was seen sitting alongside Rafiki, Grandmother Willow and Merlin the Wizard. In "Salute to Sports", when Mickey said he wanted the audience to do the wave, Triton summoned an actual wave. In "Pete's House of Villains", Ursula was in charge at the reservation desk and refused to let Triton in the club. Instead, she morphed him into a polyp again.
His role in the musical is similar to that of the original film. However, it also adds in a twist that Ursula is his sister (based on a deleted concept from the original film). It also reveals that the reason why he banished Ursula was because of her attempting to gain the Trident when she was inherited with the nautilus.
Triton is featured in several attractions in the park often related to the film in which he originated from.
For the interactive attraction, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, King Triton has his own spell card known as "King Triton's Trident".
In The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, King Triton can be seen as an audio animatronic at the end of the ride, celebrating Ariel and Eric's wedding.
Triton also appears in the SpectroMagic parade with a lit up trident.
In 'Voyage of the Little Mermaid, King Triton makes a vocal appearance in the beginning of the show confronting Ariel about humans. Triton reappears in animation on screen with Sebastian speaking as he did in the end of the original film.
At the Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Triton's likeness can be found alongside other Little Mermaid characters as a 35-foot tall statue seen in the Little Mermaid courtyard.
- King Triton possibly based on Neptune, the Roman god of freshwater and sea.
- Since he is mentioned to be the son of Poseidon in The Little Mermaid animated series, he could in fact be the same Triton from Hercules: The Animated Series. However, the other Triton is more amphibious and resembles Hercules with green skin while King Triton is a merman known to have had red hair in his child hood. Plus, the same TV series also states that King Triton's grandfather was named Neptune, which wouldn't have been possible either way (as Neptune and Poseidon were the same mythological character, however Disney doesn't follow the Mythology 100% so it could be assumed they just chose those names due to them being the most popular for "sea king" names and they are the easiest to remember). Another possible explanation for this seeming discrepancy is that the names "Neptune", "Poseidon" and "Triton" are, in fact, regnal names that represent the traditional naming conventions of Atlantica's Royal dynasty. With this in mind, King Triton, his father Poseidon, his grandfather Neptune, and their ancestors are merely taking on the names of the original Olympian sea deities; much like the monarchs of many on-land kingdoms.
- The original Triton is from Greek Mythology and has two finned feet.
- Triton is one of only two parents of a Disney Princess to be featured in a large amount of marketing apparel and merchandise. The other being the Sultan.
- While Belle's father, Maurice from Beauty and the Beast, Jasmine's father, the Sultan of Agrabah from Aladdin and Jane's father, Archimedes Q. Porter from Tarzan never show how they reacted to their wife's deaths, in The Little Mermaid III, King Triton reacted to his wife's death by banning music from his kingdom, much to the dismay of Aquata, Alana, Attina, Adella, Arista, Andrina and especially, Ariel until she herself showed him the error of his ways by showing him her mother's music box 10 years later.
- Contrary to popular belief, Ariel's Beginning does NOT indicate that King Triton hated humans as a result of Athena's death, as there was nothing indicating that Triton even held humanity responsible for her demise, and Marina del Ray surfacing at one point shortly after her promotion strongly implies that he didn't institute a ban on the surface.
- Presumably because of the huge popularity of his debut film, certain elements of King Triton's design (namely the primarily white hair with gray eyebrows) were later incorporated into the fathers of the female protagonists of both Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
- A Homage is made to King Triton in The Princess and the Frog as he appears as a parade float during the Mardi Gras Parade.
- The Little Mermaid episode "Red" shows that he used to have bright red hair. When he reverts to his normal age, his hair lightens to auburn (as seen in the prequel), then orange, yellow and finally white.
- In the Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers episode "One-Upsman-Chip", there was a merman statue in a sea based restaurant that strongly resembled King Triton. This could have been in honor of The Little Mermaid movie because this episode aired nine days after the film's release.
- In all the movies his eyes colors have been changing. In the first and in the second movie his eyes were blue but in the third they changed into green pistachio.
- King Triton has some similarities with King Gregor from Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
- Both are good kings.
- Both have white mustaches and beards.
- Both are widowers.
- Both have a princess for a daughter, whom they have a loving, yet occasionally strained relationship with.(Triton for Ariel, and Gregor for Calla).
- Both bravely fight to protect their kingdoms from many villains and dangers.
- Both have a nemesis who was once part of their kingdom, but were banished for trying to usurp the throne and plans to take over the kingdom (Triton for Ursula, and Gregor for Duke Igthorn).
Incorporated Films and shorts: Alice in Wonderland | Aladdin/The Return of Jafar | Beauty and the Beast | Cinderella | Fantasia | Hercules | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Lilo & Stitch | The Lion King | The Little Mermaid | Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers | Mulan | The Nightmare Before Christmas | Peter Pan | Pinocchio | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl | Sleeping Beauty | Steamboat Willie | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Tarzan | Tron/Tron: Legacy | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Villains: Master Xehanort | Ansem | Xemnas | Maleficent/Dragon Maleficent | Pete | Organization XIII | Vanitas | Xigbar/Braig | Xaldin | Vexen | Lexaeus | Zexion | Saïx/Isa | Demyx | Luxord | Marluxia | Larxene | Terra-Xehanort | Young Xehanort | Xehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy Cricket | Naminé | Ansem the Wise/DiZ | Yen Sid | Xion | Axel/Lea | Master Eraqus | Dilan | Even | Aeleus | Ienzo | Lingering Will | Data Sora | Data Riku | Data Naminé | Data Roxas | Hayner | Pence | Olette | Riku-Ansem | Kairi's Grandma | Riku Replica | Anti-Saïx | Anti-Sora | Anti-Riku | Sora-Heartless | Jiminy's Journal
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen Minnie | Daisy Duck | Pluto | Tarzan | Winnie the Pooh | Aladdin | Genie | Tron | Magic Brooms | Peter Pan | Quasimodo | Judge Claude Frollo | Merlin | Tigger | Eeyore | Rabbit | Ariel | Mulan | Mushu | Jack Sparrow | Chernabog | Simba | Timon | Pumbaa | Nala | King Triton | Jafar/Genie Jafar | Alice | Cheshire Cat | Jack Skellington | Esmeralda | Phoebus | Beagle Boys | Scrooge McDuck | Huey, Dewey and Louie | Master Control Program | Sark | CLU | Rinzler | Beast | Stitch | Hercules | Tick-Tock the Crocodile | Snow White | Wendy (More coming soon)
Objects: Sea-salt ice cream | Wayfinder | Door to Darkness | Keyblade | X-blade | Mickey's Letters | Thalassa Shell | Kingdom Hearts Encoder | Keychain | Gummi Blocks | Bug Blox | Black coat| | Keyblade Armor
Locations: Land of Departure | Disney Castle | Disney Town | Timeless River | Datascape | Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion | Keyblade Graveyard | Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | Dive to the Heart | End of the World | Realm of Darkness | Castle Oblivion | Twilight Town | The World That Never Was | Castle That Never Was | Halloween Town | Neverland | Wonderland
Music: Dearly Beloved | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary | Mickey Mouse Club March | Swim This Way | Part of Your World | Under the Sea | Ursula's Revenge | A New Day is Dawning | Destati | Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | He's a Pirate | Beauty and the Beast | This is Halloween | It's a Small World | Night on Bald Mountain | Winnie the Pooh | The Sorcerer's Apprentice | The Pastoral Symphony
Soundtracks: Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - Additional Tracks | Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack Complete | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack