Do you know why the phoenix sits at the entrance of our shrine? She is the emissary for our ancestors… Some say the phoenix is consumed by flame and emerges again. I think she can survive a broken wing.

The Movie: Mulan (2020)

And this quote struck deeply while I was watching Mulan a few weeks ago.

The movie Mulan, a Disney remake of the same title follows the story of a young girl Mulan who leaves her family to fight in a war for her people as a man, Hua Jun, since females were forbidden from becoming warriors and using their ‘chi’, or life force. From masterful disguises to sorcery, we are led on a tale of intrigue and magic that is truly a staple of Disney’s making.

In a couple of scenes, we saw the presence of a colourful rainbow-plumed bird which follows Mulan and more than once waives her away from danger.

And while Mulan didn’t capture the one thing the phoenix is known for which is resurrection, we see this in the character of Mulan who keeps getting up and moving in spite of various challenge.

Mulan teaches us resilience in a way that is very relatable-and endearing-especially because we may need just a tripe amount of it this year- with its many colours of grief and uncertainty.

And while the prospect of rising up and being born anew is certainly enticing to me, it’s equally important to learn from one’s mistakes.

Because I’ve realized that most times, mistakes are what keeps us from moving forward.

And this is not always so obvious because mistake often masks itself as failure.

But who says anyone has ever reached the finish line without falling a little?


A particular scene in the movie ushers us to an exchange between Mulan and Xianniang, the Witch on the opposing side, who though not part of the main cast in the 2004 original movie, is introduced as a protagonist in the remake.

It’s too late for me,” Xianniang intones, and transforms into her falcon form—not to escape, but to lead the way for Mulan to save the Emperor from Böri Khan, and to seal her own fate.

Xianniang is the witch woman who stands on the side of the opposition, with Bori Khan, the enemy of the empire. And in the end accepting the old order of things, was a lot easier than turning a new leaf.

This is because mistakes can be burdens if they are not seen for the very thing they are: lessons.

And preferably instead of being buried or shunned, they should be faced, with honesty.

One of the issues this scene presented (P.S I am usually not a movie critique), was that the timeless feminist trope the movie Mulan had woven, which gave rise to a character like Xiannniang in the first place was tinctured by her death, which in spite of her destructive past, was not gratifying to watch.

This is because with a character like Xianniang getting redemption- becoming a true warrior and gaining her family’s honour-would have certainly made a better story than her self-sacrifice which removes her from the plot and exalts another common trope-the existence of just one woman in the midst of a sea of men.

 This is a consolation only because it inadvertently paves the way for our other female hero, Mulan.

But her death sucked nonetheless!

And just like it is in real life, some people do not get a clean slate or mythical resurrections.

We get to face our problem or shameful situations and if we’re lucky, overcome them.

In an earlier article, I shared a few ways one can face a problem or uncomfortable situation and move ahead of them

 I called this- F.O.L

  • Face it
  • Own it
  • Learn from it.

And this is very important when facing our mistakes.

And sometimes, with all its ugly faces, our mistakes are the lessons we carry on the path to growth. We may not get magic fixes or mythical second chances but with a lot of believing, and tenacity, we can start from where we are and make our lives the very best we can.


Sedo Elijah Ebinne

Sedo is a writer and poet. He’s the principal writer of the SEDO WRITES section in this blog. A romantic, he attempts to fuse his passion for aesthetics and culture with varying themes he considers to be much more important. He lives in Enugu State, Nigeria with his four dogs. You can reach him on twitter @lettersfromsedo and on his website. Don’t forget to post your comment(s) below.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About the author

I'm Dav-Oz, and  I'm the Chief Editor of The Dav-Oz Blog, a graphic designer and upcoming fashion designer.

I'm just your regular young Nigerian lad with dreams and hope for a better future.


  1. I must say, the writer got me hooked from start to finish. Great piece. And please do more of movie reviews like this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *