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Everything you own, everything you love, will be mine!
~ Rothbart

Rothbart, also known as Rothbart the Spell-Weaver, is the main antagonist in the 1994 animated fantasy film The Swan Princess and the 2012 computer-animated fantasy film The Swan Princess Christmas, a posthumous character in The Swan Princess 2 and The Swan Princess 3 (he appears in the latter via flashback). He is an evil enchanter who kidnapped and changed Princess Odette into a swan. In Tchaikovski's ballet, Swan Lake, he is based on the sorcerer Von Rothbart who transformed the actual princess into a swan, planning to have his own daughter marry the prince.

In the first film, he was voiced by the late Jack Palance, who also played Carl Grissom in Tim Burton's Batman. In the second sequel and the animated computer-animated third sequel, he was voiced by Sean Wright.


Rothbart and another evil magician named Clavius mastered the sinister magic power known as Forbidden Arts together, but Rothbart betrayed Clavius and drove him underground, as revealed in The Swan Princess II.

He planned to take King William's kingdom with his magic power, but as he was about to attack, William's men attacked him and took away his power. Despite calls for his death, William banished him instead. He left swearing that he would get his power back and take over the kingdom.

Many years later, he returned, having gotten his power back in The Swan Princess 3. It is revealed that his other ally, Zelda, helped him regain his power and he betrayed her afterward, in a similar manner as he did with Clavius. He transformed himself into a chimeric monstrosity known only as the "Great Animal" and killed King William before kidnapping and placing his daughter Odette under a spell, turning her into a swan every day, and she can only turn back into a human if she is on the lake when the moonlight touches it. Every night, Rothbart asked Odette to marry him, so he can be king legally, but she refused.

When Prince Derek finally found her, he resolved to break the spell, which could only be broken by making a vow of everlasting love and proving it to the world. To prevent this, Rothbart transformed his servant, Bridget the Hag, into Odette, so that Derek would make his vow to her instead, as this would kill Odette. Also there was no moon at the night of the ball in which Derek intended to make this vow. His plan succeeded, but Derek told him to not let her die, and so he transformed into the Great Animal and fought Derek, crushing his sword in his mouth. Jean-Bob the frog gave Derek his bow, and Brom shot an arrow to him. Being a pro at "Catch and Fire", he caught the arrow and shot Rothbart in the heart, killing him and sending him falling into the lake, exploding in a flash of magic lights.


Rothbart returns as the main antagonist of the 2012 computer-animated sequel, The Swan Princess Christmas. Princess Odette and Prince Derek are on their way to Queen Uberta's castle to celebrate their first Christmas together. Unbeknownst to them, the evil enchanter has put in a motion a plan to return from the dead, enlisting a black cat named Number 9 to help by promising him extra lives.

Number 9 succeeds in luring Derek to the cellar of Uberta's castle, where he opens a chest with the initial R on it. At first there is nothing inside, but once Derek leaves, Rothbart emerges from the chest as a ghost. From here Rothbart moves to the next portion his plan, which is to destroy the Christmas spirit of the kingdom, the only thing more powerful than the Forbidden Arts, which will give him the power to be revived in physical form. Rothbart is able to cast small spells that cause people to fight; he does this to Queen Uberta and Lord Rogers, and later to the villagers until almost the entire village is in disharmony.

Derek and Odette learn of Rothbart's return when windchimes playing "Far Longer than Forever" make him visible and hold him. They set up chimes all around the castle, but Rothbart eventually re-enlists the help of Bridget, his henchwoman from the first film who had turned good, and she helps remove the wind chimes for him.

As part of the Christmas festivities, Uberta and Rogers are staging musical performances, but because of Rothbart's spell have become extremely aggressive and competitive with each other. Odette, who has been invited to stage her own song, invites orphans to perform "Christmas is the Reason", which momentarily weakens Rothbart's power over Uberta and Rogers. Odette follows up on this by inviting Uberta and Rogers to give gifts and food to the poor. This time, the good will breaks the spell on the whole kingdom, and Rothbart is rendered nearly powerless.

Rothbart's last chance to ruin Christmas spirit is to sabotage the royal Christmas tree. He sends Number 9 to steal one of the Christmas lights, and Rothbart casts a spell on it that will destroy the tree. Derek learns of this plan thanks to Bridget, who has double-crossed Rothbart, and traps him inside a giant chime.

Derek rushes back to the Christmas Eve party to stop the tree from being lit, but they are too late. The enchanted light bulb bursts the tree and its ornaments into flames. Rothbart becomes fully physical, takes Uberta's crown, and kidnaps Odette, taking her back to Swan Lake. Rothbart defeats Puffin by turning him into a gold statue.

At Swan Lake, Rothbart turns Odette into a swan and traps her inside a cage made of roots. He then casts a spell on the moonlight, so that when it touches Odette's wings, she will turn into a golden, swan-shaped Christmas ornament forever. Derek arrives to rescue Odette, and battles Rothbart, who has assumed the form of the Great Animal again. At first Derek is overpowered, but then Odette starts singing "Seasons of Love" which weakens Rothbart until he eventually bursts into flames and was no more. With Rothbart defeated, Odette changes back into a human and a redeemed Puffin is back to normal. Derek dies in her arms due to his injuries, but when Odette sings again, the spirit of Christmas magically returns him to life and restores the royal Christmas Tree. At the Christmas Eve party, the kingdom puts up a new Christmas ornament on the tree, honoring both Prince Derek and Princess Odette.


In the animated film loosely adapted from the ballet, Rothbart is a greedy, vile, deceiving, and manipulative court sorcerer who plans to steal the kingdom of Princess Odette's father, King William. While being a cruel, unkind, selfish, arrogant, and vindictive villain, he is also shown to be calm, happy, polite, friendly, optimistic, and intelligent, losing his temper only once in the film.


Rothbart has balding orange hair, sideburns growing from each side of his face, and a big orange mustache. He wears a black cape with a plum interior, a purple shirt, dark tan gloves, dark gray pants, and black boots. Sometimes, he wears a gold crown on his head.

Powers and Abilities

Forbidden Arts

As a powerful sorcerer, Rothbart possesses immense mystical powers where his signature power is the power to change (transformation) that came from Forbidden Arts.

Great Animal

Rothbart's monster form, the Great Animal, taking appearance of a monstrous large hybrid monster with the head of a wolf, the body of a bat, the talons of an eagle, and the tail of a lizard, giving a vaguely dragon/wyvern-like appearance. In this form, he can fly at high speed, razor-sharp talons, and sharp teeth.