Gramma Tala’s Death in ‘Moana’ Means More Than You Think

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gramma tala moana

Credit: Disney

Is it possible that Gramma Tala‘s death in Moana (2016) means more than fans thought?

Walt Disney Animation Studios fans were verklempt and squeezing their tissues as Gramma Tala‘s spirit left the Great Ceremonial House and a windy hush swept over the island, beach, and magically transformed her spirit into the Manta Ray. Perhaps Te Fiti’s Heart has far more magic than we realize in the hands of humans…

gramma tala moana heart of te fiti
Credit: Disney Animation Studios

Gramma Tala’s Death

When baby Moana was given the Heart for her kind spirit and helping the ocean’s ecosystem (the ocean chose her), she haphazardly dropped it when she was retrieved by her father. But unbeknownst to her, Moana’s grandma was never far away, knowing to retrieve the precious stone and save it for her granddaughter.

But as Gramma Tala seemed to naturally age, her existence may have been lengthened by the life-giving magic of the Heart. Considering the kindness, love, and literal life carried by the heart (we see Te Ka go from deathly stone to lush forest and live earth) it is no stretch to think that carrying the heart against her chest, Gramma gleans a longer life.

gramma tala moana film still
Credit: Disney Animation Studios

When Gramma suddenly falls ill, she knows that she will be too weak to carry on the greater mission and knows that Moana is both educated and mature enough to take on the trip. She hands Moana the Heart, as well as its safe-keeping necklace, and commands her to go find Maui. Only minutes after giving the heart away, Gramma Tala’s loss is felt all over the island.

gramma tala moana dying
Credit: Disney Animation Studios

An Instagram post by @prouddisnerds shares a fan theory and some heated discussion over the event of Gramma Tala’s death and the possibility that Te Fiti’s heart lengthened her life.


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A post shared by Disnerds (@prouddisnerds)

Not all Disney Fans who were privy to this theory are buying into it; for example, commenter @mrsjoosey believes that Gramma’s aging is inevitable and doesn’t credit any “magic” to her life/death, while other commenters, like @kovid_cadera (and many more) acquiesced that the theory has a lot of weight when you think about it.

fan theory moana
Credit: Instagram ProudDisNerds

They compare Gramma’s aging and sudden death with Lord of the Rings character Bilbo’s lengthy aging process. Both Gramma and Bilbo aged normally with wrinkles, gray hair, etc., but once they parted with their magical objects, their age pushed forward and all was lost. When Gramma Tala handed over Te Fiti’s Heart, life left her body and her spirit was free to guide Moana past the continental shelf.

moana stingray
Credit: Disney Animation Studios

More Disney Fan Theories

Interested in more fan theories about Disney characters? Try the Frozen 2 theory that muses over Elsa’s possible death. It’s a compelling yet chilly argument! Or perhaps you’d love to explore the real-life science behind The Lion King theory in which Scar may have eaten Mufasa.

More to the fictional side, the idea that Rapunzel has everlasting life is pretty cool. That fan theory explores her magic and all of its possibilities, while research into the Greek mythology tree shows that Ariel and Hercules could be related! Whether Disney will ever admit to any of these theories this remains to be seen.

Leave us a comment with your thoughts on this fan theory about Gramma Tala’s death!

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