So, a couple of weeks ago, I posted a theory about Disney’s Aladdin, specifically that the Genie may have cheated Aladdin out of a wish. I tweeted it at the Super Carlin Brothers, and they made a video about it, which is, frankly, pretty exciting. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it on YouTube.
There was, however, something that I left out of the original blog post: it’s possible that the Genie did grant three wishes, but they’re not the ones you think.
I left this out of the blog post because (a) it kind of contradicts my main point (Aladdin is owed a wish) and (b) it relies on a really bad pun.
But I can’t be alone in enjoying a bad pun, right?
Yes, yes you are.
Rude. Ignoring that.
So here’s the thing, if we accept that the Genie only grants Aladdin two wishes, what about that third one? In his video version, J says that once he’s free, Genie is off the hook for that third wish, but I’m not so sure. What if, once he’s contracted to grant three wishes, he is obligated to grant three, freedom notwithstanding? Genie is clear about the rules for the lamp owner (remember, no substitutions or refunds), but never really explains his own obligations in this contract.
What if Genie is worried that if Aladdin were to make a wish after freeing him, that the Genie would still be obligated to grant it? What if the Genie is worried that Aladdin is going to say “Oh man, I wish I hadn’t freed the Genie”?
If genie is really being manipulative about this, and the Djinn he is based off are often shown to be tricksy, he not only needs to get Aladdin to free him, he also needs to get Aladdin to waste that last wish, or his freedom could be accidentally whipped away again.
It’s not just a river in Egypt
Here’s the thing. Right after Aladdin frees the Genie, Aladdin does make a third wish.
- The Genie says to him “Ask for something impossible, wish for the Nile.”
- Aladdin plays along “I wish for the Nile.”
- Genie excitedly and triumphantly shouts “No!” proving he is free.
So, if the Genie was still obliged to grant that third wish, why is Aladdin not instantly drowned by the arrival of the Nile (I mean, other than it making for a really weird ending to a Disney movie)?
Enter: the pun.
Read that conversation again, but substituting “The Nile” for “Denial”.
- The Genie says to him “Ask for something impossible, wish for denial.” Because it is impossible for the Genie to deny Aladdin’s third wish, per their contract.
- Aladdin plays along “I wish for denial.”
- Genie triumphantly grants that third wish, denying Aladdin. “No!”
Genie is now off the hook, and Aladdin doesn’t know he wasted his last wish on something stupid. Okay, okay, I grant you it’s tortured and a huge stretch and absolutely not true.
Well… it is an oddly specific wish that the Genie suggests, at an oddly specific time, before Aladdin has a chance to suffer wisher’s remorse…
You’re being ridiculous now
Am I though?
Okay, yes I am.