While encanto doesn’t have a traditional Disney villain, Dolores Madrigal seems the closest thing to that role, especially with how she tries to ruin things for her niece, Isabela. All members born into the Madrigal family receive a special gift of magical powers through the Magic Candle when they reach a certain age – except for Mirabel, who receives no gift and has been an outcast in the family and the Encanto community. Dolores’ gift is that she can hear everything, even if the sound is far away or just a pin drops.
In a scene where the Madrigal family is all together for a meal, Abuela Alma asks Dolores when Mariano Guzmán will propose to Isabela. Dolores makes the move from listening to their neighbors house and says:This evening. He wants five babies.” Then she looks at her cousin with a grin and resumes eating her food. Isabela, on the other hand, is clearly shocked by Dolores’ statement, as evidenced by her sob and wide eyes, as well as the flowers suddenly sprouting in her hair.
Because Dolores is in love with Mariano, she lies to Isabela out of jealousy – a theory actually confirmed by Encanto’s director, Jared Bush. However, it’s not just the lie that makes Dolores a villain; it’s the fact that she uses her gift to steer situations in the direction she wants them to go that compares her to a situation. There’s no reason for her to answer Abuela’s question with that bit about the babies, but she says it because she knows Isabela won’t like it. It’s Dolores’ subtle way of driving a wedge between her cousin and the man she thinks she can’t get.
Why so many people think Dolores will be a villain
The lie at the family meal isn’t the only time Dolores uses her magical ability to wreak havoc. Before the marriage proposal, she hears Mirabel tell Agustín how Mirabel had been in Bruno’s vision before he disappeared. Dolores chooses to reveal that secret over dinner, which leads not only to a ruined proposal for Isabela and Mariano, but also to panic in Encanto as the Madrigal family loses their magical powers.
What’s even worse is when Dolores learns important information through her super hearing, but then chooses not to share or do anything about it. When Maribel asks her what’s wrong with the magic, she replies, “The only one who cares about the magic is you. And the rats that talk in the walls. Oh, and Luisa. I heard her eye tremble all night‘, meaning she may have been aware of the issues for some time. Dolores even admits at the end that she knew Bruno (and his rats) were hiding in the Casita walls as she heard them every day for years, but then again, she never said it to anyone.
Obviously, the various problems within the family and with the miracle cannot be attributed to Dolores, and in all her efforts to sabotage Isabela’s engagement, it turns out that Isabela never even wanted to marry Mariano. However, Dolores chooses to use the power of the secrets she knows to manipulate or ignore situations to her liking so she doesn’t have to get involved. It is very different from her other magical relatives such as Julieta, who makes food to heal, and Luisa, who uses her power to help the community. It’s also why she can be seen as the villain of encantoas the heroine, Mirabel, does the opposite and tries to solve the problems as soon as she becomes aware of it.