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In the original Mulan movie, Mushu is sent to wake the great stone dragon to go bring Mulan back. The dragon doesn't wake up, and Mushu eventually ends up destroying the statue in his attempts to waken it. Is there a known reason for why the great stone dragon doesn't wake up?

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    Because Mushu broke it.
    – OrangeDog
    Sep 17, 2020 at 11:18
  • 2
    It's a stone, not a dragon turned into stone. Ancestors don't know it because what they could know? They're dead. Sep 17, 2020 at 11:55
  • SZCZERZO KŁY: Do you have a source for that? I'd love to read it. Sep 17, 2020 at 19:48

2 Answers 2

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The 1998 junior novelization of Mulan implies a problem with the Great Stone Dragon itself.

In the illustrated junior novelization of Mulan, published in 1998, it says:

(Page 37) Then they [the ancestors] told him [Mushu] to wake up the Great Stone Dragon for the important mission. (Page 38) But the Great Stone Dragon could not be roused! Frustrated, Mushu hit it with his gong. The Great Stone Dragon crumbled. (emphasis added)

The use of the passive voice in the emphasized sentence absolves Mushu of responsibility for the failure and implies that the Great Stone Dragon itself was somehow unable to be roused at that time. While the novelization does not give the specific reason why, it is clear that there is some problem with the Great Stone Dragon itself, not Mushu's efforts to awaken it.

In the film, Mushu never strikes the gong properly, but his background probably rules that out as the cause.

In the movie, Mushu taps the gong he is holding, but never strikes it and allows it to vibrate the way a gong is supposed to be struck. He ultimately uses the gong to hit the Great Stone Dragon and it crumbles. While it is tempting to theorize that it was Mushu's improper gong work that resulted in the failure to wake the dragon, Mushu's background makes this doubtful. Mushu was himself once a guardian like the Great Stone Dragon, so it seems unlikely that he would fail to realize why the dragon wasn't waking if his improper gong strikes were the reason.

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Mulan had already inadvertently selected her own guardian in the previous scene. She's shown sitting on the Great Stone Dragon, but then enters the family temple and prays for help from (and gives a votive offering to) Mushu.

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In the Mulan: Special Collector's Edition they explain what Mulan was up to in the temple.

"She sat at the base of the Great Stone Dragon. A cold rain pelted the Dragon's stony face. "I won't just sit by and let Father go to his death." she cried.

Inside the family temple, she lit a stick of incense and placed it in the little dragon incense burner. "Please help me save Father's life." she prayed.

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