Toriel

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Character
Name: Toriel
Occupation: Teacher (post-canon)
Title/Rank: Queen (pre-canon)
Location:
Status: Varies based on route
Relationships: In Undertale: Asgore Dreemurr (husband, estranged), Asriel Dreemurr (son, deceased), Chara (foster child, deceased), Sans (friend)

In Deltarune: Kris (adopted child), Asriel Dreemurr (son), Asgore Dreemurr (ex-husband), Alphys (coworker)
Fandom: Undertale, Deltarune
Other:
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Toriel is a major character from Undertale. She also appears in Deltarune.

Canon Overview

In Undertale

Toriel is one of the first characters encountered in the game, and the final boss of the Ruins area. She hopes to have Frisk live together with her to keep them safe and to have company to ease her loneliness and boredom. Her name is a pun on "tutorial", and she leads Frisk through the first puzzles of the game, sometimes literally by the hand. When Frisk attempts to leave the Ruins, she blocks the way, warning them that all other humans who have come to the Underground have died, and forcing them to fight her to prove that they are strong enough to survive. She is the first monster who cannot be spared just by using the ACT command. If she is successfully spared, she can be found at the very beginning of the Ruins, where Frisk fell.

Later in the game, the player can learn that Toriel is a special species of monster called a Boss Monster with a stronger-than-average soul; at the end of a Neutral or True Pacifist route she is revealed to be the former Queen, Asgore Dreemurr's wife, who left him after the deaths of their son and foster child because of his plan to collect human souls and get revenge on humanity.

In Neutral endings where she survives, she is one of the potential new rulers of the Underground, but will be rejected by the citizens and exiled to the Ruins (accompanied by Sans as well as Papyrus if the latter is alive) if the player has killed too many monsters. If she is accepted as Queen, she rules that any new humans will be treated as friends in the future.

She likes bad jokes and her favorite food is snails. Early in the game she mentions having always wanted to be a teacher, and in the True Pacifist Ending's credits she is shown having made a school.

When questioned about her saying "hell" in an optional postgame conversation, Toby Fox clarified that Toriel is very careful to self-censor around children but swears around adults, and simply slipped up. He also added that yes, Toriel can say and has said "fuck".

In Deltarune

Toriel appears in Deltarune as Kris' adoptive mother and Hometown's elementary school teacher. Small changes in her appearance (her heart pendant, which Undertale Toriel does not have), the different layout of her house, and the difference between her school in Undertale's epilogue and Hometown's school serve as tipoffs to the player that Deltarune takes place in a different world from Undertale.

Deltarune's version of Toriel is for some reason still divorced from Asgore, though what happened to cause this is still unknown; they are on even worse terms than Undertale Toriel and Asgore are depicted as in that game's epilogue. She has custody of both Asriel and Kris, and is extremely overprotective of and controlling towards Asriel in particular; the player can learn through various anecdotes heard from townspeople that she once called the police on Bratty for kissing him, and had Catty arrested for dancing with him too sexually when he took her to prom. She appears to have a less rosy view of Kris, whom she frequently needles for their "laziness" and the other signs implying that they are severely depressed.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Deltarune's Toriel is a pious Christian, as religious paraphernalia can be found around her house and she is described as having forced her children to go to church every day after learning of Asriel's first kiss.

Fandom

Toriel is often referred to by fans as "Goatmom" due to her goatlike appearance. Most fan content that takes place post-game portrays her as having adopted Frisk.

She has a Touhou yukkuri-style spinoff character referred to as Towel or Toriwel based on a scrapped drawing by Toby Fox[1].

Fan Theories

The black, leafless tree in Toriel's yard is usually interpreted by fans to be symbolic of Toriel's grief for Asriel, Chara, and the six human children she is implied to have tried to adopt.

There is also some fan speculation as to whether Toriel was born to the monsters' royal family or whether she married into it; she is sometimes depicted as having been friends with humans before monsters were sealed away, due to her establishing human-friendly policies during the Queen Toriel ending and that the Boss Monster shown next to a human in the game's opening sequence resembles her.

The differences between Deltarune Toriel's style of parenting and Undertale Toriel's has raised some fans' eyebrows. The more overtly controlling, less compassionate parenting strategies Deltarune Toriel practices are commonly attributed to her having grown up in a different culture and never having lost any children.

Common Pairings

Wank

Shipping

Due to Undertale fandom's high concentration of anti-shippers, Toriel is no exception to being subject to shipping wank. Most ship wank is focused on the morality of shipping her with Asgore, due to the popularity of rival ship Sans/Toriel, the fact that Asgore and Toriel are depicted as estranged in canon, and because Asgore is a common target of character bashing. Asgore/Toriel shippers are sometimes accused of abuse apologism by Asgore bashers.

Meanwhile, Sans/Toriel is occasionally the subject of wank due to the characters' age gap, as there is canon evidence that Toriel is hundreds of years old, whereas Sans is generally perceived as being somewhere between a young adult to a thirty-something.

Characterization

Some fans (notably BNF Draikinator, who has posted comics on this subject) depict Toriel as being to blame for the tragedies in the story due to not being successful in preventing the deaths of the six human souls, not stopping Asgore's plans by force, or not stopping Chara and Asriel's suicide plan (the assumption being that she either knew about it or should have known about it because her rounding the edges of tools and hiding knives indicates that she was aware of Chara's implied history of self-harm). Other fans argue that this is character bastardization and that it is unreasonable to believe that Toriel knew about the suicide plan based on that evidence.

Perhaps as a side effect of fans arguing for a darker interpretation of Toriel, fanwork that portrays her as abusive or neglectful as a form of black humor has also become more popular, raising the ire of both fans who disagree with the interpretation and those who feel joking about child abuse to be insensitive.

Fanworks

Fanfic

Fanart

Meta

Archives and Fannish Links

References

  1. "This was going to be in one of the borders but I decided it was evil and cannot be used." (tweet by Toby Fox, 8 August 2017),