Early in Mulan, the Ancestors ask Mushu to awaken the Great Stone Dragon. When Mushu isn’t able to wake the dragon spirit, he accidentally breaks the dragon’s statue in frustration.

Mushu was able to wake the other ancestors without issue, but for some reason his gong didn’t work on the Great Stone Dragon.

Is it ever explained why Mushu couldn’t wake the Great Stone Dragon?

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    The lucky cricket was actually the GSD. – JohnP Mar 5 '18 at 20:32
  • I always thought Mushu didn't wake the Great Dragon because he didn't really try. He was angry with the Ancestors and didn't actually want to wake the Dragon. But as he got to do what he was told, he just didn't put much effort into it. We see him bang slightly on his gong once or twice - which apparently is the correct way to wake the Stone Dragon. But almost immediately he started to shout at the Great Dragon, slapping him on the ear - which presumably not the right way to do the thing. I believe if he would just loudly banged the gong till the Great Dragon waked up, everything would go well – Shana Tar Oct 12 '18 at 9:33

The key difference between the ancestors and the guardians is that the ancestors were already awake whereas the guardians are sleeping.

When the First Ancestor wakes Mushu he does so by zapping him with magic. Mushu stumbles around groggily until he finds his bearings and is then ordered to bang the gong to summon forth the remaining ancestors (who're up-to-date with current events because they were clearly wide awake and watching). He's then ordered to...

Awaken the Great Stone Dragon

It seems likely that the Great Stone Dragon, deep in his multi-century slumber, simply didn't have time to awaken before Mushu randomly murdered him.


During the scene when Mulan decides to go to war instead of her father, she decides to do it while sitting on the foot of the Great Stone Dragon.

The image of the dragon looking over Mulan is repeated several times throughout the sequence, and the bolts of lightning strike at significant times whenever the dragon is in sight. When Mulan takes her father’s scroll and when she is praying to her ancestors, the Great Stone Dragon can be seen. It is also engraved on both the sword Mulan uses to cut her hair and the handles of the wardrobe containing the armor are in the shape of the dragon’s head.

The dragon’s eyes glowing in the temple symbolizes Mulan’s role as the protector of her family awakening, instead of the actual dragon.

The reason Mushu couldn’t wake the dragon is because the dragon was no longer there. Mulan is implied to be the Great Dragon that protects her family.

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