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Henry Cogsworth is a supporting character in Beauty and the Beast.

Cogsworth is the Beast's majordomo and head butler, who as part of the curse was turned into an enchanted pendulum clock.

In the 2017 film, Cogsworth is voiced and portrayed by Ian McKellen.

Background

Personality

“This has gone far enough! I'm in charge, here!”
―Cogsworth

Cogsworth naturally has a serious demeanor which is evident in his strict attitude in serving the Beast and ordering the other servants around constantly. However, Cogsworth does mean well and is as good-natured as Lumière is. He is Lumière's best friend and also a rival of sorts. Cogsworth's preference to abide by the Beast's rules often puts a severe strain on his friendship with Lumière, who opts for a more rebellious and carefree personality, but overall, he values his friendship with Lumière and sees him as a brother, demonstrated in the original film (when he saves Lumière from being melted by LeFou, Gaston's henchman) and the midquels.

Though often viewed as a "stick-in-the-mud", Cogsworth has a much softer side to his personality. He's ultimately compassionate, intelligent, and actually enjoys the idea of having a fun time within the castle; only ruling against various festivities in hopes of keeping the Beast's anger at bay. He can also be rather sassy and is prone to making sharp remarks in response to the words of his friends; often in a rather serious manner.

Though loyal enough, Cogsworth's allegiance to the Beast is mostly driven by fear (at least during the time of the curse). Although this is true, he was shown to care for his master's happiness and well-being, specifically during the time of Belle's imprisonment, and took it upon himself to provide a boost of confidence whenever the insecure Prince was in need of such.

Role in the Film

In this adaptation, Cogsworth is played by Ian McKellen, famous for playing Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.

Cogsworth's first name is revealed to be Henry.

He is also revealed to be married to a fishwife named Clothilde. At the end of the film, he is reunited with Clothilde (much to his dismay), who, along with the other villagers, had lost her memory of him and the other servants in the Beast's castle.

This incarnation of Cogsworth is older than the original.

Trivia

  • In the 1991 film, the costume that Cogsworth dons during the battle to defend the castle is an obvious reference to Napoleon Bonaparte, a famous French general.
  • The Disney novel Lost in a Book adds a military history to Cogsworth's background, as Cogsworth states that he is "Colonel Cogsworth of the 4th Hussars", and that he has participated in six specific battles:
    • He fought in the Battle of Hastenback (July 26, 1757), alongside General François de Chevert; Cogsworth was shot in the small of the back by Hanoverians hiding in the trenches, and this injury would stay with him.
    • He fought in the Battle of Bergen (April 13, 1759) and witnessed Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick’s rather humiliating surrender at the hands of Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie.
    • He watched the Battle of Quiberon Bay (November 20, 1759) with a unit of other cavalrymen from the shore of Quiberon.
    • He fought in the Battle of Villinghausen (July 15 - July 16, 1761), but was captured and taken prisoner by the Prussians; he escaped by jumping out of his cell window and cushioning his fall with snowdrifts.
    • He fought in the Battle of Quebec (December 31, 1775), under the command of General Richard Montgomery, leading their unit across the frozen St. Lawrence River.
    • He fought in the Battle of Yorktown (September 28 - October 19, 1781), riding alongside Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau.
  • John Cleese was originally intended to voice Cogsworth.
  • Cogsworth's line, "Flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep," was improvised by his voice actor David Ogden Stiers in the 1991 film.

Gallery

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