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Rest in Peace, Rumplestiltskin

Rest in Peace, Rumplestiltskin

Some episodes of Once Upon a Time have been excellent, some have been mediocre, and some have left me wanting to reclaim that hour of my life.  The Peter Pan storyline had its highlights: the choice to make Peter Pan a villain, the passionate kiss between Emma and Hook, the forcing of Emma, Snow, and Charming to reveal some hard truths about their relationships.  That said, I was ready for the next chapter, or at least I thought I was.  Rumple is gone!  Aside of some dodgy details, like why Rumple had to die in order for Pan to die, or how a magically-crippled Rumple summoned his shadow from Neverland,  it makes sense.  Rumple’s struggle to find his son and redeem himself:  interesting.  Rumple settling down with Belle and living happily ever after?  As Faith Hill and Tim McGraw would attest, not so much.  The romance between Snow White and Prince Charming may have lured many of us to the show but Robert Carlyle‘s brilliant portrayal of Rumplestiltskin and Lana Parilla‘s wonderfully snarky Evil Queen kept us watching.

While I had high hopes of Rumple and Regina starting their own Wicked Schemers Anonymous club and discussing the challenges of a Dark Magic-free life over tea at Granny’s Diner, I am intrigued by the show’s next direction.  The Curse that originally created Storybrooke has been recast.  It removed all memory of time spent there, at least for Emma and Henry.  I’ll admit, my first thought was, “If Regina can plant whatever fake memories she wants, why can’t she re-plant real memories?  Magic sucks.”  However, there’s a legitimate reason why Henry would have to lose his memories.  The price of magic is high, and in order to stop The Curse from devastating everyone in town, Regina has to give up Henry, truly give him up.  He can’t just be elsewhere, pining for another mom who gave him up to give him his best shot; he has to be completely unaware of her and her sacrifice.

What about the fairy tale folk?  Regina “stopped” The Curse, which I think means they get to keep their memories this time around.  I think.  If they forget their time in Storybrooke, Regina will be dealing with more than heartbreak.  Apparently, somebody remembers something though, because we know that Hook finds his way back to Emma and he remembers her well enough.  Sadly for him, his attempt to kiss her lacked that True Love’s Kiss Can Break Any Curse punch.  Although, Snow and Charming did a lot of kissing in their Mary Margaret/David days and weren’t able to break This Particular Curse either.  Not only do the rules of magic usually suck, but they are infuriatingly inconsistent.

I seem to be taking the loss of Rumple well, don’t I?  It’s only because this show is always filling in the gaps, and Rumple is likely to appear in a variety of backstories.  And who knows, maybe the magic of Rumple’s dagger interacted with The Curse and somehow spit out a magic-free but living Rumple?  Kind of like what happened when Tink tossed Pan’s Shadow into the fire and the Blue Fairy popped up out of her casket?  I mean, there had to be a reason for that scene, right?  Right?

Ridiculous moments aside, Once Upon a Time is a show that asks us to look below the surface, even as it dazzles us with its fantastic settings. It asks us to consider big questions.  What makes a hero?  Where does forgiveness end and naivete begin? Can even the most wicked person find redemption? Can a villain have a happy ending?

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Image courtesy of Andy Swift

Hey Once Upon a Time fans!  What are you doing tonight at 8/7c?  Will you be sitting on the edge of your seat, anxious to see what the return of magic means to the folks of Storybrooke?  Are you hoping against hope that the writers at abc will finally reveal just who the heck Dr. Whale really is?

Before you sit down on the sofa with your mug of hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon, take this quiz and find out just how well you know the heroes of Storybrooke.

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It’s only been a couple of months since the end of Once Upon a Time‘s first season.  Still, if you find yourself missing the fine folks of Storybrooke, you might want to give these revamped fairy tales a try.

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce.  Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family’s woolen mill. But after her father’s death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition — he can turn straw into gold thread — for a price. Set in England during the early days of the Industrial Revolution, this novel combines elements of fantasy and historical fiction with a love story.
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George.  Setting his tale in 19th-century Europe, George retells the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Returning home from war, young Galen finds work with his mother’s family in the royal gardens. There he learns that the king’s 12 daughters have a secret: every night they dance their shoes to tatters, but no one knows how or why. When prince after prince tries and fails to find the answer, and the family is haunted by accusations of witchcraft, Galen decides to help.  Fast-paced fantasy-romance.
Beastly by Alex Flinn.  Have you ever wondered about the Beast’s point of view?  Flinn certainly has. Kyle Kingsbury is one of the most popular students at Tuttle High School. While he might be beautiful on the outside, he is selfish, arrogant, and cruel on the inside. Kendra, an unattractive and unpopular girl refers to his behavior as “beastly.” To get even with her for that remark, he publicly humiliates her at the school dance. Later that night, Kendra reveals to Kyle that she is a witch, and that she is going to teach him the most important lesson of his life.  Beastly offers magic, adventure, romance, and hope in a contemporary setting.
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine.  Think you know the story of Snow White?  Think again.  A mysterious magical mirror is disastrous when it falls into the hands of Aza, who never looks in a mirror if she can help it. In the Kingdom of Ayortha, Aza is most definitely not the fairest of them all.  But in a land of singers, Aza has her own gift, one she’s come by without fairy intervention: a voice that can do almost anything, a voice that captivates all who hear it. In Ontio Castle, merry Prince Ijori is drawn to it, and vain Queen Ivi wants to use it for her own ends.  Fairest offers humor, adventure and romance.
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley.  In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, professional fairies try to keep rampant, unpredictable magic at bay. When princess Briar-Rose is cursed by the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day, the good, if inexperienced, fairy Katriona snatches up the baby and takes her to raise as if she were her own.  No other human, not even Rosie herself, knows her true identity.  As the princess’s 21st birthday nears, more and more disturbances occur throughout the land, and Rosie’s whereabouts become known to the royal family — and to Pernicia. Full of humor and romance as well as magic and adventure, Spindle’s End offers a decided twist on this popular tale.

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We all know the story of Snow White, right?  Innocent girl, wicked stepmother seven dwarves (or eight if you watch Once Upon a Time), noble huntsman, handsome prince, poison apple, true love’s kiss?  Director Rupert Sanders takes this familiar fairy tale and gives it amazing special effects, excellent action sequences, and some clever plot twists, but does he do justice to the main character?

I don’t think so.  I enjoyed the movie; I liked that he stayed true to the basic framework of the story while adding subtle twists that kept it from being predictable.  As a Once Upon a Time fan, I appreciated the Troll Bridge scene probably more than the screenplay writers expected.  There is a lot to recommend this movie, including the background of the Evil Queen. Sanders did this incredibly well, showing us what led her on this path and showing us how truly wicked she became.

With Snow White, though, he chose to tell us why she was important rather than show us, and that’s what dropped this movie from amazing to OK.  Sure, we were given glimpses into Snow’s effect on those around her, but it wasn’t enough for me.  I wanted to believe in her ability to lead as much as I believed in the Queen’s ability to conjure dark magic.  It seemed like Sanders took that belief for granted, that our being familiar with the fairy tale and that having a few character observations sprinkled throughout would be enough to seal the deal.  It wasn’t enough for me.  I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t wowed.

Have you been to see this movie?  If so, what were your favorite moments?  Least favorite moments?  What did you think of Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen?  Kristen Stewart as Snow White?

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Are you an OUaT fan?  I am.  Take this quiz to find out which character best matches your personality.  Apparently, I’m Snow White. I can totally see myself hanging out in the Enchanted Forest and sending messages via bluebird, but I’m not so sure about rooming with 8 guys, especially one called Stealthy — with a name like that, I suspect he enjoys sneaking up on people and yelling “Boo!”

Who are you?  And if you have any idea who Dr. Whale is, please share!

Image courtesy of ABC

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