With my posts so far, it shouldn’t be any surprise to any of you that I am a huge fan of fairy tales in all of their forms. That being said, when I heard about the show “Once Upon a Time” beginning I was ecstatic. Watching a show with all of my favorite characters brought to life? What could be better?
Well, now that the show is progressing through the end of it’s second season, there is a trend that I feel must be brought to light. Thus far the characters and the way the story is weaving itself together is refreshing and, although sometimes confusing, adds a new layer to the storytelling of these classic tales. However, addressing the more mundane, run-of-the-mill-TV-show aspects of Once, we can look at the main character, Emma Swan.
For those who haven’t seen the show, Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and she was the one who had to be there to break the curse that had been placed on the fairy tale characters. She grew up in the real world, never knowing about fairy tales, and until this show started, her biggest worry was more average-person drama. She dated a guy, he got her pregnant but then betrayed her, and Emma gave the kid up for adoption. The kid ten years later showed up on her doorstep and took her to Storybrooke, the town full of fairy tale characters, where she is destined to break the curse.
It’s a lot more complicated than that (like I said, kind of a confusing show to try and explain) but that’s all you really need to know for this post.
So as this show has gone on Emma has remained the main protagonist, and while she definitely has her faults, she’s a pretty strong female character overall. Which is great. Fairy tales could certainly use more of those. The thing is, it is a show about fairy tales, and so naturally, everyone is waiting for Emma to find her own “prince charming.”
The writers of the show clearly understand this, because thus far they seem to be sincerely enjoying teasing the fans of the show with possibilities. To date there have been 5 possible love interests introduced, each one a little more “dangerous” than the last. In order of appearance in Emma’s life (hopefully, the timeline is kind of hard to follow) we have Neal, Graham, Jefferson, August, and Captain Hook. I’m going to briefly go into each love interest and say why they are either still a possibility, how likely they are to survive the series (because the odds aren’t good lately), and give my own person preference (because I wouldn’t be a fangirl if I didn’t.)
Neal– He was the love of Emma’s life for some time. He was there for her when no one else was, and they had an adorable relationship of stealing and living in a car (cause I mean, who doesn’t love that?) Neal got her pregnant, which wasn’t a huge problem, because she thought they’d get married and be together forever, except that then Neal mysteriously left. As it turns out, Neal left because August (another love interest) came up and showed him a slip of paper revealing that he knows who Neal REALLY is (Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin’s son. He’s running away from home… Still. He’s also probably Peter Pan in a weird twist of events.) So Neal’s plan was to never grow up and it was worth it to him to hide from his father over something that happened 300+ years ago rather than staying with Emma and his unborn son. Classy. For these reasons, I will be sorely disappointed if he’s a real love interest.
Graham–Wonderful, adorable, and also, the Huntsman from the Snow White tales. Really, all the issues I had with him have been explained and resolved, and he remains a lot of fan’s favorite love interest. Problem is, he died in the first season. Since then he’s only been in the show in flashbacks. For obvious reasons, he probably won’t end up being “the one.” RIP Graham.
Jefferson–The mad hatter, very crazy (in a pretty creepy way when he’s first introduced), but overall not necessarily a terrible guy. He’s got a sweet backstory about protecting his kid, and trying to find her, and it’s all very tragic. The thing is, Jefferson disappeared several episodes ago and hasn’t reappeared since. No one really knows where he went or why or if he ever found his kid and got her back (actually, last I checked he may have found her and we just never really saw past that), and it’s terrible. So as far as I’m concerned, I think Jefferson needs to resolve his own issues before he is ready to be the love interest of anyone, least of all Emma who has plenty of messed up life moments going on already.
August–Otherwise known as Pinnochio. I mean, really? What is up with Emma getting paired up with overgrown children? First Peter Pan, now him? I’ve never been a huge August fan, especially not after we found out August was the one who convinced Neal to leave Emma and so really, he also betrayed her. There’s some other stuff there I won’t get into as well, mostly because it doesn’t really matter at this point. You see, he’s not really an option anymore. Last episode he was turned into a child version of himself before he went off and did bad things in the real world. Because apparently that’s what redeeming yourself means on this show… Having your memory wiped and turning into a child. But it’s okay, I laughed for like 10 minutes after this happened and moved on. Because we’re finally getting to the love interest I support.
Hook–Hook, or Captain Hook, is a villain on the show who is out to kill Rumplestiltskin for revenge. Other than that, he pretty much looks out for himself first. He and Emma flirt a lot on the show, and it’s adorable. I personally am the biggest HookxEmma fan out there, not because I think it’d be Emma’s real happily ever after, but because as far as an engaging story goes, Hook and Emma banter always beats out Neal moping around the set. Plus, since it’s pretty much down to Neal or Hook at this point, i think we all know which one is cooler.
So now you’re probably wondering–what does this fangirling have to do with stories? An excellent question, and I assure you I didn’t forget. I wanted to show that in a show about fairy tales the writers do fall into some usual show and fairy tale stereotypes, but they also continue to surprise. There is less emphasis on a female protagonist finding her prince charming, and much more on her finding her family and learning to be the hero she was born to be. Especially for a genre with such traditionally weak female characters, this is a huge step up in my eyes.
Sure, the creators continue introducing love interests (and for that matter, really attractive love interests) because it boosts views and caters to their primarily female audience. But isn’t that just a storyteller recognizing their audience? Isn’t that just a storyteller doing anything they can to keep someone watching? It may not be the classiest move, but it certainly does seem effective.
I’ll be interested to see where this show goes with it’s roller coaster of love interests for Emma. Perhaps eventually it will focus on one, and it’ll be about her “happily ever after,” but the way it’s going now, I think that it will be some time before this happens. Emma is the hero of this story, and the hero rarely has time for love until their quest is complete.
Thanks for reading!
I’d like to end this post with another apology–with school as hectic as it has been I simply haven’t given this blog the time I was expecting to. Having said this, I will try to update once a week rather than twice, as I think that will work out better. Thanks for reading!