Some Changes From Once Upon a Time Part 1
So last week (fuck, it took me that long to write this?) the first season of Once Upon a Time ended. I really loved this show, and a reason for that love was all the changes that were made to some of the main characters’ stories as well as the fairy tale world itself. I figured I would rundown the changes that I liked and why I liked them. Also, these are changes from the stories as I know them. There may be some things that were in the original texts or whatever that were brought back with these characters but fuck that, I don’t know them. So, in no particular order, let’s start with:
Red Riding Hood
In the story, Red was just a little girl going to see her granny with a basket of goodies. Along the way, she strayed from the path and met a wolf. She told the wolf where she was going and the wolf stalled her while he ran off to Granny’s house. When he got there he swallowed Granny whole and disguised himself as her. When Red got there she was eaten, too, and the wolf fell asleep. A passing lumberjack who saw what happened or something breaks into the house, cuts the wolf open and rescues Red and Granny.
In the show, Red lives with her granny in a village that is being terrorized by a wolf. Granny refuses to let Red go outside at night and in the daytime she must always wear her red hood and cloak, because the wolf hates the color red. But there’s a problem with Granny’s foolproof plan of locking up her teenage grand-daughter; Red’s in love with someone. After Snow White comes to live with Red and Granny (because for a while Snow White lived with Red and Granny), Red and Snow discover that the wolf is actually a werewolf and they deduce that his human form is Red’s boyfriend. She decides to runaway with him, but not before chaining him to a tree so she can see the transformation or so that he won’t kill her on their first night alone together. I can’t really remember. To help with this plan, Snow dresses up in Red’s cloak and distracts Granny by running off into the woods. When Granny catches her and realizes what’s going on, she reveals to Snow that the wolf isn’t Red’s boyfriend, it’s Red. Turns out Red has a long history of werewolf in her family and that her red cloak was enchanted and kept her from changing. By the time they get to Red and her man she has gone wolf and eaten his chained up ass. Red and Snow go on the run together since people now want Red dead, but she and Snow split up with Red living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and Snow living in a spider hole in the woods somewhere. When Snow tries to lay siege to King George’s palace and rescue Prince Charming, Red comes along for the ride. Having gained some control of her wolf powers, she helped take out patrols and served as outside muscle for the invasion.
One of the reasons I like this change is that it’s tragic. I love tragedy. The fact that Red convinced her boyfriend to chain himself to a tree which made it all the easier to eat him was fantastic. But what I really liked was what happened afterwards. It kind of took an Incredible Hulk route, with Red going off into the wilderness, away from innocent, and learned to harness her powers and use them to help people. Albeit help people with murdering fools, but still helping. Another thing I like the powering up of the previously helpless character, something of a theme with this show. In the story she was a young girl without any discernible skill other than being able to carry stuff. Here, she’s a fucking werewolf. It may be overkill but I liked it.
In the story, Snow White is a princess because aren’t they all. She lives with her father and her stepmother, who is a very shallow bitch. She asks her magic mirror who is the fairest in the land all the time because on top of being shallow she’s also very needy. One day she asks and instead of saying her it says Snow White is the fairest. So being the completely level-headed person she is, the queen tries to have her killed. The huntsman she sends after Snow spares her life and Snow stumbles upon a cabin with seven dwarves living in it. When the queen realizes Snow is still alive she finds her and, disguised as an old lady, gets her to eat a poison apple which puts her into a coma. After that, Prince Charming comes along and kisses her, waking her up and happily ever after and all that bullshit.
In the show, Snow is seen earliest in the fairy tale timeline on a runaway horse. Before she can be killed, a pre-evil queen Regina (because the evil queen in the show is named Regina (get it?)) saves her. The king, thankful to Regina, decides to marry her so that Snow can have a mother again. Not exactly the best way to pick a wife but his heart’s in the right place. Snow then discovers something which I will get into later and does something with that discovery that ends with Regina harboring a deep-seated for a 10 year old girl. Years pass and Regina kills the king and puts a hit out on Snow White. The huntsman again can’t finish the job and lets her go. She starts to live in the forest, essentially becoming a Ranger from an RPG. She uses a bow and arrow, she communes with nature and she wears a green cloak. One day while robbing some nobles, as Rangers are wont to do, she steals from Prince James whom she nicknames Prince Charming. Turns out she sold his mother’s ring and they go to get it back. Along the way they fall in love. After that they part ways she goes to Rumpelstiltskin to get a potion to forget about Charming. Before she can drink it she gets a note from Charming saying “Let’s run off together,” or something to that affect. She goes to see him but is stopped by King George who threatens to kill Charming unless she says she doesn’t love him so that Charming will be free to marry King Midas’ daughter so George can get rich. Parenting at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. So she does and goes off to live with the dwarves. While there she takes Rumpelstiltskin’s potion and forgets all about him. Upon taking the potion she kind of turns into a bitch, snapping at the dwarves and trying to beat a blue bird to death with a broom in one of my favorite scenes in the show. Not that I’m anti-bird or anything. They set it up like a scene from the Disney movie with the music and everything and then it’s just a girl in a white dress trying to kill a bird she summoned with a broom. I love it. Anyway she decides that the reason she is so pissed off all the time is because the queen is still alive after killing her father, so she goes off to do something about that. She gets a magic bow from Rumpelstiltskin and tries to shoot Regina but Charming takes the arrow instead. He says that he can’t bear to see Snow turn evil and kisses her, restoring her memories. But before they can go off into the sunset together, Charming is taken captive by his father’s soldiers to be taken back to the castle and executed. Again, parenting at it’s finest. Snow rallies troops and invades the castle, but it was all a ruse. The queen has Charming and wants to meet with Snow. They meet and Snow eats the magic apple to save Charming. Charming gets out, finds Snow and breaks the magic. They get married, have a kid and then curse.
Again, what I like about the changes is that Snow is more about action. She leads a small group of resistance fighters to the gates of an enemy stronghold to rescue the man she loves. She tries to avenge the untimely death of her father by murdering his killer. She lives in the woods stealing shit from heavily armored noble transports. I bet if she hadn’t been all wiped out from giving birth she would’ve been side by side with Charming fighting off Regina’s forces and trying to get Emma to the magic wardrobe. In the original story Snow White spends her time cleaning houses, cooking and trusting anonymous old ladies in ominous hoods who offer her food on her doorstep. Nothing at all suspicious about that. While at the beginning of her story she is just another princess, circumstances change and she changes with them. She learns what she needs to know to survive and does what needs to be done. Old Snow White stays the exact same from start to end, never evolving as a character. I realize that asking a fairy tale character to evolve over the course of a story is pretty stupid, but she isn’t in a fairy tale no more and she knows it.
In the story, there was farmer who claimed to the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The king then took the daughter and locked her in a tower, saying that if she couldn’t spin him some gold after three days in the tower she would be executed. On the first day she sat there and did nothing since she couldn’t actually spin straw into gold. She wasn’t an alchemist or anything. After sitting there for a while a little imp came in saying that he would spin her some gold in return for her necklace. The next day he comes back and spins more gold in exchange for her ring. On the third day she didn’t have anything more to give, so he agrees to spin even more gold for her first born child. She agrees and he does. When the king opens the tower he is so impressed by her that he marries her and knocks her up. When the child is born Rumpelstiltskin comes back in order to make good on the deal he and the farmer’s daughter made. She convinces him to a new deal, where if she can guess his name within three days then their first deal will be null and void. Two days pass and no one can figure out what that little fucker’s name is. But on night three the daughter’s messenger, while running back from delivering a message, presumably, had found the imp’s hole. The imp was in there dancing around and singing a song, in which he says his name is Rumpelstiltskin. So Rumpel comes back, the daughter guesses his name correctly and he either runs off to cry about it or rips himself in half. I’ve heard two versions of the story and the latter is the most appealing to me so I’m just going to assume he did that.
The show starts with Rumpelstiltskin as an ordinary dude, living an ordinary dude life with his ordinary dude son. But on the horizon the red sky and dark clouds of the Ogre Wars can be seen. Soldiers come through every now and again and kidnap children to go fight in the war, because nothing says battle hardened soldier like a 12 year old covered in cow shit. To save his son from being to forced to fight and probably die in the war, Rumpel and Baelfire head for the hills. Along the way they are stopped by the soldiers and Rumpel is belittled and mocked in front of son. Turns out Rumpelstiltskin fought in the last war and fled his platoon. His wife was so disgusted with him that she left him and her son. Man, aren’t parents great? Afterwards Rumpel meets a beggar who tells him about a magical dagger that can be used to steal the powers of the Dark One, a powerful wizard the soldiers control and use to keep the peasants from revolting. Rumpel breaks into the king’s castle and steals the dagger. He summons the Dark One who is revealed to have been the beggar. He saw the powers as nothing but a curse and says to Rumpel, “All magic comes with a price,” which Rumpel adopted as something of a catchphrase for the rest of the series. Rumpel gets the powers, humiliates the soldiers who humiliated him and essentially becomes the magical mafia, enforcing strict rules on the populace and whacking people who don’t follow those rules or threaten to expose his weakness. Baelfire forces his dad into a deal, making Rumpel promise that if Bael finds a way to remove Rumpel’s powers without killing Rumpel will do it. Bael then gets some magic beans from the Blue Fairy which open a doorway to world without magic. Rumpel is too afraid of losing the power, but when Baelfire is sucked into the portal Rumpel immediately regrets not going through and starts freaking out. When the Blue Fairy came up to him to apologize for what happened, he promises to make a curse that will be powerful enough to reunite him with his son, the curse that the entire show is based around. Jump ahead a few years and he is one of the most powerful and feared creatures in all the land, and in a heated power struggle with Regina. Belle from Beauty and the Beast becomes his servant due to a deal he made with a town during the Ogre Wars. Over time they fall in love, like in Beauty and the Beast. One day he offers her a chance at freedom, letting her go into town alone to pick up straw. On the way there she meets Regina, who tells her that all curse can be broken with true love. Belle goes back to the Rumpel’s castle and kisses him, where upon he starts to turn human again. She tells him that Regina told her this would make him human again, and he is displeased. He locks her in a dungeon for a while before banishing her from the castle. Some time later Regina drops in and tells Rumpel that Belle was tortured then committed suicide. It was bullshit but he didn’t know that. He broke down crying. Sometime later, having gotten over all that Belle business, he kills Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and grants Cindy’s wish instead. For a price, that is. What price, he doesn’t say. Then Cinderella happens and she is happily married to her Prince. Then Rumpel shows up, saying his price is Cindy’s first born child. Cindy, Charming, Snow and Cindy’s Prince devise a plan with the Blue Fairy to trap Rumpel. It works, but then Cindy’s Prince disappears. He is then locked up in the dungeons where he prophecizes Emma Swan and tells Regina how to work the curse.
One of my favorite things about the show was the continuity the writers came up with for the fairy tale world. All the stories take place in one kingdom and overlap with each other. Before it seemed like each one took place in its own little version of where those stories took place, but here it’s all one world and Rumpelstiltskin’s in the middle of it. He and Regina seem to be the two evil focal points of the series, with Charming and Snow being the two good focal points. Rumpel interacts with almost every character in some way, giving him a much bigger role in the world than the original did. Robert Carlyle also does a great job playing the part. Jumping around all over the place and laughing his high-pitched laugh really sold the character to me and made him one of my absolute favorite characters of the show. But my favorite part of the character was his arc. He started out as a dude, then became magic, then regretted taking the magic before embracing it and making it everything he was. His need for the magic really came through in three instances: The bit where he lost Baelfire, the bit where he kicked Belle out and the season finale. Magic has done nothing but make him lose everyone he ever loved (Well, except for his wife but she was probably a bitch so fuck her) and he still needed more and more of it. Like with Red, it was kind of tragic seeing Rumpelstiltskin go from a loving coward of a father to a giggling magical prophet who was always working some kind of angle on everyone he made a deal with.