Tag Archives: Robert Carlyle

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Captain Hook

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the classic story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook is the antithesis of the youthful hero. Hook, a pirate by trade, would like nothing more than to finally defeat Peter Pan once and for all. An older man who wears a long dark wig, Hook is the stand in for being a certain age.

Once Upon A Time decided to change-up the character. Instead of the old man wearing the wig, Captain Hook, aka Killian Jones (Colin O’Donoghue) is a rock and roll version of the character. Wearing leather and still sporting the  traditional metal hook, Hook’s initial enemy is not Peter Pan, but Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle).  Hook’s other half at the time is Milah (Rachel Shelley), Rumple’s estranged wife.

Though Hook starts off as a villain, he becomes a hero and the significant other of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). Emma is initially skeptical of Hook, his charm and smooth talk are not exactly turns ons in the beginning. But underneath that charm and smooth talk is a man who has conviction, heart and fights for who and what is important to him.

To sum it up: Taking a classic character and rewriting them while keeping the known characteristics is like walking a fine line. On one hand, the writer is tasked with the very difficult job of not simply copying what has been done before. But on the other hand, find a way to combine the new version of the character with the characteristics and narrative that the audience has come to know and love or hate is an equally difficult task.

When it comes to OUAT’s version of Captain Hook, the writers found a way to balance what was known about Captain Hook with a new narrative and new character arc. A  good writer knows which characteristics, narrative elements and character arc fits their version of their character while declining to use other elements that don’t fit in with their story. It’s a challenge that many a writer has faced, but if it is done properly, the writer is able to blend the old with the new and create a character that both fits in with the older image while creating a brand new image of the character.

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Once Upon A Time Character Review: Mr. Gold/ Rumpelstiltskin

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the tradition telling of Rumpelstiltskin, he is a magical imp who spins straw into gold for a young woman in return for something she will give him. One of the catchphrases of Once Upon A Time is “magic comes with a price”. The character of Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is initially introduced to the audience as the show’s male villain. He loved nothing more than trading favors with mortals in return for something precious to them.

Then the characters of Belle (Emilie de Raven), his second wife and Neal/Baelfire (Michael-Raymond James), his first-born son were introduced. Both Belle and Neal/Baelfire forced Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold to face his own demons, his choices and his past.

To sum it up: A few years ago, when asked to describe where his character was at, in terms of the character arc, Robert Carlyle described Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold as having an addiction to magic. Like any addiction, it often superseded his relationships with his loved ones. Addiction can often break relationships, but if the person addicted is willing to do the work, the addiction can be conquered.

When writing about characters wrestling with addiction issues, it is our job to explore how addiction can potentially break families and destroy lives. If the addiction is written either lightly or over-dramatically, the audience will not believe that the character has their addiction. Written about an addicted characters is not easy, but if it is done right, the audience will follow along on the character’s journey.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Character Review, Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Belle

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For many female movie fans (especially those of a certain age), Belle from Beauty And The Beast is and will always be a revelation. Unlike her predecessors, her end goal was not finding a man and living happily ever after. She was more concerned with her books and taking care of her widowed father.

Halfway through the first season of Once Upon A Time, Belle (Emilie de Raven) was introduced to the world of OUAT via the episode Skin Deep.  This Belle is similar to the animated Belle in that she is smart, kind, loves books and agreed to go with the Beast aka, Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) in return for sparing her father’s life.  But while the animated Belle has almost a simple, almost predictable character arc, the OUAT Belle has a much more complex character arc.

For most of the series, Belle and Rumple have an up and down relationship. Their mutual love is obvious, but so is her will to completely change him that she ignores the fact that he and will forever be The Dark One.  This roller coaster, is of course, not helped by Rumple’s addiction to magic, but that will be discussed in detail next week.

Their relationship is only truly healed when Belle realizes that as much as she loves him, Rumple will never change completely. After their son, Gideon is kidnapped and raised by the Black Fairy (who also happens to be Rumple’s mother), Belle realizes that the Beast and the man are one and the same. She cannot love one or the other. She has to love both.

To sum it up: Romantic love is not as simple as the fairy tales make them out to be. Even the best of couples have their moments and their disagreements. The key to writing a romance is balancing the reality of being in a relationship with someone while including the expected plot points of the narrative. The OUAT version of Belle is both the traditional romantic heroine, but her relationship with Rumple, as it often is in real life is complicated and sometimes difficult. This version of Belle stands out because the writers successfully walked the very thin line of writing a romance, but with the real life pitfalls of romance. It’s not easy, but when it is done well, the audience or the reader truly appreciates the romance and the romantic heroine.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Books, Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

What Message Does Beauty And The Beast Really Send?

In July, a very interesting interview appeared on youtube that has very recently brought up a question that I think needs to be answered.

At the San Diego Comic Con,  a reporter asked Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestilskin in Once Upon A Time) about the impending hallmarks of domestic abuse that appeared to her in Skin Deep, the episode that introduced Belle to the Once Upon A Time Universe and launched the onscreen couple moniker that is Rumbelle.

Some might argue that the story of Beauty and The Beast has not only the signs of an abusive relationship, but also of Stockholm syndrome.

Stockholm syndrome is defined as:  a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them.

I can see where the argument is valid. However, if one was to examine the fairy tale genre, they would discover that the messages that these stories are sending to girls are the same. They are just packaged differently, depending on the story.

Let’s examine a few of them:

  • Snow White is the victim of her stepmother’s jealousy.  She is being taken care of, first by the dwarves and then by her prince, who whisks her away to a life of luxury and royalty.
  • Sleeping Beauty is the victim of Maleficent. It is, again, the prince who kills the sorceress and wakes her up from her sleep. It is then that her life is complete.
  • Cinderella is the victim of her stepmother’s jealousy (Am I sensing a pattern here?).  After she runs from the ball, she does not go the palace and announce that she is the young woman that the prince is seeking. She has to wait for him to find her.

What I like about Beauty and The Beast is that these characters seem the most human of the leading romantic characters in the genre. The Beast’s emotional wounds and extreme external appearance could be considered as an allegory for the emotional scars we have and the mistakes we wish we could undo. Beauty is the most active of the fairy tales heroines.  She is no one’s victim, and certainly not waiting for some prince to rescue her.  She takes her life into her own hands and makes her own decisions.

The overall problem is that fairy tales are part of our culture. Feminism has certainly helped to alter the way that girls see themselves and their futures. But change does not happen overnight.

To answer the question, what message does Beauty and The Beast send? I would say that, if told properly, proves that we can change and move on from what was holding us back.

 

 

 

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time

In The Mirror

*-Contains spoilers for Once Upon A Time. Read at your own risk if you are catching up on previous episodes.

The story of Beauty and The Beast is a familiar one. A woman agrees to take her father’s place at a beast’s castle when her father steals a rose, the only gift his daughter asked for.

While much of commentary is focused on the female lead, I would like to focus tonight on the male lead. The Beast is a tortured soul. Depending on which adaption one is reading or watching, the beast is either directly punished for his wicked, selfish ways or indirectly punished for others’s mistakes. His punishment is the loss of his humanity. While he retains his fine home, a kitchen full of food and fancy clothes, his cursed exterior reflects his inner turmoil.

On Once Upon A Time, Rumplestilkin (Robert Carlyle) is known the Dark One.  Make a deal with the dark one and he will want something in return for his services. But underneath the scaly green skin and the magic is a man whose scars run deep and long.  Loosing his parents to death and abandonment at a young age, he was branded a coward. His marriage to his first wife, Milah was rocky, even after the birth of their son, Bae. When Milah abandoned her husband and son for Captain Hook, the mortal Rumplestilkin was replaced with the immortal dark one.

In Skin Deep, Sir Maurice will do anything to end the Ogre Wars. Rumplestilkin is happy but help. But in return for his services, he wants Belle, the king’s only daughter as a serving girl. As time passes, Rumplestilskin begins to see Belle in a new light. But their first kiss reveals his deep un-healed scars.

What strikes me about this scene is that I understood him at that moment, when he is yelling at himself in the mirror. I understood his pain, his turmoil and his fear.

Sometimes, when we look in the mirror, that is all we see.

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Ballroom Scene

For this post, I am going to temporarily abandon the mature, college educated, career professional that I am and descend into complete fangurl-dom.

The latest teaser trailer for the 4th season of Once Upon Time includes an extremely brief clip of Belle and Rumpelstiltskin dancing in a ballroom. She is wearing the iconic gold ball gown and he is in the blue suit.

I can’t find the trailer on you tube, but instead I give you Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin’s interview at Comic-Con.

I completely agree that Rumple is an addict. As much as he loves Belle and is willing to commit to her, he has a mistress who has been in life long before he met Belle. She is a very demanding mistress who will stop at nothing to keep her man.

Frances O’Connor (known to some as Fanny Price, Lucy Burns or Rose Selfridge) is joining the OUAT cast as Belle’s mother, Colette.

Definitely looking forward to Fanny Price becoming Belle’s mother.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program and the mature, college educated, career professional that I am (for the most part).

 

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Skin Deep- One Of The Single Greatest Hours Of Television

*-This post contains spoilers about Skin Deep and Once Upon A Time. If you are catching up on season 1, read at your own risk.

Half way through the first season of Once Upon A Time, the character of Rumplestilskin  (Robert Carlyle) was a villain with a capital V. He was the trickster, the dark one, making deals with people who were desperate enough to seek him out.

Then Skin Deep aired. Skin Deep put this villain with a capital V in a new light, a man who was tortured by his past and hid that tortured past under a mask that no one could crack. That was until Sir Maurice of Avonlea, desperate to end the Ogre wars, called upon the dark one to end the war. As usual, there was deal to be made. Rumplestilskin does not make deals without getting something in return. That deal was Sir Maurice’s daughter, Belle. She would leave her father’s kingdom forever and become a servant in Rumplestilskin’s castle.

This episode was written by Jane Espenson, and introduced Belle (Lost and Roswell’s Emilie de Raven) to the Once Upon A Time universe.

This episode, is best episode that this show has ever produced and I would like to tell you why.

  1. Carlyle and de Raven have incredible chemistry. They just work on screen.
  2. The psychology of Beauty And The Beast translates perfectly to the twist and turns that the Once Upon A Time gives to their fractured fairy tales.  In the original tale, Beauty is the youngest daughter of a now impoverished merchant who was once very wealthy. Her older sisters are very spoiled and selfish, Beauty is relegated to the role of servant. The Beast lives in an isolated castle, surrounded by material wealth. In the very well known 1991 Disney movie, Belle is an outsider in her small town, longing for adventure. Beast was once a human prince, cursed by a sorceress for his selfish ways. The psychology of both characters: the Beast, broken and bruised by life and Belle, selfless and loyal, while looking for adventure plays perfectly into the Once Upon A Time idea of twisting the basic fairy tale into something far more interesting.
  3. The title is absolutely perfect.
  4. The line “No one decides my fate, but me” ties in with the idea of female empowerment, a theme running throughout the show.
  5. The final scene between Belle and Rumplestilskin is heartbreaking. It echoes in the hearts of everyone who has ever given up an opportunity or a relationship out of fear and low self esteem.
  6. This episode launched the on screen roller coaster of a relationship that is Rumbelle, it has kept fans hooked since February of 2012 and wanting more.  As of the end of the third season, they have married and Mr. Gold has not told the new Mrs. Gold about a secret that will cause ripples in season 4.

And that is why Skin Deep is one of the single greatest hours of television.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time