I enjoy the villains on OUAT. Even if I condemn their actions, most are very enjoyable to watch. I used to enjoy, sympathise and (sadly) even identify with Rumple a lot earlier in the series. Then why has he become a real PAIN to watch now? I mean, I even enjoyed (but condemned) the Evil Queen at the end of tonight's episode, why not him, not anymore? Not even when he's had some of his redeeming qualities back tonight? Is it the writing, the acting, or what? And when did he jump the shark?
Ah, you’ve lighted upon a great topic, PainedS6!Anon– that of how you can make villains sympathetic. There’s one simple trick OUAT uses over and over again to great effect: Find somebody to love.
It does if you’re a villain!
Villains can be scheming, manipulative, murderous bastards to 99.9% of the population, but as long as they get hearts in their eyes and truly, deeply love somebody else they engender some audience sympathy. But to be most effective, that love has to be for a living person. Let’s break it down:
- Regina: Deceased Loves = Daniel, Robin, Henry Sr, S6 love = Henry
- Hook: Deceased Love = Milah, S6 love = Emma
- Zelena: Deceased Love = Hades, S6 love = Baby Robin
- Cora: Ex-Love = Rumple, Ons-creen was Regina
- Rumple: Deceased Love = Baelfire, S6 love = Belle (and son)
Conversely, if a villain DOESN’T have love in their hearts for somebody living today (on-screen), they can have the most tragic backstory in the world and nobody will cry them a creek, never mind a river. Consider:
- Peter Pan: Deceased Love = ??
- Snow Queen: Deceased Love = sisters
- King George: Deceased Love = Wife, Evil Charming
- The Author: Deceased Love = Cruella?
- Tamara/Greg: S3 = Each other, I guess
- Bo Peep: ???
What do you mean, I’m not the star of the show?