kierah blogs ouat

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remember that time it was literally confirmed how every single event in this show has been rumplestiltskin’s game all along (not that it isn’t confirmed every time we see him meddle in someone else’s life)

remember that time he was never held accountable for deliberately and systematically destroying lives because of that time he was chicken and abandoned his son

remember it

okay, i know that in the real world, the inclusion of poseidon on ouat was just another example of the show decontextualizing real world entities in order to turn them into poorly constructed plot devices with bad dialogue because they have no respect for anything, but if he’s there, and medusa’s there, does that mean that these nebulous “gods” people reference in FTL are the greek gods? like legit? are zeus and hera there? all of them? does snow pray to artemis the huntress? are there cult centers? are there oracles comparable to historical greek oracles? what’s the divination like? that chick with eyes in her hands could see the future but does anyone ever read entrails? have the characters ever sacrificed any hecatombs? to which god does regina feel the most spiritual connection? is there a homeric tradition in FTL? how about an epic tradition in general? how tf do lancelot and the arthurian tradition fit into this world? these questions need to be answered

i think someone else noted this a while ago (i think in comparison to aang from atla?) but just, the way there’s no room for unknowable, natural forces in ouat, like when david just has to kill the guardian of lake nostos. like – bro, you didn’t have to challenge her. he could have literally nabbed the water and left, or bargained for it, or made an equal offering in return. there are a thousand ways to outwit or bargain with dangerous powers – literally, just look at actual mythology from the real world; stories from every culture are full of tricksters who nab gifts from under the noses of the powerful. even if the bargain isn’t necessarily honest or in good faith, it doesn’t require the destruction of something natural or vital.

i think it really says something about this show’s ideas of heroism and strength that “heroes” feel the need to destroy things that aren’t doing them any harm (the lake guardian, MEDUSA). especially considering that david’s murder of the siren makes the lake – a potential source of beneficial magic for everyone – dry up completely, removing something that can break curses that true love’s kiss can't from the world. like, that’s not heroic. it’s shitty, dangerous, and shortsighted. just because you can kill something doesn’t mean you should. heroism shouldn’t be predicated on murder.

more sea devil thoughts:

i, personally, see the cruella/ursula relationship as romantic, and i am so into a romantic relationship on ouat that does not take place in the context of redemption. the show holds up “true love” as the great fixer and redeemer, as though love is impossible in any other context, and i think that’s both boring and bullcrap.

i want an immortal ursula who places no value on mortal ways of measuring morality, and who loves cruella anyway. this isn’t leda and the octopus: ursula loves cruella. i want a selfish, greedy cruella who unashamedly walks all over anyone who can’t stand up to her, but she becomes tender with ursula, because she loves her, and that love isn’t mutually exclusive with her greed.

today, i was listening to a lot of into the woods at work, and i was thinking, why do i connect with this so much? why is this resonant with me in ways that ouat’s main narrative isn’t? i started to think, and to maybe plan a whole analysis out – to talk about how the characters are handled, or address the source materials (the original germanic/french fairy tales for ITW, disney only for ouat), and then i was listening to no one is alone, and i got it. i got it right away.

Sometimes people leave you / Halfway through the wood / Others may deceive you / You decide what’s good. / You decide alone. / But no one is alone. …

Witches can be right. / Giants can be good. / You decide what’s right. / You decide what’s good. / Just remember: / Someone is on your side (our side) / Someone else is not. / While we’re seeing our side (our side) / Maybe we forgot: they are not alone. / No one is alone.

the theme of choiceand of complex morality is everywhere in into the woods. the first act is the most simplistic – the antagonists are clear-cut and the outcome is hollywood perfect. complexity is hinted at via songs like agony (the princes) and stay with me (the witch and rapunzel).the baker’s wife is manipulative; cinderella is vague and indecisive.

by the second act, it all breaks down completely. the princes are revealed as selfish womanizers (“i was raised to be charming, not sincere”), rapunzel is in the throes of serious post-partum depression, jack has become indirectly responsible for the giant’s wife’s ravaging of the kingdom, little red riding hood’s apparent strength is revealed to be the front for a little girl’s fears, the baker’s wife is unfaithful, the baker attempts to abandon his son the way he himself was abandoned.

the fact that the antagonist of the second act is the giant’s wife raises the matter of choice and morality. the witch says that a giant “has a brain,” that giants are just like people, only “much, much bigger… soooo big…” the giant’s wife is terrorizing the kingdom because jack killed her husband, and no one is alone comes when LRRH worries what her mother would say if she knew her daughter was going to help kill a person, and jack is seeking revenge for the wrongful death of his mother.

instead of being a revenge anthem, no one is alone tells jack/LRRH/the audience that neither cinderella nor the baker can offer easy comfort, because “witches can be right. giants can be good.” people who seem villainous aren’t just villains; they are people, and they have their own side to the story that none of us can see. all that anyone can do is decide for themselves, and themselves alone, what is right and what is wrong.

in ouat, “heroes” and “villains” are given individual backstories, but actions by heroes are rarely, if ever questioned. their actions are heroic because they are performed by heroes, not because their actions actually do good. a behavior enacted by a villain is “bad” (regina disciplining henry or speaking sharply to him in season 1); the same exact thing, performed by a hero, is “good” (emma doing the same thing to henry in season 3). heroes are assumed to uphold some ultimate standard of goodness, and are never questioned, even when they do grievous harm.

in ITW, there is no overarching, ultimate standard of good. there is no perfect morality. no one is called “pure.” the main characters of the show are just people – complex, troubled people who find themselves having to make frightening choices. the giant’s wife is killing people, forcing the main characters to kill her in turn; neither action is necessarily good or evil: it’s up to every individual to decide what’s right for them. no one is “just good” or “just bad.” a giant can grieve. a witch can love. and “heroes” can make terrible mistakes.