Here it is, friends - Chapter 7! Apologies for making you wait, as always. We had a death in the family last week and had to make an emergency trip out-of-town in order to say our goodbyes in time, and the muse was rather slow for a while after that. In addition, these chapters just keep getting longer and longer! For those of you (all of you, it seems) waiting for The Ball, we’re not there yet, but we’re definitely building toward it, and you’ll still find some goodies here that I think/hope/pray you’ll like. Thanks to @i-know-how-you-kiss for being my consultant when it comes to all things ballroom.
Find it on AO3. Missed a chapter? Get caught up here.
Summary: Killian Jones, the notorious Captain Hook, has been on a quest to kill the Dark One and avenge the death of his first love for over one hundred fifty years. But when he crosses the Evil Queen, he’s magically transported to New York City, a strange land full of fascinating wonders, the foremost of which is Emma Swan, a cynical single mother with no time for fairy tales, real or imagined. A Captain Swan Enchanted AU. (Captain Swan modern AU, Captain Swan Enchanted Forest AU. Romance & Adventure. Rated G.)
Pizza, Killian soon learns, is food, which, like the
sandwich he had for lunch, is hot, smothered in melted cheese, and utterly
delicious. His mouth waters in response
to the aroma that hits his nose when he follows Emma and Henry into Marco’s, a
little establishment housed in an aged red brick building a few blocks from
their home. The interior of the
restaurant is a mixture of warm lights and cozy shadows, the walls consisting
of exposed brick or wood beams, and between the happy chatter and the heady scent
that hangs in the air, it’s little wonder why Henry enjoys coming here every
Just as it was at Granny’s, they’re warmly greeted by the
owner, an wiry older man with a polished head, a short white beard, and a kind
smile. “Henry!” he says with a rich
accent as he meets them at the door, “You’ve grown another inch this week!” He glances up curiously at Killian. “Brought a friend?”
“Marco, this is Killian,” Henry explains. “He’s staying with us, and,” he leans closer
to the old man conspiratorially, “he’s never
had New York pizza before.”
Marco’s gray eyebrows go halfway to the top of his head with
mock astonishment. “Oh?” He chuckles genially and shows them to a
corner table. “Well, we can certainly fix
that. What should I get you today?”
@Marco,Tom,,Oskar,Henry,Justin,Marcus,River,Buff Frog and Rafael,Happy Fathers Day from all of your children.
Marco: thank you! we’re enjoying a nice day out with the family *sits down at a massive table where everyone and their families are happily talking to one another as everyone is celebrating father’s day together.*
I’m still kicking around ideas for how to approach this stuff, but this is the sort of entry I’ll be doing in the “just who are you swan” tag. This is looking like my major hiatus project, about how character identity is framed in OUaT – both how characters perceive themselves and how the other characters see them.
The first few entries will tackle the Pilot episode in a fair amount of depth. Emma’s identity is the battleground on which the S1 plot plays out – her journey to belief and as Henry’s mother – and the pilot spends a lot of time sketching out the landscape of this conflict.
The opening scene of the pilot does something a little unusual: it includes no names. It counts on the visual iconography of the red cloak, the glass coffin, and the gathered dwarves to orient the viewer. Everyone knows the story of Snow White. It isn’t until after the dissolve to the wedding scene that they confirm what we already knew: “Do you, Snow White, promise to take this man….”
From there, the scene shifts via a book page transition to Henry on his way to Boston, and then into Emma’s introductory scene – in which the first word spoken is her name, by Ryan. Even before we know the connection exists, her red dress provides a visual link back to Charming’s cloak in the opening. The scene with Henry that follows makes sure that we heard her name and adds the Swan.
“My name’s Henry. I’m your son.” (His costume also includes a red element, although a subdued one, in his scarf.)
I have often been struck by the number of lines in this episode that explicitly describe Emma, whether spoken by herself or by others. The other characters describe her as she appears to them, through the lens of their own priorities – which in turn works to characterize them. Emma’s reactions to their statements, along with her own self-descriptions, flesh out the initial sketch of her character.
“Sexiest friendless orphan that I have ever met.” - Ryan.
No one is sad when Emma knocks him unconscious. (The line also communicates that we are intended to acknowledge Emma’s appearance; this is not going to be a story in which a drop-dead beautiful actress plays a supposedly average-looking woman.)
Since Emma is not a fairy-tale character and has no pre-existing label that can be attached to her character, her name gets emphasis in this episode, setting it firmly in the viewer’s mind. Her first name appears in a variety of contexts, from the blind date with Ryan to her mother’s chat with Rumplestiltskin to the encounter with the mysterious Mr Gold. The cool, formal “Miss Swan” has been heavily trademarked by Regina by the end of this first episode, who uses it at least three times.
The primary characteristic Emma assigns herself is solitude, which sets up a strong parallel with Henry. She makes several references to the absence of family in her life:
“Kind of a loner.” - Emma’s first words about herself
“I don’t have a son.” - Emma’s second statement about family continues the negative theme from her previous scene, stressing family as absence.
“My parents didn’t even bother to drop me off at a hospital, I ended up in the foster system and I had a family until I was three, but then they had their own kid so they sent me back.”
One of the most important parts of Emma’s identity throughout S1 is her position as Henry’s mother, a role she resists at first. When Mary Margaret asks who she is, Emma is unable to complete the sentence, “I’m his….” She repeatedly refers to Henry as “kid.” That this is significant is underlined by his initial response, “I have a name.” Emma’s unwillingness to use that name highlights her discomfort with his sudden presence in her life. Her switch to calling him “Henry” in their scene on the beach emphasizes that they have made a connection, along with Henry taking her hand as they walk off.
The other characters primarily refer to her in this context, eliding any other aspects of her identity. This makes a certain amount of sense, as Henry is already known to him, and the relationship with Emma provides a context in which they can position her, but it is notable for the sheer number of references we get. It’s impossible not to pick up on how important this relationship is going to be for the show, whether it’s framed as positive (Henry), neutral (Marco), or negative (Regina).
“She’s my mom, Archie.” - Henry
“I found my real mom.” - Henry
“You’re Henry’s birth mother?” - Regina
“So you are Henry’s mother.” - Marco
“The woman who gave him up for adoption.” - Regina
“You don’t get to speak. You don’t get to do anything. You gave up that right when you tossed him away.” - Regina, with bonus “Miss Swan.”
Emma also self-deprecates consistently:
“There’s not a lot I’m great at in life, but I do have one skill. Let’s call it a superpower.” - Emma
“I keep busy.” - Emma’s description of her job
“I am not in any book. I’m a real person, and I’m no savior.” - Emma.
This sets up her other journey for the season, in which she becomes a hero who breaks the curse:
“She will be the savior.” - Charming
“You’re in this book.” - Henry provides our first solid evidence of a link between the halves of the story.
name is Emma.” - Snow White
The scene with Rumple reciprocates the prior one,
matching the backward glance via Henry’s storybook with a look into the
I Swear to God, if there's a Zombie around the Next Corner...
Just something I’ve been thinking about -
Because Uncharted 4 didn’t really have a mythical obstacle, would it have mattered if it did? There’s something about the realism of Uncharted and the evolution of the games which helped the genre as a whole and solidify a basis for the graphics, gameplay and storytelling.
So, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. El Dorado. A story we’ve all heard. Mostly as an entire city of gold, condensed in the game as a lucrative, airborne, slimy zombie infection in a killer coffin. Not necessarily out of the realm of possibility, but not something you see every day (perhaps an early inspiration for the fungus from TLOU?), and definitely something you want to avoid. And because the first one was definitely carved from pulp fiction stone (it’s got everything! Action, Adventure, Romance, Rotten Corpses!) it had to make a bigger effect to get people hooked.
Nate even takes a note of the spookier things he’s come across when we get a chance to sneak a peek at his journal (Sully’s mustache included). Elena comments that she couldn’t sleep the last time she saw a lanced corpse (which also shows she’s hardened her heart since the first game, following a war criminal around) And where the 2nd one changes, it’s the only one where Nate doesn’t have a personal tie to the overall end goal in play. Sir Francis Drake (twice, once with Lawrence of Arabia), Marco Polo, and Captain Henry Avery. Again, the 2nd “mythological” beasts we come across seem to be human-esque, having changed from a powerful element or stimulant. The guardians of Shambhala must have been living on the resin from tree of life, and we only saw a small sliver of it’s capabilities when Zoran drank it and his burns healed up.
Uncharted 3 is where this natural element spins and we get a more cerebral approach, the psychological representations of what Nate sees in his mind, instead of a tangible world (although for gameplay’s sake, we fight them in the same way, because to Nate, it’s all relevant). The dark magic spin is actually just ages of carefully cultivated smoke and mirrors for intimidation in the darkest of ways. Humans will always use whatever means possible for gains. And, I hate to quote it, but Dean Winchester from Supernatural put it rather eloquently when he said monsters are predictable, but people are the scariest because you never expect it from them.
I also think it fishtails nicely, with the first and last acting as bookends: both ending on a Pirate-colonized island, both after a very specific treasure that has an esoteric meaning to Nate, but ultimately with different endings because of a lack of supernatural elements. Both adventures started by looking for immeasurable wealth, and ended with “friendship was our treasure all along!” trope.
So, in Uncharted 4, delving deeper into the belly of Avery’s ostentatious beast, like Dante’s layers of hell, we see the true descent into darkness and madness. How much one person with a lot of power can devolve into a paranoid megalomaniac, with as much monstrosity as the changed Spaniards on Drake’s Fortune, who lost nothing but their humanity.
The lack of anything supernatural did not impede or weaken the story by taking away any strong “Uncharted” foundations. We have been weaned off the idea that these games can only be interesting if there are monsters involved. And by essentially removing this trope from the story, other aspects need to be strengthened as a result: namely, the drama ensued by brothers “returning from the dead,” a shit load of mother fucking exploding zombies, and the remains of a pirate who literally strung up jaw bones and rib cages and thought “yeah, this really ties together my panic cave.” Like, imagine what that looked like before everything…decomposed.
Everything became so much more believable. Nevermind the fact that I was having a panic attack because it felt like Nate and the squad were hyper-realistic, or I literally have 300+ screenshots of Uncharted 4 because it’s the prettiest thing my tv has ever seen. It makes everything more believable.
So, no, I don’t think there was a lack of monsters in Uncharted, or that it changed the story in any way.
“Stepovers, tricks, that's not the game. The game is what Thomas Muller is doing.
What he did at the World Cup, people don't talk about it. They don't talk about it, but they should talk about it. He plays the game the right way: he defends, he attacks, he controls the ball when he has to control it, he reverses when he has to reverse it. When he has to finish, he'll finish. He doesn't do stepovers, but when he has to perform, he performs. He does what the game asks him to do.”