There are so many things I love about Skin Deep and Rumbelle.
But one of my absolute favourite twists on OUAT is that their Beauty and the Beast story starts with ending a war. I… can’t really explain why, but the idea that Beauty in this story is not simply making a deal with the Beast to save her father (or -in some versions- is basically being sold by her father who already made the deal with the Beast so he would let him go home), this Beauty is a peacemaker. OUAT’s Belle is a nobelwoman in a town under siege. A nobelwoman in a war council room, who is kind and gentle but at the same time has this incredible strength to her. She is someone who is not just capable of finding solutions that others wouldn’t have thought of (in this case summoning the Dark One) she is also the person who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her people. The stakes are much higher than in any other BatB adaptation I know and that just gives this really interesting vibe to that very first scene.
But it’s not just that it made (at least to me) Belle someone who is instantly a fascinating character. I also love how the Ogre Wars are something that played an extremely important role in both Rumple’s and Belle’s lives.
I mean, here we have these two people who couldn’t come from more different backgrounds, born 300 years apart… and yet… war brings them together, in a way. The same kind of war, that so long ago ruined Rumplestiltskin’s life and ultimately made him who he is (after all if there were no Ogre Wars, he wouldn’t have become the Dark One).
But it’s also interesting what kind of role they played in the Ogre Wars. Rumple was a soldier, who suffered because the nobels who ruled that territory (probably) couldn’t care less for their subjects. Rumple in that situation didn’t have any power or privilege. 300 years later he is the one with all the power, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he finds himself fascinated by- and later falls for this young noblewoman, who is willing to give up all her privilege and her freedom to save her own subjects. Belle becomes what Rumplestiltskin once was (a peasant/servant, someone whose life is basically in the hands of their master(s)) -what fate he later escaped from!- willingly, so she can save people like Spinner Rumple and Bae. And I don’t think that’s something Rumplestiltskin saw many times in his long life.
There are many important things about Rumbelle, and the Ogre Wars being a shared experience (even if from totally different POV’s - but imo, that’s what makes it interesting) is probably not one of the most important ones. But damn, it’s fascinating.