Home › Forums › Once Upon a Time › Character discussion › which characters you hate? (no flaming or bashing allowed) › Re: which characters you hate? (no flaming or bashing allowe
I’m right there with you Rumplesgirl, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite fairy tale as a child, and I was near the same age when the Disney film came out. Actually, as a kid I sought out pretty much every printed version of the story I could get my little hands on at the library because I liked to see the different versions of the tale (as well as see the different interpretations of the ‘beast’). Really, in the book version of the story the Beast isn’t a bad guy at all. The story is very much a “don’t judge a book by its cover” tale because he is never anything but kind to Beauty. (Well, admittedly he does take her away with him, but she does volunteer when her sisters refuse and that sort of bargain seems par for the course in fairy tales.)
Obviously OUAT is using Disney as a starting point for its stories- and when the Disney BatB movie was being written I guess they couldn’t have some innocent prince be punished for nothing- so they made him a brat. And that’s really all he is- a spoiled brat, not really evil. But he’s not the only one that needs redemption! Belle herself isn’t all that great at the start of the movie. She is distant from those around her and sees herself apart (better perhaps) than the rest of them. True, she lives in a town where an intelligent girl is seen as an oddity, but we have no indication that Belle has ever made the slightest attempt to actually connect with any of the townspeople. She has already judged them as mundane and wants nothing more than to get away. When she opts to go with the Beast, it has nothing to do with seeing goodness within him, it is to save her father- which is admirable, but she has already made her judgement about the Beast. He’s a monster. End of story. (This is why she reacts in such a surprised way when he does her the kindness of giving her a room etc.) So really, the story is a two way street. The Beast has to learn to be kind, and Belle has to learn to see that there is more to people beyond the surface, as she wasn’t just innately gifted with that ability.
I bring all this up because of the whole pillow/life saving debate. Maybe it seems unfair that the two versions of the relationship should have such different starting points. First of all, there are some pretty basic physical things to consider. Rumple- while sort of greenish and scaly is still very much human looking. The Beast- while cuddly and endearing, is more of a… “traditional” beast. It’s natural to empathize more with another person (and to see them as a romantic interest) if… you know, they look like a human being. I realize that’s really pragmatic of me to say- but… there. I said it. (And don’t get me wrong, I’ve always preferred the Beast version to Prince Adam as do most of that fans, haha…)
So on one hand, we have Belle of OUAT who is good at seeing what’s inside a person, and she’s looking at someone who looks much more like a person- so the whole pillow thing isn’t the start of the romance, but the start of their relationship as two people. All it did was show her that Rumple wasn’t devoid of empathy and that he is a person who could be reasoned with to some degree. This all happens in an instant! She doesn’t even get a chance to use her pillow before the Robin Hood events unfold, and that is a very fast track down character development lane. She ends up giving Rumple a hug by the end of it, but it’s friendly and nothing more- although it probably did encourage him to “test the waters” with the library. Still, at this point I don’t think either were looking for romance.
Animated Belle, on the other hand isn’t as good at “reading people” as her live action counterpart. She is also dealing with a larger physical/visual hurdle with her beast. If you remember at the beginning of the movie, she also says “I don’t want to get to know him”- she’s already shut herself off from even thinking about the Beast as a person. She’s standing at a very different place, so it makes logical sense that it was going to take a much bigger thing to get her to perceive the Beast as anything other than a monster. It’s not that he needed to make a bigger gesture to make himself look good- it’s that she needed something more to get her to be *willing* to see.
Regarding the Gold/Hook debate. It does seem cruel for Belle to have said that Hook is “rotten to the core”, but let’s just assume that Belle’s “sense about people” is accurate. Why would she say something like that and yet seem forgiving of Gold/Rumple’s actions when they seem so much worse? Well, we only know so much about Hook’s motivations. We do know that he and Milah were each other’s true loves, and that he is motivated by revenge to kill Gold. All of his actions since Milah’s death have been about seeking revenge. By the show’s moral code- revenge for whatever reason is never good. (And at this point, it’s definitely about revenge and hate- not about lost love.) Even helping Emma and Snow to get back to Storybrooke was all about finding his way to Gold so he could get his vengeance.
Rumplestiltskin, on the other had is sort of the opposite. He’s done a lot of terrible, manipulative things. I mean a lot. From grooming Regina into the Evil Queen to creating the curse to making sure it was enacted- he has a long list of crimes. But as we all know, he’s only ever had one thing on his mind- reuniting with Baelfire. Even taking on the powers of the Dark One was his way of protecting his son. Now, yes- he has clearly faltered on that path (like breaking the deal with his son) and there have been plenty of deals struck and magic cast that had little or nothing to do with his quest, but misguided as his actions have been- at his core, it was for a good reason.
Obviously, the viewer is free to decide whether they agree with that assessment, and I think it’s a strong point of the show that characters like Gold are as complex and inviting of debate. It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise. But I think it’s safe to say that this is the judgement that Belle is making. It’s a very “Did the right thing for the wrong reasons” (Hook) or “Did the wrong thing for the right reasons” (Gold) sort of judgement. You may not agree with her, and that’s fine- but I do think that the series will end up taking her point of view.
Then again, maybe Hook will just surprise everyone and be awesome and they’ll all have cake and frozen lasagna. 🙂
"Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him."