This is one of the biggest reasons I’m rooting for Neal and while I find him so appareling. He makes me want to believe that nice boys don’t always come in last. He’s the boy-next-boy to Emma’s girl-next-door character, your atypical princess who is a survivor and who fell in love with a sheep farmer, same as Snow fell in love with a shepherd.
Yes I agree. I see as much of myself in Neal as I do Rumple and my whole fandom thesis is that we like who we like because it’s a move from sympathy to empathy. Once you’ve aligned yourself with a character as more than just “oh I feel sorry for them” but rather “I understand them because in a way I am them” then their struggles becomes your struggles and if they can’t get a happy ending then there is no hope for you. I *need* Neal to get his happily ever after with the woman he has loved for 11 years because it means that just maybe I get one too. Same with my Imp. I need him to realize that someone loves him and will never leave him because I have the exact same problem. MRJ has said that Neal has never/will never love anyone so much as he loves Emma. I said this a few pages ago but Tamara was very much his “forget” memory potion like Snow took in S1 when the pain of living without Charming was too much. Neal was so scared over what might happen with Emma once the cures broke and then literally seconds after realizing that he could have Emma again (just like Snow knew that she could run off with Charming) there is a lovely solution put in front of him. He had a moment of weakness, just like Snow. He “drank the potion” as it were. Neal is the champion and Emma is the savior. Together they produced the child with the heart of the truest believer. They are of this world and of the other world. Like Adam said, poetry…it’s what they were aiming for.