we all wanted to be somebody else. somebody braver, or more handsome, or smarter. it’s what children want. it’s what you grow out of, if you’re lucky. if you don’t, it’s a life time of agony.
#hero of the story #(doesn’t make other people villains! means the world’s complicated. WHOLE POINT)
BOOM, THE VERY THING THAT DRIVES ME UP A VERY SPECIFIC WALL ABOUT THIS SHOW: they framed it like this! That is their central conceit—did they miss that, somehow? Yes, they chose to write about the deconstruction of her story, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are operating in a story framework she crafted. That she mastered by knowing the rules of storytelling and which she crafted into allowing her the happy ending. She gets everything that the world denies her kind before: you don’t get to mother a child when you’re a witch, you don’t get a peaceful kingdom if you’re a wicked queen, you don’t get a prince climbing out your window when you’re the antithesis of a princess. It’s her damn world, and we’re watching it fracture via the entrance of someone unwritten, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a thriving story about her. The point is the story, the town is the story, and it’s hers.
Which doesn’t absolve her. Which doesn’t vilify everyone else. Actually no wait, look at the things she chose to do to everyone around her: she didn’t make worlds where they were miserable or abject; she made worlds where they were still. Comas (instead, I might add, of death), marriage, small-scale sweet-natured gainful employment. Little lives. Unmagical lives. She stripped the scale of the story, and in doing so, she stripped the concepts where Good means Rewards and Evil means Punishments: that’s what brings us into the real world. Where you gain exceptionalness by wanting it and pursuing it and gripping it with your nails, by making the world what you want it to be, not by letting the narrative work for you.
That’s the format. That’s where the show starts, where it drops its plot.
And then…it…wants us to want to rend our way back to childhood? Yeah, a grown-up commandeered this story a long time ago. Drop the stars from the narrative’s eyes, let the characters work for their place in the story and for fuck’s sake, let the AUDIENCE work. We can do this. We’re grown-ups, too.
I can really appreciate the fact that Regina has created a world freed from fairytale constraints- where good and evil aren’t so relentlessly clear cut and where a degree of normalcy is achievable, but it still doesn’t excuse the way she prevents her story from expanding and progressing. Mary Margaret and David want to hook up? Oh no it’s not in the story I didn’t write that no. Huntsman doesn’t want to be with her anymore? No that’s not the way the story goes better remove him from the plot entirely. She’s strangling the plot, gripping it so tightly to resist any change to the point she starts to resemble an inept storyteller. Her characters don’t fit her plot, her scope is rigid and narrow, and she lacks the imagination and talent to let her cast reach their full potential.
Her sole role in the plot has been to dig her heels in and resist any and all change. How on earth is that good storytelling?
(I am getting so tired with this show.)
(also It’s kind of like the Boxcar Children, isn’t it? Story never really changes, never really ends, and the characters and plots are ultimately stagnant. Never saw the Boxcar Kids performing daring train robberies in the dead of night to further expand their Boxcar Empire now did you?)
Although I suppose that’s where Emma comes in. A storyteller who recognizes the potential in all the elements around her and catapults them into actually making progress, rather than just letting things… continue.
LOL END RANT ABOUT SHITTY TV.
“Her sole role in the plot has been to dig her heels in and resist any and all change. How on earth is that good storytelling?” I think that’s the point. It’s not.
Regina doesn’t want the characters in her story to grow, for them to have grand, fleshed out stories. She doesn’t want them to progress organically, for them to have agency and be dynamic, full, rounded characters. She wants to limit that potential. She wants to have all of the control and for everyone to do what she wants because this is the story she created, this is her spell, her revenge. It’s not about the storytelling for anyone besides her. She’s the main character in her story, and it is supposed to go the way she wants it to. That’s the point.