Once Upon a Time: Belle’s Dilemma

Recently, Once Upon a Time’s Twitter and Facebook accounts posted a question for fans: Did Belle do the right thing? All across the web fans argued both sides–some state that she had no choice, while others suggest that Belle should have been more understanding. In reality, both of these arguments have good points to make, but in the end was Belle’s decisions the right one? Is there a difference between right and best? Where will Rumple and Belle’s relationship head towards the second half of season four?

The Situation

So, Season Four of Once Upon a Time not only brought the Frozen arc, but it also continued where the last season had left off. Rumpelstiltskin had switched the dagger so he could avenge his dead son and had recently married his true love Belle. In the opening of Season Four Rumple declares to his son, while visiting the graveyard, that he has wronged Belle but he promises that he will be a better man for Baelfire’s sake and Belle’s.

Was Rumple’s promise a bunch of baloney from the beginning? No, it is clear that his intentions were true and he did have his mind set on changing. It wasn’t until he saw the hat that the gears in his head started to turn for evil. Although, in Rumple’s mind he was never doing what he was doing for power–well at the start anyways. I do wish that the writers had made that more clear. If a writer has to explain to the audience off screen what and how the character feels that’s a bad sign.

The situation is not that Rumpelstiltskin is hungry for power, or that he is coward and is simply afraid to face his fears. Instead, the real issue at the moment is that Mr. Gold does not want to be controlled. It was fate or destiny that started everything for Rumpelstiltskin. Like Oedipus Rex, it was a fortune teller who caused the events to happen by the main character trying to run away from his future. If anyone is afraid of fate or destiny it is Rumple, and the dagger is a way to control him–in a way it is his fate to be forever enslaved.

The Choice

Belle is presented with a choice at the end. Once she realizes that her beloved has been tricking her, well, all hell breaks loose. In Belle’s mind, she not only feels betrayed but also replaced by Rumple’s lust for power. Now, what question should fans be asking: did Belle do the right thing or did she do the best thing?

The relationship between Belle and Rumple, in Belle’s eyes, becomes fake. She begins to doubt once she discovers that the dagger she has is fake, that anything that has happened in their relationship was ever real. This is a common and normal thought process. However, analyzing Belle’s character and her flaws she has only shown to be weak in one scene–remember Anna? Belle’s weakness much like Rumple is attachment to those she loves–especially knowledge. Belle was willing to put Anna’s life in jeopardy for a rock that she might have been able to replace. She could have asked the rock trolls, “can you duplicate it?”. Also, not to mention that her dad tells her at the end anyways.

Belle needed to know the whole story which was something she saw as more important. Applying the same idea to the situation between her and Rumple reveals why Belle did what she did. Belle has always been addicted to the idea of heroics and always strives to be a hero herself. In the end, the choice she made was not because she hated Rumple–though she was pretty pissed off–it was more about the danger he had become. Belle no longer knew him, in her head Rumple could have been playing her the entire time, so if her weakness is knowledge than by her being confused makes Rumple dangerous. Furthermore, her desire to be a hero must have pushed her to chase her true love out of town–not only for the sake of Storybrooke–but also for justice. It is a punishment after all for Rumpelstiltskin.


In the end, there is a difference between right and best. Belle made the right choice–the right choice being the just one. The decision that would benefit the majority being the citizens of Storybrooke. However, Belle did not make the best decision by shunning her beloved which clearly affected her as much as it affected Rumple. It will be interesting to see where the writers take their relationship, and there is no way that they will ever break these two apart for good–they are too cannon and too popular.

What do you think? Should Belle have enforced justice, or should she have been more understanding?


  1. More understanding and above all less impulsive. At that moment, without his dagger, Rumple was no longer a threat and then before taking such a drastic decision she could at least listen what he had to say, especially as if she couldn’t trust of his words she could even force him to reveal what that led him to behave as he did…


  2. I think in her shoes, I would have wanted an explanation. I have a problem with her using the dagger to force him away from his home and his son that is buried there. It is too final and hardly gives him the chance to make things up to her and the town. Maybe she did make the right choice, but not the best choice.


  3. Let me flip the question before I address it specifically, if Belle had a brain tumor that caused her to do all sorts of nasty things, would it be a sign of strength for Rumple to take her out in the woods and leave her without food, water, shelter, a cane if she needed one, warm enough clothes and transportation?…or would we think him a weak man for not living up to his marriage vows when she was sick? Now, some may be tempted to say that’s not the same thing, but I disagree, because first he has a *curse*, then add to that the trauma of being caged and abused often with a knife at his face or neck for a year and his son is murdered. *Anybody* having experienced that is going to be very sick in some way, and Belle agreed to marry him, knowing he had just went through all that. Part of the reason this plot infuriates me so much is that in real life, people do leave their spouses when they get sick, which is appalling, but they usually have enough class not to endanger the person further by taking them against their will (in other words, kidnapping them) and ditching them without basic neccessities. If they do that, they can go to jail. Belle is “better than that”.

    Adam and Eddy made smart loving *strong* Belle stupid, weak cowardly and selfish! Her vanity, playing hero and being the center of his universe was more important than taking care of her abused grieving husband. She has lied to him too and done things to screw him over too, but he always forgives her. She could have cut him some slack.

    They could have packed the car and left SB together since it’s full of bad memories connected to his captivity, abuse, and his son’s murder…all of which Belle is partly responsible for because of her role in the resurrecting the Dark One without researching the ‘price’ fiasco. He has never said one unkind word to her about that. And before anybody says, “he was going to kill everybody”…so have Regina and Hook plotted to kill the whole town for what they wanted, and they didn’t get ditched without food and water or other necessities…nothing bad happened to them for it…Belle just finally got a *little* snarky with them in season 3…and the so called heroes rushed to save Regina when Greg Tamara and Hook had her…but when Rumple, who saved all of them, was being caged and tortured for a year, they were more interested in making out and their own lives than to mount a rescue of Rumple, even though it was in their best interests not to have the Dark One controlled by Zelena. And Regina’s change the book to get her happy ending quest could take away other people’s happy ending or even kill people…but everybody’s okay with that because it’s Regina. Double standard! And before anybody pulls the “he deserved it” bit…I think you would have a different attitude if you had spent a year in a cage, been abused often with a HUGE knife against your face or throat, and you got out and your spouse did nothing to help you with your trauma, went around wearing a scarf with *knives* on it and tried to control you with a knife that looked like the one you’d been abused with, all because your spouse wanted something and you said “no”, which was your right to do. Belle’s lucky Rumple hasn’t spent their marriage sitting on the floor screaming, peeing himself and puking all over the place. Yes, she had a right to be mad, but not *that* mad when she’s been lying, and didn’t try to help him because she was more interested in her pet project (library) and being a part of a clique, taking time away from her damaged husband to babysit for friends…the same so called friends, who didn’t protect her when she was in the hospital, had to be bribed to help her when she was Lacey, didn’t comfort her when Rumple died saving them and couldn’t be bothered to rescue Rumple from Zelena. Belle needs to get her priorities straight. She needed to go with him, yell at him if she felt the need to, and figure out a way to break his curse. Because a cursed person is never going to be fully in control of his decisions; the curse will always interfere.

    Adam and Eddy like to make it sound like this was an act of strength on Belle’s part, but Belle’s strength has always been her compassion and intellect, not force. That’s what made her special and a real hero to be admired. At the town line, she showed no compassion, and as for intellect, Belle, jumped to a false conclusion about the gauntlet, apparently forgetting or ignoring the important details of what Rumple told her about how the gauntlet works. It is to find someone’s *weakness*, which is *almost* always the thing they love the most…but Rumple isn’t like most people. Of course the dagger is going to be *weakness*, since it is part of his *curse* and can control or kill him, but that does not make his power his true love. Indeed, just before he died saving everyone from Pan, he told Belle that she makes him *stronger*…and right before he almost died from Hook’s poison, he made sure to call amnesia Belle to tell her that she was a hero and how wonderful she is, because it was important to him that she know that, even if he wasn’t alive to tell her. At the town line, Belle dismissed all the times he saved her, all the times he showed her true love and caring, and all the times he chose her, just because of a lame magical item, that she clearly doesn’t understand. Her dialogue at the town line practically screams, “I was written by a man, who has no idea what a strong woman is like!”…and it was, two actually, Adam and Eddy, and they appear to think cruelty is a sign of strength, and a character abandoning their core belief, that when you “find something worth fighting for, you never give up”, and abandoning their assertion to love *all* of a person, is character development…and marriage vows are just something you say to kill time, because in SB time, it’s only been about a month since Rumple’s son, Bae, was murdered, and three weeks since Rumple’s captivity ended, and Rumple and Belle were married…and it was only about a week after they were married that Belle tried to control him with the dagger…just as Zelena had been doing only about a week before.

    I want *real* hero Belle, who took on Zelena at SB hospital, to come back. I miss her so much! #BringBackStrongSmartLovingBelle


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