Once Upon a Time fans are eager for the return of Season 4 in March, with so many questions left in the mid-season final and with new characters being introduced the wait has become a burden. However, do fans need spoilers to figure out the future of their characters? How far does destiny play in Once Upon a Time? Are each of our favorite characters predestined, or do they have a say on what happens to them?
The ABC Family show has won the hearts of devoted fans, it is a show that is about hope, love, and choice. According to the writers the second half of Season 4 will explore what separates a hero from a villain. In a way, the show will deal with destiny vs. free will. Once Upon a Time has dealt with nature vs. nurture before–Rumpelstiltskin’s famous quote about evil not being born but made. However, how far does fate play a role in the series?
Fate or destiny is a set future–one that cannot be changed but rather is inevitable. Rumplestiltskin/Dark One/Beast/Mr. Gold is the best example of fate, Rumple was told by a seer that he would leave his son. Now, if Rumple would have never spoken to the seer would he have progressed in the same path as he did before? Would he still have done something to loose his child or would it have gone differently? In the end, if Rumple would have stayed and fought there was a strong indication that he would have died. So, the prophesy would have been fulfilled. The seer said he would leave his child fatherless, so was there any other path that he could have taken to avoid this?
With Rumple’s example it is clear that he could not escape his fate. Okay, now let’s see if the same is applied to the other characters? Emma Swan, the savoir, was destined to save her parents. Now, it was a prophesy by the Dark One that she would defeat evil and break the curse. If her parents would have decided not to send her through the portal would that have changed the prophesy? During the episode “Broken” in Season 2 Emma makes an argument that cannot be ignored. She tells her mother that if they had chosen to keep her with them, they would have been together but cursed. This is true, the prophesy was not that they would live happily ever after and that Emma would defeat all evil. No, the prophesy was that she would be a savoir, a beacon, and would break the curse. Would this have been any different if she would have stayed with her family and been cursed? Didn’t the Dark One already enchant the scroll used by the Evil Queen?
Hero vs. Villain
What defines a hero versus a villain? Once Upon a Time has been build with the idea that evil is not something that is innate, but rather is created through events that happen in a person’s life. Regina, Cora, Rumple, Hook, and Peter Pan are all cannon villains. Each of them made wrong choices, but many of the heroes have as well. Didn’t Snow White kill Cora–wasn’t that a selfish choice? Yet, Snow White is never stated as a villain even though she was the antagonist in Regina’s story.
So what makes a villain if the definition is not a person’s choices or actions? Peter Pan, one of the biggest bad guys on the show, was a man with a child struggling with his own selfishness. Pan’s desire was what led him to choose his youth over his son. Cora, the miller’s daughter, desired power and a chance to prove herself but she chose to rip out her heart. Regina, longed for her happy ending which she thought could only be reached by vengeance–similar to Hook.
A villain is a person led by one thing, fear, while a hero is led by courage. All the villains have made choices based on their fears–for Peter Pan it was his fear of responsibility or being bound to someone. Cora was afraid of oblivion and being seen as less, and Regina and Hook were both afraid of forgetting those they loved. While, the heroes are never led by their fears but instead led by courage. Courage, a virtue, is often associated with morality and love. Making the “right” choice is never easy, but this does not mean that a hero can never make a wrong or bad choice. Instead, it simply means that their core energy, their inner direction, is their bravery.
In the end, the question fans should ask is how strong is destiny’s role in the series? If fate is apart of what makes a Villain a villain and a Hero a hero, then there is no escaping the final ending. The Author in the series seems to indicate that even though people can change, there is an implied prejudice in the Author’s character–even if he is a non=speaking role. The Author labels people a bad guy or a good guy, which means that destiny or a greater power has the ability to decide who is the winner and the looser. So, will every named villain lose? Is the story only told by the winners?