Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MORE Upon a Time

Don’t you love it when a story gets better and better as it goes along? Yeah, me too.

That’s the case with Once Upon a Time.  It's gotten stronger.  I've since discovered that Lemonie is also a big fan.  She's just invested as me.  It's often shocking and always crafty.

I have to applaud this past episode. Not only did it deal with my favorite character in the show, it taught me a thing or two without me realizing it.

Before I go on, let me ask... how much do YOU know about this fairy tale entity? Probably, like me, just the basics: Little guy who spins straw into gold who gets paid dearly for his efforts, a la a first born child and only guessing his name will negate such a grisly contract.

But is that it? Surely there’s more to this character. What’s HIS story? (The familiar one with him in it is really about the girl who’s forced to produce gold from straw.) How is he even able to create a precious metal from dried grass? Where did he come from? WHO IS Rumpelstiltskin?

That’s precisely what the recent episode of the fairy tale based TV show is about: his past. Obviously not knowing much about Rumpelstiltskin, I let them present whatever they wished to about him. After all, a fairy tale is not set in stone by anyone one single author, so there’s plenty of room for creativity. And since what they provided not only gripped me like his hand on his walking stick but it fits more than properly into the world of “Fairy Tale.” It makes use of essential elements of the genre but doesn’t come across as cliché.

It’s pretty darn great when one winds up sitting and digesting for a moment or nine after the episode is over. So charmed had I been with their interpretation and backstory, I went right to the computer to look him up [after I’d “digested.”]  I’d been very pleased to discover actual lore about the character had been incorporated. Once Upon a Time has built upon a basic fact of him - why he is called Rumpelstiltskin (which is the same as what his name means.) From Wikipedia:

The name Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally "little rattle stilt". (A stilt is a post or pole which provides support for a structure.) A rumpelstilt or rumpelstilz was the name of a type of goblin, also called a pophart or poppart that makes noises by rattling posts and rapping on planks. The meaning is similar to rumpelgeist ("rattle ghost") or poltergeist, a mischievous spirit that clatters and moves household objects. The ending -chen is a German diminutive and designates something as 'little' or 'dear,' depending on context.

AH, so that’s why Once Upon a Time had the character use a walking stick in this episode... and why his counterpart in “our world” of Storybrook, Mr. Gold, has a cane.

As for the rest of their version, well, they took some liberties.  Then again, it is in fact true that there's not much to go on about this mysterious little guy.  And what did they weave?  Well, they spun gold.  I’m not going to delineate (and hence spoil) the marvelous backstory as provided by the series, but suffice to say it has some excellent twists. It gives a “very fairy tale” explanation of how/why he has his supernatural powers, and again, in a not cliché manner. I also like that it left at a cliff hanger of sorts. We now know that he’s going to lose his child somehow (which helps explain why he desires another’s first born) but as of yet it hasn’t happened. But we know it will... and the tension left at the ending scene is still creeping me out.

Meanwhile, the “parallel story” in Storybrook proved just as compelling and just as delightfully inter-connected as has become par for the show. 

I didn’t think it possible to make me love the uber-icky and twistedly awesome Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold more than I already did. But the writers here certainly know how to manipulate my emotions - just like the character himself.


1 comment:

Lewelyn said...

Ooh I do love this show. Thanks for the info on Rumpelstiltskin. I wonder if they'll include Peter Pan at some point? I know that Beauty and the Beast will make an appearance at some point...