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I got the first season of OUAT on DVD for Xmas and have been doing a rewatch. Simultaneously, I've been plotting the second draft of my novel using the hero's journey as a rough template, so I had the concept of the hero's Guide archetype in my head while watching.

Assuming Emma is the Hero of OUAT, the first Guide she encounters, at least in season one, is Henry. He has the Book, and he is constantly interpreting events and people for Emma (also, Mary-Margaret/Snow White, and Graham/the Huntsman) in terms of the book so that she can see herself in the larger picture of what she is supposed to accomplish as the "savior."

A lot of fans have a knee-jerk dislike of unusually-bright child characters. I'm not one of them (Wesley Crusher fan. No apologies.) I think I may even have a slight* story kink for bright child characters, especially if the child is part of an emotionally complicated parent-child dynamic, which Henry is in spades. (*slight; this trope can be sloppily done)

There is a precedent to the idea of the child-as-guide. It comes from the notion of a child having "clearer sight" then adults, not being blinded or sidetracked by the assumptions that get inculcated later through education and the disappointments and joys of life. Invariably, though, in this trope, the adults around the child dismiss the child's perceptions as imaginary or naive.

Henry is a smart kid, but he doesn't really know much of anything he didn't read in the fairytale book. What he knows, in and of himself, is simply to trust the book, and that sort of faith is well-suited for a child character. (BTW, where that book came from before Mary Margaret gave it to Henry is a question I don't believe they have answered as of mid-season two).

Henry isn't unwavering in his faith and shows lapses, especially in mid-season when (*gasp*) evil fights back, and even as late as the last episode of season one when even he seems surprised to see Pinocchio reverting to wood.

In season 2, he is allowed to be more of a child, although he was interestingly one of the first threshold figures who could exist between our world and fairytale world.

Reactions and speculations on this week's OUAT (In the Name of the Brother:

• It's way too early to introduce the "what about the world outside Storybrooke invading us" issue. It's a level of complication that would make a good season 3 arc. But come to think of it, in Lost, the thematic story change of season 3, the Others, was introduced in mid-season 2 in the scary stories of the 815 tail section and the character of Henry Gale (aka Ben.)

• I don't believe Cora's on the up-and-up in her attempts to reconcile with Regina. But I mostly think that because they are working on redeeming Regina and Rumplestiltskin, so *someone* needs to be OMGTehPureEvil. That's the nature of fairytales.

• Hah! I knew Dr. Whale would not be in the Book. It's about fantasy world characters. He's from Geneva. Okay, a B&W B-movie version of Switzerland.

• I was hoping the guy in the car would be Bae (Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin's son). I don't think it is. I am still hoping Bae turns out to be Henry's father, but if Neal Cassidy is Henry's father, he doesn't seem to have the knowledge Bae should know.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
Once again while watching OUAT I let practical matters intrude, foolish I know - now the big issue was that car crash guy may have seen some magic but it seemed like everyone was acting like no one from the outside world was going to ever set foot in their town. Considering that they can't leave how are they getting food? Supplies? Electricity? Water? You're telling me that hospital only serves the town and not the surrounding area? I know the town is well-populated but there's no way they're self-sustaining and no modern population can last long without contact with the outside world. Was this addressed in the first season? My watching of the show has been spotty but it was driving me batty thinking about this as I watched.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
Considering that they can't leave how are they getting food? Supplies? Electricity? Water?

I have been wondering this for a while now. How do the stores restock themselves if no strangers come to Storybrooke?
Jan. 22nd, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
I would think there's a regular deliveries and everyone in the town just knows to both act non-magically and be unfriendly until the truck in question leaves, but it would be nice if they mentioned this.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
That was my theory for a while - there were "trusted outsiders," deliverymen in particular. But their fear of "the outside world" in the past couple episodes seems to encompass everybody, and that's problematic.

So yes, some hand-wavy spackle, spackle plot hole filler comment would help at this juncture.
Jan. 23rd, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
I was wondering just the same thing this week! Can't just put it down to "it's magic", so I'm speculating that ordinary people can get to Storybrook for deliveries, but that there's some sort of veil that makes people not pay attention to the town the rest of the time.
How did Henry manage to leave Storybrook to find Emma if there's no bus service? Inquiring minds want to know. Maybe we should email the writers, LOL.
Jan. 23rd, 2013 04:11 pm (UTC)
My new theory on Henry and the Once Upon A Time fairytale book is this.

(1) People connected to/with origins in the Fairy Tale Land but not in it at the time of the curse (e.g., Emma, August, Bae, and Henry) have always been able to enter and exit when they want to.

(2) Mary-Margaret originally gave Henry the book that set this whole thing off. Where did the book come from? My guess is Rumpelstiltskin. He alone has the means, motive, and knowledge to do it. Being the pawnshop/curiosity shop owner, he might have such a book, he has been manipulating things all along so the curse would be broken and everyone would remain on Earth, at which point he could seek out Bae.

He also was the one who arranged for Emma to be the savior, so when 28 years had passed and she didn't show up, he somehow gave MM the book who gave it Henry.

(3) Henry was born outside Storybrooke so isn't effected by the curse. As a result, why wouldn't he have noticed, when he was old enough, that none of the children around him aged like he did, and everyone seemed to be (a) in a trance, or (b) periodically have memory resets, or whatever has been happening for 28 years.

He would have thought something was seriously weird, especially if they have TV and see the way others live. So he would have been receptive to the OUAT book as offering a theory about why Storybrooke is the way it is.

If he knew he was adopted, and did the internet search to find his mother, and discovered she was the right gender, age, and first name to be baby mentioned in the book, that would have set him on his journey.

Not implausible to think this was Rumpel's doing. He might have even suggested it to the kid, because he had to get someone who could leave Storybrooke to go fetch Emma.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )