Once Upon a Time – A Visionary Fiction Perspective

I first started watching Once Upon a Time with my daughters this year.  The visionary fantasy story was created for television by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. It focuses on a young boy, Henry, who believes that his book of fairytales is based on real-life events. The setting is Storybrooke, Maine where Henry’s foster mother, Regina, is the town’s mayor. In actuality, she is the Evil Queen.  She spends most of her time plotting revenge against Snow White, who inadvertently blurted out a secret that led to her lover’s death.  Unable to kill Snow White, Regina casts a spell that transports all the fairytale characters from the Enchanted Forest to Storybrooke, each without memories of their previous lives. The story takes off when Henry’s birth mother, Emma, arrives in Storybrooke.  Henry reveals to Emma that she is the long awaited Savior who must help the residents remember who they are and  liberate them from Regina’s control. He also discloses that Snow White and Prince Charming are her parents.

Villains and Heroes

What makes OUAT stand out as visionary fiction is the character arcs.  As there are many characters in this story, the focus of this article will be on the three leads that personify the symbolic archetypes of darkness and light.  The two main villains, Rumpelstiltskin and Regina are three-dimensional, which helps make them sympathetic to the viewer. Through their backstories, we are shown that evil isn’t born but rather created out of circumstances along with the choices that stem from those circumstances.  Regina turns to the dark side after the murder of her lover.  Rumpelstiltskin’s weakness and inability to care for his son leads him to enter the world of … Continue reading