I like your theory of Gold’s ring & @sarashouldebestudying’s TLK would only work in FTL where the curse came from. Mine was a combo of “magic is different here” & Rumple believing in their love which over S1-3 (phone call, Pandora’s box, “you made me stronger”) he did. Then A&E retconned it with that MacGuffin so CS wouldn’t panic about TLK not working. They treated EQ as an entity making Regina do bad more than the DO curse, unless it’s Emma. And let’s face it they change the rules every series

Hi anon *waves*

To be honest I kinda agree with the “change the rules every series” or you know even “change the rules ever 5 minutes”. Usually I’m all about finding in-universe explanations but with Once for my own happiness and sanity, I came to believe that creating a coherent narrative was easier if I ignored certain ‘canon’ bits. Some things just contradicted each other so much – at least in my opinion – and I guess I got attached to my version of the characters, and so I tried to make the show fit that and when it was impossible I ignored the show.

With my response to jackabelle I tried very hard to consider all the canon that I knew about/could remember as it was my understanding they wanted a canon meta explanation. That’s why I didn’t say anything about the writers changing the rules. I did call the Guardian a MacGuffin, but then that’s what people call the infinity stones in the MCU movies sometimes, it’s just a term and from my pov means nothing negative 🙂

Anyway, forgive me if this wasn’t your intent but I’m going to pick up on something I found very interesting in your message

making Regina do bad more than the DO curse

and I’ve gone on a lot so under the cut for length.

I kinda agree with you – that’s my headcanon too. I adore Regina as a character but she made some fairly horrific choices. I can understand why she made them but that doesn’t excuse what she did. As the Evil Queen Regina razed entire villages, she killed countless number of people. She tortured, she controlled – she was full on bad guy.

When I think of Regina, I always think of Teal’c from Stargate SG1 and what he tells Tomin in Season 10.

Teal’c: Nothing I have done since turning against the goa’uld will make up for the atrocities I once committed in their name. Somewhere deep inside you you knew it was wrong, a voice you did not recognise screamed for you to stop. You saw no way out, it was the way things were, they could not be changed. You’re trying to convince yourself the people you’re hurting deserved it. You became numb to their pain and suffering, you learned to shut out the voice speaking against it.

Tomin: There’s always a choice.


Indeed there is.


I chose to ignore it.


Yet you sit here now.


I sit here, and I cannot imagine the day when I will forgive myself.


Because it will never come. One day others may try to convince you they have forgiven you, that is more about them than you. For them, imparting forgiveness is a blessing.


How do you go on?


It is simple. You will never forgive yourself. Accept it. You hurt others, many others, that cannot be undone. You will never find personal retribution, but your life does not have to end. That which is right, just and true can still prevail. If you do not fight for what you believe in all may be lost for everyone else. But do not fight for yourself, fight for others, others that may be saved through your effort. That is the least you can do.

So basically TLDR Regina knew the choices she was making were wrong, she did it anyway, and that can’t be undone. She’s now making better choices but those better choices don’t erase the past.

Now with Rumple in my headcanon it basically comes down to one very simple quote – “evil is a point of view”.

I believe that in the early days of the curse Rumple did kill people, he turned them into snails for looking at Bae the wrong way. He was already dealmaking, already controlling the power and it was losing Bae which gave him control. After that I’m sure he did kill occasionally – or have to make a point ala torturing Robin Hood – but he didn’t massacre wholesale. He did what was necessary to be safe (nobody tries anything if they are too afraid), he did what was necessary for the plan to get to Bae.

I firmly believe that Regina killed far more than Rumple ever did. Regina was a blunt instrument, Rumple was all about subtly and pulling strings. He knew that the death of one is memorable – the death of many is a statistic.

HOWEVER – and this is the key part, I don’t think that lessens the curse of the dark one, or somehow makes it less powerful or less dark.

Nimue was the first dark one 500 years ago. Rumple took the curse on about 250 years ago – so he’s been the dark one for half of the curses life – and yet we know that there was easily a dozen or more Dark One’s in between Nimue and Rumple. They didn’t last and that’s because the darkness burned through them.

Charming called Rumple “the scourge of the realms” and people were afraid of the Dark One – because Rumple wasn’t the first Dark One. The previous Dark Ones didn’t sate the darkness with deals, they probably went full crazy mode, killing everyone in sight and laughing manically etc.

My point (and I promise I do have one) is that death or torture isn’t the only measure of darkness. It could be argued that Rumple manipulated/controlled a large section of the EF (several kingdoms at least) to ensure the dark curse was cast and he got to the land without magic.

“With great power comes great responsibility” – it all comes back to choice. Rumple chose to exercise his power to get what he wanted which was Bae. The kingdoms went to war, he could have stopped Regina and didn’t, he could have done a lot of things.

Another Spiderman quote “When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen, they happen because of you.” – I don’t blame Rumple for what Regina did because while he gave her the matches, he didn’t make her start the fire. Regina made her own choices. Rumple didn’t make Regina do anything but he didn’t stop her either.

I guess in a very convoluted way I’m talking about sins of omission. Rumple didn’t choose to go massacre people but he didn’t choose to save them either.

While I’m on my high horse I might as well finish by stating some unpopular opinions. Rumbelle is my favourite version of Beauty and the Beast for many reasons but the fact that Rumple at no point tried to woo Belle so she could break his curse is #1. They fell in love naturally and quite unintentionally with no ulterior motives.

Belle “loved all of him, even the parts that belonged to the darkness.” I was very pleased that Rumbelle never got a TLK because that would have erased something I loved about their romance – that they accepted each other for how they were. I always wanted Rumple to get rid of the curse eventually because nobody should outlive their child. My imagined happy ending for Rumbelle was

perhaps have another child(ren), watching the kids grow, find love, maybe give them grandchildren.

Then when the time was right then they could TLK so they’d grow old together, or if TLK didn’t work then to be honest I was fine with Gideon sucking the curse out of Rumple like the apprentice did. I actually had a fic planned long before 7×04 where ‘the Gold family’ became guardians if you like of the dark one curse. They were tricky, they were schemers, they made deals but never for more than people could pay. Nobody really liked them (except when they needed them) but the realms were safe because there was no power mad Dark One – the darkness was controlled.

Alright I’m going to come out and say it. I find it quite appalling that the show is in anyway selling ‘death as a happy ending’ but then perhaps as someone that’s struggled with suicidal thoughts I’m taking it a little too personally. I haven’t watched Once since 7×04 because – again unpopular opinion – I was really, really unhappy with the direction they went in.

Did they forget to age Gideon up? I’m sure Belle wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on decades of his life, miss watching him graduate, find love, live a life of his own. No, Rumple’s whole arc of ‘finding the right way to die’ upsets me.

Oh and please don’t misunderstand. I wholeheartedly support anyone that loves season seven. I’m pleased for you honestly. Everyone is different, everyone sees things differently and like I said it could just be hitting my buttons. The same way I nearly threw up on watching the end Rumbelle scene in 6×07. Some things just hit far too close to home.