|Posted by Once Upon A Fan on October 24, 2012 at 9:05 AM|
Article By Jennifer Brouillard
As dedicated Once Upon A Time fans, we all wonder how our favorite characters became the way they are. One of my favorite questions to ponder is how Rumplestilskin become the way he is. In "The Crocodile", many questions about Rumplestiltskin's past were answered. But many more remain and have even arisen from the episode.
Scenes with a pre-curse Rumplestiltskin show that he tolerated and accepted the abuse he received. He barely reacts to Milah's verbal attacks; they seem commonplace and deserved to him. This reaction hints at Rumple possibly being abused and unwanted as a child. The anger and violence he portrays post-curse points to a complex pathos deeply routed in childhood. Cowardice is often a manifestation of low self-worth - and he displays the classical conditioning of an abuse victim. He's so tied to the village; believing that the devil he knows is better than the devil he doesn't. What was he told that makes him believe this? That he could never make it out there on his own? That no one would bother with him, and the shoddy treatment he receives from his kin and neighbors is actually even better than he deserves? The possibilities behind the destruction (or lack of evolution) of his self-worth are endless. But one thing is certain: Losing Milah triggered a downward spiral roller coaster ride of paranoia, rage, revenge and hatred - and every roller coaster ride has a slow ascent to the top.
Why would Milah marry Rumple in the first place? The answer could have to do with the Dark One's penchant to see the future. Perhaps Zoso had chosen Rumple long before the onset of Baelfire's 14th birthday, setting his succession plans in motion as far back as Rumple's childhood when he truly recognized a "desperate soul" in the making. And the first step of such a succession plan would be to set Rumple up for a life of failure. To fasten him into that roller coaster before it left the station. How?
Proclaim a prophecy, of course. "Rumplestiltskin will stop the Ogre Wars single-handedly."
Imagine being a townsfolk and hearing that the runt of a boy who shies away from all conflict is your land's savior. It doesn't make any sense, but Zoso is the Dark One - and the Dark One is always right. They build Rumple up, make him feel better about himself, and Rumple develops a taste for it. And think about what such a statement would mean to an ambitious, adventurous woman like Milah. If she married him before he achieved such success, she would have less competition later and instead enjoy all the females fuming with jealousy when HER husband returned home the conquering hero. Such a hero would never settle into a confining village life; he'd take her on more adventures elsewhere like she always dreamed.
So he goes off with an army. And when danger arises, he runs back to the safety of home, possibly injuring his leg in the process. And Milah has to live with the fallout from her decision, as well as Rumple. The stares and jeers from townsfolk are no longer based on gossip and opinion: He PROVED them correct. He solidified himself as permanently worthless.
The irony is that Rumple does eventually end the Ogre Wars single-handedly. And that's what makes Zoso's plan so diabolically genius.
It's also possible that Milah deliberately planned her "kidnapping", telling her best friend to convey the news to Rumple. Such a scenario makes it easier for her to justify leaving her husband and son. If Rumple wanted her to stay, he could fight for her - and finally act like the man she expected him to be. If he didn't, her leaving would be HIS fault, not hers. But what the self-absorbed Milah didn't understand was that Rumple had no choice in the matter: not with a motherless son at home and against an experienced swordsman with two working legs. What Milah did understand was that given the choice between Baelfire and her, Rumple would always choose Baelfire - and she used that knowledge to her advantage to get what she wanted.
As Killian says, "A man unwilling to fight for what he wants, deserves what he gets." Milah was unwilling to confront Rumplestiltskin with the truth - that she made a mistake in marrying him - and just like with magic, her cowardice came with a price. A tell-tale sign of redemption will be if Rumple is willing to fight for what HE wants. Not just Belle and not just Baelfire. But himself, buried somewhere deep within.
Categories: Fan Theories