Again with the Destiny

“Once Upon A Time” is back.
I’ve missed it… and the slight headache I get when I’m forced to abandon all reason for an hour.
I accepted a rather horrible fact last night during the premiere: the Swan princess is always going to be the leader… not because she’s good at anything, but because she has some ridiculous destiny which ensures that Regina (she of the brains and the talent and the general magnificence) will always come in last.
That just grinds my gears.

I’m a trifle harsh with Emma because she’s another shining example of a hero who’s only the hero because of a glorious, shining, written-in-unicorn-blood-and-sprinkled-with-star-(or pixie, whichever) dust destiny… despite a grievous lack of any particular skills or a desire to learn and/or work.

Emma was introduced as a character with an ability to sniff out falsehoods like a bloodhound (which explains why she continues to believe every liar she meets who doesn’t blink when she stares intently into their eyes and repeats her questions through perfect and gritted teeth).
Let’s just say that her lie detector is wonky as all get out.
She was supposedly a fairly successful bounty hunter, a skill that does her absolutely no good in Storybrooke or the worlds beyond. Emma’s primary claim to the “Savior of Storybrooke” title is that she is the prickly offspring of Snow White and Prince Charming.

That’s it, really. She’s beautiful, charismatic (despite how much whinging she does), has a pedigree, and is just as stupid as those who begat her.
All hail.

She can occasionally do magic, but never seems to think of it during a crisis, never appears to have attempted to learn anything about the subject, and in fact, seems to disdain the whole thing, despite living in a magical realm. THERE is my beef with the Swan princess… she doesn’t EVER take the time learn anything, but still stomps around, impeccably groomed and wearing fantastic boots, proclaiming herself to be the savior. Two seasons and one premiere in, and she’s still anointed as the heroine and leader, but without doing anything to earn it.
Emma broke the curse on Storybrooke because of luck.
Emma frequently avoids being killed because of luck.
Emma runs face-first into danger (she’s brave… I’ll give her that), but seems to win only by sheer stupid LUCK, and what kind of example does that set? She doesn’t have to train or learn or listen to anyone, she just wins because she has the best hair in town.

No, really… that woman’s hair.

Between Emma Swan and Harry Potter and Frodo and Bella Swan (there are officially too many Swans in this post now), I’ve a hankering to see a character that becomes the hero, not because of destiny, but because they actually worked for it.
When it becomes apparent that they don’t know something, they learn about it.
They ask questions before a crisis, instead of demanding answers at gunpoint after the fact.
They recognize their gifts and hone them, instead of standing back with this “I’ll figure it out in the end, because I’m the hero” schtick.They recognize their weaknesses and instead of ignoring them, they figure out a way to compensate.
I actually want to see a hero that’s smart, instead of just destined.
Take Ged, in A Wizard of Earthsea. Ged started out being a gifted moron, sure… but he didn’t become a hero until the end of the book, after studying and learning to be less obnoxiously stupid. By the end, Ged wasn’t just called a great wizard, he WAS a great wizard.

That is a concept that I would want my children to understand… they have to put the work in. They HAVE to. Sure, there are people who are handed the moon on a small silver platter during infancy, regardless of talent and sweat and work ethic… but the rest of us have to earn it, and because we have to earn it, we gain more than just a title.
Emma Swan hasn’t earned her title.
She probably won’t.
But… I have to admit… she does have great hair.


10 thoughts on “Again with the Destiny

  1. I agree,

    Being a true hero is more about working for it, and making choices through daily life in the face of hardship, rather than having a heroic destiny thrust upon you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how I define a hero…if you want…no pressure. 🙂 (

    Your blog is well written and I appreciate how you make connections to real life from fiction. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!



  2. Absolutely right! Fitz in the Robin Hobb Farseer chronicles not only works hard but suffers….and how come characters such as Snow White and Charming are so vibrant in their own world and so dull in Storybrooke?
    I think you could write it better.


    1. Thanks!
      The Charmings are a titch one dimensional now, aren’t they? The majority of their screen time seems to be spent shrieking “But we’re the GOOD ones!!” in some poor (so-called) villain’s face.

      I added the Farseer Chronicles (the first of the series, anyway) to my Goodreads list… and I’m slightly ashamed that I hadn’t heard of it before. 😐


    1. I have, and I’m (cautiously) excited about it (by “excited”, I mean that I’m fully prepared for the effects to be rubbish and lines to be cheesy, but I’ll probably enjoy it anyway). I’ve always liked Alice.


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