Quote of the Day, December 18, 2013: “Ah but I’m a villain, and villains don’t get happy endings.”

This quote struck me for some reason. Yes most of you have guest that it comes from Rumplestilskin (sp anybody?) from the show Once Upon a Time where he realizes that he finally accepts his fate as someone who must die in order to save others.


It struck me in many different ways. In one way it was unexpected, both because you feel like a modern audience wouldn’t accept the idea that villains are deprived of happy endings and therefore the network wouldn’t have given that to them. Not necessarily because we are a culture of forgiveness, but more because we are a culture that doesn’t really hold people accountable to the wrong they’ve done. It also struck me as odd simply because the whole show seemed to be moving in a direction toward redeeming all the characters, even the “bad” ones. Of course Rumple, as he’s affectionately called throughout the show by his girlfriend Belle, has at this point in the series because perhaps the most loveable character. At least he is my favorite by far. I was very disappointed at his fate.


But then driving to work the next day I was thinking about it, (not that it kept me up all night mind, you) and I realized that it seemed to make much more sense. Rumple was a villain. He had terrorized and murdered countless people for centuries. He was a bad guy. The beauty of the show was that through all of the ups and downs of the series, he does find redemption. But the line becomes very interesting when you realize that it’s almost through his acceptance of the consequences for his actions that he finds true redemption.


In life we make decisions, daily. Some seem to be benign but others are weighty. As it is God’s nature to forgive in His mercy, and he spares us the ultimate punishment in separation from Him from dying in our own folly, it is also his way to allow the natural consequences of our decisions to play out in our lives. So just as Rumple escaped the eternal damnation of being tormented forever in Pandora’s box, or by having his shadow ripped from him or suffering from a wrathe, He does still accept the natural consequences of being a villain, that is, forfeiting the happy ending. But in doing so with courage and purpose, he finds redemption and in fact does have a happy ending, in that his ending was a noble one that brought about peace and made life possible for all the others.


So in life, we can always find forgiveness for wrongdoing, and yet we also cannot find escape from the consequences of those very actions he were forgiven for. And that is OK. Dying in self-pity, or denial of our folly and villainy is the true curse. But to accept our villainy, openly call out the wrong in ourselves for what it is, full knowing that there are consequences for our actions,  and though they may be harsh, continuing to walk in what we know is right, is  our redemption, at least in a literary sense. Tragic though it may seem at face value, that is a happy ending.


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