If I could begin to explain to you the massiveness of the problem I have with ABC’s Once Upon A Time, it would probably still take all of time to get through. This show takes the stories we knew growing up- Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Little Mermaid, 101 Dalmatians- and combines them all into one epic tale of bravery and manipulation. It’s such a genius concept, and I cannot get enough. Naturally, when thinking of what to write this allusion blog on, this show is what came to mind.
I’m a super nerd, so this is probably going to be incredibly long. Let me apologize in advance for that. The Bible, fantasy, and writing are my main hobbies, and combining them makes this the ultimate nerdy dream.
The best way I saw to do this since both the show and the book are lengthy was to go through Revelation in order and compare parts of OUAT to it.
Verse 3: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”
What is a fairy tale without prophecy?
Throughout the whole show, we see several prophecies fulfilled. In the beginning, a curse is cast on the land, and all of the characters are transported to a town in present day Maine, removing them from their realm. Before the curse is completed, though, the Evil Queen is told that there will come a day when someone will break the curse. Later in the series, we see this come to fruition.
Verse 5: “…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…”
The Savior! This goes along with the first allusion of prophecy, but also branches out into the whole story as its own theme.
Obviously, Jesus is known throughout the New Testament as the Savior. In OUAT, the character I just mentioned above that was to break the curse and save the others? She is referred to as “The Savior” as well.
This is something that interested me from the beginning of the show. Not many other stories I have read or watched have referred to the protagonist “hero” character by that specific name. With a little investment (a “little” *wink* *wink*), you begin to see the character for who she really is- someone of a pure heart. She is moral and always tries to do the right thing, no matter the consequence. She is human, and therefore makes mistakes. She isn’t “perfect” as Jesus would be described, but she still manages to fulfill her destiny and save the people of Storybrooke.
Verse 18: “and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Hades! In Season 5 of OUAT, we see Hades enter the scene. In keeping with Greek mythology (and Revelation), he is the ruler of the Underworld. The dead people who end up there are those who have unresolved issues back in the living world which prevent them from moving on. When they do resolve these things, they move on to a “better place.” If they don’t, they go to a “worse place.” These places have not been named, but they seem very similar to the Heaven and Hell that we see in the Bible. While the Underworld (aka Limbo) is still a bit of a debate among Christians, the sentiment is still the same. Good people go to the good place and bad people go to the bad one.
Verse 17-19: “And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.”
All I could think about when reading this was Season 5, which is the one currently on the air. In this season, the characters all go to the Enchanted Forest realm to find Merlin to help them solve a problem that they have.
They end up in Camelot, and are met by the honorable King Arthur, who offers to help them. The only problem is, even though he and the knights of the round table seem genuine and morally sound, Arthur is actually pretty evil. He is found manipulating the characters several times throughout the season, much to the surprise of some. (The power of words…) Even though the leaders in Camelot seemed brave and strong, they were actually weak and power-hungry, and ended up destroying everything they had worked for and hurting the ones they loved.
Verse 5: “And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed.”
This verse is in reference to some things that belong to the protagonist, and what will happen to anyone who tries any funny business with them. This made me think of an overarching theme in the whole series, which is part of the magic folklore. Several things (countless, actually) that are precious or important to the characters are placed under “protection spells” at various times in the series. If someone tries to get past the spell, it seriously harms them. I can’t remember anyone actually being dumb enough to go barreling through a protection spell, since all of them are pretty accustomed to it. Most of them stop right before they walk through it and put their hand out, get shocked by an invisible force field, and then regroup so they don’t get hurt.
Verse 4: “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.”
Season 1: Enter the dragon.
This show is weird. Let me say that up front- or, halfway through, I suppose. To summarize this, there is a dragon trapped under the local library, and it is slain at the end of this season. Sad day.
Season 2: The return of the dragon.
In this season, it is discovered that the dragon has been resurrected, and man is she unhappy.
Season 4: The dragon has a baby.
What? The main thing to note here is that in this season, there are 2 dragons, and they are having some family problems, and they wreak havoc on this town before finally making nice and being a family again.
Verse 17: “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.”
Okay. This is going to be the most complicated thing I explain here, and I love it.
Throughout the whole series, there is an evil entity that dwells inside the mind and body of a willing (eh, sort of) character. It is called “The Darkness,” and the one it lives in is called “The Dark One.” It (and the person) is controlled by a dagger (also a loooooong story) forged from a sword in ancient times.
In the verse from Revelation, the dragon is referring to Satan, or the devil. I see the character of him in the character of the Dark One from OUAT. The Dark One is an ancient evil being that has spent its life trying to gain power but only being able to do so with the help of another. In one episode, you actually see the darkness exit the body of its original host (for the current characters, anyway) and search for another body to take over to be able to rule as the most powerful magical being in the world. It enters a couple of people before finding its home in someone very unexpected, and then fills them with all the evil desires a person could have. It causes them to make war on their loved ones and those around them, especially anyone of “light” magic who would fight for its destruction.
Overall, I think these allusions show how pervasive and influential our textbook has been throughout the course of history. Even in fairy tales, there are pieces of it to be found. It is timeless- even this last part that is so outlandish and controversial. I had a lot of fun bringing it out in my favorite show, and I hope you liked reading about it! Now, I am going to go catch up on the newest episode.
Onward, Oncers! Hades shall be defeated!