Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rumplestiltskin as "The Beast"

Do you remember our first introduction to Rumplestiltskin? The creepy little man with the slimy looking skin and the bone-shuddering high-pitched giggle who was clearly completely off his rocker and entirely too intuitive?


But his brilliant acting was also immediately apparent. It only took a few episodes for most of us to appreciate the actor, then the character. We liked to watch him, and by the time we got his backstory episode, we sympathized with him and enjoyed him as a character.

But, Rumplestiltskin still had that creepy slimy appearance and laugh and remained, well, repulsive! When most people heard that he would be "The Beast" in OuaT's retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" we were horrified! How could you put that creepy old guy with Emilie de Ravin's gorgeous sweet young Belle?

That reaction is exactly why he was perfect.

For those of us (which I assume is most of us) who grew up watching Disney's B&B, we long ago ceased to think of the Beast as repulsive, but rather as the adorable, sweet, repentant hero of one of our favorite movies. And in novel retellings (such as Robin McKinley's "Beauty") we never had to come face to face with visual repulsiveness and often there wasn't much of personality repulsiveness either. In short, "Beast" ceased to become an accurate descriptor in our culture.

However, in "Once Upon a Time" we got to know Rumplestiltskin as a villian and slimy (though brilliant!) guy long before we associated him with the romantic lead of a favorite fairy tale. So when he did take that role, he fit.

Yet as beastly as he is, we also appreciate where he is coming from, and all it takes is a crack in his creepiness for us to understand what Belle sees in him. We are ready and able to make the transition to perceiving him as the romantic hero of what so far has been a tragic love story.

Although the writing of OuaT can be shaky at times, I think it is no stretch to say that one of their strongest points has been their writing of Rumplestiltskin and Mr. Gold. This is of course greatly helped by the magnificent acting of Robert Carlyle, who I hope we have the pleasure of seeing for many more seasons of this show.

Oh, and I'll reveal one more reason why I like the character. Since I was young, I always adored spinning wheels. "Rumplestiltskin" was one of my favorites because it featured tons and tons of spinning! So I slightly geek out whenever OuaT shows Rumple with his wheel, and then try to assess whether he's spinning it properly. ;)


KatySue Pillsbury said...

I loved Rumplestiltskin as the beast! I wondered who/how they were going to do it, and was very pleasantly surprised at the choice they made! I can't wait to see where they take their story line! =)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of fairy tales, do you think that since the DVD of SOTB is taking a while to come out, you could post another movie clip? Pretty please? :)
In Christ,

Emily Byrd Starr said...

"Skin deep" was my favorite episode thus far! Thanks for the post on Rumplestiltskin! He's my favorite character.