All Magic Comes with a Price

Glancing at The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Power of Names, I was struck by an amusing coincidence.

The mention of Rumpelstiltskin.

I’ve been watching back-to-back episodes of the first season of the TV series Once Upon A Time, and last night, after having viewed the season finale… it left me contemplating the themes and ideas which it touched upon and played with intelligent imagination.


As a child I loved fairytales…

Fairytales, fables and folklore help children learn about right and wrong, values, morals, and things like that in a way which works with their minds, minds which are open to learning, absorbing everything and trying to make sense of it, filled with imagination, minds which are different from an adult’s mind in so many ways.

…some fairytales more than others. The ones which I did not like, my dislike came from feeling that somehow an injustice had occurred, that the happily ever after was flawed and not in a way which sat right with me.

Rumpelstiltskin was one of those. I did not think the happy ending was fair. The heroine of the story gets her happily ever after by making a deal to save her skin and then breaking it once her skin was saved and she didn’t need the help of the person who had saved her skin anymore. Her ally and saviour became her enemy and she defeated him without the slightest concern or care for his happily ever after which became an unhappily ever after so she could have her happily ever after. It was all about her and what she wanted, and she was rather greedy and selfish.

I realise demanding someone’s firstborn as payment for saving their life and helping them secure a happily ever after future is pushing the boundaries of propriety. A baby, even a fictional one, is a being with rights of its own… which its mother did not seem to think about when she offered it up as payment to save her own life. Of course she was not with child at the time and didn’t realise what she was doing, and she was very desperate. Desperation can skew our logic and make it illogical. Once she stopped being desperate, she viewed things differently. And of course she had power, was no longer helpless, and was with child, so…

When our circumstances change, so do we.

Rumplestiltskin (Mr. Gold) is my favourite character in Once Upon A Time. It helps that he’s played by Robert Carlyle, who is a brilliant actor, and who also seems to enjoy playing the part, imbuing his character with depth, complexity, intelligence and charm.

While waiting for my mind to shut up so I could go to sleep, I decided to play a game (one of my tactics for putting my mind to sleep, kind of similar to reading your child a bedtime story), and searched for and found a – What Once Upon A Time Character are you? – quiz.Since that was what my mind was busy discussing with itself.

Which OUaT character are you?

Silly things can sometimes be very revealing because we are relaxed about them, our vigilance is not paying attention, as our rather self-important mind tends to dismiss the silly thing as trivial.

I wasn’t too concerned about the result of the quiz. There are a couple of characters which I would have been annoyed to get as a result, but if I did, so be it… everything is revealing, and that is my gold at the end of the rainbow.

I thought it would be fun to share the quiz (hope the quiz-makers don’t mind) and my answers and result (Yes, it’s the one which you’ve guessed).

OUaT-1A: Guidance Councilor… because I didn’t want to be either of the other options, so it was to me the best of a limited choice and the quiz does not give an – Other – option.

OUaT-2A: Rebel at heart… because I am, have always been before I knew what name to give it. It’s an annoying trait, makes life difficult and relationships fraught with… stuff… but it can also make life interesting.

OUaT-3A: Sometimes… I’m very human. I also try to steer clear of saying ‘never’ and ‘always’ as they act like a curse when said.

OUaT-4A: Help but expect something in return… mostly what I expect (but don’t necessarily expect to get) in return is respect, as in the person who asked for help realises that I made a conscious choice to help them on this one occasion. They reached out to me with a hand asking for help and I offered a helping hand. That’s a handshake deal which only applies to the one deal.  I’m not signing up to provide a lifetime supply of help to them, while getting nothing in return other than more opportunities to meet their demands for help. Conditions apply on my side of the deal too. I’ll cut my hand off if need be just to break the handshake (grip of death) deal.

OUaT-5A: Often Correct… but I don’t always listen to them.

OUaT-6A: You intelligence… You, intelligence, you! Because if I didn’t pick you intelligence… you’d get all stupid on me as payback!

OUaT-7A: Happy for my friend… of course! One of the best feelings in the world is being happy for someone else’s good fortune! It a kind of magic…

OUaT-8A: Don’t need anyone’s help… not exactly true at all, but the option I wanted was not offered. So I answered based on the attitude I tend to have when I need help, which is a stubborn insistence that I have to sort my own problems out by myself and not bother anyone else with them.

OUaT-9A: Action… the genre I like the most is actually – Quirky, intelligent, unusual, and independent, which may have a mix of all of the other genres.

OUaT-10A: Avoid and hide… and observe them until you have the information needed as your back up to confront them, preferably not aggressively. Sometimes while you’re avoiding and hiding, your enemies end up taking themselves out because they’re usually their own worst enemy.

OUaT-11A: A little bit narcissistic with a dash of consideration to balance me out… it’s the least likely to create dramatic complications in relationships. It’s the easy option in between two difficult ones.

OUaT-12A: Noble… I’m not going to try and explain why I chose that, it harks back to a time before time, a feeling, a something which tends to influence my decisions and has done so since that time before time. I probably should have chosen mischievous.

OUaT-13A: The Lost Child… I have no idea what my family consider me to be, yet… this choice is based on a particular story which happened when I was about 5 years old, one of those incidents which becomes a metaphor in the mind for how you are perceived, your part to play in the stories of others.

OUaT-14A: Power… I debated quite a bit about which option to choose, then it occurred to me that all of the other options, Love, Family, Peace of Mind, were forms of power, a very personal kind of power. Thus by choosing Power, I value them all. Makes sense to me.

OUaT-15A: No… that does not mean that I believe in unhappy endings either. An ending is an ending, its happiness or unhappiness depends on our experience of it at the time, our perspective then, and on how we choose to perceive it in hindsight which is often coloured by our present experience of life, one which came with a new beginning after the ending.

My result:


I was pleased with this result, it’s not entirely accurate in its summation, but it is not entirely inaccurate either… and of course how I experience myself is different from how others experience me, and that is one of the reasons I love this character, especially the way that Robert Carlyle plays him.

Just a bit of fun… a bit revealing… much is still concealed, that is magic for you!


  1. Apparently I am Henry Mills whoever that is. Exceptionally smart, wise, bold. People think I’m strange but in reality I just have a colorfull imagination. Sounds about right! ROFL!


    • The show is basically about a bunch of fairytale (and other stories) characters who get transported into our world, the regular world, due to a curse. They live as regular people in a small town (which none of them can leave) and don’t remember who they really are. Henry Mills is a main character, a child of slightly mysterious origins, who has realised that the people in town are fairytale characters – from what I’ve seen of the show so far he seems to be the only one who doesn’t have a fairytale counterpart. He is the child who is older and wiser than the adults, but often gets dismissed by the adults because they think he’s deluded and they know better. So he has to wait for them to realise that he’s the one who knows better. He also creates a connection between the good characters and the bad characters. He’s in some ways the heart and conscience of the show.

      It’s a great character to get.

      It’s an intriguing show with some very novel and amusing twists on fairytales and the characters in them. I get the feeling that the writers have a soft spot for the bad characters, their stories of why they became bad, the impulses which motivate them, are very detailed and fleshed out, they are in some ways very human, they’re also very aware of their failings, their weaknesses, which makes them more relatable. Whereas the good characters are rather uppity and blinkered in their goodness, they tend to blame the bad characters for everything, even when their own actions cause their problems, they’re less aware of themselves and they keep expecting a hero to save them. It’s humorous and intelligent. An observation piece of human nature.

      The funniest bit so far is one character (a good one) who keeps professing true love for another (a bad one), but then insists that the person they love change to suit them or they can’t love them. The bad character’s love for the good character is much purer than the good character’s love for the bad character, but the good character thinks their love is of superior quality.

      Henry Mills owns a big beautiful illustrated book of all the fairytales ever written, it’s his guidebook, do you have one of those?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “He is the child who is older and wiser than the adults, but often gets dismissed by the adults because they think he’s deluded and they know better”.

        Story of my life really.

        You should see the patronizing comments I get on one site I comment on. In my case it’s the males thinking since I’m a woman I can’t have an idea about geopolitics. That’s Kiwis forya!


        • I think we all quite enjoy the challenges of the story of our life, as they are an intrinsic element of who we are. Our battles are a part of our identity, and we often instigate them without realising what we’re doing (self-observation, does not necessarily apply to others).

          If the story of our life changed, who would we be?


  2. That was fun. I’m Jiminy Cricket. It says “You serve as the moral compass of your friends and family. Despite your rough past, you turned out to be prudent and conscientious, always trying to do the right thing. You lead by example and hope to inspire others”.

    There’s truth in it. But, you’ve said something that’s true for me in your posts. Paraphrasing: We give, and give.. but it’s not always because we really want to. We feel exhausted by what everyone needs from us, and we give because it’s easier than not. And we get tired of it, and then we need to be alone for a while because of it. Yup.

    There’s giving because you genuinely want to, and then there’s giving because you’re living old patterns. They are two different things.


    • Have you watched the show? Jiminy Cricket, the show’s version of him, is a very intriguing character, especially his story about how he became a cricket and conscience. He suffered a deep regret due to an incident in which an attempt he made to do a right turned into a painful wrong, and his grief and guilt became a burden he did not want to bear, but he was given the opportunity to turn his pain into an inspiration.

      Giving is a very complex action, and urge. It’s one of those neutral things which takes on whatever we imbue it with, which is often influenced by our very first experiences of giving. It is in many ways our very first understanding of life on Earth, as we often refer to birth in terms of the giving of life. So it is etched into our earliest consciousness.

      Knowing our motivation and intention behind an act of giving can be difficult to pin down, there are just too many layers to sort through. Too many things which we hide from ourselves, and which others hide from us.


      • No, I’ve never watched the show. I stopped watching TV many years ago, when reality television became the big thing in the States. It saddened me to watch people treat each other like crap, and then get rewarded for it. I said au revoir to my television set.

        It’s funny. Jiminy Cricket. Deep regret. Grief he did not want to bear. How bizarrely appropriate.Your blog is so oddly, utterly and wonderfully synchronous to me. And for someone who believes in the utter randomness of life, that is saying something.

        Thank you for the time you give to all of us. I know it’s an exchange. You give; you receive. But still, thank you.


        • Thank you 🙂

          I do get a lot out of my blog, especially through comments and interacting. I have a lot of questions, and answers often evolve out of the mutual sharing.

          I don’t tend to watch terrestrial TV (UK TV) – Netflix and Lovefilm have changed the TV experience, especially as adverts can be avoided, and you can watch what you want at your own pace.

          I agree about reality TV. When it first made its debut, it was interesting, mainly because it was different, but then it became more and more ridiculous and staged.

          The first season of Once Upon a Time is good, second season felt like the writers lost the plot a bit.

          I zigzag between seeing everything as random and everything as being connected. Sometimes I favour one more than the other. Sometimes they overlap. Sometimes there is a rhythm to the random which gives the impression of synchronicity, whether it is really that or not can be difficult to discern once we notice it and give it a name. Especially if our individual consciousness taps into something which is part of the collective consciousness. Our focus on it means we notice it everywhere we look. Was it always there or is it new?

          The mind is a powerful thing, it is also still largely unmapped and unknown.


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