So while this isn’t anti-Regina but more about how I can’t understand the anti-everyone else I’m seeing on Tumblr and increasingly, elsewhere.
Somebody quoted this from fempop and there was a chain of comments agreeing with it but I thought I’d post this here instead of hijack that post:
Once Upon A Time has always maintained a rather funny concept of good and evil. This is a show where pragmatism is a negative trait and optimism a good one. Where the good always win, princesses talks to birds and true love’s kiss cures all. Good is absolute. A werewolf who is innately good will always be forgiven–even when she eats her boyfriend. A man who kills a child’s parents can spend a few years as a bug and become everyone’s favorite wise man. And the truest of true love couples in town can both have affairs while under a curse and let it go in as soon as the curse is lifted.
There is no pathos for our heroes outside of the external. They do not wrestle with themselves or make bad decisions. They’re “good” and thus free of many of the struggles most people face. And because of those struggles Regina is evil. She’s a victim of circumstances, an abusive household, and a manipulative old man. She has in herself a desire to be good but an addictive personality and some bad choices early on slotted her as evil and it seems that no matter what she does she’ll always be that Evil Queen.
I disagree with the “good is absolute” line as it’s framed here. The implication is that evil is absolute on the show as well, every good action of Regina’s is ignored and I guess that’s what people think we’re seeing, but it’s such a matter of scale! At least we’re seeing redemption arcs for Regina and Rumpel and even a different side to Cora.
I’m so bewildered at how somebody not being invited to dinner is being seen as the worst thing ever, something which a lot of people actually think deserves a magical retaliation. I understand it’s notjusta dinner, that it’s symbolic of acceptance and forgiveness and an acknowledgement of her efforts, but that’s kind of the point. She’s not been completely accepted or forgiven and she’s gotten received some rather kind words.
The difference between good and evil on the show hasn’t been pragmatism and optimism but intentions. I know intentions aren’t an infallible shield against all bad actions and consequences but they still make a heck of a difference! Red eating her boyfriend (and killing her mother) when under the power of something else, little Snow leaking Regina’s secret to Cora, affairs conducted under the influence of mind and memory altering curses are hardly the same as deliberatelykilling many people, ordering the deaths of more (thus ensuring they lived a life of fear and persecution), taking away their memories and free will, and separating them from their families.
Nor do I agree that the good characters feel no angst or make bad decisions. They make a lot! Eating boyfriends, killing moms, leaking secrets and causing deaths, affairs, but they regret them! They try not to repeat them. They try to atone for them. Red was so scared she’d kill again she turned herself in and then tried to get the villagers to kill her. Snow accepted the blame for what, being won over by and with the best of intentions, telling Regina’s secret to an extremely manipulative woman that even Regina can’t really get away from? And she angsted over the affair big time and was treated pretty poorly over it by the villagers anyway. Jiminy regretted his part in Geppetto’s parents’ deaths and is spending the rest of his life trying to not do something unconscionable again. Regina, on the other hand, is written in such a way that the showrunners themselves admit that her thinking at the end of that last episode is “ ‘Cause I used to do the wrong thing and I would feel better than this.”” If we’re discussing the show’s treatment of the characters themselves, where even if Mary Margaret is the homewrecker to the village, she’s a sympathetic character to us, at this point I think Regina is getting that sympathetic view too.
Relatively recently, she was framing Mary Margaret for killing Katherine, and was actually perfectly fine with Katherine’s actual death, even encouraging it and upset that it hadn’t happened. In this episode, the only reason she had to save Emma and Snow was because of the block she and Rumpel put on the portal in the first place. And yes, good god, yes, Rumpel is the worst and deserves even more blame than Regina, but that doesn’t excuse Regina.
If in real life, you find a murderer and kidnapper had some horrible trauma in their lives, would you excuse their later actions? As a matter of fact, many people who commit sexual assault were victims of it themselves (remember Graham, King Leopold). You may pity them but you don’t just absolve them of all their own actions. Regina’s lucky she isn’t still in jail or worse, maybe pushed out of Storybrooke’s boundaries*, and the reason she’s not is because of Henry, so I don’t get the extreme hate for him either. Kids are fickle and self-centered and all about the current moment. Upon finding out Regina had lied to him again and then seeing that she’d helped set up something that would kill Emma and Snow, he actually appealed to her, “good” person to “good” person. And I’m not sure that if I were a kid in a party of adults, I’d invite the one person who’d done a lot of harm to the guests of honor, whatever her recent actions.
And please, please, please stop spouting the “they should be grateful” bull about Regina’s bringing over of the FTL people to Storybrooke. Excusing the moving people against their will and tearing apart families (not to mention removing their memories and forcing on new ones) because the new place is “better” is kind of super gross and, well, just think about the cases where that’s happened in real life and under what circumstances and…yeah.
I felt bad for Regina, I did, but forgiveness is such a long, ongoing process and it is not controlled by the person in need of forgiveness. If your victims of decades upon decades not forgiving you fast enough is reason enough to turn to your old ways, perhaps you’re not truly redeemed. You don’t do good because of what rewards you might get from it.
Actually, I think Regina did take the curse off the portal because of her love of Henry and wanting to do good, so the writers turning that into some kind of “well, she tried, they didn’t bite, back to evil” route for Cora to take advantage of sucks.
* Uh, is there a fic (Swan Queen, obv) for that? Where Regina leaves Storybrooke’s boundaries, either voluntarily or by force, and loses her memories, thus, all of Cora and Rumpel’s influences, memories of Daniel, need for revenge against Snow, all of that? Because that’d be a really interesting look at nature vs nurture Regina, someone who I think is basically good and could have been somebody very different if not for the events in her life. And so after she loses her memories, she’s kind of like, huh, I’m a mayor? I have a son? And he’s your son? And just, Henry and Emma see a completely different side to her, and maybe they all go on a trip outside Storybrooke because now they’re the only ones who can, and then, like, perhaps Emma could go on a quest to get back Regina’s memories, because, much like Snow, she is truly made up of everything that’s happened to her and then happily ever after.