I love fairy tales. I always have. I am a bit of a romantic and I love seeing the girl get swept off her feet. And ride off in a horse drawn carriage by horses that never poop. Yes, I know it’s not realistic. But the prince should try.
This TV season has been good to me with two fairy tale-ish shows on, Once Upon A Time and Grimm. I love both of them for different reasons.
If you haven’t ever seen Once Upon A Time, you really should. It is basically about what happens to all the fairy tale characters when the Evil Queen from Snow White puts a spell on all of them to bring them into the real world. No one remembers who they really are and they just live ordinary lives in a small town called Story Brook.
A lot has been going through the season, but two main characters are at the heart of it all: Snow White and Prince Charming. The show goes back and forth between present day time in the real world and the past in the fairy tales. In the fairy tale flashes Snow White is strong, brave, and loyal. She fights for herself and the people (including dwarves) that she loves. She doesn’t whine about much of anything. Instead, she takes action.
Prince Charming is the same. He fights monsters, rescues damsels, and saves kingdoms, all while being a partner to Snow White. They actually fight together and they have a great chemistry that shows they are both smart and strong in their own right.
But then it gets to the real world. Snow White is lonely and kind of pathetic, living for her job as a teacher. She falls in love with Prince Charming, who is married to a woman he doesn’t remember loving. But he can’t make up his mind and refuses to make a decision.
In real life Prince Charming is indecisive, weak, and pretty pathetic. And when Snow White needs him the most, he doesn’t believe her or stand by her side. He says he loves her, but he doesn’t have the balls to leave his wife.
It made me think about the romantic ideals we have about men and how they play out in real life.
In fairy tales the prince is rich, brave, and handsome. His job is to run the kingdom and fight the dragon. And of course to rescue the princess. But how do those qualities transfer to real life?
Prince Charming lives in a world with dragons and rival kingdoms. He can save the princess and still respect her. He knows that she’ll save his life the next time.
Sometimes we think we want the White Knight to ride into our lives and save us. Sure it is nice to have someone pay for dinner and pull out the chair. But do we really need to be saved?
The monsters in real life aren’t dragons to be slain. They are struggles that we have to go through to learn the lessons that make us stronger. We don’t have to go through them alone, but no one can do it for us.
I used to think I couldn’t buy a home on my own. And then I did. The feelings of pride, strength, and capability are something I would never trade away. Those are the feelings we earn when we do things ourselves rather than having someone hand it to us.
In real life the man who thinks he has to save us doesn’t think we can do it ourselves.
In real life, Prince Charming is a jerk.
What do you think about being saved by someone else? How does it feel to save yourself? Have you watched Once Upon A Time?