Busting Common Tropes in ‘Once Upon a Time’

Now that it’s finally summer, I have decided to spend my summer how most college students do: watching a lot of Netflix. I saw on Tumblr that Elsa from Frozen was going to be on the new season of Once Upon a Time. As a Frozen super-fan and firm believer that “Let It Go” is the best song ever written, I knew I had to catch up on the series so that I could watch Elsa freeze some shit on TV in the fall.

It’s been less than a week and I’m almost done with season one. I love fairy tales, but Once Upon a Time brings so much more to the stories than what we’re familiar with.

In the show, the Evil Queen curses all of our favorite storybook characters to a small town in modern-day Maine called Storybrooke. It’s the place where there are no happy endings. No magic. No fun. However, Snow White’s daughter, Emma Swan can break the curse, but only if her son, Henry can make her believe that the curse is true.

As much as I’ve always loved fairy tales, the tropes used to depict women and girls always bothered me. There was always the evil queen or the old witch versus the innocent, weak princess. In Once Upon a Time, however, the writers brought new plots to the original stories and wrote some kick-ass female characters.

Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Snow White


In Once Upon a Time, Snow White is not the damsel in distress you saw in the Disney movie. This Snow White knows how to wield a sword and saves her prince just as often as he saves her.

Little Red Riding Hood

red riding hood

The writers really put an interesting twist on this classic story. Instead of Red being an innocent girl who is tricked by the evil wolf, Red is the wolf herself and shifts into its likeness at sundown. Once she realizes that she is the wolf, Red uses her powers for good to help Snow White.

The Evil Queen

evil queen

Yes, she’s evil and horrible. However, she has a back story that almost makes you feel sympathetic for her. Almost.

Emma Swan

ABC's "Once Upon a Time" - Season Two 

Emma is not only the savior that can break the curse, she’s also a kick-ass female lead and the sheriff of Storybrooke, Maine.

Now I’ve only watched the first season. I can’t wait to watch the next two, as well as Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. The writers have surely broken the outdated tropes of the classic fairy tales and shown that princesses and maidens do not always need a man to save them from evil.

Brb I’ll be spending the next 48 hours straight watching Netflix.

Also, check out how creepy the Cheshire Cat is in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

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