April, Jalil, David and Christopher are trapped in a world that shouldn’t exist. Myths are supposed to stay on the page. Merlin shouldn’t be fighting dragons. Galahad is in storybooks. Not in Everworld, in Everworld all their wildest myths and stories are living and breathing. Question is can our group stay that way as well?
This book ventures into Merlin and King Author myth territory. I really like the idea of the Arthur myths. I think they intrigue me because they are myths that have a touch of reality to them. No one knows for sure if they are true or not. We know that Zesus was a myth and that Loki never played tricks on people. But the Arthurian legends could be based on real people.
I liked in this story though that Arthur is not our main focus. Galahad is our focus in this one, which is interesting. We get to see a different character than people generally see in similar retellings. Merlin is prominent but not in a connection to Arthur. I liked that aspect.
I am enjoying the way the group is able to go back to the real world and make sense of what they are encountering. In this book Galahad and Gawain had similar memories of looking for the Holy Grail. Neither knew why, they just accepted it. They find out it is because our stories have them both in that role. I liked that we see this connection to the myth characters. They are influenced by their connections to our modern world.
I do enjoy the fact that we don’t just focus on typical mythologies in this series. While Loki and Zeus do play a part we also see people like Galahad and I know later elves. The lesser myths got carried along in the wake of the larger myths which is interesting. We are given a broader world and a more full world this way. It is all our stories connecting into one world.
I know that we are going to be getting Jalil’s POV next and eventually Senna’s. I am really interested in both of their stories. I remember that April, David and Christopher’s were pretty simple and predictable but the other two are a bit more of wild cards. I am really interested to see how they play into the larger picture.
This book was told from April’s POV and I had a bit of an issue with her. She is someone who is all talk but little action. She talks about wanting to not be the damsel that gets saved but then can’t take care of herself. She needs saving all the time.
She is hard to understand because she is constantly wanting Galahad to save her but she also sees that as annoying as well. She knows she needs to stand up for herself more but also realizes that isn’t easiest for her. I like how self-aware she is but I also want to see her use that self-awareness to actually start making a change for herself.
I like these stories. I love the plot and the characters are great. I am having more and more of an issue with the writing itself though. Not only is is choppy it is very repetitive. The same words or phrases are used over and over again. Sometimes right after one another. I know this adds emphasis but it does get tiresome.
Also I think this series may be where I got the habit of using synonyms too much. I found that when I write I tend to write something like “It was a beautiful, gorgeous day outside.” There is no need for both of those words, they tell the same thing. I see that happen a lot in this book. I know this book stuck with me when I was a teenager and I think that idea or habit in writing crept into my style a bit.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. I am enjoying the series still. I am just curious to see April grow a bit more and have to not focus on some aspects of the writing too much.
“He was a legend….We didn’t know him, but we knew what he represented. He was good standing up against evil. He was the strong man defending the weak. He was brave when the odds were against him.” (pg. 161)
We have now met the first Dark One and I was not prepared for who it ended up being. We also learned that power can corrupt anyone, even someone who seems completely good. Emma is deep into the battle of her soul and the battle is starting to look futile.
We started the episode by learning how Merlin got his power. He was an escaped prisoner running through the desert. He came upon the Holy Grail, not knowing what it was at the time, and after asking for permission, took a sip. That one sip gave him magic abilities and immortality. We learn throughout this episode that power is a gift as well as a curse.
Merlin from the very start uses his power for good. He helps those around him and one of those people is Nimue. She is a refuge from her village that was burned to the ground. Merlin is attracted to her right away.
One of the big reasons he is attracted to her is her gentle seeming nature. She tells Merlin that the way she wants to get revenge for her village is by planting the seeds of a certain flower that only grew near her home. She tells him that at least something else will survive, proving to the man who hurt them that he did not win in the end.
That seems like a great way to look at the situation. We believe that she is a great match for Merlin because of her worldview. She is not like Regina or Zelena, centering her life on revenge and only revenge. But that all turns out to be an illusion, because in the end Nimue is human, just like anyone else.
Nimue lost her entire village and all those she loved that lived in that village. Anyone would have trouble getting through that. It is not easy to just forget and forgive as we are told to do all the time. At the time when Nimue met Merlin, she did not have the means to get her revenge. She was lost and sad. She had no idea how to do what she really wanted to do. So she told Merlin that her revenge was to plant those flower. At that time, I think she really meant what she said.
But as soon as a new opportunity presented itself to her, she took it without much thought. Merlin explained to her what the grail did for him and she could not pass up the opportunity for immortality and unlimited power. Again we see what power can do to someone.
Nimue meets the man who destroyed her life and she kills him despite Merlin begging her not to do it. He knows what will happen. As soon as she lets that darkness in, it destroys who she once had been. Killing is one of the greatest evils there is and Nimue does it without too much thought. She lets the darkness in and she becomes the first Dark One.
Power is dangerous, something we have heard many times throughout this series. Nimue uses it for revenge and it becomes all that she is focused on. Same thing happened with Rumple. He got a taste for what the power could do for him and he could not walk away from it, not for his son or for Belle. Power becomes all these Dark Ones can think about.
Emma fights with Nimue in this episode and wins. She does not kill Merlin, but we see how difficult it was for her to win that fight. She screams that she is not, nothing. Nimue tries to convince her that power will give her everything she has ever wanted. But Emma is able to see through her words this time. The problem is that the draw of power does not go away just because you say no once.
Power is enticing to people for many different reasons. Whether it is to change what you want about yourself or the world. Or to help those around you. But if you do it all because you enjoy the feel the power gives you, you are going to be doomed. Merlin used his power to help those around him, he did not use it because he enjoyed the feel of it. He was willing to give it up to be with Nimue. That is the key I think to all of this. You have to be willing to let it go and everything it could do for you.
Emma is not at this point. She has used her power a few times already. She keeps using it thinking that she is using it to save herself because it is necessary. The problem is that she is using it for selfish reasons. You can’t use the power for yourself.
I do not know if Emma can ever be completely selfless using her power. I think Emma’s downfall is going to be that she is going to use her power to hurt someone who hurts her family. Emma is able to think straight most of the time, but we saw last season that she is willing to go to great lengths to save the people she loves. She killed Cruella to protect Henry. I think her downfall will come because of something similar.
Someone is going to be threatened, either Hook or Henry most likely, and she is going to do whatever she can to save them. In the end, she is going to give into the temptation of power to save someone she loves. She won’t be able to walk away from it. Power corrupts her, just like it does for everyone else that comes into contact with it.
We do see though that Emma has some doubt left in her. We have seen a few times this season that our old Emma is still inside the Dark Swan. They have to bring out that person and break her connection to the power. They have to give her something more important than power.
“Life is made of little moments,”- Merlin – He says this twice throughout this episode. Once when he is explaining to Nimue why he is willing to give up immortality of her. And the second time when his apprentice asks if he would have prevented all of what happened if he could have. Merlin understands that all the moments of our lives, good and bad, is what life is all about. You have to have both to have a full life. This may end up being one of the keys to saving Emma.
“Easier to live with darkness when you dress it up as vengeance,” – Merlin – You can call your use of darkness a lot of different things. You can pretend that you are only getting revenge or that you are only using it to protect those around you. But when it all comes down to it, darkness is darkness. It is easier to just live with your actions when you can put a reason to it, even if that reason is threadbare and flimsy.
Why did Merlin tell them to find Nimue in his message?
What can Nimue do for Emma now?
Can she help in anyway or do they have to defeat her in some manner?
How are they supposed to even find her? Is she alive in some way, somewhere? Is Merlin dead?
Is that how Emma turned dark? Did she kill Merlin for some reason?
Why is Arthur controlling Merlin? What does Arthur want? Does he just want to protect the illusion he has created?
What will they have to do with Arthur? How can they stop Emma now that the sword is reformed?
Who is that one person that can have the darkness in them and use it for good? Do we know them? Will we ever meet them?
Can they take the darkness from Emma and give it to that one person?
How can the group bring out the good that still lives in Emma?
Where is Zelena? What does she ultimately want? Just to run away with the baby?
Does Emma still have Hook’s ring? Is that her tether to her old life?
Emma has fallen far. Emma is not the woman we met back in season one. She is not the woman who would do anything to protect her family and friends. Instead of protecting them from harm she is the one causing that harm. Hope for her redemption is slowly but surely ebbing away. Emma is now focused on making Rumple into a “hero,” though that is a word I am not sure she quite understands anymore.
One of the major moments of this episode was Merlin being released from his tree prison. But what was significant about this whole thing was the means Emma went to, to free Merlin. In the process she did something she vowed she would never do and that was hurt her own son.
When Merlin was released he went to Emma and told her that he can indeed remove the darkness from her but she has to willingly give it up. He can not take what she is not willing to give away. As we know Emma must not have been able to fulfill that requirement because she is currently Dark Swan. She has a choice to make with Merlin and we see that she makes the wrong one just like she did with hurting Henry.
The spell to free Merlin requires a tear from lost love. They at first believe that Regina’s sorrow over losing Daniel will do the trick. They watch the scene again and collect the tear. But it does not work because Regina has healed her heart. She misses Daniel, that is a pain that will never completely leave her but she has learned how to live with it. She has Robin now and her tears are more of a lost memory of love and that is not powerful enough for this spell.
Emma seems to know this, how I am not sure. She knows that Henry is crushing on Violet and she does something that I never expected her to do. When Regina and Emma are watching Daniel’s death Emma wonders how a mother could do that to her child. Then she turns around and does much of the same to her own son.
Emma is desperate, that we know. Despite what Hook has tried to help her with, she is not able to fully fight the darkness by herself. She is desperate for it to be taken away from her. Cora did what she did to Regina because she had no heart, what is Emma’s excuse? I know she is scared and she is running out of options but how does hurting her own child help her fight the darkness?
What she did was allow the darkness to take an even tighter hold on her. Parents are supposed to protect their children, not harm them. I know she said what she did was for the best for Henry but as Regina pointed out to her, her own mother said the same thing. In the end Regina spent much of her life despising her mother. Henry is not going to walk back into Emma’s arms and forgive her anytime soon. In the process of trying to save herself it would appear that Emma has only doomed herself.
The Emma we have now, Dark Swan, has one mission here in this world and that is turn Rumple into the hero she needs. She needs a hero to pull Excalibur from the stone, so that she can rejoin it with the dagger and eradicate all light from herself. She has Merida imprisoned and forces her to train Rumple and make him brave. She believes if she can make him brave that will translate into him being the hero that she needs.
The old Emma would not be making this mistake. The old Emma would have understood that a hero is different depending on the situation and where they are. Teaching Rumple how to swing a sword will not make him brave and will not make him a hero. Even having Merida threaten the chipped cup and the memories of Belle and their life together is not what he needs. He becomes angry but that does not mean that he is now brave.
Rumple is being trained to be a hero in Camelot standards. Camelot and Storybrooke are two very different worlds. The great way to understand this is how Violet’s dad interacts with Henry. In Camelot he tells Henry that he cannot be a knight and cannot be a hero in that world. He is not strong enough, can’t fight and has no way to protect Violet. Henry tries to change but realizes that he can’t.
Now in Storybrooke that interaction is much more cordial. Violet’s father is grateful for what Henry did for his daughter. Henry did not have to fight with a sword to defend her, he found her horse and brought it back for her. He did it because he cared about her and that brought about a different response from Violet’s father.
What this all showed is that the term “hero,” is a broad term. The term does not have a set definition. There is no checklist you can make marks on as you gather the necessary elements to be a “hero.” Just like we have seen throughout the series the title of “villain,” is broad and can entail many different characteristics.
We get massive hints throughout this episode that Henry will be the hero. Regina calls him it more than once. In this world, Henry is the type of person who constitutes a hero.
Emma has this idea in her head that Rumple is the man she needs to be her hero. But what she is doing is training him to be a hero by Camelot’s standards. A hero there is someone who is strong, and fights monsters and protects their kingdom and family. While in Storybrooke that definition is much more subtle. Henry is a hero not because he goes into battle but because he helps those he loves and cares about, for unselfish reasons. Camelot’s hero identity is more about fighting and swords while this worlds’ definition is more about going out of your way to take care of those around you and make sacrafices to help those people.
If Emma wants Rumple to be her hero here, she needs to have him put down the sword. Rumple can be a hero but that will take time. He has many mistakes to amend and people to apologize to and gain trust from again. It will take a long time before Rumple can be a hero.
“The more you justify what you’re doing the more you push them away,” – Rumple – Emma has to find a reason of her actions. There is still a part of her that knows it isn’t right what she is doing but she is ignoring that part. She has to find excuses in order to push away the guilt that will take control of her. The people around her only hear those excuses and one by one they are walking away from her.
“You may not be hero in this world but you will be in ours,”- Regina- Again the two world are very different. Henry is not traditional knight material but he is a great person who can be a hero in our world. He is the hero that Emma needs not Rumple.
“Ms. Swan,”- Regina- Just like Hook, Regina is now making distinctions between the two versions of Emma that she knows. Hook calls her the Dark One and now Regina is calling her Ms. Swan again. A name she called her when they were enemies. She has drawn a line and Emma is slowly losing all those she had that believed in her.
Will the group use the dreamcatchers to get their memories back?
What was the dreamcatcher that Emma was crying over?
Something we haven’t seen? Henry’s? The choice she made with Violet?
Why was Violet’s dreamcatcher out on the table?
Can Henry find a way to forgive Emma?
Will anyone be able to trust and forgive Emma again?
What was the real reason that Emma did not relinquish the dark power to Merlin?
What would Merlin do with the dark power?
Did he create it?
Does it always have to exist?
When will Emma realize that Henry is the hero she needs?
Can she use her own son like that?
Is there any line she will not cross now?
If Henry does take out the sword can he use it against his own mother?
Are the decisions that Emma is making come from the darkness only or is it also from a part of her?
Where is Merlin in this world?
How did he approach Emma when she was young?
Why can’t she take out Excalibur?
Who was Merlin’s love? Who killed her? Who was that Dark One that imprisoned him? Why did he do it?
Can Rumple ever become a hero by either Camelot or Storybrooke’s standards?
Can Rumple be brave?
How did Emma get Merida as a prisoner?