Once Upon A Time has been on the air for an amazing four seasons so far, and there's still plenty of adventure to come in Season 5 (and hopefully beyond). Evil queens, Saviors, Authors and sorcerers may seem pretty far from real life, but that's not exactly true. Because while most of us tune in on Sunday nights to be entertained and distracted from reality, you have to admit, there are still plenty of important lessons that we can take with us when the show is over if you really pay attention.
Of course, allegory and morality are nothing new when it comes to the classic stories of our childhood. From Snow White to Rumpelstiltskin and every legendary character in between, each of them had wisdom to impart by the time you reached the final page and read those fateful words: "The End." And though Once Upon A Time, being a television show, has become an entity unto itself and reimagines those classic stories in ways that are relatively large departures from the original, the end result remains the same: we can learn a little something, if only we're open to it. And you should be!
All Magic Comes At A Price
Rumpel's infamous catchphrase is basically the fairy tale equivalent of both "Be careful what you wish for," and "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." You might think you want to get your own way at any cost, but sometimes you can't foresee the price you'll pay down the line, so it's best not to mess with fate, really.
Everyone Deserves A Second Chance
In real life, of course, someone like Regina — who manipulated, tortured, and killed for decades just because she was really bad at processing grief and a serious grudge holder — wouldn't really have a chance at redemption. In the world of fairy tales, however, her journey back from the darkness is worth paying attention to. People make mistakes, and sometimes they're really bad ones. But we all deserve a second chance to make things right.
True Love Can Break Any Curse
Without getting too mushy about this, the message here is that true love — whether it be between friends, lovers, or parent & child — can undo the bad things. It may not change what happens in our lives, but it allows us to conquer those things with much more ease, and gives us a reason to keep fighting.
You Can't Escape Your Fate
Emma Swan has always been a skeptic, but there's one thing in particular that she didn't want to believe, and that was the fact that she's the Savior. Of course, most of us would probably run away from the idea of so much pressure and responsibility, but Emma's role was the key to her place in the world, and things only started to fall into place when she began to accept it. I think we can all learn from that.
Good Always Wins
Sure, it may seem like evil prevails — both in Storybrooke and in real life — but in the end, it's good that rules the day. Being malicious and underhanded will never get you what you want in life, and it's only when you do the right thing that everything becomes clearer, as Regina learned the hard way.
No One Can Do It All Alone
Emma might be the Savior, Regina might be the Evil Queen, Rumple might be the Dark One (well, he used to be, anyway) — but none of them on their own had the power to put everything in its place. While it might be tempting to be so in control of your life that you're completely unwilling to let anyone else help, in the end, you'll be grateful — not to mention more successful — if you let others in.
Sometimes You've Just Got To Take A Leap Of Faith
It can be easy to play it safe in life so that you never fail or get hurt, but then you miss out on all the great things life has to offer. Sometimes, you have to forget your fear and go for it, because you never know how it could pay off.
Heroes Always Keep Their Promises
No matter the cost, promises are meant to be kept. No one knows that more than Emma, who paid the ultimate price to keep her word. Maybe we shouldn't be quite as extreme as sacrificing our souls for it, but we can definitely learn from her example.