A Review of Spooky Empire's May-Hem Convention by Mauri Lazaro - @DarkDearieMauri
I know a lot of people were wondering why a fairy tale show like Once Upon a Time was featured at the horror convention Spooky Empire’s May-Hem. But if one looks at the original telling of fairy tales, both genres are grounded in common horror themes. They are cautionary tales with dire and sometimes gruesome consequences for the character who does not follow the rules set up in the story: don’t go down into the basement to investigate a strange noise, don’t go into a stranger’s house and be a glutton. . . you might become a witch’s dinner, don’t accept food from strangers . . . it could be poisoned. Most of these rules are based on the seven deadly sins in both story genres. Spooky gave fans an amazing opportunity to celebrate both the great characters that feature in these thoughtful tales and the creative people who bring them to life.
It was nice to see my Oncer friends again in person at May-Hem since we live all over and usually just keep in contact over the internet, and I loved meeting new friends, Oncers and horror fans alike. May-Hem was the best of both worlds for me as I’ve been a fan of horror since I was four years old when my mother and I used to watch the G-rated Hammer Horror films on Sunday afternoons. Dracula, played by Christopher Lee, is my favorite monster. We also watched The Blob because my mom liked Steve McQueen, and after seeing the movie I was wary of grape jelly in my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I also grew up with my mom reading fairy tales to me. My favorites were Cinderella and Snow White. My Mother was with me at May-Hem, and don’t let my seventy-five year old mother fool you when she says horror movies are just okay. Oh, please. She loves them! Her favorite horror movie is the original 1981 My Bloody Valentine. Is it no surprise that my Mom is an Evil Regal with all the hearts being ripped out? She enjoyed May-Hem as much as I did.
There were many highlights over the weekend. Meeting the cast of Once Upon a Time was just one of them. The first cast member I met was Rebecca Mader. She remembered my Wizard of Oz cupcakes that I made for my birthday and had posted on Twitter (squee!) Sean Maguire was a dream. He is such a gentleman, and, yes, he smells nice! Jason Burkart was also very friendly. I loved his curly hair. Freya Tingley is a sweetie pie. So glad to have met her! I’m looking forward to seeing her in Jersey Boys. It was also a pleasure to meet Lee Arenberg. I was impressed at how accessible he was to the fans, always around for us. Finally, there is the queen herself: Lana Parrilla. She is as absolutely stunning in person as she is on screen and well worth the wait. I had her sign an apple I bought. She wrote, “Mauri- Take a bite . . . if you dare!”
By Tori, @Team_RobinHood
Everything was going so beautifully in the finale, wasn’t it? Regina and Robin were together, having a romantic lunch by the fire and she had her heart back, feeling more love than ever before. Then there was bonding with Roland over ice cream at the very end. This for me was the most perfect scene Outlaw Queen has ever had. It was exactly what we all hoped and dreamed to see happen for Regina, for her to finally be happy. And then it all went up in smoke in a matter of thirty seconds. We knew it was coming, as soon as Emma saw Marian you knew she wouldn’t let her die and Regina’s world was going to shatter all over again. And shatter it did. In the process of Robin embracing his long dead wife, our hearts broke right along with Regina’s. No one can blame Robin for running to Marian. She was, and is, his wife and the mother of his child, whom he loved, still loves, and dead or alive, will always love. I also can’t deny that it warmed my aching heart a wee bit to see Roland with his mommy. But does this mean that Outlaw Queen is over after it’s barely begun? Is this all the happiness Regina will know with her soul mate? Was Tinkerbell and her pixie dust wrong in saying that Robin Hood and Regina Mills were destined to be together?
I don’t believe so. Because if this was the end of them, then what was the whole point of it all? Simply to show that people who get second chances in life and love are doomed to fail? Of course not! Once Upon A Time has always been about the redemption of its characters and the lesson that no matter how lost you are, or how alone, there is always the hope of finding your happy ending. There isn’t a single couple on OUAT that hasn’t had one trial after another in order to be together. Outlaw Queen is no exception.
In a way, Regina and Robin’s romance was almost too easy. No one ever tried to stop them from being together, no villains made it their lives’ mission to pull them apart at all costs. They slowly got to know one another from a distance during the lost year, bickering, as we saw, like a pair of children. Both attracted to each other at the time, no doubt about it, but too busy to take the time and see it. Regina was broken and lost after losing Henry, dealing with a jealous sister who was quite literally out for blood, while Robin was focused on keeping his son safe as well as helping to protect the kingdom. It took them being cursed to finally get to really know each other on a deep, personal level.
The real character transformation came from Regina. After decades of closing her heart off to love, seeking revenge for the love of her life that was so cruelly taken from her, she started to see how good a life she really did have now. She saw the possibility of being able to share that life with someone. While we know she has always loved Henry with every fiber of her being, loving a child and opening yourself up to falling in love are two very different things. Yet once she did, she never regretted it for a second. I swear my heart melted into goo at seeing her so happy and full of love, for not only did she get her son back by the end of Season Three, but she also had her soul mate by her side.
As for Robin, he truly did fall in love with the Evil Queen. He saw past her hard outer shell from the moment she saved Roland from the flying monkey and discerned the broken and lost woman within . . . she whom he hardly knew by more than reputation alone. From the beginning he wanted her to have a second chance. Lots of people wouldn’t have shed any tears at Regina putting herself into a sleeping curse to ward off the pain she was feeling. Robin, however, tried, nearly in vain, to show her there could be more to life. He, who knew the loss of his wife, lived with that guilt every day, and then who could imagine the horror at losing your child? Long before he had any romantic feelings for Regina, Robin could see someone not too different from him, who should not be given up on.
Lots of Outlaw Queen was reading between the lines. We know Regina so well, one look tells us more than most conversations ever could. The same can be said for Robin as we slowly got to know him. The looks, gestures, daring flirting, and smiles told us all we needed to know: Robin Hood was quickly falling for the Evil Queen.
With Marian back from the dead, does it mean all the love that has been built up between Regina and Robin is suddenly gone? No, because love doesn’t work like that. You don’t choose who you love or when. Feelings cannot be turned off just because Marian is now back in Robin and Roland’s lives. Most people have been focusing on Regina and her heartbreak, but let’s not forget about what Robin is going to going through. He’s a mixed bag of emotions right now, if ever there was one, and likely hardly knows which way is up at the moment. Processing all those feeling is going to take some time.
Robin will want to remain loyal to Marian and do the honorable thing. Be the family they used to be. But will he be able to? That’s the big question now, isn’t it? Can he so easily forget Regina? Will Regina not fight for what she loves, for what she knows in her heart is meant to be? Sadly, we will have to wait a long four months before we have any of these answers. Even then, I see this as being a slow boil story arc. Regina will be hurt and bitter, out for Emma’s head on a silver platter. Robin will be lost and confused, in a situation with which he never dreamed he’d be faced. And that, as a certain pirate has said, is when the fun begins. Oh, it’s going to be full of angst and heartache, ups and down, ice queens and who knows what else! We’ll be wanting to reach through our screens and smack Marian upside the head so hard it sends her right back to when and where she came from. But that’s what makes a great romance so great. Not so much the ending, when the two lovers are finally together and happy, but the road that leads them there.
So don’t give up on Robin and Regina. Never give up on them. It is always the darkest before the dawn. Be strong, and remember: keep the Outlaw Queen Faith!