I wasn’t a fan of Charming at first, but then again, who was? Season One was much kinder on his fairy-tale persona than it was on David Nolan, and though we could always see traces of Charming in David, we didn’t really like the person he’d become in Storybrooke. The person Regina made him.
Back then, we were mostly rooting for Snow, not for them.
Well, at least I was. David Nolan was a bit wishy-washy. He didn’t really know what he wanted, and when he figured it out, he seemed to put honor above love. Plus, he had a wife! The wife thing was a deal-breaker back then. (It would still kinda be if he’d actually, you know, married her, but he didn’t, so I think it’s safe to let him off the hook). Even Emma agreed. And then, a funny thing happened: the curse was broken. David Nolan was no more. And Charming, oh, Charming finally entered our lives in his full charming-ness.
And you know what my only question about Charming is? How could Snow even pretend for five minutes that she didn’t want to marry this guy? Because, honestly, he’s just the guy you WANT to marry. That’s where all the Prince Charming jokes come from. And, boy, are they warranted.
You know what the best thing about Charming? He doesn’t exactly come off as perfect right off the bat, not even in Fairy-Tale Land. No, Prince Charming and Snow hate each other at first. She robs him, and he chases her down, which, is, of course, when she hits him with a rock. He promises to find her, and …well, if we’ve learned one thing through the course of Once Upon A Time is that Charming will always, always find his family.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Charming’s actual name is NOT Prince Charming. That’s just Snow’s moniker for him. But we’re not calling him by his Fairy Tale Land fake name, are we? No way. He’s Charming to her, and Charming he’ll stay to us.
Point is, Snow and Charming had to learn to trust each other – and then, then they had to learn to love each other, and to let each other go, and to fight for each other, which sounds a lot more like real life than the fairy-tales we were taught as children.
Maybe that’s why we like them.
The Once Upon A Time versions of Snow White and Prince Charming are not the love at first sight tale the cartoons promised, no. They’re just two people who happen to live in a land with magic. Two people faced with extraordinary circumstances who do the best they can to save their people, and then, save their daughter.
And, in doing so, they get a chance to do what fairy-tale characters rarely get to, and that is grow. Evolve. The Prince Charming of Season One is not the Prince Charming of today, and we’re glad for it. We might have warmed up to this guy, but we kind of love the man he is today.
Because you know what this Prince Charming still is? Loyal to a fault, honest, kind-hearted and an exceptional husband and father.
You’re not a fan of his love story with Snow White? (And, if this is the case, do you possess a beating heart?). Then maybe you like Charming the father. The one who gave up his life to get his baby to safety, and the one who, when they found her again, as a grownup, was first willing to put his own feelings aside for her sake. The one who loves Emma, even when he doesn’t get her, even when she doesn’t believe it, and even when she doesn’t want it.
Or, perhaps you like Charming the grandfather, which, if you ask me, is just another way for him to do all the things he wanted to do with Emma. The one who plays swords with Henry in the middle of the street, and tries to be the father that the boy never had.
That’s Charming for you. The one who always, always tries.
And that’s why I would like the show to bring this Charming that they worked so hard to make me fall in love with, back to the forefront. Don’t treat him like an old man, when he isn’t. Let him be in love. Let him be a father, to both his grown up daughter and his baby. Let him be the hero we know he truly is. Don’t push him to the side. He’s too good a character to keep in the background.
He’s Prince Charming. He might not be a cartoon, but in many ways, David Nolan is just what the fairy tales promised.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. New episodes return on March 6th, 2016.