Meet the Captain

(Warning: SPOILERS for Once Upon a Time’s “The Crocodile”.  DO NOT READ if you wish to watch it and have not done so.)

Those who know me will tell you it’s no big secret that I’m completely crazy over ABC’s hit TV drama Once Upon a Time, and for several good reasons—the biggest of which may be that one of Once’s trademarks is an established talent for taking the storybook characters we all know and love (or loved in the past), and breathing new life into them.

Once Upon a Time has returned this past month with a fresh, exciting second season, and barely four episodes in it presents a prime example of its refreshing new takes on our favorite fairytale characters.

Name:  Captain James Hook

Known As:  Captain Hook

Origin:  Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Introduced in:  Walt Disney Pictures’ Peter Pan (1953)

This is the Hook most of us grew up with.  Who among us doesn’t remember the moustache-twirling, red-festooned pirate who was at constant loggerheads with—and often beaten by the merry Neverland boy known as Peter Pan.  Who could forget the story that widened our little eyes, raised the hair on the backs of our little necks, and thrilled our little hearts—the story of how Peter defeated Hook in their first duel, chopped off his hand and fed it to a gigantic crocodile, a crocodile who also swallowed a ticking clock and began to follow the Jolly Roger everywhere in the hope of getting the rest of Hook, and how Hook always knows the scaly monster is near by the ticking of the clock and lives in dreadful fear of the day the clock finally runs down.

Name:  Captain Killian Jones

Known As:  Captain Hook

Origin:  Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Introduced in:  ABC’s Once Upon a Time:    “The Crocodile” (2012)

Jones is a bit different from the Hook we know (and some of us loves?), but make no mistake:  he’s quite familiar where it counts.  He’s a “gentleman pirate” who keeps his word, and the code he lives by is law aboard his ship, which he enforces with an iron hand—er, hook, now.  The “crocodile” he lost his left hand to is none other than Rumpelstiltskin, one of the villains (/anti-heroes?) of Once, whom Jones claims looks like a crocodile (yeah…I see it).  Jones and Rumple actually have quite a history.  Back when Rumple was…human, Jones enchanted Milah, Rumple’s wife and Baelfire’s mother, and took her away with him.  When Rumple tried to get her back, the pirate captain offered him one chance to do so…in a duel.  Of course, Rumple being Rumple, he was too afraid to even pick up the sword and Jones left him with a cruel parting shot: “…a man who refuses to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets.”  Years later, after Rumple had already got his power and become the fearsome “Dark One”, he crossed paths with Jones again when he discovers that the pirate captain had in his possession a rare, magical item that he has been searching for.  This time around, Rumple turned the tables on Jones in a spectacular duel that ended with Jones at Rumple’s mercy.  An appearance from Milah saved the captain’s life—for the moment, and she offered Rumple a deal: their lives, in exchange for the magical item.  It came out that Jones and Milah fell in love all those years ago, and when Milah revealed that she left Rumple and their son Baelfire because she never loved Rumple, he killed her in a rage, Evil Queen-style, by pulling out her glowing heart and crushing it into dust.  Rumple sliced off Jones’s left hand when he refused to give up the magical item, and Jones in turn caught up a sharp steel hook and drove it into Rumple’s chest.  Rumple, of course, disappeared unharmed, and as the story drew to a close Jones swore revenge on the “crocodile” for his lost love and lost hand as he clicked into place the large, steel hook.

Captain Hook Jones is actually closer to the original that was penned by J. M. Barrie than the Disney Hook we all know.  Criticize me for saying this all you like, Disney purists—but this is coming from a fellow purist.  Barrie describes Hook as “In a word, the handsomest man I have ever seen…” with an “elegance of […] diction…even when he [is] swearing”, “…a magnificent pirate…”, and “not wholly unheroic” (Wikipedia).  This hardly describes the Hook of Disney fame.

Let me elaborate.

Our Disney Captain James Hook constantly runs in fear from the giant crocodile, and he even gets the occasional fright from Peter Pan.  Purists—don’t pretend that he hasn’t blubbered or whimpered for mercy from Peter.  We all know he has.

Captain Killian “Hook” Jones was beaten rather spectacularly in his duel with Rumpelstiltskin, but even so—on his knees with cold steel at his throat, entirely at Rumple’s mercy and obviously afraid, he keeps his pride and doesn’t beg for his life.

Going a little further back, when Rumple first introduces himself as “The Dark One” to Jones and his band, Jones alone stands his ground as his crewmen back away.  For those of you unfamiliar with Rumple…let the fact that he can pull out your glowing heart and crush it into dust before your eyes—that alone, out of all the things he can do—stand as the benchmark for inspiring fear.

And if Jones’s sworn oath of revenge is anything to go on…

The Crocodile no longer hunts Hook.

Hook hunts the Crocodile.

Hey—at least Jones has got Hook’s sinister grin down pat.

And not that I condone their pairing or anything, considering that I think Milah was a—witch, for leaving Rumple and sweet little Baelfire, and that Jones himself could have done so much better than her…it was nice to see Captain Hook motivated by something other than just cackling-laughter evil and…wanting to see Peter Pan walk the plank.

This writer tips her hat to Colin O’Donoghue’s refreshing performance as the revitalized, truer and only slightly darker version of the legendary pirate captain, and wishes both him and Captain Killian “Hook” Jones luck in the grand scheme that is the second season of Once Upon a Time.

Soundtrack For My Life

Opening Credits:  Never Alone by Jesse Bonanno

Waking Up:  Dawn by Dario Marianelli (Pride & Prejudice soundtrack)

First Day of School:  Meet Bolt by John Powell (Bolt soundtrack)

Making Your New Best Friend:  I’m Only Me When I’m With You by Taylor Swift

Falling in Love: Stay Here Forever by Jewel

Breaking Up:  Dark Blue Tennessee by Taylor Swift

Missing You:  London by Brandon Heath

Prom:  So Close by Jon McLaughlin

Graduation:  Long Live by Taylor Swift

Life’s Okay:  Home by Dierks Bentley

Death of a Close Friend: Jealous of the Angels by Jenn Bostic

Mental Breakdown:  Battle Los Angeles Hymn by Brian Tyler (Battle: Los Angeles soundtrack)

Finding Peace: Leaning On the Everlasting Arms /Iris DeMent (True Grit soundtrack)

Driving:  Long Hot Summer by Keith Urban

Flashback:  Time by Hans Zimmer (Inception soundtrack)

Getting Back Together:  When We’re Together by Mark Harris

Wedding Scene:  A Hundred Years by Francesca Battistelli

Birth of a Child:  You’ll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins (Tarzan soundtrack)

Car Accident:  Linkin Park’s Iridescent covered by Gavin Mikhail

Final Battle:  Duel of the Fates by John Williams (Star Wars)

Death Scene:  Can You See Jane? /Science and Magic by Patrick Doyle (THOR soundtrack)

Funeral Song:  The Call by Regina Spektor (Prince Caspian soundtrack)

End Credits:  There’s A Place For Us by Carrie Underwood (Voyage of the Dawn Treader soundtrack)


That’s my life’s soundtrack, for now.  Who knows how long it’ll stay like this—my tastes are always changing.

So what’s yours?

Letting Go

As children, we’re taught to “forgive”, and for some of us, “forgive quickly”.  We were told that it’s what we must do when others wrong us.  We were told that it’s the “right thing to do”.  But I’ve found that forgiving is the easy part.  It’s letting go that’s hard.

In the dictionary, to “forgive” is defined as “to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult>; to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>; to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon <forgive one’s enemies>.

So to sum up, forgiving means to stop hating someone who’s hurt or wronged you, and release them from any guilt or regret they feel.

That’s the easy part.  It takes only a few well-placed words to “forgive” an offender, convince them that all is “water under the bridge”.  It can likewise be pretty easy to stop hating someone for hurting you.  Hating and bitterness are exhausting.  They poison your life, day-to-day, sap the life out of life.  Who wants to hang on to that?

But like I said before: Letting go is the hard part.

Let me explain.

Say someone hurt you, deeply.  They’ve realized it, begged your forgiveness, and convinced you of their genuine remorse.  You’ve said “It’s okay” or “Forgive and forget”, or something similar to express the forgiveness you can’t help giving them.  All the anger and hate have drained away by now.  And it leaves you with the wound caused by the other person’s actions.

No matter what we’re taught as children, no matter what our parents and teachers told us, “sorry” doesn’t fix everything.  The truth is that some hurts are so profound that they last for years.  A “Can you forgive me?” and a “Yes, I forgive you” cannot make these go away.  What if someone said something to you that was damaging on an extremely personal and intimate level?  What if it was something that resonated deep within the very fibers of who you are?

No mere words will heal that in the blink of an eye.

“Forgive and forget”.  An interesting phrase.  Literally easier said than done.

But I’m not here to spread doom and gloom.  There’s always hope, and all wounds can heal, one way or another.  Unless diseased or dying, the human body always repairs itself.  The good news is that once one is willing to forgive, they’ve already taken the first step.

It might take time, but they’re on the road to forgetting…and letting go.

  • "Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children's approach to life. They're people who don't give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought - sometimes it isn't much, either."
    ~Walt Disney

    “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
    ~Albert Einstein

    “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”
    ~C.S. Lewis

  • “...but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.” ~Jane Austen
  • “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” ~Mark Twain