Why I’m Thankful for the Music of Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time is a truly beautiful show, with so many aspects beloved, from the characters and performances, to its timeless themes, to it settings and costumes. We all have our favorites. But I think almost any fan would agree that one of the things that is most assuredly beloved by all pretty universally is the music. And it’s most definitely one of the show’s loveliest attributes that I am most thankful for.

The score for Once Upon a Time, which was written by brilliant composer Mark Isham, and performed for each episode by an orchestra composed of endlessly talented musicians, and arranged and mixed by talented orchestrators and engineers, brought such beauty to the series. While the absolutely delightful and amazing original songs were written by talented Broadway composers Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, and performed by the OUAT orchestra and the ever prodigious cast.

The music for any film or television series is one of the most crucial elements of the medium. The music drives the actions and reflects the nature of the scenes and the emotions of the moment, but also adds depth and layers making an already emotional moment even more resonant. How often do you hear a song or instrumental cue from your favorite film or show and are brought back to that moment? The emotions flooding back to you bringing either tears or smiles or often both. The say a melody can bring back a memory and that certainly rings true for any musical score, but especially for Once Upon a Time. Can you imagine certain scenes without the music? There is nothing that takes away from the written word or the brilliant acting, but you take away the music and a scene can suddenly feel like it’s missing part of its soul. Music can make you feel deeply, and from Snow and Charming’s theme, to the montage at the end of “There’s No Place Like Home,” to the sacrifice of The Snow Queen, to the wedding song “A Happy Beginning,” the music for OUAT is gorgeous perfection.

If you love the music as much as I you know doubt want to listen and enjoy as much as possible. Both Season 1 and Season 2 have soundtracks as well the musical episode, both available on iTunes and Amazon, while music from the others seasons can be found on Mark Isham’s official site as well as YouTube. Though we definitely need some more albums, don’t you think?

Assistant to composer to Mark Isham, among other duties, Allison Cantor is the “Keeper of the themes” and shared many of the themes for the various characters. These videos are so interesting to watch and I find myself captivated by them. It also goes to show how distinct all of the variations can be especially character to character. They all can be found on her Periscope Broadcasts.

Emma | Hook | Regina | Snow & Charming | Rumple & Belle | Princesses

One of the most gorgeous mixes of music can be found here on this “Relaxing mix.” It includes some of the most beautiful cues including “Snow and Charming’s Theme,” “Wedding in the Woods,” “Emma and Killian’s Theme,” “Wedding Suite,” Ingrid’s End,” “Unhappy Ending,” Emma and Henry,” “The Price for Regina,” and “True Love.”

Some other lovely music cues were in these two scenes in Season 4.

4×12 Peaceful Storybrooke

and 4×22 Return to Storybrooke

Why not also enjoy, relive and fall in love all over again with my favorites from the Musical Episode!

A Happy Beginning

Revenge is Gonna Be Mine

Powerful Magic

Emma’s Theme

Wicked Always Wins

The thing about OUAT is that it can also inspire talented artists to share their gifts through their love of the show’s music. Here are three piano covers that are simply divine.

Emma and Hook Piano Cover

Snow and Charming 2016 Piano Cover

Snow and Charming 2017 Piano Cover

I know that I will forever be thankful for the musical of Once Upon a Time. Not only for the way it added to the beauty of the show while watching, and re-watching it, but also to hours upon end of listening enjoyment. So thank you Mark, Alan, Michael, Allison, Tyler Parkinson, and all involved in creating one of the show’s most glorious pieces of a rich and colorful mosaic that is this fairy tale series.

Once Upon a Time: Series Finale Giveaway

Hello My Lovelies,

In honor of the end of the fairy tale series I decided to do a big giveaway with a bunch of OUAT goodies, including prints from my Etsy shop and a couple other OUAT and fairy tale themed trinkets I hope you’ll love!!

ONE Lucky Winner will receive the following:

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HOW TO ENTER:

You must follow me on Twitter @The_Girly_Nerd and/or Instagram @The_Girly_Nerd_Blog If you don’t have both, one is just fine, but participating both platforms will increase your chances of winning. On Twitter you need to RT the giveaway post (likes will not count), and on Instagram like the post. Tag two friends either on twitter or Instagram (just 1) you think may be interested in the giveaway! Each task will count as a entry, which gives you up to 5 chances to win!!

If you participate on both  and your usernames are different make sure to leave a comment informing me what usernames should be matched so I can make sure all your entries count.

The Winner will be chosen Monday May 14!! Good luck to everyone!!

xoxo,

Marianne

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Once Upon a Time: 12 Most Underrated Actors/Characters

One of Once Upon a Time’s greatest attributes has always been its colorful characters and high caliber performances. Over the years we’ve seen high and rightful praise for its lead actors Jennifer Morrison, Colin O’Donoghue, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla and Rebecca Mader, while guest stars such as Robbie Kay, Victoria Smurfit, Joanna Garcia-Swisher, Elizabeth Mitchell and the other Frozen cast members Georgina Haig, Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster were loved and adored by many. But there have been many more wonderful characters and actors worthy of such praise that often have been overlooked. As the show approaches its end, it’s time to celebrate them as well.

12. Charles Mesure (Blackbeard)
Favorite Quote: “This trunk will make sure you die without fin-terference.”blackbeard

Blackbeard is the kind of villain I absolutely love- dastardly, but suave, cunning but funny, and this pirate captain and rival to Captain Hook fits the bill perfectly. The bonus is that he looks just like the traditional depiction of the Captain Hook character and when he is on screen with his rival it’s absolutely golden. But not matter who Mesure shared his scenes with, he portrayed the pillaging pirate with great charisma. You were never rooting for him but loved every dastardly moment he appeared on screen.

11. Jamie Chung (Mulan)
Favorite Quotes: “Love is sacrifice.”
“It is dangerous to confuse justice with vengeance.” mulan

Mulan is a brave and fierce warrior who wore strong armor literally, and much like our beloved Savior, figuratively. But she also showed moments of vulnerability and wisdom. She would sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of others, and in my heart I hope she found her own happy ending somewhere. Jaime Chung so wonderfully portrayed Mulan’s layers- strong, often headstrong, but so, so caring.

10. Jessy Schram (Cinderella/Ashley)
Favorite Quotes: “If I can get a happy ending, anyone can.”
“You just said it, I have to throw the punch. You can’t do it for me this time.”ella

Her story and character may follow the traditional attributes we know, but with the familiar also came a new and poignant story about a mother and girl taking control of her life, with the help of a certain Savior. But after Emma inspires her, Ashley’s finds her own happiness and redemption for a past wrong with her step sister. This Cinderella is strong and relatable, sweet and audacious, finding her happy ending with her husband, daughter and own sense of self by running her own day care in Storybrooke. And Jessy Schram made the character feel ever so real- like a real woman you’d want to be friends with and also be inspired by.

9. Rose McIver (Tinkerbell)
Favorite Quotes: “I can’t believe you want me to ignore someone who needs help. That’s not very fairy like.”
“For the record, I know why you risked your life back there and it wasn’t for yourself or revenge. It was for Emma.”

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Rose McIver brings everything you’d expect for the Tinkerbell character: spunk, humor, grace, and beauty. But there’s more to this fairy and McIver also brought such warmth and poignancy to her story of betrayal, loss of faith (and her wings), and finally learning to believe in herself again and becoming a hero when she needed to be. Like a good fairy, she always wants everyone to find love and happiness, and like a good person, she learns to never give up on others and herself despite the obstacles. She’s as powerful as pixie dust!

8. Beverley Elliott (Granny)
Favorite Quotes: “Wolf’s hearing is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you run a hotel.”
“Meatloaf back home. What a bitch!”granny1

The best things about Granny’s character are not only that she brings the warmth you would expect from a Grandmotherly character, but also that there is so much more depth than you could have ever expected, brought to life perfectly by Beverley Elliott. Not only does she treat us with endless humor and one liners, but she is tough as nails, sassy, overcame tragedy, is fiercely protective, loving, supportive of her granddaughter, and never takes guff from anyone- especially over her cooking. Whether she is wielding a knitting needle or a cross bow, Granny is a force to be reckoned with.

7. Liam Garrigan (King Arthur)
Favorite Quotes: “I was once prophesized to repair a broken kingdom. My mistake was thinking that kingdom was Camelot.”
“I’ve had victories and I’ve had losses. And I’ve learned it’s the losses that require us to be brave.”

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One of the more complex and interesting villains the show ever did, the traditionally heroic King Arthur character became a man consumed by prophesies and his destiny- a good man who let a quest darken his soul so much that he lost sight of really mattered- his love for Guinevere and purpose to lead and restore a broken kingdom. Liam Garrigan was brilliant as the corrupt king, showcasing charisma and vitality, and in the end true heroism as he finds redemption after death, finding his true destiny- restoring peace to the kingdom he was meant to repair: the Underworld.

6. Meghan Ory (Ruby Lucas)
Favorite Quotes: “I should be out there having adventures with lemurs!”
“I sort of found someone in myself, and it was more than I expected.”ruby

In one of the show’s greatest twists ever Ruby also became one of the show’s most interesting and relatable characters. With a beauty inside and out her warmth, bravery, and the journeys she went through were very poignant and Meghan Ory brought a gentle vulnerability to the girl in the red cloak who was also the wolf. Ruby was a true friend, funny, sweet, courageous, and relatable in the ways she found herself through the love for others and herself.

5. David Anders (Dr. Whale/Victor Frankenstein)
Favorite Quotes: “Are the nuns still nuns or can they, you know, date?”
“So Emma changes her hair and no one makes a fuss, but I get ridiculed.”whale.gif

For a long time, the audience did not know who Dr. Whale’s fairy tale counterpart was, and when it was finally revealed, it was one of the most dynamic, interesting and captivating of the series. The resident doctor in Storybrooke, and the legendary scientist in the Land Without Color, Whale is wonderfully (but mildly) smarmy, widely intelligent, funny, but deep down sad and insecure. David Anders was the perfect choice to balance not only the two sides to him, but also the many layers of the character, simultaneously able to make us laugh (even when he’s being a letch) and sympathize and love him. We always wanted to see more of “The Doctor.”

4. Eion Bailey (August Booth)
Favorite Quotes: “I’ve lived a life of selfishness, cowardice and dishonesty. And only I can cure that. Not magic, not science. Just me.”
“You know when you picked Swan, it made me happy. I figured it meant that you got it. That you were on your way to becoming the person you wanted to be.”
“Let’s just say I’m a believer. And I’m here to help others see the light.”august smile1

Emma once described August as a “typewriter wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in stubble.” And that’s definitely a fair assessment. He’s enigmatic, charming, and a writer. But he’s also much more. A friend and protector of Emma, he strayed from this path and much like the true Pinocchio character, inherently and deeply struggled with being truthful and unselfish. But he paid the ultimate price, and worked hard to make up for his mistakes and find redemption, for his friend, to make his father proud, but also for himself. Eion Bailey always brought a magnetism, warmth and mystery to the character who was such a source of mythology and knowledge, as well as a true believer. August W. Booth made mistakes, but like Pinocchio learned how to be selfless, brave and true.

3. Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminey Cricket)
Favorite Quotes: “Maybe it’s not about how you end things. Maybe it’s about how you live them.”
“Or what, you’ll ruin my life? You’ll do your worst? Because I will always do my best.”archie1

Perhaps the purest character of the series, literally playing a conscience without coming across preachy or self righteous is a tall order. But the opposite is true of Dr. Hopper, due in no small part to the brilliance of Rapahel Sbarge who showcases such wisdom, sweetness and non judgment no matter the person. Not free from his own tragic backstory, he spent his life dedicated to helping others and was a healthy and wonderful example of the benefit self reflection and therapy. The fact that he also became a wedding officiant, rejoicing in the happiness of people he helped was simply just a beautiful addition to an already wonderful character.

2. Sean Maguire (Robin Hood)
Favorite Quotes: “My mind was in the forest but my heart took me here.”
“A thief who steals from those in need has no honor.”
“Use my heart for the both of us.” robinhood smile

The legendary character of Robin is beloved by many and Sean Maguire’s characterization is one of the finest we’ve ever seen as he showcased such charisma and soulfulness. Robin is noble, brave, cheeky and charming. He’s a lovable rogue who is a decent man who follows his heart and his beliefs, steadfastly and until the end. From his love for his son and his soulmate Regina, his character is one of great heart and courage and ultimately sacrifice, laying down his life for the woman he loved. And we will love him forever.

1. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas (Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard and Prince Charming/David Nolan)
Favorite Quotes: (Snow) “Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”
“And what exactly do you think fairy tales are? They are a reminder that things will get better, if we just hold onto hope.”
“An ending isn’t happiness. Being together is.”
(Charming) “True Love isn’t easy, but it must be fought for. Because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”
“There’s always people in this world who want you to give up. Don’t make their jobs any easier.”
“There’s more to life than just looking for the next fight. You’ve got to look for the moments. Good ones, bad ones, there’ll all worth living.”snow 1charming 1

Seeing the beloved Snow White and Prince Charming at the top of this list, you may wonder, are they underrated? While they definitely are loved and rightfully praised, often the other main characters would receive much more. Both individually and as an on screen couple, Snow and Charming brought so much heart, depth, beauty, purity and inspiration not only to their characters and story but the series as a whole, with their versions of these fairy tale characters being the best to ever grace the screen.

Snow White is deemed the fairest of them all, and she is undoubtedly beautiful, but her inner beauty and strength is what makes her special. Snow is strong, wise, endlessly caring, a loyal friend, a loving wife and mother, is inherently protective and self sacrificing, and has an ability to hope and forgive that is very poignant. You never have to doubt the depth of her love. It is always beautifully written on her face. Goodwin gorgeously portrays this woman who is equally amazing with her abilities with a bow and arrow and her steadfast speeches of hope, to her heart that is so incredibly strong, she could share half of it with her husband to bring him back to life. Goodwin displays Snow’s sweetness, strength and complexities with utter warmth and vitality. It was truly a wonder to behold.

For the courageous and handsome Prince, it takes a lot to live up to the name Charming, but David certainly does. He is kind, brave, heroic, selfless, caring, and honorable. He is “Princely” in every way imaginable despite being raised as a poor shepherd. He is a devoted husband who loves his wife unconditionally and is always willing to fight for her, and is an endlessly supportive and protective father. And he is never too proud to show his emotions and cry, proving to be an ideal combination of masculine strength and sensitive tenderness. Josh Dallas brought so much to this incredible man displaying Charming’s gentleness and strength with equal authenticity and fervor, brilliant in both moments of quiet wisdom and love and traditionally brave heroics. Whether he’s fighting a dragon or proclaiming to always find the woman he loves, Dallas made this Prince Charming one for the ages.

And the two together left an indelible impression on what made Once Upon Time the show it was.

 

5 Things that Should Happen in the Once Upon a Time Series Finale

As the end of the fairy tale series reaches its final chapter there are certain things each of us wish to see in those precious last 42 minutes of screen time. Despite this final season being a divisive one, I think all will agree that during these past 7 years there were stories and characters that captured our hearts and our imaginations in ways that cannot possibly be measured.

Of course there are certain things many would like to see happen that are extremely unlikely: season 7 is some sort of dream or Henry’s authoring gone haywire to explain away the incoherent timeline and plot holes, Belle didn’t really die, and Robin Hood can be brought back to life to be with Regina. The chances of these happening seem very slim, so therefore the following list are things (many of which are connected) that have a greater chance of occurring. Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, a SERIES FINALE should include those from the many seasons of the show, not just a single one. And there are just some things that really should be in the last episode ever to conclude the current stories and most especially to bring the series to a hopeful and satisfying conclusion- a true happily ever after.

5. Earned and Wrapped Up Season 7 Storylines
The crux of this is that characters get what feels deserved and logical. This means that there should be no redemption for Gothel but an ending fitting such a vile villain, Wish Hook’s heart should be cured so he can be with his daughter again, Tiana deserves her own restaurant, Henry, Lucy and Ella are saved and safe, Regina finds some form of happiness, Rumple is reunited with Belle (and Emilie De Ravin returns) even if that means death, and Alice and Robyn and Zelena and her fiancé find happy endings together. However, I also do not think, as I saw suggested, there should be something as special as a SERIES Finale wedding for these couples who are also guest stars. They just don’t warrant such an auspicious event. The only ones who would are already married (Emma and Killian), or we have not seen this season (Robin and Regina). However, while the main focus of the finale will most likely and should be centered on Henry, if we can see the return of Sean Maguire for a wedding between the alternate Robin and Regina, who got engaged in the Season 6 finale, that would be lovely. Lastly, the Guardian should be a character that is logical and worthy- so not a new alternate character like Anastasia, or one who would not exist had the story not been altered like Alice. The only ones that make sense would be Emma and Killian’s child, being the product of True Love twice over, or Henry who was always meant to be Rumple’s “undoing” and has a pure heart. Whether all of these stories are wrapped up in the finale or simply final episodes remains to be seen, but they definitely should be on the roster.

4. Wish Hook goes in search of Wish Emma
As discussed in detail in this article, the one good thing about the Wish Hook character now being from a parallel universe is that it means there should be another Emma out there that exists for him to find, who was displaced when our Emma was brought into that realm by the Evil Queen’s wish. A wish cannot erase a very real person from existence. She’s out there somewhere. All he has to do this find her. For many reasons, which also includes finding that realm’s version of Henry, when all is settled with his daughter the next thing this Hook should do is seek out the woman who is meant to be his romantic partner, to maintain that steadfast theme about True Love and soulmates, no matter the realm, no matter the version of the character, and fulfill that promise of “I Will Always Find You.” It does not matter that a lot of time has passed or that it hasn’t been mentioned yet. It should happen to complete his story and maintain the integrity of the “Captain Hook” character. Whether we actually see him find his Emma is determinant on whether Jennifer Morrison returns and how much time is available. So, if that is limited, precedent would have to be placed on the appearance of the original Emma, and knowing he is seeking her out would be enough. But if there’s time for both, this would be the perfect ending to his storyline and give audiences the delight in seeing that first spark of True Love again, and the beginning of what would be many adventures together.

3. We See Snow and Charming Again
Although Snow and Charming got their happily ever after in the Season 6 finale, moving to a farm in Storybrooke, raising their son, and living a peaceful life surrounded by family, they also should make an appearance in the Series Finale not only because they are truly wonderful characters, but the Charming Family was very much the family that was the heart of the series and I cannot imagine the show concluding without them. The very first scene of the entire series began with their True Love’s kiss. The final episode needs to include them to help maintain symmetry with the Pilot and especially in connection with the final two things that the finale should entail.

2. Henry and his family return to Storybrooke
It is still difficult to reconcile why Henry and Ella remained in the Enchanted Forest for 8 years after Lucy was born. We cannot get that time back and that’s heartbreaking to me. But to help ease that and end things right, Henry, Ella, and Lucy, and Regina as well, need to return to Storybrooke and their family. Storybrooke is HOME. It always has been on Once Upon a Time, and Henry has always been all about family, so a reunion and meeting between him, Ella and Lucy with his grandparents Snow and Charming, and Mother and Stepfather Emma and Killian, as well as his new sibling, is imperative to ending the series in a way that maintains who Henry is as a character and ending it on the right emotional note.

1. We See Emma, Killian and their Child
In the connection with the previous necessity, seeing Emma, Killian and their child in the series finale is also imperative to maintaining a connection to the Pilot and the integrity of who the series centered on, and what the series has always embodied: love, hope and family. After marrying at the ending of Season 6, we saw very little of their happy life together, and only the news that they were expecting a baby was revealed. We have no idea whether the child was a boy or girl, their name, and didn’t see the birth. With the timeline the way that it is, most likely these things would have to be seen in flashback, and perhaps by now they have multiple children, but it’s difficult to know for sure. But we should see at least one scene of the couple with their baby born out of True Love- a happiness that contrasts the utter devastation Emma experienced when she gave birth to and gave up Henry. More than anything, after such a long journey for Emma especially, the series should end with her, and the family she has found and created. The foundation of the series began with her son finding her in Boston and the start of their relationship. It should end with Henry and his wife and child reuniting with his mother and her husband and child, bringing everything full circle, perhaps concluding with her birthday, paralleling the Pilot where she made a wish that she didn’t have to be alone. Whatever the circumstance, the finale moments of Once Upon a Time should be with the characters that started it all, and the ones that became part of this beautiful family in very much the way the exquisitely moving montage in Season 6 finale did. That would be a true and touching happily ever worthy of the last page of this beautiful and poignant storybook.

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Captain Swan and Valentine’s Day Inspired Cake

Is there any other couple as beautiful and Emma and Killian to be inspired by his Valentine’s Day? Just looks at these two lovebirds on their wedding day…cs wedding

Well, just in time for Valentine’s Day, but truly something you can do all year round, I thought I would try my hand at some Captain Swan inspired cake. Truth be told, it did not turn out the way I was hoping but such is life so I thought I would share what I did, and the results anyway, as well tips and ideas for the future.

Here is what you will need:
A chocolate cake mix or recipe (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix)
Eggs, Water, Vegetable Oil (All the precise directions are on the back of the box)
Whipped butter cream or any other white frosting (I used Betty Crocker)
Red Food Coloring (mine is McCormick Red Food Color)
9×13 inches Baking Pan
Swan Cookie Cutter
Pirate Hook Arm Cookie Cutter
Heart Cookie Cutter (Mine belonged to my late grandmother)
These are available on Amazon. The Swan here, The Hook here, with a similar heart ones here.IMG_0506

The process was simple:
– Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
– Grease the bottom and side of the pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Make sure to use a lot. I did not and some of the cake did stick.
– After mixing the cake mix I poured about half of the mix into the pan, creating a thin layer. You can judge for yourself.
– Bake for about 20-22 minutes depending on the oven. The recipe for the entire mix says 30-35 minutes but using only half the cooking time is less.

-Once cooled I cut out the shapes and carefully pulled away the edges. They did not pull away easily. The hearts turned out the best. The Hooks were pretty good, but the swans were very difficult.

– The excess of cake I put all together or you can just snack on it.

– The rest of the cake mix I made into 8 cupcakes, baking for 20 minutes.

The idea was to frost the swans with the white frosting and use some red food coloring for the frosting on the hearts, while leaving the hooks plain. Frosting the hearts was simple, but attempting to frost the swans proved nearly impossible because they were very delicate. These were the results.

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After trying this once I can say that using a soft cake is probably not the best for these cookie cutters. I think perhaps a more substantial brownie or traditional sugar or chocolate cookies would work better. And I think I will definitely try those sometime. Despite everything I did enjoy the project. It may not have turned out as beautifully perfect as the Captain Swan love story, but it was still fun, and the cake tasted delicious! It’s certainly a great treat to enjoy while watching the Captain Swan wedding for the 100th time!

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If you try this out or have any other fun baking ideas let me know in the comments!!

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