For months, fans have been speculating the fairytale alter-ego of Storybrooke’s mysterious August Wayne Booth. We have been watching each episode closely for clues and carefully analyzing various possibilities. We hoped “The Return” would have provided some more concrete evidence pointing us in the right direction, but it ended with a heartbreaking misdirection. This Sunday’s “The Stranger” promises to reveal August’s true identity; according to the episode description and TV promo, August takes Emma on a journey through Storybrooke that will hopefully convince her that the curse is real. Meanwhile, in the Fairytale past, we will learn about Geppetto’s arrangement to ensure a safer future for Pinocchio. However, does the juxtaposition of these two stories necessarily mean that August is Pinocchio? Sure, there have been several clues indicating that could be true, but many ‘Once Upon A Time’ hints are open to interpretation. So, in an effort to nourish further discussion, here are a few theories on who August W. Booth could be:
August is Peter Pan
Peter Pan would be around August’s age if the curse effected Neverland and Peter got stuck in this world without magic. Like Emma, he would be able to leave Storybrooke because Peter is originally of this world before Tinker Bell took him to Neverland. His various adventures show how he was a mischievous daredevil who challenged authority and only trusted those who believed in him (like Tinker Bell, Wendy, and the Lost Boys); similarly, August has only opened up to Henry, an open-minded child who believes in magic. Given the way Peter cleverly toyed with Hook, August’s mind-game with Mr. Gold served a similar purpose; August distracted Mr. Gold by clouding his logical judgment with emotion and then he tried to take Gold’s power when his guard was finally down. Behavior aside, there have been a few other clues throughout the season that also support this theory:
- Travel/Magical Journey: August tells tall tales of his worldly travels as he breezes through all sorts of interesting towns on his speedy motorcycle. Peter Pan not only flew through the forbidden terrains of Neverland, he also flew back home to see how life had changed in our world. Peter insisted on taking Wendy to Neverland so she could see a world full of magic and August continues to try and convince Emma that fairytales are real. This Sunday, August will take Emma on a journey that will hopefully prove that the fairytales are true.
- Tinker Bell: August says that “a little fairy” told him about Rumpy’s past; although “The Return” made it seem like August was talking about the Blue Fairy, he could have been truly referring to Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell’s name also provides a clue because the word “tinker” was used to refer to someone who traveled and repaired various items; in Storybrooke, August is known as a traveler and he mended Henry’s storybook. Henry also alludes to Tinker Bell by giving Mary Margaret a bell from Mr. Gold’s shop as a welcome home gift and distracting Mr. Gold by ringing his bell while August snuck into his office.
- Captain Hook: When August enters Mr. Gold’s shop we see a lot of clocks scattered around his office and store; Captain Hook hated clocks and was enraged by their incessant ticking. ‘Once Upon A Time’ wikia has noticed that August wears “a gold chain bearing a golden claw or tooth-shaped pendant,” which could be a tooth from the crocodile that ate Hook’s hand. Lastly, writer and consulting producer, Jane Espenson, said that Mr. Hopper’s hallway provides a hint when Mr. Gold pays him a visit and we see a painting hanging on the wall, which appears to depict a pirate ship in the middle of a stormy sea.
- Illness: August could feel like he is dying because he is aging; the older he gets, the sicker he feels.
Can anyone else think of more clues that point to Peter Pan?
August could be Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid
His name and occupation serve as a key clue. Many assumed he was the writer of Henry’s storybook, but “The Return” made it clear that August has his own fairytale past. However, he still shares some similarities with one the most renowned fairytale authors, Hans Christian Anderson. According to‘Once Upon A Time’ wikia:
“Hans is known to wear ‘scarves’ around his neck like August, he wrote Travelogues (showing he’s well traveled) and in the spring of 1872 Andersen fell out of his bed and was severely hurt. He never fully recovered, but he lived until August 4, 1875, dying of insidious causes in a house called Rolighted. He died in ‘August’. Both of their occupations consist of writing.”
Now, August may not have written fairytales, but he could be part of Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. Here are some ideas:
- The story: In the fairytale, Prince Eric braves the stormy seas (like the painting in Dr. Hopper’s hallway) until he falls overboard and sinks deep into the ocean. He is rescued by a mermaid named Ariel; unfortunately, the only thing he remembers is her beautiful singing voice. When Ursula transforms Ariel into a human, she takes away her voice, making it harder for Eric to recognize her as the one who rescued him. Ariel must resort to other methods to convey the truth to Eric; in “The Return,” Rumpy kills his mute maid after she sees his magic dagger and he justifies his action to Baelfire by saying, “Even mutes can draw a picture” (Is that supposed to be another example of how cruelly funny Rumpel is or could it be a clue?)
- Savior search: Eric also longed to be reunited with his savior and sought out the woman who saved him from drowning, kind of like how August pursues Emma as his savior and only hope for surviving in Storybrooke.
- Preview proof: The most surprising clue of all is in the preview images for “The Stranger.” If you look closely at the restaurant behind August and Emma, you can see that it is called “Chantey’s Lobster House.” Chantey originates from the French word “chanter,” which means “to sing;” and according to wikipedia, “chantey” is also known as “sea chantey” or “shanty,” which refers to any song sung by sailors while working on a ship. So if you add: singing plus a red lobster equals the one and only Sea Idol: Sebastian!
This theory may be a bit of stretch, but you can at least admit that Eion Bailey sort of resembles the 1989 Disney depiction of Prince Eric and that “Chantey’s Lobster House” cannot be a coincidence. What do you think?
August was the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz
After some more super-sleuthing through screen-caps from “The Return,” another easy-to- miss hint can be found in Mr. Gold’s office. If you closely examine the shelf August stares at, you can see a few oil cans and a “Shine” box, both of which may point to the Tin Man. When you zoom in on August’s motorcycle, you will also see that he has a Kansas license plate. It is easy to overlook the idea of The Wizard of Oz as one of the fairytales in Henry’s storybook because it has not really been grouped together with the other Disney classics. However, after a bit of research on wikipedia, there are some details that fit well with this theory:
- The book: L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was inspired by the works of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. According to ‘Once Upon A Time’ wikia: “The Grimm Brothers had a very close friend named August von Haxthausen, who aided them in their stories. August might be based on him, seeing as they both have the same name. Also, they both edit a storybook; August von Haxthausen was credited as the Grimm Brothers Editor and August was working on the book Henry has.” Given Baum’s intentions with his epic tale, it is fair to group his story with the other fables in Henry’s book.
- Tin Man: In the original novel, the Tin Man was known as the Tin Woodman (Pinocchio isn’t the only fairytale figure made of wood). Baum also wrote a series of novels explaining the origins of his characters and the Tin Woodsman began as Nick Chopper (chopper as in a motorcycle?!), a man who chopped trees in the forest of Oz (August has also spent a lot of time by the creek in the Storybrooke forest.) Much like a Grimm fables, his tale takes a gory turn when his axe is cursed and chops poor Nick into pieces, forcing him to replace each body part with tin limbs until he becomes a full man made of tin. Unfortunately, his heart was never replaced, so he joins Dorothy’s journey to Oz in order to get a heart.
- The journey: August is known as a traveler and The Wizard of Oz is known as one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. The Tin Man journeys through strange lands on his way to the magical Emerald City.
- Illness: August tells Mr. Gold that he is dying, but the only physical evidence he has displayed comes off as joint discomfort. His leg hurts while he helps Emma search for clues by the Toll Bridge and he sorely rolls out of bed when his leg starts twitching, but perhaps the symptom we can’t see is that August is having some heart trouble too. After all, Regina does like ripping out hearts, so even though she has not recognized him in Storybrooke, perhaps in the fairytale past, Regina ripped out the Tin Man’s heart. That would give this classic tale a nice ‘Once Upon A Time’ twist.
- The name: August could be short for Augustin, which could be abbreviated as “Tin.”
What do you think? Is there room for The Wizard of Oz in Henry’s book? Could August be the Tin Man?
Here is one final morsel of food for though; according to Name-Meanings.com, the meaning of August Wayne Booth can be broken down like this:
August: of German origin, meaning “Revered, exalted.”
Wayne: of English origin, meaning “wagon maker.”
Booth: of Englishorigin, meaning “hut.”
Take a look at the slideshow for images of the various clues mentioned above and share your theories below!
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