ONCE UPON A TIME: August Wayne Booth Mystery Solved?


Ever since August Wayne Booth (aka The Mysterious Stranger) rolled into Storybrooke, we’ve been wondering just who in FTL he is.

One of our early speculations landed on the notion he’s the narrator of Henry’s book, given his awfully keen interest its mythical pages. In light of the clues presented in recently aired 13th episode, could actually be the case?

We’ll look at the latest curious actions of August in our Observations article for “What Happened To Frederick,” but, for now, let’s focus on his name: August Wayne Booth.

Many OUATies, ourselves included, have been wondering who he could be in the fairytale land that was. Popular guesses from our readers include:

All good shouts, one of which could well turn out to be correct. However, we’re starting to think that August is a reference to American literary critic Wayne C. Booth, who’s work aligns with our narrator theory.

For instance, Wayne Booth argued that all narrative is a form of rhetoric and that trying to distinguish between the narrative form of ‘show’ and ‘tell’ is overly simplistic, since authors usually both show and tell. Also, in the Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne Booth coined the term “unreliable narrator“.

Given these connections, and the fact that Regina doesn’t seem to know who August is, it seems to lend weight to the possibility that Once Upon A Time‘s August is indeed THE narrator of the book. One who has inserted himself into the fray as a character, perhaps serving as a reliable, or unreliable, figure who distorts/expands our interpretation and the characters backstories.

Perhaps we’re reaching a bit too far there, but its such an exciting possibility that it’s surely worth reaching for, lest our own narrator frowns upon it.

There’s further intrigue, though, as it seems the August/Wayne Booth connection also serves as a reference to Jane Austen‘s Emma — who shares the name of the supposed curse-breaker, Emma Swan in the OUAT narrative.

This connection was made by Arnie over at the Sharp Elves Society blog. In short, Wayne Booth made references to fairy tales in his opinion on the ‘doubleness’ of the constructed worlds within Emma:

“….G. B. Stern once wrote that the marriage of Emma and George Knightley is not a happy ending. “Oh, Miss Austen, it was not a good solution; it was a bad solution, an unhappy ending, could we see beyond the last pages of the book.” Edmund Wilson predicted that Emma would find a new protegé like Harriet, since she has not been cured of her inclination to “infatuations with women.” Marvin Mudrick emphatically rejected Jane Austen’s final sentence, claiming that Emma is still a “confirmed exploiter.” For him, the ending must be read as ironic. When I first reported views of this kind, more than two decades ago, I rejected them. Though I still see them as at best half of what should be said, I think my response was too simple. My point here is that unless we can somehow incorporate something like an ironic vision of the ending, even while pretending not to, even while enjoying the fairy tale to the full, we are indeed confirming its capacity to implant a harmful vision of the sexes. In other words the ending is indeed a happy ending, not the least ironic, given the world of the conventional plot, a world that we are to enter with absolute whole-heartedness. And yet, simultaneously, we are taught by this work the standards by which the ending must be experienced as we experience fairy-tales or fantasies; the implied author has been teaching us all along what it means to keep our wits about us, and how we must maintain a steady vision about the follies and meannesses in our world. Though all is well for Emma and George Knightley, in their fairy-tale world, we have been taught that all is far from well in the real world implied by the book, either for their kind (if any such exist) or for those less fortunate men and women who surround them. Every perceptive reader will have learned, by the end, that in the realer world portrayed so perceptively by Jane Austen, the lot of women is considerably more chancy, considerably more threatening, than the lot of men. Emma, with her rich fortune, could build some sort of decent life without a Knightley, just as she earlier claimed. But where would a Jane Fairfax be if Mrs. Churchill had not died to fulfil the needs of the conventional plot?…..”

As we know, the central conceit of Once Upon A Time is that the fairytale characters have been exiled into the real world by an evil curse, with no memory of their true identities.

So, there you have it. The Wayne Booth connection supports the notion that August is the narrator and makes reference to the show’s ‘protagonist’, Emma Swan.

Of course, there’s the possibility August is not the narrator and that he’s another character from the fabled tales. We have to have an opinion mind, but for me this would potentially be a less exciting road for the show to travel, having flirted with such high-concept potential. We’ll see as the story continues..

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  1. Karissa says

    He cannot be a fairy tale character because he is the only person, other than Emma, who can enter Storybrooke. People seem to forget this.

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    • Doc says

      Actually, it looks like the opposite!…. Anyone can enter Storybrooke… Even Fairytale characters that some how managed to dodge the Dark Curse before it hit!. So far, as fact, we only know of one! Emma. Emma is 100% fairytale character, born of two fairytale characters…. in FairyTale Land! and IS in Henry’s Book as a fairytale character….”Baby Emma!” We know Henry is at least 1/2 human( for lack of a better term) which seems to render him “immune” to the Curse, ie; his ability to have left AND returned to Storybrooke without incident, However, so far, HE is the only one to date that has proven that! Dispite Henry’s affirmations that Emma can leave at will… SHE has now failed TWICE!. Emma has yet to leave Storybrooke and prove Henry right! It seems to be that fairytale characters can “check in, but can not check out!”, once they have entered into the city limits of the Dark Curse, Storybrooke!. On the other hand,…. Contact from outside Storybrooke has appearently been going on the entire time! Henry, BEFORE the pilot episode, had already had a laptop and an internet connection and not only made contact to the outside(so to speak)world, but, made a purchase, via credit card through the internet, for information about his Bio’ Mother, Emma!….. Henry obviously caught a GreyHound Bus out of Storybrooke to! Boston…. and Emma had her belongings shipped to her via “Somebody”, UPS, DHL or FedEx from! Boston to MaryMargrets front door….IN Storybrooke! SO!, unless there’s a big pile of UPS,DHL and FedEx trucks just off the side of the road there at the “LEAVING STORYBROOKE” sign in a big ditch where nobody has noticed..lol! We have to assume they all made it back to wherever they came from without incident… like Henry, because they were all human and immune to the Curse!…right? Now, Regina and Gold are immune for obvious reasons… One made the spell and the other cast it! of course they would be immune.
      But the Narrator!?…. I need more on him or the powers of a “Narrator” to claim anything beyond… But, if he has to follow the same rules as all other fairytale characters, of which we have now determined he is… then regardless of him having always been somewhere in Storybrooke or now arriving from outside, which I strongly doubt, he is now trapped! in Storybrooke and can not leave either…… as the rules would have it. But, again we need more on this guy!…… sorry, the comment got away from me!…..LOL! C ya Oncers!…

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      • Sherr says

        As I understand it, outsiders have always been able to enter or travel through Storybrooke, but none could *stay* so much as overnight until Emma came to town and re-started Time. Remember the night the Stranger came in on his bike at the end of “True North”? Henry’s surprise wasn’t that he entered town, but that he was planning to STAY.

        Because Emma changed things, we can no longer say for sure that a person is or is not originally from the Enchanted Forest lands based on their ability to stay in Storybrooke.

        I’m going to make a separate post to discuss August W. Booth.

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        • Doc says

          Again, I believe it to be the opposite. Safe to assume a person’s “inability” to leave, not stay, in Storybrooke identifies them as originally from the Enchanted Forest lands…. The Stranger simply turned onto the main street into view from another street. Nobody has said that he was from out of town. We’re automatically assuming that he is from abroad. Wayne Booth, himself, coined the term “unreliable narrator”. One thing is for certain… He wasn’t riding that bike with a KANSAS ’84 plate around OUTSIDE of Storybrooke, without it getting impounded, for 28 years!…. thus, he’s been here the entire time.

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          • Sherr says

            Let me start with an apology to you, Doc. I’m often impatient of people who respond to posts they haven’t thoroughly considered, and I am guilty of that very thing with regard to your first post. Yes, I read it the opposite of your intent.

            I knew the bike’s license plate is Kansas but I did not see that it is a 1984 plate. (I’m pretty sure Roco has a screen-cap of it here but can’t locate it at the moment.) But if you’re right and August has been in Storybrooke all these years, why does he have a KANSAS plate? Which of the 2 – state or year – is most relevant?

            Do you think the writers want to suggest that the Curse is affecting Emma? Besides the presumed inability to leave, she seems strangely incurious about the oddities of Storybrooke and that license plate is another example.

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            • Doc says

              @Sherr No apology ncessary! Nice to speak with someone with insight….

              The emphasis, in this case, would be on the year. The rest seemingly a play on Disney history. Walt Disney is from KANSAS and the 23 would signify the year(1923) he came to Hollywood, Ca., and finally found distribution for “Alice Comedies”, later Alice in Wonderland. Combine that with Roco’s find and the huntch that Once Upon A Time seems to be a reworking of the novel “Emma” by Jane Austen….. and Wayne Booth’s suggestion that Emma IS Alice and awakens to find that it was all a dream, might explain her incuriousness to the oddities of Storybrooke. But, I think that would be jumping way ahead. The year ’84 would coincide with the year that Storybrooke is still lingering in….. as well as being in our time of Feb 2012. Since the restarting of time, technology in Storybrooke seems to be moving at a lightspeed pace and no telling how fast the writers are going to move us through the years. The only solid they gave us refered to when this all took place in the beginning. Storybrooke and Emma were born on the same day, either the last week in September or first week in October, 1983. They gave us two facts. Emma celebrating her 28 th birthday that day, and Emma driving into Storybrooke with DEC ’11 tags on her VW. Where it goes from here is the mystery isn’t it?

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              • Sherr says

                Doc, I never watched Lost, but most devotees believe the license number 23 is an Easter egg for them. Per Roco’s Lost reference guide: “The number 23, which is one of the mystical LOST numbers. It’s also Jack Shepherd’s number in the mythology of the show.” I do feel that Kitsis & Horowitz are much more devoted to the Lost mythos than to anything Disney, ABC production notwithstanding. And for myself, I really want the Kansas plate to have more significance than that Walt lived in KC for a time. I want it to be the Oz connection!

                I wish I knew something about motorcycles. Any idea what make August rides? It doesn’t look like a Harley to me. Does it look old enough to be a 1983-84 model?

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                • Doc says

                  Sherr, I did watch LOST, and as much as I would like think that Kitsis & Horowitz are tipping their hats to us “devotees”(as you say) of the series or that they are acknowledging easter-eggs of the past show, I’m compelled to believe they’re simply continuing “their” devotion to the underlying themes of eastern philosophies into this series as well. The numbers 4,8,15,16,23,42 = 108… the actual number in reference. 108 is very significant in eastern philosophies and religions. The individual numbers 1, 0, 8, represent *one thing*, *nothing* and *everything*,infinity, as well as representing the ultimate reality of the universe as being (seemingly paradoxically) simultaneously one, emptiness and infinite. They also represent the 108 gods, temples, names, deities, gopies and number of prayer beads strung to rosaries and japas of eastern religions such as Hinduism, Janism, Buddhism and Sikhism. There are believed to be 108 defilements and 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve Dharma (Dharma Initiative), Nirvana or personal spiritual liberation. Mayor Regina Mills’ address is 108 Mifflin St. To simply write this off as an “easter-egg” of a past show would mean to miss the deeper meanig the writers may have given this particular character. Regina representing, among many other things, 108 defilements and earthly temptations that our poor Sheriff Graham apparently did not survive.

                  As far as the plate goes… The Wizard of OZ was from Omaha, Nebraska….sorry! I know…. I wanted that too! Keep your fingers crossed… Emma looks like she may turn out to be Dorothy…or Alice
                  Oh! and the bike looks like a custom job of an Indian Chief/ Dark Horse or Chief Classic…..no telling on the year???

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                  • Sherr says

                    Hi Doc – You have only to read the “LOST Easter Eggs Guide” at this very site to understand the relationship between the writers of LOST and its fans. They may once have played a game of esoteric hide-and-seek; but it isn’t necessary for OUaT to reach further back than LOST, where all the numerological mysteries were solved, to delight the fandom now.

                    Omaha? Anybody can be “from” there – I was born there myself. Truth! :) I could mention that in the movie, the Wizard claims to be “an old Kansas man myself, born and bred in the heart of the western wilderness” — but that’s the movie. All that really matters to me is that he was transported to Oz via the Kansas Portal.

                    Emma can’t be anyone but Emma. She was minutes old when she was sent through the enchanted wardrobe to be found in 1983-84 America on the side of a road by a 7-year-old boy. I hope we’ll eventually find out where that road was.

                    Looked up Indian motorcycles – thanks, quite interesting! However, they weren’t manufactured from 1953-1999 so not likely August’s bike.

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    • Phoenix says

      Not necessarily. It is possible that another fairy tale character was protected. It is entirely possible that someone who knew about Emma’s protection from the curse wanted to protect their own child. We also have to question how these stories came to be in our world in the first place. Maybe it’s some family legacy, and he’s the descendant of the original authors of the book, or the original author himself. Personally I think his name is an anagram but I can’t figure out for what, and he’s in Storybrooke because of the pages that were torn out of the book. I would have thought he was rewriting pages of the book but he seemed to be repairing it. I did not however see if the pages concerning Emma had been returned. He was working on the pages concerning Katherine, Fredrick and James. Possibly he was rewriting pages or adding new ones.

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      • Doc says

        Hey Phoenix,

        According to Kitsis and Horowitz he was lacing in his story…. and that he is not the author of the Book…

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  2. Sami H says

    Im still pulling for Maleficent. But he is probably Pinnochio but brings he was also made of an enchanted forest tree and we have a blue fairy episode coming up State if the Witch

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  3. Sherr says

    Very interesting article, Roco!

    I first saw a discussion about Wayne C. Booth possibly being the namesake of August Wayne Booth about a week ago and liked the suggestion well enough to read a little more about him. Professor Booth’s book, “The Rhetoric of Fiction,” appears to be quite well-known and widely read among literary critics and students of all types of fiction. I tend to think that August was named for him as a salute to an influential gentleman who made a significant contribution in literary circles and who may even have taught one or more of the writers of Once Upon A Time at the University of Chicago. It will be very interesting if, in the process of honoring Professor Booth, the show has also assigned the role of Narrator to August Booth (or vice-versa).

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    • Doc says

      Very, very possible!….but, not of the Dark Curse, but of the “story” itself….
      Nice pull….

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      • Ivy Lane says

        Very interesting, Doc! After seeing tonight’s episode, with August saying he was dying and was trying to get magic to save him, I thought it was even possible that August was, in a sense, the embodiment of Fairy Tale Land. After all, the Blue Fairy told Rumplestiltskin that in order to reach Bae in the world without magic, their world would need to be sacrificed. Perhaps August has survived, but is slowing dying, and needs the return of magic to save himself and FTL. A stretch, yes, but a thought…

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  4. Cb says

    I am starting to think he is the “author” of the book, able to add or change stories. We already know the stories in the book aren’t the “classical” version. So it may be that he has interjected himself into his own story. I venture to guess the typewriter he brought with him is the one used to make the book in the first place.

    Why would he do that? I venture to guess to find his own fairytale ending (which I am starting to think that he may be Emma’s own prince charming.)

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  5. Issy says

    Remember the episode where Rumple was supposed to tell Belle what happened to his son and wife? He never did. What if they queen is rumples wife? remember she loved once? But she lost that love and it was not the King. So who did she love? Is it possible that MAYBE August is Rumple’s & the Queen’s son? Just an idea.

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  6. Lg says

    No idea why he has turned up in Storybrooke, but if August is a faiytale character I’d say he is the frog prince. In versions of the story the princess encounters the frog at a well where she has gone to get water. Where does he take Emma? A well. What does he offer her? Water. He tells her to ‘hop’ to it/on to his motorbike and in the next scene Regina is tending a pitcher plant, which is a pun -pitcher plants catch flies (as do frogs) and the name alludes to a pitcher for collecting water.

    Now how that character fits in with the story is something that will be fun to find out.

    I noticed that a couple of people have thought he could be Pinoccio. I doubt it, but Dr Whale is from that story, I’d say he was pinnocio. Gheppeto and Pinoccio are swallowed by a whale, and in the first or second episode where the magic tree is brought in, gheppeto’s son is by his side carving a whale. And don’t forget that dr whale has lied on a couple of occasions, just like pinnocio.

    Anyway that my theory :)

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  7. biz says

    my husband and i also were thinking maybe the big bad wolf. or something to do with the well he took Emma to for a drink

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  8. michelle says

    There is another W. Booth. He was born in Nottingham. He was a humanitarian and he founded the Salvation Army. He died in the month of August. So, Robin Hood? He has been in Storybrooke all along. Lives in the woods, where he was working on Henry’s book- I think he was adding blank pages to the end. And as for his mc- there’s no mistaking the sound of a HD.

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  9. write_light says

    August Wayne Booth = Snow, A Tough Beauty
    He’s Henry himself. That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

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  10. Define_trouble says

    Doc and sherr your comments gave me just as much in site as the article wonderful… Its these kind of shows

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  11. michelle says

    During Kitsis and Horowitz’ interview at Paleytfest they wre asked directly if AWB was Henry from the future…they said they wished they had thought of that, but no,he’s not Henry from the future. Just sayin’

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  12. michelle says

    Also, Dr. Wale is an adult- Pinocchio was a child when the Dark Curse took place. He would still be a child in Storybrooke.

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  13. Elly says

    I think he is Merlin.

    Merlin is a wizard, and is widely considered to be the most powerful in the world. He is a very wise character who believes in the philosophy of “Brain over Brawn”. Merlin is shown to have a wide variety of abilities including the ability to see into the future, the ability to enchant various objects and people, and the ability to travel through time, shape shift, among other powers.

    He can’t be a future version of Henry because August showed signs of attraction towards Emma. He can’t be the narrator because it doesn’t tie into the story as all the other characters have been. He definitely can’t be Pinocchio it just doesn’t make sense. All the other theories that don’t tie into a fairy tell is also ridiculous to even think about.

    I really think he has to be Merlin because I think OUAT is using his character as it was in Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. Stay with me here, Merlin was a mentor to a young boy names Arthur who was to be the future King. In OUAT he is acting as a mentor to a young boy named Henry who could be the future king because he is the son of Emma and she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

    Merlin knows all and I am sure he is immune to the curse because of that and he can travel through time so my guess is that that is what he is doing now. He has traveled from “Fairytale Land” to Storybrook and wrote the book to help Henry and Emma break the curse. I also think that is why the book hasn’t been destroyed by Regina because if the book was created by Merlin then it must be enchanted by Merlin’s powers.

    What do you guys think?

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  14. Lyn says

    Elly, that’s the best idea I’ve heard yet! I did hear one theory that he’s Rumple’s son grown up, which would be cool (don’t you love the idea of Emma and Mr. Gold being in- laws?), but I have no idea how that would work. Merlin makes way more sense! And we know that some characters can screw with the curse a little bit, like Rumple and the Hatter remembering who they are, so it’s possible that as Merlin, he’d have the ability to cross dimensions or whatnot. In any event, the writers have said they’ll reveal his identity before the end of the season, but that the book’s author won’t be revealed til season 2…

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  15. Elly says

    I haven’t heard the Rumple’s son theory but that would be interesting. I don’t think it could be because he wouldn’t be a fairy tale character. I really think August Booth is going to have his own story. He is to big of a character to not be someone big and that is why I think he is going to be Merlin.

    A lot of people think he is going to be Pinocchio but after watching the first episode again there is absolutely no resemblance to him.

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  16. Lyn says

    Yeah, I’m not even sure where the Pinocchio thing came from!
    Here’s a thought: is it possible that Rumplestiltskin’s son *is* Merlin? Like, he went on to become a wizard and took the name Merlin? It would give him the necessary powers to travel to Storybrooke…

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  17. Elly says

    Hmm that would be cool!!!!!

    So I was wondering… You know how the curse took everyone’s happy ending… was Rumplestitkin’s happy ending being with Belle or with his son? If it is his son then yea I think August may be his son… If it is being with Belle then there is no reason to continue having his son in the storyline.

    I’m also wondering why is Regina keeping Belle alive… It must be to have some leverage over Rumblestiltskin. But what is she going to use it to do???

    After looking back at some old episodes I am convinced that Regina doesn’t know Emma is Snow and Charming daughter.

    I also am very curious to know what Rumple is going to do with the true love potion???? I am very intrigued by him because he isn’t on one side he is on his own side like it is all a huge game to him.

    Just some thoughts!

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  18. Lyn says

    The curse took everyone’s happy ending, but not forever: the show’s clearly moving towards breaking the curse someday. Maybe Rumple’s happy ending will involve Belle AND his son.: perhaps I’m just too optimistic, but when Belle was talking to him at the castle, she kept asking about his son. Maybe she would have led them to a reconciliation if she’d stayed! I think that Rumple will be happy with Belle for sure once the curse is broken; hopefully his son too, but that might be less likely. If August was his son, that would wrap everything up!

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  19. Sarah says

    I’m starting to think that either he’s the writer of the book, or he’s Henry grown up. Regina named Henry, Henry. Doesn’t mean that would be his real name. They both share a mutual passion for the curse and the fabled stories and plus they look alike. There’s also the options of him being Pinocchio (remember he would always say, “I don’t lie”) or the 7 year old who found her by the highway…I hope he’s the writer though cause I was starting to like him and Emma and that would be weird for her to start liking her own son… 😛

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    • Elly says

      The writers already said that he is not Henry grown up.

      Other then the Merlin theory, I also am starting to buy in to the pinnochio theory. I still dont think it makes much sence and wouldnt fit the storyline but the only reason I am circling back to it is because I think it is odd that she had to mention who found her (7yr old boy)<<< In the first episode when they made the wardrobe to protect her.. gapetto and pinochio made it… and pinochio looks like he was around 7yrs old.

      Now that I am thinking about it… could Emma be Sleeping Beauty??? and could August be Prince Phillip? OK… Phillip was a young boy (7yrs old) when Auorora was a baby… could he have been transported with her to protect her?

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  20. Lyn says

    The writers already nixed the idea of August being an adult Henry at a panel recently (Paleyfest, I think). They also said they wouldnt answer who wrote the book til next season…I’m not on board with Pinocchio either; haven’t we already seen him? I’m still liking Merlin and/ or Baelfire (Rumple’s son)!

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  21. Elly says

    Ok… I’m back on my Merlin theory again. I watched the Red Riding Hood episode again and I heared something that was pretty interesting… Granny said that a wizard gave her the red cloack and he enchanted it.

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  22. Andrea says

    This is my theory: He is the writer Anderson, Peter Pan or Merlin. I was thinking Anderson at first, the hair and everything kind of kill me with laughter, but Peter Pan isn’t so far fetched. He drives an Indian motorcycle, hung out in the forest obviously, the women seem to think he is fab (as all the characters did in peter’s land about him)… i don’t know. I do love the Walt Disney theory.

    He can’t be Pinocchio because he would’ve come over as a young boy from fairytale land. When Geppetto was making the closet thing for Emma, Pinicchio was like 10, you could tell. Cn’t be Gold’s son because, Gold turned Jiminy Cricket into, well a cricket and he was with Gepetto his whole life, and Gepetto is like 80 now. The way he came from fairy land. This means Rumps son should be like over 100 or dead and wouldn’t have made that trip.

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  23. Elly says

    The Queen’s curse brought them to Storybook where the characters do not age so they haven’t been in this curse for 100’s of years… they’ve only been in the curse for 27 years until Snow and Charming’s daughter Emma could come back and break the curse.

    Episode 5 ‘The Still Small Voice’ was Gapetto’s story back-story about how his parents turned into puppets when he was a young boy. RUMPLESTILSKIN gave Jiminy the potion that accidently turned Gapettos parents into puppets.

    In episode 1 ‘the pilot episode’ Gapetto is an old man. It is clear that in fairytale land Rumpelstiltskin does not age because of the curse of being the ‘dark one’ but his son had to have aged! Episode 8 ‘Desperate Souls’ was about how Rumpelstiltskin came to be and in that episode his son Baelfire was 14 years old. So from Episode 8 to Episode 5 Balefire has to be as old or older then Gapetto in episode 1. So when the Queens curse brought them to Storybrook Baelfire would have been brought over at the age he was when the curse was brought on.

    My guess is that Baelfire is only being used in small roles to explain more about Rumpelstiltskins character. Episode 19 ‘The Return’ is about how Rumpelstiltskin agrees to do whatever it takes for his son Baelfire, if he can find a way to safely give up his powers and return to being the loving man he used to be so obviously that didn’t happen so I can’t see Baelfire being Rumpelstiltskins son.

    Episode 20 ‘The Stranger’ is going to tell Pinocchio’s back-story and I’m kind of buying into him being August only because I think he is the 7 year old boy that found Emma.

    My other theory is that he is Merlin. They’ve already mention his name on the show when granny was explaining where she got the red cloak. It would also explain a lot of other things like why the book hasn’t been destroyed (could it be enchanted?), how he seems to know a lot about the Storybrook and the curse, how he travel though time and why he may be immune to the curse.

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  24. Lyn says

    Is it possible that he could be Baelfire AND another character? One with the magical capabilities to avoid aging? That’s why I love the Merlin/ Peter Pan theory: it explains how Bae didn’t age. We already know that the show doesn’t mind double- dipping with character identities, considering that Mr. Gold is Rumplestiltskin and the Beast. If August was Bae, it would explain his motivations for coming to Storybrooke, and if he was another character, one with magic, that would explain why he has’t aged. We know from the promo for The Return that August is connected to Mr. Gold or interacts with him somehow, and what fits better than him being Baelfire?

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  25. oscar says

    henry is my choice, and wouldn’t trust a writer, they only discover the truth when they think the time has come. they look alike and they believe in the story!!!! and they love emma in the same way (as their mother).

    pinocchio is lost somewhere in our world, geppetto must have put him in the wardrove, and it´s probably the boy who found baby emma. but he is red headed, and think he has bronw eyes… :-)

    i would discard disney, merlin, wiz of oz, robin hood, grimm, peter pan, and baelfire…

    btw, does anybody know what happened to august in S01E18 “The Stable Boy” min. 22’00”??? it can be a clue!!!

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    • Sherr says

      His teacher, Mary Margaret, gave it to him. We’ve never been told how she got it. Perhaps that will be explained next season, when the Author of the book will probably be revealed (as teased by the show-runners).

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  26. Janet says

    Au is the chemical symbol for Gold…Au are the first two letters of August’s name. I think there is a connection to Mr. Gold. The Booth reference could be that he also somehow left via the “booth” or wardrobe that Emma left through. I think he might be Mr. Gold’s long lost son…He might also be the author of the book, in that he was writing about what he remembered from the story world.

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  27. Possum Snoodle says

    August Booth = White Knight aka Lewis Carroll.

    Reasoning: August also means “noble” and a “carol/carrel” is also a booth of sorts AND found often in libraries. So, a “Noble Carol” is Lewis Carroll’s alter ego/Fairy Tale Land persona, The White Knight of Wonderland fame. As an author, Lewis Carroll embedded himself in Wonderland as The White Knight. August Booth is a writer, knows the art of bookbinding and is fulfilling the classic role of coming to the aid of a damsel in distress (Emma) – and on a fine steed (motorcycle) to boot. Also, his mysterious identity plays well into the Caterpillar’s catch phrase, “Who are you?”

    IF August is White Knight /Carroll, perhaps, by writing himself into Wonderland as the White Knight, created a duality (Looking Glass) that allows him to move more freely between worlds/Storybrooke AND as an author, he has the power to edit or subtly guide the storyline through his pen/sword which is his magic wand of sorts.There seems to be an underlying theme for the characters to believe in themselves, embrace their abilities and use their imagination to overcome Fear and obstacles. So, if August is or is somehow connected to Lewis Carroll, he probably won’t use the full power of his pen/wand to write out the obstacles along the journey the characters and the reader/audience must go on to discover who they are and to learn “lessons” like Alice had to. August never seems to reveal any easy answers to Emma, as making it all too easy, lessens the lesson – and “what’s the lesson in that?”

    It is also interesting that Emma looks a bit like a grown-up Alice (still growing up and learning lessons, it seems) and she’s been chasing her White Rabbit (Henry) “down the adoption and emotional rabbit hole” and into Storybrooke. Also interesting is, The White Rabbit traveled between worlds, as did Henry, when he sought Emma. The “pet name” for Henry is sometimes Harry and this leads us to “hare.” Although, a hare varies from a rabbit, it’s worth consideration. Then, of course, everyone thinks Henry’s “mad as a March Hare, eh? Gotta wonder what month he was born.

    Since the mystery of August W Booth began, I’ve made a few one or two line posts about who I think he might be but they all seem to disappear or get lost in the mix – and I really want some feedback but have not gotten anything useful to support or debunk my line of thinking. I’ve just discovered this site and I like the deeper thought process and feedback going on so, this is my first post here about August W Booth’s identity. I’ve just started posting this expanded theory around the blogosphere and on abc to see what others think about the Lewis Carroll/White Knight line of thinking. I did not know W. stood for Wayne until I read the posts here. So, I’m re-digesting my original thoughts it stood for Writer, White or Wonder and I even thought Wizard, due to the Oz/Kansas references. I’ll do some thinking on Wayne and see what I can come up with.

    It may end up August W Booth is the embodiment of many writers/dreamers and various essences of many characters from all forms storytelling and Literature. So many clues seem so specific to one persona but not to another.

    What a great puzzle!

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    • Possum Snoodle says

      ..hmmmm…As I’m finding out W stands for WAYNE… The name meaning for Wayne is “a cartwright” and a cartwright is a artisan/craftsman who makes carts or repairs things. Perhaps, as in, repairs/edits the story.
      Love it.

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    • AnnaLovesBooks says

      I think I’ve read a dozen different posts pointing out that August cannot be the author because HIS role will be revealed this season and the author will be revealed in season 2. So I’m going to say… August isn’t the author.

      But your ideas make more sense than mine, lol. My first reaction to August was… Gus. You know, the mouse in Cinderella? Until I remembered the fairy godmother made him into a horse, not a footman/human. For a moment there, especially in a recent promo, where August talks on the phone to someone (Jacques, aka Jaq, of course!) about needing to speed things up… ah, I was kind of liking the Gus theory – running out of time, midnight coming… hey, what time IS it in Storybrook these days? At least it was different! But there’s the horse thing.

      The name means something, or else why bother throwing in his middle name, when no one else is running around using their middle name? (note, serial killers always have three names, lol) Literally, his name means “revered wagon maker” but I’m finding it hard to tie that to a fairy tale. I fiddled with this for a while and am stuck, so everyone else can play with it – by itself, August Wayne Booth ALMOST includes the words “the way home” but not quite. Add Emma Swan and you can get it. But with the rest of the letters, I’m getting nowhere.

      I haven’t been a fan of the Pinocchio theory, but I returned to it when another promo showed Mr. Gold breaking into August’s room. He picks up a figurine – a wooden donkey. Wood, Pinocchio, donkey, Pinocchio… But who would Pinocchio be conspiring with on the phone? The Blue Fairy?

      And about that phone call. That call indicates that there’s another person out there, somewhere, who knows whatever August knows. Maybe THAT person is the author. In fact, I think s/he is the author and s/he sent August to town. If that’s the case, then it seems like August could have been created from nothing, just for the purpose of going into Storybrook and doing the author’s bidding. So now I’m spending most of my wondering time on what power/s the author has. Can s/he do anything to control his/her creations once they leave the world s/he created?

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  28. Tom says

    If you consider that another very notable J. J. Abrams series, Lost, had TONS of characters’ names widely plucked from obscure characters in history, this theory is extremely easy to embrace. Thank you for sharing, I think you’re spot on.

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  29. Mike says

    “August” is the 8th month
    “August Wayne Booth” has 16 letters
    8 and 16 are two of the Lost lotto numbers

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  30. Rosemary Knight says

    I have a few theories.
    First, I believe that August is Pinnochio. Here are a few reasons
    1. His initials are AWB – a wooden boy. Also his name means royal or revered (august) maker of wooden carts (wayne) and hut or shelter (booth). As the son of Gepetto, Pinocchio was a royal carpenter.
    2. He takes offense when anyone suggest that he lies
    3. Every time he lies, he feels pain in his leg. Maybe instead of his nose growing, he becomes more wooden when he lies
    4. He has a wooden box for his typewriter and a donkey paperweight
    6. He is always hanging around wood, lumber or other wood-related businesses.
    7. He is looking for his father (Gapetto)
    8. the Blue Fairy was involved in getting Emma to safety
    9. The magic wardrobe is made of the same magic wood that Pinnochio is made of.
    10. In the next episode, it is revealed that Gapetto asked the Blue Fairy to save Pinocchio

    I believe that Pinocchio was sent to the real world with Emma and then “found” her. He is the 7-year-old boy that was reported to have found Emma. I also believe that they were in foster care together — at least for a while. He was there to protect her (give her shelter — booth). He went over as a real boy, but without magic he has been slowly turning back to wood. I also think that he has been keeping tabs on Emma. He knows that she would break the curse in her 28th year, so he followed her to Storybrooke soon after she arrived. He needs the curse broken so that he doesn’t die (turn back completely to wood)

    Finally, I believe that Baelfire arrived in our world around the same time everyone else did. Fairytale time doesn’t have to correspond to our time. As in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a hundred years in fairytale time could be a few hours in our time. I believe that Baelfire was in foster care with Pinocchio and Emma. Emma was too little to know anything, but the two boys may have discussed Fairytale land, and Bae told Pinocchio about Rump’s knife. Remember no one except Bae knew about the knife.

    I also believe that Bae is Henry’s father. Emma probably warmed up to Bae because he had a connection to her childhood. But he is probably now a bitter coward, who dumped her. Henry does look alot like Bae. That is probably why Rump seemed so affectionate to him.

    Finally, I believe that Rump wrote the fairy tale book. Mr. Gold is the only person (aside from August) that Henry can’t place. Maybe that’s because there are no stories about Rump in the original book that Henry was reading. How did the book get into Fairytale land?

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    • AnnaLovesBooks says

      I think announcing your certainty that August is Pinocchio two days after it was confirmed in the previews for next week is hardly a notable achievement, lol.

      OTOH, the idea of him being the boy who found her is both creepy and interesting. The only thing creepier is the thought of Bae being Henry’s father. Which means both will probably be true. Here’s what I’d like more – Morraine somehow went along with Bae, unnoticed in the noise and light, and she and Bae aged… and are now “older” than Mr. Gold and certainly older than Emma, whom they adopted and raised. They know their history and haven’t forgotten FTL, but they wouldn’t know of the curse, which happened after they left, so they wouldn’t know Emma’s real identity unless they were told.

      The one thing I’d really just disagree on is the identity of the author. I’m beginning to suspect that it would have to be the blue fairy, if it’s a FTL character at all. The blue fairy – would that be The Blue Fairy? How about the BF? I’ll go with that, I’m lazy – the BF is the one who refers to “a world without magic,” which could be our world, making her the only FTL character to mention “us.” I can’t help wondering if she can cross freely between worlds, or at least if she could before the Dark Curse. She’d be the perfect character to ensure that Emma got to the right parents… but that’s just me, trying to keep Bae and Emma from having sex in my brain… ew.

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      • Virginia says

        Anna, we already saw that TBF became Mother Superior in Storybrook. She couldn’t have gone through with Bae, and thus couldn’t have aged or done any of that with him.

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  31. Sherr says

    Congratulations to everyone who called August as Pinocchio! :) I thought the story was nicely told, despite feeling a little conned and definitely disappointed that the ‘Kansas 84’ license plate wasn’t explained (and probably never will be) among other things. I do wonder if August will continue turning to wood now that he’ll be behaving better, or if he’s still dependent on Emma.

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  32. Sherr says

    Roco – perhaps you’ve noticed that, in recent interviews, Ed Kitsis confirmed that August was named for Prof. Wayne Booth as discussed in your article above. Well done! :)

    I have come to the conclusion that the show’s writers are the “unreliable narrators” rather than August/Pinocchio. They are essentially telling us not to take as gospel anything they tell us! As an example, the newspaper article in Emma’s file stated that she was found by the roadside by a 7-year-old Local boy. In the end, she was NOT found by the road and the boy was not local. But all they did was to have August ask, “do you believe everything you read in the paper?” in order to refute the article and change their story. I confess, I was a little shocked that they could be so cavalier about it.

    So many fans, myself included, didn’t think August could be Pinocchio because he wasn’t *local* and because the Blue Fairy insisted the enchanted tree could protect only one. In other words, the writers/narrators changed an important premise and story-line, established in the pilot and earlier episodes, that became inconvenient, so they simply changed it up. I expect to be suspicious of anything they tell me in the future because I know I can’t rely on their narrative now. I won’t be able to enjoy speculating based on their clues because the clues won’t be trustworthy. I think that will make the show less interesting to me. sigh.

    Also in an interview, Kitsis admitted they brought in The Stranger without knowing he would be Pinocchio, that the idea just sort of evolved. I guess that explains, in an unspoken way, why August’s bike has Kansas 84 plates! LOL!

    Ah, color me disillusioned.

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  33. nikki says

    IMDB states that August W Booth is a grown up Pinocchio. The reason he could go in and out of storybrook is because gipetto sent him through the tree before sending baby Emma so that he could help her. He also was the 7 year old that found Emma. He already also was in the Foster system untilled he ran away.

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