|Land Without Magic Character|
|Status:||Turned into a child|
|Home:|| Granny's Bed and Breakfast (formerly)|
Phuket, Thailand (formerly)
|Portrayed by:||Eion Bailey|
|First appearance:||"True North"|
|Latest appearance:||"Selfless, Brave and True"|
|Latest mention:||"And Straight On 'Til Morning"|
"I've lived a life of selfishness, cowardice and dishonesty. And only I can cure that...not magic, not science. Just me."
August W. Booth, also formerly known as the Stranger, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the ninth episode of the first season. He is portrayed by guest star Eion Bailey, and is the Land Without Magic alias of Pinocchio.
As a young boy, August arrives in the land without magic via the magic wardrobe constructed by his father, Geppetto, by coming through in a tree in a forest. Shortly afterwards, the infant Emma arrives as well, and the boy takes the baby to a nearby diner. He gives a false story, claiming he found Emma on the side of the road. The two are put into an orphanage. ("The Stranger")
While in the orphanage, the young August does his best to take care of Emma to keep his promise to his father. One day, as he repairs Emma's crib, the tools he is using are taken away by the man running the orphanage, and August is harshly scolded. Later, another boy approaches August, telling him that he and some other children were able to steal enough money to leave the orphanage. He asks if August wants to go with them. The boy recalls the promise he made to his father about taking care of Emma. However, when the older boy tells him they cannot take care of a baby, August breaks his promise and leaves with the group of children, abandoning Emma at the orphanage. ("The Stranger")
Many years later, August catches Neal Cassidy in Portland after he and Emma successfully pull off a heist of stolen watches. He tells Neal that if he truly cares for Emma, he will leave her to her destiny and not allow her to be caught up in his life. At first, Neal refuses, saying he loves Emma. August states that Neal does not believe him, but he will show him something that will change his mind. August goes to the back of his motorcycle where there is a wooden box. He opens it, and reveals the contents for Neal to see. Inside the case is August's typewriter and a piece of paper, on which he had typed, "I know you're Baelfire". The revelation that someone else knows his secret shakes him to the core, and Neal follows August's request. He runs off and frames Emma for the theft. ("Tallahassee", "Manhattan")
A few months later, August meets up with Neal in Vancouver. Neal is torn over leaving Emma, and wants to know she is all right. August states that she is sentenced to eleven months in jail and is in a minimum security prison in Phoenix. Neal wants to go to her, but August refuses to reveal her location and reminds him of their deal. Though he can't visit her, Neal still wants to give Emma the yellow bug and the money he got from the stolen watches. August reluctantly agrees, and when Neal asks for him to let him know if something changes in Emma's life where he can be a part of it, August states he will send him a postcard. August mails Emma the keys to the car while she is still in jail, but the money is not in the envelope, leaving the impression that August took it.
In the month of October 2011, August is residing in Phuket, Thailand, where he apparently had been for quite some time. He described it as a "beautiful, amazing island full of pleasures" and the "perfect place to lose oneself." At 8:15 AM, August awakens to a shooting pain in his leg, at which point he realizes that he is beginning to turn back into wood. This moment in time corresponds to 8:15 PM in Storybrooke time when Emma decides to remain in town.
The start of August's transformation into wood scares him, and at first, he tries to see a doctor to figure out a solution. In a Hong Kong based doctor's office, he pulls up his left pant leg and proceeds to stab himself in the leg; trying to prove to the doctor he is turning back into wood. Alas, the doctor cannot see the wooden leg and is so terribly frightened he calls for security to bring August to the psych ward. Despondent, he runs out of the office and through the hospital where he meets a man who tells him, that for the right price, a healer called "The Dragon" can help him. August accepts the offer, and goes to meet the Dragon.
He enters into a small clinic and sits in a lobby for his turn with the healer. The next patient is called, and as a woman gets up to go in, she drops her cellphone. Despite the extreme pain in his leg, August bends over to pick it up, and returns it to her. She takes off her sunglasses and thanks him as she takes the phone back. A few minutes later, the woman comes out and says to him the Dragon will see him now.
August does not give his name, and only pulls up his right pant leg to check if the man can see he is wooden. The Dragon does not, as he knows the issue is with his left leg. The Dragon takes one look at his leg, and states he is turning into wood, and calls him by his real name—Pinocchio. August is in awe the man knows his real name, and wonders if the Dragon is from his land as well. Instead, the Dragon redirects the conversation about August's affliction and how to cure it. First, he must take as payment an item of great and precious value to August; something that is close to his heart. The Dragon points to August's neck, where he wears a necklace with a small whale shaped ornament on it. The ornament is of no value to the Dragon, but he is aware the string of the necklace is the same string August's father used to animate him as a puppet. August forfeits the necklace as payment. The second part of the payment is ten-thousand US dollars, which August cannot afford, but the Dragon simply says to show up tonight with the money, and he will never have to be wooden again.
August leaves the clinic, and stands in the doorway of a street bar trying to figure out how he is going to get the money when a familiar figure inside waves him over. It is the woman who also visited the Dragon before him. She comments he looks like he could use a drink, while August says he wasn't planning on staying for very long. Undeterred, Tamara happily asks him to join her as it is no fun celebrating alone. She orders him a beer, and takes out money from a very fat envelope of cash. They drink to second chances. August asks for what reason she came to the Dragon. Tamara explains it is a rare form of cancer, and she has been scouring the world for anyone who can heal her disease. Suddenly, August's leg pain is acting up again. She asks what his condition is, and he says it's a skin condition and plays along when she thinks it's acne. They get to discussing how the Dragon asked each of them for a personal item in exchange for his services. Tamara says she gave up a cherished photo of herself and her grandmother, and though she is unhappy it is gone, perhaps sacrificing it has also made her cancer disappear as well. Tamara's phone rings, and she excuses herself from the bar counter to take the call. While she is away, August stares longingly at the cash envelope inside her bag, and, making sure she is not looking, he takes the money and bolts out of the bar.
He runs back to the clinic to get his end of the bargain now that he has the money. The Dragon shows him a bottle with glowing reddish-pink liquid inside, and tucks it back into a cloth pouch. August spots the photo of Tamara and her grandmother on the Dragon's table and has another burst of pain shooting from his leg. The Dragon notices, covering the photo with a hand while remarking how strange it is the body can send a person signals but it is up to the person to figure out what it means. In fact, August's leg pain in this moment is triggered by his guilt in stealing Tamara's money. August asks if the bottle will help him. The Dragon says it will, but the physical pain is just a symptom, and only he can truly cure himself.
August leaves with the bottle in hand, and is opening it when he is apprehended by an angry Tamara. She indignantly states the bottle is hers, considering he used her money to pay for it. He apologizes, although he runs away to avoid her. Tamara yells through the marketplace for someone to stop him, but in the end August's leg prevents him from getting away, and he collapses in the middle of the street in agonizing gut-retching pain. In the process, he drops the bottle in the cloth bag, and Tamara approaches to snatch it away. She bitterly remarks whatever condition he has, he deserves it. August is left to contemplate her words, and cries in desperation.
A few days later, August returns to the clinic to ask the Dragon to cure him again, but he is puzzled to find the man unconscious and dead on the floor. He does not think too much of it, and finally decides it is his duty to head back into Emma's life so he can convince her to believe in the curse so she can break it.
He goes to New York City to talk to Neal. August tells him of his condition, which means Emma is in Storybrooke, so he must go there to convince her to break the curse to stop what is happening to himself. Neal expresses his worries that if the curse breaks, his father will remember and come looking for him. August points out if that happens, Neal can see Emma again. Neal doesn't think Emma would want to see him again, but August thinks otherwise. August starts up his motorcycle, and before he speeds off, he reaffirms the promise to send him a postcard when the curse is broken. Unbeknownst to either, Tamara is listening and watching the conversation in a compact mirror a few feet away. ("Selfless, Brave and True")
Some time later, August rides into Storybrooke on his motorcycle, where he meets Sheriff Emma Swan and Henry Mills for the first time. He asks them where he can find a place to stay, and Emma directs him to Granny's inn. Before he drives off, she asks him what he said his name was, to which he replies that he never gave it. The next morning, he is repairing his motorbike in front of the mayor's house, and Henry comes out to talk to him. August deflects most of the boy's questions and drives off, but not before Regina Mills spots him first. She asks Henry who that is, but her son does not answer her.
Later, due to Regina's request to learn more about this "stranger," Emma questions him at Granny's Diner, while he is drinking coffee. They have several minutes of a back and forth banter, in which he taunts her about the wooden box he carries around, but he eventually agrees to show her what is inside if she will let him buy her a drink sometime.
She agrees to this, and he opens the box to reveal a typewriter. Upon further inquiry, he reveals that he is a writer and that he came to Storybrooke because it was full of inspiration. As he gets up to leave, Emma asks him about the drink he promised her. He grins and says, "Sometime," then walks out the door. ("7:15 A.M.")
He and Emma run into each other at Granny's Diner. August asks Emma out for that drink he promised her and says he knows a good watering hole. At first, she is reluctant, but after some encouragement from Granny and August telling her what his name was, she agrees, and he takes her to a "wishing well" that, according to legend, has magical water that could restore a lost item to a person.
Secretly, August begins "repairing" Henry's storybook, adding the story of Pinocchio to it. The next day, Emma finds the storybook on the ground as she is brushing leaves off of her car. August is watching her from around the corner as she picks it up, hinting that he might have placed it there on purpose. ("What Happened to Frederick")
A few days later, he is talking to Ruby at Granny's Diner, telling her about his adventures while traveling. He tells her about visiting Nepal and how their temples were infested with lemurs. When Ruby inquires about his adventures further, her grandmother calls her over impatiently. August is silent as Ruby confronts her grandmother and quits the diner. ("Red-Handed")
Many days later, after Ruby and her grandmother reconcile, August finds Henry poring over his storybook. They have a quick discussion about Mary Margaret Blanchard's arrest over Kathryn Nolan's disappearance, and August reveals that the storybook's tales just might be true.
This excites Henry, and the mysterious writer says that he has come back to Storybrooke to help Emma believe in Operation Cobra. When Henry tells him that he wants to find proof of Mary Margaret's innocence, August implies that he should look in the book for answers, and leaves the diner. ("Heart of Darkness")
In a deleted scene of the episode, August is seen sitting at Emma's table. He says he would like to ask her out again but knows it is not the best time for her because she was the lead investigator of her roommate's case and Emma agrees with him. He still offers to buy her a drink and Ruby goes to get it for her. He notices that she cannot stop looking at Regina Mills and asks what she plans on doing. Emma wants to give her a piece of her mind but it has not been working out lately. August gives her the advice to try a new approach. She agrees, but the problem is she is the "go over there and give her a piece of my mind" type. August replies that while he loves that about Emma, there are other ways to get what you want. Then he tells her about an advice he got from a toreador he met in Pamplona: "Don't let them see you coming." August gets up and leaves the money to pay for Emma's drink. ("Heart of Darkness")
August converses with Emma about Kathryn and tells her to go over the case again starting from the point of view she has now, a cover up by Regina. They go back to the scene where Ruby found Kathryn's heart. Emma finds a chipped piece of what seems to be a shovel. Later that night August and Emma, with the help of Henry, enter Mayor Mills's garage.
Emma and August put the chipped shovel piece onto a shovel in Regina's garage and it fits perfectly. Emma tries to confront Regina about it the next day but the shovel had been replaced with a new one. Emma later blames August for telling Regina about the shovel, and, when he denies her accusation, Emma implies that he is lying. However, after finding a "bug" spying device in a vase left for her by Sidney Glass, Emma finds August and apologizes. They are interrupted by Ruby's scream, who tells them, "She's in the alley." Upon further investigation, they find Kathryn Nolan alive in the alley. ("The Stable Boy")
The next day, August is seen sleeping in his room at Granny's inn. He seems to be in pain when his left leg appears to lock up on him, and he tumbles off the bed and onto the floor. August painfully drags himself over to the desk and calls someone, stating that "it" is taking too long and they need to accelerate the plan. He meets up with Henry—the person he was speaking to on the phone previously—outside Mr. Gold's shop. Henry says he does not understand how this is part of Operation Cobra, but August asks that he does as he tells him to. He sends Henry into the shop as a decoy while he pokes around in Mr. Gold's back office. After a brief search, August is confronted by Mr. Gold, who begins to question who August Booth really is. During the party at Mary Margaret's welcome home celebration, August tells Henry that the search was unsuccessful.
After investigating August further, Mr. Gold confronts him under the assumption that August is actually his lost son, Baelfire. Mr. Gold apologizes to August and confesses that he never should have let him go. He tells August he has been looking for him ever since and asks him for forgiveness. After embracing, August asks about the dagger, leading Mr. Gold to tell him that he buried the dagger so Regina would not find out. After unearthing the dagger, August takes it and points it at Mr. Gold, attempting to use an incantation against him. Realizing that August is not his son, Mr. Gold threatens him with the dagger and demands to know who he really is. August confesses that he is from the Enchanted Forest and that he is "sick" and needs magic for a cure. Believing him to be useful, Mr. Gold allows him to live in order to get Emma Swan to believe in magic. ("The Return")
August tries to get Emma to believe she is the savior by taking her to the place outside of where she was abandoned as a baby. He confesses he was the seven-year-old boy who found her, and he shows her the tree they both came through from the Enchanted Forest. He reveals details about Emma only she herself would know about, such as the blanket she was wrapped in as an infant. When he admits he is Pinocchio, she does not believe him and walks away. He tries to go after her, but his leg has already become wooden and makes it hard for him to walk. He pulls up his pant leg to show her how it looks, but despite the fact she is looking, her denial is not allowing her to actually see that his leg is wooden. They argue. August is upset that Emma does not want to believe, and Emma is frustrated and confused as to why it matters so much that she does believe. He calls her their only hope, but Emma rejects the idea of it. She does not want to be responsible for everyone else's happiness. ("The Stranger")
After Henry falls into a coma from taking a bite of the apple turnover, which Regina poisoned, Emma finally truly believes in the curse. She goes to August's room, hoping he can help her cure Henry. August cannot open the door and Emma enters, seeing August lying on the bed, mostly turned to wood. He tells Emma she can succeed without him just before completely turning to wood. ("A Land Without Magic")
After Emma breaks the dark curse and magic arrives in Storybrooke, August is still laying in his bed at Granny's Bed and Breakfast and he blinks. He is fully functional in his capabilities to move, but he stays wooden. Sometime following this, he goes to Mother Superior and asks her to return him back to how he used to be, but she can do no such thing if he has not stayed selfless, true and brave.
Later, Marco is putting up missing posters, believing his son to be lost and still a child. After an uproar in which many citizens, Marco included, nearly leave town and lose their Enchanted Forest memories, Henry Mills reveals August's true identity to Marco. Marco visits August's room in Granny's inn, but discovers an empty bed. ("We Are Both", "Selfless, Brave and True")
Keeping the deal he made with Neal Cassidy years ago to notify him if Emma ever fulfills her duty, Neal receives a postcard delivered by pigeon from Storybrooke that simply says "Broken". ("Broken", "Tallahassee")
Many weeks later, Mary Margaret is practicing archery in the woods when one of her arrows hits an unintended target. She takes off her ear buds and hears what sounds like something wooden moving. She travels deeper into the woods to investigate, and she finds the arrow lying on the ground with a broken shaft. Following the trail, she comes across an old trailer. Inside, a completely wooden August is hiding, ashamed of his many mistakes in life. She tries to convince August he has no reason to hide, and the people of Storybrooke care about him: like Emma and his father, Marco. He refuses to go back, and does not want his father seeing him in this state. She explains many things have happened since he has been gone; such as Henry's father, Neal, returning. August stops her and asks if Emma and Neal are back together again. She says Neal is actually engaged to someone else he met in New York. August is saddened by the news. He had hoped, though he purposely separated the couple years ago, that they might be back together now. August wants redemption despite the bad things he has done, but he laments perhaps there are things someone can't come back from. Mary Margaret disagrees. Despite what he has done, everyone deserves a second chance. August explains it's easy for her to say so because she's never needed forgiveness or redemption, not knowing what has transpired between her, Regina, and Cora. She states it is time for him to stop feeling sorry for himself, but he asks her to leave if she truly wants to help him.
After overhearing Mary Margaret tell Emma about August's whereabouts at Granny's Diner, Tamara pays August a visit and offers him the potion that will keep him human forever on the condition for him to leave Storybrooke and never return. She is aware he is still a man who will do whatever it takes for his own sake. August drives out of Storybrooke, but before he reaches outside of town, he sees the photo of Tamara and her grandmother by chance. Realizing he has been tricked, he hurries to the sheriff's office to find Emma and, when he can't find her, he dials her phone number. He is just about to tell her about Tamara when the phone line goes dead, snapped by Tamara herself. She expresses grave disappointment that August did not follow her instructions. August finally realizes she killed the Dragon; the photo she had sacrificed to the Dragon was in her car. Tamara states he should have left Storybrooke, and she was counting on him wanting to save himself. August affirms that is what he is trying to do. He's lived a life of utter selfishness, cowardice and dishonesty, and knows in his heart that only he himself can truly fix the problem without the use of magic or science. He threatens Tamara with exposure of all she's done, but she uses the taser, mortally wounding him. August collapses outside the station and dies in his father's arms yet again, having used his final breath in trying to tell Emma of Tamara, although he failed in passing the message in time. Fortunately, Henry and Mother Superior are able to determine that August's actions on this day are unselfish, brave and true, and she is able to restore August into his original form of a seven-year old Pinocchio. ("Selfless, Brave and True")
- Dashed lines denote adoption parent-child relationships
- The name "August" is of Latin origin, and is derived from the diminutive form of the name "Augustus" that means "great" or "venerable".
- The middle name "Wayne" is of Old English origin derived from an occupational surname meaning "wagon maker" as well as having roots in the Old English word "wagon".
- The surname "Booth" is of Old English origin derived from the word "bothe" and itself derived from the Old Danish word "both" that means "cow-house" or "herdsman's hut".
- Wayne Booth was a literary critic who coined the term "unreliable narrator". An "unreliable narrator" is a narrator, usually in fiction, whose credibility is severely compromised and therefore cannot be trusted on the validity of their story.
- He has a wooden hand-carved donkey paper weight, a reference to the story of Pinocchio, in which all boys sent to Pleasure Island are turned into donkeys.
- August claims to be very well-traveled; spending a year abroad visiting places as far as Nepal and Pamplona, Spain. ("Red-Handed", "Heart of Darkness")
- His scenes in "Hat Trick" were cut.
- The complicated wooden lock he installed on Mary Margaret's door hints to skills he learned from his father.
- The pages he added to Henry's book tell Pinocchio's story. According to Henry, this tale was not initially in the book. ("The Stranger")
- He seems unaware Storybrooke is the "land without magic" until Mr. Gold pointed out his foolishness. Most artifacts and items that once retained magic in the Enchanted Forest do not have power in Storybrooke. ("The Stranger")
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