The fairy tale:
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Was Rumpelstiltskin a malevolent entity who regularly makes deals with mortals of dubious morality? Or was he simply a mercenary of sorts who just wanted to collect on what his client agreed to pay him?
- ...Or, was he just a lonely old troll who wanted a child of his own?
- For that matter, what did he want with the queen's child?
- Designated Villain: Rumpelstiltskin. Yeah, asking for the baby was rather sinister, but up until the final act he really is not evil. It wasn't until the protagonist choose not to up hold her end of the bargain that he became an antagonist.
- Although he's more villainous in several adaptions. Especially the 1995 horror film adaptation where he actually kills people and steals babies so he can have their souls.
- Fridge Horror: The miller's daughter is threatened with death and ordered to complete an impossible task. If she reveals that her father was telling tall tales, he'll probably be killed. After three nights of this psychological torture, she is forced to marry and bear children for the king, the man who kidnapped her, threatened her with death, and locked her up for days. She then spends the rest of her life petrified that the king will find out that she and her father are liars. (Lying to the king is an act of treason, and the punishments for treason were pretty nasty back in the day.) With Rumpelstiltskin dead, what happens when the king's treasury is low and he asks his wife to spin more straw into gold?
- What an Idiot: Rumpelstiltskin gets one here. Not so sure that it's a great idea to announce your secret name out loud in the woods when the Queen's men might be out and about looking for you...
- The Woobie: The miller's daughter, even though she is now the queen, put up with a lot.
The 1995 film:
- Complete Monster: The titular Rumpelstiltskin is portrayed much more evil than in the fairytale. Lacking a soul, Rumpelstiltskin made a deal with a miller's daughter, spinning hay into gold for her in exchange for her firstborn son, so he could suck out his soul and make it his own. Foiled in his attempt, Rumpelstiltskin is turned into a jade figurine, and freed centuries later to continue his goal. After being inadvertently freed by Shelly Stewart and having sex with her while disguised as her dead husband, he begins targeting her infant son John, killing everyone he comes in contact with along the way. He slaughters an entire police station to get to John in an attempt to steal his soul.