Warning: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of Once Upon a Time. Wait until you've caught up before reading!

ABC's Once Upon a Time has finally ended its seven season run, and, as is not unusual for a big series finale these days, not everyone came out alive at the end of the episode. But, everyone did manage to get their happy ending. See, Rumple gave his life to save Hook, actually pulling the beating heart out of his own chest to save the man right before he died, and, as you can imagine, Rumple was not able to survive such a sacrifice. Sad as the moment was, though, this selfless act meant that Rumple was able to go to heaven and spend the rest of eternity with his beloved Belle. So, how did those behind the show know that Rumple had to die? Here's what executive producer/co-creator Edward Kitsis had to say about the shocking death:

It wasn't a difficult decision at all because we felt like the goal for him was to rejoin Belle, and what we loved about it is that's what a happy ending is. What we were trying to communicate to the audience thematically is that it's not about the happy ending, it's about the journey and who you're taking it with. Rumple got his actual happy ending, because he fixed his heart.

So, it sounds like the whole reasoning behind Rumple's death was to make sure he could get his happy ending, and the only way to really do that was to let him die so that he could be with Belle. It's also nice that Rumple got to go out doing something wonderful for someone else. Edward Kitsis and Once Upon a Time's other executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz noted to TV Line that the irony of that huge gesture was definitely well thought out:

Kitsis: That was exactly what we planned. These two spent their whole lives killing each other, so we loved the idea of Hook finding out that Rumple thought of him as his friend. We know that he was already a father figure to Alice, so we loved the idea of that selflessness, because it showed us that Rumple really had redeemed himself. It was one of his most pure moments.

Horowitz: We loved the idea of two characters who were always trying to destroy one another ultimately saving one another.

Well, you read that right, folks. During an earlier moment in the episode when Hook and Rumple were looking for Maui's magical fishhook in a snowy wasteland, Rumple actually got the chance to tell Hook that he considered him "the closest thing he ever had to a friend." I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a beyond touching moment. And, in giving his heart over to Hook, not only was Rumple able to finally reunite with Belle, but he was able to do something truly wonderful for his only friend.

Once Upon a Time may be over, but there's still plenty of TV to watch. Head over to our summer premiere guide to see what you can watch in the coming weeks, and if you want to make sure you don't miss any of your other favorites as they shuffle off the airwaves this season, check out our season finale schedule.

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