Characters: Once Upon A Time Main Characters
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Core Cast Members
Emma Swan: "You wanna change things? You're gonna have to go out there and change them yourself because there are no fairy godmothers in this world."
Played By: Jennifer Morrison
Centric Episodes: "Tallahassee", "The Heart of the Truest Believer", "Going Home"
A bail bondswoman and bounty hunter, Emma is the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Her own son, previously given up for adoption, brings her back to Storybrooke so she can end the Dark Curse.
- Action Mom: Her previous job as a bail bond agent was very active work and she can still kick butt as sheriff.
- Agent Scully: To Henry's and August's Mulder.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: To Neal, right before he gets sucked in by the magic portal.
- Anti-Hero: Type II. Emma is presented as more pragmatic and cynical in stark contrast to her classic hero parents.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, come to Neverland with Captain Hook to rescue her son from Peter Pan (all of which she's accepted) has a bit of a "Oh, come on" tone to her voice when she deduces the fairy Hook wants to work with is Tinkerbell. And it's not that she doesn't believe in fairies, either.
- Audience Surrogate: Increasingly becoming this after breaking the curse with her reactions to the show's version of fairy tale characters and creatures.
- Badass: Her Establishing Character Moment showing her as a bail bond agent displays this.
- Badass Princess: She's technically this since she's Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter.
- Bad Liar: She may be able to tell when other people are lying, but she isn't good at lying herself.
- Because Destiny Says So: It's why she's there in the first place.
- Bounty Hunter: Bail bond agent, really.
- Broken Bird: Emma is still very hurt over being abandoned as a baby and she's reluctant to let people in.
- Cassandra Truth: No one takes her suspicions of Tamara seriously, thinking she's instead jealous of her.
- Catch Phrase: "Seriously?"
- The Chosen One: Emma is destined to save those in Storybrooke according to Henry's stories.
- Color Motif: Emma is first introduced wearing red and continues to often wear a scarlet leather jacket throughout the series.
- Cowboy Cop: Is willing to bend or even break the law in the course of her investigations.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Invoked by name during the sheriff election. Regina dug up Emma's past, including juvie records that were supposed to be sealed and smeared them across the front page.
- Deadpan Snarker: Overlaps with Stepford Snarker.
- Determinator: She becomes this in season 3 when Henry gets kidnapped and taken to Neverland
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: The usually very closed off Emma shows she very much can feel when she finally opens up to Graham.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Starts off as a Badass Normal but is shown to have some magical abilities starting in Season 2.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: See Living Lie Detector and Super Empowering.
- Fair Cop: When she becomes deputy and later sheriff.
- Fatal Flaw: Emma's low sense of self worth and lack of faith in herself led her to attempt to play by Regina's rules, thus nearly losing Henry and almost leaving Storybrooke at the climax of Season 1. Halfway through Season 2, Emma seems to have come to terms with her issues, but it's superficial. Emma still acts on her self doubt, and with major consequences for Regina.
- Fish out of Water: In the Enchanted Forest.
- Former Teen Rebel: As seen in "Tallahassee" she was a petty crook, stealing and fencing some goods.
- Foster Kid: Raised in the system because no one was there to claim her.
- Funny Character, Boring Actor: Inverted. Emma is stoic, cynical and rarely smiles or expresses any emotion. Jennifer Morrison is an Adorkable ball of sunshine and rainbows that can barely contain excitement in interviews.
- Genre Blind: At first because she doesn't believe in magic. Later in Season 2, it takes her a bit to realize her gun is not the best weapon in the Enchanted Forest.
- Good Is Not Nice: Has shades of Type I and III.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Emma is usually seen wearing a red leather jacket.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: She's not only immune to Cora's heart ripping but she can also blast Cora back.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Double subverted. She goes to fight Maleficent with one, but quickly discards it for it for a gun. But Guns Are Useless. As soon as she goes back for the sword, she wins the fight.
- Heroic Neutral:
- Emma was totally ready to go back to her crappy life if only Regina could have kept her mouth shut...
- And then she was totally ready to go back to her crappy with life (with occasional visits with Henry), if only Regina hadn't tried to slip her a cursed apple turnover. And Regina KNEW she was about to leave...
- Heroic Sacrifice: In "Queen of Hearts" Emma takes the heart-stealing attack Cora aimed for her mother. She did more than survive, she No Sells the attack.
- I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: When August/Pinocchio tries to convince Emma that the curse trapping Storybrooke is real, she refuses to believe it and says that if the town is relying on her, "[they're] all screwed."
- Informed Ability: Emma's internal lie detector is quite faulty. Henry, Gold, Regina, Graham, Sydney, Cora, Aurora, Wendy and possibly Greg Mendell have successfully tricked her at some point. How effective she is at this basically boils down to what's needed for the plot.
- This is straight out acknowledged in "The Evil Queen". Snow points out it's faulty when she's emotional.
- In the Blood: Her parents were the Big Good in the Enchanted Forest and their family motto is practically I Will Find You. Emma is the Big Good in Storybrooke and in both her job as a Bounty Hunter and town sheriff, her entire job revolves around finding people.
- Jerkass Façade: In the pilot.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's cynical and snarky, but there's no doubt that she's a good guy.
- Knight In Sour Armour: In stark contrast to Charming's Knight In Shining Armour.
- Knight Templar Parent: Emma occasionally slides into this, especially when she's up against Regina.
- Lady in Red: Was introduced as one early on and is shown often in a scarlet leather jacket.
- Leap of Faith: Discussed in a Breaking Speech, Rumpel notes that for all the magical and mystical events that have happened to her, she has never made a genuine leap. Sure, she slew a dragon, but that's only because she saw it. She never acted on faith alone. She finally makes one by jumping off Hook's ship to get everyone's attention and stop them from fighting, which was just making the empathic storm all the stronger.
- Like Father, Like Daughter: Lampshaded by Mr. Gold in "The Cricket Game".
Gold: And [you have] your father's tact.
- The Leader: A Type II with some Type IV. As the team reaches Neverland, she's level headed enough to see that letting their personal baggage control their rescue mission won't help them save Henry. She's also strong willed enough as the "savior" that Hook and Regina don't particularly argue with her self-appointment.
- Living Lie Detector: This trait is actually rather inconsistent. See Informed Ability.
- Long-Lost Relative: To Henry, Snow White and Prince Charming.
- Mama Bear: Despite not allowing him to call her "Mom", she is easily pissed and blindly protective of Henry when his happiness is threatened, sometimes verging into Knight Templar Parent territory.
- Meaningful Name: "Emma" means "all-embracing, universal; whole, complete"; and the show writers have stated that "Swan" is a reference to the story of The Ugly Duckling.
- Meganekko: "Tallahassee" shows that she wore glasses as a teen.
- Missing Mom: She has one and is one.
- Mommy And Daddy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You
- Moses in the Bullrushes: Was teleported out of the fairy tale realm by way of a magic wardrobe before the curse overtook the kingdom.
- No Sell: She is the only known person to be able to resist having her heart stolen.
- Only Sane Man: She thinks herself as this, but it is less true than it appears.
- The Paragon: To many of the patrons of Storybrooke. She basically advocates taking responsibility for your own problems.
- Parental Issues: Her parents "abandoned" her, and she later learns they're fairy tale characters who are the same age as her.
- Perpetual Frowner: Her default expression.
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Lampshaded. When she's made a Sheriff's deputy, she objects to the uniform on the following basis.
Emma: A tie? You know, you don't have to dress a woman as a man to give her authority.
- Refusal of the Call: When directly confronted by August on her needing to start accepting that fairy tales are real, Emma adamantly refuses.
- Reformed Criminal: "Tallahasee" reveals that Emma used to be a thief in her teen years before going to jail and having Henry. She went on to become a bail bond agent and eventually sheriff.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: See Badass Princess.
- Seeker Archetype: While she typically tracks down people instead of The Truth, she won't rest until she gets the whole story.
- The Sheriff: Her job after episode 8.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!:
- In her very first scene when she is talking to her target who skipped on their bail.
- In "Queen of Hearts" she has a nice, simple one against Cora. "Love is Strength." See No Sell for what else happens.
- Skeptic No Longer: Finally realizes that Henry was right about the curse in the Season 1 finale.
- Spanner in the Works: Emma's simply being in Storybrooke is slowly but surely changing everything in the town.
- Stepford Snarker: She snarks to hide the pain inside.
- Straight Man: The insanity usually plays out around her.
- Street Smart: Shown most notably in "Tallahassee".
- Strong Family Resemblance: Except for the hair—something she got from Charming—Emma looks remarkably like Snow White.
- Super Empowering: Along with her Action Girl powers from both sides of the family, and being somewhere between Living Lie Detector and outright Everything Sensor, Emma appears to have this power when she touches Regina, Regina's magic comes back to her. And because she was born of True Love, she holds a strong magic within her. Strong enough to stop Cora from pulling her heart out.
- Teen Pregnancy: When she had Henry.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Snow's Girly Girl.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She certainly doesn't say "no" to feminine dresses.
- Tomboy Princess: Though she doesn't know it at first.
- Took a Level in Badass: While she was always a decent fighter and good head on her shoulders, with the kidnapping of Henry and her Leap of Faith above, she moved into a full leadership role by the end of the first episode of season 3.
- Trademark Favourite Food: Hot chocolate with cinnamon.
- Unfazed Everyman: Starting in the second season, after she realizes that magic is real.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: She comes to Neal's rescue in "Second Star to the Right".
- Weirdness Censor: Emma's denial about the curse is so powerful that she is unable to see August's wooden leg.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Receives and delivers these often, but notable ones toward her include:
- Mary Margaret, being her mother (whether she realizes it or not), chastises Emma often regarding her actions towards Henry like almost kidnapping him from Regina and lying to him about his father.
- Henry delivers a hard one to her when he finds out Emma lied to him about his father being dead. The look on Emma's face when he compares her to Regina, his adoptive mother who also lied to him frequently, is a very potent mix of heartbroken, apologetic, and Oh Crap.
- Wish Upon A Star: She made a wish upon a star-shaped candle on her 28th birthday.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In the first season, she seems to think she's in a Cop Show (her work), Lifetime Original Movie (the feud with Regina), or playing the This Is Reality card. Anything other than the story she's actually in.
- Younger than They Look: Emma as a teenager looked no different than Emma in the present, save for a pair of glasses and a change in hairstyle, and could have easily been mistaken for an adult.
Henry Mills: "I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one."
Played By: Jared S. Gilmore, Robbie Kay
Centric Episodes: "Going Home"
The biological son of Emma Swan as well as the adopted son of Regina Mills, Henry is a determined young boy who fully believes that Storybrooke is cursed.
- Adorably Precocious Child: He's only ten, but he's preoccupied with figuring out how to break the curse. Of course, hardly anyone takes him seriously.
- Badass Pacifist: Henry uses words, speeches, and trickery to deal with his problems. See Guile Hero.
- Bad Dreams: A side effect of eating the poisoned apple and falling under the sleeping curse. Even after Emma breaks the curse, he still gets horrible nightmares.
- Bookworm: He's usually seen reading his fairy tale book.
- Calling the Old Man Out:
- Henry to Regina after her spell traps Emma and Snow in another world. He tells her that she has to figure out how to bring them back or she really is the Evil Queen, and he'll never see her again. He leaves with Charming.
- Calls out Emma in "Manhattan" for not telling him about his father.
- The Cassandra: He's got the right idea regarding the fairy tales, but no one believes him.
- Cheerful Child: For the most part.
- Children Are Innocent: Again, for the most part.
- The Chooser of The One: Henry is the one to deliver Emma's Call to Adventure.
- The Chosen One: It would seem he's heading in this direction as both 'the one who will be Rumpelstiltskin's undoing and the kid that Peter Pan has been searching two centuries for.
- Consummate Liar: It comes with being a Guile Hero.
- Dead Guy Junior: Regina named him after her father, who was one of the only people she ever loved. Though she also killed her father. Henry even gets to see his namesake's coffin when he goes poking around in Regina's shed. There's a nice little pause so you don't miss it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Like mother, like son.
- He gets a pretty good dig at Greg and Tamara in "The Heart of the Truest Believer" after it becomes clear that the Home Office no longer considers them of any use.
- Determinator: One of the biggest ones in the series. There's no stopping him once he's set on something.
- Disappeared Dad: His father, Baeilfire/Neal Cassidy doesn't even know his son exists until Henry meets him in "Manhattan".
- Disney Death: Hey, if there's one universe where it's justified...
- The Dulcinea Effect: Immediately agrees to go along with Pan's plan once he believes that Wendy's life is at stake.
- Gene Hunting: Part of the reason for his search for Emma in the pilot.
- Generation Xerox:
- With Snow White. Both had Regina as a mother figure. Both knowingly ate (the same) poisoned apple created by Regina to save someone they love (Charming and Emma, respectively). Both of them received True Love's Kiss from those specific loved ones to awake from their sleeping curses. Like grandmother, like grandson.
- Has shades of this with Regina as well. They're both cunning, Consummate Liars with incredible Mommy Issues. They also share the same obsession with change and revenge. Both have a very clear and idea of how things should go ("My past should be preserved." and "My future should be saved."). They both showed that they are able to focus on people's mistakes (Henry demonizing Regina and not trusting Emma after "Manhattan", Regina demonizing Snow and not trusting Emma) hold grudges (as Henry's cold quips show) and are partly driven by a need for revenge (Regina on Snow and Henry on Regina) on someone who only wanted the best, but failed to achieve the results they wanted.
- With Baelfire. They're both Morality Chains for the two major villains of the show.
- And like his paternal grandpa has insane amounts of Genre Savvy, and can be quite good with the Batman Gambit and winning through tricking his enemies.
- Genre Savvy: All the time.
Henry: [looking at an apple turnover] Where'd you get that?
Emma: Regina gave it to me.
Henry: [sniffs] Apple. You can't eat that! It's poisoned!
- He's perfectly fine that Emma doesn't believe him throughout the first season because "if the hero believed what they were told from the beginning, it wouldn't make a very good story."
- He also was right about David not waking up from the sleeping curse in "Into The Deep". He also proved Regina and Gold wrong after saying that Emma and Snow would come through the portal instead of Cora in "Queen of Hearts".
- Refer back to the first episode; Emma threatens to call the cops on Henry for trespassing. He responds by saying he'll tell them she kidnapped him. She promptly puts down the phone. Kid, 1; parent, 0.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Always tries to do the right thing but isn't for a moment fooled by his mother's antics.
- Guile Hero: He is pretty damn cunning for his age. He tracks down his birth mother, making an extensive cross-state trip to find her on his own. On his home turf, he constantly undermines his (adoptive) mother, escapes her notice, lies convincingly, and otherwise makes his way to Emma, wherever in town she may be. Would you expect any less from Rumpelstiltskin's grandson?
- Grand Theft Me: Peter Pan switched bodies with him as a last minute resort to avoid being sucked into Pandora's box.
- Happily Adopted: Subverted. While a cursory glance would show Regina as a stern, but loving mom who provides material and medical care for a trouble-making, mentally disturbed little boy, the facade is flaking off like cheap paint and keeps getting worse.
- Has Two Mommies: To the extent the war between Regina and Emma sometimes feels like a custody battle.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Even if he only has a wooden one.
- Heroic Bastard: He's the illegitimate child of Emma and Neal Cassady.
- Heroic BSOD: After Graham/The Huntsman's death he goes into one of these, concerned about his mother's safety, and unwilling to risk her safety.
- Heroic Spirit: And how! He keeps on insisting on going back to the Netherworld to give Aurora Rumpelstiltskin's's message even after getting severely burned.
- Heroic Suicide: It looks like Emma is going to run away. She doesn't believe in the curse. She doesn't believe him. August failed. And that apple turnover was a parting gift from Regina? One option left - CHOMP!
- I Am Not My Father: He explicitly states that he's not and will never be like Regina in "We Are Both".
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Henry really wants to learn how to sword fight, ride horses, and kick ass with his mom and grandparents.
Henry: I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one.
- Indy Ploy: He doesn't really have a plan on how to lift the curse and is really just making it up as he goes along, hoping for a result.
- Innocent Prodigy: He's a growing Guile Hero with more than a few doses of Genre Savvy and Good Is Not Dumb, but he talks about super secret information at the local diner just because he's hungry and believes that fairy tales are real. He's right, of course, but his eagerness and willingness to believe in them definitely shows off his age of 10.
- Like Father, Like Son:
- He's very similar to his grandmother in a lot of ways. Lampshaded by Emma in "Queen of Hearts":
Emma: You sound just like Henry.
Snow: Optimism must run in the family.
- According to Emma, he's quite a bit like Neal. In season "Quite A Common Fairy", Peter Pan remarks that Henry reminds him of Baelfire.
- He also has Charming's idealistic, goodie two-shoes outlook and kind-heart and Rumpelstiltskin's intelligence, ability to read people and talent for coming up with brilliant schemes (albeit for the good of all).
- Living Lie Detector: Inherited from his mother.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Henry is described by Regina as "not having any friends and being kind of a loner."
- Luke, You Are My Father: What kicks off the whole thing? Henry showing up on Emma's doorstep and saying, in effect, "Hi Mom!"
- Meaningful Name: Henry means "House of Rulers", which is fitting, since his most of his fairy tale family have royal blood in them.
- Mommy Issues: His biological mother is a prickly ex-con who put him up for adoption and Regina has breathtaking anger management issues.
- Morality Pet: To all the original core characters, especially in the second season after it's revealed that he's related to all of them.
- Morality Chain: Especially to Regina, particularly in the second season since she promised him she would redeem herself. And when that doesn't work out, he also manages to get her to stay in But Not Too Evil territory rather than go all-out Evil Queen mode.
- Mr. Exposition: Explains most of the plot to Emma in the first episode.
- Nerves of Steel: In "The Doctor", Henry keeps a cool head and (despite being justifiably terrified) tries to help a confused and violent Franken!Daniel. The kid's got guts.
- in Season 3, Peter Pan pulls If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten by trying to make him shoot an apple off the head of one of the Lost Boys with a poison arrow. Despite being a prisoner, Henry tries to take a shot at Pan instead.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Story of his life. Things would have been prevented or solved sooner if someone had listened to him.
- Only Sane Man: He's probably the most level-headed person in Storybrooke.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Spends most of his kidnapping by Greg and Tamara sassing them and pointing out how stupid their plan is. Peter Pan doesn't get very far with him initially, either.
- Reality Warper: At least within Neverland, due to being the "Truest Believer".
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Well he is Snow and Charming's grandson after all.
- The Runaway: Henry has apparently run away several times, either in search of his real mother or because he believes Regina does not really love him.
- Seeker Archetype: More active than his mother.
- Shipper on Deck: For Emma and Neal which makes sense given that Neal is Henry's father.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Henry looks a lot like Snow White.
- Trademark Favourite Food: Hot chocolate with cinnamon, a trait he shares with Emma and Snow.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Delivers an epic one when everyone is conspiring to deal with Regina once and for all, furiously pointing out they all used to be heroes, what's happened to them?
- Wise Beyond Their Years: On several occasions he shows more common sense than the adults around him.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: He is the descendent of the greatest forces of light (The Charmings) and dark (Rumpelstiltskin) in history, which gives him phenomenal potential power, as well as the title of the Truest Believer.
- You're Not My Father:
- Wrong Genre Savvy: His near-weaponized Genre Savvy was turned against him by Pan, who sowed doubt about his families' motivations for wanting to take him from Neverland and played on his desire to be a hero by setting up circumstances where he came to believe he was the only one who could commit a Heroic Sacrifice to save them all.
Princess Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard
Snow White: "If people are supposed to be together, they find a way."
Mary Margaret Blanchard: "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing."
Played By: Ginnifer Goodwin, Bailee Madison (child)
Centric Episodes: "Pilot", "Snow Falls", "7:15 A.M.", "Heart of Darkness", "An Apple Red as Blood", "Lady of the Lake", "The Cricket Game", "The Queen is Dead", "Lost Girl", "Ariel", "The New Neverland", "Going Home"
The daughter of King Leopold and Queen Eva, as well as the stepdaughter of Queen Regina. In Storybrooke, she's an elementary schoolteacher named Mary Margaret Blanchard.
Prince David "Charming"/David Nolan
Prince Charming: "No matter what you do, I will always find you."
David Nolan: "There's a difference between literal truth and honesty of the heart."
Played By: Josh Dallas
Centric Episodes: "Pilot", "Snow Falls", "The Shepherd", "What Happened to Frederick", "A Land Without Magic", "Lady of the Lake", "Lost Girl", "The New Neverland", "Going Home"
A simple shepherd who is separated at birth from his twin brother, who was adopted by King George to become a prince. When his twin dies, David is forced to become a replacement, but quickly finds himself at odds with his adoptive father and in love with Snow White. In Storybrooke, he is David Nolan, a mysterious comatose patient who is revealed to be the husband of Kathryn Nolan.
- Absurdly Youthful Father: Same as Snow White, in looks only.
- Action Dad: Earns his stripes in his very first scene. Emma in one hand, sword in the other.
- Amnesiac Dissonance:
- Prince Charming is brave, noble, determined and has convictions. David, not so much.
- In Episode 22, David acknowledges how he keeps making the wrong choices. It's like he's under a curse or something...
- Arranged Marriage:
- Subverted in the Enchanted Forest. Charming was going to marry Abigail for political reasons, but he ends up with Snow White.
- One could say that David's marriage to Kathryn could fall into this trope if in an unusual way. Since David has likely been in a coma since the start of the curse twenty-eight years ago, given Charming's injuries at the time the curse occurred, he never actually chose Kathryn to marry and doesn't even have false memories to make him think he did until Episode 6.
- Backup Twin/There Is Another/Hidden Backup Prince: He's the backup to his dead prince brother in the Enchanted Forest.
- Badass and Baby: Fighting off mooks with his new born daughter in hand.
- Battle Couple: With Snow White.
- The Big Damn Kiss: At the end of "7:15 A.M." with Mary Margaret.
- Bling Bling Bang: Carried a golden sword for a while.
- Character Development: Since David never really wanted the life of a prince, he was always running off to fight or take action, only slowing down for advice or supplies. He even admitted after the curse was lifted that "Snow did the talking." We see some hints that he started to gain leadership qualities right before the curse fell, but it was only after his wife and daughter got trapped in the enchanted forest that he really began taking responsibility for the people he was in charge of.
- Composite Character: Prince Charming also has elements of The Prince and the Pauper.
- Cool Sword: Uses a golden sword for a while and later gets the sword that he throws at the Evil Queen in the first episode.
- Deadpan Snarker: As Prince Charming.
- Determinator: "I will always find you!"
- Disappeared Dad: Was one to Emma, but averted after the curse is lifted.
- Distressed Dude/Badass in Distress: Very frequently.
- Emergency Impersonation: A particularly dramatic version of this trope led to his promotion from humble peasant shepherd to dragon-slaying prince.
- Farm Boy: He was actually born on a farm and grew up there all the way to adulthood until he was forced to become a Backup Twin for his dead brother who had been raised as a prince.
- Good Is Not Soft: He's more than willing to kill to protect his family or his Kingdom.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Snow White gave him one during their Meet Cute.
- Guile Hero: Charming demonstrates this when he managed to quickly take down a Dragon, by using his wits and his surroundings to his advantage, rather than the brute strength approach that had gotten every soldier before him killed.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Fitting for his role of Prince Charming being a good and noble knight.
- Happily Married: To Snow White in the Enchanted Forest.
- The Hero: In the Enchanted Forest. In the present day, he takes backseat to his daughter.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Firmly heroic and idealistic, and uses a sword as his Weapon of Choice.
- Hidden Backup Prince: He replaces his royal twin brother after his death.
- The Idealist: Oh so much. "Good will always win" is his mantra.
- Identity Amnesia: A special double whammy for him compared to the others. He not only can't remember his fairy tale life but he doesn't even remember his Storybrooke identity either until it is forced on him in Episode 6.
- Idiot Ball: He doesn't take King George/Spencer's threats seriously and ends up so distracted he loses Jefferson's hat when George burns it in a fire.
- He also put himself under a sleeping curse so he could see Snow again and now he can't wake up because true love's kiss won't work in the Netherworld.
- Idiot Hero: While not at all an idiot in the conventional sense, he tends to make rather impulsive decisions that cost him dearly when his instincts are up against the laws of magic - that is, situations that actively defy logic.
- I Have Many Names: There's David (his original name), James (the name of his dead twin brother whose identity he assumed), David Nolan (his Storybrooke persona), Charming (Snow's nickname for him)...turns out it really is David.
Grumpy: So, what the hell is your name, then?
- I Hate Past Me: Charming's opinion of Storybrooke!David. He think he was weak-willed, a bit of a jerk and his foolishness hurt everyone he loved. That said, he also says that if he had a choice, he wouldn't give up his memories of being David Nolan.
- Impersonating the Evil Twin: Charming fills in for his brother, James, although he isn't aware of his twin's evil until later.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Of the "heroic and idealistic" variety.
- In-Series Nickname: You didn't think Charming was his real name, did you?
- I Will Find You: Practically his catchphrase.
- Knight In Shining Armour: The first we see of him in the pilot.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Red; she served as his Number Two during the war and they are clearly very close.
- Marry for Love: This is what he was set on prior to getting forced to marry Abigail. He eventually gets this with Snow White.
- Meaningful Name:
- James means "Supplanter". A supplanter is someone who takes the place of another person, place or thing. This is fitting, as Charming supplants his twin, the original James.
- David means "beloved" in Hebrew, and Nolan means "famous" in Irish. It is also of English origin, where it means "little champion" or "chariot-fighter".
- In The Bible, David was a common shepherd who was chosen to be a king, similar to Prince Charming; this connection is especially strong considering that the first episode that focused on Charming was entitled "The Shepherd." It also connects with his Storybrooke persona. The biblical David also had an affair while married with disastrous results.
- Moral Myopia: After the curse is broken, he wallops Dr. Whale for having had a one-night stand with Mary Margaret—but wasn't Kathryn trying to get pregnant by him?
- No Name Given: Turns out "Prince James" was his dead brother whose identity Charming was forced to assume. "Tiny" reveals that David is his real name.
- Official Couple: With Snow White.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Even Regina calls him Charming.
- Only Mostly Dead: In the pilot.
- Papa Wolf: Trying to harm his newborn daughter is a bad idea. The same goes for threatening his grandson.
- Parental Substitute: To Henry after Emma and Snow get trapped in the Enchanted Forest.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Charming is presented as traditionally heroic and more morally upstanding than his corrupt twin. It's justified due to their vastly different upbringings.
- Prince Charming: A version of the trope namer.
- Princesses Rule: Like Snow, he rules the kingdom, but he's not referred to as king; Dr. Whale in "Broken" specifically addresses him as prince.
- Pull the I.V.: When he wakes up from his coma.
- Rags to Royalty: Not by his choice.
- Replacement Goldfish: "Lady of the Lake" reveals that King George and his wife couldn't have children and he wanted Charming to replace his son after the original Prince James was killed.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Prince Charming actually seems to have a kingdom (or farm) to run.
- Secret Stab Wound: Shot by a poisoned arrow in "Lost Girl" and pretends that it only nicked his jacket.
- Secretly Dying: The poison gives him weeks to live at best, and he is reluctant to tell the others because the cure is a world away.
- The Sheriff:
- Until Emma returns from the Enchanted Forest, he decides to take on the role of acting sheriff.
- He does this again in "Tiny" when Emma and Henry leave town with Rumpelstiltskin to find his son.
- Shipper on Deck: For Emma and Neal, albeit more subtly than Snow. He gives Emma some advice on repairing her relationship with Neal. She's pretty sure it's because Hook has feelings for her and Hook's mere existence sets Charming's teeth on edge and into Overprotective Dad mode.
Emma: You sure you don't have other reasons for pushing me towards Neal?
Charming: Like what?
Emma: I don't know...like keeping me away from Hook?
- Stalker with a Crush: Toward Mary Margaret in "7:15 A.M."
- Standard Hero Reward: Midas offers him this (among other things) when Charming slayed a dragon for him. Charming was forced to accept despite his ideology to Marry for Love. See Arranged Marriage above.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Rumpelstiltskin, no less. It only seems to show in scenes where the two are left alone with no other characters present, but it might show up more now that they share a grandson.
- Warrior Prince: He is one hell of a fighter.
- The Wise Prince: In Season 2, particularly toward the people of Storybrooke.
- You Are Worth Hell:
- When faced with the fact he is trapped in the Netherworld, because he and Snow weren't physically there and so True Love's Kiss doesn't work, he just smiles at a waking Snow (and so leaving the place). He then tells her he loves her and believes she will find him and free him from this place.
- Considers having to spend the rest of his life in Neverland, in exchange for the poison to be cured worth it to save Henry.
- Your Days Are Numbered: In Neverland, he got injured by a poisoned arrow. Hook estimates he has a few days or weeks to live.
The Evil Queen Regina/Regina Mills
The Evil Queen: "I shall destroy your happiness... if it's the last thing I do."
Regina Mills: "I've always believed that evil isn't born... it's made."
Played By: Lana Parrilla
Centric Episodes: "The Thing You Love Most", "The Stable Boy", "We Are Both", "The Doctor", "The Cricket Game", "Welcome to Storybrooke", "The Evil Queen", "Quite a Common Fairy", "Ariel", "Save Henry"
The Evil Queen who, after losing her war with Snow White, enacts the Dark Curse to give herself a "happy ending". In Storybrooke, she retains all her memories as Regina Mills, the mayor of Storybrooke.
- 0% Approval Rating:
- The search goes on for a citizen of Storybrooke who likes her... besides Kathryn before Regina betrayed her.
- And Sidney... before his memories were restored. Not that anyone knows where he is now, anyway.
- She seems to have had this even before she cast the curse, as shown in "The Evil Queen."
- Absolute Cleavage: Hell to the yes. Interestingly, this applies more to Queen Regina than Mayor Regina.
- Abusive Parents:
- Occasionally neglectful and frequently emotionally manipulative to Henry, and is gaslighting him about his belief in the curse. She genuinely loves him though and seems to be have been unambiguously a good and caring if somewhat controlling mother prior to the conflict between Henry and her about the fairy tale characters, placing her mostly in this type, with some incidents treated as temporarily a type II.
- Leading to a My God, What Have I Done? moment when Henry finally confronts her about her gaslighting. Emotional and mental abuse still continues after this, though. At several points throughout Season Two she's attempted to kill members of Henry's family, tries to put him under a love curse, and casts a spell to wipe his memory. Even if she was doing this out of love, she still knowingly hurt Henry directly, which puts her firmly in this category.
- Regina had Cora as a very emotionally abusive mother (much worse than herself), who was also physically abusive at least insofar as restraining her. Even putting aside all the evil Cora has done to other people, there is the way Regina reacts when Cora uses magic to levitate her in the air at the drop of a hat and conjures straps to wrap around her in "The Stable Boy". Regina holds out for a minute, saying she hates it when Cora uses magic on her, before begging her mother to let her go, saying "Please. I'll be good." Her father looks upset, but otherwise lets Cora do what she wants. After all, "what can't she do?"
- There was also the whole poisoning her stepdaughter thing.
- Addictive Magic: After she began her dark magic lessons, she realized that she didn't want to stop using it.
- Adorkable: Before her descent into darkness.
Regina: Rumplesch... Schtilts...? Rumpelstiltskin... I summon thee...
- Alpha Bitch: Despite it not being high school, Regina pulls a lot of the same verbal snark tactics.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She is aloof and composed compared to the other female characters on the show, especially as the mayor.
- Ambiguously Brown:
- Her ethnicity is never touched upon in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest, but it appears she has the same colouring as her father, who is played by a Latino actor. Her actress, Lana Parrilla, is of Italian and Puerto Rican descent and identifies as Latina.
- "The Miller's Daughter" shows that Regina is at least half Latina since her relatives on her father's side of the family are all portrayed by Latino actors.
- And Show It to You: As Henry says, it's kind of her thing. She got it from her mother.
- Anti-Villain: A definite Type II: one who has been Forced Into Evil and Driven to Villainy no matter how hard she resisted.
- Arrow Catch: Granny shoots an arrow at her. Regina catches it, sets it on fire, and then throws the fireball around the room.
- The Atoner: By the Season Two finale, Regina is genuinely trying to make up for what she's done.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In "Good Form" Regina lampshades this by being the only one who would be able to rip the heart of a Lost Boy out to be her puppet to get a message to Henry. Emma accepts this and has to hold Snow back from acting.
- The Baroness: Regina is most definitely this. She's as pretty as any sexpot version and has a definite Broken Bird vibe, but also possesses the icy demeanor and bitterness of the Rosa Klebb version.
- Bastard Girlfriend: To Graham, though "girlfriend" is used very loosely here.
- Beat Still, My Heart: Regina does this so that she has power over people and keeps the hearts in a special vault. It is revealed that this vault also exists in Storybrooke.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: When she was younger she was sweet, painfully naive, and was the one who taught Snow about true love. As an adult... yeah.
- Because Destiny Says So: More like because her mother and Rumpel say so - there's not really a lot that happened to her that wasn't because of one of those two. Not even post-Curse breaking. Which probably explains why when Cora is finally killed and Rumpel's plan to re-unite with Bael are concluded, she has an emptiness and lack of purpose she can't quite explain but is so eager to fill with something else.
- Being Evil Sucks: According to Word of God, this trope is the inspiration for the show. The Evil Queen's reason for choosing to get revenge on Snow White by casting a curse on the entire Enchanted Forest is to create a world where she can "win for once."
- Being Good Sucks:
- After working so hard to keep her promise to Henry, saving Emma and Mary Margaret... her reward is to watch Henry go off to happily celebrate with everyone else, leaving her behind. Even after the evil she did in the past, it's hard not to feel sorry for Regina.
- Her attempt to return her mother's heart ended with Cora dying.
- Regina saves the residents of Storybrooke from Pan's curse in "Going Home". The price? She can never see Henry again. He wont even remember her.
- Blue and Orange Morality: She really doesn't get why people call her "evil", in her messed-up mind, she's the good one and Emma, and the Charmings are the evil ones.
- Big Bad: For the first season. The second season places her mother, Cora, in this role.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold in the first season.
- Big Bad Wannabe: In the last few episodes of the second season after her mother dies. But she gets outplayed by henchmen of a Bigger Bad, Peter Pan.
- Big Damn Heroes: Her rescue of young Snow in season one... too bad about how that turned out.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's very good at acting caring, hurt, joyful, etc, etc, until the act is no longer needed, and the act is dropped like it's going out of style.
- Blood Knight: "Filet, the bitch."
- Break the Cutie: Once is bad enough. But she gets the distinction of going through it twice. "The Stable Boy" implies that being broken was more or less a regular occurrence for her.
- Break the Haughty: In Season Two, she gets the joy of watching her son live with another family, having to Mercy Kill the love of her life after finally getting him back, dealing with a magic addiction, being framed for murder, being manipulated by her sadistic mother and finally, being manipulated into accidentally killing her mother in such a manner that she gets about ten seconds of finally having a mother who loves her. Good or evil, this woman just cannot catch a break.
- Broken Bird: Regina's constantly taking things from and wielding power over others is a result of being betrayed, abused, and traumatized in the past.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When she told David she has a vault full of hearts, she also admits she cannot recall any of the victims anymore. There are just so many.
- Chewing the Scenery: The Evil Queen absolutely devours the scenery. Regina the mayor on the other hand is far more reserved.
- Child Marriage Veto: She didn't want to marry King Leopold and did everything she could to stop her impending marriage. It didn't work out.
- Composite Character: Subverted. In "Ariel" she uses magic to make herself look like the Disney version of Ursula and strikes a deal with Ariel to allow her to walk on land forever. However, at the end of the episode, it turns out that there really is an Ursula and she's pissed that Regina impersonated her.
- Consummate Liar: Being the one who started the Masquerade herself, she's spent the last 28 years lying to everyone. She even pulled a fast one over on Rumpelstiltskin, telling him that Belle was dead. The truth is quite different.
- Control Freak: One of her biggest character traits. She genuinely loves Henry but her need to control his every action and emotion is what drove him away. She also has a desperate need to make people obey her, even in the most minor ways.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Courtesy of Rumpelstiltskin. Jefferson (The Mad Hatter) provides some intentional help along with Victor Frankenstein. Poor girl never stood a chance.
- Create Your Own Villain: A single dad and his young son are passing through Storybrooke. Regina wants the little boy all to herself, like a living doll, so she tries to trap them. The boy gets away. The father does not. She murders the dad out of spite, and barely bats an eye over it. Almost thirty years later, the little boy is all grown up, has joined an organization of magic-eradicating Knight Templars and is looking to commit genocide on the whole town, starting with torturing her to death.
- Cruel Mercy: Snow begged Regina to kill her in "Welcome to Storybrooke."
- Cute and Psycho: While hot would be a more appropriate term than cute, Regina is regarded as clearly psycho.
- Daddy's Girl: In an interesting parallel, Regina loves her father as much as Snow loved hers (though, with Cora as a mother, Henry was her only option). It doesn't save him.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Her mother's, though not by choice. It's much more complicated than that.
- Deadpan Snarker: More snarky and biting than Deadpan but still very much there.
- Particularly in Season Three. Her coping mechanism for being trapped on ship/island with people she can't stand is apparently to sass them constantly.
- Death Glare: She is the master of these.
- Demoted to Dragon: In the second season, with her mother taking over the role of Big Bad.
- Deliver Us from Evil: Her love for Henry is her one good point in the present day and she's at least trying to redeem herself for his sake.
- Desperately Craves Affection: Up to Yandere levels.
- Disproportionate Retribution: She has ruined the lives of literally everyone in her world, persecuted Snow White for years and had Mary Margaret arrested for murder because an innocent child made a well-intentioned mistake.
- Driven to Villainy: She did many horrible things, but they were done because she crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
- Despair Event Horizon after her mother ripped her boyfriend's heart out in front of her. It was also kind of Snow White's fault, though she didn't do it on purpose.
- Drunk with Power: Once she started on her revenge seriously, she slowly became addicted to it. In Season 2, she is treating it like a drug addiction and seeing Archie for help treating it.
- Dying as Yourself: The reason for her Heroic Sacrifice in the Season 2 Finale. Of course, she ends up living anyway, but the gesture is heartwarming.
Everyone looks at me as The Evil Queen. Including my son. Let me die as Regina.
- Easily Forgiven: While usually averted, it's played straight by Ariel, who seems to stop holding any grudges toward Regina after she gives her voice back and allows her to reunite with Eric and stay human permanately despite being the one to cause these problems to begin with.
- Enemy Mine: Emma, Snow and Charming save her from Greg and Tamara. It looks like the finale will continue this uneasy alliance.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Her father, not that it stops her from killing him in order to enact the curse.
- Henry, but the way she goes about it...
- Daniel, her first love.
- Her mother. It's really not the most functional of relationships.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Regina is visibly horrified when Cora reveals that she was responsible for the death of Snow White's mother just to manipulate Regina's life so that she can be Queen.
- She also seemed shocked when Cora throw Johanna out the window after Regina gave Johanna back her heart. She doesn't really give a damn about Johanna's life, but a ransom - Johanna for the dagger - was just completed, and Cora's unexpected, gratutious evil doesn't seem to sit well with her.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- See Horrible Judge of Character, below. She isn't incapable of understanding deep emotions and selflessness: she undeniably herself shows it on occasion. It seems to be strange to her that anyone else would care about these things, as she lost faith in humanity.
- According to Lana Parrilla, part of the reason Regina came to hate Snow so much is because she's incapable of grasping that Snow's actions weren't selfish. She genuinely believes that Snow told Cora about the affair so that Regina would have to become her new mother. Snow's happiness when Regina says they're going to be a family only feeds into this paranoid belief.
- Evil Feels Good:
Rumpelstiltskin: How did it feel to use magic?
Regina: It doesn't matter. I'll never use it again.
Rumpelstiltskin: Why not?
Regina: Because I loved it.
- Of course this is also just after pushing Cora through a portal at Rumpel's beckoning. So he's as much playing upon her emotion over her mother by playing it as her emotion over magic. AKA Corrupt the Cutie.
- Evil Is Hammy: But only as the Queen, which suggests she's doing it for kicks.
- Evil Is Petty: Spray painting "TRAMP" on Mary Margaret's car.
- And when she can't slaughter villages and unleash hellfire, she'll settle for being a total jerk to people she meets, even children who unknowingly sat in her chair at the diner.
- Evil Sorceress: She curses an entire kingdom to screw over one person.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: As the Evil Queen, but it's more understated on Regina in Storybrooke and nonexistent prior to her turning to evil.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: She doesn't approve of Henry's book of fairy tales, but not without reason.
- Forced Into Evil: Regina was forced into doing evil by her upbringing, her traumatisms, and a carefully crafted plot.
- Freudian Excuse: See Driven to Villainy and Good Girl Gone Bad.
- Generation Xerox:
- A sadder version of the trope in that, ultimately and for all her power and bluster, she's as much a hapless, helpless pawn as her father was and incapable of truly standing up against the people that she should be.
- She's also got some of Cora's bad habits when it comes to dealing with the people she cares about.
- Genre Blind/Genre Savvy: She alternates. As an example of the latter:
"I can see I just launched you on a Heroic Quest."
- Taken to a new level in Season 3, where she doesn't understand she is way out of her depth in Neverland dismissing Pan and his Lost Boys as a "smug teenager" and "bunch of boys with pointy sticks" respectively, even though they know the island like the back of their hand, and in Pan's case he can control it with his magic. On the flip side, she's the only one of the group who understands that being good just wont cut it in Neverland and spots tricks and traps that the others (including Rumpelstiltskin) seem to miss. Ultimately, Pan is the one to underestimate her.
- Glamorous Single Mother: Subverted in the sense that she and her son... don't exactly have the best relationship, but she's a little more well off than most single mothers. Mainly as a result of the curse.
- Green Thumb: She can summon vines to bind her victims. Again, like her mother.
- God Guise: In "Ariel" in the past, Regina pretended to be Ursula, the great goddess of the sea. Ursula was not pleased.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: A classic example.
- Good Girl Gone Bad: Regina is a clear example of this, after her mother killed Daniel, the man she truly loved, in order for Regina to marry the king. And when she was wavering between Good and Evil while Rumpel was teaching her magic, he sabotaged her chance to get Daniel back from the dead, securing her place in evil. He even called her his "monster."
- Evil Costume Switch: Much of her wardrobe changes at this point as well. Prior to becoming evil, she dressed far more like Red and Snow, that is, like your standard female adventurer. She dressed predominantly in low-cut black leather after her Face-Heel Turn. With her attempt at redemption in Season 2, her clothing is something of a mix between the two. She has some elements that are dark in color and/or reminiscent of her more dramatic clothing choices - fitted knee high black boots for instance. Other elements are more toned down or have shifted to lighter colors - a grey looser jacket over her blouse as opposed to a more typical black fitted one.
- Good Is Dumb: A firm believer in this, she refers to Snow and Charming as "those two idiots", even though all her plans to get rid of them, always fail in the long run. Also shows signs of this in Season 3, when forced to work with Emma and the Charmings seeing herself, as the only sane one in the group.
- Heel-Face Turn:
- An iffy one in "We Are Both". She doesn't destroy her book of magic but she lets Henry go, tells Charming the truth and tells Henry that she's going to redeem herself. It sticks until "In The Name of The Brother".
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Thanks to Cora, she goes right back to her old evil ways.
- She has a more confident one by "And Straight On 'Til Morning". She's prepared to die to save the citizens of Storybrooke. After this, she keeps going strong and by "Going Home", little doubt remains that she's changed for the better.
- Heel Realization: A minor one in "We Are Both", and a MAJOR one in "And Straight On 'Til Morning"]].
- Hidden Depths: The Evil Queen has some serious issues underneath her hammy villainy.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Actually a hidden spot of light in her dark, dark heart, which she shows to Tinker Bell: it's kept alive by her love for her son Henry.
- Honey Trap: As the Mayor, she tries this on David with herself as the bait. It fails.
- Horrible Judge of Character:
- A villainous example, as she tends to project her own values on other people. In the Enchanted Forest, she mistook the Huntsman's misanthropy for cold-blooded ruthlessness, and didn't understand why Hansel and Gretel would prefer to find their father over staying in her luxurious palace, just after she basically admitted she'd sent a lot of children to their deaths in the Blind Witch's house. In Storybrooke, she is convinced that Emma is out to take away everything she has and somehow believes that Emma is someone who will acquiesce to being bullied. Also a case of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
- In "Desperate Souls", she honestly believed that Emma was going to abandon her in a burning building.
- As a teen... trusting Rumpelstiltskin. And Jefferson. And Dr. Frankenstein.
- As of "In the Name of the Brother", trusting Cora. You just know this is going to end in tears. And it does. But because she trusted Snow White, somewhat amusingly.
- Going back to villainy; she's honestly bewildered at why the people of the kingdom she now rules are still loyal to Snow White. Rumpelstiltskin points out that, prior to the current conversation, she's just slaughtered an entire village. "Maybe that's why they call you 'The Evil Queen'." And he's clearly exasperated when she keeps protesting that Snow is the evil one, and that the people will come to love her.
- Hope Is Scary: The reason she gives Tinkerbell for why she ran away from a second chance at love when Tinkerbell tried to help her. She seems to have gotten past it some by allowing Henry into her life, though.
- Hot Witch: She has magic and... see page picture.
- How Do You Like Them Apples?: Drawing from the poisoned apple in the story, she is an apple lover to an obsessive level and is immensely protective of the apple tree that grows at her home. She uses the last bit of magic she can find to try and re-create the poisoned apple stunt, but it kinda backfires on her when Henry eats it instead.
- I Am Not My Father —> Not So Different —> Like Father, Like Son:
- Ironically, Daniel's death at her mother's hands and what she perceives to be Snow's betrayal have twisted her into becoming a reflection of the mother she resented and rebelled against.
- Her memories of her mother keeping her imprisoned with magic, prompt her to eventually let Henry go.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Evil Queen punishes the Huntsman for his refusal to kill an innocent by forcing him to be her Sex Slave.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: There is literally nothing this woman won't say or do for any scrap of affection. From anyone.
- Ice Queen: As the mayor, she's known for her dispassionate, aloof persona as well as her frostbitten wit.
- Ignored Epiphany: Constantly. She lampshades it by saying "You know what my problem is? I never learn from my mistakes."
- Invasion of the Baby Snatchers:
- Offers to let Hansel and Gretel live with her in her castle. When they refuse and demand to be sent back to their father, she spitefully strands them in the middle of a forest. By the time the Curse is cast, they still haven't found him.
- She later tries to frame Kurt for drunk driving so that she can keep his son Owen all to herself.
- Irrational Hatred: This is what Evil Queen Regina feels towards Snow White. She is angry at her mother for what happened to Daniel, but she inexplicably assigns at least as great a measure of blame to young Snow White who was manipulated by the same harridan who destroyed her own youth, and dedicates the next four decade to efforts at destroying Snow's happiness.
- Iron Lady: As the mayor.
- It Only Works Once: In the Enchanted Forest, she was finally captured in a trap with the Blue Fairy using her magic to ambush and bind her. When it was tried again in season 2, Regina was able to block the ambush easily.
- It's All About Me: Her defining characteristic. She can truly love someone, but often treats them badly, supposedly because it's all about her: she attacked her "only friend" Maleficent, manipulated the Genie/Sidney Glass, is an emotionally abusive mother to Henry, kept Hansel and Gretel separate from their father out of raw spite, and murdered her own father for revenge. Heck, the Dark Curse itself is all about making sure no one else can get a happy ending besides her! Nevertheless, she always seems a little desperate for companionship.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Every now and then she shows a side of her that's more sympathetic, such as when her son falls down the well or when she's saved from the fire. And then she ruins it either the same episode, or an episode later by doing something completely harsh.
- Starts getting better in season three, where she's grown closer and more loving to not just Henry, but to Emma as well. She also displays more tolerance towards Snow and Charming, is back on good terms with Gold and Tinker Bell, and has one of her biggest Pet the Dog moments by promising to help Ariel get the happy ending with Eric that she had robbed her of - and actually keeps her word.
- Karma Houdini:
- Regina definitely fits the trope. Doesn't matter what Emma or anyone else does, she comes out on top. Recent revelations suggest she was preemptively hit by Laser-Guided Karma, but at this point her karmic ledger is definitely in the red.
- On the flip side, in the Season 2 episode "Queen of Hearts", she fails to receive good karma as well, despite having just saved Emma and Snow's lives. (She must later watch them go to dinner with Henry, while she is not invited.) Granted, she did help put their lives in danger in the first place, so perhaps it balances out.
- She gets hit by Laser-Guided Karma hard in "The Cricket Game". Blamed for the death of someone who isn't quite dead with mountains of evidence against her. It's almost exactly what she did to Mary Margaret in Season 1.
- By the end of Season 2, it's pretty clear that she is her own karma for all of her heinous deeds. In pursuit of happiness by taking away other's happiness, her life continues to suck and she cannot truly be happy.
- Kick the Dog: Doesn't even begin to describe her. She even manages to kick Rumpelstiltskin.
- Kill the Ones You Love: Thrice. Her father, Daniel and Cora. Daniel was technically a Mercy Kill and Cora was completely unintentional.
- Lack of Empathy: At times she really had no concern or understanding why people hate her, even when she just ordered a whole village slaughtered.
- Taken to a new level in "Save Henry", where she states she feels no regrets for all of her horrible actions, including killing her father. Why? Because it all helped to lead her to Henry. Though this one could be seen as her motherly love for her son outweighing any guilt she harbors.
- Laser Guided Tyke Bomb: Variant. She was born, raised, and her life destroyed all for the express purpose of casting Rumpelstiltskin's Dark Curse. No wonder she's so screwed up.
- Lady of Black Magic: Just look at her, all dressed in black, and you're instantly able to tell.
- Loners Are Freaks: She has no one to talk to once Sidney's locked up and Henry's gone, because she's done such horrible things. She goes as far as talking to Henry and then mind-wiping him afterwards.
- Love Hungry: A truly terrifying example. This woman is so desperately lonely that she'll do anything to change it.
- Love Is a Weakness: Stated word for word. A lesson from Cora.
- Love Makes You Evil: Losing Daniel, Henry distancing himself from her, her obsession with Owen, her "relationship" with Graham and her highly dysfunctional love for Cora drive Regina to do terrible things.
- Love Redeems:
- Her love for Henry caused her to make a Heel-Face Turn.
- Twisted around when it also helped Cora manipulate her into a Face-Heel Turn.
- In season 2 finale, her love for Henry led her to risk her own life to stop the self-destruct mechanism that was activated.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter:
- What would have happened if Rumpelstiltskin had managed to successfully adopt/buy Regina (detestably what happens anyway - before they become enemies and try to destroy each other).
- She was this in regards to her mother when she was younger.
- Mama Bear: Regina could be an evil example. She burst into city hall and owned everyone in order to get Henry back.
- Manipulative Bitch: Just like her mother. Especially as the mayor.
- Mayor Pain: A major Type A.
- Mean Boss: As Mayor, and especially when her people go against her orders or intent.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Jared Gilmore, who plays Henry, has said that Lana Parrilla has become an honorary member of his family.
- Meaningful Name: "Regina" is Latin, Italian and Romanian for "Queen". Cora intentionally chose her daughter's name for that reason. "Mills" comes from the fact that her mother was the daughter of a miller.
- Mind over Matter: When she still had her magic in the Enchanted Forest.
- Mistaken for Murderer: In "The Cricket Game", she's presumed to be the murderer of Archie, or rather some random guy who's been made to look like Archie. It's the work of a very clever frame job.
- Mixed Ancestry: Flashbacks to Regina's childhood show that her father is Latino while her mother is white, in real-world terms anyway.
- Mommy Issues: Her abusive mother murdered her fiancé and forced her to marry Leopold. Cora spent her last days manipulating Regina into villainy and was ultimate killed. By Regina. Accidentally. After finally getting her heart back and showing affection for her daughter for the first time. "Issues" is perhaps putting it a little mildly.
- Moral Myopia: Frequently, though it's lessened in Season 3 considerably.
- Ms. Fanservice: Especially as the Evil Queen.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Regina's reaction when she finds out that Henry was poisoned by the apple turnover that she intended for Emma to eat.
- And again, when she realizes she's doing to Henry what her mother did to her.
- Never My Fault: She seems thoroughly baffled when people work against her or try to stop her plans and blames everyone else for her own faults as well as being unwilling to admit to her emotional abuse of Henry.
- Nice Hat: The Evil Queen gets one in "True North" that has GOT to be glued to her head to stay on.
- Omnicidal Maniac: In order for Henry 'belong' solely to her she'd have to kill Emma, Snow, Charming, Rumpel and Bae. She has no problem however, destroying every living person in Storybrooke if it means that these five die with the rest.
- One Note Cook: Her famous lasagne.
- Patricide: The Evil Queen's servant is devoted to her. For the curse she wants to work against Snow, she must sacrifice the thing she loves most; her prized horse won't do. When she calls her servant "Daddy", you know what's coming.
- Parental Neglect: A mild type when she gets obsessed with getting revenge. She leaves Henry alone at home on a regular basis, but takes care even more regularly of him and his comfort, defends Henry, and actually gives him a lot of presents.
- People Puppets: Capable of doing this if she rips out their hearts.
- Permanent Elected Official: Because of the curse, she is always mayor regardless of whether or not anyone would have voted for her had there been a real election.
- Pet the Dog: Aside from her less hostile interactions with Henry, three shining examples in Season 3 would be sincerely giving Ariel the happy ending that she'd denied her before, demanding that Blue return Tinker Bell's wings, and giving Emma fake memories of raising Henry when she destroys the curse and saves the town.
- She also agrees to train Emma in using magic, which helps out big time in Dark Hollow.
- Pyrrhic Victory: When the Dark Curse was initially cast, Regina's victory was this. See Victory Is Boring for the details.
- Playing with Fire: One of her favorite moves is making fireballs.
- Power Hair: As the mayor of Storybrooke she wears her hair in a respectable, intimidating bob.
- Psychopathic Man Child: When you get down to it, Regina at heart is still an emotionally stunted teenager with issues.
- Psychotic Smirk: Whenever her schemes are underway.
- Put Them All Out of My Misery: The Evil Queen wanted to create a world where she could finally win and get her happy ending.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Regina tries to blame losing her relationships with her son and her lover on Emma's presence in Storybrooke and her interference in Regina's life. Emma doesn't take this sitting down and points out that Regina herself is what makes people run away from her.
- Gets a second helping of this, courtesy of Mary Margaret pointing out that her life of making others miserable is never going to make her anything but lonely and unhappy.
- Rebellious Princess: As a child as a result of having Cora for a mother.
- Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. She goes for this in "And Straight On 'Til Morning", putting her life on the line so the residents of Storybrooke can escape. Emma decides she's having none of that and makes damn sure Regina lives.
- Redemption Rejection:
- When given a chance to speak in her defense before she would be executed, she feels regret... that she didn't cause more misery. Or at least that's what she says. Snow believes she didn't want to appear weak.
- According to Tinkerbell, her chance at a second love was right through the door but she chose to continue to pursue vengeance.
- Redemption Failure: She's not very good at being good, and the writers are determined to make it even harder for her.
- Reformed, but Rejected: "The Cricket Game". She's genuinely trying to be a better mother, Henry's smiling at her again, Emma is being nice to her... but then Cora goes and frames her for Archie's murder.
- Relationship Sabotage: Regina constantly tries to separate David and Mary Margaret. She also separated Belle and Rumpelstiltskin, as well as Eric and Ariel. Basically if she has a chance to ruin a relationship she will.
- Reluctant Ruler: King Leopold proposed to Regina because she was the only woman he’d met since his wife’s passing who genuinely cared about Snow. Young Regina never wanted to be Queen and only wanted to marry Daniel. Inverted in that Regina’s mother killing her true love and forcing her to marry the King is what made her become, well, the Evil Queen.
- Revenge: The curse that gets the plot going (and very nearly everything that happens in the Enchanted Forest before that) is part of the Evil Queen's plot to get back at Snow White for telling the then-not-evil Regina's most-decidedly-evil (and manipulative) mother about Regina's affair with the stable boy—which resulted in Regina losing her true love, being forced into a loveless marriage and being precipitated into her Start of Darkness. And Snow is still blissfully unaware that she did anything wrong.
- Revenge Before Reason: She could have lived in peace in her large castle, but instead she killed the only person she still loved just to cast a curse.
- Rich Bitch: Designer clothes, fancy estate, has everyone in town deathly afraid of her, except Emma.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Albeit an evil version.
- Sanity Slippage: It started when Daniel died and just went downhill from there. Her mother's death did not help.
- Scars Are Forever: She has a scar over her upper lip. There's no In-Universe explanation for it, but in real life, Lana Parrilla got it when she was protecting her cat from a dog attack. She was ten at the time.
- Self-Made Orphan:
- She killed her father, who she genuinely loved, to get her revenge.
- Regina pushed Cora through an enchanted mirror in "We Are Both", but Cora is revealed to be still alive.
- She ends up unintentionally killing Cora in "The Miller's Daughter", after being tricked by Snow.
- Slasher Smile: She puts on a particularly vicious one when ripping out the heart of a Lost Boy who stands between her and getting her son back.
- Smug Snake: As the Evil Queen in the past and in Storybrooke after the curse is broken.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Very sour and very sad.
- Squishy Wizard: According to Lana.
- Standard Hero Reward: After Regina saves his daughter, King Leopold just ups and asks her to marry him with hardly an introduction!
- Start of Darkness: She was in love with Daniel the stable boy, but her very controlling mother wanted her to marry up. After Regina saved a young Snow White's life, the king proposed to her. Regina tried to run away with Daniel, but Snow, who had seen them together earlier and promised to keep it a secret, was convinced by Regina's mother to say what was going on, as Regina's mother claimed that Regina's happiness was all she cared about and Snow thought she would let Regina marry Daniel and Regina wouldn't have to be separated from her mother. Regina's mother killed Daniel, so Regina went ahead with marrying the king. Then Snow, not knowing about Daniel's death, tells Regina she was the one who told her mother the secret... and from that moment on Regina hates her. Although "We Are Both" shows that it apparently took much longer than that for her to completely give in to her hate. She doesn't become completely evil until her plan to resurrect Daniel fails in "The Doctor".
- Stepford Smiler: A mix between the depressed version and the unstable/psycho version.
- The Sociopath: Emma thinks she's this anyway. And though she was not always evil, there is a possibility that she was never quite well due to being born from a literally heartless woman.
- Strong Family Resemblance: According to Regina in "We Are Both", people have said that she looks like a young Cora. Rumpelstiltskin doesn't see it... at first.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: As both the Queen and the mayor.
- Tearful Smile:
- When Henry wakes up from the sleeping curse and she tells him that she loves him.
- A much, much darker example is when she refuses to kill Snow and delivers a particularly vicious Reason You Suck Speech.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Regina tries this on Henry.
- Token Evil Teammate: Shares it with Rumpelstiltskin in Season 2. Lampshaded in Season 3 by Emma, who calls her a villain but still one that is needed to rescue Henry from Neverland.
Regina: That's why I'm here.
- Tomboy Princess: As a child. She enjoyed riding her horse freely, without the proper posture a "lady" ought to have, and was not averse to getting into a physical situation.
- Too Dumb to Live: It never occurs to her that screwing over everyone in the Enchancted Forest, might bite her in the back someday. It nearly does in the Season 2 Premiere, where she's nearly killed by a lynch mob, has no magic to defend herself with, and has to be rescued by Emma, Henry, and the Charmings at the last minute. Also she impersonated Ursula the mythical sea goddess, who who turned out not to be a myth, and was pissed that Regina would pull such a stunt.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Apples.
- Tragic Keepsake:
- The improvised ring Daniel proposed to her with, using a metal ring off a saddle. She later sacrifices it for Jefferson's Hat to retrieve a sleeping curse apple.
- Henry's clay handprint.
- Tragic Villain: Her entire adult life was Rumpelstiltskin trying to make a monster to cast the Dark Curse. Unfortunately, he succeeded. Her entire childhood consisted of her mother trying to control every aspect of her life. Unfortunately, Cora succeeded as well. In the end, all she really wants is a happy ending of her own. Unfortunately for her, due to her evil nature and actions, she never succeeds.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Henry wasn't always ugly, but he certainly is by the time Regina is straight-up the Evil Queen and he's serving her as a valet.
- Ultimate Authority Mayor: A sometimes evil one. However, Mr. Gold indicates her power is not as absolute as she likes to think it is and Emma proves it by getting elected Sheriff over Regina's choice of Mr. Glass.
- The Unfettered: Played with Regina in Season 2, when she tries to live by the decision that Henry is off-limits. She has slipped up once or twice, like the time she almost put him under a love curse.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Emma has actually saved/helped her a couple times. She usually thanks her by trying to ruin her life.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Regina is the Manipulative Bastard version of this. She's not very smart, and completely Genre Blind. But she has tools to make up for that—in the fairy tale realm her army and her magic, in Storybrooke she can cower everyone with her status as mayor. With her hate driving her, she uses these to plow through any obstacle in her path.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Revealed that Regina use to be a sweet teenage girl who was just unfortunate enough to live under an actual wicked mother.
- The Vamp: Regina clearly wants to be this, invoking Evil Is Sexy and trying to seduce men to do what she wants. It never works (probably because the men are Genre Savvy enough to know sleeping with an evil witch-queen never ends well), so she falls back to her magic and/or loyal army.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: It happens to Regina, because after what she feels she went through, she wants a revenge which continues whatever happens.
- Victory Is Boring: After her third day in Storybrooke, she quickly realized that the citizens were doing whatever she wanted because she forced them to, not because they wanted to. Apparently, that wasn't the kind of rule she had in mind.
Regina: [After running into Snow for the third time and she always is the one to apologize] Aren't you even going to fight back?
Mary Margaret: Fight back? Why would I do that?
- Villain Ball:
- Emma would have simply left Storybrooke believing that Henry was in good hands if Regina didn't show her nasty side in the Pilot by threatening to "destroy" her if she had designs on him.
- She once again grabs this in the penultimate episode of the first season. Emma agreed to leave Storybrooke, but Regina decided to try to poison her anyway. Partly justified in how she wanted Emma fully out of the picture so she could have Henry to herself. Henry ends up eating the apple turnover instead, which is the last push Emma needs to believe in the curse and eventually leads to everybody recovering their past memories.
- Her mother basically shoved the villain ball down her throat all her life. It's gotten to the point she couldn't let go of it if she tried. And she has tried.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: Besides her true love (who was a pretty nice guy), she has tried to snog Charming twice now and kept poor Graham as a sex slave.
- Villain with Good Publicity:
- As the mayor, she gets away with murder because the town just can't imagine she'd ever sink to the depths that she actually spends most of her life in.
- Averted with her fairytale self. The episode "The Evil Queen" shows that her subjects and even her own knights hate her.
- Was It Really Worth It?: Pan has all the party tied to a tree with magic that's fueled by all the heroes' regrets. Despite the loveless marriage and offing her husband, trying to murder her stepdaughter, mass murder of her subjects, sending dozens of innocent children to their death to get the sleeping apple, murdering her father, cursing a whole town, and generally being nastiness personified... she snaps those bonds easily and drops Pan. All of it was necessary to get Henry, and she regrets not a damn thing.
- We Used to Be Friends: She was very friendly with young Snow White until she found out that Snow betrayed her to Cora.
- Wicked Stepmother: Tries to kill Snow White multiple times and otherwise ruin her life.
- Woman in Black: Her fairytale self. After the death of King Leopold, she wore black because she was "in mourning". She kept it up, stating outright that it suited her.
- Woman Scorned: Regina blames Emma for her lover leaving her. She uses some leftover fairy tale magic to kill the Sheriff as she promised she would when she took him prisoner.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
- The Evil Queen is primarily motivated to avenge the death of her former lover, Daniel, who was killed by her abusive mother, as a result of Snow White telling her about the love between them.
- Events in the series only pile on the woobieness as she seeks someone to love her. Something as simple as her own mother comforting her or smiling at her is enough to turn her and break her.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- At least by omission. She casually tells Hansel and Gretel that they aren't the first children she sent into the house of the cannibalistic blind witch; just the first to come out alive. And, on an emotional level, she has no qualm with Henry getting emotionally hurt if it means that a) Emma is hurt at an expense and b) it stops his belief that fairy tales exist, if there is a chance things get better for their relationship and lives without too much scars.
- She has no qualms whatsoever about ripping out the heart of a Lost Boy. Said Lost Boy had previously stated that Henry was one of them and that they'd never get him back.
- Towards Henry and Graham.
- And towards Owen in "Welcome to Storybrooke." This one's especially creepy since she's only known the boy for a few days.
Mr. Gold: "Magic... is power!"
Centric Episodes: "Desperate Souls", "Skin Deep", "The Return", "The Crocodile", "Manhattan", "Nasty Habits", "Think Lovely Thoughts", "Going Home"
The manipulative and powerful "Dark One", who helps the Evil Queen enact the Dark Curse for his own purposes. In Storybrooke, he enjoys a position of power as the wealthy pawnbroker, Mr Gold, and his memories of his former self are restored when he hears Emma Swan's name.
- Abusive Parents: Like Regina, emotionally (not physically) to his son He kills people in front of his child. He has massive overreactions to any injury done to Bae, best shown when he turns a man into a slug and stomps on him after hitting Bae with a cart. Bae also seems to have become afraid of his father. Lastly, he ends up unwilling to listen to Bae and uphold the deal made with him to go to a new world, choosing to drop Bae into the portal rather than let go of his power; a decision he immediately regrets and never stops regretting.
- Adorkable: Surprising given his character, but he's this whenever he's around Belle. With just a smile, Belle somehow manages to turn a man who's spent the better part of the last 300 years as a malevolent force of pure evil, into a nervous, stammering, lovestruck teenager.
- Typically Rumpel is quick with a quip and a line. When Belle enters a room he's reduced to monosyllabic greetings. From Deadpan Snarker to barely being able to get out the word "Hey." in a split second.
- Adult Fear: He is living in one. After his years of weakness and wife running off with another man he clung to the power of the Dark One like an addict to his fix. But because of this addiction and refusal to let the power go when there was a viable means without killing him, he has lost what he cared for most.
- Aesop Amnesia:
- By the end of the Season 1, he seems to have completely forgotten why he lost his son, i.e. wanting dark magic power.
- Season 2 has him admit as much to Belle in that he at least openly says that his reliance of magic as a crutch has hindered... well, everything.
- Affably Evil: He may be playing your deal for his own gain or just abuse the heck out of you, but he will generally do it with a laugh and smile. When he doesn't have one on, it generally isn't too good.
- The Ageless: As Rumpelstiltskin. Notice that he doesn't age a day between "That Still Small Voice" and the pilot, even though Geppetto has aged from a young boy to an elderly man in the interim. He also tells Mr. Smee only the Dark One has immortality.
- Ambition Is Evil: Almost the entire long-term strategy of Rumpelstiltskin/Gold boils down to first keeping his son safe and then finding him. With all the bad things he's doing based on such a motivation it's no wonder he's a complex character. His most deplorable actions are often aimed at people who insulted or injured him when he was weak.
- And Show It to You: To his wife. He taught it to Regina and Cora.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Admits to Regina that he actually deeply regrets orchestrating Cora's death, as he once held strong feelings towards her, but it was necessary as she was trying to kill him and steal his power, which would have been bad for everyone. That, and as much as he may once have loved her, he prefers living a hell of a lot more.
- Anti-Hero: Sometimes, Nominal Hero.
- Anti-Villain: Types I and II. He has an honorable side and has been a great asset to the heroes many times, and his whole background and motivation for doing evil is based around his love for his son.
- Adaptational Badass: In Grimm's Fairytales, Rumpelstiltskin is little more than an evil gnome that engages in trading children for favors. In OUAT, he's an immortal nigh-omnipotent sorceror, Magnificent Bastard and Chessmaster who plays everyone else like a fiddle.
- Badass Boast: Gives one to The Blue Fairy when she tells him that creating the Dark Curse is beyond his abilities:
Rumpelstiltskin: I have all the time in the world. I will do nothing else! I will love nothing else!
- Badass Bookworm
- Badass Grandpa: He’s the oldest of the main cast and he’s also a very powerful sorcerer who’s not to be messed with. It becomes literal in “Manhattan” after it’s discovered that he’s Henry’s grandfather.
- Bad Samaritan: His whole shtick. If you need help, he'll be there for you. And at some future point, you'll wish he hadn't been.
- Batman Gambit:
- Between this and his information dealing.
- His actions to get Emma elected as sheriff. First, he sets up Emma so she would see his sheep skin-tanning supplies. Then he starts a fire at Regina's office when it was just Emma and Regina, so Emma would save Regina's life and discover circumstantial evidence that he was involved. He informed Emma of this fact when she found the evidence and told her she had no choice but to keep it silent. Instead she speaks up about this in a public debate for the election of sheriff. Seeing her stand up against Mr. Gold won her the election. Just as he planned it would. And then there's still the matter of the favor Emma owes him...
- Emma guesses he had one set up since before the Curse was activated as he foresaw her as the Savior and could have gotten out of his jail anytime he wished with the Anti-Magic Squid Ink he had in his cell. She believes that he set everything up to get to the point that keeps Cora trapped in the Enchanted Forest and her own immunity to Cora's heart-removal attack. He denies it as he didn't create Emma, but bet on her, in most cases, because she was born of True Love.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Rumpelstiltskin began his life as a kind, meek and fearful man, and turned into the ruthless and hyperconfident puppetmaster we all know.
- Been There, Shaped History:
- Rumpelstiltskin seems to be an in-universe version of this; his deals have been a crucial factor in at least half of the fairy tale plots so far and he's occasionally usurped the roles of certain characters altogether, like Cinderella's fairy godmother and the Beast, and the "crocodile" that took Hook's hand.
- He also claims to have given Don Juan his talent for seducing women.
- Berserk Button:
- Hurt Belle. Go on. Try it. He WILL own you if you do... however, if Belle is there you 'may'' be saved, as he would do anything for her.
- And it's a really, really bad idea to hurt his son.
- Oh also, don't break one of his deals. Remember how he reacted when Snow and Charming were going to leave without giving him their daughter's name.
- And lastly, and possibly the most serious of all infractions, don't abandon your child for your own personal goals and desires. As his father abandoned him and his wife abandoned their child.
- Betty and Veronica:
- His Love Redeems (well, at least somewhat) relationship with sweet, good-natured Belle vs. his Love Makes You Evil (well eviler) relationship with Cora.
- And then the Betty became the Veronica when Belle became Lacey.
- Big Damn Heroes: While it's not shown on screen and regardless of his recently becoming a super powered, virtually indestructible immortal, you have to admit that marching onto a battlefield and making the humans and ogres sign a peace treaty and bringing all the children home was a pretty awesome and impressive move on his part (also, he apparently saved Belle's whole village from ogres which even if he wanted payment for it is still awesome).
- Bigger Bad: Of the first season.
- Bloodbath Villain Origin: When he becomes the Dark One, he kills the soldiers who made him bow and kiss their boots. These are the first of many deaths by his hand.
- Book Ends: At least from Episode 1 to 12 - he's in a jail in either world. And again in Season 2. Storybrooke is now his prison.
- Break the Haughty: After avoiding it for the most part in the first two seasons he's getting hit with it hard in Season 3, now that's he chosen to be a good guy, for starters his Daddy Issues pop up again, and his relationship with Bae gets even worse after Pan lets it slip about the Seer's prophecy about Henry. The poor guy ends up in tears.
- Broken Bird: See Regina's entry.
- Brought Down to Normal: In the fairy tale, his magical powers were taken from him by Snow White, Prince Charming and Cinderella. Taken further in Storybrooke where holding the Knife of the Dark One has no power over him anymore.
- Brown Eyes: As Mr. Gold.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Rumpelstiltskin can't remember turning a butcher into a pig, but apparently that guy's son does.
- Camp Straight: In the Enchanted Forest.
- Cane Fu:
- In "Skin Deep" he uses it to deliver a particularly vicious beating upon the man who stole his teacup. Seriously, bones are broken.
- The beating he gives to Hook in "The Outsider" is even more brutal.
- He surpasses himself once again in "Lacey", beating down the Sheriff of Nottingham in Storybrooke.
- Cardboard Prison: His cell in the Enchanted Forest turns out to have been this. Upon examining his cell, it's revealed that he could have easily escaped at any time, but chose not to, preferring to make everyonethink he was helpless.
- Catch Phrase:
- "All magic comes with a price", in a singsong voice. Except the one time when he opens up to Belle and he says it with a very sad voice because he's still trapped by the magic of his own doing.
- To Regina: "Please".
- The Chessmaster: He has his hand in every plot that's going on in the show.
Regina: I assume this was all your doing.
Rumpelstiltskin: Most things are.
- Clingy MacGuffin: In season 3, Peter Pan gives him a doll that was the last gift his father gave him before leaving him. Gold threw it off a cliff and it fell in front of him a short time later. Burned it and it just popped up a head of him. He decides to just take it along after that.
- Clothing Reflects Personality: Before he became the Dark One and again in season one as. Mr. Gold, Rumelstilskin's clothes seem two sizes too big for him. It makes him look more vulnerable than he actually is. The only time his clothes actually fit is whenever he has magic.
- Combat Pragmatist: With all his power, he tends to either talk his way out of fights or just dispose of a nuisance with a wave of the finger. Because of this it's pretty obvious when he's fighting with Charming that he's just playing with him long enough to make Charming re-consider his offer.
- Composite Character: Of Rumpelstiltskin, the Beast and the "crocodile" in Peter Pan. He was also Cinderella's fairy godmother, but only after killing her actual fairy godmother.
- Corrupt Hick: As Mr. Gold to an extent, since he does not fit the part of the trope that requires the character be uneducated or a bumpkin. He is an extremely intelligent, cultured character (although Rumpelstiltskin is depicted as a "country hick" to a degree in his origin episode).
- The Corrupter: He teaches Regina what appears to be addictive, jerkassery-inducing, dark magic. That ended well. He implies that he did the same to her mother.
- Corrupt the Cutie: All things said and done, life in the Enchanted Forest didn't exactly conspire to make his a particularly nice path. He's drafted into a war fighting awful creatures with perhaps even more awful fellow soldiers. His wife leaves him for another man. The war lasts long enough that his son becomes at risk of being drafted. Ends up in his current situation thanks to the previous Dark One pulling a gambit on him. Loses his son as a result. Loses his true love for over three decades thanks to his archrival. It's like the Enchanted Forest needed a villain and picked him.
- Cosmic Plaything: Seeing how just miserable Rumpelstiltskin's life is, before and after becoming the Dark One, all because of a Seer and later learning that his grandson is supposed to be his downfall? Poor Rumpel is just this; the Enchanted Forest keeps picking on him.
- Crazy-Prepared: Doesn't even begin to describe him in regards to the events of Season 1.
- Create Your Own Villain: Rumpelstiltskin had a hand in the creation of every single villain we've seen. And also apparently all the heroes as well. So far the only people we've seen who he hasn't manipulated into their current positions are those who are from our world. Even then, he did create the curse that brought Storybrooke into existence, as well as revive magic, which heralded in Greg and Tamara's crusade on Storybrooke's magical creatures.
- Cursed with Awesome: Rumpelstiltskin is cursed to be the most powerful sorcerer in the land and to have sparkly grey skin—which he may or may not be able to conceal with magic. That this is a curse is established in the Season 1 episode "Skin Deep", wherein Belle almost ends it with True Love's Kiss. In a slight departure, while the show clearly wants us to see him as cursed, Rumpelstiltskin himself never complains about his powers, and is quite sensibly freaked out at the prospect of losing them and being at the mercy of the Evil Queen, not to mention losing any chance of finding his son.
- Daddy Issues: His father was called a coward, and abandoned Rumpel at an early age. Even as an immortal adult, his dad's legacy still haunts him. Rumpel's determination not to be his dad led to the mess his life is in now. Turns out when he was a child, he and his dad went to Neverland together. But his dad was an adult and could no longer access Neverland's magic. In order to do so he gave Rumpel up and turned back into the boy who would call himself Peter Pan.
- Dangerous Deserter:
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Seemingly the case at first by the time he meets Belle. Subverted, a short time later, when we learn he remembers quite well.
- Deadpan Snarker: As Mr. Gold. Sometimes as Rumpelstiltskin, too:
Regina: When Snow is dead, then they will see my kindness.
Rumpelstiltskin: Through the charred remains of their homes, yes, I'm sure that will be perfectly clear.
- Deal with the Devil: His stock in trade. Everything from knowledge to babies to magic potions can be had... for a price.
- Death Seeker: After thinking that his son has been killed, Rumpelstiltskin thinks of the quest to rescue Henry as this, according to Robert Carlyle.
- As of the fourth episode of Season 3, his discovery that his son is alive might have led him to change his mind about to whether he's alright with dying or not.
- He ends up going through with it anyway to protect his loved ones. As good for him as it would be to live for them, dying for them was the more selfless option.
- Determinator: This Papa Wolf will do anything for his son. He's spent centuries plotting and gathering power, all for the purpose of creating the Dark Curse and getting someone to cast it so he could enter our world and attempt to find Baelfire.
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: At one point Rumpelstiltskin is talking about the power of True Love (of which he happens to be holding a bottle). Prince Charming, rather dismissively, asks what he could possibly know about true love. Rumpel is not amused: "Well, not so much as you, perhaps, but not so little as you might think."
- Dirty Coward: His Fatal Flaw, and the reason why he refuses to give up his power.
- Disappeared Dad: Neal is rather bitter about being abandoned by his father (even if Rumpel did spend all the intervening time attempting to find him). Apparently, his own father abandoned him, as well.
- Doting Parent: To his son.
- Do Wrong, Right: In "Child Of The Moon", he scolds Regina for enacting a sleeping curse without fully understanding how it works, hinting that he holds this viewpoint.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Regina may rule over Storybrooke with an iron first, but Mr. Gold has everyone in his back pocket, mayor included.
- The Dreaded: Mr. Gold makes everyone uneasy around Storybrooke, and Rumpelstiltskin is also rather intimidating once he gets his powers.
- Driven to Villainy: Rumpelstiltskin's origins. To save his son, he took on dark powers, getting corrupted in the process.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Rumpelstiltskin ends up progressively worse as days pass in the wake of the end of the Ogre Wars.
- Dying Declaration of Love: When Mr. Gold is poisoned by Hook's poisoned hook, he calls the amnesiac Belle and, without going into the the history of the Enchanted Forest, tells her that she may not remember who she is but he knows her to be a wonderful, beautiful, wise, and heroic woman. To him she will always be that. And at the time, he honestly thought he was going to die, either by poison or Cora stabbing him with his dagger.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: The prophecy that Henry would be his undoing turns out to mean he's the catalyst for Rumpel accepting that he's a villain, and he has to pay the price for that, by pulling a Taking You with Me with Peter Pan.
- Easily Forgiven: Only in the sense that as long as you aren't actively working against him, he really doesn't care what you do even if you've screwed him over in the past (though he'll still remember the score). In the season 2 finale, he outright asks Hook if he's done trying to kill him. Hook replies to the affirmative. Gold remarks that that means he won't have to kill Hook first. However defied with his son, who has not forgotten that Rumpel chose magic over him, and all the years he spent alone because of it. Although Bae still loves his dad, he is still justifably angry at what happened.
- Evil Brit: Mr. Gold sports Robert Carlyle's Scottish accent.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves Belle and Baelfire even more than his power, but...
- Even Evil Has Standards: Does not approve of hurting children, using magic to make someone love you, keeping someone alive for the express purpose of killing them at a convenient time (granted he had a rather personal reason to be upset about that) or apparently of cheating (see the conversation he had with David in "Skin Deep"). He also considers Peter Pan more evil than him, and he's the Dark One. Also, he appears to have a Lannister-caliber tendency to repay his debts (granted he usually does it in a way that makes everyone wish he'd just backstabbed them straight-out instead).
- Evil Is Hammy: As Rumpelstiltskin.
- Evil Laugh: As Rumpelstiltskin, more like evil giggle.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: Upon becoming the new Dark One.
- Evil Mentor: As the Dark One, he trained Cora and Regina to become powerful sorceresses for his own personal long game plan. Later, after the curse is broken, he seems interested in teaching Emma a bit about her innate magical powers.
- Evil Sorcerer: Depowered shortly before the series began, but before that apparently quite a powerful one. And now that the curse is broken it looks like he will be again.
- Evil Costume Switch: As a dogged nice-guy he dressed in white clothes and looked pretty normal, as a sorcerer/demon/whatever he looks like what would happen if Tim Burton had directed Twilight.
- Exact Words:
- Extreme Doormat: Rumpelstiltskin in his first incarnation as a simple, kind, handicapped family father on the edge of poverty with gods and the world walking all over him. He gets better - that is, if upgrading himself to a cruel sorcerer, wife murderer and expert puppeteer counts as "better".
- Fatal Flaw: Cowardice. Even after becoming one of the most powerful creatures in the world.
- Freudian Excuse: Rumpelstiltskin's taking babies makes sense when you learn about Baelfire.
- Friend or Idol Decision: In "The Return", it is revealed that the reason he refused to be with Belle as she was his True Love was because he could lose his chance to see his son in another world.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: "Desperate Souls" from Season 1 reveals Rumpelstiltskin's origins as a poor sheep farmer.
- Gambit Roulette: Subverted. His long convoluted plan would be one these, since it depends on Emma, who doesn't even exist at the time of the plan's inception, taking some very specific actions. (Coming to Storybrooke, deciding to stay there, etc.) However, it isn't one because he knows everything that's going to happen for the next 28 years or so. There's no luck involved when you can see that far ahead.
- Generation Xerox: "Think Lovely Thoughts" reveals that Rumpelstiltskin's father also traded away his son for magic powers, not to mention was just as manipulative and possessed similar mannerisms.
- Giggling Villain: As the Dark One, a good part of his speech will either be outright giggling or giggling while taking. As Mr. Gold, he just smirks.
- Gold Tooth: Appropriately as Mr. Gold.
- Handicapped Badass: Mr. Gold walks with a limp as a result of a self-inflicted injury during the Ogre Wars. Doesn't stop him from intimidating and manipulating everyone in town, as well as delivering beatings with his cane.
- Healing Hands: Part of his power is incredible healing magic, including repairing an arm ripped off Dr. Whale with a wave of his hand.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: granted in this show a wardrobe consisting mostly of tight-fitting leather outfits appears to be a prerequisite for joining the dark side
- Heroic Sacrifice: After much build-up, he finally performs one in "Going Home".
- Hellish Pupils: As Rumpelstiltskin.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Commits murder-suicide on himself and his father in order to save his family from the latter.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Rumpelstiltskin's overarching goal is to get his son back and he manipulates everyone and everything to work towards that goal, specifically to find a magic bean that can open a portal between worlds. Only a precious few characters discover this.
- Hidden Depths: See Regina's entry.
- Grandpa, What Massive Hotness You Have: Nowhere near so much as Charming, but as Gold he does have a certain charismatic appeal.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Season 2 has him trapped in Storybrooke because he brought magic to the place. That allowed the memory-wiping spell on the town line to function.
- Humanity Ensues: What almost happens when Belle kisses him and what (technically) happens after the curse is cast.
- I Am Not My Father —> Not So Different —> Like Father, Like Son: Ironically, he went into the Ogre Wars determined to prove that he wasn't a coward like his father. Things only went to hell after a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: As Rumpelstiltskin, he is the next avatar of the Dark One and thus is bound by the same problem. However, when Belle tries to break his curse with True Love's Kiss, he rejects her, believing it to be a trick.
- Idiot Ball:
- For as wise and learned as he is, he does hold this in "The Outsider", as he failed to collect the gun Hook stole from Belle. This caused Hook to keep it and be in an opportunity to shoot Belle, making her fall over the Town Line, forgetting her life as Belle. Though in his defense, he's had centuries imbued with overwhelming power with no real weakness - it's entirely possible he never even considered that to be a threat or someone would attack his loved ones.
- In season 3, he fails to identify the illusory Belle as a trick by Pan, even though he knows it's not real. Regina lampshades this, pointing out that he, of all people, really should have known better.
- I Know Your True Name: Knowing people's names gives him power over them.
- I Own This Town:
- In Storybrooke, he literally does. He owns all the land; the citizens are just his tenants.
- In a sense, also true in the Enchanted Forest. Despite not having any thrones or land, as the most powerful being in the world, he pretty much calls the shots wherever he goes.
- Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Several of his deals involve having someone's child turned over to him.
- It's All About Me:
- Rumpelstiltskin/Gold never does anything that doesn't serve his own ends somehow. Even trying to reconnect with Bael after they are reunited and trying to restore Belle's lost memories are all so that Gold can fill the empty void in his soul. He doesn't even help those he loves for the sake of helping them, but purely so that they will love him back. Not once does it occur to him that selflessness is the one thing that could save him and give him his happy ending.
- Starts to become averted with the end of season two. He comes to realize that while Lacey makes things easy and killing Henry would solve his problem (something Lacey even suggests), it's Belle and Henry that he needs and wants (and he says as much). He uses the Blue Fairy's antidote to restore Belle's memories and embarks on a quest with the rest expressly for the purpose of honoring Bae, who everyone thinks is dead. (A quest he doesn't expect that he'll come back from, no less.)
- I Will Find You: To Baelfire. He manipulates decades worth of fairy tale history to make it happen, including the rise of the Evil Queen and the relationship between Snow White and Prince Charming, culminating in the Enchanted Forest being ripped apart!
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk:
- Mr. Gold has some positive qualities and genuinely loves Belle and his son (yet is shown to break promises and/or behave cruelly toward them because of his obsession with power), and in addition to his gambits with positive outcomes, likes to make deals to screw people over and has killed for poorly justified reasons.
- Karma Houdini:
- His only retribution for his crimes so far is being seperated from his son which he finds in Season 2 and being separated from his girlfriend, Belle (who still has not regained her memories). Also, the curse of losing memories once crossing the town line was a direct consequence of him bringing magic to Storybrooke.
- It could be argued that his life before joining the dark side was so ridiculously miserable that he's already had about all the bad karma one life time can hold (granted, the same could be said for Regina).
- Karma catches up to him in Season 3, but he is able to accept it, endure it, and redeem himself...even though it costs him his life.
- Killed Off for Real: In "Going Home", he sacrifices himself to kill his father, Peter Pan.
- Kill It with Fire: The poor fairy godmother never even got a chance to scream.
- Knight Templar Parent: He is literally willing to destroy worlds to see his son again.
- Knowledge Broker: Even in a jail cell, he knows a frightening amount about everything—but getting the information has insanely steep price tags attached.
- Laughing Mad: As Rumpelstiltskin.
- Lighter and Softer: You wouldn't think it would be possible but, despite being much more powerful, clever and dangerous in this version then in his original fairy tale, he somehow manages to come off as this. In this version, he's a baby broker who Would Not Hurt A Child. Also, as the beast, agreeing to rescue a village in exchange for the princess being his maid (and giving his assurance that he wouldn't expect her to take care of anything other then as a housekeeper,, is at lot less evil then kidnapping and threatening to kill an old man if his daughter didn't take his place.
- Living Lie Detector: It runs in the family. He easily gets that Wendy was lying because he was used lies in his life.
- Loan Shark: In addition to being a pawn broker and the landlord for pretty much the entire town, frequently operates as a particularly inflexible loan shark.
- Loners Are Freaks: And as Rumpelstiltskin, he's freakier than most.
- Lovable Coward: Temporarily in "Desperate Souls," before he kills The Dark One and takes his power. And even afterwards, he has moments of this.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: "Manhattan" reveals that Rumpelstiltskin is Henry's paternal grandfather.
- Madness Mantra: Emma guesses he had one when he was trapped in his jail cell as he wrote her name over and over and over and over again on one single page. Subverted because the ink her name was written in was Anti-Magic ink that would help them escape from his cell.
- Magic Knight: He prefers magic or manipulation, but he's no slouch with a sword either.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Mr. Gold. His name says it all!
- Manipulative Bastard: Rarely is forced into doing something he doesn't want to do. He's also another kind of bastard all together.
- May-December Romance: With Belle, as he's easily centuries older than her due to being the Dark One.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Rumpel/Gold can intimidate most people with a sour look. But according to the cast, they often find it hard to be scared of Robert since he's a really nice guy.
- Meaningful Name: His name, Mr. Gold, is a reference to both the original and Enchanted Forest fairy tales, in which he was able to spin gold from straw.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: From his cell, he arranged for the Queen to unleash the Dark Curse on the Enchanted Forest. He had the ink of a squid which is actually Anti-Magic ink and could get him his freedom anytime he wanted.
- My Greatest Failure:
- Never Hurt an Innocent: He's an odd version of this in that he has killed a number of innocent people, he's just never killed anyone who he actually believes is innocent. From his perspective his victims were a man who is basically the devil, evil child kidnapping soldiers, a man who nearly killed his son with a horse and cart and then yelled at Bae for being in the way, spies trying to steal his dagger and control him, the man who kidnapped his wife and then later his girlfriend, the emotionally abusive ex-wife who abandoned their child and a bunch of people who wanted to kill him. His scary outburst at Belle was brought on by the fact that he honestly thought she was trying to turn him human so she could 'be the hero and kill the beast'. He even defends his pursuit of Robin Hood (who in all fairness did break into his house, rob him and try to kill him) by saying that anyone who'd steal magic is obviously evil. After finding out Robin just wanted to save his pregnant wife Rumpel not only gives up trying to kill him but lets him keep the wand. None of this changes the fact that he's done horrible things and killed people for poorly justified reasons, though.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He spares Hook's life in "The Outsider", and in return, Hook shoots Belle, which causes her to cross over the town line and lose her memories. Ouch.
- Noble Demon: Pretty much literally seeing how he's basically the fairy tale equivalent of the devil.
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Calling him a coward will result in him beating the shit out of you with a cane.
- Not Me This Time: Despite his past pension for revenge and frame-jobs, he tells Emma, Charming, and Snow he was not involved in Archie's "death" to hurt Regina.
- The Obi-Wan: Albeit an evil version with at least two of his apprentices, though his mini-lesson with Emma seemed to go differently as he told her to focus on love and protecting people as opposed to hate and destruction. Given that he suggests magic is as much emotion as it is anything else, he knows and reads his students well enough to know which emotions he can get the best results from (or from which best serve his eyes, those usually being one and the same).
- Obviously Evil: Just look at the picture.
- Oh Crap: Tends to have composed versions of this when certain parts of his plan don't go quite the way they're supposed to, but he has a spectacular escalating series of these in "Manhattan". In the past, a Seer tells him his actions on the battlefield will leave his son fatherless. At this, he is shaken, but doesn't believe all of her words. He's then scared out of his wits when he finds out the Seer's prophecy that they would ride cows into battle came true, in a figurative sense. In the present, he has the silent, genuinely stunned version when he connects the dots of why Emma knows Baelfire already - Henry is Baelfire's son, making Rumpel Henry's paternal grandfather. If that wasn't enough, he then realizes that Henry is the boy in the Seer's last prophecy that would bring about his downfall.
- Only One Name:
- Both his Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke personas. "Mr. Gold" has no known first name.
- When he first meets Dr. Frankenstein, however, he introduces himself as Rumpel von Stiltskin. Given that almost everyone calls him Rumpel it's possible that is his first name and Stiltskin was his last. But given who he is, it's rather more likely that he's putting on airs; claiming a "von" in one's name is stating that one is a noble, and Victor von Frankenstein is far more likely to hear out a fellow member of the aristocracy than some strange commoner.
- Our Demons Are Different: While only ever called a demon on one or two occasions, it's probably what he is (doesn't much look like one though does he). However, he got that way via a curse as opposed to dying, falling from grace, being born/created that way or any of the other ways one generally goes about becoming one. Also, while it would originally appear that he is bound by some sort of demon rules that prohibit him from breaking deals or telling a direct lie. It turns out no, he's just got some sort of standards and can break or refuse to make deals without spontaneously combusting or having some horrific thing happen to him (granted given that the one deal he broke cost him his son, it might explain why he's reluctant to break his promises). Also, while he can't actually be summoned (your allowed to call for him, he just may not chose to answer), he can be controlled via magical artifact (providing he doesn't stab you to death with it first) in a similar way to genies.
- Papa Wolf: He is willing to kill the Dark One to try and save his son from serving in the army. Shame this ended up in turning him From Nobody to Nightmare. After becoming the Dark One, he becomes an evil version, turning a man into a snail and stepping on him just for accidentally injuring Baelfire with a cart.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: When he needs help looking for Belle his sad look even works on Charming.
- Parental Abandonment: When he was a young child, his father left him too.
- Parents as People: Before and after becoming the Dark One, Rumpelstiltskin shows himself to be a loving, if very flawed father.
- Pet the Dog:
- In Season 2, when Regina calls him about Henry receiving burns from his dreams, Rumpel makes a house call, explains the situation calmly and even provides a means of controlling the situation. The Price: As it was for Henry, he charged nothing.
- When the Sheriff of Nottingham has something Rumpel needs and states that his price is a night with Belle, Rumpel (who is fresh off skinning someone alive repeatedly mind you) is... not amused with those terms and politely allows the Sheriff to adjust his offer.
- Play-Along Prisoner: In the Season 2 episode "Queen of Hearts", it is revealed he had the key to his escape from the Fairy Tale prison all along. He just didn't use it because it would be detrimental to his plans.
- Physical God: As The Dark One, Rumpelstiltskin has access to incredible levels of magical power, immortality from any weapon save for True Love's Kiss destroying his curse and turning him normal or his cursed dagger outright killing him, and bouts of super strength (though that could be magic as well). In the Enchanted Forest people ran in fear of the Dark One for good reason.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Very quickly went crazy with his dark powers once he got them, like a kid with a new toy. However that underneath that all power he has a lot of issues, most notably the fact his father abandoning him, and that he unwillingly recreated the same cycle with his son. It's proably why he can hear Pan's magic flute as an adult.
- Poisonous Friend: Does terrible things in the name of his loved ones, even when they beg him not to.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Rarely does he act on his emotions and approaches situations in a calm, calculated manner hidden beneath his smile and, for Rumpel, laugh. Only when his Berserk Button is pressed does he sometimes step away from this.
- Rage Against the Heavens: He lets fly with this in "The Stranger", though it's actually aimed at the departing Blue Fairy, one of the closest things the Enchanted Forest has to an actual deity, by all appearances.
Rumpelstiltskin: "I WILL FIND HIM!"
- Read The Fine Print: As Rumpelstiltskin he does not advocate those who make deals with him to look further than the simple wording of his promise. As Mr. Gold, he is amazed at how few people actually read the Town charter, which points out some holes in Regina's power.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Given one by Belle about his cowardice and his inability to let himself be happy.
- Gives more than his fair share. Notably to Emma in season 3 for her inability to take a leap of faith and how she can only accept that which is before her.
- Redemption Equals Death: In "Going Home", he sacrifices his life to kill his father and save everyone he loves from him.
- Redemption Rejection:
- As Rumpel pushes away Belle lest True Love's Kiss turns him back to normal. He later regrets the decision.
- He also had a chance to travel to another world with his son and start over. However, since this meant giving up his powers, he hesitated and lost his son instead.
- Reformed, but Rejected: He pleads this to his son telling him that he's changed from his old ways, but his son isn't entirely convinced until he sees proof that Rumpel removed his shadow like he claimed.
- Sanity Slippage: After Belle loses all her memories after being shot by Hook Mr. Gold loses it, even threatening to kill everyone if any harm befalls Belle.
- Secret Keeper: In "Skin Deep", we learn he's retained at least some of his memories; he knows his real identity and remembers Belle and what happened to her.
- Snake Talk: As Rumpelstiltskin. You have to listen for it but it's there. Not as Mr. Gold. He also didn't have it initially as the Dark One but as we see him slowly slip into his sing song snake voice the less he has Baelfire around as a Morality Pet.
- Spell My Name with an S: The show consistently spells Rumpelstiltskin's name as "Rumplestiltskin".
- Stepford Smiler:
- In a way. Most of the time he likes to act as flamboyant as possible when he knows people are looking. But in Episode 6, he's shown as being quite subdued when he's off to the side drinking as David and his mother have their own conversation.
- In Episode 12 we learn he has serious self esteem issues and thinks of himself as a monster.
- Straw Character: Mr. Gold is a man of many professions and he plays to the worst stereotypes about all of them: he's a pawnbroker who often shades into being a Loan Shark, a heartless landlord who evicts his tenants at the slightest opportunity, and an Amoral Attorney who conspires against his own clients.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: As Rumpelstiltskin.
- The Svengali: Rumpelstiltskin appears to have been this to Regina in the past since he was the one who taught her magic and manipulated her into using it to kill in "The Doctor".
- Taking You with Me: To his father Malcolm (aka Peter Pan) in "Going Home".
- There Are No Coincidences: Stated by Baelfire to be one of the few things they agree on.
- Terms of Endangerment:
- Likes to refer to everyone, male and female, as "dearie." Including his fans in real life.
- Used for character purposes on Earth: he doesn't do it there until it's revealed to the audience that he can remember the Enchanted Forest.
- However, he seems to reserve 'sweetheart' for Belle, as seen in one episode.
- Token Evil Teammate: Shares it with Regina in Season 2 and season 3.
- Tragic Keepsake: The chipped cup Belle broke. As Rumpel he moved aside a golden goblet to put it on a pedestal and as Mr. Gold he was willing to beat a man and give up on a secret of his just to get it back. His knife also qualifies as it always reminds him of his son and his inability to let go of his new found power.
- Tragic Villain: Fate and circumstance made him a monster. His cowardly, selfish choices only made things worse for him.
- Tranquil Fury: As Mr. Gold. He rarely yells and goes on a rampage when angry. He speaks in a calm voice. Even after Belle loses her memory, and he tells everyone he will kill all of them if any harm comes to Belle, he still speaks in a calm voice, taking it up to eleven.
- The Trickster: As Rumpelstiltskin; a classic example.
- Übermensch: For the most part, his idea of morality is entirely based around Belle, Bae, and deals. Outside of that, anything is fair game.
- The Unfettered: Played Straight with Rumpelstiltskin when he tries finding his son. He clearly Would Hit a Girl in "Manhattan".
- Verbal Tic: "Dearie" as Rumpelstiltskin.
- Villain Ball Magnet: For Baelfire's and Belle's sake, he does at least try to be good... but he's also aware he honestly can't help himself from invariably slipping back into his old ways.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- Has an epic one in Episode 12, after Belle kisses him and he believes she's been working for the Queen (or trying to kill him) all along. In the present day, he's having another one as he batters Moe French with his cane.
- And then when he learns about the line outside of town removing the Storybrooke residents' memories if they cross it, meaning that after all his years of planning to get to this point, he's still no closer to being able to find his son.
- Villains Never Lie:
- So far, both of his incarnations have never actually told a lie. Granted, either one may have said something that is "technically" true, for certain values of "true", but not once has either one told an outright lie. He even tried to work his way out of a deal with Regina by technically not lying with each response until she closed every loophole with follow up questions leaving him with the final choice of lying or speaking the truth. He picked the truth. See Secret Keeper for more on what was said.
- He admits as much to Charming, who notes that there's a difference between not lying and being honest.
- He does lie right to Belle's face in that same episode, when he tells her that he doesn't care about her before sending her away.
- Also, when he's so close to fulfilling his master plan in the first season finale, he finally decides to flat-out lie and tell Emma that Regina abandoned her and sabotaged the elevator, so she'd better toss up that potion to him before he helps her up. She does so, he leaves, and then it's revealed he'd actually bound and gagged Regina while he sabotaged the elevator.
- Villainous Neutral —> Neutral No Longer: Bae's apparent death pretty much made him indifferent and almost a Death Seeker. He probably would have become relatively harmless (if unhelpful). But then Greg and Tamara just had destroy the town (even if it was a distraction) which made him realize that he needed Belle and needed Bae and by proxy, Henry which kicks him out of his funk and re-energizes him to change his mind.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Charming. To date, Rumpel has gone to Charming for dating advice twice. On one occasion, Rumpel was willing to go as far as to willing leave himself in Charming's debt, which has never happened before. On all occasions, however, Rumpel goes back to being his usual self as soon as Charming's done helping him.
- Who's Laughing Now?: All the people who have wronged Rumpelstiltskin end up regretting it. Or dead.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: With his son as his Morality Pet he was still somewhat stable. However, once Bae was gone he dove into full-blown insanity.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He "destroy[s] this world for the next." Probably one of the few instances where the Destroyer of Worlds actually succeeds!
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child:
- For all his evil doings, he has never been seen harming, manipulating, or even raising a hand at a child. See Pet the Dog for further details.
- On the other hand, he stole a potion that Emma and Regina meant to use to save Henry's life, for his own purposes. And his threat to "kill all of you" if something happened to Belle while he was out of town implicitly included Henry. Though both of those are arguable. He probably knew that True Love's Kiss would save Henry (but he used the opportunity to have Emma retrieve his potion), and the inclusion of Henry in "all" is only a vague possibility. If nothing else, he was speaking out of passion and emotion. It's not like he'd in the mood to provide specific quantifiers.
- In "Lacey", upon discovering that the reason Robin Hood stole a wand from him was to heal Marian, who was deathly ill and pregnant, Rumpelstiltskin intentionally misses with the arrow he was aiming at them. Made more telling that the bow used was enchanted to ensure the arrow always find the archer's intended target.
- Younger than They Look: Looks exactly the same before Bae was born as he does when Bae is fourteen. Presumably life in the crapsack part of a Crapsaccharine World aged him prematurely.
Upgraded to Regular
Belle (Enchanted Forest): "No one decides my fate but me."
Belle (Storybrooke): "I learned a long time ago that when you find something that's worth fighting for, you never give up."
Lacey: "You're not who I thought you were...and I'm glad. You really are as dark as people say."
Played By: Emilie de Ravin
Centric Episodes: "Skin Deep", "The Outsider", "Lacey"
The bookish, intelligent daughter of Sir Maurice with a thirst for adventure. She forms a romantic, but troubled relationship with Rumpelstiltskin. In Storybrooke, she is an amnesiac Jane Doe locked up in the mental ward of the hospital.
Captain Killian "Hook" Jones
Captain Hook: "A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets."
Played By: Colin O'Donoghue
Centric Episodes: "The Crocodile", "Queen of Hearts", "And Straight On 'Til Morning", "Good Form", "Going Home"
A notorious pirate who was shielded from the Dark Curse and has history with Rumpelstiltskin.
- Affably Evil: Oh so very much. He's a firm believer in manners and "good form", despite being a pirate.
- And Show It to You: Took out Aurora's heart when she was captured. He also tried this on Cora when Regina enchanted his hook to allow him to do so for one heart. Obviously, it failed, but it still had one use left.
- Anti-Villain: Types I and II, just like Rumpelstiltskin.
- Badass: Except for when he gets worfed.
- Badass Boast: "Excellent. You'll be able to see your daughter, and I can skin me a crocodile."
- Badass Longcoat: Wears a nice black one.
- Badass in Distress: He's been kidnapped, gagged, and bound in a trailer by Tamara and Greg. They planned on using him to help in their attack against Storybrook.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Emma. Later, as they work together, develops into regular Unresolved Sexual Tension.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Cora in Season Two. It started as a Big Bad Duumvirate, but he later seperates from Cora and Regina becomes her chief follower instead. He reappears to become an ally to the new Big Bad Duumvirate of Tamara and Greg.
- Breakout Character: He was promoted to Regular before his debut episode even aired!
- Butt Monkey: For a Badass pirate, he sure gets his ass handed to him a lot. Emma kicks his ass no less than five times. He's easily kidnapped and locked up in a trailer as a pawn in Tamara and Greg's plans.
- The Charmer: Oh, yes. Spends most of "Tallahassee" flirting with Emma and winks at both Aurora and Snow (who is unimpressed). Tinker Bell, like Snow, is also unimpressed with him.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Despite the abovementioned flirting and innuendos, he behaves rather gentlemanly with women who aren't his enemies or affiliated with his enemies.
- Consummate Liar: He even managed to trick Rumpelstiltskin. But failed with Emma.
- Cool Boat: The Jolly Roger, a brig made of enchanted wood which can sail at incredible speed.
- Create Your Own Villain: Unintentionally set in motion Rumpelstiltskin becoming the Dark One, who later came back for revenge and thus set in motion the cycle of revenge between the two.
- Cycle of Revenge: Between him and Rumpelstiltskin, starting when he ran off with Rumpel's wife. He breaks the cycle in the Season 2 finale, though, when Greg and Tamara's plot to destroy Storybrooke makes him realize that living actually does matter more to him than killing Rumpelstiltskin.
- Deadpan Snarker: One of the biggest ones on the entire show.
- Death Seeker: Strongly implied to be thus in "The Outsider".
- Defector from Decadence: His reason for becoming a pirate. He was a naval officer until the king he served under sent him and his brother on a secret mission to Neverland to get Dreamshade, telling them in was medicine when in fact it was deadly poison. It killed Hook's brother, and Hook would no longer serve the king whom he blamed for his brother's death. He and his men went AWOL and became pirates rather than serve such a king.
- The Dragon: His relationship with Cora falls somewhere between this and Big Bad Duumvirate, as he works with her rather than for her, it's just that Cora is always the clear dominant force in the partnership. He's in a similar position with Greg and Tamara.
- Enemy Mine: Surprisingly falls into this at the end of season 2.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Genuinely loved Milah, tells her to run after Rumpelstiltskin almost rips his heart out, and still wants to be reunited with her. See Death Seeker above.
- Related to this, this is why he tried to make a connection with Bae, and why he ultimately choose to help out on the quest to find Henry in Neverland.
- He was very close to his brother when they were both in the Navy. His death devastated him, and drove him to piracy.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Expy: For Jack Sparrow. They sound exactly alike.
- The Fettered: He may be a pirate, but he fights with a code of honour.
- Guyliner: One of his trademark features.
- Handsome Lech: He seems fond of hitting on just about every pretty woman he meets.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: He keeps switching sides every other episode.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It looks like he'll work with anyone who will help him get revenge on Rumpelstiltskin. Later invoked by Pan to try and get him to kill Charming and offered him a chance off the island with Emma.
- Heel-Face Turn: Finally decides to drop his revenge in season 2 finale.
- Hook Hand: Courtesy of Rumpelstiltskin, the "crocodile".
- I Lied: He told Charming there was a magical sextant that could help them leave Neverland on top of a tall mountain. In truth there was no sextant, but a cure to the poison in Charming's body. Hook knew it would need to be a big lie to get Charming away from his wife and daughter.
- It's All About Me:
- To say Hook doesn't care about anyone but himself would be a gross understatement.
- Ends up subverted in the Season 2 finale, where Hook finally finds it in him to put someone else before himself.
- Informed Attribute: He's supposed to come off as a badass pirate, but ever since he's started working with Cora and landed in Storybrooke, he keeps getting his ass kicked.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He may be a Noble Demon with standards, but he will always place himself above all.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Slowly turning into this in Season 3, as he becomes concerned with the well being of the others he is guding in Neverland, especially Emma and Charming.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Goes hand in hand with being a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Hook does not hesitate if it would further his own goals.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Shoot Belle in the shoulder and make her forget everything? Cue being run over by a car.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Whenever Rumpelstiltskin is involved.
- Limited Wardrobe: Does the man actually own a change of clothes or is his closet filled entirely with black leather coats, vests and pants with the occasional touch of red thrown in for variety's sake?
- Major Injury Underreaction: Granted that the series isn't allowed to be too graphic, but Hook reacts to Rumpelstiltskin cutting his freaking hand off with far less screaming and flailing around than he by all rights should have done.
- Manipulative Bastard: He plays Aurora to get her under Cora's control.
- Moral Myopia:
- Mr. Fanservice: His brief appearance on the promo of the episode "We Are Both" was enough to grasp the attention of female fans everywhere (and some male fans as well) and cause a mass array of comments on the Internet regarding his attractiveness. This is in keeping with his description in J.M. Barrie's "Captain Hook at Eton".
- The Navigator: His brother brought him on his voyage to Neverland as navigator and presented him with an ornate sextant as a gift. In the current time, he's the one who charts most of the courses.
- Noble Demon: But only if it's helping his cause out in return...
- Not So Different:
- To Rumpelstiltskin. Lampshaded by Baelfire, who calls Hook out on being a self-serving coward, obsessed with getting revenge for every real and perceived slight, just like his father.
- They both also have the Freudian Excuse of having been abandoned by their fathers. Both love and do a relatively good job (by villain standards) of single-parenting Bae. Both are responsible for taking his mother away. Both swear up and down that they can change for Bae's sake and both ultimately end up abandoning him.
- Pirate: He's Captain Hook, this goes without saying!
- An Officer and a Gentleman: Before becoming a pirate, he was a straight-laced Navy lieutenant on his brother's ship. He still retains shades of it as a pirate, with his insistence on "good form". For example, as of Season 3, he states outright that he wants to win Emma's heart honestly, without any tricks or lies, even of omission.
- Pretty Boy: It's even lampshaded by Cora.
- Promoted To Parent: Temporarily. Oddly enough Bae probably would have remained a happily adopted pirate if he hadn't found out that his mother left him for Hook. Milah and Hook had fallen in love and she ran away with him.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: ABC and producers just upgraded Colin O’Donoghue to a series regular for the last 9 episodes of Season 2 — even before his character’s first episode has aired.
- Revenge Before Reason: His MOA in Season 2.
- Start of Darkness: He started out as young Lieutenant Jones, serving proudly in a King's Navy, running a tight ship with no tolerance for drinking rum, under the command of Captain Jones, his elder brother. They were sent on a mission to Neverland to find dreamshade, believing it was a medicine. When they arrived, Peter Pan was actually kind and helpful, warning them they had been lied to about the plant but also its location. Then when they found it, Killian was worried Pan was being honest about the plant, so the elder Jones injected himself with the poison and after a few second of standing upright, collapsed in pain. The Pan showed up again and gave Killian magical water that would save the Elder Jones but at a price (Pan didn't mention the exact nature of the price). The brother was saved. Soon after, they left Neverland with plans on revealing the truth to the world when the elder brother died, for the healing waters did work but they bound him to Neverland and should he leave he would perish. Angered by this turn of events, Killian became captain of his brother's ship and convinced all the good men who respected his brother so to turn pirate and raid against their dishonorable king.
- Suicide by Cop: Semi-inverted. His goal is revenge, but seems oddly obsessed with Gold killing him. He encourages the man to rip out his heart! Presumably, he wants to be with Milah again.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome and Snarky
- Wicked Cultured: An evil, bloodthirsty pirate he may be, but he also possesses the meticulous style and old-school manners of a proper gentleman.
- Wild Card: His only allegiance is to himself.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- Ripping out Aurora's heart. Back handing and then trying to stab Belle with his hook. What a bitch.
- Then there's "The Outsider", where he shoots Belle in the shoulder.
Baelfire: "The deal is struck."
Click here to see Neal Cassidy
Neal Cassidy: "We've been on the road long enough. Maybe it's time we retire the 'Bonnie and Clyde' act."
Played By: Dylan Schmid, Michael Raymond-James
Centric Episodes: "The Return", "Tallahassee", "Manhattan", "Second Star to the Right", "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
The beloved son of Rumpelstiltskin and Milah who grows to fear his father following his transformation into "the Dark One".
- Abusive Parents: Baelfire's parents are a borderline example. We see his mother leave him home alone when he's six years old so she can go out drinking. Rumpelstiltskin himself kills people in front of his child and causes him much emotional stress. They both genuinely care about Baelfire, though and don't intentionally hurt him.
- Adorably Precocious Child: In "Desperate Souls", before everything goes south.
- Break the Cutie/Jade Coloured Glasses: Being abandoned by Rumpelstiltskin and being on his own for most of his life has turned him from an adorable kid to a bitter thief.
- Calling the Old Man Out:
- Repeatedly calls out Rumpelstiltskin on his actions once his father becomes the Dark One. He also calls his father a coward right before he disappears into a portal.
- Does this rather epically to Hook as well.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Neal was introduced in the first episode of Season 2. We don't find out his connection to Emma and Henry until Episode 6. And we don't find out that he's Baelfire until Episode 14.
- Child Soldier: He almost became one at 14. Rumpel's attempts to avert this lead him to become the Dark One.
- Crazy-Prepared: He's learned a lot from having father/brother figures like Rumpelstiltskin, Captain Hook, and Peter Pan, and each time, something they've taught him has come back to bite them in the ass. Emma learned a lot from him in resourcefulness during their time together.
- Learned how to navigate the stars from Hook, and creates a map that leads the way home that not even Hook himself can read.
- Shoots an arrow laced with paralytic ink at Peter Pan. Pan predictably catches it, as we've seen him do it an episode before. Neil's response? He didn't cover the tip; he covered the entire arrow.
- Daddy Issues:
- Having Rumpelstiltskin for a father will do that to you.
- Having Captain Hook as a father figure doesn't help much.
- Deadpan Snarker: As Neal Cassady.
- Disappeared Dad: He's Henry's biological father and was asked to leave Emma by August.
- Fan Nickname: Nealfire.
- Generation Xerox: He's a lot more like Rumpelstiltskin than he would probably care to admit. They both have the same Papa Wolf tendencies—when he learns that Henry is trapped in Neverland, he has no problem using a child as bait to lure Pan's shadow to him so that he can hitch a ride and save him. Also, they both abandoned the woman they love, only to reconnect with her later.
- Genre Savvy: Years of hurt from various figures in his life up to and including his father Rumpelstiltskin, Captain Hook, and Peter Pan as well as the harshness of the Land Without Magic has resulted in an extremely smart and dangerously clever Papa Wolf that won't even trust his own father with Henry.
- Good Parents: Once Neal found out about Henry's existence, he was very keen on not repeating his father's mistakes. True to his word, Henry and Neal spend a lot of time bonding together in late season two. Once he found out that Peter Pan had kidnapped his son, he instantly tries to help Emma save him.
- Has Two Daddies: Granted the only time they're all in the same room is when Hook is unconscious and Rumpel is dying of poison.
- He's All Grown Up: When he was abandoned by his father, he was fourteen. Now, he's a dad.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: He just wants to lead a normal life with his father. Too bad his father isn't willing to give up his powers.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: It turns out that August talked Neal into leaving Emma so she can be free of a life of crime and get back on the path to break the curse.
- Living Emotional Crutch: According to the Blue Fairy, he is the light that kept his father human at his core. After he disappears, Rumpel goes insane.
- May-December Romance:
- Subverted, in several ways. The reveal that Neal is Rumpelstiltskin's son kind of... complicates things in regard to timelines between The Enchanted Forest and the Land Without Magic. Neal coming to the Land Without Magic as Baelfire when he was fourteen means he's, at the very logical least, fourteen years older than Emma. If Rumpelstiltskin's plan for Snow White and Prince Charming's romance took place over the least amount of possible time (nine months for the pregnancy right after weeks of Snow and Charming being separated over a period of time), then Neal is at least fifteen years older than Emma. If the ages of certain characters (Geppetto, Snow White, and the Seer) are taken into consideration, at least fifty years had to have passed between Bae's departure and Emma's. From a purely looks-based standpoint, for Neal to have a justifiable reason to still look as young as he does, time had to pass at a faster rate in the Enchanted Forest and absolutely no time had to have passed in the Land Without Magic between Bae coming to the Land Without Magic and Emma coming twenty eight years ago. Regardless of what line of logic is used to guess Neal/Bae's age, this makes his and Emma's romance dance around the boundaries of this trope - even though Neal doesn't remotely look the part of December. The writers have confirmed that Baelfire crossed space and time when he came to the Land Without Magic and Rumpelstiltskin constructed the Dark Curse to take everybody to the generation where Baelfire is currently in.
- In "The Queen is Dead" Neal tells Emma he would be "a couple hundred years old by now" if our world was his first stop after leaving the Enchanted Forest. His recognizing Captain Hook and being able to sail his ship makes it clear he's spent time in Neverland, among other worlds.
- Missing Mom: His mother abandoned him and Rumpelstiltskin because she ran away to join Captain Hook's crew. She is later killed by Rumpelstiltskin in a fit of rage.
- Morality Pet: To Rumpelstiltskin. Some of Rumpel's most humanizing moments are with his son.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He tries to save his father by sending them both to a land without magic. This ends with Bae disappearing and Rumpelstiltskin searching for a way to get to the same world.
- Not Quite Dead: Survived falling through the portal as a child, ending up in our world. And again as a grown man, except this time he was also wounded, and washes up on an Enchanted Forest beach.
- Older than They Look: Neal's statement that he'd be over two hundred years old if it weren't for his world-jumping places him as one of the few confirmed oldest characters in the series.
- Outlaw Couple: Was one with Emma.
- Parental Abandonment: His father chooses magic over him and Baelfire gets sent to a new world alone. His mother is later revealed to have abandoned the family to join her new lover, Captain Hook, at sea.
- Papa Wolf: Will go so far as to immobilize his own father to protect his son.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Michael Raymond-James has been upgraded to be part of the regular cast in Season 3.
- Promotion to Parent: In a way, he and his father reverse roles and Baelfire becomes his father's minder after Rumpelstiltskin becomes the Dark One. Baelfire becomes his father's moral compass and the voice of reason once Rumpelstiltskin starts to act childish and homicidal due to his new powers.
- Reformed Criminal: Neal and Emma embarked on a life of crime together until August tracked him down. Seems like he's since gotten his act together when we first met him in the Season 2 premiere.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives PLENTY of these to Rumpelstiltskin as a child and a fair amount of them to Rumpelstiltskin as an adult.
- There Are No Coincidences: One of the few things he and his father still agree on.
- Walking Spoiler: Due to being one of the keystones of the plot in multiple ways. Don't highlight anything here if you haven't finished Season 2.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: He proves to be very perceptive for someone so young.
- You're Not My Father: After Rumpelstiltskin becomes the Dark One, Bae thinks his father has changed so much that he is no longer his father.