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Core Cast Members

    Henry Mills 

Henry Mills
"I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one."
Played By: Jared S. Gilmore (child), Robbie Kay, Andrew J. West (adult)
Centric Episodes: "Going Home", "Dreamcatcher", "Hyperion Heights"

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.
  • Agent Mulder: He believes in fairy tales, contrasting Emma's initial role as the skeptic.
  • Agent Scully: While under the curse in season seven.
  • Amazon Chaser: Falls for Cinderella after she clocks him and steals his motorcycle.
  • Badass Biker: At some point between seasons six and seven, August taught Henry how to ride a motorcycle, although whether he retained this skill after losing his memories is unknown
  • Badass Bookworm: He also shows hints of being this. Not between "New York City Serenade" and "A Curious Thing", due to having his memories erased... though he does improve at Math.
  • 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 (turnover) and falling under the sleeping curse. Even after Emma breaks the curse, he still gets horrible nightmares.
  • Book Dumb: He's terrible at Maths - or was, before Regina negated the curse - as revealed in "A Curious Thing".
  • Bookworm: He's usually seen reading his fairy tale book.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: In Series 3B; Henry's still smart - he's improved at Maths and was bad at it as a child - but prefers to play video games rather than read after Regina cancels out the curse. This is then cancelled out itself in "A Curious Thing" when he regains his memories and remembers everything.
  • 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.
    • Calls Emma out again in the Dark Swan arc. The expression on his face as he stares down at Emma when he finds out she pulled out Violet's heart to force her to break his speaks louder than words. In the episode Broken Heart, he calls her out to her face for relying on dark magic instead of him or her family and not changing even after the truth comes out about Hook being a Dark One as well.
  • The Cassandra: He's got the right idea regarding the fairy tales, but no one believes him.
    • Later subverted in Season 3b when he has no idea about fairy tales being real due to memory loss caused by the cancellation of the curse.
  • 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: He is the incumbent Author of the tales of the Enchanted Forest. He was set up as a Chosen One in other situations specifically "the one who will be Rumpelstiltskin's undoing" and the kid that Peter Pan searched two centuries for as the possessor of "the heart of the truest believer". "A Curious Thing" shows that his belief in magic is one of the keys to undoing a Dark Curse.
  • Consummate Liar: It comes with being a Guile Hero.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Twice over. Regina named him "Henry Daniel Mills" after two of the only people she ever loved: her father Henry (whom she herself killed to enact the curse - Henry even gets to see his namesake's coffin when he goes poking around in Regina's shed, and there's a nice little pause so you don't miss it) and her lover Daniel, whom her mother killed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like mother, like son.
    Emma: How's the pizza?
    Henry: It's good, cheesy, and it doesn't lie.
    • 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 (i.e. Peter Pan) no longer considers them of any use.
    Henry: It's a good thing that you guys don't ask any questions.
  • Determinator: One of the biggest ones in the series. There's no stopping him once he's set on something.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father, Baelfire/Neal Cassidy, doesn't even know his son exists until Henry meets him in "Manhattan".
    • He later becomes this to his own daughter, Lucy, although not by choice.
  • Disney Death/Infant Immortality: Hey, if there's one universe where it's justified...
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Immediately agrees to go along with Peter Pan's plan once he believes that Wendy's life is at stake.
    • Also stays in an alternate realm to help out Cinderella.
  • Everyone Can See It: Despite his objections about just meeting her, pretty much everyone, From Lady Tremaine to Emma, can see that Henry had fallen for Cinderella.
    • Sabine straight up asks him if he’s in love with Jacinda and doesn’t believe him when he says he just wants to help.
  • Fat Suit: According to Jared Gilmore, he is wearing one to portray Henry in Season 3b after a year of good living has fattened Henry up and made him less active and more prone to video games.
  • Fatal Flaw: His open belief and idealism makes him prone to manipulation, such as when Peter Pan uses it to convince him that he needs to save magic; in reality, Henry's Heroic Sacrifice allows Pan to become immortal. This also results from an idealistic desire to be a hero.
  • 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.
    • With Emma. He gets called to a town populated by fairy-tale characters under a curse that makes them forget who they are by his 10 year old daughter. He then works with his mother (unknown to both of them) who is also under the curse against the current mayor who has custody over his daughter. This time, he's part of the accursed.
  • 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."
  • 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 mother 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. As of Season 3, it appears that they've finally come to terms with this trope; they refer to Henry as "our son".
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Even if he only has a wooden one.
  • Heroic Bastard: He's the illegitimate child of Emma and Neal Cassidy.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: 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 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".
  • Identity Amnesia: As of "New York City Serenade", Henry's memories have been rewritten such that he believes that Emma's raised him all his life, and that he's never heard of Storybrooke and its peculiar existence. Sadly, when Hook comes to get both him and his mother back to Storybrooke, he only has enough memory potion for Emma. Finally subverted in "A Curious Thing" when his memory is restored by his story book, the same way Emma came to believe back in the season 1 finale.
  • 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.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: "Hyperion Heights" implies that Henry's first book was based on his experiences in Storybrooke.
  • Just One More Level: Henry's become a video game addict in between "Going Home" and "New York City Serenade" as part of Regina's promise to replace their past with good memories. Apart from one scene in "New York..." where Emma takes him to school and a scene in "Witch Hunt" where he goes for ice-cream with Mary Margaret, he's playing video games. Even when he meets Regina he is playing a video game beforehand and immediately goes back to playing it after their greeting has finished.
    • He's been seen playing video games before, but not to such an obsessive degree. He and Emma once shared a moment when Regina gave him a handheld video game, to which Emma comments that she also enjoyed that same game as a kid. And even during "New York City Serenade", they make conversation while playing a video game together.
  • 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."
    • This is definitely a direct result of Regina's choice to raise him in Storybrooke. It's incredibly difficult (borderline impossible) to make any friends when he's the only person who ages.
  • 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. In-universe, it's the name of Regina's dead father, whom she sacrificed to enact the Dark Curse.
  • 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.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Tends to give these kinds of names. So far, he's had Cobra, Scorpion, Praying Mantis, Mongoose, Light Swan, Firebird, Mixtape, Cobra Part II, Best Man (although that one was Hook's idea), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Glass Slipper.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Thinks his daughter is dead because of the new curse in season 7.
  • Out of Focus: Due to still not having regained his true memories, he's been featured a lot less during the second half of season 3. "A Curious Thing" appears to be the first step in bring him back to his previous plot importance. Though he would not return to his previous level of importance until "Operation Mongoose", the finale of the next season.
  • 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.
  • Raven Hair,Ivory Skin: He got these features from his maternal grandmother and is still this when he’s an adult.
  • Reality Warper: At least within Neverland, due to being the "Truest Believer".
    • He becomes the new Author in Operation Mongoose, essentially becoming this but gives it up because the power is too much.
  • 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.
    • Also for Regina and Robin.
    • Sort of one for Emma and Hook. He's a little weirded out by the fact that she's dating again, but he encourages Emma ask Hook out if makes her happy.
  • Spanner in the Works: It would be easier to count what wouldn't have succeeded if he hadn't been there...
    • He brings Emma to Storybrooke, setting in motion the downfall of Regina.
    • His Heroic Suicide motivated Emma to break the curse.
    • He undid all of Isaac's work in the finale of Season 4—not just by gathering Regina, Emma, and Hook, but by becoming the new Author and fixing reality.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Henry looks a lot like Snow White.
  • Timeshifted Actor: In Season 7. Jared S. Gilmore appears in a couple of flashbacks to Storybrooke, but the "main" Henry in both settings is Andrew J. West.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He gets his chance to shine and be a real hero in the Season 4 finale, where he single-handedly stops Isaac.
  • Trademark Favorite 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 descendant 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:
    • Henry says this at least once to Regina, but it's subverted in "Broken".
      Henry: She's still my mom.
    • And again in "Welcome to Storybrooke".
      Henry: Stop! Listen to yourselves! You're talking about killing my mom!
  • 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.

    The Evil Queen / Regina Mills / Roni 

The Evil Queen/Regina Mills/Roni
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, Ava Acres (child)
Centric Episodes: "The Thing You Love Most", "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", "Hat Trick", "The Stable Boy", "We Are Both", "The Doctor", "The Cricket Game", "Welcome to Storybrooke", "The Evil Queen", "Quite a Common Fairy", "Ariel", "Save Henry", "Witch Hunt", "Bleeding Through", "Enter the Dragon", "Mother", "The Price", "Souls of the Departed", "Sisters", "Page 23", "Wake Up Call"

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."
    • Eventually subverted through Character Development.
  • 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. This leads 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. This is not even getting into all her actions against her stepdaughter Snow in Fairy Tale Land, even if she had a Freudian Excuse for that.
    • 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?"
  • Addictive Magic: After she began her dark magic lessons, she realized that she didn't want to stop using it. She even seeks out Dr. Hopper for help!
  • Adorkable: Before her descent into darkness.
    Regina: Rumplesch... Schtilts...? Rumpelstiltskin... I summon thee...
  • Alas, Poor Villain: She's the Evil Queen, but Henry's devoted mother. So you can imagine her pain when, after spending ten years raising and falling in love with a boy being raised as her son, said son decides that he no longer loves her and refuses to be with her, choosing to go with his birth mother instead. In Season 2 and onwards, Henry does eventually love her again, but it's still harsh for him to leave her.
  • 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.
    • However, she's not always aloof. As the Evil Queen she's vengeful, filled with rage, chews the scenery just as good as Rumpelstiltskin, and speaks most of her lines with teeth-clenched fury. As Regina, she can be a genuinely doting parent and loving mother who deeply cares for her son, dropping the aloof act instantaneously. As a young Regina, she is achingly innocent, deeply in love, and incredibly naive. Fortunately for the show, Lana Parrilla has incredible acting range and pulls all this off while making it look easy.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: She has an extreme lack of empathy and seems to take a perverse delight in either killing or humiliating people, suggesting there's something not quite right about her.
  • And Show It to You: As Henry says, it's kind of her thing. She got it from her mother.
  • Anti-Villain: One who had 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.
    • She does it again in the second half of Season 3 when she meets Robin Hood in Storybrooke.
  • The Atoner: By the Season Two finale, Regina is genuinely trying to make up for what she's done.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Regina and Rumple have a weird case of this - she goes to him whenever she needs help and comfort over her magic (and thought a letter about Zelena being the best he'd ever taught was about her) and he's outright stated that he'd always choose Regins to cast his curse if he had to re-choose.
  • 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.
  • The Bartender: In Hyperion Heights, she plays this role.
  • 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.
    • In "It's Not Easy Being Green", she does this to keep Zelena from winning against her, claiming it's the one thing she learned from Cora and not Rumpelstiltskin:
    "Never bring your heart to a witch fight."
  • 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 reunite with Bae 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 the showrunners, 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 won't even remember her. Seeing her later try to reach out to Henry when he returns to Storybrooke while he doesn't remember her is just heartbreaking.
    • Regina's Second Love is revealed to be Robin Hood, and she in turn is his as well, since Maid Marian died. "There's No Place Like Home" then reveals Regina actually had Marian executed, so when Emma returns from the past with Marian in tow, Regina does not take it well.
  • Berserk Button: As the Evil Queen, pretty much whenever something doesn't go her way, particularly if it involves Snow White.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: In Season 2. 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 Season 1, being the mayor of Storybrooke, the one who cast the Dark Curse, and the one trying to get rid of Emma. After Regina rids herself of her Evil Queen persona using Jekyll's serum, the Queen (now a separate character) reclaims her role as Big Bad for Season 6 - at least for the first half before Gideon turns her into a snake.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold in Season 1 with a power struggle occurring between them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Her rescue of young Snow in season one... too bad about how that turned out.
    "I should have let her die on that horse!"
  • 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: She displays on numerous occasions to be absolutely thrilled to fight those who oppose her. When Zelena makes it clear she is her enemy, she went from being depressed (and borderline suicidal) of being separated from Henry to gleefully cherishing the thought of destroying a new adversary.
  • 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.
    • In season 4 she plans to kill Maid Marian in the past, as in the original soon as she can find out which of her myriad victims Marian actually was.
  • Character Development: Possibly the best case for it on the show. After spending years trying to kill Snow and David, she's actively helping and protecting them in Season 3. She defends Snow from the ghost of her own mother, who Snow White murdered no less, saying if you want her you'll have to Go Through Me. She does everything in her power to protect Snow's baby, and seems genuinely saddened when Snow kills David to cast the curse. And then she actually helps Snow bring David back. Unfortunately, The Reveal in the season 3 finale that the prisoner Emma saved in the past and took back with her to the present is Maid Marian might throw a wrench into Regina's development.
  • 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.
  • Color Motif: Red and Black and Evil All Over. Black represents the emptiness of her soul and red represents the intensity of her emotions which is both her greatest strength and weakness.
  • 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.
    • She also seems to be the show's allegory for the Tin Woodman as Zelena needs her heart — a resilient one, in Belle's words.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Plaything: By season 4, Regina is convinced the universe makes it that she will never be happy.
  • 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 Knights Templar and is looking to commit genocide on the whole town, starting with torturing her to death.
    • She also revitalized Maleficent in season 4.
  • 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, where her coping mechanism for being trapped on a 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.
  • Determinator: Unlike her mother Cora who knew when to cut her losses, Regina will do everything to get everything she wants.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: She has ruined the lives of 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.
    • In season 3 "Witch Hunt" being forced to return to the Enchanted Forest, knowing she won't see Henry again and he won't even remember her is so painful for Regina, she decides to use a sleeping curse on herself so if she does wake, it will be because of her True Love waking her: Henry. Surprisingly, what pulls her out of going through with it shortly afterward is something completely different: someone new to destroy.
  • 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."
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Regina does not seem to understand this concept at all.
    • With a few choice words from Cora, Regina goes straight back to her plan of killing everyone her son loves so he can only love her.
    • In season 4, she now plans to force the writer of the Storybook to give her the happy ending she thinks she deserves.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played straight in the cases of Snow, David, Emma, Henry , Hook, and Ariel. Outright averted in the case of Belle, who clearly is still upset about being imprisoned for about 30 years
    • Also, Robin Hood doesn't seem to care at all that she killed Marian before Emma changed the past.
  • Enemy Without: The Evil Queen, her dark side, is separated from her in the Season 5 finale.
  • Entitled Bitch: She'll screw over people, and then ask these people to help her like nothing happened. In "Bleeding Through", Belle calls her out on it hard.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
  • 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 throws 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, gratuitous evil doesn't seem to sit well with her.
    • In both cases, they were mother figures so she is understandably a little sensitive on the topic.
  • 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.
    • When teaching Emma magic she has her focus on negative emotions like anger, while Rumpel had her focus on more positive feelings, like desire to protect her loved ones.
    • She has a tendency to act as a Hero with an F in Good during the time she spends on the "good" side of the Heel–Face Revolving Door. She tends to prefer pragmatism to heroism, usually putting her firmly on the wrong side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
  • Evil Counterpart: Her backstory is starting to parallel Emma's character arc.
  • 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 to a child who unknowingly sat in her chair at the diner.
  • Evil Sorceress: She curses an entire kingdom to screw over one person.
  • Evil Wears Black: As the evil queen, she wears all black.
  • Ex-Big Bad: She is the main villain of the first season, and The Dragon to her mother for a time in the second, but then hangs around and experiences a redemption plot.
  • 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: She has quite a few.
    • Her unrelenting thirst for revenge.
    • Her obsession with having someone love her. This taken too some scary extremes with her trying to kill people Henry cares about so he can be 'hers'.
    • Her complete inability to accept responsibility for her actions and a severe lack of self awareness. In season 1 she firmly believed Snow "made" her become evil, in season 2 she blamed the people of Storybrooke for her evilness, and in season 4 she blames the storybook for writing her as a villain.
  • Forced into Evil: Regina was manipulated into doing evil by her upbringing, her ever-increasing past traumas, and a carefully crafted plot.
  • Freudian Excuse: See Driven to Villainy and Good Girl Gone Bad.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: In the second half of Season 3, most of the town are still wary about her (especially since they became the victims of another curse, and Zelena has a feud with her). She doesn't help matters by being completely snarky, still holding on to old grudges (she calls Snow and David the "Uncharmings" at one point) and rebuffing any attempts at friendship or compassion. Even Tinkerbell wonders why she even bothers to try and help her. However, she is getting along awfully well with one person: Robin Hood.
  • 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.
    • In the second half of season 3, when Zelena challenged her to a fight, Regina came but left her heart behind, guessing correctly that that was what Zelena wanted from 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. On a less fantastic level, she takes good care of her plants, whether they be apple trees or bean shoots.
  • 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.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Becomes one of the good guys in Season 3, but that doesn't mean she's any more pleasant to get along with. She's still a pretty cold and cynical person, and is still dismissive of anyone trying to help her.
  • 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. And as of "There's No Place Like Home", with the return of Maid Marian just as she's begun a relationship with Robin Hood, she might be headed back here.
    • 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.
    • "Kansas" has Henry declaring she's no longer a villain; she's now a hero. Though "A Tale of Two Sisters" reveals that Regina still views herself as a villain, in spite of everything, because she stills receives Laser-Guided Karma for her past evil.
    • As of the Season 4 finale, she is undeniably a hero and even a "savior" in Isaac's Storybook.
      • although it should be mentioned that in Isaac's book hero's and villain's switched places, Snow White became the Evil Queen and the Evil Queen became Snow White.
  • Heel Realization: A minor one in "We Are Both", and a MAJOR one in "And Straight On 'Til Morning".
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Regina ended up a power-hungry sorcerer like her mother Cora, whom she resented.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: 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.
  • High Collar of Doom: After she kills her father, and casts the curse directly, she wears a black outfit with a high collar.
  • Honey Trap: As the Mayor, she tries this on David with herself as the bait. It fails.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: A lot of Regina's problems stem from the fact she can't allow herself to be happy,
  • Holier Than Thou: Now that she's good, she can slip into this when confronting other villains like Zelena or Dark!Emma.
  • 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-Blooded: She has a very short temper and resorts to violence often.
  • Hot Witch: She has magic and... see page picture.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She chastises Emma for not unlocking her true potential in powerful magic, the same way Cora chastised her for not having any ambition.
    • She never wanted to be the queen, but that doesn't stop her from using it as an excuse to be a lord over everyone.
    • She laments that, no matter how she's changed or what she's done to makeup for her atrocities, the town still distrust (and that's being generous) her, when she herself is often quick to assign blame and comes across as very unforgiving more than once.
    • She scolds Sidney as a traitor when he decides to support Ingrid, but her complaint loses weight when one remembers she had him betray her former husband Leopold.
  • I Am Not My Father: 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.
    "Guards! Take him to my bedchambers!"
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: There is nothing this woman won't say or do for any scrap of affection. From anyone. And yet, as of the second half of season 3, on the brink of finding a new love again, she's too scared to open her heart.
  • I've Come Too Far: Her initial reason for being unable to stop being evil.
  • Ice Queen: As the mayor, she's known for her dispassionate, aloof persona as well as her frostbitten wit.
    • Defrosting Ice Queen: Very, very slowly and subtly in Season 2. Appears to be fully defrosted as of the finale of the first half of Season 3. Losing Henry causes her to freeze up again, reinforced whey they get back to Storybrooke, but he can't remember her.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Constantly. She lampshades it by saying "You know what my problem is? I never learn from my mistakes."
    • When she looks like she's really changed, all it takes is for Maid Marian to get back into Robin's life for her to seemingly revert to her old ways, thanks to Emma.
  • In the Blood: Regina inherited her parent's worst qualities. From Cora she got her lust for power and tendency to hold grudges. From Henry she got her emotional instability and weak resolve.
  • 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.
  • I Regret Nothing: States in season 3 that she acknowledges her bad actions but regrets nothing because it got her Henry.
    • The fifth season finale reveals that Regina actually has many regrets, and that she had merely suppressed for a long time because feeling them would hurt her too much. After Robin Hood's death alerts her to her Laser-Guided Karma, she finally opens up and allows herself to feel these regrets.
  • 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 decades 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.
    • Taken to the extreme in the season three finale, when Emma inadvertently brings Maid Marian back from the past with her (being ignorant of her identity) and she's reunited with Robin and Roland. Regina is understandably hurt, but she can't even bring herself to be happy for Robin, focusing instead on how Emma ruined her life.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: 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 the third season, 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.
    • Seems to have made the progression to Jerk with a Heart of Gold during the second half of Season 3. She may be a unrelenting prick, but she's been going out of her way to protect a very pregnant Snow White, instantly forgiven Robin Hood for failing to protect her heart — even kissing him mid-apology, and genuinely apologized to Belle.
    • After having Took a Level in Jerkass in Season 4 and the first half of Season 5, the second half of Season 5 mellows her out again.
  • Karma Houdini/Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Regina goes back and forth on these tropes. At first, it doesn't matter what Emma or anyone else does, she comes out on top.
    • 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.
      • She gets hit with it even harder when she's tortured by Greg Mendell and nearly killed for how she tried to kidnap him as a child and had his father killed when she couldn't get him for herself. Despite how sympathetic she may have been, it's hard to argue that in that moment, she didn't have it coming.
    • 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.
    • In the second half of Season 3, she goes through what she put the whole town through in the first season. She becomes the target of a vendetta from Zelena the Wicked Witch of the West, her half-sister who was abandoned who blames all her troubles on her when she really should be blaming Cora, just as Regina blamed Snow for Daniel's death even though it was Cora's fault. She becomes the victim of a curse with a year of lost memories, just as she took all the town folks memories, and due to the events in the first half her son Henry doesn't even remember her. However Henry eventually gets his memories back, But at the end of the season her budding romance with Robin Hood comes to an end, when Emma brings Maid Marian back through time rather than let her die in Regina's dungeon (she had no idea who she was. So yeah. Karma's a bitch.
    • But post-Season 4, after she finally learns to be happy, despite Zelena's pregnancy, she is a full Karma Houdini. It no longer matters that she was once a genocidal maniac who killed and tortured thousands of people. All is forgiven.
    • And then at the end of Season 5, she gets hit with Laser Guider Karma once more when Robin Hood dies, in a manner similar of how Regina has killed peoples' loved ones before, and Regina finally comes to understand and even embrace this trope, saying it's well-deserved. Unfortunately, Snow later has the bright idea to rid Regina of her karma by splitting her and the Evil Queen apart, which is due to bite everyone in the ass in Season 6.
  • Kick the Dog: Doesn't even begin to describe her. She even manages to kick Rumpelstiltskin.
    • Special mention goes to Zelena, her half-sister. She loves to bring up the fact that Zelena was abandoned by her mother,Cora.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Thrice. Her father, Daniel and Cora. Daniel was technically a Mercy Kill and Cora was completely unintentional.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: After the death of Robin Hood, Regina begins to believe that there is no true redemption for her, and that she is caught somewhere between good and evil; if she goes back to evil, she loses everyone she has come to care about. But if she continues on her righteous path, she is condemned to continue suffering, enduring a lifetime of much deserved penance for all the pain she caused as the Evil Queen.
  • Knight Templar: In seasons 1 and most of 2, it's evident that she believes that she's The Hero and that Snow White and Charming are the villains.
  • 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 the season 2 finale, her love for Henry led her to risk her own life to stop the self-destruct mechanism that was activated.
    • In "A Curious Thing", her love for Henry — and his belief in her — allows her to invoke True Love's Kiss and break Zelena's curse, and in "Kansas" allows her to wield light magic (as opposed to dark, which was all she believed she had) to take Zelena down hard.
      Zelena: So you're a hero now?
      Regina: Today I am.
  • 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. Take her child from her and she will hurt you (or try to at least!). However, if you so much as lay a finger on Henry, she'll unleash a can of whoop-ass on you.
    • Turned into one for Snow/Mary Margaret now. They've repaired their relationship with Regina even calling Snow "[your] mother's child" after she proclaimed that she was brat as a child after seeing what Eva was like when young. So, if you touch Snow - or attempt to - things will not end well for you. And it won't be pretty. Even if you happen to be her mother's ghost.
    • She's also this to Robin Hood's daughter. When Zelena declares she's gonna take the baby away and raise her to be wicked, Regina sends her on a one-way trip back to Oz. Via tornado.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Just like her mother. Especially as the mayor.
  • Mean Boss: As Mayor, and especially when her people go against her orders or intent.
  • 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.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Flashbacks to Regina's childhood show that her father is Latino while her mother is white, in real-world terms anyway.
  • Moe Couplet: Her romantic relationship with Robin Hood softens her considerably, to the point where she refuses to Murder the Hypotenuse despite having an easy and untraceable way to do so. He seems to bring out the absolute best in her, and quite frankly, Regina in love is freaking adorable. Her relationship with Henry would be this, except that her fear of losing him has driven her to do some pretty detestable things in the past.
  • Mommy Issues: Her abusive mother murdered her fiance; and forced her to marry Leopold. Cora spent her last days manipulating Regina into villainy and was ultimately 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 Beloved Smother: Regina said it to Henry best on "The Evil Queen".
    Regina: As long as there are other people in our lives, you can never truly be mine!
  • 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.
    • In the season three finale, she blames Emma for ruining her romance with Robin Hood, when she saves Maid Marian from her dungeon (she had no idea who she was, she just didn't want to leave her to die) and brings her back to Storybrooke even though it's her fault because she was warned multiple times that casting the Dark Curse would leave a void in her heart she would never be able to fill.
  • Nice Hat: The Evil Queen gets one in "True North" that has GOT to be glued to her head to stay on.
  • Not So Different: 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: She has several throughout the series, mostly when things don't go precisely as she planned or when something unexpected happens.
    • She has two in the second episode of the first season. First when she realizes that Emma's arrival has made the clock tower start running. Second, when Mr. Gold pays her a visit and makes several comments that can be interpreted a number of different ways. One of the interpretations is that she's not talking to Mr. Gold, she's talking to Rumbelstiltskin. She gets control of herself quickly but for one split-second she's so frightened that her face looks like it's about to shatter. A truly outstanding work of acting by Parilla.
  • 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 lasagna.
  • 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. The only time this changes is in the first half of season four - since Snow cast the new curse, Snow is technically the new mayor. Regina takes the reigns back in the second half.
  • 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.
    • Protecting Snow White from her mother's ghost in "Bleeding Through". Later, she finally kisses Robin Hood. And note that all these actions were done while she didn't have her heart!
  • Proud Beauty: Regina is fully aware of how beautiful she is and knows full well how to use her charms to manipulate men. The fact that Lana Parilla is a stunner is a major contributor to this trope, and the writers of the show (as well as the wardrobe people) make full use of it. Some of the outfits she wears, particularly as the Evil Queen, are pure fanservice.
  • 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.
  • Rage Against the Author: In "A Tale of Two Sisters", she decides the only way to get her happy ending is to find and force the "writer" of their stories to give her one.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: She forced Graham into being her Sex Slave, and then cursed him into thinking it was consensual. Then she killed him when he left her.
  • "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. Well, who wouldn't be?
    • Deconstructed as her determination to live life by her own rules molds her into the Evil Queen.
  • 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. As of the second half of the third season, however, it appears love found a way anyway; she's growing closer to the man Tink led her to: Robin Hood.
  • Redemption Failure: She's not very good at being good, and the writers are determined to make it even harder for her. Nevertheless, she has come a long, long way.
  • 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. It's almost more like "royal who does way too much."
  • 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 so far, but in real life, Lana Parrilla got it when she was protecting her cat from a dog attack. She was ten at the time.
  • Second Love: She is this to Robin Hood, since Maid Marian died in the Enchanted Forest, the same way he is for her after Daniel dies. He even says so:
    Regina: What do you see in me?
    Robin: Hopefully the same thing you see in me — a second chance.
  • Self-Made Orphan:
    • She killed her father, whom 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.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Apparently, Rumpel was this to her (though we never see it onscreen with her or his other pupils), and in "The Jolly Roger", she becomes this for Emma. She transports Emma to the middle of a rope bridge, and destroys it under her feet, forcing her to use magic to save her life. It works, and as Emma makes her way to Regina's side, Regina chastises her for the potential she has yet to tap into.
  • 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.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: She's got the royal pedigree, the magic powers and the castle that already looks like an Evil Tower of Ominousness even before she took over,
  • Sore Loser: She doesn't not take any defeat or personal slight well, or karma at all.
  • 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.
  • Stern Teacher: Whenever she teaches Emma magic, in contrast to Rumple's teaching style.
  • 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 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.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: To Henry. She even manages to pass herself off as his mother.
  • 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. Henry brings out a lot of these in her.
    • A much, much darker example is when she refuses to killSnow and delivers a particularly vicious "Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Tempting Apple: 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.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Regina tries this on Henry.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: In season 3, when the town thinks she recast the curse and brought them all back to Storybrooke, she delivers one of these lines and follows it up with an earthquake. It was a ruse by her and Emma to smoke out the real caster.
  • 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.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Apples.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • Regina's favorite horse, Rocinante, was killed by her to enact the Dark Curse (the attempt that failed). Daniel originally took care of him.
    • 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.
  • True Love's Kiss: In "A Curious Thing", Regina is the one to break the curse by kissing Henry on the forehead — just as Emma did in "A Land Without Magic". This is plot-crucial and saves Storybrooke's collective rear, as Regina can now use light magic and take down the Wicked Witch. Officially. No. Longer. A. Villain.
  • Tranquil Fury: After Peter Pan mocks her and the others over stealing Henry's heart. She proceeds to tell him in an absolutely calm voice that she hasn't regretted a thing in her life because it got her her son. Then proceeds to tear Pan's heart out with only a twitch of facial expression to signify her Mama Bear fury.
  • 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, at least until her Character Development kicks in.
  • Unicorn: The innocence of the unicorn is used to demonstrate the moment Regina loses just that in "The Doctor." Initially, Regina can't kill the unicorn, but once she accepts that Daniel is gone forever, she does it without flinching.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Regina is the Manipulative Bastard version of this. She's not noticeably smarter than anyone else on the show, and is frequently 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.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Before the Curse, Cora and Rumpelstiltskin have been taking it in turns to run Regina's life from behind the scenes. Cora wanted Regina to become the queen she herself always wanted to be, while Rumpelstiltskin made sure that her obsession with power and revenge would eventually drive her to enact the Curse that would bring him one step closer to finding his son.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Revealed that Regina used 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 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. As of the first half of season 3, it seems that she's begun to let this go.
  • 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.
    • She doesn't want him yet, but Tinker Bell has revealed that her Second Love is going to be none other than Robin Hood. Cue Regina kissing him silly in "Bleeding Through" — and him returning the favour quite enthusiastically.
  • 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Looks to be building one with Emma. After Emma confesses that she just wants to start being friends, Regina grudgingly admits she doesn't want to kill Emma.
    Regina: [grumbling] I don't want to kill you.
    Emma: [perks up] See? That's a start!
  • 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 part of the chain of events that led to her getting 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.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Regina couldn't find a way to follow her heart and please her mother. All her hate for Snow is just misdirected rage for Cora. She's only able to stand up to Cora when the latter's a ghost.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Averted. She seems to know the names of all her black knights.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In A Tale of Two Sisters Regina has the chance to just stand by and let Elsa's snow golem kill Marian, and the other heroes have all been knocked unconscious, which would mean no witnesses and nobody would be the wiser. She can't go through with it and saves Marian in the nick of time.
  • When She Smiles: On the rare occasion when she has a genuine smile - not a smug smirk or that nightmare-inducing psychotic grin with that vein in her forehead popping out - she's radiant.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Tries to kill Snow White multiple times and otherwise ruin her life.
  • 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.
    • And then when it looks like she's finally found love again, his late wife comes back to life.
  • Worth Living For:
    • Henry became a reason to fight and live for after her long despair about losing to Snow and the lose of Daniel.
    • In Season 3, after returning to the Enchanted Forest, she wants to put herself to sleep because of the pain of losing Henry. She is knocked out of it by Zelena. She realized what she was missing to fill the void: someone to destroy.
  • 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 as an expense and b) it stops his belief that fairy tales exist, if there is a chance things get better for their relationship and he lives without too many scars.
    • She has no qualms whatsoever about ripping out the heart of a Lost Boy. Said Lost Boy had previously made the mistake of saying that Henry was one of them and that they'd never get him back.
    • "Save Henry" reveals she had every intention of killing baby Emma the night she casted the curse.
    Rumple: The savior, the child of Snow White and Prince Charming. She can stop you. She can break the curse.
    Regina: Well, looks like getting rid of a baby made my to-do list.
  • Yandere:
    • 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.

    Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold / Weaver 

Rumpelstiltskin: "All magic comes with a price!"
Mr. Gold: "Honesty has never been the best color of me."
Played By: Robert Carlyle, Wyatt Oleff (child)
Centric Episodes: "Desperate Souls", "Skin Deep", "The Return", "The Crocodile", "Manhattan", "Nasty Habits", "Think Lovely Thoughts", "Going Home", "The Apprentice", "Heroes and Villains", "Devil's Due", "Changelings", "Ill-Boding Patterns", "Beauty"

Rumpelstiltskin is the manipulative and powerful "Dark One", who helps the Evil Queen / Regina Mills 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.

Warning: Only spoilers for the current season are hidden.
  • 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 for 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.
    • His own father was, if not abusive, at the very least neglectful. He happily left his son with a couple of spinsters so he could go out and swindle people. Then, he outright abandoned him when Rumpel couldn't have been much older than eight or nine, leaving the poor kid to find his way back to the spinsters on his own.
      • As an adult his father is definitely abusive to him, outright stating that he considered Rumpel to be a burden from the moment he was born, not to mention happily throwing him through the room with magic and intending to kill Rumpel's child and wife.
        Pan: How old are you now, couple of centuries? Will I never be rid of you?
    • Sort of subverted with his mother, who Rumple thought hated him, but who actually loved him so much she turned to dark magic to keep him safe. Sound familiar...?
  • Adaptational Badass: In the original Grimm's Fairytales, Rumpelstiltskin was little more than an evil gnome that engages in trading children for favors. Once Upon a Time makes him an immortal nigh-omnipotent sorcerer, Magnificent Bastard and Chessmaster who plays everyone else - with varying degrees of success that, usually, come out on top for him - like a fiddle.
  • 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 his 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.
    • Once again living it in season 5, where his pregnant wife places herself in the equivalent of a coma to ensure Hades doesn't steal the baby. Cue his evil estranged mother kidnapping the child instead.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Or not so much 'amnesia' as recognizing an addiction (to magical power) and being unable to kick it.
    • 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.
    • Season 3 has him finally learn his lesson by sacrificing himself to save everyone from Pan. But then he's brought back to life at the expense of Bae's life and becomes a slave to Zelena, which clearly does a number on him.
    • Season 4, he vows on Bae's grave to start a new leaf, and he does by secretly giving Belle the real dagger. But then he sees a small circular box, which turns out to be the iconic Sorcerer's Hat from Fantasia, at which point he switches the daggers. After that, he's willing to let the Snow Queen kill everyone in Storybrooke if it enables him to gain the hat's power, free himself of the dagger, and leave Storybrooke with Belle without anyone (including her) finding out what he's up to.
  • Affably Evil: He may play 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 means things will go even worse for you.
  • 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 (which is proven to be a lie later on in the series).
  • All for Nothing: All his attempts to reunite with Bae, and repent for his misdeeds end up meaningless when Bae sacrifices himself to bring Rumple back to life.
  • 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 estranged wife. He taught it to Regina and Cora. And in the webisode "Good Morning Storybrooke", some of Dr. Whale's "advice" on love relationships suggests that if you are having a troubled relationship, you should go to Mr. Gold's shop, have him cut out your heart and put it in a box, and show it to your significant other. They should notice you a little more.
  • 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-Villain: 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.
  • Apologetic Attacker: While he's under Zelena's control, he repeatedly apologizes while threatening Robin Hood's son.
  • At Least I Admit It: A key difference between him and Regina is that Rumple acknowledges he's no saint and even in those moments where his more noble qualities are absent he fully concedes that he is largely motivated by self-interest. At one point it drives him up the wall that Regina blames Snow for her problems when they are actually due to her own actions.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He and Regina, weirdly enough - he truly does want her to be happy and tells Zelena that if he had to choose (again) between her and Regina to cast his curse, he'd choose Regina every time.
  • 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: He's the one who wrote the curse in the first place, after all. Despite the huge amount of power he has, the most dangerous talent Rumple has is his mind.
  • 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.
  • Badass in Distress: He's spent the last half of season three as Zelena's prisoner. Armed with his dagger, she's kept him locked in a cage in a storm cellar.
  • 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.
  • Bait the Dog: Rumple is a master at this trope. Just when you think that maybe he's turning over a new leaf, he does something horrible again.
  • 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.
    • Pulls a major one over on Hook in the fourth season. Hook tries to blackmail him for his hand back, and Gold gives it to him, while warning him that the hand came from a time when Hook was a much worse man than he is now, but Hook doesn't believe him. When seems like the hand is influencing Hook badly, he demands to have it removed again, willing to do whatever Gold asks of him. Only after the deal is struck does Gold inform him that it was never the hand, just the suggestion Gold put in his head that any bad behavior after its reattachment wouldn't "really" be Hook's fault, screwing with his subconscious. Gold then caps with off with using the payment he extracts from Hook as blackmail to keep the man in his service.
    • He gets another in Series 4 as well. When his original plan to use the hat to gain ABSOLUTE POWER fails and he is banished by Belle, he uses Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella De Vil to get back to Storybrooke and unleash chaos. Way to turn a miserable failure into revenge.
  • 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.
    • It gets worse: he was originally supposed to be a Savior, but his mother changed his destiny to protect him, resulting in him becoming the Dark One instead. Ouch.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Rumpelstiltskin's deals sometimes turn out this way for the people willing to pay the price. Sometimes they realise what they asked for isn't what they needed or wanted, or they misinterpret what Rumpel is offering. One thing Rumpel never does is lie about what he offers or his price.
    • "Manhattan" reveals that he despised being labeled as "the coward's son", and yet he decided to desert out of both fear for his own life, and so as not to miss the birth of his son. Chronologically, this is hammered home when Bae angrily calls him a coward as he refuses to join him through a portal to another realm.
  • 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.
  • Being Good Sucks: His attempt to sacrifce himself to save his loved ones and Storybrooke from Pan ended up being negated when Zelena tricked Bae into sacrificing himself so the Dark One could be resurrected. It put him off heroics for the time being.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Rumpelstiltskin is an Affably Evil Giggling Villain who generally behaves as though everything is a big joke...but piss him off and it may just be the last thing you ever do. (And that's if he doesn't decide to put you through a couple rounds of Cold-Blooded Torture before killing you.)
    • The Sheriff of Nottingham is clearly fooled by Rumpel's act and regards him as someone not to be taken seriously when he tells Rumpel that the price of giving him information is a night with Belle. The horrified expression on Belle's face when the Sheriff says this visibly affects Rumpel. While Rumpel doesn't rip his face off, the way both his expression and body language changed should have made it clear to the Sheriff that he'd just stepped way over the line...if he hadn't of been too drunk to notice. Rumpel does give him a chance to change his mind, the Sheriff keeps pushing for Rumpel to give him Belle, and finally Rumpel proposes a new deal...that the Sheriff does not like but has no choice but to accept.
  • Big Bad: For Season 4 (albeit sharing the role), after he slips back into his old habits and decides to free himself from the Dagger. When that fails, he reforms a team of villains (known as the Queens of Darkness) to find villains a happy ending after his heart is consumed with darkness. However, the role eventually goes to Isaac in the season finale.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: In Season 4 with Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella. He recruits the three villainesses to aid him in his plan. He's the director of the operation but these three witches are just as manipulative as he is (especially Cruella and Ursula when he first recruits them, and Maleficent even alters a deal with Gold - twice). Gold and Maleficent are the main Big Bad Duumvirate of the season, with Maleficent being the de facto head of the Queens. Eventually the witches are picked off one by one with Ursula finding her happy ending, Cruella being killed and Maleficent just plain out leaving and forming an Enemy Mine with Emma and Regina, and Gold forms a new duumvirate with Isaac, the Author.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With the Evil Queen/Regina in Season 1 with his deals and manipulations making him more behind the plot than Regina (whom he helped for his own purposes). As a result, a power struggle occurs between him and Regina.
    • He shares another ensemble role alongside Snow Queen/Ingrid in the first half of Season 4, once again working with her and against her in turns.
    • His alliance with the Queens of Darkness, Isaac, and Zelena in the second half can also be considered this, seeing as Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula have their own separate agendas and reasons for working with him and each other, and the same holds for Isaac and Zelena.
  • 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).
  • 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]].
    • Similar, he lost his son because he couldn't hold on to the dagger and Neal/Bael at the same time and choose the dagger. He regained his son, if only for a little, because of that same choice, only choosing his son this time.
  • 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.
    • When Zelena brings him back from the dead, she has the dagger, meaning he was under her control. It had the unfortunate effect of un-doing all his previous character development he got in the first half of Season 3.
  • Brought Down to Badass: He managed to defeat Dark Hook, while powerless, despite the fact that Dark Hook was infinitely more powerful than he was and could have destroyed him hundreds of times over.
  • 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. Even more so now given the end of season 4 - Rumple is no longer the Dark One thanks to life-saving (or at least heart and ability to love-saving) magical intervention by the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Rumpelstiltskin can't remember turning a butcher into a pig, but apparently that guy's son does.
  • Came Back Wrong: After being resurrected by the Wicked Witch, he seems even more loopy than in the Enchanted Forest. "Quiet Minds" reveals his insanity was due to a desperate attempt to save his son from the sacrifice he made to revive Rumple.
  • 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. (Incidentally, the same man is also Belle's father in the Enchanted Forest.) 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. We're not kidding. You try and find a plot that he isn't involved in!
    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. The true significance of the doll is later revealed, specifically the name which Rumple gave it as a child: Peter Pan.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality: Before he became the Dark One and again in season one as. Mr. Gold, Rumpelstilskin'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. Season 7 adds Carl Fredrickson.
  • 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, Cora and Zelena magic. That ended well.
  • 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.
  • Cowboy Cop: Weaver in Season 7.
  • 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. In Season 4, he tries to circumvent this by getting hold of the Sorcerer's Hat, an artifact that absorbs magical powers. He wants to use it to collect enough power to break the dagger's connection. He can have power and be totally free]].
  • 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. His price also varies from extremely valuable things like jewelry, family heirlooms, magical artifacts and lifetimes of Indentured Servitude to seemingly worthless trifles like a lock of hair, an item of clothing, or even just a name. Subverted in that he is always up front and unambiguous about his price to whomever accepts his deals, and he always delivers exactly what they ask for. There are many times where people have profited from his deals as much as he does. The danger in accepting a deal from Rumpelstiltskin as many other characters realize is that while they may not have to give up much at all, he always wants something that will further his plans that may end up causing problems for them later.
  • 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 "Nasty Habits", 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. In his own words: "I'm a villain. And villains... don't get happy endings."
    • Season 7 brings this side of Rumple back - specifically, he wants to become mortal again in order to rejoin Belle in the afterlife.
  • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: His plan to have Emma sucked into the Sorcerer's Hat. Although thankfully it didn't work, he seemed to overlook the fact that Emma would be missed by almost the whole town.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: In the second half of Season 3, the Wicked Witch possessed his dagger. In Season 5B, he had been Demoted to Dragon by Hades.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Regina may rule over Storybrooke with an iron first, but Mr. Gold has everyone in his back pocket, mayor included.
  • Dramatic Irony: Since stealing the Blind Seer's precognitive powers, many throwaway comments from various characters take on a different significance to him (and usually the audience). He even lampshades it in "The Miller's Daughter":
    Cora: Brides have to be snow-white.
    Rumplestiltskin: (giggles) When you can see the future, there is irony everywhere.
    • From "Quite a Common Fairy", when he stumbles upon Regina having a solitary dinner:
    Rumpelstiltskin: Roast swan. That's amusing! You'll get that later.
  • 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.
    • And once again in the season 4 finale, when he and Belle talk about why he wanted their happy ending in the book - because he loves her, but still doesn't understand how anyone could ever love him.
  • 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.
    "I'm a villain. And villains... don't get happy endings."
  • 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 justifiably 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).
    • In the Season 3 finale, we learn that his castle contains an entire vault of magical items that he stashed away simply because he considered them too dangerous and unpredictable to use. When The Dark One, who fucks up shit on a regular basis, considers something too dangerous and unpredictable to use, that's saying something. They're basically Names to Run Away From...
    • Defies this trope midway through Season 4. While attempting to trick Emma, the mother of his grandson, into getting absorbed by the Sorcerer's Hat and called out on it by Hook, Rumple casually brushes the notion aside.
    • Given how Gold speaks with Zelena in Bleeding Through, its implied that he considered using the Time Travel spell himself, then decided that too much shit could be fucked up and decided against it.
  • 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.
    • Later reveals in 2x09 that he was not without his powers and was remaining in the cell because it put him exactly where he wanted to be when the curse was enacted. And, yes, it was only to make everyone think he was powerless... while he was still fucking up all the shit. Without even doing anything.
  • 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.
    • It's even lampshaded in his choice of clothing before joining the quest to Neverland. He claims it's a reminder of what he needs to become in order to succeed.
  • Exact Words:
    • Anyone, good or bad, making a deal with him had better pay real close attention.
    • Belle calls him out on this at one point, and Charming points out that it's a bad idea in a real relationship.
      Gold: I don't lie.
      Charming: No, but there's more to the truth than just not lying.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Nearly every single new fictional character is introduced with a backstory which involved Rumpelstiltskin dealing with or using them for some purpose or other. The Dark One had his fingers in practically every single pie in the Enchanted Forest and beyond.
  • 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.
    • His addiction to power. Every time he comes close to a Heel–Face Turn or earning a happy ending, he finds something powerful enough to slide him back into villainy, most notably Season 4A.
  • Flanderization: In Season 4, all of his negative traits become amplified and his positive ones diminished. He also plans to take over the world, once he cleaves himself from the dagger. Toward the end, this was explained as due to the darkness in his heart that had grown from his centuries of evil deeds consuming it, causing him to lose all of his positive traits and might ultimately kill his entire personality, leaving only the Dark One.
  • Forgot About His Powers: He hasn't used the ability to see the future he took from the Seer since Season 2, and it hasn't been mentioned since Season 3.
  • Freudian Excuse: He has a multitude of them, for a variety of aspects of his character.
  • 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 of 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 doing so while talking. As Mr. Gold, he just smirks.
  • Gold Tooth: Appropriately as Mr. Gold.
  • Grandpa, What Massive Hotness You Have: As Gold he does have a certain charismatic appeal.
  • 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]].
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He really wants to be the good man Belle and Bae want him to be, and he succeeds... until something tempts him to go back to his old habits.
    • In Season 4, he claims that all of his efforts to do good have come to naught... his son is dead, Storybrooke is in peril, and Belle is completely wrong about him. Rumple declares that he will always be a selfish, power hungry man, going as far as to try and kill the love of his son's life and mother of his grandson just to be free of the dagger.
    • In Season 5, Gold spends the majority of the first half of the season trying to be a better man after becoming mortal and powerless, again, before secretly enchanting Excalibur to transfer the darkness to back to himself upon Hook's death, becoming not just the Dark One (again), but the most powerful Dark One to have ever lived.
    • In Season 6, he starts off bad, then tries to be good in order to help his son Gideon, then goes bad again by teaming up with his mother, only to go good again in the season finale.
    • In Season 7, his cursed persona appears to be a Dirty Cop in the pocket of Victoria Belfrey. He is actually a Cowboy Cop who really does not tolerate Victoria's influence.
  • 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.
  • Hellish Pupils: As Rumpelstiltskin.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After much build-up, he finally performs one in "Going Home".
  • 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: Within depths within depths.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: A lot of Rumpel's personal problems stem from his inability to choose love and just be happy. In Season 4, if he had just been content with Belle he would still be with her.
  • 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. However, he later finds a way to let him leave.
  • Hot for Student: During his time teaching Cora, and she returns his feelings. He doesn't, however, fall for her daughter, Zelena, though she falls for him in the third season.
  • Humanity Ensues: What almost happens when Belle kisses him and what (technically) happens after the curse is cast.
  • Hypocrite: While Cora started Regina down the road to darkness, Rumple made damn sure she continued down it.
  • 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.
    • Subverted in "Going Home".
  • I Did What I Had to Do: 'The end justifies the means' pretty much describes his entire character. He's a MASSIVE victim of Heel–Face Revolving Door for this reason. His intentions are pretty much always selfish-yet-noble, but he can never stay on the straight-and-narrow for very long.
  • I Know Your True Name: Knowing people's names gives him power over them.
  • 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 that 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.
    • Grabs it firmly in Season 4, where he becomes a villain again, even though he has good shot at a happy ending. He gets banished from Storybrooke by Belle.
  • Informed Ability:
    • In the pilot, a guard warns Snow and Charming that Rumpelstiltskin has power over everyone he knows the name and face of. This is never mentioned again. Perhaps in this case, it's justified/handwaved if you assume that the guard's statement is meant to be taken at metaphorical value rather than literally - if Rumpelstiltskin knows who you are, it means he knows how you relate to everyone else and thus can tailor his deals appropriately.
    • He claims to be able to recognize a lie because he can recognize the burden. Like Henry and Emma, his Living Lie Detector fails when emotions cloud his judgement.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: There are several hints that he yearns for the days when he was just a simple weaver.
  • I Own This Town:
    • In Storybrooke, he does. We're not kidding. 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.
  • 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!
  • 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 Bae 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.)
    • Subverted in Season 3, where he realizes the only way to protect his girlfriend, son and grandson is through his own death, after which he commits a Heroic Sacrifice. The aftermath of that sacrifice, though, doesn't exactly give him reason to believe that doing the right thing is worth the cost as he ends up being enslaved by Zelena and loses his beloved son anyway.
    • Played painfully straight in Season 4, where he's willing to kill the mother of his grandson for power and later chooses to condemn the entire town (sans Belle and Henry) to destruction simply because it's convenient for his plans. He outright says to Hook that he will value his own needs above everyone else's, every single time.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his jerkish qualities, he genuinely loves his son and Belle. In season two, he gave Henry a protective charm to help with the after effects of the slapping curse and didn't ask for anything in return. This was before he knew that Henry was his grandson. In season three, he sacrificed his life to save Henry from Peter Pan. When he was resurrected, he was willing to trade his freedom in an attempt to save Neal and Belle.
  • 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.
    • In the season 3 finale, not only does he trick Belle into believing she has the Dark One's dagger when it's actually a fake and use the real deal to kill a powerless and imprisoned Zelena out of revenge, he also has the nerve to act offended when he's accused of having something to do with her death and use Belle (who utterly believes that he's changed his ways and is innocent) as an unknowing alibi. He keeps the act in season 4.
  • Joker Immunity: Dies. Multiple times. Keeps barely surviving.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • His only retribution for his crimes so far is being separated 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.
    • 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.
    • Played straight in the Season 6 finale, where he decides to do the right thing for once after literally just having helped create the horrible situation everyone is currently in, and is Easily Forgiven by everyone, including Belle who takes him back.
  • Kill It with Fire: Cinderella's poor fairy godmother never even got a chance to scream.
  • Kiss of Distraction: Tries this on Zelena in an attempt to retrieve his dagger. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
  • Knight Templar Parent: He is 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.
  • Lack of Empathy: Unless it connects to him or he can relate to it due to similarities to his own issues, never expect him to give a damn about other people's problems. As he once tells Hook, "when it comes to concerning myself with me versus everyone else, me wins every time!"
  • Large Ham: Robert Carlyle plays both ends of the spectrum. He takes this up to eleven as Rumplestiltskin, and masterfully subverts it as Mr. Gold. As Rumplestiltskin he leaves no scenery unchewed. Oozing menace, climbing the walls, theatrically gesturing, hissing his lines with malice or howling in rage, he owns every minute he's onscreen. In his Mr. Gold getup, Carlyle depicts him as a subtle, calculating, always in control schemer who is as smooth as the expensive silk suits he wears. He is always unruffled and subtly takes control of every situation he's in. It's notable that he always speaks in a low voice, which helps him manipulate others because they have to stop whatever they're doing and listen carefully to him in order to hear what he's saying. And as Mr. Gold, he also owns every minute he's onscreen.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After being a Karma Houdini for a long time, he gets it hard' in Season 4 where after half a season lying to Belle, she banishes him from Storybooke and ends their relationship.
  • Laughing Mad: As Rumpelstiltskin. Taken Up to Eleven in the second half of season 3, after the Wicked Witch revives him from his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Lighter and Softer: You wouldn't think it would be possible but, despite being much more powerful, clever and dangerous in this version than 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 than as a housekeeper), is at lot less evil than kidnapping and threatening to kill an old man if his daughter didn't take his place.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Despite his insistence that I Am Not My Father, and his going 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.
  • Living Lie Detector: It runs in the family. He easily gets that Wendy was lying because he was used to 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.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Even Evil Has Loved Ones. Unfortunately that same love drives him to want to acquire more power.
  • 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.
    • From "Witch Hunt": "You feed the madness, and it feeds on you!"
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: His Storybrooke name, Mr. Gold, is a reference to both the original and Enchanted Forest fairy tales, in which he spun gold from straw. Likewise his Seattle name, Weaver.
  • Memory Jar: He can apparently use a dreamcatcher to capture and hold memories.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: From his cell, he arranged for the Evil 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.
    "I'm exactly where I wanna be!"
  • Motive Decay: His driving motivation was to find his son and earn his forgiveness and become a good man, but after Neal is killed by Zelena, Gold's goals are less than noble. He tries to cleave himself from the dagger by ways of a complicated ritual that involves killing Hook. Belle banishes him when she finds out. So he teams up with Cruella, Ursula, Maleficent and Zelena, his son's murderer, to plot his vengeance.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The Reveal of "The Miller's Daughter" that he had a budding romance with Cora before she went off with Prince Henry certainly puts a new spin on his arranging things so that Regina would have to kill Henry in order to enact the Dark Curse.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • The one promise he ever broke: he was given a chance to live with his son in another world that was without magic, freeing him from the mantle of the Dark One, but couldn't let go of his power and lost his son. He set out making the Dark Curse as a means of fixing this.
    • Perhaps replaced as of Season 2, as he considers himself indirectly responsible for Baelfire's (apparent) death. This event (plus Lacey suggesting he should just kill the boy who will be his downfall) clearly mark the points at which he seriously starts to reconsider his stance on who he should be blaming. Both events hit right at home at the two things we know he holds sacred at any and all times of his life: his son and children.
      Mr Gold: They didn't kill him. I did.
  • Neutral No Longer: He probably would have become relatively harmless (if unhelpful) after Bae's death. But then Greg and Tamara just had to try and 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.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: He's an odd version of this in that while he has killed a number of innocent people for poorly justified reasons, he's just never killed anyone whom 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 ran off with his wife and then later kidnapped 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.
    • He eventually drops this in Season 4. In an attempt to be free of his dagger, Rumple attempts to trick Emma, someone who he acknowledges as a hero, into being absorbed into his magic hat. He freely admits to Ingrid and Hook that he is betraying her for purely selfish reasons.)
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After the battle with Zelena with Zelena being put in prison, Belle gives him the Dark One's Dagger, and then he proceeds to stab Zelena with said dagger, destroying her body but bringing back the time portal which led to Hook and Emma changing the past...
  • 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.
  • No Social Skills: He can more or less get by when dealing with people from the Enchanted Forest. However, when it comes to dealing with people from the real world, his lack of social skills becomes blatantly obvious. It's especially highlighted when Emma took him to the airport in their quest to find Baelfire. Him snapping at the airport staff and the other people waiting in line, which quite possibly could have landed him on a no-fly-list in real life, showed just how little he knew about dealing with people in modern times. He does, however, overcome this weakness by the latter part of the fourth season after Belle banishes him from the town and he's forced to adapt to modern times all on his own. Though we're not shown how exactly he's acclimated himself into the modern world, we do know that he's gained some sort of credentials for himself as a professor and even learned to use the internet. And in order to survive in the modern world as a handicapped man with no more magic to fend for himself, Gold presumably had to improve his social skills on some level.
  • 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 "undoing".
  • 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.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Bae's apparent death pretty much made him indifferent and almost a Death Seeker.
  • Our Demons Are Different: While only ever called a demon on one or two occasions, it's probably what he is. 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 a demon. 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 (you're allowed to call for him, he just may choose not to answer), he can be controlled via magical artefact (providing he doesn't stab you to death with it first) in a similar way to genies.
  • Overarching Villain: The longest-lasting villain in the series who has not made a stable Heel–Face Turn, plus the catalyst for many of the bad events and other villains in the show.
  • 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.
    • He goes to great lengths to protect his and Belle's unborn child as well, up to and including letting Hades use him, selling out Storybrooke, and going to the land of untold stories to wake Belle up. As Belle puts it, "no one will fight for this child like its father."
  • Parental Abandonment: When he was a young child, his father left him too. Tragically, he didn't learn from this and did the same to his own son as well. At least he was more remorseful for his actions than his father.
    • It gets even worse when it's shown he was abandoned by his mother, the Black Fairy, in exchange for power as well.
  • Parents as People: Before and after becoming the Dark One, Rumpelstiltskin shows himself to be a loving, if very flawed father.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Once he's freed from Zelena's control, he immediately plots to exact his revenge against her, since he promised his son he would do so.
  • 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.
    • In "The New Neverland", after Charming returns to Storybrooke still poisoned by dreamshade, Rumple simply hands him the cure and accepts nothing in return.
    • In the season 3 finale, he helps Emma and Hook from the future reconstruct Snow and Charming's relationship. Later, back in the present, he and Belle are married.
  • 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 long-term 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.
  • Powerful and Helpless: When he initially loses Baelfire through a dimensional portal, getting back to him is ironically beyond Rumpel's vast powers which he had become addicted to. He does discover another way to reach the other realm, but it requires centuries of planning, manipulation and dirty deals. This is how he evolves into The Chessmaster of the series, and his greatest power becomes his mastery of the Xanatos Gambit.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: To Zelena: "I promised my son I would avenge his death. Rumpelstiltskin never breaks a deal."
  • 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 probably 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.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: When he needs help looking for Belle his sad look even works on Charming.
  • 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.
    • Once again when he chooses to give into his desire for revenge and kills Zelena, despite Belle having absolute trust in him not to do so.
    • After spending most of season 5 a normal human again and trying to be a hero it's revealed to be an act as the moment he had a chance to obtain the powers of the Dark One again he happily takes it. He then gains the power of every single Dark One that has existed including Emma.
  • 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. Ultimately subverted as he'll always crave the powers of the Dark One even as a normal human.
  • 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.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: is part of one spanning centuries.
    • First, he loses Bae to the world without magic, who by actions outside of Rumple's control, manages to become mature by the 20th century.
    • Then, to get to Bae, he manipulates history to get not only people to enact the curse, but also sets up the counter for the curse to be born just in time for its activation. Said counter (Emma) grew up in the 20th century world without magic, maturing to adulthood.
    • Next, by sheer coincidence, without Rumples direct input or influence, Bae and Emma meet up and conceive Henry. Once Henry is put up for adoption, Rumple arranges for Regina to adopt him, knowing he is the son of the savior, but unaware that he is his grandson, and effectively, his own undoing.
    • Which means, Henry only exists due to Rumples actions, and therefore fulfills the prophecy.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Twice. First he kills his father Malcolm/Peter Pan with the Dark One's Dagger, later he kills his mother Fiona/the Black Fairy with her own wand.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Well, according to one particular student:
    Regina: Rumpel was a bully. He didn't suffer fools and he certainly didn't coddle his students. And if he tried to teach you how to swim and you couldn't learn... you drowned.
  • 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 singsong snake voice the less he has Baelfire around as a Morality Pet.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Neither of his cursed personas use "dearie" until the show reveals that he has his memories back.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The show consistently spells Rumpelstiltskin's name as "Rumplestiltskin".
  • Spoiler Opening: Not many were surprised to see Rumplestiltskin alive and well during the second half of Season 3, due to Robert Carlyle's name not disappearing from the main cast credits.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: He enjoys surprising those who summon him by showing up immediately behind them.
  • 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.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Why Rumpel is permanently stuck in the Heel–Face Revolving Door. If he did permanently turn good, he could defeat every foe that showed up and there'd be no real conflict anymore. Justified since Emma spent some time as a Dark One and succumbed to the lure of its power a little bit; there's something about evil magic that still steers even the purest-hearted person in the direction of manipulation and deceit.
  • 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.
  • Super Strength: Or at least enhanced strength, which as Rumbelstiltskin he demonstrates several times. One notable instance is when Belle falls from a height of at least ten feet and he catches her effortlessly.
  • 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".
  • Teacher/Student Romance: His relationship with Cora had a tendency to include deals sealed with a kiss, Squick to the agonized cries of some viewers.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He was never particularly nice to begin with, but he's really taken his villainy up a notch in Season 4, which ends up becoming an almost fatal plot-point for him toward the end.
  • 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.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Season 3 puts him through a particularly vicious one at the hands of Zelena. She tricks his son into bringing him back from the dead, eventually killing Neal - but not before Rumpel absorbs his son for a year in an effort to keep him alive, driving the Dark One insane once again. Once Neal dies - in front of Rumpel, no less - Zelena asserts control with his dagger to make him her puppet and force him to break all of his morals, including threatening to harm Belle and a child, all the while gloating that it was his fault for not picking her to enact the curse (which would have required her to kill him, driving it further that all of this was pointless). Oh, and he's kept in a cage in her storm cellar the entire time, not even allowed to attend his own son's funeral or wake. By the end, it's no wonder that he wants her dead.
    • Even before that, his life as a whole is one. His father is a manipulative sociopath who abandoned him, his wife hated him and abandoned him and his son for Hook, he keeps reuniting with and losing Belle and his son...
  • 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. It's worth noting that as both of his cursed personas, he doesn't use it until he is revealed to have his memories back.
  • 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.
  • Villainous B.S.O.D.:
    • Has one after he thinks his son has died in Episode 44...and after his son really does die in Episode 59.
    • He has another one after he kills his mother, the Black Fairy, in "The Final Battle: Part 2", his arm shaking and him staring silently at the pile of dust that was his mother until Belle comes in to snap him out of it.
  • 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.
    • Also, he gave Belle a fake dagger when they married. When she finds out, she's not happy.
  • 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.
  • Wealth's in a Name: His Storybrooke alias, "Mr. Gold," is a nod to his real identity as Rumpelstiltskin, but also serves as this considering he's a wealthy pawnbroker.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: All the people who have wronged Rumpelstiltskin end up regretting it. Or dead.
  • Wild Card: Given the multiple times he's gone through the Heel–Face Revolving Door and his tempestuous relationship with Belle and every major character in Storybrooke, it's safe to say that the only side he's really on is his own.
  • 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. More or less happened again after Bae died, after which he turned from occassional ally into full-blown villain, from the heroes' perspective. Without his purpose of protecting/finding his son, he seems to lose both his sense of morality and his grip on reality.
  • 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!
  • Would Hit a Girl: He knocks out Red because she was trying to stop him and Regina from cursing a well out of which Mary Margaret and Emma were going to come out. He is also shown to be very willing to beat Emma with a cane and threaten Wendy Darling with a sword before being stopped both times.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Averted when under Zelena's control he threatens Roland to get Robin to give up Regina's heart. He doesn't want to, but since Zelena has his dagger he really has no choice.
    • Almost subverted with Henry when he tries to kill him at the end of Season 2. He is stopped and comes to regret his actions shortly afterward. While he tries to kill Henry again in the Season 4 finale, he has different memories at this point that leave out his Freudian Excuse for not harming children.
  • You Are What You Hate: He's essentially a watered-downed version of his deadbeat father, Peter Pan.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Centuries of evil deeds have essentially turned his heart into a black lump, with only a little bit of love left. If the darkness truly consumes his heart, he'll die, hence why he wants to find the Author.
  • 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

    Tiana / Sabine 


Played By: Mekia Cox
Centric Episodes: "Greenbacks"

    Captain Killian "Hook" Jones (Wish Realm) / Rogers 

Captain Killian "Hook" Jones (Wish Realm)/Rogers
Played By: Colin O'Donoghue
Centric Episodes: "A Pirate's Life", "Eloise Gardener"

An alternate version of Hook created by the Evil Queen's wish for a world where Emma never became the Savior, who comes to the regular world in search of the same happiness the original found.
  • The Alcoholic: The original Hook enjoyed his rum, but this one let it take him badly to seed. Subverted in 7x02 when after acting drunk to get the original Hook's guard down, he reveals that he "hasn't touched a drop of rum for years".
  • Ascended Extra: Who would have expected a one-scene gag character to become a regular in the next season?
  • By-the-Book Cop: His cursed identity Rogers is the one good cop in Seattle.
  • Chess Motif: He's been repeatedly alluded as the White Knight. Alice even carried around a White Knight chess piece representing him.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After learning the original Hook and Emma are expecting a baby, he abandons his Kill and Replace scheme and goes back to make amends.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Rogers' as in Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Almost, as he accepts his impending death as just desserts for his evil acts. Luckily for him, neither Emma or the original Hook are having any of that.

Introduced as Regular

    Cinderella / Jacinda 


Played By: Dania Ramirez, Alejandra Pérez (teen)
Centric Episodes: "Hyperion Heights", "The Garden of Forking Paths", "Pretty in Blue"

  • Adaptational Badass: A far more adept combatant than most versions.
  • Meaningful Name: Her curse name of Jacinda sounds similar to Cinderella and means "hyacinth," the flower that keeps popping up in relation to her throughout "Hyperion Heights".
  • The Other Darrin: In-universe; "Hyperion Heights" states that there are infinite realms with alternate versions of existing characters, so this one is Latina rather than bring back the original blue-eyed blonde version previously played by Jessy Schram.
  • You Killed My Father: Her motivation on going to the ball is to get revenge against the prince for her father's death, though she can't bring herself to go through with it.



Played By: Alison Fernandez

    Lady Tremaine / Victoria Belfrey 

Lady Rapunzel Tremaine/Victoria Belfrey

Played By: Gabrielle Anwar, Meegan Warner (young)
Centric Episodes: "One Little Tear"

  • Abusive Parents: Poor, poor Drizella. Tremaine was willing to kill her and use her heart to bring back Anastasia. Even in Hyperion Heights, she cannot give the girl a single compliment.
  • Adaptational Badass: While she has no magic of her own, she does possess magical items that let her use magic which is more than most versions of Tremaine have.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Downplayed. While she's still a villain, she has an understandable reason to hate Cinderella - she blames the latter for the death of her daughter Anastasia.
  • Big Bad: For Season 7 due to her efforts to gentrify Hyperion Heights bringing her into conflict with the good guys. She turns out to unknowingly be in a Big Bad Ensemble against her own daughter Drizella, who actually cast the new curse, and Mother Gothel, the witch she kept prisoner who is really working with Drizella.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: As soon as Drizella turns out to have plans of her own with Gothel and be the actual caster of the Dark Curse, Tremaine is quickly removed from the playing field after Drizella and Gothel get her arrested.
  • Composite Character: Of several previous villains. She wants the Heart of the Truest Believer for her plans like Pan, and hates a stepchild for causing the death of a loved one like Regina. Just like Rumple and Maleficent, she is motivated by losing her child and like Hook her actions are driven by revenge after losing a loved one. Finally, she keeps a prisoner and has an antagonistic relationship with them exactly like Jafar.
    • She is both Lady Tremaine and Rapunzel.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: While Regina kept all the fairy tale characters in Storybrooke, Lady Tremaine's goal is to gentrify Hyperion Heights and drive the characters out. In addition, she has no magic of her own, and all of the magic that she does use is facilitated by magical items. She never cast the Dark Curse either; that was her daughter, Drizella. She only took advantage of what the curse gave her.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Her first appearance in "Hyperion Heights" is straight out of The Devil Wears Prada.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In contrast to other versions of Tremaine, this one genuinely loved Anastasia, and is distraught by her death.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Favors Anastasia, who was pure of heart, over Drizella, who is scheming and mean-spirited like herself.
  • Hope Crusher: Since Henry and Lucy's hearts are protected in Hyperion Heights, she needs to crush their belief to revive Anastasia.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The kind-hearted Rapunzel became Cinderella's wicked stepmother. Even more shocking since this Rapunzel is based on the Tangled version.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She tends to manipulate others into carrying out her ends.
  • Meaningful Name: As in the belfry of a tower.
  • Mythology Gag: She only has magic because she stole a Fairy Godmother's wand. Guess how Lady Tremaine got powers in Cinderella III: A Twist in Time.
  • The Other Darrin: Alternate version of the same characters were previously played by Lisa Banes (Tremaine) and Alexandra Metz (Rapunzel). Again, this is in-universe: she's from the same realm as the above-mentioned version of Cinderella.
  • Parental Favoritism: Makes no secret about favoring Anastasia over Drizella, even saying "not all daughters are created equal".
  • Tragic Villain: In true Once tradition, Lady Tremaine's not acting purely out of malice; her plan is to break Lucy's spirit so she can steal her heart and revive Anastasia.