Characters: Once Upon A Time Main Characters
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Core Cast Members
Emma Swan: "You wanna change things? You're gonna have to go out there and change them yourself because there are no fairy godmothers in this world."
Centric Episodes: "Tallahassee", "The Heart of the Truest Believer", "Going Home", "Snow Drifts", "There's No Place Like Home", "Breaking Glass", "Shattered Sight"
A bail bondswoman and bounty hunter, Emma is the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Her own son, previously given up for adoption, brings her back to Storybrooke so she can end the Dark Curse.
- Action Girl: Efficient with physical combat, guns, and swords.
- Action Mom: Her previous job as a bail bond agent was very active work and she can still kick butt as sheriff.
- Agent Scully: To Henry's and August's Mulder.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: To Neal, right before he gets sucked in by the magic portal.
- Anti-Hero: Type II. Emma is presented as more pragmatic and cynical in stark contrast to her classic hero parents.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, come to Neverland with Captain Hook to rescue her son from Peter Pan (all of which she's accepted) has a bit of a "Oh, come on" tone to her voice when she deduces the fairy Hook wants to work with is Tinker Bell. And it's not that she doesn't believe in fairies, either.
- She also doesn't believe that the Wicked Witch of the West is real. Hook calls her out on it.
- Audience Surrogate: Increasingly becoming this after breaking the curse with her reactions to the show's version of fairy tale characters and creatures.
- Badass: Her Establishing Character Moment showing her as a bail bond agent displays this.
- Badass Princess: She's technically this since she's Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter.
- Bad Liar: She may be able to tell when other people are lying, but she isn't good at lying herself.
- Because Destiny Says So: It's why she's there in the first place.
- Birds of a Feather: With a girl named Lily in the past, until it turns out that Lily wasn't really an orphan and actually had a family and a home. Emma was never able to forgive her for the deception, but now she wishes she had.
- Bounty Hunter: Bail bond agent, really.
- Broken Bird: Emma is still very hurt over being abandoned as a baby, compounded by being left to get arrested as an accomplice to her boyfriend's theft, resulting in her giving birth while still imprisoned. As a result, she's reluctant to let people in.
- Brought Down to Normal: In order for Zelena to force her lips to touch Hook's, she drowns him. Emma resuscitates him and loses her magic afterward. She doesn't mourn its loss however, as she claims not to need it when she and Henry return to New York. Later subverted in "There's No Place Like Home" as the desperation to get back to the present unwittingly powers the magic wand she's holding.
- Cartwright Curse: She has it pretty bad. Graham died, August died (though he did get revived as Pinocchio, but that makes him a kid again ending any potential relationship), and even Neal sacrificed his life to bring his father back. She lampshades this in Rocky Road, telling Hook that she's afraid the same thing will happen to him now that they're together.
- Cassandra Truth: No one takes her suspicions of Tamara seriously, thinking she's instead jealous of her.
- Catch Phrase: "Seriously?" Also, "What the hell?" and variations thereof.
- The Chosen One: Emma is destined to save those in Storybrooke according to Henry's stories.
- Color Motif/Law of Chromatic Superiority: Emma is first introduced wearing red and continues to often wear a scarlet leather jacket throughout the series.
- Cowboy Cop: Is willing to bend or even break the law in the course of her investigations.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Not that it helps her stop feeling bitter about it even after being reunited with her parents.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Invoked by name during the sheriff election. Regina dug up Emma's past, including juvie records that were supposed to be sealed and smeared them across the front page, along with a very unflattering mugshot. As the seasons progress and we learn more of her backstory, it just gets worse. In many ways, she was the Chew Toy.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of her dialogue is snark. Overlaps with Stepford Snarker.
- Determinator: She becomes this in season 3 when Henry gets kidnapped and taken to Neverland.
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: The usually very closed off Emma shows she very much can feel when she finally opens up to Graham.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Starts off as a Badass Normal but is shown to have some magical abilities starting in Season 2.
- Establishing Character Moment: Emma's inner demons are on full display as we see her do something incredibly tough for her job, only to come back to her apartment, blowing out the candle on a cupcake alone.
- Everyone Can See It: Regina makes it clear that nobody is fooled by her claims that she and Hook are Just Friends.
Emma: What are you talking about?
Regina: Seriously? You're going to pretend nobody sees the yearning looks and doe eyes?
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Due to being born of true love, she is capable of wielding very powerful light magic, in opposition to the villains' dark. Also, see Living Lie Detector and Super Empowering.
- Fair Cop: When she becomes deputy and later sheriff.
- Fatal Flaw:
- Emma's low sense of self-worth and lack of faith in herself led her to attempt to play by Regina's rules, thus nearly losing Henry and almost leaving Storybrooke at the climax of Season 1. Halfway through Season 2, Emma seems to have come to terms with her issues, but it's superficial. Emma still acts on her self-doubt, and with major consequences for Regina. It's probably the only thing keeping her from being a good version of Regina. "A Curious Thing" shows that she's starting to get over this as she grows more confident in using her own magic.
- She is also prone to rash but well-intentioned action without thought of consequence. Regina calls her out on this in the season 3 finale.
- Fish out of Water: In the Enchanted Forest.
- "Snow Drifts" reveals that she feels like this about living in Storybrooke.
- Former Teen Rebel: As seen in "Tallahassee" she was a petty crook, stealing and fencing some goods.
- Foster Kid: Raised in the system because no one was there to claim her; initially because August/Pinocchio abandoned her in the real world as a baby.
- Flat Earth Atheist: For most of the first season she willingly blinds herself to the truth that Henry's book is right, even though the proof is all around her.
- Genre Blind: At first because she doesn't believe in magic. Later in Season 2, it takes her a bit to realize her gun is not the best weapon in the Enchanted Forest. And she only starts believing this even after trying to shoot down Dragon!Maleficent didn't work.
- Good Counterpart: Like Regina, she is manipulated by Rumpel into becoming The Hero and The Villain. She also discovers she has magic.
- Good Is Not Nice: Has shades of Type I and III.
- Heel Realization: When Snow White reveals that she isn't dead, a tearful Emma throws her arms around her, forgetting in her relief that she's hugging a Snow from the past who hasn't had her yet and doesn't know who she really is. That's what prompts her to realize that she's been breaking her mother's heart every time she refused to acknowledge her family.
Emma: I hugged her, and you know what I saw in her eyes? Nothing. She didn’t know who I was. I’d saved her and lost her too, and that’s what I’ve been doing to her since I met her.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Emma is usually seen wearing a red leather jacket.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: She's not only immune to Cora's heart-ripping but she can also blast Cora back.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Double subverted. She goes to fight Maleficent with one, but quickly discards it for it for a gun. But Guns Are Useless. As soon as she goes back for the sword, she wins the fight.
- Heroic Neutral:
- Emma was totally ready to go back to her crappy life if only Regina could have kept her mouth shut.
- And then she was totally ready to go back to her crappy life again (with occasional visits with Henry), if only Regina hadn't tried to slip her a cursed apple turnover. And Regina knew she was about to leave...
- Heroic Sacrifice: In "Queen of Hearts" Emma takes the heart-stealing attack Cora aimed for her mother. She did more than survive, she No Sells the attack.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Seasons 1-3.
- Idiot Ball: In the Season 3 finale, Emma and Hook find themselves trapped in a past version of the Enchanted Forest. The first thing Emma does is explicitly mention that she and Hook need to be careful not to make any significant change to history. Then, at the end of the episode, she decides to bring one of Past!Regina's prisoners back to the present with them (read: a huge change to history). The full consequences have not been seen yet, but given who the prisoner turns out to be, things may get very unpleasant in season 4.
- I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: When August/Pinocchio tries to convince Emma that the curse trapping Storybrooke is real, she refuses to believe it and says that if the town is relying on her, "[they're] all screwed."
- In "Lost Girl", where Peter Pan offers her a map to Henry which will reveal itself only when she stops denying who she is, claiming the title of "savior" isn't enough. She's forced to come to terms with her lingering bitterness over being abandoned and living without a purpose (summed up as her being the eponymous "lost girl"), and only then does the map appear.
- Informed Ability: Emma's internal lie detector is quite faulty. Henry, Gold, Regina, Graham, Sydney, Cora, Aurora, Wendy and possibly Greg Mendell have successfully tricked her at some point. How effective she is at this basically boils down to what's needed for the plot.
- This is straight out acknowledged in "The Evil Queen". Snow points out it's faulty when she's emotional.
- It becomes a bit silly over time how often she needs to say that she has this ability just so the viewers don't forget.
- Insistent Terminology: She's a bail bondsperson. The rest of the cast eventually get used to saying the word.
- In the Blood: Her parents were the Big Good in the Enchanted Forest and their family motto is practically I Will Find You. Emma is the Big Good in Storybrooke and in both her job as a Bounty Hunter and town sheriff, her entire job revolves around finding people.
- Jerkass Façade: In the pilot.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's cynical and snarky, but there's no doubt that she's a good guy.
- Knight In Sour Armour: In stark contrast to her father Charming's Knight In Shining Armour.
- Knight Templar Parent: Emma occasionally slides into this, especially when she's up against Regina.
- Leap of Faith: Discussed in a Breaking Speech, Rumpel notes that for all the magical and mystical events that have happened to her, she has never made a genuine leap. Sure, she slew a dragon, but that's only because she saw it. She never acted on faith alone. She finally makes one by jumping off Hook's ship to get everyone's attention and stop them from fighting, which was just making the empathic storm all the stronger.
- Like Father, Like Son: Lampshaded by Mr. Gold in "The Cricket Game".
Gold: And [you have] your father's tact.
- The Leader: A Type II with some Type IV. As the team reaches Neverland, she's level headed enough to see that letting their personal baggage control their rescue mission won't help them save Henry. She's also strong-willed enough as the "savior" that Hook and Regina don't particularly argue with her self-appointment.
- Living Lie Detector: This trait is actually rather inconsistent. See Informed Ability.
- Long-Lost Relative: To Henry, Snow White and Prince Charming.
- Mama Bear: Despite not allowing him to call her "Mom", she is easily pissed and blindly protective of Henry when his happiness is threatened, sometimes verging into Knight Templar Parent territory.
- In "A Curious Thing", when Zelena tries to kill Henry, Emma manages to use her own magic to hurt Zelena enough to let him go.
- Meaningful Name: "Emma" means "all-embracing, universal; whole, complete"; and the show writers have stated that "Swan" is a reference to the story of The Ugly Duckling.
- Meganekko: "Tallahassee" shows that she wore glasses as a teen.
- Missing Mom: She has one and is one.
- Moses in the Bullrushes: Was teleported out of the fairy tale realm by way of a magic wardrobe before the curse overtook the kingdom.
- No Sell: She is the only known person to be able to resist having her heart stolen.
- Official Couple: Gets together with Hook in the grand finale of Season 3. According to Word of God, they were always intended to be canon.
- Only Sane Man: She thinks herself as this, but it is less true than it appears.
- The Paragon: To many of the patrons of Storybrooke. She basically advocates taking responsibility for your own problems.
- Parental Issues: Her parents "abandoned" her, and she later learns they're fairy tale characters who are the same age as her.
- Perpetual Frowner: Her default expression.
- Power Incontinence: The Snow Queen forces it on her, preventing her from being near anyone else and eventually making her desperate enough to want to get rid of all her magic. Luckily, Elsa lets her see that truly accepting the magic as part of her will let her get it under control.
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Lampshaded. When she's made a Sheriff's deputy, she objects to the uniform on the following basis.
Emma: A tie? You know, you don't have to dress a woman as a man to give her authority.
- The beginning of "The Tower" finally shows her wearing a very princess-appropriate dress. Sadly, the entire scene is just a nightmare that Charming has.
- Refusal of the Call: When directly confronted by August on her needing to start accepting that fairy tales are real, Emma adamantly refuses. Also, her initial skepticism regarding the veracity of fairy tales turns into a stubborn reluctance to accept Storybrooke as her home and join her real family.
- Reformed Criminal: "Tallahasee" reveals that Emma used to be a thief in her teen years before going to jail and having Henry. She went on to become a bail bond agent and eventually sheriff.
- Replacement Goldfish: For Ingrid, the Snow Queen who sees her as replacment for her sister Helga who mysteriously dissapered.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: See Badass Princess.
- Second Love: She is this to Hook.
- Seeker Archetype: While she typically tracks down people instead of The Truth, she won't rest until she gets the whole story.
- The Sheriff: Her job after episode 8.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!:
- In her very first scene when she is talking to her target who skipped on their bail.
- In "Queen of Hearts" she has a nice, simple one against Cora. "Love is Strength." See No Sell for what else happens.
- Skeptic No Longer: Finally realizes that Henry was right about the curse in the Season 1 finale.
- Spanner in the Works: Emma's mere presence in Storybrooke is slowly but surely changing everything in the town.
- Stepford Snarker: She snarks to hide the pain inside.
- Straight Man: The insanity usually plays out around her.
- Street Smart: Shown most notably in "Tallahassee".
- Strong Family Resemblance: Except for the hair—something she got from Charming—Emma looks remarkably like Snow White.
- Super Empowering: Along with her Action Girl powers from both sides of the family, and being somewhere between Living Lie Detector and outright Everything Sensor, Emma appears to have this power when she touches Regina, Regina's magic comes back to her. And because she was born of True Love, she holds a strong magic within her — strong enough to stop Cora from pulling her heart out.
- Supporting Protagonist: While she is the Savior and does break the original Dark Curse, most arcs have the Big Bad defeated through the actions of someone else entirely. Cora is killed by Mary Margaret, Regina does a Heel-Face Turn mostly because of Henry, and Rumple sacrifices himself to kill Pan.
- This overlaps with Decoy Protagonist in the second arc of Season 3 and the first arc of Season 4. The Enchanted Forest residents perform a second Dark Curse just to get back to her, and a big deal is made about Regina training her in magic to defeat Zelena, but she (temporarily) loses her powers, and Regina is the one to stop her sister. This situation repeats itself later with the Snow Queen. Emma and Elsa (immune to the Spell of Shattered Sight and having gained control over their powers) are said by many characters to be the only ones who can stop Ingrid. It's ultimately Anna, however, who is able to convince Ingrid to stop her rampage, while Emma and Elsa lie unconscious on the floor.
- Teen Pregnancy: She was only 18 when she had Henry. Being imprisoned at the time didn't help.
- Actually, she would be have to 17 since Henry was already 10 on her 28th birthday - potentially only sixteen when she first fell pregnant. But the show tends to be pretty fluid about their ages.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Snow's Girly Girl.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She certainly doesn't say "no" to feminine dresses.
- Tomboy Princess: Though she doesn't know it at first.
- Took a Level in Badass: While she was always a decent fighter and good head on her shoulders, with the kidnapping of Henry and her Leap of Faith above, she moved into a full leadership role by the end of the first episode of season 3.
- By "A Curious Thing" she is capable of using some magic offensively but her control over it is still weak.
- As of "Rocky Road" her offensive magic has gotten more powerful, and she was able to cast it with more ease. Of course this happened only when Hook was in danger.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Hot chocolate with cinnamon.
- Unfazed Everyman: Starting in the second season, after she realizes that magic is real.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: She comes to Neal's rescue in "Second Star to the Right".
- Taken a step further in "Rocky Road" when she is able to summon some pretty powerful magic to attack the Snow Queen with after she threatens Hook.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Is trying to build a friendship with Regina. After she confesses that she just wants to start being friends with Regina, Regina grudgingly admits she doesn't want to kill her.
Regina: [grumbling] I don't want to kill you.
Emma: [perks up] See? That's a start!
- Weirdness Censor: Emma's denial about the curse is so powerful that she is unable to see August's wooden leg.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Receives and delivers these often, but notable ones toward her include:
- Mary Margaret, being her mother (whether she realizes it or not), chastises Emma often regarding her actions towards Henry like almost kidnapping him from Regina and lying to him about his father.
- Henry delivers a hard one to her when he finds out Emma lied to him about his father being dead. The look on Emma's face when he compares her to Regina, his adoptive mother who also lied to him frequently, is a very potent mix of heartbroken, apologetic, and Oh, Crap.
- Wish Upon A Star: She made a wish upon a star-shaped candle on her 28th birthday.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In the first season, she seems to think she's in a Cop Show (her work), Lifetime Original Movie (the feud with Regina), or playing the This Is Reality card. Anything other than the story she's actually in.
- Wrong Guy First: While Neal may be her First Love, he also horribly betrayed her trust and emotionally scarred her for life
- Younger Than They Look: Emma as a teenager looked no different than Emma in the present, save for a pair of glasses and a change in hairstyle, and could have easily been mistaken for an adult.
Henry Mills: "I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one."
Played By: Jared S. Gilmore, Robbie Kay
Centric Episodes: "Going Home"
The biological son of Emma Swan as well as the adopted son of Regina Mills, Henry is a determined young boy who fully believes that Storybrooke is cursed.
- Adorably Precocious Child: He's only ten, but he's preoccupied with figuring out how to break the curse. Of course, hardly anyone takes him seriously.
- Badass Pacifist: Henry uses words, speeches, and trickery to deal with his problems. See Guile Hero.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: It would seem he's heading in this direction as both "the one who will be Rumpelstiltskin's undoing" and the kid that Peter Pan has been searching two centuries for (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: Regina named him after her father, who was one of the only people she ever loved. Though she also killed her father. Henry even gets to see his namesake's coffin when he goes poking around in Regina's shed. There's a nice little pause so you don't miss it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Like mother, like son.
- He gets a pretty good dig at Greg and Tamara in "The Heart of the Truest Believer" after it becomes clear that the Home Office (i.e. Peter Pan) no longer considers them of any use.
- Determinator: One of the biggest ones in the series. There's no stopping him once he's set on something.
- Disappeared Dad: His father, Baelfire/Neal Cassidy doesn't even know his son exists until Henry meets him in "Manhattan".
- Disney Death/Infant Immortality: Hey, if there's one universe where it's justified...
- The Dulcinea Effect: Immediately agrees to go along with Pan's plan once he believes that Wendy's life is at stake.
- 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.
- Gene Hunting: Part of the reason for his search for Emma in the pilot.
- Generation Xerox:
- With Snow White. Both had Regina as a mother figure. Both knowingly ate (the same) poisoned apple created by Regina to save someone they love (Charming and Emma, respectively). Both of them received True Love's Kiss from those specific loved ones to awake from their sleeping curses. Like grandmother, like grandson.
- Has shades of this with Regina as well. They're both cunning, Consummate Liars with incredible Mommy Issues. They also share the same obsession with change and revenge. Both have a very clear and idea of how things should go ("My past should be preserved" and "My future should be saved"). They both showed that they are able to focus on people's mistakes (Henry demonizing Regina and not trusting Emma after "Manhattan", Regina demonizing Snow and not trusting Emma) hold grudges (as Henry's cold quips show) and are partly driven by a need for revenge (Regina on Snow and Henry on Regina) on someone who only wanted the best, but failed to achieve the results they wanted.
- With Baelfire. They're both Morality Chains for the two major villains of the show.
- And like his paternal grandpa has insane amounts of Genre Savvy, and can be quite good with the Batman Gambit and winning through tricking his enemies.
- Genre Savvy: All the time.
Henry: [looking at an apple turnover] Where'd you get that?
Emma: Regina gave it to me.
Henry: [sniffs] Apple. You can't eat that! It's poisoned!
- He's perfectly fine that Emma doesn't believe him throughout the first season because "if the hero believed what they were told from the beginning, it wouldn't make a very good story."
- He also was right about David not waking up from the sleeping curse in "Into The Deep". He also proved Regina and Gold wrong after saying that Emma and Snow would come through the portal instead of Cora in "Queen of Hearts".
- Refer back to the first episode; Emma threatens to call the cops on Henry for trespassing. He responds by saying he'll tell them she kidnapped him. She promptly puts down the phone. Kid, 1; parent, 0.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Always tries to do the right thing but isn't for a moment fooled by his mother's antics.
- Guile Hero: He is pretty damn cunning for his age. He tracks down his birth mother, making an extensive cross-state trip to find her on his own. On his home turf, he constantly undermines his (adoptive) mother, escapes her notice, lies convincingly, and otherwise makes his way to Emma, wherever in town she may be. Would you expect any less from Rumpelstiltskin's grandson?
- Grand Theft Me: Peter Pan switched bodies with him as a last minute resort to avoid being sucked into Pandora's Box.
- Happily Adopted: Subverted. While a cursory glance would show Regina as a stern, but loving mom who provides material and medical care for a trouble-making, mentally disturbed little boy, the facade is flaking off like cheap paint and keeps getting worse.
- Has Two Mommies: To the extent the war between Regina and Emma sometimes feels like a custody battle. 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 BSOD: After Graham/The Huntsman's death he goes into one of these, concerned about his mother's safety, and unwilling to risk her safety.
- Heroic Spirit: And how! He keeps on insisting on going back to the Netherworld to give Aurora Rumpelstiltskin's 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Spends most of his kidnapping by Greg and Tamara sassing them and pointing out how stupid their plan is. Peter Pan doesn't get very far with him initially, either.
- Reality Warper: At least within Neverland, due to being the "Truest Believer".
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Well he is Snow and Charming's grandson after all.
- The Runaway: Henry has apparently run away several times, either in search of his real mother or because he believes Regina does not really love him.
- Seeker Archetype: More active than his mother.
- Shipper on Deck: For Emma and Neal which makes sense given that Neal is Henry's father.
- 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.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Henry looks a lot like Snow White.
- 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:
- Wrong Genre Savvy: His near-weaponized Genre Savvy was turned against him by Pan, who sowed doubt about his families' motivations for wanting to take him from Neverland and played on his desire to be a hero by setting up circumstances where he came to believe he was the only one who could commit a Heroic Sacrifice to save them all.
Princess Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard
Snow White: "If people are supposed to be together, they find a way."
Mary Margaret Blanchard: "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing."
Played By: Ginnifer Goodwin, Bailee Madison (child)
Centric Episodes: "Pilot", "Snow Falls", "7:15 A.M.", "Heart of Darkness", "An Apple Red as Blood", "Lady of the Lake", "The Cricket Game", "The Queen is Dead", "Lost Girl", "Ariel", "The New Neverland", "Going Home", "A Curious Thing"
The daughter of King Leopold and Queen Eva, as well as the stepdaughter of Queen Regina. In Storybrooke, she's an elementary schoolteacher named Mary Margaret Blanchard.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: In looks only, since the town was frozen in time while her daughter aged normally.
- Action Girl: After becoming an outlaw, she's quite talented in swordfighting and archery.
- Action Mom: In "Hat Trick", gets a moment of this, whacking Jefferson over the head with a croquet mallet and pushing him out a window with one kick.
Emma: Have you been taking kickboxing and not telling me about it?
Mary Margaret: I don't know where that came from.
- This comes in full force in Season 2.
- Adorkable: As Mary Margaret and she has her moments as Snow.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: She leaps on the chance to be one when Emma starts dating Hook, taking a Polaroid of her just before heading out and then waiting up to demand a full report when she gets back.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Snow White was capable, cunning and smart-mouthed. Mary Margaret Blanchard is kind, even-tempered and rather imaginative. None of these are mutually exclusive, but they are the defining traits of each incarnation. However, observant viewers will notice Mary Margaret acts a lot more like Snow White before her feuding with Regina. Whenever Regina and Mary Margaret butt heads, she sounds a lot more like Snow White did after their feud started.
- Amnesiac Lover: Becomes this after taking Rumpelstiltskin's cure. She eventually regains her memories.
- Animal Motifs: Birds.
- The Atoner: In the last quarter of Season Two, after she kills Cora.
- Axe Crazy/Cute and Psycho: Shortly after taking the potion to be rid of love, Snow tries to lure a bluebird close so she can smash it. She then tries to kill the queen, taking a soldier's armor in the process. Not to mention all the things she did to the dwarves.
- When under the spell of Shattered Sight, she bluntly says that while she picks flowers, talks to birds and other warm and fuzzy things, she also kills.
- Badass Adorable/Badass Princess: She is both of these things.
- Batman Gambit: In "The Miller's Daughter", she secretly curses Cora's heart which needs to be re-inserted into Cora to kill her. When she's caught by Regina, she appeals to Regina's desire for her mother's love and gives it to Regina, counting on the (very likely) possibility that Regina would put the heart back into Cora.
- In "A Curious Thing", it's revealed that the new curse is actually her doing, in an attempt to go back to Emma and help her defeat Zelena.
- Battle Couple: With Charming.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Snow White may be heading this way after casting a death spell on Cora's heart and tricking Regina into putting it back, killing Cora. Her heart was even shown to have begun to darken as a result of this. (For comparison, Regina's heart is almost entirely black.) However, as of Season 3, no lasting consequences have come out of this so far, aside from an impulsive but well-deserved smack delivered to Geppetto after his deception with the wardrobe is revealed to her. However, "A Curious Thing" shows that she apparently still qualifies as "pure of heart", so this trope may be subverted.
- Being Good Sucks: This crops up during "The Queen is Dead", due to the high costs that doing good were for Mary Margaret.
- Berserk Button: Despite her usually calm demeanor, she does have at least two buttons: attempt to harm her child or Charming... and she WILL own you.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Don't push her above-mentioned buttons if you know what's good for you.
- Bewildering Punishment: Poor Mary Margaret has no freaking clue why Regina is out to get her.
- The Big Damn Kiss: At the end of "7:15 A.M." with David.
- Big Damn Heroes: Her crazy awesome rescue of disguised Regina and her 'get away from my daughter!' take down of an ogre.
- Birthday Hater: For a very good reason. It looks like that isn't going to change anytime soon.
- Boyish Short Hair: As Mary Margaret.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: As Snow, she is told by King George to break James' heart and tell him she doesn't love him or George would kill Charming.
- Break the Cutie:
- Broken Hero: Despite all she's been through, she is amazingly cheerful and optimistic, and nice to even Regina of all people.
- Cat Smile: Thanks to the shape Ginnifer Goodwin's mouth takes when she smiles.
- Characterization Marches On: In "Snow Falls" Snow she implies she's planning on killing the Queen by using fairy dust on her to turn her into a bug and step on her. Then in "Heart Of Darkness", a desire to kill the Queen for revenge is treated as Snow "not being herself." Her Incorruptible Pure Pureness gets played up more afterwards and her earlier characterization is more or less forgotten about completely.
- Children Are Innocent: Her naivete as a young child with Missing Mom issues made it easy for Cora to manipulate her into telling her what Regina was up to resulting in the death of Daniel.
- Color Motif: Mary Margaret often wears white as her counterpart is Snow White.
- She also wears a lot of blue to represent her temperament.
- Daddy's Girl: Snow meant everything to King Leopold, so much so that he was willing to marry the first person who seemed to care about her as much as he did. Too bad that he thought that person was Regina...
- Deadpan Snarker: As post-outlaw Snow White but not so much as Mary Margaret.
- Despair Event Horizon: Snow, after she is forced to break Charming's heart to save him from King George, drinks a potion from Rumpel which will make her forget she ever loved him.
- Desperately Craves Affection: As Mary Margaret.
- Deep Sleep: She was put into one with Maleficent's sleep curse only for it to be broken with True Love's Kiss.
- Does Not Like Spam: Understandably, she has a problem with apples, even as Mary Margaret. This has been confirmed by Ginnifer Goodwin herself after one of her students gave her a pear instead of an apple in the pilot.
- Face-Heel Turn: Very nearly happened in "Heart of Darkness", but Charming stopped her before she could kill the Evil Queen.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: In the pilot, she wears a pretty fancy (if modern) dress when she marries the prince.
- Fallen Princess: During her time on the run from the Evil Queen.
- Friend to All Living Things:
- According to Charming, she maintains an army of blue birds who send and receive messages.
- In the "real" world, she was able to hold and pet a bluebird before letting it fly to a birdhouse.
- Generation Xerox: Both she and her mother have spilled secrets resulting in somebody getting in a lot of trouble. Snow's indiscretion got Regina's lover killed and subsequently forced her into a loveless marriage, while Eva's ruined Cora's first attempt to marry into royalty, eventually leading her to abandon her firstborn, Zelena.
- Girly Bruiser: Incredibly sweet and feminine, but she's a hell of a fighter.
- Grand Theft Me: A minor case in "Bleeding Through", where Cora's ghost enters her mind so she can witness the events that led up to Cora giving up Zelena.
- Guile Hero: Has her moments of this as outlaw Snow. And when she appeals to Regina's desire for her mother's love so that Regina will return Cora's heart to her body, which would kill her.
- Happily Married: To Charming in the Enchanted Forest... and later to David at the beginning — and end — of Season 2... with a little wobble in the middle.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: When Charming claims that the both of them are of one heart, she takes it to mean that despite having sacrificed Charming's heart to enact another Dark Curse, her own heart can be split amongst the two of them. She's right.
- Heroic BSOD: Spends most of "Welcome to Storybrooke" in one after she tricked Regina into killing Cora.
- Heroic Suicide: To save Charming's life, she eats the infamous apple.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Red in the Enchanted Forest.
- Hidden Depths: "Selfless, Brave, and True" reveals that Mary Margaret has an iPod with at least one Joan Jett song on it. ("Bad Reputation", no less.) That's not exactly the kind of music one would expect the polite, soft-spoken Mary Margaret to be into.
- Honor Before Reason: When the Queen invites her to a meeting without weapons, and Snow agrees, refusing to bring any weapons with her at all, Red frustratedly calls her out on being "too noble for [her] own good."
- Hot Teacher: As Mary Margaret.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness:
- After everything Regina has done, Mary Margaret still forgives her and expresses sympathy for how lonely and empty her life must be.
- Subverted, in "The Miller's Daughter" when she deliberately manipulated Regina into murdering her own mother.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope:
- Rumpelstiltskin warns that if Snow kills the Queen, then she will be doing this.
- She ends up doing this in "The Miller's Daughter" when she kills Cora in a dark, underhanded way that makes Regina the one who unwittingly commits the murder, though this time, Rumpel encourages her to do so.
- It's All About Me: What she could've been if her mother didn't send her down the right path.
- Knight Templar Parent: As one ogre found out the hard way.
- Lack of Empathy: Not the sociopathic kind, but a flaw of hers according to the showrunners. She's never short on sympathy and compassion, but when it comes to empathizing with people who have led radically different lives (notably Emma), she struggles.
- Let's Get Dangerous: As Mary Margaret in "Hat Trick".
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The Light to Ruby/Red Riding Hood's Dark.
- Lovely Angels: With Red in the Enchanted Forest as seen in "Child of the Moon".
- Mama Bear: Most obvious in Season 2. If she thinks there's danger to Emma, she immediately draws a weapon and pulls Emma behind her.
- Meaningful Name:
- Meet Cute: With Charming. Specifically, when she robbed him, and gave him his famous moniker.
- Missing Mom: Unintentionally turned into one for Emma (actually, intentional on Geppetto's part) and had one when her mother died when she was very young.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Miller's Daughter" after bringing about Cora's death.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "The Miller's Daughter", she tricks Regina into killing Cora, thinking it will be the right thing for everyone. Now Regina hates her even more than she did before.
- When Emma's magic (already going haywire) accidentally causes David to get injured, Snow, without thinking, scolds Emma, which results in Emma running away from the sheriff's office. To Snow's credit, she realizes and regrets what she has done almost immediately.
- Noble Fugitive: As Snow White due to her past with the Evil Queen in the Fairy World.
- Noble Profession: Elementary schoolteacher and volunteer for the Storybrooke Hospital.
- Official Couple: With Charming.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: In "The Miller's Daughter" to protect her family and get revenge for her mother, Snow White finally decides to go after Cora and Regina. How she goes about it isn't pretty, either. She finds and curses Cora's heart, then tricks Regina into putting it back, making Regina the instrument of her own mother's death. For an extra kicker, replacing the heart restores Cora's ability to properly love Regina, just for the last few moments of her life.
- Plucky Girl: As Snow White.
- Politically-Active Princess: As Snow White.
Charming: I did all the fighting. Snow did all the talking.
- Princesses Rule: Snow White is the ruler of her kingdom but is not referred to as queen, so as to avoid associations with the Evil one.
- Proper Lady: Her life until she had to hide in the woods after the Huntsman spared her life. That said, she was a practical type and adapted very well.
- Punny Name: In French, "blanchard(e)" means "pale", derived from the world "blanche" which means "white", a reference to her real name, Snow White. The French name for Snow White is "Blanche-Neige".
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's still the fairest of them all. Rumpelstiltskin even says so.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Emma, Regina and Ruby.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Red.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives Regina a very kind version of this, forgiving her for all her cruelty (in Storybrooke) because her life of making others miserable is an empty and lonely one.
- Royal Brat: Briefly as a child, though her mother was quick to teach her the error of this behavior.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's even a more hands-on ruler than Charming!
- Samus is a Girl: Charming briefly thinks the person who robbed him is a man until he finds out it's Snow.
- Save the Villain: Snow saved Rumpel from Hook's poison by sacrificing Cora's life to restore him to health.
- The Scapegoat: Regina's entire grudge against Snow White is pretty much this. Rather than hold her own abusive mother responsible for her lover's death, she begins a decades long plot of Kick the Dog and murder against a small child that just wanted to help her.
- Shipper on Deck: Snow devotes a lot of time to trying to get Emma and Neal to reconcile with one another.
- Now it looks like she would be fully in favor of Regina and Robin Hood.
Snow: He's kinda cute, huh?
- And now in Season 4, she's actively rooting for Emma and Hook.
- Shrinking Violet: As Mary Margaret.
- Silk Hiding Steel: As Snow White.
- Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Snow, after killing Cora. Regina gloats about it, showing her the black spot in her heart, and promptly giving up all thoughts of revenge to let her live with that.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Can understand birds.
- Spoiled Brat: When she was a child she considered herself superior to others because she was royal. Her mother, the Queen, taught her that everyone in the kingdom deserves her love and respect.
- Spirited Young Lady: As Snow White.
- Stalker with a Crush: With David in Storybrooke, as Emma points out. She even knows his detailed daily schedule. Then it turns out that David is just as much a Stalker with a Crush as she is.
- Strong Family Resemblance: In "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" her looks are noted to be uncannily close to her dead mother, as said by her father - "[her mother] was the fairest in all of the land."
- Sweater Girl: As Mary Margaret, which fits her wholesome image.
- Team Mom: Becomes this to their group in the Enchanted Forest that not only includes her actual daughter Emma but also Mulan and Aurora. Snow comforts the latter about her nightmares post-sleeping curse.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Red and Emma's Tomboy.
- Took a Level in Badass: Snow White apparently did this in leaps and bounds between meeting Red and meeting Charming. "Child of the Moon" reveals that this was due to Red's teachings.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Hot chocolate with cinnamon, which is something she shares with her daughter and grandson.
- Two First Names: Mary Margaret Blanchard. Nobody ever calls her just Mary or Margaret.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: King Leopold isn't exactly a looker...
- Unstoppable Rage: If anyone puts Emma or Charming in danger, the "fairest" of them all becomes the scariest of them all!◊
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Don't hurt Charming. See Beware the Nice Ones.
- Weapon of Choice: She's a pretty skilled archer, both from hunting and ambushing Regina's men.
Emma: When's the last time you used a bow?
Snow: ...Twenty-eight years. I guess it's like riding a bike.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Regina, though due to the age difference it was more a niece and cool aunt relationship. As Snow White grew older and the Queen grew more bitter in her loveless marriage to the King, their friendship was practically dead.
- Woman in White: In the pilot. Also in "Red-Handed" and "Child of the Moon" while standing next to classic Lady in Red Red Riding Hood.
- Xenafication: Apparently, damsel in distress Snow White turns into a badass forest dweller who fights trolls, hunts deer and robs the Queen's carriages.
- You Killed My Father: Cora poisoned Snow's mother to ensure that Regina would become queen in "The Queen is Dead". Snow returns the favor by killing Cora in an equally manipulative way.
Prince David "Charming"/David Nolan
Prince Charming: "No matter what you do, I will always find you."
David Nolan: "There's a difference between literal truth and honesty of the heart."
Played By: Josh Dallas
Centric Episodes: "Pilot", "Snow Falls", "The Shepherd", "What Happened to Frederick", "A Land Without Magic", "Lady of the Lake", "Lost Girl", "Going Home", "The Tower", "A Curious Thing", "White Out"
A simple shepherd who is separated at birth from his twin brother, who was adopted by King George to become a prince. When his twin dies, David is forced to become a replacement, but quickly finds himself at odds with his adoptive father and in love with Snow White. In Storybrooke, he is David Nolan, a mysterious comatose patient who is revealed to be the husband of Kathryn Nolan.
- Absurdly Youthful Father: Same as Snow White, in looks only.
- Action Dad: Earns his stripes in his very first scene, with baby Emma in one hand, sword in the other.
- Amnesiac Dissonance:
- Arranged Marriage:
- Subverted in the Enchanted Forest. Charming was going to marry Abigail for political reasons, but he instead chooses Snow White.
- One could say that David's marriage to Kathryn could fall into this trope if in an unusual way. Since David has likely been in a coma since the start of the curse twenty-eight years ago, given Charming's injuries at the time the curse occurred, he never actually chose Kathryn to marry and doesn't even have false memories to make him think he did until Episode 6.
- Backup Twin/There Is Another/Hidden Backup Prince: He's the backup to his dead prince brother in the Enchanted Forest.
- Badass and Baby: Fighting off mooks with his newborn daughter in hand.
- Battle Couple: With Snow White.
- Becoming the Mask: Chose to keep dressing like royalty even after running out off his wedding to Abigail. It's like he's trying to be a better man than his brother.
- The Big Damn Kiss: At the end of "7:15 A.M." with Mary Margaret.
- Black and White Insanity: Mild case. Even when Hook and Regina do the right thing, he still can't get past their villainous actions.
- Bling-Bling-BANG!: Carried a golden sword for a while.
- Character Development: Since David never really wanted the life of a prince, he was always running off to fight or take action, only slowing down for advice or supplies. He even admitted after the curse was lifted that "Snow did the talking." We see some hints that he started to gain leadership qualities right before the curse fell, but it was only after his wife and daughter got trapped in the enchanted forest that he really began taking responsibility for the people he was in charge of.
- Composite Character: Prince Charming also has elements of The Prince and the Pauper.
- As of The Tower it seems he's being set up as the show's version of the Cowardly Lion since Zelena stole his "courage."
- Cool Sword: Uses a golden sword for a while and later gets the sword that he throws at the Evil Queen in the first episode.
- Deadpan Snarker: As Prince Charming.
- Determinator: "I will always find you!"
- Disappeared Dad: Was one to Emma, but averted after the curse is lifted.
- Distressed Dude/Badass in Distress: Very frequently.
- Emergency Impersonation: A particularly dramatic version of this trope led to his promotion from humble peasant shepherd to dragon-slaying prince.
- Farm Boy: He was actually born on a farm and grew up there all the way to adulthood until he was forced to become a Backup Twin for his dead brother who had been raised as a prince.
- Good Is Not Soft: He's more than willing to kill to protect his family or his Kingdom.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Snow White gave him one during their Meet Cute.
- Guile Hero: Charming demonstrates this when he managed to quickly take down a Dragon, by using his wits and his surroundings to his advantage, rather than the brute strength approach that had gotten every soldier before him killed.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Fitting for his role of Prince Charming being a good and noble knight.
- Happily Married: To Snow White in the Enchanted Forest.
- The Hero: In the Enchanted Forest. In the present day, he takes a backseat to his daughter; becoming Acting Sheriff when she's not around.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Firmly heroic and idealistic, and uses a sword as his Weapon of Choice.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In "A Curious Thing", in order for Snow to enact a new Dark Curse to return them to Storybrooke and to Emma, he volunteers his own heart. The sacrifice is later subverted; Snow saves him by having Regina split her heart in half and give one to him, believing that they truly are of one heart.
- Heroic Willpower: Practically his superpower. His will to save others, face his fears and affirm reality gives him strength to do great things, such as overcome fear on his own.
- Hidden Backup Prince: He replaces his royal twin brother after his death.
- The Idealist: Oh so much, even if it tends for him to be stubborn. "Good will always win" is his mantra.
- Identity Amnesia: A special double whammy for him compared to the others. He not only can't remember his fairy tale life but he doesn't even remember his Storybrooke identity either until it is forced on him in Episode 6.
- Idiot Ball: He doesn't take King George/Spencer's threats seriously and ends up so distracted he loses Jefferson's hat when George burns it in a fire.
- He also put himself under a sleeping curse so he could communicate with Snow while she and Emma in the Enchanted Forest, and ultimately couldn't wake up till Snow returned to Storybrooke.
- Idiot Hero: While not at all an idiot in the conventional sense, he tends to make rather impulsive decisions that cost him dearly when his instincts are up against the laws of magic — that is, situations that actively defy logic.
- I Have Many Names: There's David (his original name), James (the name of his dead twin brother whose identity he assumed), David Nolan (his Storybrooke persona), Charming (Snow's nickname for him)... turns out it really is David.
Grumpy: So, what the hell is your name, then?
- I Hate Past Me: Charming's opinion of Storybrooke!David. He think he was weak-willed, a bit of a jerk and his foolishness hurt everyone he loved. That said, he also says that if he had a choice, he wouldn't give up his memories of being David Nolan.
- Impersonating the Evil Twin: Charming fills in for his brother, James, although he isn't aware of his twin's evil until later.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Of the "heroic and idealistic" variety.
- In-Series Nickname: You didn't think Charming was his real name, did you?
- I Will Find You: Practically his catchphrase.
- Knight In Shining Armour: The first we see of him in the pilot.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Red; she served as his Number Two during the war and they are clearly very close.
- Love at First Punch / Love at First Sight: He's notably stunned after pulling Snow's hood off and realizing she's a woman...and she decks him in the face with a rock/jewelry box immediately after.
- Marry for Love: This is what he was set on prior to getting forced to marry Abigail. He eventually gets this with Snow White.
- Meaningful Name:
- James means "Supplanter". A supplanter is someone who takes the place of another person, place or thing. This is fitting, as Charming supplants his twin, the original James.
- David means "beloved" in Hebrew, and Nolan means "famous" in Irish. It is also of English origin, where it means "little champion" or "chariot-fighter".
- In The Bible, David was a common shepherd who was chosen to be a king, similar to Prince Charming; this connection is especially strong considering that the first episode that focused on Charming was entitled "The Shepherd." It also connects with his Storybrooke persona. The biblical David also had an affair while married with disastrous results (thankfully, not disastrous enough to lose a child over).
- Moral Myopia: After the curse is broken, he wallops Dr. Whale for having had a one-night stand with Mary Margaret — but wasn't Kathryn trying to get pregnant by him?
- He also acknowledges the hypocrisy immediately after.
- My Greatest Failure: Deep down, even if he knew it was right, he deeply regrets not being their for Emma growing up.
- Also not being their for Mary Margaret when she was accused of murder.
- No Name Given: Turns out "Prince James" was his dead brother whose identity Charming was forced to assume. "Tiny" reveals that David is his real name.
- Official Couple: With Snow White.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Even Regina calls him Charming.
- Only Mostly Dead: In the pilot.
- Overprotective Dad: Takes on this whenever Emma is around Hook, or any guy, really. In fact, his response to Emma's ex turning into a monkey was that she was engaged to him in the first place.
David: You were going to marry someone?
Hook: Did you miss the part where I said "monster?"
- Papa Wolf: Trying to harm his newborn daughter is a bad idea. The same goes for threatening his grandson.
- Parental Substitute: To Henry after Emma and Snow get trapped in the Enchanted Forest.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Charming is presented as traditionally heroic and more morally upstanding than his corrupt twin. It's justified due to their vastly different upbringings.
- Prince Charming: A version of the trope namer.
- Princesses Rule: Like Snow, he rules the kingdom, but he's not referred to as king; Dr. Whale in "Broken" specifically addresses him as prince.
- Pull the I.V.: When he wakes up from his coma.
- Rags to Royalty: Not by his choice.
- Replacement Goldfish: "Lady of the Lake" reveals that King George and his wife couldn't have children and he wanted Charming to replace his son after the original Prince James was killed.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Prince Charming actually seems to have a kingdom (or farm) to run.
- Secret Stab Wound: Shot by a poisoned arrow in "Lost Girl" and pretends that it only nicked his jacket.
- Secretly Dying: The poison gives him weeks to live at best, and he is reluctant to tell the others because the cure is a world away. Later subverted after Hook finds a cure while in Neverland, and Rumpelstiltskin makes sure that it sticks when they return to Storybrooke.
- The Sheriff:
- Until Emma returns from the Enchanted Forest, he decides to take on the role of acting sheriff.
- He does this again in "Tiny" when Emma and Henry leave town with Rumpelstiltskin to find his son.
- Shipper on Deck: For Emma and Neal, albeit more subtly than Snow. He gives Emma some advice on repairing her relationship with Neal. She's pretty sure it's because Hook has feelings for her and Hook's mere existence sets Charming's teeth on edge and into Overprotective Dad mode.
Emma: You sure you don't have other reasons for pushing me towards Neal?
Charming: Like what?
Emma: I don't know...like keeping me away from Hook?
- He's grudgingly come around to Emma/Hook, if only because Hook makes her happy.
- Stalker with a Crush: Toward Mary Margaret in "7:15 AM". It later turns out Snow was also this for him.
- Standard Hero Reward: Midas offers him this (among other things) when Charming slayed a dragon for him. Charming was forced to accept despite his ideology to Marry for Love. See Arranged Marriage above.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Rumpelstiltskin, no less. It only seems to show in scenes where the two are left alone with no other characters present, but it might show up more now that they share a grandson.
- As of Season 3, with Hook as well to some extent. Which doesn't mean that he wants him for Emma.
- Warrior Prince: He is one hell of a fighter.
- The Wise Prince: In Season 2, particularly toward the people of Storybrooke.
- You Are Worth Hell:
- When faced with the fact he is trapped in the Netherworld, because he and Snow weren't physically there and so True Love's Kiss doesn't work, he just smiles at a waking Snow (and so leaving the place). He then tells her he loves her and believes she will find him and free him from this place.
- Considers having to spend the rest of his life in Neverland, in exchange for the poison to be cured worth it to save Henry.
- Your Days Are Numbered: In Neverland, he got injured by a poisoned arrow. Hook estimates he has a few days or weeks to live. He survives, thanks to both Hook and Rumpelstiltskin.
Upgraded to Regular
Belle (Enchanted Forest): "No one decides my fate but me."
Belle (Storybrooke): "I learned a long time ago that when you find something that's worth fighting for, you never give up."
Lacey: "You're not who I thought you were...and I'm glad. You really are as dark as people say."
Centric Episodes: "Skin Deep", "The Outsider", "Lacey", "Quiet Minds", "Family Business", "Heroes and Villains"
The bookish, intelligent daughter of Sir Maurice with a thirst for adventure. She forms a romantic, but troubled relationship with Rumpelstiltskin. In Storybrooke, she is an amnesiac Jane Doe locked up in the mental ward of the hospital.
- Adorkable: She definitely has her moments in Season 2, expressing child-like wonder over iced tea and the pancakes that Red serves her. She's also pretty enthusiastic about trying a hamburger for the first time.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Belle averts this (seemingly), as she begins to fall in love with him only when she sees there is something behind the façade of the Dark One, but she still fell in love with him fully knowing and accepting his faults. She does however insist he change his dark ways for her to be with him. However, Lacey plays it straight.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Belle is sweet, persistent, caring, and believes in the goodness of others. Lacey is, well, different.
- Amnesiac Lover:
- As Belle had no memories of Rumpelstiltskin after being locked up in an asylum for 28 years, when she walks into his shop, she is one to him, albeit only briefly before her memories were restored.
- From the end of "The Outsider" to "And Straight On 'Til Morning," Belle is this again, thanks to Hook.
- Arranged Marriage: What her engagement to Gaston would have been, if certain things hadn't changed...
- Ascended Extra: In the first season, she only appears in three episodes. In the second season, she has been upgraded to a main character.
- Australian Accent: This is mostly due to Emilie de Ravin being Australian herself.
- Badass: Of the (generally) non-combat oriented variety.
- Badass Bookworm: In "The Outsider". Highlights include tracking down the Yaoguai because she can translate a foreign language, pushing a bookshelf on Hook, defeating the Yaoguai by dousing it with water and then saving Phillip, figuring out Hook came on his ship, finding the invisible ship, freeing Archie and getting him to call for help, retrieving Baelfire's cloak, and fighting off Hook who had her gun.
- Beast and Beauty: Her relationship with Rumpelstiltskin (it's all there in her name, with plenty of gratuitous Shout Outs to Disney's Beauty and the Beast). Happy ending not guaranteed.
- Bedlam House: The end of "Skin Deep" reveals that in Storybrooke, she's been locked up in one of these by Regina. The reason Regina did this? To have an ace up her sleeve against Rumpel.
- Bookworm: When Belle is first seen, she is hugging a book to her chest. Later in the episode "The Crocodile", she becomes the town librarian.
- Brainy Brunette: Shows off her intelligence in "The Outsider".
- Break the Cutie/Broken Bird:
- In the Enchanted Forest, after she left Rumpelstiltskin in disgust she was shunned in her former home, her own father locked her in a tower and she eventually committed suicide. Only the Evil Queen was actually lying to torment Rumpel, since in this world she's perfectly alive... and possibly not so well, having spent as long as 28 years imprisoned in a mental ward that's practically a Shout-Out to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. However, she was never really insane, as shown once she's freed.
- In "Dreamy", it is revealed she was still very much alive in the Enchanted Forest, though still heartbroken. So how much of her shunning as told by Regina being true is up in the air.
- It's possible that she is this post-Curse, since she clearly remembers her twenty-eight-year, unwarranted stint in the mental ward and mentions that Regina had actually abducted her before the Curse. As Gold points out, this means that she was being kept alive until killing her suited Regina, something he considers a Fate Worse Than Death. It's likely that she knows that this is what Regina was doing, and when she's talking to Gold about it she does seem to be at least partially traumatized.
- As of "Queen of Hearts", we know that Regina held her captive for three to four years before the curse even started.
- And now, as of 4x11, she's realized that Gold/Rumple is incapable of giving up power, even for her. She banishes him from Storybrooke with the dagger.
- Breakout Character: Was a very minor character in the first season, but her popularity got her promoted to being a series regular in the second season.
- Calling the Old Man Out: She does this to Moe in "The Crocodile" after he had her kidnapped and tried to force her over the Storybrooke border to make her forget about Rumpelstiltskin, stating that she never wants to see him again.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: By her own admission, she's always wanted to be brave, and her choice to go with Rumpel was motivated by a desire to be the hero. She basically jumps at the chance to perform a (nonlethal) Heroic Sacrifice. This sets the tone for their relationship - she bringing out or reminding Rumpel about the best that people have to offer and thus what he could or should be. It's also partially responsible for why he never ever harms her (outside of halfhearted insults) even when in full on Dark One mode.
- Color Motif: Belle is usually seen wearing some shade of yellow or blue, similar to her Disney counterpart.
- Combat Pragmatist: She uses her brain more than her strength in combat.
- The Conscience: To Rumpelstiltskin If there is someone he can trust to help him stay on the right path, it is her. He even summons her in Neverland, whether it is really her in the form of a projection he summoned or his own conscience using her form to get the point across it isn't said, when dealing with a choice Pan offered him. He could live if Rumpel abandons his quest for Henry. Knowing the coward he was and the line of cowards he came from, Rumpel was very much afraid he would mess up but Belle assured him he would do the right thing and the first thing he had to do was let go of the past.
- Cruelly subverted in Season 4, when Rumpel choses power over a happy marriage. She uses the dagger to banish him from Storybrooke.
- Dark Chick: As Lacey.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Falling in love with the Dark One upsets her father enough that he tried forcing her across the town line to make her forget all about Rumpel. Though me manages to make peace with it and even gives her his blessing when she married Rumpel.
- Dramatic Drop: After Rumpelstiltskin's joke about skinning children she drops a cup, which chips on impact.
- Driven to Suicide: According to the Evil Queen, this was what happened to Belle. Of course, it turns out to be Blatant Lies.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Belle spent a lot of time in a tavern after leaving Rumpel and being disowned by her father.
- Evil Counterpart: Played With in the case of Belle and Lacey. They are the same person but with different sets of memories at two different points in her life. Everything good and virtuous and kind that Belle was, Lacey isn't.
- Fallen Princess: Belle's father, Maurice believed that Belle's association with Rumpel ruined her. Thankfully, he realized the error of his ways in time to see her get married.
- Fish out of Water: Of sorts in Storybrooke since she’s been locked in an insane asylum for the past 28 years.
- Good Is Boring: Lacey is bored with Rumpelstiltskin when he is trying to be good, preferring bad boy Sheriff of Nottingham. Seeing Rumpelstiltskin beat the sheriff excites her, and makes her like him more.
- Guile Hero: Tricks the hunting party into searching the wrong place for the Yaoguai, tracks it to its lair using a book, takes out the Yaoguai by dousing it with water, saves Phillip by having the presence of mind to notice that the Yaoguai is trying to say something, and outsmarts Hook twice.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: As Lacey.
- Honey Trap: When Belle mentions who she learned about True Love's Kiss from a noble woman on the road, Rumpel assumes Belle is an agent of the Queen's meant to fulfill this trope.
- Hopeless With Tech: Supplementary material has revealed that she's unfamiliar with modern technology so Gold usually writes her instructions on how to make breakfast. Unsurprisingly, she seems to be picking up the basics pretty quickly.
- Hot Librarian: In "The Crocodile", Ruby gives Belle the idea of working at the shuttered Storybrooke library. At the end of the episode, Rumpel gives her its key so she can open and run it.
- I Can Change My Beloved: Belle insists on staying with Rumpelstiltskin not despite the fact, but because he's a monster.
Rumpelstiltskin: You find goodness in others...and when it's not there, you create it. You made me want to go back to the very best version of me. ** She eventually loses this mindset when she finds out that Rumpel switched gauntlets and was about to kill Hook, she then banishes from Storybrooke.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Belle wants to be the hero for once. And she does.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness:
- She's prisoner of the most powerful and dangerous sorcerer of her world. She befriends him and he falls in love with her.
- Similarly, her first move when dealing with Hook is to try and persuade him to give up his revenge.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Lacey is apparently turned on by the sight of Gold beating a man nearly to death.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Belle is a smart, sweet, caring, Love Martyr who sees the good in everyone and who has basically become the Designated Victim of the series (granted most of what happens to her is because hurting her is basically the only way of hurting her virtually indestructible, immortal boyfriend but still... she gets kidnapped a lot). Lacey is a Book Dumb alcoholic addicted to (other people's) violence, who appears to be one-step-off being a cross between Rumpel's two exes (Milah and Cora). Could also, probably count as her being both the Betty and Veronica to Rumpel's Archie.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Gets hit with this in "The Outsider". Ironic, considering she barely avoided this fate a few episodes earlier.
- Limited Wardrobe: She has her gold ballroom dress in Rumpel's castle that she apparently wears while cleaning.
- The Lost Lenore: To Rumpelstiltskin (he believed her to be dead for many years, thanks to Regina).
- Love Martyr: To Rumpelstiltskin. After an initial rejection from him and her being in a cell in an asylum for 28 years, the start of the second season sees them in a relationship of sorts. They both avowedly love each other, but Gold is still fully capable of being a manipulative jerk, and sweet mother of Shakespeare, does Belle pay the price for it, be it through Gold himself or one of his many enemies recognizing Belle as the weak spot in his armour. And yet she never wavers.
- May-December Romance: With Rumpelstiltskin.
- Meaningful Name: "Belle" is a French word, meaning "beautiful [girl/woman]".
- Monster Roommate: Lived quite amicably with Rumpelstiltskin.
- Morality Pet: For Gold. She seems to be trying for Morality Chain.
- Nerves of Steel: Not only is she able to hold her own with Rumpelstiltskin without losing her cool, but she's also remarkably calm around Ruby despite knowing she's a werewolf. Justified in that an essential part of the story of Beauty and the Beast is Belle standing up to the Beast long enough to see him for what he is rather than running away from what seems to be a monster.
- Nice Girl: One of the clearest examples of the series. She's kind, cheerful, and always willing to help anyone who needs it.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rumplestiltskin/Mr Gold has been confirmed as the big bad of Season 4. Yet, he's only able to be the big bad - by teaming up with Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella De Vil - because Belle banished him from Storybrooke.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Lacey. She is smiling and giggling as Gold mercilessly beats a man with his cane.
- The One That Got Away: For Rumpelstiltskin. First he kicks her out of his home, fearful that her love will make him lose his powers. Then Regina kidnaps her and tells Rumpel she's dead. Then the Curse is cast and she's locked up in Regina's insane asylum until Jefferson frees her. She returns to Rumpel and remembers him once the Curse is broken. They get back together until she's shot by Hook, causing her to fall over the town line and lose all memory of her true self.
- Out of Focus: Through Season 3's first half. She gets back into focus in Episode 15, however.
- Plucky Girl: She threw a bookshelf on Hook to get away from him. In the same episode, she also found his invisible ship through a book on knots and using deductive reasoning. She then saved Archie all by herself.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Emilie de Ravin joins the regular cast in Season 2.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Rumpelstiltskin about his cowardice and his inability to let himself be happy.
- Rebellious Princess: Part of the reason she agreed to Rumpelstiltskin's deal is that she wanted to do something heroic and meaningful, instead of fulfilling her ornamental baby-making role. "No one decides my fate but me!" indeed. Also, she wasn't that keen on her fiancé.
- Satellite Love Interest: Minor case. She's mainly important via her relationship to Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, but is definitely an independent character, with her own personality.
- She's Got Legs: Prone to wearing short skirts in the Land Without Magic, and is somehow is able to walk in incredibly high, pointy heels about a day after being released from a 28-year-stint in a punitive psychiatric institution, her sole experience outside the Enchanted Forest.
- Shout-Out: Gets a number of these towards her Disney incarnation. Her Beast though is certainly quite different.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Most on the show tend to underestimate her in general, but she's just as smart as Rumplestiltskin and can protect herself even if it's not with a gun or a sword.
- Spirited Young Lady: The very definition of the trope.
- Team Mom: Although there wasn't much shown of their relationship before :Neal's death, she did seem to have some motherly affection for him. And if he were living, as of the season three finale, she'd be his step-mom
- Throw the Book at Them: A whole bookcase, in fact.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: When she becomes Lacey. She seems to actually become the opposite of everything Belle believed in.
- True Blue Femininity: Blue is her favorite color.
- You Go Girl: Belle is finally independent despite having a sexist father (she hints that her fiancé was the same, and his act of shoving her behind him for "protection" hints this as well) and escapes an Arranged Marriage.
Captain Hook/Killian Jones
Captain Hook: "A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets."
Played By: Colin O'Donoghue
Centric Episodes: "The Crocodile", "Queen of Hearts", "And Straight On 'Til Morning", "Good Form", "Going Home", "The Jolly Roger"
A notorious pirate who was shielded from the Dark Curse and has history with Rumpelstiltskin.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the Disney film, he's much older, with a large nose, long face, and baggy eyes. Here, he's a lot better looking.
- Adaptational Heroism: Book and Disney film; charming but amoral and treacherous pirate. Here: charming and honorable pirate with a Fatal Flaw of vengefulness for real wrongs which he grows out of..
- Adorkable: In his days in the navy, though he has his moments when he doesn't understand modern references or technology.
- His reaction to hearing secondhand that Emma refers to him and her as "together" falls squarely into this.
- Affably Evil: Oh so very much. He's a firm believer in manners and "good form", despite being a pirate.
- All Love Is Unrequited: He spends almost all of Season 3 sending "yearning looks" towards Emma, who might reciprocate but definitely isn't going to act anytime soon. Happilly subverted when they hook up in 3x22.
- And I Must Scream: Episode 4x12 has the horrifying implication that he's fully aware while being mind-controlled by Rumplestislken, but can't do anything more than try to grab Emma's arm.
- And Show It to You: Took out Aurora's heart when she was captured, but did not show it to her; she didn't even know it had happened. He also tried this on Cora when Regina enchanted his hook to allow him to do so for one heart. Obviously, it failed, but it still had one use left.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Reveals his darkest secret in "Ariel" through this—that kissing Emma made him realize he's in love with her and can move on from Milah. He quickly reassures her that he doesn't expect her to return his feelings, though.
- Anti-Villain: Types I and II, just like Rumpelstiltskin.
- Apologetic Attacker: Says he is "truly sorry" before absorbing the Blue Fairy into the Sorcerer's Hat on Rumplestiltskin's orders.
- Awesome McCoolname: Killian Jones.
- Badass: He beat Blackbeard. What more do you want?
- Badass Boast: "Excellent. You'll be able to see your daughter, and I can skin me a crocodile."
- Badass Longcoat: Wears a nice black one.
- Badass in Distress: He's been kidnapped, gagged, and bound in a trailer by Tamara and Greg. They planned on using him to help in their attack against Storybrooke.
- Badass Normal: Doesn't posses any powers, but can still hold his own in a battle.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Emma. Later, as they work together, develops into regular Unresolved Sexual Tension.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Cora in Season Two. It started as a Big Bad Duumvirate, but he later separates from Cora and Regina becomes her chief follower instead. He reappears to become an ally to the new Big Bad Duumvirate of Tamara and Greg.
- Breakout Character: He was promoted to Regular before his debut episode even aired!
- Card-Carrying Villain: Fully admits to being a villain, even when others do call him a hero.
- Carpet of Virility: Possibly the Spear Counterpart of the villainesses' Absolute Cleavage.
- Character Development: "The Jolly Roger" shows how his love for Emma has changed his life and is causing him to rethink being a pirate. "There's No Place Like Home" then reveals he traded the Jolly Roger for a magic bean so he can go to New York and find Emma.
- The Charmer: Oh, yes. Spends most of "Tallahassee" flirting with Emma and winks at both Aurora and Snow (who are unimpressed). Tinker Bell, like Snow, is also unimpressed with him, although there may or may not have been something in the past. Emma? As of season 3, well... things get complicated.
- The Chessmaster: When he actually takes time to plan stuff out, it goes really well. He plays Aurora like a fiddle to get her under Cora's control, and manages to out-gambit Regina.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Despite the above-mentioned flirting and innuendos, he behaves rather gentlemanly with women who aren't his enemies or affiliated with his enemies.
- Consummate Liar: He even managed to trick Rumpelstiltskin, though at the cost of his hand.
- Cool Boat: The Jolly Roger, a brig made of enchanted wood which can sail at incredible speed. He trades it away for Emma in Season 3.
- Create Your Own Villain: Unintentionally helped set in motion Rumpelstiltskin becoming the Dark One, who later came back for revenge and thus set in motion the cycle of revenge between the two.
- Cycle of Revenge: Between him and Rumpelstiltskin, starting when he ran off with Rumpel's wife. He breaks the cycle in the Season 2 finale, though, when Greg and Tamara's plot to destroy Storybrooke makes him realize that living actually does matter more to him than killing Rumpelstiltskin.
- Deadpan Snarker: One of the biggest ones on the entire show.
- Death Seeker: Strongly implied to be thus in "The Outsider". He apparently wants to meet Milah in death.
- Defector from Decadence: His reason for becoming a pirate. He was a naval officer until the king he served under sent him and his brother on a secret mission to Neverland to get Dreamshade, telling them in was medicine when in fact it was deadly poison. It killed Hook's brother, and Hook would no longer serve the king whom he blamed for his brother's death. He and his men went AWOL and became pirates rather than serve such a king.
- Defiant to the End: When Rumpelstiltskin is about to crush his heart in the midseason finale of Season 4, he says that he expects Hook to start begging for his life. Hook responds that it's never going to happen, as between the two of them, he isn't the cowardly one.
- Determinator: He spent 300 years planning revenge, after all.
- The Dragon: His relationship with Cora falls somewhere between this and Big Bad Duumvirate, as he works with her rather than for her, it's just that Cora is always the clear dominant force in the partnership. He's in a similar position with Greg and Tamara.
- Enemy Mine: Surprisingly falls into this at the end of Season 2.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Genuinely loved Milah, tells her to run after Rumpelstiltskin almost rips his heart out, and still wants to be reunited with her.
- Related to this, this is why he tried to make a connection with Bae, and why he ultimately chooses to help out on the quest to find Henry in Neverland.
- He was very close to his brother when they were both in the Navy. His death devastated him, and drove him to piracy.
- Emma. He gave up his home to help her get her memories back.
- He's also become quite fond of Henry in Seasons 3 and 4.
- Even Evil Has Standards: "Good form", in his own words (well, maybe his brother's too).
- Everyone Can See It: According to Regina, everybody in Storybrooke can tell that he and Emma are carrying torches for each other.
- Expy: As Word of God states, he's pretty much a pirate version of Han Solo.
- Face Death with Dignity: To Rumpelstiltskin's chagrin, he doesn't break down even moments before the Dark One is about to crush his heart.
- Fatal Flaw: His thirst for revenge usually gets him into horrible situations.
- His low sense of self-worth. After his Heel-Face Turn, he has issues with how heroic he actually is, which causes him to seek opportunities to better himself. Normally this would be a good thing, but in a series full of Genre Savvy villains who aren't prone to using your flaws against you...Gold in particular takes advantage of this.
- The Fettered: He may be a pirate, but he fights with a code of honour.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Sometimes has issues adjusting to modern-day Storybrooke, at least in regards to technology. He tells Emma that he doesn't know what Netflix is but still wants to do it when she suggests it. He also admits to Elsa that he doesn't know how his phone works beyond Emma answering when he hits the right button and that he thinks it's utterly useless otherwise. He does eventually come to understand voicemail.
- Also tells David in season 4 that he still pays for things with doubloons.
- Foil: Often acts as one to Rumpelstiltskin.
- Particularly prevalent in the first half of season 4, where Hook is trying desperately to better himself while Rumple is quickly backsliding to where the latter takes advantage of the former's desperation.
- Genre Blind: He seriously thinks trying to blackmail, Rumple the Dark One and then make a deal with him is a good idea. It bites him in the arse, when Rumple being the Magnificent Bastard that he is turns the tables and starts blackmailing him.
- Guile Hero: He may not be the strongest nor does he possess magic, he gets by on his sole, cunning wit.
- Guyliner: One of his trademark features.
- Handsome Lech: He seems fond of hitting on just about every pretty woman he meets. Possibly to fill the void Milah was in.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: In season 2, he keeps switching sides every other episode. Season 3 has him settle on Face.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It looks like he'll work with anyone who will help him get revenge on Rumpelstiltskin. Later invoked by Pan to try and get him to kill Charming and offered him a chance off the island with Emma. Although in this case it was an aversion, he saved Charming and later told Emma that he wants her honestly.
- Ironically, one of his most notable traits is his unwavering devotion and loyalty to the people he cares about, too bad they're both dead. He later develops that same loyalty towards Emma.
- Heel-Face Turn: Finally decides to drop his revenge in the season 2 finale.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Nearly his whole outfit. When he later gets a more modern wardrobe, he still has a leather jacket.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Hook clearly has issues thinking of himself as a hero even after his Heel-Face Turn. It gets him into trouble in the first half of Season 4, as Rumpelstiltskin uses his efforts to be a better man against him.
- Hidden Depths: He's surprisingly perceptive, and is able to read Emma "like an open book" after only knowing her a few hours.
- Hook Hand: Courtesy of Rumpelstiltskin, the "crocodile".
- I Hate Past Me: During a time travel excursion, he punches his past self in the face likely due to jealously, since his past self was making out with Emma. He also tried to warn Emma that his past self is not the same man he is. Also see the entry for Magic Feather.
- I Lied: He told Charming there was a magical sextant that could help them leave Neverland on top of a tall mountain. In truth there was no sextant, but a cure to the poison in Charming's body. Hook knew it would need to be a big lie to get Charming away from his wife and daughter.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He's willing to stand aside and let Neal have Emma if it makes them both happy.
- It's All About Me: To say Hook previously didn't care about anyone but himself would be a gross understatement. However, it ends up subverted in the Season 2 finale, where Hook finally finds it in him to put someone else before himself.
- Jerkass Façade: Implied in Jolly Roger. He acts the way he is simply because he doesn't have enough confidence in himself to really change.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He was originally a chivalrous, self-serving pirate who would do anything to anyone if it meant to serve him right, no matter who gets hurt, but he eventually grows caring and committing selfless acts to save Emma and her family to the point where he risks his life many times. Even after his Heel-Face Turn, he can be a bit arrogant and snarky.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Goes hand in hand with being a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Hook does not hesitate if it would further his own goals.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Whenever Rumpelstiltskin is involved.
- Limited Wardrobe: Does the man actually own a change of clothes or is his closet filled entirely with black leather coats, vests and pants with the occasional touch of red thrown in for variety's sake?
- Even when he switches to modern clothes, it looks almost exactly the same.
- Love at First Punch: He first displays an attraction to Emma after she ties him up and interrogates him at knife-point.
- Loveable Rogue: After his Heel-Face Turn, his better qualities come out, turning him into this.
- Magic Feather: A quite dark variant when he has Rumpelstiltskin reattach his hand. After being warned that the hand is part of the nastier person he used to be, he soon finds himself growing much more violent and begs to have it taken off again. Then Rumpel reveals that the hand had nothing to do with it, and it was just hearing that excuse that let him indulge his darker urges subconsciously. He's noticably horrified at this relevation.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Granted that the series isn't allowed to be too graphic, but Hook reacts to Rumpelstiltskin cutting his freaking hand off with far less screaming and flailing around than he by all rights should have done. Probably was still reeling from Milah's death but even still.
- Meaningful Name: Killian means "church" which is quite fitting because he does have a special relationship with the Savior.
- Moral Myopia:
- Mr. Fanservice: His brief appearance on the promo of the episode "We Are Both" was enough to grasp the attention of female fans everywhere (and some male fans as well) and cause a mass array of comments on the Internet regarding his attractiveness. This is in keeping with his description in J.M. Barrie's "Captain Hook at Eton".
- My Greatest Failure: His has three big ones:
- He sees himself responsible for his brother's death because he disobeyed Pan's warnings to not leave Neverland.
- Abandoning Bae when he didn't want to stay any longer and to protect his own skin.
- Chose to require his ship from Blackbeard than to locate Prince Eric's whereabouts and helping Ariel.
- The Navigator: His brother brought him on his voyage to Neverland as navigator and presented him with an ornate sextant as a gift. In the current time, he's the one who charts most of the courses.
- Not So Different:
- From Rumpelstiltskin. Lampshaded by Baelfire, who calls Hook out on being a self-serving coward, obsessed with getting revenge for every real and perceived slight, just like his father.
- They both also have the Freudian Excuse of having been abandoned by their fathers. Both love and do a relatively good job (by villain standards) of single-parenting Bae. Both are responsible for taking his mother away. Both swear up and down that they can change for Bae's sake and both ultimately end up abandoning him.
- An Officer and a Gentleman: Before becoming a pirate, he was a straight-laced Navy lieutenant on his brother's ship. He still retains shades of it as a pirate, with his insistence on "good form". For example, as of Season 3, he states outright that he wants to win Emma's heart honestly, without any tricks or lies, even of omission.
- Official Couple: With Emma, as of Season 3's grand finale.
- Oh, Crap: Has a epic one in his introductory episode, when he suddenly realizes that the beggar he's been bullying and kicking is actually Rumplestiltskin. In fact, it goes beyond Oh Crap, he looks like he's about to totally brown his pants.
- Parental Substitute: Temporarily. Oddly enough Bae probably would have remained a happily adopted pirate if he hadn't found out that his mother left him and his father for Hook..
- As of Season 3, he has now become this to Henry, offering to spend time with him while Emma works on bringing down Zelena.
- Pet the Dog:
- Decides to not use the bean to get him out of Storybrooke to help the gang. He's too late but he genuinely tried. Though it does let them travel to Neverland and save Henry, so there's that.
- Saves David from Dreamshade by getting him to drink the Neverland waters. He didn't really have any reason to do that, other than for Emma and Henry.
- Gives up winning over Emma's heart so that Neal could win her back.
- Genuinely wanted to help Ariel find Eric, after how he betrayed her last time.
- His biggest one to date: trades his ship to come get Emma to rescue her and the kingdom. That ship meant a lot to him, by the way, being all he has left of his brother and lover.
- Pirate: He's Captain Hook, this goes without saying!
- Pretty Boy: It's even lampshaded by Cora.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: ABC and producers just upgraded Colin O’Donoghue to a series regular for the last 9 episodes of Season 2 — even before his character’s first centric episode has aired.
- Proud Beauty: He repeatedly refers to himself as "devilishly handsome".
- Revenge Before Reason: His MOA in Season 2.
- Second Love: For Emma.
- Start of Darkness: He started out as young Lieutenant Jones, serving proudly in a King's Navy, running a tight ship with no tolerance for drinking rum, under the command of Captain Jones, his elder brother. They were sent on a mission to Neverland to find dreamshade, believing it was a medicine. When they arrived, Peter Pan was actually kind and helpful, warning them they had been lied to about the plant but also its location. Then when they found it, Killian was worried Pan was being honest about the plant, so the elder Jones injected himself with the poison and after a few second of standing upright, collapsed in pain. The Pan showed up again and gave Killian magical water that would save the Elder Jones but at a price (Pan didn't mention the exact nature of the price). The brother was saved. Soon after, they left Neverland with plans on revealing the truth to the world when the elder brother died, for the healing waters did work but they bound him to Neverland and should he leave he would perish. Angered by this turn of events, Killian became captain of his brother's ship and convinced all the good men who respected his brother so to turn pirate and raid against their dishonorable king.
- Suicide by Cop: Semi-inverted. His goal is revenge, but seems oddly obsessed with Gold killing him. He encourages the man to rip out his heart! Presumably, he wants to be with Milah again.
- Seems to get over it at the end of Season Two, making efforts to move on instead.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome and Snarky
- Tragic Villain: See Start Of Darkness.
- Undying Loyalty: If he really cares about someone, then come hell or high water he will stick with them.
- What You Are in the Dark: Twice.
- First, Pan tries to convince him to kill Charming in exchange for passage off Neverland with Emma. He refuses.
- Second, Pan tells him that Neal is still alive, just as he and Emma might be getting somewhere, to test whether he'd let an old friend die for a shot with a woman. Again, Hook does the right thing and tells the rest of the Five-Man Band.
- Wicked Cultured: A bloodthirsty pirate he may be, but he also possesses the meticulous style and old-school manners of a proper gentleman.
- Wild Card: Played straight for most of Season 2. Averted from the end of Season 2 onward.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- He ripped out Aurora's heart, backhanded Belle and then tried to stab Belle with his hook.
- Then there's "The Outsider", where he shoots Belle in the shoulder.
Introduced as Regular
Will Scarlet/The Knave of Hearts
Played By: Michael Socha
A former member of Robin Hood's Merry Men, who left them to be with his true love Anastasia in Wonderland. He was briefly the Knave of Hearts, until Alice took his heart back for him. He then made in back to the Enchanted Forest, just in time for Regina to cast the Dark Curse. The White Rabbit came to fetch him after the curse was broken to break Alice out of an asylum and take them both back to Wonderland. Eventually he and Anastasia ended up as the White King and Queen of Wonderland. What's he doing back in Storybrooke remains a mystery.