Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Once Upon A Time David

Go To

Beware of unmarked spoilers.


Prince David "Charming"/David Nolan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Prince_Charming_9793.jpg
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, Luke Roessler (child)
Centric Episodes: “Pilot”, “Snow Falls”, “The Shepherd”, “7:15 A.M.”, “What Happened to Frederick”, “Heart of Darkness”, “An Apple Red as Blood”, “A Land Without Magic”, “Lady of the Lake”, “The Cricket Game”, “Lost Girl”, “The New Neverland”, “The Tower”, “A Curious Thing”, “White Out”, “Unforgiven”, “Best Laid Plans”, “Siege Perilous”, “Heartless”, “Murder Most Foul”, “Awake”
Advertisement:

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:
  • Appropriated Appelation: "Charming" started as Snow's Insult of Endearment.
  • Arranged Marriage:
      Advertisement:
    • 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: 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Big Damn Kiss: At the end of "7:15 A.M." with Mary Margaret.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Carried a golden sword for a while.
  • Character Development: Since David never really wanted the life of a prince, he was always running off to fight or take action, only slowing down for advice or supplies. He even admitted after the curse was lifted that "Snow did the talking." We see some hints that he started to gain leadership qualities right before the curse fell, but it was only after his wife and daughter got trapped in the enchanted forest that he really began taking responsibility for the people he was in charge of.
  • 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.
  • Doting Grandparent: Is one to Henry, occasionally giving him fatherly advice and even taught Henry some driving lessons.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: He gets upset when the curse is broken and Snow White mentions she'd been having a one-night stand with Dr. Whale during the time of the curse. Considering that he has been married to Kathryn then, and what he has been through with Mary Margaret, that's kind of rich.
  • 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 there for Emma growing up.
    • Also not being there 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.
  • Pretty Boy: Be played by Josh Dallas and be recognized and even called by all as Prince Charming definitely helps.
  • 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.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report