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Henry Mills

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/henryouat.jpg
"I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one."
Played By: Jared S. Gilmore (child), Robbie Kay, Andrew J. West (adult)
Centric Episodes: “Save Henry”, “Dreamcatcher”, “Hyperion Heights”, “Breadcrumbs”, “Is This Henry Mills?”
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The biological son of Emma Swan as well as the adopted son of Regina Mills, Henry is a determined young boy who fully believes that Storybrooke is cursed.


  • Adorably Precocious Child: He's only ten, but he's preoccupied with figuring out how to break the curse. Of course, hardly anyone takes him seriously.
  • Agent Mulder: He believes in fairy tales, contrasting Emma's initial role as the skeptic.
  • Agent Scully: While under the curse in season seven.
  • Amazon Chaser: Falls for Cinderella after she clocks him and steals his motorcycle.
  • Badass Biker: At some point between seasons six and seven, August taught Henry how to ride a motorcycle, although whether he retained this skill after losing his memories is unknown
  • Badass Bookworm: He also shows hints of being this. Not between "New York City Serenade" and "A Curious Thing", due to having his memories erased... though he does improve at Math.
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  • Badass Pacifist: Henry uses words, speeches, and trickery to deal with his problems. See Guile Hero.
  • Bad Dreams: A side effect of eating the poisoned apple (turnover) and falling under the sleeping curse. Even after Emma breaks the curse, he still gets horrible nightmares.
  • Big Brother Instinct: It's subtle due to their lack of scenes un-cursed, but he does seem to have this towards his younger cousin Robin (who would've grown up in the same house as him before he left to explore the Realms). His cursed counterpart also develops this for Tilly, the cursed counterpart of Robin's True Love Alice.
  • 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:
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    • Henry to Regina after her spell traps Emma and Snow in another world. He tells her that she has to figure out how to bring them back or she really is the Evil Queen, and he'll never see her again. He leaves with Charming.
    • Calls out Emma in "Manhattan" for not telling him about his father.
    • Calls Emma out again in the Dark Swan arc. The expression on his face as he stares down at Emma when he finds out she pulled out Violet's heart to force her to break his speaks louder than words. In the episode Broken Heart, he calls her out to her face for relying on dark magic instead of him or her family and not changing even after the truth comes out about Hook being a Dark One as well.
  • The Cassandra: He's got the right idea regarding the fairy tales, but no one believes him.
    • Later subverted in Season 3b when he has no idea about fairy tales being real due to memory loss caused by the cancellation of the curse.
  • Cheerful Child: For the most part.
  • Children Are Innocent: Again, for the most part.
  • The Chooser of The One: Henry is the one to deliver Emma's Call to Adventure.
  • The Chosen One: He is the incumbent Author of the tales of the Enchanted Forest. He was set up as a Chosen One in other situations specifically "the one who will be Rumpelstiltskin's undoing" and the kid that Peter Pan searched two centuries for as the possessor of "the heart of the truest believer". "A Curious Thing" shows that his belief in magic is one of the keys to undoing a Dark Curse.
  • Consummate Liar: It comes with being a Guile Hero.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Twice over. Regina named him "Henry Daniel Mills" after two of the only people she ever loved: her father Henry (whom she herself killed to enact the curse - Henry even gets to see his namesake's coffin when he goes poking around in Regina's shed, and there's a nice little pause so you don't miss it) and her lover Daniel, whom her mother killed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like mother, like son.
    Emma: How's the pizza?
    Henry: It's good, cheesy, and it doesn't lie.
    • He gets a pretty good dig at Greg and Tamara in "The Heart of the Truest Believer" after it becomes clear that the Home Office (i.e. Peter Pan) no longer considers them of any use.
    Henry: It's a good thing that you guys don't ask any questions.
  • Determinator: One of the biggest ones in the series. There's no stopping him once he's set on something.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father, Baelfire/Neal Cassidy, doesn't even know his son exists until Henry meets him in "Manhattan".
    • He later becomes this to his own daughter, Lucy, although not by choice.
  • Disney Death/Infant Immortality: Hey, if there's one universe where it's justified...
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Immediately agrees to go along with Peter Pan's plan once he believes that Wendy's life is at stake.
    • Also stays in an alternate realm to help out Cinderella.
  • Everyone Can See It: Despite his objections about just meeting her, pretty much everyone, from Lady Tremaine to Emma - and Emma is shit with relationships - can see that Henry had fallen for Cinderella.
    • Sabine straight up asks him if he’s in love with Jacinda and doesn’t believe him when he says he just wants to help.
  • Fat Suit: According to Jared Gilmore, he is wearing one to portray Henry in Season 3b after a year of good living has fattened Henry up and made him less active and more prone to video games.
  • Fatal Flaw: His open belief and idealism makes him prone to manipulation, such as when Peter Pan uses it to convince him that he needs to save magic; in reality, Henry's Heroic Sacrifice allows Pan to become immortal. This also results from an idealistic desire to be a hero.
  • Gene Hunting: Part of the reason for his search for Emma in the pilot.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • With Snow White. Both had Regina as a mother figure. Both knowingly ate (the same) poisoned apple created by Regina to save someone they love (Charming and Emma, respectively). Both of them received True Love's Kiss from those specific loved ones to awake from their sleeping curses. Like grandmother, like grandson.
    • Has shades of this with Regina as well. They're both cunning, Consummate Liars with incredible Mommy Issues. They also share the same obsession with change and revenge. Both have a very clear and idea of how things should go ("My past should be preserved" and "My future should be saved"). They both showed that they are able to focus on people's mistakes (Henry demonizing Regina and not trusting Emma after "Manhattan", Regina demonizing Snow and not trusting Emma) hold grudges (as Henry's cold quips show) and are partly driven by a need for revenge (Regina on Snow and Henry on Regina) on someone who only wanted the best, but failed to achieve the results they wanted.
    • With Baelfire. They're both Morality Chains for the two major villains of the show.
    • And like his paternal grandpa has insane amounts of Genre Savvy, and can be quite good with the Batman Gambit and winning through tricking his enemies.
    • With Emma. He gets called to a town populated by fairy-tale characters under a curse that makes them forget who they are by his 10 year old daughter. He then works with his mother (unknown to both of them) who is also under the curse against the current mayor who has custody over his daughter. This time, he's part of the accursed.
  • Genre Savvy: All the time.
    Henry: [looking at an apple turnover] Where'd you get that?
    Emma: Regina gave it to me.
    Henry: [sniffs] Apple. You can't eat that! It's poisoned!
    • He's perfectly fine that Emma doesn't believe him throughout the first season because "if the hero believed what they were told from the beginning, it wouldn't make a very good story."
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Always tries to do the right thing but isn't for a moment fooled by his mother's antics.
  • Guile Hero: He is pretty damn cunning for his age. He tracks down his birth mother, making an extensive cross-state trip to find her on his own. On his home turf, he constantly undermines his (adoptive) mother, escapes her notice, lies convincingly, and otherwise makes his way to Emma, wherever in town she may be.Would you expect any less from Rumpelstiltskin's grandson?
  • Grand Theft Me: Peter Pan switched bodies with him as a last minute resort to avoid being sucked into Pandora's Box.
  • Happily Adopted: Initially subverted; while a cursory glance would show Regina as a stern, but loving mother who provides material and medical care for a trouble-making, mentally disturbed little boy, the facade is flaking off like cheap paint and keeps getting worse. Eventually played straight as he comes to consider Regina to be as much his mother as Emma.
  • Has Two Mommies: To the extent that 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". Eventually, he has three: Emma, Regina and the serum-created Evil Queen, and two daddies: biological (and deceased) father Neil/Baelfire and stepfather Killian Jones/Captain Hook.
  • 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: He keeps on insisting on going back to the Netherworld to give Aurora Rumpelstiltskin's message even after getting severely burned.
  • Heroic Suicide: It looks like Emma is going to run away. She doesn't believe in the curse. She doesn't believe him. August failed. And that apple turnover was a parting gift from Regina? One option left - CHOMP!
  • I Am Not My Father: He explicitly states that he's not and will never be like Regina in "We Are Both".
  • Identity Amnesia: As of "New York City Serenade", Henry's memories have been rewritten such that he believes that Emma's raised him all his life, and that he's never heard of Storybrooke and its peculiar existence. Sadly, when Hook comes to get both him and his mother back to Storybrooke, he only has enough memory potion for Emma. Finally subverted in "A Curious Thing" when his memory is restored by his story book, the same way Emma came to believe back in the season 1 finale.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Henry really wants to learn how to sword fight, ride horses, and kick ass with his mom and grandparents.
    Henry: I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one.
  • Indy Ploy: He doesn't really have a plan on how to lift the curse and is really just making it up as he goes along, hoping for a result.
  • Innocent Prodigy: He's a growing Guile Hero with more than a few doses of Genre Savvy and Good Is Not Dumb, but he talks about super secret information at the local diner just because he's hungry and believes that fairy tales are real. He's right, of course, but his eagerness and willingness to believe in them definitely shows off his age of 10.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: "Hyperion Heights" implies that Henry's first book was based on his experiences in Storybrooke.
  • Just One More Level: Henry's become a video game addict in between "Going Home" and "New York City Serenade" as part of Regina's promise to replace their past with good memories. Apart from one scene in "New York..." where Emma takes him to school and a scene in "Witch Hunt" where he goes for ice-cream with Mary Margaret, he's playing video games. Even when he meets Regina he is playing a video game beforehand and immediately goes back to playing it after their greeting has finished.
    • He's been seen playing video games before, but not to such an obsessive degree. He and Emma once shared a moment when Regina gave him a handheld video game, to which Emma comments that she also enjoyed that same game as a kid. And even during "New York City Serenade", they make conversation while playing a video game together.
    • Season 7 shows that he bonded with others his age in the cursed world, too. Primarily old arcade games. M
  • Like Father, Like Son:
    • He's very similar to his grandmother in a lot of ways. Lampshaded by Emma in "Queen of Hearts":
    Emma: You sound just like Henry.
    Snow: Optimism must run in the family.
    • According to Emma, he's quite a bit like Neal. In season "Quite A Common Fairy", Peter Pan remarks that Henry reminds him of Baelfire.
    • He also has Charming's idealistic, goodie two-shoes outlook and kind-heart and Rumpelstiltskin's intelligence, ability to read people and talent for coming up with brilliant schemes (albeit for the good of all).
  • Living Lie Detector: Inherited from his mother.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Henry is described by Regina as "not having any friends and being kind of a loner."
    • This is definitely a direct result of Regina's choice to raise him in Storybrooke. It's incredibly difficult (borderline impossible) to make any friends when he's the only person who ages.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: What kicks off the whole thing? Henry showing up on Emma's doorstep and saying, in effect, "Hi Mom!"
  • Meaningful Name: Henry means "House of Rulers", which is fitting, since his most of his fairy tale family have royal blood in them. In-universe, it's the name of Regina's dead father, whom she sacrificed to enact the Dark Curse.
  • Mommy Issues: His biological mother is a prickly ex-con who put him up for adoption and Regina has breathtaking anger management issues.
  • Morality Pet: To all the original core characters, especially in the second season after it's revealed that he's related to all of them.
    • Morality Chain: Especially to Regina, particularly in the second season since she promised him she would redeem herself. And when that doesn't work out, he also manages to get her to stay in But Not Too Evil territory rather than go all-out Evil Queen mode.
  • Mr. Exposition: Explains most of the plot to Emma in the first episode.
  • Nerves of Steel: In "The Doctor", Henry keeps a cool head and (despite being justifiably terrified) tries to help a confused and violent Franken!Daniel. The kid's got guts.
    • in Season 3, Peter Pan pulls If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten by trying to make him shoot an apple off the head of one of the Lost Boys with a poison arrow. Despite being a prisoner, Henry tries to take a shot at Pan instead.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Story of his life. Things would have been prevented or solved sooner if someone had listened to him.
  • Only Sane Man: He's probably the most level-headed person in Storybrooke.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Tends to give these kinds of names. So far, he's had Cobra, Scorpion, Praying Mantis, Mongoose, Light Swan, Firebird, Mixtape, Cobra Part II, Best Man (although that one was Hook's idea), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Glass Slipper.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Thinks his daughter is dead because of the new curse in season 7.
  • Out of Focus: Due to still not having regained his true memories, he's been featured a lot less during the second half of season 3. "A Curious Thing" appears to be the first step in bring him back to his previous plot importance. Though he would not return to his previous level of importance until "Operation Mongoose", the finale of the next season.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Spends most of his kidnapping by Greg and Tamara sassing them and pointing out how stupid their plan is. Peter Pan doesn't get very far with him initially, either.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: He got these features from his maternal grandmother and is still this when he’s an adult.
  • Reality Warper: At least within Neverland, due to being the "Truest Believer".
    • He becomes the new Author in "Operation Mongoose", essentially becoming this but gives it up because the power is too much.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Well he is Snow and Charming's grandson after all.
  • The Runaway: Henry has apparently run away several times, either in search of his real mother or because he believes Regina does not really love him.
  • Seeker Archetype: More active than his mother.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Emma and Neal which makes sense given that Neal is Henry's father.
    • Also for Regina and Robin.
    • Sort of one for Emma and Hook. He's a little weirded out by the fact that she's dating again, but he encourages Emma ask Hook out if makes her happy.
  • Spanner in the Works: It would be easier to count what wouldn't have succeeded if he hadn't been there...
    • He brings Emma to Storybrooke, setting in motion the downfall of Regina.
    • His Heroic Suicide motivated Emma to break the curse.
    • He undid all of Isaac's work in the finale of Season 4—not just by gathering Regina, Emma, and Hook, but by becoming the new Author and fixing reality.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Henry looks a lot like Snow White.
  • Timeshifted Actor: In Season 7. Jared S. Gilmore appears in a couple of flashbacks to Storybrooke, but the "main" Henry in both settings is Andrew J. West.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He gets his chance to shine and be a real hero in the Season 4 finale, where he single-handedly stops Isaac.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Hot chocolate with cinnamon, a trait he shares with Emma and Snow.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Delivers an epic one when everyone is conspiring to deal with Regina once and for all, furiously pointing out they all used to be heroes, what's happened to them?
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: On several occasions he shows more common sense than the adults around him.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: He is the descendant of the greatest forces of light (The Charmings) and dark (Rumpelstiltskin) in history, which gives him phenomenal potential power, as well as the title of the Truest Believer.
  • You're Not My Father:
    • Henry says this at least once to Regina, but it's subverted in "Broken".
      Henry: She's still my mom.
    • And again in "Welcome to Storybrooke".
      Henry: Stop! Listen to yourselves! You're talking about killing my mom!
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: His near-weaponized Genre Savvy was turned against him by Pan, who sowed doubt about his families' motivations for wanting to take him from Neverland and played on his desire to be a hero by setting up circumstances where he came to believe he was the only one who could commit a Heroic Sacrifice to save them all.

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