Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Emma Swan


Signature Line: “The only one who saves me, is me.”

Emma Swan, the heroine of Once Upon a Time, is beautiful, complex, intelligent, resourceful, determined, empathetic, kind, and loving. She began the series very lonely and guarded, terrified of being truly vulnerable with anyone. But over the course of the series she has found courage to open her heart with her son, her family, her friends, and a man she has fallen in love with. Through her tears and her smiles, you feel every single heart beat of Emma’s journey of self discovery as she embraces her role as the Savior, begins to learns magic, and most importantly begins to heal the wounds she has carried with her all of her life.  Brought to life exquisitely by Jennifer Morrison, what is amazing about Emma is the depths and layers of her character- she is emblematic of what many of us face every day, and a beautiful depiction of a woman who exemplifies many qualities. Like all of us, she is neither all tough and hard, nor all soft and gentle. Emma Swan is a hero, but she is more importantly a woman, and one who is admirable and endlessly relatable.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Emma saves Henry with True Love’s Kiss and breaks Storybrooke’s curse.” (Season 1, Episode 22 “A Land Without Magic”)


The culmination of Emma Swan’s journey of belief and her relationship with her son came in this beautiful and emotional moment from the Season 1 finale that demonstrated the power of a mother’s love. There have not been many images as devastating as the sight of Henry appearing to be dead and Emma’s face fraught with uncontrollable pain, grief, and sobs. But as Emma tells her son she loves him and kisses his forehead a pulse of true love magic swept over Henry and the entirety of Storybrooke. And these tears of grief become tears of joy as Henry awakens, reciprocating Emma’s declaration, and every single resident wakes up from the curse they had been under for 28 years. It is such a powerful message alone to show the strength of Emma’s love for Henry as true, having been growing since he came back into her life, but also that Emma’s fulfilled Savior destiny to save everyone came simply through opening her heart to her child. True Love is indeed the most powerful magic of all.

  1. “Emma tells Killian ‘I Love You” for the first time, saves everyone, and becomes The Dark One.” (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)


When our characters were returned to Storybrooke safe and sound, they were overjoyed, none more so than Emma who found the man she loves alive and well. She wanted to tell him how she felt , but was still afraid and most likely thought she would still have time. But when the Dark One was once again threatening the town, its essence freed from Gold and was unable to be contained; it needed to be tethered to a person and when it latches onto Regina, ready to kill her and move onto the next person, Emma proves once again why she is the savior and a true hero. Much to the fear of her loved ones, Emma prepares to tether herself and become the next Dark One- but before she does she tells them how she feels. She implores her parents to figure out how to rid her of the darkness again, this time as heroes. She believes in them! And when Killian approaches, begging her to reconsider, we see Emma show even more profound courage. Placing his hand over her heart- the heart he promised to protect- Emma tells Killian she loves him, tears in her eyes and overcome with emotion as they rest their foreheads together before she must let him go. And in Emma finally finding the courage to tell him how she feels, her eyes never leaving his before she disappears, this moment filled with poignancy and uncertainty is at its heart filled with hope. Before the darkness takes over Emma gives him a moment of light- the truth that no matter what is to come, she loves him as he loves her, and hope is not lost.

  1. “Emma learns to love and accept herself and gains control of her magic.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)


Emma has gone through many journeys throughout the series, one of the most poignant being that of identity and self acceptance. When the Snow Queen plays on Emma’s doubts, fears, and insecurities, her magic goes awry and Emma is absolutely terrified of hurting someone (she does accidentally hurt Henry). So she seeks out Gold who says she can help her rid herself of her powers forever. But with the help of Elsa, a true friend who understands exactly how she feels, she tells Emma she needs to love herself, the good and the bad, and then and only then will she be able to gain control of her magic. Elsa holds out her hand to her friend, a gesture of trust and belief, and a golden burst of magic is sent pulsing from Emma’s hand- a sign of true love for herself with her smiles, tears, and look of relief and happiness truly beautiful. This scene is so symbolic and meaningful in regards to the importance of self acceptance. Emma’s magic is so inherently a part of her, and part of what makes her special, but she struggled with learning and accepting that they are a part of her. As is true with all of us, the moment we learn to accept of ourselves exactly as we are is a moment of true beauty that we can relate to and be moved by.

  1. “Emma is awed to hear she is Killian’s happy ending.” (Season 4, Episode 15 “Poor Unfortunate Soul”)


A moment of purity and true love, this scene meant a great deal for Killian’s character as he bears his heart and soul to Emma admitting that she everything to him, but this declaration means just as much to Emma and Jennifer Morrison plays it with such exquisite gentleness and depth. When Emma hears him say she is his happy ending, her expression is of one of amazement and overwhelming emotion. Never blinking, her eyes fill with tears as she slowly moves towards him before resting her forehead against his and softly kissing him, a single tear falling from her cheek. This moment is so special and meaningful for Emma because as the Savior, Emma has come to embrace helping others find their happy endings. But she rarely thinks of her own. More significantly, as a woman who grew up feeling unloved and unwanted, always used to not feeling like she was not good enough, it is extraordinary for her to hear, she truly is. She is Killian’s happy ending, and for this once lost little girl, discovering this is a unbelievable revelation. It is no wonder she was crying. And to cry when you kiss the one you loves shows the brevity and profundity of her feelings.

  1. “Emma accepts Storybrooke as her home.” (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)


Despite finding her son and her parents, and living in Storybrooke, Emma was still struggling with this little town feeling like home to her. As is often the case, sometimes what Emma needs is an emotional situation, an understanding ear, and a little push to help her in her different journeys. This time it was seeing her mother “die” in front before her and Killian’s empathetic support that helped her to truly realize how much her family had come to mean to her, and in turn she realized that Henry did not bring her to Storybrooke to break a curse. He was bringing her home. In this lovely moment Killian simply sweetly smiles at her, proud to see this realization brought her magic back and allowed them to open the time portal and go home. The instant they are back Emma runs to find her parents, practically leaping into their arms, and telling them and her son that she is indeed home and where they belong. Is there anyone who did not cry when Emma called Snow and David Mom and Dad, hugging them and saying how much she missed them? Emma found love and in turn she found her home.

  1. “Realizing what her mother gave up for her, Emma cries saying she is not used to someone putting her first.” (Season 2, Episode 3 “Lady of the Lake”)


Not long after discovering that Mary Margaret was in truth her mother Snow, they are transported to the Enchanted Forest together forced to deal with emotions that are very raw and have long been buried. When they come upon what was to be Emma’s nursery, I think for the first time Emma sees how much her mother gave up. She not only gave up her daughter to save an entire kingdom (and give her daughter her best chance), but sacrificed everything that a mother dreams of before their child is born. Through her chocked up sobs Emma tells her mother “I’m not used to someone putting me first” to which her mother hugs her daughter tightly and says “Well get used to it.” This infinitely touching moment was beautiful in its simplicity and deep meaning for a girl who grew lonely and discarded and always longed for a family that were there to love, accept, and never let her go. She may be grown, but Emma’s smile and tears are that of someone never too old to be happy to be hugging her mother.

  1. “Emma promises to always see the best in Killian.” (Season 4, Episode 13 “Unforgiven”)


In one of the loveliest, real and most grounded moments we’ve ever seen on the series, Emma assures and comforts Killian in the way he so often does, promising something very profound and beautiful in its pure simplicity. He is afraid to tell her about a past wrong doing even when he she says it will not change anything between them. Killian rarely had anyone believe in him,  and still has his fears and doubts. But what Emma promises is sincere, explaining that it has been her habit to expect the worst in others having lived a life of people letting her down. But she does not want to do that anymore. She vows to choose to always see the best in him, and he with her.  Their nearly whispered vows, were brilliantly portrayed and this sweet, intimate moment was the first time Emma and Killian genuinely talked about their feelings for each other. Emma showed so much growth and it was a wonder to see her let down her guard,  but also to  showcase a more optimistic outlook and deep trust. What more can we ask from the one we want to share a life with?

  1. “Emma gives Ashley wise advice about life.” (Season 1, Episode 4 “The Price of Gold”)


Since the beginning of the series, Emma has always shown a great deal of wisdom, fierceness, and empathy, and all of these amazing qualities are showcased when she talks with Ashley, a young maid about to have a baby at 19 years old, fearing everyone’s doubts in her abilities are true. In true Emma fashion she simply says “Screw them!” But what she says next is even more profound advice and one of Emma’s most iconic lines of the show: “People are going to tell you who you are, your entire life. You just got to punch back and say- No this is who I am. You want people to look at you differently? Make them! You want things to change? You’re going to have to go out there and change things yourself because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.” Of course, it is a bit ironic that she is truthfully speaking to Cinderella and there is indeed magic everywhere, but that is not the point. This moment shows Emma’s great strength that despite everything she knows she is in charge of her own destiny. Not only a remarkable moment for Emma, this scene demonstrates a wonderful theme that Once Upon a Time exhibits- a unique juxtaposition against the fairy tale backdrop of the show. Instead of waiting to be rescued and for magic to solve our problems, you must go out and fight for what you want. We can be our own heroes and find our happiness with a strong will and belief in ourselves. Emma may struggle with this as we all do, but that does not mean she, and we, do not aspire to believe and live these truths.

  1. “Emma tells Killian she can’t bear to lose him too.” (Season 4, Episode 3 “Rocky Road”)


After losing so many people she cared for in her life, it is no wonder that Emma has been afraid to fully open her heart to someone again. Killian understands Emma, but after sharing a few honest conversations and sweet kisses, her sudden distancing and pulling away from him left him feeling confused and worried she did not trust him. In a emotional moment she finally lets her true feelings come bursting out. Everyone she has ever been with is dead. She lost everyone and can’t bear the thought of losing him too. This scene was honest and loving and a true turning point in their relationship for after this reveal (and a passionate kiss built on an promise that he is a survivor), it was like a weight was lifted off both of their shoulders and for Emma revealing her fears helped her to begin to move past them and open herself up to someone, perhaps more so than she ever has before.

  1. “Emma tells Regina that love is a part of all happiness.” (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)


There are so many wonderful aspects to this scene where we hear Emma admit for the first time that she loves Killian. One interesting thing is that much like the first time Killian admitted his love out loud, the first she admits this she is suffering from a broken heart and admitting these feelings to Mills sister who is not completely herself. This parallel alone is lovely, but what makes this moment so special for Emma is that through her pain and her tears she is able to express her biggest regret. She never once told him how she felt, too afraid it would change everything. Her admittance is potent and heart wrenching especially because of the duality for the scene. She is trying to help Regina follow her heart and tell Robin how she feels and not make the same mistake she did. Because even though a happy ending is not defined by a single person, love is a part of all happiness and we should be open to that possibility. Emma wants someone else to find their happiness. But even more so, she believes her encouragement will turn everything back to the way it belongs and bring back the man she loves. And it is these two purposes that shows just what a beautiful and relatable relate person Emma truly is.

  1. “Emma admits to Snow that she feels like an orphan.” (Season 3, Episode 2 “Lost Girl”)


This deeply heartbreaking moment in Neverland between Emma and her mother was emotional to watch but it was a moving and significant moment for her character to let those feelings and wounds that have been buried come to the surface. The nature of the island was that it was based in belief, but in truth it was a land filled with children who felt lost, who did not have a family. Desperate to find Henry, Emma is frustrated that she cannot get the map Pan offered her to work. But it was because she needed to admit who she really is. During a scuffle with a lost boy she looked into his eyes and saw an expression she knows all too well. The look of despair she felt all the years she was in the foster system. She felt like a little lost girl who didn’t matter and didn’t think she ever would, who cried herself to sleep, wanting her parents so badly and could not understand why they gave her away. These truths were heartbreaking but her admittance she felt like an orphan allowed Pan’s map to work, and more importantly, allowed Emma to begin to work through and begin to heal the scars she has carried with her all of her life. Beautifully performed, I cannot understand why Jennifer Morrison has not won an Emmy. I cried as much as Emma did during this moving and poignant scene.

  1. “Emma brings home a cupcake for her birthday and makes a wish.” (Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”)


One of the things I love most about Emma is her complexity and depth. She may be guarded and cynical when the series begins but she also is vulnerable, lonely and longs for for a family. The fact that she actually makes the effort to buy herself a cupcake on her birthday, light a candle and make a wish that she did not have to be alone that day is extremely potent, touching and ever relatable. This image is a beautiful depiction of hope and dreams, and one that I would love to see echoed by series end, only this time when she blows out the candle she is surrounded by loved ones, no longer the lonely, lost girl without a family.

  1. “Emma asks Mary Margaret if her spare room is available.” (Season 1, Episode 3 “Snow Falls”)


Beside Henry, the first person that Emma began to let down her walls with was Mary Margaret. When her new friend offers to let her stay in her spare room in her apartment, Emma kindly declines saying she is better on her own. But something clearly changes her mind, and when she shows up later asking if the spare room is still available Emma takes her first step in not only finding a home in Storybrooke but in finding the family she never really had. It does not matter that they actually are. They don’t know that and that is what makes is lovely. We can find people and make our own family as we grow older, if we have to courage to let our guard down. I loved this moment of growth for Emma’s character.

  1. “Emma tells Henry that maybe the curse is real.” (Season 1, Episode 2 “The Thing You Love Most”)


What is so sweet and touching about one of these earliest scenes with Henry is that it shows not only her intelligence and but also the ability to understand Henry despite not knowing him for very long. Henry was feeling low thinking Emma believes he is crazy, shattering his hope and desire to go forward with “Operation Cobra.” Knowing what he needs to hear Emma says he is not crazy, the curse is, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. She says the only way for them to break it is by tricking the Evil Queen into thinking they are non-believers and burning the crucial pages from his Storybook. Henry’s hope is restored as he hugs his mom saying “I knew you came here to help me.” Emma may not have been completely honest with him, but what she was doing was more important. She was doing what all good parents do: keeping their child’s hopes and dreams alive. This moment was quite touching.

  1. “Emma and Killian watch the moment her parents first fall in love.” (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)


In such an glorious and unique dynamic, when Emma and Killian see that things are set right for Snow and Charming, Emma gets to chance to see what Killian says most do not get to see: watch her parents fall in love. Bearing witness to the moment that rings true both times it happens, Charming sees his mother’s ring on Snow’s finger and the two were never the same. Even though they took a while to admit their feelings, a quality Killian sweetly says “must run in the family,”  the feelings the two felt came through in the same way, and were just as strong and true. For Emma, the significance of this special moment that granted her a  view of something impossible to every other child was that she finally got to see her parents not just as her mother and father and these iconic heroes but as real people. Moreover, it is also lovely that she shared this moment with the man who was becoming a stable and special part of her life. And in seeing her parents open their hearts, led Emma to begin to stop trying to run away from her feelings but embrace them with vulnerability and honesty.

  1. “Emma goes on her first date with Killian.” (Season 4, Episode 4 “The Apprentice”)


I could not have loved the moments that involved Emma’s first date with Killian more. There was so much to make us smile: the fact that she asked him out, her shy smiling and laugh when he kids her that she doesn’t pillage and plunder on a first date because she had not been out with him, seeing her so impressed by his new look she doesn’t not even notice his hand, and the way she is constantly touching him, holding his hands and caressing his shoulder and kissing him goodnight with such passion that you can literally hear her exhale when they finally break apart. The most beautiful thing undeniably is the way she dressed for her date in a soft pink dress and her hair swept up off her shoulders. She dressed the way Killian makes her feel and has finally found someone she feels safe enough to show the softer and gentler side to her. It is truly glorious to see Emma so happy, free, and to be treated like the stunning and amazing woman she truly is.

  1. “Emma and Henry make their first connection at his Castle.” (Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”)


The first truly open and honest scene between Emma and Henry, this moment is the one Emma remembers as the one they made their first real connection. Not only is this the first time Emma calls Henry by his name, but it is where Emma breaks down in front of him and the two relate to each other in a unique way. They are mother and son, but do not know each other yet, and Emma never having a proper childhood, still can feel very young and exposed because of it. Because of this, the honest conversation Emma and Henry have feels more like two wounded lonely children relating to each other. When you hear Emma crying as she says she was simply abandoned on the side of the road and had a family until she was three but was sent back when they had their own child, you immediately understand her deeply empathetic wounds. It is heartbreaking to hear but moving to witness. And the moment Emma simply smiles at Henry’s unfailing belief in the curse and he takes her hand, my heart melts.

  1. “Emma saves Killian from drowning, giving up her magic in the process” (Season 3, Episode 20 “Kansas”)


When Emma and Killian go to take on the wicked witch, Emma is very distant claiming she and Henry will go back to New York once all is well again. Killian knowing her so well sees what she is doing. She is running away again and knows she is scared that she can see a future in Storybrooke. She deflects once again saying “Let me guess, with you?” still angry that he had not told her about his cursed lips. Of course, which is often the case, it takes a life or death situation to allow Emma’s true feelings to come out, and when Zelena orders Rumple to drown Killian, Emma is terrified. When they disappear Emma is frantic and knows she must do CPR to save his life even though that would mean losing her magic, the only way they know of to defeat Zelena. But Emma is not thinking  of that; she simply wants to save his life and when she whispers “Come back to me” I was greatly moved. And her look of relief is potent. For the first time you saw how scared she was of losing him in the desperation in her voice before he is revived, and the overwhelming look of relief when he comes back.

  1. “Emma gives an inspiring speech about the best way to save Henry in Neverland.” (Season 3, Episode 1, “The Heart of the Truest Believer”)


One of Emma’s greatest signs of growth over the series is how she has became a fine leader, able to inspire others. When she, her parents, Killian and Regina are all united in an effort to save Henry from Peter Pan, their united front had a rather rocky start until Emma implores them that they need each other’s their unique personalities (a hero, a villain, a pirate) in order to save her son. It is not about right or wrong but success, and the animosity they were feeling is diffused and shifts into inspiration as we see her parents smile with pride, Killian smile and shrug clearly impressed, and Regina actually follow them all willingly. Emma brought them together and it was real turning point for all of our characters thanks to her passion and wisdom.

  1. “Emma kisses Killian for the first time.” (Season 3, Episode 5 “Good Form”)


The attraction between Emma and this charming pirate had been there from the beginning but her fear of trusting others kept it at bay. That is until Killian truly surprises her and saves her father’s life. She is genuinely grateful. And when their flirtations reach a breaking point when both boast that neither could handle kissing the other, she throws caution to the wind, grabs his collar and passionately kisses him. And if both were completely honest after that moment, neither could handle it. For Emma this was significant because she allowed herself to do something just because she wanted to. What she didn’t count on was how much she felt. And although she still tried to repress these feelings, we could clearly see the truth of her feelings through her breathless reaction and smile as he says “As you wish.”

Honorable Mentions:

“Emma shares some childhood mementos with Killian.” (Season 4, Episode 5 “Breaking Glass”)


Although Emma has her family that she loves, there are still some things she has not shared with them. But when it comes to Killian, she feels her safest, so when he asks if he may have the honor of sharing a box of childhood mementos she is looking at, you can see the trepidation in her eyes until she finds her courage, knowing she is safe with him. As he smiles at each item with wonderment she does as well, but holds back a few tears. And when she finds a video of herself and her childhood friend, he takes her hand and says he’d “love to know more about her beginnings.” So they watch and she rests her head on his shoulder. Not only was this an incredibly sweet moment for them both, but for Emma it demonstrates the strength she is finding from opening her heart. These are not all happy memories she is revisiting, and while it helps to have someone there to anchor and comfort you, you have to want to accept that support. Emma has found someone she can accept that comfort from and it is beautiful. 

 “Emma forgives Snow.” (Season 4, Episode 20 “Mother”)


It was heartbreaking to see Emma shut her mother out, understandable as it was, so that is what made the moment she forgave her even more heartwarming. When she rushes to her injured mother’s side she tells he she needs to stop punishing her for trying to protect her because what she did was human and done out of love and a desire to make her proud. And most importantly Emma tells Snow not only is she a hero, but something else that will never change- Her Mom. She misses her and forgives her and then the mother and daughter hug. And tears were shed.

“Emma argues with August about her role as the Savior.” (Season 1, Episode 20 “The Stranger”)


In this powerful and sad scene, August tries his best to get Emma to believe but she is still unwilling to take this grand leap, especially when he says everyone needs her. She is angry and in tears saying “You’re saying I’m responsible for everyone’s happiness. I didn’t ask for that! I don’t want it!” All she wants is to make Henry happy and doubts her ability to even do that. She can’t do what he wants and she leaves him in tears. From Emma’s perspective what he is asking her to do is indeed significant. Why should it be up to her to make everyone happy. This important step in her journey was heart wrenching to watch. 

Favorite Little Moments:

– When Killian rushes to save Emma they run into each other to which  Emma says, “The Only one who saves me is me.” Killian hoped to have a dashing rescue but the moment she says this he smiles with pride. Emma proves that we can be our own heroes.

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– When Emma agrees to be Graham’s deputy and he hands her a uniform she lays down an indisputable truth: “You don’t have to dress a woman like a man to give her authority.” In turn she can dress any which way she wants and it does not equate her strength, authority, or capabilities.

emma wise


– When Emma discovers Killian traded his ship for her they share a beautiful passionate kiss. But the most beautiful part of this moment was when she pulls back and smiles at him like she never has before. Her happiness and love in her eyes is just exquisite.



– After she and Killian share an intense goodnight kiss after their first date, Emma closes the door behind her and shares a private moment to herself, clearly breathless and stunned. You can see she has just realized how deep she is falling in love, and it is lovely to see.

emma stun


-There are not many things as gorgeous as Emma Swam happy, in love and content. From walking down the street arm and arm, to always resting her head on Killian’s shoulder, and sharing her first dance at her royal ball beaming with radiance, to the smile she displays and way she hugs with him such fervor when she finds him alive, is there anything more beautiful than seeing her so happy.

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– Seeing the new intimacy Emma shows Killian after she nearly freezes to death was so lovely. From cradling his head when hey hug to interlocking their fingers together. She was choosing to show him affection and comfort. It was a way of saying and I am fine and I want you here with me.

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– When Emma cannot express how she feels verbally she does so with touch and one of the sweetest was this moment when she almost lets the words slip out. She was afraid but is happy he was there with her so she strokes his cheek and smiles lovingly at him. Truly heartwarming.

emma sweet


– When Emma and Killian meet again for the first time (for the fourth time) the adoring way she looks up at him is gorgeously played. Emma looks at him like she has just seen the sun and the moon and stars for the first time because that is what he is to her.

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– When Emma gives Killian a little lesson in sword play the result is both sweet and sexy as she takes the opportunity to get close to him while she teaches him the appropriate techniques. But the moment she return his sword to its sheath left me breathless.

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– On their time traveling adventure Emma is tasked with distracting and flirting with a Past Captain Hook and the results were golden. You can see how much Emma is enjoying herself teasing the present Killian that she is clearly Hook’s type, sharing a drink with him, toying with his Hook, and even kissing him. Emma got the chance to solely focus on one aspect of her feelings for him- her intense attraction. And Emma clearly loved it.

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– Jennifer Morrison is so immensely talented and those little beats where she displays innocent expressions are stunning as they reflect her lack of a proper childhood. As an adult she is finally is getting those moments she never truly had, such as when her mother wipes away her tears. The little shrug and smile she gives looks just something a kid would do, and it warms my heart.

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– When Emma notices Hook’s tattoo and sees through the wall that he possesses as well, this is an extremely significant moment. She actually admits that she was in love once as he clearly was. She reads him like an open book just as he was able to do so and as the camera pans in to both of them we know these two kindred spirits are at the beginning of a beautiful journey.


– Despite not being a tearful goodbye kiss person, Emma kisses Killian before the spell of Shattered Sight when he comes to see her one last time. And they kiss each other like they never have- with intense vulnerability as he kisses her cheek and down her neck and Emma is affected tremulously, her lips quivering, overcome with emotion. We see that falling in love had helped Emma to do things she never thought she would because she found someone who changed everything.

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– When Emma looks at Killian with love and pride it s so sweet and a perfect reflection how much she cares for him. She is proud of the man he is and I love these little looks so much!

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– One of the cutest things ever is when Emma breaks away from a kiss and says “Easy Tiger, we’ve got company.” Emma Swan, the tough and guarded woman is calling her boyfriend “Tiger” and it the absolutely adorable!!

emma tiger


– Emma being gleeful with excitement as she creates fireworks is another equally adorable moment. She is cute is a button in this instant and I love it!

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– Emma’s look or joy when Henry finds her in the alternate reality is so beautiful. This family always finds each other and she never stopped believing her son would find her. That faith is a beautiful thing.

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– Emma pushes her mother out of the way when in a fight with Cora to stop her from taking her mother’s heart. But when Cora tries to take Emma’s heart she is blasted back with magic. Love is not weakness. Love is strength. This was the first moment we were witness to the power than Emma possesses and it came from an act of true love. That is special.

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– I have always loved the friendship Emma shared with August. Despite a difficult past, she cares for him and seeing them reunited was not only sweet because they are friends but because she displays her magic. He sees that she has learned to believe in herself and he is happy for his friend.

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– The true friendship Emma found with Elsa was also so heartwarming. That is what makes Emma’s expression when they must bid each other goodbye is a mixture of gratitude, affection and sadness to say farewell to her friend. I hope they will see each other again.

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– The little moment when Emma smiles, closes her eyes and waits for Killian to kisses her cheek is beyond sweet and displays her content feelings beautifully.

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– Emma has not been a mother for long, but she is a wonderful one. When she shows her son comfort and love it is lovely and it always warms my heart.

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– Never mess with Emma Swan when she is on a mission. She always gets her man! When she walks across a street in her high heels with authority, not letting traffic get in her way we see what a kickass woman she is! It is absolutely fantastic!!

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– As Emma was really coming into her magic she transports a cup of cocoa to the booth behind her. And he excited “Boom” when she does it is precious!! I love when we see Emma so light and excited and that she has not lost her childlike delight.

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Favorite Reader Moments:

Unsurprisingly I received the most moments from readers about Emma Swan, and each was a brilliant one and nearly all were included on my list. Readers love and understand Emma as displayed by their choices, and it makes me happy to see. There were so many repeated moments for readers that they created their own top 10:

  1. Emma gives Ashley wise advice with her iconic “This is who I am” speech in “The Price of Gold”
  2. Emma accepts herself and her magic in “Smash the Mirror”
  3. Emma gives Henry a True Love’s Kiss and breaks the curse in “A Land Without Magic”
  4. Emma accepts Storybrooke as her home in “There’s No Place Like Home”
  5. Emma tells Killian she loves him “Operation Mongoose Part 2”
  6. Emma tells her mother she feels like an orphan in “Lost Girl”
  7. Emma forgives Snow in “Mother”
  8. Emma tells Killian she likes when people find their good hearts along the way in “Mother”
  9. Emma goes on her first date with Killian in “The Apprentice”
  10. Emma is happy with her magic and says an adorable little “Boom” in “Bleeding Through”

The rest of the favorite moments are (in episode order):

  1. Emma calls Henry by his name for the first time after they make their first connection in the “Pilot”
  2. Emma cuts down Regina’s apple tree in “The Thing You Love Most”
  3. Emma tells Henry the curse could be real and hugs him in “The Thing You Love Most”
  4. Emma tells Graham that a woman does not need to dress like a man to have authority in “That Still Small Voice”
  5. Emma chooses to become Storybrooke new sheriff in “Desperate Souls”
  6. Emma saves Mary Margaret from Jefferson in “Hat Trick”
  7. Emma handcuffs Hook atop the beanstalk because she can’t take the chance she is wrong about him in “Tallahassee”
  8. Emma chases Neal down in “Manhattan”
  9. Emma uses magic to save Hook and Neal from the shadows in “Dark Hollow”
  10. Emma saves Killian from drowning in “Kansas”
  11. Emma flirts with past Captain Hook in “Snow Drifts”
  12. Emma has her first dance at a royal ball with Killian in “Snow Drifts”
  13. Emma says her signature line “The only one who saves me is me” in “There’s No Place Like Home”
  14. Emma hugs Killian for the first time in “White Out”
  15. Emma kisses Killian before the spell of “Shattered Sight”
  16. Emma says no one gets to decide who she is in “Best Laid Plans”
  17. Emma cries tears of joy when Henry find hers in “Operation Mongoose Part 2”
  18. Emma tells Regina that love is a part of all happiness, heartbroken over the loss of Killian in “Operation Mongoose Part 2”
  19. Emma hugs Killian so tightly they fall down on to her bed in “Operation Mongoose Part 2”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Emma moments: Maii, Sheila, Lyublyana, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, Alyssa, Sharon, Philippa, Sue, and Caterina 🙂


2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Emma Swan

  1. Your writing and perceptions have surpassed all the descriptions of Emma as a hero, a strong woman, and a deeply feeling person. Your skill in painting a colorful picture of the OUAT hero stands out as some of your best writing. Many thanks for giving so many references to the development of Emma Swan truly showing her multi faceted character.


  2. Emma is my favorite character and Jennifer Morrison’s portrayal of her is absolutely amazing and thrilling to watch. I actually got very emotional reading this article because every.single. Emma moment I love is here and explained in detail.

    Thank you so much for this! 🙂


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