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.

emma save


– 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.

emma happy

emma hug1

emma hug2

emma shoulder

emma dance

(x) (x) (x) (x)

– 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.

emma hug

cs hands


– 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.

emma love


– 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.

emma sword


– 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.

emma flirt


– 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.

emma laugh

– 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.

cs kiss3

– 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!

emma pride


emma heart


– 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!

emma happy1


– 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.

emma henry


– 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.

emma magic1

– 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.

emma august

– 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.

emma elsa hug


– 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.

emma sweet1


– 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.

emma henry1


– 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!!

emma pilot


– 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.

emma boom

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 🙂


Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Killian Jones/Captain Hook


Signature Line: “A man unwilling to fight for what he wants, deserves what he gets.”

Killian Jones, also known by his more colorful moniker Captain Hook, is an old fashioned, swashbuckling, sexy, charming, handsome, flirtatious, and adventurous pirate. He may deem himself a dashing rapscallion, but in truth he is also exceptionally sincere, loving, gentle and tender. Strong in his motivations and convictions, Killian spent most of lifetime seeking revenge on The Dark One, but found hope again and learned to move past vengeance and tread the path of good, embarking on the hero’s journey he and his older brother dreamed of when he was a young Lieutenant. Meeting Emma Swan changed his life in a remarkable way and he found that love was not only possible again, but that it could be the most beautiful and extraordinary love imaginable and inspire you to be a better person. And when Killian loves, he loves with his whole heart. He fights for what he wants and believes in, and wants to be a honorable man. Killian Jones may always be a pirate, but that does not mean he is not also hero.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Killian tells Emma he traded his ship for her.” (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)


After returning from their time traveling adventure in the past, Emma rushes to find her parents, overjoyed that she is back to the home she has found in Storybrooke. All seems right with the world until she notices that someone very important isn’t with her. When she finds Killian outside Granny’s diner, she expresses her happiness and sincere gratitude for him finding her in New York City, much of which he tries to brush off with a small smile and simple “It was the right thing to do.” For so long we wondered and suspected how Killian was able to find Emma, but he had remained quiet about his efforts. And indeed even in this moment, he still acts rather casual about it telling her traded the Jolly Roger for a magic bean as if it was not a tremendous sacrifice. And in the exquisite moment when she asks “You traded your ship for me” and he replies simply “Aye” her look of amazement is beautiful matched only by his. With absolute sincerity he looks directly into her eyes so she will understand depth of this single word.  And Emma understands the full breadth of everything he has done. He gave up his home to bring her back to hers. There is so much poignancy and beauty in this moment and for Killian what is remarkable is that the causal way he begins is because for him, his sacrifice may have been significant but not as significant as Emma is to him. Her happiness means more to him than a few planks of wood and a sail, and there is no greater sign of True Love. Losing his home did not matter so long as she found hers. And when she kisses him passionately, the Storybrooke sign symbolically illuminated in the background, we see that these two souls who were so lonely and lost have found a home in this little town, but more importantly with each other. On a show filled with magic, this moment of truth and love is one of the most magical we’ve ever seen.

  1. “Killian tells Emma she is his happy ending.” (Season 4, Episode 15 “Poor Unfortunate Soul”)


If there was any other scene that matched the beauty of Killian telling Emma he traded his ship for her, it would be this moment equal in its purity, loveliness and meaning. So many of Killian’s best moments demonstrate his tremendous capacity to love, and the depth to which he has fallen in love with Emma Swan is unparalleled. He has found a happiness he never dreamed he would find and is so terrified to lose it, especially because he feels his villainous past will surely mean he will lose his happy ending. Emma wonders what his happy ending could be and his expression is absolutely heart wrenching. Barely over a whisper, with tears in his eyes he says “Don’t you know Emma? It’s you.” Brilliantly performed by Colin O’Donoghue the little breath he exhales after he reveals this truth showcases the brevity of this heartfelt confession. It is one thing to tell someone you love them, it is quite another to reveal they are your happy ending. And what it is truly beautiful is that he has already found it. There had been no promises of a future, no confirmation of love, with everything felt rather than said. But that did not matter to him. Simply being with Emma in any way she wanted was enough to make him happy forever. And in this exquisitely perfect moment Killian is telling Emma she is his everything and I cannot imagine a more beautiful declaration.

  1. “Killian swears on the name of his true love, seeking forgiveness, only to have his lips cursed.” (Season 3, Episode 17 “The Jolly Roger”)


This moment for Killian was intense and dramatic for so many reasons. He was so wracked with guilt for choosing to save his ship instead of Prince Eric, he begs Ariel to forgive him, saying he is empty and thought his ship would fill the void left by his broken heart.  But he knew how wrong he was and would doing anything to make things right. In order to prove his sincerity Ariel asks him to swear on the name of his true love, and so came the line that still makes me feels as intensely as the captain surely did in this moment. It was so significant to hear Killian admit his love for Emma for the first time with the line “I Swear On Emma Swan,” and the instant we see that Ariel was in fact Zelena I gasped. His lips are able to be cursed so that the next time his touch Emma’s all of her magic will be taken. When he bravely stands up and refuses to let her plan to hurt Emma come true,  she threatens her parents and Henry to which he says “Do not go near them!” a moment  as significant as his admittance of love for Emma because we see that he not only deeply cares for her and is protective of Emma, but her family as well. The fierceness in his voice is fantastic and that revelation, beautiful!

  1. “Killian leaves a tearful confession on Emma’s voicemail.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)


When Killian sought out Gold to have his hand rightfully returned, he did not dream it would turn into secrets and blackmail. But he let himself get tricked and wrapped up with his foe, and was too ashamed to reveal any of these mistakes to Emma. When he realizes that Emma has sought out Gold to get rid of her magic forever, he knows Gold plans to trick her as well and trap in her inside the Sorcerer’s hat. Fraught with panic and anger he leaves a tearful confession on Emma’s voicemail relaying the truth and shame about not being completely honest with her because now he may lose her. It was heartbreaking to hear him say he failed at trying to be a better man for her, but even more poignant is that moment he says he hopes she never forgives him because that would mean she will have gotten this message in time to save herself. A sure sign of true love is a desire to protect and wish nothing but happiness for the one you love. It would devastate him to lose her romantically, but for him it would be even more devastating if she lost herself and her life forever.

  1. “With no memories of his real self, Killian sacrifices himself so Emma and Henry can escape.” (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)


In the alternate reality our fairy tale characters were written into, Killian was not Captain Hook, but a shy, meek and cowardly deckhand who was to afraid to stand up to Captain Blackbeard. But when he meets Henry who convinces him to help rescue his mother Emma, his true nature was allowed to shine through. After rescuing Emma from a tower, the two defeat a dragon, and she gives him a little lesson in sword fighting. The closeness and instant connection is deeply felt and he smiles sweetly when she reveals that in their true reality they are indeed very close. All was well until the evil counterparts of Snow and Charming arrive threatening to kill Henry and Emma. Despite being written as a coward, his heroism came though as he tells Emma to save her boy while he holds them off. And the moment we think he just may succeed he is stabbed by Charming in the back, reaching out for Emma as she watches the man she loves die before her eyes. He sacrifices himself for two people he barely knew proving not only the connection they are meant to always have no matter the time or place, but also a beautiful truth about his character: he is a hero.

  1. “Killian finds Emma in New York City and tries True Love’s Kiss to restore her memories.” (Season 3, Episode 11 “Going Home”)


There are so many things I loved about this moment. One was that when it first aired I vividly remember jumping out of my seat with joy and excitement when Emma opened the door to Killian after such a heartbreaking scene where Emma said goodbye to her loved ones where I admittedly was balling. Another was the look of complete and utter joy on his face as if he had seen the ocean for the first time. You can see how much he missed her in his radiant smile and the way he says her name “Swan.” But the best part of this moment was when he tries True Love’s Kiss hoping to restore her memories. For a brief instant she loses herself and closes her eyes before she pushes him away and shuts the door on this man claiming she needs to remember her family who is in trouble. I just loved how much hope Killian shows that his feelings may be reciprocated, obviously not knowing that it could not possibly work when she has no memories of him. It solidified beautifully how Emma gave him hope when he had lived for so long without any, and that these two were on a very special journey together.

  1. “Killian vows to Emma he will win her heart without any trickery.” (Season 3, Episode 7 “Dark Hollow”)


So many moments with this dashing pirate captain give me butterflies and none more so than the moment he vows to win Emma’s heart and it is a lovely scene that showcases some of Killian’s best qualities. He is romantic, believes in being honorable, confident but also insecure, passionate, and patient. Hoping the kiss they shared meant something to her, she says what did mean something was revealing that Neal was still alive, somewhat surprised he did because he is a pirate. While he gives a sad smile in agreement, he then steps forward and looks directly into her eyes, wanting Emma to understand his intent and earnestness. He says with confidence that he believes in “good form” and that he will win her heart, but it will not be because of any trickery, but because she truly wants him. He may seem confident but what is touching is that he is also being completely vulnerable with her, laying his heart on the line while promising to win hers. It is a poignant moment showing that no matter what he wants, what matters is what she wants. It is an incredibly romantic moment built on a promise of respect and adoration.

  1. “Killian saves David’s life.” (Season 3, Episode 5 “Good Form”)


Their friendship may have had a rocky start, but when Killian takes David to Dead Man’s Peak under the ruse of searching for a sextant, they went from foes to unlikely friends. Killian knew David well enough that he had to lie about his true reason for their journey. When David collapses Killian breaks through the forest of thorns surrounding the water that will save his life, with an amusing little annoyed “Bloody Hell” before he does so. But he still does it. When he revives the prince, he reveals the truth about their trek: that he knew him well enough to know he was stubborn (honorable) and would not do anything that could be deemed as selfish, but if he drinks the water he will be cured. Of course he reveals the harsh truth about his cure- once he drinks it he can never leave Neverland. David understands and when the water miraculously works he smiles with gratitude. Of course David asks why he would do something when he would get nothing in return. Killian simply smiles, winks, and says “I didn’t do it for you, mate.” Of course part of him probably did do it for him, but David understands that Killian’s real motivation was for Emma so she would not lose her father yet. It was start of a great understanding between these two characters and another step in Killian’s  journey back to toward heroism.

  1. “Killian, in disguise as Prince Charles, says he would go to the end of the world for his true love.” (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)


There are infinite reasons to adore the episodes where Emma and Killian travel back in time and must work to correct their mistakes of interrupting her parents first meeting. One scene is the incredibly touching one where Killian and Charming discuss true love. Set to marry someone as part of essentially a business transaction, Charming wonders if true love even exists. But Killian assures him that it does. He once felt the same but when he met the right person everything changed. He tells Charming he would go to the end of the world for his love, despite not knowing if she would do the same. There is something so incredibly special about the duality of this moment. Not only is it truly touching to hear the once lonely, hopeless and cynical pirate convince the man who is the epitome of faith and belief in love that this pure abstraction does exist, but also that Killian is essentially telling the father of the woman he loves how deeply he cares for her. He would do anything for her, and whether it was inadvertent or not he gains some sort of approval from her father. Heartwarming and lovely, there is nothing I do not adore about this scene.

  1. “Killian says he hopes it’s his job to protect her heart and helps Emma forgive her parents.” (Season 4, Episode 20 “Mother”)


In a sweet and gentle moment Killian takes Emma to the docks and proves to be calming and understanding presence in Emma’s life. Killian says he knows her heart is still uneasy and he feels like it’s his job, or at least he hopes it’s his job, to protect her heart. Emma assures him her heart is safe, but he reveals what he is truly speaking of is the rift between herself and her parents.  Killian explains that perhaps they did not tell her everything because they were ashamed and they wanted her to like them, and wisely how they tried to protect her because they wanted her to be happy and to make her proud. And even when she tries to deflect towards her admiration of his good heart, he doesn’t simply hold her out of appreciation for her admiration, easy and welcoming as that would be. He cares more about what will ease her suffering. In another truly wonderful example of how much he cares for both Emma and her family, this is a shining example of the how love can inspire us. Killian obviously perfectly understood how her parents felt, feeling similar shame and not always wanting to reveal his past wrong doings because wanted to be seen as worthy of her. But importantly, he knows this is not about him, or even the two of them together, enjoying a quiet moment for themselves they so rarely are granted. This moment was about helping guide Emma towards forgiveness and indeed this wisdom does lead her on this path and it was profoundly moving and lovely.

  1. “Killian travels with his brother Liam to Neverland by command of the Royal Navy.” (Season 3, Episode 5 “Good Form”)


Seeing the earnest, loyal and innocent man Killian was as a young Lieutenant serving in the royal navy with his older brother Liam was one of Once Upon a Time’s greatest back stories. From the pure delight at seeing them take to skies in the ship thanks to a sail made out of Pegasus wings, to the natural ease between the two brothers, this dynamic was wonderful to watch. It also makes his friendship with David even more special seeing the similarities between David and his brother. But most significantly, seeing how much he loved and admired his brother was sweet and touching and helped to bring depth and understanding to his character. He never lost his belief in good form, but seeing his brother die because of the lies told to them by who they thought was a fair king, makes his straying away from the light understandable. My heart broke for Killian when Liam dies in his arms. And his great desire for a hero’s journey makes his journey back towards the light even more moving.

  1. “Killian is frantic when Emma nearly freezes in an ice cave, and overcome with relief when she is safe.” (Season 4, Episode 2 “White Out”)


When Emma is trapped in a ice cave the desperation in his voice and on his face, and his attempts to break through the ice are moving and show both the depth of his love for her and absolute and incredible fear of losing her. These moments are matched by the relief on his face when she is freed, the ferocity with which he hugs and holds onto her, and the constancy of his presence when they bring her back home, never leaving her side as he puts his arms around her to keep her warm, holds her hand and never leaves his kneeling position as she cuddles into his shoulder. He would have stayed there forever with her, simply happy she is safe and in his arms.

  1. “Killian teaches Emma to waltz.” (Season 3, Episode 21 “Snow Drifts”)


As vulnerable and insecure as Killian can often be, there is a side to him who is very charming and confident. He surely longed for a moment where he could impress Emma and sweep her off her feet, and his moment came in one of the most romantic ways imaginable. They need to blend in at King Midas’s Ball so he leads her out onto the dance floor with a suave and debonair ease as he tells her there is only rule to a waltz- “Pick a partner who knows what he’s doing.” He proves to be an ideal partner for her, easing her nervousness, teaching her to dance, and being ever the gentleman, commenting on her natural ability. And in this moment there are no looming dangers- he is simply holding this amazing woman in his arms whose smiles are matched by his beaming expression. He does indeed sweep Emma off her feet and makes her first dance at a royal ball a special one. This is one of the happiest moments of the entire series.

  1. “Killian bandages Emma’s injured hand.” (Season 2, Episode 6 “Tallahassee”)


In what is now a truly classic scene, Captain Hook bandages the hands of a very stubborn Emma who insists she is fine, and does so in a way that makes Emma’s (and the audience’s) breath catch. With only one hand he must get creative in aiding her, so he uses his mouth to tie the bandage around her hand. The intense chemistry and attraction between the two characters was born, and things would never be the same.

  1. “Killian reveals his deepest secret- that he never thought he could find someone to love again until he met Emma.” (Season 3, Episode 7 “Ariel”)


It was probably not the way Killian wanted to first tell Emma how he had truly grown to care for her, but knowing only revealing your deepest secret would help to rescue Neal in the echo cave, he takes a deep breath and reveals that kissing Emma exposed something quite profound. He never thought he would be able to let go of his first love Milah and find someone else, that is until he met Emma. The genuineness of his confession was revealed as the first part of the bridge towards Neal forms. There are so many amazing aspects to this scene. The fact that he is revealing his feelings in front of her parents is significant, but most important is the selfless part of his act because his secret was leading Emma back to a man she loved, and for all Killian knew still wanted to be with. He was afraid and uncertain but still was truthful and that is quite poignant.

  1. “Killian turns his ship around and offers to help rescue Henry.” (Season 2, Episode 22 “And Straight On ‘Til Morning”)

What I loved most about the moment that Killian decided to turn his ship back around and not abandon Storybrooke to its fate was that it was an internal struggle and a decision made entirely on his own. Many times our characters need someone to ask them to change and someone to believe they can be good people. Captain Hook at this point was very much isolated and still subscribing to his self serving ways. But moments before he leaves Emma offered him a chance to be a part of something and join the community. And although he obviously contemplates using the magic bean he stole and leaving them all behind, Emma’s words clearly meant a lot to him. Alone of his ship with his thoughts, no one is there to tell he can be a good man if only he would come back. Instead, he makes that decision himself telling Emma he needed reminding that he could care about other people. He gave himself this reminder when he turned his ship around and then did not hesitate to offer up his ship to help rescue Henry. He was on his way back to becoming a true hero.

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


There was an abundance of lovely moments as Killian and Emma enjoyed a romantic first date together. From the awestruck expressions as they first saw each other dressed up, to the way they held hands and he held her gently, Killian relishing being able to use both hands for the first time in a century. And I cannot help but smile with glee that at some point he gave her his jacket to wear (I would love to see that scene revisited one day). He was able to do what Emma thought impossible- help her manage to forget about her troubles and threats to the town and simply have a wonderful night. He was finally able to give the savior a night off. But the most spine-tingling romantic movement was when his bright smile about her cramped living conditions turned to a look of such intensity and true vulnerability as he asks her for a second date. His expression is mixture of adoration, uncertainly and hope and Emma answers yes with a fervent goodnight kiss. And neither could handle it! This was the moment you saw how deeply they had fallen and it has only grown deeper since this passionate moment.

  1. “Killian helps restore Ursula’s happy ending” (Season 4, Episode 15 “Poor Unfortunate Soul”)


After being unable to restore Ursula’s voice as he had hoped, she balks back saying he wrong. The only way a villain can get a happy ending is for the author to write them one. When darkness creeps back and he pulls a gun on her, she knocks him out and tosses him into the ocean. Luckily Ariel was nearby to rescue the pirate. She greets him with a slap which he knows he deserves and she lays down an important truth- villains don’t get happy endings because they go about trying to get them the wrong way. And with those words he has a revelation and asks for her help. Ariel brings Ursula’s father Poseidon to Storybrooke who returns her voice, happily reuniting father and daughter. In the end he was able to bring back her happy ending and reunite a family- two of things he longs for the most. This was a beautifully touching scene of acknowledging a past wrong and doing everything he could to correct it. He accepts Ursula’s gentle touch of contrition, but still doubts what the audience (and Emma) can clearly see. He is a good man.

Honorable Mentions:

“After the death of his brother Killian gives his crew an impassioned speech and the pirate is born.” (Season 3, Episode 5 “Good Form)


When Killian loses his brother he also loses his innocence. He and his brother followed orders from someone they believed was a good king and instead were lied to- and Liam suffered the consequences. In an impassioned speech he says they will no longer be sailing under the crown’s colors. They shall rename their ship the Jolly Roger and become pirates, taking what they want for “at least amongst thieves there is honor.” This was powerful and perfectly portrayed by O’Donoghue as we see the pirate born out a loss rather than pure greed.

“Killian tells a memory-less Henry about his father.” (Season 3, Episode 16 “It’s Not Easy Being Green”)


When Henry needs protecting from Zelena, Killian takes him to safety under the guise of teaching him about sailing and telling him about his late father. Of course Killian confuses Henry when he brings up teaching Neal to navigate when he was just a boy, leaving him simply wanting to know something true. What he reveals to him results is a truly heartwarming moment. He says he had taught Neal to sail hoping the sea would ease the sorrow of just losing his father. Killian tells him he has more in common with his father than he realizes and Henry smiles in appreciation. The sweetness of the scene is that he  sees so much of young Balefire in Henry, and the hopes he had years ago of being a father figure are once again revisited. That is very touching.

Favorite Little Moments: 

– The scene in which Emma shares mementos from her childhood was deeply moving and showed the profound and instinctual understanding he has of her feelings and ability to comfort her in the way she needs. Not only does he ask if he can have the honor of seeing a part of her past she rarely shared, but when he sees her sadness he simply holds her hand, puts his arm around her and lets her rest her head on his shoulder- a silent and beautiful form of comfort and solace Emma has rarely ever found.

hook comfort


–  When Emma must say goodbye to her loved ones for what they believe will be forever, you can see the looks on their faces as ones of a life and love almost found. Instead of saying how he feels and making  a promise she will be reunited with everyone, he vows something he knows he undeniably can. Killian promises Emma he will think of her every day, and she responds with a simple “good.” This hopeful response was her way of saying she was happy he would think of her and he sweetly smiles back at her, making her smile through her tears. There are not many moments as lovely and romantic as this one.


– Any time the dashing rapscallion side to Killian’s personality- the charming Captain Hook side- comes out is absolutely golden. Every time is incredibly sexy and, none more so than when he raises his eyebrows or when he tapped his lips asking Emma for a kiss, never thinking she would actually do it.


– When Killian tries to convince Emma to drink a memory potion despite her “good” life where she has a job and Henry and a guy she loves, his response of “Perhaps there’s a man that you love in the life that you’ve lost” is one of the purest forms of hope. He does not know if she returns his feelings, but his hope that she may means a great deal to him. And that little beat where he looks down with both hope and uncertainly is beautiful.

hook love


– When he and Emma discuss whether she has considered Walsh’s marriage proposal, she says yes but as usual she got her heart broken. He is happy and she wonders why. It’s not because she is in pain. It is because if her heart can broken it means it still works. It is his way of telling her he is glad that her heart is still open to love.



– When Emma finds him alive and hugs him so fervently, he believes she is finally going to tell him she love him. You can see the anticipation on his face as he nervously swallows and smiles brightly. But when fear stops her his face drops a bit. But instead of pressing her, he simply accepts her sincere gratitude and accepts his status as a hero, proving once again that all that matters is that he and Emma and there together, no matter whether affection is verbally expressed.

hook nervous


– When he meets Emma for the first time (the fourth time) he is a shy deckhand and when he first sees her, he is so awestruck by her he literally must shake himself out of being entranced by her and offers his hand as a greeting. It was so beautiful to see this instant connection once again, especially with such a sweet and shy version of himself.

hook au2

hook au1


– Any time Killian is overwhelmed or thrown for a loop by Emma it’s adorable such as when she asks him out on a date and misses the dart board by a mile. Clearly, as confident as he can be, she still makes him nervous.  And the image of the two them walking down the street is so lovely as sweet. I don’t think we have ever seen Killian smile as brightly before.

hok darts

hook happy


– Mere hours after meeting Emma, Killian recognizes the look in Emma’s eyes as that of an orphan, a lost girl. Truly kindred spirits from the beginning, his ability to look into her soul so astutely shows the strength of his heart. He can read her like an open book more so than anyone, and a remarkable love story began. Why else would he ask her if she had ever been in love?

emma,hook beanstalk

– After Emma obtains the magical compass he offers his hand to her, ready for them to set back down the beanstalk together. As he says “come let’s go,” his face is sincere and full of hope, and you have to wonder what would have been different if Emma had not handcuffed him in this moment.

hook hope


– Captain Hook versus modern technology is one of the funniest things on earth. Some of the most hilarious moments include asking about Marty McWho, being force fed something called bologna while in jail, and not knowing what Netflix is.

hook marty


– When Emma must distract a past Captain Hook, she amusingly gets him quite drunk. Not enough that he can’t lift her up into his arms and carry her on to his ship, but enough that he gets the name of the ship wrong. There’s not many things as adorably hilarious as him saying “Behold the Rolly Joger!” Equally funny is when present day Killian watches Emma kiss his past self and he gets so jealous he punches him! Absolutely classic moment and one you could only see on Once Upon a Time.

hook jr


– When Emma returns Killian’s heart to his chest, you see the precise moment he begins to fully feel again as he looks at Emma with intensity and then precedes to passionately kiss her up against the wall. This moment is both romantic (she literally holds his heart in her hands) and sexy (he kisses with fervency). How can this not give you butterflies?

hook kiss


– When Rumple is controlling Killian he forces him to tell Emma about the portal to Arendelle so Anna (who know for his identity) will not be able to reveal his past wrong doings. Emma can sense something is wrong, but he can say nothing. Despite that he manages to break from free control for a moment, grabbing Emma’s hand. In this brief moment he was screaming for help and letting her know something was wrong, showing the true strength of his will and his soul.

hook hand


– When Killian forces a smile while in pain, my heart shatters and none were as heart breaking as when he watches Emma and Henry greet the newest member of their Charming clan. He stands in the threshold of the hospital room, peering in with longing in his eyes, symbolically still separated from this example of a happy image of everything he wishes for himself deep in his heart- being a part of a family.

hook sad


– Even after everything he had gone through with Rumplestiltskin controlling his heart, he tells Belle that he did love her, trying to show her comfort that despite everything at least she knows that to be true. These two have sure come along way and it is lovely to watch.

– The iconic pirate moments are also a treat from the signature line he tells Rumplestiltskin “A man unwilling for what he wants deserves what he gets” to his fight with Captain Blackbeard aboard the Jolly Rogers that feels as if it’s straight out of a classic swashbuckling pirate films from a bygone era, these pirates moments are television gold.


hook fight


Favorite Reader Moments:

When it came to favorite moments for our beloved Captain Hook, readers did not hesitate to send in a plethora of amazing and remarkable moments, all of which showcase the varying and wonderful aspects of his character. The top 6 reader moments are:

  1. Killian tells Emma he traded his ship for her in “There’s No Place Like Home”
  2. Killian becomes a pirate in “Good Form”
  3. Killian bandages Emma’s hand in “Tallahassee”
  4. Killian leaves a tearful confession on Emma’s voicemail in “Smash the Mirror”
  5. Killian vows to win Emma’s heart in “Dark Hollow”
  6. Killian sacrifices himself for Emma and Henry in “Operation Mongoose Part 2”

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

  1. Killian meets Rumplestilskin and says his iconic line in “The Crocodile”
  2. Killian talks to Bae about his mother in “And Straight on Til Morning”
  3. Killian turns his ship around in “And Straight on Til Morning”
  4. Killian loses his brother Liam in “Good Form”
  5. Killian tries True Love’s Kiss on Emma in “Going Home”
  6. Killian, disguised in armor, robs a carriage in “The Jolly Roger”
  7. Killian looks after Neal in the hospital and hugs him in “Quiet Minds”
  8. Killian hugs Emma when she is freed from the ice cave in “White Out”
  9. Killian picks up Emma for their date in “The Apprentice”
  10. Killian gives Emma one last kiss before the shattered sight spell arrives in “Fall”
  11. Killian not being affected by the spell of “Shattered Sight”
  12. Killian is surprised by the faith she is putting on his in “Unforgiven”
  13. Killian reunites Ursula with her father in “Poor Unfortunate Soul”
  14. Killian tells Emma she is his happy ending in “Poor Unfortunate Soul”
  15. Killian helps Emma forgive her parents in “Mother”
  16. Killian anticipates Emma saying I Love You in “Operation Mongoose Part 2”

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


Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard


Signature Line: “Believing in the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”

Once Upon a Time’s Snow White is my favorite depiction of this iconic character. Deemed the fairest of them all, she is undoubtedly beautiful, but her inner beauty and strength are what make her special. She impressively learned to fend for herself resulting in a woman who capably strong. Whether in the Enchanted Forest as Snow, or Mary Margaret in Storybrooke, she is wise, a loving wife and mother, is inherently protective and self sacrificing, and has an ability to hope and forgive that is very poignant. And so many of my favorite moments reflect all these facets to her character. You never have to doubt the depth of her love. It is always beautifully written on her face.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Snow asks Regina to split her heart so she can give half to David and save his life.” (Season 3, Episode 19 “A Curious Thing”)


Believing her husband’s sacrifice will be in vain because of Zelena’s memory spell on the Dark Curse, Snow asks Regina to do something incredibly noble and based on the strongest of faith imaginable.  She asks Regina to split her heart in half so that David can be revived. And in doing so, Snow shows so much strength, trust and belief in this moment that is truly beautiful, romantic, and poignant. She now trusts Regina enough to not simply crush her heart as she may have long ago given the chance. And although her heart may not be untouched by darkness, there are few of us who aren’t. What matters is that she believes that her heart is strong enough for the both of them- and she is right. She saves David’s life and now this couple share one heart in both the emotional and physical sense, solidifying the pair as one with the deepest of connections and Snow as a character with a heart, a will, a courage, and a faith that is deeply admirable and fervent.

  1. “Snow stands ups to Regina and says she will fight for her kingdom.” (Season 3, Episode 2 “Lost Girl”)


Snow may be strong of will, feisty, and able to take care of herself, but that does mean she never had moments of self doubt and insecurity. On the contrary, she doubted herself greatly when the time came to stand up to Regina and claim the kingdom that is rightfully hers. When she contemplated taking Regina’s offer to live peacefully in exile, Charming takes her to find the sword Excalibur. And when Snow is able to pull the sword from the stone, this gives her the courage and belief that she is meant to rule and fight back against her step mother. What she did not know was that all this was ruse devised by Charming to help her find her inner strength- the strength and confidence he knew she had inside of her all along. And one cannot help but cheer when she exclaims “This is my kingdom and I will fight for it!” 

  1. “Snow protects Emma from a troll.” (Season 2, Episode 3 “Lady of the Lake”)


One of Snow’s loveliest qualities is in her instinctual protective nature. You see this with many characters, and when it is displayed towards her daughter, it is wonderful. When she and her Emma are transported to the Enchanted Forest, Snow is at home, but Emma is completely out of her element. When a troll attacks Emma, Snow not only saves her daughter but shows just how capable she truly is, killing the beast with a bow and arrow. It may have been a while since she used one, but when those protective instincts kick in, time does not matter. And am I the only one who felt a Molly Weasley protecting her daughter Ginny from Belalltrix vibe in this moment?

  1. “Snow eats a poison apple to save Charming’s life.” (Season 1, Episode 21 “An Apple as Red as Blood”)


Regina’s last attempt at revenge on Snow before the Dark Curse was a emotional version of the iconic “Snow White” moment of when the princess eats a poison apple. In this version the apple must be taken willingly and Snow agrees to do so for a heroic and sacrificial reason. If she doesn’t, Regina will kill Charming, so Snow doesn’t even hesitate. One bite and she falls into a death like sleep, sacrificing herself for her true love. And when she does, he feels it- he can feel her pain as if it was his own. It’s no wonder they are considered such a beautiful couple.

  1. “Snow and Emma find the remains of what was to be Emma’s nursery.” (Season 2, Episode 3 “Lady of the Lake”)


The heartbreak and melancholy dynamic of this moment has its own kind of beauty and perfectly displays how much being a mother means to Snow. When she and Emma find the remnants of what was to be Emma’s nursery, she tells her daughter how she had dreamed of teaching her to walk, and helping her get ready for her first ball there. They both were denied these precious moments and each feel the loss deeply. It is one of the first moments Emma realizes just how much her mother was forced to give up, and was a true turning point in their relationship. And the moment Snow turns around and imagines their room as bright haven filled with toys and child’s laughter my heart broke and my tears matched the ones shed by the mother who lost so much.

  1. “Mary Margaret awakens David- twice.” (Season 1, Episode 3 “Snow Falls”)


As a favor to Emma to perhaps help Henry let go of his fairy tale mentality, Mary Margaret agrees to read Henry’s Storybook to a comatose David, when the unthinkable (at least to everyone but Henry) happens. Hearing her read their story touched him because he grabs her hand in his unconscious state, showcasing that despite everything they are connected. That connection is solidified again when he awakens, wanders away disoriented, and nearly drowns, until Mary Margaret finds him and gives him CPR, which ends in something more like a True Love’s Kiss. She wakes him up and saves his life, proving that no matter the circumstance they will always find each other.

  1. “Mary Margaret talks to Emma about how being guarded may keep out love.” (Season 1, Episode 7 “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”)


One of the first people we see able to understand Emma was her friend Mary Margaret. Their relationship shifted when they discovered they were mother and daughter, but that does negate the fact that she was able to understand that Emma has built up high walls around her heart to protect herself from getting hurt. Emma may have denied it claiming she is simply being cautious, but her friend understood this deflection and what she needed to hear. I absolutely love when Mary Margaret says, “Emma that wall of yours- it may keep out pain. But it may also keep out love” because it is a perfect assessment of Emma’s fears and shows the connection they have. Seeing Emma open her heart since then has no doubt made Snow overjoyed knowing how difficult is used to be for her.

  1. “Snow happily enjoys see Emma going on her first date with Killian.” (Season 4, Episode 4 “The Apprentice)


Being denied so many of  milestones in her daughter’s life, Snow’s joy at seeing her daughter go on her first date with a man she knows is special to her was poignant and touching. She was absolutely beaming talking about her “big date,” and was in awe of how gorgeous her daughter looked, happily taking pictures to capture this special moment. She never got to help her get ready for a ball and revel in the excitement, so it was only natural that she took this opportunity to do so now. Snow may have had reservations about Killian in the past, but seeing how happy her daughter is clearly means something to her, and the face she makes when Emma returns home wanting to know every detail, from the restaurant to whether he kissed her good night, was truly moving and showcased how much she loves and cares about Emma. Her daughter’s happiness is her own and that is beautiful.

  1. “Snow accepts Charming’s marriage proposal and tells him they should take back the kingdom.” (Season 1, Episode 22 “A Land Without Magic”)


There are not many moments as purely fairy tale in beauty as when Charming awakens Snow with True Love’s Kiss and asks her to marry him. Of course this was an exquisite scene as she happily accepts him. But the moment that I truly loved was when she tells him they should take back the kingdom. When he asks her how, her response and sweet and touching- “Like how we shall do everything- Together.” And from that moment on, no matter what has come their way they, have indeed faced everything together, their bond never being broken.

  1. “In order to save his life Snow tells Charming she doesn’t love him.” (Season 1, Episode 9 “7:15 am”)


The course of True Love never did run smooth, especially when there are always those trying to keep you apart from the one you love. Such was the case of Snow and Charming. King George is so hell bent on uniting his kingdom with King Midas, that he tells Snow she must break Charming’s heart, to tell him she doesn’t love him, or the king will kill him. Knowing she must save his life, she performs this scene as well as she can, but the moment she turns from him and walks ways she can no longer hide her pain and heartbreak and the audience’s hearts break right along with her.

  1. “Snow says goodbye to Emma at the Storybrooke town line.” (Season 3, Episode 11 “Going Home”)


The first time Snow sees Emma as her daughter, she cups her face with tears in her eyes, so happy to finally have been found. When she must say goodbye to her daughter again as Pan’s curse threatens Storybrooke, she repeats the gesture. But this time, Emma was the one whose eyes were filed with tears. Snow’s heart was surely breaking but in this moment she was a pillar of strength. She smiles, cups her daughters face and kisses her forehead, giving her daughter the courage she needs to say goodbye to her loved ones “forever.” There are few things on Once Upon Time that have made me cry as much as this heart trending mother/daughter moment.

  1. 12. “Snow wakes David from his sleeping curse with True Love’s Kiss” (Season 2, Episode 9 “Queen of Hearts”)


When Snow saw her husband in the Netherworld, her determination and resolve to find a way back to Storybrooke increased greatly, so she could find him and wake him and he has woke her. And the minute they return she rushes to his side. The fact that we knew it would work does not lessen the beauty of the scene. On the contrary, the fact that he says he never doubted her, echoing the same things she said when she was saved are just another in the long line of examples of what makes Snow and Charming such a sweet pair.

  1. “Mary Margaret meets Emma for the first time.” (Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”)

It is such a small beat but the second glance Mary Margaret gives to Emma when they first meet was a lovely way of showing that despite everything, there is a bond between them that was instantly felt and one that no curse could ever truly sever. She then tells Emma why she gave the Storybook to Henry- so he could have hope and that “Believing in the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.” In one line she sums up the meaning behind the entire series: the incredible power of hope.

  1. “Overcome with guilt for killing Cora, Snow asks Regina to crush her heart.” (Season 2, Episode 17 “Welcome to Storybrooke”)

One of the most dramatic scenes of the series and between these two characters is the one where Snow asks Regina to crush her heart. Her guilt is so intense it leads Snow to be consumed by nothing else, even the thought of leaving her family behind. When Regina pulls out her heart she shows her that a tiny black spot  has formed because of what she had done. Regina revels and refuses to crush it, while Snow is completely distraught. Her request may have been denied, but it was important for Snow to reach this low point. He heart may have been touched by darkness, but she learned it does not define her entire self.

  1. Snow yells at David for lying about being poisoned with Dreamshade.” (Season 3, Episode 7 “Dark Hollow”)


There have not been that many moments where we have seen real anger between Snow and her husband, but none were as strong as when she was furious at David for not telling her he had been poisoned with Dreamshade, even when he had been cured. He says he was afraid telling her would mean she would not want to leave him behind, and he did not want that kind of life for her. She responds by telling him, “I would happily build a tree house and spend the rest of my days dodging lost boys and arrows if it meant I had you by my side.” This is surely a sign of how deep her loves for him goes and when she cried telling him she needs him to believe in them, we see one of the times she gives him the strength he has so often bestowed upon her.

Honorable mention: “Snow tells Emma she believes she will break the spell of Shattered Sight.” (Season 4, Episode 9 “Fall”)

When the Snow Queen’s curse is unable to be stopped Emma asks her parents what their plan is. Her answer is simple-lock them up. She says she believes she will fix this and then come back and release them. He faith in her daughter is unfailing to which Elsa looks upon the scene with envy saying she has wonderful parents. And choked up Emma simply says “I know.”

Favorite Little Moments:

– The first time Snow sees Emma after the curse is broke she approaches her in awe, hugs her and says “You Found us”. Is there anyone who did not cry at this moment?

snow found us


– Snow is undeniably a sweet woman and she and David are as lovey dovey as a couple can get. That is why I adore their banter back and forth when he captures her in a net. Not only is it funny how she first bestows the name Charming on him, but just how much she seemed to dislike him with her snarky, unimpressed remarks. How little she knew.

snow net


– From finding out that she had been cured and would be able to have a child to the knowing look she and Lancelot share when she realizes it was because of him (and Charming’s mother) that this is so, her happiness here is so lovely.

snow childsnow lancelot


– When Storybrooke is plagued with a blackout and Granny and the dwarves look to her to fix it, she has a bit of a break down, completely sleep deprived and annoyed at their incessant complaining. It was hilarious when she comments on the obvious. They lived a long time without electricity so “Buy a flashlight!”

– The moment Snow must give up Emma as a baby was incredibly heartbreaking, made even more emotional by one potent shot- the image of her uncontrollably crying in a mirror. This was viscerally affecting.

– Keeping their stories straight when Emma brings Henry back to Storybrooke without his memories was difficult, and none were as funny as the moment Snow tells him she and Emma were cell mates and that she was in for “Banditry.” Classic!

– Sometimes Once Upon a Time could be renamed Once Upon a Hug, and anytime Snow shows her affection this ways from Ruby to the Dwarves, it warms my heart.


Favorite Reader Moments:

What I loved about h favorite reader moments for Snow was just how any there were. The number of varying scenes shows just how many this character has shown over the course of the series. The top 4 were beautiful choices and ones I included as well.

  1. Snow sacrifices David’s heart in “A Curious Thing”
  2. Snow eats the poison apple in “An Apple as Red as Blood”
  3. Snow protects Emma from a troll in “Lady of the Lake”
  4. Snow vows to fight for her kingdom in “Lost Girl”

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

  1. Snow gives up Emma in the “Pilot”
  2. Snow banters with Charming while trapped in a net in “Snow Falls”
  3. Mary Margaret tells Emma is true love was easy we’d all have it in “Snow Falls”
  4. Mary Margaret talks to Emma about being guarded with her heart in “The Heart if a Lonely Hunter”
  5. Snow jumps into the portal after Emma in “Broken”
  6. Snow tells Emma what she wanted for her as a baby in “Lady of the Lake”
  7. Snow talks to David in the Netherworld in “Into The Deep”
  8. Snow tells a memory-less Henry she and Emma were cellmates and was in for Banditry in “Witch Hunt”
  9. Snow tells David they will face being new parents together in “The Tower”
  10. Snow asks Regina to split her heart in “A Curious Thing”
  11. Snow tries to figure out what to do during a power outage in “White Out”
  12. Snow tells Emma she will break the shattered sight spell in “Fall”
  13. Snow’s worst self is brought out under the spell of “Shattered Sight”
  14. Snow admits lying to Emma was a mistake in “Best Laid Plans”
  15. Snow shares motherly advice with Maleficent in “Mother”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Snow moments: Maii, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, Alyssa, and Sharon 🙂



Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: David Nolan/Prince Charming


Signature Line: “I Will Always Find You.”

It takes a lot to live up to the name Prince Charming, but David certainly does. He is kind, brave, heroic, selfless, caring, and honorable. He is “Princely” in every way imaginable despite being raised as a Shepherd. In fact, he is much more decent and princely than his twin brother who was raised as such, always thinking of others before himself. Although David Nolan of Storybrooke, who had no memories of his royal persona was weak and confused, and he makes some grave mistakes in the past, these qualities do not diminish his character. He is a devoted husband who loves his wife unconditionally and is always willing to fight for her. He will always find her. He loves, understands, and supports his daughter, is a loving grandfather, and steadfast friend. And he is never too proud to show his emotions and cry, proving to be an ideal combination of masculine strength and sensitive tenderness. Brought to life by the wonderful Josh Dallas, there are countless favorite moments that showcase the romantic and valorous qualities for this truly charming character.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “David steps in the path of Snow’s arrow.” (Season 1, Episode 16 “Heart of Darkness”)


When Snow drinks a potion to take away all her memories of her Prince Charming, it changes her. Her love is taken away and so her heart begins to darken, so much so that she plans to kill Regina. After kissing her doesn’t restore her memoires, nor telling her how much they love each other, David does the only thing he can think of. Because she says she appreciates action more than words, he does both, leaping in front of the arrow she aims at Regina, wounding himself in the process, and telling her he would rather die than let her fill her heart with darkness. This willingness to sacrifice himself just so she does not lose a part of herself is the very definition of True Love. He did not care if she didn’t even remember him. All that mattered to him was that the woman he loved found her way back to her true self. She is so touched that he is willing to die for her, she kisses him, and her memories are magically restored. This is one of the most beautiful and romantic moments of the series and a perfect expression of the power of the truest of true love.

  1. “David fights off Black Knights with newborn Emma in his arms.” (Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”)


There are few moments as epic and heroic as the one where David holds his newborn daughter in his arms while skillfully fighting off a band of Regina’s black knights. He defends himself while holding Emma like the precious treasure she is. He manages to fight them long enough to place Emma in the wardrobe and kiss her goodbye with a hope she will find them. He did not get to spend more than 5 minutes with his daughter before he must say goodbye, but in these first few moments of her life, and the only ones he gets to spend with her as a baby, he protects and keeps his daughter safe and proves what tremendous faith he will always have in her.

  1. “David sacrifices his heart for the new Dark Curse.” (Season 3, Episode 19 “A Curious Thing”)


When Snow and David discover that only light magic can defeat the wicked witch, so they must enact the dark curse to get back to Emma, David does not hesitate to say they must sacrifice his heart. When the moment comes, Snow does not want to say goodbye- to lose him and for their baby to never know its father. David being the pinnacle of strength and heroism tells her she will never lose him for she will see him every day in the face of their child. And with tears in their eyes she crushes her husband’s heart. With another act of faith and courage he is saved by Snow, but the beauty of this moment for him was his willingness to sacrifice everything for the family he loves.

  1. “David convinces the citizens of Storybrooke to stay in town and not lose a part of themselves.” (Season 2, Episode 2 “We Are Both”)


When all of Storybrooke discovers you will lose all your real memories of who they are again by crossing the town line, they still want to leave to live a “normal” life away from the dangers of the Evil Queen. They were looking for him to lead and though he was struggling, in this moment her proved what a fine leader he can be giving an impassioned speech about how both the Storybrooke and Enchanted Forests memories they all have are a part of them. Storybrooke David, as he says, was weak and confused, but he did not want to give up that side of him because he helps remind him of the person he wants to be. And in doing so he reminded them all that “You are both. The town is both. We are both.” Such is true in the show and in life- we all have good and bad sides to ourselves that make us who we are.

  1. “David goes under a sleeping curse to see Snow in the Netherworld” (Season 2, Episode 8 “Into the Deep)


To protect Henry from putting himself in danger again and to be able to talk Snow, Charming puts himself under a sleeping curse, believing once he sees his wife he will not only give her information they need, but be saved by True Love’s kiss. But as they reach for each other they realize that it is impossible- neither of them are truly there. But that does not matter as David once again proves himself to be a man of unparalleled faith in his wife and their love for each other. They will always find each other. She will return home and wake him from his curse. His unfailing faith is admirable and this moment is beautifully romantic, poignant and another example of how strong David’s convictions are. If there was an award for husband of the year, he surely would win the prize.  

  1. “David bonds with Hook as they venture to Dead Man’s Peak” (Season 3, Episode 5 “Good Form”)


One of the relationships I love most on Once Upon a Time is the begrudging friendship that has formed between Captain Hook and Prince Charming. It’s unique to say the least. They are essentially the same age and yet Hook is now dating Charming’s daughter. One is a hero, the other a pirate (though Hook’s hero now too). And I am sure neither of them expected to get along with each other when they first met. But on the first time they actually spend real time together we get to see how well they can actually relate to and understand each other amidst the quips and seemingly hostile attitudes. David thinks they are going to find a sextant, but Hook is truly leading him to the water that will save his life. But along the way, Hook questions why David was not honest with his family, and says at least he got to say goodbye as some people don’t get that much. Few people besides Emma can read Hook, or even show concern for him, but David is able to decipher and realize that Hook has lost his brother.  Despite Hook’s silence David just smiles and tells him of the brother he lost before he even met him and you can see that David is actually trying to get to know him. And after Hook’s saves him, David does something even Hook didn’t expect: he leaves out the specifics but sincerely gives him credit and thanks him in front of his family for saving his life. It was the beginning of beautiful friendship, Louie!

  1. “David reminds Emma to look for the good moments in life.” (Season 3, Episode 10 “The New Neverland”)


When Emma is feeling dejected, worried about Henry, and feeling like she is only a magnet for the bad moments and that the next crisis is always looming behind them, David reminds his daughter that there is more to life than waiting for the next fight. He doesn’t dismiss her feelings, but rather simply says you have to look for the moments in life- the good ones and the bad ones, because they are all what makes life worth living. This sage advice (and I must point out advice that Killian also echoes to her not long after that) truly helps Emma and he proves to be one of the few people who knows how to guide and support her without pushing. He is a wonderful father.

  1. “David stands up to Bo Peep with the help of Anna.” (Season 4, Episode 2 “White Out”)

Though now a regal and brave prince, we must never forget that David was once a shepherd, and one who was at the mercy of a warlord, too afraid to stand up to her. But with the help of his plucky new friend Anna he learns how to sword fight and believe he could possibly fight the impossible battle. But it wasn’t until Anna was in danger that he found his true courage- the courage he always had, but simply needed the push to find it. He learns that it is not enough to survive- you have to live the life you want. Seeing how David became the man he is thanks to a friend’s guidance was lovely and reminder that any back story for this kind and heroic man is heartwarming and moving.

  1. “David and Snow watch and wait up as the doting parents for Emma’s first date with Killian.” (Season 4, Episode 4 “The Apprentice”)


There are few things om Once Upon a Time that warm and delight my heart as much as overprotective  Daddy Charming. He may have a friendship of sorts with Killian but Emma is still his daughter and when she is about to go on her first date, David goes into Dad mode, saying he is worried that his daughter’s date now has two hands and even offers to drive them!! Just because Emma is 30 years old does not mean he can’t still want to protect his baby girl. And when we see that he and Snow have waited up for Emma to get home, Snow all smiles, but he amusingly saying that he doesn’t really want to hear about everything- i.e. goodnight kisses and such- the result is priceless. That may be the case, but he still waits for her. These moments were so sweet and lovely and show just how much both parents want to cherish all the moments they are experiencing with their daughter for the first time.

  1. “David fights a manifestation of his worst fears.” (Season 3, Episode 14 “The Tower”)


Terrified of being a bad father to his new child, David is forced to confront this deepest fear after Zelena drugs his tea with a root that will create a manifestation of those fears- a dark version of himself. David fights this dark other “David” that taunts him that he nothing but a poor, scared shepherd that strayed too far from his flock. But it isn’t until he lets go of the idea that he must be fearless but rather admit those fears and face them that he is able to defeat this vision. In this fine moment we get to see now only great development for his character, but the moving truth that courage is not the absence of fear. On the contrary, fears are natural- what matters is finding the courage to face them.

  1. “David tells Snow a chance at redemption is possible as long as they work to be their best selves.” (Season 4, Episode 16 “Best Laid Plans”)

After he an Snow make a grave mistake that separate Maleficent from her unborn child, Snow wonders if they can come back from what they have done and if redemption is even possible. Their actions were indeed severe, but one mistake does not have to define your entire life. David assures his wife that he must believe that a chance at grace is possible. But he implores that can only happen if they do their best to spread hope, love and faith every day, and importantly to be the best versions of themselves. I loved this moment because we not only saw more depth given to his character, but still see the epitome of what makes him so wonderful. It is easy to have faith when you never make a mistake; it takes a strong sense of self and strive to be better, to make mistakes and do your best to overcome them.

  1. “David has a dream about teaching Emma to dance.” (Season 3, Episode 14 “The Tower”)


Both beautiful and heartbreaking is the dream David has of dancing with his daughter Emma, teaching her to waltz in preparation for her first ball in the nursery that was meant to be hers. He looks at her in amazement and pride beaming at her natural grace and that this was everything he ever wished for her. The sad part was that this was only a dream- one that quickly becomes a nightmare as Emma is ripped away from him unable to save her. The scene, made exquisite by music and cinematography, is matched by the visceral reaction we have because of how deeply Charming simply wants his daughter to feel as special and beautiful as he sees her. If only he had seen Emma dance at her first ball as he had so wished to, but when she was right there to behold he had no idea who she was. Perhaps someday his dream will come true.

  1. David talks with Killian, in disguise as Prince Charles, about his upcoming marriage.” (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)


As Killian seeks help to rescue Emma and get things back on course, he takes the time to ask David about his upcoming wedding to Princess Abigail. As David wonders if True Love even exists and Killian assures him that it does, despite being unsure of his feelings for “Princess Leia” being reciprocated and fearing he parents disapprove. I loved the unique dichotomy of the scene as David says they would be crazy not to approve given the lengths he has gone to save her, to which Killian responds “I hope you remember that.” David of course has no idea the double meaning of this entire conversation, but it’s uniquely beautiful that they were able to have an honest conversation about love with this kind of anonymity. And although I would adore direct acknowledgment that David does indeed remember this conversation, he must have as he has begun to approve of his daughter’s love.

  1. “David sees his mother’s ring on Snow for the first time.” (Season 1, Episode 3 “Snow Falls”)


Even when the circumstances behind the way Snow and Charming first met were altered, many things remained the same, including this iconic and sweet moment. When he sees his mother’s ring on Snow’s finger you literally see him fall in love. His expression is perfect and gives my heart all the feels, as they would say in the fandom. It may have taken them a while to find each other again, but this was the moment he knew that his mother was right about True Love following this ring wherever it goes. And he knew his life would never be the same.

  1. “David defeats the Siren and saves Abigail’s true love, Frederick.” (Season 1, Episode 13 “What Happened to Frederick”)


A touching example of David’s chivalry and strength was when he agreed to help save Abigail’s love Frederick, saying even if his true love seems impossible the least he can do is help reunite someone with theirs. And indeed he proved himself able to resist the temptation of the Siren in Lake Nostos who took Snow’s form promising him everything he wanted. And even though he fell prey to her seduction for a moment, he finds his strength, wanting the real thing or nothing at all. He defeats this temptress and is able to free Frederick with the magical waters from the lake. Perhaps it was seeing another couple so happily reunited, or perhaps he inherently does not give up easily, but he then decides to go after Snow with one of the most beautiful and indisputably true lines of the entire series: “True Love isn’t easy, but it must be fought for. Because once you find it, it can never be replaced.” 

Honorable mention: “David says Goodbye to his mother.” (Season 1, Episode 4 “The Shepherd”)


I never fail to cry at this heartrending scene where David must say goodbye to his mother, choosing to protect her and the kingdom rather than his own happiness. When he says “I didn’t come here for advice. I came to say goodbye” the tears start flowing, especially when she gives him a ring with the faith that True Love follows it whatever it goes. Any scene between David and his mother is a heartwarming treasure.

Favorite Little Moments:

– One of the loveliest things I noticed about the way Josh Dallas plays David in relation to Emma is the way he cradles her head as if she were still a baby. In almost every single moment David hugs his daughter this gesture is steadfast. I tweeted Josh Dallas about this lovely acting choice and low and behold he responded and confirmed this 🙂

david emma hug onceland david emma hug onceland1



– Seeing Killian so frantic, desperate and distraught over Emma nearly freezing to death in an ice cave, I think he finally saw the depth of this man’s feelings for his daughter. So when Emma is pulled out he literally puts her into Killian’s arms- a sort gesture of approval that I absolutely loved.

david cs

– As the begrudging friendship between David and Killian has developed one of my favorite things are the little “bro nods” they so often share. There is an unspoken understanding between them and it is wonderful to witness this on so many occasions.

david bro nod


– Similarly it was not surprising that David would push Killian out of the way of a falling lamppost. He would have done the same for anyone as that is the kind of person he is. But on a deeper level he is saving both his friend and the man who loves his daughter. I can’t help but love this!!

david push hook


– Seeing Charming have a vision of his future daughter as this sweet, beautiful, innocent baby was touching as it showed how he always sees her as the most precious thing in the world.

david baby


– Seeing David take on the fatherly/grandfatherly role so quickly with Henry when Snow and Emma were separated from them was absolutely heartwarming. I don’t think anything beats him playing sword fighting with him, bowing down saying “My liege.” Smiles for days with this moment!!

david henry

– While under the spell of “Shattered Sight” the worst selves of the residents of Storybrooke come out. But for David, nothing was that horrible. The most hilarious thing is the worst insult he can give to Kristoff was that it’s ridiculous to sell ice in a frozen Arendelle. This is actually kind of precious.

david ss


– The banter between David and Snow when he traps her in a net is a classic moment in the series, and I just find it funny how one of the first things he calls the woman who will become his true love is “thieving scum.” Never judge by first impressions.

davis snowfalls


– When his young son is kidnapped mere moments after his birth, he so quickly transitions to protective warrior mode, taking off his hospital gown and grabbing is sword with a look that means business. Never mess with David when he is determined. And when he returns safely back, his smile is so gentle and warm. Him and Snow were given what they were denied before, and he shows his equally strong and tender qualities.

david smile


– The very first moment of Once Upon a Time was given to the heroic Prince riding his noble steed, to wake his love with true love’s kiss. It was love at first sight for me, and an iconic moment was cemented into television history.

charming horse

Favorite Reader Moments:

When it came to the favorite reader moments for David, the top four were all included on my list and they were wonderful ones indeed. While the numerous other favorites were combined with some of my own as well as very sweet little moments that showcase what is best about his character. The top 4 moments are:

  1. David implores Emma to look for the good moments in life in “The New Neverland”
  2. David fights off knights with baby Emma in his arms in the “Pilot”
  3. David works with Killian to free Emma from the ice cave in “White Out”
  4. David’s worst self comes out under the spell of “Shattered Sight”

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

  1. David on his horse in the opening shot of the “Pilot”
  2. David gives Snow True Love’s Kiss in the “Pilot”
  3. David defeats the Siren and helps Abigail in “What Happened to Frederick”
  4. David steps in front of Snow’s arrow in “Heart of Darkness”
  5. David fights Maleficent in dragon form in “A Land Without Magic”
  6. David gives an impassioned speech in “We Are Both”
  7. David rescues Emma from drowning in “The Heart of the Truest Believer”
  8. David fights a dark manifestation of himself in “The Tower”
  9. David and Emma put together a baby crib in “The Jolly Roger”
  10. David teaches Henrys to drive in “The Jolly Roger”
  11. David picks a flower for Snow in “A Curious Thing”
  12. David sacrifices his heart in “A Curious Thing”
  13. David shows his protective nature when Emma and Killian go on their first date in “The Apprentice”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite David moments: Maii, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, Alyssa, and Sharon 🙂


Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Regina Mills/The Evil Queen


Signature Line: “Evil isn’t born. It’s made.”

Regina Mills, known in the Enchanted Forest as The Evil Queen, is another character that is undeniably complex and interesting. She has developed a great deal over the show’s 4 seasons starting out as a vengeful villain and changing to someone who struggles with dark tendencies but wants to change and be a better person for her son, the man she loves and her extended family. When she is in full on Evil Queen mode it is indeed entertaining to watch, but my favorite moments for Regina tend to be when she shows more genuine and human emotions as well as growth towards a better path in life

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Regina realizes her happy ending is feeling at home in the world.” (Season 4, Episode 20 “Mother”)


For the entirety of season 4 I had a hope for where the story would go in regards to Regina wanting to find the author and have him write her a happy ending. In my mind, though I understood her desire for happiness, I believed that happy endings cannot be given out like gifts. They have to be earned and come from within. Luckily the story did go in this direction and the result was not only wonderful but my favorite moment for Regina’ character ever! It was beautiful that Regina realized that the only person she needed to find happiness was herself. Her happy ending is being content with who she is and feeling at home in the world- a world that does include the people she loves including Robin and Henry. But truly, she creates her own happiness and that is a lovely message and the finest sign of character growth she has ever shown.


  1. “Regina sacrifices herself to save Henry in the author’s alternate universe.” (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)


Even though Regina had no memories of her son in this alternate reality, and had trouble believing anything he said, becoming a bit exasperated at first, she still obviously felt a connection with him. Henry believed if she stopped Robin Hood from marrying Zelena everything would go back to normal, and it was almost the case as she peers in at the ceremony, love in her eyes as she gazes at Robin. But when she hears Henry in danger, her thoughts turn away from her own wishes and rushes to aid him. Rumples slashes his blade at Henry and Regina pushes him out of the way, mortally wounding her in the process. When Henry asks her why she didn’t go into the church, she says “I couldn’t let you die.” Barely knowing him, she still couldn’t let any harm come to her son. Cue many tears shed.

  1. “Regina stops Pan’s curse, sending everyone back to the Enchanted Forest and giving Emma and Henry new memories in New York.” (Season 3, Episode 11 “Going Home”)


Regina has struggled with doing the right thing for so long, but in the third season she began to tread a better path when Henry was kidnapped by Peter Pan. When Pan’s curse threatens Storybrooke, she discovers she can stop it, but must give up the thing she loves most- Henry. With the curse looming above ready to consume the town Regina tearfully says goodbye to her son and kindly tells Emma she can give them happy memories for the two of them where they have always been together. She has come a long way and this act of both kindness and strength was wonderful to see. When Emma and Henry cross the town line, Regina counters Pan’s curse sending everyone back home is a flash of purple smoke. This was a powerful moment and one of the most heart wrenching of the series. 

  1. “Regina apologizes to Marco.” (Season 4, Episode 13 “Unforgiven”)


Regina has often lacked self awareness and admittance of mistakes but as she has grown that has changed a great deal. But she still struggles and after reverting to her common quickness to anger and hostility (and towards the child Pinocchio) she seeks out the boy’s father, Marco. And she shows genuine remorse, makes a sincere apology, telling him that her happy ending will never happen if she reverts to her old ways as the two share a smile and small touch of the hand. It’s surprising that a scene between these two characters would be so moving, but it truly was. 

  1. “Regina visits Mary Margaret in jail and tells her she knows she’s innocent.” (Season 1, Episode 18 “The Stable Boy”)


In Season 1 Regina was at her most evil, wanting nothing but revenge on Snow White and it was gripping to watch. You hated everything she did and in one of her most evil moments she visits a grief stricken Mary Margaret in jail who is in tears, adamant that she is being framed for murder, that she is innocent. In a rare moment where Regina is honest, she reaches in and touches Mary Margaret’s cheek, then harshly squeezes her face saying she knows, but she deserves this. The gesture and the scene are absolutely chilling and so fantastically evil! 

  1. “Regina kisses Robin Hood for the first time.” (Season 3, Episode 18 “Bleeding Through”)


After a heartfelt and honest talk with Mary Margaret, Regina finds Robin Hood at his campsite who apologizes for losing her heart. He promises her he will get it back, to which she responds by passionately kissing him. This was a lovely movement of growth from her character, not letting fear stop her from embracing her feelings for this man- feelings that were strong enough even without her heart  to help her be brave. And what a kiss it was!

  1. “Snow tends to a wounded Regina who is disguised as a peasant.” (Season 2, Episode 20 “The Evil Queen”)


This poignant moment between the two women with such a complicated history has such an interesting dichotomy. Because Regina is in disguise, Snow is completely honest about how she feels about Regina saying how she changed her and made her believe there could be a selfless connection between people, even strangers, and that she hopes that this person comes backs one day. Hearing these words obviously touches her because a tear falls down her cheek, and later she asks her if Snow would forgive her if she wanted to be good and be a family again. Obviously things take a turn for the worst, but in this singular moment we see once again that there is a genuine affection between them. I think Snow just wanted her step mother back, and Regina forgiveness for her misplaced anger, wrong as it was. 

  1. “Regina gives Henry a True Love’s Kiss and breaks Storybrooke’s new curse.” (Season 3, Episode 19 “A Curious Thing”)


The changing relationship between Henry and his adoptive mother (technically also step great grandmother) has been a long one from mistreatment brought on by great fear, to attempts to relate to each other with more honesty, and finally to genuine contrition and forgiveness. It took a while but Regina finally learned to be a better parent and love Henry the right way, which was solidified when she shared a True Love’s Kiss with her son. This broke the curse that had brought everyone back to Storybrooke, which was obviously a very important moment. But more significantly it once again showed the power of familial love which is one of Once Upon a Time’s loveliest themes. 

  1. “Regina defeats Zelena with light magic.” (Season 3, Episode 20 “Kansas”)


No one can deny that Regina has very powerful magic. But up until this point it had only been of the darkest kind. While I don’t think every time Regina has used magic since it has been light, I think the point to this fantastic scene was that what seemed impossible could happen. She could change for the better, and on her own, if she has the courage to do so. Zelena may have taunted her that she could only ever be dark, but when she saw Robin with her heart back in his hands, she found her strength and learned that we make our own destiny.

  1. “Regina admits she mistreated Henry and tells Snow and Charming letting Emma get rid of her magic is a mistake.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)

One of the things I have most wanted to see Regina admit to was the way she treated Henry when the series began, and when she finally did, it came at a crucial moment for our characters. Not only was it wonderful to finally hear he her say how much she regrets not supporting Henry and how wrong it was to make him like he was crazy instead of special, but also that it related to what Emma was going through and what her parents needed to hear. The unique things that make us special are what make us beautiful, and hearing Regina own up to her mistake, be thankful Henry was strong enough to overcome it, and finally convince Snow and David that they can’t let Emma lose a part of herself was a truly touching moment for these characters.

Honorable mention: “Regina tells Henry he should never feel ordinary just because he doesn’t have magic.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)


It broke my heart to hear Henry tell Regina he felt useless and ordinary when he was not able to do anything to help Emma when her magic was out of control. But she comforts him and tells him something that is undeniably true. He has the heart of the “Truest Believer” which is indeed special, but even more beautiful is that he brought them all together. More so than any other character, Henry can unite people and hearing his mom tell him this was special. I loved this moment.

Favorite Little Moments:

– Seeing the way Regina smiles and face lights up when she is with Robin is beautiful. You can see how happy he makes her and the sight of her  cupping his face in amazement or of her walking down the street with him as she holds his son’s hand is so lovely.
regina happyregina smile


– Regina and Snow have come a long way in their relationship. She went from trying to kill her, to telling her they need to get back to “our castle,” to protecting her from her mother’s ghost.

regina snow


– It was so brief but I also loved seeing Regina and Henry looking through the Storybook together and seeing her smile at the picture of Snow and Charming’s wedding. Things certainly have changed.

– Regina’s first appearance on the show as The Evil Queen has become an iconic one. I love it not only because it shows her in her evil grandeur but it is such as strong contrast to where these characters are now.

regina queen

– I was happy to see Regina no longer spouting anger at Emma in the second half of season 4 and the two relating to each other more amiably. Her comment that she “eats like a child” could have once come across as mean, but now this was such a typical older sister thing to say, showcasing the new dynamic between them.

– When Emma talks about trusting Hook because he brought her back to Storybrooke and didn’t have to, it was funny how Regina commented on what everyone except apparently Emma could see: That of course he would bring her back, and that the two of them constantly share “yearning looks and doey eyes.” Emma denies it saying she doesn’t yearn, but Regina affirms that Hook certainly does. It was like a scene from Hercules was being played out with Regina as a Greek Muse, and Emma as Meg because “who do think you’re kidding Emma,  Hook’s the earth and heaven to you.”

regina eyes


Favorite Reader Moments:

When it came to reader’s favorite moment two scenes stood out to them, both of which showed a tremendous amount of growth of her part. The rest are singular, and all fantastic, combining both moments decidedly Evil Queen, and others the Regina trying to be a better person.

The top Regina moments for readers are:

  1. Regina realizes what her happy ending is in “Mother”
  2. Regina defeats Zelena in “Kansas” 

The rest of readers favorite moments are as follows (In episode order):

  1. Regina interrupts Snow and Charming’s wedding in the “Pilot”
  2. Regina kills her father in “The Thing You Love Most”
  3. Regina must kill Daniel and lose him a second time in “The Doctor”
  4. Regina tries to stop the self destruction of Storybrooke in “And Straight On Til Morning”
  5. Regina shows Tinkerbell her dark heart in “Quite a Common Fairy”
  6. Regina stops Peter Pan’s curse in “Going Home”
  7. Regina stands between Snow and her mother’s ghost in “Bleeding Through”
  8. Regina is miffed she can’t walk through the door to see Glinda in “A Curious Thing”
  9. Regina apologizes to Marco in “Unforgiven”
  10. Regina drinks a potion that makes it impossible for her to conceive a child in “Mother”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Regina moments: Maii, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa 🙂