Top 30 Once Upon a Time Characters

To celebrate Once Upon a Upon a Time coming to the Disney Plus streaming services I thought it would be a good time to revisit the series and countdown some favorites. Here, we rank the Top 30 Characters from the fairy tale series. Of course any kind of ranking is all relative. The following list could be very different from you the reader, or it could be strikingly similar. And of course there is a difference between personal favorite characters and ranking them in other terms. If that was the case my list would look a little different. For this list it was a difficult process but I ranked them by a combination of the following categories (in order):

  • Character dynamics and likability, whether they be hero or villain
  • How well the character was written
  • Importance to the plot
  • Development or growth (if applicable)
  • Acting
  • Legacy and importance to the series overall

So, let’s take a look back at a wide array of wonderful characters, varied and beautiful enough to fill any number of magical storybooks.

30. Tinkerbell (portrayed by Rose McIver)

Smart, spunky, and sweet, this fairy who once lost her wings, learned to believe in herself with just a little faith, trust and pixie dust. She forgave Regina for her betrayal and encouraged her to go after love. She also killed Pan’s shadow which restored the Blue Fairy’s life and was one of the contributing factors that helped the heroes to escape Pan’s curse, proving instrumental in one of the show’s most crucial moments. Above all she just wanted to help those in need and for them to find their happy endings, a lovely quality that defines what it means to be a fairy.

29. Sheriff Graham Humbert/The Huntsman (portrayed by Jamie Dornan)

As the Huntsman he was a sensitive and compassionate soul, as Sheriff of Storybrooke he was a charming and strong man who decided to find his heart and choose his own path. In the Enchanted Forest, he helped Charming escape Regina’s castle, and as Henry sweetly points out, he spared Snow’s life. Without both of these moments, Emma would have never been born, solidifying a connection between them that was established in Storybrooke in an emotional and heartbreaking moment. We were able to see the type of man Emma would be attracted to while showing us a brief flicker of hope that her heart could open to someone worthy. His death was an early game changer and showcased the gravity of the curse, how we could lose anyone and how precious life is, making each subsequent time he showed up extremely satisfying.

28. Ursula (portrayed by Merrin Dungey and Tiffany Boone)

Once a mermaid full of sadness over the loss of her mother, but kindness in her heart, she loved to sing and bring people joy. After a betrayal from Hook and her father, she turned herself into another sea creature after losing her singing voice, not wanting to ever let her father use it to lure sailors to their doom. As an adult she lost her way, but with the help of Captain Hook and a reconciliation with her father, both she forgives, her voice and beautiful spirit were returned and restored, leading to crucial information for the heroes to defeat the latest threat. She was fun as one of the Queens of Darkness, but it was lovely to see her return to the light.

27. Grumpy/Dreamy/Leroy (portrayed by Lee Arenberg)

When it comes to Dwarfs, their pick axe will choose their name. This dwarf was born as Dreamy, but a broken heart turned him Grumpy. Despite that, both in the Enchanted Forest and in Storybrooke as Leroy, he as he says need his pain, it’s only because it’s a reminder of what in life we fight for. Grumpy is loyal  and stubborn, gruff but sweet. And if there is any gossip that needs repeating he is just the Dwarf for the job.

26. Lancelot (portrayed by Sinqua Walls)

A former Knight of the Round Table, Lancelot was a courageous man with honor, selflessness and a kind and loving heart. Not only did he perform the wedding ceremony for Snow and Charming, making sure Charming’s mother’s final moments were happy ones, he made sure Snow received the water which would break her infertility curse. Without him there would be no Emma, and therefore no Savior, making him one of the show’s most important characters. On his own, he loved Guinevere truly, and looked after her when Arthur was obsessing over Excalibur, while also being willing to sacrifice himself to the darkness for her. Hopefully he found her again and they are living happily ever after in a restored and no longer broken kingdom.

25. Granny Lucas (portrayed by Beverley Elliot)

Granny Lucas is tough as nails, sassy, overcame tragedy, is fiercely protective, loving, supportive of her granddaughter, and never takes guff from anyone-especially over her cooking. A former wolf herself, she sheltered Ruby from the truth, but learned to help her embrace it, while she wanted nothing more than to leave Granny’s Diner to her. She loved her family, blood and otherwise and whether she was wielding a knitting needle or a cross bow, Granny was a force to be reckoned with. 

24. Merlin (portrayed by Elliot Knight)

As a stroke of genius and in a great form of subversion, the iconic wizard who traditionally was an old man with a long white beard, here is a young and dynamic man of color who was brilliant and disarming. As Emma once told him he was the greatest Sorcerer that ever lived and indeed, Merlin was so powerful he was able to break free from the darkest and strongest control when he needed to most. As a young man and founder of the Holy Grail, his immortal life gave him wisdom and a peaceful nature. Although he was often cryptic and had moments of failure, it gave the wizard a relatable, human quality, on top of being charming and brave. His loss was a great one, but his legacy remained.

23. King Arthur (portrayed by Liam Garrigan and Webb Hayes)

One of the more complex and interesting villains the show ever did, the traditionally heroic King Arthur character became a man consumed by prophesies and his destiny. As a child he was sweet despite being made to feel inferior. But as an adult he was a good man who let a quest darken his soul so much that he lost sight of what really mattered- his love for Guinevere and his purpose to lead and restore a broken kingdom. A corrupt king, showcasing charisma and vitality, in the end, although quick, he found one of the show’s most satisfying and believable paths to redemption. After his death, he found his true destiny. Restoring peace to the kingdom he was meant to repair- the Underworld.

22. Cora Mills (portrayed by Barbara Hershey and Rose McGowan)

A woman obsessed with power and getting what she thought she deserved, Cora was manipulative and often frightening in her cruel behavior and demeanor, but it made her one of the most realistic villains of the show. Believing love is weakness, she never let her emotions get in the way of her grand ambitions. She betrayed Rumple, abandoned her first child Zelena, and when she married and had her daughter Regina, ripped her own heart out, so she would always stay true to the path of gaining royal power. She was unflinching, devious and twisted, and we loved to hate her.

21. Mulan (portrayed by Jamie Chung)

Mulan was a brave and fierce warrior who wore strong armor literally and figuratively. Guarded with her emotions, she also showed moments of vulnerability and wisdom when it came to matters of the heart and life. Strong, often headstrong, but so, so caring, Mulan was also incredibly clever, helping our heroes multiple times, becoming a member of Robin Hood’s gang, a guide and mentor to Merida, and faithful friend to Ruby. She would sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of others and felt the deep pangs of an unrequited love for Aurora. But despite never seeing it on screen I hope she found her own happy ending somewhere.

20. Dr. Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket (portrayed by Raphael Sbarge and Adam Young)

Perhaps the purest character of the series, literally playing a conscience without coming across preachy or self righteous is a tall order. But the opposite is true of Dr. Hopper, who showcases such wisdom, sweetness and non judgment no matter the person. Not free from his own tragic backstory, he was tricked and inadvertently and irrevocably hurt Gepetto’s parents, and so wished nothing more than to be a cricket and dedicate his life to helping and guiding others. In Storybrooke he was a healthy and wonderful example of the benefit self reflection and therapy. The fact that he also became a wedding officiant, rejoicing in the happiness of the people he helped was a beautiful addition to an already wonderful character.

19. Ingrid (portrayed by Elizabeth Mitchell and Brighton Sharbino)

Also known as the Snow Queen, the Aunt to Anna and Elsa had even more tragic backstory than that of her nieces. As an young girl Ingrid discovered she had ice powers, and while she became even more reserved and hid from the world, she and her sisters remained dedicated to each other’s happiness. It was only when a devastating accident led to one of her sister’s death with the other trapping her for years in an urn, that Ingrid became the monster she thought everyone would call her. With an icy and chilling demeanor, this was merely masking a heart that was deeply wounded, and underneath it all, true. Determined to find sisters that will love her unconditionally, all it took was knowing her sister’s deep regret, belief and love for her, for Ingrid to realize her grave mistake, reverse her spell of Shattered Sight and sacrifice herself in the process, leading her back to her sisters in the end. And despite the deception, her affection for Emma was sincere and she proved an important figure in her life. Ingrid’s character was poignant and her sacrifice was a moment of true redemption that was deeply emotional and beautifully moving.

18. August Booth/Pinocchio (portrayed by Eion Bailey, Jacob Davies and Rustin Gresiuk)

Emma once described August as a “typewriter wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in stubble.” And that’s definitely a fair assessment. He’s enigmatic, charming, and a writer. But he’s also much more. A friend and protector of Emma, he strayed from this path and much like the true Pinocchio character, inherently and deeply struggled with being truthful and unselfish. But he paid the ultimate price, and worked hard to make up for his mistakes and find redemption, for his friend, to make his father proud,  but also for himself.  Much like the Pinocchio of the original novel, his desire and penchant for less than honorable and deceiving behavior was an inherent quality he had to constantly battle. As a young child he leaves Emma alone, but deeply regrets it and so keeps tabs to makes he she remains on her path and not lose faith. And when he fails as an adult in that, he tries everything to make up for his failings and be the friend and guardian angel Emma deserves. With a magnetism, warmth and mystery to the character he was such a source of mythology and knowledge, as well as a true believer. August W. Booth made mistakes, but like Pinocchio learned how to be selfless, brave and true.

17. Belle French (portrayed Emilie De Ravin)

A true beauty inside and out, what was so beautiful about Belle’s character was that it demonstrated heroism in unconventional, but poignant ways that are not seen nearly enough. Her strength, beauty and heroism came in the form selflessness, compassion, forgiveness, intelligence and cleverness. When her kingdom needed her, she agreed to be Rumplestilskin’s servant so her people would be saved. When another kingdom was at the mercy of the Yaoguai, this intelligent bookworm single handedly tracked it down in a day, realized this so called “monster” was in pain, understood it and saved it as it was truly a cursed Prince Philip. She forgave those who hurt her, always endeavored others to follow their hearts, saw the good in Rumplestilskin and encouraged him endlessly, had the courage to banish him when he reached one of his lowest points, and although Rumplestilskin was often undeserving of her love and forgiveness, she bestowed it with belief and conviction. Some may disagree with her choices, and indeed her end was very sad, but her unfailing faith in others proved the depth of her compassionate heart. She remained a kind soul, loving wife and mother until the very end.

16. Ariel (portrayed by Joanna Garcia-Swisher)

Sweet, optimistic, naive but courageous, Ariel was an absolutely delightful character and as wonderful a depiction as any Little Mermaid fan surely dreamed of. On land she literally was a fish out of water not knowing or understanding certain human things calling forks “mini tridents” and not being afraid of a gun because she didn’t know what is was, resulting in adorable moments. But these moments of humor were matched by her moments of wisdom and belief in true love not only for herself with the handsome Prince Eric but for the friends she meets along the way such as Snow White and Captain Hook. She saves Snow from the Evil Queen twice, is instrumental in helping rescue Henry in Neverland, rescued Hook from drowning and from himself as she helped open his eyes on more than one occasion showing him how True Love does indeed mean more than a ship ever could, and never fill the void left from a broken heart, and importantly that villains will never find happiness until their attempts to find happy endings must change for the better, becoming his friend in the process, and helping him communicate with Emma when they needed it the most. Whether on land or under the sea, Ariel, was a sweet, unassuming and beautiful part of the series.

15. Zelena Mills (portrayed by Rebecca Mader and Isabelle Blake-Thomas)

The infamous Wicked of Witch in the Once of Upon a Time universe is a great depiction of the iconic character as she is layered and interesting, evoking moments of terror, hatred, amusement and even sympathy. Abandoned as a baby, bullied for being different and abused by her father as a child, these sufferings led her to seek some place and someone who would love and accept her. Sadly, her suffering turned to envy and resentment towards others (especially her sister Regina) having what she was always deprived of, leading her down a dark path of revenge. And as that infamous villain she was captivating to watch with a cool demeanor one moment and maniacal tirade the next. Her wicked ways only changed when she found people willing to forgive her and let her try to be a mother to her daughter. The one blemish on the character was the troubling way she became a mother which was never properly and rightly addressed. But overall, when she learned to live her life unselfishly and be the mother her daughter deserved, she found that seemingly illusive, happy and peaceful place where bluebirds fly, no broomstick required.

14. Elsa (portrayed by Georgina Haig)

If there ever was a timely addition and example of characters who feel like they leapt off the silver and into the small screen in the Once Upon a Time universe, it would be with the characters of Frozen. The arrival of the Ice Queen of Arendelle Elsa was a surprise for both the character and the audience and she could not have been more perfectly cast, nor beautifully and seamlessly integrated into the story. Elsa was kind, reserved, but warm, ironically, and a faithful sister and friend. A natural and relatable kindred spirit for Emma, they formed a fast friendship when Elsa creates an ice wall around town as leverage to help find her sister Anna and accidentally traps Emma inside. Unbothered by the cold, she was able to save her new friend’s life, finding strength within herself and gaining control of her magic. The beauty of her character is that her own struggles, wisdom, and belief give Elsa a richness and sweetness while also mirroring and guiding those in Storybrooke, most especially Emma. She helped Emma learn to accept every part of herself in the same way she had to, giving our Savior a moment of self True Love. And she never gave up on finding her sister, her pure heart saving both Anna and Kristoff from a watery grave, giving us two of the most beautiful moments of the series. Although a return to Arendelle was imminent, her indelible impression on Storybrooke was everlasting, making it possible to believe she would remain friends with Emma forever, and may even be a certain baby girl’s Ice Queen godmother.

13. Anna (portrayed by Elizabeth Lail)

Spunky, incessantly adorable chatterer, sweet-natured Anna is just as lovely and perfect a characterization as her sister Elsa in the Once Upon a Time story. Nearly identical to her animated film counterpart, this Anna had all of her fine qualities while also bringing equal parts gravitas, pathos and beauty to the role. When the sisters discover that their parents had journeyed to the Kingdom of Mist Haven to hopefully learn more about Elsa’s powers, but ultimately perished, Anna takes it upon herself to finish what her parents began, wanting nothing more than her sister’s happiness, even delaying her wedding to Kristoff. She faced off against Rumplestiltskin, Ingrid and Prince Hans proving herself brave and resourceful even when he felt like she failed because it was her pure heart and constant support of Elsa’s that made her sister return that support in kind. Their bond saved Anna’s life because she is willing to die for those she loves. She even taught our beloved Prince Charming not only how to wield a sword but to stand up to his persecutors, relaying the profound truth that it’s not just about surviving; You have to live. A lover of sandwiches, her sister and man named Kristoff that she finally married at the end of this story arc, Princess Anna of Arendelle is a shining example of Once Upon a Time’s most prominent theme: to always have hope.

12. Cruella De Vil (portrayed by Victoria Smurfit)

The sardonic, gin soaked reckless driver with an inherent propensity for evil, Cruella lived up to her name in spades and was the most fabulous villains that ever was! Once Upon a Time almost always portrayed their villains with sympathetic lives making their turn towards evil understandable. With Cruella, it was a refreshing change of pace to see a villain be evil for evil’s sake. With one of the most creative and interesting backstories, Cruella lived in a 1920s land of flappers and jazz, where the silver tongued tale of being abused she told to the Storybook’s author, was the opposite of the gruesome twist. Cruella was cold and evil since childhood, poisoning her father, tricking the author into giving her power to control animals, killing her step mother and then her dogs and sewing their fur into a coat- all in one chilling night! Her treachery proved to be her downfall as her appearance and ability to kill was forever taken from her, making her threat to Henry moot when Emma killed her to save her son. But she was such a delightfully viscous and fun villain to watch that when we saw her again in the Underworld, it was a fabulous surprise for all us darlings.

11. Henry Mills (portrayed by Jared Gilmore and Andrew J. West)

One of life’s most precious gifts is the privilege of seeing a child grow up, discover the world and mature into the person they will become. When the series began little Henry Mills was a 10 year old precocious and sweet child determined to make his mother Emma break the curse so she can bring back all the happy endings to the people of Storybrooke. His belief in the curse and in Emma proved so strong that his greatest hope came true. Possessing the Heart of the Truest Believer, Henry truly became the heart of the series in that he brought characters together through their love for him inspiring many an “Operation” that our heroes embarked on to defeat villains, break curses and save lives. And we bore witness to this brave boy growing into a kind, forgiving, wise young man who never ever lost hope in any of his family. He became the next author of the Storybook earning the lofty job through his pure heart, courage and conviction, overcame mistakes by helping others find hope and wanted nothing more than both his mothers to be happy. And although the plot point to have adult Henry stay in the Enchanted forest for years instead of returning to Storybrooke felt out of character, his finest qualities remained as he was a loving and faithful man- a devoted son and step son, gentle and kind father, loving husband, sweet big brother and valiant warrior just as he always dreamed of becoming as a child. Family is everything to Henry.

10. Regina Mills/The Evil Queen (portrayed by Lana Parrilla and Ava Acres)

Regina Mills, known in the Enchanted Forest as The Evil Queen, is a character that is undeniably complex. When the series begins, she is a bitterly vengeful villain with a flair for the dramatic, as the Queen of misplaced anger, living what she thought would be her happy ending with an entire kingdom cursed in Storybrooke where time was frozen and its residents couldn’t remember their true selves, Regina being the only one aware of that fact. But when her adopted son Henry brings his birth mother Emma to town, who also happens to be the only one who could break this curse and miraculously does, Regina had to begin a path towards change for the better, learning to love her son in healthier and more supportive way, to stop relying on dark magic and underhanded and manipulative ways, and put away her evil tendencies. It was a huge struggle for her character but she eventually began to put aside her revenge on Snow and Charming, who compassionately let her back in, stopped trying to separate Emma and Henry, gave her sister a second chance at family, no longer ran from the possibility of love, embracing her destined soulmate Robin Hood, and tried to be a better mother to Henry. If only judging on the first 4 seasons the character would be ranked higher, but after that unfortunately the redemptive storyline became inconsistent, most especially a misguided story of splitting herself in two and remaining that way, as well as, like Zelena, some crimes and atrocities never being addressed and dealt with as they should have been. While early on the Evil Queen was fun in a love to hate way, this eventual inconsistency with her progress was a disservice. However, in the end the “Evil” moniker was no longer truly applicable with her finest moments being where she finally realized (and showed others like her sister) the strength love and hope can give you if you truly believe in it.

9. Robin Hood (portrayed by Sean Maguire and Tom Ellis)

The legendary character of Robin Hood is one of the most beloved ever and one that’s been depicted countless times. On Once Upon a Time we see one of the finest characterizations. Originally played by Ellis for one episode in Season 2, the role was then recast by Maguire (the difference in appearance cleverly explained in a Season 4 episode.) This Robin of Locksley and Sherwood Forest was just as one would expect as the iconic thief and leader of a band of Merry Men who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, fought against injustice and tyranny in the Enchanted Forest, and then becoming a protector Storybrooke when a curse brings them to the sleepy town. Robin is noble, brave, cheeky and charming. He’s a lovable rogue who is a decent man who follows his heart and his beliefs, steadfastly and until the end, without being saccharine or unbelievable as he falters and makes mistakes in his romantic entanglements. Ultimately, this charming archer, had a heart of gold, with a deep and unending love for his children and his soulmate Regina, whom he sacrificed his life for, making him the one loss in the show that I personally will forever deeply lament. Robin Hood left an indelible impression that always hit the bulls eye.

8. Jefferson/The Mad Hatter (portrayed by Sebastian Stan)

Never before has the classic Alice in Wonderland character of The Mad Hatter been as complex and captivating as Once Upon a Time’s Jefferson. Charismatic, obsessive, and extremely intelligent, this deeply layered character was not only brilliant individually but his choices, abilities and interactions with key characters proved to be integral to the plot of the series, so much so that nothing would be the same without his presence. Neither a fully fledged villain nor a virtuous hero, Jefferson was once a procurer of difficult to find items and the master of a magical hat that can help you to travel to any realm. He was key to Regina embracing her dark side, and his presence in Storybrooke created a kernel of belief in the validity of the curse in Emma’s mind. Without him, and therefore his magical piece of millinery, the poison apple would have never came to Storybrooke, and therefore the curse would not have been broken in the way it was, Emma never would had met Killian Jones, while him finding a crystal ball for Rumple helped the would be couple make sure another couple, Snow and Charming, fell in love. A good man who only wanted to give his daughter everything, he feared after leaving her, she would never forgive him even though he was tricked. His time in Wonderland drove him mad, and in Strybrooke his curse was having both sets of memories, seemingly like a maniac one moment, kidnapping Mary Margaret and Emma all so Emma could get his hat to work, to a hero to Belle the next, releasing her from her asylum prison, to a sweet and sympathetic father who is reunited with his daughter Grace, embracing her and finally finding his happy ending. The magnetic and brilliant Jefferson left an indelible impression to marvel at. No pun intended.

7. Ruby Lucas/Red Riding Hood (portrayed by Meghan Ory)

A classic, iconic and rich fairy tale tradition as there ever was, the tale and character of Little Red Riding Hood is a cautionary one to be weary of strangers and be smart and safe. But Once Upon a Time gave us another subversive twist on the tale by making Ruby not only a sweet girl in a red hood who loves her Granny, but also the dreaded wolf herself, who cannot remember those she kills when she turns into the creature. In doing so it not only was one of the show’s greatest twists ever, but Ruby also became one of the show’s most interesting and relatable characters. With a beauty inside and out, her warmth, bravery, and gentle vulnerability, as well as the journeys she went through were very poignant as she learned to control her time as a wolf, a emotional and prescient metaphor to not be afraid of who we are but instead embrace it and celebrate it. Her cursed Storybrooke persona was one of a boldness and defiance, but when things change and the curse is broken we see that was partly a mask to hide her insecurities which transform into courage to fight for herself. As she tells her Granny, she found someone in herself and it was more than she expected. Loyal and ever protective of her best friend Snow, she helped her in immeasurable ways, which Snow returns when Ruby is frightened of love and encourages her to open her heart to Dorothy. Ruby was a true friend, funny, sweet, courageous, and relatable in the ways she found herself through the love for others and herself. 

6. Peter Pan/Malcolm (portrayed by Robbie Kay and Stephen Lord)

When we imagine Peter Pan, chances are we either imagine the mischievous but ultimately good hearted boy who never grows up from the 1950’s animated film, or the 1990’s version, portrayed by Robin Williams, of the boy who grew up, had a family and now must rescue them by remembering who he is. Both are heartwarming tales. What Once Upon a Time does is take elements from the original character that could be twisted and upsetting and make them even darker and more sinister. This Peter Pan was once a man: a cowardly one who abandoned his son Rumplestiltskin because he couldn’t deal with being a father, using Pixie dust to turn himself into a boy who never ages. He is the ruler of Neverland, who uses his shadow to lure children who feel neglected away from their homes, essentially kidnapping them and turning them into The Lost Boys, who more closely resemble the murderous boys from Lord of the Flies, rather than cute ragamuffin orphans. This Pan is truly the darkest villain in the sense that he hunts down the innocent for his own gain and amusement, eventually setting his sights on Henry, needing the Heart of the Truest Believer to save his own dying organ. He manipulates Henry, tortures his family with needless riddles and pain, and does it all with a cool and sinister smirk on his face, and magnetic villainy. And it’s engrossing to watch. He takes pleasure in the evil he does, and is so selfish that it makes the moments his son gets the best of him so incredibly rewarding. As admirable a foe as the heroes ever faced Pan was a bloody demon with the face of a seemingly innocent boy.

5. Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard (portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin and Bailee Madison)

One of the most timeless characters of all time is given an iconic and remarkable characterization in Once Upon a Time as a woman who is not only beautiful, but incredibly strong, wise, forgiving, and endlessly caring. She is a loyal friend, a loving wife and mother, is inherently protective and self sacrificing, and has an ability to hope and forgive that is very poignant, with the ability the give the appropriate speech of hope when some need it the most. As a child, she had to learn humility and that sacrifice for your own gain will only turn your heart dark, not to mention how the evil can manipulate us. She was innocent and while these moments led to pain, they helped shape her into the good person she is. And although she had moments where her sense of morality and hope waivered, and struggled with how to be a mother to Emma, in the end she overcame these moments. When she was cursed as Mary Margaret , her true self was stifled but she remained under the surface as she found herself in love with David, physical strength coming through, and felt a profound familial connection to Emma almost instantly. As her true self of Snow White, her love for others is boundless, literally sharing her heart with her husband, forgiving and welcoming Regina into her family regardless of the past, and giving her daughter the only cure for her shared sleeping curse to help Emma reach Hook, deeply lamenting how Emma grew up without her and not wanting to take any more from her, displaying both a beautiful moment of motherly love and hope in her daughter to find another way to save them. Snow is sweet and strong and as capable with a bow and arrow as she is with her steadfast hope speeches. She is the fairest of them all in every way possible.

4. Rumplestliskin/Mr.Gold (portrayed by Robert Carlyle and Wyatt Oleff)

The classic fairy tale trickster, obsessed with the unborn, with the ability to spin straw into gold, is certainly seen in that way on Once Upon a Time, but there is so much more to the impish and flamboyant Rumplestiltskin  who has the penchant for making unbreakable deals and calling others “dearie,” in turn creating the most iconic version of the character we’ve ever seen. This Rumplestiltskin is known in Storybrooke as Mr. Gold,  but in truth is also the Beast to Belle and the Crocodile to Captain Hook, as well as infamous and ever feared Dark One, who is the most powerful dark wizard of them all. Abandoned as a child, he grows up to be a man so scared of losing his life in war, when he finds out he was to be a father that he purposefully injures himself, losing the respect and love of his wife. Letting fear bring out his worst qualities when he becomes The Dark One he allows that darkness to take hold of him, completely succumbing and controlled by the power he had felt denied of all his life. Plagued with self loathing and cowardice, he always struggles with choosing power over love, and is so often the master manipulator and puppeteer of everyone’s lives. And yet still we see how much he wants to love and be loved, often garnering empathy, particularly when he came to his quest to find his son and his deep love for Belle. One moment he is vindictive and dishonest, the next he shows true vulnerability and honesty. With the ability to be heroic he sacrificed himself to save everyone from Peter Pan, while he also proved to be dark and manipulative, even without the power of the darkness inside of him, when he transfers all of the darkness inside of Hook and Emma back to himself, betraying them and making Hook die, at least in that moment, in vain. It took the death of his wife for him to fully overcome his constant desire for immortality and power. No matter what, Rumplestiltskin is an endlessly complex and dynamic character that is always fascinating to watch.

3. Prince Charming/David Nolan (portrayed by Josh Dallas)

A classic Disney Prince if there ever was one, this Prince Charming, real name David Nolan, wanted to be known for more than awakening a sleeping Princess, even if doing so brought him great happiness. Indeed, this charming prince is so much more, with more complexities in both his origin story and personality. When he was cursed he literally was unable to overcome his confusion and bad choices but when that curse was lifted the wonderful Prince finally shined through. Perhaps not as flashy as the villains on the series, David, as the traditional leading man successfully showcases amazing qualities and captivating moments in ways that are both traditionally heroic and epic as well as understated and quiet. Raised as a shepherd he learned the value of hard work and true love from his mother, and when he became a prince it was to save her and his entire kingdom, determined to not let anyone suffer. Only when he meets Snow White does he realize the that he can stand up against the tyrannical King George and fight for and always find his True Love Snow. Stubborn and often hard headed one moment, he is also kind, brave, heroic, selfless, caring, and honorable. His traditionally heroic moments of fighting a dragon, or palace guards with his newborn daughter in his arms, are matched not only in the beautiful romantic moments with Snow White such as sacrificing himself on more than one occasion to keep her safe or putting himself under a sleeping curse, but also in his moments with Emma proving to be a gentle, protective and truly understanding father, as well as grandfather to Henry, offering advice, guidance or comfort whenever it was needed. He also learned to overcome prejudice and past wrongs and forgave the likes of Hook and Regina. This Prince Charming is the ideal combination of masculine strength and sensitive tenderness, brilliant in both moments of quiet wisdom and love and brave heroics, proving that the traditional fairy tale prince can be a modern, inspiring and relatable character.

2. Killian Jones/Captain Hook (portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue and Oliver Bell)

The character of Captain Hook has seen countless interpretations since the original iteration and none have ever been quite as extraordinary as Once Upon a Time’s Killian Jones. As a boy he and his older brother were sold into indentured servitude, suffering years of abuse but retaining a sense of honor along with his idolization of his brother Liam. When a treacherous King’s lies leads to Liam’s death, the young man who dreamed of a hero’s journey became the infamous pirate, and Captain of the Jolly Roger, one day falling in love and running away with Rumplestlskin’s wife, who, now as the Dark One, kills Milah, and cuts off Killian’s hand, leading to the birth of his more colorful moniker, Captain Hook; and a long and dark path of villainy and revenge against Rumple, spanning a century, with fate leading him towards another path: one of love, heroics and redemption. Killian Jones is an old fashioned, swashbuckling, sexy, charming, handsome, flirtatious, and adventurous pirate, who deems himself a dashing rapscallion, but is also sincere, loving, gentle and tender, as well strong in his motivations and convictions. When he met Emma it was as if he was seeing the sun again for the first time in centuries and she inspired him as he learned to hope again, to move past vengeance and tread the path of good. Although he falters and letting go of his revenge proved difficult, once he decided that revenge is not the way, he worked hard to prove himself worthy of Emma’s love, letting his feelings be apparent but letting her lead the way, showcasing an earnest respect.  

Indeed, 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. But importantly, though he had hope and confidence, he wanted to be a better man regardless of whether she ever returned those feelings. He supported and encouraged Emma to be her true and miraculous self, helped David find a cure for Dreamshade and find Henry in Neverland, gave up his ship so she could return home to her family, sought forgiveness and often protected Belle from harm after he hurt her deeply in the past, protected Henry from harm numerous times, and made sure Charming did not follow a path of revenge himself, knowing the pain it causes. When he realized he had been turned into a Dark One, he faltered and let it consume him, but soon turned around and made the ultimate sacrifice. When Emma is unable to bring him home he makes sure she will let him go, and proves crucial in the defeat of the villainous Hades, his sins forgiven by Zeus, allowing him to be resurrected, reborn, and returned to where he belongs: with Emma. Killian Jones will always retain the dashing pirate charm, but he also became a devoted husband, caring father and step father, loyal friend, and true hero. He is truly the greatest version of Captain Hook to ever sail the seven seas.

1. Emma Swan (portrayed by Jennifer Morrison, Mckenna Grace and Abby Ross)

When it came to choosing Once Upon a Time’s finest character, the most apropos choices had to be Emma Swan, the heroine and main character for the show’s first six seasons, and the one whose legacy, inspiration, and spiritual presence remained until she returned in the beginning and end of the final season, closing out the series in a beautiful, satisfyingly profound way that brought the series, and her character full circle. Emma is the lens for the audience and in turn the most relatable character as she grew up in the real world and dealt with real world struggles, pain, and heartbreak. A beautiful, complex, intelligent, resourceful, determined, empathetic, kind, and loving woman, she began the series very lonely and guarded, terrified of being truly vulnerable with anyone. But over the course of the series she found courage to open her heart with her son, her family, her friends, and the man she falls truly in love with. Born as the Savior, and the one who could bring back the happy endings, she was spared from the curse and sent to the Land Without Magic and grew up with a sense of abandonment and unworthiness, that only continued with painful experiences with both Ingrid and Neal which perpetuated her reluctance to trust, leading to a strong sense of self reliance and thick skin, but never hardening her heart completely. Through all the pain, she remained guarded but deep down never lost that kindness or desire to help others, adopting early on the surname Swan, which became a metaphor for her journey from the ugly duckling rejected as a child and feeling as she didn’t matter to anyone, to the person she truly was an wanted to be- the beautiful swan and the Savior, a destined hero but one whose choices and true goodness made her such. The magic that resides inside her takes times to hone but that is just another example of how Emma is like us all in the ways we must learn to not only find our place in the world but become our best selves.

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 had carried with her all of her life. It takes a while for her to believe in magic and who she is but the love she forms for her son Henry breaks the first curse of Storybrooke, her True Love saving her son’s life and awakening the town from its 28 year sleep. But it is not smooth sailing from then on. She remained guarded around her parents but in time she learns to forgive, embracing Storybrooke and her family as the home she always wished for- a place you know when you just miss it. Her journey towards true romantic love is a rocky one, but when she opens her heart and begins to believe in hope, and believe in Killian’s sincerity, her heart awakens from its long sleep, and they find a deep and everlasting bond that survives both succumbing to the Darkness, and a test of True Love ordained by the Gods. In the final step in her journey and the final battle she overcomes her fears and makes the ultimate sacrifice, solidifying her position in the series as its greatest hero and Savior as she sacrifices her life for everyone, only to be resurrected with love. Despite the magical aspects to Emma’s character, she remained the most grounded character of the series. And importantly, Emma Swan is emblematic of the kind of inspiring hero, as well as showcasing qualities that many of us face every day. She is a beautiful depiction of a woman who exemplifies what it means to be human. Like all of us, she is neither all tough and hard, nor all soft and gentle. Emma Swan indeed is a hero, but she is more importantly a woman who taught us all that we decide the kind of person we are no matter what the world may tell us, and that strength comes not just from physicality and defeating monsters, metaphorical or otherwise, but by being vulnerable enough to open your heart to forgiveness and love. And that is why the woman with red leather jacket and yellow bug, the metaphorical color that arrives in Storybrooke, is such a profound character. And it is why Emma Swan, the lonely soul who becomes the strong, resilient, triumphant hero, Princess, Savoir, Sheriff of Stoybrooke, caring daughter, gentle and wise mother, and deeply loving wife, who realizes that her happy ending is truly a happy beginning, is Once Upon a Time’s greatest character.

Honorable Mentions: Ruth, Dr, Whale/Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Isaac (The Author), The Blue Fairy/Mother Superior, Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror, Tiana/Sabine, Merida, Alice/Tilly, Blackbeard.

Special recognition: Alice, Cyrus, Will Scarlet, Anastasia and Jafar from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (These are all wonderful characters and although Will and Jafar both appeared in the main show, their true greatness lies with Wonderland along with the other main characters of the series.)

Once Upon a Time: 62 Iconic Moments

Once Upon a Time has had no shortage of beautiful, profound, funny, exciting and poignant moments since the series debuted October 23, 2011. With the show coming to a close I thought it was time to celebrate its conclusion with a look back at some of the show’s most iconic moments. What makes an iconic moment? There are a myriad of things but when it comes down to it, these are moments that I think of when I think “what is Once Upon a Time?” They are the moments that embody its finest themes, most breathtaking visuals, the sweet and heart wrenching, the moving and adventurous- the moments that truly defined the series. All of the gifs were made by the lovely and ever talented Ashley at @cptnswan_ouat  on Twitter and captainswanouat on Tumblr and here she was able to capture all of the richness, beauty, wonder and emotion in her creations. She was one of the first fandom people I ever followed and such a beautiful person. She is also an amazing photographer and you can check out her photos here. Without further ado these are 62 Iconic Moments, seen in chronological order. Yes I know that seems to be a random  and arbitrary number and that may seem like a lot and trust me, I had to eliminate some for fear of going completely overboard. But I couldn’t list everything. So, these are the moments to look back on that I truly believe will be remembered as the most iconic of the fairy tale series.

1. The opening shot of Charming riding on his horse and then awakening Snow with a True Love’s Kiss (“Pilot”)
It was true love at first sight as we saw Prince Charming on his mighty steed. The moment that started it all was absolute magic, and one that unsurprisingly was revisited many times throughout the series. The score, the magic of the real snow that began to fall, the soft performances from Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas, this moment set the tone for the series in a beautiful way and gave us the first instance of the steadfast and iconic line “I Will Always Find You.”gif-01agif-01b

2. Emma makes a birthday wish on a Cupcake, and Henry shows up at her door, and they head to Storybrooke (1×1 “Pilot”)
The start of a truly beautiful journey, we saw right away that this strong woman was also very lonely and longed for more, and her wish comes true when the son she gave up for adoption appears just as she blows out the candle. A sweet and vulnerable moment with a hint of magical fate. And when Emma’s drives her bright yellow bug into the gray, sleepy town, it’s a beautiful metaphor for the magic and color, she is literally and figuratively bringing to Storybrooke.gif-02agif-02bgif-03

3. Charming sword fights with baby Emma in his arms (1×1 “Pilot”)
Prince Charming will protect his family with his dying breath, and that was almost the case as he fights off the Evil Queen’s guards with his daughter who was born merely moments before in his arms. It’s equally heroic, impressive and filled with emotion.gif-04.gif

4. The Dark Curse envelops Regina and Snow and Charming (1×1 “Pilot”)
As the Evil Queen stands for what she believes is her victory and Snow cradles her husband, the moment is powerful and intense both emotionally and visually.gif-05

5. Henry watches Storybrooke clock move for the first time (1×1 “Pilot”)
Emma deciding to stay in Storybrooke was the beginning of her journey as the Savior, causing the clock to move for the first time in 28 years, and Henry’s smile realizing that things are about to change for the better was not only sweet, but the first instance of one of the show’s most prolific themes: Hope.gif-06.gif

6. Once Upon a Time is great at characters introductions, especially establishing shots that show a sense of style and confidence. These are the best and most iconic. 

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Emma Swan

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The Evil Queen/Regina Mills

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Captain Hook/Killian Jones

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August Booth

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Zelena Mills

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Elsa

7. Charming catches Snow in a net (1×3 “Snow Falls”)
Isn’t he a real Prince Charming. It may not have been love at first sight for these two, but the snarky rapport between them was a sheer delight. It’s playful and funny and a sign of their amazing chemistry, and shows that the Charming’s line “I Will Always find You” began in a much different context, making it all the more meaningful when its altered to a sign of love and hope. It’s easy to understand why actors Goodwin and Dallas always keep this episode at the top of their list of favorites.gif-08.gif

8. Snow tries on Charming’s Mother’s ring (1×3 “Snow Falls”)
This was the first moment that true love sparked between them and the look on Charming’s faces as she puts on this ring says it all. He fell in love in that moment, and so too did she, but it took a while for them to admit these feelings. Such a lovely, important, and iconic moment.gif-09.gif

9. Emma gives Ashley wise and inspiring advice (1×4 “The Price of Gold”)
One of not only the most profound quotes from Emma, but also the entire series, this speech of Emma’s lays out inspiring truths that we all should endeavor to follow. We get to decide who we are and should never let anyone say otherwise. The choice is ours.gif-10

10. Rumplestiltskin catches Belle when she falls off the curtain in his castle (1×12 “Skin Deep”)
A sweet moment of rare vulnerability for the Dark One. We see both of their hearts begin to stir in this classically romantic moment.gif-11.gif

11. Rumplestilskin’s Dark One curse is nearly broken with True Love’s Kiss (1×12 “Skin Deep”)
We see how powerful true love can be when Belle’s kiss begins to turned Rumple back into a real man. He stops it moments later, but for an instant it was lovely to see.gif-12.gif

12. Ruby discovers she is the wolf (1×15 “Red-Handed”)
Once of the first and still best twists to a fairy tale the show has ever done, this moment is not only iconic because it was completely unexpected and unique, but also because of the emotion and drama behind it. Discovering who you are and feeling terrified of it leads Ruby to a beautiful journey of self discovery and acceptance of her true self, and learning that you can save yourself that the show did often, and most especially well with the Red Riding Hood character.gif-58

13. Jefferson lays out some truths to Emma about the reality of the world and magic. (1×17 “Hat Trick”)
In an truly underrated episode, Jefferson may be a little mad, but here is completely lucid about the reality of people, their expectations and unwillingness to believe. And it’s not only a great turning point and iconic moment for the series, but a fine metaphor about faith and belief in the real world.gif-13

14. Rumple let’s Baelfire go through portal (1×19 “The Return”)
The moment everything went wrong for the Dark One. This heart wrenching moment Rumple let’s his fear and unwillingness to relent power and magic was the catalyst for his entire storyline. Not only iconic but one of the most important plot and emotional moments of the series.gif-14
15. Snow eats the poison apple/Henry eats the poisoned apple turnover (1×21 “An Apple as Red as Blood”)
The paralleled poignant moments not only are reminiscent of the original Snow White film, but are so moving because they were done to help those they love the most. Self sacrifice and protection and hope, both are framed and shot in the same angle with is brilliant in its aesthetics.gif-15agif-15b

16. Charming and Emma fight Maleficent the dragon (1×22 “A Land Without Magic”)
Emma takes after her father in many ways and in true fairy tale form, one of these became having to fight a dragon to save a loved one from a sleeping curse, or so they thought. The cross cutting between the two was so well done, and these moments were not only adventurous but show the lengths these two heroes will go to for their family.gif-16agif-16b
17. Emma saves Henry with True Love’s Kiss and breaks the curse on Storybrooke (1×22 “A Land Without Magic”)
Iconic, beautiful and extremely touching, this is such a profound moment for Emma and the series as a whole as it shows the power of mother’s love for their child, and the power that Emma possesses in her very being. She is the savior and she awoke the town form it’s long sleep with her belief and love. Between Emma and Henry and Snow and Charming beautifully reunited, it’s such a powerful moment in meaning, and evocative in its visuals performances and musical score.gif-17

18. Magic comes to Storybrooke (1×22 “A Land Without Magic”)
One of the first of the show’s powerful montages, the end to the first season concluded with a cloud of purple magic enveloping the citizens of Storybrooke, and it was a wonder to behold. The image of Snow and Charming in particularly clutching each other as purple smoke approaches them is emotional and yes, iconic.gif-18

19. Snow and Charming, memories restored, reunite with Emma (2×1 “Broken”)
I am sure many a tear was shed when Snow and Charming knowingly embrace their daughter for the first time since she was born. The family was reunited and it was sweet and moving, and Henry breaks up the emotion by calling Charming “Grandpa.” It was truly perfect!
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20. Lancelot officiates Snow and Charming’s wedding (2×3 “Lady of the Lake”)
Their wedding in the “Pilot” was beautiful and grand, but this one was about them- quiet and simple and about their love that they share they will remain eternal and true. It is made even lovelier by not only the fact that this is the last thing Charming’s mother sees, and she passes away at peace and overjoyed for her son, but also that the water they drink breaks the curse on Snow, making Emma’s existence possible.gif-20

21. Rumplestiltskin and Captain Hook sword fight (2×4 “The Crocodile”)
What is more fairy tale adventure than a good old classic sword fight? And one between the Dark One and Captain Hook is an amazing one indeed, in the episode that introduced the Captain Hook character and his rivalry with Rumple.gif-21.gif

22. Emma and Hook climb the beanstalk (2×6 “Tallahassee”)
The beginning of their beautiful journey began with a precarious climb up a beanstalk to retrieve a magical compass. Plot wise and visually it’s so fairy tale fun and lovely, but emotionally and metaphorically we see that these two are beginning to climb the walls that are surrounding each other’s hearts as they connect and can sense important truths about one another, their past loves and the ways they guard themselves. It’s a climb toward a future together.gif-22

23. Rumplestiltskin and Neal reunite (2×14 “Manhattan”)
A reunion that was a long time coming and the entire reason Rumple set the curse in motion, when father and son finally reunite it is wrought with tension, heartache and a sense that no matter how each is feeling in this moment, their relationship, strained as it is, is not impossibly repaired. It’s a sad moment indeed, but a memorable one.gif-59

24. The family boards the Jolly Roger and follows Henry through a portal to Neverland (2×22 “And Straight On Til Morning”)
Season finales should pack a punch and leave you wanting more, and the end to Season 2 definitely delivered on that regard. The family all joining together to save Henry is iconic enough but ending the season seeing the Jolly Roger sinking into the whirlpool portal with a whoosh and a dramatic musical score was amazing, making the audience ever so eager to see what happens next.gif-60

25. Emma and Hook’s first kiss in Neverland (3×5 “Good Form”)
A challenge, a moment of feeling good, and a relief of sexual tension, the first kiss between the beloved couple was not only sexy, passionate, and as the script said “lusty and hot,” but also deep and meaningful as we saw a combination of what makes them such a great match- a powerful attraction, playfulness in their flirtations, and an undeniable deep connection and awakening of feelings they never thought they would feel again, and that no one else could bring out in them. There was no going back from this point on. They couldn’t handle it and neither could the audience.gif-23

26. Hook vows to win Emma’s heart (3×7 “Dark Hollow”)
How many hearts were unequivocally stirred by Killian’s vow to win Emma’s heart without any trickery but because she will truly want him? Despite her walls still being up you can see the affect he has on here as his vow is sincere, heartfelt, confident but also an ever so vulnerable moment for the pirate captain, who had fallen in love with this amazing woman and wants her to know that he cares for her, is willing to fight for her, but that ultimately the choice to be with him will be hers. It’s deeply romantic and significant in its meaning.gif-24

27. Rumplestiltskin sacrifices himself and kills Peter Pan (3×11 “Going Home”)
A moment of heroism, Rumple sacrifices himself to save everyone from Peter Pan and it’s a truly powerful moment for his character and the series. He found his strength and his courage when he needed it and it’s both powerful and heart breaking. He believes this is his end so most especially to save Belle and Neal, he kills his own father and with his dagger and they disappear in a burst of magic.gif-25

28. Regina stops Pan’s curse, Storybrooke disappears, and Killian shows up at Emma’s door 1 year later (3×11 “Going Home”)
A dramatic, powerful, heart wrenching moment, the score and the meaning of this scene was truly one of the greatest of the series. Many tears were no doubt shed as Emma and Henry drive away, their memories of their loved ones gone, as Regina does what she needs to do and sends them all back to the Enchanted Forest in a cloud of magic. As this curse envelops all of Storybrooke and we see the town line disappear as a melancholy version of “Emma’s Theme” plays, the show made an important and indelible shift. This was bold and extremely poignant. And when Killian knocks on Emma’s door one year later, the excitement and drama was palpable and the show would never be the same again!gif-26agif-26bgif-marianneproject26c.gif

29. Hook swears on the name of his love, Emma, and his lips are cursed (3×17 “The Jolly Roger”)
” I Swear on Emma Swan”- it is such a poignant moment for Hook’s character as he finally says out loud what he feels in his heart for Emma after a year of trying to push down his feels, and makes mistakes while trying to be like his former dastardly pirate self, but finding himself feeling empty. His heart was broken without Emma and Zelena exploits his love by disguising herself as Ariel, to get him to reveal his feelings and curse his lips. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but made so dramatic and moving by this surprising twist and O’Donoghue’s performance.gif-27

30. Regina and Robin’s first kiss (3×18″Bleeding Through”)
Even without her heart Regina decided to follow her developing and strong feelings for Robin and throws caution to the wind and kisses him. The attraction was there from the beginning and is evident here in this first passionate kiss between the soulmates. But this was more about attraction, and bathed in firelight they share a romantic moment of true connection and fervor. gif-28

31. Snow gives Charming half of her heart to save his life (3×19 “A Curious Thing”)
Before sacrificing his own heart to enact the dark curse, Charming tells Snow “we’ve always shared one heart.” And then moments later they prove it. Snow’s heart the love the she feels proves strong enough to revive her husband in this romantic, deeply moving and beautiful moment for the couple and the entire series. And the fact that Regina is the one to help them after having to hurt them for so long is especially poignant.
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32. Regina defeats Zelena (3×20 “Kansas”)
One of the best moments for Regina’s character- she defeats her sister with light magic proving that your power not only comes from within but you can choose to change if you truly want to. You can learn to and begin to make up for past mistakes. Light magic proved more powerful than dark, in this penultimate moment of Season 3.gif-30

33. Emma and Killian share a waltz at King Midas’s Ball (3×21 “Snow Drifts”)
For the first time in her life Emma felt like a fairy tale princess and part of her parent’s world but also recognized that Killian was someone she could completely give her heart to in this undeniably sweet and romantic fairy tale moment. A glittering ball room, sumptuous costumes, a sweet waltz, the aesthetic beauties were matched by the deeper meaning of seeing Emma get to experience something so special for the first time, share it with someone who makes her feel special and cherished. And the looks in their eyes are lovely as she has found a real partner who knows what he’s doing- not just on the dance floor, but with her heart.gif-31

34. Emma says Storybrooke is her home and call Snow and David Mom and Dad (3×22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)
It’s such a lovely moment to see Emma get her magic back by realizing that Storybrooke is her home. After all the pain she went through, she realizes just how much her parents mean to her and that where she belongs is this sleepy little town. That is lovely in itself but as she embraces her parents and call them Mom and Dad for the first time in a moment of happiness instead of fear, it’s a turning point for her character and her relationship with Snow and Charming.gif-32gif-33

35. Killian says he traded ship for Emma (3×22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)
Once of the most romantic moments to ever grace the screen, the mystery surrounding what happened to the Jolly Roger and how Killian was able to reach Emma in New York City was revealed to be even more meaningful than we could have imagined. Killian gave up his home to bring Emma back to hers, because he loves her and it was the right thing to do, but also just to see her again, never knowing if she would ever return his feelings. And in this moment her astonishment is beautiful and realization that their feelings for each other are deep is evident in the unbridled kiss they share. There was not magical curse to break, but it was a moment of True Love.gif-34.gif

36. Montage of the happy couples (3×22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)
Once Upon a Time does montages really well, and this one of the two most iconic and happiest of the series as it shows all of the couples delight in their love, all in different stages of a relationship: Emma and Hook at the start, being tender, passionate and sweet, Snow and Charming, content and at peace with their new baby, Rumple and Belle, emotional as they wed, and Regina and Robin, joyful and delighting in simply being together. Combined with the gorgeous musical cue, this scene is simply beautiful in every way.gif-35agif-35bgif-35cgif-35d

37. Rumplestiltskin and Belle dance to “Beauty and the Beast” (4×1 “A Tale of two Sisters”)
One of the sweetest, happiest and loveliest moments for the couple, on their honeymoon the two donned costumes very similar to the animated counterparts and danced to a beautiful instrumental of the classic song. It’s one the Disney-est moments of the series. gif-36.gif

38. Elsa helps Emma accept her magic (4×8 “Smash the Mirror)
It’s a poignant theme to accept every part of yourself and when Emma accepts her magic as part of her, she learns to control it, and does so with the help of a true kindred friend. There are many parallels between Emma and Elsa, and many wonderful moments in Emma’s journey, and this one both beautifully and visually in meaning was one of the most powerful.
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39. Montage of the characters preparing for the Snow Queen’s spell (4×9 “Fall)
Another gorgeous montage in true Once Upon a Time fashion. Beautiful montages are often the mix of score, visuals and story that can bring forth lovely results. This montage was very dramatic and aesthetically filmed in such a dynamic way as we see every character ready for the spell that’s about to befall them. It ups the drama in an amazing way.gif-38agif-38bgif-38cgif-38dgif-38egif-38fgif-38ggif-38hgif-38igif-38j

40. Regina and Robin part at the Storybrooke town line (4×11 “Heroes and Villains”)
Heartbreaking to say the least, Regina and Robin had to part so he could be with Marian, both having to sacrifice being together for the good of other. As sad as it was to watch, it is shot in such a beautifully melancholy and romantic way as they hold hands and he steps backwards across the town line, Storybrooke and Regina, disappearing from Robin’s view with a single tear falling from his eye. It is heart wrenching but unforgettable.gif-39

41. Emma and Regina use magic to fight the Chernabog (4×12 “Darkness on the Edge of Town”)
These two women possess such powerful magic individually so it’s a no brainer that when they both use their magic together, it’s even more powerful and it’s a great demonstration of former enemies coming together for the greater good. But it’s the image of them both, in their individual style blasting their magic at the Chernabog in unison that was a great iconic moment in imagery. gif-40bgif-40a

42. Killian tells Emma she’s his happy ending (4×15 “Poor Unfortunate Soul”)
Once Upon a Time is all about happy endings, but for Emma and Killian, both had so much sadness in their lives that finding someone who can be yours is overwhelming. And in this tender, vulnerable moment both are overwhelmed in emotion, Killian admitting what he is so afraid to lose, and Emma that she could possibly mean so much to someone she equally cares for. Between the tender performances, the softness of the scene, and the single tear that Emma sheds, this moment is exquisitely iconic. gif-41.gifgif-41b.gif

43. Robin Hood rides a horse in streets of New York (4×18 “Heart of Gold”)
The kind of scene that could only happen in Once Upon a Time, the combination of classic heroic fairy tale moment with the loud and crowded modernity of New York City was wonderful both in concept and for the character of Robin to show off his heroism in classic fashion.
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44. Henry becomes the new Author (4×22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)
When Henry picks up the magic quill and is chosen to be the next author of the illustrious book of fairy tales- an honor only bestowed to those truly worthy, Henry gets to be the hero he always wanted to be. But what was special was that this came from within because of the person he is, and because of that Henry saved everyone and returned things to how they were meant to be. It’s possibly the best moment for his character.
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45. Emma becomes the Dark One 4×22 (“Operation Mongoose Part 2”)
One of Emma’s most heroic and self sacrificial moments, and truly on the most powerful of the series, Emma tether’s herself to the darkness threatening to snuff out the entire town and everyone there, saving everyone’s lives. But not before asking her parents to be the heroes they are and find a way to get the darkness out of her, and telling Killian she loves him for the first time- offering a sense of hope for her loved ones. This intense and dramatic moment as the darkness engulfs her showcases the strength of this Savior, and the look she gives Killian before she disappears showcases the strength of this woman. And as she disappears and all that remains is the Dark One’s dagger with her name engraved upon it, we were left with the most powerful season finale cliffhanger of the series.
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46. Emma and Killian kiss in the Middlemist Field (5×4 “The Broken Kingdom”)
The most idyllic, fairy tale beautiful scene of the series, True Love proved more powerful than the darkness plaguing Emma. By trusting Killian with her burden, the images of Rumple disappear, leaving just the two of them, feeling peaceful and happy in a field of gorgeous Middlemist flowers, a symbol for the way love and hope springs eternal. As they passionately kiss and the camera pans up to see the couple surrounded by thousands of flowers, we witness an exquisite image of love in its purest form. gif-45.gif

47. Emma frees Merlin (5×5 “Dreamcatcher)
One of the most intense, powerful and iconic displays of magic, Emma controls both light and dark in an amazingly captivating ways as she frees the illustrious wizard from his prison. The visual effects, the score, the performance of Morrison which includes looks of satisfaction and power, made this scene incredible. gif-46

48. Emma fights back against the Darkness and says “I am not nothing!” (5×7 “Nimue”)
Emma Swan went through an incredible personal journey over the course of the series and once of the moments important moments for her, and indeed the entire show was this moment when Emma fought back against the darkness and Nimue’s taunting that she needs the power or she would simply go back to being “nothing.” As a person who struggled with feeling like enough, Emma punched back and declared that not only is she not nothing- but was never nothing. For anyone who has ever struggled with dark thoughts and low feelings of self worth, this was a profound and inspiring moment of a woman who had finally learned her value and that she is worthy simply by being herself.gif-64.gif

49. Emma turns Killian into a Dark One in the Middlemist field (5×9 “Birth)
One of the most unexpected and heart wrenching twists of the series, this scene was also beautiful in its intimacy of emotion. While Killian clinging to life, the couple share a moment in the place where their love had proved stronger than darkness, Emma fraught with fear of losing him, Killian wiling t die if it means she has a future. Its romantic, it’s heartbreaking, it’s captivating, gorgeous and powerful visually, musically and in terms of storytelling and authentic performances. It’s truly iconic. gif-47.gif

50. Killian’s makes the ultimate sacrifice (5×11 “Swan Song)
All it took was seeing Emma in pain for Killian to overcome that darkness that was consuming him and be the man he always wanted, and could be- a hero. Killian asks Emma to do the heartbreaking and unthinkable- kill him with Excalibur to save everyone and, as they believed, destroy the darkness forever. He sacrifices his life in this gut wrenching moment and the last thing he sees is the image of his beloved Emma restored to her glorious Savior clad in her iconic red leather jacket. This image, the contrast of light and dark, the raw emotion and the sight of Emma sobbing over her true love, are things the audience will not long forget.gif-48agif-48bgif-48c

51. Emma proclaims the Charming family motto “I Will Always Find You” as she and her family march towards the Underworld to save Killian (5×11 “Swan Song”)
This quote has become synonymous with Once Upon a Time, the Charming Family, and the strength that True Love can give us. It was beautiful and remarkable enough for Emma to decide to march into literal Hell to save the man she loves. It’s even more special to hear Emma proclaim the words that are iconic in itself. It further solidified that the love they share is eternal, as Morrison says, become brave enough to love completely with no walls up, and that Emma has truly embraced her family’s sense of steadfast belief and hope. gif-49

52. Emma and Killian say goodbye in the Underworld (5×20 “Firebird”)
If their scene in the Middlemist field from “Birth” was their fairy tale heartbreaking moment, then this moment was their all too real heartbreaking moment- and even more dramatically so. Despite being in the Underworld, this felt like a real goodbye. Raw, emotional, tender, the farewell promises were selfless and a beautiful depiction of True Love, while the goodbye kisses, including one on Emma’ hands, which they held onto until the last possible moment made this moment intimate and authentic- making it a truly iconic moment for the couple and one of the most profound of the series. gif-61bgif-61c

53. Robin Hood sacrifices his life for Regina (5×21 “Last Rites”)
The one death that myself, and many fans could never get over, Robin Hood was a true hero and this moment, as heartbreaking as it was only further proved the kind of man he was. He was brave, passionate and selfless and here he sacrifices his life for the woman he loved. He did not even hesitate to jump in front of Regina to save her. It’s the kind of moment that breaks our hearts and reminds how quickly everything can change. His life was lost that day, but Robin will live in our hearts always.
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50. Killian’s life is restored and he is reunited with Emma (5×21 “Last Rites”)
Symbolically and emotionally exquisite, Killian returns to Emma and as they embrace and kiss, completely overcome with emotion to be back in each other’s arms, the soft rain falls down upon them, a symbol of life renewed. Unencumbered joy, beautiful colors and music, and true love abound, is there anything more glorious than love overcoming even the greatest of obstacles. gif-50

49. Emma tells Killian she loves him for the first time in a peaceful situation with a wedding dress seen in the background (5×23 “An Untold Story”)
It was a tremendous moment of growth for Emma to tell Killian she loves him in a moment of peace and normalcy and what made this moment so lovely and iconic was this display of growth, affection as we’ve never seen as he lifts her into his arms to kiss her, so happy to hear these words because he knows what this means to her, and especially as it was one of the sweetest forms of foreshadowing of the series as a wedding dress was perfectly centered in a shop window behind them, signifying that marriage was soon to be the next step in their story. gif-51bgif-51

56. Killian reads Emma the storybook and kisses her hand (6×7 “Heartless)
Swoon worthy in its romanticism, beautiful in its simplicity, Killian reads to Emma her story to help calm her shaking hand, and build up her confidence. It’s sweet and lovely but iconic as it brings in the storybook, who Emma is (the product of True Love), and the beauty and interweaving nature of two love stories. Ending with a tender kiss of the hand, Emma is left with a sense of hope, belief in herself, and the feeling of being truly cherished.gif-marianneproject52

57. The town breaks Snow and Charming’s sleeping curse (6×17 “Awake”)
Symbolic, and touching, the curse on Sow and Charming was finally broken when the town each drank a bit of their curse, falling into a quiet slumber, but diluted enough because so many were sharing it. The family that exists both by blood and with the one they created in the little town of Storybrooke is indelibly bonded and seeing everyone give back to the people who gave up so much was very moving. Moreover, the circular nature of life is visually seen in a beautiful way when Show and David awaken from their curse with everyone asleep encircled around them. That image of their loved ones surrounding them is symbolic of what this show represents: love, faith, sacrifice, family, and a willingness to do anything for those we care about, and in a way that is circular- boundless and has no end. gif-63a

58. The Musical Episode: Snow and Charming’s Song “Powerful Magic”, The Evil Queen’s “Love Doesn’t Stand Chance”, Killian’s Song “Revenge is Gonna Be Mine”, Zelana’s “Wicked Always Wins”, Emma’s Song “Emma’s Theme”, (6×20 “The Song in Your Heart”)
The entirely of the musical episode of one of the most iconic of the series, but these songs (along with the wedding song which will be discussed as well), have a true specialness about them. Snow and Charming’s song was perfectly sweet and delightful and optimistic- it’s so Disney and so them. Ginnifer and Josh are so perfect together! Zelena’s was such a fun “Defying Gravity” kind of moment and maybe the best kind of iconic moment for her character, while the Evil Queen’s really felt sassy and so her. Killian’s pirate jaunt about revenge is also so indelibly him; a bit saucy but tinged with heartache underneath. And Colin performed it amazingly! And like Snow and Charming’s you can’t help but sing along and smile. And Emma’s song is such a beautiful culmination of her journey from ugly duckling to a swan savior, filled with power and beauty and gorgeously performed.gif-marianneproject53agif-marianneproject53bgif-marianneproject53egif-marianneproject53fgif-marianneproject53c

59. Emma and Killian’s Wedding (6×20 “The Song in Your Heart”)
The entire musical episode was a delightful but if was the final song and final scene that was the most beautiful and iconic as if was not only the culmination of a beautiful love story with Emma and Killian’s wedding, complete with profound marriage vows, exquisite performances, and stunning visuals. But also, their song “A Happy Beginning,” is not only a sweet duet about their love and how they are everything to each other, but also a celebration of the couple and indeed everyone and all the beautiful things the show embodies. It’s a musical masterpiece about true love, family, hope and the ability to overcome anything, leave your scars behind and pass the dark clouds to find the stars. Hope and love springs eternal. gif-marianneproject54gif-marianneproject53d

60. Emma’s Final Battle with Gideon (6×22 “The Final Battle Part 2”)
It was always Emma’s destiny to be the Savior and it was long journey of self discovery and overcoming her past to reach the point in the Final b=Battle where she fully understands and accepts what this means. She was incredibly brave and fierce in this moment, and her speech about who she is and that while light will not destroy but simply create more light, her face of resilience and resignation, courage was a wonder to behold. The image of the light bursting from this amazing woman was long forgotten and her journey and what the show represents was gorgeously encapsulated in this poignant moment. She is light. She is hope. gif-marianneproject55agif-marianneproject55b

61. Happy Endings Montage (6×22 “The Final Battle Part 2”)
In one of the most glorious montages of the series, this was all about what the show embodies: love and family as it highlights all of the characters and their happy beginnings. Their moments of peace and happiness after a such an arduous journey, they found the light and the places they belong. It’s emotional affecting, sweet, and truly profound made special by the emotive and gorgeous musical score, culminating in a final scene of the entire extended family at Granny’s. This was not an ending; It was simply another beginning to their happily ever afters, with the image becoming yet another image in the storybook. Though for many reasons, this could have concluded the series, regardless, it’s beauty and perfection will indelibly live on forever.gif-marianneproject56agif-marianneproject56bgif-marianneproject56egif-marianneproject56dgif-marianneproject56fgif-marianneproject56cgif-marianneproject56g

62. Killian’s touches Emma’s pregnant stomach before they leave through portal (7×2 “A Pirate’s Life”)
Another happy beginning for the iconic couple- it was bittersweet to say goodbye to her son, but she is doing what a good mother does and letting him find his happiness, while she and her husband are preparing for the birth their own child. The happily married couple are expecting a baby and with joint hands over her pregnant stomach and tears in Emma’s eyes, the couple return home to continue to live their happily ever after with hope that family will all be together again. gif-marianneproject57

And that concludes this list of the most iconic moments from Once Upon a Time– the ones that I believe will be the most remembered, revered, and looked back upon as the imprint of the series. I suspect that one scene in particular will be added to this list when the finale airs, perhaps a few more, but until then, let s celebrate these moments and remember what made us love this show about true love, storytelling, family and hope.

 

 

Once Upon a Time Series Reviewers/Writers Roundtable

With Once Upon a Time winding down, one of the few ways I thought to celebrate was the include my fellow writers in a roundtable of questions about our favorite characters, moments and more from the series. During the heart of the show, these writers and I felt a sense of camaraderie and friendship and shared many similar feelings, so it’s no surprise that when it came to answering these questions there were some definite similarities. But all in all there is also a lot of variety and above all else fun.

The roundtable includes myself, and writers Katie, Gissane, Maii, Lissete and Meredith. Each answers the questions include their handles and where they wrote about OUAT. Also, myself, Lissete and Maii recorded a podcast (I am contemplating doing more in the future) to discuss our answers as well as those who couldn’t join us. Listen below for that and then read on to our more thorough answers that explores what we consider the best and our favorites of this series.

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Emma Swan is unanimously our favorite character

Name: Marianne
Twitter Handle(s): @Marianne_P81, @The_Girly_Nerd
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: The Nerd Machine, The Girly Nerd

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I have been a immense fan of Disney and fairy tales my entire life, so this was literally the show of my dreams. I wanted to watch from the moment I saw the show advertised. I would have watched the show regardless, but also being a big fan of Ginnifer Goodwin from many of her films, seeing she was playing Snow White was an added bonus. She was the only one in the cast I knew of before I began watching, which was the day it premiered in 2011. And it was love at first sight.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I began writing Once reviews from The Nerd Machine mid season 3 and did a review of that first half of the season. Then I did another for the second half. I began weekly reviews in Season 4. I find OUAT to be a very inspiring and positive show, showcasing themes and content that I connect with on deep levels beyond the pure joy and entertainment I get out of the series. I love writing and wrote a great deal about film and fairy tales in college, and after for some online and periodical articles (ie a review on the film Tangled). My Master’s Thesis was about Family in Fairy Tales and fantasy, which I loved working on (it was also hard work), and it had been a while since I had written anything substantial. I was already a writer for The Nerd Machine on a periodic things and I was going through some changes and this felt like this was a good opportunity to get back into writing more often. I was also inspired by Katie’s reviews on Nerdy Girly Notes and wanted to join her on the fun.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I thought The Dark Swan arc was amazing with its complexities, twists, beauty and drama and so much focus on Emma and her and Killian’s relationship and love for each other. Likewise both the Wicked Witch and Neverland arcs were fantastic- well paced, well balanced, great romance and drama and emotion. I also loved the Frozen arc for the focus on Emma and the way they perfectly integrated the Frozen characters into the story, and loved the entire first season for its mystery, introduction to all the characters, Snow and Charming’s love story and Emma’s journey of believing and breaking the curse.
Season Ranking: 3, 5,1, 4, 2, 6, 7 (Season 4 and 1, and Season 2 and 6 could probably be tied)

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Emma Swan, Killian Jones, Prince Charming/David Nolan. Snow White comes close to them.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
1. Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home
2. The Song in Your Heart
3. Pilot
4. A Land Without Magic
5. Operation Mongoose
Special nod to Going Home, Birth and Snow Falls.

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
There definite similarities but my 5 favorite vary slightly. These are:
1. Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home
2. The Song in Your Heart
3. Birth
4. New York City Serenade
5. Pilot
Special nods to Operation Mongoose, Fall, Good Form, Going Home, White Out, The Apprentice, A Land Without Magic, Snow Falls, The Other Shoe.

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
Guests: Cruella (Victoria Smurfit), Elsa (Georgina Haig), Anna (Elizabeth Lail), Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell), Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster), Arthur (Liam Garrigan), Tinkerbell (Rose McIver), Merlin (Elliot Knight), Peter Pan (Robbie Kay)

Recurring: Granny (Beverly Elliott), Ariel (Joanna Garcia-Swisher), Archie (Raphel Sbarge), August (Eion Bailey), Jefferson (Sebastian Stan), Dr. Whale (David Anders), Grumpy (Lee Arenberg), Ruby (Meghan Ory)

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
– Snow and Charming in the Netherworld was really romantic and so “them” but I loved that a the last minute they gave that little twist that they couldn’t touch. It upped the drama for the arc for certain.

– Anna and Kristoff pledging their love thinking they’re about to drown had me drowning in feels. It was so poignant and romantic.

– Emma showing Killian her box of childhood mementos was such a meaningful step for Emma and their relationship. It’s quiet and simple but incredibly profound.

-Emma and Killian reuniting in the S4 finale. It was so sweet the way she hugged him and tackled him down onto the bed, and that moment had such beautiful tension with their close ups and smiles and anticipation of those three little words.
-Ingrid’s sacrifice was so beautifully done- it was emotionally performed and it was the most I ever felt for a character that wasn’t a main one. And the musical cue used just added to already really profound moment.

– As a whole I think “Hat Trick” and “In the Name of the Brother” were such a unique and amazing episodes that are very under-appreciated.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
For the major couples Captain Swan is not only my favorite couple on the show but also one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever seen. Their relationship is so well developed, healthy and realistic, while their story is profoundly beautiful and epic and the perfect blend of fairy tale romance and grounded realism. Snow and Charming come in a close second for many of the same reasons. I think their story and relationship is lovely, and pure and so fairy tale perfect. For the minor couples I adored Anna and Kristoff. Their rapport and banter was simply delightful while also showcasing their deeper connection. It felt like they had leapt off the Frozen film and into OUAT.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
I have such a soft and special place in my heart for Killian and David, aka Captain Charming. That development is so great and these two men played off each other so well. I always wanted to see more. Emma and Elsa were a lovely and deep friendship that I am so grateful they showed as we saw such support, sweetness and true kinship with them. I also loved Ruby and Snow and Emma and August, both caring and supportive relationships who wanted the best for their friends.

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
I will always be bewildered and disappointed that they gave their Captain Hook the name Killian Jones and never used the character Davy Jones. You have a pirate with the last name Jones, and that never comes up? Whether it would have been his father, uncle or other kind of relative I think that was a big missed opportunity. I also wanted Flynn Rider, but the way they did Rapunzel on this show, Captain Swan remains the purest iteration of that couple as far as I’m concerned. I think it also would have been funny if perhaps as someone minor, Mary Poppins was in Storybrooke as a nanny. Lastly, I also think it would have been hilarious if we saw Herbie the Love bug drive by, since the show’s most iconic car was Emma’s yellow bug. Her car could have been Herbie’s True Love!

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
Hands down Hercules and Meg. I know OUAT didn’t always do characters exactly like their counterparts, but they were so different and in not a good way. They lacked all the depth, and Meg especially lacked the sass and tenacity I was looking forward to and I was disappointed it did not play out that way. There were so many story parallels between Hercules and Meg and how Emma was braving the Underworld to find Killian and they did not come to fruition in the way it could have.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
My choices for this are a combo of things I really wanted, things we know were scripted but were deleted, and things that happened off screen. Unsurprisingly they are mostly Captain Swan related.
– The deleted scene from “Heroes and Villains” which went:
Emma: You know I’ve never really done this?
Hook: Held my heart? You’ve done it longer than you know.
The scene as shown was too short but this was a made a big difference.

– The deleted scene from “A Tale of Two Sisters” which had such great flirting:
Emma: I’m not avoiding you. I’m dealing with things.
Hook: Actually, I’m a pretty important thing you’re not dealing with.
Emma: You’re pretty full of yourself.
Hook: It’s my charm. Now shall we discuss the events of last night, or better yet continue with them—

– I ALWAYS wanted to see a flashback of Killian trading the Jolly Roger to Blackbeard for a magic bean and outrunning the curse. There were times they could have flashbacked to this that would have been really meaningful.

– In “The Apprentice,” I loved Emma and Killian’s date but they cut from them at dinner to him walking her to her door, with her wearing his leather jacket. I wanted to see more of their date, particularly him giving her his jacket. That could have been a equally sweet and sexy moment.

-I wanted to see some kind of love scene or bedroom scene (albeit a tame one) for Emma and Killian, especially their first time together. They really missed the boat with never showing this once. I love the “Couch” scene and “Pancakes” scene but there should have been more for who became the show’s central couple.

– I also wanted more sweet domestic moments for Captain Swan and them finding out she was pregnant and the birth of their child.

– Lastly, although I loved the unique way they showed Emma and Killian were True Love, I always wanted a TLK for them. I thought the couple really deserved an magical auspicious moment such as that.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
Romantic: Emma and Killian in the Middlemist field, Killian says he traded his ship for Emma, Snow and Charming finding each other in the S1 finale, Killian returns to Emma in the cemetery, Killian reads Emma the Storybook, Snow splits her heart and revives Charming, Killian vows to win Emma’s heart, Killian reveals Emma is his happy ending, Emma and Killian’s wedding vows, Snow and Charming’s True Love Kiss in the Pilot, Anna and Kristoff in the trunk, Snow and Charming in the Netherworld.

Saddest: Emma and Killian saying goodbye in the Underworld, Robin Hood’s death, Emma chained to bed giving up Henry, Emma saying goodbye to everyone at the townline, Emma having to “kill” Killian with Excaliber, Snow giving up Emma right after giving birth.

Funniest: Cruella, Ursula, and Rumple driving up to the drive-thru of Mr. Clucks in Cruella’s car- hilarious on so many levels. Snow and Charming arguing under the Snow Queen’s spell, Charming teaching Henry to drive, so many of Killian, Cruella, and Granny’s one-liners, and when Snow, who had lost her love and sweetness tells a dwarf after breaking their mug, “You’re lucky it’s not that mug you call a face!”

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
I had a strong visceral and emotional reactions to the very intimate, heartbreaking moments for Emma and Killian in S5, particularly when Emma saves his life and turn him into another Dark One in the Middlemist field and when they saying goodbye at the elevator in the Underworld. The latter especially, because it was so quiet, deep and felt so incredibly real, really affected me. Lots of real life ugly sobbing. I was also affected by the image of Snow in the mirror crying after Charming takes baby Emma away in the Pilot, and the image of Emma chained to her hospital bed, crying and unable to even look at Henry after giving birth. These are so heart wrenching. Emma also sobbing when she thinks Henry is dead- the image of little pale body,a nd that somber music just killed me. And when she kissed him and he woke up and she broke the curse I really lost it.

As far as “I love this show” moments early on I felt that watching the Pilot and Snow Falls, and I began to feel that even more in S3, especially the S3 finale which I think was the absolute peak in storytelling. And when I watched “Going Home” I vividly remember sobbing as Emma was saying goodbye to everyone and Storybrooke disappeared, and I literally leapt from my seat and yelled out “Hook” when he showed up at her door. It was such a range of emotions and I will never forget that, especially since that was a midseason finale and we had to wait months to see what was next!

I had a similar reaction to “Swan Song” when Emma was marching towards the Underworld to save Killian and she says the Charming Family motto, “I will always find you.” I already knew this couple to be a True Love everlasting pairing, but both for Emma’s character, and the couple I was so overwhelmed with hearing her saying what the original True Love couple- her parents always said and stood for. That’s magical to me!

Lastly, and probably the most significant was for the musical episode. It was everything I dreamt of. But in particular the wedding and even more specifically “A Happy Beginning” is a pristine example of everything I love about this show. It was so incredibly joyful, celebrating love and family, and the song is absolutely perfect. I literally cannot count the number of times I have watched this scene since it aired, and I have listened to the song even more. I know anytime I want to smile or cheer myself, just listen on pop on this scene and all will be right with the world.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
I thought all of the costumes in Camelot were absolutely gorgeous, especially Emma’s White dresses, and Killian’s quilted jacket and red vest. But the costumes for Snow, Charming, Regina, Robin, Zelena, and Belle were all beautiful. I also loved Emma’s ball gown and Killian’s Prince ensemble from the S3 finale, Emma and Snow’s “adventure” outfits from the musical episode and Operation Mongoose respectively, Elsa and Anna’s dresses, Belle’s blue dress, Emma’s gown from Charming’s dream, Charming’s hero ensemble from NYCS, Cinderella/Ashley’s ball gown, as well as the main costumes for Robin Hood and Mulan. I also never met an Emma Swan leather jacket I didn’t like and loved the pink dress she wore for her date with Killian.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
Musical cues/themes: “Wedding in the Woods”
“Snow and Charming’s theme”
“Emma’s Theme”
“Emma and Killian’s theme”
“Sky Sailing”
“Ingrid’s End”
“True Love”
“Happy Endings Suite”
“Emma’s Theme/Charming Family Theme”
“Storybrooke (peaceful 6 weeks) Theme”
Musical Episode: “A Happy Beginning,” ‘Powerful Magic,” “Revenge is Gonna Be Mine”, “Emma’s Theme”

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Georgina Haig, Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster as Elsa, Anna and Kristoff, Victoria Smurfit as Cruella, Joanna Garcia and Gil McKinney as Ariel and Eric.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Even though I made my own Captain Swan one, I would love a real copy of Henry’s storybook. I also would love Excalibur with Emma and Killian’s names engraved on it.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke. I need modern conveniences like medicine, electricity, internet and television. But I would hope there were ways we could visit the Enchanted Forest on occasion for special things like a ball.

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
Psych. I just think this would be so funny and entertaining. Emma and Juliet would get along great, two badass woman sheriffing around town. Lassiter would probably get annoyed at everyone and I think he, Killian and David would share in that- equally exasperated at the constant monsters and such. And Shawn and Gus- they would probably spend their time screaming and running away from everything and checking out every single restaurant in town. I can picture them ordering a million things off the menu in Granny’s right before going into the psychic hijinks, and Emma would probably no doubt be able to see right through Shawn’s facade, but not spill the beans. It would be really fun.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
The Office. I think it would be hilarious to put these fairy tale characters into such a mundane and ordinary setting. Bonus if they were in their EF costumes, and Emma was the only one who wasn’t. Can you imagine the talking to the camera moments? Classic.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
“True Love isn’t easy but it must be fought for. Because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

“When I win your heart, Emma- and I will win it- it will not be because of any trickery. It will be because you want me.”

Bonus: “People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You’ve just got to punch back and say, no this is who I am.”

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Emma, Killian, their child(ren), Snow, Charming, their son, Henry, Ella and Lucy, Regina and other friends and loved ones all celebrating Emma’s birthday. They are all happy smiling and clapping as she blows out her candles. She kisses KiIlian and their child, hugs Henry and her parents. The family is together again, happy and at peace. It would also be nice if they incorporated the storybook again, perhaps with an narration of Emma or Henry reading how they all lived happily ever after, and we see another illustration and the book closes. Then either fade to black or a final shot of the clock or Storybrooke sign, mirroring the way the Pilot ended.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
I don’t think she’s evil or a villain but she is totally shady, I feel like she holds back and is not forthcoming about a lot of things. So while ultimately I still think she is good, she is shady enough where it wouldn’t surprise me if they revealed her to be some mastermind in the end.

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Captain Swan is our favorite couple

snowing tlk

We all adore Snow and Charming as well

Name: Katie Kawa
Twitter Handle(s): @nerdygirlnotes
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: Nerdy Girl Notes (nerdygirlnotes.com)

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I started watching OUAT on New Year’s Day 2012, when ABC aired a marathon of the first 7 episodes. I love all things Disney and fairytales, so the show was always tailor-made for my interests, so the second ABC gave me a chance to really get hooked, it was all over for me—in the best possible way.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I started writing about the show on my old LiveJournal in early 2012, but my first official post about it at NGN was a review of the Season One finale. I started regularly posting about the show starting in Season Two. I knew from the moment I began watching it that this was exactly the kind of show I wanted to write about. The show’s themes of hope and the power of belief resonated so strongly with me that I knew I could spend an eternity writing about it, and I was so inspired by the complexity of the female characters we were introduced to right away in Season One that I never wanted to stop analyzing them and their relationships with each other and with the men who love them.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I’ll start with ranking the seasons (from least favorite to favorite): 7, 6, 2, 4, 5, 1, 3

There will always be a special place in my heart for the initial arc of Season One in terms of how it developed for Emma and Henry and Snow and Charming because it emphasized truly excellent storytelling in both the past and present stories and showcased how important all kinds of love would be on the show. I also adored the Neverland arc because of how strongly it focused on my favorite characters and their relationships with each other, and you can count me among the proud few who really loved what they did with Season Four’s Frozen storyline. Finally, although the Dark Swan arc was very different than I expected it to be, the brilliant work it allowed Jennifer Morrison to do makes it one of my all-time favorites.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
This is going to be SO PREDICTABLE for anyone who knows me, but oh well. 😉

3. Regina: Watching how Regina developed from a villain to a character I actively root for was one of the most rewarding things about watching OUAT over the years. She wasn’t always likable, but I came to love that about her. She was one of my favorite characters to write about because she was complex and layered in a way I never would have seen coming in the pilot. She was deeply flawed and incredibly frustrating at times, but she was also a character capable of immense love and true growth. Her acceptance of her happiness as being independent of a man remains one of the highlights of the show for me, and I’ve loved watching this woman learn to define herself as a hero on her own terms.

2. Snow White: It wasn’t always easy to see the Snow White I first fell in love with in later seasons of the show, but when she appeared, I was reminded of why she was my first favorite and will always be my OUAT “spirit animal.” Snow represents the idea that you can be soft and still be strong; you can have a gentle heart and an iron will. She made me see that hope can be a source of true strength and that belief isn’t about some faraway stories or magic; it’s about having faith in the people you love and in yourself. She’s the kind of leader I hope I am, the kind of mother I hope to become, and the kind of person I try to channel every day.

1. Emma Swan: Emma Swan changed my life. It’s as simple and as profound as that. I’m a stronger, happier, braver, and better me because she existed and because I found her when I did. She is one of the most inspiring characters I’ve ever discovered in my many years of media consumption, and her story never fails to make me cry just thinking about it. She had a villain’s backstory filled with loss, abandonment, and deception, but she lived a true hero’s journey of self-definition, bravery, and belief. Her strengths, her weaknesses, her highs, and her lows were all relatable; she was a Disney princess for young women living in a world where it’s all too easy to become cynical. She taught all of us that you don’t have to be perfect to be the hero of your own story—all of you have to be is yourself.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
1. “Pilot” (1.01): I’ve never seen a pilot do a better job of establishing not just characters and plot, but also tone and themes that would carry through the whole series.
2. “Snow Falls” (1.03): The epitome of the show’s flair for epic romance and twisting beloved fairytales into something more modern, fun, and empowering for women.
3. “A Land Without Magic” (1.22): The episode that showed all this show can be when it’s firing on all cylinders and the one that set the standard for curse-breaking, True Love’s Kisses, and emotional twists (with Emma’s love for Henry being the one to break the curse).
4. “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home” (3.21/3.22): Fun, romantic, filled with references to pop culture and other fairytales, and an essential piece of the show’s mythology, the “Captain Swan movie” is a fandom favorite for a reason.
5. “The Song in Your Heart” (6.20): The musical episode we all asked for combined with the wedding episode we all needed—a truly magical moment in the show’s history.

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
My favorite episode lists changes almost daily, but I think that list is pretty close. I might swap “A Land Without Magic” and “The Song in Your Heart” for the perfect one-two punch of “Going Home” and “New York City Serenade” in Season Three, but it’s so hard to choose!

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
Guest Characters: I adored all the Frozen characters, especially Ingrid. I’ve loved Elizabeth Mitchell from her days on LOST, and the depth and humanity she gave to Ingrid created one of my favorite single character arcs in the show’s history. I also really loved Cruella because Victoria Smurfit is such a gem of an actor and brought so much campy brilliance to that role.

Recurring Characters: RUBY. I think the loss of Meghan Ory from the show doesn’t get talked about enough. Ruby was such a great character who was at the center of some wonderful female friendships, and losing her as a regular face on the show was a huge blow. I also smiled every time we saw Granny, and I have to put a vote in for some of Season Seven’s new faces, with Alice and Tiana being particular standouts.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
I know a lot of people don’t like to talk about the Neal/Emma stuff because it’s too painful to think about that part of her past, but the confrontation between Neal, Emma, Henry, and Rumple in the apartment in “Manhattan” is probably the single best acted scene the show ever did; it floored me when it first aired, and years later, I find myself still thinking about it.

I also could talk about Ingrid’s death scene all day in terms of underrated moments. Elizabeth Mitchell brought so much to that role, and the amount I cried when she died took me by complete surprise. It was such a beautifully executed scene to culminate a beautifully executed arc, and it was one of the most emotional death scenes the show has ever done; it just doesn’t get talked about a lot because she wasn’t a main character.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
I’ll start with the current season: I’m loving the way the show has been developing Alice and Robin’s relationship. It’s everything I’d wanted them to do in terms of an LGBT romance for so long, and the two of them are adorable together.

And then, of course, there are the original OTPs for so many of us: Captain Swan (Emma/Hook) and Snowing (Snow/Charming). From the pilot onward, Snow and Charming owned my heart. They rekindled my belief in fairytale love stories, and they will always remain the gold standard for me (both onscreen and off). And if Snowing helped me believe in fairytales again, Captain Swan helped me believe I could have one for myself someday. They were a new kind of fairytale about two broken people learning to believe in love again, and along the way, they made so many of us believe, too. Those two couples gave us so many classic romantic moments, allowed us to shed so many cathartic tears, and inspired so many of us to write about them. They’re huge parts of the show’s legacy—and rightly so.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Snow and Ruby will always be my favorite—even though we didn’t get nearly enough of it. They were supportive of each other, genuinely loved each other, and helped each other become better people by believing in them. I will also always have a soft spot for the epic bromance between Charming and Killian, the beautiful friendship between Emma and Elsa, and the “enemies to reluctant co-parents to friends” dynamic Emma and Regina developed over time.

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Rapunzel’s husband this season was named Eugene or Flynn, right? If that’s the case, that’s one of the only characters I really wanted to see but never got: a quality version of Flynn Rider. I also would have liked to see what they could have done with Moana because she’s already such a powerful female character.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
I didn’t like either of the show’s versions of Rapunzel. She was either too boring and passive or a villain—neither of which I wanted for one of my favorite Disney princesses. I also still wish they would have given Belle more of a backbone throughout instead of just in a handful of moments. The show never seemed to know quite what to do with her after deciding to make her a regular character, and I wish she would have been more developed from the start because she’s such an iconic character played by such a great actress who deserved better writing than she was given in most cases.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
I would have liked a traditional True Love’s Kiss between Emma and Killian and to have seen the moment Emma told Killian she was pregnant because I’m a sappy shipper. I also would have liked more scenes with Emma talking to her parents as the seasons went on. Emma and Snow had such a great dynamic in Season One, and I wished we could have seen that come back a little more clearly in later seasons.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
Most Romantic: Charming and Snow’s first True Love’s Kiss (the perfect way to kick off the show), the entirety of the “Captain Swan Movie” (especially the kiss at the end), Killian’s “When I win your heart” speech, and Charming’s “What’s 28 years when you have eternal love?” line.

Saddest: Emma stabbing Killian with Excalibur, Snow and Charming giving up Emma in the pilot, Emma’s reaction to finding out Henry “died” before breaking the curse, and Emma and Henry having to leave everyone behind in “Going Home.”

Funniest: Rumple and the Queens of Darkness at the drive-thru. Nothing will ever be better than that.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
The entire musical episode was like that for me, a reminder of everything I’ve ever loved about the show. And in terms of emotional reactions, the amount I cried when Emma and Killian said their goodbyes in the Underworld during “Firebird” was bordering on ridiculous and was on the same level as my wrecked reaction to Snow and Charming’s goodbye before splitting his heart back in Season Two. In terms of happy reactions, nothing will beat the giddiness I felt seeing the sneak peek of Emma and Killian’s first kiss and the pure joy of Killian showing up at her door at the end of “Going Home.”

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
Emma’s red leather jacket—because I love when costumes mean something, Regina’s backless blue dress and red velvet dress from Season One, Snow’s white coat/tan pants outfit from “Lady of the Lake,” and Emma’s pink first date dress.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
I always tear up whenever I hear Snow and Charming’s theme, and the way Emma’s theme was used in the musical episode to give even more importance to an already beautiful piece of music was brilliant. And I will never stop singing “Powerful Magic” and “A Happy Beginning.” Both songs feel straight out of a Disney movie or theme park in the best possible way. (Also, I will use this answer to just say JOSH DALLAS’S VOICE. We’re not ever going to be over that, are we?)

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Elizabeth Lail was the perfect choice for Princess Anna, and I feel the same way about Victoria Smurfit as Cruella. I also can’t go without mentioning how wonderfully Joanna Garcia Swisher embodied the innocence, spunk, and joy of Ariel.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
I’d want a copy of the story book, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to taking one of Emma’s jackets or Snow’s engagement ring.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke! I’m not ashamed to say that—while the clothes would be amazing in the Enchanted Forest—I need running water, electricity, and the internet. Also, I hear Granny makes a great lasagna that you can only get in Storybrooke. 😉

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
I’m having lots of fun right now imagining the Timeless crew winding up in the Enchanted Forest. I also always wanted a Castle/OUAT crossover because a world filled with fairytale characters would have made Richard Castle so excited, and I always wanted Kate Beckett and Emma Swan to be friends.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
I’d love to see them on a game show of some sort—they’d make a very entertaining episode of Family Feud.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
“People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You’ve just gotta punch back and say, ‘No, this is who I am.’” (Emma Swan)

“Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.” (Snow White)

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
I think it would be a lot like the final scenes we got at the end of Season Six, to be quite honest—little slices of what “happily ever after” looks like for all these characters. But I’d want it to end with Emma’s birthday and her blowing out a candle surrounded by her parents, friends, husband, and children—finally realizing the wish that started it all.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
TOTALLY SHADY.

elsa and anna

The “Frozen” characters were among our favorite guest stars

ariel 3

Ariel is another popular favorite guest star

Name: Gissane Sophia
Twitter Handle(s): @GissaneSophia | @MGcircles
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: http://mgcirclesmedia.com

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I was intrigued by it when the promos were coming out, but I actually thought it was going to be a scarier twist on classics, which bummed me out cause I was a huge fan of Ginny Goodwin’s rom coms. But then one of my closest friends watched the first two episodes and loved them, so I took her recommendation and gave it a try. And here we are seven years later. Lol! I’m so glad the good characters get their happy endings.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
Season 3. At this point I had started writing reviews for a little show called Graceland, and I had missed writing essays (weird, right?) so I figured I’d put that longing to use with TV and add on more shows to my list. I knew I wanted to write after I realized that the season two finale left us with such an intriguing cliffhanger and I kept wanting to talk about it with people. I’d write little metas here and there on my Tumblr for fun so bringing my media study and English degree into it turned out to be one of the funnest decisions I’ve ever made.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I love the first season so much, it’s got such a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, but I also really loved Neverland and Frozen. In order of favorites, one, three, four, two, five, six.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Emma Swan.
Killian Jones.
David Charming & Snow White (They’re equal to me. They’re one. Don’t make me choose. I refuse.)

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
Pilot (Naturally, it started it all.)
Snow Drifts | There’s No Place Like Home
Nimue
Snow Falls
Hat Trick

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
Yes, for the most part they are. I like a couple of other episodes here and there, too, but those get to me.

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
The Frozen actors hands down with Ariel following very closely behind. I love Granny and Ruby, too. They’re a huge reason why season one was so special and I wish we got to explore their stories a little more.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
I don’t know if it’s underrated per say, but the scene where Hatter reunites with his little girl always gets to me – even in gif form, the second I see it, instant tears. He was such a fun character to explore and I wish we got to see more of their dynamic because truly, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his baby girl and it would’ve gone gorgeously with the them of the show. And then there’s the whole thing with The Snow Queen’s redemption arc, my God was that a beautiful scene. It’s definitely in my top episodes, maybe in my top 5, but it’s so hard to choose really. “Shattered Sight” was so special, I never could’ve imagined that episode ending the way it did. It was one of the most beautiful episodes to date and I remember bawling my eyes out to it. Ingrid was so special, and I wish we got to her a little bit more after her memories were returned. That entire storyline was just utter perfection. Also, again, I don’t know if it’s underrated, I really loved “Sisters” and everything that happened in that episode with Zelena and Regina. It was such a beautiful showcase of both their hearts and what could be if they set their differences aside. It really got to me as I watched it.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
Captain Swan (Emma Swan and Killian Jones)
Snowing (Snow White and Prince Charming)
Kristoff and Anna of Arendalle
Outlaw Queen (Regina Mills and Robin Hood)

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Snow and Emma
Emma and Elsa
Henry and Emma
Killian and Charming
Anna and Elsa
Henry and Charming
Snow and Ruby
Regina and Zelena

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
Flynn Rider.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
Quite a few to be honest, and I feel like it could be a can of worms we don’t want to open up, so maybe it’s best not to get into it. Let’s just say that there’s a particular (minor, not major or recurring) character that the fandom really idolizes and that character has always been one of my least favorites for a number of reasons.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
Emma’s birthday round 2. It’s essentially how I always imagined the show would end bringing everything full circle beautifully, but woe, here we are. And I’d love some more domestic moments between the Charming family, if the show had turned into comedy instead with our favorites trying to figure out the ins and outs of our world, it would’ve been perfect.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
There are so many of these, first kisses, true loves kisses, familial reunions, anything related to them commenting on our world.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
Emma’s fight against the darkness in “Nimue”. That was such a remarkable showcase of what it truly means to fight back against the negativity in our heads and it was so inspiring to watch it.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
I always loved Regina’s dresses – they’re so gorgeous. And Snow’s bandit costume too. Anything in “Snow Drifts | There’s No Place Like Home” was stunning. There are seriously so many. Eduardo Castro is next level amazing.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
Snowing Theme, and the original, opening theme always get to me. I think I loved “Emma’s Theme” most from the musical episode.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Frozen. Hands down. Hatter and Ariel a close second.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Probably a mug from Granny’s diner. I’m a huge mug collector so that’s definitely something that is on my level. Also, if I could borrow any of the costumes, then yes definitely, sign me up.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke for sure. It’s such a quaint, adorable little town. And I loved getting to experience it a little bit when I visited Steveston in Vancouver.

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
Fun fact, or perhaps, a not so fun fact, I really really don’t like crossovers, they stress me out so none.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
I feel like this rings similar to crossovers, but if I have to choose then maybe Stranger Things.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.

“People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, “No, this is who I am”. You want people to look at you differently? Make them! You want to change things, you’re gonna have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.”

“True love isn’t easy but it must be fought for because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

Basic, I know, but damn do those two get to me.

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
It’d be Emma’s birthday, whatever year she’s turning, at Granny’s perhaps with every single one of her loved by her side as she blows out her candles after everyone’s sung happy birthday to her.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
I’m definitely indifferent on her. I never thought about it or cared too much. So probably not shady? I don’t know.

charming horse

We all thought the “Pilot” was an iconic episode

cs dance 4

But the Season 3 finale “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home” is unanimously our favorite episode

Name: Meredith Loftus
Twitter Handle(s): @MeredithLoftus (@ouatfandomblog)
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: ScreenSpy.com

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
My sister (Emma) & dad watched the series premiere on my sister’s birthday (October 23rd), and the next day they told me I should watch the show. About 5 weeks later, a classmate of mine told me she was watching it and loved; so after class, I went back to my dorm room and proceeded to watch the five episodes that have aired so far. I was hooked.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I didn’t start writing about the show until about halfway through Season 4A. During Season 3, that’s when I started to really fangirl over the show and became active on Twitter. I kept up with BTS news from a few accounts; I read reviews from Nerdy Girl Notes, MG Circles, and The Nerd Machine. I was so inspired by the reviews I was reading and so fascinated in theorizing what they were doing on the show that I started my own fan blog, OUAT Fandom Blog, where I used to write theory posts. A couple weeks into running the blog, ScreenSpy was looking for contributors to write reviews for shows, and one of the shows that needed reviews was OUAT. I reached out to them, sent them a link to my blog, and within a couple of days I was all set to start writing for them.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
The best story arcs on the show were definitely the first season and the third season. I would rank it: 1) Season 3, 2) Season 1, 3) 4B, 4) Season 2, 5) 4A, 6) 6B, 7) Season 5, 8) 6A. I have not watched the latest season. I stopped watching after the Season 6 finale.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Top 3 favorite characters are hands down Emma Swan, Killian Jones, and Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
The iconic episodes of the series are 1×01 Pilot, 1×03 Snow Falls, 3×11 Going Home, 3×21-3×22 Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home, and 6×22 The Final Battle Part 2.

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
The above are my favorites except I might switch out 6×22 for 3×17 Poor Unfortunate Soul which is a personal favorite of mine.

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? Ariel is hands down my favorite guest character. I was worried when they announced that she was coming on the show because Ariel is my favorite Disney princess and I wanted to see her character done correctly; thankfully, my fears were quickly diminished in her debut episode. Joanna Garcia-Swisher is a perfect Ariel and had such a great dynamic with every character she interacted with. Plus, when Ariel is in an episode, I could always count on great Captain Swan and/or Killian Jones moments in it.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
The most underrated moment happens during 1×05 That Still Small Voice when Archie stands up to Regina after saving Henry from the mine. “Or what? You’ll do your worst? Because I will always do my best.” That line has stayed with me since 2011 because he’s validating his self-worth and conscious without stooping down to Regina’s level.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
My favorite major couples have always been the Big Four: Emma/Killian, Snow/Charming, Regina/Robin, and Belle/Rumple. The minor ones I love are Ariel/Eric, Aladdin/Jasmine, and Cinderella/Thomas.

10.What are your favorite friendships? Killian/Charming, Killian/Ariel, Emma/Elsa, Snow/Red, Ariel/Belle, and Emma/Mary Margaret in Season 1.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Joanna Garcia-Swisher as Ariel, again in my opinion, is perfect guest casting.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Can I just take Mary Margaret’s entire loft, decorations and all? That would be amazing!

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke no question. Modern healthcare matters! Plus, I would love to run the coffee shop in Storybrooke and hang out with the hipster fairytale characters.

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Honestly, I thought the Thanksgiving dinner in Granny’s at the end of the Season 6 finale would’ve made a perfect ending to the series.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
BLUE HAS BEEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE SHADY!

storybrooke sign

We all would rather live in Storybrooke

Name: Maii
Twitter Handle(s): OfTheDirewolves and Maiqu20
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: I wrote for Word of the Nerd and was a part of the Captain Swan Podcast

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I started around episode 4. I liked Ginnifer Goodwin and fairytales plus I was like oh the girl from House (Can you imagine I had a life before Jennifer Morrison? I can’t remember it). Also I thought Josh was really hot so I was like why not.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I started in s4. Emma Swan. Is that going to be a recurring theme in this questionnaire? Probably.

But honestly I realized I loved analyzing shows and figured hey I’ve got the background for it why not write for something I love. So I sent a few applications and one of them stuck and well considering I’m still writing on it I think we’re doing okay. It might frustrate me at times but I love reviewing my favorite shows and I truly want to dedicate myself to this.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I know I’m among the few that truly loved the Frozen arc? Mostly because it was about Emma and just Emma with no focus on /that/ character even if the arc had the 2nd shittiest finale in the show. I loved the dynamics of season 1 and the friendships in it. I loved Dark Swan a lot? I’d change a few things about it but as a whole I loved it. Season 2 started out great and then kind of went nowhere before getting back on track. Those of us around from way back when know it’s because Colin had to go break his leg so this one wasn’t really the writers fault.

3B is complicated bc it was well very slow and while I understood Emma’s decisions it was the first time I was privy to the fandom’s prejudice against her (even within our own fandom). So that one sadly has a bit of a strange connotation because it also has one of the most perfect finales ever to exist? Underworld I love the idea behind it, I thought there was too much focus on the Mills women and Rumple. So the CS in it was perfect but it gets points taken for allowing scum like Cora to move on but Milah got to suffer a fate worst than death and never reunite with her son which was all she wanted.

S4B was a retcon disaster. And honestly season 4 as a whole did not deserve Michael Socha. The only redeemable eps were Sympathy for DeVil and Poor Unfortunate Souls. Season 6 was, something. On one side you had beautiful stunning eps like The Other Shoe, Murder Most Foul (without the end reveal), Dark Waters, Heartless, Awake, the first part of the finale and of course The Song in Your Heart. On the other side there’s episodes like the offensive Wish You were here, the dreadful A Bitter Draught, the 2nd part of the finale that went nowhere really, and well the rest of the eps weren’t much better.

Neverland Arc -> Lost in Enchanted Forrest (2A) -> Season 1 -> Frozen Arc -> 3B -> Dark One Arc -> The Dark Days of S2 -> 5B -> 6B -> 6A -> 4B

Now for full seasons? Season 3 -> Season 1 -> Season 2 -> Season 5 -> Season 6 -> Season 4

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Emma Swan, Killian Jones and Charming

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
A Land Without Magic
Snow Drifts/There’s No Place like Home
Red-Handed
Pilot
Nimue

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
Snow Drifts/There’s No Place like Home
White Out
The Shepherd
Nimue
Good Form

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
I’m gonna be on brand and say Frozen because we all know my thing for Scott Michael Foster. And I loved Cruella a lot.
For Recurring: definitely Ruby and Mulan.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
I love Ingrid’s sacrifice I think it’s one of the most beautiful moments in the entire series.
I love “you think I’m interested in Hook? Emma I’m a married man” & Ariel standing up to John and Michael.
Also I can’t think of any because I haven’t rewatched in a while but any Swan Believer or Charming/Emma scene is on this list.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
Major Couples are obviously Captain Swan and Snowing.

For minor couples I say Scarlet Queen (for those that didn’t watch OUATIW it’s Anastasia and Will Scarlet) and Red Beauty.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Emma and Elsa were a truly pure friendship. I also love Captain Charming a lot.
Emma x Ruby, Ruby x Snow, S1 Snow x Emma, Emma x Henry, Captain Book, David x Emma, Charming x Anna

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
I think it’s no surprise that I wanted Anastasia to come to the main show. I thought her arc was perfect on OUATiW, the relationship with Will was beautiful. But as for characters they didn’t show in either show…. Hmm I would have loved to see Esmeralda, same with Persephone (even if we got Disney!Hades not GreekMyth!Hades), ohh or the Sanderson Sisters.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
Can I say Regina? Because I think she had potential and could have been much better with someone else playing her and if they hadn’t made a mess of her storyline. And of course Robin Hood because I don’t know who that was but it wasn’t Robin Hood.

I wish they had followed through with Will Scarlet’s plotline and that they hadn’t made a mess of Belle’s.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
Captain Swan Sex. I mean I know they showed something but come on. I would have loved a better Snow and Emma relationship.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
Most Romantic? You traded your ship for me and Charming taking an arrow for Snow.
Saddest? Emma having to kill Killian in Swan Song, their goodbye in Final Rites. Belle’s son being stolen from her.
Funniest? Pancakes! I’m glad we don’t have thanksgiving in our world because that would suck.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
My most visceral reaction as anyone who knows me can attest to is Emma’s “I’m not nothing I was never nothing.” Because Emma is the character I’ve related to most in this world and with my life and the things I’ve gone through that was a moment I needed and will forever relate to.

That being said the Neverland kiss, Charming’s speeches “we are both” & “true love isn’t easy but it must be fought for”, and of course you gave up your ship for me? Are also ICONIC.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
Killian- I love the red vest of sex (I’m still very proud of having coined that phrase) and the Storybrooke Outfit
Charming’s S1 Prince Outfit
Emma’s Camelot dress and the outfits in the season 3 finale
Snow’s bandit outfit

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
I am a musical score nerd so I’ll try to keep it simple: CS Theme, Emma’s theme, the snowing theme and the main title.

For the musical episode I love Emma’s Theme, Revenge is Gonna be Mine and Powerful Magic.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
I wish they had done more with him but Oded Fehr was a perfect Jafar. The whole Frozen cast was perfect as were Jamie Chung as Mulan, Victoria Smurfit as Cruella, Sebastian Stan as the Hatter/Jefferson and JoAnna Garcia as Ariel.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
I would take either the sword that both Charming and Emma fought with or Excalibur with both Emma and Killian’s names.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Can we portal back and forth? I mean the show did throw continuity out the window so should we. Because I’d love to visit the different lands but I need coffee, internet and everything that modern life gives us so Storybrooke is it.

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
I’d go with Lucifer because I do think the main couples have a lot of similarities and their worlds both deal with characters from stories in a way.

Also I would pay to watch Lucifer Morningstar flirt with Emma Swan or Killian Jones, or both.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?

Well I really want to say Lucifer again but if we’re talking something different I might go with Timeless or The Royals.. No this is totally not me wanting all my faves to interact.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
“I’m not nothing I was never nothing, the power you have I don’t need.”

“True Love isn’t easy but it must be fought for because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

“You traded your ship for me?”

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Emma’s Birthday

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady? SHADY MCSHADESTER

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We all laughed at this moment!!

Name: Lizzie
Twitter Handle(s): @lizziethat
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: Fangirlish

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I started watching from the Pilot! I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales, and this show seemed tailor-made for me.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I started writing around the end of Season 3, and it was one of those things where I just had too many feelings that I needed to get out, and I just didn’t know enough people who watched the show, so I started writing to kinda come to term with my own feelings. And one thing led to another

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
The first season remains a favorite, because it was magical. I really liked the Frozen arc, that a lot of people don’t like. And I liked the Neverland arc as well. I think those are my top 3. The season ranking would go something like 1,3,2,5,6,4.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
It’s sooo hard. But I’m going to say Emma, Charming and Snow.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
“Snow Drifts” and “There’s No Place Like Home” (3×21-22)
“A Land Without Magic” (1×22)
“The Song In Your Heart” (6×20)
“Pilot” (1×01)
“Operation Mongoose Part 2” (4×22)

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
I’d probably switch out the last two and add “Good Form” and “New York City Serenade”

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors?
The Frozen actors! I loved them all. As for recurring, I’d say Ruby? Does she count.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
In general, any and all Snow/Emma moments, and there were not enough of those, and any and all quiet moments for the couples. The domestic moments.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
Snow/Charming, Emma/Hook and Ruby/Dorothy are my favorites.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Emma and Elsa! And Season 1 Snow and Emma.

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
I was pretty happy with the characters we got, though I guess I would have liked Flynn Rider and more Rapunzel than we got. Or even Moana, but that’s just too new and hard to incorporate.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
I enjoyed this show, but I think they failed many characters at many points. I wish they’d done Regina’s redemption arc any way other than her splitting herself, they did some things with Hook I didn’t like, but I ESPECIALLY wish they’d done Rumple differently.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
Just more of those quiet moments they always talked about – not just between couples, but between family.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
I think the end of Season 3 is pretty darn romantic, and I love the wedding song for Emma and Killian, and Snow and Charming’s song, from the musical. I think the saddest moment is probably Snow and Charming having to give up Emma, time and time again, especially in that season 6 episode where they almost went to her when she was a kid. And funniest – well, this show had a lot of hilarious moments, but I think Regina, in particular, had some great one-liners.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
I go back to that Season 6 moment with Snow and Charming looking through the door at little Emma, because that gutted me. I really loved the musical too, I’m a sucker for songs.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
The Camelot costumes were gorgeous.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
I love musicals but I pay 0 attention to musical themes or cues, so I’m just going to say Wicked Always Wins and A Happy Beginning.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Elsa! And Anna, really.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Maybe Excalibur? That’d be awesome.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke for SURE. Running water!

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
The X-Files. I can just picture Mulder walking up to the town and Scully not buying that they’re fairy tale characters.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
Anything modern, because they still seem sorta stuck in the past.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
Emma Swan: People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, “No, this is who I am”. You want people to look at you differently? Make them! You want to change things, you’re gonna have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.

Gold: Maybe you should take a piece of advice from a man who has pushed away every chance of happiness because it was never enough. If it’s within your grasp, if you know where it is and who it’s with, then you should run to it, grasp it and never let it go.

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Emma, surrounded by her family – her baby, her husband, her parents, and just …everyone in this big extended family, celebrating Emma’s birthday, the way she couldn’t in the Pilot, with people.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
SHADY. FOREVER SHADY.

That’s all of our questions my lovelies. I hope you all enjoying our trip down memory lane discussing all of our favorites from Once Upon a Time. Thanks for reading and listening!!

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We Love Happy Beginnings!

5 Things that Should Happen in the Once Upon a Time Series Finale

As the end of the fairy tale series reaches its final chapter there are certain things each of us wish to see in those precious last 42 minutes of screen time. Despite this final season being a divisive one, I think all will agree that during these past 7 years there were stories and characters that captured our hearts and our imaginations in ways that cannot possibly be measured.

Of course there are certain things many would like to see happen that are extremely unlikely: season 7 is some sort of dream or Henry’s authoring gone haywire to explain away the incoherent timeline and plot holes, Belle didn’t really die, and Robin Hood can be brought back to life to be with Regina. The chances of these happening seem very slim, so therefore the following list are things (many of which are connected) that have a greater chance of occurring. Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, a SERIES FINALE should include those from the many seasons of the show, not just a single one. And there are just some things that really should be in the last episode ever to conclude the current stories and most especially to bring the series to a hopeful and satisfying conclusion- a true happily ever after.

5. Earned and Wrapped Up Season 7 Storylines
The crux of this is that characters get what feels deserved and logical. This means that there should be no redemption for Gothel but an ending fitting such a vile villain, Wish Hook’s heart should be cured so he can be with his daughter again, Tiana deserves her own restaurant, Henry, Lucy and Ella are saved and safe, Regina finds some form of happiness, Rumple is reunited with Belle (and Emilie De Ravin returns) even if that means death, and Alice and Robyn and Zelena and her fiancé find happy endings together. However, I also do not think, as I saw suggested, there should be something as special as a SERIES Finale wedding for these couples who are also guest stars. They just don’t warrant such an auspicious event. The only ones who would are already married (Emma and Killian), or we have not seen this season (Robin and Regina). However, while the main focus of the finale will most likely and should be centered on Henry, if we can see the return of Sean Maguire for a wedding between the alternate Robin and Regina, who got engaged in the Season 6 finale, that would be lovely. Lastly, the Guardian should be a character that is logical and worthy- so not a new alternate character like Anastasia, or one who would not exist had the story not been altered like Alice. The only ones that make sense would be Emma and Killian’s child, being the product of True Love twice over, or Henry who was always meant to be Rumple’s “undoing” and has a pure heart. Whether all of these stories are wrapped up in the finale or simply final episodes remains to be seen, but they definitely should be on the roster.

4. Wish Hook goes in search of Wish Emma
As discussed in detail in this article, the one good thing about the Wish Hook character now being from a parallel universe is that it means there should be another Emma out there that exists for him to find, who was displaced when our Emma was brought into that realm by the Evil Queen’s wish. A wish cannot erase a very real person from existence. She’s out there somewhere. All he has to do this find her. For many reasons, which also includes finding that realm’s version of Henry, when all is settled with his daughter the next thing this Hook should do is seek out the woman who is meant to be his romantic partner, to maintain that steadfast theme about True Love and soulmates, no matter the realm, no matter the version of the character, and fulfill that promise of “I Will Always Find You.” It does not matter that a lot of time has passed or that it hasn’t been mentioned yet. It should happen to complete his story and maintain the integrity of the “Captain Hook” character. Whether we actually see him find his Emma is determinant on whether Jennifer Morrison returns and how much time is available. So, if that is limited, precedent would have to be placed on the appearance of the original Emma, and knowing he is seeking her out would be enough. But if there’s time for both, this would be the perfect ending to his storyline and give audiences the delight in seeing that first spark of True Love again, and the beginning of what would be many adventures together.

3. We See Snow and Charming Again
Although Snow and Charming got their happily ever after in the Season 6 finale, moving to a farm in Storybrooke, raising their son, and living a peaceful life surrounded by family, they also should make an appearance in the Series Finale not only because they are truly wonderful characters, but the Charming Family was very much the family that was the heart of the series and I cannot imagine the show concluding without them. The very first scene of the entire series began with their True Love’s kiss. The final episode needs to include them to help maintain symmetry with the Pilot and especially in connection with the final two things that the finale should entail.

2. Henry and his family return to Storybrooke
It is still difficult to reconcile why Henry and Ella remained in the Enchanted Forest for 8 years after Lucy was born. We cannot get that time back and that’s heartbreaking to me. But to help ease that and end things right, Henry, Ella, and Lucy, and Regina as well, need to return to Storybrooke and their family. Storybrooke is HOME. It always has been on Once Upon a Time, and Henry has always been all about family, so a reunion and meeting between him, Ella and Lucy with his grandparents Snow and Charming, and Mother and Stepfather Emma and Killian, as well as his new sibling, is imperative to ending the series in a way that maintains who Henry is as a character and ending it on the right emotional note.

1. We See Emma, Killian and their Child
In the connection with the previous necessity, seeing Emma, Killian and their child in the series finale is also imperative to maintaining a connection to the Pilot and the integrity of who the series centered on, and what the series has always embodied: love, hope and family. After marrying at the ending of Season 6, we saw very little of their happy life together, and only the news that they were expecting a baby was revealed. We have no idea whether the child was a boy or girl, their name, and didn’t see the birth. With the timeline the way that it is, most likely these things would have to be seen in flashback, and perhaps by now they have multiple children, but it’s difficult to know for sure. But we should see at least one scene of the couple with their baby born out of True Love- a happiness that contrasts the utter devastation Emma experienced when she gave birth to and gave up Henry. More than anything, after such a long journey for Emma especially, the series should end with her, and the family she has found and created. The foundation of the series began with her son finding her in Boston and the start of their relationship. It should end with Henry and his wife and child reuniting with his mother and her husband and child, bringing everything full circle, perhaps concluding with her birthday, paralleling the Pilot where she made a wish that she didn’t have to be alone. Whatever the circumstance, the finale moments of Once Upon a Time should be with the characters that started it all, and the ones that became part of this beautiful family in very much the way the exquisitely moving montage in Season 6 finale did. That would be a true and touching happily ever worthy of the last page of this beautiful and poignant storybook.

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Once Upon a Time: Season 6 and Beyond Wishlist

As the start of Season 6 of Once Upon a Time approaches, there are always the inevitable hopes for what we would most like to see for our favorite characters. In Season 5, I made such a list– and some came true. But some still have not happened so those most definitely remain, along with some other new great wishes. Of course there is a healthy dose of Captain Swan wishes here, but there is also a lot from many characters. Here are my greatest wishes for Season 6 and beyond. MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

1. Emma and Killian Domestic, Quiet, and Happy Moments:
Now that Emma and Killian overcome darkness and even death, have a beautiful house that represents a future together, and are both “safe” in Storybrooke, I would love to see some quiet, romantic moments for the couple. Of course there will be drama and dangers, but in the mix I want to see quieter and happy scenes too. Dinner date nights out or in, strolling down the street holding hands, little or passionate kisses, and most especially moments in their house together whether it’s sharing a meal, a dance, or cuddling on the couch. Overall, I think it’s finally time for them to “go home and see what’s on Netflix.”

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2. Emma and Killian have “coffee”:
Relating to my number one hope, a wish I had from Season 5 was for Emma and Killian to finally consummate their relationship. Although some believe this has already happened, because there has never been a visual or verbal reference while other couples have had similar scenes, I still believe they have yet to take a step. And they certainly deserve it. They’ve endured so much turmoil. As Emma said before reaffirming her love, they have been through so much: “darkness, Hades, and being separated by realms.” And now that they’ve confirmed their love to be true, it’s time they are finally able to express that love physically. As I wrote “You can have a beautiful and sensual scene while still being subtle. I most hope to see them holding each other in their arms with adoring looks in their eyes.” Bonus points if we see Emma wearing one of Killian’s shirts, or maybe his old pirate coat. Here’s hoping for a scene (or multiple scenes) of such beautiful sensuality.

3. The Charmings call Killian “family”:
As I said last season on my wishlist, Snow and David showing support for Emma and Killian’s relationship was a silent way of accepting him into their family, but I hoped they would show this even more so, be more verbal and maybe even bestow a hug upon our dear captain. Many of these wishes definitely came true as Snow defended Emma turning Killian in a Dark One because that’s what their family does – they save people. This family also finds people, and as they followed their daughter into the Underworld to find and save Killian it was clear they consider him a member of their family, especially when he returned from the dead and David greeted him with a hug. However, there is still so much that can be said between them, and we have yet to hear them actually call him “family.” It would also be lovely to see another hug whether it be from David or Snow, but this time in the foreground of the scene.

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4. Henry and Killian bonding:
I have always loved seeing Henry and Killian moments. Captain Cobra scenes are often fun and ever so heartwarming. We’ve gotten some great scenes between them from going to rescue Emma, to Killian sharing stories of Henry’s father; but some of their best moments happened off screen – Killian taking Henry sailing and the two picking out a house in Storybrooke and creating Operation Light Swan. In Season 6 I hope to see more bonding between Emma’s two true loves. Henry was devastated when Killian died but we saw no real reaction to his miraculous return. Let’s hope to see that happiness he surely feels and lots of sweet moments on screen.

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And as we heard at San Diego Comic Con, Henry will be giving Killian list of movies to watch. Not only is this heartwarming and sweet but potentially could be hilarious, golden television. What should be on that list? I vote for The Princess Bride, Peter Pan, , Pirates of the Caribbean, Hook, and of course Back to the Future because Killian should finally know who Marty McFly is.

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5. More David and Killian moments:
As we heard from San Diego Comic Con, this is one wish that is going to come true as Josh and Colin told us that the Captain Charming bromance is going to be blossoming and I cannot be happier about that. Whatever is ahead I hope for some fun and meaningful moments. Two of my favorite episodes are “Good Form” and “White Out” and while these two have troubling admitting it, they work well together and do care about the other. I hope we get another hug or more verbal discussions of their growing friendship. It’s definitely an unique relationship. They have both lost brothers but have become brothers in arms. But of course Killian is also dating David’s daughter’s so a discussion about that relationship and perhaps asking for a blessing before proposing would also be a joy to watch.

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6. Captain Swan and Snowing Adventures/Charming Family and more Moments:
While I long for individual adventures for my favorite couples I would also absolutely love Season 6 to have these beautiful pairs working together on adventures, facing villains or enjoying some family time together – dinner at Granny’s or at the loft complete with Snow being the happy, doting mother asking lots of questions and David in overprotective Dad mode.

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Much like the end of Season 3 and 5, I would also be great to see lots of family moments, with all the characters together – time to breathe, be together and rejoice, or as is often necessary, to kick ass together because when teamed up they are all a force to be reckoned with. I want to see everyone: Emma, Killian, Henry, Snow and Charming, Regina, Zelena, Belle, Rumple, the Dwarves, Granny and any other members of the Storybrooke community.

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7. Another Captain Swan Adventure:
As I said last season, I love episodes that focus on this couple on a grand scale and we did have a few episodes like this – “Birth” and “Broken Heart,” and to a lesser extent “Swan Song” and “Firebird,” but those were more individually based. Of course they were amazing and beautiful episodes, but thoroughly heart-wrenching. Given that Season 6 is sure to be a bit lighter, I hope we see another adventure for Emma and Killian akin to “Tallahassee”, “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home” or “Operation Mongoose.” They make quite the team and whether it be in Storybrooke or somehow the Enchanted Forest again, I’d love to see the couple on some fun, fairy tale, romantic, and perhaps even swashbuckling, adventure together.

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8. More Snow and Charming Adventures and Romantic moments:
The show’s original True Love couple has had a bit less screen time over the past few seasons (in no small part to Ginnifer Goodwin’s pregnancies and evolution of the story), but they still have had their fair share stories where they face whatever may come their way together. They’re steadfast love and devotion to each other is beautiful and I hope Season 6 we see even more of them back in action and further exploring what the happy ending they are living entails, whether in adventures together like “The New Neverland,” romantic and moving scenes, like “Lady of the Lake,” or realistically working through an argument and coming out the other side united, like in “The Broken Kingdom.”

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9. A Captain Swan scene on the Jolly Roger:
I always say there is never enough of the Jolly Roger. The Ship is such an icon for Hook’s character and the show, so I always love scenes that feature this marvel of the vessel. We’ve seen Emma and Killian on the Jolly Roger a handful of times, the best being their fairy tale adventures in the Season 3 and 4 finales. But in both of those cases Killian did not know Emma, save for present time Killian who punched his past self. And in season 5 we had Emma trying to re-create their first date, but it was a very sad scene. This season I hope to see a happy moment for the couple-maybe a date on the deck of the ship, Killian and Emma at the helm and taking a romantic sail in Storybrooke’s harbor, or some amorous activities in the Captain’s Quarters. Whatever the scenario, I’d love see these two on this beautiful ship again.

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10. Captain Swan Engagement or Wedding:
I will admit, I truly thought the end of Season 5 was going to involve Emma and Killian getting engaged, given the literal Hell they went through. However, we got the next best thing – the most blatantly obvious piece of foreshadowing in an already long line of such, with a wedding dress perfectly centered in between the couple before Emma says “I love you.” While I don’t expect a proposal right away, I think it’s clear that wedding bells are on the horizon. The questions are – Will Killian ask David and Snow’s blessing, who will be the best man and maid of honor (my vote goes to David or Henry and Elsa), and of course who will be the one to propose – Killian or Emma?

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11. Time Periods and Characters We’ve Never or Have Rarely Seen:
It’s certain that many things have been seen on abundance on the show: Regina’s feud with Snow and Charming and Rumple’s time as the Dark One to name a few, so it’ll be nice to see something they have yet to or rarely explore. High on that list would be any Emma’s early childhood with the family who gave her last name, Swan. And now that we got the origin of her red leather jacket I would love to know the origin of her flower tattoo. I would also love to explore more of Killian’s childhood and meet his mother, as well as meet David’s father and see his childhood. David is one of the few characters we’ve never seen as a child on the show, and more backstory separate from Snow, for his character deserves to be explored. I also would to see how Killian made the transition from Lieutenant to a pirate– the time between him renaming the Jewel of the Realm to the Jolly Roger to when he first met Milah. His younger self is quite different and that charisma was surely something that developed over time. He mentioned visiting cities where the air smells of spices and women are carried on jeweled chairs. That sounds a lot like Agrabah, does it not? With Aladdin coming it sounds like the perfect opportunity to explore more of this time period. And for that matter what’s the origin of his wardrobe? They always parallel Emma and Killian so it would be amazing to see how Killian chose his long leather coat to parallel Emma choosing hers. I would also like to see a very young Henry in Storybrooke and how he interacted with Regina, meet Rumple’s mother, and see some of Hook’s time in Neverland because Robbie Kay was severely underused during the Underworld Arc.

12. Interesting Character Dynamics:
Of course I have my favorite character dynamics but there are some we have definitely not seen a lot of that I would love to see more of: Rumple and Emma, Killian and Snow, Killian and Belle, David and Henry, and Emma and Belle. I would also love to see the Snow and Emma relationship brought back to significance as well as Emma and Henry perhaps creating a new operation together.

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13. More of the Rumple/Killian rivalry:
Even though Killian has given up his revenge, as we’ve seen since Season 4 on, there is still no love lost between the characters and it’s always a treat to see these two characters and brilliant actors play off each other. I of course certainly do not want Killian’s heart to be controlled again, but I would love to see them continue to explore how they are very much foils to each other. They have been connected since Killian’s first episode and since the darkness was not destroyed, and Rumple is once again the Dark One, I’d love to see further exploration of what is surely an integral part of the overall story.

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14. The Evil Queen split does not take the entire season/Regina & Zelena bonding:
While I don’t want to fully judge until I see how it begins to play out, and I think this split will in the end help Regina further learn to take responsibility for her actions and accept that her dark instincts as part of her and not a curse or separate entity, the idea of this taking an entire season does not sound appealing. In fact it could grow very repetitive and tedious early on. The solution is simple – she needs to accept that part of herself and work to overcome it, not destroy as if it never happened or doesn’t exist. That is truly the only way she will ever find peace within herself. Moreover, I really enjoyed seeing that Regina and Zelena were actually close as children, so I hope to see them continue to mend and work of their very complicated relationship.

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15. More Familiar Faces Returning:
My season 5 Wishlist included hope for some familiar faces to return and we got some of them – Liam, Cruella, and Peter Pan. This season, we know that we will be seeing Archie, Dr. Whale, and Cinderella and Thomas (a.k.a. Ashley and Sean) again. I would love it if August will pop up again and maybe help Henry with his authoring, Ariel, Tink, or Elsa to reappear for some plucky wisdom and great friendship moments, and Ursula and Blackbeard for some seafaring or pirate adventures. And whether it’s in a flashback, a brief scene or even a reference, I’d love to see Arthur taking care of the Underworld and Lancelot and Guinevere hopefully together ruling Camelot together. Lastly, there’s still so much unfinished left to explore with Merlin, as well as Killian’s Father Brennan Jones and his half-brother Liam II. What happened to him? That story should be re-addressed.

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Season 6 and Beyond:
Since we do not know how many more seasons the series will be on, these last wishes are general hopes I have for the show.

We see the moment Killian traded the Jolly Roger to Blackbeard for a magic bean:
This was on last season’s wishlist as well. It was such a meaningful and significant moment for his character and I have ALWAYS wanted to see it play out in screen.

Emma and Killian Start a Family:
Whenever this is meant to happen, I would love to see these two have children of their own. Not only would it be nice to see Henry have a sibling, as well as Emma be able to experience what she never did with her son, but also the thought of Killian holding a baby and being a father is so sweet. It wouldn’t surprise me if they also adopted a few kids given their similar childhoods.

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Robin Hood Returns or is at Peace/Regina Finds Peace:
The charming outlaw was definitely a favorite character of mine so I was very, very sad to see him leave. I will lament what could have been. But of course this is very common on television nowadays, and I’ve lost many a favorite character before. I will accept it if need be, but I would love it if he was able to somehow come back to life. If that’s not meant to be then I hope we hear that contrary to what Hades said, his soul was able to move on and be at peace. And I know many may disagree with me, but if Robin cannot return then I do not want to see Regina given another love interest. At this point it would feel rushed, unsatisfying and even hurtful to those who loved Outlaw Queen. I actually would enjoy instead for Regina to find peace and happiness within herself instead of something or someone external. That would be refreshing and would make a great deal of sense for her character who has battled her inner darkness.

A Holiday Episode:
Whether it be Christmas (which is my number one choice), Thanksgiving, or another holiday I love to see what our characters would do on a special day like that. So far the only holiday we’ve seen is Valentine’s Day. It would be nice to revisit that day, or maybe a spooky Halloween episode, or a crazy and sweet Thanksgiving(which David mentioned would be difficult but certainly funny). But Christmas just holds so many lovely possibilities – the town building snowmen, tree trimming, opening presents, sipping hot cocoa and cinnamon by the fire, and fun with mistletoe. I know it’s unlikely to happen, but it still would be amazing to see on the show.

A Ball or a Dance in Storybrooke:
It’s no secret that I have adored the Royal Balls we’ve seen over the course of the series. They are beautiful and romantic grandeur. We may not revisit the Enchanted Forest or Camelot this season in the present day, but that does not mean Storybrooke cannot hold its very own dance, and I for one would love to see it.

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We Learn Mr. Gold’s First Name:
I know his real name is Rumpelstiltskin and it may simply be a running joke that we don’t know Gold’s first name, but it would be amazing if that fact that we’ve never learned it means they will be doing their own twist on the original Rumplestiltskin fairy tale. If you don’t know or are unfamiliar with the story, there have already been some elements incorporated in the show – namely in “The Miller’s Daughter” and his ability to spin straw into gold. But there is a part of the story we haven’t seen – a girl must guess Rumpelstiltskin’s real name or give up her child. In one case, going off this meta by hooks-and-feathers (which I agree with) – the placement of Gold in between the nursery crib and Emma and Killian in “Devil’s Due” is deliberate foreshadowing. And it most definitely could be an indicator of a story involving Gold’s name and the future child of Emma and Killian. And I’d love it!

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An It’s A Wonderful Life/What if the curse never happened/S1 curse Revisited Scenario: The show has done its fair share of alternate universes, memory loss, and crossover over adventures and when it comes down to it the show really soars when they do. The season 3 and 4 finales were astounding and beautiful, and the memory loss in 5A they created such an amazing air of mystery and made the reveal that Killian was also a Dark One even more surprising. I would love to see an episode where the curse never happened and see how the characters would interact, find each other and eventually set things right. For without the curse would Henry ever exist, would Rumple have found his son, would Regina have found happiness, and would Emma have met Captain Hook? Although many are tired of the memory loss trope, it is one of my favorites aspects of the show. And for Emma and Killian specifically, they hold a unique distinction of not having ever been cursed with memory loss or not knowing each other at the same time. I would love an episode where neither has memories of the other, but as always are drawn to each other and regain their memories in some magical or romantic fashion, perhaps having flashes of these memories along the way. How beautiful and amazing would that be!

Emma Celebrates Her Birthday:
It’s long been a theory of mine that the series will end with Emma celebrating her birthday to parallel the “Pilot,” only this time with her family, friends and, hopefully by then, husband beside her. I don’t just want to see this. I NEED TO SEE THIS!!! It would be such a poignant way of bringing the series and characters full circle. Emma would no longer be a lonely, lost girl, but a woman who is beyond loved and would no longer even need to make a wish. She would have everything she ever wished for.

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