- “I'm done reading about heroes. I want to be one.”
- ―Henry to David
Henry Daniel Mills is one of the main characters of Once Upon a Time. Henry is the biological son of protagonist Emma Swan, and the adopted son of former antagonist Regina Mills. A lonely boy, Henry came to believe that the people living in his small town were under the effect of a powerful curse that robbed them of their memories of their past identities as fairytale characters. This led him to look up his extended family; notably his birth mother whom he knew to be the key to everyone's salvation.
Powers and Abilities
- Belief: As the Truest Believer, Henry has the ability to summon what he wants at his will, though this is limited to only working in Neverland.
- Flight: With a combination of the power of Belief and Pixie Dust, Henry is able to fly.
As the Author, Henry is gifted with an Enchanted Quill, which allows him to use magic.
- Transportation: With the Quill, Henry is able to transport himself from one place to another. This can be extended to other people, as well as objects.
- Reality Warping: Henry is able to change reality. This can be done by writing what he wants his new reality to consist of.
- Limited Resurrection: Henry has the ability to resurrect a being, but only if they're trapped in the Underworld. If the person has moved on, he is unable to do so. This ability only applies, if he is in the Underworld himself.
- Knowledge of Stories: Henry has a vast knowledge of the history of the Storybrooke residents, being the Author and having learnt information from his book.
- Quill and Ink: As the Author, Henry is only able to use magic by using the Quill and Ink together.
- Laws of Magic: Henry is limited by powers, unable to resurrect the dead, change the past and make someone fall in love with someone else, though they're have been exceptions to this.
- Happy Ending: If Henry was to use the Quill to write his own happy ending, he would lose his status as the Author.
- Leaving Storybrooke/Magical Land: If Henry was to leave a Magical Land, he would be unable to use his powers.
During the first Curse
Henry is born in a prison in Phoenix, Arizona, and given up for adoption by his birth mother, Emma Swan, because she wanted to give him his best chance in life. His biological father, Neal Cassidy, was never told as Emma found out unexpectedly in jail she was pregnant. He is found by Mr. Gold and adopted by the mayor of Storybrooke, Maine, Regina Mills.
In Storybrooke 2001, when Mayor Regina Mills begins to feel the emptiness in her position of power of controlling the town, she believes the only way to fill that void is to adopt a child, but she realizes that she'll have to wait a long time due to the possibility of being placed on a waiting list, so she turns to Mr. Gold for help, but he then cautions her that when she becomes a parent, she should consider that she will be putting a child first. Days later, Regina learns that a baby has become available for adoption, so she travels to Boston to take custody of the child. The only warning the agency offers Regina is that the family has opted for a complete blackout concerning their lives (the sealed documents that Emma signed). Regina, convinced that she only needs the future, takes the newborn infant in her arms and names him after her father, Henry.
As Henry gets older, his relationship with Regina became strained, and she sends him to regular therapy sessions with Dr. Archie Hopper. When he is ten, he receives his cherished book of fairy tales from his teacher Mary Margaret Blanchard (his maternal grandmother's cursed persona), discovering that the residents of Storybrooke are characters from it after noticing he is the only one in town who ages. Hoping to break the curse, Henry finds his biological mother Emma Swan in Boston and brings her to Storybrooke.
He eventually convinces her of the truth by consuming a sleeping curse intended for her by Regina, nearly resulting in him dying. However, he is awoken with true love's kiss by Emma, which also breaks the curse.
After The First Curse
After the breaking of the Curse, Henry reunites with Mary Margaret, David, the Dwarves, Ruby and Granny, While Emma and her parents hug, he calls David, "Grandpa", which David joyfully acknowledges before embracing him as well. He is terrified when he hears that Dr. Whale is leading a mob to Regina's house, and begs Emma and the others to stop it; because Regina is still his mom. After Emma saves Regina's life so she would not break her promise to Henry, she asks her if it is true Henry asked Emma to keep her alive; apparently wondering if Henry loves her after all.
Emma and Mary Margaret are then dragged into a portal, leaving David (Prince Charming) to look after him. When Emma and Mary Margaret vanish into the Hat, Henry comes in with Ruby to stop Regina from strangling David. He calls her an evil queen when he hears what happened to his mom and grandmother, and tells her he does not want to see her until they come back. Then he goes to live with David in Mary Margaret's apartment.
Following the death of Regina's mother Cora, and her vowing to avenge Mary Margaret, Henry seeks to remove magic from Storybrooke. When Emma and Regina stop the trigger enacted by Greg Mendell and Tamara from destroying the town, he is kidnapped by the pair and taken to Neverland, where it is revealed that Peter Pan (Henry's great-grandfather) wants possession of him as he owns "the heart of the truest believer". Pan eventually persuades Henry to give him his heart, putting it into Pan's body, telling his great-grandson it will save magic when actually just himself. Regina reclaims the heart and resurrects Henry. However, Pan inhabits Henry's body in Storybrooke, until Gold corrects the bodies. However, Pan enacts the original curse again, forcing Emma and Henry to leave Storybrooke forever.
Before the Second Curse
Directly after driving out of Storybrooke, Henry and Emma obtain false memories of their life together. Henry's past is altered and instead of being put up for adoption, he lives with Emma in New York City. They recall a fire breaking out in Emma's apartment in Boston, which causes them to start afresh in New York.
During Second Curse
A year later, Henry and Emma are having breakfast in their New York apartment. She goes to answer the door, but does not recognize the man who claims to know her. After Emma shuts the door in the stranger's face, Henry asks about who was at the door, but she apparently doesn't know him.
Over the course of eight months, Emma dates a man named Walsh, who Henry takes a liking to. One night, Emma is proposed to by Walsh, though she is hesitant to say yes. Henry urges Emma to accept, since Walsh has proven himself to be a kind and loving man, and won't leave her like his biological father did. In the morning, Henry sends a text to Walsh asking him to come over for dinner at eight o'clock. Later, Emma realizes that he is right and the past is keeping her from looking forward, which Henry humorously takes to mean she is going to marry Walsh. Henry mentions the pre-scheduled date she and Walsh will be having and has already decided to sleep over at a friend's house so they can have privacy. The following day, he learns Emma did not accept Walsh's marriage proposal. As Henry begins prepping to head off to school, Emma suggests that they take time off and go on a trip. A guest arrives at the apartment, who Henry recognizes as the same man that came to their door as well as the person Emma had arrested for assaulting her. She introduces him to Henry as Killian, a client from work. Shortly after, the three travel via car to the town of Storybrooke.
Hook had restored Emma's memories, leading her to return to Storybrooke with both Henry and Hook to save their family from the Zelena, the Wicked Witch and Regina's older half-sister. With no memories, Henry is initially confused and suspicious of Emma's decision to relocate to Storybrooke, until Emma restores his memories with his book.
After the Second Curse
Henry later helps Regina to search for his storybook's writer. When Emma's magic goes out of control, after being manipulated by the Snow Queen, Henry tries to help calm her down, only to end up getting injured. He joins Mary Margret, David, Regina, and the others in their hunt for Emma. After the search is over, he watched Emma's display in the sky, when the Snow Queen decides to enact the Spell of Shattered Sight. Later on, Regina seals Henry in her office, to prevent other people from hurting him when the spell engulfs Storybrooke. Henry, after the spell, shows Emma and Regina a room full of empty books in the same house that Gold and Belle had their honeymoon at.
Henry discovers a page in the book which is different to the others and then discovers a key. He realizes that The Author of the book is trapped within that page, and so he and his family decide to free him, however he escapes and allies himself with Mr. Gold.
Once The Author has found his ink, he begins to write a new book, entitled "Heroes and Villains". Henry manages to locate the Author and they both eventually find themselves trapped within it.
Henry finds out that a happy ending for a hero in this universe will return things to the reality that he knows, but Isaac leaves him to be attacked by a ogre. However, Henry is rescued by the "Ogre Slayer": Rumplestiltskin, a heroic knight. Using Isaac's book as a guideline, Henry seeks out Regina, who is living life as a bandit "Snow White" in this universe. He tries to convince her that he is her son, but Regina does not believe him and throws the book into a fire. Convinced that a true's love kiss between Regina and Robin could solve the problem, he suggests that she seek him out, although Regina already knows him as a fellow thief who is a major rival of her's.
Regina informs Henry about the marriage of Robin Hood and Zelena, which he realizes will mark the permanence of the alternate universe when the church bells ring. Regina, still not believing him about him being her adoptive son, then suggests that he try finding his other mother, if he truly believes that the "Heroes & Villains" tale is real. When Henry mentions that his other mother was known as "the Savior," Regina tells him of the legend of "the Savior," who was trapped in a tower in the middle of the ocean by the Evil Queen. Henry goes to the Jolly Roger to recruit Hook and finds that the pirate is now employed by Captain Blackbeard. With this reformed Hook lacking in bravery, Henry has to take care of Blackbeard himself before telling Hook that he must help him rescue his mother, Emma, from the tower. Henry and Hook sail towards the tower where Emma is locked away and proceed to knockout the dark guard on duty. When Henry reaches Emma at the top, he is surprised to find that she was able to keep her memories as part of a cruel curse.
Henry and Emma return to Regina's cave, where the three of them go to Robin's wedding, but Rumple suddenly appears to stop them. Emma and Henry try to distract Rumple as Regina tries to work up the nerve to interrupt the ceremony. Rumple aims his sword at Henry, but Regina jumps in front of him just in time to take on the hit herself, opting to save Henry instead of pursuing Robin. Henry then picks up Isaac's quill and it activates, meaning that he has been appointed as the new author. Using the blood of the "light savior," Regina's, Henry writes, "because of Regina's sacrifice, Isaac's villainous work was undone."
Everyone is transported back to Storybrooke and the Sorcerer's Apprentice tells Henry more about his new powers as the Author, which do not include the ability to resurrect the dead, such as Baelfire, since he died in the real world. He urges Henry to resist the temptation of embellishing stories with the quill and Henry responds by snapping it in half, saying that "no one should have that much power."
Before the Third Curse
After the Third Curse
Six weeks later, they return to Storybrooke with missing memories as to how they all failed to get the darkness out of Emma except Henry. Revealed in a flashback, Henry has fallen in love with a girl named Violet; due to needing a tear from the pain of losing a first love to help free Merlin, Emma tearfully manipulates Violet into breaking Henry's heart. Due to Emma's curse, Henry gets another chance with Violet, as neither remembered each other from before; they end up sharing a kiss.
After Emma restored his memory, Henry helps Emma rescue Hook after he is sent to the Underworld for sacrificing himself to save everyone. When he arrived with his family, he comes up with a new plan called "Operation Firebird," this after learning that they have a chance to save the souls and help them move forward. However, when he comes across his old captor, Cruella De Vil, he is offered a chance to help her return to the living as he is the Author, this after telling him that despite having broken the quill in two he still has the ability to use the quill and magically write her a new life while he was in the underworld and at the same time restore Emma's soul as forgiveness, but this would put Henry in a situation that would force him to break his vow not to tamper with his family history. He then learns that he has the ability to bring others back from the dead when he came across the Apprentice, whose soul can't move on until Henry makes the right choice, which is to record the events in the book. Henry plans to re-write Hades' story that was missing in the Underworld version of the "Once Upon a Time" book. He also starts experiencing visions that allows him to illustrate stories but can not explain why they're coming to him. Before he returned to Storybrooke, he finished the unfinished businesses in the book, only to have Cruella hide it in Hades' lair.
Upon returning to Storybrooke, Henry began to experience a roguish streak as he believed magic is destroying his family in the wake of Robin Hood's death. This prompts him and Violet to obtain the Olympian Crystal and flee to New York City where his father was trying to find means to destroy magic. However, his actions also resulted in leaving Snow, David, Zelena, and Hook in the Land of Untold Stories when he used a holy grail to destroy it. Having regret what he did, Henry turned to a fountain and made a wish that he would reunite his family, and with the help of Emma, Regina, Violet, and Gold, along the New Yorkers who see him make this plea, the fountain succeeds in bringing Snow, David, Zelena, and Hook to New York and with that restored magic. Upon returning to Storybrooke, Henry learned that Violet, although born in Camelot, was actually from Connecticut, due to her father having slipped into an unknown portal. The then shared a kiss, implying that are now a couple.
After Henry and Regina meet with Mr. Hyde who has arrived in Storybrooke with his friends from the Land of Untold Stories, he and his family devised a plan to imprison Hyde which succeeds and later welcomes the new residents with food and shelter at Granny's. The next day Henry and Regina arrive at Granny's with a new plan called "Operation Cobra Part 2", and as Henry begins to write the names of the people of the Land of Untold Stories, a mysterious man leaves a note beside him for Snow and David revealing his name as Edmond Dantès also known as the "Count of Monte Cristo". Regina then reveals she hired him to kill them back in the Enchanted Forest and after he refuses to back down from trying to kill them Regina and Henry discover a girl named Charlotte who was Snow and David's handmaiden and who also resembled Edmond's dead fiancé. The Evil Queen then reveals herself to both Henry and Regina and reveals that she has been controlling Edmond the whole time. As soon as he is about to kill Snow and David, Regina steps in to save them and after Henry's phone is frozen with magic Regina is forced to kill Edmond. Henry then realizes that this new operation will be harder as Part 1 was about giving people back their happy endings and now in Part 2 these people ran away from their stories.
Afterwards, Henry has written down all the names of the new residents and he, Emma, and Hook find out Ashley's (Cinderella) step-sister Clorinda is now in town and they believe she wants to hurt but really wants to help her. After Emma's magic fails because of her hand trembling, the Evil Queen shows up and after Henry tells her to leave his mom alone she points out that she is his mother too and poofs the three of them onto a road somewhere in town to stop them from helping Ashley but they save her and her step-sister as well. After Henry and Violet start school together with Snow returning as a teacher.
When Henry and his family learn about Emma's secret they are shocked and hurt by it and for Emma not telling them and Henry then starts to blame himself for bringing her to Storybrooke for her to become the savior but she tells him that what he did gave her a better life despite that she might die. After they find Aladdin who reveals he use the "Shears of Destiny" to cut off his destiny as a savior, Emma wants to throw them away because she being the savior is what makes her special and she will not use them but Hook secretly keeps them and this causes the Evil Queen to try and cause a shift between Hook's and Henry's relationship but it fails when they both agree all they wanted to do is to protect and save Emma.
When the Evil Queen teams up with Mr. Gold and threatens the town with water from the River of Lost Souls, Henry along with everyone is forced to watch the Queen rip out Snow White and David's shared heart and put a twisted sleeping curse on it. After revealing that when one of them is awake and the other will be asleep, Henry agrees to lure the Evil Queen out for Emma and Regina to try to trap her and as a distraction from being nervous about taking Violet to the school dance believing she doesn't like him anymore but really is having a hard time adjusting to school and after the Evil Queen fails to darken Henry's heart by smashing the mirror instead of the Dragon's heart to save Emma and Regina.
Season 6 ends with Henry as an adult living in Seattle, Washington and approached by a girl claiming to be his daughter.
After the Evil Queen cast Emma's wish to have never been the Savior, an alternate reality is created, along with new citizens, who are duplicates of the Enchanted Forest. Among the people created with the wish is Henry, who was born to Emma and Baelfire. As grandchild of the King and Queen of the Enchanted Forest, Henry grew up within the castle as a royal, and at a young age, his father died.
Henry arrives late to his mother's birthday party, having been practicing for his knighting ceremony, which is due to take place the next day. Upon seeing his mother clutching a sword she previously found, he assumes it is for him and takes it. The family look at a portrait of Henry's father and he expresses his regret over not being able to know him, though Emma assures him that he is watching over them.
The inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest are invited to the Royal Castle on the day of Henry's knighting ceremony, despite the threat of the Evil Queen looming over them. Before his grandparents are able to pronounce him a knight, the ceremony is interrupted by the Evil Queen. Henry watches as she vows to destroy their happiness, unless a hero is able to challenge her, and she leaves, kidnapping Queen Snow and King David along with her. Distressed over what he witnessed, he turns to his mother for advice, who assures him that she will find a way to rescue them. Following his mother to the Queen's Castle, he finds Emma crying over the death of the King and Queen. Angered by the Queen over what he's walked into, Henry, chooses to kill the Evil Queen, much to the dismay of Emma who pleads him to stop. Regina, who refuses to hurt him, stays still as Henry throws his sword at her, but before she can be killed, Emma's magic is reactivated and her memories are restored, abling her to immobilize Henry and his sword before Regina is hurt.
- He inherits many traits from his family:
- His mothers' reclusive nature in the second episode of Season 4.
- His father's skills in theft and, occasionally, views of magic.
- His maternal grandparents' optimism and spirit.
- His paternal grandmother's drawing to some degree.
- The clever and cunning nature of his paternal grandfather and great-grandparents.
- Also, like his father and grandfather, he became desperate to save or get to his family that he ignored the consequences in the semi-final episode.
- His adoptive grandfather's faith in Regina.
- His family tree gets more expansive and the most complex out of all the characters in the show:
- In Season 1, his maternal grandparents are Snow White and Prince Charming, his great-uncle was Prince James, his adoptive grandparents were Prince Henry and the wicked Cora, and his great-grandparents were King Leopold (on Snow's side) and Ruth (on David's side).
- Then, in Season 2, his father is revealed to be Neal Cassidy/Baelfire. Their heritage leads to his relation to the sinister Rumplestilskin and his late ex-wife Milah. One episode later, Snow White's mother is shown to be Queen Eva. Ruth hinted her mother as well.
- In Season 3, Peter Pan turns out to be the Rumple's father (as an adult in a flashback, he mentions his father) and the Wicked Witch is Regina's half-sister. At the the end of the season, he has a baby uncle named after his late father. Then, Belle becomes his paternal step-grandmother through her marriage to Mr. Gold.
- Much later, into Season 6, his paternal great-grandmother turns out to be the malevolent Black Fairy. His half-uncle is Gideon, Gold and Belle's son. Also, his maternal great-grandfather was Robert. His mother marries Captain Hook/Killian Jones.
- In Season 7, he has a wife and daughter, Cinderella and Lucy. When his mother and step-father announce her pregnancy, he becomes a big half-brother to Hope Swan-Jones.