❝I was always the Queen. It was you who added 'Evil' to my name.❞
Cut from fairy tale cloth, Regina looks like exactly what she is: a princess who wanted too much to color inside the lines. She has the black hair and fair skin of her stepdaughter Snow White; they're the same height, weight, and dress size. But where Snow used to be a top-button girl and now she'll unbutton two, Regina's got a cup size on her, a little more va-va-voom and she's not afraid to show it. Her mouth is just a little too lush and sensual for a proper princess, especially with the little scar above it. Snow's make-up aims for pretty, while Regina's dark eyeliner and red lipstick scream siren; there's absolutely nothing demur about this woman, down to the littlest things, like how her tongue presses against her slightly parted teeth like she's on the edge of saying something impertinent. Even without her makeup, she's a Queen and not a Princess any longer, a woman who seized her place in history and held on with both hands.
As the Evil Queen, Regina dresses the vamp--skin tight bodices with plunging necklines, over the top headgear, tall boots and leather pants with long flared riding jackets or dresses with impossible trains. According to her, black is her color, and she's not wrong. Black for death and corruption, red for sex and poison (and apples) and only the 'white' of her skin for the princess she used to be.
As Mayor Mills, it's expensive suits, crisply tailored 'sensible' pant suits or pencil skirts and smart heels, all perfectly accessorized and never a hair out of place. Sure, the lipstick's still a little too red for politics, but that just makes her look like the shark that she is. Okay, yeah, her blouses plunge a little too low, but it's a distraction technique. She's smart and sexy but a little more subtle than the EQ (whose modern wardrobe consists of bad girl black leather). A little.
These days, though, she's dropped the E from her Q and the manipulative from her mayor, and that's mirrored in her costuming. Her hair's longer, the cut sweeps more softly against her cheekbones and invites a certain set of clever fingers. She's added bright, glory blue, resurrection purple, and passionate red to her palette. There's some wool and raw silk, suede and loose drapes, touchable textures instead of 'slide off me' satin and perfect pleats. Sometimes the lipstick isn't red or it's been kissed away (not so much anymore), and her dark eyes aren't mirrors but windows, sharing -- if you're lucky -- the quest for redemption in her soul.
(Whoops. My girlcrush is showing. But really, can you blame me?)
If I had to sum up Regina's personality in two words, they would be: Regina feels. In describing her, Mary Margaret (Snow White) says, "I know you, and you feel things deeply; with or without [your heart] you feel things with your whole soul."
If anything, Regina feels too deeply. She tells her greatest secret to ten year-old Snow White, because she needs her to understand. When that confidence is broken and her mother rips her lover's heart out, Regina (age maybe 18) declares her happiness destroyed forever, blames Snow for it, and vows to destroy Snow's happiness. Every time she might have turned back from that path, her mother, Rumpelstiltskin, and finally her own heart pricked her until she bled, and when Regina bleeds, everyone else has to bleed too.
Had to. These days, hundreds of hearts and lives and two dark curses later, Regina's finally learning what most people learn in their teens. The world doesn't stop when your heart breaks. No one owes you happiness. No one is to blame for your choices but you. It's not acceptable to pull the wings off a dragonfly just because you hurt.
After watching the good guys win and having a chance to be a good guy for her son's love, Regina "fight[s] against the darkness every day." She actively chooses not to defend her past bad actions. When she lashes out, she apologizes. It's not an act like you might see from a psychopath or sociopath trying to demonstrate that they understand human behavior. It's genuine. She's growing, learning from her mistakes, trying to be worthy of the happy ending she wants so desperately.
Regina's not a good person. She's not a hero. But she's not the Evil Queen any longer either. While she's not sure she can ever get a happy ending, she's sometimes impatient for people to recognize that she has changed. Like she says to Hook, "Can we drop the E word already?" But at the same time, she knows that if you only know her as the Evil Queen, she's a monster. When Emma wants her to meet Marian and says she's explained, but it might help if she could just meet her, Emma looks awkward, but Regina says, "It's okay. I understand." When Marian later says, "Maybe you're not a monster," Regina replies, "Maybe I'm not." That's pretty mild for the Queen of Sass.
And Regina is always the Queen of Sass. Scared? Sass. Hurt? Sass. Nervous? Sass. Annoyed? Sass. You get the picture. She almost never passes up the opportunity for a quip or a dismissive nickname. She's sarcastic and even when she's not sarcastic, she often sounds bitchy and sarcastic. The thing is, she often doesn't mean anything by it. Sometimes she does. But mostly it's just an outlet for those towering FEELINGS she's carrying around.
The other thing about Regina is that she's determined. She fights that darkness "every day". No matter how often life knocks her down, she gets back up. It's not that Regina's a survivor, like Hook, getting herself out of scrape after scrape. It's that she's, as Snow and Zelena recognize, resilient. She gets hurt, but she bounces back. Other people who've done the evil she has--take Rumple, for example--can't fight the blackness in their hearts. Regina can, she does, and, as long as she lives, she absolutely will.
Although Regina's not as skilled as her mother was, or her half-sister, or her former best friend (and maybe girlfriend), and lacks the sheer power of the Dark One or the Savior, Regina is still one of the most powerful sorceresses the Enchanted Forest has ever known. She has extremely good control of her magic and knows a variety of curses and spells without the aid of her grimoires. Until recently, almost all of Regina's magic was black magic fueled by rage or blood magic, but she has recently discovered the ability within herself to use light magic, powered by love. It's new, but she's got a gift for it.
OUAT magic theoretically can't do three things: resurrect the dead (truly, permanently dead); change the past (although that's been proven false); make someone love you (but it can help them remember the love they used to feel). Here's a representative list of things Regina can do with magic:
- short range teleportation to known or immediately visible locations
- fireballs and force blasts
- sleeping curses and poisons
- personal glamours
- summoning spirits
- transmutation, ie. turning a flying monkey into a stuffed toy
- apparition and disapparition of objects
- stasis spells
- taking hearts and maintaining them by magical means, as well as using them to control the owners
- minor healing and plant husbandry
- bindings of various kinds, including using trees and the like to trap people
- locator spells
- light spells
- containment spells
- spying through mirror magic
In conjunction with another powerful sorceress, like Emma Swan, the effects of her spells are strengthened and stabilized.
In addition to magic, Regina possesses above average intelligence, excellent administrative and organizational skills, a gift with plants, and an even bigger gift for sass. She's a skilled equestrian, a decent baker but not a very good cook, an above average swordswoman, and, according to Robin Hood, she's quite a good kisser.
History & Background
Before the First Curse
Regina's early years are basically a shitstorm of manipulation by her mother, Cora (the Miller's Daughter) and the Dark One (aka Rumplestiltskin). See, forced by a cruel turn of events to give up both her firstborn daughter and the love of Prince Leopold, Cora vowed to someday have the power of the throne (never mind it would be her daughter she placed on it). So, when her free-spirited daughter Regina came of marriageable age, she killed Leopold's wife, put his daughter Snow White into harm's way, and after Regina saved Snow, forced her into marriage with the grateful father, squick, her own old flame.
Regina wanted none of it and planned to run away with her love, Daniel, the Stableboy. Snow found them out and though she promised to keep it secret, Cora manipulated her into telling. So instead of running off to a life of love and freedom, Regina watched her mother rip out Daniel's heart and crush it. He died in her arms. When Cora forced her into the loveless marriage with Leopold, Regina blamed Snow and wished she'd never saved her life. All she ever wanted was to be happy.
Enter Rumpelstiltskin who endeared himself to a grieving Regina by helping her to banish her mother to Wonderland via Magic Mirror (where Cora became the Queen of Hearts). From there, it was an easy step to magic lessons with Mum's old tutor. Too bad she didn't know the evil imp was corrupting her heart so she (or her secret older sister, Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West) could cast his Dark Curse and send them all to a world without magic so he could find his son (Baelfire).
Of course, that's getting ahead of the story. Before that all came to pass, Regina was just a lonely young woman married to a man who idolized his dead wife and doted on the spoiled but lovely daughter (the fairest of all) marked out in the dead Queen's image.
With only the apple tree she'd used to meet Daniel under, an evil imp of a sorcerer, and her horses for company, Regina quickly grew despondent. Nothing was good enough to gain the King's attention, her magic lessons were too slow. Maybe she should learn from the dragon-shifting sorceress, Maleficent? But even that went sideways. Mal needed an intervention, not a pupil. And Regina learned little of magic but plenty about revenge. She brought Mal's Sleeping Curse home with her, and used it on Snow's precious show pony (because in a cruel twist of fate, Regina had talked Snow back onto her pony after her near fatal fall and Snow became as accomplished an equestrian as Regina had ever been, taking even that away from her).
Sometime later Rumpelstiltskin grew impatient with Regina. He pushed and pushed and pushed for her to take a heart, but Regina didn't want to become her mother. (Poor Regina. Little did she know.) He asked her why she wanted to learn magic and she told him she wanted to bring back her beloved Daniel--whose body she kept preserved in magical stasis (don't ask me when she learned or why Daniel wasn't worm food before she did it. Maybe decay goes slower in the Enchanted Forest). Anyhow, Rumple arranged with Victor Frankenstein from a neighboring realm (the Land Without Color) to fake a failed scientific resurrection of Daniel (in exchange for a heart to use to try to bring back his own brother). A devastated Regina was the more than willing to rip out the heart of Rumple's new apprentice, Trish, to prove herself ready to move on.
Rumpelstiltskin was positively gleeful. He might have overstepped a wee bit, then, telling Regina she couldn't turn away from the darkness because the darkness liked her. Regina unleashed her frustration on a balcony in the palace, destabilizing its foundation. It crumbled away beneath her. (She might have intended it, but she won't admit that to herself, let alone to you).
Lucky for Regina, Tinkerbell happened to be flying by and rescued her. That plucky little Green got Regina out of the castle for a few drinks. It didn't take long for Tink to realize Regina's problem. She needed love. So Tink stole some pixie dust to help find Regina her second chance at happiness. She led Regina to a tavern where, inside, her true love waited. Unfortunately, Regina chickened out on meeting him--The Man with the Lion Tattoo. It would've been a much shorter story if they'd met and fallen in love then, but they didn't. Regina lost her hope, ruined her own life and Robin's, and Tink lost her wings.
On one of his rambles, Leopold found a magic lamp and rescued the Genie of Agrabah. Instead of using the wishes for himself, he freed the Genie and left the Genie one wish to use for himself. Naturally, the Genie fell in love with poor, lonely Regina, and she convinced Daddy Dearest to help her with a few small problems. First, Daddy acquired a two-headed Viper from Agrabah. Then, the Genie promptly offered to save Regina from her Cleopatra-esque sacrifice and took the viper to kill the King. What happened next is predictable. Genie from Agrabah, viper from Agrabah, guess who gets the blame? Regina did try to send him to safety, but the Genie wouldn't leave her. He used his remaining wish to bind himself to her forever. Regina was horrified by that and feared desperately she'd be forced into another loveless existence, but haha, joke's on Genie, he became her Magic Mirror.
Several years passed with Regina the sole ruler of the kingdom, her father as her Valet and Snow doing, eh, whatever it is young princesses do. Regina took her misery out on her subjects, while Daddy looked on in despair. Also around this time, Cora took her husband to Wonderland and Regina employed Jefferson to bring him back.
On the anniversary of Daniel's death (Cora's big on knife-twisting, she killed Snow's mother on Snow's birthday), Cora returned from Wonderland by portal jumping White Rabbit. She told Regina she wanted to help her find her true love. Suspicious? Yeah, Regina was. And rightly so. Mom convinced the Sheriff of Nottingham, a loathsome fuck and Robin Hood's rival, to pretend to be Regina's Man with the Lion Tattoo and to get her pregnant.
Regina might not be an expert at it, but she knew what true love wasn't. When she discovered the tattoo was magically applied, Regina animated the lion and used it to tear the story out of the Sheriff. Of course she sent him to the dungeon, and she waited for Mommy Dearest to show up. Regina believed her mother meant to create a more biddable Queen for the throne. To prevent that from ever happening, Regina made and drank a potion to prevent that from ever happening, by ensuring she could never get pregnant.
Too late, Cora revealed that Regina had misunderstood and that she wanted Regina to have a child she wouldn't live in a world without love. She said she'd made a mistake thinking Regina would be fine in a loveless marriage as she had been; Regina felt more deeply than she ever had. Although she may have been in earnest to some extent, Regina didn't believe her. Nice try, Mom. Thanks for playing.
A few more years passed and Snow lit out for the forest, sure her stepmother would kill her at very least, soon. She wasn't wrong. Regina had every intention of ending her life, or at least her chance at happiness. At the Mirror's suggestion, Regina "hired" the Huntsman to bring her Snow White's heart, in exchange for a decree outlawing the hunting of wolves. However, as you do when you're a fairy tale princess and not the drawn-to-be-evil Queen, Snow convinced the Hunstman not to kill her. Good for her, but not so much for the poor Huntsman, since Regina took his heart and kept it, turning him into her anatomically correct, life-sized Ken doll. Between bedroom sports, the two of them chased Snow White.
Eventually, with the help of a werewolf pack (in exchange for control of the silver mine), they found Snow White. In the shape of the Huntsman's heart in a box, Regina carried the idiot ball, and a wolf, Ruby Lucas, got it away from Regina. It later appeared that Snow, Red, and the Huntsman were dead, Regina chased them down and--to save them from Regina--the Huntsman gave Regina his heart back, a willing sacrifice, in exchange for their lives.
Enter Daniel's brother, returned from seeking his fortune to find the Evil Queen responsible for his brother's death. He sought out Regina to avenge him, and she protested that she loved Daniel and meant to marry him. He would've been her brother-in-law. He, quite rightly, pointed out the fly in that ointment: namely, when has a match between a noble and a peasant ever worked out in the peasant's favor? Instead of adroitly pointing out that it worked out just fine for her mother, Regina suffered inexplicable snark-fail, flailed around and eventually killed him by accident. (This time, it really was an accident.)
There was some nonsense in here with Regina manipulating the Dark One's (Beast) maid servant (Belle/Beauty) away from him and keeping her locked up, as well as impersonating the Sea Goddess Ursula to coerce the Little Mermaid into giving up Snow White. That didn't work for her and at this point, she seemed a lot more like the Ineffectual Queen than the Evil one.
That is, until Snow fell in love with Prince James (Charming), and then all bets were off. Regina hunted them from one end of the Enchanted Forest to the other. Murdered people who helped them--including a villager named Marian (well, the first time she did, but then Emma Swan and Killian Jones went back in time and changed the time line and then Zelena killed her, but that's also getting ahead of and behind the story). Eventually James and Snow defeated Regina and her ally King George and sent Regina into exile (with the help of an enchantment from Rumplestiltskin that kept her from ever harming them while in the Enchanted Forest; how convenient for Rumplestiltskin that Regina could hurt them in the Land Without Magic he needed to find his son). Finally, when the wedding between Snow and Charming happened, Regina came out of exile to promise she would take away all their happy endings. (This is what happens when you don't invite the witch to the party, I mean, wedding).
Regina waited until Snow was about to give birth to her child and then (after an earlier failed attempt with her horse's heart) took her father's heart and used it to cast the Dark Curse--and then everyone awoke in Storybrooke, in the Land Without Magic, with no memory of the past, in fact, no awareness that they hadn't been there all along. Regina had her revenge, and the only fly in the ointment was that Snow and James's daughter was destined to be the Savior.
The Land Without Magic
Storybrooke, Maine, existed in 'our' world but was hidden from its inhabitants by magic. The same magic boundary that generally kept people from finding Storybrooke (not always, though, since the boundary had plotholes) also kept the inhabitants in the town. Whenever they tried to leave, bad things happened--usually car accidents--and so people didn't leave or even try. It remained this way for 28 years.
Regina made herself the Mayor, and all of her old nemeses had 'appropriate' lives:
Snow White was a school teacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard.
Her Enchanted Forest husband, Prince James (Charming), was a coma patient (unnamed until he woke from the coma when he was revealed to be David Nolan) with Regina as his emergency contact. Princess Abigail who he had been intended to marry was his Storybrooke wife, Catherine Nolan.And so on.
Red Riding Hood and her grandmother were Ruby and Granny Lucas, who owned a diner and a bed and breakfast.
Frankenstein became Dr. Whale (no clue how he ended up there, since he wasn't from the Enchanted Forest).
The Huntsman became Sheriff Graham Humbert and her occasional lover.
Rumplestiltskin became Mr. Gold, a skeevy pawnbroker.
Maleficent was locked under the library in her dragon form.
Belle was held in a cell in a wing attended by Nurse Ratched.
Her father was a florist.
Cinderella became single mother, Ashley Boyd.
The dwarves each had individual careers as handymen, pharmacist, etc.
The fairies all became nuns with the Blue Fairy as the head of the order.
The Sheriff became a skeevy dude named Keith.
Jiminy Cricket became Archibald Hopper, psychiatrist. The Magic Mirror/Genie became Sidney, a reporter for The Daily Mirror.
As the Dark Curse hit Maine, it stranded a father and son who had been camping nearby while dealing with their grief over the mother's recent death. Mystified, Kurt and Owen Flynn made their way into the town of Storybrooke which was not on their maps and had not been there the previous night, in search of a mechanic.
Meanwhile, in the Mayor's mansion, Regina Mills was waking up in the town of her creation for the first time. She thought it was everything she'd ever wanted. Snow White's happy ending ruined. Her in charge of a small, tidy town of people who respected her without precisely fearing her. She made her way through town, meeting her citizens (and recognizing them, somewhat gleefully) and then went to Granny's Diner where Granny served her pancakes and she and Graham traded compliments.
And then a little boy said he liked pancakes too.
Innocuous enough, except that Regina didn't know him. How could he be there? She set Graham on the trail, urging him to get them out of town as soon as possible. The next day, when she came to Granny's, Owen and his father were sitting in Regina's usual seat. She didn't like that, but let them sit there. Owen gave her a lanyard when he left as a thank you, and, touched, Regina kept it.
The next few Groundhog Days passed almost identically. Regina discovered that she didn't like having the town at her feet doing exactly what she wanted; it wasn't real. She told Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin) that she wasn't happy and he sent her to Dr. Hopper for therapy. Instead, she called Kurt and invited him and Owen to dinner. She made lasagna, Owen didn't like it, and she admitted she wasn't really good at cooking anything that didn't have apples. While helping her with apple turnovers, Owen asked why she wasn't a mother. She said it just hadn't worked out that way, and he told her she would've made a good mother. Not really understanding how families and relationship worked (as evidenced by her attempts to bribe Hansel & Gretel to stay with her in the Enchanted Forest), she invited them to stay in Storybrooke. Kurt, awkward, declined (this is a recurrent pattern with Regina, trying to play house and failing), leaving her crestfallen.
She went to Billy the mechanic (formerly a mouse) and asked him to slow down his work to keep Kurt in town a few more days, but Kurt had already picked up his car. She went to her office and used Graham's heart-in-a-box to tell him to keep Kurt in town by arresting him for drunk driving. Kurt, coming to say goodbye, overheard it. Regina tried to explain, Graham came and stopped him from fleeing temporarily, but he got away. Eventually he made it to the town line, and before he crossed, Regina tried one last time to get them to stay. Kurt told Owen to run, Graham arrested Kurt, and, at some point, Regina killed him.( Like she told him, she doesn't like surprises. They make her feel threatened and bad things happen when she feels threatened.)
For the next 18 years, Storybrooke continues in a similar sort of stasis. Nothing is known (yet) about what happened in Storybrooke during that time.
At some point toward the end of that 18 years, Regina went to Gold to help fill the hole in her heart. He found her a baby to adopt, and she named him Henry after her father. At first, Henry cried all the time. Regina worried that something was wrong with him and took him to Dr. Whale (Frankenstein). Whale couldn't find anything wrong with him and told Regina if she wanted to know anything else, he'd need Henry's parents medical history. It was a closed adoption, so she didn't know anything about the parents. She had Sidney do what he could to learn about them and she discovered that Henry had been born to an eighteen year-old girl in prison and that that girl was found on the side of a road eighteen years ago.
Regina freaked out and accused Gold of setting her up. He again sent her to Dr. Hopper, who advised her she needed to forget about what might be and focus on Henry's future. Taking his advice more literally than he could have imagined, she made a forgetting potion and drank it. For he next ten years, she raised Henry the best she could, with no knowledge that his mother might spell the end of everything she'd built. (It's still unclear how time both moved and didn't move during this period. Hopefully this will change in future seasons.)
In September 2011, when Henry had an assignment about family histories for school, he grew upset by not knowing his family. Regina discovered much later that Mary Margaret had given him a book of fairy tales (that had simply appeared in her things) to help him have hope. In it, Henry recognized the fairy tale characters as his friends and neighbors and the Evil Queen as his adoptive mother. None of this came out for Regina until a few weeks later when, on October 23, 2011, he ran away and later was returned home by his birth mother, Emma Swan, who he'd tracked using Regina's credit cards and the internet.
Threatened (and we know what happens when Regina feels threatened), Regina told Miss Swan to get out of their lives, it had been a closed adoption and she wanted it that way, and she couldn't change it now. Unfortunately, that was the wrong thing to do. Citizen by citizen, memory by memory, moment by moment, Storybrooke seceded from Regina's kingdom and joined Emma's.
They began a war over Henry (and Regina's control over her curse) that cut through the town in great swaths. At first, it was personal threats, retaliated when Emma chopped down part of Regina's beloved apple tree. It soon encompassed Mary Margaret and David Nolan--and how could it not, since MM was the reason for the curse in the first place? (Not to mention that she and David were Emma's parents, but they didn't know that yet.)
Then Sheriff Graham Humbert defected from his affair with Regina to Emma's camp, and worse began falling in love with her. Regina might have put up with that, but Emma's unexpressed magic unraveled the bonds of the curse and Graham began to remember snatches of his past as the Huntsman. He tried to talk to Regina about it, but she couldn't satisfy his questions, and eventually he led Emma to Regina's private vault (where she stored her magical items and the hearts she'd taken), to try to recover his heart. For taking Emma's side and helping her defeat Regina, instead of loving her the way she wanted him to, Regina crushed his heart and killed him. (It's one of the many many things she feels badly about, but one of the very few she truly regrets and would never do a second time.)
Increasingly unhappy with Emma's sphere of influence (and her role as Sheriff), Regina made more trouble for MM and David. Not that they needed help, between MM's obsession and David being a lying, cheating coward (since he thought he was married to Catherine Nolan). Regina took the position of Catherine's friend and tried to counsel her to stand up for what she wanted: David. But then Catherine, confronted with the truth of David's infidelity, took the unexpected path of forgiving him and MM and choosing to leave town.
At the edge of town, the curse kicked in and Catherine had a car wreck. She disappeared and Regina forced Emma to investigate the possibility of murder, then framed Mary Margaret for it. Emma followed all of the clues and the proper procedures and, much to Regina's glee, her nemesis MM was at once a the town slut, a homewrecker and a probable murderer. (This was a better plan than trying to seduce David and had less room for rejection).
Just when it seemed she would have her revenge, finally, Mr. Gold's schemes began to bear fruit. Instead of having an iron-clad case against MM, suddenly Emma had exculpatory evidence. Most of it circumstantial, but enough to cast doubt on the case. Regina made that evidence disappear, and then on the day of the hearing, Gold 'produced' Catherine. Alive. MM was free and forgiven, and once again, Regina had failed -- or been foiled.
Emma used the knowledge that Regina had framed MM as leverage to get more time with Henry. The more time she spent with Henry, the farther he pulled from Regina. Then it was back to petty swipes at Emma and scheming, but it wasn't working. She was losing and Regina knew she was losing. Time for an old standby.
With Jefferson's help, Regina retrieved the poisoned apple that had originally put Snow White/MM in magical stasis. She cut it up (cutting out the single bite MM had taken) and turned it into an apple turnover she intended to give to Emma--a fake peace offering. Emma arrived at her house, though, with the unexpected news that to stop the war between them that was only hurting Henry, she'd be leaving town, and only wanted visitation rights. It was almost the victory she wanted, but Regina no longer felt she could take chances with the love of her son. She gave Emma the turnover as a snack 'for the road'.
Little did she know that Henry was wise to her tricks and would stop Emma from eating it by taking a bite himself. He slipped into the sleeping curse, but with magic unpredictable in Storybrooke, and the curse not formulated for a child, it soon became apparent that Henry would die if something weren't done. Dr. Whale couldn't save him medically, and when he opined with Emma that it was strange, almost like magic, Emma realized that everything Henry had tried to tell her was true in a single instant. And in the next, Regina found herself slammed against a wall between an Angry Princess Charming and a bunch of medical supplies in a supply closet.
Regina didn't care about Emma's threats. In that moment, she realized she stood to lose the one thing that mattered to her. She crumpled, admitted everything, and banded together with Emma to retrieve a True Love potion from the belly of her old friend Maleficent (trapped in dragon form underneath the Storybrooke library). The Evil Imp gave Emma her father's sword (too gleefully for Regina's taste; he'd set this all up, she knew it) and Emma slew the dragon (sort of). While Regina was waiting for her to do that, Gold tied her up, and when Emma produced the potion, he stole it. Again she was dependent on Emma to help her--untie her--so they could go after Gold.
They were too late.
At the same instant, Regina and Emma's phones buzzed with messages. In all her life, Regina had never been so terrified as at that sound. Henry had taken a turn for the worse. By the time she and Emma reached the hospital, Henry was dead.
It was the first but not the last time they shared the same emotion, she and Emma Swan. While she wept alone, Emma wept over Henry. Regina watched another woman kiss her son goodbye and say she loved him--
And then wild magic pulsed through the ward. True Love's Kiss! And Henry was alive, and celebrating with his birth mother.
But that wasn't all. Jefferson discovered she had Belle captive and as repayment for her many treacheries, he released Belle and sent her to Mr. Gold. Mentor turned enemy would become a major antagonist, she knew, the instant he learned she'd kept his love for all these years, and so he would. After he brought magic to Storybrooke.
Alone in Henry's bedroom, sobbing over her losses, Regina sensed the onrushing wave of unleashed magic. Maybe, just maybe, the Charmings and Gold hadn't won.
I could write up the rest of Regina's history, but it takes too damned long and all you really need to know is that it took awhile, but between Emma and Henry, Regina began to grow as a person. She gave up black magic for her son, and started to make sacrifices and put herself in harm's way for the sake of others. She withstood torture to protect the town, made up with her old friend and current rival Tinker Bell to rescue Henry from Peter Pan, wiped herself and the town out of Emma and Henry's memories so they could be happy when the rest had to return to the Enchanted Forest, fell in love with Robin Hood and had him for a few days before she had to give him up again to save his dead-now-alive-again wife Marian. As she explains it, her family needed her, and she stepped up. If you want to know the details of her relationships and her growth, you can read my notes here.
Six weeks after giving up Robin, restored to her position of Mayor, she released all the trapped fairies from the Sorcerer's hat and Chernobog was released with them. Her old friends Ursula and Cruella called and exchanged information about Chernobog's intentions for a "second chance" in Gotham. Regina and Emma tried to bait Chernobog across the town line where it would have no power. It caught up with them in Emma's car and Regina sacrificed herself to save Emma, teleporting herself out of the car -- and arrived in Gotham.
Upon her arrival she met Snow White. Much to her surprise and the young woman's, they rapidly grew attached. Regina believed she owed this Snow White the kindness she'd denied her own stepdaughter, and Snow needed a mama. She had a brief affair with the druid, Atticus, and then, a longer but more casual affair with Rebekah Mikaelson. After an encounter with Hayley Marshall, Regina and Snow joined Yasmeen and Hook on a quest to find Hayley's missing daughter. They found Hayley's baby--and Robin Hood's son, Roland. Regina took the boy in and raised him as her own son. Eventually, her beloved Robin arrived along with Emma Swan and Ruby Lucas. Robin hadn't been there long when someone began trying to kill Snow. She almost succeeded twice and then plunged Snow into a deep magical coma-sleep. Bear entered her sleep, while Regina went in search of who she now knew would have to be her alternate universe self. After a verbal confrontation in the public square, she magicked herself and Mrs. H. to a secluded mountain canyon.
There, Regina did what she had vowed not to do again. She used black magic to take Mrs. H's heart, crush it, and end her forever.
Regina vowed she'd not use black magic again, but she also vowed that she would end anyone who hurt her son. She extended that vow to her daughter, and kept it.
After she brought Snow out of her coma, Snow promised to help Regina stay off the black magic, now that she had fallen off the wagon.
Things were just getting back to normal again. Regina had just begun to enjoy having a life with her family when first Snow and then Robin and Roland disappeared. She's been grieving them all for a month when she walks out of the Schinasi mansion in the moonlight to meet Emma for "for shots" and ends up on a winding road to nowhere.
In Search of a Happy Ending
Villains don't get happy endings. But Regina's not a villain anymore. She may have slipped off the wagon, but she's still winning the fight. She's found her daughter again. What happens next? I guess she'll find out.
What the Story Books Leave Out
- emerald ring, a reminder of her darkness, because emerald is associated with Lucifer
- small wood carving of a boy child given to her by Robin, in the lost year in the Enchanted Forest
- a bracelet of gold arrows given to her by Robin and Roland before they left
- her children
- Operation Mongoose (what Henry called the quest for her happy ending)
- feels too much, and is oversensitive, which makes her prickly, caustic, sarcastic and defensive.
- self-destructive, in that as much as she wants her happy ending, she has a long history of self-sabotage. Like not taking a risk on The Man with the Lion Tattoo.
- anger; she's better at dealing with it now, but there's a reason her magic manifests as fire when she's upset. She has a terrible, vindictive temper.
- damaged; Regina was abused by her mother, neglected by the husband who was her mother's old flame, and magically poisoned by Rumplestiltskin. She's responsible for her own actions, but as the Author puts it later, she got screwed over the most. He deliberately tormented her for his own amusement. Trust comes hard, and Regina's made herself even harder, because she knows eventually everything she loves will be used to hurt her. She'd been getting over that, but exeunt her Second Chance at Love stage left no bear in sight. (Ie, Robin disappeared without a trace) Now Snow's the only thing holding her together.