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Emma Swan

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Emma Swan
Background information
Feature films
Television programs Once Upon a Time
Video games
Park attractions
Portrayed by
Portrayed by Jennifer Morrison
Performance model
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name
Other names Savior (by Henry)
Swan (by Hook)
Princess Leia (in the Enchanted Forest)
Personality Brave, loyal, protective, caring and fearless but also angry and agressive
Appearance Slim, fair skin, long blonde hair, hazel eyes
Birthday October 22, 1983
Occupation Bail Bondsman (formerly)
Sheriff of Storybrooke
Alignment Good
Goal To break the curse
Return to Storybrooke and be reunited with her son
Save her son from Peter Pan and escape Pan's Dark Curse
(all of them succeeded)
Home Enchanted Forest (formerly)
Portland, Oregon (formerly)
Tallahasse, Florida (formerly)
Boston, Massachusetts (formerly)
New York (formerly)
Storybrooke, Maine
Relatives Snow White (mother)
Prince David/Charming (father)
Neal Nolan (brother)
Henry Mills (son)
King Leopold (maternal grandfather; deceased)
Queen Eva (maternal grandmother; deceased)
Ruth (paternal grandmother; deceased)
Prince James (uncle; deceased)
Allies Neal Cassidy, Red Riding Hood/Ruby Lucas, The Huntsman/Sheriff Graham Humbert, Grumpy/Leroy, Blue Fairy/Mother Superior,Aurora, Mulan, Pinocchio/August Booth, Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper, Gepetto/Marco, Cinderella/Ashley Boyd, Hansel and Gretel/Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills, Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, Captain Hook, Marian, Walsh (formerly), Magic Mirror/Genie/Sidney Glass (formerly), Elsa, Lily, Robin Hood, Anna, Kristoff Bjorgman, Ingrid
Enemies The Evil Queen/Regina (formerly), Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold (formerly), Dragon Maleficent, Cora, Peter Pan, Zelena,The Shadow, Tamara, Greg Mendell, Walsh/The Wizard of Oz, Magic Mirror/Genie/Sidney Glass, Marshmallow, Elsa (briefly), Will Scarlet, Ingrid (formerly)
Powers and abilities Magic of True Love, detect liars
Weapons Gun, Sword
Quote "You wanna change things? You're gonna have to go out there and change them yourself because there are no fairy godmothers in this world."

Emma Swan is the main character and protagonist of Once Upon a Time. She is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and the older sister of Neal Nolan who was sent to the real world after the Evil Queen placed a terrible curse upon the Fairytale Land. She was a bail bondsman living in Boston until her son, Henry Mills, found her and brought her to Storybrooke to break the curse.

She is portrayed by Jennifer Morrison.


The dark wizard Rumplestiltskin, determined to find his wayward son no matter what, had forseen through his dark witchcraft that Emma's birth would be a catalyst for his plans of travelling to the Land Without Magic, where his son was living. After manipulating Queen Regina, who was blinded by revenge, into enacting the Dark Curse upon the enchanted lands Rumplestiltskin tricked Cinderella into imprisioning him with good magic so he could manipulate Charming and Snow into creating a magic wardrobe that would allow Emma to escape the curse and travel to LWM.



Emma Swan is a deeply damaged and a deeply conflicted woman. She is a survivor, and used to being a loner, and therefore a sucker for the underdog. Against her better judgement, she will compromise herself to fight for what is right and to help those in need. She is strong and aggressive, but her brokenness and her emotions are not buried far beneath her tough exterior. Her first reaction to most things is anger, but she has spent her life trying to manage her temper. She is both rash and calculated, and is forced to deal with her instincts to protect her child, a child she believes she is not capable of mothering. In the simplest form, Emma is a list of contrasting qualities: She is hard and soft; she is intense and easy going; she is strong and vulnerable; she is safe and dangerous; she is logical and impulsive.

Powers and Abilities

  • Detective Skills: Emma has an eye for detail and is very skilled at detective work. She used this skill to work as a successful bail bondsman in Boston. She later used this when she was investigating the case of Kathryn's (supposed) murder.
  • Magic of True Love and Light Magic: As the result of True Love birth Emma is capable of using magic. This magic was always with her, even though she was living in a world without magic. However when Mr. Gold brought magic to our world her magical powers were greatly enhanced. Her practice of the magical arts grants various powers, of which are known:
    • True Love's Kiss: A magical kiss that can break any curse as long its fueled by True Love. True Love is not limited to romantic relationship but can also extend to the love of a mother for her son.
    • Immunity to Heart Removal: In the universe of OUaT, witches and wizards are capable to use black magic to penetrate a person's chest and literally remove their hearts. While in possession of these hearts the witch is capable of controlling the person, which remains in a state of full health despite the removal of such a vital organ. Emma is however immune to this form of black magic and if a witch attempts to remove her heart they will be hit by an energy blast.
    • Lie Detection: The power to detect if a person is lying. Emma used this power subconsciously on Earth, possibly due to the lack of magic.
    • Eclipse Inducement: The power to cause an eclipse. When Peter Pan and her son Henry left to Skull Rock to "save magic", the heroes found themselves blocked by Pan's protective shield that only allows people without shadows to enter. Emma and Regina join their magics together to create an eclipse, which would take away their shadows and render the shielding spell useless.
    • Telekinesis: She is capable of manipulating objects or people without physically touching. This was first seen when she had to telekinetically blast both David and Killian in order to save them from the Snow Queen.
    • Pyrokinesis: She is able to create and manipulate fire, often in a form of lighting a candle or a spell.

Role in Once Upon a Time

Emma Swan plays the role of the savior who brings back all the fairytale characters' memories and tries to protect her son, Henry, from evil.

Pre-Storybrooke life

Emma Swan was born in the Enchanted Forest to Snow White and Prince Charming, moments before the Evil Queen was set to unleash a curse on the land. However, the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest had come up with a plan to stop the curse when it had been enacted. Gepetto was to craft an enchanted wardrobe which would transport only one person to the real world, free of the curse. However Emma was born earlier and had to make the journey alone.

Secretly Gepetto had blackmailed the Blue Fairy to let his son, Pinocchio, travel to the real world with baby Emma to protect him from the curse's harm. When Emma arrived in the real world Pinocchio brought her to an orphanage. Despite the promise he made that he would look after her, Pinocchio left baby Emma in the orphanage to go with other boys of same age. Growing up in the foster care system, Emma bounces from family to family.

Years later an 18 years old Emma steals a car and meets Neal Cassidy, a handsome thief and the two fall in love. However Pinocchio had resurfaced under the name of August and convinced Neal to leave Emma so that she could fulfill her destiny. Emma and Neal had arranged to meet after he had sold stolen watches but instead Emma was arrested. While in prison she discovered she was pregnant and later, when she was released, gave up Henry for adoption.

A decade later, Emma works as a bail bonds person in Boston. She pursues a fugitive on her birthday. After turning him into the authorities, she heads back to her flat and lights a cupcake for her twenty-eighth birthday. A boy, Henry hows up claiming to be the son that she gave up for adoption ten years ago. plead for her to come home with him to Storybrooke/Maine. During the car ride home, he explains about the Dark Curse that caused all fairytale characters to be trapped.


Once Upon A Time Logo

Shows: Once Upon a Time (Episode List) | Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Books: Shadow of the Queen | Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale | Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic

Once Upon a Time Characters: Emma Swan | Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard | Prince Charming/David Nolan | Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold | The Evil Queen/Regina Mills | Belle/Lacey French | Killian Jones/Hook | Henry Mills | Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper | Victor Frankenstein/Dr. Whale | Princess Aurora | Prince Phillip | Mulan | Blue Fairy/Mother Superior | Widow Lucas/Granny | King George/Albert Spencer | The Genie of Agrabah/Magic Mirror/Sidney Glass | Mad Hatter/Jefferson | Milah | Robin Hood | Prince Henry/The Valet | Marian | Sheriff of Nottingham/Keith | Fairy Godmother | Peter Pan/Malcolm/The Pied Piper | Wendy Darling | Ariel | Zelena/The Wicked Witch of the West | Glinda/The Good Witch of the South | The Wizard of Oz/Walsh | Elsa/The Ice Queen | Anna | Kristoff | Hans | Grand Pabbie | Sven | Tinker Bell | Black Beard | Dragon Maleficent | Lumière | Abigail/Kathryn Nolan | Ursula/The Sea Goddess | Red Riding Hook/The Wolf/Ruby | Huntsman/Sheriff Graham | Baelfire/Neal Cassidy | Pinocchio/August W. Booth | Frederick/Jim | Severe Nurse | Mayor Tomkins | Quinn | Anita | Hansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava Zimmer | The Woodcutter/Michael Tillman | Martin | Myrna | Stephen | Donna | Prince James | Jack | Blind Witch | King Xavier | Wraith | Peter | Siren | Hordor | Pongo | Ogres | William Smee | Dorothy Gale | The Witch of the East | The Witch of the North | Sir Gaston | Greg Mendell | Tamara | Geppetto/Marco | Rapunzel | Igor | The King/Mitchell Herman | Rapunzel's Mother | Rapunzel's Father | Flying Monkeys | King Leopold | Queen Eva | Lost Boys | John Darling | Michael Darling | The Shadow | The Sheriff of Hamelin | King Midas | Nana | Mary Darling | George Darling | Medusa | Gus/Billy | Marshmallow | Zoso | Prince Thomas/Sean Herman | Prince Eric | Bo Peep | The Apprentice | Ingrid/The Snow Queen/Sarah Fisher | Lily/Lilith | Nova | Trish | Seer | Grace | Daniel | Lancelot | Stephen | Oaken | The King of Arendelle | Queen Gerda | Cruella | The Duke of Weselton | Hans' Brothers

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Characters: Alice | Cyrus | Jafar | Percy/The White Rabbit | Grendel | Jabberwocky | Silvermist | Red King | The Sultan/The Old Prisoner | Nyx | Tweedledee and Tweedledum | Mrs. Rabbit | Elisabeth/Lizard | Rafi | Taj | Edwin | Sarah | Dr. Arthur Lydgate | Amara

Characters of both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of Hearts | Anastasia/The Red Queen | Anastasia's Mother | Anastasia's Sister | Cinderella/Ashley Boyd | Little John | Friar Tuck | Grumpy/Leroy | Cora/The Queen of Hearts | Caterpillar | Maleficent

Locations: Storybrooke | The Jolly Roger | Enchanted Forest | Dark Palace | Dark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's Castle | Prince Thomas' Castle | Cinderella's Chateau | Neverland | Skull Rock | Wonderland | New York | Boston, Massachusetts | Land Without Color | Land of Oz | Emerald City | Arendelle | Agrabah | The Sultan's Palace | Sherwood Forest | Hamelin

Objects: Dreamshade | Dark One's Dagger | Enchanted Candle | Pandora's Box | Vorpal Sword | The Slippers

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