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The Authors' Books, mostly known as Once Upon a Time Books, are magical items featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They first appear in the first episode of the first season.

History

Before First Curse

At some point during Hades' reign in the Underworld, some of the inhabitants there stage a rebellion against Hades, and rumors spread among them about a special book that can defeat him. ("The Brothers Jones")

In the Enchanted Forest, after the current Author, Isaac, forces the Apprentice to put Lily's potential for darkness into Emma, the Apprentice traps inside the book, where he can no longer alter the course of things, but only record what happens. ("Best Laid Plans")

While Geppetto is carving the wardrobe to combat the Evil Queen's impending curse, Snow White asks the Blue Fairy for details on how her unborn daughter will find them in twenty-eight years and break the curse. The Blue Fairy assures her that sometime in the future the savior will know their story, although she doesn't know exactly how this will happen. Unknown to them, one of the Authors' books will appear someday to guide the savior. ("Going Home")

During First Curse

Twenty-eight years later in Storybrooke, while Mary Margaret is cleaning out her closet, she finds a book entitled, Once Upon a Time, and takes it with her to her teaching job at school. She gives the book to one of her students, Henry, to inspire hope in his life. The book reveals the truth about Storybrooke to Henry; that the town is under a curse and only the savior Emma Swan can break it. ("Going Home")

Henry brings Emma to Storybrooke, where he tries to make her believe in her destiny as the savior and even starts calling their mission to defeat Regina, Evil Queen, as Operation Cobra. From this point on, he often uses the book as a device for knowledge about the townspeople's true identities prior to the curse. He realizes a coma patient, John Doe, is Prince Charming, after seeing the uncanny resemblance that the man shares with the prince in the book. Henry also uses the book to help Sheriff Graham piece together his true identity, the Huntsman, which has unforeseen consequences when Regina notices Graham is getting too close to the truth and kills him. ("Pilot", "The Thing You Love Most", "Snow Falls", "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

At some point, Henry buries his book at the site of his playground. He arrives to retrieve the book after hearing Regina is having the area bulldozed, but to his dismay, the demolition is already going on, leading him to believe his book has been destroyed. Rather than that, the book is safe with August, who took the book earlier and later adds the Pinocchio story to it, before planting the book for Emma to mysteriously find. After receiving the book back from Emma, Henry soon discovers the new addition of the Pinocchio story, with no idea August was the one who added the pages. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", "What Happened to Frederick", "The Stranger")

While Emma deals with the shock of Henry being in a coma after he eats a poisoned apple turnover that Regina meant for her, she is unable to come up with a logic explanation for what happened. She empties out Henry's backpack and spots the book, which leads her to realize magic may be involved. Upon touching the book, Emma receives a flash of memories from her short time in the Enchanted Forest when she was an infant. This revelation finally helps her believe in magic, something Henry has been telling her since her arrival to Storybrooke. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

When Emma and Mary Margaret disappear to another realm after falling into a portal hat, Henry consults the book about the owner of the hat, the Mad Hatter. He suggests to David that they should track down this man in order to get the hat to work again. ("We Are Both")

Later, Henry theorizes that the Dark Curse was capable of taking in people from other worlds, after learning Dr. Whale's true self is not an Enchanted Forest native, especially since his story does not exist in the book. ("In the Name of the Brother")

After Second Curse

Regina, miserable over losing Robin Hood when he leaves her to be with his recently returned wife Marian, comes to believe the Author of Henry's storybook can rewrite her story and give her a happy ending. She later tells Henry about her desire to find the Author, a plan he decides to join her in, which he dubs Operation Mongoose. Believing Mr. Gold knows the Author's identity, Henry gains an apprenticeship at the pawnshop, under the pretense of looking for clues about the Author. Sometime after Regina says a permanent farewell to Robin, who leaves Storybrooke to take care of Marian, Henry finds a hidden room in the Sorcerer's mansion that contains numerous blank storybooks, making him suspect that the Sorcerer and the Author are the same person. This is disproven when the Author, Isaac, is revealed to be trapped in a door illustration in the storybook. ("A Tale of Two Sisters", "Rocky Road", "The Apprentice", "Heroes and Villains", "Best Laid Plans")

Isaac tricks Regina into giving him both the magic quill and ink needed for rewriting stories. He begins writing new stories under Mr. Gold's directive in a blank book, Heroes and Villains, as Regina, Emma, and their allies search through various blank storybooks in the Sorcerer's mansion to figure out what Mr. Gold's plan is. Despite help from August, who directs the group into getting answers from the Apprentice, they are too late to stop Isaac from putting the finishing touches in the new book. This newly written story creates an alternate reality for Mr. Gold and the other Storybrooke residents to live in, one where the roles of heroes and villains are flipped. ("Mother", "Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Unaffected by Isaac's rewrite, Henry eventually tracks down the Author and sends both of them into the world of the Heroes and Villains book. Within the alternate reality, the boy joins forces with Regina and Emma to interrupt Robin's wedding to Zelena, in the hopes that this false world will be undone if Regina gives true love's kiss to Robin. Instead, Regina lays dying after protecting Henry from being grievously injured by Rumplestiltskin. Henry picks up the quill, which chooses him as the next Author, giving him the power to reverse things. With Regina's blood, he uses it as ink to rewrite a new ending for Heroes and Villains, one in which Regina's sacrifice restores everyone to their actual lives. After this reversion, the Heroes and Villains storybook becomes blank. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1", "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

Before Third Curse
With Isaac's story undone, Henry contemplates reviving his deceased father Neal by writing him a new story in the Once Upon a Time storybook. He uses Hook as a prime example of someone who died and came back, but the Apprentice points out that Hook's death occurred in a work of fiction, the Heroes and Villains book, and, Neal died in the real world. The Apprentice explains that Once Upon a Time book is meant to record the truth, and he advises Henry to honor those who have died by writing down their stories. ("Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Third Curse

After Hook is rescued from Hades' lair by Emma, he learns from his brother Liam that those who tried to rebel against Hades in the past spoke of a book that could defeat him. Emma deducts that the Underworld must have its own version of the Once Upon a Time book, which leads the heroes into looking for it, as they hope the book can reveal Hades' greatest weakness to them. To keep them from succeeding, Hades threatens Liam into disposing of the pages that the heroes are looking for, or he will reveal Liam's dark secret to Hook. The search continues at the Underworld replica of the Sorcerer's mansion, where Liam comes across the book and follows through with Hades' prior request. The heroes are unable to find anything useful in the book because of the lost pages, but Henry reveals he found the Author's quill in the mansion, and his wish to rewrite Hades' story. ("The Brothers Jones")

As Henry's time in the Underworld comes to a close, he decides to finish Operation Firebird, a mission to help people in the Underworld with their unfinished business so they can move on to a better place. With the quill's power, he writes down each person's unfinished business on blank storybook pages. Henry and his family later end up trapped in the library, but Regina and Emma's combined magic helps them escape. Before following his family to the portal to Storybrooke, Henry leaves behind the Underworld storybook with more pages that he wrote for those with unfinished business. After the heroes' departure home, Cruella hides the book underground near the River of Lost Souls, in order to prevent more souls from moving on. ("Firebird", "Last Rites")

Later, Hook and King Arthur go to retrieve the book after they acquire the missing pages from Hades' story. One of the lost souls in the river rises up to snatch the book, but the men defeat the being by burning it with fire. Hook catches the book before it can fall into the river, and then places the pages into the book so the information can get to Emma. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Emma is doing book research on Hades, when she stops to flip through Henry's storybook. She becomes sad while looking at an illustration of herself and Hook dancing at a ball during their time travel stint. After putting the book aside, Emma is shocked when it opens by itself and reveals pages from Hades' story, which she realizes is Hook's doing. ("Last Rites")

During Henry and Violet's quest to erase magic for good, they follow a clue from Neal's journal to the the New York Public Library, where they find innumerable storybooks. Henry notices each of them has the same cover and book title as his own book, but they contain stories different from his. After looking through all of them, he and Violet do not find anything in them about how to destroy magic. ("Only You")

In the second volume of the Once Upon a Time book,[2] the stories within it become instrumental in helping Henry figure out the identities of the Untold Stories residents. He attempts to use it to discover a stranger's name, however, the man tells him that he isn't important enough to have his own story. Later, Henry uses the book again to learn about Clorinda's story as a clue to finding where Ashley is. ("A Bitter Draught", "The Other Shoe")

Known Books

List of Owners

List of Users

Appearances

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Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

References

Start a Discussion Discussions about Authors' Books

  • More Authors, More Books

    10 messages
    • AlbOuat wrote:What if Alice is the Author of the second book?  I don't think fairytale characters that have a story can be tasked with...
    • That's right, except for Scheherazade, who represents the storyteller of 1001 Nights itself
  • Authors, Books and Realms

    • Ever since the seventh season was announced, one thing is bothering me, why does the beginning of a new book create new realms? Since the fi...