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This article focuses on Henry's book.
For the television show, see Once Upon a Time.
For the Underworld book, see Underworld Once Upon a Time (Book).
For the other storybook which Isaac created, see Heroes and Villains (Book).

They're not fairy tales... Every story in this book actually happened.
Henry to his birth mother src

Henry's Once Upon a Time Book, commonly referred to as Henry's Book or simply The Book, is a magical item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


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Before First Curse

For eons, the Sorcerer and his Apprentice have chosen an Author, whose sole responsibility is to record stories in a book using a magic quill. During December of 1966, after the last Author has died, the Apprentice poses as an employee from a publishing company and sends an aspiring writer man named Isaac Heller a letter requesting his services. Upon meeting the Apprentice, Isaac is asked to select a pen out of various pens, to which he picks a quill and becomes the next Author. Like the previous Authors before him, Isaac's responsibilities include recording tales in the storybook with the quill's power, but he cannot use the quill to write his own happy ending, which will result in his termination as Author. ("Best Laid Plans", "Operation Mongoose Part 1", "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

At some point in the Underworld, some people stage an attempted rebellion against Hades, and rumors spread about a book capable of defeating him. ("The Brothers Jones")

Sometime after becoming the Author, Isaac changes a story in the book by manipulating the Apprentice into infusing a child with darkness and banishing her to another realm. Deeming him too corrupt, the Apprentice then imprisons him in the book's door illustration as punishment. ("Best Laid Plans")

During First Curse

One morning in Storybrooke, a schoolteacher, Mary Margaret, discovers a book of fairytales in her loft closet. At the school grounds, she notices one of her students, Henry, looking glum. He expresses frustration about not belonging in Storybrooke and his belief that his adoptive mother, Regina, doesn't truly love him. To cheer Henry up, she gives him the storybook, by explaining that the stories in it signify things will get better for him if he holds onto hope. While flipping through the book, he looks at a photo of a princess. When he looks up, he briefly sees Mary Margaret dressed as the princess. On a different page, the princess and a prince hold an infant girl, whose name he mysteriously recognizes as "Emma". ("Going Home")

From reading the storybook, Henry begins believing the entire town is under a curse cast by none other by the Evil Queen, who is also apparently his mother, Regina. He becomes convinced the townspeople have forgotten their true selves while trapped in a time freeze. Alarmed by her son's "wild" imagination, Regina sends him to therapy sessions with Dr. Hopper. Despite this, Henry never gives up on his ideas. One day, he skips therapy and steals Mary Margaret's credit card to look up his birth mother's information. Certain that his birth mother, Emma, is the savior who will break the curse, Henry shows up on her doorstep in Boston. During the drive back to Storybrooke, he animatedly talks to Emma about the curse. Once she drops Henry off at his house, he purposely leaves his storybook in her car. Meeting Regina for the first time, Emma casually mentions the book, but the latter has never heard of it. On the drive out of town, Emma finally notices the storybook is still in her car. Distracted, she crashes the vehicle into the town sign. The next day, Emma meets Henry's teacher, Ms. Blanchard, who admits giving him the book because he's a lonely child, and she had hopes it'd help foster hope in his heart. After Emma brings Henry home again, Regina coldly urges her to stay out of Henry's life. Inside the house, she takes away the book from Henry. From flipping through the pages, Regina sees pictures of her former self, the Evil Queen. ("Pilot")

Continuing to read through the book, Regina notices the last few pages are torn out. When she questions Henry, he flippantly states it's just an old book. Regina, hurt by Henry thinking she's some "evil queen", asserts that she is his mother. In turn, he callously remarks that she is not his mother. Later on, Henry secretly gives Emma the torn out pages to prove she is the child of Prince Charming and Snow White. He warns against ever letting Regina, or the Evil Queen, see them or else she will know they are trying to break the curse. Meanwhile, Regina schemes to make Emma look bad in Henry's eyes. She manipulates a conversation so Emma says, on cue, that Henry is crazy, which he walks in and overhears. During Henry's therapy session with Dr. Hopper, Emma comes to apologize to the boy. In an effort to understand his insistent imagination, she agrees that the curse is crazy and burns the missing pages of the book so Regina doesn't find them. Emma reasons that she only said what was necessary to throw Regina off their trail, which Henry thinks is brilliant. ("The Thing You Love Most")

Upon seeing John Doe in the hospital, Henry shows Emma a picture of Prince Charming in his book and notes that both men have the same scar under their chins. Believing Mary Margaret is Snow White, Prince Charming's true love, Henry persuades Emma into having Mary Margaret to read the Snow White fairytale to John Doe. Mary Margaret plays along, in order to help Henry see fairytales aren't real, but when John Doe grabs her hand while she is reading, she calls for Dr. Whale to take a look. Dr. Whale detects no change in John Doe's vitals and chalks it up to Mary Margaret hallucinating. After he sends her away, however, he phones Regina to inform her of what happened. During the night, John Doe awakens from his coma and wanders out of the hospital to search for someone. ("Snow Falls")

Having having dreams of what he believes to be his past life, Sheriff Graham visits Henry and asks him if he is in his book. Henry tells him the story of the Huntsman, who spared Snow White's life, and as a result, the Evil Queen ripped out his heart in order to keep him as a henchman. He also shows Graham a picture of the vault, where the hearts are kept, leading Graham to suspect his heart is hidden there. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

Emma discovers two orphans, Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, whose mother passed away recently. Henry shows Emma his book once again to point out that the children are Hansel and Gretel. Emma does not believe this, but Henry insists that their father abandoned them, but he must still be in Storybrooke because of the curse. ("True North")

After hiding his book at the castle playground, Henry rushes back to look for it when the entire area is bulldozed on Regina's orders. However, he is unable to find the book and believes it is destroyed. Later, to make up for his lost book, Regina gifts him a hand-held game console. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", "What Happened to Frederick")

A town outsider, August, takes Emma to the wishing well for a drink. When they get to this well, they read a plaque that states that this water has magical properties with the ability to return what was once lost. Emma does not believe this, but drinks the water anyway. Later, she is surprised to find Henry's book floating in a puddle underneath her car, which was left there by none other than August, who has been secretly adding new story pages to the book. Unknown to her, this is a ploy enacted by him to convince her to believe in magic and, most importantly, the curse. ("What Happened to Frederick")

Ruby, after quitting her job at the diner, is hired by Emma to answer phone calls at the sheriff station. Henry tells Emma about Ruby's story in the book, which reveals she is Red Riding Hood, and because of this, Ruby is good at finding things. While researching the disappearance of missing resident Kathryn Nolan, Ruby searches the Toll Bridge for clues on Emma's orders and finds a jewelry box with a human heart inside. ("Red-Handed")

Whilst combing the border of Storybrooke in her car for a missing Mary Margaret, she accidentally hits a man on the road, Jefferson, and apologizes by driving him home. Little does she know, Jefferson has his own hidden intentions for Emma, who he drugs with sedatives. Under his coercion, she is forced to follow him to another room, where he strangely asks her to make a hat "work" with magic. Believing she possesses magic due to her status as the curse's savior, Jefferson only wishes to go home to his daughter, Grace, who he believes is now the next door neighbors' daughter, Paige. Realizing this man thinks himself to be the Mad Hatter, Emma plays along with his ideas in order to escape. After this ordeal, in which she also helps Mary Margaret escape from him, Emma joins Henry at his school, where she sees Paige. Going by a hunch, she asks to see the storybook, and finds drawing depictions of the Mad Hatter and his daughter that closely resemble Jefferson and Paige. ("Hat Trick")

After Mary Margaret is charged as a suspect in the murder of Kathryn, Emma is reading through the storybook when August tries to inspire her efforts in exonerating her friend. He asks about the extent of her lie-detecting abilities, and how it relates to his writing. When he suggests she look at the case from the beginning, Emma brings him to the crime scene at the Toll Bridge, where Kathryn's heart was found in a hole. As Emma digs near this area, she discovers a shovel piece, which leads her and August, with Henry's help, to investigate Regina's garage. They find a shovel matching the piece they found, however, when Emma returns the next day with a search warrant, a different shovel is in place. Believing August is helping Regina, Emma accuses him of conspiring against her until finding out the true backstabber is Sidney, who is spying on her for the mayor. Soon after, Kathryn is discovered alive behind the alley and Mary Margaret is cleared of the murder charges. ("The Stable Boy")

While at the diner with Emma, Henry informs her the story of Pinocchio has recently been added to the book. August, the alias of Pinocchio, takes Emma out of Storybrooke on his motorcycle to the spot where she was found as a baby. He admits being the boy who found her, which she is skeptical of. To prove magic is real, August shows her his wooden leg, however, her lack of belief in magic prevents her from seeing what is actually there. To her surprise, August believes in the curse and also thinks she is the savior who will save everyone. She, with intentions of getting Henry away from Regina, rejects his claims and leaves. ("The Stranger")

Following a failed attempt to leave Storybrooke with Henry, in which the boy stops her by insisting she needs to break the curse, Emma realizes taking him away is not in his best interests. Fearing her presence is also not beneficial to him, she tells Regina of her plans to leave town permanently. Regina, who made a poisoned apple turnover, gives it to Emma as a parting gift, in the hopes the savior will eat it and fall into an eternal sleep so Henry will be hers. Things do not go accordingly, with Henry discovering the apple turnover, and in desperation to make Emma believe the curse is real, he bites into it, falling unconscious shortly afterward. ("An Apple Red as Blood")

Worried about Henry's state, Emma rushes him to the hospital, where she attempts to work out a cause for why he fainted. She empties out Henry's backpack and spots the book just as she realizes there is no logic answer and that magic may be involved. Once her hands touch the book, she receives a flash of memories, allowing her to see her father putting her in the wardrobe before the curse overtook the whole land. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

While Emma and Mary Margaret are trapped in another realm, David faces the pressures of finding a way to rescue them as well as being a leader to the townspeople. From reading storybook, Henry learns the hat that took away Emma and Mary Margaret belongs to a man named the Mad Hatter. ("We Are Both")

After willingly taking the sleeping curse, David's spirit travels to the Netherworld, where he attempts to relay a message to Mary Margaret about Cora and how to defeat her. While David remains asleep, Henry begins reading him the Snow White fairytale from his storybook. ("Queen of Hearts")

During a hectic night in Storybrooke, a stranger is admitted to the hospital, where Dr. Whale reconciles himself with demons in his past life. The next morning, Emma and her parents return to the loft since alleviating the stranger crisis. Henry learns Dr. Whale's true identity is Dr. Frankenstein, which is a story that doesn't exist in the book. From this, he suspects because Dr. Frankenstein isn't from the Enchanted Forest, there may be people from other worlds who were also taken by the curse. ("In the Name of the Brother")

After August is given a second chance at life by reverting to Pinocchio, Marco keeps his old belongings, including a door illustration from the storybook, in his woodshop. ("Selfless, Brave and True", "Unforgiven")

After Second Curse

With the accidental return of Robin Hood's previously deceased wife, Marian, he chooses to end his current relationship with Regina and honor his marriage vows. A heartbroken Regina wishes to kill Marian, however, she later realizes the other woman is not her problem, and her future with Robin can be fulfilled if the storybook Author rewrites her a happy ending. Grabbing the book, she summons Sidney in his mirror and explains her plan to find the Author. ("A Tale of Two Sisters")

When Regina prods Henry about the storybook Author's identity, he learns why she wants to find the writer. Coining the mission Operation Mongoose, Henry decides to join her in this quest. Later, he suspects Mr. Gold possibly knows something about the Author. Going undercover, Henry gains an apprenticeship at the pawnshop in the hopes of gathering information. ("Rocky Road", "The Apprentice")

In her vault, Regina sadly studies all the storybook pages illustrating happy endings to stories. Despite knowing he must focus on saving Marian, Robin rushes in and proclaims he cannot erase Regina from his heart. Dismayed with his confession, Regina steels herself by asserting they absolutely cannot be in each other's lives. She then leaves for home, where Henry sees her angrily flipping through the storybook. He inquiries about her relationship with Robin, which she confirms is over. Choosing his heart's desire over honor, Robin later seeks out Regina, choosing to be with her, which leads to them spending the night together. ("The Snow Queen")

The day after, Regina is remorseful about her actions because Robin is still a married man and tries to prove that they are not meant to be by showing him the storybook. This leads him to researching the book at the library, and to a mysterious discovery of a new storybook page featuring himself and Regina. He believes it's a sign they have a future together, which gives Regina a glimmer of hope. ("Smash the Mirror")

With Ingrid's defeat, the freezing spell she cast on Marian thaws out. Regina, having previously taken out Marian's heart to keep the spell from killing her, returns it to her. Despite that Regina believes Robin should stay with his wife for Roland's sake, Marian openly declares to her that she doesn't want to be with him if he doesn't truly love her. Later in the day, as Marian and Roland play by a lake, Robin confesses to Regina that he is still choosing her over his wife. Regina is concerned how this will reflect in his son's eyes, but he believes it's better to live honestly and set an example for him. He then shows her the storybook image of them as Regina smiles hopefully. However, their possible future with each other comes to an end when Marian is re-affected by remnants of Ingrid's spell, causing Regina to persuade Robin into leaving town with his wife, as she can only survive if there is no magic. At the town border, Robin shares a final kiss with Regina before he steps over the line. Once he is gone, a saddened Regina rips up the storybook illustration of them and then tosses the pieces onto the ground. While searching the Sorcerer's mansion, Henry discovers a hidden library with numerous blank storybooks, and later leads both Emma and Regina to the room. Learning of Operation Mongoose, Emma decides to join Henry and Regina in their search for the Author. ("Heroes and Villains")

Resuming her role as mayor of Storybrooke, Regina moves all her belongings back into the office. At some point during or after this, she retrieves all the torn pieces of the storybook image, tapes everything together and stores the reassembled photo in a drawer. As Regina is looking through the storybook for clues on the Author, Emma stops by with a root beer for her. Searching for a beer opener, Emma accidentally opens a drawer and sees the photo of Regina and Robin Hood. Regina hesitantly explains how Robin mysteriously found the image and his belief it was hope for their future together. From consulting with an "Oxford professor", Belle provides a ritual that Regina must enact to free the nuns from the hat. After Mother Superior is freed, Regina approaches her to show her one of the blank storybooks from the mansion. As Regina discloses her reason for needing the Author, who she believes is also the Sorcerer. However, Mother Superior clarifies they are not the same person, and only the Author can help her, although he has not been seen for a long time. When asked by Emma why the Author disappeared, Mother Superior has no answers, but she believes there are clues in his works to explain it. Emma then inquiries if Henry's book is considered one of the Author's works, but before the head nun can reply, the roar of a Chernabog interrupts them. That evening, Henry sits at the diner counter while scouring the storybook with a magnifying glass. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

When Henry gets donut crumbs on the storybook, Regina begins cleaning them off until she notices the page looks different from the others. Incidentally, it is a page from the Pinocchio fairytale, which August put into the book. Even though August has since been reverted to Pinocchio some time ago, Regina suspects he may have knowledge about the Author. Pinocchio proves to remember nothing from his time as August, even with Emma's attempts to trigger his memories, to which Regina vents her frustration on the boy. To cool things down, Emma and Henry take Pinocchio out of the room, and while they are gone, Marco gets into a heated argument with Regina. Regretful of her actions, she later apologizes to Geppetto for insulting his son. Moved by her sincerity, he gives her August's old bag, which might have something on the Author. Leaving the bag in Henry's hands, he dumps out its contents and finds the door illustration with a sticky note referencing the Author. ("Unforgiven")

After Henry's family rescue August, who has since been restored to his former self, from the villains, they bring him to recuperate at the apartment. Henry, while looking over the storybook, keeps watch over him and calls over Emma and Regina when he wakes up. Regina, spying on the villains undercover, asks August about the door illustration and where it could be. While Mr. Gold and his allies believe the door is in another physical location, August reveals the door in the illustration itself is the actual entrance to where the Author is trapped. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")

At the apartment, while Emma and Regina debate what to do about the door illustration, Henry alerts them to August's depleting condition. They take him to the nunnery, where Mother Superior oversees his health. Afterwards, Henry and his two mothers continuing to deceive the villains. Emma conjures a forgery of the door page, but Regina settles for taking a photo of the real one while both pages are placed for safekeeping in the storybook. During the day, Henry becomes alarmed after Emma and Hook fall asleep due to Maleficent's sleeping spell, but he himself remains immune because of previously being under the sleeping curse. Afraid the villains will come looking for the book, he takes it and flees to the mansion. As he waits for David and Mary Margaret to meet up with him, Henry sees a light coming out of the the door illustration's keyhole, which shines onto a table drawer, where he finds a key. Suddenly, Regina shows up with Cruella and Maleficent to retrieve the illustration. With a knowing, silent look from his mother, Henry realizes she wants him to give her the fake page rather than the real one, which he does. After they leave, his grandparents arrive, and as he tells them about the key, they insistently ask him to hand it and the door image to them. Puzzled, he complies and then leaves, carrying the storybook with him. David wishes to burn the door illustration page so Emma will never know their secret, but Snow persuades him that they can't be this selfish. After Emma learns the truth from them, she decides to free the Author from the door, in order to get answers from him about herself. The Author, Isaac, has other plans, however, and escapes after being freed. ("Best Laid Plans")

After Third Curse

In the Underworld, Liam tells Hook and Emma about an unsuccessful rebellion that was staged against Hades in the past, and how rumors spread about a special book that could help to defeat him. Emma theorizes there may be an Underworld equivalent of the Once Upon a Time book, which leads them to search for it. Liam comes across the book at the Sorcerer's mansion, but because of a deal with Hades, he rips out the pages containing Hades' story and drops them down a well. ("The Brothers Jones")

While doing book research on Hades in Storybrooke, Emma takes a break by flipping through the storybook. She looks longingly at a depiction of herself and Hook during their time travel stint, and then sets the book aside after getting teary-eyed over the picture. Suddenly, the book glows and opens by itself, revealing Hades' story to her. Emma then realizes Hook, who is still in the Underworld, is helping her. Taking the pages from Hades' story with her, she goes to the town hall, where she tries to bring down Zelena's protection spell. Zelena stops Emma before she can completely decimate the barrier and then picks up the fallen pages. ("Last Rites")

After Henry flees with Violet to New York, they attempt to find out how to destroy magic for good. The pair follow up with a lead at the New York library, where Henry finds multiple Once Upon a Time books bearing a similar likeness to his own book, except they contain a multitude of different stories. ("Only You")

As Emma's parents are out searching for a sapling to defeat the Evil Queen, Emma and Hook are cleaning out dangerous objects from Regina's vault, where they intend to imprison the Queen after her capture. Emma, fearful of what will happen if their mission to stop the Queen fails, is unable to stop her hand from trembling. To calm her down, Hook opens the storybook and revisits the tale of Snow White and Prince Charming, and how she was born from true love, the most powerful magic that enables her to do anything. ("Heartless")


On-Screen Notes


Production Notes

  • When creating the book, the prop department brought in every style and type of book they could find, and picked out an antique accounting book. They aged it up a little, and the art department would press stamps into the cover of the book to change the cover. A book builder made replicas of the finished product. The prop department created many pages with text on them, and added several illustrations.[36]
    • The show does several transitions from the book to live action. If they're lucky, the prop department creates an illustration out of a screen-grab and inserts it into the book. If the prop department's schedule takes before the filming of the main action of the story line, they put a green page in the book, and the visual effects department will make their own illustration.[36]



Other Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 File:101Caterpillar.png
  2. File:202MadHattersHat.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 File:101FlyingMonkeys.png
  4. File:521CrystalPage.png
  5. File:413ThatsWhy.png
  6. File:117Doors.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 File:107IsSnowWhite.png
  11. File:202SnowWhiteAndRoseRed.png
  12. File:120OrMaybe.png
  13. [
  14. File:407ThomasCinderellaStorybook.png
  15. File:607FoundEachOther.png
  16. File:607AndThen.png
  17. File:607TheyFoundYou.png
  18. File:616SnowWhiteAndRoseRed.png
  20. File:103FlyingMonkeys.png
  21. File:404AliceAndTheWhiteRabbit.png
  22. File:101Wardrobe.png
  23. File:321TheGnome.png
  24. File:602WhereYouLeftOff.png
  25. File:122SomethingsComing.png
  26. File:202HasASignUpSheet.png
  27. File:310TheGoldenBird.png
  28. File:421TheGoldenBird.png
  29. File:310TheGoldenBird2.png
  30. File:321AllGone2.png
  31. File:218TheGoldenBird2.png
  32. 32.0 32.1 File:413GoldenBird.png
  34. File:621BookPage.png
  35. File:101MoreOldFashioned.png
  36. 36.0 36.1 Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic - Page 43. London: Titan Books, October 2013
  37. File:408StoriesAbout.png
  38. File:408IsThis.png
  39. File:311IDontKnow.png

Start a Discussion Discussions about Henry's Once Upon a Time Book

  • how doesn't anywone understand Henry wasn't delusional

    7 messages
    • yeah but i wount think it was just henry's imagination. othe only rason he believed  his theory was the picture. if they wo...
    • DatNuttyKid wrote: Alternatively, it could just be them declaring it a coincidence. If you saw a storybook character that looked a lot like y...
  • Once Upon a Time's Book

    4 messages
    • I thing I understand, like: all the stories that happened in the past the enchanted forest were recorded in the book pro an author of our wo...
    • and the author travel in the worlds/universe recording the histories of the people inhabitant....