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This article focuses on the book written by Henry Mills.
For the television show, see Once Upon a Time.
For the Authors' Books owned by Henry, see Henry's Once Upon a Time Book and Second Storybook.
For the Underworld book, see Underworld Once Upon a Time (Book).

Henry: You know, I didn't exactly write Harry Potter.
Lucy: Or anything since that one book.
Henry to Lucy src

The Once Upon a Time Novel is an item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the twenty-second episode of the sixth season.


During Fifth Curse

As part of the Dark Curse, Henry has cursed memories of growing up as an orphan after being born in prison, and because he was never adopted, he grew up in the system. He fulfills his own wish for a family by creating a fictional depiction of himself in his novel, Once Upon a Time, a fantastical tale about him finding his birth mother, Emma Swan, who gave him up at birth, and persuading her into believing not only are fairytales real, but that she is the Savior who will save everyone from a curse. In addition to Emma, Henry creates Regina Mills, his adoptive mother whom he initially has a rocky relationship with. As such, it was his longing for a mother all his life which motivated him into making two mothers for himself instead of just one. The novel details Henry's adventures with his family as they battle curses and magical danger, with the last chapter taking place several years later when Henry is on his own adventure in the New Enchanted Forest, where he has his first meeting with his future true love, Cinderella. ("Hyperion Heights", "Wake Up Call", "Pretty in Blue")

With her own copy of Henry's novel, Lucy reads a chapter in it about Henry and his family finally gain peace and happiness after they win the final battle. She then shows up on Henry's door, claiming herself to be his daughter, and pushes her way in before surveying his stuffy apartment, remarking that despite him being her favorite author, he doesn't seem that successful. She tries to persuade him that everything he wrote in his book actually happened to him and his family, and insists he returns to Hyperion Heights with her to rescue them from a curse, including her mom, who was his true love Cinderella. Because Henry does not buy her story and unceremoniously tells her to go home, Lucy does go, however, she secretly swipes Henry's laptop and leaves him a note requesting that he meet her at Roni's in Hyperion Heights to get it back. Much later in Hyperion Heights, Henry helps Victoria Belfrey track down where Lucy and her mom, Jacinda, have run off to in order to retrieve his missing car. When Officer Rogers and Victoria's daughter Ivy show up to get Lucy, who Victoria has seized custody of, Ivy pulls out Henry's book from Lucy's bag and hands it to Rogers, insisting he get rid of it as it has caused too much trouble for their family. Rogers curiously opens the book and recognizes something in it, but snaps the book closed when Ivy notices his odd expression. Near his police car that night, Rogers looks at the book again, completely transfixed by an illustration of a blonde woman. ("The Final Battle Part 2", "Hyperion Heights")

The next day, Rogers takes the book with him to Henry's apartment to ask if he based the blonde woman on a real person. Henry states he did not and the woman is just a fictional character he made up, much to Rogers' disappointment, as the woman bears a striking resemblance to someone who once saved him when he was injured. ("A Pirate's Life")

Believing Victoria has something magical hidden beneath the mines under the Community Gardens, Lucy goes to the demolition site with Henry, reminding him that it's similar to the chapter in his novel where Snow White's coffin was hidden within the mines he and Archie were trapped in. Henry quips that it was just a story he made up, but Lucy brushes him off and sticks to her beliefs. ("The Garden of Forking Paths")

During Halloween night, Lucy goes missing while under Ivy's supervision, leading Henry to try to locate the girl by asking people passing by if they've seen her. Ivy, upon finding out he is helping Jacinda, looks down on him for doing so even though he's a self-published writer, to which Henry defensively replies he worked hard to sell that book. ("Beauty")

After Lucy sees a picture of Roni in different clothes with a much younger Henry, she recalls details from Henry's book and determines that Roni is the Evil Queen, Regina, who adopted Henry from Boston when he was a baby. Henry and Roni, believing the picture was photoshopped by Victoria, work together in Operation Heartbreak to help Lucy see that the fairytales she believes aren't actually real. However, Roni unexpectedly regains her memories after Ivy drugs her with a memory potion, causing her to remember Henry is really her son. Unable to tell him the truth, she instead asks about his mother under the pretense that this information will help Lucy, to which Henry reveals he was born in prison and grew up in the system after never being adopted. Henry is surprised when Roni expresses knowledge about Emma, one of his fictional characters, with him recalling that he gave himself two mothers in his book to fulfill his lifelong desire for a mother. Regina then almost tells him the truth but catches herself before she does and instead says she is glad that they are getting to know each other. ("Wake Up Call")

While Lucy is staying at a foster care home, Henry visits her and brings her an autographed copy of his novel. Lucy excitedly flips it open to work on figuring out the fairytale counterpart of Nick, her mother's ex-boyfriend, to which Henry reminds her that Nick is actually her biological father and she should try to accept him into her life. Lucy insists the curse made it that way, and that, in fact, what is happening is a "classic Kathryn Nolan situation". She explains that much like how Prince Charming was cursed to believe he was meant to be with his wife Kathryn when his true love was Snow White, Nick is the Kathryn in this case, with Henry and Jacinda being the ones who are meant to be together. Henry is skeptical and instead wonders if he is the Kathryn, especially since his novel ended with his fictional counterpart meeting Cinderella so he never wrote whether they got together or not. ("Pretty in Blue")

To entact her plan of making Lucy forfeit her power of belief so she can revive her daughter Anastasia, Victoria shows the Once Upon a Time storybook to Lucy. She admits it's all real, including everything Henry wrote in his novel, however, Lucy doesn't know the whole story, which she allows Lucy to read about in the storybook. ("One Little Tear")

Upon receiving news from Jacinda about Lucy's comatose state, Henry cuts short his trip in San Francisco and books a flight back to Seattle. In the hospital room, Jacinda encourages Henry to read his novel out loud to Lucy as it always gave her hope when she needed it. After reading up to the part where Emma starts to believe in magic to save her son's life, Henry considers out loud that he too would be willing to believe in the impossible if it means his belief could save Lucy. He decides he does believe in another reality where he really is her father, and then kisses her on the forehead in an attempt to evoke true love's kiss and wake her up. To Henry's disappointment, Lucy remains unconscious, in part because Lucy no longer has her belief and true love's kiss can only work if both parties have belief. ("The Eighth Witch")

When Roni returns from San Francisco with Kelly to check up on Henry, she sees him keeping Jacinda company in Lucy's hospital room, where the novel sits on the bed. Later, Jacinda is standing outside the room watching her daughter's still body as the book remains in the same spot as before. The book is left untouched by Doctor Sage when she enters to check Lucy's pulse. When Lucy begins waking up from her coma, the book is still beside her on the bed. ("Secret Garden")

During game night, Lucy retires to her bedroom early in order to give her mom and Henry some alone time together. She reads the novel while sipping her hot cocoa, but sets the book down after hearing her closet creak open. Lucy investigates and finds nothing inside, however, when she returns to her bed and grabs the book, a loose, folded-up storybook page flutters out from it. She opens it, and from reading its contents, discovers if her parents share true love's kiss, Henry will die. ("A Taste of the Heights")

The next day, in Lucy's room, Jacinda talks to her daughter about her shifting behavior with Henry last night. Lucy feigns disinterest in having Henry around her mother, while Jacinda points out that he is her favorite author. She then claims she has moved on from fairytales and no longer believes in them after going through real-life bad experiences. To further eliminate the possibility of Henry's death, Lucy declares she doesn't want her mom to see Henry ever again. Lucy goes to Roni for help and shows her the storybook page, despite that Roni didn't believe her the last time she insisted she was Regina. However, Roni says she does now, and when asked by Lucy if she read Henry's book, she confirms she lived the story. ("Knightfall")

Upon finding a copy of Henry's novel that the Candy Killer wrote notes in, Weaver persuades Henry to look through it and figure out what the killer's motives are. Henry has a hard time getting into the killer's mind at first since the novel was always meant to be a symbol of hope and now a psycho is using it for other purposes. Weaver suggests he has the means to stop the killer, but Henry becomes frustrated over being depended upon when he doesn't actually have the answers. To change his mind, Weaver compares Henry's likeness to his fictional namesake, who had hope and belief, and the best part about the character was his ability to fight for those things like Henry will. Henry agrees, stating he wrote himself into the stories to connect with them, leading him to he realizes the killer sees himself as a character in the novel too. From looking at the killer's notes in the Hansel and Gretel chapter, Henry notices he changed certain parts of the story, such as Gretel dying instead of having a happy ending and written references to being physically burned, leading him to conclude the killer believes himself to be Hansel who is avenging his sister's death. ("Breadcrumbs")


On-Screen Notes

  • There is an illustration of an apple tree on the cover of Henry's novel.[2] This is a reference to his adoptive mother's apple tree. ("The Final Battle Part 2" et al.)
  • The book blurb for Henry's novel is a slightly modified version of a synopsis for the show, which can be found on several online websites. The original synopsis reads thus:[3]
For Emma Swan, life has been anything
but a happy ending. But when she's reunited with Henry - the
son she gave up for adoption ten years ago - on the night of her 28th birth-
day, everything changes. The now 10-year-old Henry is in
desperate need of Emma's help because he believes from
reading a book of fairytales that she's the
daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming - who sent
her away from the Enchanted Forest to be
protected from a curse that was enacted by the Evil Queen.

Emma initially refuses to believe a word of Henry's story
but soon finds that his hometown of Story-
, Maine is more than it seems. Because it's in Story-
brooke that all of the classic characters we know are
frozen in time with no memories of their former selves –
except for the Evil Queen, who is Storybrooke's mayor
and Henry's adoptive mother Regina Mills.

Now, as the epic "Final Battle" for the future of both worlds approaches, Emma will have to
accept her destiny and uncover the
mystery behind a place where fairytales are to be
The show version reads (differences are set in fuchsia):[4][5]
For bail bond agent, Emma Swan, life has been anything
but a fairy tale. But when she's reunited with Henry - the
son she gave up for adoption on the night of her 28th birth-
, everything begins to change. The young boy is in
desperate need of Emma's help: he is convinced from
reading a book of fairytales that she is no other than the
daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming - who sent
her away from the realm of the Enchanted Forest to be
protected from a curse that was enacted by the Evil Queen.

Emma initially refuses to believe a word of Henry's story
but soon discovers that his sleepy hometown of Story-
brooke, Maine is more than it seems. Because it's in Story-
brooke that all of the preeminent characters we know are
frozen in time with no memories of their former selves –
except for the Evil Queen, who is Storybrooke's mayor
and Henry's adoptive mother, Regina Mills.

Emma will have to accept her destiny and uncover the
mystery behind a place where fairytales are, truly, to be
("Hyperion Heights")


[image begins]cemetery,
[image begins]he distance,
[image begins]ver was
[image begins] getting out of
[image begins] one ever did. Emma
[image begins]eely resolve in her eyes and
[image begins]her jacket.

[image begins]cket, it was meant to be an
[image begins] getting hurt by those I
[image begins] "But now it's just a
[image begins]tect those I love."

[image begins] armor, it struck Emma for
[image begins] truly come. And while
[image begins]d gained a family. She
[image begins]e. Because she was the
[image begins] still needed saving.
[image begins] portal. And with
[image begins]ed the tears from
[image begins] was. And with
[image begins]ortal and disapp-
[image begins]one, replaced
[image begins]en.... tick. It
("Hyperion Heights", "A Pirate's Life")
"Every curse can be broken, you just need belief. Maybe the help of your family. It took time but Emma learned that. And when she did, she knew she could believe in anything if it would save her child's life."
("The Eighth Witch")
  • When Henry opens the novel in his apartment, excerpts from two fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen]] can be seen.[8] The left page contains an excerpt from "The Thistle's Experiences", while the right page contains an excerpt from "The Loveliest Rose in the World". ("Breadcrumbs")
    • When Henry flips through the book at the police station, the first page he looks at contains the same excerpt from "The Thistle's Experiences".[9] The second page contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairytale "The Queen Bee",[10] before he turns the page to an illustration of the Jolly Roger.
    • As Henry continues to flip through the book in a different scene, the first page he is looking at (seen upside-down) contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairytale "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage".[11]
    • When Henry looks through the book with Rogers and Weaver, the first page contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairytale "Mother Holle",[12] The second page contains another excerpt from "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" (seen the right way up this time),[13] while a micro-excerpt from "Mother Holle" can be glimpsed on the opposite page.[13] The third page he looks at contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairytale "The Old Woman in the Wood".[14] A micro-excerpt from the ending of "Mother Holle" can be glimpsed on the top half of the opposite page,[14] while the bottom half contains a micro-excerpt from the opening of Grimm version of "Little Red Riding Hood".[14]
  • An excerpt from "The Darning Needle" by Hans Christian Andersen can be seen next to an illustration of Emma holding the first storybook.[15] ("Is This Henry Mills?")

Props Notes



  1. File:721ApprenticeVision20.png
  2. File:622NewBook.png
  3. Once Upon a Time (2011–2018) – Plot. IMDB. Retrieved on Septembe 13, 2018.
  4. File:701Blurb.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 TwitterLogo @andjwest (Andrew J. West) on Twitter. "Mid season finale tonight" (screenshot) (image of the book)
  6. File:701FlippingThroughBook.png
  7. File:701WhatABetterLife.png
  8. File:716TheCrimeScene.png
  9. File:716BookPages.png
  10. File:716BookPages3.png
  11. File:716BookPages6.png
  12. File:716ThisOneChapter.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 File:716TheyCorrectedIt.png
    The following is the excerpt from "Mother Holle" in its entirety, with the text that is glimpsed in the storybook novel set in bold:

    "Presently she came to the apple-tree. ’Shake me, shake me, I pray; my apples, one and all, are ripe,’ it cried. But she only answered, ’A nice thing to ask me to do, one of the apples might fall on my head,’ and passed on. At last she came to Mother Holle’s house, and as she had heard all about the large teeth from her sister, she was not afraid of them, and engaged herself with-out delay to the old woman.

    The first day she was very obedient and industrious, and exerted herself to please Mother Holle, for she thought of the gold she should get in return. The next day, however, she began to dawdle over her work, and the third day she was more idle still; then she began to lie in bed in the mornings and refused to get up."
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 File:716HanselAndGretelStory.png
    The following is the ending of "Mother Holle" in its entirety, with the text that is seen in the storybook novel set in bold:

    Mother Holle led her, as she had led her sister, to the broad gateway; but as she was passing through, instead of the shower of gold, a great bucketful of pitch came pouring over her. ’That is in return for your services,’ said the old woman, and she shut the gate. So the lazy girl had to go home covered with pitch, and the cock on the well called out as she saw her: ’Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your dirty daughter’s come back to you.’ But, try what she would, she could not get the pitch off and it stuck to her as long as she lived."

    The following is the excerpt from "Little Red Riding Hood" in its entirety, with the text that is glimpsed in the storybook novel set in bold:

    "Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else; so she was always called ’Little Red- Cap.’"

    Note that between the two micro-excerpts, the word "everything" can be glimpsed, but it does not fit into either story.
  15. File:720TheStorybook.png

Start a Discussion Discussions about Once Upon a Time (Novel)

  • How did Henry not get sued?

    9 messages
    • Schroeswald wrote: Walecs wrote: Henry most likely changed some things. Perhaps Henry simply wrote that the urn as seen in 3x22 contained Ing...
    • Henry's book wasn't sucessful for one thing, so it's likely Disney didn't know about it. Even discounting that though, most...