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The 10 Best Once Upon A Time Characters, Ranked | ScreenRant

One of the reasons that Once Upon A Time was so well-received was because of its unique spin and development of both classic and original fairy tale characters. While most audiences are already familiar with characters like Snow White and the Evil Queen, these versions of the character felt quite different and refreshing.

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As fans celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Once Upon A Time's pilot episode and rewatch the series on Disney+, it is the perfect time to revisit the show's best characters. By the end of the series' 7 seasons, the best characters are the ones who are particularly well-developed, entertaining, and who influenced the show's focus on redemption, hope, and what it truly means to be a hero or villain.

10 Cora

Cora is one of the best characters who was never a series regular. She is a significant influence on many of the main characters and plays an important role in the heroic or villainous paths that they choose to take. Rumplestiltskin shapes Cora's belief that ¨love is weakness," which informs Cora's decision to kill Daniel, the stable boy who is Regina's first love.

This is the first step in sending Regina down a villainous path and sparks the feud between Regina and Snow, as Snow is the one who told Cora about Daniel. When Cora emerges in the present-day storyline in season 2, she brings Hook into the main story. With even more influence like the fact that she abandoned Zelena and erased memories of Zelena and Regina together as children, Cora has a truly unique impact on the entire series.

9 Prince Charming

Josh Dallas delivers a perfect portrayal of a dashing, courageous, and compassionate Prince Charming. He is an admirable hero who bravely fights for what is right and is willing to make incredible sacrifices, like when he had his heart crushed to cast the second Dark Curse.

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He never gives up and is unafraid to think outside of the box to save the day and to save his loved ones. Sometimes he can come off as annoyingly self-righteous and too perfect, although the flashbacks and present-day storylines make sure not to make him be too infallible.

8 Henry

In season 3, it is revealed that Henry has the heart of the truest believer. This belief in magic and in what is seemingly impossible makes him a special character and the perfect individual to bring Emma into the story. In the beginning, Henry feels a little more like a plot device than a character.

As the seasons progress though, he gets more development as he grows up, he becomes the Author in one of Once Upon A Time's most heartwarming moments, and figures out how to be a hero in his own way. Everyone loves Henry, and this shared love helps many former enemies overcome their differences and learn to work together, like during the Neverland arc in season 3.

7 Hook

The season 2 episode ¨The Crocodile" is Hook's first episode and it does an effective job of getting the audience to empathize with and understand his character. The flashbacks in that episode reveal that Rumplestiltskin killed Milah in front of Hook and that ever since Hook has been consumed with getting his revenge against the Dark One.

As Hook develops and realizes that there is more to life than the dark and empty path of revenge, he learns to love and open himself up again. He immediately has strong chemistry with Emma and through all the obstacles they face, their relationship is satisfying because of how they help each other grow.

6 Snow White

OUAT's version of Snow White shatters the damsel in distress archetype that often surrounds the character. This Snow White takes control of her own destiny. She is an inspiring leader, a fierce warrior, and a compassionate schoolteacher. In one of Once Upon A Time's most iconic scenes, she saves Prince Charming, and it is certainly not the last time that she saves him.

Snow is a beacon of hope and light, but she still makes mistakes that make her feel human and relatable, such as when she was a child and told Cora that Regina was in love with the stable boy Daniel. Despite the bad blood that existed between them ever since Snow made this mistake, Snow becomes one of Regina's strongest supporters on Regina's hard-fought road to redemption.

5 Belle

Belle marches to the beat of her own drum. Her compassion, optimism, and intellectual nature enable her to make choices that others may not approve of or understand, but this does not deter her, as she knows what the right choice is for her. Belle is also a positive person who believes in redemption, but she is not a pushover. She is unafraid to end her relationship with Rumplestiltskin and won't allow him back into her life until he begins to make less selfish and toxic choices.

While the show confines a lot of her story to her relationship with Rumplestiltskin, Belle is more than her relationship with him. On numerous occasions, she proves to be a valuable and underrated hero, like the time she figured out how to free Prince Phillip from remaining cursed as the Yaoguai.

4 Emma

As a character who grew up in the world that the audience is from, Emma helps to ground the story and serve as a surrogate audience. She asks many of the questions that the viewers are curious about. Just as she slowly becomes more familiar with and less skeptical about magic, so does the viewer through her eyes.

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She begins as a closed-off, lone ranger kind of character. It is inspiring to see her develop into someone who believes in herself and opens herself up to new possibilities and emotional vulnerability. The only thing that prevents Emma from being the best character is that she is arguably too good all the time as she remains pure and selfless even when she becomes the Dark One.

3 Zelena

Fans both hate and feel bad for Zelena at different points in the show. As someone who engineers the resurrection of Rumplestiltskin, controls him with the Dark One dagger, and is able to kill his son Baelfire without any hope of bringing him back, Zelena quickly proves to be a formidable villain and one who relishes in wickedly defeating her enemies.

Over time, fans also see that Zelena is also a character who has been repeatedly abandoned, abused, and betrayed. While she makes a number of poor choices along the way--especially when pretending to be Maid Marian--she eventually learns how to grow from her mistakes and put in the hard work to earn her redemption.

2 Rumplestiltskin

Conniving, manipulative, and usually able to think ten steps ahead of almost everybody else, Rumplestiltskin is Once Upon A Time's most intelligent character. Watching his clever machinations unfolding is one of the most entertaining parts of the show, particularly with the charisma that Robert Carlyle brings to the character.

He also has some satisfying character development as he gradually learns how to be less of a coward and less selfish. He often sabotages his own growth, especially when it comes to his relationship with Belle, but he ultimately becomes the heroic and moral man that Belle always knew he could be.

1 Regina

Regina is the best character because she has the richest character development. She begins the show as the Evil Queen, the main antagonist and a ruthless villain responsible for casting the Dark Curse and keeping her enemies trapped under it.

By the end of the show, the same people she once hated and cursed elect her as the Good Queen of the United Realms. No character fought harder to become a better person and no one faced more obstacles than Regina. And she doesn't just evolve as an individual, she grows a lot in her relationships as she becomes close with former rivals like Snow White and Emma.

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