For today’s post, I have decided to do a countdown of my favorite female characters on the television show Once Upon a Time. I have decided to keep this list down to only characters who were adapted from earlier faerytales. So, that means that Emma Swan will not appear, even though I do adore her as a character!
Number 10: Ursula
~I am referring to the villain version character from season four, not the Sea Goddess referred to in season three. The alternate story of Ursula being the daughter of the God of the Sea, as well as originally a regular mermaid, made for a fresh take on her.
Number 9: Ariel
~Ariel in this series keeps much of her charm and I love seeing her backstory of knowing Snow and Regina! The one major flaw is that I got so annoyed that they did not use the word Dinglehopper when Snow pointed and asked what a fork was. Talk about a lost opportunity! But aside from my issue there, she is an interesting side character in the series.
Number 8: Zelena (Wicked Witch of the West)
~I really love this take on the Wicked Witch. Making her Regina’s sister was just a super fun way to make an even crazier family tree. She is so mean and cruel, yet remains very enjoyable to watch onscreen.
Number 7: Aurora
~I know that Aurora is not a major character in the series, which is why she ranks so low. However, I do love her pluck and determination during season two. Getting to see her actively want revenge is a really intriguing aspect of her character. I also do love the way she interacts with other characters when she does appear. The whole bit about what it is like to have been in a sleeping curse is very well developed.
Number 6: Belle
~Belle has all of her Disney staples of loving books and having an adventurous nature (wanting more than a provincial life). Having her ‘Beast’ be Rumplestiltskin was a great way of tying together multiple tales. I also adore her interactions with other characters throughout the run and how her friendships develop outside of that tumultuous (and controversial) relationship.
Number 5: Tinkerbell
~This sassy and fun-loving take on the pixie has to be one of my favorite versions of her character! I love the flashbacks of her history with Regina, as it showed her rebelliousness and her romantic idealism. Her own evolution as a magic-less faery trapped in Neverland, is itself interesting and sad. She was definitely one of my favorite side characters in the show, even though we did not get to see her much!
Number 4: Ruby (Red Riding Hood)
~This is one of the instances of making Red the wolf and I have to say I really love the way it was done here! Although I have always loved vampires more, I do still enjoy a good werewolf tale. Getting to see Ruby as Snow’s best friend is always a treat, as it’s a fun reference to another faerytale, Snow White and Rose Red. Plus the two are such fun to watch on screen together!
Number 3: Maleficent
~Okay, so I am a fan of Kristin Bauer van Straten due to loving her portrayal of Pam on True Blood. I really loved her take on Maleficent! She was such a good choice, as we know that she can easily play the snarky badass villainy character to perfection. Her arch in season four just made you feel for her in similar ways that the Disney Maleficent films do. I honestly cannot choose whom I prefer in the role, her or Angelina Jolie.
Number 2: Regina Mills
~Of course, Regina had to rank very high! She is such a complex figure, going from traditional hated villain to anti-heroine, to straight-up hero by the end. Her character growth and eventual acceptance by the heroes are so compelling to watch. I really loved seeing her growing to care more deeply as the series went on and how that impacted all of her relationships. In the end, she realized that having a supportive group of family and friends was even more powerful than going it alone!
Number 1: Snow White
~I could not choose any other faerytale character adapted for this series as my number one. She is a badass bow and arrow-wielding bandit version of Snow White. She is also still the hopeful and very loving character that most remember, but with these added layers of depth. I cannot get enough of this more complex and layered characterization of one of my favorite faerytale protagonists (she ranks second only to Sleeping Beauty). I have heard people say that this show was the first to make them like Snow since she wasn’t such a textbook goody-goody all the time. In my opinion, she was always awesome, to be honest! Oh, and as a bonus, the actors that played Snow and Charming fell in love on set and are married with two sons, which makes me all fuzzy inside.
Note: I did not include Elsa or Anna, as I felt the characters were portrayed too similarly to their original film, plus this show did not re-write the backstory but rather expanded it. The Black Faery was not included because she was more of a textbook bad faery than based on a specific faerytale figure.
~I hope that you have enjoyed this countdown. Did I mention your favorite female Once Upon a Time character? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!