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Why We Should Stop Ignoring Henry Mills From 'Once Upon a Time'

Henry Mills brought 'Once Upon a Time' to life and helped build it up—so we may be seeing more of him.

By Maggie StancuPublished 6 years ago 6 min read
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The sixth season of ABC's hit fairy tale show Once Upon A Time is less than two weeks away, and fans are gearing up for what could be the biggest season yet. Season 5 left Belle, pregnant with Rumpelstiltskin's child, trapped in a box, Hook returning to Storybrooke alive and well, the death of our beloved Robin Hood, along with the return of the renowned Evil Queen herself. Between Regina's evil half, Mr. Hyde, and whichever villains The Land of Untold Stories can bring, this season could easily be one of the biggest and best.

However, fans have much more to look forward to than just the threats. This season we could be seeing the rise of a character that for many seasons has been thrown to the wayside. A strong character with much power and potential, but one that has been too overlooked for too many seasons. I'm, of course, talking about Henry Mills, son of the savior and former Evil Queen. The character responsible for bringing Emma (and us along with her) to Storybrooke. We haven't seen him in the front lines for some time now, but this season could change that. More importantly, it should.

Henry handled the weight of a main in Season 1.

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If you think back to Season 1, Henry, played by Jared Gilmore, had a lot of weight on his shoulders. He was one of the largest, most crucial characters in the Storybrooke plot, if not the entirety of the first season. He is the only thing that brings Emma, the Savior, to the magical town, and keeps her there. Henry was a part of some of the most dramatic and intense scenes of the season, from the blast in the mine shaft to the "death" scene in the finale. The fact that he was able to carry the weight of a main character in the first season speaks volumes, as one could argue that the first season of a show is the most important. It's what hooks the audience. Many had a hunch that the show wouldn't even make it to the end of Season 1, and yet here we are, moving onto Season 6. That's partially thanks to Henry.

Where did he go, and why?

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Henry was still present in Seasons 2 through 4, however, his role greatly decreased in importance. He quickly fell to the wayside and felt more like a character who was there when he was useful. Why is that? Is it because he had outgrown his use as a character? I don't believe so. The truth is that Once Upon A Time is filled with fascinating and lovable characters; from the ones we've known since Season 1, like Snow, Emma, and Regina (among others), to ones introduced throughout the seasons.

One Season 2 introductory was a real game-changer: Captain Killian Jones, a.k.a. Captain Hook. Portrayed by Colin O'Donoghue, Hook stole the show from that first scene. He became a fan favorite, and I believe that the writers catered to that. Hook, along with countless other characters, have rich histories. There is a lot to cover, and I think this caused Henry, who has no fairy tale counterpart, to become a background character (At least for the time being).

Season 5 introduced Violet and a new ship.

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Season 5 brought the biggest twist the show has seen thus far, and that is Emma becoming the Dark One. As she has always been the Savior (the one to defeat the villain), this made the stakes higher and the plot unpredictable. It also gave the writers a great opportunity to bring some attention to the forgotten characters, including Ruby, Mulan, and Henry. However, this had to be done carefully. The writers couldn't risk reducing the screen time of some of the show's favorite scene-stealers. OUAT is ruled by its ships — Outlaw Queen, Snowing, and one of the most shipped couples on television, Captain Swan prove to be quite the competition. So, the writers introduced a love interest to Henry's life from Camelot. Violet and Henry's awkwardly cute flirtation had us awing in all the right places and reminded fans that just because he isn't a handsome pirate or a sassy, former Evil Queen doesn't mean he can't have an enjoyable plot line. No one is as cute as Captain Swan, but Violet and Henry are now on the radar, and the fans care about them.

Henry's power as an author is unparalleled.

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Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when Henry found the quill down in the Underworld. The author is arguably the most powerful person in all of the realms, and passing that role to Henry was a brilliant move. As the youngest of the heroes, this gives him the power and credibility he lacked in previous seasons. It has already been announced that Henry is determined to give the people from The Land of Untold Stories the happy endings they deserve, and as he is the only one with this power, it suggests that Henry will be playing a large part of Season 6. As he should! He has a power that rivals Emma's, even the Evil Queen's! No one can do what he can, and this makes him a great asset. It's about time people started realizing this!

Henry possesses the heart of the truest believer.

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As we discovered back in Season 3, Henry possesses the truest heart of all of our heroes. He believes when no one else does. Who doesn't remember the empowered speech he gave to the people of New York City? He got everyone to believe in magic, even if it was for only a few seconds. That ability is something only he possesses. He knows that no matter what, heroes always win because they are good, and they remain so in the face of evil, no matter how scary that may be. Henry has not given into temptation. He is brave and loyal. The qualities that he possesses puts him in the big leagues, with the likes of both of his mothers, and yet somehow he has gotten left behind so many times. Perhaps that's because of his age. But didn't we learn from August in Season 1 that more people need to listen to children, and stop discounting their opinions simply because they are young? With his newfound power, Henry is gaining respect from the other characters and the fans, potentially signaling that it is finally his time to step into the spotlight. With the heart of the truest believer, there's no doubt that he can fulfill the hero role.

Season 5 set up so many potential plots for the upcoming episodes. Some speculate that this season could even be the show's last, and if that's the case, it will certainly go out with a bang. Henry brought the show to life and helped build it to what it is today. Without him, we may never have known Storybrooke, never have met our favorite characters. We owe Henry. Between his new relationship with Violet and the acceptance and use of his power, there's a good chance we'll be seeing more of our youngest hero this season. It's about time.


About the Creator

Maggie Stancu

(she/they/he) writer of sad, spooky, and supernatural things.

Twitter: maggiestancu

Instagram: maggiestancu

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