If everyone in Storybrook is a fairytale character, who is Emma Swan? Portrayed by Jennifer Morrison on the ABC studios hit show, Once Upon a Time, we still don’t know who Emma’s counterpart is. In the episode that aired Sunday (“The Price of Gold”) Henry told Emma she wasn’t ready to know. That means there is something to know! Can we figure it out?

Names often only slightly tell us who a character is. For instance, Cinderella or Ella was Ashley. And Snow White is named Mary Margaret. But then there’s Little Red Riding Hood who goes by Ruby. So, is there a clue in Emma’s name with her last name being Swan? (It gets confusing because she was a foster child, so we don’t know if that’s her real last name.)

Though we haven’t seen this done yet, there could also be gender switching for some characters. Such as, I don’t know, Sleeping Beauty could end up being a boy who has narcolepsy. We do know that animals are fair game, as Jimminy Cricket is in Storybrook.

I have one strong theory, but I will present you my top five ideas.

Brainstorming on Emma’s identity:

  • Rose-Red?  Red seems to be her signature color. But this doesn’t connect her to her Mother because Snow-White and Rose-Red were sisters in the Brothers Grimm story, and there’s no relation to Snow White (sans hyphen) that is on the show.
  • Bella as in Belle from Beauty and the Beast? She was helpful!
  • Mary’s Child because Emma’s child was taken away, as was Mary’s? This is pretty obscure, though.
  • Sleeping Beauty because Emma has only recently been woken up to this new world?
  • My leading theory The Princess Elisa from The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson because the princess rescues her brothers from a spell cast on an evil queen? Elisa is the one who gets banished, in the story, just as Emma was saved from the curse. Elisa’s brothers take her into a foreign land to be safe. But then Elisa works to save her brothers from the swan curse. Along the way she makes many enemies and is accused of witchcraft. Her brothers, as the swans, save her before she is killed. Elisa is able to save them from their curse. Emma could stand for Elisa. And as far as parallels go, this one really works. The only issue here is that not many people probably are super familiar with this story, so would Once Upon a Time really give up the chance at having Emma be a popular character?


If they hadn’t already mentioned the Blue Fairy (“The Fairy with the Turquoise Hair”), I would think there’s a great argument that Emma was her. Henry would be Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy starts out as his friend and then they realize she’s his mother. Uh, just read the Wiki for more details on the non-Disney story. Because it does make sense!

Tinkebell! Sidekick to Peter Pan (Henry) she’s brave and sassy! She enables others to fly with pixie dust, much like how Emma is fixing and helping others through her support.

If they wuss out and say that Emma is the essence of all of their dreams and hopes in fairytale worlds, then I’ll be a little disappointed! How about you?

React: What do you think? Which fairytale character is Emma Swan?