Friday, June 26, 2020

Operation New Beginnings: Regina Mills

(Guest Post by Tyler)

In Once Upon a Time, we get to see amazing representations of many of the characters we grew up hearing stories about. These include famous heroes like Robin Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, Prince Charming, Belle and Tiana. But while their stories are shown in compelling ways, the last few times I’ve watched the show I’ve found myself drawn more towards the characters initially considered villains such as Captain Hook, Zelena (the Wicked Witch of the West) and mostly importantly, Regina Mills better known as the Evil Queen.

Quick Spoiler Alert here for those who haven’t watched the show. If you are someone who loves seeing characters who change and grow take a look at this show on Netflix.

“My life was never just one story. It was many stories.” (Regina Mills; Once Upon a Time Season 6, Episode 1)

The character of Regina Mills could easily be considered the tragic villain. While it takes a few seasons (the first six actually) to get a full idea of her backstory, we learn that she just wanted to be loved. She wanted her mother’s attention and when she finally found someone she loved and who loved her, her mother showed her that attention by killing him. This is what led to her descent into becoming known as The Evil Queen.

“To some, a villain. I hurt people... in ways I can never make up for.” (Regina Mills; Once Upon a Time Season 6, Episode 1)

Now the typical story of the Evil Queen as a villain is known by almost everyone. She tries to kill Snow White. However in the stories told to us through the flashbacks through the seasons, we learn that it wasn’t just Snow and Charming that she tormented. She was the one who stole Ariel’s voice. She was the cause of Tinkerbell ending up in Neverland as a disgraced fairy. She not only committed her own acts of villainy but was a source of inspiration to other villains such as Maleficent. Eventually, she kills her own husband and starts an outright battle with Snow for leadership of the kingdom ultimately leading to her casting the curse that starts the show’s plot.

“To others, I'm... a hero. They've seen my strength, my ability to do the hard things, even when I thought I couldn't.” (Regina Mills; Once Upon a Time Season 6, Episode 1)

But the thing about people is, that they aren’t tied to one set of morality. Given the chance, some people will surprise you and change. It just takes the right motivation. In Regina’s case, that took the form of her adopted son Henry. We won’t take the time to even attempt to analyze the family tree in here but let’s just say, it’s a mess. After being the main villain for Season 1, Regina starts to see how her actions affect her son. She realizes that she isn’t the best at showing that she cares about people and takes a step back to learn how to do it better. At the end of Season 2, we really start to see this change as she was willing to sacrifice herself to save Henry and the entire town realized how much she was changing.

“I want to start a new story. One where the Evil Queen doesn't get a part.” (Regina Mills; Once Upon a Time Season 6, Episode 1)

There’s a lot of particulars that I could go into with the character of Regina Mills, and I’ll be back later to do just that, but to sum up the character of Regina, she is a perfect embodiment of how a villain turned hero should be portrayed. She went from “I will destroy your happiness” to having the people she once called her enemies become her closest friends. A wild ride to be sure.

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