This article is chock full of SPOILERS, so please read ahead at your own risk.
Ohana is a Hawaiian concept we were introduced to in Disney’s 2002 film Lilo & Stitch. Ohana is the spirit of family, whether blood related, adopted, or implied. It means, according to the titular character Lilo, that “nobody gets left behind — or forgotten.”
The writers of Disney’s Once Upon a Time seem to take the concept of ohana to max levels as they cultivate the characters’ family trees. I’m really intrigued by how the show addresses familial relationships because, as the youngest in my cluster of my family tree, I enjoy looking back on past generations and how they have and still affect me.
There are better, neater family trees for OUAT out there, but I thought I’d try my hand at making my own for the purposes of pre-writing organization. Straight up, y’all, I broke the family tree maker software. It couldn’t, or wouldn’t, readjust its formating to properly illustrate these complicated relationships and just glitched itself into a peaceful sleep.
So instead of boring you with a rehash worthy of Ancestry.com — Ooh, fun fact, at least two other people have made OUAT family trees on Ancestry.com — I’ll just
bore you share with you my observations on a very prolific family tree.
I had to start somewhere, so I decided to start with someone who was just a leaf, not a branch himself. And let me tell you, there are very few “just leaves” in OUAT. Our little leaf, Henry Daniel Mills, rests under the wide canopy of a very crisscrossy and convoluted tree.
From Henry we have his biological parents, Emma and Neal, and his adoptive mother, Regina, all who naturally have more family of their own, plus some overlaps and redundancies. I’m pretty certain that at some point the phrase “Uncle Grandpa” is used.
Most of us already have Henry’s moms and dad and his Charming grandparents, Snow and David, squared away, I think. But it’s here that familial relationships start becoming fuzzy very quickly.
Rumple is Henry’s grandfather, but he was also briefly romantically involved with Cora, Henry’s great-great grandmother, and even more briefly with Zelena, Henry’s great aunt.
Henry is related to King George through his great-uncle James, brother of Charming, and also to Cora via Regina. This connects Henry to people like Jack the Giant Killer, and Princess Abigail, Jonathan the Scoundrel and Zelena again.
Though his step-grandmother Belle French-Gold, Henry is related to Maurice and Collete, Belle’s parents back in the Enchanted Forest, and Mo, Belle’s father in Storybrooke. This means that at one time, Henry’s grandpa beat the everlovin’ snot out of his great-grandpa. Sidenote, Rumple is over 200 years old, which means that he’s is is also older than Maurice, Henry’s great-grandpa.
But that isn’t weird because Henry’s uncle Neal is 13 years his junior. And if that’s not wacky enough, the Wizard of Oz was almost his step-dad.
Included in my version of Henry’s family tree are some people who aren’t technically related to him in the traditional sense of family. But I think that when it comes to OUAT and its themes of who and what makes up a family, including these people makes sense.
I included Robin because he’s part of Regina’s happy ending, and Henry is undeniably at the crux of Regina’s happiness. Robin, despite his soap opera-style romances, is a family man, and, if given the opportunity, would make an honest woman out of Regina one day, becoming Henry’s step-father in the process.
But before any of that, Robin Hood has his own shrubbery when it comes to organizing his current area of Henry’s family tree. As of the end of Season 4 he: has his own child, Roland, with the now-confirmed deceased Marian; is with Regina; and is having a baby with Zelena.
Which kinda makes Cora his adjuct mother-in-law TWICE. *shudder* So right now, Henry may be slated to have a little step-brother and a new little step-sibling. And we all know that in Disneylore, step-siblings work out SO well.
Then I included Hook, not just because of his relationship with Emma, but because of his adamant and heartfelt intention to make Baelfire his family, plans he made with Milah before her death.
Hook’s greatest enemies were Peter Pan, who was Malcolm, and Rumplestiltskin, who was Malcolm’s son. And Hook ended up raising Rumple’s son, Baelfire, who ended up being Neal, who is Henry’s dad. (Which, if Season 5 goes the way I hope, Killian will be Henry’s dad too, adding to the connecting lines that go off the paper and on to the back of the page) This also connects Henry to Peter Pan, meaning Henry’s great-grandfather stole the boy’s heart to save himself. And it also makes it super poignant that Hook put aside his feud with Rumple in order to save Henry from Pan after Neal died. It wasn’t about letting go of a past grievance; it was about protecting family.
Hook, who was both enemy and ally to the Lost Boys, whose father abandoned him and his brother, who takes in Bae who was abandoned, ends up “caring for the heart” of Emma, the orphan, and for her son, Henry, who was also given up once. And, thanks to his time in Neverland and being frozen with Cora during the first curse, Hook is about 200 years old, making Henry’s mom’s boyfriend older than Henry’s grandparents.
Henry is also tangentially related to the Darlings though Baelfire, who was welcomed into their family and showed them love and loyalty by trading himself to save John and Michael. And John and Michael were very nearly Henry’s adoptive fathers according to Season3, episode 9!
I would also argue that, because of his relationship with Emma, which she puts on par with family, not romance, August is a kind of surrogate uncle to Henry as well, or would be if he wasn’t a little kid any… Wait, no, he’s an adult now… Or… Hold on. Does anyone remember if August is even alive anymore? Regardless, that kind of makes Henry related to Marco a little too!
And interestingly enough Henry is also connected to Ingrid the Snow Queen who was Emma’s closest thing to a mother while in the foster care system. This means that Henry is marginally related to Anna and Elsa, who are nieces to Ingrid.
I get the feeling Mary Margaret really wants to make Henry a scrapbook, but that she’d actually need to cut down half the Enchanted Forest to do it. Also, I’m pretty sure the only people Henry isn’t related to are the fairies. But we still another season, so who knows!
Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind, or forgotten. Family can also mean that the reason Henry eats family dinners at Granny’s so often is because it’s the only place in town that has enough chairs.
Trying to piece together this family was a challenge, but lots of fun.
It was definitely the most challenging of all the OUAT articles I’ve attempted. I think next week I’m gonna talk about shoes again.
Now you tell us, what are your favorite family relationships in OUAT?
Who came as the most surprising or most confusing family relationship to you?
Who in OUAT do you think exemplifies the spirit of ohana best?
ABC. “Images, et.al.” June 15, 2015. Television.
Individual image credits provided in the alt text.