Love is weakness, Regina.
Cora Mills is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. The cruel and controlling mother of Regina, Cora appears to have forgotten her humble origins, and the unwanted first born daughter that came with it, which she forsook when she formed a liaison with the powerful Rumplestiltskin in order to get access to magic and turn her life around. Her power got to her head, however, and Cora started going to extreme lengths to control her daughter's life, claiming it to be the best for her. Eventually, Regina pushed her through a looking glass and into Wonderland, where she became the notorious Queen of Hearts. Cora eventually found her way back to her daughter after the breaking of the Dark Curse, with a master plan in mind. However, she was ultimately killed by Snow White.
Before the Curse
I didn't make the sacrifices I did in life to get you to the cusp of greatness so that you could end up the wife of a stable boy.
Cora agrees to marry a "prince". ("Bleeding Through")
Cora was the daughter of a miller who slacked off and was constantly drunk. One night, when Cora is moonlighting at a tavern and fending off drunks, a man named Jonathan invites her to sit with him and drops a handkerchief, allowing Cora to see the royal crest embroidered on it. He explains that he's actually Prince Jonathan but that he didn't want this to be revealed so that Cora would like him for him, and not his crown. He makes a ring out of straw and offers it to her as a marriage proposal, promising to meet her in two weeks and give her a ring of gold, and Cora agrees to marry him, going on to keep him company in his room. Two weeks later, Cora waits at the crossroads where she and Jonathan agreed to meet, but he doesn't show up, and so two months later, Cora goes to the castle to find him. When she does, she realizes that he's a gardener and Jonathon admits to tricking her, accusing her of being a harlot nonetheless; Cora then reveals that she's pregnant and demands that he support the child, but he refuses and walks away. A man approaches her and introduces himself as Prince Leopold, much to her delight, and Cora stays at the palace with him. They bond as they walk through the woods together and Leopold reveals that he is betrothed to Princess Eva, who he hasn't met yet, but he'd rather take Cora for a bride, and she encourages him to do so, reminding him of his power. Later, Jonathan finds Cora at the garden, admiring the gold engagement ring that Leopold gave her, and she figures that the prince doesn't know about the child she's carrying. He demands that Cora give him as much gold as she can spare or he'll tell Leopold the truth, and she agrees to do so. Later, she is gathering money in the great hall when she's stumbled upon by Leopold, who's heard a rumor that she is with child. Cora insists that this is a lie, but Eva steps out and denounces her, explaining that she overheard her rendezvous with Jonathon earlier. Cora is taken away by guards and goes on to give birth back at her village, but she abandons her daughter in the woods and the baby is carried away by a magical cyclone. ("Bleeding Through")
Cora manages to spin straw into gold before the entire kingdom. ("The Miller's Daughter")
One day, Cora arrived home to the mill to find her father passed out drunk, not having delivered the flour that they need in order to eat this week. Due to this, Cora goes to sell the flour in her father's stead, however, when there, she collides with a familiar face: Princess Eva, causing both of them to trip. King Xavier, who is also there, forces Cora to apologize, and she does so through gritted teeth, feeling absolutely humiliated. That night, she sneaks into the royals' masquerade ball but is soon recognized by the king, who tells her that despite his kingdom's poverty, he is still of higher social standing than her. Insulted by this, Cora tells him that she is able to spin straw into gold, and Xavier announces this to his subjects, locking Cora up in a tower full of straw overnight, telling her that she will die if she fails to produce gold. As she contemplates jumping, Rumplestiltskin appears to her and offers to spin the straw into gold in exchange for Cora's first born. However, Cora refuses this, demanding that Rumple teach her magic, and the contract that Cora signs changes to state that she must only present Rumple with his own child. He teaches her to use her emotions to wield magic and she does so by remembering her humiliation via King Xavier, and the next day, she is able to spin straw into gold before the kingdom's very eyes. Prince Henry then proposes to her and Cora accepts, and on her wedding night, she is met by Rumple and they decide they will run away together. Before they do so, Cora decides that she wants to rip out Xavier's heart and crush it. When she arrives to do so, he reveals that he knows she loves the imp and not his son, and tells her that love is weakness. Taking this in, Cora rips out her own heart as she sees it as an obstacle, and tells Rumple that she cannot run away with him. He accuses her of breaking their deal, but she points out that she must only present him with his own child, and from now on, any child she does have, will be the prince's. Months later, Cora presents her baby to the kingdom, telling them that she is to be called Regina, for one day, she will be queen. ("The Miller's Daughter")
Cora eradicates her daughters' newfound bond. ("Sisters")
As a young child, Regina plays with her doll, Isabelle, in her mother's room. Cora enters and Regina asks her to play, but she rejects her, claiming to be too busy. As she says this, she locks away a secret box in a drawer. After leaving, Regina manages to open the box, which is sealed with blood magic, and discovers a wand inside. She recklessly plays with it and ends up seriously injuring herself. Unable to heal her, Cora visits Oz and to find the daughter she abandoned - Zelena. She brings the girl back with her and she's able to use her powerful magic to heal Regina, and then the two sisters unknowingly meet. The two girls bond and play together and during one of their games Zelena accidentally opens the box containing the wand. A confused Regina explains that it is sealed with blood magic, so they visit Cora to find out if they're somehow related. Cora confesses to the two girls that they're sisters, delighting them both. Regina claims it would make her very happy to be a family with Zelena, but this disappoints her mother. Cora explains that if Zelena was in their life it'd ruin everything she's built up for Regina, and that is unacceptable. She then sends Zelena back to Oz and gives both the girls a forgetting potion so that they'll never remember meeting each other. ("Sisters")
"I will turn Snow White's heart black as coal." ("The Queen Is Dead")
Cora would continue to control her younger daughter's life, claiming it to be the best for her. She would be incredibly forceful, manipulating all of Regina's 'choices' in life and drawing her path for her, often resorting to magic to get her way. ("The Stable Boy") Along her life, Cora performed one of her most recognizable enchantments: ripping the hearts out of people while they're still beating and ensnaring them with a spell, therefore controlling said people. Cora kept her extensive collection of hearts in a vault hidden behind her fireplace. ("The Doctor") When Snow White's mother, Queen Eva, is dying of a fatal illness, Snow goes to see the Blue Fairy in order to make a wish to save her mother. She meets the fairy in the woods but the Blue Fairy tells Snow that fairy magic is pure and good whereas cheating death is the darkest of deeds. However, she offers Snow a candle, one that, when lit, shall save her mother, but take another's life. She requests that Snow keep this a secret and the young princess agrees. With Snow not being able to take another's life, Eva dies and her funeral is held. Snow is the last to leave, and after she is escorted out by her maid, Johanna, the Blue Fairy flies down to Eva's casket before revealing herself to be Cora in disguise. Cora tells the queen's corpse that death suits her, revealing herself to be the one that murdered her via poison. She goes on to say that she shall turn Snow White's heart black as coal, thus ruining the legacy that Eva had hoped to leave behind, making her own daughter, Regina, the queen and making Snow know what it feels like to be the miller's daughter. ("The Queen Is Dead")
Cora reprimands her daughter with magic. ("The Stable Boy")
One day, Regina is riding Rocinante, around the large field outside her family's mansion. Her father congratulates her on a great ride, but Cora is far more critical, insisting that her daughter rides like a man. She tells Regina that ladies should be graceful, suggesting a saddle, but Regina argues that she was merely having some fun; Cora argues in turn that she's getting a little too old for "fun". She wonders who will want to marry her if she keeps behaving like a commoner, at which Henry requests that Cora stop being so mean. She orders him to stop coddling their child, going on to say that she's becoming an old maid while all other girls her age are getting married. The high hopes she had for her daughter are let down, and the conversation is interrupted by Daniel - the stable boy -, who Regina snaps at. Cora smiles at this, but when Regina tries to storm away, Cora uses magic to stop her, promising not to use it anymore once Regina starts acting like an obedient daughter. Regina eventually promises to be good, but still sneaks off to the stable after for a romantic rendezvous with her lover Daniel. ("The Stable Boy")
Cora spooks Snow's horse. ("The Queen Is Dead")
Regina sitting in her mansion reading a book on horsemanship when her mother approaches her, telling her that it's time for her riding lesson. Regina reminds Cora that she has no lesson today but Cora says that she thought she'd be happy as she arranged for her to have more time with Rocinante. At this, Regina discards her book and appears thrilled, thanking her mother before telling her that she'll send the stable boy for her saddle right away and standing up, vacating the house with a large grin. However, this is a ploy by Cora. Regina meets up with Daniel, who begins to complain about the fact that they have to sneak around because he just wants to be able to be with her, but they're interrupted suddenly by a little girl on a wild horse. The horse was sent wild by Cora, who plans for her daughter to rescue the little girl just in the nick of time. Regina does exactly this, and tells the little girl afterwards that the only way to face her new fear of horses is to get back on one and ride. The little girl thanks her, going on to introduce herself as Snow White. ("The Queen Is Dead"/"The Stable Boy")
Cora rips out Daniel's heart. ("The Stable Boy")
The king, Snow White's father, hears of what Regina did and proposes to her. Cora accepts on her behalf. Horrified that she's marrying the king, Regina suggests running away with her lover, Daniel, so they can be together. Snow White sees the two kiss and Regina begs her to keep it a secret. However, when Cora tells Snow White that she feels Regina has drifted from her, Snow White explains that if she wants Regina to be happy, she should let her be with her true love, Daniel. Cora kills Daniel in front of Regina to ensure her marriage to the king. During a wedding dress fitting, Snow White tells Regina that she told Cora the truth of her and Daniel, unaware that he had been murdered. Regina manages to keep herself calm, which her mother compliments. After this, Regina grows a strong hate for Snow White, wishing she'd let her die on the horse... and thus establishing the future queen's hatred of Snow. ("The Stable Boy"/"Out of the Past")
Cora is banished by her daughter. ("We Are Both")
During the build-up to her wedding to King Leopold, Regina tries to leave on her horse, but a barrier spell conjured by her mother, Cora, stops her. Cora tells Regina that she cannot leave unless with Leopold. Regina later reveals her growing hatred to her father and she asks how her mother became the way she is. He tells her of a man who gave her the book of spells and taught her the dark arts. Regina steals the spellbook off her mother and summons the owner, Rumplestiltskin. He reveals that they have met before when she was younger. Regina seeks help from Rumple, so he gives her a portal to an "annoying world", to which she can banish her mother. During a fitting for her wedding dress, Regina uses magic against her mother to push her through the portal. Regina seeks Rumple to return the spellbook, but he lets her keep it and convinces her to let him teach her the dark arts, as she loves using magic. ("We Are Both")
Zelena is shown a vision of her past. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")
Whilst Regina is in training with Rumplestiltskin, Cora's other daughter, Zelena, grows unhappy with her life in Oz, where she has become unloved. She visits the Wizard of Oz so that he may tell her about her past, and he shows her a vision of Cora abandoning her in the woods before the cyclone carries her to a new land. When she realizes that she has a sister who's being taught in the arts of magic, Zelena grows incredibly jealous for she believes that she should be being trained to control her own magical tendencies. She goes to the Enchanted Forest where she too is trained by Rumplestiltskin, but he ultimately severs their relationship and she heads back to Oz with a wicked plan in tow, turning completely green with envy in the process. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")
The Wicked Witch reflects on her abandonment. ("Our Decay")
It is the anniversary of the day that Zelena was abandoned, and over in Oz - which she now rules as the Wicked Witch of the West - Cora's green-skinned daughter has prepared herself a green cupcake with a single candle in order to mark the occasion. She is less than thrilled though, watching on a magic mirror of her own the day that she was abandoned by her mother. She sees the younger version of Cora leaning over her basket, apologizing to the poor baby. She declares that she must give her away, to give herself her best chance, before abandoning her in the woods where a cyclone would proceed to carry Zelena away to what is now her homeland. This little commemoration is soon interrupted, however, after Zelena exclaims that her mother gave away the wrong child. Later, when she starts interacting with Hades, she reveals that she doesn't even know when her birthday is... only the day her mother abandoned her. Hades finds this legitimately sad, feeling sorry for her. ("Our Decay")
Cora tells Regina who her real enemy is. ("Mother")
After "borrowing" the White Rabbit in order to make it back to the Enchanted Forest, Cora approaches her daughter on the anniversary of Daniel's death, explaining that she had an encounter with Tinker Bell who told her all about Regina's fated true love. She claims to want to help her daughter find him, but Regina is distrustful, and Cora heads to a tavern in hopes of finding the mysterious man with the lion tattoo. She finds the Sheriff of Nottingham and hears all about the man to whom this tattoo belongs - Robin Hood, a married thief - but decides that the sheriff himself would be a much better fit for her child, and so she uses her magic to forge a fake tattoo on his forearm and introduces him to Regina. They seem to be getting along at first, but Regina quickly finds out that the tattoo is fake and uses her own magic to make him confess that Cora put him up to this because she wants Regina to have a child. When Regina confronts her mother, Cora explains that the reason she wants this is because the people want Snow White as their Queen, so building a dynasty would be the wisest thing for Regina to do. The Evil Queen is still mistrustful, and she decides to drink a potion that will make her barren in order to punish Cora. Cora is disheartened by this, and she tells Regina that she really did want to help her before espousing the only one standing in the way of her happiness is herself. She proceeds to head back to Wonderland. ("Mother")
The mother she never had... the daughter she always wanted. ("Heart of the Matter")
Cora eventually takes over Wonderland, becoming the Queen of Hearts. Shortly before her nuptials, Anastasia, the future Red Queen, meets not only the Tweedles, her personal servants, but also Cora, the Queen of Hearts, who has accepted the invitation to the wedding, despite the fact that she and the Red King don't see eye to eye on practically anything. Ana soon realizes it's because Cora is adept of using magic, and the King believes royals shouldn't do such a thing, as it separates them from their subjects. Cora believes some separation is essential, and states that she sees much of herself in the young Anastasia, showcasing a type of motherly support towards the bride-to-be. The Queen offers to teach Ana how to use magic, which the latter declines, respectfully. One night, when Will visits Ana to ask her if she is playing a long con or whether her marriage is the real deal, Cora overhears their conversation, and Will's request that Ana meet with him at their wagon so that they may escape back to the Enchanted Forest together. However, Cora shows up in Ana's place, telling Will she won't be coming, and the desolate young thief asks that the Queen take out his heart to spare him of his misery. Cora does so, and Will leaves, alone. She then makes sure that Ana becomes wary of this, and lies to her, claiming that Will couldn't forgive her and moved on. From then on, Cora, longing to form a bond with the young royal, teaches her how to dabble with magic, drawing from her inner anger, under the presumption that soon enough the King shouldn't be much of an impediment for Ana's use of her newfound powers... ("Heart of the Matter")
Cora goes to great lengths to find Regina the perfect birthday gift. ("Souls of the Departed")
On the day of her birthday, Regina visits a small village to find Snow White's location from the peasants. One man offers to tell her if he can have something in return, but she instead decides to choke him for his disrespect. Snow, Charming and the dwarves arrive to stop her, so she teleports home. Prince Henry urges her to let go of her anger and blame Cora for Daniel's death, if anyone. He adds that Cora will always have control over Regina if she doesn't let go. Later on, after seeing his daughter still in anger, he commands the Magic Mirror to summon Cora in a looking glass. He asks for help getting Regina to let go, but Cora insists the only way to help is killing Snow. Refusing this advice, Henry seeks out Snow to talk to her and Cora travels through the looking glass, thanks to Henry allowing her. She finds Snow and steals her heart, giving it to Regina as a birthday present. However, when Regina crushes it, she discovers that Henry swapped it with someone else's. He justifies himself, claiming that she'd be dark forever if she killed Snow, and now she has a chance of redemption. Regina ignores this and shrinks her father to lock him away in a box so that he can't stop her in the future. Later on, Regina tells her mother that Henry was right about her being destructive, adding that that when she gets her revenge, it'll be her own victory. Regina then uses the Magic Mirror to drag Cora back to Wonderland, but just before she is taken, she steals the box containing Henry so that Regina will truly be alone. ("Souls of the Departed") Due to her possession of his heart, Will Scarlet became Cora's new Knave of Hearts. One day, he is tracking a "notorious murderer" through the woods and manages to find her, discovering her to be a young woman by the name of Alice who never killed anyone, but simply stole a flower from the Queen's garden. She manages to steal the Knave's heart back for him, freeing him of Cora's control. ("To Catch a Thief")
Meet the Queen of Hearts. ("Hat Trick")
After Jefferson takes Regina to Wonderland to retrieve her father, who is freed of Cora's captivity, he is left there and taken before the Queen, whose face is covered by a red veil. The Knave of Hearts serves as her interpreter, communicating with Jefferson on her behalf. The Queen claims to know that he's responsible for her being stolen from, and when he says that Queen Regina tricked him, he is corrected, for according to the Knave there is only one queen: the Queen of Hearts. Jefferson apologizes, and is then asked how he got into their world. Jefferson asks if he can go home to his daughter if he tells them, and his question is met with laughs. The Queen then says, "Off with his head!", and a guard with a very large axe walks cuts off his head, while another guard holds it by the hair. Jefferson looks in shock at his headless body on the floor, surprised to still be alive. The Knave asks him to explain how he got there in order to get his body back, and Jefferson explains that he used his magic top hat. He adds that Regina took it, and he is then forced to make another hat, similar to that one. ("Hat Trick")
Cora pretends to be dead... and her daughter mourns her. ("Queen of Hearts")
After Captain Hook breaks into Regina's palace to squeeze some information on how to defeat Rumplestiltskin from Belle, Regina's prisoner, the Queen herself intercepts him, and offers her assistance to help him get revenge on the "crocodile" he wishes to skin, should he do her a favor in return. Thus, Hook is requested to assassinate Cora, Regina's mother, and bring her body from Wonderland. There, he is unable to rip out Cora's heart, for she does not keep hers where everyone else does. Cora overpowers him and demands to be told the truth, and once she is told that he was sent there by Regina, she offers him her assistance as well, for Regina tricked him: those who are caught by her curse are destined to lose their memories, so he wouldn't be able to get revenge. Killian brings Cora to Regina, so that she can kill her daughter, but when Regina mourns her mother's apparent death and explains to her lifeless body why she did it - because she loved her too much and, as Cora once pointed out, "love is weakness" - Cora has a change of heart, and casts a spell on a portion of the land that protects it from the curse, keeping everyone in it frozen in time until the spell is lifted by the savior. Cora plans to get to Regina's new land in 28 years and reconnect with her daughter, help her pick up the pieces. All the while, she agrees to let Hook keep her company, so that he may one day quench his thirst for vengeance. ("Queen of Hearts")
After the Curse
This would've been enough. You... you would've been enough.
Cora in the pit. ("We Are Both")
After Emma and Mary Margaret are sent to the Enchanted Forest, they are taken prisoner by Mulan and Aurora, who bring them to their safe haven. There, Mary Margaret attacks the princess and makes a run for it, along with Emma, but the teacher is knocked out by Mulan. Emma comes back to her aid and the warrior tells her peers to throw the two prisoners into a pit. Emma and Mary Margaret, the latter still unconscious, are thus thrown into a caved jail, and there Emma tries to bring her mother back to consciousness... and is met by someone the survivors have locked up as well: Cora... ("We Are Both")
Cora gets what she set out to find... ("Lady of the Lake")
Snow White recuperates consciousness to find herself appalled by the presence of the evil Cora in the pit. She tries to keep her daughter Emma from telling Cora about Storybrooke and Henry, but it's to no avail. The two new prisoners are then set free to meet with the leader of the safe haven's people, and Snow is surprised to find that it's her old friend Lancelot. The brave knight allows them to travel in the search for a portal back to the land they came from, a location Snow refuses to disclose because of the presence of Cora, even though the old woman is said to be powerless now. Snow and Emma therefore go back to the castle where the royal couple lived and where the blonde was born. There, they encounter the wardrobe through which Emma passed to our world. Lancelot makes himself appear, and although she's excited to see him at first, Snow quickly becomes the wiser when Lancelot mentions Henry by name... a name Emma had only shared with Cora. Sir Lancelot then makes himself appear as Cora, who had been passing for him after allegedly killing him. Cora attacks Snow and Emma, planning to go through the wardrobe, but Emma is able to set the wardrobe on fire and Cora then vanishes into the thin air. However, after Snow, Emma and their traveling companions, Aurora and Mulan, leave the castle to head back to the safe haven, Cora reappears and collects some of the dust left from the burnt wardrobe in a glass, and we can see there's still some magic left in it. ("Lady of the Lake")
Hook and Cora plan on going to Storybrooke. ("The Crocodile")
Killian Jones is standing on a seashore near the small island hamlet where the survivors of the Dark Curse reside. He watches the refuge through his telescope, but stops when Cora approaches him from behind. When she stands beside him, she shows him the ash remains of the Enchanted Wardrobe. He mocks them at first but then asks if they can get them to the other world. Cora replies by saying it's a start, but they will need other things first. He asks for the name of their destination, so Cora tells him it's Storybrooke. Killian comments that this is a curious name and then ask if that's where "he" and "she" are. Cora confirms. Happy, Killian tells Cora she will be able to see her daughter, and he'll be able to skin himself a "crocodile". ("The Crocodile") After Daniel, the stable boy, is brought to life by Dr. Frankenstein, in Storybrooke, which was the main reason why Regina delved into the world of magic, he is left in a state of disorientation, and heads to the last place he can remember being at: the stables. There, he comes across Henry, Regina's son, and when the child reaches out his hand to him, Daniel has flashes of the time Cora ripped out his heart, which fuels a violent reaction and leads him to strangle Henry. However, the young man is saved when Regina and Charming arrive. ("The Doctor")
Cora is displeased with Hook's betrayal. ("Into the Deep")
When Hook finally makes his way down the beanstalk, Cora is there to receive him, annoyed at his betrayal. She demands to be given the compass, and Hook tells her that Emma bested him and took it. Cora tells him there are consequences to him having chosen Emma instead of her, and adds that now she will leave him in that land without ever quenching his thirst for revenge. She then sets off to make matters into her own hands and uses her magic to breathe life back into the hearts of the people she killed in the haven, and make them rise and find the quartet of heroines. Aurora is eventually taken by the undead, and Cora plans on using her as an exchange coin, trading her for the compass she seeks. Aurora doesn't think Emma and Snow will oblige, but Cora states that they can't help saving the innocent, regardless of the personal cost. Cora also wonders why Aurora wants to help, and realizes that the princess is hoping to go to Storybrooke as well; the evil witch then tells her she could help her bring Phillip's soul back, but Aurora refuses to play along. Cora knocks her out, and sends a message to Snow that she will kill the princess if they don't bring her the compass by sundown. However, Hook makes it to the haven and frees Aurora, making it clear that he's on Emma's side. Meanwhile, Snow speaks with Charming in the netherworld, and learns of Gold's advice to stun Cora. The latter is enraged when she learns of what Hook did, and plans on killing him, until he stops her by claiming to have a gift... which is none other than Aurora's heart, taken by him, which Cora can use to control the princess and get a leg up in her plan to retrieve the compass and head to Storybrooke. ("Into the Deep")
Cora is unable to remove Emma's heart. ("Queen of Hearts")
After Aurora, under Cora's thrall, manages to lock the ink quarted inside Rumplestiltskin's old cell, the powerful witch is able to get her hands on the compass she sought, and Hook teases Emma about the withered magic bean he took from the giant. Cora and Hook make it to the dry area that once contained Lake Nostos, the lake whose waters are said to possess the power to bring things back that once were lost. Cora therefore plans to use the lake's waters to make the magic of the wardrobe dust work again, and with a few swirls of her fingers, she cracks through the ground with magic and a fountain of water springs from under it. Snow White is able to use Rumple's squid ink to break through the cell's spikes, and they make it to the site of Lake Nostos, just in the nick of time to stop the two villains from jumping through the portal. A battle ensues, during which Mulan is able to retrieve Aurora's heart and get it back to her. Emma overpowers Hook, knocking him out, but Cora still stands in their way. Regina's wretched mother then plans to give her daughter what she always wanted: Snow's heart. However, just as she's about to lunge her hand inside Snow's chest, Emma steps in her place. Cora teases her, claiming that love is weakness, but then she is unable to remove Emma's heart. The blonde tells her love is strength, and a wave of magic energy emanates from her, ridding her of the evil witch. Emma and Snow make it through the portal and arrive safely in Storybrooke - after Regina lifts a deadly spell from the well, which was meant to keep Cora out - and all's well that ends well for the noble protagonists... but trouble resurfaces, when a vintage ship is seen on the horizon, about to reach their town, bringing with it Hook and Cora, who came through with the aid of the magic bean... ("Queen of Hearts")
Archie is strangled, by Cora the transformer. ("The Cricket Game")
Upon her arrival on Storybrooke, Cora instantly realizes that there is magic in the town, and thus stops Hook from going up against an empowered Rumplestiltskin. When a fisherman notices their vessel and starts inquiring them, Cora conceals the ship through magic and turns the fisherman into a fish. The pair of villains then decide to skim through the town in order to properly execute their plans. When Cora finally spots her daughter Regina, she realizes that the former Mayor isn't as "broken" yet as her mother had hoped. Therefore, Cora resorts to her usual trickery to get what she wants: she disguises herself as Regina and heads into the office of Dr. Archie Hopper, her daughter's therapist. There, she freezes Pongo and strangles Archie. The following morning, Ruby and Emma find Archie's lifeless body, and all of the evidence of the murder seems to point to Regina. When Emma uses a dreamcatcher and magic to extract Pongo's memories of the attack, she witnesses Regina killing the shrink. The Charming family and the Blue Fairy corner Regina, trying to capture her, but it's to no avail. However, Emma tells her rival that Henry will never again believe her lies, and that they now know she is incapable of change. Regina gives up and disappears, and later witnesses as Emma tells her son that she killed Archie. Regina breaks down into tears, which pleases Cora, who thinks her job is done. Then, Cora reveals to her ally, Hook, that Archie is very much alive, and hidden in their invisible boat: the Queen of Hearts killed a random person and disguised its body as Archie. She then reveals her plan to use the town's shrink to provide them with intel on the residents of Storybrooke, including Rumplestiltskin. ("The Cricket Game")
Cora makes amends with her daughter. ("In the Name of the Brother")
Cora goes to Mr. Gold's pawn shop and surprises Rumple, who is less than happy to see her. She makes it clear that she's there to declare a truce, giving him a peace offering of a white globe that will help him find his son. Gold wonders what she wants in exchange and she explains that she wants her daughter. They shake on it and Cora requests that they "seal it like they used to" and the two share a kiss. Cora is soon seen in Regina's house and is going through her daughter's things, she steals a clay tile from Henry that was given to Regina. Later, Henry is seen walking into Regina's vault and finding his mother, saying that he knows she was framed for Archie. Regina wonders how he knew and it turns out Henry is Cora in disguise, she reveals herself as says she knows because she did it. Regina is shocked to see her mother again and Cora explains that she knows why she tried to have her killed, and it's alright. Regina tells her that she thinks it's not alright as her mother wanted her broken, Cora states that she merely wanted her daughter to be receptive but Regina refuses to argue. She wants to take her mother among the townspeople to prove her innocence and Cora obliges to go with her. In the car, the evil witch reveals that something is irritating her before pulling out Regina's clay tile, given to her by Henry and containing his hand print. Regina is angry with her mother for going into her house and taking one of her most treasured possessions. Cora points out that as long as Emma and her parents are in town, Henry will never truly be Regina's. Cora asks what Regina really wants and her daughter says that she wants her son back. When Cora apologizes some more, Regina forgives her, asking her how she plans to return Henry to her. Cora says that she has a few thoughts... ("In the Name of the Brother")
Cora went and got herself some people clothes. ("Manhattan")
Regina is seen with Cora in her house as she digresses her woes over Henry leaving town with Emma, her mother comforts her, assuring her that Henry shall be hers soon enough. Hook is pleased to hear that Rumplestiltskin is out of town as this means he's powerless and can be killed, however, Cora stops him, telling him that whilst the Dark One is gone, they can search for the one thing that can actually kill him within Storybrooke - his dagger. Regina figures that he would have hid it with the person he trusts most, that being Belle, and so the three of them head to the library where they begin searching between books, believing the dagger to be somewhere among them. As they do so, Regina asks her mother what the plan is and Cora explains that once they find the dagger, they shall control the Dark One, meaning that they can use him to slaughter the Charmings and emerge blameless, taking Henry back. A map is soon found between a couple of books and Hook, being a pirate, is able to read it. He soon does so and deciphers where the dagger is hidden, but Cora being Cora, she betrays him and knocks him out with magic, taking Regina to go and find the dagger for themselves. ("Manhattan")
Cora throws Johanna through the face of the town clock with magic, killing her. ("The Queen Is Dead")
Cora and Regina are seen in the woods by Mary Margaret as they are digging up some earth in search of the Dark One's dagger. Not being able to find it, Cora tells Regina that Hook must have lied to them about the dagger's location but that she shall be able to reconstruct the map herself, and once she does, she can make Rumplestiltskin kill anyone Regina wants. Shocked at this, Mary Margaret meets Regina at Granny's Diner, telling the queen that she has one last chance to be good. However, Regina refuses to accept this and tells Mary Margaret that she has one last chance to not get in their way, before leaving. Mary Margaret and David are soon told the dagger's location by Gold, who's in New York with Emma, and find it within one of the hands of the Storybrooke clock. Once they retrieve the dagger, they are met by Regina and Cora who have Johanna, Snow's beloved maid, hostage. Regina rips out Johanna's heart, telling Mary Margaret that her maid shall die if she does not hand over the dagger. After hesitation, Mary Margaret gives Cora the dagger and Regina returns Johanna's heart to her body, however, before leaving with her daughter, Cora waves her hand and causes Johanna to smash through the clock face and fall down to the pavement, killing her. When they return to Regina's house, dagger in tow, the mayor asks her mother why she never told her about her history with Snow's mother, which was revealed during their confrontation with Mary Margaret and David, and Cora tells her daughter that it wouldn't have changed a thing, before it also unravels that Cora orchestrated everything to ensure that Regina would become the queen. ("The Queen Is Dead")
Cora dies in her daughter's arms, soon after regaining her heart. ("The Miller's Daughter")
Cora and Regina are seen listening into Mary Margaret and David's phone conversation, however, after being called "wicked" by them, Cora knocks the phone tap off the table, breaking it. Noticing that Rumple's name is disappearing from the dagger, Cora realizes that he's dying, explaining that if he dies without being stabbed with the dagger, all of his power will just boil off into the air. She then decides that she must find Rumple and stab him with the dagger, becoming the Dark One herself. Regina and Cora make their way over to Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer where Emma has cast a protection spell, however, the two witches cast a fireball together and the spell is broken with ease. They are met inside by Charming, Bae and Emma, all of which are armed with swords, with Rumple hiding in the back room. Cora knocks Charming out but Emma and Neal make their way into the back room with Gold, sealing it off with invisible chalk and thus casting a protection spell. Cora tells Regina that someone is after her heart, which is in the mayor's vault, and requests that Regina go stop them. Her daughter obliges and leaves, and Cora attempts the break the protection spell surrounding the door leading to the room containing Gold. After a long while, she finally succeeds in doing so, being greeted by Emma and Neal who point swords at her. Cora merely waves her hand and the two of them are transported into the town woods, she then approaches Rumple, dagger in hand, his name almost completely faded. She admits that he's the only man she ever truly loved, before proceeding to try and stab him, but before she can, Regina places her heart into her chest through her back. Cora begins to laugh and smile, her emotions and love for her daughter returning, however, she soon collapses. Although this was unaware to Regina, but Mary Margaret lit the magic candle over the heart and whispered Cora's name, meaning that Cora's life is being taken so that Mr. Gold's shall remain. As she dies, Cora tells her daughter that she doesn't need power as she would have been enough, which breaks Regina's heart. Just after, Mary Margaret comes running in, telling Regina to stop, but it is too late, Cora is dead and Regina knows that Snow is to blame. ("The Miller's Daughter")
Thank you, mommy.
Regina mourns her mother. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")
Soon after her death, Regina has Cora's body placed within a tomb in her family mausoleum, where upon it, it reads, "Cora Mills, Beloved Mother". Regina is seen visiting the tomb and sadly placing a red rose upon it, tearfully saying goodbye to her mother. Soon, Mr. Gold turns up, much to Regina's dismay, but she is surprised to learn that he is merely there to pay his respects. Rumple places another red rose upon Cora's coffin, stating that she shall always hold a place in his heart. As Regina and Gold converse, she reveals that she plans to avenge her mother by murdering Mary Margaret, despite Gold trying to convince her, to no avail, to give up her obsession with vengeance. He points out that she will not be able to kill Snow and have Henry back, but Regina assures him that she will find a way to have everything. Later, in her vault, Regina looks through some of her mother's old things and in a fit of passion starts tearing Cora's dresses apart, angry and sad. She collapses to the floor with the destroyed dress in her arms when she discovers one of her mother's curses, one that will make someone think they love you. Realizing that she can use it on Henry, Regina thanks her mother. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")
We need to talk to my mother.
Cora returns to haunt her daughter. ("Bleeding Through")
When Zelena, Cora's first born, becomes a threat to the citizens of Storybrooke, Regina decides to cast a spell that will allow her to talk to her dead mother in order to learn more about her half-sister's past. Emma wonders why, if it's so easy to talk to the dead, this spell is not cast more often, and Regina explains that it requires the murder weapon and the murderer. The spell is successful and a portal to the afterlife opens in the ceiling, however, nothing comes through, and those involved take this to mean that Cora has no interest in discussing her past with them. When Regina and Mary Margaret are later talking in the kitchen, they hear a noise upstairs and are shocked to discover Cora's ghost, having come through the portal, eerily spinning at the wheel within an empty room. She flies towards the two women and Regina demands to know what her mother did to Zelena, but Cora knocks her second born aside, wanting to claim vengeance for her own death by killing her murderer. In order to protect Snow, Regina teleports the two of them downstairs, but Cora soon finds them, forcing Regina to hold her mother off with magic. She again demands to know what happened to Zelena, but Cora doesn't answer, knocking Regina aside once more and possessing Mary Margaret's body. Snow White's head is then filled with Cora's memories, but Cora is soon extracted by Regina, who throws her mother's ghost back through the portal to the afterlife. Mary Margaret reveals that Cora was trying to communicate by transferring her memories, explaining why Zelena was given up, as well as her own mother's part in the whole event. ("Bleeding Through")
In the real Storybrooke, when I died... we never got the chance to say goodbye... And we never even got to say hello.
Regina relives her mother's betrayal. ("Dreamcatcher")
On their latest adventure, this time being set in Camelot in order to find the Sorcerer Merlin to free Emma from the darkness which has overcome her, they all come to learn that Merlin has long been trapped as a tree. Emma, who uses a magic dreamcatcher to view what happened, realizes that the original Dark One took one of Merlin's tears - a tear of lost love - to use on the dagger and detain him. Regina comes up with the idea to take one of her own tears of lost love for Emma to use and free him, an idea the darkened Savior thinks just might work. Using the dreamcatcher, Regina is forced to watch as it projects Cora killing Daniel all over again, from giving them her blessing, to betraying them both by ripping the stable boy's heart from his chest and squeezing it to dust, all for her daughter in the past and present to watch. Emma's able to get the tear though, but despite all the pain it made Regina relive, the tear is not enough. It may have been heartbreaking, but Regina has since moved on and found love in Robin Hood; this leads them to Henry, who has just had his heart broken by his first crush, Violet. Emma gets the tear, and it works; she's able to free Merlin. ("Dreamcatcher")
A miller's daughter once again. ("Souls of the Departed")
As it turns out, Cora's soul was transported to the Underworld following her death, where she quickly ascended the ranks to become Mayor in this hellish version of Storybrooke. When she learns that her daughter has arrived along with her friends, in search of Captain Hook, she gets Blacktooth to stalk her, then arranging to meet her at the mayoral office. Embracing, Cora explains that she wishes for Regina to be happy, but how she wants to be. She tells her to leave this place with Henry and Robin before something bad happens, then teleporting them away and throwing Blacktooth into a pit of fire to show her daughter what will happen to her father if she doesn't leave on the boat she's arranged. Regina is horrified, and when her father convinces her to stay, Cora prepares to push her husband into the fire as well. Regina shows up to stop her but is too late; however, Henry is unharmed, for freeing his daughter of Cora's corrupting influence was his unfinished business, and he is now able to ascend Mount Olympus. Cora, meanwhile, visits Hades in his lair, and he is very unhappy that she failed at getting her daughter to leave. He is surprised to see how much Cora cares about her considering how she treated her other daughter, and Cora asks him how he knows about Zelena. He replies that he knows all, including how Cora gave her up to claw her way out of that pitiful peasant life of hers... which suggests the perfect punishment for her incompetence. He uses his magic to transform her back into a miller's daughter, making it so that she has to deliver flour for eternity. ("Souls of the Departed") Hades then tortures Cora to find out the date of Zelena's birthday - April 15. ("Our Decay")
With her daughters finally united, Cora is able to move on. ("Sisters")
Using a magic mirror, Regina spies on Zelena's date with Hades and learns that her sister plans on changing the Lord of Death for the better; however, she believes that nothing could come from this romance except for chaos, and so she decides to put a stop to it. To do this, she's going to have to invoke the help of her mother, who's still being punished by Hades by being forced to eternally mill and deliver flour in rags. Hook manages to rescue her and she and Regina do some catching up before deciding together that the way to end things between Hades and Zelena is by making it so that the latter doesn't remember him. They head to the River of Lethe, for it only takes one drop to make someone forget something, before trying to carry out a ruse on Zelena. Cora goes to her house and genuinely apologizes for all she's done while Regina puts the river water into a glass, allowing her mother to give it to the Wicked Witch to drink. However, Zelena sees through the act and forces Regina to come out of hiding. A row ensues but Cora puts an end to it by insisting that there was once a time when Regina and Zelena cared for one another and needed each other. She uses her magic to return the memories of the time they met as children. Cora apologizes to Regina and Zelena for the way she brought each of them up, hoping that they don't continue her mistakes: wasting their lives ruining others'. By bringing her two daughters together like this allows her to fulfill her unfinished business. The three of them head to the fire caves to see if Cora is able to move on; first though, she bids her two daughters a tearful goodbye. It looks for a moment like she might not be allowed into Mount Olympus for all her past sins in life, but then the heavens open and she is accepted. Once and for all, Regina and Zelena finally bury the hatchet once she's gone. ("Sisters")
Powers and Abilities
- Witchcraft: The magical power to cast spells and curses for a variety of purposes. Cora gained this power when Rumpelstiltskin taught her to turn her emotions into magic (a technique that she would have replicated many years later to instruct the future Red Queen of Wonderland) and, with the help of the spell book he created for her, her knowledge and her power have grown over the years and she eventually become one of the most dangerous witches in all the realms, to the point where her master himself was afraid of her (and it is implied that before his capture Rumpel had clashed against her and, despite having won the fight, she was almost success to reverse the situation). It is implied that magic can be a hallmark in Cora's bloodline; witnessed by the fact that both she and her younger daughter Regina managed to become two of the most powerful witches in the Enchanted Forest, while her oldest daughter Zelena could use it right after her birth.
- Ripping Out Hearts: The ability to rip someone's heart out in order to control/kill them, among other purposes. Cora in particular uses this skill so often that she has made it a hers special trademark and she is able to kill people even without crushing their enchanted hearts extracts.
- Hearts Connected: Somehow, Cora is able to connect the hearts of her victims to each other as she was able to physically take a single heart to use all the others in her caskets when she revive an army of corpses.
- Necromancy: Cora's knowledge of enchanted hearts is so advanced that she is able, through a whisper to the heart she is holding, to command not only a person still alive but also a dead person.
- Immobilization: The ability to magically immobilize something or someone.
- Teleportation: The ability to magically teleport oneself and/or others from one location to another, in the Cora's case is accompanied by a cloud of purple/blue smoke that the conjured item will emerge.
- Conjuration: Cora possesses the ability to conjure almost anything out of thin air or she can unconjure an object by making them vanish into thin air.
- Apportation: Cora can transport any thing she wants in an instant
- Transformation: The ability to magically transform an object into a different one, usually throught a purple smoke. This was the first magic that Cora learned to use when she needed to turn the straw into a long string of pure gold.
- Shape-Shifting: The ability to alter the appearance of oneself or others. According to Rumpel, Cora took 6 months to learn this spell but once mastered Cora became so adept at using it that he could look exactly like another person once she was transformed.
- Telekinesis: The ability to control the movement of objects or other people/animals.
- Protection Spells: The ability to use one or different types of protection spells. Through a magic staff, Cora was able to create a very huge protective dome around an entire region capable of protecting all those inside it from the Dark Curse casted by Regina.
- Dispel Spells: Cora is able to remove certain spells and curses, such as Protection Spells and both Regina and Zelena's fireballs, by a hand gesture or a potion.
- Blood Magic: Cora can use of hers own or another's blood for various and more powerful spells.
- Element Magic: Cora has shown that she can manipulate and influence all four natural elements and their derivatives at high levels.
- Pyrokinesis: The ability to conjure and control fire, often in the form of a fireball.
- Aereokinesis: Cora used this power when she created the base for the portal to travel to Storybrooke, removing various pieces of earth and rocks in a whirlwind.
- Geokinesis: Cora used this power first to create rock handles to imprison Hook and then again when she created the base for the portal to travel to Storybrooke, creating a huge hole from which all the water gushed out.
- Hydrokinesis: Cora used this power when she created the base for the portal to travel to Storybrooke, causing the groundwater of the Lake Nostos to gush out to the surface.
- Phytokinesis: The ability to control and manipulate plants. Cora in particular seems to be particularly gifted in this branch of magic, as shown by her ability to command at great distances the plants both to prevent Regina from escaping from her marriage with Leopold, and during her time as Queen of Hearts.
- Enchanting: Cora can confer magic properties on objects and people.
- Concealment Spells: Cora can make objects and people invisible, such as when she erects an invisible barrier on Hook's boat with a simple gesture of her fingers.
- Sharing Visions: Cora has the ability to share her past memories in the form of visions with people, proving it when she decided to give back to her daughters the forgotten memories of their childhood.
- Mirror Magic: Like her daughter Regina, Cora is able to manipulate mirrors for various purposes.
- Living Magic Decapitation: As a Queen of Hearts, Cora became capable of magically accomplishing physiologically impossible situations, such as keeping a head separate from the body clinging to life.
- Ripping Out Hearts: The ability to rip someone's heart out in order to control/kill them, among other purposes. Cora in particular uses this skill so often that she has made it a hers special trademark and she is able to kill people even without crushing their enchanted hearts extracts.
- Potioncraft: The ability to create liquid substances for various purposes by combining a set of ingredients.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.