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Henry, Regina, and Emma: The Real Love Triangle


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#1

HelenBack

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 3:47 PM

I thought it deserved its own topic!

My own opinion, I think Emma's coming to love Henry as a mother naturally might, or, indeed, as anyone might who gets to know a vulnerable child, though I do not believe she has any designs on custody; I think Henry loves Emma more or less just instinctively, and because he so badly needs someone to love; and I think that Regina would love to love Henry but can't.

Have at it!
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#2

Tzigone

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 3:56 PM

I agree on Regina wanting to love Henry, but being incapable of it (mostly based on the cost of the curse line and Emma's deciding to stay after asking that question). I'm not certain whether or not Regina has fooled herself into thinking she loves him. Certainly, even if she did love him, it would be a very selfish type of love, given what's she's willing to do to him emotionally/psychologically.

I also agree that Emma cares, though I'm not yet willing to put that into mother's love. A growing connection, though.

I'm going to disagree on Henry. I think he's put Emma on a pedestal as savior of the fairy tale inhabitants. Fair enough, having read the book. His hopes are high for someone who will understand what he's seen all along and who will make everything right. I think he might latch on just as much (or almost as much) to anyone he read the book about, even if she hadn't been his birth mother. For him, she's the magic that's supposed to fix everything. Again, fair enough, since the book says so. I don't really recall him trying to bond with her or spend time with her outside that context, but I might be forgetting something. I mean, it does matter to him that she's his birth mother (his real mother he says, because Regina doesn't feel like that to him), and we saw that when she talked about not being ready and when he talked about Emma being able to leave. But it so much bigger than that, because of the story that makes her bigger than life, in a way. And in seeing her failings, that could be a heavy hit to him (like when he overheard she didn't believe him). He's aware of the hero's journey intellectually, but I think he thinks Emma finished it already.
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#3

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 4:13 PM

I don't really recall him trying to bond with her or spend time with her outside that context


I'm pretty sure in the Cinderella episode, he snuck out because he wanted to spend the day with her. I could be wrong, though.
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#4

HelenBack

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 4:38 PM

I also agree that Emma cares, though I'm not yet willing to put that into mother's love. A growing connection, though.

Fair enough!

And I certainly agree that Henry is idealizing Emma.

I'm pretty sure in the Cinderella episode, he snuck out because he wanted to spend the day with her.

He did say that. I found it a little hard to interpret. At the time, Henry was trying to manipulate Emma into letting him come along, but was it also one of those times that the truth is spoken off-the-cuff, perhaps inadvertently? I'm not sure.
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#5

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 4:43 PM

Well before he even knew about the maid's issues, Henry had come to Mary Margaret's house to tell Emma his mom was gone until 5 so they could "hang out". His original goal was to hang out with Emma it seemed and then he wanted to be involved in her adventure.
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#6

tgrfan23

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 4:44 PM

I think he's put Emma on a pedestal as savior of the fairy tale inhabitants. Fair enough, having read the book. His hopes are high for someone who will understand what he's seen all along and who will make everything right. I think he might latch on just as much (or almost as much) to anyone he read the book about, even if she hadn't been his birth mother. For him, she's the magic that's supposed to fix everything.

I think it's not only this, but also the fact that if/when Emma finally fixes things, Henry believes he'll get the family he's always wanted, albeit likely in a very wacky, fractured form. That's his real goal, whether he's acknowledged it to himself or not yet.
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#7

celette482

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 6:49 PM

I think it's not only this, but also the fact that if/when Emma finally fixes things, Henry believes he'll get the family he's always wanted, albeit likely in a very wacky, fractured form. That's his real goal, whether he's acknowledged it to himself or not yet.



I'm betting that in a few episodes (12-13 simply from a seasonal arc p,o.v., not any actual spoilery hint that I know of) there's gonna be a showdown between Henry's real goal and the reality of Emma's life. In some sense, this is a fairy tale in and of itself. The little "orphan" child has an insta-family. Except that Emma's a full grown adult who made choices that put her in this position. She may love Henry but does she want to be his mom?

Either it will be Henry's idealized Emma vs. real not perfect Emma OR Henry's vision of how their relationship will go forward (mother and son, presumably) vs. Emma's reluctance to actually be a mom.

Sure, she's got this attachment issue thing, and they're working on it by slowly acclimatizing her to the idea that she has an entire family who does in fact love her, very much. But, I can tell you right now, as a 24 year old, i would not embrace the idea of having a kid, particularly one that's 10 years old, just dropped in my lap.

Then again, and maybe this is Fables bleeding in too much, but there's a sense in fairy tales that responsibility is a highly valued virtue. Emma did the responsible thing at 18. If they manage to expose the EQ for what she is or force her hand, Henry could very easily find himself homeless (or even worse, a hostage... why hasn't he thought of that???? someone needs to remind that kid that he's basically a pawn in the hands of the woman who's got it in for his entire family). When Henry needs a home, the responsible thing will be for Emma to step up.

So, long story short, Henry clearly thinks that this is how he gets the family he always wanted. And honestly, because this IS a fairy tale, I think he'll get it. It just won't be what he expected.
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#8

HelenBack

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 7:27 PM

If they manage to expose the EQ for what she is or force her hand, Henry could very easily find himself homeless (or even worse, a hostage... why hasn't he thought of that???? someone needs to remind that kid that he's basically a pawn in the hands of the woman who's got it in for his entire family).

Well, he is looking to Emma to somehow rescue him - and everyone in Storybrooke - from Regina already, so maybe this has occurred to him. He's aware that she's evil; evil people are dangerous!
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#9

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 7:36 PM

I have a hard time seeing Emma as anything other than an interloper who is butting her nose into other people's lives with no just cause. She doesn't believe in the curse or that Regina is an evil queen, she doesn't believe in Henry's fairytale. She has no business hanging around Henry and Regina or interfering in their lives. If she has any concerns over Henry's welfare, she should report it to the authorities, not intrude on his life with his mother. It's made me dislike her from day one, just the arrogance and nerve of her. In her own way, she's not any nicer than Regina, even if she's not "bad".

I think she and Henry will end up together. But since I find Henry truly weird and creepy, they deserve each other.

Edited by MichaelaBelle, Nov 29, 2011 @ 7:37 PM.

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#10

crimpinmystyle

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 8:52 PM

Emma may not have believed the curse/fairytale story at first, but I think she's starting to believe it. I strongly disagree that she's an interloper. Henry showed up at her apartment in Boston and she brought him home and then tried to leave, unsuccessfully. She's sought him out on her own only once that I can recall. Every other time they've been together, it's because he's sought her out. How that makes her an interloper, I have no idea. She loved the kid enough to give him up when she knew she couldn't give him a very good life, and now she's concerned for him because the life she gave him up to turned out to be with a woman who doesn't love him. (At least from Emma's POV, Regina doesn't love him.) But still, she keeps returning him to Regina whenever he shows up.

She is nicer than Regina because she didn't A) rip out her own father's heart, and B) curse an entire town because she was unhappy.

Edited by crimpinmystyle, Nov 29, 2011 @ 8:54 PM.

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#11

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 8:55 PM

I do get why Emma couldn't just call social services and leave. She thinks Henry is troubled definitely. And she believes his adoptive mother doesn't love him and something about her may be what's causing Henry's "delusions". I'm okay that her quest isn't perfect and not completely without her own biases. It seems pretty certain Emma feels the system failed her and so I figure that's why doesn't trust it to be the instant fix for her son either.

Now if you believe Emma can tell when people are lying, then I think that answers the question of if Regina thinks she loves Henry. If Regina believed she loved Henry then it wouldn't have been a lie when she told Emma she did, would it? Because Henry truly believing the book meant he didn't set off Emma's spidey-sense with his fairy-tale stuff as a lie. So if Emma really has that power, even Regina doesn't actually believe she loves Henry. Maybe Regina knows she's incapable of it. Maybe she just thinks she hasn't gotten there yet and if she could just "fix" Henry, then she would love him.
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#12

Featherhat

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Posted Nov 29, 2011 @ 9:51 PM

This latest episode is the only one I've felt Regina is attached to Henry, I thought she was genuinly scared for him at times this ep, even though this also seems to be the ep that confirms Regina knows about "the curse and the coffin".

I have a hard time seeing Emma as anything other than an interloper who is butting her nose into other people's lives with no just cause. She doesn't believe in the curse or that Regina is an evil queen, she doesn't believe in Henry's fairytale. She has no business hanging around Henry and Regina or interfering in their lives. If she has any concerns over Henry's welfare, she should report it to the authorities, not intrude on his life with his mother. It's made me dislike her from day one, just the arrogance and nerve of her. In her own way, she's not any nicer than Regina, even if she's not "bad".


My interpretation is competely different. I think Emma didn't believe him at all at first and is reluctant even now (So far) but is finding increasing reasons to stay in Storybrooke, but not out of any selfish reasons, but because she realised Regina didn't love him like she should, adopted or not. And it is Henry himself that keeps forcing the issue. I believe Emma does care a great deal but she is clearly the usually uncomfortable one on the journey.

She did try to go to Henry's Shrink and Graham, and even Regina herself to try to persuade Henry otherwise before acknowledging that either something else is going on or the other adults are changing their stories.

Edited by Featherhat, Nov 29, 2011 @ 10:01 PM.

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#13

Princess Aldrea

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Posted Nov 30, 2011 @ 1:43 AM

I have a hard time seeing Emma as anything other than an interloper who is butting her nose into other people's lives with no just cause.

I don't think she's butting into anyone's lives. Henry wants to spend time with her and keeps seeking her out. I know that Henry is a child and Regina is his guardian but in real life if a child regularly seeks someone out then even if their parents don't like that person then that's not the disliked person butting into their lives or anything more than the kid having friends their parents don't like. And it's not like Emma's dangerous or a bad influence, either.
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#14

statsgirl

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Posted Nov 30, 2011 @ 5:13 PM

I think Emma didn't believe him at all at first and is reluctant even now (So far) but is finding increasing reasons to stay in Storybrooke, but not out of any selfish reasons, but because she realised Regina didn't love him like she should, adopted or not.


That's how I see it too. She was ready to leave town until she saw Regina interacting with Henry and then she decided to stick around some more.

Emma probably does think right now that Henry is a troubled kid but why is he troubled? At that age, the reason is often problematic parenting so she wants to make sure that her son is okay before she leaves. Maybe too, she's falling for the kid in a way she didn't expect or want.

I agree that for Emma, calling social services is not an option because 1) this is Storybrooke and Regina runs the town and 2) she's been in the social services system herself and she wants better for Henry. That's why she put him up for adoption in the first place.

The only time I've seen Regina care about Henry as a person and not a possession is when he was trapped last episode, and even then there is the possibility she was willing to sacrifice him if it meant sealing the hole to Fairy Tale World. He may have all that money can buy but she never hangs out with him other than the weekly dinner before his therapy sessions and on his Saturday at home, she left him alone for her 'council meeting' booty call. No wonder he's looking for a way to break the curse.
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#15

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Posted Dec 22, 2011 @ 5:36 PM

The way I see it Regina sees henry as her Happy Ending, Henry sees emma as his Happy ending and Emma doesn't believe in Happy Endings.
I don't think Emma feels like a mother to Henry but she does feel resposible for him. honestly I don't see their relationship, at this point anyway, as Mother/son but more older sister/younger brother.
Regina sees Henry as a way to fill the void inside her but it can never be filled. Especially since, wether she admits it to herself or not, by the very nature of how she sees him she values him as a means to an end, not someone valuable in and of himself.
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#16

Dani-Ellie

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 9:30 AM

I loved how "An Apple as Red as Blood" gave us Once's version of a present-day King Solomon story. Everything I needed to know about Emma and Regina when it comes to Henry, I got in this episode.

They're both fighting over Henry, yes, but it seemed to me that Emma was fighting for Henry while Regina was fighting to win. The fact that Emma was the one who backed down--the one who couldn't bear to see the baby split in two--clinched it for me.
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#17

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 2:26 PM

Dani-Ellie, I so agree. I thought of King Solomon & the 2 women as well! Another thing that clinched it for me was that Regina was willing to let go of her link to Daniel, the ring, in order to exact revenge and 'win'.
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#18

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 5:18 PM

n order to exact revenge and 'win'.


Why would Regina feel that she is entitled to revenge against Emma? What harm has Emma done her? Regina's revenge is against Snow White. No matter how badly she were to hurt Emma, it wouldn't be revenge unless she could let Snow White know what she had done.
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#19

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 7:01 PM

Why would Regina feel that she is entitled to revenge against Emma? What harm has Emma done her? Regina's revenge is against Snow White. No matter how badly she were to hurt Emma, it wouldn't be revenge unless she could let Snow White know what she had done.

It isn't revenge against Emma, but Regina used her last bit of magic in an attempt to stop Emma from breaking the curse so that Regina could continue her Storybrooke Utopia realm/revenge against Snow.
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#20

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 8:01 PM

Emma was fully ready to walk away from Henry in the pilot because her heart was so closed. The only reason she stayed was because Henry seemed so sad and unhappy, and Regina's threatening ways suggested to Emma that maybe Regina had something to do with it.

Throughout the season, Emma has begun to open up and she genuinely enjoys spending time with Henry now. I think it does show she has Henry's best interests at heart, when she agreed to leave town and visit periodically. She realized and began to accept that her presence has not been good for Henry, and she was willing to cut herself out of the equation, for Henry's own good. Whereas Regina intended to put Emma into a never-ending sleep, even though Henry would be devastated.

I agree that Regina wants to love Henry, but I don't think she can. Why was she spending time on Saturday afternoon council meetings instead of being with Henry. Half the time, he's at home alone, or sent to Archie's.
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#21

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 8:18 PM

Does Regina love Henry or does she want Henry to love her. It may seem triffling, but one is selfish, the other is not. It is unconditional. I wonder if Regina is capable of true love or if she sold her soul to enable the curse.

It will be interesting to see if we will know if any concern Regina shows for Henry's condition is due to true motherly concern or if it will be ambiguous as to whether her concern is more about maintaining the status quo of the curse/her Utopia.

There is no doubt of Emma's love for Henry.
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#22

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 8:27 PM

Does Regina love Henry or does she want Henry to love her.


That's a good question. I think Regina expected Henry to love her, and doesn't understand why he doesn't seem to. Regina does care about Henry though she cares more about her vengeance and her power.
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#23

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 9:02 PM

If she hadn't been willing to let Emma and the turnover just walk out the door, I would have thought she actually intended for Emma to eat the turnover at the house, then Regina could sneak her into the hospital dungeon where her uh, sleep wouldn't be disturbed and then tell Henry that she left. Of course I don't think Henry would have really stood for it. I can hear him now. "You did something to her, didn't you?!" And then he'd be all over town trying to get others to help him find her.

Throughout the season, Emma has begun to open up and she genuinely enjoys spending time with Henry now.

Which made it so hard to watch her shutting back down basically. In that last scene, when he rushes at her and hugs her so tight, I think finds the hug too painful since she knows she's about to leave. Also don't think she really feels like she deserves that hug since she knows she's letting him down by not being the savior he wants her to be.

I think it's interesting Regina's really stuck on why she can't make this kid love her. And I think Emma feels so flawed and disappointing that I think she barely gets why Henry wants her. Emma's come to realize that she's a step-up from Regina (a sociopath) but I don't think Emma actually feels all that lovable.

I noted when Emma says of Regina "She's going to take really good care of you." Henry actually agrees about that before countering about the rest of it. More confirmation that he, like Archie, doesn't think Regina would ever intentionally (physically) hurt him.

Also Emma's getting soooo emotional and Henry's still got his singular focus, "You're the savior, you can't leave, you must break the curse." Which makes sense since Emma's all, I'm doing this for you", so Henry doesn't make his pleas about himself and "Please don't leave me." He wants the focus off himself just as August and Gold did. Of course when he realizes that won't work, Emma will not change focus, then he decides he must make saving him and breaking the curse (or accepting her role as savior) become one in the same.

Oh and it tugged at me how Emma looks at Henry when he says "You may not believe...in me." I think that got to her. I don't think she ever wants Henry to feel like she doesn't have any faith in him.
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#24

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 11:50 PM

I agree that Regina wants to love Henry, but I don't think she can.

I think it's interesting Regina's really stuck on why she can't make this kid love her.


Regina cannot distinguish between love and possession. This is apparently at the heart of many of the stories of abuse both of spouses and children. At least in Regina's case she comes by it honestly. Her many evil deeds have ripped out that part of her heart that can love another.
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#25

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 7:25 AM

And I think Emma feels so flawed and disappointing that I think she barely gets why Henry wants her. Emma's come to realize that she's a step-up from Regina (a sociopath) but I don't think Emma actually feels all that lovable.

I agree with this. I recall back when she said "If Iím not a hero and Iím not the saviour, then what part do I have in his life?" and, of course, Emma doesn't think she is a hero or savior. And is scared of ever being such. And she thinks that's all she has to offer - his delusion. That nothing that really exists in her has value. And I'd say this comes at least in part from her childhood abandonment issues and feeling of no one caring about her. I wonder how that will change when she eventually does accept the truth. Knowing logically that her parents loved her is very different from internalizing that emotionally. It can't erase the past, a lifetime of feeling unloved and unlovable. It could change her future, but not overnight.

That also brings up another issue I've mentioned: so much of Henry's contact and feelings towards Emma stem from his seeing her as the savior. For Henry, it's the focal point of her identity, so far as Emma (or the audience) knows. I think he desperately cares about her in the mom sense, too, but we see less of that. We see it when he wanted to spend time with her in "The Price of Gold" and each time he hugs her. I cannot say how much I love the way he hugs her in "An Apple Red as Blood" and "The Thing You Love the Most" - it's so desperate, so fierce. Those are times when you really get a feel for how much Henry needs her. But I can see how Emma could think that without that, she has nothing to offer that Henry would want.

I noted when Emma says of Regina "She's going to take really good care of you." Henry actually agrees about that before countering about the rest of it. More confirmation that he, like Archie, doesn't think Regina would ever intentionally (physically) hurt him.

Well then, I think they are both wrong. I think, if driven to it, Regina would hurt him. The thing is, with Emma gone, Henry is no threat. He can't break the curse; only Emma can.
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#26

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 11:42 AM

I think we have had more then enough evidence that Regina would not, at least physically hurt Henry, and doesnt (in her own mind) actively try to hurt him any other way. Archie said it ("She would hurt anyone else, but not him,") Henry even said it when Emma said that Regina will take good care of him..he agrees...but he wants more. Right after the dream she rushes into his room to see if he is there, and is relieved (but in typical Regina fashion doesnt hug him or tell him to turn off his flashlight and go to sleep) For anyone who watched the preview for next week and we see Regina's reaction that the kid is in a coma, has to see that she cares about him.

Does she love him like you or I would our kids? No, as has been said the curse left a hole in her heart that can't be filled but she desperately has a need to.THAT is her curse, she wants love but cant give it or receive it.
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#27

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 12:10 PM

I think Regina cares about him, yes, and I think she would miss him if he weren't with her anymore (in any way that could happen). Regina's fighting for him, so far, has come across to me as "I don't want him not in my life anymore; I can't let her take him from me" rather than "Henry is better off with me."

She's shown no hesitance to hurt him emotionally to score a point over Emma. And while Henry agreed that Regina takes good care of him, I don't fault him at all for finding his relationship with her lacking. Yes, he's clothed and fed and warm and healthy and he has nice things, but he doesn't feel like he has a loving relationship with his parent. Speaking from experience, that hurts like hell.

Is her lack of ability to truly love him Regina's fault? Yes and no. She was warned--multiple times--that enacting the curse would create a void in her that could never be filled. Did she understand at the time what that meant? Maybe, maybe not. But I also think at the time that she simply didn't care what that meant. Does she regret it now? Again, maybe, maybe not. But she made her bed, so I find it hard to feel sorry for her now that she has to lie in it.

That's why I saw Emma as the "true mother" in the King Solomon analogy I made yesterday. It's not about what she wants. It's about what she thinks is best for the child, and if that means letting him go, then so be it.
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#28

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 1:19 PM

I understand what you are saying, but I am looking at this as a "does Regina care about Henry," more then who loves the kid more, or for more honorable purposes. Regina is at least until the writers tell us differently, doing better for Henry then she has done for anyone else since she "turned." She is doing the best she can, which, actually is a hell of a lot better then what she was given by her mother. Several times she has actually hugged him protectively (coming out of the mine, when August was talking to him) and she hugged him on the couch when she gave him the hilariously outdated video game that only a kid trapped in a town trapped in time would love. She is a bit cold to him but never has really even yelled at him, etc. The shrinks sessions I think she equates in her mind with doing what is best for him, as having those thoughts, even though they are true, are damaging to him.

I think Parrilla is a master of showing on her face Regina's inner turmoil. When she is with the kid and he rejects her you can see the pain on her face and her longing for his love, but she has no idea how to ask it or get it. She also never reacts to his rejections, which is so not Regina. Instead in typical Regina fashion she blames Emma or Archie, etc, which is similar to how she delt with her mother, not blaming her for the boyfriends death but Snow.

I think the more interesting question is, does Henry love Regina? What does he feel about her? I have no idea.
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#29

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 2:50 PM

Irish64, I think you're spot on with with your last post. When questioning whether or not Regina loves Henry it shouldn't be a matter of who loves him most because I think( and Lana and the showrunners have said) that she does in her own way. I think Lana and the direction the directors takes helps with conveying that in Regina's limited way she does. Though I'm certain that Emma's love is more unconditional.

Now having said that, I do believe Emma would be better for him emotionally while obviously Regina has better means to take care of him physically. I think that's why I find their situation and what Archie said so fascinating because he's right, they both seem to love him and are technically both his mom. Though I love the character, I really wish Regina wasn't so blinded by this revenge and they could come together to do what's best for Henry.

Edited by ChelleNic, May 8, 2012 @ 2:52 PM.

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#30

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 2:58 PM

[quotename="Tzigone "]Well then, I think they are both wrong. I think, if driven to it, Regina would hurt him. The thing is, with Emma gone, Henry is no threat. He can't break the curse; only Emma can[/quote]
I honestly don't think Regina would physically intentionally hurt him. There's so many different levels at play and who knows, maybe the show will shock me but right now I don't see it. Could review the sociopathic idea in which case she sees Henry as extension of herself and thus wouldn't physically harm him any more than she would self-harm. In which case the day, she kills Henry would be the day she kills herself and if she never reaches the point of the latter, she would never reach the point of the former.

You could go from the point of view of an abused child who remembers how awful it was, and thus would never physically abuse their own children (or even come close for fear of lack of restraint). Though the mental/emotional abuse which was more subtle may be harder for them to recognize/keep in check.

You could decide if she was really that short tempered, how did she EVER make it through the toddler tantrum years without a lot of time spent controlling her violent instinctive reactions and she learned how to cope a long time ago. And she just doesn't see Henry's current acting out as any more than the emotional upset toddlers have to go through when they can't have every toy, every piece of candy blah blah. "Can't have every curse broken, buddy." Sees it as a selfish, in the moment, want on his part and when he's older and has more perspective, he'll get over it.

Plus as long as Emma's still around, she can direct her angry energy at HER. Especially if Emma comes to believe, then Regina's got both Emma's parents to go after before Henry. And if Emma is taken care of, then Henry's whining won't matter because nothing can be done. And since I find it doubtful from a storytelling perspective that Snow/Mary Charming/David would die then no reason to move onto using Henry to hurt Emma.

Any or all of these can be intermixed so I just don't see it.
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