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Barbara Hershey as Cora: Mommie Dearest


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#1

oldandnewfirm

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Posted Oct 14, 2012 @ 9:42 PM

Due to the speculation about Cora being King George's true love, (and also because it looks like her role will be expanded this season) I decided to start a Cora thread.

Copying this over from Tumblr, where I'm currently having the same King George + Cora = True Love discussion:

What if Cora pulled an Ella, only she succeeded?

What I mean is, Cora makes the deal for the gold thread or whatever the Once twist on the tale is going to be. But when Rumple names his price, Cora decides to bail on King George rather than reveal the terrible truth: that she’d unwittingly traded her own child in order to secure George’s hand.

And even that assumes that she did so unwittingly— Rumple’s surprise at Regina’s lack of ill will in “We Are Both” suggests that Cora has always been a merciless, calculating woman to some degree. She may have willingly agreed to trade Regina away while secretly planning to win her back in the end. How she did so is the real question; it seems to me that Rumple wasn’t exactly thrilled with how his deal(s) with Cora ended, even if it resulted in him getting what he wanted in the long term.

Also, someone else on Tumblr made an excellent point: George's kingdom is poor, and if he's reached the point where he needs to send his son to slay a dragon to save it, then it's likely that his kingdom has been on the decline for a while. It would make sense for a king who's facing some financial issues to be VERY interested in a woman who claims she can spin straw into gold.
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#2

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Posted Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:03 PM

What I mean is, Cora makes the deal for the gold thread or whatever the Once twist on the tale is going to be. But when Rumple names his price, Cora decides to bail on King George rather than reveal the terrible truth: that she’d unwittingly traded her own child in order to secure George’s hand.

Let me see...are you saying Cora had a child with George but traded her (assuming it is Regina) away, to Rumpel no less? I'll play, but how did she get Regina back, or did she just guess Rumpel's name and he had to let her go. It makes some sense but George said that his wife made a deal that made her go bad and caused her to be infertile. The only way I could see this happening is if, Cora had a child with George, gave her to Rumpel (without George's knowledge), told the king she could not have kids and pretended to die and somehow got her child back and ran off with Henry. I can't rule out because it sounds interesting, but it doesn't seem plausible.

Edited by Fable, Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:03 PM.

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#3

oldandnewfirm

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Posted Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:15 PM

Let me see...are you saying Cora had a child with George but traded her (assuming it is Regina) away, to Rumpel no less?


Going by the original fairy tale, yes. The miller's daughter initially trades Rumplestiltskin sentimental items in exchange for his help; when she runs out of those, he agrees to help her a final time in exchange for a price that he'll name later. She assumes it will be wealth, but it turns out to be her firstborn child.

I'll play, but how did she get Regina back, or did she just guess Rumpel's name and he had to let her go.


That, we don't know. But during Rumple's first conversation with Regina in "We Are Both," he makes it clear that Regina should have been his at one point, but due to unspecified circumstances that didn't pan out. In "The Stable Boy" we also hear Cora talk about sacrifices and deals she had to make as justification for her securing Regina's "happiness" by killing Daniel and forcing Regina to marry Leopold. I'm sure the exact nature of Cora's deal(s) with Rumple will be explored later in the show.

As for her ending up with Henry, I sincerely doubt she ever intended for that to be the case. I've said since the beginning that Henry seems like someone she latched onto because he was wealthy and weak, and that her cruelty towards him is out of bitterness that he is not the king she ought to have had.

Edit: someone on the episode thread suggested that Cora might have been George's first wife whom he dumped when he realized what a terrible woman she was. I like that theory too.

Edited by oldandnewfirm, Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:25 PM.

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#4

Cardie

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Posted Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:41 PM

Here's another possible variation. Cora the Miller's daughter has already snagged Henry Sr. and given birth to Regina. But the King has taken a fancy to her, so she runs off and woos him through the spinning straw into gold ruse, abetted by Rumpelstiltskin, from whom she gets her magic powers. When Rumpel comes back to ask for her firstborn, thinking he'll foster royalty, she gives him her old address. Rumpel does take Regina for a time and gets revenge on Cora by making her infertile. At this point Cora bargains to have Regina back provided he can find George an heir. She then abandons George, leaving a note about not wanting to live a lie, etc. King George tells the kingdom she died in childbirth.

Henry Sr., that patsy, is so overjoyed at the return of his wife and daughter that he takes them back despite Cora's betraval. He's Cora's version of the Genie/Magic Mirror/Sydney.
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#5

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Posted Oct 14, 2012 @ 11:58 PM

I thought it was Regina who is the Millers daughter? Henry's last name was 'Mills' and I presume Cora's maiden name was something else.
Cora having been King George's wife just doesn't seem to line up. I do think Regina was a baby that Rumples made a deal for however.. and Cora somehow tricked him.


The dialogue from the episode 1 x 6 'The Shepherd' doesn't seem to fit the Cora = King George's wife theory:
Rumpelstiltskin: So this is how you treat my gifts? You really must be more careful.

King George: He was not a gift. He was my son.

Rumpelstiltskin: A son I gave you.

King George: In a deal we made. You did me no favours.

Rumpelstiltskin: Yes, yes, I did. Shame you and the queen couldn’t conceive a child on your own. My price for that was a pittance. But now that she’s gone, well, I assume that conceiving another heir is out of the question – let alone a dragon slayer.

And tonight he says that he was in love with his wife and that his wife love him.. if Cora had been that wife, why would she have left and married Henry? It doesn't make any sense.. and if he had loved her, why wouldn't he have gone after her? King George obviously knew Regina, he would have known Cora as well. Now, I do think Cora could have been the one to poison/curse King George's wife.
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#6

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:29 AM

I thought it was Regina who is the Millers daughter? Henry's last name was 'Mills' and I presume Cora's maiden name was something else.


Nope. Regina tells Daniel in "The Stable Boy" that her mother began life as a simple miller's daughter, which is part of the reason why she's so hungry for Regina to gain a higher station now.

Now, I do think Cora could have been the one to poison/curse King George's wife.

Someone mentioned that Cora could have been George's first wife, which is another theory I like. If George dumped her and later married his true love, Cora could have poisoned his new queen out of spite.

Even if Cora doesn't end up being the wife that George loved, I do think she'll end up having been married to him at some point. I just want to know what their take on her deal with Rumple is going to be. Specifically, I want to know how she manages to keep Regina.

Edit: As for why Cora would have left George if he WERE her true love, I answered that in the opening post. She'd have done it for the same reason that Ella was going to leave Thomas: she was more terrified by the thought of his scorn than she was at the thought of losing him.

Edited by oldandnewfirm, Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:31 AM.

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#7

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:43 AM

Edit: As for why Cora would have left George if he WERE her true love, I answered that in the opening post. She'd have done it for the same reason that Ella was going to leave Thomas: she was more terrified by the thought of his scorn than she was at the thought of losing him.

You believe there was a child that Cora gave up to Rumple BEFORE Regina was born? Because she obviously raised Regina. Cora doesn't strike me as the 'afraid' type. (Boy.. wouldn't these two make a pair! YIKES!) And King George doesn't strike me as the type that would have given up on his 'true love' easily, especially since it sounds as if he & his wife tried for & adopted James 1 while she was still alive.

What I would find more plausible is if King George's father made a deal with the Miller regarding his daughter who could spin straw into gold and if she did as he asked she would get to marry his son (Prince George at that time). With Rumples help Cora spun the straw into gold but then Prince George pulled a Prince Charming & refused to marry her because he loved someone else.. Because George broke his deal, Cora cursed/poisoned King Georges' wife. But King George, being who he is, I would think would have felt a lot of anger & wanted revenge and would be the type to take it out on Cora and her daughter.. and King George seems to have an amicable relationship with Regina.

Edited by MorninStar, Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:45 AM.

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#8

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:54 AM

I'm just wondering how long it will be before she makes her way to Storybrooke and starts raising hell there. Her last scene tonight where she's somehow managed to bottle some sort of magic (after she's proven that she still retains her full powers) indicates to me that she's got every intention of finding a way to get there and doing God knows what to Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow, Emma, and Henry.
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#9

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

I don't think Cora gave up Regina to Rumple for any length of time, I think she made a deal with him, time passes, she has Regina. Then Rumpel comes to take Regina and she says 'not so fast, Rumpelstiltskin' or whatever make him not be able to take her.

As for where King George comes in, I feel certain she was the millers daughter, trying to spin straw into gold for a chance to marry him. Now whether they did indeed get married and she was unable to have a child (or pretending to be unable to have one), or she was his first wife and left before he met the woman he loved, I'm not sure. I am really interested to see what they do with that because it's all intertwined somehow.
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#10

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 1:26 PM

I'm not inclined to believe that it was Cora whom George loved. I am more inclined to think that for some reason, somehow it was Snow's mother involved with George. They never mention what happened to Snow's mother. Maybe Cora and Snow's mother were possible sisters (Rose Red and Snow White) and both fell in love with the same man, but ended up in an arranged marriage with their significant others. Just throwing the possibility out there. Maybe Snow's mom may have been believed dead and she had amnesia and ended up in love with George, hehe, then Cora became jealous and cursed her. Anything is possible in this twisted fairy tale world! lol
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#11

Cardie

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 4:03 PM

Another scenario might be that Cora's backstory follows the fairytale pretty closely. She spins straw into gold, marries the King. When Rumple demands their first-born, Regina, George says to go ahead and hand her over: it's only a princess, not the son he's counting on. The gold was a fair trade.

Cora thwarts Rumple by guessing his name, keeps him from taking Regina, and goes off to learn magic so she won't be at the mercy of powerful men ever again. When Regina is still a baby/toddler, Cora enchants Henry Sr. into marrying her to get some sort of social rank. As a counter to all the wicked step-parents, Henry is a wonderful father to Regina, a relationship she thinks will be easy to replicate with Henry Jr. Conversely, even though she's an awful mother after magic corrupts her, we will see that Cora did give up quite a lot for love of her daughter.

As others have speculated, Cora does at some point curse George's second wife and one true love with infertility as punishment for his rejection of their daughter (and by extension her.)
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#12

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 4:11 PM

Cora thwarts Rumple by guessing his name, keeps him from taking Regina, and goes off to learn magic so she won't be at the mercy of powerful men ever again. When Regina is still a baby/toddler, Cora enchants Henry Sr. into marrying her to get some sort of social rank.

Okay, but Rumpel was going to take her kid - so she leaves to learn from Rumpel? I'm not sure George would give up a daughter to Rumpel, but I sure don't think he'd let Cora take her. Even if she used magic (or Rumpel used it on her behalf) to leave, people would know her as Queen, know she had the King's child. She wouldn't need to marry Henry for rank. Kill off George and Regina is the new Queen, with Cora as regent.

Edited by Tzigone, Oct 15, 2012 @ 4:12 PM.

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#13

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 5:28 PM

As others have speculated, Cora does at some point curse George's second wife and one true love with infertility as punishment for his rejection of their daughter (and by extension her.)

I love to speculate with the best of them, but I think we should be careful to state if this is what we think the case may be because this is not the speculation thread. People might think this is canon if statements are made as if this is something we already 'know'. We do not know that Cora is the one who cursed George's second wife or if King George even had a second wife!
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#14

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 8:20 PM

I don't know if I can really see Cora and George being married or being each other's true loves, but I definitely see them collaborating in the future against the Charmings, and I imagine it will be a deliciously evil partnership. They both seem to want to get their hands on Henry.
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#15

Cardie

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 11:14 PM

I love to speculate with the best of them, but I think we should be careful to state if this is what we think the case may be because this is not the speculation thread.



I prefaced my whole spec with "Another possible scenario" so of course this is only what I think may be true. I was simply narrating the plot of my spec in the literary present.

I see tons of spec in these character threads. Should all such spec move to either spec w/o spoilers or the spoiler thread?
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#16

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Posted Oct 15, 2012 @ 11:29 PM

Cardie, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. I do try to remember what thread I'm in and move the conversation if I think it's getting away from the topic, but it's hard to know what belongs where sometimes. I get caught up in the conversations too. :)
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#17

MsCaitlin

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Posted Oct 16, 2012 @ 6:14 PM

Question regarding Cora: I'll buy that she murdered Lancelot at some point after discovering that he was the leader of the refugee camp. I'm going to give the writers a bit of credit and say she studied his mannerisms, killed him, and then assumed command of the group.

However, we're shown a clear shot of her in the Pit with Emma and Mary Margaret, when a member of the camp throws down the rope and says "the leader wants to see you."

I can buy magical disguise and shape shifting abilities. But does anybody want to explain how she can physically be in two places at once? (In the pit as Cora, and presumably in some tent as Lancelot summoning the prisoners)
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#18

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Posted Oct 16, 2012 @ 6:19 PM

I'll buy that she murdered Lancelot at some point after discovering that he was the leader of the refugee camp. I'm going to give the writers a bit of credit and say she studied his mannerisms, killed him, and then assumed command of the group.

I had it in my head that she killed him back before there was much of group to command and then made herself leader. I thought she said something about people needing heroes/leaders or something? I'm probably misremembering. And, of course, she could just be lying.

But does anybody want to explain how she can physically be in two places at once? (In the pit as Cora, and presumably in some tent as Lancelot summoning the prisoners)

Rumpel and Regina can both teleport, so Cora probably can, too. I can't remember the timing - could "Lancelot" said "give them a couple hours to stew, then bring them to me"?

Edited by Tzigone, Oct 16, 2012 @ 6:24 PM.

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#19

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Posted Oct 17, 2012 @ 8:12 AM

I'm really starting to like the Cora/George speculation--it covers a lot of gaps between what we know of Cora's (miller's daughter's) background and the original fairy tale.

Try this variation:

Cora is an ambitious girl who gets the attention of the impoverished king/prince by claiming she can spin straw to gold. She makes the deal with Rumpel for that power; in return, she (perhaps unwittingly like Cinderella but Cora seems to smart not to read her contracts) promises him her firstborn. She and George get married, fall in love, and have Regina. Rumpel comes to collect, and here's the part where Cora gets the best of him somehow. After he's defeated he gets his revenge by getting her to drink the infertility potion: Fine, keep this baby, but you'll never have another.

Unfortunately George's is the typical medieval kingdom that needs a male heir. His advisors and maybe his parents want him to divorce Cora and find a wife who can give him an heir. George then makes the deal with Rumpel to get him a son (probably unaware of Cora's previous bargains with Rumpel, because how dumb would he have to be to try to deal with him again?). Rumpel obtains James I and George thinks that they're all now going to live happily ever after.

But Cora cannot stand the fact that her daughter is going to be passed over for the son of some random shepherd. She tries to kill little James and gets caught. She is sentenced to prison or banished--maybe Henry Senior is a groom or something who helps Cora escape with Regina. (This makes more sense than his being a nobleman who is happy to act as Regina's butler after she becomes queen.)

This scenario:

  • Covers the relative ages of Regina and Charming, while keeping Regina young enough when they were banished that she wouldn't remember she's a princess.
  • Explains Cora's almost pathological desire to see Regina be queen--she IS the rightful heir to a kingdom.
  • Also explains Cora's line to the effect that love ends but power lasts--she trusted George to put her and Regina above the needs of the kingdom because he loved her, and he didn't.
  • And tells us how Snow and Charming got their hands on George's kingdom: they deposed him because he was a threat, but his only surviving heir was Regina, whom they had ALSO deposed because she was a threat, and Regina's only heir was...her stepdaughter.

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#20

Cardie

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Posted Oct 17, 2012 @ 1:48 PM

I can buy magical disguise and shape shifting abilities. But does anybody want to explain how she can physically be in two places at once? (In the pit as Cora, and presumably in some tent as Lancelot summoning the prisoners)



Cora's whole interaction with Snow and Emma only lasts a couple of minutes. I can see her as Lancelot sending someone down to the pit, which might be a five-minute walk through the camp, and then zipping there to find out what she can as Cora. She doesn't have to worry that she'll only have a little time, because she can interact with them as Lancelot as long as she likes. Indeed, she should hardly even reveal to Snow that she's in the ruined Enchanted Lands; she wouldn't have been found out if she had only appeared to them as Lancelot. That's purely to set up the audience for the "gotcha."
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#21

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Posted Oct 18, 2012 @ 8:44 PM

Rumpel and Regina can both teleport, so Cora probably can, too. I can't remember the timing - could "Lancelot" said "give them a couple hours to stew, then bring them to me"?


I agree. Cora later teleported herself out of the nursery, and then back into it, when Snow and the gang left.
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#22

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Posted Oct 31, 2012 @ 1:05 AM

Been go over the proposed Cora back stories and none seem right. Either they try to tie in too many other possible back stories or are trying to fit Cora to the Millers Daughter traditional storyline or both. So lets start by tossing any tie in to King George or any other royal, and jettison the Miller's Daughter framework while we are at it. That leaves us with an ambitious woman born of a miller who wants the high life and determined to get it for her and her children, come hell of high water. The Enchanted Forest looks like a quasi-medieval patriarchy with some room for social advancement but not much, which means strict gender roles and few paths to power for woman. That leaves marrying up (always tricky) and magic. Cora uses both, with magic as a supplement to charm, beauty and elegant back-stabbing treachery. This gets Cora a good man with a title, some social standing, more wealth that she had before, and less backbone than that of a sea cucumber. Poor Papa Henry. But Cora wants more, so she makes a deal with Rumpel. Exact details are vague, but it does allow for some training, Rumpel getting access to baby Regina, Rumpel possible enchanting Baby Regina to improve her magical talents, and possibly Cora having sex with Rumpel. All of Cora's actions are straight out of the alpha female playbook, and are well documented historically.
As to the Miller's Daughter story that we know? Rumpel could have had that one spread around as a way to convince people that if they made a deal with him that they could outsmart him. Everyone thinks they are clever.
As for Cora now? She is out for blood and raw power. Since Regina robbed her of her place as power behind the throne of Regina's kingdom, Cora will now take Regina's kingdom, and anything that Regina loves will be destroyed or taken from her. After all, disobedient children need to be put in their place. Cora is only doing what any other mother would do.
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#23

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Posted Oct 31, 2012 @ 8:04 AM

I think Regina is the Miller's daughter but I don't see why she should have any connection to King George. I think perhaps the whole "spinning straw into gold and learning magic from Rumple" was in part to snag Henry Sr. who I imagine was a step up and some sort of nobility, but she was bitter she didn't bag a king and so figured she'd have her daughter do it.
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#24

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Posted Dec 4, 2012 @ 2:39 AM

So what was the deal with Cora speaking through that voice instrument and hiding her face as the Queen of Hearts as she ordered people's heads be chopped off? That woman is just crazy and not in a good way.
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#25

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Posted Dec 4, 2012 @ 3:13 AM

I think the reason they showed her that way in Season 1 was because they didn't want to be explicit about who she was and there was probably no need to get Barbara Hershey to play her up until the reveal.
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#26

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Posted Dec 4, 2012 @ 1:39 PM

And instory maybe Regina didn't know at that point that she was the Queen of Hearts and Cora wanted to keep it that way.
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#27

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Posted Dec 4, 2012 @ 2:14 PM

And instory maybe Regina didn't know at that point that she was the Queen of Hearts and Cora wanted to keep it that way.

She knew exactly that Cora was the Queen of Hearts in "Hat Trick":

Evil Queen: The Queen of Hearts. She’s not one for subtlety.
Jefferson: This wasn’t part of our deal. You know what she does to anyone that crosses her.
Evil Queen: Indeed. Better than most. You can’t leave Wonderland without me. Two go through, two go back. You’re not going to let the Queen of Hearts keep you from returning to your daughter, are you?

and

Jefferson: This is what she took from you? Your father?
Evil Queen: The Queen of Hearts has always seen me as a threat. So, she wanted some leverage. I got it back.
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#28

lubi

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Posted Jan 11, 2013 @ 10:20 AM

The name Cora is also another name for the greek goddess Persephone.

She was the queen of the underworld, married to Hades and her mother was the goddess for harvest. Cool how that fits a lot with the show. I wonder if they will take more from the myth to our OUAT Cora's backstory
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#29

legaleagle44

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Posted Jan 11, 2013 @ 10:39 PM

That's "Core," not "Cora." "Core" (or its more common spelling "Kore") is the Greek word for "daughter," which is fitting because Persephone was the daughter of Demeter. It has nothing to do with Cora, which comes from the Latin word for "heart."

Edited by legaleagle44, Jan 11, 2013 @ 10:43 PM.

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#30

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Posted Jan 12, 2013 @ 2:06 PM

Can't wait for her back-story however I'm sure it will be something like she was poor, lonely whatever and here comes Rumple who will change her life if she lets him help her, and then she becomes power hungry and turns evil. I'm hoping I'm wrong however I think this is how the show runners like their characters to develop.
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