Warning: This article contains spoilers for Once Upon a Time Season 2, Episode 16: "The Miller's Daughter" Stop reading now if you don't want to know!
Update 3/10: As we learn in "The Miller's Daughter," Rumplestiltskin and Cora did have a romantic history, but Regina is not Rumple's daughter. He originally made a deal with Cora, saying he would teach her to spin straw into gold in exchange for her firstborn child. After they fell in love, he amended that to her firstborn child with him. Unfortunately for Rumple, Cora chose power over love, and left him. The fact that Rumple did not get control of Regina at her birth is definitive proof that she is truly not his daughter.
We’re still reeling from the repercussions of the most recent family tree revelation on Once Upon A Time. We’re talking, of course, about the discovery that Henry’s father, Neal, is actually Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin’s (Robert Carlyle) long-lost son. For those of you keeping track at home, that makes Rumple, Snow, and Charming grandparents-in-law. All that’s missing now is a connection to the Evil Queen herself...
Rumplestiltskin and Cora’s Romantic History
Mischief-makers that we are, we couldn’t help but see possibility in the romantic past alluded to between Rumple and Cora (Barbara Hershey). The two recently shared a semi-awkward kiss in Season 2, Episode 11: “The Outsider” when Cora suggests they seal a deal “like we used to,” throwing viewers for a loop.
In an upcoming episode (Season 2, Episode 16: “The Miller’s Daughter”), we will see flashbacks to a Young Cora, played by Rose McGowan. Rose said of her appearance as Young Cora: "I fall madly in love, and then it ends tragically.” She also shared that she shares most of her scenes with Rumple. This got us wondering: Could Rumple be Regina’s father?!
The Story of Rumpelstiltskin
In the classic tale of Rumpelstiltskin, a miller lies to the king about his daughter’s ability to spin straw into gold. The king locks the miller’s daughter into a tower and tells her to spin the straw into gold by morning or he will chop off her head. The girl’s life is saved by Rumpelstiltskin, an imp who spins the straw into gold in exchange for the girl’s necklace.
Their deals continue until the girl eventually promises Rumpelstiltskin that she will give him her firstborn child in exchange for his spinning. The miller’s daughter and the king marry and have a child, but ultimately, she’s unwilling to give up her infant. Rumplestiltskin agrees to let her keep the baby, but only if she can guess his true name, which she does.
OUAT has a habit of taking classic tales and turning them on their head. Rumple’s story has already taken on a life of its own, so we don’t think it would be too hard to make “The Miller’s Daughter” into a love story of sorts, or at the very least, a lust story.
Regina’s “father,” Henry, did not seem the type to go around threatening to chop a girl’s heads off, but the OUAT character does recall to Regina a man who taught magic to Cora. Did Rumple and Cora fall in love in the process? Rumple is known for his deals, but is Regina more than just part of a deal to Rumple? Could Regina actually be Rumple’s daughter?
The Family Tree
A Rumple/Cora romantic history would certainly throw a few more branches on what is quickly becoming the largest and most complicated family tree in the Enchanted Forest. For example, if Regina was really Rumple’s daughter that would make Regina:
- Neal’s half-sister
- Henry’s biological aunt
- Emma’s potential future sister-in-law
- Belle’s potential future step-daughter
Yes, this would make the show’s family dynamics even more confusing, but it would also be kind of awesome. In the end, OUAT is a show about one giant, dysfunctional family. After all, everyone in Storybrooke has mommy/daddy issues. If Rumple is Regina’s father, Regina could join the Storybrooke Abandoned Children Support Group and maybe she could finally make some friends.
Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.