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This article focuses on the group of characters who held the title of Author.
For the corrupted Author, see Isaac Heller.
For the current author, see Henry Mills.
So I must remind you the Author's true job is to record the stories, not to create them. So, no matter how many stories you have already written, you must choose each time how you will use the pen.
The Apprentice to Henry Mills src

The Authors are a group of characters featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They début in the sixteenth episode of the fourth season.


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Before First Curse

For eons, the Sorcerer and his Apprentice select an Author, male or female, to take on the responsibilities of recording stories in a book with a magic quill. ("Best Laid Plans")

As a self professed storyteller, Isaac becomes a television salesman, hoping to use his skill to boost consumer sales. One day, in December of 1966, he does a poor job at persuading a customer to buy a new television, to which his boss intervenes to turn the situation around. After getting berated by his boss about his dismal customer skills, Isaac checks the mail pile and sees a letter from a book publishing company asking to see him. Once there, he unknowingly meets the Apprentice, who presents several pens on table and asks him to pick one. Isaac chooses a quill, which glows to signify he is the next Author. Following a brief explanation about the Author's role, the Apprentice opens a door to another realm, intending to take Isaac there. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Becoming corrupt, Isaac begins manipulating stories to create "better" tales. After forcing the Apprentice to doom a child in favor of Snow White and Prince Charming's child, Isaac is imprisoned in the book's door illustration by the Apprentice as punishment. ("Best Laid Plans")

Soon after this, the Apprentice tells the Sorcerer about what transpired with Isaac, and although the Author is now trapped in the book, he can still record stories, but never change them again. He hopes for a way to undo the magic on Maleficent's child, the Sorcerer asserts that what has been done cannot be changed since the fates of both children have been entwined as they always have been. ("Lily")

After Second Curse

Eventually, the Author becomes sought after by many people for their own personal reasons. For Regina, she wishes to change her story in the book in order to obtain happiness with Robin Hood. The villains, Cruella, Ursula, Maleficent and Mr. Gold, want to use the Author to make Emma evil so she's no longer a savior. In doing so, the Author can rewrite happy endings for the villains. Once the key to the door illustration is found, Emma discovers a dark truth about her parents' past that causes her to turn to the Author for answers about herself. After she frees Isaac, he escapes into town. ("Best Laid Plans")

Within the alternate world Isaac creates, the magical quill glows after Henry touches it, signaling that he has become the new Author. Using Regina's blood as a new form of ink, Henry undoes the stories Isaac wrote for everyone. Upon returning to Storybrooke and conversing with the Apprentice, Henry decides that the power to alter history is too great for anyone and breaks the magical quill in half. The Apprentice happily states that the right person has finally been found for the job of the Author. ("Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Fourth Curse

After Fifth Curse

Known Authors

†: Deceased Author
Bold name: Current Author


On-Screen Notes

Popular Culture

  • August states that the job of the Author "goes back eons from the man who watched shadows dance across cave walls and developed an entire philosophy". This is a reference to the Greek philosopher Plato, and his Allegory of the Cave. ("Best Laid Plans")
  • When August lists the previous Authors, he mentions "playwrights who tell tales in poetry". This is a reference to William Shakespeare, who used iambic pentameter in his plays and sonnets. ("Best Laid Plans")
  • August names one man who held the position as Walt. This is a direct reference to Walt Disney, the famed American cartoonist, animator, film producer, and the co-founder of The Walt Disney Company.[1] Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, the same date on the letter the Apprentice sent to Isaac Heller.[2] The Apprentice mentions how the last Author just passed away. ("Best Laid Plans", "Operation Mongoose Part 1")


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. TwitterLogo @JaneEspenson (Jane Espenson) on Twitter (March 30, 2015). "Are you asking if Walt Disney is the current author? No. If he was a former one? That was the implication." (screenshot)
  2. File:421StarPublishingLetter.png

Start a Discussion Discussions about Authors

  • Could Isaac control the LWM?

    14 messages
    • I want to look the situation from a different side. So here's what I'm thinking '''Isaac: '''He was ...
    • I think author pen could work in real world but it just to record peoples lives. The real world had magic in different place.
  • Author, The Author's Pen, The Book, and their interlocked powers

    3 messages
    • I don't think so, I think they could record any prophecies that are given though.
    • No. The Book records after the fact and as it happens, never before. The Author can right for things to occur, but that is against the rul...
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