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This article focuses on the items.
For the Season Five episode, see "Her Handsome Hero".

It's what made me fall in love with books.

Belle to Colette src

Her Handsome Hero are items featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They first appear in the twelfth episode of the first season.[1]

The items are a reference to Belle's blue book in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast.[1]


Before First Curse

When Belle is a young child, her mother Colette introduces her to the book Her Handsome Hero, a tale of compassion and forgiveness that centers on a hero named Gideon. This story helps to instill a great love for books in Belle. ("Family Business", "Changelings")

At an older age, Belle meets a potential suitor, Gaston, and they have a run-in with a young ogre that has fallen into a trap. Gaston believes the ogre is a spy, however, Belle persuades him into letting her decipher the ogre's true intentions by consulting a magical antiquities book. During this, she tells him about her favorite book, Her Handsome Hero, which Colette had read to her when she was a child. Gaston is surprised that Belle is into such a book, which he believes to be "cheap romance", but she convinces him that the book is actually about compassion and forgiveness, two traits she idealizes in a hero. She lends him the book, and Gaston agrees to read it more than once since it is her favorite book. ("Her Handsome Hero")

Sometime later, while the Ogre War is reaching a point of no return, Belle stays within the safety of Maurice's castle, where she clutches the Her Handsome Hero book[1] as her father decides they must seek help from the Dark One to fend off the ogres. The Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, agrees to protect the people on Maurice's lands from ogres if Belle becomes his eternal maid. After agreeing to the deal, Belle leaves behind her book when she departs with Rumplestiltskin. ("Skin Deep")

With another copy of Her Handsome Hero, Belle calms down an unnamed baby by reading him the story in the book. She tells the child about how she loved the story when she was little, and her dreams of growing up to become a strong and brave hero like Gideon. ("Changelings")

In an effort to rescue Belle, Gaston makes plans to storm Rumplestiltskin's castle with an army, only to remember Belle's words about compassion and forgiveness. He then changes his mind and decides to follow her example by confronting Rumplestiltskin one-on-one. As soon as Rumplestiltskin opens the door, Gaston tries to engage him in a fight to secure Belle's release, but the Dark One quickly ends his life by turning him into a rose. ("Skin Deep", "Her Handsome Hero")

After his death, Gaston goes to the Underworld and is unable to move on because of his unfinished business. A copy of Her Handsome Hero ends up in his work locker, which serves as a constant sore reminder of the choice he made that led to his own death. Despite that he tries to throw out the book several times, it always returns to him. ("Her Handsome Hero")

After Third Curse

While Belle is in the Underworld, she learns of Gaston's presence in this land and wants to help him to move on. She finds his copy of the Her Handsome Hero book and mistakenly comes to believe that she is his unfinished business. To Belle's shock, Gaston reveals the book is an unwanted reminder of the wrong choice he made by being compassionate and forgiving towards Rumplestiltskin when he attempted to rescue her prior to his own death. Gaston now believes it's better to do whatever it takes to defeat an enemy, particularly Mr. Gold. ("Her Handsome Hero")

After damning Gaston into the River of Lost Souls, Belle studies the book in the pawnshop, while harboring immense guilt over her part in her ex-fiancé's demise. Mr. Gold tries to persuade her to move on from this, but Belle is unable to forget that she did the exact opposite of what she once preached to Gaston about; having compassion and forgiveness. She considers that if Hades held up his end of the deal, which would've secured her unborn child's safety if Gaston was gone, then she could live with what she did. Instead, she decides to part ways from Mr. Gold, deciding not to make another mistake on his behalf again. ("Ruby Slippers")

During an intense labor, Belle passes out and meets a grown-up version of her son in a dream, where Gideon hints at what she must do to protect him from Mr. Gold. Belle then realizes he means she must send him away to ensure his safety, and as she gives him tearful goodbye, he reminds her not to forget the book. After the birth, she spends a few happy moments with her son until she relinquishes him into Mother Superior's care. Before the nun leaves with the baby, Belle gives her the Her Handsome Hero book, telling her to read it to him often so he knows his mother is always there for him. Belle says goodbye to her son again, and this time, names him Gideon after the character in the book. ("Changelings")

After departing with baby Gideon, Mother Superior runs into the Black Fairy, who steals Gideon from her and takes the book as well. The Black Fairy returns to her realm with the child, whom she imprisons and attempts to turn dark by physically abusing him. She ends up storing the book in her belongings, which Gideon finds and begins hiding under his cell mattress. The book becomes the boy's sole comfort through the endless nights, and similar to his mother Belle, reading the story of the brave Gideon instills a desire in him to become a hero. One night, Gideon is reading outloud a portion of the story to his next door cellmate, Roderick, and hides the book when the Black Fairy arrives. She finds the book and questions if he wishes to be a hero, which Gideon affirms he does. This makes the Black Fairy laugh, and she tests his bravery by allowing him the chance to come to Roderick's aid as she takes him away to be whipped. Despite that Gideon's cell is unlocked, he is too afraid to aid his friend. Sometime after turning twenty-eight years old in the Dark Realm, Gideon leaves for a mission in Storybrooke and brings the book along with him. ("Wish You Were Here", "Ill-Boding Patterns", "Mother's Little Helper")

In Storybrooke, Gideon gives the book to Mr. Gold and recounts his memories of being influenced by the story in it while under the Black Fairy's captivity. ("Ill-Boding Patterns")

Under the thumb of the Black Fairy, who has control of his heart, Gideon uses the book to summon the Great Spider from the Echoless Forest as part of a plot to kill Emma, which will allow the Black Fairy to leave the Dark Realm for Storybrooke. Before Emma's life ebbs away completely, she is saved by Mr. Gold, and then shrinks the spider to a smaller size before killing it by stepping on it. ("Mother's Little Helper")

During Fourth Curse

While a cursed Gideon believes his mother Belle abandoned him when he was still an infant, Mr. Gold finds the Her Handsome Hero book in the pawnshop and attempts to use it to change his son's opinion. Mr. Gold reminds Gideon of the message Belle left for him on the inside of the book as a token of her love, but Gideon is adamant that his father is simply failing to accept the hard truth: that Belle left the both of them. ("The Final Battle Part 1")

Despite being shown photographic evidence by Fiona as proof Belle is living overseas, Mr. Gold remains unconvinced and uses a spell on the book to track her actual location in Storybrooke. The book, imbued with the magic in the spell, flies towards a house and lands at the bottom of the porch stairs. Mr. Gold then picks up the book from the ground, and as he looks up, he sees someone inside peeking at him from behind the curtains. Upon entering the home to catch a glimpse of Belle running into another room, he sets the book down on a dresser and goes to search for her. ("The Final Battle Part 2")


On-Screen Notes

  • Her Handsome Hero is Belle's favorite book. ("Her Handsome Hero")
  • A passage from the book, which Belle reads to Jack and Jill's son, says: "But Gideon was unafraid. He drew his sword and turned to face the evil Sorcerer, ready to save the people he loved." According to Belle, Gideon was a "strong, brave hero", and she ultimately names her son after him. ("Changelings")
  • Another passage from the book, which Gideon reads to Roderick, says: "Others before him had cowered in fear, becoming trapped in its web. The hero Gideon knew this, but he was undaunted. He fought valiantly until he slayed the Great Spider from the Echoless Forest and led the villagers to safety". ("Mother's Little Helper")
  • The text page that can be seen when the book magically opens as the Great Spider from the Echoless Forest emerges, is only seen from far away and is extremely hard to read.[2] A partial deciphering, done via digital image enhancements, and close scrutiny of the Blu-ray playing on a large television screen, reads:

There was [five illegible words]
[two illegible words] along the evil Sorcerer's [three illegible words]
purpose of dead (?) spells that had cautioned people
[three illegible words] among the farm folk [two illegible words]
of these [three illegible words] in barely more [illegible word]
than a whisper from the (?) caverns of the old [illegible word]
[two illegible words] there was a [two illegible words] the [illegible word]
would [illegible word] everything that was said good or [illegible word]
he had heard [illegible word] of [four illegible words]
growing up with them in (?) [illegible word] every where part of it
[two illegible words] But Gideon was unafraid. He drew on
his sword and turned to face the Evil Sorcerer, ready to
save the people he loved.

Note that the final part is the same excerpt that Belle reads to Jack and Jill's son in "Changelings". ("Mother's Little Helper")

Production Notes

  • The book was originally created for the Season One episode "Skin Deep".[3] In the script for the episode, Rumplestiltskin picks up a book Belle is holding in the opening scene and opens it, revealing the title Her Handsome Hero;[1] however, this scene is not in the final episode. In the actual episode, Belle can be seen holding the book, but it is too far away to make out the title.[4] It can be seen close up in a behind the scenes picture for the episode.[5]


Props Notes

  • One page contains text from Lorem ipsum,[6] a filler text commonly used as mock-content when testing a given page layout or font. Lorem ipsum consists of badly garbled Latin, based on sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of De finibus bonorum et malorum ("On the ends of good and evil"), a philosophical work by the Roman philosopher Cicero. Lorem isum is often used when previewing the layout of a document, as the use of more understandable text could easily distract the user from the layout being examined.[7] While many forms of Lorem ipsum exists, the show uses a version that can be found on several online websites, including this French page about typography. ("Ruby Slippers")



  • In "The Other Shoe", Her Handsome Hero can be seen lying on the table in Belle's quarters aboard the Jolly Roger.[11]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 ONCE UPON A TIME: "Skin Deep" script (PDF) pp. 5. Retrieved on August 25, 2018. (Note that the script erroneously states that Disney's Belle has the blue book in the opening scene of the Beauty and the Beast movie, but Belle is introduced in the second scene of the movie, not the opening scene, and she gets the book in the third scene -- the one she has in the second scene is a different book)
  2. File:616SpiderPage.png
  3. File:112BTS2.jpg
  4. File:112OhMyGods2.png
  5. File:112BTS2.jpg
  6. File:518FlippingThroughBook.png
  7. Lorem Ipsum. Retrieved on August 24, 2018.
  8. File:517TurningPage3.png
  9. FAQ. TK. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017.

    This is Internet Archive's back-up copy of the FAQ section of a Malaysian web store (since the many variations of Lorem ipsum are default model texts used by many web pages still in their infancy, most pages using it are likely to be updated with "proper" text later, while a static back-up copy will remain the same), which uses a similar version – notice how this web page uses many of the words glimpsed in the book, like "si veteres ita", "aevo interdum", "ad exemplar" and "poetas ad"
  10. File:621HerHandsomeHero2.png
  11. File:603SomethingForYou.png
    Picture for comparison:
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