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Red's Untold Tale is an official canon[1] companion novel to ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Wendy Toliver, and was released on September 22, 2015.

Official Summary

Red is 16 and lives with Granny in a cottage in the village, where boarding up the house and hiding during wolftime is a means of survival. Red helps Granny with Granny's baked good business, catering as well as door-to-door (in a basket) sales. Red has a constant internal battle between her wild side and her strict, overprotective upbringing, and the issue of "control" as she discovers she has a hot temper when the "mean girls" push her too far. ("When we learn to control it, we needn't fear it", Rumplestiltskin says in the series.) She has flashbacks to her 13th year when she received her cloak and the nickname "Red". She is plagued by nightmares that she doesn't understand, but the Once Upon a Time fans will recognize them as her wolf side coming. Also, the forest creatures that used to accompany her on her deliveries are suddenly afraid of her once she turns 13. She'll be taller and faster than the others at her school, and witty and strong on the outside, though she has a soft side as well. Red balances the difficult times with Granny at home and the girls at school with an emerging and satisfying romance with Peter.[2]

Plot Overview

Chapters 1 to 5

Chapters 6 to 11

Chapters 12 to 16

Chapters 17 to 22

Characters Included

(Listed in order of appearance or first mention)

Regular Characters

New Characters


Production Notes

  • Peter's birthday is given as May 12, and notes that he is 17 (six months older than Red).
  • Red's gold cross necklace from the television show is expanded upon and given its own backstory as it is used as a plot device.
  • How Red came to be known by her well-known nickname is explained, but her actual real name is never revealed.
  • According to the novel, Red Riding Hood is 16 and her birthday is in November.
  • Granny tells a story to Red about a castle that sunk underground.[3] According to "Child of the Moon", the Werewolves' Den used to be the grand hall of a castle, until it sunk underground.

Event Chronology

  • The Enchanted Forest events take place before "Red-Handed".
  • The time span of the novel begins on the morning of Saturday, May 12, shortly before wolfstime starts, and concludes on the evening of Friday, May 18, the last night of wolfstime.

Episode Connections

  • Granny suggests she and Red become bandits as a means of earning more money. She further elaborates by saying that bandits plan distractions to loot passing carriages. Snow White, who Red would later befriend, would go on to become an infamous bandit, and use the very same tactic to loot Prince Charming and Princess Abigail's carriage in "Snow Falls".


Fairytales and Folklore


  1. Roffman, Marisa (May 20, 2015). 'Once Upon a Time' Reveals Cover for 'Red's Untold Tale' Novel (Exclusive). The Hollywood Reporter. “Once Upon a Time is expanding Ruby/Red's backstory with the upcoming companion novel, Red's Untold Tale, and The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive reveal of the book's cover.”
    TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (August 16, 2016). "canon -- they were vetted / supervised by writing staff" (screenshot)
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Time-Reds-Untold/dp/1484727460
  3. Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 12
  4. 4.0 4.1 Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 7
  5. Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 8
  6. Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 19
  7. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nevermore