The Huntsman is one of the main characters of Once Upon a Time. He was a lonesome hunter who only saw purity of heart in animals, and therefore despised humans to an extent. He was hired by the putrid-hearted Queen Regina to murder her fair stepdaughter, Snow White, but took pity upon the young beauty and thus spared her life. As a result, the Queen took his heart and forever ensnared him in a sort of thrall. Following the Dark Curse, the Huntsman was trapped in Storybrooke as Sheriff Graham Humbert, the strong arm of the law, and Mayor Mills' boy toy. He is ultimately murdered by Regina when he starts to deviate from her and remember his true self, falling for Emma, his new deputy, in the process.
Before the Curse
I gave up my heart so that the Queen would spare Snow's. Don't let my sacrifice be in vain.
The Huntsman spares Snow White's life. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")
Regina uses the Magic Mirror to find someone suitable to kill Snow White and he suggests she recruit the Huntsman. Regina has her guards bring the huntsman to her and she makes a deal with him; if he kills Snow White, the killing of wolves in the kingdom will be outlawed. He agrees. Whilst the Huntsman tracks down Snow, Regina changes her palace to look dark. When the Huntsman tracks down Snow and captures her, she gives him a letter to give to her stepmother once she is dead. The letter is so emotional that the Huntsman cannot bring himself to kill Snow. He instead kills a deer and then brings this heart to Regina as proof. The Huntsman reads the letter to Regina, but she doesn't listen and throws it in the fire. As she is about to place Snow's heart in her heart vault, she realizes it isn't a human heart and discovers she had been deceived. Angered by this betrayal, Regina drives her hand into his chest, taking out his heart so that he will never feel again. As Regina squeezes the Huntsman's heart, she tells him that he is now forever her pet and that he will share her bed with her whenever she chooses. She warns him that he will never cross her again, and if he does, she would kill him. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")
The Huntsman helps Charming. ("A Land Without Magic")
When Prince Charming is captured by Regina, he's taken to be executed, but he manages to escape from the guards. As he runs away, he's stopped by the huntsman, who is disguised as a guard. The Huntsman shoots a guard chasing Charming and then reveals himself to the prince as a "friend". As he removes Charming's handcuffs, he explains that the queen was travelling to meet Snow and claims her fate is in a precarious place. The Huntsman provides Charming with some weapons and allows him to escape. Confused, Charming asks if he isn't coming, so the Huntsman explains that he can't because he gave away his heart so the Queen would spare Snow's. He asks for his sacrifice to not be in vain and tells the prince to find Snow. Later on, the Huntsman reveals to Regina that Charming escaped. She threatens his life, but the Huntsman promises that he'll take care of the situation as he'll find him. However, with that, Regina tells him that won't be necessary and she banishes the prince, using her magic mirrors, to the Infinite Forest. ("A Land Without Magic")
After the Curse
Welcome to Storybrooke.
Graham welcomes some new arrivals to town. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")
When the Dark Curse is cast, the Huntsman becomes trapped in the town of Storybrooke, Maine with the new identity of Graham Humbert, the town's local sheriff as well as Mayor Mills' boy toy. On the first day of the curse, Kurt and Owen Flynn discover the town of Storybrooke and take a stroll through it looking to get their car repaired, they are found and welcomed to town by Sheriff Graham. He takes them to Granny's Diner where they eat and are visited by the mayor, who seems happy to see the sheriff in this new world, inviting him to her place that night. When Graham cannot tell Regina who Kurt and Owen are, and not recognizing them herself, she becomes frustrated at their presence. In the rut that is the curse, Regina wakes up every morning with Sheriff Graham in her bed. When she gets sick of this rut, she begins to grow attached to Kurt and Owen and saddened when they make the decision to leave. When she presumes that they're driving out of town, she takes Graham's heart from a box and commands him to arrest Kurt for driving under the influence and speeding, however, Kurt is in the office and sees this as he stopped by the office to say goodbye, just as Graham bursts in and nonsensically tries to arrest him for speeding. Kurt escapes Graham's grip and a high speed car chase ensues between the sheriff and mayor, and the Flynns. Eventually, they catch up to Kurt and Owen at the town border, Kurt is arrested by Graham but Owen manages to run free. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")
Graham helps track down Henry. ("Pilot")
When Henry, the adoptive son of Regina, goes missing to find his biological mother, Emma Swan, Sheriff Graham is called round to Regina's house so he can perform an investigation. When Emma safely brings Henry back, he explains he found his real mother and runs into the house upset. Graham goes inside to check if he is alright. The next morning, when Emma is put into a jail cell after crashing her car, Sheriff Graham comes into the station and released another prisoner, Leroy, under the condition that he behaves this time. Emma questions why she is in the cell, so Graham explains that Regina's drinks were stronger than she assumed. Emma insists that she wasn't drunk and tells him about a wolf standing in the middle of the road. However, he doesn't seem to believe this excuse. Suddenly, Regina enters the office stating Henry has run away again. Emma offers to help find him if she is released. Graham then assists Emma in the search for Henry. ("Pilot")
Graham arrests Emma. ("The Thing You Love Most")
Emma is at Granny's Diner getting breakfast when the waitress, Ruby, brings her a cup of hot chocolate. She tells Emma that someone has bought it for her, and Emma, seeing Graham, assumes it's from him. Emma tells him that she doesn't want gifts from him, and Henry looks up from the next booth and says that he sent it over. When Archie gives Emma some files on Henry to read up on, Graham is called in to arrest Emma for stealing them. Emma explains she must have been set up, so Graham asks who would do that. Emma believes Regina did. At the station, as Graham takes Emma's photos, she warns that Regina is trying to get rid of her, and asks what influence she has with the police. Mary Margaret and Henry show up, and Mary offers to post bail. After Emma chops down Regina's apple tree, Graham comes to see Regina, who demands that he arrest Emma for destroying city property. The sheriff warns that Emma may be innocent and wonders who convinced Archie to lie, and Regina warns him not to let a crush get the better of him. Graham agrees to arrest Emma, but warns that she'll keep coming no matter what, and Henry will be hurt if the situation escalates. ("The Thing You Love Most")
Graham searches for David. ("Snow Falls")
When a comatose patient in Storybrooke's hospital, David Nolan, goes missing, Mary Margaret, Emma and Henry show up. Sheriff Graham is there when they arrive and he informs them that the patient has gone missing. Graham begins organizing the search and talks to the two employees who were on duty at the time of the disappearance, Leroy and Walter. They check the security tapes and Emma realizes it's the wrong tape. When they find the right one, they confirm that, four hours ago, David Nolan walked out on his own into the nearby woods. Graham, Emma and Mary Margaret all go searching for David in the woods. After a while, he finds David's patient tag with blood on it. The group follow the trail and eventually find David at the toll bridge. They take him to the hospital and Dr. Whale works on him. ("Snow Falls")
Graham after sleeping with Regina. ("The Price of Gold")
Henry and Emma are walking down the streets of Storybrooke. Emma drops Henry off at his school bus and Graham shows up, siren blazing. Graham tells Emma he is thanking her for helping to find David Nolan and offers her a job as a deputy. She tells him that she doesn't want the job, so he asks her to think about it. After a change of heart, Emma calls Graham and asks if the deputy job is still open. He tells her it is. She asks if Regina is going to be happy, to which Graham shrugs off. Meanwhile, Regina is dressing and leaving someone's house, which is alluded to be the Sheriff's house. She speaks to him as he is in the shower, and we learn Regina is sleeping around with Sheriff Graham. ("The Price of Gold")
Graham asks Emma to wear her badge. ("That Still Small Voice")
Emma meets with Sheriff Graham and isn't interested in wearing a deputy's uniform. He insists that she at least wear a badge. As she puts it on, the ground shakes, and phone calls start coming in. They drive out to the mine where the ground has collapsed. Mayor Regina is organizing things and tells Emma that it's town business so she can go, and Emma informs her that she's now a deputy. Regina is less than thrilled and glares accusingly at Graham. Graham then cordons off the area under request of Regina. ("That Still Small Voice")
Graham's affair is discovered. ("The Shepherd")
Graham brings Emma donuts and asks her to work that night for him. He says he volunteers at an animal shelter and needs to feed the dogs for the shelter's supervisor, who is sick. Later on, patrolling the streets on the night shift, Emma is driving in the deputy car and she sees a dark figure escaping from the second story window of the Mayor's house. She hits and stops the dark figure walking out the drive way with a baton, and the man is revealed to be Sheriff Graham. Emma questions what type of "volunteering" that Graham does, as she finds out that Regina and the Sheriff are sleeping together. Graham tells her he sneaked out of the window because Regina does not want Henry to know they are sleeping together. ("The Shepherd")
Graham is killed by Regina. ("The Heart is a Lonely Hunter")
Whilst playing darts at the diner, Emma arrives and avoids him. When asked why, she explains that she doesn't want to discuss his affair with Regina. As Emma leaves, Graham stops her and explains that he feels nothing for Regina. She asks why he cares what she thinks, so he leans in a kiss her, giving him some brief flashes. When Emma turns Graham down, he visits Regina and makes out with her. After sex, Graham wakes up after experiencing a memory of his former life. Graham leaves, despite Regina’s protests. At his car, the wolf from his memories approaches him for a second and then trots away. The next day, Emma starts to question if she has feelings for Graham. Meanwhile, Graham is searching the woods when he runs into Mr. Gold. He explains he saw the same wolf in his dreams that he did in the town. Gold says he hasn't seen it and then explains dreams are sometimes thought to be memories of another life. Graham catches up with the wolf, who seems to recognize him, and then he sees flashes of him almost killing a woman that looks like Mary Margaret. He visits her about these flashes and she tells him of Henry's theory; she then tells him to get some rest. Graham later visits Henry and he is told of his past life. Graham goes looking for a vault containing his heart and the wolf takes him and Emma there eventually. They enter but find nothing. Regina arrives and a fight breaks out between her and Emma. Graham breaks it up and then leaves with Emma. At the sheriff station, they both kiss and Graham remembers his former life fully. However, at that moment, Regina gets the Huntsman's heart and crushes it to dust, killing Graham. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")
Promotional poster of the 1937 film adaptation by Walt Disney.
The Huntsman derives from a character from the popular fairytale known across most of Europe, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the best known version being the Bavarian one collected by the Brothers Grimm. In the generalized version of the tale, the Huntsman is instructed by Snow White's wicked stepmother, a Queen, to take the girl into the woods and cut out her heart to present back to the Queen. However, when faced with the task of killing her, the Huntsman takes pity on the princess and lets her go free, taking back to the Queen the heart of an animal instead. This is the story that the 1937 film adaptation by Disney presents, as well as the one followed most closely by Once Upon a Time. In a version of the tale sent to another folklorist prior to the first edition, the Queen does not order a huntsman to Snow White to the woods, but takes her there herself to gather flowers and abandons her; in the first edition, this task was transferred to a servant. Several adaptations of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" have been presented over the years.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.