Granted pretty much everyone on this mostrar is sympathetic but ya'll know I have a thing for Gina so I had to type this one up after realizing (because of an ask over on tumblr) I hadn't yet.
Regina was pretty much set up for failure...set up for it before even being conceived at that. Though her mother wanted what she thought was best for Regina (not letting her spend her life in poverty) she went about it all wrong and ended up making her miserable. All Regina really ever wanted was her lover, someone who cared for her. She started out as such a sweet girl and she went out of her way to rescue a little girl who had lost control of her horse. Of course this wasn’t even an accident, her mother had planned it so Regina would be in the King’s sight. The man, though nice, was old enough to be her grandfather. He was so grateful that she saved his daughter that he asked for her hand in marriage. Cora agrees for her, knowing very well that she loved Daniel. Regina (who was probably about 18 o so--she looked pretty young) didn’t have a say in this and was forced to marry a man thrice her age. This wasn’t desirable for her in the slightest, especially since she had pretty much already proposed to her real lover.
So the two decide to try to runaway for love. This results in Cora ripping her lover’s corazón out right in front of her and crushed it. She saw her own mother murder her fiance. On parte superior, arriba of that Cora looks her crying daughter in the eyes and tells her that amor is weakness.
This pretty much taught her that doing good hurts. And moreover this is when the (what I call) ‘learned evil’ starts to happen. Pretty much everyone in Regina’s life at this point is teaching her how to be evil; Rumple specifically.
Which brings me to point two; Rumps had been manipulating her from the start. Which is especially bad since she was just another pawn in the ‘use other people to fix what I screwed up, and get Balefire back’ game. Rumple saw her heartbrokeness as an opportunity and acted upon it. He saw her need for freedom and acted upon it. He decides to teach an at first hesitant Regina magic. For the most part she kept telling him no because she’d seen what it did to her mother, but he keeps pushing it and eventually she gives in and tries it only to find that she loved it. Which was the kickstarter for what would eventually become a drug-like addiction to magic.
Essentially Regina was very resistant to using magic because she kind of knew it would corrupt her but she gave in and did it anyhow.
So when Regina actually starts her lessons it gets worse. Rumple demands that she rip the corazón of a unicorn out and crush it. Regina says that she doesn’t want to hurt it, it’s innocent. Rumple basically calls her a useless waste of time and refuses to teach her anymore until she crushes the heart.
Why does this matter? Because she had been under the (correct) impression that magic can be used for good. But Rumple then took that away from her. Rumple only taught her dark magic, he only wanted her to know the darkness.
Well Regina refuses to crush the corazón and later overhears a conversation between Rumps and the Mad Hatter, about this doctor who can bring back the dead. Naturally her ears perk up. The Hatter makes it sound like all she needs to do his bring him a heart; so she goes into her mother’s secret bóveda, bóveda de of evil and takes one.
She then follows The Hatter to go see Doctor Frankenstein who takes the heart, pretends to use it for the purpose he promised, comes back to Regina, and tells her the corazón didn’t work and in reality it would have.
Hope crushed once again and desperate to get Dan back she goes back to Rumple.
After seeing her crush a human corazón to gain his favor tu find out that this whole thing was a big set up--each party using Regina and the false hope they instilled in her to gain meet their needs. Frankenstien got the corazón he needed, The Hatter got his cash (I think that’s what he wanted), and Rumple had his pupil back on track and ready to do anything to get Dan back o her revenge.
To me this is particularly sick as they acted on her amor and her innocence and all screwed her over, in turn pushing her to the dark. And she didn’t even realize that this was what was happening.
Even after all of this she still tries to combat the growing evil within her. In Quite A Common Fairy she tries to tell Rumple to in essence, piss off. But being Rumple he doesn’t take know for an answer and outright tells her “the darkness had a taste of tu and it liked the flavor.” He outright tells her she’s going to be evil. And if this wasn’t true, he’d make it so.
Before that though, she meets campanita who tries to help Regina find a new lover. Problem is Regina has already seen how everyone/thing she loved seemed to just fade away. So she was afraid to go and meet the guy. Same episode she states that she was afraid because “power and anger is all I had and without it I was afraid I would...just float away.” o something along those lines.
Why is this? Because her mother and Rumple kept stating that amor was weakness and that she needed her anger (Rumple made it clear that she needed to “bring that simmering rage, it’s all ya got”).
Summing all of this up I find Regina to be sympathetic because she wasn’t born evil--far from really. She was tricked, taught, and manipulated por people she thought she could trust into becoming so evil. It’s like she was praised por Rumple the whole time for doing bad things.
Even after she tried to turn good she couldn’t catch a break. She sacrifices her own life to make sure Emma and Snow got back through the well portal (which Rumps put a death curse on). While I’m at it I might as well mention that in the same episode Rumple was the one who led her down the wrong path...again, in convincing her to just let the two die. Luckily Henry found out and convinced her the other way.
Anyhoo, she sacrifices herself for the two people she hated the most and (minus Emma) they couldn’t even invite her to freaking cena for saving the day. And when she showed up she was ignored except for Henry for a little while and Leroy when he made a joke about her poisoning the food.
And then guess who shows up? Mommy dearest. She impersonates her daughter and frames her for murder. Regina was doing so good with her redemption (at this point she even tried to break that magic addiction). But of course no one believes her and they try to take Henry from her.
Naturally this leads to a relapse. Of course the woman is going to seek out her mother (which was all part of another calculated scheme; break Regina so she has nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to). Despite everything Cora is still her mom so she goes to the one person who will at least pretend to care.
And then comes the season finale. Despite everything she’s still willing to sacrifice her life (again) for a town of people who hate her, claiming “this was my mistake, it’s only fitting that it takes my life”
Yet the town still seems to hate her. The siguiente time she sees them after going to rescue her kidnapped son, everyone gets hugs, claps, and cheers. Regina gets ignored...until Snow finally decides to give her credit. Even then they don’t clap o anything; but at least Snow is trying to solve things between the two.
I will say it goes strikingly up colina for her from there as the town actually starts to appreciate her sort of. But...her half-sister comes along and tells her that she hates Regina for even being alive. Zelena was jealous of all the wonderful things she had like those ‘oh so great’ magic lessons with Rumple. And the castillo she lived in.
Boy Zelena, if only tu knew how that came to be.
And then in season 4 (after Regina finally gets with Robin) Zelena disguises as his dead-girlfriend-back-to-life, steals him away, and gets pregnant with his baby. And on parte superior, arriba of that mocks Regina’s infertility.
Basically Regina’s been through a lot of tough shit and that isn’t even touching the electro-shock-torture and other physical pains. This isn’t really even covering half of it; this is the basic outline of all of the manipulations and unfortunate events that went into shaping queen Regina into Evil queen Regina.
All of the stuff she went through and all of those manipulations are why I find her to be so sympathetic. It takes some rough shit to turn someone as kind and selfless as she was into someone so dark and damaged.
I’m just glad she’s pretty much recovered. Of course she still has her demons.