I think we all hated her at first (in a good way) but she was a well-written character. When the series first begins, she’s Henry’s adopted mother and the mayor of Storybrooke, Maine. The cursed town she created to get her revenge on Snow White and Prince Charming.
She was pretty evil and ruthless during her reign as Queen. A little silly most of it started because Snow White told her mom about Regina’s secret love, which in turn, made Regina’s mom kill him to prevent her daughter from losing everything. Her only sense of goodness was her love for her father.
And then her love for Henry. I liked the clash between her and Emma. Even Regina had no idea (at first) that Emma Swan was the savior. I enjoyed when Emma beat her up in the hospital after realizing what Regina did that indirectly caused Henry to fall under a sleeping curse.
But after the first season, she slowly drifts to being a hero. Though she often had darker motives than Snow or Emma.
But her love for her son was what always kept her on the right side.
I did enjoy her relationship with Robin Hood, and I certainly didn’t see it coming. I hated the writers basically took all of her happiness away when they killed him off. Really?
Her later stories were not so awesome, but they were okay. At the end of the series, she’s vital in the awakening of Henry who had been cursed by the final one.
And at the end she’s crowned as the Good Queen. Nobody would have ever saw that coming in season one.