|Appearance:|| Black/gray cloud with green lightning (primary)|
Light purple cloud with lightning (reversion)
Purple cloud with yellow lightning
|Latest appearance:||"Broken Heart"|
Your prison.. all of our prisons, will be time. Time will stop, and we will be trapped. Some place horrible... where everything we hold dear, everything we love, will be ripped from us while we suffer for all eternity. While the Queen celebrates, victorious at last! No more happy endings.
The Dark Curse is the main plot focal point for the series. It is originally cast by the Evil Queen out of vengeance against Snow White, and the curse is responsible for the bringing the Enchanted Forest inhabitants to the Land Without Magic, where everyone is trapped in the town of Storybrooke, Maine. Stripped of their past life memories, they are given false memories by the curse's effects. Snow White later recasts the curse to return everyone to Storybrooke in order to find Emma and stop the Wicked Witch of the West.
- A lock of hair from those with the darkest of souls.
- The heart of "the thing you love most".
- Rumplestiltskin also added a drop of true love potion onto the parchment of the Dark Curse, which was created from two strands of hair from both Snow White and Prince Charming. It is unknown whether the drop of true love counts as an ingredient because the curse would still work even if it was not added as demonstrated when Peter Pan attempts to cast it.
- Extra ingredients can be added to the curse.
- The second curse, cast by Snow White, was never intended to wipe the memories of its victims. The Wicked Witch of the West drops a forgetting potion into the curse, which causes everyone to lose their recollection of the last year in the Enchanted Forest. She later crafts an antidote for herself to prevent memory loss.
- The third curse, cast by Hook, was never intended to wipe the memories of its victims. Emma used a dreamcatcher with the stolen memories of Mary Margaret, David, Henry, Regina, Robin Hood, Zelena, and several others to add a memory wipe to the curse to erase memories of the past six weeks in the Enchanted Forest and Camelot.
Breaking and Undoing the Dark Curse
Ways to Break the Curse
- Mr. Gold designed the curse to break if Emma dies. ("An Apple Red as Blood")
- Emma's true love for Henry breaks the first curse and the Sleeping Curse unintentionally inflicted upon him. ("A Land Without Magic")
- Regina's true love for Henry breaks the second curse. ("A Curious Thing")
- The trigger can reverse the effects of the first curse by erasing Storybrooke from existence, which would also kill all those not born in the Land Without Magic. The only way to escape this would be to escape to another land prior to the trigger's effects coming into full force. ("Second Star to the Right")
- If Regina, the original caster of the curse, destroys the curse scroll, the curse can be undone. Additionally, destroying the scroll results in Storybrooke fading out of existence and everyone not born in the Land Without Magic returning to the Enchanted Forest. ("Going Home")
Parts of the Curse Broken and Undone
Characters Aware of the Curse
- The way in which the Dark Curse is both prepared and cast has changed since its first appearance. In the first and second seasons, the curse is prepared by building a fire, throwing the ingredients into the flames and then throwing the sacrificed heart into the flames as the final ingredient. However, since the third season, the curse is prepared and cast by placing the ingredients into a bubbling cauldron (or in one case, the Storybrooke Wishing Well), and then crushing the sacrificed heart into the cauldron as the final ingredient.
- However, the preparation drastically changes in its appearance in the fifth season, with the ashes of the crushed heart simply being poured into a container full of an entirely different spell. The curse cloud changes appearance drastically in this instance as well, taking the form of a thick, purple smoke with golden lightning, much like the appearance of magic at the end of first season.
- The first and second curses engulf Snow White, Prince Charming and the Evil Queen in a parallel fashion. In both cases, Snow White and Prince Charming are lying together on the ground with the Evil Queen standing over them.
- In the original "Pilot" script, the Dark Curse is not black smoke, but a green mist. It only appears in its green mist form in "Going Home" after being cast by Peter Pan, however, the reasons for its altered appearance are unknown.
- For the first curse, the show cast members believed it would only be broken in the very last airing episode of the series. ("Once Upon a Time: Secrets of Storybrooke")
- In "The Thing You Love Most", when the Evil Queen casts the first curse, it's clearly nearing the end of sunset, however, in "Queen of Hearts, when Cora casts the protection spell to keep herself and Hook safe from the curse, it's still daytime.
- When the residents of Storybrooke reappear in the Enchanted Forest, everyone in the group return to their original clothes. However, Snow White, Belle, Neal and Hook are notable exceptions: Snow White is wearing a cloak (to hide Ginnifer Goodwin real-life pregnancy on-screen), Belle is wearing her signature yellow dress instead of prison attire, Neal was not in the Enchanted Forest when the curse originally hit yet he still has Enchanted Forest attire, and Hook's vest is changed from black to red despite that he was never cursed.
|Once Upon a Time: Season One|
Is a Lonely
|"Fruit of the|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Two|
|"Broken":||"We Are Both":||"Lady of the Lake":||"The Crocodile":||"The Doctor":||"Tallahassee":||"Child of the Moon":||"Into the Deep":||"Queen of Hearts":||"The Cricket Game":||"The Outsider":|
|"In the Name of the Brother":||"Tiny":||"Manhattan":||"The Queen Is Dead":||"The Miller's Daughter":||"Welcome to Storybrooke":||"Selfless, Brave and True":||"Lacey":||"The Evil Queen":||"Second Star to the Right":||"And Straight On 'Til Morning":|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Three|
|"The Heart of the Truest Believer":||"Lost Girl":||"Quite a Common Fairy":||"Nasty Habits":||"Good Form":||"Ariel":||"Dark Hollow":||"Think Lovely Thoughts":||"Save Henry":||"The New Neverland":||"Going Home":|
|"New York City Serenade":||"Witch Hunt":||"The Tower":||"Quiet Minds":||"It's Not Easy Being Green":||"The Jolly Roger":||"Bleeding Through":||"A Curious Thing":||"Kansas":||"Snow Drifts":||"There's No Place Like Home":|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Four|
on the Edge
|"Unforgiven":||"Enter the Dragon":||"Poor|
|"Best Laid Plans":||"Heart of Gold":||"Sympathy|
|Once Upon a Time: Season Five|
|"The Dark Swan":||"The Price":||"Siege Perilous":||"The Broken Kingdom":||"Dreamcatcher":||"The Bear and the Bow":||"Nimue":||"Birth":||"The Bear King":||"Broken Heart":||"Swan Song":|
|"Souls of the Departed":||"Labor of Love":||"Devil's Due":||Episode 515:||Episode 516:||Episode 517:||Episode 518:||Episode 519:||Episode 520:||Episode 521:||Episode 522:|
|Once Upon a Time: Specials|
|"Magic is Coming":||"The Price of Magic":||"Journey to Neverland":||"Wicked is Coming":|
|"Storybrooke Has Frozen Over":||"Secrets of Storybrooke":||"Dark Swan Rises":||"Behind the Magic":|
Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.
- The Dark Curse is featured in Once Upon a Time's Season One novelization, Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale.
- The Dark Curse appears in Henry's storybook in "The New Neverland" and "Snow Drifts".