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I know how crazy it sounds... but magic is real. It's all around us. You just have to be willing to see it, you just have to be willing to believe.
Henry Mills to the people of New York City src

Magic is a metaphysical and supernatural force featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. It first appears in the first episode of the first season of Once Upon a Time.

Use of Magic

Use of Magic is the ability to harness magic to cast spells; however, the use of dark magic has corrupting effects on the user. Powerful magical practitioners like Cora, Regina and Rumplestiltskin become corrupted by their powers and in turn, their magic turned tainted as well. Not all magical practitioners are corrupted, however, such as fairies, but they are exceptions because they cannot use magic in negative ways, instead of choosing to not do so. ("The Price of Magic")

Magic can be used to override the usual laws of nature, physics, and reality, but it always comes with a price. It is inherently neutral and cannot itself be split into Good or Evil, but can be used for either purpose. Since magic use is powered by emotion, the strength of the spell depends on the feelings of the caster focused into the output of magic. Negative emotions are generally used to power spells while positive emotions are used to maintain control of spells.("The Miller's Daughter")

However magic can be split into Light and Dark, forms of magic that are powered by positive or negative emotions, thus a manifestation of the wielder's will. However positive emotions do not equal goodness as a mage's attempt to protect one's loved one can result in a person's death. ("Kansas")

Laws of Magic

The Laws of Magic define the limits of magical abilities. There are three restrictions even the most powerful magic is said to be unable to break: bring back the dead, force someone to fall in love and change the past. However, these laws can and have been broken and changed by powerful spells. One of them is the Spell of the Three Genies, the combined power of three genies who have themselves overridden fate, even makes the caster immune to the price of magic. ("And They Lived...")

Another case of law-breaking magic is the Time Travel Spell that was, in one case, enacted by gathering symbols of wisdom, courage, love and innocence. ("Kansas")

The Black Fairy said that when the Final Battle was won, she would have unchecked power and be able to change the laws of magic. ("The Final Battle Part 2")

Dr. Frankenstein attempted to use science to override the laws of magic and bring back his brother with a heart that had been strengthened against lightning surges by magic. Unfortunately, the end result was a violent, amnesiac shell of the former person Gerhardt had been. In one instance of a proper resurrection, Maleficent is revived after combining the blood of those who greatly wronged her with her ashes. In this case however, Maleficent was undead, allowing for a restoration to human form that did not break the laws. However, Maleficent later explains that she would turn back to ashes if she left Storybrooke, since there was no magic beyond the town border. ("In the Name of the Brother", "Unforgiven", "Mother")

Another exception to the laws is that the Dark One is able to be resurrected from the vault if they kill themselves with the dagger. However, the price of this magic is another's life. Also, the blood of a person that has died and come back to life can be used in conjunction with a portal to the underworld to summon one or more dead people from the Underworld. However, their stay would only be temporary, unless a living soul takes their place thanks to the Mark of Charon, or if they are somehow able to take the heart of a living soul. The Author can also bring people back to life from the Underworld, due to magic being unpredictable in that realm. ("Quiet Minds", "Broken Heart", "Swan Song", "The Brothers Jones", "Firebird")

Another exception to the law - and the only instance of a true resurrection without any price - is when the god Zeus, ruler of Mount Olympus, resurrected Killian Jones after he had passed on from the Underworld, and was sent back to Storybrooke fully alive again. ("Last Rites")

When the Evil Queen wished that Emma's wish, to have never been the Savior, be granted, due to the laws of magic preventing someone from changing the past, an alternate reality was created from the wish and Emma was sent there with false memories. In this alternate reality, the Evil Queen was defeated and banished by King David and Queen Snow before she could cast the Dark Curse, and Emma grew up as a defenseless princess. ("Wish You Were Here")

Price of Magic

The Price of Magic is the inevitable expense for using or casting magic. Often stated as a warning that "magic always comes with a price", but sometimes, the price is not foreseeable. Rumplestiltskin's curse has the heaviest penalty for gaining his Dark One powers. While the magic allows him to accumulate masses of power, it not only binds his loyalty to a dagger, but also corrupts and injures him both physically and emotionally. ("Desperate Souls", "Skin Deep", "The Apprentice", "Heart of Gold")

Other prices include the Evil Queen's sacrifice of her father's life to unleash the Dark Curse upon the Enchanted Forest. In doing so, she creates a void in her soul that can never be filled. At another time, Regina's attempt to outsmart and get rid of Emma by putting her under a Sleeping Curse backfires, as Mr. Gold predicted, when Henry is afflicted with the curse instead. Even Mr. Gold himself, who knows all too well there's always a price to pay, brought magic to Storybrooke, which returned his powers, but the cost forces a barrier around town to form, preventing him from leaving to find his son with his Enchanted Forest memories intact. ("The Thing You Love Most", "A Land Without Magic", "We Are Both")

Whenever someone doesn't pay the price of healing someone on the brink of death with magic, the formerly afflicted person may be hunted down by Furies, who are sent to take them to the Underworld. For example: when Emma, as the Dark One, saved Robin Hood's life as a favor to Regina, the price of saving Robin's life is for someone to die and it was Regina who was supposed to pay the price. However, since the God of the Underworld, Hades, died, things have changed down in the Underworld and it seems like the Furies doesn't collect any unpaid price of magic anymore. As Emma clearly healed Ashley Boyd who was on the brink of death and Emma was not hunted by any Fury. ("The Price", "Last Rites", "The Other Shoe")

Negative Connotations of Magic

Despite its many capabilities and usefulness, as well as its existence everywhere, many individuals have expressed fear and hatred of it. Either because they know of its danger or they are aware of the price of magic.

This includes Greg and Tamara, who were from the Land Without Magic because according to them, it doesn't belong to this world and is unholy. In Arendelle, another place where magic is uncommon, the presence of magic was feared by practitioners calling them "monsters". Despite Oz being ruled by a "Wizard" at the time, Zelena's adoptive father viewed magic as "wicked". In DunBroch, witches are looked down upon as well. ("Second Star to the Right", "The Snow Queen", "It's Not Easy Being Green", "The Bear King")

Physical Description

Magic itself often manifests as a puff of smoke or sparkling dust, which can vary in colors, depending on the practitioner. Purple seems to be the most common color for the smoke manifestation of magic in general. The color varies according to the wielder and/or the form of magic: for instance, most of the time a person sticks to one color no matter their location (although there are certain instances where, due to unknown reason, their magic color is different). Furthermore, the Dark Curse typically manifests as a very large black cloudy storm in shades of purple and green.

Magic Colors by User

User Smoke Color Color of Other Manifestation
Aladdin Saffron[1] (as a Genie) Pure White[2] (as a Savior)
Amara Wine[3] Dark Magenta[4]
Dark Gray[5]
Anastasia Crimson[6]
The Apprentice Ash Gray[7]
Black Fairy Black[8]
Dark Purple[9]
Pale Yellow[10] (as a good fairy)
Blue Fairy Light Blue[11]
Cora Indigo[12]
Cruella De Vil Lime Green[13]
Cyrus Tangerine[14] (as a Genie)
The Dragon Blood Red[15]
Elsa Ice Blue[16]
Emma Swan Pure White[17] (as a Savior)
Dark Gray[18] (as a Dark One) Lemon[19] (as a Dark One)
Ash Gray[20] (as a Dark One)
Light Gray[21] Orange[22]
Evil Queen/Regina Mills Indigo[23]
Dark Gray[24] Green[25]
Pure White[26] (using light magic)
Magenta[27] Red[28]
Evil Queen (Serum) Indigo[29]
Fairy Godmother Golden Brown[30]
Genie of Agrabah Bluish Black[31]
Gideon Amber[32]
Purple[33] (in the Dream World)
Dark Gray[34]
Glinda Cloud[35]
Hades Blue[36]
Hook Red[37] (as a Dark One)
Ingrid Ice Blue[38]
Jafar Dark Gray[39] Amber[40]
Brown[41] Gold[42]
Lily Page Dark Purple[43]
Maleficent Charcoal[44] Violet[45]
Gray Violet[46]
Merlin Purple[47]
Nimue Dark Purple[49] (as a Dark One)
Nova Pink[50]
Peter Pan Dark Red[51] Orange[52]
Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold Dark Purple[53] (as a Dark One)
Maroon[54] (as a Dark One) Blood Orange[55] (as a Dark One)
Dark Pink[56] (as a Dark One)
Black[57] (as a Dark One)
Dark Red[58] (as a Dark One) Pure White[59]
(alternate universe as the Light One)
Purple[60] (as a Dark One)
Gray[61] (as a Dark One)
Dark Blue[62] (as a Dark One) Orchid[63] (as a Dark One)
Indigo[64] (as a Dark One)
Magenta[65] (as a Dark One)
Rumplestiltskin (Wish Realm) Dark Red[66] (as a Dark One)
Silvermist Powder Blue[67]
Tiger Lily Orange[68]
Tinker Bell Green[69]
Ursula (Deity) Cyan[70]
Will Scarlet Orange[71] (as a Genie)
Witch Turquoise[72]
Zelena Emerald Green[73]
Zoso Dark Cyan[74] (as a Dark One)

Types of Magic

Magical Abilities

Known Practitioners


On-Screen Notes

Production Notes

  • According to visual effects supervisor Andrew Orloff, magic on Once Upon a Time is an elemental force that can be harnessed. This is the reason why magic involves smoke, fire, dirt, wind and water. For example, when Cora pulls Regina off the horse in "We Are Both", she doesn't telekinetically lift Regina off the horse, but instead makes the trees reach out with their branches. Another example is when the Evil Queen throws a fireball in "The Thing You Love Most", she pulls the fire from the fireplace and shapes it in her hand.[76] She also attempts to pull fire from her fireplace in "The Song in Your Heart" when Snow White and Prince Charming's song weakens her power, dampening her ability to conjure fire out of thin air.


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. File:609IntoTheLamp.png
  2. File:605Magic.png
  3. File:W112AmaraMagic.png
  4. File:W104AmaraMagic.png
  5. File:W104GerardsDeath.png
  6. File:W110PoofSword.png
  7. File:501ButThis.png
  8. File:617TeleportFromShop.png
  9. File:609BlackFairyArrives.png
  10. File:619TurningIntoAFairy.png
  11. File:105WishGranting.png
  12. File:215OrNot.png
  13. File:412Persuasion.png
  14. File:W102Genie!.png
  15. File:218DragonRise.png
  16. File:401FrozenVan.png
  17. File:616FightingBack.png
  18. File:501IAmTheDarkOne2.png
  19. File:502EmmaHealsRobin.png
  20. File:505Teleports.png
  21. File:513EmmaSmoke.png
  22. File:610HenryStop.png
  23. File:511HangOn.png
  24. File:101Gone.PNG
  25. File:309ShadowSail.png
  26. File:320ReginaLightMagic.png
  27. File:313MonkeyToToy8.png
  28. File:405WorkingTogether.png
  29. File:606QueenTeleport.png
  30. File:104FairyGrowsBig.png
  31. File:111BlackSmoke.png
  32. File:611DontNeedYourHelp.png
  33. File:601PurpleSmoke.png
  34. File:610BlackSmoke.png
  35. File:320ThatWasLovely.png
  36. File:513FlameTeleportation.png
  37. File:510Monks.png
  38. File:407IngridTeleports.png
  39. File:W102UpInSmoke.png
  40. File:W102PeopleFreeze.png
  41. File:W113JafarDisappears.png
  42. File:W104FormingTheStaff.png
  43. File:420PurpleSmoke.png
  44. File:411MaleficentAboutToAppear.png
  45. File:412GiveYouDarkness.png
  46. File:416DragonToHuman.png
  47. File:507MerlinDisappears.png
  48. File:508DarkOneVSSorcerer.png
  49. File:505MerlinsTear.png
  50. File:114FTL.png
  51. File:520PanTeleports.png
  52. File:308LetMeHelpYou.png
  53. File:119TurningIntoSnail.png
  54. File:411TeleportsAway2.png
  55. File:401EveryRoom.png
  56. File:112Transformation.png
  57. File:211Transformation.png
  58. File:204GoodLuckLivingLongEnough.png
  59. File:421LightMagic.png
  60. File:219There.png
  61. File:219TongueRemoval.png
  62. File:220Disguise.png
  63. File:616PurpleBlast.png
  64. File:222Magic.png
  65. File:420GoldTeleports.png
  66. File:610OffToRaze.png
  67. File:W102AliceandSilvermist.png
  68. File:619FairiesAppear.png
  69. File:303Halt.png
  70. File:306TailTransformation.png
  71. File:W109Poof.png
  72. File:509CauldronSmoke.png
  73. File:602ZelenaTeleports.png
  74. File:108DarkOnesMagic.png
  75. File:122Title.png
  76. Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic - Page 128. London: Titan Books, October 2013
  77. File:310DarkCurseStorybook.png
  78. File:321AttackOnTheTrollBridge.png
  79. File:407EvilQueenStorybook.png
  80. File:620NewPage.png
  81. File:103WereSeparated.png
  82. File:107IsSnowWhite3.png
  83. File:422SnowCharmingStorybook.png
  84. File:505RumplestiltskinStorybook.png
  85. File:521HiddenPageOne5.png

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