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This article focuses on the fairytale "Rapunzel".
For the first iteration of the character, see Rapunzel (The Tower).
For the second iteration of the character, see Rapunzel (Eloise Gardener).

"Rapunzel" is a fairytale featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by the German authors Jacob and Wilhelm of the Brothers Grimm and incorporated into the book "Grimms' Fairy Tales" in 1812.

Traditional Plot

Once upon a time, a peasant family lived near a fearsome witch named Dame Gothel. The wife became pregnant and would often crave herbs - specifically the rapunzel plant—from Dame Gothel's garden, so she would ask her husband to steal some from her, as her desire for them was so great. The husband obliges, but he is caught escaping the garden one night by the witch. She accuses him of theft and demands his life as payment. However, the husband explains his wife's cravings to her, and she takes mercy on him, and demands their child as payment for the rapunzel herbs. He agrees to her terms and escapes with his life.

As soon as the child is born, Dame Gothel appears, names the baby Rapunzel, and takes her to live as her own daughter. Rapunzel grows up to have beautiful, long, golden hair, and becomes the most beautiful girl in the world. When the girl reaches twelve years of age, Dame Gothel locks her up in a tower hidden in the woods, with nothing but a single window. Whenever Dame Gothel would visit Rapunzel, she would tell her to let down her hair so that she could enter the tower. Rapunzel would then wrap her hair around a hook and let the witch climb up to her tower room.

One day, many years later, a handsome prince is riding through the forest when he hears Rapunzel singing in her tower. He is entranced by her magnificent voice, and decides to search for the voice and finds the tower. However, he is, naturally, unable to enter. He returns often to listen to her ethereal singing, and spots Dame Gothel visiting one day. As soon as the witch is gone, he asks Rapunzel to let her hair down.

When she does so, he climbs up into the tower. While Rapunzel is frightened at first, he introduces himself and makes her acquaintance. He visits every day, and eventually they become friends. One visit, he asks her to marry him, to which she agrees. Together, they decide to make a ladder made out of silk so that they will be able to escape. However, Rapunzel accidentally gives away the prince during one of Dame Gothel's visits. Dame Gothel becomes furious, cuts Rapunzel's braided hair, and casts her out to fend for herself in the forest. When the prince visits that night, the sorceress lets the braids down so that he could climb up. He becomes horrified when he sees the enchantress instead of Rapunzel, who is missing from the tower.

When the witch tells him that he will never see her again, she pushes him from the tower, blinding him from the thorns growing below. The prince wanders through the wastelands of the country for months. One day, as Rapunzel sings while she fetches water, the prince hears Rapunzel's voice again, and they are reunited. When she sees him, her tears immediately restore his sight. Then the prince and Rapunzel get married, have fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, and live happily ever after.

Show Adaptation

  • Rapunzel has a deceased older brother.
  • The plant life that set out the journey for the parties involved was not Rapunzel, but Night Root.
  • Rapunzel's parents didn't exchange her for the Witch. Rather, she was forced up the tower by the Witch.
  • The Witch is actually Rapunzel's greatest fear materialized by magic. Rapunzel only left the tower after killing the Witch.
  • The Prince is already married by the time he finds Rapunzel and doesn't have any romantic interest toward her.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adaptated as First Featured in
Rapunzel Rapunzel (The Tower) "The Tower"
Rapunzel (Eloise Gardener) "Eloise Gardener"
The Prince Prince Charming "Pilot"
Hook (Wish Realm) "Eloise Gardener"
Dame Gothel Manifestation of Rapunzel's fear "The Tower"
Witch (New Enchanted Forest)/Witch (Seattle) "The Garden of Forking Paths"
Rapunzel's Parents Rapunzel's Parents "The Tower"

Location Featured

Original Location Adaptated as First Featured in
Rapunzel's Tower Rapunzel's Tower "The Tower"
Witch's Tower "Eloise Gardener"
Witch's Garden Witch's Garden "Eloise Gardener"

Items Featured

Original Item Adaptated as First Featured in
The Plant Night Root (allusion) "The Tower"
Golden Flower "Eloise Gardener"


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