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When it comes to witches, they are the worst of the worst.

Zelena to Regina and Robin src

The Coven of the Eight is a group of characters featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the twenty-first episode of the sixth season.


Before First Curse
After humans destroyed her home and family, causing the last magic in the realm to disappear, Gothel empowers another magic user, Seraphina, to join her in going to another world where they will find others like them. This marks the beginning of Gothel's creation of the Coven of the Eight, a coven of the most powerful witches in all the land. ("Flower Child")

After Fourth Curse

Later in the New Enchanted Forest, Gothel recruits the Blind Witch, a Hedge Witch, and another witch as members of her coven. ("The Eighth Witch", "Secret Garden", "A Taste of the Heights")

Looking to fill an empty slot in the coven, Gothel shows interest in Drizella's plan to cast the Dark Curse and invites her and several other young witches to compete, lying about there being two slots available. One of the prospective members is Gretel, who teams up with Drizella in the supposed challenge of finding golden flowers hidden throughout the forest. However, once they split up, Gothel approaches both of them and tells them that they must kill the other to secure their spot. Drizella does not want to kill her new friend and begs Gretel to run away with her, but Gretel wants to be a part of Gothel's family and leaves Drizella no choice but to kill her in self-defense. As Drizella mourns, Gothel welcomes her into the Coven. ("Sisterhood")

After Drizella gives the heroes a prophecy of the Dark Curse being cast in eight years, the heroes thwart her plans by turning her into a statue. ("The Eighth Witch")

In an attempt to return the powerful medium, Madame Leota, to her physical form so that she can join the coven, Gothel manipulates Robin Hood, an aspiring witch and the daughter of Zelena, into believing she will be a part of the coven. However, Gothel actually intends on sacrificing Robin's life for Leota's using the Resurrection Amulet. When Zelena attempts to take her place, Robin uses her burgeoning archery skills to stop the ritual, and Gothel and Leota flee. ("Secret Garden")

At some point following, Leota manages to regain her corporeal form. ("The Eighth Witch")

Eight years later, Gothel invites Zelena to join the coven by leaving her a token of the coven, but Zelena does not accept the invitation. ("The Eighth Witch")

As the heroes are celebrating the eighth birthday of Lucy, Gothel arrives with Seraphina, Madame Leota, the Blind Witch, the Hedge Witch, and another witch to free Drizella from her statue form, before teleporting away with her. Sometime after this, the coven kidnap Henry and poison him, ensuring he will die unless he goes to a Land Without Magic. Gothel joins Drizella, Seraphina, Madame Leota, the Blind Witch, the Hedge Witch, and another witch at a summoning altar, where they have Henry cloaked and bound in the center of it. Lady Tremaine tries to warn Drizella about the fact Gothel is only using her for her own gain, but Drizella ignores her advice and knocks her out. Regina and Zelena show up with their allies ambush the other witches, with Hook holding Gothel as a hostage, however, Hook lets her go on Regina's orders when Drizella reveals she intends for Regina to cast the curse. Gothel then reveals Henry to Regina as Drizella explains the necessity that Regina cast the curse; both to save Henry's life and because the final curse ingredient has to be magic from a witch who crushed the heart of the thing she loved most. Once the curse is enacted, Gothel is swept away to Hyperion Heights along with everyone else in the land. ("The Eighth Witch")

During Fifth Curse

After being transported to Hyperion Heights, the witches begin assuming cursed identities. As part of their plan, Gothel and Drizella remain awake and begin using the cursed aliases Eloise Gardener and Ivy Belfrey, while they lead Lady Tremaine's cursed persona to believe she herself cast the curse. ("Hyperion Heights", "Greenbacks", "The Eighth Witch")

Although it did not actually happen, Tilly has cursed memories of the coven taking away her father, who is killed by them. ("Knightfall", "Flower Child")

The Blind Witch becomes known as a baker named Hilda Braeburn, while the Hedge Witch becomes a doctor named Andrea Sage. ("The Eighth Witch", "A Taste of the Heights")

After Victoria Belfrey wakes up her daughter, Anastasia, which causes Lucy to fall into a coma, Doctor Sage becomes in charge of the case. Meanwhile, Eloise recruits Anastasia to join the coven after she gives Ivy's magic to her while kicking Ivy out of the group. Eloise brings Anastasia back to her lair, where the coven robes hang on mannequins. She informs Anastasia that they will soon find the women meant to wear them and then the Coven of the Eight will be joined. ("The Eighth Witch")

Doctor Sage continues to search for the cause for Lucy's coma, leading her to take blood samples from her mother Jacinda Vidrio, her legal father Nick Branson and Henry, which helps her discover that Henry is Lucy's real father. As she reviews this information, she takes a sip of her drink, only realizing afterward that it was poisoned, causing her to have a sudden death. Nick, secretly awake and seeking revenge on the witches who ruined his life and killed his sister Gretel, slips into Doctor Sage's office to take the papers and a lock of her hair, all the while wearing gloves to avoid leaving behind fingerprints. ("Secret Garden", "Breadcrumbs")

Nick continues his witch hunt by attacking Hilda, but she is saved by Detectives Weaver and Rogers. However, while she recovers at the hospital, Nick attacks her a second time and successfully kills her. Tilly is found in the hospital with a bloody scalpel and Hilda's body by Rogers and Weaver and flees before they can question her. When they check the boxcar she lives in, they find a drawing of the coven symbol with two ends crossed out, further incriminating her. Furthermore, the locks of hair taken from the witches' bodies are found in her backpacks. However, footage from the security camera in the Fremont Troll shows her passing it at the time of Hilda's death, proving she was framed. ("Knightfall", "The Girl in the Tower")

Anastasia somehow escapes Gothel's clutches and is found by Ivy, unaware that Ivy has been fooled by Mr. Samdi into trying to kill her. When Anastasia finds out, she is encouraged by Gothel to kill Ivy, but Ivy realizes her wrongdoings and begs Anastasia not to give up her Guardian powers. When Anastasia sides with Ivy, Gothel flees and the two girls are able to leave the realm with a magic bean, which also allows Ivy to escape the clutches of the Candy Killer, who no longer has the means to go after her. ("Sisterhood", "Breadcrumbs")

Eventually, Gothel decides that it is time to reunite the coven. She comes to the police station and places a spell on the Desk Sergeant, Samuel, ordering him to find and awaken the coven. The Desk Sergeant tracks down and awakens Seraphina and five other witches, three of which act as replacements for the Blind Witch, the Hedge Witch, and Drizella. He brings the coven members to the lower level of the movie theater, where Gothel's home used to be located, and reunites the coven with Gothel, who is ecstatic to see them. Rogers, who is still investigating Eloise and her "cult", receives a tip from Samuel, about the theater. He and Tilly to come to investigate the tip, only for the coven to subdue them and take them below. Gothel reveals Tilly's parentage and initiates her into the coven by threatening Rogers' life. With Tilly now in the coven, they all join forces to enact a spell to bring magic to Hyperion Heights and wipe out humanity permanently. ("Flower Child", "Is This Henry Mills?")

While Gothel attempts to get Roni to join their side again, Tilly, Seraphina, and the other witches remain underground and recite incantations to continue the ritual. Suddenly, the blonde witch emits light from her body and erupts, before turning into a tree. Rogers is confused by what has happened to her, but Samuel explains that once the witches' tasks are completed, they will be gifted new lives as trees. Rogers tries to get Tilly to leave, but she is completely under the coven's spell, leading him to recruit Margot and Weaver to help. They return down below and Margot tries to reason with Tilly to leave, only for her to minimize their size. From below, they watch as Seraphina and the other witches also turn into trees. Meanwhile, Gothel and Regina battle in the garden, resulting in Regina being knocked unconscious. Henry comes to her aid and kisses her on the forehead, leading to the curse finally being broken. ("Is This Henry Mills?")

After Fifth Curse
A now awoken Tilly, Rogers, Weaver, and Margot arrive to the Community Gardens to confront Gothel, who still believes Tilly to be on her side. Instead, with the support of Rogers and Margot by her side, Tilly musters up the courage to state that, while Gothel chose hate, she chooses love. She then uses her own magic to turn Gothel into a tree, finally defeating the Coven of the Eight once and for all. ("Is This Henry Mills?")

Known Members

Number Member Status Reason for leaving
Gothel/Eloise Gardener Turned into a tree Defeated and turned into a tree by Tilly
2 Seraphina Turned into a tree Fulfilled her duties and was turned into a tree as a reward
3 (?) Hedge Witch/Doctor Sage Deceased Murdered by Nick Branson because he doesn't trust witches
Unknown Member Turned into a tree Fulfilled her duties and was turned into a tree as a reward
4 (?) Madame Leota


Unknown[2] Unknown[2]
5 (?) Blind Witch/Hilda Braeburn Deceased Murdered by Nick Branson for kidnapping him and Gretel
Unknown Member Turned into a tree Fulfilled her duties and was turned into a tree as a reward
6 (?) Unknown Member Turned into a tree Fulfilled her duties and was turned into a tree as a reward
7 (?) Drizella/Ivy Belfrey Alive Betrayed by Eloise after giving her magic to Anastasia
Unknown Member Turned into a tree Fulfilled her duties and was turned into a tree as a reward
8 Regina Mills


Alive Only was invited to join to cast the Dark Curse; only agreed to save Henry Mills's life
Anastasia Alive Escaped Eloise and left the realm with Ivy for her own protection
Tilly Alive Only agreed to join to save Rogers's life; was awoken from her trance when the Dark Curse was broken


On-Screen Notes

  • Many Coven of the Eight members have a cursed name referencing plants, just like tree nymphs:
    • Eloise Gardener's name comes from the word "gardener", which refers to a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime or for a living.[4] This is a not so subtle reference to Gothel's secret garden and phytokinetic abilities. ("Greenbacks" et al., "Eloise Gardener", "One Little Tear")
    • Ivy Belfrey's name is a reference to the ivy plant, which has to cling to something else, like trees or buildings, in order to survive; much like Drizella/Ivy does to her sister, then her mother, and then Eloise Gardener. Victoria makes a reference to this in "Eloise Gardener", where she compares Ivy to the plant and says that in order for it to grow, it has to cling to something else.
    • Doctor Sage's name comes from the sage plant, which is said to have magical properties. According to magic lore, it can be used for immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection and granting wishes. One sage species, white sage, is often used in smudging and other ceremonies to purify the body. Smudge sticks made of white sage are often found in New Age shops and kits marketed to modern magical practitioners.[5]
    • Hilda Braeburn's name comes from the word "braeburn", which is a cultivar of apple.
    • Tilly's name is a reference to the action of "tilling" or cultivating land for crops.[6] This is also a reference to her mother, whose curse name is a synonym of the word "till".
  • According to Zelena, the Coven of the Eight "look like shadows in cloaks, but they scream like hyenas." ("The Eighth Witch")

Props Notes



  1. Abrams, Natalie (December 15, 2017). Once Upon a Time bosses on rise of new big bad. Entertainment Weekly. “Alas, the OUAT bosses are coy to reveal any of the Coven member’s identities, only teasing there will be a pretty major new face among them. "I think there's going to be some surprises," Kitsis says. "What happens with the witch story line hopefully will also be surprising. We will be seeing someone in episode 11, which is a reference we've never done before, which is from the Haunted Mansion."”

    MacDonald, Lindsay (December 15, 2017). Once Upon a Time Bosses Preview "Iconic" Witches of the Coven of Eight. TV Guide. “Will we be able to recognize any of these new witches? Kitsis: We'll definitely recognize a few of their names, absolutely. These are witches from iconic fairytales or Disney lore.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 As we don't know if an uncredited extra is playing her or not, it is unknown if Madame Leota's cursed self was present during the events of "Flower Child" and "Is This Henry Mills?", and it is therefore unknown if she is alive, turned into a tree, or deceased.
  3. Eloise Gardener: You were once the Eighth Witch. Join me now and your family will be spared.
    - "Is This Henry Mills?", Once Upon a Time, ABC.
  4. gardener. OxfordDictionaries.com. Retrieved on November 27, 2018.
  5. Sage. Witchipedia. Retrieved on November 27, 2018. “White sage Salvia apiana is sacred in many Shamanic and Native American belief systems and is used in smudging, and other, ceremonies to purify the body. Smudge sticks made of white sage are often found in New Age shops and kits are heavily marketed to modern magical practitioners. (...) Sage is used in magical workings for immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection and the granting of wishes.”
  6. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/till
  7. File:710CovenSymbol.png
  8. https://norse-mythology.org/symbols/helm-of-awe/
  9. http://symboldictionary.net/?p=730
  10. https://dreamingandsleeping.com/elk-spirit-animal-symbolism-and-meaning/
  11. File:705Tattoo.png