This page is move protected The subject of this article is involved with the Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is involved with a Once Upon a Time related Book The subject of this article is or relates to a location The subject of this article is involved with the Enchanted Forest The subject of this article is featured in Season One of Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is featured in Season Two of Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is featured in Season Three of Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is featured in Season Four of Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is featured in Season Six of Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is featured in Season Seven of Once Upon a Time
This article focuses on the main reality location.
For the Wish Realm version, see Dark Castle (Wish Realm).

A little more imposing than the pawnshop.

Emma Swan about the Dark Castle src

The Dark Castle[1] is an Enchanted Forest location featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the fifth episode of the first season.

The Dark Castle is based on the Beast's castle from the fairytale "Beauty and the Beast", and the Disney film Beauty and the Beast.


Before First Curse

In his castle, the dealer maker Rumplestiltskin is busy spinning straw into gold when an errand boy, Jiminy, hands him goods. For his trouble, Jiminy is given a golden thread, but Rumplestiltskin suspects he wants something else as well. Jiminy admits he wants to be free of his parents, Myrna and Martin, whose presence in his life keeps him from being truly free. The Dark One offers him a potion but points out that Jiminy has nothing to pay him with. He tells Jiminy to leave his parents for him as payment for the potion. Jiminy wonders what will become of them, but since Rumplestiltskin assures they will be in safe hands, he eventually takes the potion and departs from the castle. ("That Still Small Voice")

From the nearby land of Arendelle, Ingrid arrives with her sisters Helga and Gerda to Rumplestiltskin's castle hoping for a way to be rid of her ice magic. Rumplestiltskin tries to interest her in harnessing her powers with magic lessons, but she stands by her original request. In exchange for giving Ingrid magic-concealing gloves and a urn, he desires the three ribbons the three sisters are wearing on their wrists, which contains magic created by their sisterly love for one another. Helga and Gerda refuse, believing the strength of their love for their sister is enough to protect her, but Ingrid insists on having the gloves and urn so her magic will never harm anyone. As Ingrid forfeits her ribbon, her sisters follow suit. ("The Snow Queen")

Taking in Regina as a magic trainee, Rumplestiltskin is surprised to learn she has an older half-sister named Zelena. He teaches her magic as well, and after the lesson, Zelena bakes his favorite meat-pie. Rumplestiltskin returns to his castle to find Zelena there waiting for him, but he informs her that he cannot stay since Regina still needs training. She reacts with resentment, believing herself much more powerful than her half-sister, though Rumplestiltskin coyly points out that her jealousy is literally turning her skin green. Shocked, Zelena takes a look in the mirror to see a patch of green skin on her neck. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")

Despite excelling in magic, Regina still desires to be with her deceased lover, Daniel, though Rumplestiltskin warns that "dead is dead". While heartbroken, Jefferson, who had been in the room doing business with Rumplestiltskin, offers her a chance to remedy that disappointment with the services of a “wizard” who has the power to bring back the dead. Eagerly, she accepts and gives Jefferson a royal passport to roam the kingdom freely. ("The Doctor")

In a deal with Sir Maurice to stop ogres from invading his land, Rumplestiltskin asks for his daughter, Belle, to leave her home and become a servant at his castle for an eternity, which she agrees to fulfill. Belle is thrown in the dungeon of Rumplestiltskin's castle. He lists all of Belle's tasks and when he jokes about one of the duties, she accidentally drops a tea cup and chips it. ("Skin Deep")

After becoming Rumplestiltskin's servant, Belle spends her nights in the castle dungeon crying because she misses her family. One night, an irritated Rumplestiltskin storms in and conjures a pillow for her, which she thanks him for the gesture so she can sleep more comfortably, but he replies it's for muffling her noisy cries. Suddenly, a loud thud is heard, and both rush to see a hooded thief stealing a wand. The thief fires an arrow from his bow, which has a reputation for never missing. Eventually, the arrow hits Rumplestiltskin, but since he is immortal, it has no effect. He imprisons the thief and tortures him on a daily basis. Belle, feeling sorry for the man, frees him while Rumplestiltskin is away. The thief escapes with the wand; prompting Rumplestiltskin to haul Belle along as he tracks down the man. With Belle's persuasion, he lets the thief go and they return to the castle. Before heading off to bed, he gifts her a library room since she loves reading. Though Rumplestiltskin attempts to hide his kind intentions, Belle is pleased and reaffirms he does have goodness inside of him. ("Lacey")

On another day, after Belle has finished with the laundry and polished the silver, Rumplestiltskin returns home with a wailing baby for her to look after. She is dismayed to learn he stole the child from his parents and even more horrified when Rumplestiltskin admits he has sinister intentions for the baby later at sundown. With a good story from a book, Belle calms down the baby and begins plotting a way to save him before Rumplestiltskin's return. At one point, she wanders into the castle tower, where she finds an incantation written in fairy language that can be used to summon the Black Fairy. As soon as Belle is finished translating it, Rumplestiltskin appears to claim it as well as the baby, before locking her in the tower as he leaves. The Blue Fairy, on her way into the castle after sensing the Dark One use the incantation to call the Black Fairy, hears Belle's cries for help and flies to her. Unable to help with her own magic, the Blue Fairy frees Belle before sending her to rescue the child from Rumplestiltskin's grasp. ("Changelings")

Following the death of her husband, King Leopold, Regina makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin to have a magical disguise, which will enable her to kill Snow White. Rumplestiltskin instructs her to say his name when she wants the disguise taken off, and though she ends up calling him twice, he never responds. After the Queen to execute her own plan, she angrily storms into his castle, demanding to be returned to her former self. Frustrated, she admits he is right about how the commoners feel about her, and that they will never love her. He asks what she will do now, and with a tone of bitterness, Regina vows to punish them all. Only then does Rumplestiltskin reverse the spell, and Regina can see her own reflection again. She smiles wickedly, commenting the Queen is dead, and "Long live the Evil Queen". ("The Evil Queen")

Thrown into the past from the future via a portal, Emma and Hook gain entry into Rumplestiltskin's castle so the Dark One can help them orchestrate a past meeting between Emma's parents, Prince Charming and Snow White, to ensure the future remains unchanged. Noticing Rumplestiltskin has returned home, Belle walks in to ask if he needs anything. Happy to see a familiar face, Emma greets Belle by name and then claims Rumplestiltskin mentioned her, which he did not. He shoos his maid out of the room by telling her to get back to her cleaning duties, and she grudgingly obeys. After Belle exits, Emma mumbles about the irony that the two of them later fall in love with each other, which Rumplestiltskin finds preposterous. Emma states that Snow White must steal Prince Charming's ring so the two can meet and fall in love. After much work, she and Hook ensure this happens and return to the castle, with another person, so they can go home. Problematically, Rumplestiltskin explains a certain wand can recreate any magic ever wielded, but the portal must be made by someone who already traveled through it—namely Emma. Intending to "protect the future" by drinking a potion to erase his memories of everything she told him, he also traps them in his vault, which contains dangerous magical items. While there, Hook pulls out an urn, which Emma scolds him for touching. Through some talk, Emma recognizes, after previously watching her mother, Snow White, die, that she wants to stop running away and now considers Storybrooke to be her home. This restores her magic, to which she opens a portal. Before Emma goes in, Rumplestiltskin demands to know what happens in the future when he reunites with his son, Baelfire, as she previously claimed this will occur. She admits Baelfire forgives and loves him, but he dies to save everyone. Emma talks Rumplestiltskin out of trying to change the future and urges him to drink the potion, which he does, as she disappears into the portal. After the portal closes and Rumplestiltskin's memory is wiped, he picks up the fallen wand and teleports out of the room. ("Snow Drifts", "There's No Place Like Home")

Rumplestiltskin returns from the Idyllic Garden to catch Belle examining one of his swords in the castle cabinet. Although he did say that she could look around, this was to test how she would react. Engrossed in his castle collections, Belle reasons she was curious since he never talks about where the items came from. Furthermore, it's her dream to see the world, which is what he gets to do. She inquiries about Camelot, and though Rumplestiltskin never actually went to Camelot, he chucks her the "souvenir" he got from Guinevere, the magic gauntlet, which can locate one's greatest weakness. As he states, the weakness is usually a thing the person loves most. After serving him tea, Belle theorizes he collects things because of having a hole in his heart. Instead, Rumplestiltskin whisks her off to laundry duty. When he goes to check up on Belle, she is gone. Then he finds out that Cruella De Vil, Ursula and Maleficent kidnapped Belle to force him to give up the magic gauntlet that he brought from Camelot. Surprisingly he gives the gauntlet to them. Later, he retrieves the gauntlet from the trio because the thing they have done was not even a deal. Cruella suggests he join them in their fight to defeat heroes, but Rumplestiltskin boasts that he always wins and doesn't need them to do it. ("Heroes and Villains")

While cleaning the castle drapes, Belle questions Rumplestiltskin about why he spins straw into gold so much. Rumplestiltskin claims it helps him forget what he once lost. Attempting to pull open the drapes, she accidentally falls from the ladder, to which he catches her. Later, Belle asks about some children's clothing she found in the castle, and he admits those were his son's outfits. Rumplestiltskin puts on a strong front when grilled about why he wanted her with him, to which Belle believes he isn't cruel, but simply lonely. He sends Belle into town to fetch straw; expecting her to never return. While on the road to town, she is manipulated by the Queen into attempting true love's kiss on Rumplestiltskin to revert him to human. On her return, Belle gives Rumplestiltskin a kiss of true love, but he angrily berates her; believing she is conspiring with the Queen to take away his powers. She is thrown into the dungeon and later kicked out of the castle by Rumplestiltskin. Before leaving, Belle attests that he's a coward to believe she doesn't truly love him and will live to regret his actions. A short time later, the Queen lies to Rumplestiltskin about Belle's tragic fate after she supposedly returned home, was shunned by her family and eventually committed suicide. Despairing over her death, Rumplestiltskin places his only memento of Belle, the chipped cup, on a pedestal. ("Skin Deep")

Snow White, having taken Rumplestiltskin's potion to erase her heartache over Prince Charming, becomes a ruthless and stingy person who is hell-bent on murdering the Queen. One of her dwarf friends, Grumpy, drags her back to Rumplestiltskin's castle hoping the wizard can undo the magic, but he cannot. Instead, Rumplestiltskin gives Snow White a bow and arrow as well as a map to track down and kill the Queen. After she leaves, Prince Charming arrives demanding Snow White's whereabouts and gives Rumplestiltskin his cloak as payment for the information. From the cloak, Rumplestiltskin takes a strand of Prince Charming's hair and combines it with Snow White's to form a bottle of true love. ("Heart of Darkness")

After First Curse

Following a mishap that causes Neal to fall through a portal with a gunshot wound, he lands in the Enchanted Forest and is found by Mulan, Aurora and Prince Phillip, who bring him back to a palace and tend to his injuries. After recovery, Neal, with Mulan's help, travels to his father's old castle in an attempt to learn the fate of Emma and Henry. Once inside, the castle looks to be ravaged and severely plundered, though Neal can tell someone has been living in it. Suddenly, they are surprised by a man, Robin Hood, aiming an arrow their way, and claims the castle is his. Neal explains the castle once belonged to the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, and he is his son, Baelfire. Robin Hood decides to trust Neal's words and believes no one would make a claim unless it was true. Additionally, he mentions being indebted to Rumplestiltskin for sparing his life in the past.

Frantic for a way to find Emma and Henry, Neal looks around the castle for an unsuspecting magical item that may help and picks up his father's old walking stick. He grasps the item and swings it around; prompting a hidden door to appear. Robin Hood expresses astonishment as he once tried to wield the stick before and nothing ever happened. Neal then shares knowledge of the blood magic enchantment his father put on the walking stick, which only allows the caster or those of Rumplestiltskin's blood to use it. From within the door, Neal discovers a crystal ball. Reluctantly, he agrees magic is the only thing that can help him now and attempts to get the ball to activate by touching it, which causes no change. Mulan suggests to think about how he feels about Emma, and that will guide him to see her. Neal follows her instructions, and the crystal ball shows him an image of Emma in Neverland. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning", "The Heart of the Truest Believer")

Before Second Curse
Seeking a way to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, Belle and Neal arrive at Rumplestiltskin's old castle. As they enter into a room, Belle lights a candelabrum; accidentally awakening Lumiere, who claims to have been imprisoned because of a broken deal with Rumplestiltskin. In truth, he is acting on the Wicked Witch's orders to trick the pair into using a key on the vault of the Dark one and resurrecting Rumplestiltskin. After the two agree to set out tomorrow for the vault's location under Lumiere's direction, the candelabrum is blown out as they leave. Moments later, the Wicked Witch relights it to summon Lumiere out again. Lumiere asks to be freed from his prison since he followed her orders, but she forces him to continue until Rumplestiltskin is brought back. ("Quiet Minds")

After Third Curse
After using sand on a cursed Belle, Mr. Gold is transported into her dreamworld, not knowing the sand has also affected Belle's unborn child, who appears to him as a grown man allegedly named Morpheus. This stranger brings Mr. Gold to a dreamworld manifestation of Rumplestiltskin's castle, where Belle is reliving her days as the Dark One's servant. The castle is darker and grimmer, and when Belle sees Mr. Gold, she is only able to see him as the scaly-skinned Rumplestiltskin. She apologizes for not having his tea ready and goes to fetch it. Mr. Gold vows to help Belle by making her fall in love with him again, to which Morpheus sets a time limit for him to complete this task or Belle will return to the Netherworld permanently. He wins Belle over in a dance, and as her perception of him changes, the castle's surroundings shift as well. Mr. Gold tells her about the son he lost because of his own selfishness, and that he'd be the best man he can be for her. The couple kiss, with the power of true love briefly lifting the Dark One's curse, but then, Belle pulls away after regaining her memories. Mr. Gold suggests they can be together now since their child is no longer in danger, but Belle declines the offer, believing their union has been riddled with too much-broken promises and pain. With the time limit up, Morpheus reappears to congratulate Belle for not believing in her husband's lies, and because she passed the test, he can wake her with true love's kiss. Morpheus reveals himself as their unborn child and warns Belle not to let Mr. Gold destroy them as he destroyed his last family. With that, Morpheus kisses Belle on her forehead, taking her away from the dreamworld's castle and back to the real world. ("The Savior")



Many items are kept in the Dark Castle, including:


Production Notes


  • In the castle, there is a kind of fur with horns which resembles Disney's Beast.[2] ("Skin Deep" et al.)
  • There is a candlestick and clock in Rumplestiltskin's castle resembling Lumiere and Cogsworth from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.[2] ("Skin Deep" et al.)
  • A hammer resembling Thor's Mjølnir from the 2011 movie Thor and its sequels, is sitting on a pedestal[10] ("Skin Deep" et al.)
  • The segments where Belle serves Rumplestiltskin tea are a reference to the scenes where Chip and Mrs. Potts serve Belle (and [[Maurice, at the start of the film) tea in the movie. ("Skin Deep", "Heroes and Villains", "The Savior")
    • The tea set with the cups, teapot, creamer and sugar bowl[27] mirror the tea scenes in the movie, where Chip and Mrs. Potts are usually accompanied by a living sugar bowl and a living creamer. ("Skin Deep", "Heroes and Villains", "The Savior")
  • The chipped tea cup is a reference to Chip from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. ("Skin Deep", "Heroes and Villains", "The Savior")
    • The teapot is a reference to Chip's mother, Mrs. Potts. ("Skin Deep", "Heroes and Villains", "The Savior")
  • The hat resembling the Sorcerer's hat is from Disney's Fantasia.[6] ("Skin Deep")

Popular Culture

Props Notes

Set Dressing


Rumplestiltskin's drawing room is full of artworks from the real world:

The painting on the left side of the door of the drawing room[47] is Moisés Salvado de Las Aguas ("Moses Saved From the Waters") by Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese. It is currently on display at the Museo del Prado, the national Spanish art museum. ("Skin Deep" et al.)
The painting on the right side of the door of the drawing room[48] is Alexander The Great and Roxane by Italian Baroque painter Pietro Rotari. It is currently on display at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. ("Skin Deep" et al.)

Another copy of this painting is hanging over Rumplestiltskin's fireplace.[49] ("Lacey" et al.)

Two of the wall tapestries[50] are motifs from an antependium (c. 1410) found in the Museum of Applied Art Frankfurt. ("Skin Deep" et al.)
Another wall tapestry[51] is L'Offrande du Coeur ("The Gift of the Heart", c. 1400-1410), from the Louvre Museum in Paris. ("Skin Deep" et al.)
A tapestry hanging on the wall shows a captive unicorn inside a fence,[4] which is the seventh and final in the tapestry series The Hunt of the Unicorn created between 1495-1505 and entitled The Unicorn is in Captivity and No Longer Dead. ("Skin Deep")

Still Life with Flowers

The painting behind the two marionettes[52] is Still Life with Flowers by the Dutch Golden Age painter Balthasar van der Ast. It is currently on display in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. ("Skin Deep" et al.)

Another copy of this painting is hanging over the fireplace.[49] ("Lacey" et al.)

The painting on the left side of Rumplestiltskin's glass cabinet[53] is one half of the painting Adoration of the Holy Wood and the Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba by Italian Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca. ("Skin Deep" et al.)

  • A severed hand is present on a pedestal. It is most noticeable when Belle walks away from the cupboard after she takes out the vase.[7] It is even mentioned in the script, where a "withered hand" is listed among the many objects in the castle.[28] ("Skin Deep")

Filming Locations


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. "Skin Deep", Once Upon a Time, ABC
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 File:112ArrangedMarriage.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 File:112YouEvilSoul.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 File:112QueenAboutToLeave.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 File:112Puppets.png
  6. 6.0 6.1 File:112YouWillServeMeMyMeals2.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 File:112WhenYouArrived.png
  8. 8.0 8.1 File:112WhatAreYouDoing.png
  9. File:112BelleSittingDown.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 File:301FindsCrystalBall.png
  11. File:112FetchingScissors.png
  12. File:112Chalice.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 File:116Potions.png
  14. File:219StealingWand.png
  15. File:301TheseMarkings.png
  16. File:301OhNo.png
  17. File:322UrnShaking.png
  18. File:411CutYourselfDearie.png
  19. File:411ThingTheyLoveMost.png
  20. File:303Best.png
  21. File:220WhyDidnt.png
  22. File:322EmmaOpensPortal.png
  23. File:208LyingOnTheFloor.png
  24. File:522Grandpa.png
  25. File:601OtherWayAround.png
  26. File:609DarkCastle.png
  27. File:112FetchMeFreshStraw.png
  28. 28.0 28.1 ONCE UPON A TIME: "Skin Deep" script (PDF). Retrieved on August 4, 2018.
  29. 29.0 29.1 File:315Bookshelf.png
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 File:315Bookshelf2.png
  31. File:112ImSoSorry2.png
  32. Teapot Real Old Willow by Royal Doulton. Chinasearch. Retrieved on August 4, 2018.
  33. Doulton Willow China. Lovers of Blue & White. Retrieved on August 4, 2018.
  34. File:112Relief.png
  35. Footed Cup & Saucer Set Val D'Or by ROYAL ALBERT. Replacements, Ltd. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
  36. ROYAL ALBERT VAL D'OR TEA SAUCERS. Replace Your China. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
  37. Royal Albert Val D'Or Sugar Bowl - Lidded (Tea). Chinasearch. Retrieved on July 14, 2019.
  38. Creamer Val D'Or by ROYAL ALBERT. Replacements, Ltd. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Royal Albert Val D'Or. Chinasearch. Retrieved on July 14, 2019. “Royal Albert Val D'Or was first introduced in 1960, featuring beautiful white bone china with ridges and a premium gold trim. The inspiration for the pottery came from the city Val d'Or in Quebec, Canada where gold was discovered in 1923. Royal Albert Val D'Or China was manufactured for nearly 50 years before production finished in 2009.”
  40. Frequently Asked Questions. Royal Albert China (UK website). Archived from the original on July 14, 2019. Retrieved on July 14, 2019. “WHERE ARE ROYAL ALBERT PRODUCTS MADE? For over 100 years Royal Albert Product Design and Development has taken place in the United Kingdom, guaranteeing English authenticity and values. Today, WWRD United Kingdom Ltd maintains exactly the same engineering excellence and proven quality control in all our owned facilities in which we produce product and continues to adhere to these world famous standards.”
  41. OUR STORY. Royal Albert China. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. “The Early Years: 1896: Thomas Wild Senior and son Thomas C. Wild bought the Albert Works in Longton Stoke on Trent.”
  42. File:612BeRightBack.png
  43. File:112KeepTryingDearie.png
  44. 44.0 44.1 File:201SomeOfMyOwn.png
  45. File:W113TeaParty.png
  46. File:204Potions.png
  47. File:112WhoWasThat.png
  48. File:112ALife.png
  49. 49.0 49.1 File:219WhatYouThought.png
  50. File:112ItsAlmostSpring.png
  51. File:112ItsAlmostSpring.png
  52. File:219Reading.png
  53. File:219DontYouKnow.png
  54. File:322TeleportedAway.png
  55. File:407IcePowersYouSay.png
  56. File:601ThereWasASon.png
  57. File:609WhyWouldI.png
  58. File:211YoureBreakingUp.png
  59. File:512GoesToSafe2.png
  60. File:520GoodbyePapa.png
  61. FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. IMG_2447 (March 5, 2016).  (archive copy)
    FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Creation Once Upon a Time Set Tour March 5, 2016 (March 5, 2016).  (archive copy) (archive copy part 2)
  62. File:116WhereSheIs.png
  63. Dove, Steve (March 19, 2012). Storybrooke Secrets: Heart of Darkness. ABC. “When Prince Charming confronts Rumplestiltskin in his foyer, a large centerpiece with roses can be seen—a reference to Rumple's story with Belle.”
  64. File:517MyLocker.png
  65. File:518LetThatHappen.png
  66. File:520ApproachingBelle.png
  67. File:303WhatElse.png
  68. File:219TakingWand.png
  69. File:501ApprenticeWand.png
  70. File:316GreenDearie.png
  71. File:516LookingAtTheMirror.png
  72. File:518ToMakeMe.png
  73. File:620FinallyTheMoment.png
  74. File:608NoWayOut.png
  75. File:322Portal.png
  76. File:IGlee j buckley-DarkCastle.png
  77. TwitterLogo.svg @pursuit23 (Ken) on Twitter (November 3, 2014). "Once upon a time circus is set up at Central Park on boundary beside swangard stadium" (screenshot)
  78. File:505BelleRumpleStorybook.png
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