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There is a place of immense dark power. Time runs differently there; nothing makes sense.

Mr. Gold to Belle src

The Dark Realm[1] is a world featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the eleventh episode of the sixth season.


Before First Curse

After the Black Fairy is banished by the Blue Fairy for nearly crushing Tiger Lily's heart, cutting away her son's fate instead of her's, and creating the Dark Curse, she comes to reside in this realm. ("The Black Fairy")

This realm is a place of immensely dark power where time runs strangely and anything is possible. However, she can be summoned from this realm by an incantation and is known to leave on her own accordance to kidnap more children. ("Going Home", "Changelings", "Wish You Were Here")

After Third Curse

The Black Fairy travels to Storybrooke where she happens to cross Mother Superior flying through the forest with Gideon, the child of her son. The Black Fairy attacks Mother Superior and eventually overpowers her, leaving her for dead. The Black Fairy returns to her domain with Gideon where she locks him up in a cell and steals his mother's book that she left with him. He, however does not work in the mines as the Black Fairy decides that he is special, partly due to him being her grandson. ("Changelings", "Wish You Were Here", "Mother's Little Helper")

As Gideon grows into a young boy, he steals back his mother's book from the Black Fairy and reads it to his friend, Roderick every night. He hides the book when the Black Fairy arrives and she realizes that he has already stolen the book and gets the book back, noting that everything in the Dark Realm is her's. Gideon proceeds to tell the Black Fairy that he read the inscription, saying that his real mother gave it to him so he could be a hero. The Black Fairy shuts the book and tells him that she is his real mother. This angers the Black Fairy and tells him that just because his mother was a hero, he won't be, she replies, saying she's going to show him exactly what he is. She gets his friend, leaves his cell door open and abuses Roderick. Gideon, even with his cell door open, doesn't go to help his friend and the Black Fairy takes Roderick away while teasing Gideon.

After 28 years, the Black Fairy calls for Gideon, explaining that it is his birthday. He seems a bit surprised, however, the Black Fairy calls him out, saying that everyone has one. The Black Fairy continues to tell Gideon that she is proud of him. When a boy comes in with the dark Fairy Dust, the Black Fairy tells the boy to lock it up in her vault, however, she cannot find the key and tells Gideon to make whoever stole the key pay for what they've done for Gideon's "mom" with dust to turn whoever did it into a beetle and crush them. Gideon then goes down to the mines, calling for everybody's attention and tells them that his mother has been generous to all of them and says that someone has betrayed her by stealing the key to her vault. When Gideon asks for the guilty to step up and nobody does, he gets a random man and is about to turn him into a beetle when suddenly his old friend, Roderick steps up to help the innocent man. While they have a heart-to-heart conversation, Roderick explains that Gideon has to make it up to him for not saving him all those years ago and that he wants Gideon's help to defeat the Black Fairy.

Later on, when Gideon and Roderick are walking in an unknown area, Roderick explains to Gideon that there is a savior in another realm that can help destroy the Black Fairy. Roderick proceeds to say that he's heard of a magical orb that can help communicate between realms. Gideon agrees and they head to the Black Fairy's lair and find the orb in an invisible glass container, however, before they can use it, the orb shatters and the Black Fairy comes in, explaining that the entire thing was a test and saying that Gideon was supposed to be special. Later, she kills Roderick with dust and her boot. She then proceeds to take Gideon's heart and commands him to go to the land of the savior and kill her. ("Mother's Little Helper")

Gideon eventually returns to Storybrooke where he comes across the Evil Queen, turning her into a serpent, before going to confront his parents. After lying that he plans to kill Emma Swan so that he can be the Savior and kill the Black Fairy, he attempts to battle her on main street but is defeated. In an alternative scheme, he summons the Spider from the Echoless Forest to kill Emma; this ultimately fails when Mr. Gold saves her, but it is close enough to free the Black Fairy from the Dark Realm. ("Wish You Were Here", "Tougher Than the Rest", "Mother's Little Helper")

Ways to Access the Dark Realm

The Dark Realm can be reached with the "most powerful wand". ("The Black Fairy")


On-Screen Notes

Set Dressing

Filming Locations


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. Abrams, Natalie (December 3, 2016). Once Upon a Time: Hooded figure revealed. Entertainment Weekly. “Rumple reunites with Belle and mentions that there’s this dark realm, where the Black Fairy has taken their son. Time doesn’t work right there. What can you tease of this realm and are we going there in the back half of the season? HOROWITZ: I think that what you just described is the tease for the realm. It sounds like it’s a dark place, it sounds like things work in a screwy way there, and it has the Black Fairy there. EDWARD KITSIS: Any land where the Black Fairy, the Dark Fairy, the darkest soul we’ve been teasing for six years, runs can't be fun. HOROWITZ: We intend to explore what that realm is, and see a little bit more of it, and learn more about Black Fairy as we go forward. Without giving away too much, it’s a safe bet to say we will be seeing more of the Black Fairy, and more of where she came from, and why she is doing the things that she is doing.”
  2. File:616ReachingForOrb.png
  3. The Wrong View of History, Jack Paraskovich, Xlibris, 2016, pp. 118 – 119. Facsimile by Google Books
  4. File:515EvilTwin.png
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  6. File:721SearchingForFamily.png
  7. File:616CleaningHerBoot.png
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  9. File:IGlee j buckley-616.png
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