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Mr. Gold: Why would Belle want to dream about this place?
"Morpheus": Usually our dreams pick us, not the other way around.

Mr. Gold and "Morpheus" src

The Dream World, also known as the Dream Realm[1] or the Dreamscape,[2] is a world featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the twenty first episode of the first season.


During First Curse

During one night, Graham shows up on Regina's doorstep in a distraught state and engages her in a frenzied kiss that later culminates with an encounter in the bedroom. He awakens from a nightmare and tells her about his recurring dreams featuring a wolf, Mary Margaret and a forest. Realizing he is recalling his Enchanted Forest memories, she tries to convince him that it's only a dream, but Graham can't shake the feeling it is a memory. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

One night, Regina has a horrible nightmare of her worst fears coming true. In the dream, a vengeful Emma and several of the other town's residents drag her out of the house and tie her to a withering apple tree to get justice for what she did to them as the Evil Queen. Regina begs Henry to help her, but he merely says she has brought this on herself. Emma proceeds to behead her when Regina awakens in terror. ("An Apple Red as Blood")

After First Curse

Belle dreams about Mr. Gold choking Leroy in his shop, after Leroy insists on Mr. Gold returning his axe and accuses him of keeping Belle as just another one of his possessions. Belle begs Mr. Gold to stop telling him that this is not who he is. Rumplestiltskin, as the Dark One, turns around and says, "Oh it's me, dearie. Always has been, always will be!" ("The Crocodile")

In a dream in Mr. Gold's shop, Emma, NealMary Margaret, David and Mr. Gold are celebrating Henry's birthday. Mr. Gold tells Henry that he could pick out a gift from his shop. Henry looks around and chooses a wand. He begins to wave it around, and Neal tells him to be careful with it. Henry asks Mr. Gold how it works. Mr. Gold shows him by waving it around in the air. Then, using the wand, Mr. Gold turns Henry into a statue. Everyone is shocked, and David yells at Mr. Gold, wanting to know why he did this. Mr. Gold replies that the Seer told him Henry will be his undoing so he must do this. He takes his cane and smashes the statue. Startled, Mr. Gold awakes in his bed, realizing he had only dreamt of killing his grandson. ("Lacey")

Before Second Curse
During a night's sleep in the palace, Prince Charming dreams of being in the old castle he and Snow White lived in. Hearing a baby's cries, he wanders into an undamaged nursery, where everything from the crib to the toys, appear exactly as how it once was prior to the curse. A grown Emma, dressed prettily in a blue gown, persuades him into a dance as practice for her first ball. Prince Charming is ecstatic, as this is the life he wanted for her, but she abruptly remarks that it is a shame it never happened since he failed her as a father. In an instant, the dream becomes a nightmare, with Emma being sucked into the wardrobe, as he is forced to let her go as she warns him not to "fail the next one". ("The Tower")

After Second Curse

During a night, Mary Margaret has a nightmare, in which Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and Ursula take away Neal from her. Awakening, she goes to check on her son and finds an insomniac David, who is worried about the women revealing their secret. ("Unforgiven")

In a cabin in the woods, Regina Mills dozes off and dreams about returning with Robin, except her doppelganger, the Evil Queen, attacks them with fire. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")

After Third Curse

On the boat ride to the Underworld, Emma falls asleep and wakes up in her car outside of an amusement park. Very much like their first meeting years ago, Neal pops up from the backseat, surprising her, before moving to the front passenger seat beside her. He assures her that he is real, and Emma briefly tells him about how Henry is doing. When she mentions her journey to the Underworld, Neal tries to persuade her out of it, because once she is there, it won't be easy to leave. She insists she would've tried to find him, too, had she known she could, though Neal clarifies that he's already moved on to a better place, and the Underworld is for people with unfinished business. He attempts one last time to talk her out of going, but when she declines again, he accepts this and bids her a warm farewell. ("Souls of the Departed")

While Emma is on lookout duty for Hades with Hook on the library's roof, she falls asleep, having a dream about burning her, Regina and Snow's names from the headstones. Before she can finish, an incoming storm forces her, Snow and Hook to seek cover. Although the storm passes quickly, it brings a monster to the Underworld, which Snow goes after, only to be seemingly killed by the beast. After this gruesome end, Emma awakens from the nightmare and apologizes to Hook for sleeping on the job. ("Her Handsome Hero")

After Belle puts herself under a Sleeping Curse, Mr. Gold seeks a way to wake her up and is directed to Morpheus' Temple by Mr. Hyde. Here, he is able to use the Sands of Morpheus to teleport Belle out of the Netherworld and into the Dream World, as well as visit her dream. Unbeknownst to him, the sand also affects their unborn son, creating a combined Dream World where the son plays the role of Morpheus to test Belle and see if she will fall for Mr. Gold's lies once again. After she successfully stops him from waking her up with True Love's Kiss, "Morpheus" reveals his true identity and kisses her himself, snapping them all back to reality. ("The Savior")

The sands continue to affect Belle, allowing her son to visit her at any time. He takes advantage of this ability while she is studying ways to defeat Mr. Gold, luring her with a false book on how to defeat the Dark One and a ribbon that leads her to the Shears of Destiny. Before she can take them, they vanish and she realizes where she is. Her son makes his presence known and begs her to find a way to stop Mr. Gold before he uses the Shears to remove his fate. He then uses the dream version of the Shears to cut the ribbon, waking Belle up. ("Changelings")

He later visits her again on a swingset as she goes through painful labor. This time, he informs her that it's too late to stop Mr. Gold and that she knows what she must do. Understanding, Belle is reluctant but promises that she'll always love him and says goodbye. Before she awakens, her son tells her not to forget the book, confusing her. Shortly after this, she wakes up and gives birth to him, naming him Gideon after the main character from the first book her mother ever read to her. ("Changelings")


By Dreaming

By Entering Others' Dreams

Duplicated Elements


Several locations are duplicated in the Dream World:

Items, Food and Drink, Magic, Plants, Vehicles

Ways to Access the Dream World

The Dream World can be accessed:


On-Screen Notes

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • In a dream, Belle mentions Hildrew as the author of the book Manual on Defeating the Dark One. This is a reference to Geofrey Hildrew, one of the editors on the show,[6] who also directed the episode "The Bear King". ("Changelings")
    • Belle also mentions a book called Treatise on the Metaphysics of Magic by "Goldman", a reference to Mark Goldman, also an editor on the show, and the one who provided the voice of Sven.
    • Another book mentioned in the dream is The White Sorcerer's Way by "Talbot", a reference to Joe Talbot Hall, another editor on the show.

Set Dressing

  • In Mr. Gold's dream, the Blue Fairy's wand can be seen on display inside the pawnshop.[7] In addition, one of the other wands in the dream[7] can also be seen in a cupboard in the real version of the Dark castle in "Quite a Common Fairy".[8] The same prop is later reused as the Apprentice's wand.[9] ("Lacey")
  • In Belle's dream of the Dark castle, the camera momentarily focuses on a pile of shoes lying in the hallway.[10] Among the footwear is a children's shoe; a subtle foreshadowing of Gideon' identity. ("The Savior")
  • Several medieval torture devices can be seen in the dream world version of the Dark castle: ("The Savior")
    • A torture chair is sitting in the foyer.[11] This instrument of torture was a wooden structure covered with spikes on the back, on the arm-rests, on the seat, on the leg-rests and on the foot-rests. The victim was stripped of their clothes and clamped to the chair, whereupon the spikes would dig deep into their skin, causing them excruciating pain.[12] The torture chair in the Dark Castle is a modified version, with spikes on the armrests, and a few on the back. It also has a bar at chest height, which some versions of the torture chair had, to immobilize the victim's chest.[12]
    • In the great hall, a so-called hanging cage can be seen on the far left of the screen, behind a chair.[13] The hanging cage was a cage in which the victim was either displayed and later freed from, or locked inside and left to die.[14]
    • There is also a modified version of the rack,[15] another well-known medieval instrument of torture. This rack has spiked rollers designed to slice into the skin and muscles of the victim's back, an "improvement" made by the French.[16]
    • The hanging cage and the rack are the same props used for the torture devices in the Underbrooke Sheriff's Department in "The Brothers Jones".[17] In addition, a big black cage sitting in the corner[18] is the same cage that was sitting in the corner of the Underworld sheriff's office in the episode.[19]
  • Two modified versions of Garland of flowers around a cartouche with Jesus and St. John the Baptist as children, a 1630s painting by Flemish painter Daniel Seghers and the Dutch Flemish Baroque painter Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, are hanging on either side of the exit of the parlor room in Dream World version of the Dark castle.[23] The painting has been edited for the show; the most noticeable differences are the two children in the middle, who have been replaced with a different motif, and a large skull which has been added to the bottom. ("The Savior")

Costume Notes

Filming Locations



  1. "The Black Fairy", Once Upon a Time, ABC
  3. File:609Title.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 File:609WhiteSorcerersWay.png
  5. SCOTS LAW TImES. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Scots Law Times is the fastest and only law reporter containing coverage from every Scottish court, civil and criminal, from the Sheriff Court to the House of Lords and the Privy Council – in a single service.”
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @GeofreyHildrew (Geofrey Hildrew) on Twitter (November 27, 2016). "All new Once tonight! Tune in, I might have a special connection to someone on the show tonight :)" (screenshot)
  7. 7.0 7.1 File:219TakingWand.png
  8. File:303WhatElse.png
  9. File:501ApprenticeWand.png
  10. File:601Look.png
  11. File:601FellInLove.png
  12. 12.0 12.1 The inquisitional chairs. Historical Torture Museum. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “This instrument of torture comes in different versions. We are first going to examine their common features and, then, their differences. All of them have common features, in that they are covered with spikes on the back, on the arm-rests, on the seat, on the leg-rests and on the foot-rests.”

    The "Armchair of Inquiries". Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Those sentenced were stripped of their clothes and and seated on the chair which was dotted with many sharp points; points that went deep into the skin. Incredible pain forced the victims to rise up in order to try and break away from the tips, but this only makes their wounds worse and their contact with the spikes inevitable.”
  13. File:601CarryingTray.png
  14. The Wrong View of History, Jack Paraskovich, Xlibris, 2016, pp. 118 - 119. Facsimile by Google Books
  15. File:601CastleTransforms.png
  16. The Rack. Torture Museum. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Later on, the French would slightly modify the rack’s appearance, adding an additional mechanism — metal rollers with spikes that sliced into the skin and muscles of the victim's back.”
  17. File:515EvilTwin.png
  18. File:601TakesHand.png
  19. File:515MummyNeedsToUnwind.png
  20. File:721ReallyHad.png
  21. File:616ReachingForOrb.png
  22. File:721SearchingForFamily.png
  23. File:601CastleTransforms.png
  24. File:721LeashRoundHere.png
  25. File:722TillyPortal2.png
  26. File:204OccasionIsUs.png
  27. File:221Necklace.png
  28. File:314TheBall.png
  29. File:314MeToo.png
  30. File:321NotGoingAnywhere.png
  31. Mitovich, Matt Webb (February 22, 2016). Once Upon a Time Season 5B Brings Back Michael Raymond-James as Neal. TVLine. “As a final safeguard, Raymond-James' scenes were filmed indoors on a soundstage — away from the ever-looming paparazzi known to spoil many an outdoor shoot.”
  32. File:512IAlwaysWill.png
    Revelation. Theme Park Archive. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  33. File:322HopOn.png
    'Wave Swinger' Amusement Park Ride at Playland, Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), Vancouver, BC, British Columbia, Canada. Alamy. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  34. Gittins, Susan (October 21, 2014). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Goes Back to the 1980s with the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell) in Gastown Tonight. Hollywood North Buzz. “Is Salmgundi in Gastown a 1980s/1990s flashback like earlier scenes on Granville Street [when the Snow Queen arrives in Boston], at the Playland amusement park [with Mitchell as Sarah Fisher and teen Emma] and at a bus stop in east Vancouver [with Mitchell as Sarah Fisher and teen Emma].”
  35. File:407Paper.png

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