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Zelena: All right, Stanum, tell me, why am I out here, helping you?
Stanum: Because you have nothing better to do. And you'd rather be out in the woods with an old friend than sitting alone in that Emerald Castle of yours.
Zelena and Stanum src

The Emerald Castle[1] is an Oz location featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the sixteenth episode of the third season.

The Emerald Castle is based on the Royal Palace of Oz from the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.


Before First Curse

Seeking answers about her birth family, a woman named Zelena goes to the Emerald City seeking answers about her birth family and enters the Wizard of Oz's palace. She is greeted by the Wizard himself, who projects a shadow image from behind a curtain and speaks with a booming voice, revealing to her that she was abandoned because her mother, Cora, desired to become royalty, which her first-born child could not give her. Zelena gets a glimpse of her half-sister, Regina, who became Queen and is being taught magic by Rumplestiltskin. The Wizard of Oz gifts her a pair of slippers to travel anywhere she desires, to which Zelena goes to Regina's palace in Fairy Tale Land. Later, Zelena, whose envy for Regina has turned her skin green, asks the Wizard to send her back in time to change the circumstances of Cora's abandonment. When told this is not possible, she angrily tears away the Wizard's curtain to reveal he is a showman named Walsh. Zelena makes use of the man by turning him into a flying monkey. Using the magic of the Wizard's floor to look across worlds, she watches in anger as Rumplestiltskin is teaching Regina magic in Fairy Tale Land, while Zelena's skin turns completely green. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")

Walsh's transformation into a flying monkey alerts Glinda, the Witch of the South, to Zelena's presence. Glinda thanks Zelena for exposing him and believes time as Zelena's pet is a fitting punishment for his trickery. Glinda asks Zelena to join her in Oz's sisterhood of witches. After Zelena accepts, she uses the magic of the floor to view Regina having another lesson with Rumplestiltskin. This time, she manages to let go of her anger and envy and remarks, "Sorry, sis. But I'm over you." Glinda tells her that she is impressed, having known she'd make the right choice. Together, they look into the mirror as Zelena's complexion returns to normal. Glinda then gives Zelena a special pendant to harness her powers. Later, the two of them find a girl, Dorothy, who arrives in Oz by cyclone. Fearing this child is destined to take her place, Zelena's skin begins reverting to green. After Zelena fakes her own death, Glinda mistakenly believes that Zelena's magic is undone, and thus the Wizard has returned. Glinda takes Dorothy to see the Wizard in the palace so that Dorothy can find a way to go home to Kansas. Zelena masquerades as the Wizard to send Dorothy home before revealing herself to Glinda, who vows to find another sorceress to take Zelena's place, but Zelena banishes her to Fairy Tale Land. ("Kansas")

With the Wizard under her control and Glinda trapped in Fairy Tale Land, Zelena takes dominion over the Emerald City and its guards. ("Heart of Gold")

After settling a green birthday cupcake on a platter, Zelena uses magic on a mirror to see the moment her mother abandoned her. Intending to prove that Cora deserted the wrong daughter, she moves forward with creating a time travel spell, by procuring one of the spell ingredients: the Scarecrow's brain. Before she can rip out the brain, Dorothy storms the palace to stop her. Zelena prepares to finish her with a fireball, however, she fails to notice Dorothy's dog Toto wandering around the room. Zelena tosses the fireball at Dorothy, who ducks, with the flame incinerating a guard instead. Toto then pulls at a wall string, making the curtains topple onto Zelena, giving Dorothy time to flee with her dog and the Scarecrow. When Zelena returns to the palace later, Hades is there. He mistakes the green cupcake for Zelena celebrating her own birthday, but she coldly refutes this, stating she doesn't know her birthdate because her mother abandoned her. Hades offers assistance with the Scarecrow and he tells her about his own rivalry with his older brother, Zeus. Later, Zelena finds that Hades has prepared a celebratory banquet for her at the palace. Hades professes that he wants to be with Zelena, and his belief that a kiss of true love between them can restart his non-beating heart. Zelena rejects him, suspecting he wants the time spell for himself since only one of them can use it. Believing no one can love her, she reasons that if he does love her, he won't stand in the way of her revenge. With a tone of finality, she sends him away, warning him to never show his face again. ("Our Decay")

As Zelena is having a meal in her palace, she becomes annoyed by the food's lack of flavor and orders one of her guards to pass her the salt. Suddenly, another guard reports that a man has arrived asking for her help. Zelena scoffs at this, recalling she already banished the Wizard of Oz ages ago yet people still come to the palace expecting assistance. When the man comes in, he reminds her of how he once held a bird's nest, which helps her recognize him as her old friend Stanum. He explains incurring the fury of the Wicked Witch of the North after he chopped down one of her trees and his punishment from her is to slowly turn into a tin man. Stanum requests Zelena's help with obtaining the Crimson Heart from a beast that can stop the curse from taking full effect on him. Zelena is briefly amused by the prospect of him as a tin man but ultimately sees no value out of helping him since she doesn't get anything out of the deal. Stanum suggests she can aid him in order to do good with her magic as she did in the past, however, Zelena brushes off the idea, believing using magic to be wicked is much more fun. Only when Stanum calls her out for turning him down because she's afraid of the beast, Zelena agrees to aid him in order to prove she is not only powerful but not afraid of anything. After the journey, Zelena returns to her palace, where she sets down the Crimson Heart on the table after leaving Stanum to become a tin man instead of giving up her powers to save him. She has a moment of satisfaction as she sits down before doubt clouds her face. ("Where Bluebirds Fly")

One day, while Zelena is away from her chambers, Robin of Locksley, on Rumplestiltskin's orders, attempts to steal some of the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. Disguised as one of Zelena's guards, Robin manages to fill two vials, but he drops one of the vials after she catches him trespassing. When she questions his actions, Robin salutes and greets her, unaware that her guards know better than to talk to her. Even more suspicious now, Zelena demands to know why he is stealing from her. With his cover blown, Robin grabs an enchanted bow from the room to fire at her. However, she duplicates two more illusions of herself to confuse him. As Zelena realizes he must have been sent by Rumplestiltskin, and he continues to not respond to her accusation, she dissipates the illusions and hurls a fireball at him. Robin dodges the attack, letting his arrow fire as he does, causing the shaft to fly around the room until it hits a steam engine. With the room completely fogged up, Zelena clears herself from the steam in time only to see the man is nowhere in sight and presumably escaped. ("Heart of Gold")

After Zelena spies on Rumplestiltskin urging Regina to break Snow White's singing spell to prove he chose the right witch as his disciple, she breaks out into song about the pain she's endured from both Cora and Rumplestiltskin himself rejecting her in favor of her sister, however, she sees this as her one chance to prove she is better than Regina. Zelena takes a ride on her broomstick before returning to her palace, where she brews a spell in a green box that will allow Regina to absorb Snow and Charming's singing abilities. ("The Song in Your Heart")

After Third Curse
Upon Zelena's return to Oz, Dorothy takes some poppy powder and decides to confront Zelena alone at the palace, but Zelena surprises Dorothy by pricking her finger with the sleeping curse. ("Ruby Slippers")


Props Notes

Set Dressing

  • According to the poster in his workroom, Walsh's circus is called The Omaha Circus and Freak Show.[8] In the novel, Omaha is the name of the Wizard's birthplace. The circus and freak show acts listed are "The sorcerer's black tent",[8] the Feejee mermaid,[9] the Bottle Imp ("living human head confined in a glass bottle"),[9] the Dog Faced Boy,[10] the bearded lady[9] and the flying monkeys.[9] According to a painting, one of the circus acts is archery with an enchanted bow.[11] ("It's Not Easy Being Green" et al, "Heart of Gold")
    • The Feejee mermaid was an object comprising the torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish. During the 1800s, it was a common feature of sideshows, where it was presented as a version of a mermaid.
    • Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy was a famous Russian sideshow performer during the 1800s, who suffered from the medical condition hypertrichosis.
    • Bearded ladies (women with visible beards) have a rich history in the sideshows of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
    • "The Bottle Imp" is an 1891 short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which the protagonist buys a bottle with an imp inside that grants wishes. However, the bottle is cursed; if the holder dies bearing it, their soul is forfeit to hell.
  • The text "Wales" is inscribed on one of the artifacts in Walsh's workshop.[12] Interestingly, the name "Walsh" means "Welshman".[13] ("Kansas")
  • A box in the Wizard's workshop say "New York".[14] ("Our Decay")
  • A lamp in Zelena's quarters[15] also sits on a table in the clock tower in "The Black Fairy".[16] ("Our Decay")
  • The table cloth and candle on Zelena's dinner table are green, as is her drink.[17] ("Where Bluebirds Fly")

Costume Notes

Filming Locations


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