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This article focuses on the second iteration of Dame Gothel, also known as the Witch.
For her Seattle persona, see Eloise Gardener.
For the first iteration of Rapunzel's witch, see Rapunzel (The Tower).
For the DunBroch character, see Witch (The Bear King).
For the Season Three episode, see "Witch Hunt".

Weaver: Why do you call yourself Mother Gothel? I mean, y-you're not mother to them. And you're certainly no nun.
Eloise Gardener: Mother means different things to different people. I tend their needs. As I can tend yours.
Weaver and Eloise Gardener src

Mother Gothel, also known as Mother Nature, the Witch and briefly as Rapunzel, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. She débuts in the seventh episode of the seventh season. She is portrayed by guest star Emma Booth, and is the original counterpart of Eloise Gardener.

Gothel is based on the character of the same name from the fairytale "Rapunzel", and the Disney film Tangled. She also takes the role of Mother Nature, and briefly the role of Rapunzel.


Before First Curse

In the Land Without Magic before it lost its magic, Gothel is a tree nymph that lives in the Tree Nymphs' Grove with her sisters and Mother Flora. ("Flower Child")

One day, Gothel leads one of her sisters, Yarrow, to a human house, despite the latter's insistance that they should be going home soon. Stopping a short distance away, they look through the window and see human girls trying on dresses. Gothel is awed by the beauty of the fabrics and wishes to know what they feel like, though Yarrow warns her they don't belong in the human world and nothing the humans have can never be theirs. Even so, Gothel treks closer to the home on her own, insisting that Yarrow can go. Inside, she sees an unopened rose bud on one of the dresses and uses her magic to make it bloom open, unaware that the human girls have reenetered the room and seen what she has done. Gothel begs them not to tell anyone about her magic in fear of being hunted, but two of the girls, Isla and Seraphina, insist her abilities are beautiful and they ask her to teach them. Isla then declares Gothel to be their new sister and invites her to a ball that they are going to in the evening. ("Flower Child")

On returning home, which Gothel accesses with a key, she is encouraged by Flora to take off her human disguise and wear her true form proudly, which she does, revealing her real skin tone is actually turquoise and her hair is a greenish hue just like the other tree nymphs. Flora, having been told by Yarrow about Gothel's indiscretion towards humans, cautions her that they're creatures who are conflicted and irrational, even though Gothel believes the ones she met are different. When reminded that she will one day become the Mother of all magic and have the responsibility of leading their kind, Gothel ponders the fact she can choose to take the mantle or not. Flora agrees she does and puts her trust in her that she will make the right decision by being wise in realizing the only option is to follow nature. ("Flower Child")

At the ball, Isla asks Gothel to go ahead and start teaching them magic, but Seraphina attempts to protect Gothel by reminding Isla that she can't do it in public. Instead, Isla takes Gothel, Seraphina, and the others to an abandoned building. Despite Seraphina encouraging her not to do it if she doesn't want to, Gothel demonstrates her magic by reviving a flower. Only then, Isla shows her true colors by smashing the flower, then has some of her friends pin Gothel to a wall as she dumps mud on her head, mocking her for trying to be human although her magic cannot hide what she really is. Seraphina, meanwhile, can only watch with horrified shock as Gothel is tormented. Isla also steals the key Gothel wears around her neck, and as the rest of the girls leave, Seraphina pauses and stares at Gothel regretfully before Isla prompts her to follow. Unknown to Gothel, everyone else except Seraphina goes to the tree nymphs' home using Gothel's key, where they kill them all with fire and axes. ("Flower Child")

As Gothel returns home, she realizes everything and everyone in the grove has been destroyed. She comes across a dying Flora, who tells her what the humans did. Gothel swears to get revenge, but Flora simply wishes for her to become the Mother and use the strong seed of magic within her to go elsewhere to begin anew and blossom into her role. With her last breath, Flora tries to persuade her to remain good as only sweet fruit can bloom from goodness. Gothel returns to the ball seeking vengeance, and though Isla attempts to have the guards strike her down, she uses her magic to impale them with tree roots. As the attendees of the ball panic, Seraphina watches as Gothel wraps Isla with another tree root and snaps her neck. When Isla hits the ground, Seraphina runs to her friend's still body. Believing she took part in betraying her alongside Isla, Gothel attacks Seraphina, forcing her to use magic to defend herself. Gothel, surprised to see she has magic, ceases her attack when Seraphina reveals that she had been keeping it a secret to protect herself as she feared being targeted too. Gothel encourages her to join her so that she can finally be herself without fear of repercussions and Seraphina agrees. Realizing more guards are arriving, Seraphina suggests that they flee, but Gothel's rage has not yet died down and she brings plants through the fireplace to expel poisonous spores into the building, killing all the remaining humans in the room, in addition to decimating the rest of the human population in this realm. ("Flower Child")

Later, seeing the remanents of Gothel's destroyed home, Seraphina regretfully apologizes for what happened and Gothel states that as the tree nymphs are now dead, the humans have created the first land without magic in existence. However, Gothel knows that humanity will find a way to bounce back eventually, and when that happens, she swears to eradicate them once more. Gothel then finds a magic bean among the rubble and uses it to open a portal to a new land, where she and Seraphina can cultivate magic and find other magic users like them. Seraphina follows her into this other world and the two eventually reach the New Enchanted Forest. ("Flower Child")

After Fourth Curse

After arriving in the New Enchanted Forest, Gothel forms the Coven of the Eight, a coven of the most powerful witches in all the land, making Seraphina her first recruit and later also recruits the Blind Witch, the Hedge Witch, and one other witch. Gothel also starts to search for the Guardian, a magical being with the ability to resist the darkness and one with a pure heart. ("One Little Tear", "The Eighth Witch", "A Taste of the Heights", "Flower Child")

At one point in time, Gothel visits New Wonderland and unearths a special mushroom that can be used to curse someone's heart. ("One Little Tear")

On a stormy night, Gothel witnesses Rapunzel attempting to steal radishes from her enchanted garden in order to cure her husband of illness. She is impressed by Rapunzel's selfless reason for risking her own life and then offers to bless Rapunzel’s family with wealth if she gains something in return. Unwittingly, Rapunzel says she will pay any price, which prompts Gothel into locking her into the tower, where she is then separated from her family. ("One Little Tear")

Six years later, Rapunzel manages to escape and is reunited with her family, however, after she is distraught over her husband Marcus has moved on from her with Cecelia and her child, Gothel gives her a mushroom that she attained from Wonderland and tells her to use it to poison Cecelia. At first, Rapunzel refuses, not wanting to hurt an innocent person, and throws it into the fire. Using her magic, Gothel manages to save the mushroom, leaving it behind for Rapunzel to use eventually and taunts her about her supposed good nature. For reasons only Gothel herself knows, she is actually testing Rapunzel with the mushroom in an attempt to gauge if her heart is pure enough to be the Guardian. Sometime after Rapunzel gives into darkness by poisoning Cecelia and driving her away to Wonderland, Rapunzel comes to Gothel, begging her to save her daughter Anastasia, who is dying after falling into the frozen water. Gothel preserves her body but intends to take Anastasia as a replacement for Rapunzel in the tower. She then reveals her motives: she is searching for the Guardian and had thought Rapunzel to be the one she was looking for, however, she failed to be pure of heart as she sacrificed another person’s happiness for her own by poisoning Cecelia. Dead set against allowing Gothel to take away her daughter, Rapunzel manages to trick the arrogant witch by using Gothel's own potion to trap her in the tower. There, Gothel remains for some time, trapped in there by blood magic with the hopes that she will be able to have someone of her bloodline take her place the tower so she can escape. ("One Little Tear")

When Hook of the Wish Realm comes to the tower looking for Gothel's flower to kill his nemesis, Gothel appears before him disguised as Rapunzel. After Hook explains his mission to find the flower, Rapunzel tells him there is only one such the flower in the Witch's Garden, and to retrieve it, he must sing to it. She makes up a story of her own imprisonment in the tower by the Witch, and her need for the same flower to save herself. Hook agrees to fetch the flower for both of them, even though Rapunzel fears he'll just get it for himself and leave her behind. Later, as Gothel is still wearing her Rapunzel disguise, she hears Hook climb up the tower. She is pleased that he kept his promise to her, but when he asks how she will use the flower to escape, she assures him that it would be tedious to ask how and instead assures that all he needs to know is it'll help free her. Unbeknownst to Hook, Gothel enacts the final part in her plan to gain her freedom by seducing him into her bed, in the hopes of conceiving a child by the flower’s magic, before leaving this person of her bloodline in the tower so she herself can leave. She remarks that being trapped for so long, she hasn't had the chance to experience some things in a long time. As Rapunzel suggestively toys with his vest and moves to kiss him, Hook considers they should wait until after they’ve left the tower. She insists they don't before she draws him into a kiss. After spending the night together, Hook is still half dressed when he goes to Rapunzel by the tower window, suggesting to her that it's time to leave. Suddenly, they both hear crying from an infant, much to Hook's confusion. Rapunzel states it is her way out, as she goes over to where the sound is coming and shows him a newborn baby, to which a shocked Hook realizes the child is his. The Witch takes off the Rapunzel disguise and tells him her true name, Gothel, and explains that the flower sped up things so she could immediately birth a child, as using blood magic to have someone take her place is her only means of escaping the tower. She urges him to go with her now, but seeing his reluctance, she chides him for feeling bad about abandoning his child when she knows he has already sacrificed many lives in his quest for revenge. When Hook refuses her, Gothel departs out of the tower on her own, while Hook gives up on his revenge and later returns to care for his new baby daughter, whom he names Alice after his deceased mother. ("Eloise Gardener")

Some years later, Alice has a dream that Gothel flings her father out of the tower. Alice warns her father that Gothel is coming for her. Hook believes her and says that there is another option for getting her out of the tower. Hook promises Alice to come straight back when he finds a way. Hook finds Maui's fish hook but does not follow his promise and has a pistol duel with Captain Ahab to prove he has not gone soft. Neither Ahab or Hook are aware that Gothel coated Ahab's bullet with a poison, and Ahab's bullet only grazes Hook while Hook's bullet wounds Ahab, causing him to bleed profusely. Although Hook wins the duel, he leaves abruptly to go back to Alice, realizing his family is more important than his honor. Hook returns to Alice with the fish hook, but when Alice moves to embrace him, her father is thrown into the wall as a strange marking appears on her arm as a result of her attempt to get close to him. Only then, Gothel reveals to Alice that her father broke his promise to her by not returning right away, and instead took a little detour for a duel to defend his own honor, during which the bullet that grazed him was coated by her with the poison currently affecting his heart. Gothel teleports Hook out of the tower and takes the fish hook, assuring him that he will continue to fail his daughter now that he has no way of rescuing her from the tower, before she then teleports away. ("Knightfall")

At another point in time, Gothel disguises herself as Regina, the former magic teacher of Drizella, Rapunzel's other daughter. She tries to persuade Drizella to give up on her vengeance towards her mother, but the young witch magically chokes her, insisting she doesn't need her or anyone else's help. Impressed with Drizella's stubbornness, Gothel laughs before shedding her Regina disguise and suggesting to her that if she intends to amass the enormous amount of magic needed for casting the Dark Curse, her coven of sister witches can aid in her quest. Before departing, Gothel gives her a coin token of the coven as an invitation. Drizella shows up to join, and to her surprise, other witches have come hoping to secure a spot in the coven as well. With only two vacant spots in the coven, Gothel explains to them that they each must retrieve two golden flowers from the woods beyond the river and whoever returns will have proven themselves worthy. She also states they are to work by themselves and be equally savvy and cutthroat if they wish to be on top. Drizella interjects by musing that this doesn't make them much of a sisterhood, to which Gothel tells her that such a thing is a prize not easily won. Gothel then wishes them "happy hunting" before teleporting away. Much later, Gothel appears to Drizella after she has split off from Gretel, one of the witches competing against her who she befriended. Gothel comes clean about the hunt being a rigged game, as she has already chosen Drizella for the only available spot in the coven, but as one last test, she wants her to truly prove she has what it takes. Conjuring a dagger into her hand, she gives it to Drizella and orders her to kill Gretel. Drizella protests, but Gothel insists if she wants her Dark Curse, only the coven can provide her with enough power. Unknown to Drizella, Gothel also offers the same to Gretel, telling her to kill Drizella to prove her own worth. Drizella attempts to talk Gretel into quitting the hunt and getting away from Gothel so they can accomplish their goals together without the coven's help, but Gretel attacks her, forcing Drizella to defend herself by killing the latter. Gothel congratulates a shaken Drizella in the aftermath before welcoming her into the coven and assuring her they have much to discuss regarding the Dark Curse. ("Sisterhood")

Later, Gothel is summoned by Robin, who is taken to the New Enchanted Forest. Gothel teaches Robin magic and takes her to Memento Mori, planning to use the Resurrection Amulet to exchange Robin's life for Leota's, hoping to have her in her coven. Hook and Zelena track down the location of Memento Mori and try to convince Robin not to join Gothel. Leota traps Zelena and Hook in Memento Mori, making the door vanish, and electrocutes Hook when he threatens Gothel. Robin tells her mother she does not need saving and tells Hook and Zelena to leave, summoning the door. Zelena and Hook leave, but Hook convinces Zelena to go back for her daughter. Meanwhile, Gothel begins the resurrection ceremony, revealing her true intentions to Robin. As the ceremony commences, Zelena and Hook interrupt, and Zelena tells Gothel to use her life instead of her daughter's. As the second ceremony begins, Robin uses a bow and an arrow she finds in Memento Mori to shoot the Resurrection Amulet out of Gothel's hand, and Hook quickly picks it up. Following their defeat, Gothel and Leota teleport out of Memento Mori. ("Secret Garden")

After Drizella gives the heroes a prophecy of the Dark Curse she will cast in eight years, the heroes thwart her plans by turning her into a statue. Eight years later, Gothel and her coven of sister witches interrupt Lucy's birthday celebration to free Drizella, whom she offers to aid with enacting the curse, 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 and other coven witches at a summoning altar, where they have Henry cloaked and bound in the center of it. Rapunzel 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 someone who already cast the curse and 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. ("The Eighth Witch")

For events occurring after the casting of the fifth curse, see Eloise Gardener (Character).

Magical Abilities

  • Blood Magic - Use of one's own or another's blood for various and more powerful spells.
  • Protection Spells - Ability to cast a magical seal that makes the victim trapped unless they manage to leave someone of same bloodline in their place.
  • Conjuration - Ability to conjure objects out of the blue.
  • Shapeshifting - Ability to alter the appearance of oneself or others.
  • Telekinesis - Ability to control the movement of the environment.
  • Teleportation - Ability to magically teleport oneself and/or others from one location to another.



  • Gothel claims that she calls herself "Mother Gothel" because, according to her, she tends people's needs like a mother would do. ("One Little Tear")
    • "Mother" is actually an inherited title for the leader of the tree nymphs. ("Flower Child")
    • In addition, the name "Gothel", which comes from the "Rapunzel" fairytale, is an ancient German phrase for "godmother".[1]

Production Notes

  • Her original casting announcement described her as "the Witch who is as wicked as they come",[2] before being deleted.[3]
    • According to Adam Horowitz, this description is mainly speculation from the press as the writing staff never used the word "wicked" to describe this character.[4]



See also


Start a Discussion Discussions about Gothel

  • Who is more powerful Ingrid the Snow Queen or Mother Gothel

    11 messages
    • Eskaver wrote:Fights are often variable. Technically, the fastest one wins unless they show some sort of durability. Given prep, Gothel w...
    • Black fairy and dark curse wrote: Eskaver wrote:Fights are often variable. Technically, the fastest one wins unless they show some sort...
  • How is the coven going to be defeated?

    20 messages
    • it makes u wonder if they will team up with the witch killer to take out the coven or team with the coven to take out the witch killer
    • Well I'm hoping Facilier summons his friends from the other side but the witches are already being killed by the witch hunter.  Whoever...
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