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This... this is death.
Hades to Hook src

Hades' Lair is an Underworld location on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the twelfth episode of the fifth season.

Hades' lair is based on Hades' palace from Greek mythology, and Hades 'alir from the Disney film, Hercules. The Five Rivers of the Underworld are also based on Greek mythology, while only the Styx appears in the Disney film.


Before First Curse
At some point, Hades remodels the Underworld into a likeness of Storybrooke. He places his lair under the library, where an elevator allows access to the lair itself. The lair is also accessible by going through a basement in Emma's house, which leads underground to the River of Lost Souls. By riding a boat on the river, the lair entrance can eventually be reached. The lair serves as the source of where the five rivers flow from. ("Souls of the Departed", "Devil's Due", "Our Decay")

After Third Curse

On Hades' orders, Cora attempts to push her daughter Regina into leaving the Underworld or else her father Henry will suffer the consequences of her defiance. After Cora fails this mission, she enters the library and takes the elevator down to Hades' lair. As the sound of classical music plays from within the room, she walks in to see Hades sitting on his throne while a servant is kneeled down over him, giving him a pedicure. Hades accosts her for allowing Henry's soul to escape, but Cora asks for her reward despite her failure. Knowing that the reward pertains to Regina's happiness, he questions her about her lack of concern for her other daughter, Zelena, whom she abandoned at birth. Hades decides to punish Cora by reverting her into a miller's daughter and making her deliver flour bags for all eternity. ("Souls of the Departed")

When Hook helps Megara escape, he finds himself captured by guards and brought to the lair, where Hades tortures him. After Megara leaves for Mount Olympus with Hercules, Hades reports this tidbit to a bloodied and beaten Hook. Hades, having already lost three souls because of the heroes helped them move on, forces Hook into deciding which of his three friends should stay in the Underworld forever. ("Labor of Love")

In the lair, when Hook rejects Hades' ultimatum, Hades hangs him on a chain and leaves him to be lowered into the River of Lost Souls. With Milah's help, Mr. Gold and Emma bypass a basement barrier that leads them to an underground tunnel. The trio then ride a boat and dock at the lair entrance, where Emma goes in alone to rescue Hook while Milah stays behind with Mr. Gold. During this, Hades invites Mr. Gold to the lair and agrees to send him home if he destroys the boat so they heroes can't leave the Underworld. After destroying the boat and damning Milah in the process, Mr. Gold returns to the lair so Hades can honor his end of the agreement. Mr. Gold, shaken over having to harm Milah, professes to Hades that he will never do that again to another person. Hades then turns the tables on Mr. Gold, promising to let him return home someday, but as of now, he still needs him to do his bidding. To ensure Mr. Gold complies, Hades conjures up a crystal ball image of Mr. Gold's wife Belle, whom he knows is pregnant, despite the latter trying to hide this information. In addition to this, Hades teleports in Fendrake, a man Mr. Gold once promised his second-born child. Hades reveals the contract on Belle's baby is now in his hands, and he threatens to collect his due at any time unless Mr. Gold becomes his minion. ("Devil's Due")

Before the heroes can discover his weakness in the storybook, Hades orders Liam to remove the pages and destroy them. After Liam tosses them down a well, the pages float in the water from one of the five rivers until it reaches the lair. Hades retrieves them and studies one page, which features a past encounter between himself and Zelena. He later hides the pages in his throne chair for safe keeping. ("The Brothers Jones", "Last Rites")

Eager to obtain Zelena's baby from Storybrooke, Hades has Mr. Gold open a portal in the lair so the child can pass through. However, Belle and Zelena are pulled into the portal along with the infant, which causes them to be dumped outside Underbrooke's nunnery instead of the lair. Both Hades and Mr. Gold are confused about what happened and only learn the truth later on. ("Our Decay")

To ensure Zelena's enemy, Dorothy remains asleep, Hades destroys Auntie Em, the only person who can wake her with true love's kiss. With some of Auntie Em's liquid remains in a jar, he takes it with him back to his lair. After getting love advice from Belle, Zelena shows up to the lair, intending to give Hades a chance with her. As proof of his love, he dumps Auntie Em's remains into the River of Lost Souls, to prove that he intends to keep Dorothy cursed forever and investing himself in Zelena's happiness. Despite her fears that Hades will disappoint her, Zelena remarks that she'll give him a chance since it's a risk she can't help but take. ("Ruby Slippers")

After Hades has left the Underworld with Zelena, Hook and the recently deceased King Arthur search the empty lair for the missing storybook pages from Hades' story. Arthur provides inspiration about where to look by suggesting that if he was in Hades' position, he would hide his personal possessions in his throne because no one would think to look there. After some examination, they find a small lever under the chair, and when it is pushed, it opens a compartment on the side of the chair that reveals the pages from Hades' story. ("Last Rites")

Five Rivers of the Underworld

Hades' Lair is the source of the Five Rivers of the Underworld. Each of these rivers have a special power, represented by their own color:

  1. The Styx[1] - The blue river.
  2. The Cocytus[1] - The grey river.
  3. The lava river
  4. The Acheron,[2] also known as the River of Lost Souls - The green river. When people touch it, the river makes them lost and reduces them to mindless tormented husks. It is also a portal to the "Worse Place".
  5. The Lethe, also known as the River of Forgetfulness - The yellow river. When drunk, the water makes people forgetful and can be used in place of a forgetting potion. A spring from the Lethe ran near Royal Manor in the Enchanted Forest.


On-Screen Notes

  • Hades' lair is down below the library, connected by an elevator. ("Souls of the Departed" et al.)
  • The floor in Hades' lair has a pentacle design:[3] A pentagram with a circle around it. The edges of the pentagram are emblazoned with a pitchfork-like motif, a motif that can also be seen on one of the flags in Hades' lair.[4] The floor in the ambrosia temple has the same design.[5] ("Souls of the Departed" et al., "Firebird")
    • Fittingly enough, the pentacle and the pentagram are often associated with evil and the devil. However, they are also seen as positive and spiritual images. These symbols have been used by major world religions and can be found in ancient scriptures of Christianity and even Judaism. In earlier times, Christians have widely used the pentagram as a personal charm and a protective amulet, and at one time, the pentagram was used to symbolize the five wounds of Jesus when he was hanged on the cross. The pentagram and the pentacle have also been used by occult faiths and magicians, and today, the pentagram is used as a symbol for Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. It is also said that the five points of the pentagram represent the five elements, fire, earth, water, air, and spirit.[6]
    • The platform over the River of Lost Souls is also shaped like a pentacle.[7] ("Devil's Due")
    • The pentacle motif with the pitchforks can also be seen in one of the doors in one of Jefferson's Hats.[8] ("The Final Battle Part 1")

Fairytales and Folklore

  • The lava river is a reference to the Phlegethon, the river of fire in the Underworld.
  • The Acheron, River of Lost Souls, shares aspects with three of the five rivers from Greek mythology: Lethe, Styx and Acheron. Lethe is the river of unmindfulness, and all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. Styx is the river that some souls would try to swim across to reach the Underworld. Acheron is the river of woe, where the shades are ferried across by Charon. In Homer's poems, the Acheron was described as a river of Hades. ("Devil's Due")

Popular Culture

Set Dressing


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


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