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This article focuses on the original Holy Grail.
For its twin, see Dark Grail.

I drank from it, and it gave me magic. But it also gave me eternal life. That was 500 years ago. I don't age. I don't die.
Merlin to Nimue src

The Holy Grail is a magical item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It appears in the seventh episode of the fifth season.

The Holy Grail is based on the item of the same name from the Arthurian Legend.


Before First Curse

At some point, thousands of years ago,[1] the Holy Grail, which was possessed by the gods, causes the beginning of all magic. ("Nimue", "Only You")

Trekking through the desert, Merlin and his companion, Adda, come across the Holy Grail filled with water. Adda attempts to drink from it, but is turned into ash instantly. Knowing he will either succumb to death by thirst or by the grail's power, Merlin asks for permission from the gods to drink from the cup. Upon touching the cup and not being incinerated, he thanks the gods again, before taking a sip, which blesses him with magic and immortality. With his new powers, he accidentally turns the desert into a grassland that becomes the village of Camelot. ("Nimue")

Centuries later, Merlin becomes known as a healer and meets a refugee named Nimue. Her village was slaughtered by a man named Vortigan, who was trying to find the Grail. Merlin and Nimue soon fall in love, and the sorcerer thinks about marrying her, but realizes he'd have to watch her die because of his immortality. They decide to reforge the Holy Grail, using the Flame of Prometheus, into a sword to cut away his magic so that they can grow old together. On the journey, they come across Nimue's former home. While Merlin uses a detection spell to see if anyone is following them, Nimue secretly drinks from the chalice and gains magic and immortality. Eventually, they make it to the flame, where Merlin reforges the Holy Grail into a sword later known as Excalibur. ("Nimue")

For events taking place after the grail is forged into a blade, see Excalibur.


Production Notes

  • The jeweled chalice that Rumplestiltskin moves aside in "Skin Deep"[2] was meant to be the Holy Grail.[3] This is also stated by Jane Espenson on the Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary.
    • After the actual Grail was introduced in "Nimue", another episode written by Jane Espenson, the writer stated on Twitter that the object in Rumplestiltskin's castle was actually the beating heart of the first Titan, glamoured as the Holy Grail.[4]
  • In a deleted scene from "Nimue", it is revealed that the reason why Merlin wants to reforge the Holy Grail into Excalibur is because "he sees legendary sword will found a kingdom, inspire book and movies", and "he thinks it's that same sword".[5]




  1. "Flower Child", Once Upon a Time, ABC
  2. File:112Chalice.png
  3. ONCE UPON A TIME: "Skin Deep" script (PDF) pp. 61. Retrieved on January 2, 2019.
  4. TwitterLogo @JaneEspenson (Jane Espenson) on Twitter. "yes it was a different magic item glamored as the Grail." (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo @JaneEspenson (Jane Espenson) on Twitter. "Yes. Because it was actually the beating heart of the first Titan, disguised as the Grail." (screenshot)
  5. This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season.
  6. File:507TakesGrail.png
  7. File:501Surprise.png
  8. File:506TakesSword.png

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