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This article focuses on the DunBroch character known as the Bear King.
For the Season Five episode, see "The Bear King".

There's only one way to get men to follow you into a deadly battle. That's by showing them you're the first one willing to die.

—King Fergus to Merida src

King Fergus, also known as the Bear King,[1] is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts, with his only appearance, in the ninth episode of the fifth season and is portrayed by guest star Glenn Keogh.

King Fergus is based on the character of the same name from the Disney/Pixar film Brave.


After First Curse

King Fergus rules over the clans Macintosh, Dingwall and MacGuffin in DunBroch with Queen Elinor. Because of an upcoming invasion from the southerners of Camelot, Fergus asks the old witch for magic to ensure the future of his kingdom. After signing a deal, he obtains a magic helm, giving him the ability to influence men into fighting for him. The old witch warns, however, that the payment he owes her for the helm can be extracted at any time she wishes. His daughter, Merida, joins him at the battle camp as the clans are preparing for battle. He gifts Merida a bow and wants to get her a tutor to teach her how to swordfight, but she stubbornly disagrees with his suggestion that she needs a man instructing her. Merida begins a nearby duel with a mystery knight, in which she is quickly defeated, and her opponent is revealed to be a woman named Mulan, who later becomes her swordsman teacher. As Fergus looks out to the river while holding the helm, Merida comes by, asking him how he has managed to instill respect in his men so they will fight for him, as she will have to do the same one day if she inherits the crown. Fergus states there must be proof she is willing to die for the same cause they are fighting for. Taking his own advice, he later throws the helm into the river, realizing he doesn't need magic to win. Before the skirmish begins, Fergus orders Mulan to take Merida somewhere further away to continue sparring practice, as a way to keep his daughter from direct combat when the southerners arrive. However, Merida runs to the battlefield after hearing the horn signaling the invasion, where she sees an enemy knight approaching Fergus while he is busy fighting another soldier. She shoots an arrow meant for for the enemy knight, but it pierces the knight's cloak instead. The knight then cuts down Fergus, killing him, before taking his helm. His soul travels to the Underworld. ("The Bear and the Bow", "The Bear King")

Before Third Curse

After Fergus dies, his wife Elinor is exiled by the clans and Merida becomes Queen. The clans do not agree with her ruling because she is a woman, and because they've lost faith in her after she couldn't save her father, leading them to kidnap her three brothers in an attempt to make her relinquish the throne. ("The Dark Swan", "The Bear and the Bow")

Since losing her father, Merida harbors guilt for not being able to save him, which subsequently causes her to lose confidence in her ability to prove to the clans that she is a capable leader. At first, she tries resorting to magic to gain the clans' respect, but in the end, it's her skill with the bow that forces the clans to recognize her as their Queen. Before her coronation, Merida visits Fergus' grave to tell him about how she saved her brothers and got the clans to accept her. During the crowning ceremony, the old witch comes to retrieve the helm from the contract Fergus signed, or else she'll turn everyone in DunBroch into bears. During the quest to locate the missing helm by finding the man who killed Fergus, Merida learns the helm her father wore into battle wasn't the magical one he got from the witch, meaning he chose not to use magic to be a leader. When the witch returns again for the helm, Merida decides to destroy it rather than return it because announces her intent to destroy the helm rather than return it because no magic should force people to fight for a cause they don't believe in. To this, the old witch congratulates her on passing the test, as the helm she once gave Fergus had no magic in it at all, and in both cases, both she and her father gained confidence to lead DunBroch without resorting to magic. The old witch rewards her with magical ale, which Merida sprinkles on her father's grave, giving her a chance to talk with Fergus one last time. ("The Bear King")


King Fergus
Queen Elinor
MeridaTriplet sons


  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriage relationships that result in offspring
  • † denotes the deceased


Props Notes


See also


  1. King Fergus: Aw, you don't have to worry about me, lass. I'm the Bear King.
    - "The Bear King", Once Upon a Time, ABC.
  2. File:509ShowYourselfWitch!.png
  3. File:517BTS3.jpg
  4. Once Upon a Time - Gaston/King Fergus Sword (Stunt) (4862). iCollector. Archived from the original on April 28, 2020. Retrieved on April 28, 2020.
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