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Think of this as your fail safe. If things get too chilly, simply pop the top and in you go. All your powers will be contained. And all the realms will be safe from you.

Rumplestiltskin to Ingrid src

The Magic Urn is a magical item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the twenty-second episode of the third season.


Before First Curse

Ingrid, the eldest daughter of the royal Arendelle family, is born with ice magic she fears losing control of. Though her sisters, Helga and Gerda, promise to help conceal her powers from outsiders, Ingrid later gains the assistance of Rumplestiltskin; receiving magic-cancelling gloves and an urn to contain herself if she becomes too dangerous. During a dispute gone wrong, she accidentally kills Helga, and as a result, is imprisoned in the urn by Gerda. Shortly after, on Gerda's request, Grand Pabbie erases everyone's memories of Ingrid and Helga. For reasons unknown, the urn ends up hidden in the North Valley. ("The Snow Queen", "Rocky Road")

Years later, Gerda's eldest daughter, Elsa, inherits ice magic as well. Desperate for a cure, she and her husband seek out Rumplestiltskin in Misthaven, but on the journey home, they die in a shipwreck. Five years after their deaths, Elsa reigns as Queen of Arendelle. By chance, Elsa discovers her mother's diary, in which Gerda implies her and her husband's reason for leaving Arendelle was due to their eldest daughter's powers. Anna, Elsa's sister, then takes off to Misthaven after learning their parents went there on their ill-fated voyage. While she is away, Elsa is under threat when Prince Hans plans to seize Arendelle by entrapping her in an urn. With Kristoff, Elsa discovers the relic. Though he insists it must be destroyed, she curiously wonders if the ancient runes on the urn can reveal if there are others with the same powers as hers. When pressed, she still refuses to get rid of the urn. In the next moment, Hans and three of his brothers surround them. Elsa counters with ice magic, but she forfeits the urn when Hans threatens Kristoff's life. Regretful that she didn't trust Kristoff before, Elsa apologizes for her lapse of judgement and puts him in charge of finding Anna and saving Arendelle after she is gone. Smugly, Hans remarks that a monster like Elsa should not rule a kingdom, and then he uncaps the urn. As a white liquid spills out onto the ground, she looks on in tears as the substance creeps up to her. To Elsa's surprise, the fluid stops before reaching her and slithers to the side where it materializes into Ingrid. Insulted at Hans' prior remark, Ingrid turns him into an ice statue. On return to the castle, Ingrid hides the urn in her old room. Admitting herself as Elsa's aunt, she vows to help find Anna. ("Rocky Road")

After meeting Anna, Ingrid decides her niece is too ordinary to be part of her magical family with Elsa, and decides to find someone else to take her place. From then, she conspires to drive the sisters apart, however, Elsa sides with Anna and the two plan to reseal their aunt in the urn. Before they can, Ingrid casts a spell on Anna to turn her against Elsa. When pushed to attack Anna, Elsa refuses and is subsequently absorbed into the urn by her sister. Anna, released by the spell, is instigated by an angry Ingrid, who freezes her, Kristoff and all of Arendelle. Having not intended this outcome, Ingrid erases Elsa's memories of meeting her and the events that occurred after. Rumplestiltskin steals the urn and refuses to return it until she gives him the sorcerer's hat. Ingrid agrees to fetch the hat, but she later changes her mind and relinquishes it to the sorcerer's apprentice, who leads her to a third magical sister for her family. ("Family Business", "Smash the Mirror")

After Rumplestiltskin's deal with Ingrid is unfulfilled, he stores the urn in his vault, which contains many magical items that are beyond his control. ("There's No Place Like Home", "Smash the Mirror")

After Rumplestiltskin's deal with Ingrid is unfulfilled, he stores the urn in his vault, which contains many magical items that are beyond his control. When Emma and Hook time-travel to the past, the pair intend to return home with a woman, Marian, who they rescued from execution. However, Emma is unable to open a portal to the future from a wand Rumplestiltskin provided. The Dark One believes the twosome are a danger since they are from the future, so he entraps all three of them in his vault. In one of the vault cabinets, Hook takes out the urn by chance as he searches for something that might help them in their dilemma. Emma, after reaching an epiphany about herself, regains her magic and channels a portal. While Hook is pulled into the opening, Rumplestiltskin grabs Emma and demands answers about what happens to his missing son in the future. After learning his son will die, a shocked Rumplestiltskin lets go of Emma, who disappears into the portal. As he gulps down a potion to erase his memory of what she said, the urn is sucked in as well. ("Snow Drifts", "There's No Place Like Home", "Smash the Mirror")

After Second Curse

Through a portal, Emma, Hook and Marian land in present-day Storybrooke. Unknown to them, a magic urn has also come through the gateway. When left unnoticed, the item cracks as a woman wielding ice powers, Elsa, breaks out of it. After freeing herself, she smashes the urn, courtesy of her own magic, into bits. Unsure with her surroundings, Elsa walks out to explore, but soon discovers she is caught in an unfamiliar land. After finding her sister Anna's necklace in a pawnshop, Elsa enacts an ice wall blocking the residents from leaving town until she is reunited with her sibling. Despite her mistrust of strangers, she quickly forms an alliance with David, Emma and Hook, who assist in the search for Anna. Realizing the urn time-traveled from the past, Emma questions Mr. Gold about why he once possessed the vase. As proof of his own innocence, he allows Belle to command him, with the dagger, into being truthful. However, the dagger is a fake and Mr. Gold lies about not knowing anything about Elsa, Anna or the urn. When a resident is afflicted with a freezing spell, Elsa is blamed, but she believes someone else is responsible. In a showdown, Elsa comes face-to-face with the Snow Queen, who claims they once knew each other. Shockingly, the Snow Queen also alleges Anna put Elsa in the urn. ("There's No Place Like Home", "A Tale of Two Sisters", "White Out", "Rocky Road")

At some point, Mr. Gold returns to the barn to collect all the powdered pieces of the broken urn. Wishing to be free of the dagger's control, he needs more magic for the hat and thus decides to manipulate Emma into absorbing herself as well as her powers into the device. To keep Ingrid out of his way, Mr. Gold secretly sprinkles the urn's ashes around Ingrid; entrapping her temporarily. Emma, with Elsa's encouragement, opts to accept magic as part of herself. ("Smash the Mirror")


On-Screen Notes

Set Dressing


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


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