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I took this throne. I took Wonderland.

—The Red Queen to Jafar src

The Red Queen's Palace,[1] previously known as the Red King's Palace,[2] briefly known as Jafar's Palace[3] and also known as the Red Queen's Castle,[4] is a Wonderland location on ABC's Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. It first appears in the first episode.

The Red Queen's palace is based on both the Red Queen's castle and the White Queen's castle from the live-action Disney film Alice in Wonderland.


Before First Curse

The Red King, ruling over the palace, holds an evening royal ball. Earlier that night, a poor couple, Anastasia and Will, sneak their way into the party to steal much needed food for themselves. While Will goes to pilfer some, Anastasia walks through the crowd of guests. She overhears a woman use the term "darling" and practices saying the phrase to herself. As she bumps into a man, Anastasia tries out using the word to greet him, only to embarrass herself after he introduces himself as the king. In the few minutes they spend together sharing a drink, he becomes attracted to her, but watches in dismay as Will is hauled outside for a forged invitation, and Anastasia is too for wearing a stolen gown. Despite the humiliating outcome, Will managed to grab a few bread loaves. Much later, Anastasia suggests returning home via the looking glass, but she wants to steal the palace's crown jewels first. Will dislikes thievery, as he gave up that life already, but she reasons that they can take the jewels and return home to sell them for money. While Will waits below the palace balcony, she breaks into crown jewels cabinet. Distracted by a red crown, she is then caught by the Red King. She insists that he wouldn't miss the jewels, but he makes her give it back. However, he promises the crown is hers if she marries him. Anastasia hesitates, thinking of Will, until the Red King convinces her that love won't get her far and is never enough. Though she doesn't love the Red King, she accepts him, and strolls out to the balcony to greet an adoring crowd when he announces her as his future Queen while a hurt Will looks on. ("Heart of Stone")

The night before her wedding ceremony, Anastasia meets her two servants, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, as well as the notorious Queen of Hearts, who offers to teach her magic. She declines; not wishing to start a marriage with a secret. That evening, Will visits Anastasia in secret to ask her to meet him at their old wagon and run away together. The Queen of Hearts, having eavesdropped, sabotages the reunion by telling Will that Anastasia has chosen to get married. Crushed, Will has the Queen of Hearts rip out his heart so he'll never love again. She also stops Anastasia from going to Will by showing an image of the deserted wagon and implies that he stood her up. Anastasia finds comfort in the Queen of Hearts, who she has begun to view as a mother figure, and later learns how to harness magic under her instruction. ("Heart of the Matter")

In an alliance with a sorcerer from Agrabah named Jafar, he and the Red Queen arrange to capture the last and third genie they need to break the laws of magic and gain what their hearts desire most. The only problem is the genie, Cyrus, recently gave three wishes to a girl, Alice, yet she never used them, so he is still bound to her as his master. They separate the pair by faking Cyrus' death while Alice, despondent and grief-stricken, is forced to return home alone. ("Down the Rabbit Hole")

After First Curse

The Red Queen commands the obedience of the White Rabbit to follow her orders when she holds his family hostage. He agrees to goad Alice back to Wonderland by telling her Cyrus is alive. Once this is accomplished, the Red Queen comes across the White Rabbit on the side of the road and brings him back to her palace for a chat. The Red Queen is pleased with his work, but when the White Rabbit asks to stop spying on Alice for her, she shows him exactly who is in charge while he can only back away in fright. Out on the balcony, Jafar receives an update from her about Alice's return to Wonderland. He questions the usefulness of the Red Queen and proceeds to magically suffocate her. He only halts when the Red Queen chokes out that only she is aware of Alice's current location. She reminds him of whose land Jafar is in—hers—and he has no power in Wonderland. ("Down the Rabbit Hole", "Home")

One day, much to the Queen's boredom, one solemn duty she is required to do is listen to the petitions of the commoners. Jafar freezes all the subjects and enters to ask about her efforts in finding Cyrus' genie bottle. She protests that there are responsibilities as a Queen, so he frees up her time by turning the commoners into dust. Her servants, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, unfreeze from the freezing spell and begin cleaning up the mess while the Red Queen looks on at Jafar's retreating form in annoyance. He returns a short time later with the accusation she already knows the location of the bottle. She affirms this to be true, but won't tell him anything until he agrees to give her a reward out of their deal. Jafar is unamused by her tactics and freezes her whole body, except the head, until she spits out the bottle's location to be in Mimsy Meadows under the Tumtum tree. Her answer is actually a lie as she already possesses the bottle, thanks to the White Rabbit, and later unveils the truth to Jafar to force him to start treating her like an equal rather than a lackey. ("Trust Me")

Jafar becomes aware of Knave, who he only recently learned is Alice's ally, and goes the palace to question the Red Queen about why she did not tell him this. She admits Knave was just an excuse for Alice to feel safe enough to return to Wonderland, so Jafar orders her to get rid of him soon. The Red Queen imprisons Knave in her palace, but this is still not enough in Jafar's eyes, who desires for a public execution so others can see what will happen to those who ally themselves with Alice. When pushed by Knave, the Red Queen spitefully commands for a beheading. As Jafar and the Red Queen watch from a balcony atop the palace, Alice rescues Knave by pretending to be the executioner and they escape into the maze via a catapult. Jafar and the Red Queen follow and corner them in the maze, which ends with Knave being turned into a stone statue. ("The Serpent")

The Red Queen orders search parties for an escaped Cyrus, but he is not found, much to her disappointment. In the throne room, she prattles on to Tweedledum about the power she will have over Jafar once the genie is hers, though the sorcerer himself overhears her every word. This does not deter her in the least when she notices him standing behind, and the Red Queen feigns a concerned tone over Jafar's recent disappearance since she couldn't find him. She tells him, with much satisfaction, that Cyrus escaped while he was away. As a counter, Jafar warns her not to get any silly ideas that she can actually change the laws of magic without his help. ("Bad Blood")

Tweedledum delivers news that Cyrus is trapped in the forest, but also admits witnessing his brother Tweedledee give something to Jafar. Suspiciously, she goes to check her drawer and finds the bottle missing. Though it was a decoy bottle, the Red Queen is furious at Tweedledee's duplicity. She takes off his head and wraps it up in a present box addressed to Jafar, who later enters the palace after discovering the bottle is fake. He briefly opens the box and closes it in annoyance. Seeing as she also deceived him with the fake bottle, Jafar takes a strand of the Red Queen's hair and brews a storm cloud to kill her as punishment. While leaving the palace, he causes the building to explode in flames. ("Home")

Jafar claims the Red Queen's former palace as his own with intentions of starting a new reign as monarch. He exchanges heated words with the Old Prisoner, who believes Jafar is not worthy of the throne. The Caterpillar reports to Jafar, stating that his men have been unable to find the genie bottle, but shares information about a powerful creature called the Jabberwocky who may be able to help him. Jafar wrings out more information from Tweedledee after promising him a new body. Both the Caterpillar and Tweedledee plead against freeing the beast, but Jafar ignores their warnings and gains the Jabberwocky as an ally. ("Nothing to Fear")

With the aide of the Jabberwocky, Jafar receives the gouged out eyes of genie's last mistress. Since the girl died with her eyes open, he casts a spell to view the last person she saw after death, which gives him an image of the Red Queen. Again, the Jabberwocky proves herself useful by capturing both the Red Queen and genie to the palace. Instead of Cyrus, Knave is now a genie, due to the consequences of using a wish in a moment of desperation to save Alice. Since the Red Queen is Knave's current owner, Jafar has the Jabberwocky coerce her into using the three wishes. Once done, Knave is forced back into the bottle while Jafar prepares to use all three genie bottles to break the laws of magic. Much later, Tweedledum, still loyal to the Red Queen, comes by to bring her food. She sends him to warn Alice and Cyrus against fighting Jafar and to flee Wonderland. ("Dirty Little Secrets")

Oddly, Jafar's spell to break the laws of magic fails repeatedly as he comes to believe something is amiss with Knave. The Jabberwocky attempts to read into his fears, but cannot. Through a palace underground passageway, Tweedledum leads Alice and Cyrus in. Despite delivering the Red Queen's message to them, the pair stubbornly want to infiltrate the palace and steal the three genie bottles from Jafar. The twosome arrive in the dungeon where the Old Prisoner and the Red Queen are locked up. They hide out of sight when Jafar enters to interrogate the Red Queen, believing she cast a protective spell on Knave, which she denies. Sensing another person nearby, the Jabberwocky invades Alice's mind, learning that Knave is without a heart, and notifies Jafar of the presences of the girl and Cyrus. Though guards are sent after them, they speedily escape and set off to retrieve Knave's heart from another realm. Jafar threatens Knave with the Red Queen's death to force him to name his heart's location, which he does. When left alone with Knave, the Red Queen learns that he took out his heart due being rejected by her. In a confession, the Red Queen admits that she wanted to change the past, had the laws of magic been broken, so the two of them would have never left the Enchanted Forest and gotten mixed up with magic. Jafar returns, with the procured heart, and shoves it into Knave's chest. In shock, Knave collapses, but regains his senses when the Red Queen calls for him, and the two share a kiss before he is pulled away by Jafar. In a cruel twist, he witnesses Jafar murder the Red Queen right before his eyes. ("Heart of the Matter")

Tempted with the offer of Anastasia's revival, Will agrees to fetch Jafar's serpent staff from Alice and Cyrus. The Jabberwocky, impatient for her own freedom, prods the sorcerer for the vorpal blade, but he quickly shuts down the conversation. Going by a hutch, Jafar interrogates the two genies in his possession, Taj and Rafi, about Amara. Though they deny knowing the woman, Jafar notices they bear a physical resemblance to her. After realizing she is getting nowhere, the Jabberwocky temporarily joins ranks with Alice and Cyrus. The Jabberwocky brings Cyrus into the palace, and when the former genie claims the serpent staff is with Alice and Will, she confirms to Jafar that he is being truthful, though that is untrue. Afterwards, she once again asks for the vorpal blade, but Jafar refuses. He then summons Will out from his genie bottle, demanding the staff's location, when a now human Amara arrives to settle a score with him. As they magically duel, Amara levitates glass shards at him, but he pushes it back. Rather than kill her, Jafar impales Cyrus with a shard, as he knows the man as well as the two genies are her sons. He forces her to cast the spell with him to break the laws of magic; knowing she can't bear losing a son. ("To Catch a Thief")

Complying with her former apprentice, Amara combines her powers with his to break the laws of magic. Thus, they become the most powerful magic wielders, but as Jafar is not willing to share the glory, he moves to kill her just as his father intervenes. The older man asks him to be merciful, but Jafar can only recall how his father treated him all those years ago. Jafar expresses a longing desire for his love, but the Old Prisoner insists he had to earn it. Tired of excuses, Jafar changes his father's disdain for him into familial adoration. As the Old Prisoner showers his son in praise and affection, Jafar revels in tears of joy. In the next moment, Jafar coldly suffocates the Old Prisoner by creating a swarm of water to fill his father's lungs. After discovering Alice and Amara escaped with Cyrus, he finishes off the Jabberwocky by entrapping her with the vorpal blade. Next, Jafar resurrects the Red Queen and magically manipulates her into believing they are in love; angering Knave. To track down Amara, he revives a whole army, though Alice is captured instead. Jafar vows to change her past so she would still be in the asylum and have never met Cyrus, but the girl still refuses to forfeit Amara's whereabouts. Eventually, he learns from his soldiers that Amara is headed to the Well of Wonders, and extracts information about the location from the Red Queen. At the Well of Wonders, Jafar meets his end, after angering the guardian Nyx by stealing her water, when transformed into a genie. Following his imprisonment, the laws of are magic is undone and all is restored. Sometime in the future, Anastasia and Will rebuild the kingdom and rule as the White Queen and King. ("And They Lived...")




On-Screen Notes

  • The palace buildings are shaped like giant chess pieces.[6] The columns in the throne room[7] and the connecting hallway,[8] are pawn-shaped, and the floor there consists of black and white squares. This is a reference to the novel Through the Looking-Glass, where chess is the most important theme of the story. ("Down the Rabbit Hole" et al.)
    • At one point, the Red Queen sits in her throne room, playing chess all by herself. ("Trust Me")
  • During one of Jafar's visit to the Red Queen's palace, the vase of roses sitting in the Red Queen's throne room is full.[9] By the time the Red Queen imprisons Will Scarlet, the roses have dwindled in size.[10] ("Trust Me", "The Serpent")
  • The palace's prison appears to be a panopticon, a type of prison designed so that all prisoners of an institution can be observed by a single guard without the prisoners being able to tell if they are being watched, thus compelling them to regulate their own behavior. The design consists of a rotunda with a room in the center from which an officer can see from all angles. The castle's prison is a circular tower of multiple levels, each with their own prison cells, surrounding a giant pawn in the center with a large eye on its head.[11] ("The Serpent")
    • A similar motif, an eye in the center of a circle, is also present on the floor of the Red Queen's chambers.[12] ("Trust Me" et al.)

Costume Notes

Filming Locations