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Tick, tick, tick. You see, each clock tick means a soul has left my domain.

Hades to Cora src

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

This location is based on the Storybrooke Free Public Library.


During First Curse

After Hades transforms the Underworld into a replica of Storybrooke, one of the buildings that form in this town is the library. The building is identical to its Storybrooke counterpart, except that the clock tower roof is removed and is on the street pavement in front of the library door entrance. This library's elevator allows access to Hades' lair and the room leading to the ambrosia tree. ("Our Decay", "Firebird")

After Third Curse

Upon coming to the Underworld, the heroes split up to look for Hook. Regina and Robin Hood walk the streets together, where they pass the clock tower roof on the ground, and they notice the library's uncanny resemblance to the one in Storybrooke. After Regina has helped her father move on to a better place, she and Henry rejoin their allies outside the library. Henry suggests a new mission, Operation Firebird, to not only rescue Hook but help other souls with their unfinished businesses. Mr. Gold, not interested in being a do-gooder, leaves the group. Once the others walk off as well, the clock face moves forward one minute to signal the soul of Regina's father has moved on from the Underworld. Cora walks into the library and takes the elevator down to Hades' lair, where she asks for her reward, despite having failed her mission to make Regina leave the Underworld. ("Souls of the Departed")

During the frenzy over running away from Cerberus, a terrified Megara hides behind the clock tower roof, where Mary Margaret and Hercules find her. They barricade themselves in the library in preparation to take out Cerberus, as a plan formulates for each person to take out one of the beast's three heads. Once Cerberus breaks in, each of them goes for one of the heads, which defeats the beast entirely. In the aftermath, Hercules catches Megara when she almost passes out from the fervor of confronting Cerberus. ("Labor of Love")

After complying with Hades' demands in order to secure his own trip home, Mr. Gold takes the library elevator down to the lair to collect his reward from Hades. ("Devil's Due")

Finding herself trapped in the Underworld, Belle takes Zelena's baby with her to seek shelter at the library. She hears someone coming up in the elevator and hides behind a shelf, but the doors open to reveal Mr. Gold, much to her relief. At first, Mr. Gold mistakenly believes she's dead, but Belle clarifies that a portal in Storybrooke brought her to this realm. He comes clean to her about having made that portal to retrieve Zelena's baby under Hades' orders. Additionally, Mr. Gold tells Belle about the contract on their child that Hades has, and he's only helping Hades to ensure he doesn't take their baby. When he promises to do all he can with his powers to protect her and the child, Belle realizes he is the Dark One again. Having come to terms with who he really is, Mr. Gold tries to persuade her that he's both a man and a beast, and neither can exist without the other. He wants a future with her despite all this, but Belle refuses to make a decision until they are home again. ("Our Decay")

In a race to find ambrosia which can revive Hook, Emma and Killian take the library elevator to the lower floor. As the others wait in the library for them, Henry grows impatient and decides to finish Operation Firebird by helping people move on from the Underworld. Robin shows up with his daughter, and while he is distrustful of Zelena and Hades, Regina assures him that they are their allies now. Wanting to help Henry with Operation Firebird, Regina tries to send Robin and his daughter to the portal first, but Robin doesn't want to leave her behind. After some persuasion from Regina, Robin reluctantly forfeits the child to Zelena, who departs with Hades to wait by the portal. Once the trio is gone, an upset Robin disappears into another room to cool off, but Mr. Gold surprises him by ripping out his heart. Later, Robin joins Regina and David outside the library to oversee Henry as he helps the citizens with their unfinished businesses. Cruella gains aid from the Blind Witch, who traps the heroes in the library to ensure they can't leave the Underworld. Regina's magic fails to break the seal on the door, but after a time, she recognizes that the witch's magic isn't this powerful, and Hades is actually responsible for their imprisonment. Emma returns to the library from the elevator, revealing that Hades cut down the ambrosia tree and that Hook has decided to stay in the Underworld. With Emma and Regina's combined powers, they break open the door. Before following his family to the portal, Henry leaves behind the storybook, with the recorded pages he wrote to help people move on. ("Firebird")



On-Screen Notes

Production Notes


  • When the heroes first arrive, the time on the broken clock tower is frozen at 8:15.[3] It is a reference to Oceanic Flight 815 from Lost. ("Souls of the Departed")
  • The clock tower unfreezes at 8:15, and moves to 8:16.[4] 8, 15 and 16 are three of the Lost numbers. ("Souls of the Departed")
  • As the heroes leave the Underworld, the hands on the clock tower spin around and stop at 8:15, then move to 8:16.[5] ("Firebird")

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • A portable clock tower set was used for the fallen clock tower. After filming, the set was rolled into storage in the parking lot behind Nikka Fishing & Marine,[8] the Steveston Village building that doubles as the Underbrooke library and its Storybrooke counterpart for exterior shots.[9]
  • Most of the symbols that Regina draw on the elevator, are Elder Futhark runes:[10] ("Her Handsome Hero", "Firebird")
    • The top symbols, ᛈᛟᚱᛏᚨᛚ (with a pentacle between them), translate as "portal".
    • The ones in the middle, around the locks, ᚨᛋ ᚨᛒᛟᚹᛖ ᛋᛟ ᛒᛖᛚᛟᚹ, translate as "as above, so below". This is a well-known occult maxim from the Emerald Tablet, an ancient, mysterious tablet which is one of the pillars of Western alchemy, and is said to be inscribed with the secrets of the universe. This tablet is one of the texts that form the basis of Hermeticism. In Fulcanelli's translation, the full maxim reads: " As below, so above; and as above so below. With this knowledge alone you may work miracles."[11]
    • The ones going down the right side of the door, next to the door frame, spell out "ᛒᛖ ᛁᛏ ᚹᛖ ᚹᛁᛚᛚ", meaning "be it we will".
    • The symbols at the bottom right, ᛋᛟ ᛒᛖ ᛁᛏ, translate as "so be it".
    • The word that Regina is writing when Hook and Emma come in, is ᛞᛟᛗᚢᛋ, which translates as "domus", which is Latin for house, home.
    • A pentacle (a pentagram with a circle around it) is inscribed at the top of the door. The pentagram and the pentacle have historically been used by occult faiths and magicians,[12] and today, the pentagram is used as a symbol for Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism.[13]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. File:512Title.png
  2. Once Upon a Time Filming in Storybrooke Ruins. What's Filming (November 5, 2015). “In particular, the fallen Storybrooke clock tower set piece was incredibly well done. Typically this portion of the library is added to the building with CGI but to make the destruction even more realistic it was built in full for the filming.”
  3. File:512Clock815.png
  4. File:512Clock816.png
  5. File:520Clocktower815.png
  6. File:520UnderbrookeStorybook.png
    File:520UnderbrookeStorybookFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
  7. File:522WhereTheyveGone2.png
  8. Gittins, Susan (August 17, 2016). SET: ONCE UPON A TIME's New Portable Mr. Gold's Set in Steveston. Hollywood North. “Updated: New Mr. Gold isn't just for tonight. After filming, it will be disassembled in pieces and rolled into storage in the parking lot behind the "Storybrooke Public Library" until next time. Like the fallen clock tower from season five.”
  9. Hager, Mike (October 13, 2011). Fairy tale for Steveston? Much-hyped TV series Once Upon A Time transforms B.C. village into New England town. Windsor Star. “Nikka Fishing & Marine's two-story building had its windows boarded up to transform it into a deserted library. "We looked a little derelict," said employee Maureen Miyashita with a chuckle. Miyashita said the whole process took almost three days, but the crew was very pleasant and Nikka received money for being in the shots.”
  10. File:517ReginaWriting.png
  11. Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Internet Sacred Text Archive. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  12. Difference Between Pentacle and Pentagram. (August 2, 2012).
  13. Kraig, Donald Michael (June 4, 2010). Is the Inverted Pentagram Evil or Satanic?. Llewellyn Unbound.
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