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The Qui Shen, the Wraith, is one of the most dangerous creatures in all the known lands; a soul-sucker. According to legend, it marks its victims and removes their souls; damning them for all eternity.

Mulan to Aurora src

The Wraith, also known as the Qui Shen, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It débuts in the first episode of the second season.


After First Curse

In Storybrooke, after the curse has been broken, Belle tells Mr. Gold of her twenty-eight years spent as a prisoner in the asylum. Mr. Gold is tremendously angered because of what Regina did, but Belle makes him promise not to do anything to prove he is a changed man. He swears not to kill Regina, but concocts a way to get revenge without himself being the one who will be harming her. Going back to his shop, Mr. Gold takes an amulet from a cabinet and pays a short visit to Regina at her jail cell. He forces her hand to be branded on the medallion to mark her as the intended victim of the medallion's keeper, the Wraith.

Summoned from the medallion by Mr. Gold, the Wraith is given orders to hunt down Regina and take her soul. When Emma, David and Mary Margaret learn of what will happen to Regina, Henry begs them to save his mother's life. The four of them lure the Wraith to the town hall. While Emma, David and Mary Margaret distract it, Regina attempts to open a portal from a hat to send the Wraith away to another world. After a little help from Emma, the portal bursts open and pushes the Wraith in, but it uses its magic to pull Emma with it. Mary Margaret, not wanting to lose Emma again, jumps into the portal and follows them through.

The Wraith is transported to the Enchanted Forest and reappears at a crumbling palace, startling Aurora, Mulan and Prince Phillip. While battling the three strangers, Prince Phillip grabs the medallion around the Wraith's neck and unintentionally marks himself as the next victim. To the horror of Aurora and Mulan, the Wraith later successfully sucks out and takes his soul, then returns to the medallion.

Aurora and Mulan lay Prince Phillip's body to rest at the palace bier and mourn his passing. Mulan bags the medallion and passes it to Aurora, stating that she should keep it. Just then, Emma and Mary Margaret arrive unconscious into the Enchanted Forest. They both begin to believe the two strangers are responsible for bringing the Wraith to this land and causing Phillip's death. ("Broken")

Aurora is captured by Cora who wants the magic compass needed to open a portal and news of Emma and Mary Margaret's plans in returning to Storybrooke. She perks Aurora's attention with vital information about Prince Phillip's possible return; explaining that though the Wraith took his soul, it merely means part of him is now residing in another world. Cora tries to coax Aurora into helping her and in return she will return Prince Phillip's soul to his body. Though earnestly tempted, Aurora does not have any trust in Cora and remains loyal to her friends. ("Into the Deep")

Aurora shares with Mulan the same information Cora told her of. Hopeful at the possibility Prince Phillip can be brought back, the two go off together on a journey to find him. ("Queen of Hearts")

At some point, they are successful in their quest and Prince Phillip is brought back. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning")



Character Notes

  • The Wraith is featured in the title card for "Broken".[1]
  • According to Regina, the Wraith cannot be killed as it is already dead. ("Broken")
  • Show creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis reveal the Wraith cannot chase multiple victims. If there is already a branded victim it is after and another person becomes marked, the Wraith will permanently stop pursuing the first target and focus its full attention on only actively hunting the most recent human who touched the wraith amulet is imprinted for death.[2]

Fairytales and Folklore

  • "Wraith" is another word for ghost, but it also refers to the spectral figure of a person seen as a premonition just before their death.[3] The wraith as an omen of death originates in Scottish folklore,[3][4] where a wraith was the apparition of a living person, usually taken as an omen of their death, but not always: If a wraith of a person was seen early in the morning, it forebode that they would live until old age, but if the wraith was seen in the evening, it indicated that their imminent death was at hand.[4] ("Broken")


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. File:201Title.png
  2. The Official ABC Once Upon a Time Podcast: "And Straight On 'Til Morning". ABC (2013). (At 12:34)
  3. 3.0 3.1 wraith. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved on January 11, 2022. “1 a: the exact likeness of a living person seen usually just before death as an apparition. b: GHOST, SPECTER. (...) Did you know? If you see your own double, you're in trouble, at least if you believe old superstitions. The belief that a ghostly twin's appearance portends death is one common to many cultures. In German folklore, such an apparition is called a Doppelgänger (literally, "double goer"); in Scottish lore, they are wraiths. The exact origin of the word wraith is misty, however, and etymologists can only trace it back to the early 16th century—in particular to a 1513 translation of Virgil's Aeneid by Gavin Douglas (the Scotsman used wraith to name apparitions of both the dead and the living).”
  4. 4.0 4.1 WRAITH. Dictionaries of the Scots Language SCIO. Retrieved on January 11, 2022. “1. (1) An apparition of a living person, usu. taken as an omen of his death, a double-ganger (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 482; Uls. 1953 Traynor); any premonitory token of danger or misfortune. Gen.Sc. and now adopted in Eng. after Scott. (...) Sc. 1808 Jam.: The wraith of a living person does not, as some have supposed, indicate that he shall die soon. Although in all cases viewed as a premonition of the disembodied state, the season, in the natural day, at which the spectre makes its appearance, is understood as a certain presage of the time of the person's departure. If seen early in the morning, it forebodes that he shall live long, and even arrive at old age; if in the evening, it indicates that his death is at hand.”