Dark Curse
S1E02 Evil Queen casts the Dark Curse
First seen
Last seen
Seen in
Mentioned in
A lock of hair from those with the darkest souls
The heart of the thing loved most
Drop of true love
Forgetting potion
Dark fairy dust
Memory loss
Ruins happy endings
Created by
Owned by
Rumplestiltskin (formerly)
Queen Regina
Maleficent (formerly)
Peter Pan (formerly)
The Black Fairy (formerly)
S1 - S2 - S3 - OW - S4 - S5 - S6 - S7

The Dark Curse, also known as the Curse That Ends All Curses or simply the Curse, is an all-powerful curse obtained by Rumplestiltskin, and eventually used by Queen Regina to transport all those of the Enchanted Forest to the town of Storybrooke, Maine, thus granting the Evil Queen her happy ending, that is, until a certain Savior arrives to take it all away...


Before the Curse

Ursula EL 412
The Dark Curse is retrieved. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

Upon losing his son, Rumplestiltskin seeks out a Seer who shares a prophecy with him, explaining that he and Baelfire will one day be reunited by the means of a curse. Rumple learns that it will not be him who casts the curse, but someone else, while he will also not break the curse, but someone else will as well. From there, Rumple absorbs the Seer's magic. ("Manhattan") After years of searching, Rumple identifies the Dark Curse's location to be in Bald Mountain, and so he requests the assistance of Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella De Vil to use each of their unique talents to get through the obstacles of getting to the curse. Once Rumple gets a hold of it though, he leaves the three women to face the Chernabog guarding the curse alone. They end up getting out safely, and thus the infamous group known as the Queens of Darkness is born. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town") Using magic born of true love from Snow White and Prince Charming, Rumple is able to use it with the curse in order to make sure that it can only be broken by someone born of true love. ("Heart of Darkness")

S1E01 The curse is cast
The curse is cast. ("Pilot")

The time comes for Queen Regina to cast the curse, and so she steals the scroll back from Maleficent, who she had originally traded it to. First sacrificing the heart of her noble steed, the curse fails, but finally succeeds when using the heart of her father. The curse begins to spread amongst the realm, and arrives in time for the birth of Snow's daughter. Though the royal couple are unable to stop the curse itself, Charming manages to get the child to a magic wardrobe in time before it hits, but is severely wounded soon after. Snow soon finds her husband, and is confronted by Regina just as the curse officially hits. ("Pilot"/"The Thing You Love Most"/"The Stranger") Meanwhile, Cora and Captain Hook make their way to a spot far from what the curse has hit so far, and the Sorceress uses her magic to project a barrier to protect the two of them and anyone else on that corner of the realm from being hit, where they remain frozen for the next 28 years. ("Queen of Hearts")

After the Curse

Early History

Dark Curse 217
The birth of Storybrooke. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")

The Dark Curse makes its way to the Land Without Magic, where the town of Storybrooke is created in what was once just woodland in the state of Maine. Regina is pleased by the outcome, and enjoys her new lavish life as mayor of the small seaside town, taking pleasure in everyone else's misery. Time goes by though, and the day just keeps on repeating itself; the Evil Queen starts to grow bored with her life, but then one day she notices something different... Kurt and Owen Flynn have arrived in town, a father and son who were not from the Enchanted Forest. Regina takes an instant liking to the son, Owen, and so she tries to persuade the two to stay, especially due to how boring her life has become. Kurt insists on leaving though, and when Regina is caught speaking into Sheriff Graham's heart to stop this from happening, things get out of hand. Owen ends up escaping the town, but Kurt is captured and subsequently killed. Regina then casts a protection spell to stop Owen from ever returning with help. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")

Season 1

S1E22 Emma Breaks The Curse
Emma breaks the curse. ("A Land Without Magic")

28 years are spent living through the Dark Curse, repeating the same old day over and over again, but things start to change when Emma Swan is brought to town. It doesn't take Regina long to figure out she is none other than Snow White and Prince Charming's missing daughter, meaning that she is the prophesied Savior who is to undone all the Evil Queen has worked to achieve. ("Pilot") Emma does end up doing just that, when nearly losing her son, Henry, to death. She finally comes to believe in magic and battles the dragon Maleficent, who has been locked beneath the Storybrooke Free Public Library. Rumple betrays them all though, and it looks as if there will be no hope for Henry waking up. Emma and Regina cry over this, but when Emma kisses her presumably deceased son goodbye, the true love from her kiss manages to wake him up, as well as break the curse. All memories are returned, and Regina is forced to flee, for now the entire town is after her. ("A Land Without Magic")

Season 3

S3E11 Regina undone the curse
Peter Pan's curse is undone by Regina. ("Going Home")

Storybrooke now faces the infamous Peter Pan, who wishes to reenact the Dark Curse on the town so that he may rule over the memory-reddened citizens, thus making it the new Neverland. Having gained access to Regina's vault, he is able to retrieve the scroll of the Dark Curse, and so he meets with Felix to set his plans into action. ("The New Neverland") Pan ends up crushing Felix's heart in order to enact the curse, whereas the heroes meanwhile make preparations to stop him. He is eventually defeated, for Rumplestiltskin sacrifices his own life to kill him, but the problem of the curse still remains. Regina reveals she can undo it, but the price is she can never see Henry again. She instructs Emma to take Henry from Storybrooke and live out a life with him, while everyone else will be sent back to the Enchanted Forest. The two are reluctant to follow Regina's orders, but do so. She also gives them new memories, thus making them believe Emma never gave Henry away to begin with. Once the Savior leaves town, Regina undoes the curse, and they are all sent home. ("Going Home")

Before the Second Curse

S3E19 The second curse
The second curse is cast. ("A Curious Thing")

A year is spent back in the Enchanted Forest, and during that time a new threat poses its way at the heroes, that being of the Wicked Witch of the West, Zelena, who happens to be none other than Regina's half sister. Snow and Charming get pregnant during this time as well, and it soon becomes clear that Zelena is after their baby. The couple and Regina set out to find Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who reveals Zelena's weakness to be light magic. The heroes believe they must get back to the Land Without Magic so that Emma can once again be their Savior. Preparations are made for a Dark Curse, one which Snow White is forced to cast. Charming makes her crush his heart, but just as it's taking off, Zelena arrives to add a memory wiping potion to it so they forget the entirety of the past year back home. Snow refuses to let her husband's sacrifice be in vain, and so she breaks her own heart in half and puts one half into her husband, thus resurrecting him. The curse then arrives. ("A Curious Thing")

After the Second Curse

Season 3

Regina's True Love Kiss
Regina breaks the second curse. ("A Curious Thing")

Storybrooke is restored, but now all the residents are with no memories of the past year. Hook, who has received a message from Neal to outrun the curse and find Emma, is able to get the Savior (and Henry) back into town as well. Things start to get figured out, and when Neal eventually dies, they learn that the Wicked Witch they're now up against is Zelena. The heroes join forces once more to put a stop to the Wicked Witch, but things turn out to be different with the new curse. Though Emma had the potential to be the savior, it was in fact Regina who ends up breaking it. Kissing Henry, using her true love for him, does the trick, and everyone's memories are restored. They all realize it wasn't Zelena who cast the curse, but in fact Mary Margaret, who killed David (and brought him back) to do it. At that moment though, Mary Margaret goes into labor, thus beginning the final battle between them and the Wicked Witch. ("A Curious Thing")

Before the Third Curse

510 33
The third curse is cast. ("Broken Heart")

When Emma becomes the Dark One, the heroes are led on a quest back to the Enchanted Forest, but when a few mishaps occur, Hook finds himself transformed into a Dark One as well. He, unlike Emma, gives into the darkness fairly quickly, and listens to the voice of Nimue and casts a third Dark Curse to return everyone back to Storybrooke so that while he can finally get his revenge on Rumplestiltskin, he can also help all of the long deceased Dark Ones. With Nimue being apart of him, Hook is able to sacrifice the heart of her true love, Merlin, and enact the curse. Emma steps in last minute though, and is able to knock out Hook and use dreamcatchers to wipe away his memories, as well as everyone's memories of what has happened in the last six weeks. Once doing so, the curse engulfs Granny's Diner (which came with them on the quest), as well as the kingdom of Camelot as a whole, and everyone is taken back to Storybrooke. ("Broken Heart")

After the Third Curse

Season 5

Merida SB 510
Memories are returned. ("Broken Heart")

Everyone who was in Granny's Diner, or Camelot for that matter, ends up in Storybrooke along with Granny's itself with no absolutely no memory of the previous six weeks spent elsewhere - everyone, that is, except the Dark Swan, who shows up and terrorizes her family briefly. ("The Dark Swan") After it is revealed that Emma made Hook into a Dark One in Camelot, he works to hide everyone's memories of the missing six weeks, which Emma has stored in dreamcatchers. The evil pirate stashes them at the top of the clock tower, surrounded by a protection spell; Emma can't get to them because of the anti-magic cuff on her wrist, but Henry finally trusts her enough to remove it, and then she's able to retrieve the dreamcatchers. Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Robin, Merida and Henry are then given their respective memory receptacles and Emma uses her magic to allow them to remember what they previously couldn't. This nullifies the effects of the memory wipe feature that she added to Hook's Dark Curse. ("Broken Heart")

Before the Fourth Curse

Season 6

S6E20 The Fourth Dark Curse
The fourth curse. ("The Song in Your Heart")

After the Black Fairycame to Storybrooke, where she start her plan to kill the Savior in the final battle. She gathers a mass of dark fairy dust and uses it to curse Storybrooke. ("The Song in Your Heart")

After Emma regains her heart from Henry, an angry Fiona warns her about not taking the easy route and that her curse will be far worse than she could ever imagine. ("The Song in Your Heart")

After the Fourth Curse

Season 6

Under the Black Fairy's curse, Fiona keeps a tight rein in Storybrooke as the new madam mayor while attempting to convince an institutionized Emma to stay on the path of her recovery by rejecting Henry's ideas of fairytales being real. Unknown to Emma, this is the final battle, in which if her belief is extinguished completely, whole realms will collapse because of the loss of magic and Fiona will gain uncharted powers that will enable her to go beyond the laws of magic.

Gold destroy Blackfairy
Mr. Gold kills Fiona and breaks the curse. ("The Final Battle Part 2")

As Mr. Gold realizes Fiona intends for Gideon to kill Emma and that she still has his son's heart, Fiona admits she already ordered Gideon to do it and that she suspects not even her death will undo the command she gave him. Mr. Gold, willing to take the risk to find out, kills her. With the Black Fairy dead, her curse ends, returning Emma's banished family to Storybrooke and restoring everyone's lost memories. ("The Final Battle Part 2")

Known Ingredients

Ways to Break the Curse


The trigger can reverse the effects of the curse by erasing Storybrooke from existence, which would also kill all those not born in the Land Without Magic. The only way to escape this would be to escape to another land prior to the trigger's effects coming into full force. ("Second Star to the Right")

If the caster of the curse that is currently in effect destroys the curse scroll, the curse can be undone. This results in Storybrooke fading out of existence and everyone not born in the Land Without Magic returning to the Enchanted Forest. ("Going Home")

First Curse

Mr. Gold designed the first curse to break if Emma dies. ("An Apple Red as Blood")

Emma's true love for Henry breaks the first Dark Curse and the Sleeping Curse unintentionally inflicted upon him. ("A Land Without Magic")

Second Curse

Regina's true love for Henry breaks the second curse. ("A Curious Thing")

Third Curse

After Emma lost the Darkness inside her and Hook died, the curse disappears from the town line, allowing everyone to cross it whenever they want to. ("Only You", "An Untold Story")

Fourth Curse

Mr. Gold destroys the Black Fairy with her wand, breaking the fourth curse. ("The Final Battle Part 2")


  • The Dark Curse is a combination of two different fairy spells. ("The Black Fairy")
  • The manifestation of the curse appears to change based on the intentions of its caster. Regina, Pan and Hook had malicious intentions when they cast their curses and thus the cloud of magic was more violent and rapidly spread, with Regina's destroying anything in its path. However, when Snow cast her curse, the cloud spread in a gentler manner. ("Pilot", "Going Home", "A Curious Thing", "Broken Heart")
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