- “The most dangerous creature in all the seas: a mermaid.”
Mermaids are a humanoid species featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They are native to Enchanted Forest and Neverland. Sailors and pirates alike fear them more than sharks, whales and even the kraken.
Before First CurseEdit
In the Enchanted Forest, Poseidon tells his mermaid daughter Ursula to enchant sailors with her singing voice and lure them to their deaths. When the Jolly Roger passes through, she does as her father asked but stops at the last minute, freeing the men from their trance and allowing them to sail away, but the ship's captain, Hook, remarks that mermaids are "the most dangerous creature in all the seas." No longer wanting to do her father's bidding, Ursula runs away with plans to reach Glowerhaven, a trip made simpler when she is recognized by Hook, who offers to take her wherever she wanted. Poseidon later visits Hook and entices him with squid ink, something that could paralyze Rumplestiltskin, in exchange for taking away Ursula's singing voice with an enchanted shell. Hook decides to tell Ursula about it, who then steals the ink for him instead, only to be taken away by Poseidon. An angered Hook proceeds to trap Ursula's voice in the shell as retaliation against Poseidon. Shattered at this betrayal, Ursula decides she no longer wants to be a mermaid and uses her father's trident to transform her tail into tentacles.
A long time after, a mermaid named Ariel pulls a man, Prince Eric, to safety after he nearly drowns from a shipwreck. Despite falling in love at first sight, she leaves before he wakes up.
A year later, Ariel hears of the upcoming the upcoming the Under the Sea Celebration in honor of the legendary sea goddess Ursula. She attends in the hopes of meeting Eric with the help of a myth, which states that at the rising the high tide until the next one occurs, merpeople have the ability to walk on dry land. After saving Snow White's life, Ariel and her new friend head to the party. At the Ball, Eric waltzes with Ariel and invites her to join him tomorrow for a travelling expedition. While she discusses the matter with Snow White, the Queen spies on them through a mirror. Upon discovering the mermaid desires to be with Eric, the Queen impersonates Ursula and tempts Ariel with a magic bracelet that will allow her to stay human. As a price, whoever wears the bracelet will take her place as a mermaid. In a misguided attempt to help Snow White escape the Queen, Ariel clasps the bracelet on her so the ex-princess can live under the sea. After learning of the deception, Ariel stabs the Queen in the neck and flees with Snow White. In mermaid form, Ariel swims to meet Eric at the castle balcony, but she is silenced due to her voice being stolen by the Queen. Thus, Eric leaves without noticing her.
At another time, the Evil Queen goes to Rumplestiltskin's castle to discuss with him a deal with a particular mermaid. The conversation is cut off when Rumplestiltskin asks her to leave, to which she does.
After First CurseEdit
Using a magic bean, David, Emma, Hook, Mary Margaret and Mr. Gold travel aboard the Jolly Roger to rescue Henry. As they sail towards the island of Neverland, Mr. Gold mysteriously parts from their group and the ship is soon under attack by a school of mermaids. Regina scares off the horde with fire magic while Emma and Mary Margaret catch a mermaid on a fishing line. Once the creature is pulled onto the deck, an argument ensues about what to do with it. While they are distracted, the mermaid blows into a conch shell. In doing so, she causes an incoming storm, which gradually worsens due to the growing tensions between the ship's party members. Much later, Emma discovers the real reason for the storm, and risks her life to push the group into working together; thus helping to calm the sea.
Fed up with Emma's decision to investigate Pan's claims that Neal is alive, Regina separates herself from the group and finds Mr. Gold in the jungle. After shaking some sense into him, they team up to fight against Pan. Mr. Gold mentions there might be a way to contain Pan, but alas, the weapon is back in Storybrooke. To find a way to retrieve the item, they go to the riverside where Regina uses a conch shell to summon the mermaid Ariel. As Ariel has the capability to swim between worlds, Regina wants her to go to Storybrooke and bring the weapon to them. To placate the mermaid, she returns Ariel's lost voice. Regina also promises if Ariel goes to Storybrooke, she will find Eric.
Swimming into Storybrooke, Ariel gains Belle's assistance in finding Pandora's Box, which can help Mr. Gold defeat Pan. They are sidetracked by Pan's minions, John and Michael Darling, who attempt to destroy the box. Later, the two brothers admit they are only following Pan's orders because he is holding their sister, Wendy, prisoner. Belle convinces them that Mr. Gold is their only hope of saving Wendy, which they agree with. Ariel returns to Neverland to deliver the box where she begs Mr. Gold and Regina to rescue the Darlings' sister. Afterwards, she returns to Storybrooke and reunites with Eric at the dock.
Before Second CurseEdit
Once Regina stops Pan's curse, all the residents of Storybrooke, excluding Emma and Henry, are sent back to the Enchanted Forest. While searching for her beloved Eric, Ariel learns he has been kidnapped by a pirate captain of the Jolly Roger. Believing Hook is the culprit, she confronts him and discovers the ship was previously taken by another pirate named BlackBeard. After much searching aboard, Eric is nowhere to be seen. As a trade, BlackBeard vows to return Eric if Hook gives up trying to reclaim the ship. Coldly, Hook refuses, throwing BlackBeard to the sharks, as he believes Ariel shouldn't waste her time looking for a lost loved one. Angrily, Ariel leaves to continue the search alone, and eventually finds Eric on Hangman's Island.
After Second Curse Edit
The sea witch, Ursula, teams up with Rumplestiltskin, Cruella, Maleficent and an undercover Regina to find the author and write themselves a happy ending. During their search, they capture Pinocchio and restore him to his adult form. Hook summons Ursula with a conch shell and agrees to give her back her voice if she informs him of the Queens of Darkness's plans for Emma. Ursula agrees and summons Hook's ship only to find it trapped in a bottle.
With Belle's help, they restore the ship to its true size. Ursula attempts regain her voice but her song remains trapped in the shell. A heartbroken and enraged Ursula refuses to help Hook and the angry pirate attempts to shoot her but is quickly knocked out and defeated by her tentacles. She tosses him overboard but Ariel saves him. After slapping him for betraying her before the second curse, Ariel reveals that while she was swimming by Arendelle, she was swept up by Elsa's magic by accident along with the Jolly Roger, a punishment for Black bead's crimes against the monarchy. Hook starts to believe that villains cannot get happy endings but Ariel tells him that maybe its because villains try to obtain them the wrong way.
Ariel summons Poseidon. As he cast the spell on the shell, only he can release her singing voice. He apologizes for what he did to her and after she regains her voice, she decides to return to the sea with him.
After Fifth Curse Edit
Having come to the Wish Realm to rescue Jacinda and Lucy from this realm's version of Rumplestiltskin, Rogers leads Weaver to his old hovel by the seaside, where he recounts losing himself in drinking after losing his daughter, if not for a friend who helped bring him out of it. Using a conch shell, he summons this "friend", who promptly surfaces from beneath the waves, revealing herself to be Ariel. The mermaid cheerfully greets him, noting that it's been many years since she last saw him and that he looks slimmer. When Ariel spots Weaver, whom she mistakes for Rumplestiltskin, she becomes alarmed and attempts to throw her trident at him, but Weaver shrinks her weapon into the size of a fork. After Rogers explains that Weaver is actually helping him defeat Rumplestiltskin, he requests some squid ink from her. Ariel tosses him a clam of squid ink and cautions him to use it wisely as many lives are at stake.
Mermaids have the upper bodies of beautiful young women with long flowing hair and the tails of fish in lieu of legs. Mermaids adorn themselves with objects from the sea and wear tops and jewellery made of metel, fishing nets, coral, seashells and pearls. Belts cover the transition from skin to scale. The conch shells mermaids use to summon storms are attached to these belts. The mermaids of Neverland wear crowns made of scalloped metal discs, seashells, pearls, crystals, gemstones and starfish.
A mermaid's tapering fish tail is similar in shape to a dolphin, complete with a vertical tail fin. Shimmering fish scales cover their tails from their waists to their fins. Mermaid tails are bioluminescent and emit an ethereal blue-green light. Mermaid scales are iridescent and constantly shift between ocean colors, including blue, green, silver and purple.
The mermaids who attack our heroes' ship seem like hostile sea monsters, however Snow white suggests that they only behave this way because they are afraid of Peter. Thus she wishes to reason with them while her companions insist that they cannot be trusted and should be done away with. The one which they succeed in capturing appears openly vengeful, yet Snow White still makes the case that she might have called away her storm had she simply been released.
Their personalities differ from mermaid to mermaid such as Ariel who is kind and has saved people from drowning. Ursula showed a similar sweet demeanor prior to the loss of her song and her change into the Sea Witch.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Mermaid Swimming: A mermaid's tail enables her to swim more swiftly than an equivalent human being and also to more effectively perform underwater feats of agility. Regina implies that mermaids are very fast swimmers.
- Immortality/Longevity: Mermaids, like fairies and dwarves, may have a never-ending lifespan and remain youthful throughout their lives. Ariel(who escaped the Dark Curse) hadn't aged a day for over 28 years(she couldn't have spent all her time on Neverland). Ariel from the Wish Realm also remained young even though all the humans had grown old.
- Enhanced strength: A mermaid's tail is very strong and in large swarms, they can sink a ship by slapping and cracking the hull with their flukes.
- Water portals: Mermaids can open portals which allow them to swim from one world to another. They can take others with them and they can summon objects like ships, as long as they are on or underwater.
- Seashells: Mermaids use conch shells to call each other under the sea, no matter how far away they are. With a receiving shell, humans can use this magic as well. As demonstrated by Ursula, mermaid hearing is attuned to the sound of the shell and they can hear it while other beings cannot.
- Hydrokinesis: Mermaids may have some power over water. In "Homecoming", Ariel's arrival was signified by a strong surge of water and she was seemingly deposited on a rock by a wave. After she appeared, the waves grew still.
- Atmokinesis: A mermaid can psychically influence the weather patterns around her by using a conch shell. The results can be dramatic and are perhaps linked to her emotions, for the one captive in "Heart of the Truest Believer" was quite incensed when she summoned her tempest. Mermaids can alter the effects of their storms. The captured mermaid linked her storm to the conflict between the travelers so that their anger kept her spell going and only peace between them could undo it. Regina could not undo one mermaid's spell, implying that a mermaid's hold over the weather is stronger than that of a land dwelling sorcerer.
- Siren singing: Some mermaids can use their beautiful voices to mesmerize even the toughest man and lure them towards her. These enchanted people will only wish to get closer to the singing mermaid and will not care about anything else, even their own lives. However their voices have brighter side. They can temporarily distract a person from their anger, pain and sorrow and bring peace to the listeners' minds. Only Ursula displayed this ability but Hook implies that other mermaids are capable of enchantment. It is implied in "Dead in the Water" that mermaids can cast enchantments that last long after they stop singing.
Known Mermaids Edit
Season One Edit
- "Skin Deep" (mentioned)
Season Two Edit
- "Into the Deep" (mentioned)
- "Second Star to the Right" (mentioned)
- "And Straight on til Morning" (mentioned)
Season Three Edit
- "The Heart of the Truest Believer"
- "Dark Hollow"
- "The New Neverland"
- "The Jolly Roger"
Season Four Edit
- "Fall" (mentioned)
- "Poor Unfortunate Soul"
Season Six Edit
- "Strange Cases" (mentioned)
- "A Wondrous Place"
Season Seven Edit
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Edit
- "Down the Rabbit Hole" (mentioned)
Out of the Past Edit
- "Dead in the Water" (mentioned)
- According to Hook, mermaids are liars and Rumplestiltskin states that they cannot be trusted.
- The Neverland mermaid crowns were made by Vancouver-based accessories designer Medicina Designs.
- A similar creature appeared in a season one episode, "What Happened to Frederick". This creature is a siren but doesn't have a fish tail.