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First seen
Last seen
Seen in
Mentioned in
Created by
Destroyed by
Possessed by
Used for
Extracting and viewing memories
S1 - S2 - S3 - OW - S4 - S5 - S6 - S7

Dreamcatchers are magical items that have the ability to extract or view the memory of someone. In the Land Without Magic, they're simply an item of folklore.


After the Curse

Early History

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Emma finds a dreamcatcher in her motel. ("Tallahassee")

After Emma Swan and Neal Cassidy meet when they both attempt to steal the yellow bug, they find a motel room for them to stay in for a while. Having become thieves together, Emma brings a haul back to the room with her. Neal asks if she wants a shower, but she becomes distracted by a dreamcatcher left by the previous family. She explains that they're supposed to keep the nightmares out and only let the good dreams in to protect your home. Neal suggests taking it and Emma jokes about hanging it in their car. Neal points out that a car isn't much of a home so suggests it's time they got a real place. ("Tallahassee") Afterwards, when Emma is sent to prison, Neal keeps the dreamcatcher as a memory of their relationship. ("Broken")

Season 2

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Emma uses magic to view Pongo's memories. ("The Cricket Game")

After the Dark Curse is broken, Neal Cassidy receives a postcard from Storybrooke near the window of his apartment with the word "BROKEN" written on it. The dreamcatcher from his time with Emma hangs at the top of the window. ("Broken") After Archie is suddenly killed, Emma is not convinced that Regina is the culprit, but Snow and David believe she is. Emma believes Gold is involved, but he clears his name by giving her a dreamcatcher, which she uses to see into Pongo's memories. She channels her new magic into the object and views the dog's recollection of Regina killing Archie. However, everyone is unaware that Regina is actually Cora in disguise. ("The Cricket Game") When Emma, Henry and Mr. Gold to find the latter's son in his apartment, Emma notices the dreamcatcher and holds onto it. Gold realises she's found something, but she doesn't say what it is until Neal shows up to make sure his father won't hurt Emma. ("Manhattan")

After the Second Curse

Season 3

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Emma gets a blast from the past. ("New York City Serenade")

After Regina gives Emma Swan and Henry Mills new lives and memories because of Peter Pan's curse, they move to New York City and own an apartment. One day, Hook turns up at her door and tells her that her family is in danger and they need her help. She doesn't believe him and kicks him out of her apartment. The next day, he shows up at a restaurant and tells her to go to the address that he gave her. She complies and when she notices the dreamcatcher, she realises she's in Neal's apartment. She suspects Hook of working for Neal, who is trying to get into Henry's life, but after the pirate's long insistences, she drinks a potion that returns her old memories. ("New York City Serenade")

Season 4

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A heartbreaking reminder of the deceased Neal. ("Mother")

After Emma Swan manages to track down her old childhood friend, Lily Page, with the help of Regina, the trio move on to New York City so that they can save Robin Hood, who is unaware that Zelena is poising as the deceased Marian. They visit Neal Cassidy's old apartment, where Robin, Roland and "Marian" are staying, and Emma notices the dreamcatcher, leading Lily to ask who the place belonged to, for she can sense that the item brings back memories for the blonde. Emma quickly answers that his name was Neal and he was a "lot of things" to her, but because of Zelena, he is gone. When Zelena overhears Emma talking about this, she mockingly apologises to further antagonise her. ("Mother")

Before the Third Curse

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Emma takes the memories of her family and friends. ("Broken Heart")

After being told by the Darkness to find a hobby since she cannot sleep, Emma begins making dozens of dreamcatchers. One night, she attempts to make dreamcatchers but is interrupted by the sound of whispers and the Darkness. ("The Broken Kingdom") After learning how to use magic on the dreamcatchers, Emma is able to see how Merlin became a tree and that her parents were cursed by Arthur. She later uses a dreamcatcher to show Regina Daniel's death in order to retrieve a tear to free the sorcerer, however, knowing it won't work, Emma controls Violet with her heart, making her break Henry's heart, giving them their needed tear. ("Dreamcatcher") Emma continues to make dreamcatchers, frustrating Hook, who grows angry at Merlin for not being helpful. When Merlin goes to talk to Emma, she is so focused on weaving the dreamcatchers she doesn't heart him at first. ("Nimue") After Emma transfers Merlin's powers into a dying Hook as a last resort, he becomes a second Dark One. He enacts a Dark Curse by killing Merlin in order to return to Storybrooke and get revenge on Rumplestiltskin, but Emma manages to knock him unconscious and takes his memories with a dreamcatcher. She then knocks everyone else from Storybrooke out and takes their memories, wanting to keep the fact Hook is a Dark One a secret, so she can fix it alone. ("Broken Heart")

After the Third Curse

Season 5

Dreamcatchers 510 02
Emma gives everyone their memories back. ("Broken Heart")

In the shed in the garden of her house, Emma keeps dozens of dreamcatchers hanging from the roof. She visits the shed and takes one down to clutch it as she cries. Later on, after breaking into the house, Hook finds a dreamcatcher. Regina steals it, believing Emma used it to take the memories, and even later on, with Robin Hood's encouragement, she watches the memory...only to discover Emma ripped out Violet's heart in order to break Henry's heart and collect a tear to free Merlin. ("Dreamcatcher") To uncover the truth about Emma's plans, Hook uses squid ink to freeze her, but Zelena soon arrives with a dreamcatcher and uses it to show Hook his memories of what happened in Camelot...and he learns that he was made into a Dark One in order to save him from a fatal wound. ("Birth") Hook removes Emma's memories from Camelot, and upon discovering her dreamcatchers have also been stolen by him, she teams up with Henry to get them back. They manage to retrieve them from the Clock Tower and use them to give everyone their memories of Camelot back. ("Broken Heart")