But, 'beast' is so harsh. I prefer Maleficent.
Maleficent is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. She was an evil witch who lived in the fairytale land, and who presumably had a grudge against Aurora's family. At some point, Maleficent was granted access to the Dark Curse by one of her only friends, Queen Regina, traded for her famed sleeping curse. When said sleeping curse failed to have the results Regina expected, she demanded to be given the Dark Curse back, and a battle ensued between the two witches, one which Regina won. When the curse was set in motion, Maleficent became trapped in Storybrooke, Maine, in a form rather different to that of the curse's other victims: her dragon form.
Before the Curse
Love is weakness, Maleficent...
Maleficent sends a message. ("Forget Me Not")
When Will Scarlet joins the Merry Men, he convinces Robin Hood and the rest of the band of thieves to steal from Maleficent's Forbidden Fortress, as rumors say there is a mass amount of gold stored there. Robin, at first, is reluctant, as he knows that Maleficent is a powerful sorceress, but Will has it on good authority that the witch shall be vacant from the palace, and Robin eventually concedes. The Merry Men later break into Maleficent's castle and steal the gold, however, whilst there, Will also steals a Looking Glass. When the men are later celebrating around a fire, Maleficent uses her magic to project her voice and make strong winds overcome them; she tells them to keep the gold, if they must, as it is useless, but to return the other treasure they stole, for although its power is alluring, it shall only bring them misery. Will, despite having stolen this other treasure, doesn't fess up, and later uses the Looking Glass to transport himself and his true love Anastasia to Wonderland. ("Forget Me Not")
The beast is unleashed. ("A Land Without Magic")
Some time after, Prince Charming makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin in order to retrieve his mother's ring. He must conceal a bottle of true love encased in a protective egg inside a great beast. Maleficent enjoys a quiet moment in her home when Prince Charming suddenly appears with his sword to Maleficent's throat. Maleficent thrusts Charming back with a magical blast and reveals that she is “the beast.” She then magically blows out all of the candles in the room. Shrouded in darkness, Charming tells the witch to show herself, and slowly she reveals herself as a monstrous, fire-breathing dragon. A battle ensues, with Prince Charming finally forcing the egg down Maleficent's throat. His work done, Charming leaps through a stained glass window, diving into the waters far below. ("A Land Without Magic")
Regina wants the curse back. ("The Thing You Love Most")
Frustrated, Queen Regina goes to Maleficent to get the Dark Curse back. Maleficent says they made a deal and the curse belongs to her now. She keeps the curse held in the orb of her staff, and when she refuses to willingly hand it over, Regina challenges her. They have a magic spar, and just as the Queen readies many enchanted weapons to throw at her pet unicorn, Maleficent jumps in front to intervene and is tied up with the metal of the chandelier, and is thrown against the wall. She believes she will be killed, but the Evil Queen states she would never do that since Maleficent is her only friend. Free to get the curse from the orb of Maleficent's staff, the Evil Queen is warned of the curse's dangers, and how it would leave a void in her, but she takes this all in stride and leaves. ("The Thing You Love Most")
After the Curse
Tell me, your Majesty, is our friend still in the basement?
Emma awakens the beast. ("A Land Without Magic")
In Storybrooke, Maleficent's dragon form is trapped deep below the town's library. In order to retrieve the same bottle of true love implanted inside of her by Prince Charming, Emma must face Maleficent. Quickly realizing she's not much good with a sword, she drops her father's weapon and draws her gun. She fires at the dragon, but the bullets seem unable to penetrate the beast's scaly hide. Emma runs, ducking behind a large pillar of rock. The dragon circles around, landing on a nearby outcropping to get a better angle of attack. But the outcropping crumbles and the dragon plummets into the darkness. Emma peers over the edge, but sees no sign of Maleficent. Suddenly, the dragon flies upward, the gust from its great wings knocking her back as it spots her. She fires her gun again, desperately, but all it seems to do is make the beast angrier. The dragon turns on her when she hurls the sword into its throat. The sword starts a chain reaction and an explosion engulfs the dragon, destroying it. As cinders blow around the cavern and smoke wafts amongst a giant pile of ash, Emma spots the golden egg containing the love potion, and gets her hands on it, at last. ("A Land Without Magic")
First she goes after my mother, then me. Forgive me if I'm still a bit wary.
Phillip saves Aurora from Maleficent's sleeping curse. ("Broken")
After the Dark Curse is lifted and so is the protection spell cast by Cora over a corner of the fairytale land, that froze all of its inhabitants in time, Prince Phillip and his valiant aid, Mulan, are able to resume their quest to find Princess Aurora, who, much like her mother, has been put under a sleeping curse by the dreaded Maleficent. Phillip awakens her with a kiss, and Aurora wakes up to find the land ravaged. Phillip tells her of a safe haven they must get to, and Aurora asks if the haven is to keep them safe from Maleficent, to which he replies they no longer have to worry about her. ("Broken")
After Snow White and Emma Swan make it to the arid fairytale land by accident, Lancelot - Cora in disguise - allows the two of them to set out to find a portal back to their town, and Mulan is asked to accompany them. When the latter grants them access to her case of weapons, they all get armed, and Mulan starts to warn them about the ogres. Emma comments that she slayed a dragon - referring to Maleficent - the week before, so she should be fine. Mulan implies that ogres are worse. ("Lady of the Lake")
Isn't she lovely? ("The Evil Queen")
When Regina has plans to enact the curse's fail-safe and wipe out Storybrooke along with its inhabitants, she invokes the help of Captain Hook who accompanies her down the library's elevator where they enter the caves beneath. Hook begins to wonder what Regina meant when she said the place is guarded, and Regina reveals that an old friend, meaning Maleficent, is doing so, explaining that a spell put in place around the caves sustains her in whatever state she's in. Hook then wonders why it's a two man job to receive the trigger, and Regina reveals that she needs him as a distraction, before bushing him off a cliff. Hook lands with his life as atoms begin to form together to create a skeletal creature and a discrepant nightgown that bellows spine-chilling shrieks: Maleficent. She attempts to attack Hook who tries to engage in small talk with the creature, not being sure how to fight back, as Regina retrieves her fail-safe trigger. Eventually, Hook is rescued by Greg and Tamara, however, it is unknown how they defeated Maleficent or what her current state is. ("The Evil Queen")
When Emma and the others arrive in Neverland, Mr. Gold accuses her of being unable to belief. Her argument is that she slayed a dragon, Maleficent, and so she's pretty sure he's wrong. ("The Heart of the Truest Believer") A year after Emma leaves Storybrooke, she drinks a potion that returns her true memories, with her real ones having been rewritten by Regina. The flashes that subsequently run through her mind include Maleficent, in her dragon form, roaring soon before Emma slays her. ("New York City Serenade")
Promotional poster of the 1959 film adaptation by Walt Disney, featuring both forms (human and dragon) of Maleficent.
The character of Maleficent is based on the homonymous character of the 1959 film adaptation by Walt Disney of the popular fairytale, "Sleeping Beauty", by French author Charles Perrault, also known for its version by the Brothers Grimm ("Little Briar Rose"). The general story of Sleeping Beauty, the version everyone knows, tells of a beautiful princess cursed by an evil fairy (Maleficent) as a baby - when she reaches a certain age, the princess will prick herself on a spindle and fall into a deep state of sleep (thought the wicked fairy's intent is for her to die, another fairy partially reverses this), from which she then awakens by a kiss of true love. This is the story presented in the Disney movie, and the one Once Upon a Time bases the story of Maleficent on. However, in some original versions of the story, several elements varied. The Perrault tale was divided into two parts. In the film, Aurora is put to sleep by a curse enacted by the character of Maleficent, who is also responsible for her state of sleep in this series. Several other adaptations of "Sleeping Beauty" have been made over the years. Additionally, Aurora comes from the name L'Aurore, which is the name of the sleeping beauty's daughter in some versions of the tale, which is presumably why the original sleeping beauty in this series is Aurora's mother, and not her.