Belle (Once Upon a Time)

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Belle Gold
Once Upon a Time character
Belle French-Gold promo.jpg
Promotional photograph of Emilie de Ravin as Belle.
First appearance "Skin Deep"
Created by Adam Horowitz & Eddy Kitsis
Portrayed by Emilie de Ravin
Aliases Belle French
Belle Gold
  • Librarian
  • Pawnbroker (formerly)
  • Maid (formerly)
Family Colette (mother, deceased)
Sir Maurice/Moe French (father)
Spouse(s) Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold (husband)
Significant other(s) Gaston (ex-fiancé, deceased)
Will Scarlet (ex-boyfriend)
Children Gideon (son)
Baelfire/Neal Cassidy (stepson)
Relatives Henry Mills (step-grandson)
Fiona (mother-in-law, deceased)
Peter Pan (father-in-law, deceased)
Abilities Intellectual
Status Alive
Type Enchanted Forest character
Centric episodes

Belle Gold (née French), briefly known as Lacey, is a fictional character in ABC's television series Once Upon a Time. She is portrayed by Emilie de Ravin, who became a series regular in the second season and onwards after making recurring appearances in the first season, and has become a fan favorite since her debut.[1] She is both based on the character from Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, and the Disney princess of the 1991 film of the same name.

Character background[edit]

Early life[edit]

Belle grew up in the Enchanted Forest as the daughter of Sir Maurice (Eric Keenleyside) and his wife Colette (Frances O'Connor). She always had a close relationship with her mother, having been introduced to her love for books[2] and taught different skills such as how to translate fairy language.[3] Belle also had a childhood friend by the name of Samuel.[4] However, besides this, not much else is known about Belle's life growing up. Nearing adulthood though, Belle is startled to learn that war is ready to breakout between her kingdom and the ogres. Her father arranges for her to marry Sir Gaston (Wes Brown), a union that Belle openly objects, but she agrees to go out on a walk with him and she surprisingly takes a liking to him. This all changes when she finds him torturing a young ogre, but nonetheless she agrees to marry him when war does officially break out.[5] At one point during the war, Belle and her family are forced to flee their castle; however, she and her mother spend time packing up all of their important books. This results in an ogre storming the castle and killing Colette, and Belle is left without any memory of the event. Needing to know the truth, she travels to Arendelle where she meets Princess Anna (Elizabeth Lail). Anna takes her to rock troll Grand Pabbie (John Rhys-Davies) who is able to retract her memories and put them into a pebble which she's instructed to brew into a tea. However, due to an encounter with the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell), Belle loses the rock and returns home empty handed. Maurice confesses to Belle the truth though, how Colette sacrificed herself to save Belle. This sets Belle on the track of becoming a hero, and she reveals to her father than on her trip she learned of a man who could help them: Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle).[2]

Rumplestiltskin agrees to protect Belle's kingdom if she agrees to leave her life behind and live with him as his caretaker. Both Maurice and Gaston object to this, but Belle ignores their pleas and leaves with the Dark One. Right away Belle realizes that conditions aren't ideal, but a spark is shown when Rumplestiltskin shows pity on Belle when she accidentally chips a teacup.[6] At one point during Belle's stay in the Dark Castle, she and Rumplestiltskin are visited by an intruder, Robin Hood (Tom Ellis), who the Dark One proceeds to torture for trying to steal from him. Belle lets Robin go without her master's permission, but when Rumplestiltskin sees that Robin was just stealing a wand to cure his sick and pregnant wife (Christie Laing), he spares the thief's life. Belle embraces Rumplestiltskin in a hug, seeing that there's a man behind the beast, and he later gifts her with a library.[7] Belle and Robin Hood share an encounter sometime in the future where Belle meets the thief in his true form (Sean Maguire).[8] One day Rumplestiltskin returns home with a stolen baby which he leaves to Belle to take care of. She's appalled and frightened by whatever he plans to do with the child, and so she sets out to unveil his plans and save the baby's life. This, however, was all part of Rumplestiltskin's plans to have her translate old fairy language, and he locks her in the library. The Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) subsequently frees Belle, and she finds Rumplestiltskin using the child to summon the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray)... his mother. Belle is disgusted by the Black Fairy' treatment of Rumplestiltskin, but nonetheless shames him for stealing a child. She's later given permission to return the child to his parents, Jack (Nick Hunnings) and Jill (Tammy Gillis).[3]

Belle and Rumplestiltskin's bond is further explored later on when Belle is targeted by the Queens of Darkness - Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Ursula (Merrin Dungey), and Cruella De Vil (Victoria Smurfit) - who ransom her for Rumplestiltskin's magic gauntlet. The Dark One meets the three women at Demon's Bluff with the gauntlet, and is given no choice but to hand it over when he can't stand to see Belle strangled to death by Ursula.[9] Belle one day is sent out to the market in order to pick up stuff for Rumplestiltskin when she stumbles upon her old friend Samuel, injured, and so she brings him back to the Dark Castle to nurse him back to health. As it turns out though, he was just there to steal Rumplestiltskin's dagger, giving him control over the Dark One, and so Belle betrays him in choice of her master.[4] More sparks begin to fly in Belle and Rumplestiltskin's relationship as the former begins to have the Dark One open up more, both literally and figuratively. This includes opening up his nailed down curtains and convincing him to share the story of his lost son (Dylan Schmid). The Dark One agrees to tell Belle everything if she returns home from the market with straw, this being his subtle way of setting her free, having developed genuine feelings for her. Though Belle plans to not return at first, she runs into the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) on the road and learns that Rumplestiltskin's curse can be broken with a kiss of true love. Knowing that she's in love with the Dark One and that he loves her back, Belle returns and attempts this, only for it to blow up in her face when Rumplestiltskin learns it was the Queen's idea. He lashes out at Belle and sends her back to the dungeon, only to end up kicking her out of his castle all together. Before leaving, Belle points out to the Dark One that power won't be enough for him - he'll always be left with an empty heart and a chipped cup.[6][10]

Rather than return home to her friends and family, Belle starts spending her days in a local tavern where she eventually meets a dwarf named Dreamy (Lee Arenberg). After convincing him to go after his love (Amy Acker), he convinces her to seek out adventure, that being to join a group of men on the hunt for a beast known as the Yaoguai. She does just that, but when not taken seriously and kicked off the wagon, she sends the men in the wrong direction and proceeds to go out and hunt the creature herself. She winds up befriending the likes of a warrior named Mulan (Jamie Chung), and she is eventually able to track the Yaoguai down. However, as it turns out, all this time the beast has merely been trying to communicate with them. With the use of some fairy dust, Belle restores the creature to its true form: Prince Phillip (Julian Morris). While Phillip and Mulan go off together in order to rescue Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger), Belle plans to return to Rumplestiltskin. She's unable to do so, however, when the Evil Queen arrives to take her prisoner.[11][12] Regina goes on to have the Dark One convinced that Belle committed suicide by throwing herself off a tower, leaving him utterly heartbroken, when all the while she remains locked up in the Queen's castle.[6] Belle is later sought out by Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), an old enemy of Rumplestiltskin's who believes that the Dark One's former maid may know the key to his undoing. He plans to kill her when she proves otherwise, but Regina intervenes as she believes Belle to be a valuable chess piece.[13]

Season 1[edit]

When the Evil Queen enacts a powerful Dark Curse that puts everyone in the town of Storybrooke, Maine with false memories for the next 28 years, Belle spends that entire time locked away in the psychiatric ward beneath the town's hospital. Unlike the other townspeople, Belle was left a blank slate and set to serve merely as a prisoner in order to keep her away from Rumplestiltskin or, as he's known in Storybrooke, Mr. Gold. However, when time starts moving again and Mr. Gold regains his memories of his past life in the Enchanted Forest, he forms a vendetta against Belle's father, believing he drove her to suicide. Sheriff Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) has no choice but to arrest Gold when he beats Moe French nearly to death, but when behind bars, Regina returns to him the chipped teacup in exchange for confirming to Her Majesty that he knows the truth about the curse. She then proceeds to check up on a locked up Belle, who appears absolutely miserable.[14][6]

As the Dark Curse is nearing its end with the Savior starting to believe, things for Regina start falling apart around her. This includes her alliance with Jefferson the Mad Hatter (Sebastian Stan) who she refuses to hold up her end of a deal with when he procured her the poisoned apple she once used on Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin).[15] Wanting to hurt Regina, Jefferson heads for the psychiatric ward where he breaks Belle out of her cell and instructs that she seek out Mr. Gold, insisting that he will protect her. Belle does just that, shocking Gold beyond disbelief as he spent all this time thinking she was dead. He embraces her with a hug, though she has no memory of him, but he assures her that she will. The two later head for the town's wishing well when the curse is officially broken. Belle's memories are restored, and this time she's the one to embrace her one true love. Gold puts their reunion on a short hold though, as he proceeds to drop a magical vial into the well, bringing magic to Storybrooke.[16]

Season 2[edit]

When Gold finds a way to leave Storybrooke without losing his memories, Belle is shot by Captain Hook, causing her to fall across the border and lose her memory again. Belle later "remembers" her cursed self as a scantily-clad barfly named Lacey, who encourages the darker urges in Gold. Gold later finds a potion that returns her original identity, after which she does not use the name "Lacey". As Mr. Gold, along with Emma Swan, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, and Captain Hook travel to retrieve a kidnapped Henry from Neverland, he gives Belle a protection spell to cast around Storybrooke.[17]

Season 3[edit]

Rumplestilskin encounters a form of Belle frequently in Neverland as an illusion to act as a crutch to his cowardliness;[18] she is later revealed as his father Peter Pan's shadow in disguise. The two are reunited when the group return to Storybrooke after retrieving Henry, though Gold sacrifices himself to kill his father. However, Pan's curse remains and Belle, along with the other inhabitants are sent back to their original worlds. In the Enchanted Forest, Belle and Neal travel to the Dark One's vault. To the disapproval of Belle, Neal unlocks the vault, resurrecting Rumplestiltskin but sacrificing himself. Belle is returned to Storybrooke when Snow and Charming enact a new curse to stop Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West from taking their baby. Upon his freedom, Mr. Gold proposes to Belle after trusting her with his dagger (unknown to her, it is a replica) and the two are married.

Season 4[edit]

Belle eventually learns of his deception, banishing her husband from the town. Gold manages to return to the town, only to find Belle in a romantic relationship with Will Scarlet. As Gold's condition worsens, being consumed by the Dark One's powers, Belle confesses to him that she does not love Will. The Apprentice removes the darkness from Gold's heart, though he remains in a comatose state whilst the darkness is taken in by Emma Swan.

Season 5[edit]

With the other residents, Belle transports to the Enchanted Forest, taking Emma to Camelot in order to find Merlin and remove her darkness. However, weeks later, they return to Storybrooke with missing memories as to how they failed. During her time in Camelot she helped Mérida win back her kingdom while helping the others stop King Arthur and the previous Dark Ones from taking over Storybrooke. After her memory is restored, Belle remained in Storybrooke but is unaware that Gold, who traveled with Emma to the Underworld to rescue Hook, has reclaimed the powers of the Dark One, and is unaware that she is pregnant with their first child, which is tied to a contract that Hades is using due to Rumpelstiltskin having made a deal with a healer back in the Enchanted Forest in exchange for saving Baelfire. Unfortunately, after she is sent through a portal along with Zelena and her daughter, Belle learns the truth from Gold about his reacquired powers and her pregnancy as well as the contract, putting her life and that of their unborn child in jeopardy once again. Motivated by Hades, Gaston moves against Rumplestiltskin with plans to kill him, reuniting Belle with her ex-fiancé. After confronting Gold about his murder of Gaston decades earlier, Belle intends to help Gaston move on, only to learn that Gaston blames her for his death. In an attempt to rescue Rumplestiltskin, Belle inadvertently pushes Gaston into the River of Lost Souls. Consumed with guilt over what she did to Gaston, Belle places herself under a sleeping curse, believing it would give Gold time to protect their child from Hades. Before falling under, Belle makes Gold promise to return her to her father. It later turns out that Gold's kiss of True Love cannot break the spell; Belle had begun losing faith in him again.

Season 6[edit]

Belle remains in the sleeping curse she put herself in to protect her child. Rumple enters her dreamworld to try and wake her, but fails in doing so. Her son wakes her instead, and she once again rejects Rumple. She is then seen with the "heroes", and briefly stays on the Jolly Roger. Rumple casts a spell forbidding her to leave the boat due to a serious threat from Mr. Hyde. However the spell puts her in danger when she cannot flee from a true threat. This further deteriorates Rumple and Belle's relationship. In the episode Changelings, the evil queen speeds up Belle's pregnancy and Belle gives birth to Gideon. She gives her son to the blue fairy, fearing Rumple will try to take the child. But the blue fairy is ambushed by the black fairy, Rumple's mother. Gideon is taken to dark realms where he grows up very quickly and develops a terrifying darkness. In the mid season finale, Gideon is shown confronting his mother and father in Gold's shop.

Character development and reception[edit]

The producers had planned to make the Belle character a recurring role in the series,[19] but after sporadic appearances in the first season, she was promoted to a series regular in the second.[20]

Had de Ravin not accepted the Belle role, she would've gone on to star in a television series called Americana; ABC decided to pass on the pilot in 2012.[21]

de Ravin's fellow co-star on Once Upon a Time, Keegan Connor Tracy (who plays The Blue Fairy/Mother Superior), also played Belle in the 2015 TV movie Descendants.


  1. ^ Mitovich, Matt (June 19, 2012). "Exclusive: Once Upon a Time Promotes Emilie de Ravin to Series Regular for Season 2". TVLine. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Episode 4.06 "Family Business"
  3. ^ a b Episode 6.09 "Changelings"
  4. ^ a b Canon graphic novel, Out of the Past
  5. ^ Episode 5.17 "Her Handsome Hero"
  6. ^ a b c d Episode 1.12 "Skin Deep"
  7. ^ Episode 2.19 "Lacey"
  8. ^ Adam Horowitz [AdamHorowitzLA] (April 13, 2015). "@Liv1177 @ScottNimerfro belle and RH had an encounter subsequent to the events of Lacey we have yet to see." (Tweet). Retrieved April 12, 2017 – via Twitter. 
  9. ^ Episode 4.11 "Heroes and Villains"
  10. ^ Episode 3.11 "Going Home"
  11. ^ Episode 1.14 "Dreamy"
  12. ^ Episode 2.11 "The Outsider"
  13. ^ Episode 2.09 "Queen of Hearts"
  14. ^ Episode 1.01 "Pilot"
  15. ^ Episode 1.21 "An Apple Red as Blood"
  16. ^ Episode 1.22 "A Land Without Magic"
  17. ^ "'Once Upon a Time' recap: Little Boy Lost" from Entertainment Weekly (May 12, 2013)
  18. ^ 'Once Upon a Time' recap: Let the Wild Rumpus Start! by Hilary Busis, from Entertainment Weekly (October 20, 2013)
  19. ^ Abrams, Natalie (8 November 2011). "Exclusive: Once Upon a Time Casts Lost's Emilie de Ravin As Belle". Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  20. ^ Hibberd, James (19 June 2012). "'Once Upon a Time' scoop: Emilie de Ravin promoted to series regular". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  21. ^ Leaked scenes from dropped show, Americana; retrieved 10/29/2012.

External links[edit]