Every magic comes with a price

What “price” is there for secular magic like teleporting?

A bit late to answer, but I've been thinking about this question for a while so it goes on. The way I see it, characters in Once Upon a Time have less free will than normal people in our world - fate seems to be a constant driving force, more or less inevitable. Villains are thwarted in spite of all advantages, heroes make sacrifices, but "get their happy ending", some whole areas prevent any progress in life (land of untold stories, never land, etc.). It is a world where rules of fate and fate are inevitable (except through the use of objects whose specific and only function is to change fate - the scissors of fate).

It has struck me that those who use magic and use it constantly seem to be paying the price by being consistently treated with bad hands by fate. How much bad fate did Regina face even after being redeemed and becoming a hero? How lucky was Zelena? Rumplestiltskin time and again alienates everything around him, especially those who are important to him (we can see this as his fate, the "price" for his magic - not to mention the time when his heart exploded by centuries of dark magic pay).

This is not only true for users of dark magic - Merlin's fate was not fortunate; He never got a happy ending but was trapped in a tree by his love, tied to a sword by the man who was supposed to be his ally and friend, and even killed by his love for a curse. Emma is the Redeemer, and as we know from Season 6, all Redeemers are meant to die to protect everyone else. You can see this as the "price" of fate - any light magic a savior uses is some kind of loan that they inevitably pay back by dying for their friends.

This is not just restricted to magical bearers themselves (although this is more obvious with them). In season 1, the genius warns King Leopold that he has "made a thousand and one wishes come true" and "seen them end a thousand and one badly". The king's wish, benevolent as it was, gave him a nasty turn of fate and he paid the price for it with his life. The people who seek help from the dark often have to pay the price - although sometimes it is avoided and they get real help that is to be paid without the hardship of fate. Why is that? Because they pay the price of magic through the cost of their deal with the dark. That way, they've already paid, and the price of fate instead falls on the dark one (just added to his or her balance sheet). When Regina got magic from the dark one (Emma) to heal Robin, without making a deal later came a rage to collect the unpaid price from him (although the magic in question was healing - saving a life).

These are just a few examples, but it's a pretty consistent theme that I've seen throughout the show's seasons. All but the people in the land of no magic (no storybrook) are strictly ruled by inevitable fate. All magic (good or bad, dark or light, good or bad intentions) comes with a price - even mundane, useful magic only increases the debts a person has to bear, and the debts are paid with a worse fate.

EDIT: Side note on fairy magic - fairies are users of light magic, and neither they nor the people who use them with magic need to help pay the price of fate. As you said before, their magic is powered by fairy dust. As a finite and consumable "fuel" it seems to replace the price of magic.


Welcome to the site! Well thought out answer! Late responses are always good when they add new perspective.