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Most characters don't turn back to themselves after magic is brought back and the curse lifted :

  • Mr. Gold doesn't turn back to Rumplestiltskin
  • Archie Hopper doesn't turn back to Jiminy Cricket
  • Maleficent remains in dragon form
  • The fairies are still nuns

However, some characters regain their shapeshifting abilities (Ruby for instance).

Is this due to some left overs from the curse? Is magic insufficient to fuel back everyone to their real form ? Is this because the influence of the real world is too strong ?

I searched a bit about this and didn't find any "official" answer from the show crew, and I can't remember if it's been explained in the show itself.

Any idea ?

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This was explicitly addressed in the show, at least in part, and the answer then was "we don't know". Emma specifically asks, in the Season 1 finale I think, why the curse was broken but most people hadn't gone back to their original forms, and no one can answer her. As far as I know, that was the last word on the subject -- we never get an answer, but it's potentially one of the things they're still waiting to reveal.

The general rule seems to be that people in Storybrooke are now an amalgam of their true form and "real-world" form. Physically they have all retained the shape and false life history that they were given by the curse, but they regained their memories of their true lives as well. Additionally, when Mr. Gold brought magic into the real world, the fairy-tale creatures were also restored to whatever fairy-tale abilities they used to have. For example, the fairies are still humans but they have magic; the dwarves are still human but they can mine fairy dust; Ruby is still human but she can shapeshift.

Maleficent is a special case, as her curse-given form wasn't human to begin with. She, too, retained the shape that the curse gave her, though she may have gotten her magical abilities back and somehow Regina is keeping her prisoner anyway?

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  • The few scenes we saw of Maleficent in the Enchanted Forest, it I don't think she was able to use her magic while in dragon form, was she? Just the dragon-y abilities the form gives her, like breathing fire.
    – Izkata
    Sep 12, 2013 at 2:52
  • Well, let's hope there's really something behind it and not just "we won't explain because it's out-of-universe". Thank you for the answer, I had forgotten the part where Emma asks about it. Sep 12, 2013 at 8:27
  • @Izkata I would expect that, with magic back in Storybrooke, Maleficent would regain conscious control over her form -- that her dragon form is one of her magical tricks but that Regina stuck her with it when the curse hit -- so I'm not sure why she hasn't changed herself back.
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:51

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