- “All magic comes with a price.”
- ―Rumplestiltskin's iconic phrase
Rumplestiltskin, known as Mr. Gold and Weaver after the Dark Curse, is the son of Malcolm and Fiona, the ex-husband of Milah, the husband of Belle, the father of Baelfire/Neal Cassidy and Gideon, the paternal grandfather of Henry Mills, and the paternal great-grandfather of Lucy and a main character on ABC's Once Upon a Time and he debuts in the first episode of the first season. Rumplestiltskin is the most powerful magician in all the realms, with a penchant for making deals but in the course of the series proved to have a tragic past and to be the mastermind behind the events of the lives of most of the characters.
He served alternatively as the secondary antagonist and anti-hero in the first three seasons, but became the main antagonist of the fourth season (along with other major characters). In the fifth season, he became a protagonist, as he was no longer the Dark One. However, he regains his powers midway, becoming a neutral character in the last of it. In the sixth season, he's a supporting antagonist-turned-protagonist. In the seventh season, he's a protagonist.
Rumplestiltskin is based on a character of the same name from the fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin". He also takes the place of the Beast from the fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast" and the Crocodile from "Peter and Wendy".
The role of Rumplestiltskin was given to Robert Carlyle; it was written with Carlyle in mind, though the writers initially thought he would never accept the part. Horowitz recalled Carlyle's prison sequence, which was the actor's first day on the set as "mind-blowing...You could see Ginny actually jump, the first time he did that character. It was fantastic!"
Robert Carlyle revealed in an interview that it takes approximately two hours to dress him in Rumplestiltskin's costume, twenty minutes of which is spent on his boots. He also revealed that it takes about one hour to remove the costume. Robert's youngest son, Pearce, gave him the idea of how to do Rumplestiltskin's voice.
Originally, Rumplestiltskin is a quiet and humble man who despite having had some success in life he had to live in the shadow of his father's cowardice. Rumplestiltskin proves to be scared, but brave as he saw the opportunity to emerge from the shadow of his father, Rumplestiltskin willingly went to war, however, when a seer tells him that he will die, leaving his unborn child to suffer the fate of growing up without a father, Rumplestiltskin has second thoughts and returns home committing an act of self-harm.
Rumplestiltskin's love towards his son, and his family in general, is one of the most important traits of his personality and the largest, if not the sole motivation of his life. When he thinks that the pirate Killian Jones took Milah prisoner, Rumplestiltskin tried to intercede for the life of his wife, mainly due to the fact that he believes Baelfire needs his mother. Being lame, Rumplestiltskin has only two options: die at the hands of Captain Jones and his band of pirates, leaving Baelfire orphaned or go back, once again branded as a coward, but secure in the fact that his son is left alone.
When a new war of the ogres arises, the army of the Duke begins to send the children of age fourteen into battle. Ignoring the official propaganda that it is noble and brave to give his life for the country, Rumplestiltskin understand that to fight is to die, and there is no honor in sacrificing children to war. At this point in his life, Rumplestiltskin is scared and desperate, but willing to do what is necessary to save Baelfire and, following this instinct, Rumplestiltskin, alone, attacked the duke's castle and steals a magical dagger that allows him to kill the Dark One and gain his powers.
The Dark One
During the early days of the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin is quite consistent with his original personality but soon changes, showing others the cruelty that he himself has suffered, using his power with arrogance and pride Even so, he ended the Ogres War to save the conscripted children like he said to Bae. He says all he really wants is happiness and security for his son but when Baelfire got a magic bean that can take them to an alternate world free of the curse of the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin is unable to abandon his powers and accidentally leaves Baelfire in another world, an action he greatly regrets most.
After the departure of Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin gets incredibly ruthless, lonely and vindictive while searching for ways back to him. In this period, he continues to amass wealth and property in an attempt to get away from his old life. However, Rumplestiltskin still regretted his actions against Baelfire and this regret got louder until it becomes an obsession that leads him to extreme acts in order to reunite with him. Over the years, Rumplestiltskin acquires a fearsome reputation as one that is inevitable agreements, without worrying too much about the consequences they have on others but more selfishly worrying to get what he wants. Although ruthless in its agreements, Rumplestiltskin warns anyone who wants to make a deal to be cautious, because there is no way out. His notable moments of mercy are when children are concerned; refusing to leave any of them fatherless like his had and he did Baelfire.
Rumplestiltskin is patient, willing to wait until he has everything he need to create and to break the curse. He knew that eventually, his plans and machinations will come into fruition, having acquired the power to glimpse the future during the course of his long life granted by his immortality. But Rumplestiltskin is still alone, turning to his spinning wheel for comfort, a recluse in a huge castle, until Belle enters his life. He acquired her as part of a deal to save her kingdom from Ogres that he agreed to enact on the condition that Belle becomes his maid. After meeting her even though her brain reminds him that he is essentially unlovable, dark soul, a beast, his heart still yearns for love. What happened next was something that not even he, with all his infinite cunning and powers of foresight could ever have foreseen; Belle's innocence and belief that there is still good in him, began to wane down his defenses, giving him the opportunity to love another again. Unfortunately, his prized apprentice, Regina, with whom Rumple has a rather strained relationship, learned of the growing affection between Rumple and Belle and formulated a plan to strip the sorcerer of his powers by having Belle give him True Love's Kiss. Of course, Belle's intention was to bring Rumplestiltskin back into the man he once was, but he saw otherwise, believing her to have conspired together with Regina to rob him of his powers, despite Belle arguing that her love for him is real. And even as he casts Belle from his house, believing that one day she despise him, he mourns his loss. After the departure of Belle (and presumed death), Rumplestiltskin puts his plan in motion, and it is in this period, which encourages Rumplestiltskin Blue, making offers to buy the ingredients of true love from him and Snow White.
In Storybrooke, his counterpart, Mr. Gold has an influence that seems to know no bounds. From real estate to politics and even in the personal lives of his neighbors, the knowledge and involvement of Gold is virtually endless and the citizens of Storybrooke actually appear to be more intimidated by him than they are to the Queen. Always fresh and dressed with a touch of sartorial cosmopolitan, Mr. Gold exudes the kind of confidence that only comes from knowing you are the master of your domain. Mr. Gold also owns and operates the local pawnshop, where numerous objects of the Enchanted Forest, and where he spends most of his days taking care of the various items he has collected over the years and do business with the inhabitants.
He walks assisted by a cane, a remnant of his self-injury, a reminder of why he beat the curse, and the goal of his life. Mr. Gold, however, is still afraid of his impotence and sends Emma to recover the true love potion so he can unleash the most powerful magic of all of Storybrooke through the enchanted well and regain his powers. Over time, Mr. Gold is changed from his family and his relationship with Belle. His only constant is that he will do anything for his family; he is fiercely loyal, but also slow to forget the injustices done to him. All he wanted his whole life is family and the love and the tragedy of Rumplestiltskin is essential that he has not been able to get any of these for a long time.
Mr. Gold has a give and take relationship with Regina Mills, and he helps her by planting the idea in her head that tries to destroy Mary Margaret as she poses as a murderess. He found Henry for Regina to take, but he is not always on her side. After Emma arrives, just as he had predicted, he helps her to gain acceptance as the sheriff in town and he refuses to help Regina when she goes to him for help in destroying Emma as it would disrupt his plans in reuniting with his son.
Even though he's often at odds with the heroes following Baelfire's death and despite how he initially treated him coldly, he doesn't directly harm his grandson Henry, showing that he does care considerably for his grandson. In addition to him never trying to or avoiding harming Henry if he could when he is against the heroes, when the Snow Queen is about to cast her curse, Gold ensured that Henry would be spared and be allowed to leave with him.
As a child, Rumplestiltskin, had a round face with soft, features, light-brown hair that appear blond to light, a bulbous nose, hazel eyes and a slender build. As an adult, in his middle age, Rumplestiltskin, has a slender build, but not as weak as may seem his hair becomes darker and lose the blonde highlights, his features became more pronounced as well as his nose, his eyes appear sunken in the orbits and show the hairs typical of an adult. His overall appearance as an adult can be described as "skinny."
As the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin preserves the appearance that he had as an adult human being, but as a result of the power he acquired his skin takes on a golden reflection that according to the brightness may appear as green or gray, his eyes dilate and become amber, his teeth rotten appearing yellow, his hair take on a reddish tinge and is disheveled and finally his nails become black. After the Dark Curse, Mr. Gold is restored to his human form and the only differences are evident in his hair, which become partly gray, and his teeth, which appear much more carefully than they were before. In the sixth season, Mr. Gold cuts his hair short, giving it a silvery look.
Hyperion Heights Counterpart
In Hyperion Heights, Rumple is known as Weaver, a detective on the Hyperion Heights police force. He, along with his new partner, Detective Rogers (who is actually Killian Jones) is enlisted by Victoria Belfry to help her get rid of Henry Mills, as Henry has become a nuisance in the town. When he is later "woken up" by Tilly, his assistant in both this world and the New Enchanted Forest, he remembers he's Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold and that Belle is now dead. Shortly after Gideon's first birthday, Gold took his family to see the world, including other realms, and in that time, he decided to renounce his immortality to enjoy life with Belle. To his disappointment, he could not get rid of the Dark One powers; he learned a Guardian is to take them from him. Belle tricked him into having them live their lives out in The Edge of Realms, where she continued to age and eventually died; if Gold held onto the love they shared, he could meet his Guardian and be killed and reunited with her. In the present day, an imprisoned Victoria brokers a deal with him: information of the Guardian's identity in exchange for being released from prison and helped in locating the original storybook to wake her daughter Anastasia Tremaine. However, the sinister Mother Gothel reveals that in order for Anastasia to be awakened, someone's belief must be sacrificed. A horrified Weaver learns that Belfry intends to do this with the belief of her step-granddaughter Lucy, his great-granddaughter. When it seems the revived Anastasia is the Guardian, he tests her so she can take lift his curse after she cures Lucy. However, after she is taken hostage by Gothel for a period of time before leaving to the New Enchanted Forest with her sister, he has hope that another Guardian will appear.
Powers and Abilities
- Magic of the Dark One: Rumplestiltskin was originally a simple human being without any kind of magical power, however, after killing the previous Dark One, Zoso, the name of Rumplestiltskin took his place on the Dark One's Dagger and Rumplestiltskin has earned all of his powers. His powers seems to increase when he is in possession of a magical tool, like his dagger or wand of a fairy. He was stripped of his powers when the darkness was removed from his heart and given to Emma. He has since regained all his powers and possesses the combined power of every Dark One who ever lived, making him even more powerful and dangerous than ever before.
- Darkness Generation and Control: As the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin can freely create, control and manipulate pure darkness and shadows to his will. He is the pure human embodiment of all evil, chaos and darkness in the world.
- Immortality: Rumplestiltskin has stopped aging when gained his powers and has proven immune to disease and other forms of human death (However, may be minor damage such as being cut by a sword, and will have to use his powers to heal). Apparently he doesn't feel the pain of his wounds, or at least has a great tolerance to it, as when he was stabbed he didn't have any kind of reaction.
- Teleportation: Rumplestiltskin can move from one place to another at will, disappearing into what looks like a purple smoke formation or red, however, he can also appear without creating the smoke effect.
- Telekinesis: Rumplestiltskin is capable of manipulating objects or people without physically touching them. He mainly uses this power to harm others and when he uses this power, the individual does it with a hand movement that mimics the action he wants to perform.
- Pyrokinesis: Rumplestiltskin is able to create and manipulate fire, often in the form of a fireball, effectively using it as a weapon against his enemies.
- Accelerated Healing: When he uses his healing abilities, Rumplestiltskin's hand will glow with purple and after having approached the wound, it will heal completely, leaving no visible sign, however, Rumplestiltskin does not seem to be able to treat some types of poisons such as Dreamshade.
- Transfiguration/Shapeshifter: Rumplestiltskin is able to spin straw into gold, turning human beings into animals or changing the physical aspect of himself or others.
- Superhuman Strength and Speed: Rumplestiltskin has proven to be incredibly fast and strong in melee combat. When faced soldiers who wanted to take his son in his first moments as the Dark One, he was able to break a neck with one hand, and moved so fast that the soldiers were not aware of the situation and failed to react. While devoid of magic, Mr. Gold, proved to have great physical strength for a man of his age and size.
- Arcane Knowledge: Rumplestiltskin has an almost infinite knowledge and understanding of spells, potions, and other topics related to magic, allowing him to do impossible things for common wizards. After the curse, Mr. Gold has an equally extensive knowledge in the field of law and legal.
- Summons: Rumplestiltskin is able to summon objects or beings through the magic, often materializing it in one hand via a purple smoke (It is not known if he actually creates objects or transporting them from another place, but it is possible that both options are true depending on the circumstances).
- Heart Extraction: Rumplestiltskin can remove the hearts of other living beings without killing them and use them to control the owner or kill them by crushing the heart.
- Perception: He seems to be able to sense when someone calls his name or when someone close to him.
- Resurrection: If Rumplestiltskin dies without having passed the title of Dark One to another being, he can be resurrected by the Dark One Vault, if another person decides to open it, giving up his life as a result.
- Technopaty: Rumplestiltskin's magic also allows him to manipulate technology being capable of changing the security footage in jail from when he killed Zelena.
- Seer Magic: After absorbing this power from the seer at the point of death, Rumplestiltskin has become able to see fragments of the future. However, these visions are not accurate because they show a range of possible future and it is difficult to see what will actually happen.
- Master Planner/Manipulator: Rumplestiltskin is incredibly intelligent in all of its forms. As a human being was capable of processing a plan that allowed him to destroy a castle with only limited help of his son. As the Dark One, was able to manipulate the lives of many people of the enchanted forest so that the sequence of events would lead to the Dark Curse. After the curse as Mr. Gold, he remains as manipulate and capable of elaborate and carry on complicated plans to achieve any goal.
- Expert Swordsman: Rumplestiltskin has proved adept in the use of the sword, managing to overpower Captain Hook and Prince Charming, albeit assisted by his magical powers.
- The Dark Curse: Like all people affected by the curse, Mr. Gold, earn all the knowledge that a man in his position would possess and has not aged for 28 years in which the curse was in effect. In addition, because of a previous agreement, if he asks for something in Regina saying "please" she will be forced to obey (After the curse was broken, Mr. Gold loses these abilities except for his knowledge and memories of the modern world).
- Dark One's Dagger: Anyone who owns his dagger will be able to kill Rumplestiltskin, causing him to lose its status as the Dark One and the chance to rise again. In addition, anyone who owns the dagger also has full control over the actions of Rumplestiltskin who is unable to disobey orders if not for a very short time.
- Laws of Magic: Like any magician or sorcerer, Rumplestiltskin is subject to the laws of magic, as a result he is unable to raise the dead, create love and time travel (Despite this, he has broken the first rule when it was resurrected by his son and bottled true love, however, he took advantage of having bottled something that already existed and it remains unknown whether it is a violation).
- True Love's Kiss: Like all curses, Rumplestiltskin's curse of being the Dark One can be broken with a kiss of true love. Though since he rejected it the first time, this no longer applies to him.
- Land Without Magic: If Mr. Gold leaves Storybrooke and enters the Land Without Magic, he is stripped of his powers and is rendered mortal. He created a talisman to avoid losing his memories as a result of crossing the town line after the first curse broke. It has been shown that removing the talisman causes disorientation and dizziness.
- Enchanted Cuffs: As shown (on-screen) cuffs that are enchanted to block magic have the same efect on him as anyone else.
- Squid Ink: Like all magical beings Rumplestiltskin can be immobilized with squid ink. However, since he now possesses the combined powers of every Dark One who ever lived; it no longer has any effect on him anymore.
Throughout the realms, Rumplestiltskin became known as a being of great power and was feared because of his ability to grant a person's deepest wishes and darkest desires with magical deals that proved to be worse than he would initially proclaim. These deals appear to transcend into the Storybrooke reality as well, with Rumplestiltskin's counterpart Mr. Gold retaining a similar disposition for swindling people in desperate situations. In either reality, it appears that Rumplestiltskin always benefits in the long term through his deals, despite short term set-backs brought about by certain individuals.
|Deal made with||Offers||Desires||Reason||Status|
|Baelfire||The Dark One's magic||Baelfire's happiness||Rumplestiltskin's love for his son||Broken by Rumplestiltskin|
|William Smee||Smee's youth||A magic bean||To find Baelfire||Never made|
|Seer||Take the Seer's power||Knowledge on how to find his son||To find Baelfire||Completed|
|Milah and Hook's life||A magic bean||To find Baelfire||Never made; killed Milah and cut off Hook's hand, leaving without the bean.|
|Jiminy Cricket||Marionette transforming potion||The potion's victims||Unknown||Completed|
|Cora||Teach her how to use magic||Cora's firstborn||The child will cast the Dark Curse||Revised|
|Cora||Teach her how to use magic||"Rumplestiltskin's child"||He loves Cora||Completed (did not get first-born child as result of a revised deal)|
|Ruth||Prosperity on her family's farm||One of her sons (Prince James)||To give to King George||Completed|
|Queen Regina||Magic lessons||A favor||She will cast the Dark Curse||Completed|
|Victor Frankenstein||Gold||Knowledge of how to bring back the dead||Regina's heartbreak||Unknown|
|Mad Hatter||A royal passport||Transport and introduce Victor Frankenstein to Queen Regina||To cause Regina's heartbreak||Completed (obtained passport from Regina)|
|Mad Hatter||Gold||Slippers and crystal ball||To find Baelfire||Completed (obtained only the crystal ball)|
|Dr. Frankenstein||An enchanted heart||Regina's heartbreak||Regina's willingness to learn magic||Completed (obtained enchanted heart from Regina)|
|Sir Maurice||Protection from ogres||Belle's eternal servitude||"He needs a maid"||Never made (Belle made deal instead)|
|Belle||Protection from ogres||Belle's eternal servitude||"He needs a maid"||Completed|
|Sheriff||His tongue||To learn the location of Robin Hood||To kill Robin Hood for stealing from him||Completed|
|Queen Regina||To perform a shapeshifting spell on her||Regina to cutoff all trade with King George's realm||Needs King George's kingdom bankrupt||Completed|
|King George||Prince Charming||The Fairy Godmother's location||He wants herwand||Completed|
|Belle||Belle returning from town with straw||Rumplestiltskin telling her how he lost his son||Rumplestiltskin falling in love with Belle||Completed in Storybrooke|
|Snow White||Forgetfulness potion||A lock of Snow's hair||To make a true love potion||Completed|
|Snow White||A bow and a map to kill the Evil Queen||Nothing||Being invested in her future; he knows her daughter will break the Dark Curse.||Completed|
|Prince Charming||Snow's location||Charming's cloak, which has a fews strands of his hair.||To make a true love potion from a strand of Charming's hair||Completed|
|Prince Charming||An enchanted ring||Placing the potion inside Maleficent||Bringing magic to Storybrooke||Completed|
|Prince Charming||A weapon to help Snow White to believe she was able to defeat the Evil Queen||Nothing||Rumplestiltskin had no interest in helping him||Never made (Prince Charming lied)|
|Cinderella||A night at the ball||Cinderella's firstborn||To get a favor from Emma.||Nullified|
|Snow White||An enchantment that will prove if Regina can change||Nothing||Regina will cast the Dark Curse out of desperation||Completed|
|Snow White||Information about the Dark Curse||Emma's name||To bring back his memories||Completed|
|Queen Regina||How to cast the Dark Curse||Comfort and favors||To maintain his power||Completed|
|Regina Mills||Finding a child for Regina to adopt (Henry)||Unknown||Needed Henry to find and bring Emma to Storybrooke||Completed|
|Ashley Boyd||A large sum of money||Her unborn child, Alexandra||Deal carried over||Nullified|
|Emma Swan||Ashley's debt forgiveness||A favor||Her help finding and getting his son to talk to him||Completed|
|Emma Swan||Good publicity||The sheriff's loyalty||Political power||Completed|
|Emma Swan||The person who bought the compass||Tolerance in burning Regina's house||To avoid trouble||Completed|
|Regina Mills||A plot of land||$50,000||To ruin Emma||Completed|
|Moe French||A car loan||Money||Financial influence||Completed|
|Regina Mills||Mr. Gold revealing his real name||Belle's teacup||His love and memory of Belle||Completed|
|Regina Mills||Mary Margaret Blanchard's guilt||Dropping the assault charges||Obtaining a clean slate||Completed|
|Mary Margaret Blanchard||Being her lawyer for the murder case||Nothing||Being invested in her future||Completed|
|David Nolan||A tracking potion||Peace||Keeping trouble away||Still Stands|
|Regina Mills||Cora's spell book||Regina's keeping silent about the Enchanted Forest's continued existence.||It's in his best interest||Broken; Regina revealed the truth|
|Belle||Belle coming back from town with straw||Mr. Gold telling her how he lost his son||She wants to know why he needs magic||Completed|
|Dr. Whale||A reattached arm||Whale's admittance that he needs magic||Mr. Gold's ego||Completed|
|Cora||A truce between her and Mr. Gold||The magic globe||To show him the location of his son||Completed|
|Mr. Smee||A talisman to keep his true memories intact once past the town border.||Needed a test subject for the potion that creates the talisman||Revenge for trying to force Belle over Storybrooke's borderline||Completed|
|Emma Swan||To pay back favor||Her help finding and getting his son to talk to him||Wants to find his son||Completed|
|Mary Margaret||Cora's death to protect her family||The life-restoring candle to be lit||The only way to save his life||Completed|
|David Nolan||A favor||Help in making Lacey fall in love with him||Wants to bring back Belle's memories||Completed|
|David Nolan||A potion that will allow Mary Margaret to find Regina||To pay back favor||Always honors his deals||Completed|
|The Healer||His second-born child||A healing potion||To cure Baelfire from a venomous snakebite||Unfinished, deal transferred to Hades|
Before the First Curse
As a boy, Rumplestiltskin's father Malcolm abandons him with two spinners, from whom he receives a magic bean to create a portal to another world. His father uses the bean to take them to Neverland, though he forces Rumplestiltskin to be returned to the Enchanted Forest, realizing his son is preventing him from becoming a boy again. Rumplestiltskin witnesses as his father transforms into Peter Pan. In his adult years, Rumplestiltskin is a poor spinner who deserts from the Ogre Wars, to the disgust of his wife Milah, who leaves him for the pirate Killian Jones. Rumplestiltskin is then tricked by Zoso and eventually becomes the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin kills Milah and cuts off Killian's hand, making him Captain Hook. He prevents his son Baelfire being forced to join the wars, though Bae wants rid of his powers, creating a portal to transport them to a world without magic. Rumplestiltskin fears losing his powers, leaving Bae to cross over alone; he vows to find his son. He trains Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, until she becomes jealous of his continued teaching of her half-sister, the Evil Queen Regina, who he chooses to cast his curse. As part of a deal to save her town, Belle becomes the caretaker of his estate and the two form a romantic bond until Rumplestiltskin forces her to leave forever, mistaking her for working with Regina, who later claims that Belle committed suicide. Soon afterwards, Prince Charming and Snow White use squid ink to immobilize, and placed him into a magical jail. Regina enacts his curse, and he requests that she give him a place of comfort in the "new world" that they will be sent to.
During the First Curse
In Storybrooke, he is Mr. Gold, the owner of a pawn shop and the town's wealthiest resident. He remembers his true identity, and owns most of the town. He finds Regina a baby whom she names Henry, only for her to later learn that he is Emma Swan's biological son. He helps Emma become Sheriff, and offers his legal services to Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White).
After the First Curse
Emma eventually breaks the curse and Gold is reunited with Belle, bringing magic back to Storybrooke, though he is later enraged when he learns that leaving the town will remove residents' magical memories, as he had planned to search for Baelfire. Gold eventually creates a potion to leave and tracks Bae to Manhattan, learning he is Neal Cassidy, Henry's father. Gold begins to die after he is poisoned by Hook with Dreamshade and the group return to Storybrooke, where Mary Margaret heals him by reluctantly cursing Cora's heart. When his grandson is kidnapped to Neverland, Gold (despite the prophecy) travels with Emma, her parents, Regina and Hook to rescue the boy from getting his heart taken by Peter Pan, Gold's father. Returning to Storybrooke, Pan attempts to kill his loved ones, though Gold uses his dagger to sacrifice both himself and his father. However, Pan's curse is enacted, and when Regina destroys her curse to end Pan's curse, the inhabitants are returned to the Enchanted Forest.
Before the Second Curse
Neal and Belle travel to Rumplestiltskin's castle and are located to the Dark One's vault where Neal resurrects Rumplestiltskin but kills himself. Before he dies, Rumplestiltskin merges Neal's body with his own.
During the Second Curse
When Snow White and Prince Charming enact a curse to stop Zelena, Mr. Gold is returned to Storybrooke under Zelena's control. Emma later finds him, only to find that Neal is trapped within him, thus causing Gold to lose his mind. Neal asks for Emma to free Gold to defeat Zelena, though he will die; she reluctantly agrees.
After the Second Curse
Mr. Gold proposes to Belle, also giving her his dagger. Unknown to her, it is a fake, and Gold uses the original to kill Zelena. He later marries Belle with her father's blessing, secretly returning the real dagger to Belle. Gold soon discovers the Sorcerer Merlin's magical hat in Storybrooke and once again defies Belle to take back the original blade. Attempting to cleave himself from his dagger and have ultimate power and control by killing Hook, Belle stops him and banishes him from the town. Gold finds Ursula and Cruella and enlists them to help in returning to Storybrooke, later teaming with Maleficent to find the Author of Henry's book and retrieve their own happy endings at the expense of Emma who's savior status must be removed. As Mr. Gold's darkened heart affliction worsens, he uses the Author to create an alternate universe in which villains get there happy endings. However, Henry undoes Isaac's work, and Belle finds an unconscious Mr. Gold back in Storybrooke. The Apprentice removes the Dark One's powers from Gold's heart and keeps him in a preservation spell. The darkness is then taken in by Emma, who becomes the new Dark One.
After the Third Curse
Six weeks later, Belle works on a potion to awake Mr. Gold from his coma. However, Emma kidnaps Gold and performs the spell herself, using the final ingredient: Hook's sword, an item that touched him before he became the Dark One. Emma demands that Gold be the hero to remove Excalibur from the stone, so that she may unite it with her dagger and snuff out the light for good. In order to turn him into the hero she needs, Emma forces Merida to turn Rumplestiltskin into a fighter, taking the princess's heart so that she has no choice. This task is made extra difficult, due to the fact that Gold is lame once more as he no longer has magic to fix his injury. To be a fighter, he would need to have a good leg, as he fruitlessly tries to point out.
Upon discovering this fact, Emma used this to blackmail Gold into helping the heroes journey to the Underworld to resurrect Hook. When he arrived, he is tempted by his father, who must live out his soul as Peter Pan, an offer to trade a living soul for his. He was also tempted by Hades to get an easy way to leave only to be betrayed after he was forced to send Milah to a worse place in death just as he and his ex-wife were starting to make peace with the issues in their marriage and abandoning Baelfire. Hades then blackmails him with the contract (that Rumple would give a healer his second child in exchange for Bae's health) to make him do his bidding. When he created a portal for Hades in order to bring Zelena's daughter to the Underworld, the portal also bought Belle as well, and he confessed to her about his reclaimed his role as the Dark One and her pregnancy, explaining that she cannot merely love him for the man she sees inside the beast, since the beast is also a part of him. Upset with Belle going into a sleep to protect their child, Gold decides to resort to using dark magic again, and with the help of Pan to act as a "Loophole," he kidnapped Zelena, as she was responsible for giving Belle the spindle that put her under in the first place. The contract is obscured and Rumple tries to give Belle True Love's kiss, but it doesn't work as she's losing faith in him. He obtains Pandora's Box to make her portable after using trickery to send his father to a worse place. When his father-in-law refuses to wake Belle in order to keep him away from her, he takes drastic measures by using the remnants of the Olympian Crystal to absorb all the magic in Storybrooke.
The Wish Realm Rumplestiltskin exists in an alternate world in which Emma Swan was never the savior. He is a powerful Dark One who loves to make deals with a price.
After giving the Evil Queen a Dark Curse, he is imprisoned underneath her Dark Palace. One day, he is listed by his long time enemy, Hook, who makes a deal with him for his freedom. Agreeing to the agreement, Rumplestiltskin reveals to Hook the whereabout of Captain Ahab, who possesses an enchanted talisman that Hook requires. Rumplestiltskin is then visited by Hook once again after acquiring the item, ready to deliver his part of the bargain. However, due to Ahab's interruption, Rumplestiltskin remains in his jail cell.
Years after the Dark Curse breaks, Rumplestiltskin is visited by Regina, an alternate version to the Queen who exists in his world. She comes to him in needs saving Emma. Rumplestiltskin shares some encouragement to Regina to bring in fear upon the realm in order to save Emma, in-exchange for his freedom. Regina toughens the bargain by seeking a magic bean from him. Happy with the agreement, Rumplestiltskin is released from his jail cell. He then meets up with Regina and Emma and hands over the magic bean. However, after finding out that Belle died due to starvation, and as he couldn't locate the Wish Realm's Evil Queen, Rumplestiltskin captures Regina, along with Robin of Locksley, with intention to punish her, but Regina escapes from him with Robin, and later with Emma back to Storybrooke.
- According to Robert Carlyle, Rumplestiltskin is three-hundred years old by the time the Dark Curse is cast.
- His spoken phrase, "Tick-tock, dearie, tick-tock!" is a reference to the crocodile who swallowed a clock from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.
- He spins gold out of straw frequently, though it is of no worth to him. Instead, Rumplestiltskin claims he does it to forget what he lost ("Skin Deep"). Although the Darkness suggested it was a hobby to pass the time, since Dark Ones don't sleep. ("The Dark Swan")
- During his lifetime, Rumplestiltskin has had some dogs, and has a fondness for them. ("The Cricket Game")
- Before he was imprisoned, Rumplestiltskin fought Cora and won. It is implied Cora came close to winning (as she didn't have any "weaknesses" i.e. loved ones) and could possibly beat now that he had one (Belle). ("Into the Deep")
- Rumplestiltskin once transformed a butcher into a pig. ("The Crocodile")
- He once made a deal with Don Juan, which made him a ladies man. ("Lacey")
- On Twitter, episode writer Jane Espenson stated a first name has never been established for Mr. Gold.
- He has a noticeable limp and walks with a cane, much like he did before he was cursed with the Dark One's abilities. Being in a Land Without Magic, Mr. Gold is unable to use his powers to placate his disability. However once magic was brought to Storybrooke in "A Land Without Magic", he no longer needed it, but chose to keep using it. It isn't until he returns to Storybrooke from Neverland in "The New Neverland" after saving his grandson that he chose to not use it to promise to Neal that he wasn't going to become the man he was again. He only uses it when outside Storybrooke or without his powers. He no longer needs to use it because Hook, as a Dark One, healed his injury in an act of chivalry. He still possesses it, using to threaten his father-in-law.
- Mr. Gold has a few gold teeth.
- He has a distant relationship with his grandson, but cares about him and doesn't harm him when he's at odds with the rest of their family, even impressed by how far Henry's belief has come.
- He greatly dislikes nuns ("Dreamy"). In reality, he hates the fairies (who all becomes nuns in Storybrooke), because he considers the Blue Fairy to be responsible for him losing his son.
- This hatred also stems from his mother, the Black Fairy, abandoning him when he was very young.
- Owns and operates a pawn shop where a number of objects from the Enchanted Forest are kept.
- Mr. Gold is a licensed attorney, a quality which allows him to broker many of his Storybrooke deals. He alludes to having enough legal experience to represent Mary Margaret in a criminal trial. ("Heart of Darkness")
- In the sixth season, Mr. Gold sports short hair. This is because at the time, Robert Carlyle was filming T2 Trainspotting.
- As it didn't grow back in the numerous years that occurred ("Beauty"), it's implied that as a side-effect of never aging, Dark Ones never need a haircut.
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