The Dark One is a magical entity featured on ABC series Once Upon a Time. It first appears in "Pilot", while the lore is explored during the first half of the fifth season.

Background Information

Effects of the Curse

True love's kiss will not break a Dark One's curse if the Dark One doesn't want to give up the power. Nor will true love's kiss work if both people involved are Dark Ones. Everyone who becomes a Dark One always claims that they will never give in to the darkness, but fail; Emma proved the strongest at resisting, but gave in when she refused to let Hook die by turning him into a second Dark One. Hook later pointed out that Emma only gave in out of love; likely being born of her parents' True Love gave Emma a stronger will than others possessed by the darkness. Dark Ones don't need sleep, as the power of the Darkness keeps them energized. However, it appears this is optional in A Land Without Magic, as Mr. Gold was seen sleeping after magic was brought to Storybrooke; Hook also never mentioned having trouble sleeping when his memory of being a Dark One was erased. Dark Ones such as Rumplestiltskin and Emma Swan developed hobbies to pass the time instead; Rumplestiltskin spun straw into gold and Emma made dreamcatchers. All Dark Ones find it irresistible to make deals.

According to Cora and Mr. Gold, when the Dark One is killed without the dagger, she/he will expel the power of the darkness, with no new Dark One, and the curse will "pass from this world". Despite this, the previous host can be resurrected through the Vault of the Dark One, but at the cost of another's life.

Dark Ones are drawn to their dagger, as it "whispers" to them to take possession of it. Emma later finds out, that she can still hear the whispers of the Dark One dagger; Mr. Gold hadn't counted on this, as all past Dark Ones are dead, and Emma was an exception.


As the Darkness takes ahold of an person and makes them a Dark One, each individual is affected differently. After Nimue becomes the first Dark One, by using her newly found magic for evil, her skin transforms green, and hey eyes change their shhape. For Zoso and Rumplestiltskin, their skin transformed into a gold hue. Emma's appearance changed, though not as drastically as her hair became pale and her lips appeared to turn red. Hook as a Dark One, changed the least. He simply had messier hair and a somewhat quirky demeanor - it should be noted that Emma and Hook, were the only Dark One's not to be turned through the act of murder.


  • Darkness Generation and Control: As a Dark One, the individual can freely create, control and manipulate pure darkness and shadows to their will. They are the pure human embodiment of all evil, chaos and darkness in the world.
  • Immortality: The host stops aging when gained their powers and have proven immune to disease and most 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).
  • Teleportation: The ability to move from one place to another at will.
  • Telekinesis: Being able to manipulating objects or people without physically touching them.
  • Pyrokinesis: The ability to create and manipulate fire.
  • Accelerated Healing: When the host uses their healing abilities, their hand will glow with purple and after having approached the wound, it will heal completely, leaving no visible sign, however, they are unable to treat some types of poisons such as ddreamshade.
  • Transfiguration/Shapeshifter: The ability to change the the physical aspect of a person or object.
  • Superhuman Strength and Speed: Enhances traits that allow the host to be incredibly fast and strong in melee combat.
  • Arcane Knowledge: Various hosts have demonstrated an almost infinite knowledge and understanding of spells, potions, and other topics related to magic, allowing him to do impossible things for common wizards.
  • Summons: The ability to summon objects or beings through the magic.
  • Heart Extraction: Being able remove the hearts of other living beings without killing them and use them to control the owner or kill them by crushing the heart. This was the act that created the Dark One.
  • Perception: Being able to sense when someone calls the host's name (when called three timed) or when someone's close to them.
  • Resurrection: If the host dies without having passed the title of Dark One to another being, they can be resurrected via Dark One Vault, if another person decides to open it, giving up his life as a result.
  • Technopaty: Magic also allows the host to manipulate technology.


The Darkness is a sentient force of pure evil. It appears as a black mass of tendrils without a host. It's later revealed to be the embodiment of Nimue's magic/soul, which became corrupted after Nimue used the magic granted to her by the Holy Grail to kill Vortigan (the Darkness is immortal, this is a result of Nimue drinking the waters of the Holy Grail). She, along with the other consciousnesses of the Dark Ones, continue to reside in their successors. When one becomes a Dark One, a mental image of their predecessor appears to guide them in how to use the Darkness's powers. The waterfall in the pocket dimension inside the Vault of the Dark One is liquid darkness.

To keep Nimue from causing damage, Merlin created the Dark One's Dagger via a tethering spell to control her. However, she stole it and later used it to turn Merlin into a tree. Nimue would later be stabbed by the dagger, allowing her magic and consciousness to possess her attacker. Thus anyone who killed a Dark One gained magic and the Darkness grew more powerful with each new Dark One. This began the Dark One line. Between Nimue and Gorgon the Invincible, there were at least 18 Dark Ones. After these 20 came Zoso and Rumplestiltskin.

When Mr. Gold's heart is in danger of being devoured by the Darkness, the Apprentice attempts to seal it in the Sorcerer's Hat; it escapes and fatally wounds him in an attempt to make him its new host. It tries using Regina next, but Emma uses the dagger to force the Darkness to possess her instead.

Though it's believed Emma has fallen under the Darkness's sway, flashbacks reveal that she remains un-corrupted by it; in truth she was planning to transfer the Darkness into Zelena after she gives birth, and then slay her to put an end to the Darkness. The reason for this is that half of the Darkness was transferred into Hook to save his life; he had received a wound to his neck from Excalibur, which was unable to be healed, thus forcing Emma to do this out of love.

Unfortunately, Hook has surrendered to the Darkness (and acts quirky as Rumplestiltskin when around Mr. Gold), continuing Nimue's plan to destroy light magic; he manages to open a portal to the Underworld, bringing back every Dark One between Nimue and Zoso. Luckily, Hook's love for Emma allows him to see that revenge is not the right path, allowing him to seal all the Dark Ones into Excalibur; rather than have Emma sacrifice herself, as she has family, Hook offers his own life, freeing her of the Darkness. With this, both the Darkness and Excalibur vanish into nothingness.

Unfortunately, Mr. Gold created a new Dark One's Dagger to absorb all the Dark Ones' magic making him even stronger than Emma.

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Shows: Once Upon a TimeOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland

Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the QueenOnce Upon a Time: Out of the PastOnce Upon a Time: Red's Untold TaleOnce Upon a Time: Regina Rising

Once Upon a Time:
Season One: Emma SwanSnow White/Mary Margaret BlanchardPrince Charming/David NolanRumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold/WeaverEvil Queen/Regina Mills/RoniBelle/Lacey FrenchHenry MillsHappySneezy/Tom ClarkBashfulDocDopeySleepy/WalterJiminy Cricket/Archie HopperStealthyVictor Frankenstein/Dr. WhaleBlue FairyWidow Lucas/GrannyKing George/Albert SpencerGenie/Magic Mirror/Sidney GlassMad Hatter/JeffersonPrince Henry/The ValetKnave of HeartsSheriff of Nottingham/KeithFairy GodmotherAbigail/Kathryn NolanRed Riding Hood/The Wolf/RubyHuntsman/Sheriff GrahamBaelfire/Neal CassidyPinocchio/August W. BoothFrederick/JimSevere NurseMayor TomkinsHansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava ZimmerThe Woodcutter/Michael TillmanMartinMyrnaStephenDonnaPrince JamesBlind WitchPeterSirenPongoGastonThe King/Mitchell HermanKing LeopoldKing MidasZosoPrince Thomas/Sean HermanGraceDaniel ColterNovaBriar RoseGeppetto/MarcoGus/BillyRuthDark One

Season Two: Killian Jones/Hook/RogersAuroraPrince PhillipMulanMilahMaid MarianQuinnAlphonse FrankensteinAnita LucasJackKing XavierAntonWilliam SmeeGreg MendellTamaraThe DragonQueen EvaSeerLancelotRobin Hood
Season Three: Peter Pan/Malcolm/Pied PiperWendy DarlingArielZelena/The Wicked Witch of the WestGlinda/The Good Witch of the SouthThe Wizard of Oz/WalshElsa the Snow QueenTinker BellBlackbeardLumiereUrsula the Sea GoddessJonathanDorothy GaleThe Witch of the EastRapunzelRapunzel's MotherRapunzel's FatherLost BoysJohn DarlingMichael DarlingThe ShadowThe Sheriff of HamelinNanaMary DarlingGeorge DarlingMedusaPrince EricLiam JonesRoland
Season Four: AnnaKristoffHansGrand PabbieSvenUrsula the Sea WitchMarshmallowLittle Bo PeepThe ApprenticeIngridLily PageColetteOakenKing of ArendelleQueen GerdaCruella De VilPoseidonDuke of WeseltonHans' BrothersChernabogKing StefanIsaac/The AuthorMadelineMerlin/The Sorcerer
Season Five: MeridaQueen EleanorKing FergusHarris, Hubert, and HamishThe WitchLord MacGuffinLord MacintoshLord DingwallKing ArthurSir KayGuinevereCharonBrennan JonesHadesMegaraHerculesCerberusThe ScarecrowTotoCleo FoxAuntie EmDr. JekyllMr. HydeEvil Queen
Season Six: Count of Monte CristoAladdinGideonJasmineRed BirdCaptain NemoLady TremaineClorindaTisbeJacobOracleRoyal GuardsThe SultanBeowulfBlack FairyTiger LilyRobertPrince AchmedStanumCowardly LionLucy
Season Seven: Rapunzel Tremaine/Victoria BelfreyCinderella/Jacinda VidrioTiana/SabineAlice/TillyDrizella/Ivy BelfreyAnastasiaGothel/Eloise GardenerEudoraDr. Facilier/Mr. SamdiHansel/Jack/Nick BransonMarcus TremaineCeceliaCoven of the EightMadame LeotaNaveen/DrewBlind Witch/HildaGretelChadSeraphinaFloraIslaZorro

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: AliceCyrusAnastasia/Red QueenPercy/White RabbitEdwinJabberwockySilvermistThe Sultan/The Old PrisonerTweedle Dee and Tweedle DumMrs. RabbitElizabeth/LizardAmaraBandersnatchMillie
Both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of HeartsCinderella/Ashley BoydRobin HoodLittle JohnFriar TuckGrumpy/LeroyCora/The Queen of HeartsCaterpillarMaleficentJafarDr. Lydgate

Season One: "Pilot" • "The Thing You Love Most" • "Snow Falls" • "The Price of Gold" • "That Still Small Voice" • "The Shepherd" • "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" • "Desperate Souls" • "True North" • "7:15 A.M." • "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" • "Skin Deep" • "What Happened to Frederick" • "Dreamy" • "Red-Handed" • "Heart of Darkness" • "Hat Trick" • "The Stable Boy" • "The Return" • "The Stranger" • "An Apple Red as Blood" • "A Land Without Magic"

Season Two: "Broken" • "We Are Both" • "Lady of the Lake" • "The Crocodile" • "The Doctor" • "Tallahassee" • "Child of the Moon" • "Into the Deep" • "Queen of Hearts" • "The Cricket Game" • "The Outsider" • "In the Name of the Brother" • "Tiny" • "Manhattan" • "The Queen Is Dead" • "The Miller's Daughter" • "Welcome to Storybrooke" • "Selfless, Brave and True" • "Lacey" • "The Evil Queen" • "Second Star to the Right" • "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
Season Three: "The Heart of the Truest Believer" • "Lost Girl" • "Quite a Common Fairy" • "Nasty Habits" • "Good Form" • "Ariel" • "Dark Hollow" • "Think Lovely Thoughts" • "Save Henry" • "The New Neverland" • "Going Home" • "New York City Serenade" • "Witch Hunt" • "The Tower" • "Quiet Minds" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "The Jolly Roger" • "Bleeding Through" • "A Curious Thing" • "Kansas" • "Snow Drifts" • "There's No Place Like Home"
Season Four: "A Tale of Two Sisters" • "White Out" • "Rocky Road" • "The Apprentice" • "Breaking Glass" • "Family Business" • "The Snow Queen" • "Smash the Mirror" • "Fall" • "Shattered Sight" • "Heroes and Villains" • "Darkness on the Edge of Town" • "Unforgiven" • "Enter the Dragon" • "Poor Unfortunate Soul" • "Best Laid Plans" • "Heart of Gold" • "Sympathy for the De Vil" • "Lily" • "Mother" • "Operation Mongoose"
Season Five: "The Dark Swan" • "The Price" • "Siege Perilous" • "The Broken Kingdom" • "Dreamcatcher" • "The Bear and the Bow" • "Nimue" • "Birth" • "The Bear King" • "Broken Heart" • "Swan Song" • "Souls of the Departed" • "Labor of Love" • "Devil's Due" • "The Brothers Jones" • "Our Decay" • "Her Handsome Hero" • "Ruby Slippers" • "Sisters" • "Firebird" • "Last Rites" • "Only You" • "An Untold Story"
Season Six: "The Savior" • "A Bitter Draught" • "The Other Shoe" • "Strange Case" • "Street Rats" • "Dark Waters" • "Heartless" • "I'll Be Your Mirror" • "Changelings" • "Wish You Were Here" • "Tougher Than the Rest" • "Murder Most Foul • "Ill-Boding Patterns" • "Page 23" • "A Wondrous Place" • "Mother's Little Helper" • "Awake" • "Where Bluebirds Fly" • "The Black Fairy" • "The Song in Your Heart" • "The Final Battle"
Season Seven: "Hyperion Heights" • "A Pirate's Life"• "The Garden of Forking Paths" • "Beauty" • "Greenbacks" • "Wake Up Call" • "Eloise Gardener" • "Pretty in Blue" • "One Little Tear" • "The Eighth Witch" • "Secret Garden" • "A Taste of the Heights" • "Knightfall" • "The Girl in the Tower" • "Sisterhood" • "Breadcrumbs" • "Chosen" • "The Guardian" • "Flower Child" • "Is This Henry Mills?" • "Homecoming" • "Leaving Storybrooke"

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Down the Rabbit Hole" • "Trust Me" • "Forget Me Not" • "The Serpent" • "Heart of Stone" • "Who's Alice?" • "Bad Blood" • "Home" • "Nothing to Fear" • "Dirty Little Secrets" • "Heart of the Matter" • "To Catch a Thief" • "And They Lived..."

Once Upon a Time: BostonDark PalaceMaurice's CastleDark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's CastleLibraryKing's CastleTremaine estateMaurice's CastleDwarves' CottageDwarf MinesGeppetto's HomeNew York CityKing Stefan's CastleThe BeanstalkGiant's LairEnglandLondonDarling NurseryNeverlandBig BenSkull RockHamelinMaritime CastleRapunzel's TowerVault of the Dark OneLand of OzYellow Brick RoadEmerald CityArendelleValley of the Living RockArendelle CastleElsa's Ice PalaceWandering Oaken's Trading Post and SaunaBald MountainRing of StonesDunBrochWitch's CottageCastle DunBrochUnderworldMount OlympusPoppy FieldsAuntie's Chicken & WafflesCave of WondersPleasure IslandMagical ForestSeattleHyperion HeightsBelle & Gold's HouseFacilier's LairGothel's GardenTiana's PalaceSan FranciscoMemento MoriMaldoniaFlynn's BarcadeUnited RealmsSnow White's Farm

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Wonderland CastleThe Mad Hatter's HouseWhite Rabbit's HouseUnderlandTulgey Wood
Both series: StorybrookeMaineEnchanted ForestForbidden FortressWonderlandWonderland MazeAgrabahSherwood ForestThe Sultan's Palace

Once Upon a Time: Once Upon a Time (Book)Snow White's Glass CoffinRed Riding HoodMaleficent's StaffMagic WandGlass SlipperPoisoned AppleSpinning WheelMagic LampDark One's DaggerChipped CupJefferson's HatMagic BeansCaptain Hook's HooksEnchanted CandlePixie DustDreamshadeSalad ForkPandora's BoxSilver SlippersSorcerer HatEnchanted BroomTridentEnchanted ShellHeroes and Villains (Book)Merida's BowMagical RoseExcaliburOlympian CrystalCinderella's DressGolden Scarab BeetleRapunzel's Frying PanMagical Golden FlowerShrinking PotionFloating LanternsTarot CardsMaui's Fish Hook

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal Blade
Both series: Jafar's Snake StaffEnchanted HeartsJafar's Lamp

Songs Featured
"Give a Little Whistle" • "Heigh-Ho" • "With a Smile and a Song" • "Beauty and the Beast" • "Part of Your World" • "Fathoms Below" • "Cruella De Vil • "Some Day My Prince Will Come" • "The Unbirthday Song"

Original Songs: "Powerful Magic" • The Queen SingsLove Doesn't Stand a ChanceRevenge Is Gonna Be MineWicked Always WinsCharmings vs. Evil QueenEmma's ThemeA Happy Beginning

The Jolly RogerMagic CarpetRoyal ShipCruella's carNautilusCinderella's Coach
FairiesUnicornsDragonsBridge TrollsWerewolvesWraithOgresMermaidsKrakenFlying MonkeysRock TrollsWill O' the WispsFuriesMunchkinsTree Nymphs
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