This article is about the character. For the episode, see Nimue (episode).

Nimue is an antagonist on the ABC show Once Upon a Time. She is the former love of Merlin and the first Dark One. She debuts in the seventh episode of the fifth season, "Nimue". She has no Storybrooke counterpart. She is the true main antagonist of the first-half of season five.


Physical Appearance

As a human, Nimue had olive skin, brown hair and brown eyes. As a Dark One, she has green skin and eyes, brown hair in a bun, and wears a long black cloak.

Powers and Abilities


  • Magic of the Dark One: After drinking from the Holy Grail, Nimue was granted immortality and given her powers. When she crushed the heart of Vortigan, she was consumed by her own darkness and so underwent a physical change in appearance and became the first Dark One.
    • Darkness Generation and Control: As the first Dark One, Nimue could freely create, control and manipulate pure darkness and shadows to her will. She was the pure human embodiment of all evil, chaos and darkness in the world.
    • Immortality: Nimue had stopped aging when she gained her powers and was immune to disease and other forms of human death. (However, may be minor damage such as being cut by a sword, will have to use her powers to heal). Apparently she doesn't feel the pain of her wounds, or at least has a great tolerance to it, and doesn't suffer from sleep deprivation.
    • Teleportation: Nimue can move from one place to another at will, disappearing into what looks like a purple smoke formation or red, however, she can also appear without creating the smoke effect.
    • Telekinesis: Nimue is capable of manipulating objects or people without physically touching them.
    • Pyrokinesis: Nimue is able to create and manipulate fire.
    • Accelerated Healing: When Nimue uses her healing powers, her hand will glow purple and after having approached the wound, it will heal completely, leaving no visible sign.
    • Transfiguration/Shapeshifting: Nimue is able to turn human beings into animals or change the physical aspect of herself or others.
    • Superhuman Strength and Speed: Nimue is incredibly fast and strong. When battling with Merlin, she was shown to be resilient, even under the control of the dagger, and was able to take it from him.
    • Arcane Knowledge: Nimue has an almost infinite knowledge and understanding of spells, potions, and other topics related to magic, allowing her to do impossible things for common witches.
    • Summoning: Nimue 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 she actually creates objects or transporting them from another place, but it is possible that both options are true depending on the circumstances).
    • Heart Extraction: Nimue 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.
    • Extrasensory Perception: Like Rumplestiltskin and Emma, Nimue is able to sense when someone calls her name or when someone close to her.
    • Resurrection: If Nimue had died without having passed the title of Dark One to another being, she could have been resurrected by the Dark One Vault, if another person decided to open it, giving up his/her life as a result.
    • Technopathy: Nimue's magic also allows her to control and manipulate technology.


  • Dark One's Dagger: Anyone who owns her dagger will be able to kill Nimue, causing her to lose her 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 Nimue who is unable to disobey orders if not for a very short time.
  • Laws of Magic: Like any witch or sorceress, Nimue is subject to the laws of magic, as a result she is unable to raise the dead, create love and time travel.
  • True Love's Kiss: Like all curses, Nimue's curse of being the Dark One can be broken with a kiss of true love.
  • Leaving a Magical Realm: If Nimue enters into a land without magic, she will lose all her powers and become fully mortal.


Before the First Curse

Merlin and Nimue 02

Nimue with Merlin before becoming the Dark One

Nimue lived in a small village located in or around Camelot, before it was burnt to the ground. Being the sole survivor, she fled to another village that was under the protection of Merlin's magic.

She eventually falls in love with Merlin, and wants to make a life with him. When Merlin reveals that he obtained his magic and immortality from the Holy Grail, and that he can't be with her because she can die and he can't, Nimue convinces Merlin to take her to the Grail so she can drink from it. They do not realize that the masked man who destroyed her village, named Vortigan, listens to their conversation.

When Merlin takes her to the spot where he found the Grail, they pass by the little remains of her former village, unaware that Vortigan had followed them. Using the Promethean Flame, Merlin turns the Grail into Excalibur. Vortigan makes himself known to them. As Merlin tries to fight him off with Excalibur, Nimue drinks from the Holy Grail. Eventually Nimue is stabbed by Vortigan and dies in Merlin's arms. As Merlin heads off, Nimue gets up. Astonished, Merlin asks how she survived, she reveals that she drank from the Grail, giving her magical abilities and immortality.

She pulls Vortigan's heart from his chest. Merlin tries to persuade her to put it back, as killing Vortigan would turn her dark. Nimue feels revenge is the best way to deal with him, and she crushes his heart. This allows the darkness within Vortigan's hear to infect and she immediately turns into a dark being, called the Dark One, with her skin turning a gold-ish green, and her eyes changing color. She

At some point, Merlin places Excalibur into the stone to make sure it was safe, then constructs the dagger, tethering Nimue's spirit to it so he could control and prevent her reign of terror. She later manages to take the dagger from him after he is unable to kill her. With the power of the dagger, Nimue turns Merlin into a tree.

Nimue also constructs the Vault of the Dark One at some point in time.

Before the Third Curse

After Emma turns Hook into a co-Dark One, Nimue appears as one of the voices in his head. She also appears to Merlin. As hook prepares to enact the Dark Curse, Merlin explains that he can only do so by crushing the heart of the one he loves most. Nimue explains to Merlin, that she still loves him and as she is all Dark Ones, can take Merlin's heart to enact the Curse. Acting through Hook, Nimue pulls Merlin's heart from his chest, crushing it into the pot as the final ingredient.

During the Third Curse

After Emma Swan becomes the new Dark One, Nimue and all the previous Dark Ones, including Rumplestiltskin, exist as voices in Emma's head, instructing her on what to do. Nimue convinces Emma to rejoin the dagger to the rest of Excalibur, which she succeeds in doing.

After the Third Curse

Using some of Rumplestiltskin's blood, Hook opens up a portal to the Underworld, allowing Nimue and all the previous Dark One's to be resurrected and enter Storybrooke as part of his plan for revenge. Nimue brands Henry with a mark, that would allow her to trade places with him, sending him to the Underworld and letting her to live in Storybrooke. Several other former Dark Ones repeat the process with other characters (such as Snow, Charming, Emma, and Regina). Eventually, Hook and the Dark Ones trap Emma and her family in the park. Emma and Hook start to fight, but Hook turns on Nimue, sucking her and all the other Dark Ones into Excalibur, containing their power in the sword.


Promotional Images

Publicity Images



  • Nimue is the first person to ever become the Dark One
  • She also created the Dark One's Dagger.
    • Despite being immortal from drinking from the Grail, she can be (and most likely was) killed by the dagger.
  • She is the only other known female Dark One, besides Emma Swan.
  • Emma discovers that Nimue was the one who turned Merlin into a tree.

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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"
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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"
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Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal Blade
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"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 MagicThe Queen SingsLove Doesn't Stand a ChanceRevenge Is Gonna Be MineWicked Always WinsCharmings vs. Evil QueenEmma's ThemeA Happy Beginning

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