Abandoned by his father – who goes to Neverland and becomes Peter Pan – and mother, the Black Fairy, Rumplestiltskin is raised by spinsters. He eventually marries a woman named Milah, and they live a happy life together. Rumplestiltskin is then chosen to join their army and fight against the ogres. Close to the battlefield and now a soldier, Rumplestiltskin is assigned to guard a seer, who is locked in a cage. However, the seer tells Rumplestiltskin that he will die when the soldiers ride cows to battle. Rumplestiltskin doesn't acknowledge what the seer is saying, until he discovers that "cows" are a slang term for leather saddles. Fearing death, Rumplestiltskin grabs a hammer and breaks one of his legs with it so that he will go home. But when he returns home, Milah expresses disgust at Rumplestiltskin's cowardice and starts taking regular trips to the pub where she hangs out with a crew of pirates. Milah eventually abandons Rumplestiltskin and their son Baelfire for a life of adventure as a pirate. Rumplestiltskin is known as the village coward, until Baelfire is suddenly at risk of being forced to join the war. Rumplestiltskin steals a dagger tethered to the Dark One.
However, when the Dark One provokes him, Rumplestiltskin stabs him to death, which unknowingly transforms him into the Dark One. Now radiating with dark magic, Rumplestiltskin kills the soldiers that are sent for Baelfire and ends the war. However, he begins exhibiting murderous and sadistic behaviour, which concerns Baelfire. Asking the Blue Fairy for help, Baelfire gains a magic bean which he uses to open a portal so that he and Rumplestiltskin can travel to a land without magic where Rumplestiltskin won't be the Dark One. However, Rumplestiltskin clings to his power and abandons Baelfire, who is sucked into the portal. Immediately regretting this decision, Rumplestiltskin vows to find his son no matter the cost. Stealing the ability of foresight from the seer he met during the war, Rumplestiltskin discovers that the daughter of a woman named Cora will help him find his son. He trains Cora's daughters Zelena and Regina, but when Zelena gets overly jealous that Rumplestiltskin is still training Regina, she leaves and Rumplestiltskin dedicates himself to turning Regina evil. Regina eventually casts the Dark Curse which sends everyone to Storybrooke, including Rumplestiltskin.
In Storybrooke, Rumplestiltskin becomes Mr. Gold, a wealthy but shady businessman who owns a pawnshop. He is cursed like everyone else - except Regina and Jefferson - until Emma Swan arrives and he hears Emma speak her name causing him to regain his memories as Rumplestiltskin. After Emma intervenes in a deal which involves Gold taking away Ashley Boyd's baby, Emma finds herself making a deal with Gold, ensuring that he will leave Ashley alone as long as Emma agrees to owe him a favour. When a stranger named August Booth arrives in Storybrooke, Gold thinks that he is Baelfire, but is mistaken when he gives August his dagger, and August tries to control him with it and fails. When the first Dark Curse is broken by Emma, Rumplestiltskin uses a bottle of true love which he made in the Enchanted Forest to bring magic to Storybrooke, coating the town in smoke.
Rumplestiltskin is reunited with Belle, his maid in the Enchanted Forest, and discovers that Regina had her captive all this time, when he believed that Belle was dead. He summons a wraith who tracks down Regina and tries to suck out her soul but fails and is banished with the Mad Hatter's hat. Captain Hook is seeking revenge against Rumplestiltskin, who is responsible for the loss of Hook's hand and also killed Milah. When Hook arrives in Storybrooke, the rivalry between he and Rumplestiltskin gets fierce. However, Rumplestiltskin's real intentions are to be able to cross the town border without losing his memories so that he can find Baelfire, and he manages to find a way. However, Hook shoots Belle which causes her to collapse outside the town border and lose her memories. This doesn't delay him for long, and he goes with Emma and Henry to Manhattan. Baelfire is revealed to be not only Rumplestiltskin's son, but also Emma's ex and Henry's father. After realizing this newfound twisted family tree, Rumplestiltskin is stabbed by Hook's hook, which is coated in dreamshade poison.
Since Rumplestiltskin has no magic, he starts dying. They return to Storybrooke, where it is revealed that Cora is in possession of the Dark One's dagger and that she wants to kill Rumplestiltskin herself and become the new Dark One. It is also revealed that Cora and Rumplestiltskin once loved each other before Cora ripped her heart out, and Cora nearly kills Rumplestiltskin, until her daughter Regina puts Cora's heart back inside her body. However, her heart had previously been cursed by Snow White, and Cora dies. Rumplestiltskin returns back to his original immortal self as the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin attempts to relight the relationship with himself and an amnesiac Belle, until Regina's interference results in Belle thinking that she is a skimpy barfly named Lacey. Rumplestiltskin and "Lacey" go on a date, until Rumplestiltskin realizes that she had gone to go make out with a guy named Keith. Completely losing it, Rumplestiltskin proceeds to rip out Keith's tongue so he cannot scream, and starts beating him with his cane. However, Lacey finds it entertaining and so Rumplestiltskin continues beating the man. Rumplestiltskin eventually receives a potion created by the Blue Fairy, which will restore Belle's memories. He eventually gets her to drink it, and her memories come back. After Henry is kidnapped by Tamara and Greg, Rumplestiltskin goes with Emma, Snow, David, Hook and Regina to Neverland to save him.
In Neverland, Rumplestiltskin abandons the others and goes looking for Henry by himself. He is confronted by his past. When Henry is rescued, Rumplestiltskin manages to trap his father in Pandora's Box and they all go back to Storybrooke. Rumplestiltskin is reunited with Belle, but it is revealed that Pan managed to possess Henry's body before he was sucked into Pandora's Box and controls Henry. Pan casts a second Dark Curse which will alter Storybrooke until it becomes "the new Neverland", designed in his image. However, when Pan is returned to his own body, Rumplestiltskin wields his dagger before holding Pan in a tight grip and stabbing his father through his back, but so that it goes through Rumplestiltskin as well. With the Dark One's dagger being the only thing powerful enough to kill Rumplestiltskin, he explodes into white light which also destroys Peter Pan.
He is eventually resurrected by Baelfire, who uses the Vault of the Dark One to bring him back to life, but this ends up killing Baelfire. Zelena arrives and manages to obtain the Dark One's dagger, therefore controlling Rumplestiltskin. She keeps Rumplestiltskin in his castle, and when Snow White casts a third Dark Curse, Zelena gives him a memory potion to keep his memories of the past year in the Enchanted Forest, but he doesn't end up drinking it. After the third Dark Curse sends everyone back to Storybrooke, Zelena keeps him in a cage in her storm cellar, able to control the Dark One as she wields the dagger. On Zelena's orders, he goes to Robin Hood's camp and manages to get Regina's blackened heart - which she gave to Robin Hood - by threatening Robin Hood's son, Roland. After returning to Zelena and giving her Regina's heart, Zelena invites Rumplestiltskin to dinner inside her house, where she reveals that she plans on going back in time, and says that he could go with her and be reunited with Bae. Rumplestiltskin attempts to seduce Zelena and they kiss, but Zelena realizes that this is an act to get the dagger, and sends him back to his cage, telling him that he won't see Baelfire again. Zelena manages to take Rumplestiltskin's brain, along with Snow and David's baby, and almost activates the time-travel spell, but she is defeated and rendered powerless by Regina, who removes Zelena's magic pendant. Regina obtains the dagger and gives it to Belle, who gives it to Rumplestiltskin. However, Rumplestiltskin gives it back to Belle, and asks her to marry him. Belle says yes, and they embrace. Unknown to Belle though, Rumplestiltskin actually gave Belle a fake copy of the dagger, and has the real one. Rumplestiltskin pays Zelena a visit, who is locked up in a cell at the police station. As an act of revenge, Rumplestiltskin murders Zelena with the real Dark One's dagger. When the others arrive at the station the next day, Rumplestiltskin tampers with the surveillance camera footage, making it look like Zelena killed herself. Rumplestiltskin and Belle finally get married, getting blessings from Belle's father.
Rumple and Belle spend their honeymoon at an unoccupied mansion, where they have their first ballroom dance. However, he recognizes a device that, when activated, turns into the Sorcerer's Hat. Keeping it, he manages to unlock it with the Dark One's dagger, although Hook confronts him about it and blackmails him more than once. In retaliation, Rumplestiltskin makes a deal with Hook which involves restraining the Sorcerer's Apprentice while Rumplestiltskin sucks the Apprentice into the hat. Rumplestiltskin uses this as counter-blackmail against Hook. When Emma's powers become out of control, Rumplestiltskin takes this as an opportunity to fuel the Hat with her powers. However, Emma chooses not to part with her magic, and remains clueless that Rumplestiltskin intended to trap her in the Hat. When Hook tries to warn her, Rumplestiltskin rips out Hook's heart, claiming that he can perform a spell that will free himself from the dagger's control.
However, Rumple decides to keep Hook's heart so that Hook will do his bidding. On Rumplestiltskin's orders, Hook traps the fairies in Storybrooke, including the Blue Fairy, inside the Sorcerer's Hat to fuel it. However, everyone finds out what he is up to, and Belle finds the real dagger, using it to stop Rumple from killing Hook, before forcing her husband over the town line, banishing the Dark One. Six weeks later, Rumplestiltskin recruits Ursula and Cruella De Vil, and they all manage to use ancient enchanted scrolls in order to infiltrate Storybrooke, where they resurrect Maleficent. Rumplestiltskin witnesses Belle kissing Will Scarlet from afar, and is heartbroken. They kidnap Pinocchio and almost torture him on information about The Author, but Pinocchio is rescued. Rumplestiltskin manages to find The Author, who learns that Rumplestiltskin's dark deeds have made his heart so black that he is dying. Using Lily's darkened blood as the ink, Isaac writes a whole new story where villains win. However, this fate is reversed by Henry, and the darkness almost destroys Rumplestiltskin until the Sorcerer's Apprentice manages to exorcise the darkness out of him and briefly into the Sorcerer's Hat. His heart becomes a blank slate, and Rumplestiltskin is preserved until it can be decided whether he can be saved.
Still comatose, the Blue Fairy gives Belle a magical rose that will keep her informed of Gold's condition while she helps the heroes. Meanwhile, Emma has absorbed the darkness and becomes the new Dark One. Rumplestiltskin becomes a figment of her imagination, a manifestation of the darkness inside her guiding her into evil. Gold is woken by a healing spell from Emma, who commands Merida to train Gold into being the hero that will pull Excalibur from the stone. Rumplestiltskin eventually does pull Excalibur from the stone, but warns Emma that he is now a hero. Hook, who has become another Dark One created by Emma, duels Rumplestiltskin on The Jolly Roger, and Rumplestiltskin wins but Hook escapes. Rumplestiltskin hands over Excalibur to Emma, but not before secretly pouring a potion on it, ensuring that when Emma used the legendary blade to remove the darkness from herself and Hook, it would eventually return to Rumplestiltskin, returning his status as the current and only Dark One. Rumple goes with the heroes to the Underworld, where he runs into numerous familiar faces such as his ex-wife Milah, as well as his father Peter Pan, the latter of whom he teams up with. However, Rumple betrays his father, condemning Pan to the River of Lost Souls before leaving the Underworld. After obtaining the Olympian crystal, Rumplestiltskin tethers Storybrooke's magic to it and with its removal from Storybrooke, he is able to use magic outside Storybrooke - as can Emma and Regina. Rumplestiltskin collects all this power in an attempt to free Belle from a Sleeping Curse, although when Belle is taken by Mr. Hyde, Rumple is forced to make a deal so that Belle is returned to him and Storybrooke belongs to Hyde.
Rumplestiltskin enters Belle's dreams to wake her from her Sleeping Curse, but when Belle eventually does wake up, she refuses to return to him. After a confrontation with the Evil Queen, Rumple sends Belle a lullaby for their son, before giving himself a haircut. He later traps Belle on the Jolly Roger to protect her from Hyde. Rumplestiltskin is once again visited by the Evil Queen, expresses her desire for him, as well as her desire to obtain Snow White's heart. Rumplestiltskin forms a physical relationship with the Evil Queen, although he tells Belle it does not mean anything. When Belle finds out Rumple plans to sever their unborn son's fate with magic shears, she confronts him and forbids him from doing so, unintentionally driving Rumple's fury towards Zelena. He tries to get the Evil Queen to kill her, but she fails, as does Rumple's plan to abduct his newborn son Gideon. Shortly after learning that Gideon has been taken by the Black Fairy, Rumple and Belle are suddenly confronted by Gideon, now an adult after spending 28 years in another realm where time works differently.
Rumple and Belle learn that Gideon has come to Storybrooke so he can kill Emma Swan and inherit her Savior powers so he can return to the Black Fairy's realm and destroy the Black Fairy. Although Belle fears for his son, Rumple decides to help Gideon so that his son does not succumb to darkness. However, Rumple finds out that Gideon is being controlled by the Black Fairy, who has Gideon's heart, and tells his mother that he is willing to destroy Storybrooke if it means he can destroy her.
Rumplestiltskin is visited by Emma and Hook, and he tries to kill Hook until Emma explains that they are from the future. Rumplestiltskin agrees to help them, and can open a portal to the future. However, first they must recreate the time that Snow and David met, so he disguises Emma and Hook as royals so they can go to David and Abigail's ball, which is at King Midas' castle. Emma recreates the time her parents first met, though Rumplestiltskin plans to keep Emma and Hook in his vault, but eventually lets them go after finding out his son died a hero. Afterwards, he drinks a forgetting potion to forget his encounter with the people of the future.
Rumplestiltskin is known as the Light One, and is a brave knight who slays ogres and uses light magic.
Having been described as the most powerful sorcerer in all the realms, Rumplestiltskin has an array of powers.
- Dark One's Curse: As the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin has the ability to use the darkest of magic.
- Teleportation: Rumplestiltskin can teleport himself and others.
- Telekinesis: Using magic, Rumplestiltskin can move objects and people from one place to another.
- Elemental Control: Rumplestiltskin can control and conjure fire, as well as manipulate other elements.
- Healing: He can magically heal almost any injuries, including gunshot wounds.
- Heart-Ripping: Being the Dark One, Rumple can rip out people's hearts, either to kill or control them.
- Potioncraft: Rumplestiltskin has an acute knowledge of potions and the ingredients used to make them.
- Glamour: Rumplestiltskin can magically disguise himself as other people.
- Shadow Magic: Using the Dark One's Dagger, he can control his shadow.
- Fairy Magic: He can also use the wands of dead fairies and fairy dust, possibly due to being half-fairy.
- Dark One's Dagger: Rumplestiltskin can be controlled or killed by whoever holds the dagger.
- Pandora's Box: Rumplestiltskin and his power can be contained inside Pandora's Box.
- Squid Ink: He can be temporarily paralyzed if squid ink is used on him.
- Malcolm (deceased father)
- Fiona (mother)
- Baelfire (deceased son)
- Belle (second wife)
- Colette (deceased mother-in-law)
- Maurice (father-in-law)
- Gideon (son)
- Henry Mills (grandson)
- Milah (deceased first wife)
- Evil Queen (ex-lover)
Rumplestiltskin appears in Storybrooke Live, his statuses and blogs are available here.
- Rumplestiltskin is based on the imp from the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin.
- Due to being the Black Fairy's abandoned son, Rumplestiltskin now has a hatred of all fairies.
- Despite hating fairies, however, Rumplestiltskin is technically half-fairy himself.
- He is one of the oldest inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest, aside from Merlin and his apprentice.
- The Wizard of Oz states that Rumplestiltskin is the most powerful sorcerer in all the realms.
- He seems to consider Wonderland as being "annoying".
- He makes a short appearance in Good Morning Storybrooke, advertising his pawnshop.
- In Storybrooke, he has a few gold teeth. His name, Mr. Gold, is a reference to his ability to spin straw into gold with a spinning wheel.
Behind the Scenes
- Rumplestiltskin and Belle's relationship is labelled as 'Rumbelle' by the fanbase.
- Rumplestiltskin is the second main character to die, the first being Sheriff Graham. However, Rumplestiltskin is resurrected by Baelfire and Belle.
- Despite being the antagonist who practically orchestrated everything, Rumplestiltskin only becomes the main antagonist throughout Season 4 when he recruits Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula.
- S1, E01: "Pilot"
- S1, E02: "The Thing You Love Most"
- S1, E04: "The Price of Gold"
- S1, E05: "That Still Small Voice"
- S1, E06: "The Shepherd"
- S1, E07: "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"
- S1, E08: "Desperate Souls"
- S1, E09: "True North"
- S1, E10: "7:15 A.M."
- S1, E11: "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree"
- S1, E12: "Skin Deep"
- S1, E14: "Dreamy"
- S1, E16: "Heart of Darkness"
- S1, E17: "Hat Trick"
- S1, E18: "The Stable Boy"
- S1, E19: "The Return"
- S1, E20: "The Stranger"
- S1, E21: "An Apple Red as Blood"
- S1, E22: "A Land Without Magic"
- S2, E01: "Broken"
- S2, E02: "We Are Both"
- S2, E04: "The Crocodile"
- S2, E05: "The Doctor"
- S2, E07: "Child of the Moon"
- S2, E08: "Into the Deep"
- S2, E09: "Queen of Hearts"
- S2, E10: "The Cricket Game"
- S2, E11: "The Outsider"
- S2, E12: "In the Name of the Brother"
- S2, E13: "Tiny"
- S2, E14: "Manhattan"
- S2, E15: "The Queen is Dead"
- S2, E16: "The Miller's Daughter"
- S2, E17: "Welcome to Storybrooke"
- S2, E19: "Lacey"
- S2, E20: "The Evil Queen"
- S2, E21: "Second Star to the Right..."
- S2, E22: "...And Straight On 'Til Morning"
- S3, E01: "The Heart of the Truest Believer"
- S3, E02: "Lost Girl"
- S3, E03: "Quite a Common Fairy" (flashback)
- S3, E04: "Nasty Habits"
- S3, E06: "Ariel"
- S3, E07: "Dark Hollow"
- S3, E08: "Think Lovely Thoughts"
- S3, E09: "Save Henry"
- S3, E10: "The New Neverland"
- S3, E11: "Going Home"
- S3, E13: "Witch Hunt"
- S3, E14: "The Tower"
- S3, E15: "Quiet Minds"
- S3, E16: "It's Not Easy Being Green"
- S3, E18: "Bleeding Through"
- S3, E19: "A Curious Thing"
- S3, E20: "Kansas"
- S3, E21: "Snow Drifts"
- S3, E22: "There's No Place Like Home"
- S4, E01: "A Tale of Two Sisters"
- S4, E02: "White Out"
- S4, E03: "Rocky Road"
- S4, E04: "The Apprentice"
- S4, E06: "Family Business"
- S4, E07: "The Snow Queen"
- S4, E08: "Smash the Mirror"
- S4, E09: "Fall"
- S4, E10: "Shattered Sight"
- S4, E11: "Heroes and Villains"
- S4, E12: "Darkness On The Edge Of Town"
- S4, E13: "Unforgiven"
- S4, E14: "Enter The Dragon"
- S4, E15: "Poor Unfortunate Soul"
- S4, E16: "Best Laid Plans"
- S4, E17: "Heart Of Gold"
- S4, E18: "Sympathy For The De Vil"
- S4, E19: "Lily"
- S4, E20: "Mother"
- S4, E21: "Operation Mongoose, Part One"
- S4, E22: "Operation Mongoose, Part Two"
- S5, E01: "The Dark Swan"
- S5, E02: "The Price"
- S5, E03: "Siege Perilous"
- S5, E04: "The Broken Kingdom"
- S5, E05: "Dreamcatcher"
- S5, E06: "The Bear and the Bow"
- S5, E07: "Nimue" (hallucination)
- S5, E08: "Birth"
- S5, E09: "The Bear King" (flashback)
- S5, E10: "Broken Heart"
- S5, E11: "Swan Song"
- S5, E12: "Souls of the Departed"
- S5, E14: "Devil's Due"
- S5, E16: "Our Decay"
- S5, E17: "Her Handsome Hero"
- S5, E18: "Ruby Slippers"
- S5, E19: "Sisters"
- S5, E20: "Firebird"
- S5, E21: "Last Rites"
- S5, E22: "Only You"
- S5, E23: "An Untold Story"
- S6, E01: "The Savior"
- S6, E02: "A Bitter Draught"
- S6, E03: "The Other Shoe"
- S6, E04: "Strange Case"
- S6, E06: "Dark Waters"
- S6, E07: "Heartless"
- S6, E08: "I'll Be Your Mirror"
- S6, E09: "Changelings"
- S6, E10: "Wish You Were Here"
- S6, E11: "Tougher Than The Rest"
- S6, E12: "Murder Most Foul" (flashback)
- S6, E13: "Ill-Boding Patterns"
- S6, E16: "Mother's Little Helper"
- S6, E17: "Awake"
- S6, E18: "Where Bluebirds Fly"
- Bk 1: "Reawakened"
- Bk 3: "Out Of The Past" - Truth And Daggers