Nimue is a character featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. Nimue was the true love of Merlin, before the forces of evil took her from him. She is portrayed by Caroline Ford. Her gallery is here.



After escaping a village being terrorized by Vortigan, Nimue meets Merlin and they eventually fall in love. However, Merlin is troubled by his immortality, as he fears Nimue dying without him. Nimue and Merlin venture to an ancient flame to reforge the Holy Grail, the source of Merlin's immortality, into a weapon that can take magic away. Merlin is not aware that Nimue has also used the Grail to become immortal and gain magic, which she reveals after the Grail is reforged into Excalibur and Nimue rips out Vortigan's heart before crushing it. This act of dark magic takes root inside Nimue and turns her into the first Dark One. Nimue breaks Excalibur, although the broken tip becomes the Dark One's Dagger. Merlin and Nimue have one last confrontation where Merlin seeks to slay Nimue but finds that he cannot, due to his love for Nimue. However, Nimue takes advantage of this and casts a spell which turns Merlin into a tree. Eventually, someone kills Nimue and becomes the new Dark One. Nimue's spirit lives on inside the continuing chain of Dark Ones as a manifestation known as the Darkness.

Season 5

Nimue presents herself to the latest Dark One, Emma Swan, as a hallucination encouraging Emma to embrace the darkness within her. In Storybrooke, Nimue encourages Emma to reforge Excalibur and the Dark One's Dagger into one whole weapon which will allow Emma to snuff out the light magic. When Hook, who is also the Dark One as well, uses the blood of Rumplestiltskin to open a portal to the Underworld, it allows Nimue and the other Dark Ones to travel through and arrive in Storybrooke. However, Hook changes his mind and decides to be a hero, using Excalibur in order to vanquish Nimue and the other Dark Ones, also taking the Darkness out of himself and Emma.


Status: Deceased


Behind the Scenes

  • The Darkness is the main antagonist of the first half of Season 5.


  • S5, E05: "Dreamcatcher" (flashback)
  • S5, E07: "Nimue" (hallucination/flashback)
  • S5, E10: "Broken Heart" 
  • S5, E11: "Swan Song"