Mr. Gold

Mr. Gold

    Once Upon a Time
Photo Credit: ABC Press

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… with two elderly female wool spinners after being abandoned by his criminal father, Malcolm. Though his caretakers emphasize his father’s selfish nature, young Rumpelstiltskin dreams of life with his father, and when given a chance he runs away with him. Malcolm, however, chooses to abandon his son. Rumpelstiltskin never forgives Malcolm for forcing him to grow up fatherless, something he vows never to do to his own child.

Living… in Storybrooke, Maine. Mr. Gold, Rumpelstiltskin’s Curse persona, keeps tabs on everyone in town, and seems to manipulate them for his own personal agenda. It is initially unclear whether he remembers his former life, and much of Mr. Gold’s life is deliberately shrouded in mystery. After all, it was his curse that the Evil Queen used to create the town, transforming herself into Regina Mills (the town’s Mayor) and wiping clean the memories of the town’s residents so they don’t remember their fairytale identities.

Profession… the Dark One. Being evil is a full time job – at least if you’re the most powerful villain in all the land. In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold owns the local pawnshop, as well as almost everything else. He is ruthless in collecting what it owed to him, no matter what world he’s in. His pawnshop business allows him to keep track of many important magical items, which he often uses as bargaining chips in his deals. Before he became the Dark One, he was a simple wool spinner, with his trade as his only livelihood after a failed attempt at soldiering during the Ogre Wars left him able to walk only with the aid of a staff (something the magic of the Dark One quickly remedies).

Interests… magic and power. After spending his life being looked down upon by an entire town, Rumpelstiltskin refuses to let anyone keep him underfoot and will survive at any cost. He also shows an interest in restoring antiques and collecting priceless relics and artifacts, both with his collection in the Enchanted Forest and his pawnshop in Storybrooke. He is a keen scholar and displays a great deal of knowledge about magic, history, and folklore. Rumpelstiltskin’s other interests include spinning straw into gold, tricking people for fun and profit, and occasionally inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Relationship Status… desperately in love with Belle, for whom he fills the role of her Beast. After she offered herself up as the price for saving her town from ogres, the two eventually fell very much in love. But when he refuses to believe that he is capable of being loved despite Belle’s evidence to the contrary, chaos ensues and leads to them often being separated for long stretches. Long before Belle – and before he became the Dark One – Rumpelstiltskin had been married to Milah. However, Milah ran off to be with Captain Hook when their son Baelfire was young. This left Rumpelstiltskin, then a crippled peasant, as a single parent for many years.

Challenge… finding Baelfire, whom he lost just after becoming the Dark One, and making amends. When Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin finds himself unable to leave Storybrooke with his memory intact because of the town’s curse, this proves to be quite a challenge. He also has ongoing rivalries with the Evil Queen/Regina and Captain Hook, as well as numerous others. Rumpelstiltskin’s main challenges are always to keep himself and his family safe, and to be the most powerful player in any given situation. These two goals are rarely compatible with one another.

Personality… manipulative, sly, ruthless, and often selfish. Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is willing to do anything to achieve his goals, and often tricks unsuspecting victims into agreeing to complicated deals in order to exhort a hefty price. However, he is also highly intelligent, sarcastic, and possesses complex emotional depths. His capacity for empathy, understanding, and loyalty lead him to be deeply self-loathing and critical of his own evil actions, and yet his fear of being left powerless almost always leads him to choose the darkest option available. He is capable of immense love and protectiveness for both his son and Belle (whose safety, happiness and well-being he prizes over his finest treasures). In some of his finer moments, he chooses to do the right thing for their sake, and it’s very much the case that his family is his moral touchstone. But the further he is from his loved ones, the more likely he is to do something evil. Many call him a coward, himself included, because he will almost always choose to protect himself over others – and choose magic over morality.

[Note: This profile was edited with significant help from a CharacTourist who would prefer to remain anonymous.]


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