My favorite character on the show, Rumplestiltskin is one of the oldest characters in terms of true age. He’s the Dark One, a being of true darkness and evil. But he does have a little humanity left in him. He tricks Regina into casting a dark curse to take them to the “land without magic” so he can reunite with his son Baelfire.
For many years, he is a magicless but “powerful” man named Mr. Gold. He’s about as pleasant and nice as his true form. Though he does help Emma Swan, as breaking the curse would free him to see his son again.
We learn that he was once a normal man. Except his dad was an evil Peter Pan, his mom was the Black Fairy, and his wife left him and his son for Killian Jones. After his son is recruited into the army, he kills the Dark One Zoso and takes his power. Though his dark side causes Baelfire to want to leave the realm and start a new life in a land without magic. Afraid of losing his power, he leaves Baelfire for a moment, and regrets it forever.
He does find redemption after he falls in love with Belle. As he serves as the Beast as well as Rumplestiltskin. Not the only time a character in the show has done dual roles. He also is the Once Upon a Time version of the crocodile from Peter Pan…sort of.
After Emma breaks the curse, he returns real magic back to Storybrooke. But in the real world (like New York City) he’s just a weak cripple.
But he does find his son, who now goes by Neal Cassidy. His son doesn’t want to reunite. Luckily, Neal meet Emma years ago and is actually the father of Henry Mills. Talk about a coincidence.
My favorite moments of him was when he went to Neverland to confront his father and save his grandson Henry. Knowing that he would die on this quest.
For which he does, in my favorite moment of the series.
But he is revived (away from his knowledge), loses his son, marries Belle, they have a son who is taken by his mother and then grows up instantly to be a dark being who wants to murder Emma Swan for “reasons.” He then becomes a vital figure in Seattle, helping the heroes defeat more bad people including a alternate reality version of himself. For which he dies to defeat, this time for real.
But at least justice for him, he reunites with Belle (who died of old age in a magical realm) and they have their happy conclusion.