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If I own that dagger, I control the Dark One. If I kill the Dark One with the dagger, I take his powers.
Rumplestiltskin to Baelfire src

The Dark One's Dagger is a magical item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the eighth episode of the first season.

History

Before First Curse

The Dark One's Dagger originates from the severed blade tip of Excalibur, a sword Merlin had made from the Holy Grail using the Flame of Prometheus. The blade is removed from Excalibur by Nimue in an attempt to keep Merlin from removing her newfound Dark One powers. Later, Merlin binds the tip of the blade to Nimue's soul, enabling him to control her as long as the weapon is in his possession. This weapon becomes known as the Dark One's Dagger. ("Nimue")

At some point before or after the Dark One's dagger has been made, the remains of Excalibur are placed in a stone in Camelot. ("The Dark Swan")

At some unknown point, a man named Zoso becomes the Dark One. Greedy for power, he later breaks into a chamber containing the Sorcerer's hat, which is guarded by the Sorcerer's Apprentice. With the dagger in hand, Zoso waves the weapon over a box, attempting to unlock it to steal the hat, but is blasted away by a powerful enchantment. The Apprentice reveals that the Sorcerer enchanted the box so that those who have succumbed to darkness may never possess it. Beaten, Zoso retreats. ("The Apprentice")

Later in Zoso's life, a Duke of the Enchanted Forest gains the dagger, and uses it to control the the Dark One into committing atrocious deeds. During an Ogre War, a soldier of the Duke named Hordor goes to a village to round up all children who have recently turned fourteen, which makes it mandatory that they must join the army. He grabs a girl, Morraine, as her parents beg for mercy. As a show of intimidation, Hordor commands the Dark One to magically force the girl's parents into submission. Tired of being bound to the dagger, Zoso finds the perfect substitute to take on the Dark One's powers in a cowardly father, Rumplestiltskin, who wishes to protect his son, Baelfire, from being drafted into the Ogre War. While disguised as a beggar, he persuades Rumplestiltskin to steal the dagger from the Duke's castle. Rumpelstiltskin successfully steals the dagger and summons Zoso. When insulted by the being, he stabs the Dark One in a fit of anger, only to realize Zoso is the beggar from earlier on. As the man dies, free of his burden, Rumplestiltskin gains the powers of the Dark One as his own name appears on the dagger. In the morning, Rumpelstiltskin stalks back to his home and murders all the soldiers, including Hordor, who mocked him. ("Desperate Souls")

Soon, Rumplestiltskin gains a fearsome reputation as he delves magical punishments to people for the smallest slight. Baelfire becomes concerned about how the curse is corrupting him, but Rumplestiltskin insists he needs magic to protect his son. He takes out the dagger to further demonstrate the only way to be rid of the curse is if someone stabbed him with it. As he explains this, their maid, Onora, comes in and accidentally sees the dagger. After she is sent away, Baelfire promises to find a way for his father to be released from his powers without dying. Rumplestiltskin agrees to give up his powers if there is another method of removing them. Later, out of paranoia, Rumplestiltskin kills Onora to keep her from delving knowledge of the dagger to outsiders, despite that she is mute, which horrifies Baelfire. With the help of the Blue Fairy, Baelfire procures a magic bean to bring himself and his father to another land that is free of magic. However, Rumplestiltskin backs out of their deal when Baelfire opens up a portal with the bean. As they both nearly fall into the portal, Rumplestiltskin clings onto the surface with his dagger while holding his grip on Baelfire. Despite his love for Baelfire, he is simply too afraid of being without his powers, and lets go of his son's hand. Baelfire vanishes into the portal as it closes. At first, Rumplestiltskin is relieved to still have magic, but then panics as he realizes he has just lost his son. ("The Return")

Wishing to acquire the sorcerer's hat, Rumplestiltskin poisons the Apprentice who is guarding the hat and turns him into a mouse. As the ultimate end-game, he wishes to accumulate enough magic in the hat to free himself from the dagger's will but still keep his Dark One powers. Since the box is only accessible to someone who has been tempted by darkness but hasn't succumbed to it, he then tricks a girl, Anna, into the exact situation. In order to bypass the box's defenses, Rumplestiltskin takes one of Anna's tears in order to take the relic. However, the Apprentice, in mouse form, bites the Dark One's hand. He drops the dagger, which Anna picks up. Realizing he is a slave to the dagger, Anna forces him to hand over the box to her. Then, she commands Rumplestiltskin to do three things—sending her home, forbidding him from harming her or her sister and reverting Apprentice into human form. After Rumplestiltskin sends her away, the dagger drops to the floor, which he picks up, before having a fit over losing the box. ("The Apprentice")

Upon summoning the Black Fairy and paralyzing her with squid ink, Rumplestiltskin asks her to provide answers to some questions he has. The Black Fairy inquiries why she should help him, to which Rumplestiltskin pulls out the dagger as a threat to her if she doesn't comply. ("Changelings")

During First Curse
When the Dark Curse is enacted by the Evil Queen, all inhabitants are taken to another world and wiped of their Enchanted Forest memories. The Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, gains a new life as Mr. Gold in Storybrooke. He does not recall his memories until meeting the prophesied savior of the curse, Emma, and only then remembers the importance of his dagger. He buries it in the forest to keep Regina from possibly gaining power over him. During a work day at the pawnshop, Mr. Gold catches August snooping around the back room. Suspicious of the man's intentions, he breaks into August's inn guest room and discovers a drawing of the Dark One's dagger. Later, at the nunnery, Mr. Gold questions Mother Superior after seeing her and August in deep conversation. She reveals he sought advice on how to reconcile with his estranged father, to which Mr. Gold hypothesizes that August is his long lost son. With some much needed advice from from Archie, Mr. Gold approaches August to apologize for abandoning him all those years ago. As proof that he's changed, August wants the dagger. Mr. Gold relinquishes it to him with ease, but in the next instant, when August attempts to control him with the dagger, he catches on that this person is not his son. For his deception, Mr. Gold nearly kills him, but he decides to let August live so Emma can be persuaded into breaking the curse. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", "The Return")

After First Curse

After the Dark Curse is broken, Mr. Gold is furious upon learning Regina has been keeping Belle locked up all this time. Despite promising Belle that he won't seek revenge, Mr. Gold uses the dagger as a medium on a magic medallion, summoning a Wraith to steal Regina's soul. When Belle discovers what he has done, she leaves him, only to return later after the Wraith fails to kill Regina. She decides to stay with Mr. Gold, despite that he is a monster, hoping there is still good left in him. ("Broken")

Sometime following this, Mr. Gold gives Belle a library book call number, which leads to a parchment map that serves as a decoy location for the dagger. ("Manhattan")

Once Mr. Gold leaves for New York City with Emma and Henry in search of his son, Cora, Hook and Regina formulate a plan to find the dagger so they can control the Dark One. Suspecting he only trusts one other person with the dagger's location, Regina visits an amnesiac Belle at the hospital to find a library book call number in her bag. However, the trio find the book missing at the library and a parchment with scribbles in its place. Having experience in reading these sort of maps, Hook soon deciphers the burial location of the dagger. Once he does, Cora knocks him out to keep him from taking the dagger. As she and her daughter walk out of the library to the dagger's burial spot, Cora discusses her plan to make Mr. Gold to kill David, Emma and Mary Margaret so Regina will be blameless in Henry's eyes. ("Manhattan")

Following the map to the forest behind Johanna's house, Regina begins shoveling to uncover the dagger, but Cora becomes suspicious that the map is a trick by Mr. Gold. Overhearing their plans, Mary Margaret goes to find David, before they seek Mother Superior's help to get the dagger first. They then phone Emma in New York and ask her to persuade an ailing Mr. Gold, who has just been fatally poisoned by Hook, to close the dagger's location. Suspecting the weapon may be in the pawnshop, Mother Superior attempts to break a magical seal on the building, to no avail. Meanwhile, Mr. Gold finally reveals to Emma that the dagger is hidden behind the minute hand of the clock face, and she relays this to her parents. As soon as David and Mary Margaret grab the dagger, Cora and Regina materialize, using Johanna's life to intimidate them into handing it over. Mary Margaret surrenders to save her friend, who is then thrown out the clock tower by Cora and killed. In the aftermath, Cora teleports with Regina to the mayoral office, where she reassures her daughter that their main priority is to control Mr. Gold and gain Henry. ("The Queen Is Dead")

Noticing Rumplestiltskin's name is slowly melting from the dagger, Cora deducts that he is succumbing to death, and if he dies, all the Dark One powers will dissipate into the air without anyone inheriting them. Upon hearing her mother's intentions of becoming the new Dark One, Regina is alarmed, thinking she is only after power, until Cora excuses her ambition by saying it's necessary so no one will stand in their way of getting Henry. Mr. Gold returns to Storybrooke, and in a bid to save himself and satisfy Mary Margaret's animosity towards Cora, he gives her an enchanted candle to kill their shared nemesis. Slipping out to the vault, Mary Margaret uses the candle to curse Cora's heart and later persuades Regina into returning it to its owner. In the pawnshop, as Cora prepares to stab Mr. Gold with the dagger, she drops it when Regina plunges the heart into her chest. For the first time in a long time, Cora feels genuine happiness with Regina, before the candle curse causes a wound to manifest. As she perishes, Mr. Gold's injury heals and his name is fully restored on the dagger. ("The Miller's Daughter")

While venturing the island of Neverland in search of Henry, who has been captured by Pan and the Lost Boys, Mr. Gold lights a bonfire and pulls out the dagger; standing in position so his shadow bounces onto a large boulder. Then, he slices away at the area surrounding both feet; allowing his shadow to move freely on its own. Handing over the dagger, Mr. Gold orders his shadow to hide it in a place where he he himself won't know where to find it. ("Lost Girl")

Learning about Mr. Gold's prior intent to kill Henry and keep a prophecy from coming true, Neal begins to doubt his father and asks for the dagger as proof that he's changed. Mr. Gold admits that he made his shadow hide it so Pan can't use the dagger to control him, but Neal thinks he's making up an excuse to not forfeit the weapon. Upon reaching Skull Rock to rescue Henry, Neal realizes he wasn't lying, after seeing his father go through a magic barrier Pan set, as only someone without a shadow can pass into it. ("Nasty Habits", "Save Henry")

After a journey back to Storybrooke, Pan conspires to recast the Dark Curse. As Mr. Gold is rendered powerless with a magic absorbing bracelet, he makes a decision to sacrifice his own life for his loved ones. During a confrontation with Pan, Mr. Gold declares his love for both Belle and Neal, but apologizes since he can't be together with them. In the final confrontation, Mr. Gold summons his shadow to return the dagger, using it to stab Pan as well as himself with it. Nearing death, Pan melts away into Malcolm, who attempts to persuade Mr. Gold to stop so they can start over as a family. Instead, Mr. Gold twists the dagger deeper into both their wounds, causing a golden light shines from the blade, which engulfs them as they disappear out of existence. ("Going Home")

Before Second Curse
Having returned to the Enchanted Forest, Belle and Neal learn from a talking candelabrum, Lumiere, that Rumplestiltskin can be revived at the Vault of the Dark One with a key. However, Belle discovers Lumiere is misleading them at the Wicked Witch's behest. Although she tries talking Neal out of the plan, he inserts the key into the vault, unknowingly sacrificing his own life to revive his father and the Dark One's dagger. Soon, the Wicked Witch assumes control of the dagger, while a desperate Rumplestiltskin absorbs Neal into his body to keep him from dying. For her first command, the Wicked Witch orders the Dark One to kill Belle, but with Lumiere's intervention, she escapes unharmed. ("Quiet Minds")

During Second Curse

Unexpectedly, another curse is enacted by none other than Snow White, which sends everyone to Storybrooke. Assuming the identity of a midwife, Zelena keeps Mr. Gold in captivity while scheming to steal David's courage, which she needs for a time spell. Under the pretense of shaving him with the dagger, Zelena purposely cuts Mr. Gold and gains some of his blood to unlock a pawnshop vault. ("The Tower")

After realizing Mr. Gold escaped, Zelena tries summoning him with the dagger to no avail due to Neal's interference. Frustrated, she sends her flying monkey to fetch him. Zelena later comes across Mr. Gold in the woods watching over the corpse of Neal, who passed away after being separated from his father's body. Despite that Mr. Gold exposed Zelena's true identity to David and Emma, she still finds it beneficial to have the Dark One's brain, which is also one of the ingredients for her spell. Zelena then regains control over Mr. Gold and orders him into returning to his cell. ("Quiet Minds")

Hoping to win Mr. Gold back to their side, especially with the newest revelation that Zelena is Regina's half-sister, Belle goes into the farmhouse cellar to coax him out. He nearly takes her hand until Zelena, watching from the shadows, startles Belle, who flees. As Belle stumbles out to notify Emma, David and Tinker Bell what happened, Mr. Gold is pushed out of the cellar by Zelena's will to deliver a message. He states that if they continue to get in Zelena's way as she takes down Regina, they will pay with their lives. At nightfall, Zelena shows up for a pre-scheduled showdown with Regina on Main Street as an enslaved Mr. Gold trails her. With Neal's death still fresh on her mind, Emma challenges her to a duel. The witch sees her as an unworthy opponent and has Mr. Gold magically fling Emma aside. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")

Forced to do Zelena's dirty work again, Mr. Gold sways Robin Hood, under duress, into handing over Regina's heart. Following this, Zelena gives Mr. Gold a new suit, which he has no interest in wearing, but his captor reminds him that she is asking nicely and otherwise could make him comply with the dagger's power. Dolled up, he has no choice but to sit down for dinner with her. During the meal, Zelena explains the time spell she is going to enact to change her own past. She even offers to take him along so he can reunite with his son. Feigning interest, Mr. Gold admits he was wrong to have chosen Regina over her in the past. To make up for it, he seduces her, though his true aim is to grab the dagger. However, Zelena catches onto his trickery and angrily makes him return to his cage. ("Bleeding Through")

Awaiting Mr. Gold by a remote roadside, Zelena holds the dagger as she watches him drive up in a car and proceed to open the trunk. Inside, she talks to a bound-up Hook and pushes him kiss Emma with his cursed lips so the savior will lose all her magic. Otherwise, Zelena threatens to kill Henry as retribution for his disobedience. ("A Curious Thing")

After Second Curse

While a pregnant Mary Margaret is going into labor at the hospital, Zelena faces off with Emma and Hook at her farmhouse. After compelling Mr. Gold into drowning Hook until he is unconscious, Zelena gives Emma a choice of either saving the pirate and losing her magic or letting him die. Emma chooses to resuscitate Hook, but because of a curse Zelena put on his lips, her magic is completely drained. Thus, the barrier spell Emma enacted around the hospital room is broken, allowing Zelena to steal Mary Margaret's newborn son, the last ingredient for the time spell. Before Zelena finishes the last spell preparations, David, Emma, Regina and Robin Hood arrive to stop her. Mr. Gold instructs Emma to seize the dagger so she can control him instead of Zelena, but Regina herself defeats the witch with light magic. Finally free of Zelena's control, Mr. Gold prepares to kill her, but Regina grabs the dagger and commands him to stop. She decides to spare her sister's life with imprisonment and then gives the dagger to Belle, who returns it to Mr. Gold. Out of trusting belief that she will never use the dagger against him, Mr. Gold allows her to keep it and then proposes marriage. She happily accepts, and places the dagger on the table, before hugging him. During this time frame, Mr. Gold switches the dagger in pawnshop with a fake. Keeping the real one for himself, he uses it to kill Zelena as payback for his son's death. ("Kansas")

Vengeance quenched, Mr. Gold returns to the pawnshop and magically obscures the dagger in a cabinet. Believing she has the real, cursed dagger, Belle is overwhelmed possessing something so powerful and once again tries to give it back to Mr. Gold. He claims to trust her completely and believes she will never use it against him. To this, Belle suggests putting it somewhere safe like the one old he had in the Enchanted Forest. Mr. Gold states that vault was for dangerous and uncontrollable magic, but the dagger is harmless by itself. After placing the dagger in a bag, he changes the topic to their upcoming wedding. ("Snow Drifts")

With Belle's encouragement, Mr. Gold pays a visit to Neal's grave. There, he confesses the truth about keeping the real dagger in order to exact revenge for him. Now that he finished this task, Mr. Gold promises to honor Neal's sacrifice for him by returning the dagger to Belle. While Belle shows Mr. Gold a mansion she wants to use as their honeymoon spot, he freezes her and places the real dagger into her purse. After unfreezing her, she leads him into another room. Before following, Mr. Gold sees a box, which he once sought out in the past. That night, as Belle is asleep, he waves the dagger in a circular motion over the box and unlocks a hat inside. Going back on his promise to Neal, Mr. Gold once again puts the fake dagger in Belle's purse. ("A Tale of Two Sisters", "Rocky Road")

Allying herself with Emma and Hook, a visitor named Elsa confronts Mr. Gold about her missing sister, whose pendant she found in the pawnshop. Additionally, Elsa was previously trapped inside an urn that Emma recalls he once kept in his vault in the Enchanted Forest. Mr. Gold feigns ignorance, and to prove his innocence, he asks Belle to use the dagger on him. Belle commands him to tell the truth, and though everyone else believes she has the real dagger, only he knows it is a fake. Mr. Gold, in turn, declares that he knows nothing about Elsa or her sister. Later that day, Hook confirms his suspicions about Mr. Gold's lying, and threatens to tell Belle, unless he helps Elsa track down a suspect. Revealing nothing, Mr. Gold guards himself from Hook's insinuations and calmly assists Elsa in her mission. ("Rocky Road")

For his upcoming date with Emma, Hook forces Mr. Gold into reattaching his missing hand. Mr. Gold warns him that the hand may return his ruthless personality, but Hook ignores this. Later, after Hook begins acting out violently, he pushes Mr. Gold to remove the hand and threatens him again with exposure. Mr. Gold coolly claims he already returned the dagger to Belle, and will only take away the hand if Hook agrees to another deal with him. The next day, Mr. Gold enchants a broom, which leads them to the Apprentice's house. Following the latter's command, Hook subdues the old man into a seat where Mr. Gold uses his dagger to unlock the hat from within the box. Desiring freedom from the dagger's will and preservation of his Dark One powers, Mr. Gold then absorbs the Apprentice into the hat. Afterwards, he blackmails Hook, with footage of the pirate at the old man's house, into keeping their deal open. To avoid being implicated, Mr. Gold erases himself from the security tape. ("The Apprentice")

In the pawnshop, Belle discovers a magic gauntlet, which Mr. Gold once traded to save her life. Recalling the item can locate a person's greatest weakness, she uses it and finds the real dagger hidden in a vault. Disappointed in her husband's lies, she later tracks him to the clock tower. As Mr. Gold begins crushing Hook's heart to enact the power of the sorcerer's hat, Belle compels him with the dagger to stop. After ordering Mr. Gold to drop the heart, she makes him release Emma and Mary Margaret, both of whom he previously froze. Lastly, she sternly commands him to take her as well as himself to the town line for a chat. Once there, Belle confronts Mr. Gold about his repeated lies and her epiphany that he will never give up power for her sake. Using the dagger, she tearfully banishes him across the town line and out of Storybrooke. ("Heroes and Villains")

Six weeks after this, Mr. Gold returns to Storybrooke with Cruella and Ursula's assistance. Disguised as Hook, he persuades Belle into giving him the dagger under the pretense of hiding it from Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula. On a rainy night, she arrives at a meeting spot with the dagger. Before handing it over, Belle ominously wonders if Mr. Gold could be in town right now. On his encouragement, she commands the Dark One with the dagger to face her if he is present. When nothing happens, her worries are put to rest and she forfeits the dagger to him, however, she fails to realize the command did work. Later, with the dagger's power, Mr. Gold reverts a young Pinocchio to a grown August, who he tortures for information about the Author. After discovering the page of the book that the Author is trapped in, Emma releases him with a magic key found by Henry, however, the Author flees. He is confined by Mr. Gold, who offers him safety from Emma and the others in exchange for writing a new story for him. ("Enter the Dragon")

After centuries of committing evil deeds as the Dark One, the darkness begins to poison Mr. Gold's heart, slowly killing him. He makes a deal with the Author, Isaac, to write him a new story in which he is not the Dark One, to save him from his grim fate, however, he makes Isaac rewrite everyone's stories in the process, transporting them all to an alternate reality with no memories of the original reality.("Mother", "Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Before Third Curse

After the alternate reality is undone by the new Author, Henry, Mr. Gold remains on the brink of death. Belle seeks help from the Apprentice, who pulls the darkness from Mr. Gold's heart into the hat. By doing so, this ends the Dark One's curse and and removes the Dark One's name from the dagger. However, the hat is not strong enough to contain the darkness, which breaks free, destroying the hat and attacking the Apprentice. Emma uses her light magic to repel the darkness, which proceeds to escape out the door and into town. In the hopes they can stop it, the Apprentice recounts the Sorcerer's past dealings with the darkness and the origins of the Dark One. On the street, Emma, Mary Margret, David and Hook join Regina and Robin to look for the darkness. Suddenly, Regina is ambushed by the darkness as it attempts to remove the light from her. Realizing they need to re-tether the darkness to a human soul, Emma uses the dagger to attract the darkness and bind it to herself. The darkness dissipates, with Emma also vanishing into thin air, as the dagger drops to the ground to reveal the new Dark One's inscribed name is Emma Swan. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1", "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

With Emma having fled Storybrooke after becoming the Dark One, Hook picks up the fallen dagger, attempting to summon her to him, but when it fails, he realizes she has gone to another realm. Using the Apprentice's wand, many of Emma's loved ones and friends travel to the Enchanted Forest, hoping to track her down. ("The Dark Swan")

Hook, Regina, Robin, Henry, Mary Margaret and David find Emma attempting to crush Merida's heart and try to talk her out of it. Emma insists killing Merida is the only way to find Merlin, and when she refuses to take Regina's advice about not letting the darkness consume her, Mary Margaret takes out the dagger, wanting to stop Emma by force. However, Hook insists it has to be Emma's choice to return the heart, which she eventually does. In the aftermath, Mary Margaret gives her the dagger so no one can ever control her with it, but Emma hands it to Regina, asking the brunette to take her out if she ever goes too far. ("The Dark Swan")

After they enter the Camelot Castle led by Arthur, they immediately go to see the tree in the courtyard which the Merlin is trapped in, and he then asks which of them is the savior. Emma moves to speak up, but Regina stops Emma with the power of the dagger and claims the title in her place, not wanting Emma's cover to be blown. While browsing Merlin's tower, Emma confronts Regina for taking her role without her consent, but Regina explains her motives for doing what she did and promises Emma that she will free her of darkness with Merlin's help once they unseal him from the tree. To this, Emma thanks her twice; the first being under the dagger's influence, and then again out of her own volition. ("The Price")

In an attempt to ward off nightmares, Emma begins carving and fashioning dream catchers, just as Rumplestiltskin coaxes her to enter Regina's room and get the dagger, which is calling for her. Although it's protected by a spell, Rumplestiltskin urges her to do away with it, but Emma refuses to use dark magic. Frustrated with his insistence, she instead throws a ball of magic, nearly hitting Hook. When David arrives, he explains his conversation with Arthur, who can help Emma, but Mary Margaret reveals Lancelot's warning to her. After Henry leaves to take Emma, with Hook, to a place she can recuperate peacefully, Regina relates her suspicions that Emma was likely after the dagger and prepares to hide it, but David objects, stating that Arthur can help Emma if they give him the dagger. Mary Margaret stands by Lancelot's warning. Eventually, they devise a plan to test Arthur, by giving him a chance to steal a fake dagger. David leads Arthur to believe Mary Margaret has stolen the dagger, while Mary Margaret takes the dagger and goes with Lancelot to hide it in the Dark One's Vault. In one of the vault rooms, she moves to put the dagger on a table stand, though it's protected by a barrier, but Lancelot insists on doing it instead, causing her to doubt his intentions. Arthur surprises them, getting Mary Margaret to forfeit the dagger to him, but after his attempt to summon Emma fails, she admits the dagger is fake, just before David ambushes Arthur. Regrouping at the diner, the trio keep Arthur handcuffed, while making plans to unite Excalibur and the dagger after installing a new ruler. However, they are cornered by Camelot soldiers, with Guinevere freeing Arthur and having Lancelot imprisoned in the dungeon. To get the real dagger, Guinevere blows enchanted sand on the couple, causing them to return to Regina, insisting their only hope of helping Emma is to give Arthur the dagger. ("The Broken Kingdom")

As Regina leads David and Mary Margaret to the dagger, she questions Arthur's trustworthiness, while the pair attest they are acting in Emma's best interests. When she pulls the dagger from the tree trunk, Regina expresses doubts about giving Arthur the one thing that can control Emma. An impatient Mary Margaret demands the dagger, but then, she and David are magically frozen by Emma. The blonde briefs Regina on the enchantment Arthur has her parents under, because he wants the dagger to unite it with Excalibur, in order to kill Merlin. ("Dreamcatcher")

After that, outside the diner, Merlin tells Emma about the quest they must go on to retrieve the last flame ember from mankind's fire, which is needed for reforging the sword and the dagger. To fulfill this, she must take the ember by facing the first Dark One. At the site of where the flame once stood, she harnesses the dagger, summoning the spirit of the first Dark One, Nimue, who is Merlin's former love. Nimue tries to persuade Emma that only by being the Dark One can she be truly herself, and insists those who try to intervene must die. Emma defends Merlin from an attacking Nimue, but soon, she finds herself unwillingly choking the sorcerer, as Nimue eggs on her. When Nimue insinuates that Emma is nothing without the darkness, the latter gains the strength to let go of Merlin and shut down Nimue's claims. Emma then grabs the flame ember from Nimue's chest, while a beaten Nimue retreats after reminding Emma that she'll be in her head always. ("Nimue")

Returning to the diner, Emma is surprised to see only Henry and Granny. From Henry, she learns the others haven't come back yet, to which she realizes something must've happened to them. Then Merlin immediately shows up and explains Arthur has tethered him to Excalibur, and unless Emma forfeits the flame and the dagger, Arthur will have her family and friends killed. After she saves them all, they return to the diner. Emma talks to Regina about the allure of the darkness and her unwillingness to give it up for some unexplained reason. Regina, hoping to get to the bottom of the issue, uses the dagger to make her confess why she is afraid. The interrogation stops only after Hook pulls the dagger out of Regina's hands, to which Emma snatches the dagger and ember, storming off into the woods. When Hook finds her, Emma confesses she can't let go of the darkness because she's afraid of losing him. With his help, she lights the flame, and later, in the diner, she begins using it to combine the sword and the dagger. Suddenly, the cut on Hook's neck reopens. Because the wound came from Excalibur, it cannot be healed, meaning Hook will die. Emma wants to tether Hook to the sword to save his life, and though Merlin warns she'll pay a steep price for it, she teleports herself and Hook to the middlemist field, where she links Hook's life to Excalibur, making him a Dark One. ("Birth")

After Hook becomes a Dark One, he casts a curse that will take all Storybrooke and Camelot inhabitans to Storybrooke to kill Mr. Gold. But before that, Emma erases everyone's memories. The dagger goes with them too. ("Broken Heart")

After Third Curse

Upon everyone's return to Storybrooke, none of them remember anything beyond entering King Arthur's castle in Camelot. When Emma, giving off the facade of having embraced her darkness, appears before her family and friends, Regina threatens to fulfill what Emma told her to do. Regina then reaches for the dagger, but cannot find it, as Emma reveals she has the dagger now. ("The Dark Swan")

Once Regina has proven she can protect the townspeople, Emma sits at the table in her new home with the dagger in front of her. She sees the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin again, despite claiming she has already accepted her darkness and no longer needs him, though he reasons that the last bit of light in her is still holding her back. Guiding her into the basement, where Excalibur is embedded in the stone, he tempts her about uniting the sword with the dagger to snuff out the light in her. ("The Price")

As Emma prepares to unite the dagger and Excalibur, all the previous Dark Ones appear to witness the ceremony. Using a spark from the Flame of Prometheus, she successfully makes Excalibur whole again. ("Nimue")

For events taking place after the dagger is reunited with the blade, see Excalibur.

To stop the mark of Charon from coming into effect and taking her loved ones to the Underworld, Emma forms a plan to absorb all the darkness and have Regina kill her with Excalibur, as way to get rid of the previous Dark Ones plaguing the town. When they come to the pawnshop to take the sword from Mr. Gold, he finds a loophole and pours a potion on the sword to become the Dark One again when Excalibur is destroyed. Instead of Emma, however, Hook takes her place to help eliminate the darkness, at the cost of his own life. Although unexplained, Mr. Gold somehow retrieves the dagger again after Hook's death. While Emma is still grieving over Hook, she hears the call of the dagger. Only later, she learns from Mr. Gold that she can hear the dagger because she is the only former Dark One to survive being stripped of her darkness. On her insistence, he shows her the dagger, which reveals the blade once again has Rumplestiltskin's name on it. After Mr. Gold admits what he did to ensure he would regain his Dark One powers, Emma threatens to tell Belle the truth, unless he reopens the portal to the Underworld so she can save Hook. Once the heroes have assembled for the trip, Mr. Gold cuts himself with the dagger, allowing his blood to fall into the lake, which opens the portal by summoning Charon's arrival. ("Swan Song")

On a mission to kill Hyde and prevent him from harming Belle, Mr. Gold forces Regina to forfeit Jekyll's recreated serum by pouring it onto the Dark One's dagger. Mr. Gold then tracks down Hyde and stabs him with the dagger, but this doesn't have the desired effect because Hyde previously switched the serum with a decoy. Hyde laughs at his failed attempt before pulling out the dagger and ordering Mr. Gold to take both of them to Belle. At the harbor, Hyde makes Mr. Gold watch as Jekyll attempts to kill Belle, however, Hook comes to her rescue by killing Jekyll. Hyde, having other plans for Mr. Gold, uses the dagger to order him into doing something else, but before he can finish issuing the command, he dies from the same wound that Jekyll had. ("Strange Case")

After learning Belle is due to give birth at the convent, Mr. Gold arrives there and finds the building is blocked by the nuns' protection spell, but he easily gets through by cutting into the barrier with his dagger. ("Changelings")

In clock tower, Gideon feigns gratitude towards his father Mr. Gold by hugging him, but suddenly pulls away once he has grabbed the dagger from him. With it, he commands his father to help him repair the Hrunting sword, whether he wants to or not. Gideon uses the dagger again later in the pawnshop, where he forces Mr. Gold to tell him who forged the sword, as he needs the person's blood in order to repair it. He learns it's Mother Superior, his fairy godmother, but before he goes after her, he orders his father to not try and stop him from his mission. Nonethless, Mr. Gold decides to drain Mother Superior's magic for Gideon to spare him from an act of darkness. Shortly after this, Gideon returns the dagger to Mr. Gold, as he has no more use for the blade. ("Ill-Boding Patterns")

As Emma suffocates in a cocoon, a giant spider pulls her body closer, intending to finish her off, but Mr. Gold sends the creature skittering with a blast of magic. He then frees Emma by using the dagger to cut open the cocoon. When the spider comes back to charge at them, Mr. Gold helps Emma to shrink the creature by channeling his magic with the dagger. ("Mother's Little Helper")

In an attempt to overpower the Black Fairy and free Gideon, Mr. Gold moves to throw a potion at her, but the Black Fairy swiftly magicks the dagger into her hand and commands him to stop. After Mr. Gold does as he is told, the Black Fairy returns the dagger by setting it on the pawnshop counter, telling her son that she won't order him to do anything else but that she fully expects him to join her side once she brings darkness to Storybrooke. ("Awake")


Known Owners

Notes:
Bold name: Current owner

Known Users

Trivia

On-screen Notes

  • According to Cora, if the Dark One is killed without the use of the dagger, he or she will expel the powers of the Dark One into the air after death without anyone else being next in line to inherit it. ("The Miller's Daughter")
  • Excalibur's blade, which the dagger was a part of, is normally silver-colored with black markings,[1] but after the Darkness is absorbed into the sword, the blade becomes black, with silver markings. This is best seen as the sword disintegrates in Emma's hands.[2] The new version of the dagger has the same color scheme,[3] as does the Holy Grail Twin.[4] ("Swan Song", "Only You")

Popular Culture

Props Notes

Set Dressing

Costume Notes

Goofs

  • Throughout the series, the written letters of the Dark One's name keeps switching from one side of the blade to the other. Sometimes, the letters are right side up when the dagger is held in the right hand and facing the wielder with the first letter at the tip of the blade.[10] At other times, the writing is right side up when the dagger is facing the wielder and held in the left hand with the first letter next to the hilt.[11]

Appearances

Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

References

Start a Discussion Discussions about Dark One's Dagger

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