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Immortal means to live forever, it doesn't mean one can't be killed.
Mr. Gold to Lacey src

Immortality is a magical ability featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


Immortality is one of the magical abilities that the Holy Grail grants to the person who drinks from it. After Nimue corrupts herself and her Holy Grail magic, and becomes the first Dark One, this ability still remains in her and all the other Dark Ones. ("Nimue")

But as Mr. Gold says, immortality doesn't mean one can't be killed, but means to live forever. It is proven when Hook stabbed Mr. Gold with the deadly poison dreamshade in the Land Without Magic and Mr. Gold had no option but to die unless he somehow exchanges someone else's life for his. ("The Queen Is Dead", "The Miller's Daughter", "Second Star to the Right")

The Dark One's Dagger is also the main and most-known item that can kill any current Dark One, and that's why, it is said that the dagger is Dark Ones' weakness numerous times. And because the dagger is originally part of Excalibur, the blade also has the ability to kill any Dark One. ("Desperate Souls", "The Return" et al., "Swan Song")

It is possible to hurt a Dark One with a simple sword and make them bleed, but it cannot kill them. Also when Robin Hood shoots an arrow to Rumplestiltskin, he simply removes the arrow from his chest and continues to live like nothing ever happened. ("A Land Without Magic", "Lacey")

Immortal or not, there is no escape from the "Worse Place". Soul ripping arrows can also be used as an alternate way. ("Her Handsome Hero")

According to the Evil Queen from the Wish Realm, golden flowers also have the ability to kill an immortal person. ("Eloise Gardener")

Deities also have this ability, as they are the ones who gifted the Holy Grail to mankind in the first place. but much like the Dark Ones, Deities also have their own "weakness" called the Olympian Crystal, which can, not just kill, but erase their existence. ("Last Rites")

There are also immortal people who have magic like Maleficent,[1] or creatures like Medusa.[2] However, how they got this gift or why they have it is unknown.

List of Owners


Before First Curse

At some point in his life, Merlin becomes a foot soldier in an unknown army. However, he flees into the nearby desert with Adda, a fellow soldier. Exhausted and thirsty, Merlin and his companion come across the Holy Grail filled with water. His friend, attempting to drink from it, is turned into ash. With only two options, succumbing to death by thirst or by the grail's power, Merlin drops to his knees and asks for permission from the gods to drink from the cup. He then takes a sip from the grail, finding himself still alive, as he gains magic and immortality. ("Nimue")

After he meets and falls in love with Nimue, who have fled her village from Vortigan, who killed everyone there. Sometime after, Merlin considers marrying her, but he worries his immortality will be a problem because she will eventually age and die while he will remain young forever. After revealing this to her, he details his plan to use the first spark of mankind's original fire to mold the Holy Grail into a sword as way to get rid of his magic and immortality. But on the way, Nimue secretly drinks from the grail and gains immortality and magic, and she pulverizes Vortigan's heart to ash, triggering a monstrous change in her physical appearance, becoming the first Dark One. ("Nimue")

Centruies later, while Zoso is still the Dark One, the kingdom resorts to using children as soldiers in the Ogre Wars. Rumplestiltskin fears for the possibility of losing his child and flees away with him. But they are approached by a mysterious old man, who steers him towards stealing a magical dagger which can control and kill the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin decides to steal the dagger from the Duke of the Frontlands, with the hopes of protecting Baelfire and turning the Dark One into a force for good. Once alone, Rumplestiltskin summons the Dark One and he stabs the entity with the dagger in a fit of blind rage. But he discovers the Dark One is the old man who told him about the dagger. Then Rumplestiltskin's own name replaces Zoso's on the dagger, and he gains the powers of the Dark One. ("Desperate Souls")

To cure his sick wife, Robin Hood breaks into Rumplestiltskin's castle, risking his life to steal a wand. When he is caught red-handed, Robin Hood looses an arrow from his enchanted bow, which eventually hits Rumplestiltskin in the chest. Triumphantly, he prepares to leave the castle, but an unharmed Rumplestiltskin removes the arrow from his chest like nothing happened. ("Lacey")

After First Curse

While Mr. Gold is on a quest to find his lost son with the help of Emma and Henry, Hook pins Mr. Gold in place and stabs him with his hook coated in Dreamshade. After they arrive Storybrooke, Mr. Gold, using Mary Margaret's disdain for Cora to his advantage, presents her with the enchanted candle, which can take one person's life in exchange for another. He suggests she curse Cora's heart, and then return the organ to its rightful owner. Thus, their shared enemy will perish while his life will be saved. Cora prepares to plunge the dagger into him, but is interrupted by Regina pushing the heart into her chest but unbeknown to Regina, the heart is actually cursed by Mary Margaret. Moments later, Cora perishes in Regina's arms as Mr. Gold's chest wound heals completely. ("The Queen Is Dead", "The Miller's Daughter")

Having no other option to save his family from his father, Peter Pan, Mr. Gold summons his shadow, who previously hid away his dagger, and stabs Pan as well as himself with it. Pan melts away in darkened smoke as Malcolm takes his place. He twists the dagger to embed deeper into both their puncture wounds as a golden light erupts from the blade. The two are showered in the glow and disappear as Mr. Gold plants an affectionate kiss on Malcolm's cheek. ("Going Home")

Before Third Curse
Because Arthur hurts Hook with Excalibur, which is a powerful blade than was forged to cut immortal ties, Emma frantically talks about using the flame to untether Merlin from Excalibur and tethering Hook's life to the sword instead. She teleports away with Hook and uses Excalibur to untether Merlin and tie Hook's life to it, making Hook a Dark One and removing Merlin's immortality, while Emma herself undergoes a physical transformation because of her use of dark magic. ("Birth")

After Third Curse

After the newest Dark One, Emma Swan, turned Hook into another Dark One, he seeks revenge on Emma for turning him into something he hunted for more than a hundred years. While Nimue, who has returned to the land of living temporary, is choking Emma, Hook does nothing, until deciding to absorb all the darkness into himself. He asks Emma to kill him, which she tearfully does. Both of them revert to their old selves after losing their powers including immortality, and Hook dies from his neck wound shortly thereafter. ("Broken Heart", "Swan Song")

Hoping to put an end to Regina, Hades strikes her with the Olympian Crystal, but Robin Hood takes the blow for her. When Zelena returns, Hades lies about killing Robin to protect her from him. Zelena questions him about trapping the heroes in the Underworld, which he admits to so they wouldn't have to hurt anyone. Since they are at odds with the heroes now, Hades insists the only way to save themselves is to use the crystal to create a new kingdom. Zelena doesn't care about having that, but Hades reminds her of their shared ideology of getting revenge by having it all. Regina knocks Hades over, causing him to drop the crystal, which Zelena picks up. Hades pushes her to kill Regina, but she ultimately kills Hades, after realizing his love for her is not enough to change him. After being stabbed by the crystal, Hades screams Zelena's name, before his body turns into a pile of ash. ("Last Rites")


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.