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Enchanted Forest Character
Biographical Information
Status: Deceased
Affiliation: Villain
Physical Description
Species: Human
Gender: Male
Hair color: Gray
Eye color: Brown
Current Enemies:
  • The Duke (owner)
Show Information
Portrayed by: Brad Dourif
First appearance: "Desperate Souls"
Next appearance: "The Apprentice[1]"
Relevant Pages

My life was such a burden. You’ll see. All magic comes with a price... and now, it's yours to pay.

—Zoso's last words to Rumplestiltskin src

Zoso, also known as the Dark One, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the eighth episode of the first season. He is portrayed by guest star Brad Dourif, and does not have a Storybrooke counterpart.


Before First Curse

Long ago, in the Enchanted Forest, a man named Zoso harnessed the power of the Dark One and became a slave to the bidding of whomever possesses control of him with a special dagger. The Duke of the Frontlands gains the dagger and allows one of his soldiers, Hordor, to bend the Dark One to his will. During an Ogre War, the Duke enlists all children aged fourteen to be trained as soldiers for his army. He dispatches Hordor to a village to pick up a girl named Morraine who recently turned fourteen as her parents beg for mercy. From a considerable distance, Zoso is ordered by Hordor via the dagger to magically force Morraine's parents into submission, which frightens the other villagers immensely. Unable to be freed of the curse of the Dark One, Zoso decides to goad someone else into killing him with the dagger so he can be free. He manipulates a cowardly wool spinner, Rumplestiltskin, whose only desire is to protect his son Baelfire from being forced to fight in the Ogre War. Disguised as a beggar, Zoso gains his sympathy and is offered food and shelter for the night. Zoso purposely tells Rumplestiltskin about the wonders of the dagger and encourages him to steal it from the Duke so he may gain control of the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin burns down the Duke's castle and snatches the dagger for himself. In the woods, he summons Zoso, who appears as a hooded figure. Rumplestiltskin cowers in fear of him, but quickly reacts in a blinded rage when Zoso taunts that his son was fathered by someone else. Zoso is stabbed to death by him, and reverts to human form. Rumplestiltskin is stunned at his true identity while Zoso briefly laments about life being a great burden for himself. Lastly, he affirms that Rumplestiltskin is the perfect pawn to help ensure his own death because he, like himself, is a desperate man. Upon death, Zoso's name disappears from the dagger while Rumplestiltskin's name replaces his. ("Desperate Souls")


Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

  • It is mentioned that Zoso had been the Dark One for decades before he tricked Rumplestiltskin into taking the curse onto himself. [2]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  2. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale - Chapter 7. New York: Hyperion, 2013.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Zoso

  • Zoso Returns!

    9 messages
    • What if the Blue Fairy was a love-interest for Zoso before he became the DO and then BF is secretly bitter at Rumple for killing Zoso; even tho...
    • Some interesting theory juices flowing here! I personally figured this flashback would be to in between the flashbacks of what I think ...
  • Hans is Zoso or the first Dark One

    5 messages
    • William warlow wrote:Could easily be in other urns and return as Mitchell's hostages. Or no one has ever said that Anna, Kristoff and Sven w...
    • They may have all gotten killed by Elizabeth Mitchell's character and lead Elsa to feel guilty, leading to her going to Rumplestiltskin and...

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