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Enchanted Forest Character
Biographical Information
Gender: Male
Status: Deceased
Physical Description
Species: Human
Hair color: Gray
Eye color: Brown
Amber (as the Dark One)
Show Information
Portrayed by: Brad Dourif
First appearance: "Desperate Souls"
Latest appearance: "Nimue"
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 to Rumplestiltskin src

Zoso, also known as the Dark One and briefly as Old Beggar, 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.


Before First Curse

Long ago in the Enchanted Forest, a man named Zoso harnesses the power of darkness, succeeding Gorgon as the Dark One. He also gains a cursed dagger, which can bend his will to anyone who possesses it. Learning of a magical hat capable of absorbing and accumulating magic, he desires it for himself. He travels to its location and defeats the man guarding it. However, when he waves the dagger over the box in an attempt to open it, a powerful wave of magic from within the item blasts him away. As the Dark One lies still on the ground, the man informs him that the Sorcerer enchanted the box so that anyone who has succumbed to darkness cannot open it. Beaten, Zoso teleports away. ("Desperate Souls", "The Apprentice", "Nimue")

Later, he is enslaved by the Duke of the Frontlands, who acquires the dagger and gives it to one of his soldiers, Hordor. 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, becoming the new Dark One. ("Desperate Souls")

After Camelot Quest

Years laters, in the cavern beneath Emma's house in Storybrooke, Zoso is among all of the Dark Ones who appear, in spirit, to witness Emma reuniting Excalibur and the Dark One's Dagger. ("Nimue")



  • The Dark One's name, Zoso, refers to a nickname for Led Zeppelin guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Page,[1] who was represented on Led Zeppelin's fourth (unnamed) album by a symbol resembling the letters ZoSo. "Desperate Souls" premiered on the night before Page's sixty-eighth birthday.
    • Interestingly, the inside cover of the album shows a cloaked figure holding a staff and a lantern.[2] When Rumplestiltskin first meets Zoso, he is also wearing a cloak, and is holding a staff and a lantern.[3]
  • His name is similar to "Zozo", a mysterious demonic entity that has been recorded with Ouija board use since the 1800's. Much like the Dark One, Zozo the demon is also said to be summoned by others with an object - the Ouija board. He attaches itself to certain unlucky individuals, and go to any length to trick its callers.[4]

Character Notes

  • Zoso has the second longest gap between his first and second appearances with sixty-one episodes between "Desperate Souls" and "The Apprentice".

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  3. File:108ToRunAway.png
  5. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale - Page 142. New York: Hyperion, 2013.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Zoso

  • Character Appearances

    13 messages
    • Applegirl wrote:Rofl, Eskaver, about the Belle sleeping scene. It's funny because that must have been a really easy work day for Emilie de Rav...
    • THat's not fair for other characters
  • other dark ones

    • the apprentace said to zoso that he was not the first dark one he faced any idears for other dark ones ? mabie murlin or i know its not possi...

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