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Enchanted Forest Character
Biographical Information
Status: Deceased
Physical Description
Species: Human
Gender: Male
Hair color: Gray
Eye color: Brown
Current Enemies:
Current enemies:
Show Information
Portrayed by: Brad Dourif
First appearance: "Desperate Souls"
Latest appearance: "The Apprentice"
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 and briefley as an 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, and does not have a Storybrooke counterpart.


Before First Curse

Long ago, in the Enchanted Forest, a man named Zoso harnesses the power of the Dark One and gains a cursed dagger, which can bend his will to anyone who possesses it. Learning of a sorcerer's box capable of absorbing and accumulating magic, he takes down the apprentice guarding it. However, when Zoso waves the dagger over the box, a powerful wave of magic from within the item blasts him away. As the Dark One lies still on the ground, the apprentice informs him that the sorcerer cursed the box so that anyone who has succumbed to darkness cannot break it open. Beaten, Zoso teleports out of sight. ("Desperate Souls", "The Apprentice")

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. ("Desperate Souls")


  • Zoso has the longest gap between his first and second appearances with sixty-one episodes between "Desperate Souls" and "The Apprentice".
  • Zoso may be based on "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 - to make deals under false pretenses. He attaches itself to certain unlucky individuals, and go to any length to trick its callers. [1]

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

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


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. McMan, Scott. "What is ZOZO?". 2011. Ghost Theory.
  2. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale - Page 142. New York: Hyperion, 2013.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Zoso

  • 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...
  • Hans is Zoso or the first Dark One

    8 messages
    • Yatagakarasu wrote: No, Hans can't be Zoso because Anna met Prince Charming before he met Snow White, so unless you freeze time for every...
    • William warlow wrote: Here's my not-so-impossible theory about the return of Zoso. After returning home, Hans is exiled to the dishonor that ...

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