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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.


General Information

Immortality, as Mr. Gold says, doesn't mean one can't be killed, but means to live forever. In a place with magic or not, they can always be killed with some certain weapons or items. ("Second Star to the Right")

However, living extremely long does not mean that the person has the ability of immortality. Fairies, Regina Mills, Zelena, Fendrake the Healer, Gothel, Seraphina, Pinocchio or Jiminy Cricket have lived a very long life, but this is due to their creation and nature, or using some magic to keep themselves young. Inhabitants of Neverland and the Land of Untold Stories also do not age as long as they are in those worlds. This is because time always stands still in there. Inhabitants of Storybrooke before Emma's arrival also do not age due to the time being frozen and no one changing.

Immortal beings also are not immune to the "Worse Place" due to the fact that it is a concept of hell and eternal suffering. ("Her Handsome Hero")

However, there are also negative connotations of immortality. Merlin describes immortal life as "endless sea of time" as a cost of having great power. According to Mr. Gold, immortality is a burden and it is just another prison. ("Nimue", "The Guardian")

How to Gain Immortality

  • Holy Grail - 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")
  • Divine Magic - Deities have this ability because of their nature. It can also presumably be said that Deities are the creators of the ability of immortality since they are the oldest immortal beings. ("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.

How to Kill an Immortal Being

  • Excalibur - While Holy Grail grants someone immortality and eternal life; Excalibur, whose original form is Holy Grail, was forged to cut immortal ties. It has the ability of killing both Merlin or any Dark One, as well as swipping away their immense magical powers. ("Nimue", "Swan Song")
  • Dark One Dagger - Because the dagger is originally part of Excalibur, it also has the ability to kill any Dark One. It is the main and most-known item that can kill any Dark One, and that's why, it is said that the dagger is Dark Ones' weakness numerous times. ("Desperate Souls", "The Return" et al., "Nimue", "Swan Song")
  • Another Immortal Being - It's possible for an immortal being to kill another immortal person who is gifted with the Holy Grail. ("Nimue")
  • Soul Ripping Arrows - 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")
  • Olympian Crystal - Originally belonged to the ruler of Mount Olympus, it has the ability of erasing someone's existence, even a powerful being like a god. ("Last Rites")
  • Author Powers - Though the Author's powers cannot destroy the Darkness itself, it can be used to destroy the host's magical powers and immortality. ("Leaving Storybrooke")

It is possible to hurt an immortal being with a simple sword and make them bleed. 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. But they can still experience pain from being strangled by telekinesis. However, none of the situations can kill them. ("A Land Without Magic", "Lacey", "Swan Song")

Known Owners


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Reason: Season Seven

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")

After Fourth Curse

During Fifth Curse

After Fifth Curse


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nguyen, Hanh (March 8, 2015). Oh Baby! Once Upon a Time Star and Bosses Weigh In on Maleficent's Big Loss. TV Guide. “"It's so much fun to play somebody who has time on her side in that she's immortal," Bauer van Straten says. "She doesn't have to rush for her revenge. Killing someone in this realm, this isn't a John Wayne sort of revenge. This is like, 'I will take my time and I will watch how things develop and I will figure out how to keep the pain happening as long as possible.'”
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The New Neverland", Once Upon a Time, ABC
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