Rumple has an uncanny ability to look at people and sense their greater potential, and he always has a trick or twelve up his sleeve. He is forever guiding people toward the side of them that he sees, whether that is in his careful (but cruel) cultivation of Regina as he takes her from a path of innocence to evil, or in his release of magic into Storybrook. His instinctual insights into people are sometimes wrong, but he believes in them fully, and they are more often correct. Rumple will drive hard bargains to benefit no one but himself, refuse to take part in the community (and not see why this is detrimental to himself until no one will help him look for Belle), and keep things for a long time, in expectation of their future use. Snow does not understand why he wants a strand of her hair. Regina accuses him of knowing the truth of who they all are (he does) and having a diabolical scheme in the wings (he does). Rumple even brings back a wraith from the beyond to kill her in retaliation for her actions toward Belle. He prides himself on tricking and outsmarting people, thinking ahead of them, and often uses metaphorical language when speaking to them. Rumple will bargain and trade for things, and always knows what he wants—you get nothing for free in his world, and he intends to use everything he gets. He is shaping things to the vision he has of it in his head. His inability to understand or respond to anyone else on an emotional level means he almost loses the woman he loves, in pursuit of revenge and out of his own bitterness. Rumple will go back on his initial design, if he sees a profit in it, or some way to benefit himself. It’s not always personal, dearie.

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Fear transformed him into the Dark One, when he was too afraid to confront Hook about his wife or challenge him to a duel, and too afraid to fight in the war when ordered to by the kingdom. He’s afraid to live a life without magic, and thinks it’s the only way to protect himself. Rumple lives in dread that someone will get hold of his knife and use it to control him, so he creates an elaborate fake and deceives Belle with it. His logical detachment means he almost loses the woman he loves, because he cannot let go of his anxiety. In Storybrook, “Mr. Gold” lives as an eccentric antiques dealer who thinks about no one but himself, who can be ruthless, and who hordes his resources from other people. He is widely hated and feared because of his hard bargains and lack of empathy for other people. His 4 wing can also refuse to let go of past hurts. He nurses them for decades and seeks revenge even when it threatens his present happiness. He cannot seem to get past the loss of his son, or Hook’s actions toward him, and rather than finding happiness with Belle—a woman willing to forgive him endlessly and move on, Rumple dwells in the past and mourns what he has lost. Eventually, through Belle, he learns to move beyond his “Beastly” nature and find happiness, but he must be broken first and learn to want love more than he clings to his fear and resentment.