Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin is my favorite character in the series and certainly an antihero. That type is generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is contrary to that of the archetypal hero, but retains many heroic qualities.
Emma is clearly the heroine. She is attractive, brave, and determined. She is a good person and we are compelled to root for her. Unlike a hero or heroine, an antihero is generally selfish, corrupt, and oppressive. Mr. Gold is not a true villain like Regina, the Evil Queen, but he isn’t a hero either. Antiheroes usually fight or thwart the villains, but not for any reason of justice unless by happenstance to actualize their own desires. An antihero may steal, vandalize, and perform other "bad" acts, but may do so for a cause that is ultimately good. Mr. Gold has certainly fooled Regina several times to bring a result that benefits the side of the good. This was the case when Regina attempted to frame Mary Margaret/Snow White as a murderess. At the last moment, Mr. Gold makes the murder victim appear, alive and unharmed, ending Regina’s case. The same pattern held true when Emma ran for sheriff, her campaign almost undermined by Regina, until Mr. Gold enabled a situation that made the townspeople have tremendous respect for Emma and give her their votes.
Other examples of well known antiheroes in recent works include Severus Snape (one of my all-time favorite characters) and Captain Jack Sparrow.
I love the complex role of the antihero so much, I have included one my Enchanted Bookstore Legends. Tarom the Icewalker plays the part of the Dark Realm’s alchemist, but he often aligns with my heroine for reasons that are his own and not hers. He is very much an individual and values his independence, apart from both good and evil factions. This puts him at odds with his job, working for the Dark Realm. But even that has a selfish motive which will ultimately be exposed.
Antiheroes are extraordinary individuals with layers of complexity governing their actions.
What antiheroes are your favorites? What character in “Once Upon a Time” intrigues you the most?