Here's a short bit of Reinventing Fairy Tales: An Interview with Once Upon a Time's Jane Espenson, which by the way, is a very long, newsy article and is a must for fans of the show. This is only a small excerpt from the five page article (rather short pages, but there are 5!).
I read a poll the other day on some fansite, and interestingly Rumpelstiltskin was far in the lead as favorite character. He's certainly my favorite character, but I'm not sure why that is. I don't usually find myself drawn to "villains," but is Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold a real villain? After all, he did bring Henry to Storybrooke (and helped Snow White and the Prince save their baby).
We are fortunate to have two amazing villains in The Evil Queen/Regina and Rumple. And I really love how both of them can justify their own actions. Regina has a yet-to-be-revealed beef against Snow, and you're going to learn a lot more about the source of Rumple's dark energy soon. And, yes, you're onto something. Rumple's agenda is very complex. Look not just to episode 8, but to episode 12 and beyond to learn more about it. You'll have to decide for yourself if it's evil or not.
You probably won't tell me, but I have to ask: how much does Mr. Gold actually know about the curse?
Regina retains all her memories. Mr. Gold certainly seems to know something, but we won't be telling you more than that for a while.