Wraith

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For the Supernatural podfic, see Wraith (Supernatural podfic).

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The Wraith are an alien species on the television show Stargate Atlantis. They appear humanoid for the most part, but live in hives with an insect-like hierarchy led by a queen. The Wraith feed on humans in the Pegasus Galaxy in a process which subjects the human victims to immediate, extremely accelerated aging. The Wraith see humans as food; attempts to bargain with them are either ignored or met with contempt.

Prominent Wraith Characters in SGA

It should be noted here that LTC John Sheppard has an odd habit of giving Wraith (captives or otherwise) common American names. This explains the unusual American names of some Wraith characters.

  • Wraith Queen (played by Andee Frizzell) - Although she is never named, this kick-ass Wraith maven provided a lot of excellent exposition in the pilot episode of Stargate Atlantis, explaining the relationship between Wraith and humans in the Pegasus Galaxy (predators and prey), the fact that the Wraith would be very interested in visiting the Milky Way's rich and previously untapped feeding grounds, and the fact that Sheppard, by killing her, should consider himself Public Enemy #1, as far as the Wraith are concerned (this last said as she lay dying, of course).[1]
  • Steve (played by James Lafazanos) - Captured by the Lanteans for the sake of curiosity, Steve the Wraith (named by Sheppard, after the prisoner refused to give a name) was held in the Atlantis brig for a while,[2] until Dr. Carson Beckett and an allied scientist developed an inoculation which would supposedly render its taker immune to Wraith feeding. The human test subject (a terminally ill volunteer) was placed in a cell with (the starving) Steve. When Steve fed, the inoculation not only protected the volunteer but proved fatal to the Wraith, who died in the cell.[3]
The Wraith Todd, art by Bohemian Weasel.
  • Michael, aka Michael Kenmore (played by Connor Trinneer) - Seeking a solution to the problem of the Wraith's feeding needs, Dr. Beckett developed a retrovirus which separated the Wraiths' humanoid DNA from their Wraith DNA, leaving users fully human (as far as the viewer can tell).[4] Needing a test subject, the Lanteans once again take a Wraith male captive. Luckily the retrovirus also destroys memory, so Michael has no memory of his prior life. Unfortunately, memory - and some Wraith traits - return, and Michael is pissed. He escapes Atlantis, but the Wraith are unwilling to accept him back into their ranks - his appearance is not quite Wraith or human - and his alienation leads to a number of intricate plots involving the Lanteans, the Wraith, several ill-fated alliances, Teyla, and (of course!) a plan to conquer the galaxy with an army of laboratory-created monsters. Michael eventually meets a bad end (or so it's assumed, as of this writing), but he's sown chaos, panic and disorder in his wake throughout the galaxy.[5]
  • Todd (played by Christopher Heyerdahl) - Todd's interactions with the Lanteans have, from the start, been atypical. As a Sheppard's fellow prisoner to the Genii, Todd cooperated with Sheppard in order to effect both their escapes, at the end draining Sheppard's lifeforce (in order to protect them both from attack) and then unexpectedly returning the lost years to Sheppard.[6] Todd later reappeared as a prisoner and then (dubious) ally of the Lanteans in several episodes[7]; his character shows political cunning, sharp intelligence, humor (he once offered to shake hands upon introduction to a human - remember Wraith feed through their hands) and more flexibility than most Wraith in the face of changing conditions. As of this writing (October 2008), it seems clear that Todd still has a powerful role to play in Stargate Atlantis.

The Wraith in Fanfiction

The Wraith often function merely as foils or reasons for H/C fic, of course, but occasionally writers use them in light-hearted ways.[8]

Todd the Wraith, because of the character development which has been written by TPTB over Seasons 4 and 5 and his special relationship with John Sheppard, has been a particular favorite of fanfic writers and he regularly appears as a minor character, especially in post-season-5 fic and sometimes in AUs.

Wraith-pairing fic is relatively rare, but the most common pairings in it are probably Michael/Teyla and Sheppard/Todd, as well as some John/Teyla fic that focus on Teyla as a Wraith queen.[9]

Besides fanfic with "plain" Wraith there also exist fanfic that explores Wraith becoming human or transforms human characters into Wraith, partly inspired by the retrovirus storylines.[10]

Several writers were unsatisfied with what little canon provided of Wraith society and created their own versions: notable examples are Unnatural Selection by auburn, Permutationality by sardonicsmiley and the Lantean Legacy tie-in novels.

Fandom Reaction to Wraith

Some fans enjoy asserting that Colonel Sheppard assigns the Wraith names from his internal list of ex-boyfriends. (Need citation.)

Prompted partly by the Michael storyline, fans have questioned the ethics of the expedition's actions regarding the Wraith and Michael in particular. They have also discussed whether seeking to wipe them out could be considered genocide. (needs citation)

Wraith-centric communities

External Links

References

  1. Season 1, Episode 1, Rising.
  2. Season 1, Episode 5, Suspicion.
  3. Season 1, Episode 6, Poisoning the Well.
  4. Season 2, Episode 18, Michael.
  5. Season 2, Episode 20, Allies; Season 3, Episode 1, No Man's Land; Season 3, Episode 2, Misbegotten; Season 3, Episode 19, Vengeance; Season 4, Episodes 18 & 19, The Kindred; Season 4, Episode 20, The Last Man; Season 5, Episode 1, Search & Rescue.
  6. Season 3, Episode 7, Common Ground.
  7. Season 4 and Season 5, 10 episodes altogether.
  8. For instance, eleveninches' story People Are People (Except When They're Wraith), Missionary Position by trinityofone and A Wraith's Guide to Food and Nutrition by Eildon Rhymer.
  9. For example Consort by artaxastra (entry locked, accessed 4.10.2011).
  10. SGA thematic list: Wraith/Iratus bug transformations (accessed 26 February 2009)