|Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse|
|Type :||Herald/embodiment of natural disaster|
|Notable distinctions :||Can spread and control natural disaster|
Four Horsemen's rings
|Main weaknesses :|| Amputation|
Loss of respective rings
|Culture(s) of origin :||Christianity|
|First appearance :||Good God, Y'All!|
- Death - The horseman who embodies death, destruction and end, and who rides the pale horse. Death remained active after the Apocalypse was derailed, but was killed by Dean Winchester with his scythe in 2015.
- Famine - The horseman who embodies hunger, starvation, craving and gluttony, and who rides the black horse. Famine was incapacitated when his ring was taken from him, reducing his human manifestation to a withered, catatonic husk.
- Pestilence - The horseman who embodies sickness, disease and pathogens, and who rides the green horse. Pestilence was incapacitated when his ring was taken from him.
- War - The horseman who embodies conflict and fighting among humans, and who rides the red horse. War was incapacitated when his ring was taken from him, reducing his human manifestation to a withered, catatonic husk.
Each one of the Four Horsemen is a force of nature experienced among humans, which is personified with a consciousness; with each horseman embodying and causing its own unique natural phenomenon. The horsemen are neither demon nor angel, but rather are natural forces and occurrences which possess sentience. (Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 5) The horsemen normally exist within their 'day jobs' (The Song Remains the Same) as forces of nature which occur among and are experienced by humanity, but they can leave or be removed from these 'day jobs' and corporeally manifest. Upon removal from its 'day job,' a horseman can manifest on the Earth in human form. (Season 5)
The horsemen are implied to gain physical human form without possessing vessels, and can copy the form of a real human person (as was the case with War, who killed a man named Roger and took his form to masquerade as him). (Good God, Y'All!) Though the horsemen's human forms appear entirely human, a horseman can apparently still at least sometimes possess some physical characteristics associated with the natural force it embodies - Famine's human form appeared very weak and sickly, (My Bloody Valentine) Pestilence could make his human form very sick and sneezy to spread viruses such as influenza, (Hammer of the Gods) and Death's human form was noted to be so thin it seemed almost skeletal. (Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid) A horseman in human form can be detected by CCTV, which shows static over visible parts of the horseman's body such as its hands and head. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
As sentient forces of nature, the Four Horsemen are among the most powerful entities in existence. The horsemen claimed to be impossible to kill, (Good God, Y'All!) although it was shown with Death that the rumours he could be killed by his own scythe were true. (Brother's Keeper)
Each horseman can guide, direct, manipulate and concentrate its natural force, but it cannot actually force its natural occurrence upon someone who is not at all susceptible to it: Famine's hunger-amplifying presence had no effect on a human who was emotionally empty and therefore lacked any temperamental hunger, (My Bloody Valentine) and Pestilence once hinted that he cannot infect a person with a disease that they have full immunity to (i.e., that he can't infect a human who had chicken pox as a child with the disease again). (Two Minutes to Midnight) While the horsemen's abilities to control and direct their respective natural phenomena primarily affect humans, they can also indirectly affect angels if they're possessing vessels. Famine's hunger-amplifying effect caused angels to experience and act out on their vessels' own hunger, (My Bloody Valentine) and Pestilence's disease-causing powers worked on angels whose powers were completely drained. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
As well as these capabilities, horsemen are also capable when in human form of instantaneous teleportation, (Good God, Y'All!, Two Minutes to Midnight, Appointment in Samarra) and (in War and Famine's cases) of reading humans' minds or souls and sensing how the person feels the horseman's own natural occurrence (i.e., if they're enduring mental conflict against his or herself in War's case, and whether or not they have any true temperamental craving in Famine's case). (Good God, Y'All!, My Bloody Valentine)
While the horsemen are very powerful beings able to manipulate and direct their respective force of nature, when a horseman is manifest in human form, it requires its ring to channel its powers on the Earth. Separating a horseman from its ring will negate most of the horseman's power, and can (in War, Famine and Pestilence's cases) render the horseman's physical form unable to exercise its power on the Earth. (Good God, Y'All!, Two Minutes to Midnight) It would appear that how greatly a horseman is crippled and weakened without its ring depends on how powerful the horseman in question is. Death was still able to function on Earth and in the Veil without his ring, (Two Minutes to Midnight, Appointment in Samarra) while War and Famine were said to have been reduced to withered, catatonic husks after they lost their rings. It was also implied that after War and Famine were weakened and incapacitated without their rings, returning their rings to them wouldn't have helped replenish them. (The Devil You Know)
Another weakness that the horsemen gain in human form is that their human bodies can sustain damage or mutilation such as amputation of their fingers just like an ordinary human's. This in turn makes it easier to take away a horseman's ring, by cutting off its human form's ring finger. (Good God, Y'All!, Two Minutes to Midnight) Though the horsemen cannot be killed, they can still be bound by certain spells, which force the horsemen to be where the caster wants, when the caster wants, and prevents them from directly striking against the caster. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
According to the Book of Revelation and the prophecy of the Apocalypse, after Lucifer was released and rose, the horsemen would be among the apocalyptic forces and weapons that would walk the Earth with Lucifer to burn and ravage the world; (Season 5) although Death would, unlike the other three horsemen, require a ritual to free him from his prison in order to walk the Earth. (Abandon All Hope...) The horsemen were also specifically prophesised as each riding their own uniquely-coloured 'horse' across the Earth, and Revelation prophesised that the coming of the horsemen during the Apocalypse would be preluded by Star Wormwood and river pollution. (Good God, Y'All!)
During the Apocalypse, the horsemen would march across the lands, spreading their respective forces of nature amongst and against humanity. War would cause humans to turn on and savagely fight against their own kind and destroy each-other; (Good God, Y'All!) Famine would ride into lands that were rich and plentiful, to infect and poison the people and populations with extreme gluttony and starvation; (My Bloody Valentine) Pestilence would spread sickness and diseases, including the Croatoan virus, against humanity; (The Devil You Know, Two Minutes to Midnight) and Death would spread mass death and destruction (Two Minutes to Midnight) and would raise the dead from the grave with him. (Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid)
Little is known about the Four Horsemen's origins, although it is known that Death is the oldest horseman, claiming to be approximately as old as God. (Two Minutes to Midnight) All throughout history since the dawn of humanity, humans have regularly if not constantly felt the horsemen and their effects through humanity's capacity for and weakness towards war and conflict, hunger and gluttony, sickness and pestilence, and death and destruction, respectively. (Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 5) It is known that before the Apocalypse, the eldest horseman Death was usually kept locked away in a subterranean coffin prison, and only to be released at times of great biblical natural disaster. (Abandon All Hope...)
In 2009, when Lucifer was freed from his cage and walked the Earth, with the Apocalypse having begun, War, Famine and Pestilence manifested in human form on the Earth to spread their respective natural forces as weapons of destruction against humanity (as the horsemen were bound to Lucifer to be where he wanted when he wanted, and to not strike directly against him). (Season 5) War's arrival occurred shortly after Lucifer was freed, when the coming of the horsemen was signalled by Star Wormwood. (Good God, Y'All!)
Days after manifesting, War attacked River Pass, Colorado, causing all the locals to hallucinate each-other as demons and begin fighting off and slaughtering each-other, but War was incapacitated and rendered powerless after Sam and Dean destroyed his influence by taking War's ring. (Good God, Y'All!) A matter of weeks - months later, Death also came under Lucifer's control when he was raised from his prison. (Abandon All Hope...) Shortly afterwards, Famine was sent by Lucifer under the care of demons to be ready to march across the lands, but Famine was also defeated by the Winchesters, (My Bloody Valentine) and incapacitated when his ring too was taken. (Hammer of the Gods)
Some weeks - months after Famine's defeat, Pestilence and Lucifer were testing and developing the Croatoan virus to release upon the human population, and Pestilence was himself out for revenge against Sam and Dean for what they'd done to War and Famine. However, Pestilence too was incapacitated after the Winchesters took his ring as well. The next day, Death was sent by Lucifer to Chicago to trigger a catastrophic storm system, but he willingly loaned his ring over to Dean to be free of Lucifer's control. (Two Minutes to Midnight)
After Lucifer was successfully reimprisoned and the Apocalypse derailed, War, Famine and Pestilence presumably remained weakened and powerless without their rings. Death remained free and active but usually detached from the post-Apocalypse affairs of the universe, until in 2015, he was killed by Dean with his own scythe.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the Book of Revelation, at 6:1 - 6:8. According to Revelation, the Four Horsemen will be released and each ride out on an individually-coloured horse, when the first four of the seven seals are opened by Jesus Christ; each one of the first four seals releasing a different horseman. Although some interpretations differ, generally, the horsemen are, in order of release from first to last: Conquest, who rides the white horse; War, who rides the red horse; Famine, who rides the black horse; and Death, who rides the green or pale horse. The Four Horsemen are interpreted as the harbingers of Judgment Day, who are to set the Apocalypse upon the world and humankind.
- Good God, Y'All!
- Abandon All Hope...
- My Bloody Valentine
- Hammer of the Gods
- Two Minutes to Midnight
- Appointment in Samarra
- Meet the New Boss
- I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here
- Brother's Keeper
- Although all four horsemen each at some point in Season 5 were free and walked the Earth during the Apocalypse, they weren't ever all active at the same time; Death wasn't released until Abandon All Hope..., after Sam and Dean defeated War in Good God, Y'All!.
- It was revealed in Two Minutes to Midnight that at least one of the Four Horsemen, specifically Death, only served Lucifer during the Apocalypse due to being bound to the Devil, and so many fans have presumed or speculated that this is probably why the other horsemen such as Famine and Pestilence were under Lucifer's control. Fans have also suggested based on this that like Death was, War, Pestilence and/or Famine may have also been unwilling and non-copasetic about being used by Lucifer as weapons. Pestilence seemed to be at least not entirely loyal to Lucifer, as he attempted to go against Lucifer's instructions not to harm Sam or Dean in order to get revenge on the Winchesters for what they did to War and Famine. According to Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 5, the other horsemen were indeed bound to Lucifer like Death; but War and Famine were highly copasetic with Lucifer's plans and playing along with them, whereas Pestilence was more interested in getting revenge on Sam and Dean.
- The Official Companion also reveals that the spell Lucifer used to bind the horsemen was a superpowerful version of the black magic capable of binding reapers, and that Lucifer cast it not after the horsemen rose during the Apocalypse but millennia ago.
- It was shown in Two Minutes to Midnight and Appointment in Samarra that unlike War, Famine and Pestilence (who disappeared and were rendered powerless after their rings were taken), Death was capable of functioning without his ring. Fans have put forward a few theories on how and why this was with Death:
- One theory is that Death could function without his ring because he gave it up willingly, whereas the other three horsemen's rings were forcibly taken from them. This is supported by the horsemen's profile in Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 5.
- Another theory is that because Death was the oldest and most powerful of the horsemen, he retained a greater amount of innate power without his ring than the other horsemen did. This is supported by Death's statement that he is approximately as old as God.
- There has been much speculation by fans and viewers as to what order the horsemen are in terms of age, but it is known that Death was the oldest.