Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

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Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Himself » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:33 am UTC

I'm a long-time fan of Stargate SG-1 and I've recently been revisiting the series and a few thoughts occurred to me.

The first is how do the Goa'uld prevent explosive population growth. The Jaffa serve as incubators for young Goa'uld and it seems that a single Jaffa will carry several symbiotes to maturity in his or her lifetime. The Jaffa greatly outnumber the Goa'uld, so a single generation of Jaffa should greatly increase the Goa'uld population. So somehow it must be that the vast majority of symbiotes never take hosts. While a lot of Jaffa do die in the series it doesn't seem to fit well that most die before their first symbiote matures. So could it be that most symbiotes are culled, perhaps eaten as we see in season 5? Or is there another explanation?


The other thing I noticed is the strong similarly that there seems to be between the Goa'uld and the Yeerks in the Animorphs. It leads me to wonder if the books strongly influenced SG-1. I will preface this by saying I am not very familiar with Animorphs. I've seen the first season of the TV series and gathered some tidbits online, but I have not read the books, so hopefully someone more familiar with Animorphs can help fill in.

Similarities between Yeerks and Goa'uld:
Both are parasitic aliens that control the bodies of their hosts with full access to the host's knowledge and memories.

The host remains conscious during possession.

Both are mostly aquatic outside of a host.

Both have galaxy-scale empires.

Both have good counterparts in the Yoorts for the Yeerks and the Tok'ra for the Goa'uld.

Both exploited other alien races with Yeerks exploited the altruism of the Andalites and the Goa'uld adapting Ancient technology.

There are a few key differences.
Yeerks must leave their hosts every three days to regenerate with Kadrona while a Goa'uld has no such need and will not leave a host lightly.

Goa'uld physically enhance their hosts with physical strength, rapid healing, immunity to virtually all disease, and increased lifespan. Yeerks, as far as I've seen, do no such thing.

The sluglike Yeerks enter the brain through the ear. The snakelike Goa'uld slice into neck (or the back of the throat for the Tok'ra) and wrap around the spine.

Yeerk society, as far I've seen, consists entirely of Yeerks/Controllers while the Goa'uld empire is populated mostly by humans and Jaffa enslaved via religion and, for the Jaffa, dependence on symbiotes.

Yeerks don't have an equivalent to Jaffa to serve as incubators.

A dying Goa'uld usually kills its host while that doesn't seem to be a problem with Yeerks.

While we're running comparisons, how similar are the Ellimists to the Ancients or the Andalites to the Asgard?

That's all can think of but any other similarities or differences others may suggest are welcome. While there are some notable differences, do you think the similarities go beyond just a generic puppeteer parasite? Does it seem more than coincidence?
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:06 pm UTC

Himself wrote:The first is how do the Goa'uld prevent explosive population growth. The Jaffa serve as incubators for young Goa'uld and it seems that a single Jaffa will carry several symbiotes to maturity in his or her lifetime.


I think the main reason the Goa'uld carry symbiotes is because it makes them stronger warriors. I'm guessing all the infighting results in most of Jaffa being killed, along with the symbiote. As you mentioned, some of them get eaten, so I don't think the Goa'uld lords really place much value on life; I'd guess they also just let a lot of the symbiotes die when they reach maturity.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby speising » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:08 pm UTC

the Goa'uld don't carry symbiotes. they *are* the snakes.

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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby heuristically_alone » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:40 pm UTC

The Andalites think of themselves as protectors of the galaxy with their superior technology, not unlike the Asgardians.
The Ellimist is kind of his own thing. He crashed on a planet where a giant sponge-like creatute lived and absorbed the minds of everyone that landed there, but kept the Ellimist alive for entertainment. Eventually while trapped their the Ellimist figured out how to absorb the minds of all the hundreds thousands of dead corpses and eventually the planets mind becoming arguably the most intelligent being on the planet. Makes it his mission to create life everywhere he went. He goes through a black hole that doesnt kill him but somehow gives him the ability to be everywhete at once. At one point he clones a body of an Andalite back during their Stone Age, downloads his mind into it, and lives the life of an Andalite. As consequence, a huge percentage of all Andalites are children of the Ellimist. The Ellimist is now a God-like all powerful being that can't die and pretty much can do whatever he wants but spends his time playing a game against an equally powerful being that destroys life while the Ellimist creates it.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:47 pm UTC

speising wrote:the Goa'uld don't carry symbiotes. they *are* the snakes.


That was obviously a typo.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby speising » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:56 pm UTC

if you meant the jaffa, as i understood it they were entirely controled by the Goa'uld and carried the symbiotes because they were ordered to do so (or rather, because it was a religious ritual created by their gods)

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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:03 pm UTC

The whole point of the Jaffa is that they are warriors. The rituals are just about enforcing ideas of honor so the Jaffa will be loyal to the Goa'uld, but the primary purpose of the Jaffa is to be warriors. The symbiotes heal them, and give them strength in battle. That the vast majority of the symbiotes apparently die seem of no concern to the Goa'uld, so I would say that they are not there just to serve as incubators.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Himself » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:27 pm UTC

speising wrote:if you meant the jaffa, as i understood it they were entirely controled by the Goa'uld and carried the symbiotes because they were ordered to do so (or rather, because it was a religious ritual created by their gods)

But also because they would die without the symbiotes, making them doubly enslaved.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Sizik » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:38 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:That the vast majority of the symbiotes apparently die seem of no concern to the Goa'uld, so I would say that they are not there just to serve as incubators.

So the Goa'uld in power are exploiting what is basically child labor for their species in order to have strong, dependent armies to maintain their rule.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:50 am UTC

The Goa'uld are plainly following the pattern of "millions upon billions of spawned 'nymphs', only a few of which reach the 'adult' form, only a few of which earn rights to be the next geneation of super-breeders", although I'd have to binge watch SG1 again (and I never did see much Atlantis/etc in the first place, in case there's anything new there, when not busy documenting yet more different races) to pick up references to confirm or refute this.

One sees a general disregard for life from hosted Goa'uld. A beyond-pathological protectiveness of their own, yes (but of their host that only goes so far as what suits the Goa'uld themselves, who can always jump out and into an 'upgrade'), while they look upon other apex-Goa'uld with disdain and/or fear and would kill (or inconvenience) them in a heartbeat if it weren't for the shaky alliance between System Lords backed by the resources to respond in kind. There's no real appetite to create many more post-larval staged Goa'uld, just like kings are happy to breed serfs to work their land and provide strong sons for their armies, but the whole feudal tree largely insulates from any of the myriad of low-born actually contending with the (still considerably mortal, without technomagical sarcophogai) upper echelons in the dripping upwards to inhabit positions of power. Probably with good reason considering that Rebel Jaffa (hosting but not ceding control, except when still ideologically 'ensnared') exist, prior to the point at which the full 'snakehead' can choose (or choose not to, with the Tok'ra) to assume full autonomous posession of the next stage of compatible host. You can't imagine the Jaffa-held symbiotes/parasites being treated as many "Little Princes" when they can't even, at this stage, voice their own opinion or act for themselves. With few (if any!) opening for new System Lords before the whole establishment of the Tau'ri fight-back (drawing upon resources from Tok'ra, Asgardians, etc) raising workhorse larvae to 'minor royal' status seems comparatively rare and still controlled by a form of clientage (which the clever lowly full-grown symbiote may use to rise in the ranks) possibly having come from a pool of especially high-ranking larvae bred for the purpose (like the Tok'ra 'mother' had some control over her offspring's nature).

In short, larvae and larval-hosts alike seem to be a resource. Given the (pre-SGC) stagnation at the peak of the tree.

The Tok'ra, broken from that tradition (maybe helped by eschewing the influence of the sarcophagi, maybe just memetically held in check by the policy of letting the calmer of the host/hosted personality take primary and usual control in any given pairing), also have different problems of maintaining numbers whilst not using host-subservience at any stage. There are obvious issues there, and even with Goa'uld-degree tech ('borrowed'or inherited) they're mostly working away in the fringes rather than challenging the dominance of the System Lords, it seems, until their existence is revealed to us and the Tau'ri/et al become their support. Even then, there's no sign that they have the means to change their whole life-cycle into something more egalitarean and less solidly stratified by biological imperative. It's a sticking-plaster solution upon an ancient biological imperative that is tuned to a particularly broad-based pyramid of life.

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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby SuicideJunkie » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:47 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:The Goa'uld are plainly following the pattern of "millions upon billions of spawned 'nymphs', only a few of which reach the 'adult' form, only a few of which earn rights to be the next generation of super-breeders", although I'd have to binge watch SG1 again (and I never did see much Atlantis/etc in the first place, in case there's anything new there, when not busy documenting yet more different races) to pick up references to confirm or refute this.
I believe the only Goa'uld with serious power all either had subservient/enslaved queens, or were queens themselves.

As I understand it, the ones with queens were completely self-sufficient, while the ones without were generally minor powers that had to trade their industrial output and extra hosts for symbiotes (or for the poor; scavenge from battles and/or trap ferals on the old homeworld).

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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Himself » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:13 pm UTC

What of the other point I bring up. Is the similarity between Goa'uld and Yeerks more than coincidental?
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby heuristically_alone » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:48 pm UTC

I wouldn't be surprised if the creators had read Animorphs as it was a pretty popular series back in the day. At the very least the yeerks could have influenced subconsciously the creation of the goa'uld due to all the similarities.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:17 pm UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if the creators had read Animorphs as it was a pretty popular series back in the day. At the very least the yeerks could have influenced subconsciously the creation of the goa'uld due to all the similarities.

Animorphs publication - June 1996–May 2001

Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007)
Stargate Atlantis (2004–2009)
Stargate Universe (2009–2011)

So I guess it depends on when the stuff was clarified on Stargate.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:36 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
heuristically_alone wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if the creators had read Animorphs as it was a pretty popular series back in the day. At the very least the yeerks could have influenced subconsciously the creation of the goa'uld due to all the similarities.

Animorphs publication - June 1996–May 2001

Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007)
Stargate Atlantis (2004–2009)
Stargate Universe (2009–2011)

So I guess it depends on when the stuff was clarified on Stargate.

Stargate (1994)

Okay, the movie and SG-1 don't quite align on the details, but the idea of aliens possessing human bodies because they're easier to repair is in the movie.

And, of course, none of this is to be confused with Stargate (1981), a totally unrelated video game...

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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:03 pm UTC

As I recall, Stargate didn’t go in to much detail on it. No more than “parasite thing that controls you” which describes a shitload of sci-fi entities going back to... probably something Howard did. If not earlier.

The thread here suggests the two have a hell of a lot more in common than just that surface fact. I’m not familiar enough with either to know when the details of one were revealed versus the other, to know which came first or if it was a concurrent thing.
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Re: Thoughts on Goa'uld: population growth and similarity to Yeerks

Postby Angua » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:24 pm UTC

SG1 definitely had the Goauld possessing through the neck in the first episode, given the fact trying to save Shaure was the reason Daniel agreed to join the team.

The aquatic host thing is first mentioned in the Hammer (at least, that's when we see the original host for the goauld - though googling shows that they don't go to the Goauld home world until season 4). The fact that Teal'c requires a goauld juvenile to live is mentioned in that episode as well.
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