The Others are a group of fictional character who inhabit the mysterious island in the American television series Lost. Most serve as antagonist to the series' main characters, although more recently they seem less hostile to the survivors of Flight 815 and have become their allies to overcome greater threats. According to the character Sayid Jarrah, at least 50 Others were living on the north side of the Island at one point. Wizard magazine rated them the 98th greatest villains of all time.
In the storyline, the term "The Others" is coined by the character Danielle Rousseau and adopted by the survivors of Flight 815 to describe the secretive group of island dwellers whom they regard as "the enemy." The Others have evidently been living on the island for many years -- long before the crash of Flight 815 in 2004 or even the arrival of the Dharma Initiative on the island in the 1970s. The Others do not appear to have a name for themselves, though Benjamin Linus has described them as "the good guys." Members of the Dharma Initiative refer to the group as "Hostiles" or "Natives".
The Others are mysterious and secretive, refusing to explain themselves to outsiders. They will kill anyone whom they perceive as a threat to themselves or the island, if provoked. The Others are led by one person at a time, a "leader" (Benjamin Linus at the start of the show) who, in turn, takes orders from Jacob, a seemingly ageless man with mysterious abilities that include conferring agelessness, and directing/bringing people towards the island. Richard Alpert was granted agelessness by Jacob, in return for acting as a go-between for him and the Others via their current leader, delivering Jacob's orders when necessary and advising the leader. When the series begins, most Others seem to have been recruited from the outside world. One reason for this is that those pregnant women that specifically conceived on the island and stay there to bear out their full term die before they can give birth. The cause of this mortality is unknown, but it did not occur in earlier decades, since such characters as Ethan Rom, Miles Straume, and Charlotte Lewis were born on the island.
In their early dealings with the Flight 815 survivors, the Others take on the guise of primitive but cunning jungle-dwellers. Their disguise includes wearing primitive flax-sewn clothes and going about barefoot, which seems their trademark for a while. Richard Alpert has been able to travel to the United States since the 1950s, and seems to have formed Mittelos Laboratories by no later than the early 1970s, when he attempts to recruit John Locke while he was in high school. Former leader Charles Widmore is also cited as having left the island on occasion, and this is the stated reason for his removal from leadership of the Others. Since their victory over the Dharma Initiative, the group has become comparatively technologically advanced, and for a time acquires means of regular contact with the outside world by submarine and live televisual link.
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