Hive Queen

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Borg Queen: I am the Borg.
Data: That is a contradiction. The Borg have a collective consciousness, there are no individuals.

Borg Queen: I am the beginning, the end, the one who is many. I am the Borg.

Properly speaking, a Hive Mind is a mind arising from the interaction of many individuals. There is no single individual in control of the Hive Mind, any more than there is a single neuron in control of your brain. This makes the Hive Mind a fearsome enemy, both militarily and psychologically because there's no command-and-control point that you can hit to knock it out, they feel no fear, will willingly sacrifice individuals for "the greater good", and are as impersonally destructive as a tidal wave...

...only, that's inconvenient when it comes time for the Big Damn Heroes to save the day. Inevitably, it transpires that there is in fact someone or something in control of the Hive Mind. This individual is usually—but not always—referred to as the queen. Presumably this is by analogy with real-world ants and bees, even though real ant and bee queens exercise no control over their colonies—their sole job is to pop out eggs.

Their methods of control can be anything from "pheromones", to Mind Control, to Cybernetics, but always exercises iron-clad control over drones... usually. Sometimes, but not always, her powers coincide with (or as) The Virus and she can expand her hive to normal people.

Sometimes the Hive Mind is designed with a Hive Queen from the start. At other times, the "control element" gets retconned into the story so that the Hive Mind can be beaten. Indeed, development of a Hive Queen may be the most common form of Villain Decay that threatens Hive Minds. It should be noted that not all hive queens are evil or expansionistic... some are perfectly Reasonable Authority Figure if protective of their "children", it just transpires that since insects—hive minded ones especially—are seen as gross and commie Hive Queens are too.

If the Hive Queen is pregnant with eggs/mooks, she will almost invariably be depicted as bloated and overweight.

Also see God Save Us From the Queen, Monster Progenitor, Vampire Monarch, and Monster Lord. Frequently wants to help individuals lose The Evils of Free Will.

Examples of Hive Queen include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Vajra Queen from Macross Frontier.
  • Pandaemonium in the Chrono Crusade manga.
  • In a rare benevolent example, Last Order in To Aru Majutsu no Index, who is said to have the purpose to control all the other "sister" clones.
  • Anri Sonohara from Durarara!! becomes one after the second arc. Luckily for the district of Ikebukuro, she's one of the few good ones.
  • Diva from Blood Plus becomes this.
  • The Anti-Spiral king from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is literally the collective consciousness and will of his entire planet in one body.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In The DCU, the villainess Queen Bee is able to take control of people's minds and turn them into her drones.
  • Marvel Universe villain Swarm is sometimes an example of this trope. He was a Nazi scientist who was eaten alive by bees, surviving as a hive mind that telepathically controlled them and got them to form up around his bones to make him humanoid. Little mention is made of the queen bee, but if his skeleton inside is destroyed, the bees just fly away.
  • Inverted in PS238: An Alternate Universe version of Tyler Marlocke accidentally turned the whole of humanity into a Hive Mind called the Commonality, wiping out war, greed and famine and causing a tremendous leap in technology... But although he is the Commonality's creator, he for some reason can't be part of it himself. As a result, he's terribly lonely, even though the Commonality is extremely grateful towards him and tries to keep him company as best it can.
  • Subverted in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire with PSmith. A human offshoot created as an experiment to create a hive mind in the human species, PSmith lacks a queen-it's just a hive consciousness that somehow manages to keep track of, and manage, every unit at the same time without going mad. Of course, what they/it lacks in queens it makes up for in impulsiveness-when they/it loses contact with one of its units, they/it assume it was killed-and that Godot was responsible (in fact Godot didn't even acknowledge PSmith until after he/they got completely smashed, which, you guessed it, is why contact was lost. Adding to the hilarity was that since the drunken PSmith wasn't actually dead, he continued to be a part of the hivemind. As a result, ALL PSmith nodes acted drunk—and later, hungover—and had no idea they were even doing it or why.).
    • They're all individuals who are in constant telepathic communication with one another and act in the interest of the collective. It actually makes more sense than having a single individual control all of those thousands of bodies.
  • Played straight in the Star Raiders graphic novel, with the Zylon Hive Mind controlled by a Hive Queen that's actually an empathic alien who took control.

Film[edit | hide]

  • The Borg Queen from Star Trek, who claims to somehow be the Collective rather than simply control it (don't worry, the characters don't quite get it, either). Ever since her debut in First Contact, whether her existence is a good or bad idea has been a matter of great debate.
    • Presumably the "Queen" is simply a personification of the Collective, assembled whenever one is deemed necessary for one-on-one interaction.
      • Especially considering the number of times she has come back from the dead.
      • Much like Locutus (but then why did they need Locutus?).
      • Perhaps he gave them the idea? They hadn't needed to talk to anyone before, so they created him. Then, they spread the idea through the collective?
      • An alternate theory is that Locutus and Seven Of Nine (in her original appearance) existed simply as an ambassador, whereas the Queen functions as a Wetware CPU for the collective. In the Expanded Universe they specify that Borg Queens are always from the same race; a race selected because their females have brains which can deal with a lot of information processing tasks.
  • The Ben 10 Alien Force live action movie Alien Swarm features the Hive, a race of alien nanite with their leader being exactly one of these.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, the Green Death, a dragon that's probably bigger than all the other dragons put together, has hypnotic powers over the other dragons; Astrid actually uses a bee analogy to describe it, saying that the dragons are worker bees and the Green Death is their queen. (Of course, how you get bees when it snows nine months out of the year and hails the other three is another question.)

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Ender's Game, each of the Bugger hives is controlled by a telepathic Hive Queen. These Hive Queens can be evil, or at least focused solely on the advancement of their own colonies, but others prove able to cooperate with like-minded Queen relatives.
    • Hell, in later books, the species is solely referred to as Hive Queens, since they're the only sentient "Buggers".
      • Their own internal history begins with the first Queen who actually raised and allied with her daughters (expanding their control beyond a single hive), instead of killing (or being killed by) them.
  • In the Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, the antlike cho'ja are ruled by queens.
    • ... who are, subverting the commie connotation of hive minds, extremely capitalistic.
  • The Thrall books by CT Adams and Cathy Clamp feature these.
  • The Vord Queen in Jim Butcher's sword and horse fantasy series Codex Alera.
  • Animorphs played it straight with termites; after morphing, the heroes were swallowed by the Hive Mind until Cassie managed to turn her head to the side and kill the queen. They averted it with ants and bees, though the former was still a Nightmare Fuel Hive Mind like the termites.
  • Subverted in The Forever War when humans eventually become a clonal species with a collective hive mind, but without any defined "queen".
  • Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Worker and Warrior Bugs are controlled by Brain Bugs. If a Brain Bug is killed, the Bugs under its control die too.
    • There are also Queens but their sole purpose is producing eggs, in fact Bug colonies that are invaded will kill their queen to prevent the Mobile Infantry from capturing her. Whereas Sergeant Zim successfully uses a Brain Bug as an "Arachnoid shield".
  • In David and Leigh Eddings's The Dreamers quartet, the enemies are poisonous bugs in widely divergent forms who are controlled by a queen. The queen becomes more human as the books, er, "progress."
  • Genderflipped in the Clan Ground series by Clare Bell. The hive-minded clan of hunting cats discovered in the last two books are led by a hive *king* named True-Of-Voice. It's really a title rather than a name, because when the leader dies, a new one becomes True-Of-Voice.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Wist from Lexx infested her minions with "satellite worms," which were "no more separate from their queen then your blood cells are from you."
  • Jasmine from Angel. Her followers become extensions of herself, and she even refers to them as "Body Jasmine".

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In Mortasheen, the greatest example of this is Genetisaur, a grotesque, phallic, female creature that spits out spermlike young that incubate in women before maturing into Genetimorphs
    • They also have the Harlequeen, who is basically the accumulated minds of all the creatures a Joker hive have consumed.
  • Tyranid "Synapse creatures" in Warhammer 40,000 are an interesting example because they're not the source of the whole Hive Mind, only a kind of local repeater. If they're killed, nearby lesser creatures are cut off from the Hive Mind, but the mind as a whole is unaffected.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Elder Brain in an Illithid colony, and the Hive Mother of a Beholder city. In both cases, however, they're much more similar to an actual insect queen than a true Hive Queen, and neither species has a Hive Mind. The former manages to subvert even that, in a sense—Illithid tadpoles can survive outside of an Elder Brain's pool of nutrients, but without oversight and culling they tend to engage in cannibalism until the toughest one remains and grows into a "wild" version, called a Neothelid. These creatures are fully sentient, and posses Psychic Powers like their more normal kin, but are also roughly the size of a dragon, so they can't pull off Puppeteer Parasite gig very easily.
    • The Formian Queens are a more straight up example.
    • So are the Hivebrood, a vicious insect-race from the Basic/Expert/etc D&D rules.
    • In early Dungeons & Dragons, if a giant ant queen was killed, its followers became confused for a few minutes and then left the nest.
  • Semi-subversion: The Slivers in Magic: The Gathering have a Sliver Queen, but like all the other Slivers she's a specialized breed, her specialty being, of course, reproduction. Unlike the other Slivers, however, she appears to be unique. The Slivers survive and function fine without her when they're reconstituted by the Riptide Project, but apparently she was something of a check on them, as they rampage aimlessly and in flavor text seem to crave some sort of direction at the same time, eventually resulting in the creation of the Sliver Overlord, which despite the male name is a more straight playing of the trope. Finally, it's implied they eventually form a true hive mind, discarding both Overlord and no longer needing a Queen, as the Sliver Legion (...and although most tournaments' rules prevent it, standard gameplay mechanics don't stop you playing all three at once).
  • The Freedom City setting for Mutants and Masterminds has the alien Meta-Mind, a collection of millions of Grue brain clusters linked into a coordinating supermind for the entire Grue Unity.
    • And the Paragons setting has the adventure "Unity", wherein an entire small town comes under the control of a psychic Hive Mind, with the original psychic in question being a Hive Queen. Though, this is a borderline example as the Queen in question is comatose.
  • Raknids in Talislanta are evil scorpion/demon hybrids who live in colonies, each one ruled by a superintelligent queen. Which is hardly typical of real scorpions, but who knows what demons are like...
  • Earthdawn supplement Creatures of Barsaive. Greater Termites have a queen who controls all of the worker and soldier termites in the nest.
  • In Shadowrun all Insect spirits are led by great spirits — known, of course, as "queens". One distinction between the social types (ants, wasps, etc) and the solitary ones (mantids, roaches, etc) is that the former are more dependent on their Queens.

Toys[edit | hide]

  • The Bahrag from Bionicle are this to the Bohrok.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In StarCraft, the Zerg Swarm is controlled by a gigantic brain-like entity called the Overmind, although the first game reveals that it hasn't actually had a physical form in thousands of years (the manual notes that "It is speculated that the Overmind itself is protected deep within the safety of [Daggoth's Brood]", but the Overmind says that "For it is upon that ground [the Protoss Temple] alone that I may be manifest." but meh). There are also lesser control nodes called Cerebrates, which have their own personalities and opinions, but are absolutely incapable of defying an order from the Overmind. Finally, the Cerebrates control the Overlords, who themselves provide "control" (as opposed to Terrans' supplies and Protoss' psi) to a specific hive cluster over a given area (in addition to acting as handy air transport for Zerg ground units). Ironically, while the Zerg also have creatures called "Queens," the Zerg Queens have nothing to do with control of the Hive Mind and are merely another assimilated species. The Zerg Queen is, however, slightly closer to real insects in function; its job involves watching over the hive cluster and spawning various parasites.
    • And then there's Sarah Kerrigan, who assumes Queen status and title in the expansion pack after the demise of the Overmind. She also changes the theme of the Zerg race somewhat: brutal and monstrous as they were while under the Overmind, the original objective of the Swarm was to assimilate all organic life into itself and thus become perfect, an objective that was carried out without prejudice or malice. Kerrigan, on the other hand side, is actually Evil with a capital E, scheming, betraying and engaging in quite a bit of sadism along the way, actively using the power of the Swarm to get revenge against those who have wronged her, and put her in a position of power over the local portion of the galaxy. Also, the expansion demonstrates how the killing of the Overmind is a great blow against the Zerg, but by no means impossible to recover from, as it is discovered that Cerebrates can physically merge together to form a new Overmind.
      • In StarCraft II the Queen unit has changed a bit, now they spawn additional larvae for hives and have a minor command role. They also look a little different, perhaps Kerrigan replaced the cerebrates with her less powerful "daughters".
  • The Aparoid Queen in Star Fox Assault.
  • Halo has the Gravemind - serving as the Hive Queen for The Flood. This was designed as a bit of a villain upgrade, however, as it explains how a bunch of unorganized "space zombies" could overthrow the Forerunners. Essentially, although individual Flood act as savage, mindless zombies, they are all actually under the direct control of the Gravemind, allowing for strategy and tactics to be used against its enemies. The physical body of the Gravemind is depicted as a gigantic talking "Venus flytrap" made of meat and bone in Halo 2, while in Halo 3, while unseen (but not unheard), it is upgraded to Ultimate Evil status.
    • The Gravemind only fits this trope to a small degree. Should whatever collection of Flood Biomass that represents the Gravemind be destroyed, it is perfectly capable of rebuilding itself so long as at least one single spore survives.
    • It is the nexus of the computing power that is spread throughout all flood cells. Killing it does not stop the flood for for very long (blowing it up in Halo 3 did little to nothing), but it does do something on its own, as the flood will defend it more than any other biomass.
  • In Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Alexia is attempting to become one of these, with all of humanity as the 'ants'.
  • World of Warcraft sports the Scourge, an army of undead rendered mindless or enthralled (depends on the type) by the Lich King. Notably, one of the player factions is the Forsaken, who are sapient undead who have broken free of the Hive Mind. The Forsaken have a queen, Sylvanas - but she's not a Hive Queen, merely a leader in the more traditional sense of the word.
    • There are hints in the Cataclysm expansion (set after the defeat of the Lich King) that Sylvanas may be moving closer to this trope and generally becoming more and more like the one who did this to her.
    • The Silithid of Ahn-Qiraj play this trope straight—not only do they have a hive mind mentality controlled by leaders, they are actual insects. Their leader, C'thun, is an Old God, who has several high-ranking Qiraj at his command to issue out orders. The hive extends all the way down to insect-like creatures that are barely sapient, but still follow the hive mind. While C'thun was the first example of this seen in WoW, the other Old Gods seem to also be hive queens. The Faceless Ones seem to follow the orders of the Old Gods much like hive workers, and members of other races can be driven to insanity to serve the Old Gods.
  • Subverted with Nero Chaos. The familiars are part of his body and also his existence, but technically he does not control them as they are him and he's basically the part that talks to people and holds it all together. Even the Hive Mind can't completely control all the drones in this case and often enough they cannot be properly controlled. Double subverted in that Shiki doesn't hit Nero, he hits the 'existence' of Chaos and thus destroys every factor of him at once. It's not even an entity.
  • Should you so choose, humanity's eventual fate in Deus Ex: Invisible War could be a nanotech fueled transformation into one perfect hive-mind under JC Denton/Helios.
  • The locust queen. The chapter in which she is met is called 'Hive'.
  • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, we have Vespiquen, which is a Pokémon that evolves from the honeycomb-like Combee only if it is female. Vespiquen command and control the hive of mostly male Combee, which is contained within her body. There are three attacks in-game that uses this: one sends a swarm of Combee out to attack, one heals Vespiquen's health, while another increases its defense.
  • BioWare loves this trope. In chronological order:
    • Jade Empire has a cannibalistic mother demon that you kill by knocking over pillars so the roof collapses on her.
    • Mass Effect has the rachni queen in the first game and the Collector General in Mass Effect 2. Both subversions: the rachni queen is not causing the rachni to attack you; that's due to them being raised away from the queen (this is compared to a human growing up alone in a closet), and the earlier Bug War was caused by them being made Brainwashed and Crazy by Sovereign, and the Collector General is being possessed by the Reaper Harbinger, who has assumed direct control.
    • Dragon Age has the Broodmother, who serves as a bloated Mook Maker that creates loads and loads of darkspawn, but (with one exception) don't actually control the darkspawn themselves. On the flipside, the Archdemon seems to have some control over the minds of the darkspawn horde, directing them to band together and attack the surface world to create a Blight event, but he doesn't create the darkspawn.
  • GLaDOS is something of an odd example, but fits most of the traditional parameters. She's a massive, immobile supercomputer who runs the factories that build turrets, who's also hyper-intelligent and nearly omniscient within the facility.
  • Male Zuul in Sword of the Stars are the centres of their coteries, and killing one will destroy the Hive Mind it shares with all its females and prevent them from sharing consciousness with each other.
  • Prototype has Elizabeth Greene as a pretty archetypal example of this.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • MSF High: All Legion have a central 'Queen.'
  • The Conundra Queen from Poharex.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. Image by the Queen's loyal minion User:Geoduck