THE STARGATE OMNIPEDIA|
One of our galaxy's dominant species, the Goa'uld are serpent parasites that forcibly take human hosts, and possess a thirst for power and worship. They have enslaved countless worlds, using their inhabitants as hosts, soldiers, miners, and personal slaves.
Biology and Development
The symbiotic creatures are birthed from asexual mothers, Goa'uld queens. In the process every newborn symbiote inherits the genetic memory of the one before it. It is some time after their creation before the Goa'uld are capable of being anything more than helpless, squealing snakes. They must be fed a steady electrical current in an aquatic container placed where the people who serve the species are able to come and worship. Immature symbiotes are also incubated in pouches created in the abdomens of Jaffa, slave warriors in the service of the Goa'uld. It takes several years for a symbiote to reach full maturity and be ready to take a host.
Physiologically, the Goa'uld differ somewhat from symbiote to symbiote. Younger Goa'uld tend to be far whiter with twin black eyes. The older and more mature, the more gray or green the serpents tend to be. The majority of the species has four bright red eyes and swimmerets to suit them in an aquatic environment.
More mature symbiotes are capable of jumping significant distances, despite their form. Utilizing their powerful, four-pronged jaws, they burrow through the back of the neck (or through the soft tissue at the back of the mouth), wrapping themselves around the victim's upper spinal column and into the brain. Instantaneously the Goa'uld has control of the physical body, suppressing the original individual's consciousness.
Goa'uld symbiotes have incredible regenerative abilities, and, with the aid of sarcophagi, they are capable of living hundreds of thousands of years in the body of a human host. Once a Goa'uld is old enough to begin utilizing its healing abilities, it is implanted within the incubating pouch of a Jaffa in a ceremony known as the prim'tah. (During the period the Goa'uld is within a Jaffa, the term "prim'tah" can also refer to the infant symbiote itself.) The Goa'uld and its Jaffa are unable to communicate by conventional means, unless the Jaffa is in a deep state of kelnorim meditation. On this level of the subconscious, the Goa'uld receives vital information necessary to repair most illnesses.
The origins of the Goa'uld lie on the planet designated P3X-888. Long ago the Goa'uld learned how to infest and possess the Unas, another species native to that world, and learned to operate the Stargate on their planet and leave.
For an untold number of years the species was supposedly a dying race, unable to find hosts for their serpent form to exist within -- until a few thousand years ago, when the Supreme System Lord Ra, in a desperate pilgrimage through space to uncover his species' salvation, stumbled upon a planet of primitive humans: Earth. Ra harvested among the primitives and took the body of a young boy, seeding the rest upon different worlds in the galaxy as slave laborers.
The Goa'uld created Jaffa to serve them, whom the Goa'uld queens transformed from normal humans. The Jaffa became incubators for the larvae form as well as serving as the army for their entire populations -- greatly increasing the symbiote's chances of surviving and successfully taking over a human host. It is even possible that the Goa'uld occupied Earth in ancient times, posing as the gods and goddesses of various civilizations.
The Goa'uld society is feudal in nature. Their hierarchy is governed by the System Lords, a few dozen of the most powerful Goa'uld who are usually warring with one another for worlds and resources. Despite their cruelty, there are several rules that most strictly follow. For instance, it is forbidden for two Goa'uld, within their host bodies, to sexually reproduce a child. The human child, called a "Harcesis," possesses the Goa'uld genetic memory and is thus a great security risk to the Goa'uld.
The Goa'uld are opposed by the Tok'ra, a rebel subset of the species who, by nature of personal choice, differ from them on a philosophical level. The Tok'ra choose to co-exist with willing hosts, rather than take them by force. In recent years the Tok'ra have become increasingly problematic for the System Lords, whose desire to eliminate them is more desperate than ever before. The term "Goa'uld" is loosely used in that it is often mistaken as the primary definition of a symbiote; but the Tok'ra, who possess genetically identical creatures within, refuse to be known by the term "Goa'uld," believing it should only be used to define any symbiote demanding power and worship for themselves.
Without the Jaffa the Goa'uld are nothing more than parasites. To remain in control of the planets they have conquered, the Goa'uld pose as various gods from Earth mythology, so that the masses (people whose ancestors were transplanted from Earth thousands of years ago) will follow and obey.
Recently the Goa'uld have begun to show zero population growth, as the System Lords have been literally devouring symbiotes. Their desire for power and dominance, even over their Goa'uld brethren, is stronger than ever.
FIRST APPEARED -
Stargate" the movie
KEY EPISODE(S) -
Stargate" the movie - Earth encounters the Goa'uld when the first Stargate team frees the people of Abydos from slavery to Ra.
Children of the Gods - The team learns the true nature of the Goa'uld when the must free kidnapped refugees from Apophis.
The Enemy Within - The S.G.C. fails to remove a Goa'uld symbiotee from Major Kawalsky, forcing them to wonder if it's even possible.
Thor's Hammer - SG-1 learns that the first hosts of the Goa'uld were the Unas, nearly unstoppable, beast-like creatures.
Hathor - The team has their first encounter with a Goa'uld queen when Hathor takes over the S.G.C.
There But For the Grace of God - Jackson is sent to an alternate reality where the Goa'uld conquer Earth.
The Serpent's Lair - SG-1 thwarts a Goa'uld attack on Earth.
In the Line of Duty - Earth discovers that there is a group of rebel Goa'uld who oppose them -- the Tok'ra.
Fair Game - The System Lords negotiate with the Asgard to include Earth in the Protected Planets Treaty.
The Devil You Know - The balance of power among the Goa'uld is shifted after the Tok'ra kill the powerful rogue Sokar -- and Apophis escapes his prison.
Crossroads - A Jaffa priestess succeeds in communicating with her larval symbiotee, unknowingly allowing the Goa'uld to plant a spy within the ranks of the Tok'ra.
The First Ones - The S.G.C. discovers the original, primordial homeworld of the Goa'uld.
The Serpent's Venom - When Apophis destroys Heru'ur, he acquires a force capable of overwhelming all the System Lords combined.
Exodus - SG-1 and the Tok'ra return the balance of power to the feuding System Lords by wiping out much of Apophis's fleet.
Between Two Fires - A powerful new Goa'uld reveals his advanced technology by destroying Tollana.
Summit - Dr. Jackson infiltrates a rare meeting of seven System Lords to kill them, as part of the Tok'ra's final plan to exterminate the Goa'uld.
Last Stand - The Tok'ra plan fails when Anubis attacks their base, and SG-1 barely escapes with their secret formula for a symbiote poison.
Revelations - Anubis scores a major victory for the Goa'uld when he destroys an Asgard battleship and captures Thor.
Redemption, Part 2 - Anubis uses a weapon of the Ancients to destroy the S.G.C.'s Stargate.
Nightwalkers - Cloned Goa'uld take over the population of a small Oregon town in the hopes of building a starship and escaping Earth.
Abyss - The System Lord Baal captures Colonel O'Neill and tortures him for information regarding his personal slave and the Tok'ra.
Full Circle - Anubis arrives at Abydos to find the Eye of Ra, a powerful crystal capable (in concert with other crystals) of powering a weapon that can wipe out entire planets from orbit.
Lost City, Part 2 - Anubis and his forces are destroyed in an attack on Earth, once again creating a power vacuum in the System Lord collective.
Critical Mass - A Trust Goa'uld is implanted in Colonel Caldwell, who manipulates Atlantis's command codes so the city's Z.P.M. will explode.
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