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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. But it's also the one big weakness of the Hive Mind
and one is wise enough to take advantage.
If our heroes manage to kill or incapacitate the Hive Queen, they usually take out the entire hive mind in the process, or at least make the individual members incapable of fighting. Presumably this is by analogy
with real-world ants and bees, even though real ant and bee queens exercise little 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
if protective of their "children", it just transpires that since insects — hive minded ones especially — are seen as grossly
alien to us and commie
Hive Queens are too.
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
. Do not
confuse with the social role sometimes referred to as a "queen bee"
, or and actual Insect Queen
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Anime & Manga
- Eren in Attack on Titan unknowingly awakens the ability to command normal Titans.
- The Vajra Queen from Macross Frontier is a subversion. Although the Queens have a lot more influence over the Vajra than other members of their race, they are not individuals, nor do they control the other Vajra. The Vajra are a true Hive Mind, with no single being in control. It's just that the Queens have more of the Hive Mind in them than the others do.
- The Big Bad of the series is trying to become the Hive Queen for the entire galaxy, by combining her consciousness with that of the Vajra and subjugating both them and all human beings in existence. She is weakened when physically separated from the Vajra Queen, which breaks her control over the Vajra and allows them their free will back.
- Pandaemonium in the Chrono Crusade manga.
- In a rare benevolent example, Last Order in A Certain Magical Index, who is the administrator of the Misaka network. However, due to a few glitches in her growth, she's physically a child (compared to the rest of the network, who are all teenagers), so she's largely treated as an Annoying Younger Sibling by the members of the Hive Mind she's supposed to be overseeing. They still have to obey her orders, though.
- 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+ 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.
- The mutant/zombie leader in Apocalypse no Toride who is controlling the other zombies within his radius.
- 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.
- Marvel also has Master Mold, who is basically this to the Sentinels when it appears — it's the ridiculously huge Sentinel that houses the AI program that controls and coordinates all Sentinels. It's also a Sentinel production factory in its own right. So you have a giant robot that makes smaller, still giant robots, and which can control them all via the electronic * programming equivalent of a Hive Mind.
- 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.
- 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). 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. Ever since her debut in First Contact, whether her existence is a good or bad idea has been a matter of great debate.
- Note that she never actually refers to herself as a Queen, or even the leader of the Borg. The other characters do.
- 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.
- Megaguirus of the Godzilla mythos.
- 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.)
- In Invasion Of The Bee Girls, Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford), once transformed, becomes obsessed with sex with the married men of Peckham CA. She then lures the widows to her lab (supposedly to reveal what happened) to be transformed into Bee Girls and join her.
- 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 terrifying 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 A. 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 Book of the Named 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.
- The entity called Spore in Galaxy of Fear is plant-based. It puts its core into one person and shoots vineline strands out of their eyes and mouth to bring others into its control, and the others, instantly turned, can turn still more. If its primary host, the one with the core, is killed and there isn't another nearby to take it, all of the other hosts are freed from its control. However, the primary host is not in charge. None of them are. Spore has access to its hosts' memories but they don't participate.
- The Warrior Cats book Firestar's Quest has a Hive Mind horde of rats led by one that can speak Cat. Firestar actually loses a life in battle with the rats, and then his Spirit Advisor Spottedleaf tells him "Not many, but one." He realizes that this means killing the leader will ensure the cats' victory.
- Stephen King's Cell starts out as a typical Zombie Apocalypse, except with the aptly named "Phone Crazies". Then cue the typical Stephen King mind screw about a third of the way through when the characters learn said creatures have a shared hive-mind consciousness and insane telepathic powers. From that moment on they're referred to as "Phone People" instead, since they're dangerous but hardly incapable of thinking.
Live Action TV
- 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".
- The Melissidae bloodline in Vampire: The Requiem are basically vampires as this, using unique takes on Mind Control powers to reduce any and all humans around them to a Hive Mind of "drones" under their complete control.
- 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.
- Partial example from Warhammer 40,000: the Tyranids are controlled by a Hive Mind that coordinates the trillions of Tyranid creatures like cells in a vast, living body. It has no centralized "Queen" that we know of, and the mechanics of the Hive Mind are subject to debate both in and out of universe. That said, it's possible to disrupt the Hive Mind by destroying the "Synapse Creatures" that transmit its will to the rest of the swarm, such as the Hive Tyrants that serve as dangerously capable battlefield generals, or especially the Norn Queens that churn out the countless Tyranids like living factories. Destroying such creatures in no appreciable way damages the greater Hive Mind, but it does make the undirected Tyranids revert back to animals - albeit animals engineered to be the ultimate killing machines.
- 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 it mutates in the process, becoming a creature 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 & 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.
- The Bahrag from BIONICLE are this to the Bohrok.
- A gigantic brain-like entity called the Overmind functions as the collective conscience of the Zerg Swarm. 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. The Overmind and the Cerebrates all have a physical form, but they can re-incarnate into new bodies when they "die". Some Protoss are able to use a special energy that can block this reincarnation and finish them for good. It is, of course, one the main plot points in the game and its expansion. Down the chain, 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. And it turns out that Kerrigan replaced the Cerebrates with enhanced Queens called "Brood Mothers", in one mission of Heart of the Swarm a single Brood Mother spawns several zerglings without the use of a hatchery.
- 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 once the Flood attains enough sentient biomass to build a Gravemind, allowing for strategy and tactics to be used against its enemies; this "Coordinated" stage of the species's developmental cycle is stated to be the point at which the Flood becomes truly dangerous. The physical body of the Gravemind is depicted as a gigantic talking "Venus flytrap" built from thousands upon thousands of consumed corpses in Halo 2, while in Halo 3, while unseen (but not unheard) aside from a brief appearance from a few of its tentacles, 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 World of Warcraft, 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 either the Reapers or the Leviathan, 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.
- Portal: 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.
- Hatoful Boyfriend has, in Holiday Star, the King-or more properly, the wandering soul of Kazuaki Nanaki, maddened from loneliness and betrayal and transformed by his overwhelming desire for friends who won't betray him into an Eldritch Abomination composed of all the souls tricked on to Holiday Star, who he assimilates into his own consciousness. All the "citizens" you meet are avatars of the group mind he controls, and completely subservient to him. An odd example where he's also convincingly played as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds due to his overwhelming fear of ever being alone.
- The Final Battle of Might & Magic VI takes place in the Kreegan main base, a dungeon called The Hive, and the Final Boss is, uhm, the Hive Queen. Naturally.
- Sigma in Mega Man X is a male version. As his DNA program doubles as a virus, any reploid that his DNA infects is subject to Sigma's will.
- In the Kirby Dark Matter Trilogy, Zero is the core of all Dark Matter, and its goal is to spread his will by assimilating the galaxy by possessing the planets with Dark Matter.
- Wildlife: The protagonist is an Eldritch Abomination that can create any sort of creature she can think of. Her 'children' do have minds and make decisions of their own, but none have been significantly disobedient so far.
- MSF High: All Legion have a central 'Queen.'
- The Conundra Queen from Poharex.
- Zenith from Commander Kitty commands a legion of goons recognizable by their bluish tint and prominent ear tags. They aren't simply brainwashed; they've been replaced entirely by android copies which she has direct control over!
- Homestuck has a subversion of this with the Mother Grub, a huge creature that exists only to lay hundreds of thousands of troll eggs. She has no control whatsoever over her progeny, much like the queen of an ant or termite colony.
- The Trolls are ruled by an Empress, which is partly this, and partly an actual traditional ruler. Although she's an ordinary creature who rules as a position rather than through mind control, the Empress is also a unique biological caste that's only born once in a very long time, and are the most physically and mentally powerful Troll. She does seem to have hive-like control over the Imperial Drones, but those are actually robots.
- In Worm, Taylor has the rather appropriate power of controlling bugs; she shares their sensory inputs and can direct her entire swarm as if it were an extension of her body. At the climax of the story she gains the ability to control people in the same manner.
- A strange variation in Kim Possible. The Bebes decide to make Bonnie their queen simply because she is the one person that Kim hates more than anyone else and are hoping that this will give them an advantage.
- Brainiac-5 becomes this for his race in Legion of Super-Heroes.
- In an episode of Invader Zim, one of these is responsible for an outbreak of head lice at Skool. Even Dib thinks the idea of a "lice queen" is crazy, but they actually find her and use a secretion from Zim's skin to destroy the lice.
- Trina Riffin becomes one in the Grojband episode "Ahead of our Own Tone" thanks to the implant.
- Since biological Hive Minds do not, to our knowledge, exist in Real Life, this trope is obviously not Truth in Television. Real Hive Queens are simply that: queens of an insect hive. They are, in essence, merely the reproductive organs of an organism created from multiple individuals, like the ovaries in a human female. Although they do release pheromones that trigger and reinforce certain pre-programmed behaviors in individual members of the hive, this is a primitive form of communication that cannot be compared to a complex neural network possessing intelligence and higher cognitive functions, but instead is more like an endocrine hormonal regulatory system that triggers certain changes in cells (again, much like ovaries in a human female). Ants that Zerg Rush their enemies to protect their queen don't act on a complex strategy but a simple instinct that just happen to be triggered by the queen's pheromones (and similarly, army ants that Zerg Rush their prey are just simply following a scout unit's chemical trail that may or may not indicate the location of food).
- In fact, some communal insects will kill their queen when she is old/sick/compromised in some way and replace her with new a queen.
- Some hives have multiple queens that share reproductive duties.
- Some individuals in certain species of hive-insect can secretly reproduce, to Subvert the reproductive monopoly of their queen and get the rest of the hive to raise their own young. If caught, these individual cheaters will be killed by other members of the Hive.
- Note that Hive Queen actually started out as a subversion of an older trope, as early beekeepers assumed the single largest bee in a hive had to be its Hive King. Only after naturalists started studying bees in glass-walled beehives, and observed that the so-called "kings" laid eggs, did this error get sorted out.
- Some species of insect parasitize other species where a female member of the parasite species will kill the host hive's queen, rub herself in the dead queen's pheromones, and then trick the host hive into raising her young as if they were the queen's young. This is a very specialized form of brood slavery.