|“||Doesn't take much - hardly a push. Oh, America - all-you-can-eat, all the time. Consume, consume. A swarm of locusts in stretch pants. And yet, you're all still starving because hunger doesn't just come from the body, it also comes from the soul.||”|
— Famine, speaking to Dean
in My Bloody Valentine
Famine, also known as the Black Horseman, is the personification of hunger. He is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, along with Death, War and Pestilence. Due to modern times and technology, Famine travels in a black wheelchair which represents his black steed. He manifests by taking on human form.
Famine manifests physically on Earth in the form of a sickly, crippled old man.
The embodiment of true hunger, Famine is constantly hungry, and lack of nourishment results in anger. He has an intolerance for failure, punishing any such occurrence with death.
He holds no regard for demons, even the ones who help him. He kills one for failing him, sends two to their deaths, encourages Sam to kill them, and devours them when Sam refuses. He is not too fond of angels either. After Dean sends Castiel to cut off his finger and snatch his ring, he was able to stop Castiel by providing the angel with large quantities of meat, something his vessel Jimmy Novak is very fond of, therefore affecting him. He also refers to the angel as "Dean's dog."
Famine also has a low view of humans, stating that they only require a little push to fall to hunger. He also takes joy in watching their hunger devour them. He has a particular dislike of the USA and its citizens, calling them "a swarm of locusts in stretch pants".
Interestingly, Famine seems more loyal to Lucifer than his brothers, never differing from the plan, or expressing disdain for him.
After Famine is triggered by Lucifer's release from the Cage, Lucifer sends several lower-class demons to care for him, attending to his needs, but most importantly, they collect souls and transport them back to Famine so that he can digest them, which is crucial in restoring Famine's strength, as the times and environment improvements have severely weakened him to the point where he must be in close proximity of his victims in order to infect them.
Famine's presence affects a small region where a cupid is at work. By marking people's hearts, the effects of Famine were heightened and made these people "rabid" for love. Upon investigating the case, Dean and Sam call for Castiel to help capture the cupid. They locate it at a restaurant. The cupid claims to simply being doing his job and is not the cause of the unusual deaths, which Castiel confirms by reading the cupid's mind.
When Famine's effects cause Castiel to hunger for red meat, the angel deduces that Famine is behind this. As he explains to the brothers what and who Famine is, Famine is shown arriving in a black van. He appears crippled, weak and frail, and is bound to a wheelchair. Lower-level demons have been sent by Lucifer to care for Famine's needs due to his state.
According to Castiel, the demons are preparing to restore Famine back to his previous nature so he can "march across the land". Famine then enters a restaurant and causes all the people there to go mad with their greatest desires until they die, while he watches from his wheelchair, greatly satisfied.
After receiving confirmation that Famine is indeed behind this, Dean and Castiel prepare to confront the Horseman so they can take his ring. Faced with Sam's current craving for demon blood due to Famine's power, they leave him at the hotel room. Castiel teleports inside the restaurant where Famine is and tries to get the ring but falls under Famine's influence and remains eating food, which forces Dean to take action.
Back at the hotel, two demons release Sam and prepare to fight, but Sam, unable to resist, drinks their blood and leaves to find Dean. While conversing with the Black Horseman, Dean is told by Famine that he is empty inside which is the reason why he remains unaffected by his influence, Famine mocks him for this. Sam arrives and Famine tries to compel him to drink the blood of his demons, but Sam manages to refuse. Instead he exorcises them, and Famine sucks their essences in and gains more power. Sam turns on Famine, and manages to indirectly weaken the Horseman by exorcising all the demons he devoured from inside him. This weakens Famine long enough that they're able to take his ring.
Back at Bobby's panic room, they detox Sam from demon blood. Dean steps outside and pleads for God to help him.
It is revealed that Famine's ring, along with the other three rings belonging to the Horsemen, can open Lucifer's Cage so that he can be re-imprisoned.
A demon named Brady tells Dean that Famine and War are no longer currently active due to the loss of their rings. He admits that placing the rings back on them might not make any difference as they are withered husks.
Powers and Abilities
As a Horseman, Famine possesses great power, but due to agricultural improvements, he has been significantly weakened. Even weakened, he can easily telekinetically overpower demons and affected Castiel's vessel while he was cut off from Heaven and made him gorge on hamburger meat. Lucifer wanted to amp him up back to full power where his powers would increase exponentially. Like his brothers, he requires his ring to help him focus his powers.
- Immortality - As one of the Horseman, he has an infinite lifespan.
- Teleportation - Though weakened, as a Horseman he can teleport.
- Soul Consumption - Famine, as the personification of hunger itself, can devour souls (both human and demon) to strengthen himself, much like The Darkness.
- Influencing Hunger/Gluttony Augmentation - Famine can make everyone for several miles become consumed by their greatest desires, such as money, love, and food, causing them to seek whatever it is they crave most until it results in their destruction. Once infected by hunger, removing the person from Famine's presence will not have any affect, as the hunger will just follow them; the only cure is to defeat Famine. The range of this power increases the more powerful he becomes, and the closer to him the person is, the more quickly it affects them. However, if a person does not hunger for anything, then they are immune to his power. Famine has been shown to be able to influence an angel's vessel strongly enough that the angel itself is overcome with a desire for whatever their vessel craves most, as he did with Castiel.
- Body Locking - The soul of a person killed by Famine's influence does not move on, but instead remains locked in their body until it can be harvested.
- Exorcism - Famine was able to exorcise a demon from its host so he could devour it.
- Telekinesis - Famine can mentally affect objects, and even pull demons into his mouth with simple gestures.
- Cosmic Knowledge - As a Horseman, Famine possesses an incredible amount of knowledge and understanding of the universe and its workings. He can understand concepts such as hunger, the Apocalypse, and the nature of souls.
- Electromagnetic Interference - Famine can cause electronic devices to malfunction.
- Telepathy - By touching Dean, Famine was able to enter Dean's subconscious and discover that "inside, [Dean] was already dead", and as such did not hunger for anything.
- Invisibility - As a Horseman, Famine is naturally invisible and can only be seen if he wants others to see him.
- Ring Removal - Without his ring, he can't manifest a physical form on Earth.
- Physical Objects - Anything serrated or jagged, or for that matter anything that can be implemented into a weapon, that can be used to inflict pain upon Famine's physical form. His physical body can be pierced and penetrated identically to how humans sustain infliction.
- Primordial Entities - God and the Darkness can do anything to Famine except kill or erase him from reality.
- Soul Extracting - While Famine was in weakened state, Sam Winchester was able to extract the demon souls that Famine consumed. This led to the defeat of Famine.
- Insatiable Hunger - As the embodiment of hunger itself, Famine possesses an unquenchable appetite and constantly craved sustenance, although he can be temporarily satisfied.
- Famine wears a silver ring with a black stone.