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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
War Famine 2 Horseman Pestilence Horseman Death
Season(s) 5-7, 9-10
Species Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Status Alive/Powerless (War, Famine and Pestilence)
Deceased (Death)
Title/Alias Roger (War)
Dr. Green (Pestilence)
Occupation Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Affiliation: Apocalypse
The Winchester Family (Death)
Family Themselves
Portrayed by: Titus Welliver (War)
James Otis (Famine)
Matt Frewer (Pestilence)
Julian Richings (Death)

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse personified concepts that have their own consciousnesses.

They can manifest by mimicking human form, which can be harmed in manners identical to humans. It seemed that War manifested quite some time ago, while the other Horsemen (except Death, who had to be freed) were trotting behind him. They are respectively known as: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death.

Each use a special ring that channels their core ability, without which, their physical forms lose most, if not all of their powers. The only power they have shown to be capable of without their rings, is teleportation and in Death's case omniscience. Also, they each travel in a car (colored to resemble their steed's color in lore), having gotten in "with the times".

The Horsemen seem to be allied with only each other and their jobs, and do not take the side of Heaven nor Hell. After Lucifer rises from his cage in Hell, he takes command of the Horsemen (seemingly through the use of a binding spell to compel them to comply with his orders) and directs them in enacting his Genocide against humanity. It is revealed, however, that at least some of the Horsemen resent Lucifer's use of them in his fight with God, ultimately revealing that he only has limited control over them. Their rings, unknown to all but a few select individuals, are the keys to Lucifer's Cage in Hell, and thus the Horsemen collectively hold the key to sending him back.

History of The Horsemen Edit

"I'm waiting to hook up with my siblings; I've got...three. We're gonna have so much fun together."
—The Horseman War[src]

Each of the Horsemen (Death, Famine, War, and Pestilence) spontaneously came into existence when death, confrontation, hunger, and sickness entered the universe and Creation itself. Death likely came into existence the moment that God created the first form of life, or when God Himself came into being, because there cannot be life without death, but Death said that he could be as old, or older than the Creator Himself, and that he has no end. As the Darkness was a force of destruction, it predates Death and the Horsemen, but as God is a force and entity of life, Death would have come into existence around the same time. The Leviathans, God's very first beasts, were shown to be too hungry, and so Famine followed after Death, as the Leviathan preyed on each other, affected by Famine with their never ending hunger. With God and the archangels, His greatest and mightiest celestials, they fought in the horribly and viciously destructive war against the Darkness, and thus War came into being quickly after. The only known creatures to have shown illness, are humans. This means that Pestilence was created after humanity, making him the youngest of the horsemen.

Characteristics Edit

The Horsemen are natural forces that exist in Creation, but each has its own consciousness making them some type of spirit or entity associated with their own attribute. Off of Alastair's comment that they were jonesing for the apocalypse, and can exist in physical form at anytime they please, however their physical forms were locked away until Lucifer released them, all serving him through an enchantment, most notably with Death. Each of these prisons were cemented with a chore that had to be belabored for each individual Horsemen to be released, Lucifer thinking of it as annoyingly demanding. Only Death's was specifically addressed.

They were in the process of bringing forth the "Hell" that Castiel talked about in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester". In Death Takes a Holiday Alastair remarks the Horsemen are well aware of Lilith's plans and are "jonesing for the Apocalypse".

They cannot be killed unless somehow their attributes cease to exist. However, they become somewhat as vulnerable as humans when in form as their fingers can be cut off, and separation from their rings leaves them totally powerless (except for teleportation). Despite this, Anna claims they have day jobs they invisibly carry out around the world when not enhancing their attributes in physical form through the apocalypse.

The Horsemen have a very slanted view of humanity and see themselves as just bringing out the evil that is already in humans. Both War and Famine have said humans "only need a little push" in order to do horrible things, and both have surprisingly shown a level of disgust and contempt toward how easily corruptible humans are, and what they can do. Pestilence prefers diseases to people, claiming that belief of disease being a bad thing is just because of sick people, and he can never understand why God has such love for humanity.

They seem to just construct a body, although it seems by Brady's comment that their physical bodies remain on the Earthly, visible, plain as "withered husks" without their rings.

Each Horsemen possesses a ring that allows them to channel and focus their power through their physical form (similar to angels and their grace), and, while it doesn't kill them, separating them from their rings is the only known way to drive them off. In Hammer of the Gods Gabriel reveals the rings are actually the keys to Lucifer's Cage and if the brothers can collect all of them and trick Lucifer back into the cage, they can be used to reopen and close it.

In Two Minutes to Midnight it is shown that the Horsemen cannot be properly filmed, as they have no true physical form beyond what a human sees since they are a force taking on a human form, as when Dean and Sam are watching a camera for Pestilence, they find him because his face and ring are hidden with a static-like distortion.

It also hinted that Lucifer may not have total control of the Horsemen as it is revealed in The Devil You Know that Dean and Sam are instructed to find Death and Pestilence's handlers in order to acquire their rings. Lucifer states in Abandon All Hope... that the Horsemen (Death in this case) are very demanding and require certain rituals and agreements to stay happy and compliant. Their handlers are revealed in The Devil You Know to be more like personal attendants seeing to each Horseman's personal needs and overseeing some of their interests. Brady, for example, has been overseeing Pestilence's Croatoan Virus trials while the Horseman himself has been setting the stage for the virus's release.

The Horsemen also have a very deep loyalty to one another that supersedes any allegiance to Lucifer. For example, Pestilence wanted to kill the brothers in revenge for what they did to War and Famine. When a minion warned him they were under orders not to harm the brothers, Pestilence raised his voice to a Demonic level and stated if the Devil wanted them so badly he could glue them back together after he was done with them.



War's defeat

In "Good God, Y'all", War kills a well-known resident named Roger and assumes his form and buries him in a ditch. Using this form, he drives a red sports car (a mustang fastback from the late 60's to earlier 70's model) as his "red horse." He parks his car after destroying the town's only exit and then gets to work on the townspeople by using his ring to generate hallucinations, making the people believe that others around them have been possessed by demons. War hates acting directly because in his opinion the best way to cause chaos is to induce panic and let humans take care of the rest. Realizing that they cannot kill War (as the only way to do so is to eliminate all war in the world), the Winchesters instead cut off his ring finger, breaking the spell he cast over the town and forcing him to depart. In The Devil You Know, Brady reveals that the Winchesters have reduced War and Famine to near catatonic states. War's ring is gold and appears to be a wedding ring. Also its the only ring that does not have a stone in it.



Famine's defeat

In "My Bloody Valentine", Famine is in a decrepit, weak condition due to massive agricultural improvements. Because of this, Famine can barely infect anyone by himself, forcing Lucifer to send lower level-demons to care for him until his powers are fully regenerated. Despite his weakened state, he is still strong enough to resist an assault from a Demon-blood juiced Sam, and explains all the Horsemen are immune to Sam's powers. Like his brother War, he too possesses a ring that allows him to focus and direct his powers. His ring is silver with a black stone.



Pestilence's demise

In "Hammer of the Gods", we see Pestilence go into a drugstore, buying flu medicine even though he is sickness. He spreads some disgusting mucus over everything. He drives a sickly green/white car with a license plate that spells "sick and tired". He is accompanied by a swarm of flies and has the appearance of a man suffering a heavy cold, though this appears to be a ruse since, after leaving the drugstore, he straightens up and laughs while throwing the medicine away. His ring is gold with a pale green stone.



Death's death

Death, unlike the other Horsemen, doesn't naturally appear to aid in the apocalypse. He is freed from the confines of a cell into the physical world in "Abandon All Hope..." with a ritual and his presence is felt at times, but doesn't physically appear until "Two Minutes to Midnight". He arrives in Chicago to destroy it with a titanic storm. After getting out of his white car, he walks down the sidewalk, where a man on his cell phone rudely bumps into him and collapses dead soon thereafter. Crowley later helps Dean track Death to a pizzeria, where Death makes a deal with Dean to give him his ring in exchange for him to do all in his power to put Lucifer back into his cell. His ring is silver with a white stone.

Death is the eldest of the Horsemen and is older than most creatures can understand; he explains to Dean that the entire galaxy is still "in its diapers" in comparison to him. In a conversation with Dean he claims to know God, and states that he doesn't remember his age, and it is possible that he could be as old as God. Death's Sickle reacts in the same way as Dean's pendant reacts to God—glowing hot in his presence. Due to his age Death is very detached from the rest of the world and does not really care that much for the Apocalypse and those involved, thinking them to be little more than bacteria. Dean, who is an important tool for the war, is highly insignificant to Death in the grand scheme of the universe, and he (like Pestilence) openly despises Lucifer, who has him under his control through the use of a binding spell. In a similar manner to Gabriel, Death compares Lucifer to a spoiled, bratty child throwing a tantrum, and despises the fact he is using Death as a weapon. After he tries to get Dean to kill Sam, Dean kills Death with his own scythe in the season finale of season 10.

Powers and AbilitiesEdit

The Four Horsemen are among the most powerful entities in existence, however they require their rings to channel their powers through their physical forms. Without their rings, they are rendered without power in their physical form, except for teleportation.

Collective PowersEdit

  • Indestructability - While Horsemen can take damage in their human forms,they are difficult to destroy, nevertheless it is possible with powerful weapons such as Death's scythe. Also, if their ring is taken, they are rendered powerless.
  • Immortality - they are potentially immortal and can live forever.
  • Invisibility - The horsemen are naturally invisible, unless they choose to take form.
  • Manifestation - The horsemen can take on any human form they so desire.
  • Superhuman Stamina - The horsemen don't possess the capacity to tire, and furthermore, do not require food, water, sleep, or oxygen to sustain themselves. Nevertheless, Death seemed to enjoy eating "cheap food" as Dean puts it.
  • Telekinesis - The horsemen can manipulate physical matter through power of will.
  • Teleportation - The horsemen can travel from place to place instantly, without occupying the space in between.

Individual PowersEdit


  • Illusion Casting - War could create illusions and hallucinations, which drove people to violence.
  • Super Strength - War can exert tremendous physical force. To note, though, he didn't use it when Dean and Sam grabbed him because he thought they were trying to kill him, and because he knew he couldn't be killed being a concept, he put up no resistance.
  • Telepathy - War can read the thoughts of other beings.


  • Demonic Exorcism - Famine could forcibly remove a demon from its vessel.
  • Gluttony Augmentation - Famine could enhance the sense of hunger in other beings, causing them to seek whatever it is they crave most until it resulted in their destruction.
  • Insatiable Hunger - As the embodiment of hunger, he constantly craved sustenance. This gave him the ability to devour pretty much anything - even the essences of demons and human souls.
  • Soul Reading - Famine can determine the state of a soul.
  • Telepathy - Famine was able to enter Dean's subconscious, telling him he was "empty inside."


  • Biokinesis - Pestilence can create, manipulate, and control diseases. He can also cause instantaneous illness in another being.


  • Necrokinesis - Death can kill anything, except for apparently the Darkness, who could predate even him. He once caused a man to collapse after simply brushing shoulders with him.
  • Nigh-Omniscience - Death has an almost absolute awareness of the universe and therefore even exceeds that of the archangels, and is only rivaled by God.
  • Nigh-Omnipotence - Death has almost absolute power. He was even able to alter the cosmos to cause an eclipse.
  • Resurrection - Death can bring anything back to life. He even retrieved Sam's soul from Lucifer's Cage, without being hindered by the supernatural barriers strong enough to keep Michael and Lucifer locked inside. He could even bring multiple people back to life just with his passing.
  • Weather Manipulation - It is heavily implied that Death is responsible for the Great Flood of Genesis 6. He was also going to wipe out Chicago with a massive storm when Dean found him.


  • Binding - Death states that he is bound by Lucifer to work for him and he is later bound by Sam, Dean and Bobby. It is also implied that the remaining horsemen are bound by Lucifer but this is not confirmed.
  • Physical attacks - the horsemen's bodies are vulnerable to physical attacks as shown when Sam cuts off War's finger to remove his ring. However, physical attacks cannot kill a horseman.
  • Ring Removal - The horsemen will become powerless, except the use of teleportation, after their rings have been removed. However, Death was aware that Dean was in contact with Tessa, showing he maintained his omniscience.
  • Death's Scythe - It can kill anything as shown when Dean uses it to kill Death himself.
  • Higher Beings - Higher Beings like God, The Darkness, Archangels if not kill them they could do anything else to them with Death's exception which would be able to do that so to other horsemans.


  • Each other (Kindred)

Appearances Edit


  • It has been implied that Lucifer holds only limited control over the Horsemen, and that they are not entirely pleased with abiding by his directions. For instance, when Pestilence is reminded that Lucifer does not want the Winchester brothers harmed by one of his subordinate demons in Two Minutes to Midnight, Pestilence openly shows disdain for Lucifer's commands, testily shouting that if Lucifer wants them so badly that he can "glue them back together" after he's taken his revenge on them for their actions against two of his brothers, War and Famine. The clearest sign of this yet, however, is seen during Dean's encounter with Death in Chicago, Illinois, where Death reveals that he never agreed to work for Lucifer and only does so because Lucifer has cast a binding spell that forces the Horseman to acquiesce to his directions (though this is limited as exemplified by Death's straying from Lucifer's plans at points). This may perhaps be the reason the other Horsemen are also working for Lucifer, albeit reluctantly as implied by Pestilence and Death.
  • The Horsemen collectively hold the original keys to Lucifer's Cage in Hell, their personal rings, and thus hold the power to reopen the cage and return him to captivity. The rings combine together to form a key-like device that presumably acts to control the opening and closing of Lucifer's Cage. While the Winchesters were compelled to remove the rings of War, Famine, and Pestilence by force, Death willingly hands his own over to Dean in Two Minutes to Midnight in addition to giving him the instructions necessary to operate them to control the cage door, in exchange for removing "the leash around my (Death's) neck" by sending the Devil back to his cage in Hell and presumably breaking the binding spell.
  • It is unknown if the Leviathans are more powerful than the Horsemen minus Death.
  • Before Brother's Keeper, all of the Horsemen but Death had been defeated by the Winchesters. Death was never defeated and just negotiated with before that.
  • While the other Horsemen live, albeit powerless and weakened, Death himself is now dead.
  • The titles of death, famine, war and pestilence can be claimed by anyone by wearing their respective rings, becoming deities over the respective attribute.

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