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The Others are a group of fictional characters who inhabit the mysterious island in the American television series Lost. Most serve as antagonists to the series' main characters, although later in the series they seem less hostile to the survivors of Flight 815 and become their allies to overcome greater threats. According to the character Sayid Jarrah, at least 50 Others were living on the north side of the Island at one point. Wizard magazine rated them the 98th greatest villains of all time.
In the storyline, the term "The Others" is coined by the character Danielle Rousseau and adopted by the survivors of Flight 815 to describe the secretive group of island dwellers whom they regard as "the enemy." The Others have evidently been living on the island for many years—long before the crash of Flight 815 in 2004 or even the arrival of the Dharma Initiative on the island in the 1970s. The Others do not appear to have a name for themselves, though Benjamin Linus has described them as "the good guys." Members of the Dharma Initiative refer to the group as "Hostiles" or "Natives".
The Others are mysterious and secretive, refusing to explain themselves to outsiders. They will kill anyone whom they perceive as a threat to themselves or the island, if provoked. The Others are led by one person at a time, a "leader" (Benjamin Linus at the start of the show) who, in turn, takes orders from Jacob, a seemingly ageless man with mysterious abilities that include conferring agelessness, and directing/bringing people towards the island. Richard Alpert was granted agelessness by Jacob, in return for acting as a go-between for him and the Others via their current leader, delivering Jacob's orders when necessary and advising the leader. When the series begins, most Others seem to have been recruited from the outside world. One reason for this is that those pregnant women that specifically conceived on the island and stay there to bear out their full term die before they can give birth. The cause of this mortality is unknown, but it did not occur in earlier decades, since such characters as Ethan Rom, Miles Straume, and Charlotte Lewis were born on the island. In their early dealings with the Flight 815 survivors, the Others take on the guise of primitive but cunning jungle-dwellers. Their disguise includes wearing primitive flax-sewn clothes and going about barefoot, which seems their trademark for a while. Richard Alpert has been able to travel to the United States since the 1950s, and seems to have formed Mittelos Laboratories by no later than the early 1970s, when he attempts to recruit John Locke while he was in high school. Former leader Charles Widmore is also cited as having left the island on occasion, and this is the stated reason for his removal from leadership of the Others. Since their victory over the Dharma Initiative, the group has become comparatively technologically advanced, and for a time acquires means of regular contact with the outside world by submarine and live televisual link.
The Others are experts in stealth. They are difficult to track, leaving virtually no trail to follow. They are also able to conceal themselves quite effectively, moving within striking distance of their victims without making a sound, as epitomized in season 5 when a group led by Erik (Sebastian Siegel) accosts Sawyer and Kate with young Ben. In the season 5 episode "LaFleur", Richard Alpert is somehow able to penetrate the Dharma Initiative sonic fence before being detected, claiming that the fence "may keep other things out, but not us." Mysterious whispers sometimes herald the appearance of the Others. It has been confirmed that the whispering is not necessarily something that is connected to the Others, though they are aware of it. In the season 5 episode "Jughead", it is revealed that the Others can speak Latin and use it to communicate in the presence of outsiders. The later episode "Across the Sea" hinted at one possible reason for this use of Latin, when it revealed that Jacob and his brother were born to a woman named Claudia whose crew were shipwrecked on the island and spoke Latin (this also indicates that the episode was set many centuries ago, when this language was still in common usage).
The exact motives of the Others remain unclear, save that they are fanatically dedicated to protecting the island at all costs. From the point of view of the Flight 815 survivors, their interactions have regularly appeared malevolent and manipulative. They have kidnapped children, including Alex Rousseau (as a baby), Walt Lloyd, and tail section survivors Zach and Emma. Their motives in this case seem connected to the fact that the Others have not been able to successfully give birth on the island. This impossibility of birth is also one of the studies they are conducting, and it explains, in part, besides his infatuation with her, why Ben Linus does not allow Juliet Burke to leave the island, as seen in the episodes "One of Us" and "The Other Woman". Some of the Others also visit other parts of the world and experience outside lifestyles, cultures, and belief systems yet choose to remain on the island. At times, some Others appear willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause, such as when Bea Klugh encourages Mikhail Bakunin to kill her rather than be taken captive.
The group is interested in those who are regarded as "special" on the island: Walt, for example, who sometimes appeared in places he couldn't have been; and John Locke, who regained the use of his legs despite being paralyzed from the waist down. Both via mobisode and in his appearance in the episode "Three Minutes", Walt claims to have been subjected to some manner of testing by the Others and it's implied that this was not pleasant for him. On several occasions, the Others claim that Walt is "very special," and Ben Linus claims during his captivity at the Swan Station that "they would never give back Walt." This position is reversed by the end of the second season, when Ben claims that they have "gotten a lot more than they bargained for" in Walt, and allow him to leave the island.
Members of the Others have either been recruited from the outside world, as in the case of Juliet Burke, or joined the group after arriving on the island (by choice or by kidnapping). A number of adult survivors from both the tail section and fuselage of Flight 815 were kidnapped. In the season 3 episode "The Man from Tallahassee", Ben tells Locke that he brought most of the Others to the island. The indigenous Others appear to be part of the mysterious forces on the island, whereas those who have been recruited do not. During their encounters with the crash survivors, the Others have killed or attempted to kill several of them. Frequently, the crash survivors and the Others call members of the opposing group "one of them."
A major part of the Others' modus operandi is the use of lists. When Flight 815 crashed, Ben Linus immediately ordered Goodwin and Ethan to infiltrate the survivors and prepare lists within three days. By the first night, the Others apparently were able to kidnap at least three people, and they made an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap Mr. Eko. During these first few days, Ben orders Mikhail Bakunin to conduct full background checks on everyone on Flight 815, using the Flame Station's computers, claiming "he wanted to know everything about them." Over a week later, the Others return to the tail section survivors, this time with a list written by Goodwin including nine specific people to kidnap. It is later revealed that Jacob had a hand in this final list, and that Goodwin was lobbying "almost too hard" to have Ana-Lucia Cortez included. Notably, in the season 3 episode "I Do", Pickett claims that Jack "was not on Jacob's list anyway."
Since that time, several Flight 815 survivors have been seen among the Others. They do not appear to have been harmed, they seem to have complete freedom to move around, they never ask for help from the other survivors, and they never attempt to escape. It remains unknown whom Ethan was planning to put on his own list before his exposure as an Other. The question of why some members of Flight 815 have been taken and not others has generally been answered cryptically, usually with the claim that they simply weren't "meant" to join them.
At the start of the series, the Others live in yellow-painted barracks built by the Dharma Initiative to house their employees, which they appropriate after the massacre of the Dharma members in an event known as the Purge. It is a rather pleasant suburban-like neighborhood of houses, complete with furniture, indoor plumbing, and electricity. The barracks include many conveniences of modern living, such as ovens, relatively new books, and CD players. The settlement even has a book club. The barracks are surrounded by a defense perimeter capable of generating a sonic pulse to ward away any intruders, including the Monster. The Others have also occupied or utilized many of the Dharma Initiative's research stations. It seems that moving into the barracks was Ben's idea, something that Locke opposes. After Ben leaves the Island, the Others do not appear to have returned to the barracks, since the buildings remain in a ruined state. In addition, the Others have branched all over the world recruiting members, including Kiev, Canada, Miami, and Los Angeles. Eloise Hawking operates the Lamp Post Dharma Station in Los Angeles, and Ben Linus is aided by a woman named Jill who runs a butcher shop in Los Angeles yet also knows about the island, Locke, and Jack. However, it is unclear if either woman is still regarded as an Other.
When not living in the barracks, the Others appear to be nomads, making camp in the jungle and moving as necessary. In the second season, they use a primitive fishing camp on the island's north coast, which includes a pair of Dharma Initiative blast doors built into the side of a rock face to deceive outsiders. They appear to have a secondary residence known as the Temple, which serves as a safe haven. At the end of Season 3, Ben Linus orders Richard to take the Others there. The Temple is about a day and a half journey by forced march from the barracks, as implied by Ben's statements. The Temple is apparently not often used; despite living her entire life among the Others, Alex never knew about the Temple until she was a teenager. The Smoke Monster's lair is evidently located in a series of underground tunnels beneath it. Mysterious hieroglyphs are inscribed on its rock surfaces, both in the tunnels and on the outside wall. Several large holes allow the Monster to exit and enter freely. In "Whatever Happened, Happened", Richard Alpert takes a mortally injured 12-year-old Ben Linus into the Temple to heal him, at "the cost of his innocence" and with the promise that Ben will always belong to the Others.
Character history 
While people have come and lived on the Island before the Others, they all died mostly due to the Man In Black killing them and Jacob not guiding them. When Richard Alpert arrived on the Island in 1867, Richard insisted that Jacob do something about this since if he didn't the Man in Black would. Jacob then appoints Richard as his representative to the people that Jacob brings to the Island and to step in for Jacob when he needed him to. In exchange Jacob grants Richard immortality. From that point forward Richard assisted Jacob in bringing people to the Island and guiding them through Jacob's will.
During the 1950s the US Army arrived on the island, bringing with them a hydrogen bomb codenamed 'Jughead'. Richard Alpert claims he attempted a peaceful solution, but in the end the Others wiped out the Army personnel. In the 1970s, the Dharma Initiative came to the island. After initial conflict, a truce was struck between the two groups. These included very strict regulations about which part of the island belonged to each group. The truce was disregarded by the Initiative and was only used to keep away the Others while the Initiative drilled into the ground far more than the allowed ten meters and even constructed a research station on their area. The Others eventually found out about some of these things and the conflict resumed. The war ended when Benjamin Linus helped to kill all Dharma Initiative members except Kelvin Inman and Stuart Radzinsky(who were in the secret station), returning total control of the island to the Others.
Not long after Flight 815 crashes on the Island, the survivors come into conflict with the Others. Hostilities mounted between the two groups, eventually resulting in armed conflict. During the course of the show, over a dozen survivors of Flight 815 have been taken by the Others. Most of these came from the tail section of the plane, where Goodwin was able to complete his 'list', whereas Ethan was discovered before he could do the same. The hostility between the two groups has continued, leading to a battle at the survivors' beach camp which saw many Others killed and injured by the survivors. Since the end of Season 4, however, they have been portrayed as less antagonistic, since both sides want to defend themselves from a band of mercenaries who arrive by freighter, sent there by a previous leader of the Others, Charles Widmore. John Locke is appointed the new leader of the Others after Ben is banished from the Island.
However, with the death of Jacob at the hands of his nemesis, a second group of Others at the Temple protected some of the survivors and showed great concern at Jacob's demise. Some of this group has since been killed by the nemesis, while others have followed him into the jungle.