Tess Harding

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Tess Harding
Roswell character
Tess Harding.jpg
Emilie de Ravin as Tess Harding
First appearance "Crazy"
Last appearance "Four Aliens and a Baby"
Created by Jason Katims
Portrayed by Emilie de Ravin
Aliases Ava (former life on planet Antar)
Species Alien-human hybrid
Gender Female
Family Nacedo/Ed Harding (father figure) Jolene Skarrstin (genetic template)[1]
Children Zan (son)

Tess Harding is a fictional character created by Jason Katims for the 1999-2002 American science fiction television series Roswell. She was portrayed by actress Emilie de Ravin.

Fictional character summary[edit]

Tess came to Earth with the other alien-human hybrids, Max Evans, Isabel Evans and Michael Guerin, but left her pod after they left theirs. They are clones of dead royalty, known as the Royal Four, from the planet Antar. She was raised by another alien, Nasedo, who had apparently been sent to Earth to protect them. However, he had made a deal with Kivar (the enemy of the Royal Four) 40 years before: return home with Max's son (with Tess' help) and deliver Max, Michael and Isabel to Kivar, who would have killed them. Eventually, Tess is the one who completes part of the deal, as Nasedo dies at the beginning of season two.

When first introduced in the series, Tess appears to be obsessed with Max and fulfilling her destiny by being with him. However, at the end of season two, her true goal and purpose is revealed: to return to Antar pregnant with Max's child.

Previous life[edit]

In her previous life, Tess was known as Ava. She was the queen of Antar, married to Zan (Max's former self). She appears to be the only one of the four hybrids with any memory of their previous lives, although this is not made clear.


Tess is the most powerful of the Royal Four because she has used her powers from the beginning, and with Nasedo's help, she improves her abilities. She tries to teach the other hybrids how to use their own powers.

Her main power is to "mindwarp" people, making them see things that are not real. She can temporarily create illusions by manipulating the actual reality people are seeing. The first time she uses this power is in the episode Tess, Lies and Videotape against Max. She is also capable of achieving a certain level of mind control with it or as Kyle calls it "brainwashing". At a certain point, her powers grew so strong she was able to bring her illusion into reality, when she kills the Skins with fire, and possibly how she blew up the FBI building.

Tess uses this power at various times throughout the series, the most notable being when she mindwarps Alex Whitman for months in order to make him translate the destiny book she needs to use to return home, as established by Nasedo's deal with Kivar. Excessive use of mindwarping on one person can be damaging to the brain or fatal as when she killed Alex Whitman by repeatedly mindwarping him for months not allowing his brain to heal. She was able to suppress (but not erase) Kyle's memory of her killing Alex or him carrying his dead body.

She is also able to change the molecular structure of items, as can the rest of the hybrids.

Relationships with other Roswell fictional characters[edit]

Sheriff Jim Valenti and Kyle Valenti[edit]

Tess lives with Sheriff Valenti and his son, Kyle. Kyle and Tess are, at first, quite attracted to each other, but eventually become more like brother and sister, with Kyle even once referring to her as his sister when one of his friends speaks about her sexually.

Isabel Evans[edit]

At the beginning, Tess has a sister-like relationship with Isabel.

Liz Parker[edit]

Tess' main rival in the series is Liz Parker, who is also in love with Max and in return he loves her. However, in the season three episode "Four Aliens and a Baby" Liz is the only person Tess trusts when she needs help with her major sacrifice.

Fictional Biography[edit]

Season one[edit]

Tess first appears late in season one, in the episode "Crazy", as the new girl at fictional West Roswell High School. She almost immediately makes friends with Isabel, who notes that Tess puts sugar on her yogurt, something Isabel herself admits she is prone to do.

Tess later goes to Isabel and Max's house, where she meets Max and Michael. Isabel quickly explains that Tess is her friend and new at school. This does not stop Max and Michael from being suspicious.

Tess is quick to point out Alex's crush on Isabel, and when asked if there is anyone she has her eye on, she admits that she is disappointed that Max is unavailable. Isabel tells her that she has no chance, that Max is a total goner. However, Max begins to have explicit hallucinations about Tess. Max talks to Michael about it, and Michael goes around to her house, discovering that there is not a single thing in it. He quickly hides when the Army shows up.

He later tells Max and Isabel about this. Isabel defends Tess, while Max is worried because he cannot control his fantasies about her and does not understand what is happening to him.

Isabel goes to Tess' house, where she meets her father, Ed, who appears to work for the Army. Tess explains the house being empty was due to the movers arriving late. Tess tries to avoid letting Isabel help with moving her stuff, saying that she is her guest and should not being doing any heavy lifting. Isabel gets suspicious, and she, Max and Michael start to wonder who Tess really is. They think that Tess is Nasedo, the man River Dog talked about, whom Michael was searching for in the other episodes.

Later, Michael finds a hidden camera in his apartment and with Liz's help they use it to spy on Tess and her father. Eventually, they discover that Tess is just like them, an alien-human hybrid, and that she was housed in the pod chamber with them. Even though Max, Michael and Isabel didn't remember who she was for 10 years, they suddenly remember her when this is explained to them.

Season two[edit]

Tess comes into the second season as a friend to Liz, Max, Isabel, Michael, Maria, Kyle, and Sheriff Valenti. She moves into the Valenti household and begins to help Kyle and Jim become a family again. However, she kills Alex after mindwarping him for months in order to make him translate the destiny book where a way to go home (Antar) was written in the alien language. She then manipulates Max into getting her pregnant taking advantage of a moment of weakness after his shaky relationship with Liz Parker and she mindwarps him making him believe that their son can't survive in earth so they're forced to leave for Antar. However, before it is too late, Liz, with Kyle's help (whom Tess mindwarped too when she killed Alex and he suddenly remembers it all when the effect of the mindwarp vanishes) discovers the truth about Alex's death and they stop Tess, Max and Isabel before they can use the Granolith as a spaceship. Finally busted and with no other choice she finally reveals that she was in league with Kivar, Max's enemy, and it was all a plot, a deal that Nasedo had made with Kivar 40 years before where the purpose was to get an heir from Max and deliver him along with Michael and Isabel to Kivar. At the beginning Max wants to kill her but then he makes her go thinking about the safety of his unborn son (he didn't know that his sickness was a mindwarp, yet). She steps into the Granolith to return to Antar.

Season three[edit]

Tess reappears in the second to last episode of the series. She comes back from Antar with Zan (her son) due to Kivar's betrayal of the deal Nasedo had made with him because Zan was pure human and he rejected him as the heir. When she came back, she killed agents so the FBI is hot on her trail. She puts the gang in danger again while they are trying to protect Zan. Although she is met with hostility, the gang agrees to work with her because of Zan. Later, she has a heart to heart with Liz and explains that even when Max was with her, he was still in love with Liz because every time they were together she got images of Liz and his memories about her from him. She also feels remorse for the actions she had committed and has decided to redeem herself. She is the bait for the FBI and then blows up the building, killing everyone including herself in the process.


  1. ^ Mangels, Andy; Martin, Michael A. (2002). Skeletons in the Closet. New York: Simon Pulse. p. 208. ISBN 0-689-85446-3. 

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