Season: 3 & 5, Episodes: 7, Faction: DHARMA Initiative
Roger Linus was the father of Benjamin Linus, whom he regularly abused, both verbally and possibly physically, and berated as a child. He was employed as a DHARMA Initiative “Work Man,” and his uniform featured the Swan station logo. He was killed by Ben during the Purge. Hurley later found his skeletal corpse in 2004 in the DHARMA van.
On the mainland (1964)
3×20 – The Man Behind the Curtain
On December 19th, 1964, Roger and his wife, Emily, went on a hike in a forest near Portland. At the time, Emily was seven-months pregnant with, presumably, their first and only child. For an unknown reason, she went into labor early into the hike. Roger delivered the baby, picked-up Emily and the baby, and ran for help. They reached the side of a busy road and Roger managed to stop a couple for help. Sadly, it was too late for Emily and she died in his arms. With her dying words, she asked Roger to name the baby “Benjamin”. (“The Man Behind the Curtain”)
On the Island (1973)
3×20 – The Man Behind the Curtain
In 1973, Roger took a job with the DHARMA Initiative, courtesy of the same couple that was present when his wife died. He and Ben, who was 8 years old at the time, came to the Island on a submarine and were enthusiastically greeted. When Opal assigned Roger the entry-level position of “Work Man,” he expressed his dismay and stormed-out of the processing center with Ben.
At first, Roger tried to coax Horace Goodspeed into getting him a better job, but he soon seemed to resign himself to his fate and started drinking heavily. He eventually, and irrationally, came to blame Ben for the death of his mother and Roger’s failures in life. (“The Man Behind the Curtain”)
5×10 – He’s Our You
In 1977, Roger was assigned to mop up the cell where Sayid Jarrah was being held captive. He mocked Sayid for letting himself be captured by DHARMA and promised that Oldham’s interrogation would “cut him down to size”.
When his son entered with another sandwich for Sayid, whom he believed was one of the Hostiles, Roger furiously slammed him against the bars, not believing his lie that the sandwich was actually for Roger himself. He yelled at Ben to leave, then left himself. After this encounter, it seems that Roger physically beat Ben due to his broken glasses, bruised eyes, and bruised face. (“He’s Our You”)
5×11 – Whatever Happened, Happened
In the aftermath of Sayid’s escape, Roger befriends Kate as the two work to extract the DHARMA van from one of the bungalows and discuss the jobs they were given when they were recruited. As they are there he witnesses Jin arriving with an injured Ben. While Juliet and the other medical personnel work on Ben, Roger waits anxiously outside, where he learns from Sawyer that Ben had stolen his keys and used them to free Sayid.
Later, as Kate donates blood to help save Ben, Roger confesses that when Ben was born, he thought he would be “the greatest dad in the world”, but he knows he is not. He says he is trying to do what he thinks Ben’s mother would have wanted. (“Whatever Happened, Happened”)
5×13 – Some Like It Hoth
After Ben was taken from the infirmary, Roger became furious and reacted by getting drunk. Kate approached him to reassure him that Ben would be fine because she had a good feeling about it. Roger, however, took this in a different way and became suspicious, claiming that Kate was involved in Ben’s disappearance. When Roger asked Jack if Kate could be involved, Jack stated that Kate was his friend, and she would not harm Ben. However, Roger remained suspicious. (“Some Like It Hoth”)
5×16 – The Incident, Part 1
The next day, as the DHARMA Initiative was being evacuated and an emergency protocol was being established, Roger spotted Sayid and Jack on the barracks lawn. Sayid tried to tell Roger that he was carrying a dangerous thermonuclear device, but without listening Roger quickly shot him in the stomach. Roger was forced to take cover when Jack began firing his weapon in retaliation. (“The Incident, Part 1”) Sayid would later die (albeit temporarily) of his injury. (“LA X, Part 1”)
3×20 – The Man Behind the Curtain
Roger remained a workman for 15 more years, until his death on December 19, 1992. On that day, Ben, who by then was also a workman, accompanied his father on a errand delivering beer and supplies to the stations around the Island.
Since it was Ben’s birthday, the two stopped on the Mesa to drink beer and take-in the view.
Unbeknownst to Roger, Ben had allied himself with the Hostiles, and as part of the Purge, Ben murdered his father with toxic gas. Ben did not bother to dispose of the body, instead opting to leave it to decompose ingloriously in the DHARMA van. (“The Man Behind the Curtain”)
3×20 – The Man Behind the Curtain
Twelve years later, Vincent brought Roger’s severed arm to Hurley. This led to Hurley’s discovery of the DHARMA van which contained the DHARMA Beer, the keys of which were clutched by the arm. During the process of pulling Roger’s corpse from the wreckage, the corpse’s head also fell off the body. Sawyer dubbed Roger’s remains “Skeletor”. (“Tricia Tanaka Is Dead”)
It’s likely the survivors buried Roger’s remains, rather than leaving them out in the jungle.
Roger Linus joined the DHARMA Initiative and traveled to the Island alongside Ben, though they left at some point prior to the Island’s destruction. Decades later, Roger was severely sick, and depended on oxygen tanks to survive. He lived in California with Ben, who was a high school teacher. The two had an amicable relationship, though Roger said he would’ve liked to stay on the Island, believing Ben would’ve had a better life there. (“Dr. Linus”)
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Decoded Season 1 Characters
Decoded Season 3 Characters
Decoded Season 6 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaea, the earth, and Uranus, the sky. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own sons, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, and imprisoned in Tartarus.
Cronus was usually depicted with a sickle, which was also the weapon he used to castrate and depose Ouranos, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honor of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of harvest. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.
Name and comparative mythology
Janda (2010) offers a genuinely Indo-European etymology of “the cutter”, from the root *(s)ker- “to cut” (Greek κείρω, c.f. English shear), motivated by Cronus’ characteristic act of “cutting the sky” (or the genitals of anthropomorphic Uranus). The Indo-Iranian reflex of the root is kar, generally meaning “to make, create” (whence karma), but Janda argues that the original meaning “to cut” in a cosmogonic sense is still preserved in some verses of the Rigveda pertaining to Indra’s heroic “cutting”, like that of Cronus resulting in creation:
RV 10.104.10 ārdayad vṛtram akṛṇod ulokaṃ “he hit Vrtra fatally, cutting [> creating] a free path”
RV 6.47.4 varṣmāṇaṃ divo akṛṇod “he cut [> created] the loftiness of the sky.”
This may point to an older Indo-European mytheme reconstructed as *(s)kert wersmn diwos “by means of a cut he created the loftiness of the sky”. The myth of Cronus castrating Uranus parallels the Song of Kumarbi, where Anu (the heavens) is castrated by Kumarbi. In the Song of Ullikummi, Teshub uses the “sickle with which heaven and earth had once been separated” to defeat the monster Ullikummi, establishing that the “castration” of the heavens by means of a sickle as part of a creation myth, in origin a cut creating an opening or gap between heaven (imagined as a dome of stone) and earth enabling the beginning of time (Chronos) and human history.
Cronus had been conflated with the name of Chronos, the personification of time in Classical Antiquity. In the Renaissance, the combination of Cronus and Chronos give rise to “Father Time” wielding the harvesting scythe.
A theory debated in the 19th century, and sometimes still offered somewhat apologetically, holds that Kronos is related to “horned”, assuming a Semitic derivation from qrn. Andrew Lang’s objection, that Cronus was never represented horned in Hellenic art, was addressed by Robert Brown, arguing that in Semitic usage, as in the Hebrew Bible qeren was a signifier of “power”. When Greek writers encountered the Levantine deity El, they rendered his name as Kronos.
In Greek mythology and early myths
In ancient myth recorded by Hesiod’s Theogony, Cronus envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus’ mother, Gaia, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-armed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in Tartarus, so that they would not see the light. Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to castrate Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush. When Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked him with the sickle castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea. From the blood (or, by a few accounts, semen) that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, Erinyes, and Meliae were produced. The testicles produced a white foam from which Aphrodite emerged. For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons titenes (according to Hesiod meaning “straining ones,” the source of the word “titan”, but this etymology is disputed) for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act.
In an alternate version of this myth, a more benevolent Cronus overthrew the wicked serpentine Titan Ophion. In doing so, he released the world from bondage and for a time ruled it justly.
After dispatching Uranus, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires, the Gigantes, and the Cyclopes and set the dragon Campe to guard them. He and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as king and queen. This period of Cronus’ rule was called the Golden Age, as the people of the time had no need for laws or rules; everyone did the right thing, and immorality was absent.
Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own son, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hera, Hades, Hestia, and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born, to preempt the prophecy. When the sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. Other children Cronus is reputed to have fathered include Chiron, by Philyra.
Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, and handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, also known as the Omphalos Stone, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son.
Rhea kept Zeus hidden in a cave on Mount Ida, Crete. According to some versions of the story, he was then raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes, armored male dancers, shouted and clapped their hands to make enough noise to mask the baby’s cries from Cronus. Other versions of the myth have Zeus raised by the nymph Adamanthea, who hid Zeus by dangling him by a rope from a tree so that he was suspended between the earth, the sea, and the sky, all of which were ruled by his father, Cronus. Still other versions of the tale say that Zeus was raised by his grandmother, Gaia.
Once he had grown up, Zeus used a poison given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Mount Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, then the goat, and then his two brothers and three sisters. In other versions of the tale, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the children, or Zeus cut Cronus’ stomach open. After freeing his siblings, Zeus released the Gigantes, the Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes, who forged for him his thunderbolts. In a vast war called the Titanomachy, Zeus and his brothers and sisters, with the help of the Gigantes, Hecatonchires, and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Afterwards, many of the Titans were confined in Tartarus. Some Titans were not banished to Tartarus. Atlas, Epimetheus, Menoetius, Oceanus and Prometheus are examples of Titans who were not imprisoned in Tartarus following the Titanomachy. Gaia bore the monster Typhon to claim revenge for the imprisoned Titans, though Zeus was victorious. Accounts of the fate of Cronus after the Titanomachy differ. In Homeric and other texts he is imprisoned with the other Titans in Tartarus. In Orphic poems, he is imprisoned for eternity in the cave of Nyx. Pindar describes his release from Tartarus, where he is made King of Elysium by Zeus. In another version, the Titans released the Cyclopes from Tartarus, and Cronus was awarded the kingship among them, beginning a Golden Age. In Virgil’s Aeneid, it is Latium to which Saturn (Cronus) escapes and ascends as king and lawgiver, following his defeat by his son Jupiter (Zeus).
In a Libyan account related by Diodorus Siculus (1st c. BC), Cronus or Saturn, son of Uranus and Titea, is said to have reigned over Italy, Sicily, and Northern Africa. He cites as evidence the heights in Sicily that were in his time known as Cronia. Cronus, joined by the Titans, makes war against and eventually defeats his brother Jupiter, who reigns in Crete, and his brother-in-law Hammon, who reigns at Nysa, an island on the river Triton, somewhere in Africa. Cronus takes his sister Rhea from Hammon, to be his own wife. Cronus in turn is defeated by Hammon’s son Bacchus or Dionysius, who appoints Cronus’ and Rhea’s son, Jupiter Olympus, as governor over Egypt. Bacchus and Jupiter Olympus then join their forces to defeat the remaining Titans in Crete, and on the death of Bacchus, Jupiter Olympus inherits all the kingdoms, becoming lord of the world. (Diodorus, Book III)
Cronus is again mentioned in the Sibylline Oracles, particularly book three, which makes Cronus, ‘Titan’ and Iapetus, the three sons of Uranus and Gaia, each to receive a third division of the Earth, and Cronus is made king over all. After the death of Uranus, Titan’s sons attempt to destroy Cronus’ and Rhea’s male offspring as soon as they are born, but at Dodona, Rhea secretly bears her sons Zeus, Poseidon and Hades and sends them to Phrygia to be raised in the care of three Cretans. Upon learning this, sixty of Titan’s men then imprison Cronus and Rhea, causing the sons of Cronus to declare and fight the first of all wars against them. This account mentions nothing about Cronus either killing his father or attempting to kill any of his children.