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In the the episode Broken Ties, we see Ronan Dex being fed upon repeatedly by a wraith.

While watching the episode, we realized we had some confusion surrounding whether Ronan can, in fact, be fed upon by the wraith. We originally thought he was made a runner for two specifics reasons: That he was strong and could provide the wraith with an entertaining hunting experience, and that they were unable to feed on him.

Searching around the interwebs, we found the following:

  • Stargate Wikia - "Ronon was placed in a cocoon and a Wraith started to feed on him but stopped for some reason"
  • Gateworld - "He was taken aboard a hive ship, but when a Wraith attempted to feed on him something forced it to stop."
  • Good 'ol wikipedia - "Ronon was later captured by the Wraith. When the Wraith discovered that they couldn't feed on him, they turned him into a Runner..."

Only wikipedia makes a claim in accord with my assumption, and I have a feeling someone may have written that statement under the same assumption as my own.

While the majority of the resources I've found so far don't make any claim either way, ultimately there seems to be a lack of concrete information. Has there ever been anything mentioned in either the TV or additional source material that might stop or prevent the wraith from feeding on Ronan? Or did the writers leave the reason(s) open, as some of the online resources seem to indicate?

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I guess it's how you interpret the scene where he is shown after capture. There's nothing really to suggest he can or can't, but given that other Satedans are also fed on in the series it isn't a general racial characteristic. It could just be that the wraith thought he'd give good sport (and he certainly did). –  HorusKol Feb 25 at 21:56
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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Because Ronan was undesirable to feed from, but not impossible to feed from

From Runner:

DEX: I was captured during a culling on my planet. I was taken to a ship. A Wraith started to feed on me.

FLASHBACK. As the Wraith stands with its hand plunged into Dex's chest, its expression changes and it looks perturbed. It looks down to its hand.

DEX: Something made him stop.

FLASHBACK. Dex has been taken out of the cocooning and three Wraith are surrounding him. One plunges a syringe-like object into his shoulder. He is lain face-down on a table and a Wraith takes a knife and starts to cut into his back. Dex grimaces in agony.

Note the Wraith is perturbed. It's not in pain or anything - just annoyed. I don't have a screenshot handy, the exact expression would probably be useful. Here is a screenshot from that scene, but I'm not 100% sure that is the Wraith's reaction to Ronan.

enter image description here

It's also good to note that in Runner, the Wraith is trying to "eat" Dex during a typical culling. If Dex doesn't "taste" good, the Wraith have plenty of options. In Broken Ties, the Wraith is trying to torture specifically Dex into servitude:

WRAITH: Ronon Dex. I looked forward to the day when you would finally serve me.

DEX: Well, then, I'm gonna feel real bad disappointing you.

WRAITH: Oh, I'm sure you'll try, but in the end, you'll come around.

And is doing so by "feeding" and "reverse feeding":

The Wraith still has its hand on Ronon's chest. Ronon looks old and grey and ravaged, but slowly his youth returns to him and his appearance goes back to normal. The Wraith pulls its hand away. Ronon gasps in exhaustion.

WRAITH: How does it feel to have your life stolen -- to be pushed so close to the darkness, only to be pulled back from the brink? From what I understand, it's a magnificent sensation.

DEX: To be honest, I've felt better.

So while feeding on Dex might be distasteful, in this case it is just an annoyance towards the longer goal of making Dex his slave.

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Gotcha, that's a pretty good explanation. So Ronan can certainly be fed upon, but he is the Satedan equivalent of tofu, taste-wise. –  Paul Richter Feb 26 at 0:25
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And I generally prefer my tofu to run as far away from me as possible ... as opposed to actually eating it. –  joshbirk Feb 26 at 0:28
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No - from what I understand they can feed on him, but when the Wraith fed on him he noticed his strength and decided he'd make for a good Runner.

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This is how I always read that scene. The Wraith can detect the strength of those they feed from, and they could tell from Ronon's expression that he was still defiant, not defeated - that he'd make a very good runner, and it would be a waste to just feed on him. –  Izkata Feb 26 at 0:44
    
I tend to agree, but are there any canon sources for this? –  James Sheridan Feb 26 at 6:56
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There is no canon example of a Wraith being unable to feed on Ronan or anyone else, excepting those who are given the vaccine. In Ronan's own words, "something made him stop." It is not implied that he had to stop.

The reason the Wraith keep Runners is also never explained, but I would assume it's a combination of sport and training. It would appear you - and the Wikipedia editor - have simply read more into that scene than was there.

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I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about why the wraith do what they do. Humans are predators too, but we don't cull herds of tigers, we have herds of mindless cows. I don't know why they don't breed fat, docile, nearly mindless humans. –  Paul Feb 25 at 23:42
    
They are shown to enjoy the thrill of the hunt, which may account for their apparent disregard of selective breeding. Then again, they also have human worshippers, so maybe they do have more docile breeding stock. –  James Sheridan Feb 26 at 6:55
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