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The Number 9

Writers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite have commented in a series of interviews titled Behind the Eclipse that fans of the series Heroes should be watching for the number nine (9) to have a significance in the show.

So far, the significance of nine has either been minimal or hidden.

Symbolic Meanings of the Number 9

The numerological significance of just about any number can apply to just about any situation, like a fortune cookie. Does the number 9 really have any more of a special application to Heroes than any other number?

Possible applications:

  • The myth of The Nine Unknown Men has been around since 273 b.c. An elite group of men founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka, are believed to currently still exist. Evidence of their roles in the advancement of our world have been cited throughout history. These Nine Unknown Men are said to have tremendous powers and knowledge well beyond anything we have ever seen. They are said to be the protectors of any and all knowledge that would be harmful to mankind, and they are also said to be the source of many of mankind's advances in all aspects of life. The story and history of The Nine Unknown Men is very large, very rich, and embedded in conspiracy dating back to before Christ. It has been said by writers of the show that the legend of The Nine Unknown Men has been the source of many of their ideas and plans for the future of the show.
    • In an interview, Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite confirmed that the Nine Unknown Men are one of the many influences in creating Heroes.
  • In Hindu mythology, the 9 major celestial bodies are personified as the Navagraha, one of whom (the moon) is named "Chandra".
  • Also in Hindu mythology, Vishnu, considered the supreme being by many, has had 9 avatars (incarnations). A tenth avatar is predicted.
  • The Hindu festival Navratri lasts nine days.
  • There are both nine circles of Hell and nine spheres of Heaven in Dante's Inferno.
  • The number 9 is present in many Chinese myths. The Chinese Netherworld supposedly has nine rivers in a nine-headed dragon. Also, ancient Chinese believed that the sky consisted of nine parts, the earth had nine separate countries, and each of those countries had nine mountain ranges.
  • In Norse Mythology secrets are revealed to Odin after hanging on the World Tree for 9 nights.
  • In Pythagorean numerology, the number nine is significant for a number of reasons. First, it is the highest value assigned to a letter or date. Second, because of the method of adding digits used, nines can be "cast out": a number like 19 is reduced as followed: 1+9=10; 1+0=1. In other words, you can simply drop the nine and reach the same result quickly.
  • In Greek mythology, there were 9 muses, responsible for creation of the arts by way of inspiration. They were the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods.
  • In Egyptian mythology, the Ennead were a group of nine gods and goddesses. Before passing onto the afterlife, a person had to be judged as worthy by the Ennead.
    • In addition, Egyptian myth symbolizes Egypt's enemies as the Nine Bows. Anubis was often drawn standing over nine bows to show his dominance over Egypt's enemies.
  • The world in Heroes is at the end of one era just before the dawn of another.
    • The number 9 is the last digit before the start of double-digit numbers (in base 10). This feature is the reason the number nine has certain unique mathematical properties, such as the digits of every multiple of 9 adding up to 9 or another multiple thereof.
    • In French the word neuf means both nine and new. In German, the words for nine and new are neun and neu, and in Spanish, nueve and nuevo.
    • It is very likely that the turning point between the two eras is the explosion, which is set to occur on November 8th. The next 'era' therefore would begin on November 9th. Also, the prefix to November is related to Latin words for both "nine" and "new".
  • Nine as the perfect/necessary group size, in Indian/Asian mythology:
    • Important Buddhist rituals usually involve nine monks. from Wikipedia:Nine
    • Nine, as the highest single-digit number (in base ten), symbolizes completeness in the Bahá'í Faith. from Wikipedia:Nine
    • There are nine basic personality types represented on the enneagram. (It is believed that the Enneagram figure is of ancient origin, possibly from within Sufism...) In geometry an enneagram is a regular nine-sided star polygon, using the same points as the regular enneagon but connected in fixed steps. from Wikipedia:Nine
    • The Asian magic square (think of Sudoku) is one in which each number 1 through 9 is used only once. from The Symbolism and Spiritual Significance of the Number Nine, Dee Finney
    • These ideas - of nine being "complete" or the number necessary for a ritual - may suggest that it will take exactly nine heroes to stop the bomb and/or stop Sylar. While everyone has a part to play in some fashion, nine people have to be together for everything to align and the "good" future to unfold instead of the Explosion future. The interconnectedness of the enneagram also suggests the need for nine heroes whose lives have been intertwined. (Consider the many "coincidental" run-ins we've seen between them.) The magic square also suggests nine heroes being used, each playing one single important part to the whole.

Occurrences of the Number 9

9th Wonders! Comic Book

The most apparent episodic use of "9" is the comic book title, 9th Wonders! The title is a play on the original "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". Many believe other sites built after the original Seven Wonders constitute an "Eighth Wonder"; it is plausible that evolved humans are the "Ninth Wonder". In addition, the title could derive from being even better than the 8th Wonder, a common phrase used to promote things, notably used for King Kong.

The original Seven Wonders are the:

  • Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Iraq, destroyed ~500 BC
  • Statue of Zeus in Olympia, Greece, destroyed in AD 462
  • Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey, destroyed in 401 BC
  • Mausoleum (Tomb of King Maussollos) in Bodrum, Turkey, destroyed in AD 1522
  • Colossus of Helios in Rhodes, Greece, destroyed in AD 654
  • Lighthouse of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt, destroyed in AD 1480

9 Evolved Humans

Obviously there are a lot more than 9 people on the show with powers. But there might be a main group of 9. The promotional image of the main characters includes 12 people, 9 of whom are known to have powers. These 9 people appear in Peter's vision.

Episodic Occurrences

Chapter 9

In all the volumes, the ninth chapter (Homecoming, Cautionary Tales, It's Coming, Turn and Face the Strange, and Brother's Keeper) has been a culmination of events, where a showdown has occurred and/or quite a lot is resolved (albeit leading to other plots).

Miscellaneous Occurrences


Memorable Quotes

"That being said, we did lots of research in crafting our stories - some of which came from Hindu and Indian mythology. Remember how we've said the number 9 is important? Has anyone looked into that yet? If you haven't, start digging. Maybe if we're nice, we'll give you some more hints on this for a Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa present."

- Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite

"The name certainly means something - but in general we were just looking for an anthology title as cool as "Tales to Astonish" or "Amazing Fantasy". But the number 9 is pretty important in the grand scheme of things."

- Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite (in reference to the 9th Wonders! comic book title)

"Make sure you expand your mythology search to the subcontinent."

- Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite (in reference to a theory about the significance of the number 9 and the subcontinent India) [1]

See Also

External Links

  Theories edit
See Also: 9RedTime travel