"It's Good to Be King" is the thirteenth episode of the eighth season of Stargate SG-1.


The System Lord Ares is planning on taking back his old territories to reinforce himself against Ba'al. One of his planets happens to be the new home of Harold Maybourne. SG-1 comes to warn him, but find out that he has become King, and apparently knows this is going to happen.


SG-1 receives intelligence that the Goa'uld are now beginning to return to previously abandoned planets with the intent to turn them into new strongholds and hideouts. Even worse, they discover that the System Lord Ares is preparing to invade the planet which former Colonel Harold Maybourne has retired to. Brigadier General Jack O'Neill sends SG-1 to bring Maybourne back to Earth.

Upon arriving at the planet, the team discover that Maybourne has been proclaimed 'King Arkhan the First', much to their chagrin. When Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter tries to bring Maybourne up to speed, he reveals that he already knows the Goa'uld are on their way. He shows them a set of stone pillars inscribed with Ancient writings, which appear to be a historical record of things that have yet to occur. Maybourne had already translated it, and had used the knowledge of the future to help the people of the planet. Most shocking of all is the prophecy that "the oppressors of old" - the Goa'uld - would return, and that a team of warriors - SG-1 - would save them and defeat the invaders.

Carter says that SG-1 can't help and tells Maybourne that they have to take him back now. But Maybourne refuses to go; he enjoys living with the civilization here and is confident that the prophecy will be fulfilled.

Dr. Daniel Jackson's and Teal'c's further investigation of the surrounding forest turns up the most interesting find of all: a Puddle Jumper that seems to be capable of time travel. But the ship requires the pilot to have the ATA gene. The only person they know of who has the gene is General O'Neill.

O'Neill arrives on the planet to much fanfare from Maybourne and his minstrels, and proceeds to the ship after a tense reunion. Carter's repair attempts fail, and O'Neill can't even get the ship off the ground. With no other options, Maybourne steps down as king and is forced to reveal to his people that he's not a prophet like he claimed, and that the prophecies are written on the pillars for all to read. He tells them all that they must leave or risk being killed or captured.

It's Good to Be King 1

Sam and Jack in the Time Jumper

But the townspeople refuse to accept Maybourne's resignation, saying that the prophecy will come true like all the others and holding other, non-prophecy related achievements (introducing irrigation, crop rotation, a new legal code) as examples of his great leadership. As a career bureaucrat and later a NID mole, Maybourne has always been a thief, a liar, a scoundrel; in short, an object of scorn, even by his supposed allies. But on this world, no matter how selfish his reasons, he has helped people, and been praised for that help. Maybourne is struck speechless by their loyalty, and the SGC team is struck just as speechless by the concept that Maybourne just might be a good man. O'Neill is too bewildered by the whole affair, and decides to pull out. However, it is too late; Ares's First Prime Trelak and several Jaffa have arrived.

While the Jaffa take control over the small village, O'Neill and Carter hide out in the ship while Daniel and Teal'c hide out amongst the townsfolk. But both are quickly discovered; Daniel and Teal'c are captured, and O'Neill is forced to defend the ship until Carter can get it working again. When she finally does, O'Neill takes the ship up into orbit, where a Goa'uld Ha'tak has arrived.

Some of the village warriors attack the Jaffa in the village, allowing Daniel and Teal'c to escape and help fight and kill the few remaining Jaffa. In orbit, O'Neill uses the ship's limited, but immensely powerful weapons (the same Drone weapons, which he used in the episode "Lost City, Part 2") on the Ha'tak, severing some vital systems and causing the ship to explode. Ares, who was on board, is killed - as the prophecy predicted.

As SG-1 leave, O'Neill offers Maybourne a chance to return to Earth, but Maybourne declines; he'd miss his people, his new home... his wives...


Appearances for It's Good to Be King





Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

Carter: The Tok'ra have their hands full with more pressing matters. They strongly suggest that we get to Maybourne before the Goa'uld do.
Teal'c: If we do not retrieve him, Harry Maybourne faces certain capture. (O'Neill remains impassive.) Torture. Interrogation. Perhaps even death.
O'Neill: Alright, fine. Go get him.

Maybourne: Where's Jack?
Carter: General O'Neill is back at the SGC.
Maybourne: No kidding. "General O'Neill". That doesn't sound right. Still, good for Jack. Nice to hear he's doing so well for himself.
Teal'c: As, evidently, are you.

(Explaining the Ojen fruit)
Maybourne: It's sort of a cross between a guava and a mango.
Jackson: Sort of a "guango"?
Maybourne: I like that. (Stands on the bench) People. Henceforth, ojen fruit shall be called guango!

Maybourne: Jack. Great to see you. How long has it been?
O'Neill: Oh, since you got us stranded off-world and tried to kill me.
Maybourne: That takes me back. I guess congratulations are in order. You made General.
O'Neill: You made King.
Maybourne: It's not a contest.

O'Neill: Nice ride.
Jackson: Yeah, Ancients liked to fly in style.

O'Neill: You're going to have to help me out here, Carter. Got any quarters?
Carter: Unfortunately, I can't help you with this one, sir. You're on your own.
O'Neill: Fine. How do we know we're not gonna end up back at the Alamo?
Carter: Um, well, for one thing, that was on Earth, but more importantly, I've separated the time device from the control circuits, I think... Concentrate on powering up the engines.
O'Neill: Concentrate? Got nothing.

Trelak: Lord Ares has just arrived!


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • This episode marks the death of Ares, the thirteenth powerful Goa'uld who is killed by SG-1.
  • The Jumper seen in this episode may be the Lantean Janus' Time Jumper from the Stargate: Atlantis episode "Before I Sleep", or a new one that Janus built after returning to Earth, as he promised to Elizabeth Weir before leaving Atlantis 10,000 years ago. If so, that would mean Janus (or a compatriot) observed the events of this episode, recorded it to the stele (in the past) as apart of the prophecy, hid their jumper (also in the past) in the location where they observed SG-1 find it, and thus created a causal loop for the events of this episode to unfold.
  • When rebroadcast during the summer of 2005, this episode was shown on the same night as the Stargate: Atlantis episode "Before I Sleep," which featured the original introduction of the Time Jumper.
  • Only the Region 1 DVD set has a commentary for this episode.
  • The plot of this episode is somewhat similar to that of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "False Profits" in which two Ferengi set themselves up as rulers on a planet they became stranded on in the Delta Quadrant. Of course, the Ferengi were much more exploitative of the situation than was Harold Maybourne.
  • The term "Archon", Greek ἄρχοντα, and its related words, are used several times in the New Testament. It is translated ruler, magistrate, or prince. Given some of the subtle jokes and Bible references in SG-1, one wonders if the intent is that of Ephesians 2:2, where the archon in question is Satan. In other cases, "Archon" is used as the word "king," meaning Maybourne has named himself "King King The First".
  • The song that Mayborne has the minstrels play when Jack arrives is a cover of the Macgyver theme.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Harold Maybourne.
  • This is the last of twelve episodes of Stargate SG-1 directed by William Gereghty.


  • When Garan recocks her crossbow, she makes it seem like all it takes is quick tug on a string, but a crossbow with enough energy to shoot a bolt into an opponent's back like she did would require much more force to draw (likely much more than 100lb), and most likely some sort of implement to help the process by providing leverage, or at least the shooter would have to use a stirrup when drawing the string. of course prop weapons do not perform as their deadly counterparts, but this depiction is just not realistic.
  • When Brigadier General Jack O'Neill closes the hatch of the Time Jumper, as seen from the inside, we can see that many tree branches are being trapped as the hatch rises. As seen from the outside, the hatch is clear.
  • Around the 30 minute mark, when Dr. Daniel Jackson informs Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter and O'Neill that Jaffa are holding the gate, a boom can momentarily be seen in the top right corner just before Carter says "I guess we're staying for a while".
  • When Jackson examines the ruins, he remarks that the writings in stone are a couple of hundred years old. Yet when Teal'c finds the time jumper, the branches and leaves covering the jumper are green and freshly cut, suggesting only a couple of days have passed since the time jumper was hidden.
  • When Teal'c lists the possible fates for Harold Maybourne he neglects to mention being made host to a Goa'uld as he would have a great deal of valuable knowlege.


  • Nominated Leo for "Dramatic Series: Best Cinematography" (Jim Menard)
  • Nominated Leo for "Dramatic Series: Best Supporting Performance by a Male" (Tom McBeath)

Other languages[]

  • French: Une Vieille Connaissance (An Old Acquaintance)
  • Italian: È Bello Essere Re (It's Good to Be King)
  • Spanish: El Rey Arkhan (The Arkhan King)
  • Czech: Byl jednou jeden král (Once upon a time there was a king)
  • German: König Arkhan (King Arkhan)
  • Hungarian: Királynak lenni jó (It's Good to Be King)

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