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Jor-El (Smallville)

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Fear not, Kal-El. I am Jor-El, your father. I am his will, his memory. I am to fulfill his promise and guide you all the days of your life.
~ Jor-El, to Clark, "Exodus"

Jor-El is a recurring character appearing on the WB/CW television series Smallville. He exists as a disembodied voice first through Clark's spaceship, then the Kawatche Caves and, finally, the Fortress of Solitude.

Unlike previous versions of the character, Smallville's Jor-El has a harsh and at times cruel demeanor. It is later explained that some parts of the original Jor-El's personality was left out at its creation, explaining its lack of emotion and mercy.

His voice is provided by Terence Stamp, who also played General Zod in the first two Superman films starring Christopher Reeve, Ramsley in The Haunted Mansion, Jack Taylor in My Boss's Daughter, Professor Menace in Static Shock, and Siegfried in Get Smart. He was portrayed briefly by John Glover in the episode "Hidden" when he was possessing Lionel Luthor.

Villainous Acts Committed by Jor-El

Though Jor-El has done unnecessarily harsh things, none of them were committed out of pure malice. Most of his actions were simply a way of pushing Kal-El/Clark to fulfill his destiny.

  • He burned the symbol of Kal-El's ancestors onto Clark's chest, which periodically burned painfully.
  • He gave Jonathan Kent powers to bring Clark back home, being fully aware that it would cause him heart problems.
  • He brainwashed a teenage girl named Lindsey Harrison into becoming "Kara of Krypton" in order to make Clark fulfill his destiny.
  • He coerced Clark into beginning his training by strangling and threatening to kill Jonathan.
  • He brainwashed and removed Clark's memories, turning him into Kal-El.
  • He took away Clark's powers after he failed to return to the Fortress.
  • He imprisoned Clark in a block of ice for a month after he ignored his orders to not insert the blue crystal into the Fortress's console.
  • He was willing to let Clark die when he failed him.


Season 2

In "Rosetta," Clark opens his spaceship and discovers a message from his Kryptonian birth father stating: "On this third planet from the star Sol, you will be a god among men. They are a flawed race. Rule them with strength, my son. That is where your greatness lies." A shocked Clark interprets the message as meaning he was sent to Earth to conquer humanity, and is immediately apprehensive about the possibility despite comforting words from his adoptive father Jonathan Kent.

In "Calling," Clark begins hearing a disembodied voice announce that "The day is coming" and later finds a Kryptonian message on the Kawatche Cave wall which he translates as "The day is coming when the last son will begin his quest to rule the third planet," remembering that he is the last survivor of Krypton. At the end of the episode, Clark hears the voice say "Kal-El, it is time" and sees lights coming from his spaceship in the Kents' storm cellar.

In "Exodus" (the Season 2 finale), Clark enters the storm cellar, where he finds the spaceship glowing and rising into the air. The voice, coming from the ship, explains that it is Jor-El, Clark's biological father. When Clark tells him he thought he died on Krypton, Jor-El further explains that he is the Kryptonian Jor-El's memories and will, and that he is to guide Kal-El all the days of his life. Jor-El then tells Clark he will return to him at sundown and that he has no choice in the matter.

At sunset the next day, Clark hears Jor-El command him to come to him, so he again goes down to the storm cellar, where he finds the spaceship hovering over the ground. Jor-El insists that Clark will obey him; when Clark denounces and refuses him, Jor-El telekinetically slams Clark up against a corner of the cellar and burns a Kryptonian symbol (resembling the Superman symbol) on Clark's chest, stating Clark cannot fight his destiny. He then tells Clark that, at noon the next day, he will begin his journey and warns Clark that, if he continues to defy him, he (Clark) will hurt his loved ones.

The next day, Clark, desperate to be free from Jor-El, steals a Kryptonite key from Lionel Luthor and places it into his spaceship. The Kryptonite key causes the ship to implode and then explode, resulting in a massive release of energy that hits Jonathan and Martha as they are arriving home; this causes a pregnant Martha to miscarry. A distraught Clark puts on a Red Kryptonite ring and leaves Smallville. As he's riding out of town, Jor-El's voice is heard saying "You will obey me, Kal-El."

Season 3

In "Exile," set three months after the events of "Exodus," Jonathan goes to the Kawatche Caves to ask Jor-El for help in bringing Clark back home. He makes contact with Jor-El, who explains he was testing Kal-El to see if he was ready to begin his journey and tells Jonathan it will be of no consequence if Clark returns to the Kents for the time being. Jor-El and Jonathan then make a mysterious deal that involves Jor-El bestowing Jonathan with temporary Kryptonian powers so he can bring Clark back to Smallville.

In "Relic," Clark finds a Kryptonian pendant that originally belonged to the original Jor-El and contains memories of Jor-El's visit to Earth in 1961 as a young man. While on Earth, Jor-El (going by the alias "Joe") rescued Louise McCallum (Lana Lang's great-aunt) from a mugger, Lachlan Luthor (Lionel's father and Lex Luthor's grandfather). Jor-El and Louise fell in love and had an affair (Louise was married to Dex McCallum). Sadly, Lachlan found Jor-El and tried to shoot him, only for the bullets to bounce off Jor-El and hit Louise, killing her.

Grief-stricken, Jor-El fled from the scene and made his way to the Kawatche Caves, intending to return to Krypton. Along the way, he encountered Hiram Kent (Jonathan's father and Clark's adoptive grandfather), who believed his claims of innocence and helped him escape from the police. Seeing all of these events on the pendant, Clark speculated that Jor-El had arranged for Jonathan and Martha to find and adopt him.

In "Covenant" (the Season 3 finale), a teenage girl comes to the Kent Farm, claiming her name is "Kara" and that she's from Krypton. "Kara" reveals the terms of Jor-El and Jonathan's pact: Jor-El agreed to give Jonathan temporary powers to bring Clark back on the condition that Jonathan would return Clark to him when the time came for Clark to fulfill his destiny. By the end of the episode, Clark agrees to go with "Kara" into a portal in the Kawatche Caves, but stalls when Jonathan arrives with evidence that "Kara" is actually Lindsey Harrison, whom Jor-El abducted and turned into a puppet so he could draw Clark to him. Jor-El begins speaking from the portal and tells Clark to go with "Kara." When Clark angrily refuses to do so, Jor-El disintegrates "Kara," saying she served her purpose, then begins strangling Jonathan, threatening to kill him if Clark refuses him again. Despite Jonathan's pleas, Clark enters the portal, which closes, leaving an unconscious Jonathan on the ground. The season finale ends with an imprisoned Clark floating in a void and Jor-El proclaiming he shall be reborn.

Season 4

In "Crusade," Jor-El returns Clark to Smallville, brainwashed as Kal-El of Krypton. Kal-El sets out to find and unite the three Stones of Power, but is stopped by Martha using Black Kryptonite.

In "Sacred," Clark receives a letter from the recently deceased Dr. Virgil Swann encouraging him to seek Jor-El's guidance once again, as Jor-El is the only one who can help Clark finish his journey. Clark then makes contact with Jor-El in the Kawatche Caves, and Jor-El explains that the knowledge of Krypton's civilization was encoded in the Stones of Power, which were brought to Earth where they were then hidden in different locations. He then tells Clark that if he does not unite the stones before others do, war, famine, and destruction will befall Earth.

In "Commencement," after it is announced that another meteor shower is expected to hit Smallville in a matter of hours, Clark confronts Jor-El, who criticizes Clark for rejecting his Kryptonian heritage and says there is nothing Clark can do to prevent the imminent disaster. He reiterates that Clark must unite the Stones of Power before cutting off communication with his son despite Clark's pleas for help in finding the remaining stones.

Season 5

In "Arrival," Jor-El greets Clark after he enters the newly-constructed Fortress of Solitude and tells him he must stay in the Fortress so he can train and prepare to save Earth from a coming evil from Krypton. When Clark stops his training to save Chloe Sullivan (who was transported to the Arctic along with Clark after he united the Stones of Power), Jor-El insists he must continue but eventually agrees to let Clark take Chloe to safety. However, Jor-El tells Clark to return by sunset or there will be terrible consequences. When Clark fails to return, Jor-El takes away his powers, turning him human.

In "Hidden," after Clark dies from a gunshot wound, he awakens in the Fortress and is greeted by Lionel, who addresses him as "Kal-El." Lionel turns out to be possessed by Jor-El who explains that, when Lionel was exposed to one of the Stones of Power, he became a vessel for Jor-El to inhabit should Clark ever require his aid. Jor-El goes on to explain that Clark will return to life, but the life of someone he loves will have to be exchanged for his own. Jor-El informs Clark that he is about to face his darkest hour and tells him to remember that the lessons learned from pain make people the strongest. Jor-El then embraces Clark and assures him he will always love him.

In "Solitude," Clark confronts Jor-El, believing him to be the one who infected Martha with a Kryptonian virus. Jor-El claims he is not responsible, but maintains that someone Clark loves will still die to compensate for his resurrection.

In "Reckoning," after Lana Lang dies in a car accident, Clark goes to the Fortress and tearfully begs Jor-El not to take Lana's life. Jor-El tells Clark they are not gods, but when Clark angrily insists it is not Lana's destiny to die, Jor-El gives him a crystal that will reset time twenty-four hours but warns his son that, even if he is able to change history, someone close to him will still die. Clark uses the crystal and is able to prevent Lana from dying, only for Jonathan to die of a heart attack following a heated confrontation with Lionel.

In "Vessel," Clark ventures to the Fortress to speak with Jor-El about Brainiac, and Jor-El tells him that Brainiac is being controlled by Zod, who was responsible for the destruction of Krypton and the deaths of its people. Jor-El then explains that Zod's physical body was destroyed to prevent him from escaping the Phantom Zone and that the only way he can be freed was if he has a vessel to inhabit on Earth. He then gives Clark a Kryptonian dagger and charges him to find and kill Zod's vessel, who turns out to be Lex.

Season 6

In the season premiere "Zod," when Martha enters a damaged Fortress with an injured and unconscious Lois Lane, Jor-El greets Martha and informs her that, when Clark used the dagger against Brainiac instead of Zod's vessel, he accidentally damaged the Fortress and released Zod from the Phantom Zone. When Martha demands to know what happened to Clark, Jor-El responds that he has been banished by Zod and insists that Clark's mission must be completed. Before sending Martha and Lois back to Smallville, Jor-El thanks Martha for raising Clark.

Season 7

In "Kara," Clark goes to the Fortress to speak with Jor-El about beginning his training and tells him about finding out about his cousin Kara and her father Zor-El. Jor-El tells Clark that Zor-El cannot be trusted and neither can Kara, so he tells Clark to keep a close eye on Kara.

In "Blue," after Clark is transported to the Fortress by the blue crystal after hearing his Kryptonian birth mother Lara's voice coming from the crystal, Jor-El warns Clark to not use the crystal because it was created by Zor-El, whose experiments were driven by greed and a lust for power. Clark ignores Jor-El and activates the crystal, producing clones of Lara and Zor-El, and bringing the Fortress under Zor-El's control. Later, after Clark puts a stop to Zor-El's plot to wipe out the human race, he travels to the Fortress to beg for Jor-El's assistance in finding Kara, who was transported away after Clark destroyed the blue crystal to defeat Zor-El. Jor-El, however, tells Clark that Kara isn't his concern and criticizes Clark to allowing his emotions to cloud his judgment before informing his son that his latest act of defiance cannot go unpunished. Clark is then enveloped in a burst of bright light, ending the episode.

In the final scene of "Gemini," Clark is revealed to be trapped inside a column of ice. In the next episode "Persona," Bizarro, posing as Clark, journeys to the Fortress searching for Dax-Ur's shield and he calls out to Jor-El, who sees through the Phantom's ruse and orders him to leave the Fortress. After Bizarro leaves, Jor-El frees Clark from imprisonment and tells him he must stop Bizarro.

In "Traveler," Chloe brings an amnesiac Kara to the Fortress and begs Jor-El to restore her memories and powers so she can rescue a captured Clark. Though he remains silent, Jor-El envelops his niece in a column of energy, returning Kara's memories and powers.

In "Apocalypse," after a depressed Clark prepares to allow Brainiac to kill his infant self in the past so he won't exist in the present, Jor-El sends Clark to an alternate reality where he never made it to Earth. When Clark is about to be shot and killed by an alternate version of Brainiac, Jor-El returns Clark to the actual reality, explaining he was trying to show Clark that he has an important destiny and thus convince him to travel back through time and stop Brainiac from altering the timeline by killing baby Kal-El. Clark succeeds in stopping Brainiac and preventing history from changing.

Season 8

In "Abyss," Clark re-builds the Fortress and speaks with Jor-El, telling his Kryptonian father that he's now using his powers to help others, not just his friends and family. Jor-El commends Clark for his new approach towards his destiny and agrees to help remove Brainiac from Chloe. Clark later brings Chloe to the Fortress and asks Jor-El to also remove her memories of his powers and alien heritage; Jor-El agrees and does so.

Later, when Clark returns to the Fortress to thank Jor-El for his help, Jor-El praises his son for making a hard decision but senses something else is troubling Clark. When Clark replies that Chloe, prior to her memory being altered, kept seeing the Kryptonian symbol for "doom," Jor-El explains the symbol represents Doomsday, which has made his way to Earth. Clark vows to take the creature on, and Jor-El assures his son he'll be there for him. After Clark leaves, however, Brainiac takes over the Fortress, silencing Jor-El as he calls for his son.

In "Infamous," Clark tells Chloe that the Fortress is damaged and that Jor-El is gone.

Season 9

In the season premiere "Savior," Clark, who has renounced his human identity following his battle with Doomsday and the death of Jimmy at the hands of Davis, has spent the past three weeks training with Jor-El inside the Fortress. After Clark is distracted by thoughts of Lois, Jor-El stops the training session and tells Clark that he still sees himself as human and that's why he hasn't achieved the power of flight, and also suggests that Clark tried to move on too quickly and that the real test of a hero is to deal with feelings of pain and loss, not avoid them. Clark stubbornly insists he's left his human life and friends behind, but when he fails a virtual simulation, Jor-El forces him to realize he has to say goodbye to Lois.

In "Echo," when Clark begins hearing other people's thoughts, he goes to the Fortress to speak with Jor-El, who explains he gave Clark teleplay so he can learn to hone his Kryptonian intuition and let go of his human-learned instincts. When Clark tells him he shouldn't underestimate humans, Jor-El replies Clark shouldn't do the same and tells him that his telepathic powers are temporary.

In "Roulette," Jor-El is mentioned but not seen, as Clark tells Chloe that he went and asked Jor-El about Alia, one of Zod's soldiers who have arrived on Earth.

In "Upgrade," Clark brings Zod to the Fortress, hoping to reunite him with his former friend Jor-El, but Jor-El remains silent to Clark's annoyance.

In the season finale "Salvation," Zod comes to the Fortress and demands that Jor-El speak to him. When Jor-El remains silent, Zod moves to destroy the structure's console to make sure Clark won't be able to talk to Jor-El ever again, only to be confronted by Tess Mercer, whom he severely burns with heat vision. When Clark arrives at the Fortress, he tells Jor-El he isn't going to leave Earth in order to lead the Kandorians on a new world, telling him if that's the case, then all of Jor-El's training was a waste. Clark then sees the console destroyed, and Zod emerges and states he's the culprit.

Season 10

In the season premiere "Lazarus," Jor-El communicates with Clark in the astral plane after Clark dies sacrificing himself to send Zod and the Kandorians away, and warns Clark of a new threat coming to Earth. Later, when Clark boasts that he's now the hero he was meant to be after thwarting the scheme of LX-3, Jor-El harshly condemns Clark for his willingness to kill LX-3 (Clark nearly killed the dying clone, but backed off at the last minute) and informs him that the dark force that's coming is drawn to the darkness and corruption within individuals. He then tells Clark that he cannot be a beacon of hope when he is harboring darkness in his heart. When Clark angrily insists that he is a hero and that he decides his own fate, Jor-El declares that Clark will never be Earth's savior and the Fortress grows dark and silent.

In "Supergirl," Kara returns to Earth and begins building a reputation as a superhero. When Clark meets with her and demands straight answers, she tells him that Jor-El has disowned him and sent her to Earth to take Clark's place as a hero.

In "Abandoned," Lois goes to the Fortress to speak with Jor-El, telling him his lack of faith in Clark is the reason Clark isn't the hero he can be and asking him to reconcile with his son. Jor-El, however, remains silent, causing Lois to angrily remark Clark is a better man than he is and is lucky to be rid of him. Jor-El responds by imprisoning Lois in a column of energy. When Clark comes to the Fortress, rescues Lois, and prepares to give up on Jor-El completely, the Fortress plays a holographic recording of the Kryptonian Jor-El and his wife Lara, telling Clark that, despite the fact they were unable to save Krypton from destruction, they are confident he will become Earth's greatest hero. The message also reveals that the original Jor-El left his emotions out of the A.I.'s programming under the belief that they had prevented him from saving Krypton and didn't want Kal-El to be burdened by his father's flaws.

In "Prophecy," Jor-El temporarily transfers Clark's powers to Lois so the two of them can understand each other better. Later, he summons Kara to the Fortress and gives her the choice of staying to help Clark fight Darkseid and therefore put Earth in danger or traveling to the future where she can follow her own path. After his powers are switched back to him, Clark confronts Jor-El and tells him he's done with his trials before shutting down the Fortress.

In "Finale," as Clark is thrown through the air by Darkseid during their confrontation, he suddenly finds himself having a mental conversation with Jor-El, who tells him he has had the power within him all along. Jor-El then shows Clark images of his heroic feats over the past ten years, revealing to Clark that all of those moments have been preparing him to become a hero. Jor-El then announces Clark's final trial is upon him and encourages Clark to seize his destiny before Clark returns to reality.

After his battle with Darkseid, Clark goes to the Fortress, where Jor-El announces his journey has come to an end and tells his son that he is proud of him for embracing his Kryptonian side. Jor-El then tells Clark that he is the only one who can lift Apokolips from Earth and returns the Superman costume (which he previously took and stored in the season premiere), giving Clark one last piece of wisdom: Even though Clark is Kryptonian, it was his time spent in Smallville with all the people there that made him the hero he has become.


You must let go of your past. I will guide you to your future. [...] You have no choice, Kal-El.
~ To Clark, "Exodus"
You will obey me, Kal-El.
~ To Clark, "Exodus"
At the zenith of the star Sol, you will begin your journey. If you do not, you will hurt the ones you love most.
~ To Clark, after burning a Kryptonian symbol onto his chest, "Exodus"
The knowledge of our civilization was encoded in three stones brought to Earth and hidden at the far reaches of the world. Greed will drive others to hunt the stones. But if the humans should unite them before you, they will not be able to withstand the temptation and will drive the world to famine, war, and the earth's ultimate destruction. You must find the other two stones. The fate of the world lies in your hands, Kal-El.
~ To Clark, explaining the Stones of Power, "Sacred"
Kal-El, you have traveled far. One journey has ended; a new journey is about to begin. Welcome home, my son.
~ To Clark, in the newly-constructed Fortress of Solitude, "Arrival"
Each time you let human-learned emotions guide you, you put the fate of the entire planet at risk. That is your weakness, Kal-El.
~ To Clark, refusing to allow Clark to take Chloe to safety, "Arrival"
When this body was activated by the crystal, it became an oracle of Kryptonian knowledge, a vessel for me to inhabit if ever you should need me. That time was now.
~ To Clark, possessing Lionel Luthor, "Hidden"
Your mortal journey is over, yes. But your imminent destiny is too important to be sacrificed. You will return with all your natural gifts. Unfortunately, this rectification does not come without a price. The life of someone close to you will be exchanged for yours.
~ To Clark, "Hidden"
For everything in nature, there is a balance. The life force that has been returned to you will soon be taken from From someone you love. You're about to face your darkest hour, my son. But remember, the lessons that we learn from pain are the ones that make us the strongest.
~ To Clark, "Hidden"
Your powers on Earth may seem extraordinary, Kal-El, but we are not gods.
~ To Clark, "Reckoning"
There is one trial you have yet to experience. But you must heed my warning. The tide of fate is impossible to stop. Even if you are able to alter one course of events the universe will find a balance. There is only one crystal. Once you make this choice, there is no second chance. Decide carefully.
~ To Clark, "Reckoning"
Pain is part of life, Kal-El, but you cannot let it blind you.
~ To Clark, "Vessel"
We have both lost much, Martha Kent. But you must put aside your anguish if you wish to save the world. Kal-El's mission must be completed.
~ To Martha, "Zod"
Everything you've done for Kal-El, you have my deepest gratitude. I couldn't have wished for a brighter light to guide my son. Farewell, Martha Kent.
~ To Martha, "Zod"
You have chosen to defy me yet again, Kal-El. And you seem to lack the capacity to learn your lesson. I am sorry, my son. This defiance cannot go without consequence.
~ To Clark, before imprisoning him in a block of ice, "Blue"
You cannot change the course of history, Kal-El.
~ To Clark, before bringing him out of the alternate universe, "Apocalypse"
The disc in your hand revealed your misguided intentions. I was forced to show you the error of your ways. I sent you to earth for a purpose, Kal-El, one that cannot be taken lightly. [...] You must stop the Brain InterActive Construct from altering history and taking your life. You cannot fail. This time, there will be no second chances.
~ To Clark, "Apocalypse"
The test of a true hero is to struggle with feelings of loss and to overcome them, not to avoid them. Something or someone is holding you back.
~ To Clark, "Savior"
Your determination is strong, son, but just as your passion will be your greatest strength, so, too, will it be your greatest obstacle.
~ To Clark, "Savior"
Assumptions are flaws inherent in the human instincts you have adopted, but they are beneath you.
~ To Clark, "Echo"
Being able to discern why humans truly behave as they do will help you to better protect them. This ability is only temporary. You must learn to focus, Kal-El. Perception can be the difference between life and death.
~ To Clark, "Echo"
Evil never ends. By sacrificing yourself, you've left the humans vulnerable to future threats. [...] You were meant to be Earth's greatest protector. Now they're about to face the greatest evil without you.
~ To Clark in the afterlife, "Lazarus"
I told you to rule with strength, but you chose the martyr's path. What makes you think you deserve a second chance?
~ To Clark, "Lazarus"
Pride, vanity--you almost took a man's life, and you dare tell me you're following the path I set out for you?
~ To Clark after he boasts about embracing his destiny, "Lazarus"
The evil is you, Kal-El. The greatest threat Earth will face is coming. It preys on wavering souls like yours. Once this darkness consumes you, you will be Earth's greatest enemy.
~ To Clark, "Lazarus"
You cannot be a beacon of hope when you have darkness in your heart.
~ To Clark, "Lazarus"
I regret as a father, my faith in you blinded me to the truth. You will never be Earth's savior.
~ Disowning Clark, "Lazarus"
I believe you care about Kal-El and wish to help him, but ultimately, this battle must be his. That is why I've called you here: to make a choice. [...] There are two paths laid out before you, Kara. You can leave Earth now and allow Kal-El to embrace his destiny, or you can stay and help him, risking the future of this planet.
~ To Kara, "Prophecy"
You involved Kal-El against my wishes. He was too weak then, and he was almost overcome by darkness. You have grown strong. Your will is no longer at the mercy of my command. You will need that strength to forge your own path. It is in your hands to choose.
~ To Kara, "Prophecy"
Kara, your own destiny is written. It is in another place and time. But this is Kal-El's battle, and he must fight it alone. Even though a time will come when he turns away from me, in the end, he will make the right decision. He is ready. This is his time.
~ To Kara, "Prophecy"
Sometimes the greatest sacrifice a person can make is to give up what they hold most dear.
~ To Kara, "Prophecy"
Your trials are not a riddle, Kal-El. They are stepping stones on a long path.
~ To Clark, "Prophecy"
You've always had the power within you, my son.
~ To Clark, "Finale"
Your final trial is upon you, my son. You are ready. Seize your destiny.
~ To Clark, "Finale"
Your journey has come to an end, Kal-El.
~ To Clark, "Finale"
You honor me. A father's pride cannot be measured in words, but know that I am proud of you, son.
~ To Clark, "Finale"
We have been down a long road together, Kal-El--one paved with difficult trials. Those trials are behind you now. Any father can only hope that he is one day humbled by the feats of his son. But it is your soul, Kal-El, of which I am most proud. You, and you alone, possess the courage, the determination, and the compassion that will be required of you to lift the darkness from the Earth.
~ To Clark, "Finale"
I ask you to remember one thing. Your abilities may be of my blood, but it is your time in Smallville with Jonathan and Martha Kent and all the people there that made you a hero, Kal-El.
~ Jor-El's last lines, "Finale"

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