This article contains plot details.
|“||My father's boots were the very first in Salem and I'm warning every goddamn one of you murdering hypocritical Puritan bastard's that these boots will be the last.||”|
— John Alden[src]
Captain Johnathan "John" Alden is the son of John Alden Senior and Sarah Alden, the former lover of Mary Sibley and father of her son, and a hardened war hero in the French and Indian War. Since his return, he was caught in the crossfire between Puritans and witches whilst trying to win her beloved Mary back. After being exposed to the supernatural, he teamed up with former childhood acquaintances Cotton Mather and Isaac Walton in a battle against the Devil himself.
"After fighting in the Nine-Year-War, he returned home to his native Salem, Massachusetts, to be reunited with Mary, only to find his hometown amidst a witch panic and that she was now married to George Sibley, the very man who had sent him off to die. In the midst of trying to win Mary back and unravel the mysteries behind the witch panic, John quickly uncovers horrific mystical truths and is forced to confront evil supernatural forces to protect his loved ones."
"Former war hero, John Alden is forced to bury his love, Mary Sibley. After being captured and dragged back to Salem, Alden agrees to train the militia, preparing them for the coming war."
Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts he is one of the firstborns in the new world and the son of the late John Alden Senior, head of one of the founding families and a member of the selectmen board. John had a loving relationship with his father though he often disappointed him particularly for not learning scripture or attending university choosing instead to join the war, but his father soon came to accept his son's choices.  Before the events of 1685, John embarked on a relationship with the young Mary Walcott the pair quickly fell in love but he was later sent to join the militia to fight the French and the Indians. The night before he left Salem after witnessing the branding of Isaac Walton he made a vow to Mary that he would return for her within a year, splitting a silver coin in half and giving one-half to her. A token of his promise to her.
During John's time in the militia, he was severally injured in battle and left for dead but was found by the Mohawk tribe who brought him back from the brink of death. Their medicine man took a particular interest in John and he lived with them while he healed from his injuries, learning their ways and language while they treated him with exceptional kindness and compassion. One day while out hunting with their warriors the Mohawk village was raided by white men, the men, women, and children murdered. Enraged by what had been done he hunted down all those responsible killing them all except for William Hooke who he spared.
John is pragmatic, stubborn, and hot-tempered. He is considered to be a loose cannon among the Puritans, but is adored particularly by the commoners of Salem. During the war, he demonstrated a dark side - he killed 20 of his own militiamen to avenge the deaths of the Mohawk people who had taken in after he was injured. When his fellow soldier, William Hooke, first arrived in Salem, John murdered him as he had threatened to reveal his secrets 
John often rebels at the Puritan way of life and is thought to be a heretic but he is also brave and gallant which he shows when he saves Anne Hale on numerous occasions. He is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in or stand up for what is right.
John is a rugged, handsome man in his late twenties, with shoulder-length brown hair, green eyes, a short beard, and a broad-shouldered, muscular physique that is quite scarred due to his time in the war. He usually wore shades of browns with white or blue tunics, along with a brown leather duster. He was also shown to often carry his rifle wherever he went.
Following the shamanic ritual to enhance his strength, John's upper torso was inked with tribal tattoos and his hair cut short.
Throughout The Salem Series
Skills and abilities
- Marksmanship: John is a perfect sniper, precise in the use of firearms such as bayonets and rifles, which were commonly used in the 17th century.
- Melee Combat: John is an amazing swordsman, skilled and agile in his movements despite having a remarkable musculature that does not fit exactly the slender body canons of the fencers. He is also skilled in hand-to-hand combat, having been tempered in barroom brawls and war fights.
- Orienteering: Due to his tutelage under the Native American tribe (the exact tribe of which was not determined), John is very skilled in crossing the woods without getting lost, following tracks and covering his own.
- Mastery of Tribal Language: During his time with the Native American tribe, John had learned their language.
- Bladesmithing: John is a skillful blade-smith - he independently forged the Angel Dagger through a forge and Tituba's potion.
- Main article: Mary and John
|“||Time for truth...I lied to you earlier I was young once, young enough that I believed in goodness, I believed in it because I saw it in you. You can't help it, you can't stop it, you can't be any other way. I think that's why I loved you. Imagine my surprise being told you're a murderer.||”|
— Mary to John in Lies
- Main article: Anne and John
|“||I suppose one could choose that life honest work, community, a loving family and not a witch in sight. Maybe there's hope for us yet.||”|
— Anne to John in Children Be Afraid
- Main article: Cotton and John
|“||I admire your 'sangfroid.' It's French for cold blood. It's a compliment.||”|
— Cotton to John in The Red Rose and the Briar
- Main article: Isaac and John
|“||Does he deserve anything less? The man who marked your flesh, drove me to war and has ruled over Salem like a power-mad king? And now, what, he begs for compassion?||”|
— John to Isaac in Departures
|“||No dead animal could threaten a storied soldier such as yourself, Captain.||”|
— Magistrate Hale to John in In Vain
|“||An honor, Captain. Truly, I can have no greater respect than for a man who has risked his life in battle. Sadly, not all young men possess the same mettle.||”|
— Increase to John in Departures
|“||You didn't come back for all this horseshit. You came back for one thing and one thing only.||”|
— Giles to John in The Vow
Giles Corey is John's oldest friend and is presumably a family friend of his parents. During the events of 1685 Giles was aware of John's relationship with Mary and also witnessed the branding of Isaac Walton stopping John from attacking George Sibley warning the younger John that George tolerated his father but would see him hang. After John was sent to join the militia Giles witnessed Mary sacrificing their unborn child in the woods but kept what she had done a secret but when John returned seven years later who had been presumed dead gave Mary the ultimatum to tell John the truth or he would. Mary not wanting John to know her secrete had Mercy Lewis accuse him of witchcraft and had him stoned to death while John was forced to helplessly watch his friend die (The Vow). After John discovered that his body had been dumped into the crag he recovered his body burying him in Salem's cemetery(The Stone Child).
- Main article: John and Little John
|“||Are you really truly my father...John Alden?||”|
— John Jr to John Alden in On Earth as in Hell
|The Stone Child||Appears|
|The Red Rose and the Briar||Appears|
|Our Own Private America||Appears|
|Children Be Afraid||Absent|
|The House of Pain||Appears|
|Cat And Mouse||Absent|
|All Fall Down||Appears|
|Book of Shadows||Appears|
|The Wine Dark Sea||Appears|
|Ill Met by Moonlight||Appears|
|The Beckoning Fair One||Appears|
|Wages of Sin||Appears|
|Til Death Do Us Part||Appears|
|On Earth as in Hell||Appears|
|Midnight Never Come||Appears|
|The Witching Hour||Appears|
|After the Fall||Appears|
|The Heart Is A Devil||Appears|
|Night's Black Agents||Appears|
|The Commonwealth of Hell||Appears|
|The Man Who Was Thursday||Appears|
- John Alden: "Salem can go to Hell. If it ain't already there."
- — The Vow
- John Alden: "The universe itself is made out of vows, and breaking them carries consequences."
- — The Vow
- John Alden: "I would rather die than have Salem's finest control my fate."
- — Lies
- John Alden: "I always wondered why Giles Corey never fought back. Now I know, he knew he lost the moment he played their game... Dignified their madness."
- — Cat And Mouse
- Johnatan, shortened to John, is a masculine given name of Hebrew origin. It means "Graced by God". It is a very common name in the United States.
- The Alden surname originates from the old English language. It derives from Ealdwine meaning "Old Friend"
Status and Rank
- Captain: following his enlistment in the militia, John Alden took over the role of captain. This has given John a prominent place in the community of Salem (over the inherited one from his founding family), and a certain respect among his subordinates. 
- Historically, John Alden escaped from Salem after the accusations that he was a witch and took refuge with friends in Duxbury. He also married an Elizabeth Phillips Everill who gave him 14 children. The real John Alden wrote a written account of the Salem Witch Trials.
- Between the first and second seasons, John hatred towards the Puritans is replaced by the even more ruthless hate towards the witches.
- He died at the end of the second season and was resurrected by a dying Mary. The consequences of this resurrection spell have yet to be revealed.
- Even in the period between the introduction and the beginning of the first season, Alden was on the verge of death and was healed by a shaman.
- John Alden (Shane West) and Mercy Lewis (Elise Eberle) never interacted with each other after a brief scene in the pilot episode, nor they ever had a dialogue.
- The description given on Official Instagram to accompany the promotional photos of the third season is as follows: "John Alden: the brokenhearted war hero."
- In discarded content still visible in some earliest promotional videos, John Alden's back was horribly scarred by whippings. A potential reason for discarding such feature is due to the long process to create large prosthetic make-up and for a main character, and possibly it's cost for the first original series of a small channel already spending a lot on sets and costumes. 
- In the episode "In Vain" Isaac Walton addressed to John with his full name, Johnathan.
- Britannica.com, French and Indian War
- John Alden Official Description - Season 1 - WGN America
- John Alden Official Description - Season 3 - WGN America
- Jon Harmon Feldman (writer) & Alex Zakrzewski (director). June 8, 2014. "Departures". Salem. Season 1. Episode 8. WGN.
- Brannon Braga & Adam Simon (writer) & Richard Shepard (director). April 20, 2014. "The Vow". Salem. Season 1. Episode 1. WGN.
- Brannon Braga & Adam Simon (writer) & Bill Johnson (director). July 6, 2014. "Ashes, Ashes". Salem. Season 1. Episode 12. WGN.
- Jon Harmon Feldman (writer) & David Von Ancken (director). May 11, 2014. "Survivors". Salem. Season 1. Episode 4. WGN.
- For further info on the role, see: Military History Gateway: Militia Captains
- The People of Salem — Cotton Mather