Slaying in the Buffyverse
this page contains info about episodes up through season 7 BtVS/season
4 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.
The Vampire Slayer
is a teen-aged girl with extraordinary
strength, durability, and fighting skills bestowed upon her by
an ancient ritual. Her "sacred
duty" is to kill vampires and demons. In a world where much
can be achieved through magic, the
vampire slayer battles evil with her fists, her feet, and her
wits. And a lot of sharp, pointy sticks. For security, the slayer
must keep her identity a secret, and typically only has her Watcher for guidance and company
on her nightly battles.
Slayers we have heard
- the early 18th century Slayer who forged
her own weapons. Gotta love a girl with an anvil.
- the "Korean chick" mentioned
by Sid the dummy was a slayer in the 1930's.
- The one before Buffy, who she is prettier
than (noted by the Master in Nightmares and Whistler in B1).
The slayer is a lone soldier in a long,
brutal, and terrifying war. For some reason that has never been
entirely clear (in the television series, at any rate), there
can be just one slayer alive in the world at any given time. A
new slayer is only "called" (her dormant
abilities made manifest) when the old slayer dies.
Girls born with the potential to
become the next slayer. They do not have their powers yet, but
they do have dreams of the lives of past
slayers. Proto-slayers we have known (The
Turkish girl, the German girl,
Molly, Kennedy, Vi, Chloe,
Amanda, Chao-Ahn, etc., etc., etc.,
- Buffy was called in 1996 at the age of
fifteen by the watcher Merrick (B1, BtVS movie).
- Kendra was called in June of 1997, the time of Buffy's
- Faith was called in June of 1998 after Kendra's throat
was slit by Drusilla.
Once called, a slayer's career goes something
like this: "Slayer
called... blah, blah... great protector... blah, blah... scary
battles... blah, blah... oops! She's dead." --Buffy, Fool For Love
The end of the one-slayer only rule
When Buffy drowned
and was revived, the anomalous "second
slayer" line began. At that point, there were two
living slayers, Buffy and Kendra. When Kendra died, Faith was called.
If Faith were to die, there would be another new slayer.
It is unclear if Buffy's death would bring about another calling
(in which case, there might always be two slayers), but the
Mayor seemed to think this will happen in a comment made in Enemies,
and Buffy implied it would in Potential.
My pet theory is that the
2 slayer thing will straighten out when Buffy dies. She's the
one that's alive who, technically, shouldn't be (MeeB, Mar 23
Can Buffy's death
call another slayer?
- Slayers healing powers: After Buffy is revived from drowning, she is fit
and healthy to vanquish the Master. She also recovers quickly
from being nearly sucked dry by Angel.
After a transfusion and some rest, she's ready to battle the
- Super strength and fighting skills: Buffy can open a crate with her bare hand that her mother
can't budge with a crowbar, easily breaks the nose of steroid-laden
Cameron when he puts some unwanted moves on her, and can lift
a cage door that other teens cannot lift (Anne), but she apparently
cannot kick down a steel door, as she explains in WttH. It takes
trained soldiers 42 minutes to
track her, and when they find her, she neutralizes them in 28
seconds using their own weapons against them. Kendra displays her super
strength and fighting skills while slaying vampires in WML and
B1. Faith displays them while slaying vampires and fighting
Buffy and Angel.
takes punches from vamps, demons, and humans.
In Anne, she survives being hit by a truck without a scratch.
In Ted, a police detective doubts her claim of being attacked
because she has no bruises. Kendra and Faith have also shown evidence of not being hurt by
fighting (not to mention Faith's fall from a third story window
in 5x5, rivialed only by Buffy's 3-floor fall with a Monk in
tow in NPLH). In Revelations, a knock-down, drag-out between
Buffy and Faith leaves both only slightly bruised.
- The ability to "hone"
in on the presence of a vampire:
This is a skill Buffy is developing with age. She typically identified
vampires by noticing their retro fashion sense, e.g., in the
Bronze in WttH and FH&T. Buffy also uses conventional methods
to pick out other bad guys as well (e.g., Natalie
French). However, she was right on figuring out that Kathy was a demon (or was that wishful
thinking that [as it happened] turned out to be true?) And was
it just love that allowed Buffy to sense the presence of her
former boyfriend when he lurked in her vicinity in "Pangs"?
Maybe it's just her natural sensitivity
to her friends. In A New Man, she looks into a demon's eyes
and sees her mentor, Giles.
- The ability to jump high: Implied in WttH when Buffy perches in wait
for stalker-boy Angel, shown in The Harvest when Buffy leaps over the school fence,
and in Inca Mummy Girl when Buffy leaps up to the mummy's
sarcophagus to save Giles from Ampata,
in LTM when she leaps past the other vampires to capture Drusilla, in Earshot when Buffy leaps
up to the school clock tower to stop Jonathan, and in BvD when
she leaps up to stake Dracula. Presumably, Kendra and Faith
can leap high like Buffy does.
- Predatory instincts: If a slayer accepts them
and taps into them, she can be a fierce foe to the forces
of evil. As Faith says, "Slaying's
what we're built for. If you're not enjoying it, you're doing
- Psychic powers seem to be a gift given to individuals (e.g., Buffy,
Drusilla, Doyle), and are generally not given to slayers, vampires,
or demons as a group.
slayer powers: It is not clear that
a slayer can lose her powers all together, but they can be temporarily
diminished. Helpless is the best example
of this. See also Ethan's Halloween spell.
Enhancing slayer powers: Beseeching the power
questions about Slayers
- Why only one girl in all the world
at any give time? It seems that, given all
the evil in the Buffyverse, even two isn't enough.
- Could there be more than two active
slayers if Buffy or Faith were to be killed and revived?
- We don't know how slayers are chosen or
made, only that there is a force for good
in the Buffyverse that endows certain girls with slayer abilities.
- Why do slayers take orders from the watchers? Have there been many slayers
who have rejected their authority (as Faith and Buffy did)?
- Have many slayers been evil?
Giles said that He couldn't
imagine anything more dangerous than a rogue
slayer' in a manner
that makes me believe that it has happened before. He also told
Buffy that "accidents" involving slayers killing humans
had happened before. Although perhaps he was not being entirely
forthcoming (J.S.K., Mar 18 18:57 1999).
I think a better question
would be not if it has happened before but how often? How many
Slayers have crossed the line over into madness/evil? (Lovely
Poet, Feb 18 10:00 1999).
- is there any punishment for an evil slayer
other than death?
- Could there be slayer retirement? Joss
implies it's not impossible:
There is only one active
slayer at a time (except now cuz of the WACKY circumstances).
Inactive, I don't know (Joss, Dec 3 00:23 1998).
Other bona fide Demon Slayers
- Sid the dummy was responsible for killing
off the brotherhood of seven demons.
- Angel not only fights vampires
and other demons, he knows a lot about spells and has a library
on the supernatural (Lonely Hearts). Glimpses of this library
can be seen in the BtVS episode "Angel".
- Giles has slain a few vampires
in his day, including vampBlair (Helpless), and vampires in WML,
Ted, Bad Girls, and All the Way.
- Operating as a team, the Scooby gang became
vampire slayers over the summer of '98, eventually dusting 60
% of the vamps they fought. Members of
the gang also do some vampire/demon slayage in other episodes.
- Cordy's kills
- Riley, demon-hunting soldier
- The Initiative kill when it's necessary
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, rogue demon hunter
- Spike became a primo demon-killer once
he was chipped
- Kate's stakings
- Gunn, street warrior
- Major Ellis and the black ops
- Holtz is a vampire hunter
(but not a Slayer)
- Dawn stakes her first vampire in All
the Way, then skewers the Earth
monsters in TTG/G
- Justine Cooper kills vampires to avenge her sister's
- Connor Angel/Steven
Holtz/Connor Riley, boy
- Robin Wood,
principal, Slayer's son, and vampire
- Los Hermanos
through the heart
Why stakes work
It has to be the heart:
- "Close, but no
heart." Buffy's cross-bow
doesn't kill Darla in "Angel".
- No one worries about Faith's lousy aim
when she downs Angel in Graduation.
- When Spike gets hit by multiple arrows
in Pangs, all that results are ouchies.
- Kate didn't miss when she put a stake
through Angel's belly. It got Penn
right in the chest. *Poof*
- Buffy got Drac in the heart, twice. But
the powerful sorcerer-vamp's heart
was too misty, so no penetration.
Strength and staking: Buffy sticks'm in vamps like those blood-suckers
were made of butter, fine. But relative wimps like Cordelia (Graduation)
can dust vamps without much physical strength. Indications are,
that when it comes to wood, vamp flesh is like butter:
- ...the ease at which Xanders
stake went through Jesse. He wasn't pushed that hard (DavidTojo,
27 Feb 2000 13:58).
- Candy Gorch was killed with the handle
of a wooden spatula
- When Willow mojos the
pencil into the back of the vamp guard in Choices. That pencil
wasn't going hard enough to get through his jacket, let alone
flesh and spinal cord (Vox,18 Mar 2000 01:20).
- Kate's kills--Somnambulist,
- In Something Blue, Buffy appears to hit
a vamp somewhere below the shoulder, not the heart. This seems
to be a special effects blooper.
Direct sunlight kills
vampires in a matter of minutes:
- Angelus' "immolation-o-gram"
goes up in flame during finals
- Spike's hand (Lover's Walk) and hair (ITD)
combust on contact with sunlight
- Angel reacts in pain when Buffy opens
his curtains in Earshot and The Prom.
- Angel's hand (City of...) and body (ITD)
- Russell Winters bursts into flames during
- A distracted Angel gets the ouchies when
he tries to run errands during the day in Somnambulist.
- Angel's daytime Angelmobile rides: With Wesley driving, he sits in
the passenger seat with a blanket over him to keep the sunlight
off (Destiny, Feb 8 21:33 2000). Blanketing
is also Spike's preferred way to get around Sunnydale.
- Angel uses the
sewers to get around, often entering buildings through underground
- Darla reveals that she's been returned
as human by running from Angel into direct sunlight.
- Spike gets ouchies when Tara opens the
blinds in Spiral.
Filtered and indirect
sunlight does not:
Angel (and all vamps) can
stand in a room in broad daylight with the windows open as long
as he doesn't stand in a patch of direct sunlight (-mere-, Oct
6 09:54 1999).
- Angel awaits Buffy in The
Harvest and watches her from his blacked-out car in B1.
- Spike has to keep moving his hands on
the steering wheel to keep them out of the direct rays of the
sun getting through the windshield (B2), but the light filtered
through the spray paint doesn't seem to affect him or Dru.
- Angel wanders around the Garden Mansion
in daylight, wanders around outside during the "day"
in Amends, and can safely join his colleagues in his office when
it's sunny out (City Of...).
- Spike doesn't burst into flames as long
as he stays in the shade in Afterlife.
Direct light from other suns
may not: Pylea, the 'Burb-gatory dimension
tinted glass filters out the constituents
of sunlight that are dangerous to vampires while leaving the brightness
in tact. Plus it's thirty percent more energy efficient.
Problematic cases: Angel's Lonely Hearts
morning stroll, Angel and Marcus' beach-side
and holy water: So far, crosses,
holy water, and garlic seem mainly to annoy and deter vamps. The
only death we've seen is Zachary Kralik's immolation from drinking
holy water in Helpless. These items are sacred objects in the
Christian religion. Joss has taken
no definitive stand on the nature of the
forces of good, which begs the question: why
do these particular objects work?
Fire kills vamps. ...It only takes seconds
for fire to destroy a vampire. See Graduation Part 2 for the battle
scene or When She Was Bad for examples. ...Also, explosions tend
to dismember and a vamp with his head blown off is dead (LenS,
Nov 14 22:16 2000).
- Buffy sets the vampire Absolom on fire
in When she was bad.
- Angel lights up Darla and Drusilla in
- Spike lights up a vampire choking Giles
A mystical potion called "Killer of the
Dead". To reverse its effects, a vampire must drain the
blood of a slayer.
A Mohra demon's blood regenerates
the human body of a vampire, and kills the demon residing there.
So unless you're a vampire with a soul,
touching this blood is likely to result in an inanimate human
But they shouldn't die
from a broken
Of course, none of the above holds if a
- can get a hold of the fabled Gem
of Amara, which makes its wearer invulnerable to the usual
vamp-killers. Good thing this gem has been destroyed
(as far as we know).
- has an operation that removes his heart and infuses his body with
mystical potions. This operation makes a vamp invinsible for
six hours. Then *poof*
"You're so amped
about hell--go there" --Buffy, Prophecy Girl
After a vampire is killed, its demon
spirit has a final resting place--some place in hell.
This means they can come back if their body is re-created and
a revivification ritual is performed to unite body and spirit.
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This page last modified 6/23/08