Headscratchers: Buffyverse Vampires
Headscratchers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. Spoilers abound.
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Vampires With Guns
- Why in the hell didn't the vampires just shoot Buffy? We know they can use guns. They have shown that they can pop out and surprise Buffy when she was on patrol, if only they just invested in some shotguns and plugged her instead of playing into her strength (hand to hand combat).
- Buffy got taken down by one shot from a not-very-big handgun. It's just silly Mook Chivalry that prevents people from shooting her.
- It's been shown vampires love the hunt. Taking down a Slayer with machine gun fire is tacky. Plus, Slayer blood is yum-tastic.
- That's a pretty poor justification, she'd be a lot easier to kill and drain dry after you shoot her in the gut, the real reason is Joss seems to hate guns for some reason.
- Not so, look at Firefly.
- I've read frequently over the years that Whedon dislikes guns. He probably considered them a necessary evil with Firefly; you can't really have a shipful of space cowboys without having guns!
- Maybe they just thought it wouldn't work. "Surely a being made to fight me wouldn't be hurt by something I'm almost immune to. Right?"
- Darla used two guns in season 1 episode 7. Buffy hid, Darla kept firing like a moron and Angel snuck up on her and staked her. So not for lack of trying, but the gun thing isn't foolproof, you still have to be a competent combatant to fight the Slayer even in season 1.
- Real reason? The show started in a high school. Guns in a high school? You can see why they didn't. By the later series guns just weren't very Buffy.
- They actually did use guns where it would make sense for the villain to have them, but in one commentary it was mentioned that when an episode was pulled from reruns after Columbine, they decided to completely scrap the idea of vamps or mooks with guns.
- Maybe they just didn't have a gun on hand. You're a badass demon that can break a weak, defenseless human with your bare hands, who really gets off on the thrill of seeking, hunting, and tearing open the veins of your defenseless, human prey with your bare teeth. What part of this would be serviced by carrying a gun? Most of the vampires Buffy fights, she found them, often shortly after they rose from their grave. Very few vampires go looking to fight the Slayer; those that do usually want to prove something about how badass they are by fighting and killing the Slayer, and it would hardly prove anything if their big epic battle was, "Did you know guns kill people? It's so cool." Guns don't just grow on trees; in order for a vampire to use one, he has to have one on hand.
- This makes the most sense. Most of the things aren't hunting Buffy specifically, and anything not Bufy dies pretty easily from their bare hands. Carrying a gun in the off chance of meeting the slayer, who is just one person in all the world, would be akin to paranoia. It should be noted that Spike, one of the few vampires to actually go out of his way to hunt a slayer, and having killed two previously knows how mortal they are, planned on using a shotgun. Also, many hand to hand fights are pretty close, so the rule of "I can kill it with my hands/magic, why use a gun?" still applies.
- The scene where Warren tries to brag about killing Buffy in a demon bar's also worth noting. The moment he revealed that he simply shot her with a gun, the others started laughing at how naive he is for thinking that'd be enough, and then their skepticism seems to be confirmed by news stories that Buffy's alive. The audience knows how close it really was for her, but it looks like demons and vampires just assume the Slayer can't be taken down that easily (which made Darla breaking vamp tradition for a Guns Akimbo fight with Buffy all the more awesome).
- I suspect that, if they didn't kill her dead dead dead, that super fast slayer healing would take care of something as small as an entry wound and a few broken ribs pretty quickly. (A machine gun or the infamous rocket launcher would be a better bet). Also, stealth would have to be involved - Buffy's usually a pretty fast-moving target once the surprise round is over.
- Vampires would likely be crappy marksmen. Darla's seen using two at the same time, meaning she couldn't aim. They have super strength, speed, and reflexes, but none of that translates to using a gun. And remember, their powers come from bloodlust and raw fury. Great in a scrap, but it's got to be hard to concentrate on aiming and firing when every instinct you have is screaming to rip your prey apart with your teeth. You could make the argument that eventually you'd get a skilled one (maybe military in life) who'd try and ambush her, but I'm pretty sure all the ones smart enough to actually pull it off are smart enough to simply stay the hell away from Buffy.
- This one doesn't bug me so much, but I have always wondered. Guns are not meant to kill vampires, they just hurt like hell. Some guns, some rounds, velocities, sure, I can accept. However was there ever a case where someone tried a .223 or some type of rifle on a vamp? A shot to the heart from a rifle like Johnathan had one would think would do the job better than any stake. Could it be the difficulty of trying to aim at a precise target that led to this not ever being done?
- I did think a Slayer would be stronger than a gunshot, thus a Slayer has to be the one to kill vampires. However it's been shown that anyone can stake a vampire, so I've just wondered why if a gun was available that would do the job why it was never considered an option.
- Possibly because the bullets aren't made of wood? I'm pretty sure it's the wooden part of wooden stake that's important here.
- I'll go back and have a look to see if there was a case where vampires were killed with something other than wood (I'm open to the idea that if there is it was a goof), but would you have a source on wood being needed to stake vampires?
- In season one Luke points out that metal can't kill him, and in season five Riley pretends to stake Spike using a plastic stake. I can't remember it being explicitly stated that it has to be wood, but the latter example makes it pretty clear.
- Another thing, why not take a shotgun to a vampire's head? If you destroy the head, it should dust, and if not, it's still pretty harmless.
- I have a feeling Wesley and Giles know that shotgun trick. But Sunnydale is a small city in which the sound of gunfire is probably rare. Gunshots may well be one of the few things the police can be counted on to deal with. A shotgun is a bulky, costly. noisy weapon that may have to be tossed into the river on a moment's notice when you hear sirens coming. It's also possible there have been incidents in the past when too much firearm use by the council resulted in large numbers of vampires packing heat to retaliate. If you keep the battle silent and sneaky the way they like it they're more likely to stick with hand-to hand combat.
- I've sometimes wondered how far that 'guns can't kill vampires' rule actually stretches. Hypothetically, say you took a Vulcan minigun and shredded a vampire with hundreds of bullets, would it still be able to recover? How about blasting its head apart with a .50 cal? This is a bit of a nitpicky question I admit, and the fact that the characters in Buffy don't have access to military grade weaponry renders it somewhat of a moot point.
- I'm sure it could work, shooting a vampire's head off, but you would probably need a gun with a high enough caliber to destroy the entire head (or knock it off). In addition to having a strong enough gun, it should be noted that even most people trained to use guns aren't trained to make headshots, but trained to aim for the center of mass because making a headshot (especailly on extremely fast moving targets) is incredibly difficult. It would probably be easier to just shoot a vampire until it's in a lot of pain and then stake it.
- Why didn't Buffy make greater use of fire to kill vampires? I can understand why white phosphorus rounds or napalm might have been hard to come by, but when attacking a vampire lair, why not use a few Molotov cocktails?
- Setting urban areas on fire often attracts the police.
- I agree. It's occurred to me before that perhaps a flare gun would be an extremely useful weapon against vampires.
- Let's look at her most significant use of fire against vampires: It got her expelled, put a permanent mark on various records (both physical and hearsay), she had to move to a town where nobody knew her any more and the school was on top of the door to hell, nearly got her killed, and could easily have caused far more damage if there were a couple of unexpected factors. That might make her hesitant to use fire, except when it's being held on a conveniently pointy stick and the sharper end is already in use.
- Also let's look at the facts here. Both Angel and Spike have been shown to burst into flames and stay alive long enough to get away. Clearly a flaming vampire doesn't die as quickly as a staked/beheaded one and in the seconds where a flaming vamp is alive it's still a threat to be dealt with. Plus multiple fire implements would cost money especially for refills whereas a pointy stick can be found in nature.
The Cross and Christianity
- Okay, so I've heard some people present the idea that the cross is a symbol for the sun and that's why it works on vampires (as an alternative to "the power of belief" which would imply ANY religious symbol and possibly any idealogical symbol held sacred by enough people could be used to deter/harm vampires; or that Christianity is the "right" religion which has it's own meta issues and in-verse problems such as Christianity being less than two thousand years old). Wouldn't it imply then that; a) any sort of cross would work - could you ward of vampires with the Swiss Flag◊, this Cross-Shaped mp3 player◊ or a cross strapped top◊?: and b) that other sun symbols would work just the same - could vampires be detered by a circled dot, the astrological symbol for the sun and the sign for the Egyptian sun god Ra◊ or anything made of gold, which has been frequently associated with the sun in so many cultures/religions?
- I always thought that the cross and holy water and whatnot were made symbols of divinity *because* of their ability to repel vampires. How this explains why older religions don't have anti-vampire divine objects is beyond me.
- Holy water doesn't grow on trees, so I'm not sure how that would work. In the end I think this is just Joss not caring. Folkloric vampires were hurt by crosses and holy water because they were holy symbols of God. Buffy vampires are hurt by them just because. On the other hand, while Whedon is an atheist, no definitive answer has to my knowledge been given within the Buffyverse, so maybe God did it.
- What I can't stop wondering is whether a lowercase "t" would have any effect. I just can't shake the thought of a vampire reading a book and wincing at every "t" he came across.
- It seems to only work with objects specifically made to be religious symbols. Not once does anyone take two vertical pieces of something, hold them at right angles to each other and use it against a vampire. It is only ever actual Christian crosses that are used.
- Actually, at one point (I forget which episode), Xander tries to ward off a vampire by making two candlesticks into a cross. The vampire laughs and moves closer, showing that since the cross is not actually a religious symbol, nothing happens.
Drusilla Doesn't Change
- The show explained that vampires are just demons that take over a human corpse, so basically when being sired the human actually dies, and a new demon is reborn in their body along with their memories. This kind of makes sense but is contradicted so often in the show, Drusilla being most notable. Why is the vamp version of Drusilla psychic and insane just because her human self was before siring?
- The show does actually say that the vampire personality is related to the human personality - explicitly in one case, in Doppelgangland, when Willow is freaked out about Wishverse Willow being so evil and skanky and gay. Someone tells her not to worry because the vampire personality has nothing to do with the human personality, and Angel goes, "Well, actually..." Buffy shuts him up, but it's actually been pretty clear from the first episodes. If vamp!Jesse has nothing to do with real Jesse, why does he go out of his way to get Cordelia? Vampire personalities are shaped by the personality of the body they get stuffed into, just with extra added evil and a rejection of social norms that allow them to express repressed elements of their personality. For people who are basically good, this involves a rejection of their despised previous persona (Jesse, and Spike, although it takes Spike awhile). For people who are already evil or borderline bad or just plain mean, like Liam or Harmony, they just get extra more so. Wishverse Willow is a lot like real, souled Willow after she becomes dark. "Bored now", anyone? With Drusilla, she's already crazy when Angel finally kills her, and she's not repressing anything. So Vamp Drusilla is still crazy but with extra bonus obsessing over dead things, blood, etc. — This is all basically Fan Wank, I guess, so YMMV.
- It may be that vampire personalities have the "distilled" versions of their mortal personalities. Vampire Xander and Willow were still together because their defining trait was their love for each other, something revisited in season six. Angelus was a sadistic monster because vampires take pleasure in pain and Liam was a hedonist. Drusilla was a loon because... well, Drusilla was a loon, but she became a kinky, slutty loon once her piety was stripped away by vampirism. Spike was a rebel because William didn't care much for his lifestyle and peers.
- Yes, there is nothing pointing to this "demon" being anything more substantial than a lack of conscience, desire to do evil and an appetite for human blood. There is not a single vampire whose personality doesn't reflect that of his human original, so obviously, it's not a case of demonic personality taking over the human body and using the human memories but case of the human personalities being twisted by the demonic influence.
- Its more like a case of the demon being "born" with all of that person's memories. Buffy is quite explicit in Lie To Me that the human and the vampire are NOT the same person and that if a human is made into a vampire, the human is dead. They act like the human because thats all they know; they are somewhat like Superpowered Evil Side.
- It's also worth noting that Dru as a human was pious and chaste, whereas Dru as a vampire was kinky and a big slut.
- Now, now, Dru could have easilly been a bit more into that after going completely batshit, without being a vampire yet.
- It's basically Nature vs. Nurture. Becoming a vampire changes your fundamental nature, but since you retain all your human memories, the effect your life experiences have had on your personality remain.
Buffy the Accidental Mass Murderer?
- So, for years, Buffy runs around Sunnydale happily turning vampires into dust whenever she sees them, because vampires are unredeemably evil and no good can ever come of them. Then one day, along tromps the Initiative, and with their foolish mortal book-learnin' and their silly, mundane technology, they manage to get behavior modification chip into the brain of one of history's most feared vampires. Within three years, that irredeemably soulless creature has volunteered to endure prolonged torture in order to get his soul back and not be evil. If this was possible all along, isn't that a pretty big "oops" for the forces of good? Shouldn't someone, somewhere in this story — keeping in mind that real people have diverse ethical views — have experienced some sort of moral crisis when they figured out that vampires are actually capable of choosing good, particularly if they're given a bit of rehabilitative therapy?
- My thought is that most vampires are alienated from human society almost immediately, so the average vampire never has any reason to want to be good (or at least not violent towards humans). Spike had a chip and, due to the less-than-welcoming nature of vamp society, decided to turn to humans for help, thus bringing him back into human society. After all, it's unlikely that most vampires would care enough to help him out and keep him from starving (it was implied in that season 3 ep "Lover's Walk" that a lot of Sunnydale's vampire population didn't like him at all). Thus, he was slowly, well, tamed over the course of those three years, and it was really only when he acknowledged that his feelings for Buffy were other than killcrushdestroymaybesleepwith that he even tried to fit in. Even then, nothing would have come of it except that he was brought into the fold when Glory was the Big Bad, in order to protect Buffy and Dawn (and Joyce). In other words, while humans might be able to mass-produce chips or soul-restoring spells, they'd also have to actually work with the vampire and give them a reason to move away from pure evil. OTOH, you have Harmony, who was never that evil at all. Maybe she's just too dumb to be effective at it.
- This is all true. While Spike is actually a remarkably successful proof-of-concept for the notion that vampires, with the proper motivation and behavioral control, may actually be capable of rehabilitation...it should be noted that Spike is a very unusual vampire, and probably should not be assumed, in and of himself, to be a good example of the typical vampire. While there are other vampires like Spike (an episode of Angel had a vampire commit time-delayed suicide for the chance to avenge the woman he loved), we've also seen plenty of vampires like Angelus, who gave no indication of being anything but cruel, hedonistic monsters. More data is needed before a conclusion can be made as to whether or not Spike's unique circumstances could be mass produced for vampires as a whole.
- The meta answer is They Just Didn't Care. In their quest to fluff Spike and appease his fans the writers didn't care if the whole vampire mythos could be destroyed in the process. The not so meta explanation would be that maybe the Scoobies suspected that Spike was lying - he had never intended to get his soul back, it had somehow happened in some other fashion. Of course, there is precious little evidence for that but it's a fanwank that makes that wallbanging nature of season 7 just a bit more tolerable, for me at least. Of course, Buffy took Spike word for his soul search but that's easily dismissible, since in season 7 Buffy is rather out of touch with reality, especially when it came to Spike.
- Spike is in love with Buffy at the start of season 4, even before he gets his implant. And he underwent that painful resoulification because of his love. The implant actually didn't change him that much. OTOH, his harmlessness helped him come close to Buffy and co.
- Also, Spike wasn't capable of being good until he regained his soul. Everything he did up to the end of season six was completely selfish, either because he loved Buffy or he needed the money or protection. Which was why Buffy trusted Spike in "The Gift" the most, as everybody else had the lingering doubt of whether it would be better to kill Dawn to save the world, while he had no qualms about the world being destroyed. Vampires can't choose good, the soul allows them the possibility to choose good. Without the soul, they're just purely evil. If Spike didn't love Buffy, he wouldn't have searched for a soul. So it wasn't rehabilitative therapy.
- I thought it was pretty clear that he cared about Dawn in a sort of big brother sort of way.
- He was. Remember the first and second episodes of Season 6?
- And I thought the reason Buffy trusted Spike to protect Dawn is because just a few episodes prior to the big blowout, Spike almost gave his unlife against Glory's interrogation in order to do exactly that. Not because "Oh, he's evil, so he's cool with the apocalypse," but because he's already PROVEN he'll die for her.
- Exactly. Remember the whole Angelus thing? He hates apocalypses just as much as they do.
- If I remember correctly, Spike wasn't even trying to get his soul back when he went to see that demon—he wanted to be made worse so that he wouldn't have to deal with the pain of loving Buffy. But the unspecific phrasing of his request (something along the lines of "I want to be put back the way I was so I can give Buffy what she deserves") could be interpreted as him wanting his soul back in order to become good, so the demon returned it anyway.
- The entire thing was written so that it would strongly imply Spike wanting to lose the chip and the infatuation, but never outright said it. I took it that, in retrospect, the demon's only real trick was to give back souls, and that the writers intended to have people interpret it their own way (either "Spike wanted his soul back so he went to the soul-returner", "Spike got what he needed and technically asked for ('what [Buffy] deserves' is a reward) instead of what he wanted and the sorcery demon could have granted either wish", or something else).
- They do seem to proceed from that point as though Spike was really trying to get his soul back (he talks about going through the demon trials for that purpose, Insane!Spike talks about wanting his soul back but not realizing how much it'd hurt, Angel said he only wanted his soul back to get into Buffy's pants and so on), but yeah, it definitely seemed like Spike was the victim of a Jackass Genie at the time (after all, he called Buffy a bitch in the very same sentence that said he was going to give her what she deserves!). Maybe the writers themselves weren't sure which way they wanted to go with his storyline, and intentionally left it vague until the next season. Or the deliberately vague editing of the demon trials was just a Red Herring to mislead the fans about what Season 7 would involve.
- The idea that Spike wanted his chip removed was an intentional Red Herring. This is confimed in season 7, and there's not a single line of dialouge in S6 that contradicts it — Spike's lines are just phrased ambiguously until the reveal. The earliest hint is in the little speech he gives at the end of "Seeing Red", where stresses that Buffy "has no idea" that he "wasn't always this way"; Buffy knew Spike before he was chipped, but never knew him when he had a soul.
- Most of the vampire fighting they do is in self defense. Kind of hard to do rehabilitative work on someone trying to kill you. Also, it seems like soul process is very hard to do. The gypsy curse incapacitates all but the strongest witches. I suspect there's a reason the demon made Spike go through all, being that resouling is hard to do and he can't just do it for any jackass that shows up. In short, the resoulification isn't something that can really be mass produced and supplied to every vampire.
- Re: self-defense, Buffy and Faith once burned a nest of vampires while they were sleeping. Granted, this was Faith's influence, but it's not treated as an atrocity; we're meant to accept (in season three, anyway) that killing vampires is never really a bad thing. Same goes with attacking vampires the second they're out of the ground. I'd imagine being turned and rising from the grave might be a little disorienting — in fact, I think Angel outright says as much — but "stake 'em before they knew what hit 'em" is still considered an acceptable Slayer tactic. None of this is a problem if vampires are inherently evil and incapable of redemption, but it's a downer once that gets called into question, considering that technology exists which can render vampires harmless.
- Additionally, it doesn't constitute self-defense if you go out every night LOOKING for someone to start a fight with you. What Buffy does is vigilante justice, not self-defense. Just a small note, but this troper has long since gotten tired of the term "self-defense" being expanded to include "any time a hero gets in any kind of fight".
- And, as noted, Spike didn't exactly choose to do good. Being good with a soul is just a by product of his true goal. He was in love with Buffy, and wanted her more than anything, and he knew he wasn't going to win her without a soul. He didn't give a crap about being good without his soul, hence the reason he tried to rape Buffy.
- That doesn't mean he was incapable of good. He turned his mother out of love for her, he stayed utterly and selflessly devoted to Drusilla for more than a century, and after trying to rape Buffy, was repentant enough to go through the Demon Trials. He was capable of good beyond good as a means to an end.
- IOW, he was a sociopath, and can do things beneficial to the people around him as long as it falls into his whims. The moment those whims change, or as long as he thinks he can get away with it, he'd still revel in the opportunity to commit sadistic acts of murder.
- Yeah. Because he's a vampire. I'm not saying that he was a fluffy little bunny; Spike was a remorseless, sadistic killer. But that's not all he was. He wasn't a good guy, but he still did good. Consciously, by his own free will, for more reasons than "because it might get me a bit of Slayer tail."
- The key word is repentant. By the end of "Seeing Red", Spike is supposed to be overwhelmed with remorse at having hurt someone he cared about, when previously, vampires were depicted as being incapable of remorse. Right before he goes to get his soul back, Spike directly attributes these strange feelings to the chip ("It won't let me be a monster, and I can't be a man"). The implication is that having the bloodlust of a vampire alongside some sort of emergent capacity for empathy is causing him to suffer, and that he choses to resolve this via rit happened that way" variety.
- The way I saw it was that vampires are really already dead so in that way "killing" them isn't as much killing as finishing the job and giving the deceased a chance to rest in peace. Giving a vampire a soul isn't really a nice thing to do in general because it obviously is torture for the soul that gets returned. The better way is to destroy the vampire and let the soul be in peace. (I had this idea that the souls of the people turned into vampires exist in some sort of limbo, never being able to move on before the vampire is gone. Just my own headcanon of course but it makes sense to me.) Also, there are just waaay too many vampires around and they are by nature unable to live in balance with their environment, basically they are bad even for themselves. They don't die on their own and they don't have any natural enemies except for the Slayer. If there was no one killing them, their numbers would grow exponentially and they'd kill all humans and animals to extinction. Angel and Spike are really just exceptions because now that they have their souls back, they have reasons to stay because of emotional bonds with the living and the need to redeem themselves, neither of which they would have had if they were never re-ensouled.
- There's no way to make a vampire fall in love with a human (well, there are love spells, but when have spells like that ever been reliable in the Buffyverse?). And even if they do fall in love with a human, they can only care about doing good by proxy, as a way of pleasing the person they love, and since vampires are immortal while humans aren't, that's only a temporary solution. Getting their soul back is the only way to make a vampire care about doing good for its own sake, and the only known ways to give a vampire a soul are either too insanely difficult to be practical (the African demon's trials) or designed to only work on one, specific vampire (Angel's curse).
Vampires on the foodchain
- Why are vampires so low on the official food chain? They are physically nearly as strong as most demons. There are few species that seem to really outclass them in brute strength. They are one of very few species with specific ways of being killed. If required they can get the numbers up incredibly quickly incomparisan to pretty much any threats to them. Other than possibly a vengence demons and the Deathwaw Clan I wouldn't want to be any of many species vulnerable to guns, swords and cars.
- Because none of that means anything when the demons around them can, and on various occasions have, killed them just by casually breaking their heads off. They're harder to kill than most demons, but with very few exceptions, they're not tough enough to actually win a fight with said demons, and despite their specific death conditions, what they're actually killed by is so easy (fire, beheading, sunlight) that they just die like flies anyway. They're the locusts of the demon world; they're annoying, they breathe fast, and the only way they're in any way threatening to the bigger animals is if they swarm. And even then, you can just turn the hose (daylight, for the purpose of this metaphor) on them and wash them away.
- We see a few demons most of them clear into the uber class that casually rip off vampire heads. The only low teir demon to dust a vamp was the leader of the gang in Season six. Between Buffy and Angel we see PLENTY of demons who have absolutely no demonstrated power aside from being ugly and implied strength.
- The vampires could easily rule the wide demon community if they actually got it into their heads to do it. As the Master pointed out in "Wish", most vampires are so caught-up in the hunting routine that they overlook other things. Most of them don't care for power as long as they can hunt, kill and feed. Thus they never really bother to build power bases like other demons and happily lead insignificant unlives alone or work as minions to masters that may not be stronger than them but treat them well and provide fringe benefits like protection by reputation.
- It gets pointed out to us in the Mayor story arc that the demons running around on Earth (like the ones Angel kills by the bushel in Los Angeles) aren't "real" demons but little pansy diluted ones. So vamps might be high on the food chain in our dimension, but if you take all the dimensions together, including the ones populated by the "real" demons and the PTB, vampires aren't real great shakes.
- I always thought it was because how they were made, that they came from "Lowly humans" made demons who we can for the most part guess came from demon-demon unions thought they were naturally superior to vamps.
- How in the bloody hell have vampires not eaten everyone on the planet? They feed probably every other night, at least once per night if they're successful and sometimes, in the case of vampires like Angelus, kill whenever they're bored. They are worse than weeds, appearing everywhere and impossible to purge successfully (despite them being completely aware that they are protected by incredibly talented vampire killers, even Sunnydale and Los Angeles are never without vampires). The method of creating a new vampire is absurdly simple, a single vampire easily capable of forming their own personal army (something which Harmony almost did). Individuals are easily capable of living for centuries with death tolls in the thousands, even Spike, a fool and a braggart who seemed to deliberately seek Slayers, managing to survive for quite some time. There were only a pathetically small minority of humans who knew about vampires and how to kill them, and even less who were actually capable of overcoming their literally superhuman abilities. When Los Angeles and the surrounding area lost sunlight, in a matter of days the entire city descended into chaos and slaughter, vampires feasting and turning with reckless abandon. Certainly if things got bad now a few doses of high explosive would be in order, but for the vast majority of human history the only weapons were deviations on "stick pointy end into enemy".
This isn't even need to eat? It makes it more confusing because Spike (possibly in addition to Angelus) has been shown urinating, but that was mostly to show respect and could have been completely voluntary, and it works completely differently, anyway (stomach to blood to kidneys then expelled, instead of just being pushed through a glorified tube while being broken down, with little bits absorbed along the way). Mostly, I just want to know what happened to Spike's Wheatabix.
- Spike has, on one occasion, mentioned how emaciated vampires look (though that was pleading for blood, so I dunno if it's true), so I would guess that what they eat is just converted into energy. Also, Angel does need to buy blood, so I'm not sure about that one. He doesn't go around killing people, or rats, and I think that even if they don't /need/ to eat, it's at least more comfortable to.
- Right, sorry, I was referencing the entry on the Improbable Food Budget page, and should have made that more clear. Thanks for everything else, though.
- You're going on what you know about the population per square kilometer of vampires above a Hellmouth. Which is, like, what? 100+ on average? Elsewhere it'd be closer to 4-5. If that. Big cities would, of course, have more. Places like Australia, if they have any, would be like 0.2.
- Even a single vampire can go on a killing spree with devastating results. Turn an Angelus-esque vampire loose with a presumed desire to sire every other victim and you have the makings of an army before a fortnight. I surmise the theory was vampires simply did not have a desire to multiple due to their antisocial tendencies, although that borders pretty close on They Just Didn't Care. This is likely why more recent shows introduced more convoluted ways that simply made 'breeding' something of a chore.
- Most vampires don't seem to be that strong; while a few have Buffy-level strength, most aren't even superhuman, just slightly stronger than they were before becoming a vampire. Now consider that, everytime they want to feed, they have to attack and subdue another person, can only do so in public places thanks to the Vampire Invitation rule, and have to get back inside before the sun comes up and burns them to death. I'd wager most vampires don't last very long before this high-risk lifestyle gets them killed one way or another. As for forming a vampire army, keeping dozens/hundreds of vampires fed means killing dozens/hundreds of people on a regular basis, which is likely to either deplete the local human population, causing the vampires to starve, or attract the attention of vampire hunters. And with such a large army, keeping the location where they hide from the daylight a secret is going to be difficult/impossible, making a deadly ambush quite easy.
Vampires and Sunlight
- With the exception of those with Nominal Importance that manage to last a few seconds, it is almost always the case that the instant a vampire is hit with direct sunlight they burst into flames, dusted soon after. How, then, are they able to go outside without at the very least constantly sizzling, considering that, you know, sunlight is reflected everywhere? Even moonlight is just reflected sunlight. Does the light somehow lose it's vampire-igniting effects after it impacts another object (which is insane considering it impacts the atmosphere)? Do vampires have a certain threshold of sunlight that they can't cross otherwise they endure Critical Existence Failure (also absurd considering morning and evening sun is just as dangerous as midday sun)?
Relatedly, does that mean that areas of the planet with regular cloudy days are vulnerable to vampire attacks even during the day? It would certainly explain why the Watchers are based in Britain despite ostensibly beginning somewhere in central Africa.
- Remember, vampires operate under magical laws, not strictly physical ones. It's only direct sunlight that gets them. Spike can stand in a shaded alleyway, lounge under a tree, or run around under a blanket, all during the daytime. After all, the night sky is filled with suns, lightyears away, and in Angel, Angel can be under the Pylean sun no problem. Clearly the nature of vampires makes it such that only a direct beam of light from our particular star kills them.
- Additionaly it's been stated by word of god that after Spike was sired he and Angelus bonded by attempting to endure the suns rays for as long as they could to prove their toughness. As a result the both of them have built up a tolorance and allow them to survive short exposures to direct sun, and even prolonged exposure to the sun with protection, like Spikes famous blanket of protection.
- I'm guessing the sunlight reflecting off the moon is too weak to affect vampires. Only when the light comes directly from the sun is it intense enough to cause a reaction.
- In Surprise, Angel says that airline flight isn't an option because there's no way to guard against the sun. In the Spike comics (don't know which) it shows Spike catching a flight, with a sword even, on a plane full of supernaturals, clearly illustrating and stating that there is at least one airline that caters to supernaturals. When exactly was it established, is what I'm wondering.
- A minor point, but one that constantly irritated me: vampires don't have reflections in mirrors, but they do show up in photographs and in film? Buuuh?
- One explanation: It's mentioned at one point in Angel (possibly the Pylea arc?) that the demon within can't stand the sight of itself. So it clouds reflections in mirrors but not in photos or film which it doesn't understand. That would also explain the occasional small reflection throughout both shows; if the demon's not aware that it's casting a reflection, it doesn't cloud it.
- I heard somewhere, possibly in a commentary that there's a deleted scene where someone asks Angel about it, and he responds with "It's meta-physics, not physics."
- Most cameras don't have any mirrors in the optical path between the lens and the film. SLR cameras have them in the path between the lens, and the viewfinder, but when you actually take the picture, the mirror pops up, giving the light from the lens a straight path to the film, so if you took a picture with an SLR camera, you wouldn't see a vampire in the viewfinder, but it would show up on the film.
- One of the few consumer cameras that did use mirrors were the Polaroid instant cameras, that folded flat, and spat the picture out the front after you took it.
- Not me explaining anything, but how cool would that spy-film of Buffy fighting a Vampire that Spike made in the second season been if it would have shown Buffy fighting... nothing. Having Spike filling in the missing pieces.
Why Don't Ya Just Stake Drusilla
- Why did they never get around to dispatching uber-evil Drusilla? And then she showed up in Angel, also unstaked! Is Joss saving that for a comic or something? Kendra must be avenged!
- It's also arguable that Drusilla is at least as much a victim as anything else. How much of what she does is her fault, and how much is Angelus's?
- Rumor has it that Juliet Landau refused to appear in anything other than flashbacks or illusions after Buffy Season 5 to prevent her character from being killed off.
- I think Buffy never actually had the chance to stake her. As for Angel... maybe he just couldn't bring himself to do it?
- Angel set Dru and Darla on fire fully intending to kill both of them. And then Drusilla never showed her face in Angel again. In the Buffy episode following, Drusilla literally just walked away while Buffy was acting all disgusted.
Why Don't Ya Just Stake Spike
- Why didn't the Scoobies kill Spike in Season 4? He's still unrepentantly evil, he's done nothing to imply that he might stop being evil anytime soon, and he frequently said that he wants them all dead. Hell, as of Faith's return, he a) had never actually helped them fight demons that we see, despite his "let's kill something!" speech, and b) had declared his intention to sic Faith on the lot of them and then laugh.
- BECAUSE HE'S A MAIN CHARACTER!? You might as well ask why they didn't kill off Buffy permanently.
- Spike was literally helpless. The only thing he could actually kill were animals and demons (once he figured that out), so even though he threatened them, they weren't going to kill him until he actual became a threat (which he never did until Season 7, when the First overrode the chip somehow).
- Just because he couldn't rip anybody apart didn't make him harmless. He was a threat when he could help Faith find the good guys and kill them in their sleep, he was a threat when he helped Adam isolate Buffy inside the Initiative, he was a threat in Season 5 when he and Harmony held hostage the only person in the state who could save Riley's life, and that's just in the episodes I've seen so far. Also, it's not like they've never killed vampires just for being vampires.
- Riley states that Buffy felt sorry for him in "Buffy vs. Dracula". While it may not make complete sense, that's her stance. And actually, they've never killed harmless vampires before. Really, the only vampires that are harmless were Spike and Angel. All the others actually kill and eat humans.
- Even a chipped Spike is not easy to kill, especially in season 4 when he hadn't been fully Spikeified yet, and the good guys had bigger things to deal with. Also, by the end of the season, Spike was working with them more than he was working against them, even if it was in enemy mine type situations.
- What WAS implied was that Spike loved Buffy from day one. Buffy learned to tolerate him because she wouldn't kill him when he was helpless and he kept hanging around. She just had a sexual relationship with him in season six and fell in love with him in season seven. (You can tell she was in love with him because she chose to spend her final hours with Spike when she could have spent them with Angel.) When she finally admitted it, Spike just couldn't believe she did and that's what lead to the statement "No, you don't".
- Yeah, right. Barely episodes before that Buffy referred to Angel by saying "I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life!" She wouldn't have said that if she cared very deeply about Spike. I don't think Buffy was ever in love with Spike, or if she was it wasn't the kind of obsessive all-encompassing need that Spike defined love as.
- Love doesn't work the way you think it does. Just because she loved Angel more than anything doesn't preclude her from loving someone else. How do you think people end up remarrying after a spouse dies?
- No, I'm sorry, but love doesn't work the way you think it does. You can love someone, and have them die, and then fall in love again, and I understand that it's possible to love both of them. But if she loved Angel more than Spike, with both of them alive, it's pretty clear he's getting the short end of the stick - just like Riley. You can't love someone completely if you're still more involved with someone else.
- You don't have to love someone completely to love someone. Quoth Wesley in the other series, a lot of peope have to make do with acceptable happiness. Just because she was still in love with Angel doesn't mean she felt absolutely nothing towards Spike. Love isn't a False Dichotomy where you either completely love someone with all your heart or soul or could care less if they went off and died tomorrow; there are degrees of love. What Buffy had with Angel was fluffy puppy teenage love, the kind of love that seems perfect and absolute and eternal, and it's important to note that Angel was the one that ended it; Buffy still loved him, he's the one that walked away. What Buffy had with Riley was a nice, normal boyfriend and a nice, normal life that she can't handle because of who she is. What Buffy had with Chip!Spike was a mutually destructive exercise in futility, which both Buffy and Spike called it out on at different times. What Buffy had with Souled!Spike was hard, painful, and complicated, the kind of relationship that can either be grown into, or broken apart, because it needs time to develop into something real. Of course Buffy loved Angel more than any of the other relationships here. He was her first love, her first sexual experience, and her perfect teenage puppy love. That doesn't preclude her from ever loving again, and it certainly doesn't mean that Angel was the right relationship for her. Even Buffy herself notes this in her Cookie Dough speech.
- She didn't love him, she found him comforting. Guy tried to rape her, soul or no soul you don't come back from that. Whether she loved Angel or not, more complex. But she didn't NEED either by that point. Cookie dough and all that jazz. But yeah, Spike fell for her from that creepy stalker bit in the Bronze in "School Hard." It's Spike's tragedy to love women who can't love him back, Cecily, Drusilla, Buffy, Fred...
- It's odd how everyone rags on Spike for that and conveniently forgets Xander did exactly the same thing. Except without spending a year in a horribly abusive (both ways) relationship with her first.
- Of course Xander was under the control of an evil hyena spirit at the time. Spike has no such excuse.
- Yes he does. He's a vampire. Vampires have evil demons in them that make them evil.
- In addition to being a vampire, it's the fact that Buffy and Spike were in an extremely unhealthy yes/no sexual relationship for a year beforehand, in which it was firmly established that the word "no" is foreplay and actually means "yes". How was he supposed to know she actually meant it this time? What Spike did was still wrong, but it isn't like he just got up one morning in a raping mood; it was simply the endcap to a whole sequence of wrong events for which neither Buffy nor Spike can be considered to be 100% responsible for.
- One thing I've found weird is how people are willing to forgive Angel's actions as Angelus but are unwilling to see that ensouled Spike is no more responsible for the attempted rape than Angel is responsible for Angelus killing Ms Calendar. I think Buffy is more than capable of making that distinction.
- The Scooby's are actually still hesitant about Angel even after he gets his soul back, particularly Xander and Giles early on. It's also of note that Angel had decades of time as an ensouled vampire, feeling remorse and resentment for his deeds to the point of changing as a person, essentially cultivating an entirely separate persona from Angelus, making the distinction between who is and isn't guilty of the murders seem to fit. Spike was just Spike with a soul. His personality, mannerisms, attitude, etc. didn't really change, he just became racked with guilt for his deeds. So unlike Angel and Angelus who you could legitimately excuse as a case of mystical DID at that point, Ensouled!Spike was still the Spike that tried to rape her months earlier, just with the new-found ability to feel bad about it.
- The Angel/Angelus "separate entity" stuff is more a result of bad writing in Angel's Season 4 than anything. Since the beginning of Buffy and in most Angel's seasons it is clear that Angelus is just Angel without a soul (which is not an entity itself). In many instances of Angel's series (especially in Season 2, 3 and 5) you can see glimpses of his darkness (Angelus) coming through, making it clear they are the same person/entity/character/whatever. Angel and Angelus personalities are not stark different as many people say. Angel in Season 5 shows this very well. If you compare Angelus in Buffy Season 2 to Angel in Angel's season 5 there isn't much difference, except that he is one of the "good guys" now. He also talks about his pasts deeds as Angelus as himself, sometimes in a very nonchalant way.
- Actually, in the season 2 episode Lie to Me- just a few episodes before Angel lost his soul- Buffy flat out says that a vampire is a demon walking around in a human corpse. It has all of their memories, and seems to be a blank slate of sorts otherwise, but it isn't the same entity. Angel just has a Guilt Complex, probably in part stemming from the fact that the only reason he is a vampire is that, in life, he was a useless drunk with a weakness for the ladies, and the black sheep of the family as a result. That and killing said family. Basically, he blames Liam for Angelus.
- The ability to feel bad about it is all that separates a vampire without a soul from their human counterpart. If Spike had had a soul it wouldn't have happened. He is not responsible for the event at all. The reason he didn't change much is because, unlike Angel, he realized it wasn't his fault. Spike doesn't feel guilty for the crimes he committed when he didn't have his soul, so he doesn't have the same internal conflict that made Angel and Angelus separate entities. Ensouled!Spike is not the same person, simply because he can feel bad about it.
- I'd never argue for a Real Life attempted-rapist the way I argue for Spike, but I think there's a Fantastic Aesop at work. This being who supposedly lacks a moral compass (but despite that has been trying to learn to act morally, if only to avoid offending Buffy) gets blamed for failing to act in a consistently moral manner. The act chosen to convey his internal flaws isn't something a souled being wouldn't have donenote . If you consider "moral compass isn't working" to be a serious handicap, then Buffy's toying with him all season was even more out-of-line than it seems on the surface. And if Spike mostly learns things like a Pavlov's dog (which you could reduce him to, by some accounts), then Buffy trained him to disregard her repeated denials, and he had no natural resources to make him think "Oh wait, this isn't how it's supposed to be done" (and no natural relationships to weigh it against). Every time I watched that scene, I was struck by how there wasn't a moment there where he meant to do wrong by her; it's only once she kicks him away that he even realizes she really didn't want him right then. I call communication failure, not wrongdoing on Spike's part.
- It doesn't help that the series repeatedly contradicts its own vague definition of "soul". The human characters (with, at times, the show's blessing) claim Spike can't be a good man, but he manages heroic sacrifices and many other good qualities well in advance of the soul. They claim he can't love, but devoted love was his defining trait literally from Day One.
- Actually, it's not contradicts itself, they're just wrong. The way a vampire works is a demon possesses a body and the soul leaves it. Each demon is an individual who bases their personality on the person they are now in control of, normally taking it Up to Eleven. For example, Willow, while not knowing it, is bi/gay (whichever it is) and has a mean/sadistic side. Vampire Willow takes the sadism and bisexuality to 11, as well as her innocence at the same time. Spike was a hopeless romantic in life. Take that up to 11 and combine it with over 100 years of evil and modern Spike is easily explained. Liam was an asshole in life. Angelus was an asshole taken up to 11. So on and so forth.
- In short, the demon Flanderizes you.
- It's important to keep in mind that none of the human characters have ever been a soulless vampire, nor have most if not all of the human Watchers who passed on this information, nor the haround and just helpless enough that the thought of killing him in cold blood left a bad aftertaste, and after Intervention, he was one of the gang.
- Spike was supposed to be a disposable villain, but, storyline aside, he lived basically because the fans liked him too much. Legions of Spike fangirls would've had Joss' head. Spike was a replacement Angel, filling in the spot of a guy who'd been around a long, long time who was trying to live with what he did, but with more snark and bleached hair.
- He was a replacement Angel, but In-Universe too. Buffy had enjoyed the advantages of a supernatural partner backing her up with Angel and Faith, but once they're out of the picture Spike is the only alternative. Buffy knows from experience that there'll be times when she's out of action, outnumbered, or simply can't be everywhere at once. Furthermore because Buffy hates Spike she'd assume there wouldn't be the same emotional 'complications'.
Sexy Vampire Sex
- As we all know, Buffy has slept with Angel and Spike. However, vampires are explicitly stated to have no pulse, and, we can surmise, no blood flow. If the penis engorges by increased flow of blood to it, how the hell could a pair of beings with no blood flow "get it up"? No amount of Viagra would solve that problem.
- On a related note, they are also mentioned to have no body heat, so wouldn't having sex with them be uncomfortably cold?
- No more so than sitting on a couch naked. They should pick up whatever temperature is around, and this is California. Also, some people LIKE the cold... you know, that way.
- Back up a bit. How is it that Buffy and Dawn each kissed a vampire without noticing his lips were cold?
- In Dawn's case, they were outside on Halloween night. A normal human's lips might have been pretty cold as well. Buffy and Angel were inside, but it was night then as well.
- In the Angel episode with the blind assassin, it's shown that vampires' muscles do generate some heat when they move, so maybe sex gets them warm.
- At one point Spike taunts Buffy that she must like that about vampires (the cold body thing, not the lack-of-erection thing).
- Vampires are dead bodies magically animated by a demon inside. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a show that had werewolves, a giant preying mantis that ate virgins, robots, and a Hellgod. Conceivably, vampires getting erections is one of the least improbable aspects about the show.
- Also, vampires definitely have at least some blood flow: witness Spike and Drusilla's bloodplay in "School Hard". How that squares with not having a pulse is another question...
- They have enough blood flow to move. Really if they had absolutely no blood flow, rigor mortis would set in. They also have enough blood flow to become drunk and for Spike to incapacitate Dru by stopping the blood flow to her brain. It's demonic magic, they have blood flow of some kind, they just don't use their heart to do it.
- Bearing in mind that the Dru thing is a Fan Wank to explain how Spike manages to strangle her into subconsciousness when she doesn't breathe. On the subject of massive misfires regarding vampires not breathing, lets look at how Angel can't do CPR, yet he can smoke!
- When you strangle someone unconscious, you're not cutting off their air supply - that would take minutes to render anyone unconscious. You're cutting off the blood flow to their brain by squeezing the carotid arteries. That's not the problem here. The problem is that if she doesn't breathe, her blood isn't oxygenated anyway.
- Smoking merely requires you to be able to able to inhale and exhale anything. Artificial respiration requires you to be exhaling a specific gas (notably, carbon dioxide - it helps trigger the breathing reflex) in addition to the oxygen you're trying to get into the recipient. Vampires are capable of the former, but lacking actual functioning metabolism, not the latter.
- Even if a vampire's exhaled air has the same composition as normal atmospheric air, it ought to be better than the increasingly-deoxygenated air that's sitting in an unconscious person's lungs. Heck, that's what "bagging" a patient with one of those plastic squeeze-bulbs is for: it may not help stimulate their taking a breath, but at least it'll keep the person from dying on the spot.
- And he can have breath warm enough to cause condensation in cool air, as shown when he dug himself out of his grave!
- And vampires' ability to talk? You know they never even mentioned why they could see him at all.
- And how come The First tortured Spike... by holding his head underwater? Am I just not getting something here or is that scene completely ridiculous?
- Playing to his vanity? Dunking his head in water must be hell on his hair!
- Think about it, vampires have enhanced reflexes. There's no line about only some being enhanced, or some no longer existing. One human reflex is freaking the hell out when water is in your lungs. There's a liquid you can breathe. People still freak out at first while it fills your lungs. There's no reason to assume that vampires wouldn't freak out ten times as much when drowning, even though they'll be fine.
- Probably just carelessness, but there is one plausible explanation (or Hand Wave) in that motion would make a disturbance on the thermal scanner, so the moving "cold object" would tip them off. Of course, this doesn't explain why he showed up as a person-shaped blob of blue, but that could be so that the viewer clearly saw what they were talking about on the interface.
- In the episode of Angel where he fights a blind Monsterof The Week, it's shown that vampires create heat when they move.
- That was not "heat vision" it was "sound vision". It just wasn't done very well (first season budgets being what they are). Think of what was visually represented in that episode as another version of how Daredevil "sees" things.
- If consecrated ground burns vampires, how do they dig their way out of graves without huge problems? I'd think it would function like holy water, where touching it just burns but too much can dust... did they just forget?
- I'm pretty certain it was never stated that consecrated ground hurts vampires. They're often seen in churches, for one thing. The only time any vampire grave caused trouble was when the Master's minions went to dig up his skeleton, and that was because Giles, Willow and Xander had performed a mystic ritual over the grave.
- That's the incident I was talking about— the vampires digging up the Master say (with hands smoking) "The ground is consecrated— it burns!". But I guess maybe it's Willow, Xander, and Giles' extra protection, not the consecration, that's doing it. I guess it just seems like the vampires should know that.
- This troper interpreted that what they meant by "consecrated" was "lots of holy water poured on the spot". Why should vampires necessarily use the standard meaning of the word, when it has much more significant meanings to them; stuff that hurts them by mystical means without being explicitly enchanted, like crosses and the holy water.
- Maybe the consecration of graves is a specific spell that Christians once used (similar to the way the blessing used on holy water is an anti-vampire charm, and they used it as part of the funeral ceremony in place of putting all of their corpses face-down or head-down or putting burnt ash or a bag of some specific flower's petals in the grave dirt). Most funerals just don't do the spell properly any more, and if they do it's because of a fortunately placed bit of preformer error.
- "Consecration" simply means "to associate with something sacred." Some books on Wicca, for example, refer to the consecration of one's tools. When Giles and co perform a ritual over the grave, they are consecrating it by associating with a sacred deity...just not necessarily the same deity the majority of Earth's population is familiar with.
- Maybe it does, and some (or even many) vampires simply burn up before they even dig their way out of the ground completely. It would explain why vampires haven't taken over the world, considering how many of them seem to make vampires on a whim.
Vampire Heart Removal, Stake Immunity
- This isn't really BtVS-specific, but applies to all vampires. Vampires die/dust if they get a wooden stake to the heart, right? But since vampires have no pulse, their heart doesn't actually have any biological function. So why doesn't some vampire get a vampire surgeon to cut him open and remove his heart. Then he'd be immune to stakes, right? Even huge great support beams. Throw a blanket over your head and it's as good as the Ring of Amarra.
- ...watch Angel. That actually happened in one episode. He was invincible for a few hours, then inevitable death. Apparently vampires do need their hearts to live. Biology be damned, this is mystical.
- The canonical comic Tales of the Vampires had a vampire who replaced had his heart replaced with a silver one... which somehow let him go out in the sun and removed the inevitable death part of simply removing the heart, but still allowed him to be killed by decapitation and (presumably) immolation... it never really elaborated why it works like that or why more vampires don't do it.
- It's not the biological function of the heart that's important. It's a mystical thing. Destroy the heart, destroy the vamp. In fact in the Old World of Darkness there was a power that would let a vamp remove his/her heart and bury it in a jar and it would make them more or less invincible. But if the heart were destroyed the vamp would die. And you can't watch it 24/7.
- Serpentis 5, 'The Heart of Darkness' if anyone's interested.
- It's possible that while putting a vampire's heart in a block of lead in a cement-filled sinkhole would prevent staking, it would also remove the heart from its owner's field of personal space and allow it to be magically immolated with as much ease as a cow heart in the next room.
- Why not have a demon surgeon open up your chest, put a mold that's about three inches larger than your heart around it with a funnel, pour in molten steel and let it harden? Instantly unstakeable.
- Leaving aside the entire issue of molten steel and vampire flammability, it would likely be hideously uncomfortable, painful, and not much use anyway. So the Slayer jams a stake in your chest and finds out it doesn't work? Next stop, she just breaks your shins, flips you over face-down, and stakes you from behind. And if that doesn't work, she cuts off your head or sets you on fire.
- Assuming you haven't already torn her head off during her ill-advised staking attempt. Not to mention the fact that the staking attempt would be no more successful from behind if the heart is encased in steel.
- Given that Slayers are stronger and tougher than most vampires, I think this would only matter if it were done by a "name" highly skilled vampire. Also, molten metal will burn/melt flesh; a much better idea would be to forge the metal protection plate outside the body, and screw it together inside the chest cavity.
Crosses and Holy Water
- In Buffy, vampires have existed since before the crucifixion. At what point did crosses become harmful to them? And holy water, for that matter...?
- Perhaps it's incidental. A bunch of Romans mages got together and decided on a symbol to ward off vampires and settled on crosses because they're relatively common and easy to make. Then Jesus got nailed to one and everyone started wearing 'em, because nothing pleases someone more than seeing a representation of their method of execution. Couldn't say holy water.
- And maybe the Romans executed people by crucifying them because that was a sure-fire way to prevent them from becoming vampires. If a crucified person was becoming a vampire, the cross would either kill the demon before they could turn fully, or kill the vampire once they were turned (and still stuck on the cross.)
- Maybe they don't harm vampires because they're holy; they're holy because they harm vampires. Whatever property these objects have that causes them to harm vampires was considered confirmation that they were, in fact, holy.
- Also, (IRL) crosses were a symbol of a sun god before they were a Christian symbol. Maybe they were considered sacred to the sun god because they damaged vampires in a way similar to the sun.
- Maybe it's backed up by belief, and anything considered holy by a sufficiently large quantity of people has that effect on vampires. They use crosses in the show, because the Watchers, as well as the residents of Sunnydale, are from a predominantly Christian culture and thus naturally assume that crosses are holy, and use them. To my knowledge, it's never verified that other popular holy symbols don't work. It only even comes up when Willow brings up that the Rosenbergs might not appreciate having crosses nailed to their walls, and at that point in the show, she probably wouldn't think to question Giles. It is entirely possible that if she had tried nailing a Star of David to her wall or brandishing a menorah, it would have worked just as well.
- Except that a Star of David or a menorah wouldn't have any of the power of a cross, because neither has the power in Judaism that a cross has in Christianity. The symbols are just effective signs of the religion the way an M is for McDonald's, not actually believed to hold any power. There are actually remarkably few analogues for a Christian cross in the modern world—a symbol that is ascribed holy power in an of itself. Most of the others from history belong to pre-Judeo-Christian religions—which are often shown to be pro-demon in the Buffyverse.
- Before it became a Christian symbol, the cross was a symbol for the sun, and in magic a symbol for a thing can stand in for the real thing. Another ancient symbol for Christianity is the fish. Imagine a meeting of early Christians debating what their primary symbol should be. In the middle of the debate between the cross, and the fish proponents a bunch of vampires attack. The fish proponents wave their fishes at the vampires and get eaten. The cross proponents survive.
- Even the vampires don't know for certain. The Master, a vampire who is probably older than Christianity, wonders why he is so afraid of crosses while staring Turok-Han, just that the Turok-Han and vampires came from the same source: the last Old One. The Turok-Han were probably the foot soldiers in that particular Old One's army, created from a portion of its power. Later on, the same Old One used the last of its power in a different way, to infect human beings and change them into vampires. So the vampires and Turok-Han come from the same source and could be considered relatives, but, just like humans and Neandethals, neither one evolved from the other.
- Vampires are The Virus. This leaves plenty of room for evolution.
- Evolution requires mutation. As far as we can tell, being sired by a vampire means acquiring all the standard strengths and weaknesses of vampirism, even with exceptional circumstances. Drusilla, for example, sired Spike, but he doesn't acquire any of her extra superpowers. Nor does Darla, who was sired by the Master. The only exception is Sam Lawson, sired when Angel had a soul and thus unable to take sadistic pleasure in the various vampiric atrocities, but that was an exceptionally unique case, and we don't know if Sam would have passed his "condition" down if he had sired anyone else. In short, vampires can't evolve because vampirism never changes: being sired is being sired, and you always get the same situation afterwards.
- Though the fact that having a soul effects the vampires one sires suggests that the human side does have at least a tiny bit of influence on vampirism, and humans are theoretically a constantly evolving species. It would at least lead to vampires having different mental capabilities and initial physical structures as time goes on.
- The only other vampire sired by someone with a soul that gets a lot of screen time is Holden Webster, Buffy's vamped classmate from "Conversations With Dead People". While he does seem a bit friendlier than the typical vamp, he's also pretty unapologetically evil in a way that Sam wasn't. It's possible that Sam is just an anomaly, or that the gypsy curse got passed onto him when he was sired. Which isn't really a mutation of the vampirism virus, but an artifact of the curse.
- Regarding mutation, why do you assume Lamarck Was Right about vampires? Skills acquired by a human before or after he became a vampire have no reason to be inherited by the next victim, nor is this necessary for the evolution of vampires. Testing the existence of mutations would require bringing many vampires to Pylea in order to reveal the true form of their inner demons and then hunt for differences among them.
- That's the point. The discussion was initially about whether vampires can evolve, with one commenter suggesting that, since vampirism is The Virus, that means that they can. I suggested that they can't, because every vampire we observe being vamped gets the exact same powers and weaknesses, without exception, regardless of the circumstances. The reason the idea of Lamarck being right came up is because that's the only way for vampires to even potentially evolve. As it is, though, that's not the case. Vampirism can't change, so it doesn't evolve.
- And I answered by pointing out that, since we don't see the demons within, we can't compare them. In Stargate SG-1, all goa'uld hosts had glowing eyes, a deep voice and a healing factor. But goa'uld symbiotes, while similar, didn't look all exactly the same. On the other hand, now that I think again about it...
- "As Neanderthals are to human beings, the Turok-Han are to vampires" could mean that the Turok-Han were made from Neanderthals or other ancient hominids. In this case, vampire evolution would just be human evolution + vampirism.
- How effective are crosses? Willow nails a cross to her window to prevent Angelus from entering. Apparently, vampires can hold crosses, only getting burnt a little, not to mention that it's okay for them to touch crosses if they just cover their hand (Spike held a cross to see if it has any effect on Harmony.) Sometimes they repel vampires from a reasonable distance, but other times, they can just kick them out of your hand (which Angel has done.)
- Probably about as effective as a hot pan on you. If someone nails searing metal to their window, you're not going to want to touch it. If you hold it for a short time, you'll only get burnt a little. If you cover your hand, you're fine. If someone is standing over you with hot metal, and holding it toward your face, you'll listen to pretty much anything they care to say, but if you're fighting, you might trust your shoe or boot to protect you, and kick the pan out of their hand. Crosses damage and hurt vamps, this doesn't mean that it's a mystical ward, just something they prefer to avoid.
- Why does no vampire ever wear armor? Having a piece of wood pushed through their (apparently unnaturally fragile) sternum seems to be one of the few things that can kill them - you would think a stab vest would be a wise acquisition. Some of them (eg. Kakistos and the Master have even been around long enough that old school armour would be something they'd remember, and possibly even been trained to wear.
- The Master and Kakistos were (probably) cocky. Also, Kakistos was immune to stakes that aren't huge (like support beams).
- I take it we've all noticed how clothes worn by Vampires mysteriously turn to dust with them - unless they're plot related, thus making it easy for the less than cunning members of the Scooby Gang (which might well be all of them) to spot the key item?
- Stakes sometimes dust too. The rule seems to be that an item doesn't dust only when a living being is directly touching it when the vampire dusts. There are a few exceptions, but that seems to be the standard.
- Metal seems to survive too. The Order of Unpronounceable Ring in series 2 for instance.
- In the season 7 episode "Potential", Dawn says that vampires 'feel pain, but don't let it deter them'. If this is true then how come Spike's chip can stop him from killing people.
- The pain from being hit by a regular, non-superpowered teenage girl is probably a lot less severe than an electric shock to the brain.
- Also, there are different components of how pain is processed in the brain. It's not just processed as a physical sensation but also as an emotional experience. It could be that vampires normally feel the physical sensation without the emotional reaction (kind of like someone on valium - they can feel pain but it doesn't bother them) but the emotional reaction part of the pain processing system is still functional and Spike's brain chip activated that system? (It could also be activated in situations where vampires feel pain from something that actually endangers them - after all, vampires seem to have a pretty normal pain reaction to being burnt by sunlight.)
- It could also be Dawn was just saying "Vampires are tough, and don't let pain stop them from trying to kill you." They feel pain, but have Demonic Super Strength. It's not exactly complicated.
No Wounds from Stakes
- Why does staking never leave a big injury in the vampire's chest? Whenever somebody jams a stake in their hearts, there's never a hole, they seem fine until they dust. Even that time Riley shoved a fake wooden stake in Spike. It wasn't real wood, but it was still sharp and big, Spike should've had a wound from that. Now, there are the usual answers for a question like, and I tried to think them all out. None fit for this show though. It can't be because that'd be too gory, as they've shown some pretty nasty vampire injuries before on Buffy. It couldn't be for special effects, as they have both enough SE power to make the lumpy vampire face, and around mid season 2, they can show the vampire skeleton as they die. They can render bones falling, but they can't make a messy hole on somebody?
- It wouldn't be that big and messy. Vampires don't have a pulse, so their blood is just kind of there; it wouldn't pour out like it would with a human. The hole in the vampire's shirt would be relatively small, or at least small enough that moving his arms would probably cover the mark in his flesh. Besides, an inch-wide hole just isn't that visible, especially if it closed when the stake was removed, as puncture wounds often do.
How long does it take for someone to turn into a vampire?
- It seems like the length of time it takes for someone to turn into a vampire depends only on the necessities of the plot. Sometimes they rise after they're buried (Ford, Holden, and many others). Sometimes it's when they're in the funeral home (Theresa, that one woman in early S7). Sometimes it's in the hospital (like in "The Body"). Sometimes it's within minutes (Jesse and the watcher sired by Zachary Kralik). But it's always because someone rising then serves the plot in some way. It's annoying.
- It's not within minutes, it's more a matter of hours or days. It was indicated that Jesse was sired at night, after Darla brought him to the Master. Xander and Buffy didn't go after him until the following day, by which point he was merely pretending to be human and to have been attacked, since that was his role as bait. Blair, the Watcher killed by Kralik, was unconscious for awhile - Kralik had to wait for him to wake up after turning him. Also, vampires in funeral homes or hospitals could've been there a while - funeral homes in Sunnydale likely never run out of business and probably have several viewings and bodies to prepare and can't get to all of them in a day. The hospitals are probably equally busy. As for emerging after burial, funerals tend to take place during the day, so the vamp emerges the following night. Yes, it is inconsistent and plot-serving but it's not as bad as you make it out to be.
That one vampire crawling up the building in "Deep Down"
- What the hell? Why only that one time?
Vampires are evil
- I get it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer wouldn't be the same show if we had to figure out exactly how evil each vampire is prior to them being staked. If we accept the original story that a vampire isn't a person, everything you were goes to the afterlife and a demon high jacks your body. By about season three we know that simply isn't the case, apparently the only thing that goes away is the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. The thing is my ability to know the difference right and wrong doesn't by definition make me chaotic stupid. For starters there should be a certain amount of vampires who simply like being on the low down not drawing undo attention. We know there are humans who want to be bitten. I know if I was a vampire I would have found that cult of stupid kids and feed just enough and let them go mostly unharmed. It's simply logical.
- That was dealt with briefly in Season 5. There are vampire groups who feed on willing humans without killing them, and the Watchers' Council generally doesn't bother with alerting the Slayer to them because they're not a threat. Most of the vamps we see in the show are the ones who run into Buffy on the streets while actively hunting for prey, or the ones who get recruited as minions. Others, such as vampire scholar Dalton in Season 2, typically just stay out of the limelight (and out of Buffy's way).
- It just seems to me that there should be more of them. As far as we can tell demons in the Buffyverse are evil by definition. They're demons but the demons we meet are almost split evenly between good and bad, even more so if you look into Angel. Vampires are pretty much all evil. And I don't think that the council doesn't bother with the vampire feeding houses NORMALLY I think Glory was a sufficient threat that Giles would have ignored them. The council honestly would be wise to encourage said behavior. You do this you don't get slayed. Though to be fair the Council is proven to be dangerously retarded at time.
- There may well be more of them - a vampire that lies low and doesn't kill anyone is a vampire that the Slayer has no reason to notice. It's established very early on that Buffy does not in fact have magical vampire radar; she recognizes vampires by their predatory behavior and, in extreme cases, when they vamp out. A vampire with more sustainable feeding habits would probably stay out of her way - for that matter, if a vampire just wants to be left alone, why would they hang around Sunnydale? Most "peaceful" vampires probably leave town as soon as possible. No point in tempting fate by staying in the same town as the Slayer, if you aren't actively trying to use the Hellmouth for something or take advantage of the fact that the mundanes don't really notice when people turn up dead or missing in Sunnydale.
- Buffy is SUPPOSED to have magical vampire radar though. In both the movie (which is supposed to be at least semi-cannon) but also in the series proper it's pointed out that Buffy should be able to pick a vampire out of a crowd and NOT because their fashion sense is twenty years out of date. Considering Giles expects her to simply be able to do it naturally it's kinda off that NO Slayer we've seen is capable of this seemingly basic Slayer ability.
- This was explicitly stated by Giles in the pilot episode. Something about how Buffy should "just know, without looking, without thinking about it". One possibility is that Buffy is just really bad at using the mental parts of the Slayer Power Package. The potentials in S7 are pretty much all shown to be better than Buffy was at drawing on the collective instincts and skills of the Slayer heritage.
- Okay, so after Buffy drowns in Season 1, Angel says he can't perform CPR because he has no breath. However, there are times when vampires are shown to be breathing, Spike in particular. He breathes hard after he and Buffy are done screwing, and the Ubervamp is able to enact drowning torture on him, both of which shouldn't happen if he doesn't breath. I can live with it, it's just kinda weird...
- There were a few details about vampires the show gradually changed after Season 1, and the breath thing's apparently one of them. At the time the writers figured vampires don't breathe (presumably being able to speak was meant to be a mystical thing) and then later they decided that they do breathe, they just don't need to. For the in-story explanation, maybe there's a supernatural element to a vampire's breath that keeps CPR from working: the air they exhale can't give life because they're not alive. Air is air in the real world, but vampires follow their own mystical rules, and maybe that's one of them.
- I think it's a combination of the writers being a bit random and the disadvantage of working with real people. Of course Spike was breathing hard after sex. How else were we to know what happened? Was Buffy gonna show up with the money shot still in place? As for the drowning torture is possible that it's psychological and something that's simply drilled into the human part of his mind. You know in the same way that there are lots of people who are afraid to fly even though its safer than driving. Something in our minds is simply hard wired that flying is wrong.
- And then there is Becoming Part 2 where Spike renders Drusilla unconscious by putting her in a choke hold...
- The water-torture scene was supposed to be with holy water, but they forgot to add the smoke effects. The vampires obviously need to intake air to talk, and presumably simulate breathing out of habit even if they don't really need oxygen to survive. It does make the "no CPR"-thing pretty hard to explain, though.
- Angel was panicking and blurted out the first thing that came to mind in response to the idea "vampire gives CPR". Or maybe he just didn't know how to do CPR and didn't want to admit that in front of Xander.
- Even if you do not require oxygen, inhaling water is still very very painful. The only trouble with using drowing to torture a vampire, is forcing them to inhale.
- In the episode with the evil tattoo demon, the demon can't possess Angel since he's a vampire and thus already kind of possessed, but in a later episode featuring a pair of ghosts, one of them has no problem taking him over.
- Maybe a ghost is different from a demon? When the demon Eyghon (tattoo dude) attempted to possess Angel, the two demons fought over possession of the body. It isn't that he can't be possessed by another demon its that his demon is going to be really unhappy about this arrangement and fight. However technically Angel has two beings possessing him all the time—the demon and the soul of Liam. Soul of Liam is usually in control and the demon is (apparently) unable to expel it. If a ghost is a soul then maybe the demon is incapable of expelling it just like it is incapable of expelling the soul of Liam.
- Vampires CAN be possessed, in the example you stated the demon enters Angel's body but is then overpowered by the demon already inhabiting his body. Eygon just lost the fight.
- Plot important vampires (Spike, Drusilla, Angelus, Wishverse Willow and Xander) will almost always have they're human face when alone, but vampire mooks seem to have the demon face on unless they're around humans. Why?
- The Doylist explanation is probably that plot-important vamps are just that, plot important, so it's important that they have human faces so that the audience can more easily recognize/identify them. Also, they're needed a lot more, and it's probably uncomfortable to spend all that time in vamp makeup. The Watsonian explanation is probably that vampire mooks are just that, mooks. They spend most of their time around other demons so they don't need to show their human faces and their job description requires the extras that being vamped out provides. Plot-important vamps interact with humans more so they're probably used to being in human-mode more than they are in vamp mode.
- Vampires are stronger when they're wearing their game face. Plot-important vampires don't need their game face as much, and most of them are extremely vain. Mooks need their game face to stand a chance against the Slayer and are too busy being mooks to worry about appearances.
- Maybe vampire mooks wear their game faces all the time so that they'll look tough, while stronger vampires are confidant enough in their power not to bother. Alternatively, it could be that leader-type vampires like being the most attractive person in the room, and so demand their minions stay in ugly bumpy form all the time.
- In the wishverse, one of the White Hats says that "Everyone knows vampires are attracted to bright colors." So why do they all wear black?
- My guess is two-fold. First just cus your attracted to something doesn't mean you wear it. I'm attracted to women in short skirts and high heels and other than that one time. . .nevermind. Second I suspect they are just flat wrong. It's possible that vampire seeing is only slightly better than human and that black may just blend better and give you a better chance of going unseen and in a city where you need to be able to run wearing heels is a bit suicidal but my first guess is they are just plain wrong. Certainly nothing we see afterwards supports that claim.
- If everyone is in dull colors (as in the Wishverse) then those people who wear bright colors will stand out and thus be singled out. It's just that the school kids didn't entirely understand the reasons.
- Specifically my question regards the plaque above Sunnydale High School, but this folder could probably be used for any other invitation-related questions too. Anywho, the plaque in question reads: "Enter all who seek knowledge" or something like that, which apparently qualifies as an invitation to vampires. (This is the reason that Angelus is able to enter the school without anyone inviting him in, Fridge Logic about a school being considered a residence notwithstanding.) However, the sign is written in Latin, not English. So, if a vampire who didn't understand Latin, or who just didn't understand enough to grasp the message, read the sign, would they find themselves unable to enter?
- For the answer to this, we'll ignore the fact that the school is a public building; the question here, ultimately, is whether or not an invitation in a language not understood by the vampire will still let him into a residence. To my knowledge, we've never had this situation come up in the story that we've seen. We have, however, seen something similar: when Angelus murdered Holtz's family, the little girl that answered the door stepped aside to let him in, gesturing that it was okay for him to enter. This was not sufficient. Even though he understood the welcoming body language, he had to wait for a verbal invitation before he could step over the threshold. This suggests that understanding the invitation is irrelevant; there have to be words. Now, if understanding of the invitation is irrelevant, it could well be argued that an invitation in any language will suffice, so long as the words are spoken or written. While this makes logical sense, however, it is still far from conclusive.
- It's never confirmed one way or the other that Angel actually needed the verbal invitation. He might not have been in the mood to test it since if he was wrong the gig would have been up.
- Equally interesting question. Why don't vampires spend a little bit of time getting to know their prey? Work with me here for a moment. As Angel proves when Cordi gets an apartment an invitation doesn't need to be made at the moment, you don't even need to own the property at the time. Though Cordi's phrasing leaves that a bit in question. Can you imagine how many "Sure come over anytime" Angel could get spending a night at a club? Sure he'd have to figure out where they lived but it seems worth the pay off.
- On the subject is the garage, assuming it's attached as it is in many houses, considered part of your residence? More specifically does being in the car qualify as an invitation and if it does is it somehow limited to the garage? If for example a vampire got a ride from someone would the magic of the invitation block him prior to entering the garage, prior to entering the house proper or simply bypass it all because someone who opens the garage door with you in their car and drives into said garage has clearly invited you in even if they never verbally said it?
- Why doesn't a person's bedroom qualify as a residence? In Angel we learn that clearly a hotel room can satisfy the spell since it prevents Angel from entering Fred's room without her express permission. So why doesn't an individual bed room? It doesn't seem to be legal ownership (like in Vampire Diaries) because Angel owns the hotel. If it's simply spending enough time then your average teens room should fulfill that requirement. For that matter is Xander's basement considered separate from Xander's parent's home for the purposes of the magic?
- This is a point I wondered about quite a lot. How is it that a newly risen vampire is shown with, apparently, a Matrix-style martial arts program installed? Dawn lampshades it in one episode I think. I mean it makes sense for Spike and Angel, they've been alive for a very long time, Spike in particular blends several different styles. From what we've seen of the vamps, there's a fair amount of fighting involved, so it makes sense for them to learn after a while. But for the ones who've just popped out of a grave, how are they throwing kicks and punches like the ones they are? That's not just brawling, that's fairly decent technique. Just wondering
- While it comes across as technique I think you're overstating it a bit and your Matrix answer was closer to right. We know vampires have super human strength, dexterity and reflexes. It "looks" like good technique but it's probably actually Matrix-Fu and as Buffy proves more often than not they, even after quite a while, aren't on par with a trained fighter with their reflexes and strength.
- Well, the official explanation for vampirism is that a vampire isn't the actual person who died, it's a demon possessing the person's body, so maybe the demon comes equipped with some fighting skills.
- Is it ever established at all how ownership technically functions in the Buffyverse? It's demonstrated on Angel for example that you don't own a house and vampires can enter. It's also shown that despite Angel owning the hotel itself Fred owned her room to a sufficient degree that he needed an invite to enter. While it's never shown to work a book store owner threatens to start sleeping in his store to keep vampires from coming and going at will. Would that have worked? More to the point what would happen potentially to a vampire physically on the premises when the title changed hands? While clearly a bunch of children couldn't manage it would the uninvite ritual be made null if Buffy and her friends simply handed the deeds to their homes to the person standing to their right every time they needed to fix this. (That's functionally what they do in Vampire Diaries and True Blood is quite literally play rules lawyer with the magic to keep vamps out.