Is This Possession?

Is This Possession? Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, Buffy, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, Eyghon, The Dark Age, demons, demonic possession, vampire, vampires, five by five
Angel’s inner vampire briefly fighting off the demon Eyghon, BtVS, S2 E8 “The Dark Age

I recently came across a video by Five by Five Takes on YouTube that delves into the nature of the vampires on Buffy: what they are, what it means to have a soul (or not), and whether the vampires are possessed by a demon, as is the standard (human) explanation on Buffy for where vampires come from.

It’s an interesting video, on a topic I’ve thought about before (see my post: “The Problem with Angelus.”) I don’t agree with everything discussed in the video; for example, the narrator questions why a demon would even want to possess a human in order to become a vampire. Because the demon loses all their memories in the process, the narrator suggests there’s nothing in it for the demons. I think getting out of hell and being able to walk the earth more or less freely would be a pretty big incentive. Most of the characters on the show who’ve spent time in a hell dimension don’t tend to speak of it fondly (despite repeatedly trying to open the Hellmouth– come on, guys). Besides the vacation from hell, I think being able to act on their violent tendencies and blood lust might also motivate the average demon. That’s just my opinion, though.

Spoilers Ahead

The video brings up an idea that I think is particularly interesting, which is whether the whole demon possession explanation for vampires is just the Watchers’ and Slayers’ way of dulling the trauma of killing people. If it’s a matter of a demon fully destroying the original human by inhabiting their body and absorbing their memories, then it’s a lot easier to kill without remorse, as opposed to killing a human who also happens to be a vampire (like the way the show claims that werewolves are still people and shouldn’t be slayed). It also could be a way for the Watchers Council to justify their own actions: when they let a demon infect a girl to make the Slayer, it’s acceptable because the Slayer is a force for good. When a demon infects a person to become a vampire, well, that just creates a killer. How the demon aspect affects Slayers is a topic for another time, though. For now, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to the vampires of Buffy, and this video does a good job of getting the ball rolling.

Personally, the idea of a demon stepping into a body and wiping out the actual human part of said body never entirely sat right with me. As the video points out, it would be a lot of effort for a demon to perfectly and consistently emulate the former person’s personality, mannerisms, and memories. It makes more sense that, while the soul might be gone, the person is still there. Probably.

Give the video a watch and tell me what you think about it. Is there still some human left in Buffy’s vampires? Share in the comments…

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21 Replies to “Is This Possession?”

  1. I was a big fan of Buffy and Angel from the time they first appeared on network television, and recently I’ve been rewatching Buffy. Just watched one of the episodes in question, The Dark Age, where Angel consumes the demon Eyghon. I’ve always felt it was an appropriate jumping-off – starting point towards really trying to understand just what being a vampire or demon means on the show, and if those “rules” are maintained thereafter. I’ve found this post, video, and comments very interesting and a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you– I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes, “The Dark Age” brings up some intriguing questions about the vampires of Buffy and Angel. The vampire demon evicted Eyghon pretty easily, but it seems to co-exist with a human soul (more or less). Plenty to unpack and consider 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say the Buffy vampires were a different explanation for vampires in the show’s mythos. In the original movie, they were simply vampires. But in the context of a TV show that has a whole hell dimension (and explanation for how these monsters cross into our world), the vampires were re-written into that world. Thus making them a lesser kind of demon that worked through infection rather than a full blown manifestation like the others. This demon works by being passed through the blood and replacing its host’s soul with its own essence that not only transforms the Human body, but allows no conscience or compassion, creating a murderous creature that isn’t quite Human and not quite demon either. Or at least that’s how I accepted it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s strange that they’d have no compassion, but still feel love (e.g., Spike and Dru, both soulless at the time). Or that they’d still hold on to some of their humanity, as we saw when The Judge started burning it out of them. Angel (the show) explored the hybrid idea a lot more than Buffy did, I think, as well as the humanity of some vampires. The more I think about it, the more it seems the vampires were a lot more human than the Council/Slayers/Initiative wanted to believe. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think vampires are still humans, not demons. I’ve read a lot of vampire fiction, and that seems to be how the majority presents it. My favorite vampire fiction is Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire” series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Buffy looms large in my life, but I didn’t care for the idea of demons inhabiting human bodies, making them vampires. There are so many ideas about how one becomes a vampire, and apart from a virus or infection, this is my least favorite. However, it didn’t hurt the show for me since I have rewatched it many times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To answer the question asked, according to the Buffy lore, no, your soul goes somewhere else and, upon the rare occasion, is returned to the body. What off-balances this is Spike, of course. He seems to have kept a piece of his human soul… or is his just a nicer demon. We’ll never know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Or is that just what the humans tell themselves? Because the vampires hint otherwise. I need to watch both series again with these questions in mind– oh no… what a hardship… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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