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The Secret History of the Slayers

15th October 2006 (18:29)
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A few days ago, I read a chance comment that perhaps the Shadow Men (as seen in 'Get It Done' in season 7 of BtVS) were not, after all, the people who created the Slayer - or at least, not exactly. This got me thinking.

Where did the power come from? The Shadow Men had a swirly black mist in a wooden box, that they said was the heart and strength of 'the demon'. Where did they get this from? How did they know what it would do?

There's also the question of the Guardians - that mysterious woman who pops up at the end of 'End of Days', gives Buffy some cryptic information about the Scythe then promptly gets herself killed by Caleb. Most discussions of the origin of the Slayers tend to gloss over the Guardians, or ignore them completely... hardly surprising considering how little build-up they get. But they need to be incorporated into the story somehow. As does the whole business with the Scythe.

As a result, I came up with the following. It's all speculation of course - bordering on fanfiction in places. But I think it explains all the important factors, and doesn't conflict with anything shown on screen (or in the shooting scripts)... at least, if you're willing to radically interpret the text in some places. But that is, in fact, one of the theory's symbolic strengths. :)

Why? Becauses the clash between the Shadow Men and the Guardians is linked to the whole conflict between male and female concepts of power, and the opposition between Received Authority and Shared Wisdom.  The Shadow Men claim to be the original creators of the Slayer, and deny any feminine involvement in the process, except as a passive vessel. The parallel to the attempt by the patriarchal system to establish male control over reproduction and the family, refusing to acknowledge any active role for women in the process, should be obvious...

In the days when the entire human race comprised nothing but scattered groups of hunter-gatherer clans, they faced not only the natural perils of the world - famine, disease, accident, wild animals - but also the demons that still roamed the Earth freely.

Clearly mortals lacked the power to face True Demons one-on-one and defeat them. What they did have, however, was intelligence, flexibility and cunning. They used the demons' strengths and arrogance against them, causing them to fight and destroy each other. Notice how so many magical rituals call on gods or demons, invoking their power to serve the spellcaster's wishes? My hypothesis is that the greater demons themselves might never have thought to use their own powers in this way; their mindsets are restricted, narrow and limited. It took human ingenuity to see how to channel a demon's appetite for destruction into a weapon for good. (Or evil, of course, since power corrupts). And in the modern era, the only demons that survive in this dimension are those who were able to adopt something of the human mindset... not that they would ever admit it, of course.

Not all demons take physical form. Some lack bodies of their own, and so seek to steal those of mortals, possessing them and controlling them. One of the most powerful and dangerous of these entities we'll call the Slayer Spirit.

I have no speech. No name. I live in the action of death. The blood-cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute. Alone.

Any mortal possessed by this spirit turned into a feral beast that killed all in its path; equal in strength and speed to the most dangerous predator, and with a cunning that seemed almost prescient as it anticipated danger; but devoid of all pity or mercy or humanity. The Slayer Spirit was strong enough - or diffuse enough - that it could possess more than one human at a time; but the more of its essence that was concentrated into a single body, the more powerful it became.

Because the war against the demons was so desperate, some human tribes saw the Slayer Spirit as a weapon they could use. A chosen warrior would be prepared as a vessel - perhaps voluntarily, perhaps not. Once possessed, this Slayer could be turned against the tribe's enemies... but since he no longer knew friend from foe, such an action was just as likely to lead to the tribe's own destruction at his hands. It was therefore a measure of absolute last resort.

But then somehow, somewhere, one tribe discovered how to tame the Slayer Spirit. It was a force of destruction and death; summoning it to possess a warrior, a trained killer, only strengthened it. But if the Spirit was instead called to possess a woman of childbearing age, blessed with spells of Fertility and Life and Love, it could be blocked from taking total control. Its vessel would retain her humanity, her conscience, her ability to tell right from wrong, friend from foe... at least, as long as she remained connected to the world and did not give way to the Spirit urging her towards death and dissolution. And after the danger was over, the Spirit could be cast out of her body again, until the next time it was needed.

You're afraid that being the Slayer means losing your humanity... You are full of love. You love with all of your soul. It's brighter than the fire, blinding. That's why you pull away from it.
I'm full of love? I'm not losing it?
Only if you reject it.

The secret of summoning and controlling the Slayer Spirit was passed down from mother to daughter, and taught to other tribes who needed help. These women became the Guardians of their tribes. They called on the Slayer Spirit to empower them whenever grave danger threatened their destruction. The war against the demons went well; most of them were forced to abandon this dimension. The human race spread out across the globe. And the old ways, no longer needed, were largely forgotten.


The world changed. People learned to tame and control nature, instead of simply sharing its bounty. They planted crops, herded and bred animals for the slaughter. They built permanent homes instead of nomadic encampments. The concepts of ownership and private property were developed. And men sought to take control over their fertility away from women, by setting down the laws of marriage, and adultery, and the difference between legitimate and bastard children.

The problem was that these vast new communities - dozens, perhaps even hundreds of people crammed into a narrow space - were perfect feeding grounds for vampires. A solution was needed.

The men who now ruled the tribes were impatient with the old ways. The idea of using your enemy's strengths to defeat him, of yielding to force in order to turn it around on itself, were foreign to them. They thought in terms of stone and bronze and iron, not wind and water and earth. They wanted tools: weapons to wield in their hands.

The Slayer Spirit was to be the most powerful of their tools. But it would have to be controlled; trapped and imprisoned, ready to their hand at any time, able to be directed against their enemies. Somehow, these powerful shamans learned the rituals for calling the Slayer Spirit into a chosen vessel. Perhaps the Guardians shared the knowledge with them willingly; perhaps they were tricked. But the Shadow Men who developed the great ritual learned the secrets; learned that only a blessed and enchanted woman of childbearing age could successfully contain the Spirit without losing her humanity. But in their eyes, this woman would simply be the handle of the sword, or the shaft of the axe. An necessary but secondary part of the weapon. A tool.

The Shadow Men captured one of the girls who had been blessed by the Guardians to serve as a potential vessel for the Spirit. Then they cast a ritual to summon the Slayer Spirit; but instead of allowing it to possess the girl immediately, they first trapped it and wove mighty enchantments around it. These ensured that once it was allowed to enter the girl's body, it found itself confined there, a permanent presence. The girl was no longer merely a temporary vessel for the Slayer Spirit; she was the Slayer.

With the entire magical strength and power of the Slayer Spirit trapped within her, the First Slayer became an overwhelming force of destruction that tore a bloody path through the enemies plaguing the Shadow Men's tribes. She had no respite from the killing; no option to lay down the burden and be released from her duty. Her hold on life and humanity became a fragile thread, with the ends firmly held by the Shadow Men. They provided her with her reason for living: her 'sacred calling' to direct her violence against the enemies of mankind.  The Shadow Men, of course, defined for her who those 'enemies' were.

Even death was no escape from the binding spell. When the First Slayer eventually died, the Slayer Spirit was not released, but instead found itself pulled into the body of another of the girls blessed by the Guardians as a potential vessel. The Shadow Men quickly tracked the Second Slayer down with their magic, and bent her to their will just as they had the First. And so it continued.

The Guardians were horrified at what they saw as a betrayal, but they were helpless to stop it. None of them could summon the Slayer Spirit any more, since it was now trapped within the body of the Slayer. Their clans were left with no defence against the vampires and demons, unless they surrendered to the Shadow Men and accepted their protection. Many did. Others tried to fight; but they lost and were destroyed. The remainder went into hiding.

The Shadow Men, who became the Watchers. And the Watchers watched the Slayers. But we were watching them.

With the Guardian families scattered, their heritage was forgotten. Their secret rituals for consecrating a girl as a vessel for the Slayer Spirit were lost, so the Shadow Men had no way to deliberately create new Potential Slayers of their own. However, the bloodlines originally blessed by the Guardians still threw up Potentials from time to time, skipping generations and randomly appearing in a way that defied logical analysis. And garbled elements of the ritual survived in blessings for pregnancies, and for newborn children, and even adulthood initiation rites for women in different cultures throughout the world. Occasionally and unknown to the participants, these fragments of magic combined with circumstances of time and place to result in the creation of a new Potential.

However often the Slayer died, the Slayer Spirit was always drawn into a new vessel to house itself. The Shadow Men and their descendants tried their best to understand the process. They knew how to identify a Potential, even grade the candidates by their likelihood of being Chosen... and sometimes the Slayer Spirit would defy all their predictions and Choose someone else. Sometimes they wouldn't even find the new Slayer - she would be Called, live her brief and bloody life and then die, all unknown to the Watchers. Very rarely the Slayer Spirit might even possess more than one woman at once, as it had in the days before the Shadow Men cast their spell. This was highly disturbing to the Watchers since it suggested that their binding spells might be failing; but fortunately such situations tended to be short-lived and correct themselves as soon as one or both of the new Slayers died. In their fear the Watchers tended to suppress any records of this happening, apart from cryptic and dire warnings in books only made available to their inner leadership.

Any attempt to influence or manipulate the choice of Potential would fail - sometimes it seemed the Slayer Spirit was being deliberately bloody-minded in upsetting the Watchers' plans, although of course such a belief was irrational and so rejected by the Council. And despite the inexplicable nature of the process, it often seemed that the new Slayer would be called, not where it would be most convenient for the Watchers, but where she was most needed.

This was forged, centuries ago, by us. Halfway around the world. Forged there, it was put to use right here. Only once, to kill the last pure demon that walked upon the earth. The rest were already driven under. And then there were men here, and then there were monks, and the first men died and were sent away, and then there was a town, and now there is you. And the Scythe remained hidden.

The last Guardians who went into hiding were too weak to oppose the Shadow Men directly; but as was their way, they resolved to turn their enemies' strength back upon them. They forged the Scythe as their instrument. This took the form of a weapon, partly on practical grounds: the Slayer destined to wield it would have many enemies. Mostly, though, it was symbolic: the purpose of the Scythe was to cut the chains which bound the Slayer Spirit and turned the Slayers into nothing but tools in the hands of those who would use them.

The real power of the Scythe was not as a weapon. It was designed to record within itself the memories, and dreams, and hopes of all the women possessed by the Slayer Spirit throughout the millennia. Their knowledge, and their humanity, and their wisdom. With every Slayer forced by the Shadow Men's spell into a brief and unhappy existence, the power of the Scythe grew greater.

Tomorrow Willow will use the essence of this Scythe, that contains the energy and history of so many Slayers, to change our destiny.

Eventually, the forces protecting the binding spell on the Slayer Spirit became disrupted by the event long ago foreseen by the Guardians: the mystical resurrection and calling back from Heaven of a dead Slayer. As long as she was [still] alive, the binding spell was overloaded and so vulnerable to being broken. However, this posed a huge risk to humanity. If there were no living Potentials at the moment the binding was broken and the actual Slayer was then killed, the Slayer Spirit would be completely released. No more Slayers would be called, ever.

(What would have happened in the hypothetical situation that there were no Potentials alive at the death of a Slayer before Buffy's resurrection? Presumably, the Slayer Spirit would have waited around, caught by the binding spell, until a potential-Potential hit puberty, then immediately empowered her as the Slayer. I'm assuming that it took The First a vast expenditure of Its power to even attempt to kill all the Potentials at once, especially since new ones are constantly being born. This Whack-a-Mole game was worthwhile for It in season 7 because if It ever once managed to get rid of all of the Potentials for even a single moment - then kill Faith and Buffy - there'd be no more Slayer ever. Before the binding spell was broken, it would have had to keep on killing the new-born Potentials forever; and It lacked the strength to maintain Itself and the army of Bringers It would need for such a huge task on a permanent basis.)

My hypothesis is that The First knew that the Scythe could be used to break the binding spell, which is why It had Caleb and the Bringers trying to pry it out of the rock. It was aware of the prophecy that 'she alone' would be able to take it, but Caleb had suggested using brute force instead, and there was no reason not to try it.

Is this going to do anything? Or is all of this just to make the Bringers sweat? Do the Bringers sweat?
Actually, I think they pant, like dogs. And, I don't know if this is doing any good. But we've got to try everything... what's a prophecy got on brute strength?

In the event, Willow was able to use the Scythe for its intended purpose: to cut the binding spell laid on the Slayer Spirit by the Shadow Men all those thousands of years ago, and free it from its prison of a single woman's body (or, in this unusual situation, two women's bodies). At that moment, all the Potentials throughout the world who chose to become vessels for its power could become Slayers themselves. The knowledge and wisdom of all the past Slayers stored within the Scythe became their heritage.

It's a rushing wind, a hammer blow, it's hard, soft, confusing, a first orgasm, a perfect equation, a fevered dream... it's power. And it's happening everywhere.
A girl has fallen to the floor, wide-eyed as the power and knowledge course through her.
Unnoticed by the throng, an African American girl leans against her locker, breathing hard, looking almost puzzled.
We see the back of a beefy fellow as he is about to strike someone - and her hand blocks his blow. She rises into frame, slightly bruised and bleeding, but with a cold fury in her eyes that suggests that won't be happening again.
The family is having dinner as the daughter backs away from the table, trying to keep her balance.
A twelve year old girl stands uncertainly at the plate as the power hits her: she takes it in, looking down in confusion... then looking back up, slowly, her stance straightening and a wicked grin on her face.
(And my addition:) Locked away in an insane asylum, a girl who's been tormented and driven mad by her helplessness and lack of power smiles grimly, knowing that she'll never be weak again.

I think the most vital metaphor of Season 7 is that power alone is dangerous, because it can turn you into a tool for others to use. Knowledge alone is equally insufficient, because knowing what to do is useless if you can't (or won't) actually do it. But put them together and you can change the world.

And a final note. Why is it called a Scythe when it's actually an axe? My guess is because the original (Egyptian?) manuscript named it using the word given to the weapon wielded by Death; the ultimate weapon used to sever the ties binding body and soul. In English, Death is usually pictured using a scythe, so the axe's name is translated into English as 'Scythe'. (Tolkien fans might like to compare Gandalf's sword Glamdring, which translates as 'Foe-Hammer' even though it was a sword, not a hammer...)

Comments

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 15th October 2006 19:28 (UTC)
Buffy elsewhere by bogwitch

This is utterly fascinating. I love how you've made The Guardians an integral part of the story and am all in all extremely impressed - esp. the bit about The Scythe getting stronger and stronger as time went on!

I've got some theories about Buffy's resurrection myself, that might fit with your bigger picture?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th October 2006 21:54 (UTC)

One of the big problems with the Slayer mythology is that if it's just one big demon powering everything, how come splitting it up between so many hundred Slayers at the end of 'Chosen' didn't reduce the amount of mystical power each one received to almost nothing?

Metaphorically, of course, it was all about unlocking the potential inside every one of us... but unfortunately the backstory ME had put together didn't really support that, so they had to fudge things. :)

My explanation in terms of the theory I've set out here is that the Slayer Spirit is vast in scope - not infinite, but far beyond mortal comprehension. Powering one girl or a million of them is pretty much all the same to it. Not to mention that it might have grown stronger in the years since the Shadow Men first entrapped it.

(I only hinted at this in the story, but I feel that the Slayer Spirit might well have benefitted from its close association with so many Slayers, and gradually developed something of a personality, and a protective feeling towards humanity, and even a conscience. Hence why it undermined the Watchers' attempts to control it, and Called girls where they were most needed by mankind. In other words, it was achieving redemption.)

So the fact of there being two Slayers at once (Buffy and Kendra, Buffy and Faith) wasn't enough to weaken the Spirit. Hence why I implied this had happened before when a Slayer died but was revived, but the Watchers hushed it up (so Giles was taken by surprise when Kendra appeared). My best guess would be as you say in your theory #1, that the 'Slayer line' passes through the second-called Slayer, and only her death would Call a new Slayer.

However, we're dealing with magic - and at least under my theory, a partially self-aware spirit that's compelled to Call new Slayers, but like any self-respecting djinn or demon making a bargain, tries to twist things to fit its own agenda. I don't think that this will be as consistent as a physics experiment, and the results will not necessarily be reproducible. Incidentally, playing silly games such as deliberately stopping a Slayer's heart then reviving her to call multiple Slayers would definitely not work - or even backfire - because the Slayer Spirit resents that kind of thing.

In other words, the instability in the Slayer line has to be caused not just by there being two Slayers at once, but the fact that one of them was called back from Heaven by Willow's spell. I think your idea that Willow called back Buffy as THE Slayer again, whereas in seasons 2 through 5 she'd only been A Slayer, is a good one that fits the facts. However, symbolically it's less satisfying: the show wasn't called Buffy the Former Vampire Slayer Who Still Has An Afterglow of Power, after all... I'm also not sure that there is, or should be, a heirarchy between Slayers.

The idea that resurrected-Buffy was more than human has promise, though. The Shadow Men's binding spell could cope with being stretched to cover two humans at once, but not one human and one whatever-the-hell-Buffy-turned-into. It's definitely noticeable that whenever Buffy dies or even suffers a near-death experience ('Bad Girls' and 'Chosen' spring to mind) she comes back stronger than ever. Sometimes even with fancy slow-motion and a change in the backing music.

I don't think she's a demon though. There's another term for people who die then descend from Heaven to save mankind...

(I also don't think that Spike's chip would have failed to activate if he hit on Faith - I think it's symbolically important for the show that Slayers in general are, indeed, human, with all our weaknesses and failings.)

Posted by: Peasant (peasant_)
Posted at: 16th October 2006 14:30 (UTC)

One of the big problems with the Slayer mythology is that if it's just one big demon powering everything, how come splitting it up between so many hundred Slayers at the end of 'Chosen' didn't reduce the amount of mystical power each one received to almost nothing?

Metaphorically, of course, it was all about unlocking the potential inside every one of us... but unfortunately the backstory ME had put together didn't really support that, so they had to fudge things. :)

My explanation in terms of the theory I've set out here is that the Slayer Spirit is vast in scope - not infinite, but far beyond mortal comprehension. Powering one girl or a million of them is pretty much all the same to it. Not to mention that it might have grown stronger in the years since the Shadow Men first entrapped it.


Alternatively you could see the Slayer Spirit as not having been freed and then just spread out as itself, but having been freed by Willow's spell to reproduce into all the Potentials. After all, demons, even possessing demons such as the vampire, are capable of reproduction, following both a biological and a mystical model, and this would explain why there was no diminution of power.

Brilliant theory, it fills so many of the holes in season 7.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th October 2006 19:35 (UTC)

Alternatively you could see the Slayer Spirit as not having been freed and then just spread out as itself, but having been freed by Willow's spell to reproduce into all the Potentials.

Great idea! Except I'm not sure whether to go "awww" or "ewww" at the idea of lots of little black swirly baby Slayer demons roaming around...

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: 15th October 2006 21:54 (UTC)

This rocks most completely. I was always frustrated by the tiny slice of time granted to the Guardians' story--and I love that Buffy and Co. ended up doing, in your version, exactly what the Guardians had hoped they would. In your FACE, dead Council guys!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th October 2006 22:06 (UTC)

I love that Buffy and Co. ended up doing, in your version, exactly what the Guardians had hoped they would. In your FACE, dead Council guys!
:)
It's nice when a thousands-of-years-old plan comes together.

I'm guessing that when Buffy held the Scythe, her subconscious communed with the memories of all the Slayers, so she could finally understand what was really going on; and that gave her the idea.

Then she asked Willow to come up with a spell, and Willow used that 'Reveal' enchantment she used to find the spell to de-rat Amy in season 6, and what she summoned was a parchment written by one of the Guardians back in 3000 BC or so, containing the words of the ritual needed to break the Shadow Men's binding spell...

Posted by: I'll Kill You With My Teacup. (copykween)
Posted at: 16th October 2006 20:13 (UTC)

Very interesting thoughts! Especially regarding the scythe. I have some similar (and yet...completely different!) theories about Slayer/Shadowmen/Guardians/Scythe history as well.

I certainly would have enjoyed more episodes focusing on these issues, rather than (or possibly, BECAUSE OF) all the trite Potential business. There was so muchy big talk about being a Slayer and embracing the power, etc. But everything about being a Slayer is still such a mystery. Unless you're like us and theorize the hell out of it. :)

One of these days, I'd like to turn those theories into a fic, but we'll see if that will ever happen!

Posted by: petzipellepingo (petzipellepingo)
Posted at: 17th October 2006 01:41 (UTC)
end of days guardian by eviltera

Most interesting. You've taken the bits and pieces from various episodes and woven them together into a cohesive story. I'm putting this in my Memories for future study.
Thank you for this.

Posted by: yourlibrarian (yourlibrarian)
Posted at: 17th October 2006 02:01 (UTC)
Explain: indulging_breck

Nicely done, I think your hypothesis holds together very well. I'm also glad you mentioned this:
It's definitely noticeable that whenever Buffy dies or even suffers a near-death experience ('Bad Girls' and 'Chosen' spring to mind) she comes back stronger than ever.

I'd noticed the same thing in the course of watching the series as a whole -- in S1 for example a single vampire can give her (even her and Angel together!) trouble. By S6 she can dust 6 or 7 vamps on her own not to mention eventually fight ubervamps that previously nearly broke her in two. In between of course she's had serious injuries and 2 deaths. Perhaps it has something to do with the human body response -- often times when people are close to death they actually improve for a day or so before dying. In a Slayer's case though, because of her unusual recuperative powers perhaps that extra bit of strength doesn't fade but continues?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th October 2006 18:24 (UTC)

Perhaps it has something to do with the human body response -- often times when people are close to death they actually improve for a day or so before dying. In a Slayer's case though, because of her unusual recuperative powers perhaps that extra bit of strength doesn't fade but continues?
Kind of a permanent adrenaline rush? It's a nice idea.

Symbolically, I think there's meant to be an element of Buffy being 'born again' - I think the commentary to 'Bad Girls' explicitly mentions that the vampire trying to drown Buffy is symbolically 'baptising' her. More generally, the Cambellian Hero's Journey climaxes with the hero dying, learning secret powers, then returning to the world. Buffy does this several times...

You could also elaborate my theory here, that since the Slayer Spirit draws its power from death and destruction, every time a Slayer faces death and survives, it strengthens her link to the Spirit and allows her to draw on more of its power. Hmm, I like that...

Posted by: Just Keeping Things In Perspective (quietpoet)
Posted at: 20th October 2006 05:10 (UTC)
effulgent

i just stumbled across this through elisi's journal (i think) and loved it!! It made what seemed rushed in the series (Oh, now I want to break out my box set and watch everything all over again) into something that made complete sense.

I love that so long after the series ended, there is still discussion, essays, commentary and fic out that sheds light on ideas or tries to flesh out some things that should have been expanded on.

Adding to memories, and can I friend you?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 20th October 2006 10:02 (UTC)

It made what seemed rushed in the series (Oh, now I want to break out my box set and watch everything all over again) into something that made complete sense.

Well, it was definitely rushed - the Guardian popping up without any fore-warning, saying a few cryptic comments then dropping dead? Come on. :) I get the impression that the Mutant Enemy writers had agreed on the overall format and message of the season, but then they each went off and wrote their own episodes, adding their own ideas to the mix, and there was nobody in the middle pulling it all together again to make sense. (What with Joss being off doing Firefly/Serenity and so forth).

Adding to memories, and can I friend you?

Of course!

Posted by: hobgoblinn (hobgoblinn)
Posted at: 31st December 2006 00:28 (UTC)

Hey,

I just read this linked in some comments in rahirah's journal, and then started reading some of your other entries. This kind of discussion is exactly the thing I love about Buffy-- the scope the show gives us to think about these things, and the way fan fiction helps us write things that make a lot more sense than the show did at its conclusion.

Which is a long way of saying, I'd like to friend you, if that's okay, so I can read more of your ideas as you post them, instead of months later when I stumble across them by accident.

Feel free to drop by my place and see what I'm about, too. I look forward to getting to know you better.

hob

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 31st December 2006 18:19 (UTC)

Hi - thanks for reading. I tend to post in fits and spurts rather than on anything approaching a regular basis, but I love the idea of being able to interest or even inspire other people - and vice-versa.

And as you might notice from the comment I left, I've had a look through the last few pages of your journal too... I particularly liked the post-mortem on our short story; it's always fascinating getting an insight into the creative process!

S.

Posted by: spikeNdru (spikendru)
Posted at: 17th January 2007 21:03 (UTC)
Congratulations

This just makes so much sense. You've explained the apparent inconsistencies to my satisfaction, in any event, and turned what seemed like a deus ex machina into believable Slayer history. Kudos.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th January 2007 22:11 (UTC)

Thanks. I know it's not the only possible explanation, but I think I managed to cover everything, and in a satisfyingly mythic and symbolic way as well. :)

Love the icon, BTW...

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 19th January 2007 19:57 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this hadn't read it. Again like all your metas thought provoking.

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 2nd April 2008 02:14 (UTC)

Just found this.

I think it's wonderfully well thought out. Very clever!

*rushes off to add to mems*

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 2nd April 2008 13:56 (UTC)

Thanks! It also inspired a whole story about the First Slayer, and who founded the order of Aurelius, and who the first person killed with the Scythe was, and what it was doing in Sunnydale... but unfortunately I only ever wrote the first few chapters. Maybe someday...

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 1st July 2011 22:19 (UTC)
Mythology of guardians, slayers and scythe

I like how you created a background to the Scythe, the Guardians, and their interactions with the Shadow Men. I especially like the part where every potential and slayer is a descendant of the Guardians. I also like the idea of the Slayer Spirit mixing things up just to spite the Watchers. Or that the Slayer spirit benefited from the forced symbiosis with the girls.

I also like the idea one of the commenters offered about the Slayer Spirit reproducing after Willow cast the spell to turn every potential into a slayer. It fits with the way vampires reproduce.

But I disagree on one point. I think the Scythe should have included the knowledge of the Guardians themselves (although you do hint at it in the comments). So that Buffy could tell Willow which spell she wants her to do, instead of having Willow figure it out. Then again, I think it would have been a better idea if Buffy had cast the spell herself (because everyone in the Buffyverse can cast spells). Unless of course, Willow herself is somehow a descendent of the Guardians (just not the slayer branch).

Sadly, we're stuck with the change in mythology that happened in season 8 (which often feels more like a retcon than an expansion of what we know).

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 2nd July 2011 23:50 (UTC)
Re: Mythology of guardians, slayers and scythe
firstslayer-buffyforums

Hey - you're writing comments faster than I can keep up with replying! ;-)


I think the Scythe should have included the knowledge of the Guardians themselves (although you do hint at it in the comments). So that Buffy could tell Willow which spell she wants her to do

The way I see it, holding the Scythe gave Buffy more of a feeling about what it could be used for, rather than a detailed step-by-step guide on how to do it. That would require Willow's specialist knowledge to work out once Buffy explained the plan.

(Have you reached my meta on how magic works yet? :) I see Buffyverse magic as requiring knowlege, power and control. Some spells are harder than others, and it's quite possible to know how to cast a spell but lack the power to actually do so.)

Symbolically, too, the theme of 'Chosen' is about sharing your power, so I rather like the idea that Buffy can't do it alone; she wins because of all the other people she gets help from.

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 3rd July 2011 13:34 (UTC)
Re: Mythology of guardians, slayers and scythe

(Have you reached my meta on how magic works yet? :) I see Buffyverse magic as requiring knowlege, power and control. Some spells are harder than others, and it's quite possible to know how to cast a spell but lack the power to actually do so.)

Which one is that exactly? The LiveJournal navigation confuses me at times.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th July 2011 11:51 (UTC)
Re: Mythology of guardians, slayers and scythe

Blame me, not LJ. My links and index pages are badly out of date...

Here:
http://stormwreath.livejournal.com/100036.html

Posted by: vantiri (vantiri)
Posted at: 7th August 2014 12:35 (UTC)
Secret history of the Slayers.

So, Stormwreath, is Buffy supposed to be possessed? That's kind-of weird.

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