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StephenT [userpic]

More prehistoric Buffyverse musing

27th January 2007 (22:53)
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Following on from my last post, hobgoblinnposted a fascinating link to the Book of Enoch. According to Ethiopian myth, this was the first work to be written down in any human language (and by a pleasant coincidence the language in question - Ge'ez - was also the one I used to choose the name Hiywan for the First Slayer).

It tells how before the Great Flood, a group of 200 fallen angels called the Watchers ('Grigori' in Greek) looked upon the daughters of men, and lusted after them. They came down from heaven and chose themselves wives, and their children (the 'Nephilim') were giants and monsters who plagued the earth. 

The Watchers also taught mankind all sorts of secrets: one of them, called Azazel, 'made known to them the metals of the earth', and showed them how to make swords and knives. Another, their leader Samjaza, taught them enchantments. Other Watchers taught them more secrets of civilisation, from cosmetics to astronomy. By these teachings the people of the world became unrighteous and turned away from God, and there was much conflict and suffering. In the end God ordered his angels to bind the Watchers, and sent the Great Flood to destroy their evil offspring.
 
What could this mean when seen through a Buffyverse lens? 


A group of powerful shamans and magicians might have been seen as divine beings, even if they were only humans who knew the secrets of metalworking and magic. Of course, they might have learned or extorted those secrets from demons themselves... And they apparently showed a great interest in young women: perhaps not, as the writer of the Book of Enoch thought, for sexual reasons, but because they needed them as Slayers? (Of course, sex might have been part of it too: the Watcher-Slayer relationship need not always have been a chaste one.) 

As for their children being monsters, perhaps the writer is confusing cause and effect: wherever there were Slayers and Watchers, there were likely to be demons and vampires too. A hostile witness might easily (or deliberately) assume that one brought the other, instead of vice-versa.

In the Book of Enoch, the Watchers were destroyed by angels and then the Great Flood. If we assume that the Flood was a historical event in ancient Mesopotamia, then we can posit the following hypotheses:
  • That the Watchers openly held power in Sumeria in ancient times, by means of their magic, their command of metal-working, and their ultimate weapon, the Slayer.
  • That their rule was unpopular enough that future generations would remember them as fallen angels, enemies of God.
  • That their power was destroyed by an attack - perhaps by demons reacting to their success - and by a flood.
  • And that afterwards, they resolved to stay in the shadows and become a secret society instead of an open power in the world.
I've noted before that many of the most powerful incantations and rituals in the Buffyverse are written in Sumerian. Linking this to the idea above, this suggests that those spells were initially devised by an order of all-powerful priest-kings and sorcerors - who would, eventually, become the Council of Watchers. 

Now to see if I can link in the Knights Templar and the Merovingian bloodline. :) 

Comments

Posted by: hobgoblinn (hobgoblinn)
Posted at: 28th January 2007 00:34 (UTC)

I am so happy to see this! This kind of speculation is Exactly what I hoped those old comments might provoke. Of course, at the time I think the only creatures reading this journal were antennapedia, her kitten, and theblackmare....

Stories based on this would also not go amiss....

I can't wait to see how the Knights Templar fit in. I love reading about their history. Fascinating stuff. And there was a time when betrayal by one's God resonated with me a little too strongly, and the witch hunt parallels were eerie. We haven't progressed as far as we think....

Hob

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th January 2007 16:39 (UTC)

I'm a little scared by the idea of a kitten with the ability to read Livejournal, but glad I was able to make use of your discovery in a way you enjoyed. :) I also don't think this plot bunny is going to leave me any time soon, since I spent the afternoon writing the first chapter of a full-length story about the First Slayer.

AS I say to Peasant below, the problem with the Templars is that every ancient conspiracy theory these days seems to include them, so it's difficult coming up with something original. I did once come up with an idea about the Order of St Michael, a Catholic religious order originally set up to fight demons and black magic which became an enemy of the Watchers' Council (after all, the Watchers were summoning demons to possess the bodies of women, as well as carrying out other sorcerous practices). In the end, though, the Order became corrupted and self-serving, believing it could use "the enemy's own weapons against it" and that their holiness would protect them from the dangerous effects of using black magic themselves. They were wrong, and eventually the Church suppressed the Order. Or at least, they said pubilcally that they did... I was influenced by the Templars' story when I came up with the idea, and could easily see combining them. Perhps ex-Templars founded the Order of St Michael?

Posted by: Peasant (peasant_)
Posted at: 28th January 2007 07:43 (UTC)

This is wonderful! And of course you must work in the Knights Templar - everything must include the Knights Templar ;o)

There are several recurring themes in the Buffyverse (Sumerian, Vienna, women called Anne) that make me wonder if they had some bigger back-stories that they never got round to telling, or if it was just arising from recurring ideas originating in vague memories of earlier episodes and the sort of habits any writer might slip into unaware.

Posted by: Peasant (peasant_)
Posted at: 28th January 2007 08:01 (UTC)

I've just been looking at the instances of Sumerian in the dialogue and it is fascinating. For a start Giles speaks Sumerian (Primaeval) and although it is standard for anyone 'intelligent' in teh Buffyverse to be multilingual that is still a rather unusual one.

Then it turns out Wesley also speaks Summerian (Carpe Noctum) well enough to be translating a text for fun.

And then Dawn of course has already taught herself enough Sumarian that she can at least roughly read the book in Get It Done. And the mere fact that that book, of all books is in Sumarian is of course highly significant.

So I would say there is definitely an angle of Watcherly interest in Sumerian.

Nice call.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th January 2007 16:27 (UTC)

You're right... and there's another example of Sumerian that's just as important. The spell that they use to summon the spirit of the First Slayer in 'Restless' is in Sumerian, and that's what Überbuffy is chanting as she rises from behind the console, waves away Adam's attacks and defeats him.

Sha me-en-dan. Gesh-toog me-en-dan. Zee me-en-den.
Oo-khush-ta me-ool-lee-a ba-ab-tum-mu-do-en.

We are heart. We are mind. We are spirit.
From the raging storm, we bring the power of the Primeval One.

As for the Knights Templar, you echo my thought. I'm just not sure if they're enough of a cliché that I have to include them, or too much of one... :)

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