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"Into every generation, there is a chosen one. One girl in all the world. She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness; To stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer."
―The prophecy of the Slayer[src]

Slayers were young human females chosen by fate and bestowed with mystical powers that originated from an ancient demon.

While known primarily as the "Vampire Slayer," the Slayer also acted as a hunter of evil mystical forces in general (demons, bad witches, etc.). Slayers were legendary figures throughout history and the world. Additionally, Slayers were viewed and feared as something of a "Boogeyman" figure among demons.

Originally, there was only one Slayer in existence at a time, because for there to be another Slayer, the previous one would have to die for her powers to be inherited. Because of this, throughout the generations, the connection to the Shadow demon for the Slayer power began to change in level, a little lower than what it had started with, and the girl gained more humanity. Continuous training was considered to help get stronger, and the longer they lived made them gain a bit of that power slowly with time. The other option, was to have Buffy with the cost of losing her humanity, fully regain it back with the offer of the Shadow Men, to infuse her with the essence again like they did Sineya that way. Slayers were often referred to as the Chosen One. This process continued for thousands of years until the intervention of Buffy Summers in 2003 caused all Potential Slayers to become actual Slayers.

History

The First Slayer

Buffy: "You think I came all this way to get knocked up by some demon dust? I can't fight this. I know that now. But you guys? You're just men. Just the men who did this... to her. Whoever that girl was before she was the First Slayer."
Shadow Man: "You don't understand."
Buffy: "No, you don't understand! You violated that girl, made her kill for you because you're weak, you're pathetic, and you obviously have nothing to show me."
Buffy Summers[src]
FSlayer

Sineya, the First Slayer

In ancient Africa, a group of tribal elders known as the Shadow Men used powerful magic to infuse a captive native girl with the heart, soul, and spirit of a pure ancient demon.[1] This process granted the girl incredible strength, speed, agility, endurance, a predatory instinct, and superior healing factor: she became the First Slayer, closest to unite with the Shadow demon, making her the first to also be the most powerful Slayer, called to fight the vampires, the demons and other forces of evil that populated Earth and threatened the innocent. Unfortunately, being fully infused with the essence of a powerful demon resulted in The First Slayer - sometimes known as the "Primitive" - becoming little more than an animal, separated from civilization, determined to slay and led completely by an insatiable blood thirst. Despite her having lost her original human nature, however, it must never be forgotten that the First Slayer was a formidable force of good who hunted and killed monsters that preyed on the innocent, and it was said that she also slayed the very last pure demon (Old One) that walked the Earth with the Scythe on Sunnydale grounds before it was officially named.[2] Her power was later borrowed and used with the Enjoining spell by Buffy, Giles, Willow, and Xander to battle Adam. With the success of the spell, and in the middle of the fight with Adam, they were able to speak through Buffy's body, this lead to them sounding like Buffy mixed with Sineya's voice echoing after. Unhappy that Buffy didn't do things on her own, and had the help of her friends, tried to kill them all in their sleep for doing so. From then, she went back to informing the Slayer line as a Spirit guide, through rituals and Slayer dreams.

The Slayer Line

"One Slayer dies, next one's called!"
Buffy Summers.[src]

Throughout time, the Shadow Men's descendants went on to form the Watchers Council, an organization dedicated to finding, training, and supporting Slayers, and shifting the scales from evil to good, in the never ending battle between the two. Whether the ways they went about doing this were entirely ethical or not, the Council was determined to stop the spread of evil.

SlayerChain

The Slayer Chain

However, because of the violent nature of the life of a Slayer, their average lifespan was quite short after being called, under a year at most. Consequently, the Shadow Men's spell also created a large number of Potential Slayers - normal girls around the world who may one day be called.

The Slayer line was not genetic in nature. Slayers did not inherit the calling from their parents and did not pass it on to their children. Dawn Summers was also not a Slayer despite being made from Buffy.

When a Slayer died, one of the "Potentials"—seemingly chosen at random—gained the powers and abilities of the Slayer. The Watcher's Council tried to identify and train these "Potentials" before they are called, locating some as babies, but were not always able to do so, with some girls only being found after they have been "activated" as the Slayer, Buffy Summers being one of those girls.

Each girl that was given the power of the Slayer was seemingly randomly chosen by the "unknown forces that surround the Slayer line." The forces that chose the Potentials, and that activate the one girl in almost two thousand around the world, were a mystery.

Two Slayers

"We're Slayers, girlfriend. The Chosen Two."
Faith Lehane[src]
Buffy what's my line part 2 kendra and buffy still

Buffy Summers and Kendra Young: the first Slayers to exist simultaneously

This process continued through the generations until 1997, when the current Slayer—Buffy Summers was killed in battle, only to be revived via CPR, a few moments later.[3] Buffy retained her Slayer powers, but her momentary clinical death was enough for the next Slayer to be called. For the first time in history, two full-fledged Slayers existed at one time, the other being Kendra Young.

For the next several years, two Slayers co-existed: first Buffy and Kendra, who was called upon Buffy's death, and then Buffy and Faith Lehane, who was called when Kendra died, approximately one year later. Nonetheless, Buffy was still referred to as the Slayer and not just a Slayer. Though it was made clear that the Slayer line no longer ran through Buffy, but rather ran through Kendra who passed it to Faith.

S3 buffy-faith b3x17 sc 01-XL

Buffy and Faith

While Buffy and Kendra immediately were determined to be polar opposites, Buffy and Faith were two sides of the same coin, mirror images of each other, with one being what the other would have become if put under different circumstances in their respective lives. Faith, temporarily became homicidal and joined the other side, though reformed with the help of ensouled champion vampire, Angel, and began to seek redemption. When discussing why "they could never seem to get along," Faith stated that it's because there was only supposed to be one.[4]

Attack Against the Slayer Line

Giles: "We all feared this day would come. When there'd be an attack, not just against an individual Slayer, but against the whole line..."
Buffy: "The First - that's what it wants."
Giles: "Yes. To erase all the Slayers-in-training and their Watchers, along with their methods..."
Buffy: "And then Faith. Then me. And with all the potentials gone, and no way of making another...It's the end. There's no more Slayer. Ever."
Rupert Giles and Buffy Summers[src]

For some reason, Buffy's second resurrection, which was also the first magical one, caused an imbalance in the forces that surrounded the Slayer and caused the First Evil to set in motion a plan to end the Slayer line which would allow the primordial entity to take over the world. This involved assigning teams of Bringers to track down and eliminate all Potential Slayers before turning their attention towards Buffy and Faith, thus destroying the line completely.

Buffy's second death did not call a new Slayer, though various references have been made to the possibility of a Slayer being activated if Buffy dies. Following her first death, Mayor Wilkins said that he didn't want Buffy killed too quickly, because he didn't want a replacement showing up.[5] Following her second death, Buffy herself, addressing a group of Potential Slayers, said, "My death could make you the next Slayer." and "It's true none of you has the power Faith and I have. I think both of us would have to die for a new Slayer to be called, and we can't even be sure that girl is in this room. That's the rule."[6][7]

Breaking the Chain

"So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power, should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of this scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"
Buffy Summers[src]
MassActivation

Slayers being activated worldwide

The mystical "rules" governing the calling of Slayers changed again in 2003, when Buffy discovered the Scythe, forged by the hidden Guardians, for the Slayer to wield.[2] In order to defeat the forces of the First Evil, which would have hunted down and murdered all the Potential Slayers and caused an apocalypse without interference from the Slayer, Buffy had her best friend, Willow Rosenberg, use magic to tap into the Scythe's essence and perform a spell that called every living Potential Slayer at once, thus ending the legacy of "one girl in all the world." Buffy declared, "From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a Slayer."[4]

Amandabattleatthehellmouth

Several newly activated slayers join the Battle at the Hellmouth.

After taking the time to find and count them, Buffy stated that there were at least 1800 Slayers in the world, 500 of which have joined the Slayer organization.[8] Potentials were now activated as Slayers when they reached suitable maturation; Soledad for instance, was activated on her sixteenth birthday some time after Willow's spell.

For centuries, the Watchers Council knew of a myth that tells of a Slayer who will change the world and the balance for the Greater Good resulting in the Universe rewarding that Slayer with incredible power and the chance to bring about a new reality, a new world, Twilight. Buffy's Watcher and long-time father-figure, Rupert Giles, came to believe that the myth was true and that this Slayer was Buffy. Giles secretly travelled the world searching for the only item that could kill Buffy if she reached this "God-hood."

During the Twilight crisis, Giles was murdered, giving Buffy the incentive to use the Scythe to destroy the Seed of Wonder, the heart of the world and source of the supernatural. This act banished magic from Earth's dimension, along with many demons, though all pre-existing supernatural beings with inherent powers, such as vampires and pre-activated Slayers, remained.

By the 23rd century, magic had begun to return to Earth, along with the demons, at which point Melaka Fray was called to be the next Slayer. However, the powers of the Slayer were split between her and her twin brother Harth Fray, who had become a vampire. Harth possessed the mental aspects of the Slayer such as the dreams and premonitions, while Mel only had the physical attributes. 

Activation

"So it's different, I guess for different people. Some, it's a tickle. They don't even know. Or a rush. Fun. But for me, becoming a Slayer was like Mike Tyson in your face... and not the punching you Mike Tyson, ripping your ear off with his teeth Mike Tyson."
Unidentified Slayer[src]
Buffy Summers decoy activation

A Slayer during her activation

Activation was a powerful experience.  Slayers tended to experience slight disorientation but seemingly felt a burst of power, though this momentary experience would vary from Slayer to Slayer. Sometimes the Slayer would experience nothing but a "tickle" and sometimes there would be a sudden rush of energy so powerful that it could knock the Slayer backwards. Their powers appeared to manifest at the exact moment of activation as well as the urge to fight and protect. For instance, the newly-activated Slayers during the Battle at the Hellmouth immediately broke out in battle with an army of Turok-Han vampires despite their apprehension seconds before,[4] and an unidentified Slayer, seconds after activation, instinctively pushed her friends out of the way of an oncoming semi-truck before being hit by it (and surviving).[9]

Powers and Abilities

"She's like a woman fighting for more than life. She fights like fighting is her life. It's like the air she breathes, and she knows she will win because there is no alternative."
Andrew Wells[src]
VampireSlayage

Buffy slays a vampire

The powers that were bestowed upon the Slayer were mostly physical enhancements beyond what any normal human could do, rather than extra abilities garnered from a magical source. It should be noted that while Slayers were physically stronger than most vampires, it was their skill and training that mostly gave them the bigger advantage.

Buffy trained regularly and worked out to enhance and maintain her abilities, suggesting that they would atrophy otherwise.[10] Giles himself claimed that Buffy should hone her skills day and night.[11] A "normal" workout routine that would enhance a regular human's strength and speed increased her abilities much faster and at greater magnitude.[12] Also, Giles said muscle relaxants and adrenal inhibitors would have the same effects on a normal human as they did on Buffy; the effects were simply more pronounced (though it's not specified exactly what was the "organic compound" used in them).[13] Also, regular illnesses such as the flu affected the Slayer not greatly different from its effects on humans; once again the handicap was more noticeable given the Slayer's usually enhanced abilities (Xander commented that Buffy was "half the Slayer"), though this nearly cost Buffy her life while fighting Angelus.[14]

Strength

"You know, not to be rampantly sexist in the workplace, but you've got some serious muscles for a girl."
Ben Wilkinson, commenting on Buffy's strength[src]

Slayers were endowed with increased physical strength greater than that of average adult humans, some demons and most, if not all, vampires.

SlayerStrength

Buffy overpowers three men.

Slayers were capable of lifting and throwing human-sized subjects sizable distances [15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22], propelling enemies into the air with a single blow [16][23][24][25][26][27][28], bending solid metal with their bare hands [15][29][30][31] and punching into concrete walls to no ill effect.[32][33]

FaithKickingGigi

Faith kicking Gigi 50 feet away.

  • Buffy lifted a metal portcullis which an entire group of men were unable to budge [34], snapped a metal blade in half over her knee [35], punched through a demon's chest [36], was seen effortlessly bench-pressing steel girders weighing several hundred pounds used in construction [25], and demolished the interior of an abandoned building from having rough sex.[19] She also accidentally kicked Riley clear across a room even though she "held back a little".[37]
GigiBackHandNeckSnaps

Gigi angrily kills another Slayer with a backhanded-slap.

  • Melaka Fray was able to pick up an overweight vampire several times her own size and body mass, lift him up over her head with both hands and throw him over a distance of presumably over 20–25 feet, with no downward arc to his trajectory (which was only interrupted due to his hitting a metal grate, which was extensively deformed on impact).[39]
  • The psychotic Slayer Dana was able to, through several violent shoves, knock down a metal door as well as deform the edges of a metal gate as she tore it from its hinges.[40]
  • When up against a large group of bullet-proof demons, Simone Doffler easily slaughtered several of them with her hands and feet alone, leaving puddles of their guts and body parts splattered all over the floor.[41]

Much like vampires, the Slayer's strength seemed to be largely metaphysical, as it did not add to their body mass and they remained buoyant enough to swim. Buffy and Faith, who were of relatively slender build, have performed great feats of physical strength without any apparent added muscle mass.

One example of a Slayer being stronger than most vampires was when Buffy easily lifted Olaf's hammer with one hand when Spike was barely able to do so with both hands.[42][43] Angel remarked that Buffy was "a little bit stronger" than he was,[44] though the humorous tenor of the exchange suggests he may have been understating the difference, indicating that a Slayer was stronger than vampires aged 200 plus years.

It appeared that Slayers were able to access even greater levels of strength when upset or angry; for example, during her first battle with Angelus, Buffy was initially outmatched until Angelus went too far with his taunts and insults, after which she snapped and beat him into submission.[45] Additionally, Faith quickly overpowered the more-experienced Buffy and nearly drown her in a swimming pool during a fit of rage.[46]

Speed and Reflexes

BuffySetsOffBearTrap

Buffy steps on a bear trap, setting it off, and whips her leg up before it closes.

Slayers had the ability to move at superhuman speeds and possessed incredible reflexes. For instance, Buffy prevented a crowbar hurled forcefully by a god from killing Dawn by leaping in her way and catching the crowbar, resulting in only a shallow wound from being pierced by the implement.[47]

In addition to this, Buffy has snatched a crossbow bolt in mid-flight [48], blocked a sword with her hands (her eyes were closed at the time) just as it was thrust towards her face [49], caught/deflected/dodged knives thrown at her from varying distances [50][51][52], dodged gunfire from multiple ranges [44][53], and set off a bear trap without getting caught in it.[54] Faith has dodged shotgun blasts at point-blank range as well as a lightning blast fired directly at her [55], while Dana could dodge a tranquilizer dart also fired at point-blank range.[40][56]

The Slayer's running speed was also quite impressive. Buffy, for example, was able to run fast enough to keep up with a school bus going at full speed. The bus had already taken off before she caught up to it and she was still recovering from a deep abdominal stab wound she got only minutes before.[4] She also could outrun a raiding motorcyclist on his bike shortly after her resurrection [24], outrun a fireball [57], and was able to reach the police station to save Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson on foot shortly after Willow Rosenberg reached there via flight.[31]

Agility

Buffyreachesclocktower

Buffy's super agility.

A Slayer was capable of superhuman feats of agility. She could leap to great heights and distances;[15][58][59][10][4][56][60] though the maximum is unknown. Buffy was capable of reaching the roof of the original Sunnydale High School in a very short period of time, after running up a sloping rail, and then flipping onto the roof.[50]

Buffy once utilized her agility and speed to avoid Caleb's attacks which caused him a noticeable amount of frustration.[61] She has also performed standing jumps over the heads of foes much larger than her; including a 6ft tall vampire and a troll.[3][62]

Melaka was seen reaching a roof top by leaping across multiple flying cars, something Buffy claimed she couldn't do herself (though it could just be a matter of practice).[63]

A Slayer's speed and agility allowed her to perform precision attacks with perfect timing. For example, Glory grabbed onto one of Buffy's feet who got out of her grasp by doing a backflip and then kicked her in the face mid-air before landing on her feet.[47] In a similar instance, Buffy grabbed onto an overhead bar, swung on it two times (hitting demons along the way) before letting go and using both her strength and the momentum to kick two demons away mid-air simultaneously.[64]

A Slayer's agility could work unconsciously. An amnesiac Buffy was flipped over by a vampire and landed perfectly on her feet much to her own surprise.[33]

Resilience and Healing

Detective Stein: "It doesn't look like he hit you very hard."
Buffy: "I don't bruise easily."
— Buffy Summers and Detective Stein[src]
SlayerTruckHit

A Slayer survives a collision with a semi-truck.

A Slayer's body was substantially more durable and resistant to blunt force trauma than an ordinary human's. Slayers also had several times the endurance of a common human, so it was difficult, though not impossible, to bruise them, break their bones or strain their joints.

  • Buffy has suffered from a sprained arm as a consequence of fighting vampires, but seemingly healed mid-fight. Despite the injury taking a toll on her fighting and her injured arm being twisted once more, Buffy still could punch a vampire in the face, sending it flying, without any problems later.[65]
  • Buffy looked relatively unfazed after she had a vase smashed over her head by Tucker Wells.[66]
  • Buffy appeared only to sustain some minor damage after being shot by a high-voltage blast from the Initiative's taser blasters while normal human beings and even demons were shown to be incapacitated and require time to recuperate afterward. Buffy was fit enough to escape.[67]
  • Buffy has survived contact with a live electrical wire; the normally lethal jolt simply melted her shoe soles..[68]
  • Melaka Fray was hit with a steel girder thrown at her from a demon and recovered within minutes;[69] she also fell from a height of over five stories to land face-first on a cement sidewalk and be only dazed before fully recovering in moments,[70] and at a later time, to fall four stories down, crash through the cement roof of an adjacent building and fall down the height of one more story, and recover instantly.[39]
  • Buffy could leap from a two-story window with a man in her arms, landing on the ground and letting her body take the brunt of the fall. Buffy was already tanking powerful blows from Glory minutes before.[71]
  • Buffy has been hit by a moving car, got up and walked off, ignoring the several bystanders who offered to help.[34]
  • Faith has fallen from a height of three stories on top of a closed dumpster, rolled off it to hit the ground and got up immediately with no signs of damage;[18] she also could hold her own in a fight with Buffy less than 24 hours after waking from a nine-month coma without suffering any muscle atrophy[32] - a coma which she entered after surviving a deep stab wound to the abdomen immediately followed by a fall from the top of a multi-story building into a moving truck.[72] Also, in an attempt by the Watcher's Council to capture Faith without killing her,[44] they prepared a tranquilizer that was capable of knocking out a man twice her size which is more than enough to subdue an ordinary young woman of her size.
  • Buffy was hospitalized with a high-grade fever, some bone fractures and a injured arm. She was completely healed of her injuries the next morning with no signs of swelling (to the doctor's surprise) and was relieved of her fever the morning after that.[14]
  • Despite being closest to the bomb,[61] Faith survived an explosion that caused an entire sewer tunnel to cave-in, killing several potential slayers in the process.[2] Although she was severely wounded and weakened, Faith was ready to fight Turok-Han vampires after about a day of rest.[4]
  • Slayers also seem to recover quickly from blood loss: Buffy was almost completely drained of blood by Angel, but recovered in time to be able to lead the fight against the Mayor in the same day.[30]

Despite these feats, the Slayer was far from invulnerable. For instance, Buffy has been knocked out by blunt force trauma, such as being hit over the head with a lead pipe by a possessed Cordelia Chase[73] and with a detached mannequin arm by Ethan Rayne,[74] and rendered unconscious when Drusilla jabbed her with a cattle prod,[75] (though it should be noted that it took two jolts from the cattle prod to knock her out). In addition, the Slayer could be injured by conventional bullets, bladed weapons, and more advanced weaponry just as easily as an ordinary human can, but they could recover from even very severe injuries in remarkably short periods of time. Slayers were also susceptible to drugs; Buffy has fallen unconscious to chloroform and rohypnol (though the latter appeared to take longer as Cordelia was already long out by the time Buffy succumbed to its effects).[76][11] Slayers could also be inebriated which could affect their fighting technique [16] or their ability to control their strength.[25]

Usually, Buffy was completely healed within 24 hours of being injured, though more serious injuries have taken at least a few days; Buffy suffered from a severe stab wound to the belly that required at least a few days to heal,[75] and, according to Vi, was heavily bruised for several days after her second encounter with the Turok-Han.[77] Also, the Slayer could receive scars; Buffy had a scar left from the Master's bite on her neck, though Angel and Dracula have also bitten her in the exact same spot.

Stamina

Slayers possessed great stamina. Buffy claimed she had the endurance of ten men and that it took a lot to wear her out when Riley propositioned her for sex immediately after the two already finished having sweating-inducing intercourse.[12]

Faith underwent an intense physical evaluation that involved a lot of running and reflex training. She showed no signs of tiredness or exhaustion following a training session at the obstacle field while her Watcher, Wesley, was still winded and even claimed he was going to need defibrillators to recover. Since Faith was the one being evaluated, she would have had to do more physical activity than him.[78]

Buffy managed to stay at pace with an airborne Willow on foot while Xander (a physically fit male of the same age) could hardly keep up and was seen heavily panting and sweating at the end. Buffy was totally fine.[79]

Senses

"The point is, a Slayer should be able to see them anyway. Without looking, without thinking."
Rupert Giles[src]
Slayer senses

Buffy briefly pauses mid-fight to sense an invisible girl

Slayers possessed a heightened awareness of their surroundings. This heightened awareness could, with experience, allow the Slayer to know the position of an attacker and fight them blindfolded or in the dark.
  • Buffy pinpointed the position of an invisible girl by standing silently for a few seconds to hear her movements before landing a perfect punch.[80]
  • Buffy sensed a trio of invisible demons quietly entering the room before hearing a faint growl that alerted her to the presence of the demon standing behind her just in time to turn around and block it's attack. The demons were silent enough to sneak past Buffy's friends inches away from them unnoticed. She later ordered her fellow Scoobies to be quiet in order for her to sense the position of the other demons during the ambush.[81]
  • Giles once required Buffy to throw a ball at him after being spun around in order to test her awareness of her opponent's location during fights in total darkness. Despite initially missing him when throwing the ball, the ball bounced off the wall she threw it at and landed on him.[82]
  • Buffy dispatched an axe-wielding Watcher while blind-folded, relying entirely on instinct when she found the orders given to her in Japanese too complicated.[83]
  • Buffy easily dispatched the Trio when they were invisible (and as she was invisible herself).[84]
  • Faith turned around in time to prevent a hired assassin from striking her from behind as Faith was doing push-ups.[33]

According to Giles, the Slayer had the potential to sense a vampire's presence within the area. This skill must be honed through practice and the Slayer usually must focus to achieve the full benefit.[85] This was not a constant ability, however. Buffy has never appeared to really hone in on this ability as she confused a couple of human thugs as vampires one time.[19] Buffy also didn't know Angel was a vampire until he revealed his demonic visage after a number of encounters with him (the same with vampire Willow),[86][78] but did sense his presence when he was secretly following her.[85] Additionally, Buffy briefly paused to scan the area around her with a look of uncertainty as Angel watched her from behind the bushes, possibly sensing him but unsure of what it was.[87] She also sensed the presence of the Three when they stalked her.[86]

Dreams

See Prophetic dream

Buffy slayer dreams

Buffy having a psychic dream

All Slayers through the ages shares a psychic link, manifested in dreams.[40] A Slayer would frequently dream of herself as a Slayer in another time and place, even before being called. They could also experience prophetic dreams related to upcoming crises.[85] Dreams existed in their own mystic plane or "dream space" where, for a Slayer, precognitive sense and the inherited memories of other Slayers could manifest themselves.[88] One consequence of this power was that a Slayer has essentially fought all the battles of the Slayers before her. These experiences helped hone their skills and aid them in future battles.[89] Also, Slayers have appeared in each other's dreams, as Buffy and Faith shared several dreams when Faith was in a coma. Faith provided the first cryptic reference to Dawn Summers' arrival.[30]

Melaka Fray, a Slayer of the 23rd century, lacked these abilities. Her twin brother, Harth, received these visions instead. To the best of her temporary mentor Urkonn's knowledge, it was unheard of for a Slayer to have a twin before.

Fighting Skills

"Agility, clarity, stamina and strength. These are the qualities that the Slayer must possess to do her job."
―Quentine Travers[src]
BuffyFightsDrugDemon

Buffy fighting a demon

A Slayer naturally had formidable fighting skills. Buffy easily fended off multiple vampires at the same time while under a memory loss spell, with no memory of her combat training - relying entirely on her natural Slayer instincts.[90] Dana was also seen holding her own against Spike without having any previous combat training.[40]

The Slayer's Watcher trained her to hone these talents, and to teach her specific combat practises, such as various martial arts. The training helped her to battle the occasional demon whose physical strength outclassed her own. For most situations, however, her strength sufficed.

Her fighting prowess also appeared to extend to her weapon proficiency. When Giles trained Buffy to spar with a quarter staff for the first time, she easily out-manoeuvred him. Despite his initial insistence that he would teach her how to use a crossbow in steady time after mastering the quarter staff which needed "countless hours of vigorous training", he quickly decided that Buffy was now ready after she bested him.[91]

Potential Slayers had innate ability in combat, even before being called, as Amanda was able to defeat a vampire and ward off a couple of Bringers without any previous combat training.[6]

A Slayer's natural fighting skills can likely be attributed to their dreams of past Slayers. When Buffy fought Melaka who had currently the advantage, Buffy managed to overcome this because she had "dreamed every battle a Slayer's ever fought" and Melaka hadn't because she lacked the Slayer's psychic abilities.[63]

Other Abilities

  • Slayers possessed impressive throwing accuracy. Buffy killed a vampire standing behind her by spinning her waist towards her direction and hurling a stake at her while barely looking which landed perfectly in her heart.[65] Buffy has also dusted numerous vampires by tossing stakes at them [15][92][93], impaled a fleeing vampire by throwing a spear at it [23], hit a Spike in the head with a church censer [94], and accidentally killed an airborne fly by spitting a pin at it.[95] Proving that this is a natural Slayer ability, when Buffy's powers were stripped by the Council, she was surprised to find that she was unable to properly throw knives at her target.[13]
  • Buffy has fallen victim to hypnosis on multiple occasions, only to gain the strength to overcome it and resist any further attempts at hypnosis by the same vampire.[3][10][95] Lothos claimed that no Slayer before her could resist his hypnotic power, meaning Buffy's resistance to hypnosis might be based on her own willpower rather than her Slayer powers.
  • Sometime after establishing the Slayer Organization, Buffy gained a multitude of new powers: her strength, speed, agility, and reflexes were greatly enhanced, and she developed telescopic vision, superhuman hearing, flight, and a level of invulnerability. Willow initially theorized that these powers were a result of Buffy unwittingly absorbing the collective powers of all of the Slayers who had died since they began the Slayer Organization, but it was later discovered that these abilities were granted to her by the Universe as a reward for changing the world and the balance of the grand design. However, Buffy lost these new powers when she destroyed the Seed of Wonder.

Blood

It was briefly mentioned by Willow to Anya about Slayers all having the same blood, Dawn having been originally "The Key", turned human from Buffy's blood, in the end wasn't gifted Slayer powers.[6] The blood of the Slayer could be consumed by vampires to either strengthen themselves or to cure affliction. For instance, the Master used Buffy's blood to break himself free from his mystical prison.[3] Buffy also used her blood to cure Angel from the Killer of the Dead - Slayer's blood being the only cure.[96] Slayer's blood was also considered a powerful aphrodisiac.[97]

Cruciamentum

To test a Slayer's natural ingenuity and capability, the Watcher's Council administers a test known as "the Cruciamentum" if/when they turn eighteen, which striped the Slayer of her powers and forced her to fight a powerful vampire without them.[13] It should be noted that the compound used to weaken the Slayer made her typically weaker than most normal humans. This rendered a Slayer who would still normally be physically fit without her powers remarkably feeble even for a human. This forced the Slayer to rely solely on her intellect and wit.

Loneliness

"No… friends… just the kill… we are… alone."
The First Slayer.[src]
Buffy welcome to the team alone

Beginning with the Primitive, the Slayer was always meant to act alone. According to the "Slayer Handbook", as stated by Kendra, the Slayer was supposed to separate herself from civilization for "security". Spike himself remarked "A Slayer with family and friends. That sure wasn't on the brochure." [98]

Buffy was known to be unique, as she had a support system stemming from the Scooby Gang, her mother, and later her sister, though she still constantly felt alone, even after the activation of all of the Potential Slayers. Buffy stated that the feeling of being alone comes with the package of being The Slayer. Robin Wood, the only known child of a Slayer (Nikki Wood) once referred to this as "isolationist Slayer crap."[4]

Buffy and the core Scoobies (Willow, Xander, and Giles) channeled the spirit of the First Slayer by performing the enjoining spell, infusing mind (Giles), heart (Xander), and spirit (Willow) with Buffy's strength to become omnipotent and have enough power to kill Adam.[99] The spirit of The First Slayer was not pleased with this, and attempted to kill the Scoobies in their dreams demanding that the Slayer act alone, though she was defeated by Buffy.[100] Traditionally a Slayer's only companion is her Watcher, evolved from the Shadowmen who created the First Slayer. Possibly as a result of this many Slayer's demonstrate an affinity to older male authority figures such as Mayor Wilkins and Robin Wood.

Human Awareness of Slayers

Throughout most of history, the majority of humans remained ignorant or in denial of the existence of Slayers, which notable exceptions including the Order of Dagon, the Knights of Byzantium, the lawyer firm Wolfram & Hart and demon/vampire hunters like Sid and Daniel Holtz. By 1999, all the class promote known the existence of the Slayer Buffy Summers The U.S. Governmental Military Initiative, like Forrest believed initially that the Slayer was only a boogeyman-like myth meant to frighten demons before Buffy came in contact with them.

After this disclosure, it seems that all governmental military army in lilk with supernatural knows her existence.

In the early 21st century, the existence of Slayers became public knowledge, causing them to become a subject of fear that capitalized on the fact that many humans believe them to be terrorists. Because of a Slayer trying to dust Harmony Kendall, the face of vampires to the media, and began starring in her own reality show called Harmony Bites.

Weapons and Equipment

"Lesson the first: A Slayer must always reach for her weapon. I've already got mine."
―Spike[src]
Buffy slayer tools-comics

Buffy, with a chest full of various Slayer weapons

Slayers typically used weapons to fight vampires and other demons. Simple wooden stakes, crosses, and holy water were common components to a Slayer's inventory due to their effectiveness against vampires, though Buffy would usually only be seen armed with nothing but a stake during patrols because her physical power was enough to subdue them. Swords, axes, and knives were also the most common implements used for dispatching demons, though other melee weapons (generally of medieval European design) were also used. Ranged weaponry was usually confined to crossbows. On occasion, more sophisticated weaponry was used; Buffy Summers has used a military-issue rocket launcher to defeat a particularly tough demon.[45] Buffy had a strong distaste for guns, and one of the rules of her Slayer organization was that no Slayer used them. Rogue Slayer Simone Doffler and her group, on the other hand, were enamored of guns.

The Slayer Melaka Fray used weaponry native to her time period, such as ray-guns, as well as traditional Slayer weapons.

Scythe

Main article: Scythe
Buffy chosen end of days and chosen still

Buffy wielding the Scythe.

The Scythe was a magical weapon forged by the Guardians centuries ago to help the Slayer kill off the last of the Old Ones, in that time it was the First Slayer, and happened to be in Sunnydale before it was called that. The last remaining member of the Guardians passed the Scythe onto Buffy Summers in 2003 who shortly used it to activate every Potential Slayer in the world and it has been a prominent weapon in her arsenal ever since.

In 23rd century, the Scythe was passed onto Melaka Fray, the current Slayer.

"Slayer Emergency Kit"

Main article: Slayer Emergency Kit

Notable Slayers

For a chronological list of past Slayers, please see Slayer timeline. For a list arranged alphabetically, please see list of Slayers

  • SineyaThe First Slayer, the first Slayer to be tremendously powerful, has wandered the world to slay, killed the last Old One to walk the Earth, and now aids as a spirit guide for the Slayer line, through rituals and Slayer dreams.
  • Yuki Makimura: A Slayer turned into a vampire.
  • Xin RongThe first Slayer to be killed by Spike.
  • Nikki WoodA long-lived Slayer, a mother and the second Slayer Spike killed.
  • Buffy Summers: The Slayer responsible for the activation of every Potential Slayer in the world, along with preventing several apocalypses, slaying the Master, forming relationships with vampires, besting Dracula in a game of wits, became the first Slayer to have the collective power of every Slayer that had died, to become a Super Slayer, and many other achievements.
  • Kendra YoungActivated after Buffy's temporary death, creating two Slayers in the process.
  • Faith Lehane: Briefly a rogue Slayer and the last one to be called under the original succession line before its abolishment.
  • Simone Doffler: A rogue Slayer turned into a vampire.
  • Melaka Fray: A Slayer from the 23rd Century who had all the physical attributes of the Slayer but none of the psychic abilities, which were instead inherited by her twin brother.

Slaypires

Main article: Slaypire

Slayers were capable of being turned into vampires just as ordinary humans were. The resulting "Slaypire" would have the combined strengths of both vampires and Slayers, but retain vampiric weaknesses.

Because the creation of a slaypire involves a Slayer's death, it also called a new Slayer. This means that there has been at least one incident where there were two Slayers before Buffy and Kendra's time. However, as one was a vampire and no longer a true Slayer, Buffy and Kendra arguably maintain their status as the first two contemporaneous Slayers.

Appearances

Angel

Behind the Scenes

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel often shows inconsistencies in their characters' physical strength; for example, Buffy was unable to kick down reinforced doors on multiple occasions,[15][68][101] but has shown to be able to casually kick down a solid steel door.[2] At one point, Buffy couldn't budge a metal chandelier [102], but can lift a portcullis with all her might (which would weigh around 1-2 tons).[34] This has been acknowledged frequently in commentaries and interviews by writers and creators of the shows. According to Riley, Buffy gets stronger every day.
  • In the 1992 film, the ability to detect vampires manifested itself in the form of feminine cramps. (Merrick describes this as a "natural reaction to their unnatural presence.") This ability was inconsistent, as Buffy was unaware that a vampire was hiding in a photo booth right next to her. The movie, however, is not considered canon, and this aspect of her powers was not carried over to the series. Additionally, the Slayer possessed a birthmark as a sign of her legacy (a large mole) which Buffy had removed before she was called.
  • In the original script for "Two to Go", Buffy is described as running close to 40 miles an hour.
  • The Slayer could possibly have a heightened immune system: Buffy is never seen getting sick and Joyce commented that she "never gets sick" when she contracted the flu during a period of great emotional stress. Though, this could be simply attributed to a healthy lifestyle. Giles also says that death and disease are possibly the only things Buffy cannot fight.
  • Writer Doug Petrie mentions in his DVD commentary for "The Initiative" that he wanted there to be a scene where Buffy is seen eating about three times the usual amount of food for her normal lunch, suggesting that Slayers have a faster metabolism than regular humans. Faith also mentions that slaying always makes her "hunger and horny" in "Faith, Hope & Trick" and Dawn claims the fridge is the first place Buffy goes to after patrolling and that she's "such a pig after killing things" in "Wrecked". However, this is contradicted when Buffy says her idea of a binge is a low fat yoghurt in response to Faith's statement and Joyce comments that Buffy's eating habits save money in "Prophecy Girl". It's entirely within reason that a Slayer's physically-demanding life involving regular training and hunting would yield a faster metabolism.
  • At the beginning of "Tabula Rasa", Buffy turns around to arm herself against Spike who was quietly approaching her. The original script for the episode describes this as her "Spider senses", a reference to the comic hero's Spiderman's ability to anticipate danger at the right time. Slayers have demonstrated similar abilities from time to time.
  • During the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a short prologue would be used infrequently throughout each season at the start of each episode. It went:

"In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer"

In the second season it was narrated by Anthony Stewart Head. It was featured in the episodes "Angel", "I Robot, You Jane", "The Puppet Show", "Nightmares" and "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" in season one and in episodes "Some Assembly Required", "School Hard", "Inca Mummy Girl", "Reptile Boy", "The Dark Age", "Ted", "Bad Eggs", "Phases", "Go Fish" in season two.

See also

References

  1. "Get It Done"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "End of Days"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Prophecy Girl"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "Chosen"
  5. "Enemies"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Potential"
  7. "Chosen" shooting script
  8. The Long Way Home, Part One
  9. The Chain
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Buffy vs. Dracula"
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Reptile Boy"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Out of My Mind"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Helpless"
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Killed by Death"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 "The Harvest
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Witch"
  17. "Where the Wild Things Are"
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Five by Five"
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Smashed
  20. "Doublemeat Palace"
  21. "Beneath You"
  22. Freefall, Part Three
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Into the Woods"
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Bargaining, Part Two"
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 "Life Serial"
  26. "Dead Things"
  27. "Two to Go"
  28. A Beautiful Sunset
  29. "Phases"
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "Graduation Day, Part Two"
  31. 31.0 31.1 "Two to Go"
  32. 32.0 32.1 "This Year's Girl"
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 "Salvage"
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 "Anne"
  35. "Older and Far Away"
  36. "Normal Again"
  37. "A New Man
  38. "No Future for You, Part One"
  39. 39.0 39.1 The Calling
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 "Damage"
  41. "Apart (of Me), Part Three"
  42. "The Gift"
  43. "Blood Ties"
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 "Sanctuary"
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Innocence"
  46. "No Future for You"
  47. 47.0 47.1 "Blood Ties"
  48. "Help"
  49. "Becoming, Part Two"
  50. 50.0 50.1 "Earshot"
  51. "Some Assembly Required"
  52. "Once More, with Feeling"
  53. The Long Way Home, Part Four
  54. "Homecoming"
  55. "Revelations"
  56. 56.0 56.1 "Release"
  57. "Grave"
  58. "Inca Mummy Girl"
  59. "Lie to Me"
  60. Anywhere but Here
  61. 61.0 61.1 Touched
  62. "Triangle"
  63. 63.0 63.1 Time of Your Life, Part Two
  64. "Life Serial"
  65. 65.0 65.1 "The Freshman"
  66. "The Prom
  67. "The Yoko Factor
  68. 68.0 68.1 "I Robot, You Jane"
  69. Ready, Steady ...
  70. Big City Girl
  71. "No Place Like Home"
  72. Graduation Day, Part One
  73. "Bad Eggs"
  74. "The Dark Age"
  75. 75.0 75.1 "Crush"
  76. "Gingerbread"
  77. "Showtime"
  78. 78.0 78.1 "Doppelgangland"
  79. "Time of Your Life, Part One"
  80. "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
  81. "Family"
  82. "Band Candy"
  83. "Checkpoint"
  84. "Gone"
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
  86. 86.0 86.1 "Angel"
  87. "Pangs"
  88. The Long Way Home, Part Three
  89. Time of Your Life, Part Four
  90. "Tabula Rasa"
  91. "Angel"
  92. "Bad Girls"
  93. "As You Were"
  94. "What's My Line, Part Two"
  95. 95.0 95.1 The Origin
  96. "Graduation Day, Part One"
  97. "Fool for Love"
  98. "School Hard"
  99. "Primeval"
  100. "Restless"
  101. "Lie to Me"
  102. "The Puppet Show"

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