|This article is about a canonical subject whose real name is unknown, and is known only by a title, nickname or alias.|
- "Very few Vampires are cunning enough to live as long as I."
- ―The Master[src]
The Master was an ancient and powerful vampire, who was also named the "King of Vampires". He was leader of the Order of Aurelius, a vampire cult that worshiped the Old Ones, and also the sire of Darla. For centuries he sought to bring about the end of the world until he was stopped by slayer, Buffy Summers.
The Old World
- Angelus: "So, Darla here tells me you're some sort of master?"
- Darla: "The Master. He commands our order."
- — Angelus and Darla[src]
In the 12th Century The Master was very powerful and enslaved by the Seed of Wonder. By 1609, he had already lived past the curse of human features, becoming much more demonic in appearance than other vampires. At this time, The Master (posing as a priest) came to the Virginia Colony and sired a prostitute who was dying of syphilis. About a hundred years after she was born, he would nickname her "Darla", meaning "Dear One/Loved One".
In a sewer in London, England in 1760, The Master met Angelus, Darla's progeny after they had returned from Yorkshire, England. Angelus, mocking The Master's appearance and the Order's severe dogmas of underground dwelling, was pummeled into the ground after the Master lost his temper during their confrontation. Although, even then, Angelus showed the Master no respect and mocked his aged visage. Darla, preferring Angelus' offer of pleasure and adventure, left with the "stallion". His most treasured disciple is Darla, whom he views as a daughter. When Darla chooses to abandon The Master to pursue her love affair with Angelus, he respects her decision to leave and orders his henchmen to let them pass, but estimated that the couple would last no more than a century before they separated. Despite the fact that Angelus insulted and offended the master, he was nonetheless impressed with his viciousness and once commented on missing him.
Around 1880, The Master welcomed Darla back to the Order after she and Angelus had a fight. However, she soon returned to the arms of her lover.
After 1900, Darla returned to The Master for good.
The New World
- "There was an earthquake that swallowed about half the town. And him too"
- ―Willow Rosenberg[src]
By 1937, The Master, moved to the New World with the hopes of opening the Hellmouth located in Sunnydale and bringing about the end of the world by releasing the Old Ones. However, an earthquake hit town in the middle of the ritual, swallowing half the town, including the church in which The Master was performing the ritual. As the ritual had already commenced, The Master was trapped within a mystical prison, like a cork in a bottle. Now all he had to do to open the Hellmouth was to break through the prison. But before the earthquake The Master killed a Slayer and drained her of blood.
- "My ascension is at hand! My time is come! Glory! Glory!"
- ―The Master[src]
In 1997, after a 60 year sleep in a pool of blood, The Master arose again and used the acolytes of his Order of Aurelius to escape his prison within the Hellmouth. This involved the Harvest, a single night occuring each century where the Master could draw power from one of his minions (named "the Vessel") each time it fed, hoping to gather enough power for him to escape. Such Vessel was Luke who drank from several patrons from the Bronze nightclub until he was killed by current Slayer, Buffy Summers, disrupting the Master's plan. She further upset him by killing some of his cherished minions, such as Zachary. Tired of her meddling, the Master sent the Three to assassinate her but they failed so he had them killed as penance.
Worst of all, The Master became visibly distraught and nearly lost the will to carry out his plans after Darla's death at an ensouled Angel's hand. Nevertheless, words of encouragement from his right-hand child, the Anointed One, strengthened his resolve to continue making preparations for his ascension.
Even though it was prophesied that the Master would rise and kill her, Buffy confronted him in the latter's prison, but was quickly defeated due to the Master's hypnosis. Holding an incapacitated Buffy, the Master informed her that if it weren't for Buffy's attempt at him then he wouldn't of been able to leave. The Master bit her and left her to drown in a pool, the Slayer's blood empowering him he wasted no time in escaping, however, he commented positively on her prom dress before leaving. Fortunately, Angel and Xander Harris arrived in time to revive her, and Buffy confronted the Master just as he ascended to the Sunnydale High roof above where the Hellmouth started opening.
He made another attempt at her with his hypnosis but she somehow resisted and the two began hand-to-hand fighting. As a creature from the Hellmouth rose and attacked Buffy's friends, the Master remarked on how Buffy would still making jibes while his hell was raining on earth. Buffy grabbed the Master by the neck and said if he was so excited about hell, he should go there. She then ultimately defeated him by throwing him through the skylight and impaling him on a large piece of wood. Unlike most vampires, who turn completely to dust upon their death, The Master left behind a skeleton. His remains were then buried in the Sunnydale Cemetery and consecrated with holy water.
Months later, having assumed leadership of the Order, the Anointed One attempted to resurrect the Master via a revivification ritual. He forced his minions to dig up the Master's bones despite the holy water and kidnapped Rupert Giles, Jenny Calendar, Willow Rosenberg and Cordelia Chase, all of whom where in the vicinity of the Master when he died as the ritual required. Buffy, along with Angel and Xander, intervened and killed all of the remaining minions present before crushing the Master's bones to dust with a sledgehammer, ending his threat permanently.
- "Kids. They only visit when they need something."
- ―The Master[src]
Following Buffy and Angel's rejection of their roles as the creators of a new universe and their releasing of thousands of new demons, Spike revealed that the Seed of Wonder, which was the thing from which everything came, was what they needed to end this. Based on information Spike acquired from the Las Vegas branch of Wolfram & Hart, he explained that the Seed had been there all along. The seed was not made by Angel and Buffy, but rather its existence even preceded The First and it was considered the beginning of everything. It had been specifically kept in Sunnydale in the church where The Master was trapped after his original attempt to open the Hellmouth, and that the Slayer Organization needed to collect it in order to avert a demonic invasion. However, the seed was guarded by a protector in the form of the Master, returned to life via intervention of the Seed who chose him as the Seed's protector and restored him to "life."
As a result of the battle, Willow overtook the power of the Seed, abandoning the Master in the church. When Buffy and a possessed Angel arrived, Angel shattered the Master's head with a single punch, dusting him once again.
- "I may be dead, but I'm still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you."
- ―Buffy Summers commenting on the Master's appearance[src]
The Master possessed a more ghoulish appearance than regular vampires which was apparently permanent, preventing him from assuming a human visage, a likely effect of his old age. His features somewhat resembled Count Orlok from Nosferatu. He had white pale skin, a bald head with pointed ears and long, talon-like nails. His face had the basic vampire brow ridge, wrinkles and fangs except with blood red eyes instead of yellow and a snub, bat-like nose. He also had a distinctive red stain on his nose down to his mouth which Buffy refered to as "fruit punch mouth".
At least since the late 20th century, the Master was always seen wearing a black leather trench coat with a belt and matching pants and boots. In the 17th century when he sired Darla, the Master disguised himself as priest, using a dark robe with its hood covering his face. Later in the 18th century while meeting Angelus, the Master wore a black leathery vest with long, quilted sleeves.
- "Nobody died...what's the fun in burying someone who's already dead?"
- ―The Master[src]
As the leader of the Order of Aurelius, The Master was a ruthless overlord who expected total devotion from his followers. Minions who failed to carry out their objectives were brutalized by the Master himself or called upon to mutilate themselves in an act of penance. He was a strong traditionalist who viewed human culture and life above ground as "pestilence", forbidding his minions from living on the surface, only allowing them to leave when hunting, however, he seemed change this view when rising from the church after being freed, admiring the surface after decades of isolation where it he forgot what it was like. He also held a belief in demonic superiority, living in tribute to the Old Ones and claiming that vampires are undeniably the superior race in the Wishverse.
Despite his cold-hearted nature, the Master was prone to favoritism. His most treasured disciple is Darla, whom he views as a daughter, and nearly lost the will to continue his plans when she was staked by Angel. Additionally, the Master was fairly charismatic and had a dry sense of humor, asking the Anointed One if the earthquake that preceded the oncoming apocalypse was "5.1" on the Richter scale and blatantly remarking Buffy's sarcastic comment about his lair's water leakage as "the feeble banter portion of the fight".
Powers and Abilities
- "You're way out of your league, kid. The Master'll kill you before you can breathe -- if you're lucky."
Because of his extremely advanced age as the oldest vampire ever recorded, the Master possessed superhuman strength, speed, reflexes and endurance far beyond those of any other vampires. He clearly demonstrated this by defeating many Slayers throughout history, including Yuki Makimura and Buffy Summers. He also possessed psychic powers that allowed him to hypnotize his victims with the wave of a hand, thus taking control of their bodies and rendering them unable to move. Not even the Slayer was capable of resisting it.
The Master was capable of sensing sources of mystical power, reading minds, limited telekinesis, and projecting his thoughts to plague dreams. he also possesses an adept skill in sorcery - as he attempted to open the hellmouth.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Mark Metcalf.
- Joss Whedon's notes for "Welcome to the Hellmouth" indicated that The Master's real name was Heinrich Joseph Nest and his age was 600 years. However, the flashback to 1609 in "Darla" shows The Master already with his bat-like demonic visage, meaning he was far older than just 600 years by 1997, as this would have made The Master over 300 by 1609, and he wouldn't look like that, as shown with Darla who is over 400 years old.
- The Master was originally supposed to have a beard and long hair. Mark Metcalf came up with the bald, more demonic look as a homage to Nosferatu.
- The Master is the only vampire in the series to leave behind skeletal remains.
- The Master was indirectly responsible for The Whirlwind: The Master sired Darla, who sired Angelus, who sired Drusilla, who sired Spike. On an interesting note, that indirect action brought forth two of the worst known vampires (Angelus and Spike), who had an even worse reputation than The Master. It also left the Master responsible for his own demise and the end of the Order of Aurelius, due to Angel's pivotal role in his death, and Spike's murder of the Anointed One.
- In the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer video game, The Master returns as a phantom and, with the help of a trio of demons known as the Dreamers, possesses Angel to regain a physical presence. Ultimately Willow Rosenberg banishes him from Angel, the Scoobies subsequently using a spell to make him temporarily corporeal once again. With Buffy now able to stake the Master once he regains a solid form, Giles states that Buffy's destruction of The Master's body in this manner also destroyed his spirit. In the game the Master also possesses other abilities such as teleportation, levitating enemies with his hand and switching between corporeal and uncorporeal for a limited time.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Comics Issue #38 False Memories, we learn moments before his final death, the Master was able to move his essence to the astral plane, where he would remain until he could return into a new body. An attempt to bring him back to the land of the living by his congregation, the Eidu, was nearly successful. Using the Eidu Amulet, which is a bridge to the spirit world, the Eidu kidnapped Xander and planned to use his body as the vessel for the Master's astral essence to inhabit. Before the Master could enter the body, Willow and Tara cast a spell to temporarily keep the Master's spirit from possessing Xander. During the ritual, the Master's essence was destroyed after he was struck with a vapor blade by Buffy's sister, Dawn. 
- "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
- "The Harvest"
- "Teacher's Pet" (Only mentioned)
- "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
- "Prophecy Girl" (Killed)
- "When She Was Bad" (Only in visions)
- "The Wish" (Only in Wishverse)
- "Doppelgängland" (Only in Wishverse archive footage)
- "Darla" (Only in flashbacks)
- "Lessons" (Only as a disguise of the First Evil)
- Last Gleaming
- ↑ Joss Whedon's notes for "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
- ↑ Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Xbox)
- ↑ When She Was Bad
- ↑ Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #36
- ↑ Buffy the Vampire Slayer:Comic #38 False Memories
- ↑ http://buffycomics.hellmouthcentral.com/monsters/html/master.html