Willow: "There's a Slayer handbook?"
Buffy: "Wait. Handbook? What handbook? How come I don't have a handbook?"
Willow: "Is there a T-shirt, too? 'Cause that would be cool..."
Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg.[src]

The Slayer Handbook was a manual given to Slayers by their Watchers to instruct them on how to operate as the Slayer. The book contained history and rules concerning magic and the supernatural world.


The original handbook was a large leather bound tome titled Vampyr, owned by Rupert Giles. It was extraordinarily old; according to Giles and Dracula's recognition, the book was the very first and most complete attempt by man to record and codify the laws of magic. Initially a study of vampires -- the most pressing threat --, its scope grew over time, as did the book's power. It became, by common acceptance, the definitive guide to magic on Earth.[1]

Sam Zabuto, Kendra Young's watcher, owned a copy. According to Kendra, the handbook insisted that Slayers study demonology, and had a great deal of footnotes[2]. Giles had presented it to Buffy Summers when she first arrived in Sunnydale[3], but then decided she wasn't one to follow rules and put the book away[2]. It was presumably kept at his apartment in Sunnydale.

After Giles' death, despite Faith Lehane was his main heiress, he left the book for Buffy. Faith said that Giles was trying to tell Buffy that she was the one true Slayer[4]. It was kept in the weapons chest in Buffy's bedroom in San Francisco[5].

The Slayer Handbook was sought after by Simone Doffler and Severin[6]. They believed it would help them successfully turn Simone into a vampire instead of a zompire, after which she would be able to defeat Buffy. Among its contents, it had the secrets of the Deeper Well spring and how to access it, including the story of the old one Maloker[7].

New Rules

After the new Seed of Wonder was formed, Buffy and Willow Rosenberg discovered the Slayer Handbook completely blank[8]. With the return of magic to the Earth, the book was gradually being rewritten, similarly to Dawn's feelings and memories suffered a "reset" and were returning over time.

Giles noticed a handful of pages that were filled again. Some chronicled the same history of the slayers the book once did, but with new additions: "No longer is but one chosen. The power itself becomes the chosen one... and the one who chooses," which implicated that the combined spiritual force of all past slayers had then more agency than before. Men still couldn't be slayers outright, as Billy Lane didn't share the slayer strength or speed, but the essence of the slayers accepted him as an ally[9] when he had a vision of Sineya[10].

Newly written pages kept appearing as new laws of magic were being established, automatically reproducing common beliefs. Newly sired vampires had the same abilities as the popular Dracula mythology[1] (shapeshifting, walking in the sun, superior strength) listed in the book directly as facts.[9]

But the reverse process of creating rules would also work: writing into the book would cause the information to become true. Following Harmony Kendall's plan, Clem wrote that “unicorns are totally real,” which successfully became a reality[11]. However, similarly to vengeance demons' wishes, the book could interpret a writing into something undesirable, such as Dracula transforming into the most powerful vampire Maloker, instead of himself gaining the most power among vampires. Rules could also be rejected, with the ink squirting from the book's page. The acted as such with retcons, cliches, and crossings.[12]

As the book's owner and responsible, Buffy received lobbyists to discuss their interests in the rules of magic. Among them, Vicki and Harmony negotiated for the new vampires to maintain their new powers, allowing Buffy to limit it by removing their ability to shapeshift by the sunlight.[11]

Buffy and Giles used the book to give the Magic Council members different powers to help with the battles against the Mistress, the Soul Glutton, and the Sculptor[13]. Its subjection theta-seven said: "should a council member be rendered unable to discharge their duties, the rights and responsibilities of their office shall be equally divided among the remaining memeber of the council until a replacement be named."[14]

D'Hoffryn took advantage of it and assassinated all other council members and, more powerful, was able to rob the Vampyr book from Buffy. He attempted to use it book to eliminate vengeance demons' restrictions of acting only under humans' wishes. However, Buffy had contacted her alliances to build the general consensus that he wasn't able to make any change in the book, successfully preventing him to do so.[15]

The vampire Spike added to the book a sonnet about Dawn, as the Key, retaining her power to open portals even on Earth.[16]

Behind the Scenes



Buffy Comics


  1. 1.0 1.1 New Rules, Part Three
  2. 2.0 2.1 "What's My Line, Part Two"
  3. "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
  4. Last Gleaming, Part Five
  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine
  6. The Watcher
  7. The Core, Part One
  8. The Core, Part Five
  9. 9.0 9.1 New Rules, Part Two
  10. Love vs. Life
  11. 11.0 11.1 Day Off (or Harmony in My Head)
  12. New Rules, Part Four
  13. In Pieces on the Ground, Part Three
  14. Own It, Part One
  15. Own It, Part Four
  16. Own It, Part Five

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