Angel 101: Demons, Souls, And Consciousness
By Maquis Leader
Recently in my Live Journal, I had a question that prompted me to start typing like a madwoman...
While I like your writing, this is ultimately the one element that I find confusing, so maybe you can help me out.
If Angel and Angelus are two separate conciousnesses inhabiting the same body, in "turning" Buffy into a Vampire (which I also think Angelus would want to do if he wasn't going to just kill her) wouldn't he be getting a heretofore stranger of a demoness?
What, if any, inherent connections or ties do you see between the soul and demon, such that Angelus could reasonably expect to be pleased with the results of turning Buffy. Or would he need to make the Vampire Buffy have to share a body with the soul of human Buffy first in order to make sure VampBuffy craved him in return too?
Good questions! And I did say I was going to share my theories on Angel, so here goes!
First let’s start with Liam, after all it’s his body and soul that these personalities are playing with. When Liam was turned, his soul left to go to places unknown. I don’t see Liam as an evil person, so I doubt seriously that he went to hell. However, I don’t think he went to heaven either. Perhaps limbo? Angel has no memory of where he was any of the times his soul has been removed from his body, unlike Buffy who clearly remembers being in heaven.
From what little was shown of Liam’s father, it’s unclear if he was physically abusive, but he was certainly mentally abusive. Definitely verbally abusive. His father held the opinion that his son would amount to nothing and was a “disappointment”. Granted, Liam was into the drinking, wenching, and brawling a wee bit too much, but he was basically a good person. Who knows? A few years down the road and he might have settled down a bit and possibly followed his desire to see the world by making a new start in what was then the “new world” of America as many young men did at that time. Or he might have come to some other bad end; we’ll never know.
Enter Angelus, the demon who entered and took possession of Liam’s body as his soul departed. Both Darla and Angel have said that the memories of the person form the demon. So it was with Angelus – who would have considered himself as Liam when he rose. All the memories of Liam’s life were now his. There seems to be a double standard in that the memories were looked upon as belonging to the soul before him and also as being his.
One of the first things that the newly risen Liam did was to go back to his home and murder his family. The feelings of anger and frustration for his father were strong enough to bring him back in an effort to find closure. As he confronts his father, he says “You told me I wasn’t a man. You told me I was nothing – and I believed you. You said I’d never amount to anything. Well, you were wrong.” He then showed his new face, “You see, Father? I have made something out of myself after all.”
Unfortunately for Angelus – taking on the new name after his sister Kathy asked if he were an angel – Darla snatches away his feeling of victory by telling him that his father has really won, because now he can never approve of him. “Your victory over him took but moments. But his defeat of you will last lifetimes.”
Was it this frustration that guided Angelus into becoming one of the most vicious vampires in history? I wonder if this was the goad that Darla used to make him that way. Remember that Darla was the one who selected Drusilla for him and it was she who brought the gypsy girl to him as a gift. Who knows? Without Darla, Angelus might have been nothing more than the average vampire.
One hundred and forty five years pass, and Angelus chalks up an impressive tally of victims, gets his tattoo noted in a Watcher’s diary, and earns the title the Scourge of Europe. Then Darla gifts him with what turns out to be a not so happy birthday present, a tasty little gypsy girl. A certain tasty little gypsy girl with a vengeance minded family. I’m not certain how the gypsies found out that the girl was killed by Angelus. Perhaps Darla and Angelus took the body back to the gypsies camp? Angelus did arrange later victims to appear as if sleeping in their beds, as we found out in Amends.
The gypsy elders, one way or another, drew Angelus in and cursed him. Not being the most foresighted of people, they decided the best way to punish Angelus was to put his soul back so that he would feel guilty for all that he had done. Nice plan, only Angelus never had a soul to begin with. There is a moment where the gypsy elder seems to acknowledge that fact. “You don’t remember… everything you’ve done for a hundred years. In a moment you will.” However, either he didn’t realize that the soul belonged to Liam – who is guilty of none of Angelus’ acts – or he didn’t care. He also seemed blissfully unaware of the loophole and what it would do to his own people. Be careful what you curse for.
With the return of his soul to his body, Liam is at first confused at where he is and doesn’t understand what the gypsy is talking about. Then the memories begin to register and he collapses at the man’s feet. To Liam these would seem to be his memories, just as Angelus assumed his memories at the time he rose. And the same “whose memory is it?” double standard would later apply as Angel often distanced himself from Angelus’ deeds and took on the guilt for them at the same time.
At this point, my theory is that Liam and Angelus are both fighting for control of the body. When we see Angelus in the flashback, he’s babbling about victims and when he’s hungry, he pulls a Jekyll and Hyde act on a group of Romanian locals. First, he asks for food, and when rebuffed he says he wants the woman. After morphing into game face and grabbing her, he agrees with the woman’s companions that he is a “monster”. Angelus bites into her throat to feed and then backs off and runs away.
Liam seems to gain control away from Angelus but the demon is far from locked away. He manages to overcome Liam’s disgust and unwillingness to feed off of humans by getting him to feed only on rapists, murderers, thieves, and other scoundrels. Was it by rationalizing that it was okay to feed of those who were evil? Darla remarks that he’s been feeding off of rats. Is it only intense hunger that allows Angelus to dictate a tastier meal?
Angelus immediately runs to Darla for help only to be rejected because of the soul inside of him. Angelus followed Darla, catching up to her in China in 1900. There’s no mention of exactly what Angelus did during that two year period. It’s possible that he went back to Ireland and found he had no ties there any longer. Liam has no family to turn to and the changes to the world in the past century and a half might have confounded him a bit. Why else would he seek out the vampire who murdered him? To Angelus, his sire and crazy chylder are the only family he has. Unfortunately, Liam’s soul keeps him from staying with his family unit. When presented with a test from Darla, drain a fat juicy baby and you can stay with me, he grabs the baby and runs.
In 1902 Angel arrived in New York. He made the ocean crossing in the hold of the ship, feeding off of rats and staying as far away from the people on board as possible. During Orpheus, Angelus tells Faith it was to avoid “temptation”. I believe that Liam gained complete control during the voyage. There would have, hopefully, been no murderers or other scoundrel types to feed from. Therefore his diet would have had to be restricted to the whiskered and long tailed passengers.
Keeping Angelus from feeding on innocent humans would have taken an extraordinary amount of willpower. A willpower that Liam didn’t appear to have. Somewhere in the struggle to control the urges of the vampire and deal with the overwhelming guilt from the memories of a century and a half of murder – Angel was born. A third personality, created by Liam’s mind, to handle both battles.
Multiple personalities is a recognized personality disorder; many victims of trauma and abuse create another personality or personalities to protect themselves from a reality they can’t deal with. Liam is buried somewhere within Angel’s mind, safely tucked away from a world he doesn’t recognize and the guilt that a demon is now residing in his body. Angel, ironically enough, may have been forged not only from Liam’s desire to have a protector, but also from the strength and purpose that Angelus brought to him. Nothing like being your own jailer.
So what happens when the soul is taken away? Angelus is free, well yeah, that’s a given. But both Angel and Liam are gone, because the soul is Liam’s and Angel is merely a personality he created. With the binding soul gone, Angel has no strength and is merely a memory in Angelus’ mind. Perhaps he’s locked away in a box somewhere? I wouldn’t think so because he’s not a soul or consciousness, so there would be no awareness while Liam’s soul is in limbo or wherever it is.
And when the soul comes back? The moment of confusion seen in Becoming may have been Liam taking a look around and going “oh no, not again!” and quickly retreating behind Angel once more. I noticed in Orpheus that there didn’t seem to be that moment. I’m not sure if that means that Liam never even took a look around before diving behind Angel or if it had to do with Angel being in the hallucination with Angelus and Faith only moments before. That’s another theory I think!
After that dip in amateur psych – can anyone spot the person who’s had just enough psych and med classes to be dangerous – back to the original question! If the demon is a separate consciousness, why doesn’t it have memories prior to rising? Why do the memories of the soul that previously owned the body form the demon? Wouldn’t a turned Buffy be a total stranger to Angelus?
In The Harvest, Giles tells the newly formed Scooby gang that the first vampires were made as a result of the last demon to leave this reality biting a human, mixing their blood and “infecting” that person with the demon’s “soul”. That’s the last time we ever hear it said that a demon – any demon – has a soul, by the way.
Turning a victim requires that the vampire drain the victim until the point of death and then feed their own blood back to the victim. It’s been shown that resisting drinking isn’t an issue; even Liam – after crying out in pain and falling to his knees – still ends up wrapping his arms around Darla to hold her closer, only moments after she shoves his face in her, ah… blood. Does the sharing of the now mixed blood pass on the infection? Does the infection create a demon within the body? My daughter added her thoughts that perhaps the blood of the original demon is what is being passed along from sire to chylde. Again, there’s another theory to explore!
Using this idea that the demon doesn’t exist prior to being created within the human body, and that the memories left behind become the building blocks for the new demon, I can understand why a newborn vamp generally seeks out and kills their own family. Those warm and fuzzy feelings for humans are as repulsive to them as the new murderously evil feelings would have been for the original human soul. Gives a new meaning to you always hurt the one you love.
A newly turned Buffy would indeed have a demon within her body while her soul would once again find its way to heaven. My theory that she would meet up with Angel’s soul just took a beating somewhere up the page, but that won’t stop me from writing it anyway! This new demon would have all of Buffy's feelings and memories. Formed from Buffy's experiences, she would still consider herself to be Buffy, but with an entirely new outlook on life. Mostly on how to end it. If any of her friends were still alive, the very feelings of love for them would no doubt be the cause of their death as she lost that loving feeling.
Would she still love Angel and/or Angelus? Possibly. Angel’s soul might be as repugnant to her as it was to Darla, however, and she might prefer him to be without it. With Angelus, Buffy's feelings were always a bit more along of the lines of being drawn to him despite his evilness. The newly vamped Buffy would now revere that quality and with the memories of love for him – or actually Angel – I can see her loving Angelus just as fiercely as Buffy loved Angel when she was human.
Can vampires love? I think so, and Heartthrob gave credence to that idea as well. James and Elizabeth, two vampires that Angelus and Darla were with in Marseilles in 1767, were very much in love much to the disgust of both Angelus and Darla. When captured by Holtz and asked where Darla was, Angelus happily offered up the information that she and Elizabeth were at the docks while James cursed him. I think that James would never have told where Elizabeth was.
When Angel killed Elizabeth in 2001, sadly without recognizing her until he looked at the locket he’d pulled from her neck, James was unable to live without her, going so far as to have his heart surgically removed so that he’d be invulnerable and could kill Angel to avenge her. His time ran out before he could complete the job, but not without a parting shot to Angel that he had never loved anyone with all his heart. “Because if you had you wouldn't be standing here playing games with me. You wouldn't be able to – because once she died or some bastard killed her, it would have killed everything in you." Given that Angel was still dealing with Buffy's death, it was a vicious mental stake to the heart. Now isn’t that love? Okay and suicidal, but if after 234 years James was moved to kill himself in an attempt to kill her murderer – and twist the knife in an open wound – I’d have to say that’s love.
Angel would have problems dealing with a turned Buffy and I’m sure he’d be all for stuffing her soul back into her body, something she might or might not thank him for. Buffy would be able to lock the demonic consciousness away easily I think, as she’s a strong individual. Dusting herself would probably follow shortly. After leaving stern instructions to never bring her back again as heaven is a much nicer place and Oh my God isn’t there someone else who can save the freaking world?
Angelus would be in hog heaven if he had a newly turned Buffy. Odds are that he’d be her sire – that’s actually his master plan, in my humble opinion – and so that bond would be there, though it’s never really been made clear just how much of a sire/chylde bond exists or what it entails. The feelings Angelus has for Buffy would now be acceptable to him and he’d delight in showing her how the game is played. The mind boggles at how much evil these two could do! Although I wonder if they’d do any more hunting than necessary and spend most of their time in bed…
I hope that long ramble answered the question, but if not, well thanks for the spark that made me put this down on paper. Ah the ideas that came from this…
What prompted the question? Read Interview With The Vampire
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