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ghoststar
23-01-19, 06:28 PM
In “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” Buffy describes the process by which vampires sire offspring, which requires a vampire to give a dying human its blood: “It’s a whole big sucking thing. Mostly, they’re just gonna kill you.”

Her understanding of the mechanics of siring is repeatedly shown to be correct (e.g., “Becoming, Part 1″), and, if we went by the number of your average vampire’s acknowledged offspring, so would be her assessment of its frequency. However, there are way, way too many vampires in Sunnydale’s cemeteries to all result from careful selection and deliberate rituals. Further, in most cases, no older vampire shows an interest in the burial ground. You’d think that, having put thought and effort into siring their offspring, the vampires would take care of the to-be-ressurected corpses themselves, or at least visit their graves to greet them when they rose.

The likeliest explanation, IMO, is that the vast majority of vampire reproduction occurs by accident. Think about it: If a monster grabbed you, and you lacked the strength to just pull free, wouldn’t you be willing to fight dirty and bite it? There doesn’t appear to be any actual spellcasting involved in the siring process, so it shouldn’t make much difference if you licked the blood off a vampire’s cleavage or just chomped down on their arm.

Vampires’ “birth control” options are pretty limited. They can, of course, spread out their feeding so that they don’t need all of any one person’s blood; “Into the Woods” shows that, in certain locations, this is a viable way for them to make a “living.” No death–> no offspring. OTOH, this method requires a pool of willing “suppliers,” meaning people who know about vampires, are willing to volunteer to be fed on, and won’t report them to any of the authorities that would be likely to attack them. Given the practical difficulties for a vampire of living in one location for an extended period (attracting attention, lacking documentation, enemies finding their nest), it would be hard to maintain this lifestyle over the long term. Even then, as Giles notes, occasional accidents happens.

Being extremely stealthy and quick is another option, albeit one that probably requires practice and luck. Based on Harmony’s slap-fight with Xander in “The Initiative,” and the number of new vampires that Buffy dusts without difficulty throughout the series, vampires don’t always rise from the grave with stellar fighting technique. An efficient enough killer could snap the victim’s neck before they had a chance to react. This produces its own difficulties, though. Yes, vampires can drink from fresh corpses, as shown in “Crush,” but we don’t know how much blood they can obtain that way. For one thing, it’s common sense that blood will flow more easily when it’s still being pumped. For another, vampires overwhelmingly prefer to feed on live prey. Whether the death is fast (as when Spike kills the owner of the Magic Box in “Lovers Walk”) or slow (the guy chained up in Spike’s tunnels in “The Harsh Light of Day”), it almost never happens before the feeding, unless the vampire’s main motivation was not to feed in the first place (e.g., Nikki Wood’s last fight in “Fool for Love”).

The farthest-fetched possibility is hypnotizing/mesmerizing/charming their prey into holding still. Very few vampires possess this ability. We see it from Dru (who doesn’t even bother to feed from Kendra, but then, she’s not all there), the Master, Dracula, and maybe Akistos. That’s three, possibly four, vampires, over the course of seven years. Of that group, Drusilla was a psychic before being turned, the Master is at least several centuries old, and Akistos has been around for 3,000 years. It’s probably not a viable technique for your average vampire.
Lastly, vampires could, in theory, cut the heads off or drive a stake through all their prey before leaving them. Unfortunately for vampire birth control, this, too, has a downside: It’s a lot harder to hide. A bite victim’s body cause of death shouldn’t be that obvious after a few days’ decomposition. By contrast, it’d be hard to mistake a staking or a beheading for an accidental drowning, suicide, an OD, etc., even after rot set in. The vampire would have to clean up any escaped bodily fluids prior to dumping the body, adding to the time of the kill, and avoid getting any on their own clothes, which would draw immediate attention. Unless vampires want to become the focus of massive, well-funded, public investigations, this is a no-go.

That accidental, casual sirings take place is hinted at in “Sleeper,” when Buffy accuses Spike of siring Holden Webster. Spike, not yet realizing that Buffy means he sired Webs in the past week, reacts with more confusion than surprise: “That doesn’t mean…” Only when she reveals the recency of Webs’s demise does he dispute the factual accuracy of the claim.

I submit that vampires do turn a considerable proportion of their victims, just not on purpose. Unplanned sirings among vampires are probably more common than unplanned pregnancies among humans. Planned sirings, in which the sire protects the body and imparts knowledge of the demon world, should result in more “successful” vampires, i.e., the ones Buffy has read about. She has only one year’s experience as a Slayer when she arrives in Sunnydale, and, with L.A. not being on a Hellmouth, it may not have provided a large enough sample size of vampires for her to draw reliable conclusions about when and why they were turned. Well-connected, well-trained vampires with the ability to become long-term threats probably had sires who singled them out, turned them on purpose, made sure no one cremated or embalmed their bodies, and instructed them in the ways of their kind; they’re also the ones she has the most reason to study and speak to. The majority of the cemetery vampires that wind up unceremoniously dusted on their first night of unlife probably have very different stories. They’re the equivalent of unwanted infants in a natural-fertility society, left “exposed” by their sires, who cannot afford to feed an exponentially growing population of immortal offspring.

bespangled
27-01-19, 10:37 PM
There's clearly at least two classes of vamps - those who belong to an Order like Aurelius, and those who don't appear to have any sort of strong ties.

The Aurelian vamps are deliberate in those they choose to turn and keep. We saw Angelus brought to the Master for approval by Darla, and that the Master's pet was allowed to keep her unruly prize. From what we saw of Darla she wasn't above siring others and then staking them when they didn't please her. Those who are accepted as worthwhile are taught how to survive, even when they are as annoyingly out of control as Spike was in his early days. The Aurelians have a lineage that they keep track of - the Master begat Darla who begat Angelus who begat Drusilla who begat Spike who begat Holden. It's almost biblical.

The Aurelians claimed that their line (demon?) makes them superior to other vampires. Since the Master claimed they are the best Order, then there have to be at least some others. Orders would make sense for vampires. In a theoretically eternal existence the Order would provide some stability, a place where a vampire could come for aid or other purposes. The members of the Aurelian order that we meet do seem to have more of an awareness of what they are while maintaining a connection to who they once were. It's interesting that Spike, even under the influence of the First, told Holden who he was before he sired him. This wasn't some random guy grabbed and turned in an alley. And after Holden clawed his way out of his grave he had complete self awareness. The same occurs with Lawson who even after he was turned fixed the sub despite the fact that he no longer needed to breathe. As for the connection, souled Angel let both Spike and Lawson leave knowing that he was setting two mass murderers free.

OTH, other vampires appear to be turned on a whim. I don't think it's possible to accidentally sire a vampire. It would appear that more blood is needed than just a few drops.But I have no doubt that the idiots we see Buffy kill would have sired their victims as something like a frat joke. There's no reason to care about them once they are dead. These are the canon fodder of the vampire world. They might be able to fight but they don't seem to have a whole lot of higher order thinking ability. If a vampire from a higher class offers protection in return for service, then they would function as minions. The vamp who did the job of immolation-agram would be a prime example.

Then there is Dalton. I suspect he was turned by some vamp who followed the Master, then signed on with Spike after he immolated the annoying one. Spike is willing to use his talents and offer some protection from outside forces, but he's not going to thwart Dru or Big Blue on Dalton's behalf. Then again, Spike is a rebel who has no interest in preserving or protecting the Order.

ghoststar
28-01-19, 02:39 AM
This is a cool concept, and you could probably make a really fun show about it, but I don’t think that canon supports the idea that the big status marker for vampires is membership in a vampire order. Although we see a handful of non-vampire bad-guy orders (the Order of Taraka, the sisterhood of Jhe, the Bringers, etc.), I can’t think of any highly structured organizations led by or exclusive to vampires after S2. Akistos doesn’t have a retinue like the Master’s. Dracula has servants, but their tie to him resembles a cult of personality more than an order. No vows or creed that we see, just thrall.

If anything, I’d say that the highest vampires on the pecking (biting?) order are the rare older lone wolves (of which we don’t see many, presumably because lone wolves tend to get dusted early) and the family-styled micro-groups. Vampires who join orders run by other demons usually wind up treated as dumb muscle (e.g., the Mayor’s minions, the Uber-vamps, Adam’s flunkies, and triggered!Spike’s victims). That’s if they’re even allowed to join in the first place. Based on “Bargaining, Part One,” some demon groups have the equivalent of “blood quantum” requirements that vampires don’t pass.

bespangled
28-01-19, 03:46 AM
We have to leave full blood demons out of this - they consider all vampires to be blood rats.

https://buffy.fandom.com/wiki/Order_of_Aurelius

We see this really differently. The Order dates from the 12th century, and the master tells his warriors that all Aurelians bred into the order are smarter, stronger, and fast than those in other orders. The show supports the idea that vampires have their own culture apart from humans. Since the Master mentions other orders then there are other orders.

Do you really believe that Kakistos could have beaten any of the Aurelian vamps? The Master, Darla, Angelus, Drusilla and Spike could have each dusted him. Kakistos lasted one episode - the Master and the order he led lasted an entire season. Then Angelus - also part of the Aurelian line - took over. Every single vamp villain we have seen was killed by either Buffy or an Aurelian.

Also:
The Night of Saint Vigeous was the Holy Night of Attack in vampire tradition, celebrated each year on October 4, during which vampires believed their strength would be at its peak. In commemoration for the bloody crusade led by Saint Vigeous, the vampires would spend the three previous nights practicing self-mortification, fasting and chanting to reach the holiday on a near berserk state.

This was a holiday throughout the world since Sunnydale was nowhere near the massacre. I don't think every vamp is organized to know the date let alone the year of the next holiday. This holiday couldn't exist without some form of organization to remember the stories behind holidays. I agree that the Aurelians weren't the greatest threat compared to other seasons (as the show ratcheted up the tension,) but the order exists all the way into the comics.

DeepBlueJoy
28-01-19, 09:57 AM
I keep seeing mention of Akistos. No such vampire existed in the buffyverse.
https://buffy.fandom.com/wiki/Kakistos
Kakistos is a Greek word. It means the worst. This was explained in the series.

As for accidental siring, I believe it is possible in an extremely bloody situation, (such as a hunter fighting a vampire and drawing blood) but since most vampire feedings simply don't lead to a lot of the vampire's blood being shed, it would be quite rare.

We saw Buffy take vampire blood. Until you are nearly drained, you won't turn. It isn't like a contagious disease where a drop infects you. A self-defense bite is not one where you are swallowing. Blood doesn't taste good.

I think casual siring as a forensic countermeasure is possible, however. If you just feed, you leave a dead body with teeth marks. Lots of potential questions. If you sire and leave the body hidden from discovery, but where it will be in the sun come daylight, the fledge would dust, maybe even before rising, and the body would be gone. No questions, no evidence of vampire crime, just a "missing person". Of course those that are found would get buried and it might take a few days to break free of a modern grave vault, hence some of those long waits for risings.

Old fashioned clans would have to sire with care in times where rapid long distance travel was limited and you were likely to be stuck with any kin you made. Now you can easily be in another city before the corpse is found and the chaos of a new vampire may actually serve as a distraction for hunters or the slayer. Careless siring mattered more in the past. It could get you killed if you drew the wrong attention. In modern times, fewer people believe (less likely to come out with pitchforks and flaming torches to burn the demons). Getting away from any messes your progeny create is easy.

Whimsical creation of the "cute" potential sex partner is probably much more likely in modern times too. What other explanation is there for something like a Harmony or that stoner dude from Sunday's gang? Someone likely sired Dalton because he was smart and had value to his sire. Luke was big and scary. Useful! Harmony? Not so much!