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Are vampires' weakness to holy water and sunlight genetic or based on perception?

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  • Are vampires' weakness to holy water and sunlight genetic or based on perception?

    It had been established by the Master in Season 1 episode "Nightmares", that Vampires' weakness against crosses is more based on fear than that they are simply conditioned to get burned by them. He demonstrated by touching a cross and while there was sound of burning there was hardly any smoke, so he fought the the burning effect. He explained it was in the mind that it can be controlled,
    so which brings up the question if the same thing apply for Holy water and sunlight, other things that can hurt and kill vampires.

    Maybe with sunlight it's more genetic, but holy water is like a cross as the Master put it, "it confounds me. Suffuses me with mortal dread.."

    Since those two are both holy symbol or element, maybe their effects against vampires are more mentally-related than phyical

  • #2
    It's hard to say because each Vampire related show has their own set of rules.

    For year it was always a cross, holy water, garlic and the sun.

    But now - anything goes!

    In the Buffy/Angelverse there was the time where Spike was able to lean on the cross in "Beneath You" and also he was able to hold a cross in Destiny when Angel could not.

    There's also the "pis_ ing contest" where both Angel and William see how long they can hold their hands in the sun.

    If I remember correctly, Holy water never really played a purpose too much in Buffy. They moved away from "religious" means of thwarting vampires and more into physical ways such as staking them. You never see anyone much in Buffy grabbing at their cross going "back - BACK, you evil undead".

    The only time I ever saw garlic is in Season 6 when Buffy places it all around her window to keep Spike out.

    New Vampire series have explored more non-traditional vampire rules - Moonlight, True Blood, Twilight, Anita Blake series, etc.
    -TP<3
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    • #3
      These things have an objective effect on vampires in the Buffyverse. The perceptions or willingness of the vampires to be affected or not is irrelevant. The only evidence we have to the contrary in the Buffyverse are the vampires in "Who Are You?", but there's nothing textual to suggest that they aren't just faking it.

      I didn't get the impression that the Master was mentally fighting off the burning, he is just physically more durable. Much like how holy water effects the Turok-han, but only somewhat, so an older and much more powerful vampire like the Master may have greater tolerance for some things.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
        I didn't get the impression that the Master was mentally fighting off the burning, he is just physically more durable. Much like how holy water effects the Turok-han, but only somewhat, so an older and much more powerful vampire like the Master may have greater tolerance for some things.

        Yes - that also seems to be an understood rule that the older a vampire is the more powers they collect as well as the negation of traditional methods of destroying them.
        -TP<3
        "At that point I'd love a fight and a heart to heart and then of course naughtiness and happy ever after."
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        • #5
          I didn't get the impression that the Master was mentally fighting off the burning, he is just physically more durable. Much like how holy water effects the Turok-han, but only somewhat, so an older and much more powerful vampire like the Master may have greater tolerance for some things.
          Well they never really established if age is a definite factor is development of strength and durability for vampires of Jossverse (unlike in the Underworld film series it is well established that an older an immortal(vampires and lycans alike)the stronger he/she becomes), though it seems to have been applied as older vampires make tough fighters, but it might just mean they are more experienced.

          But back to the topic, you mentioned it didn't occur to you that the Master was fighting against the burning effect of the cross, but in that scene he specifically talked about fear and that it can be controlled.

          His exact words were:

          "This symbol, these two planks of wood, it confounds me. Suffuses me with mortal dread. But fear is in the mind he puts his hand on the cross, Like pain. It can be controlled. If I can face my fear, it cannot master me. "

          So he pretty much said the cross can only hurt him as much as he fears, perceives it can.

          Originally posted by ThePoet's<3 View Post
          Yes - that also seems to be an understood rule that the older a vampire is the more powers they collect as well as the negation of traditional methods of destroying them.
          As mentioned above, it was never made clear if phyical age is a definite factor for development of strength in Jossverse. At very least not for endurance, we see older vampires getting hurt as badly by crosses, holy water, sunlight as any younger vampires all the time.
          DarkRobin
          Hellmouth Tourist
          Last edited by DarkRobin; 09-11-08, 04:46 AM.

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          • #6
            The beliefs and perceptions of the vampire play absolutly no part in how the holy object physically affects them.

            The Master was able to push through the mental affects of the cross, but it still burned his hand, just as it would any vampire.

            In the Angel episode "Spin the Bottle", Angel reverts back to his "Liam" persona and doesn't even know that he's a vampire, and yet the cross affects him just the same. Andrew Vorba from "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" was a religeous fanatic, and when he became a vampire, he couldn't understand why the cross hurt him.

            Vamp-Willow has been hurt/scared by the cross even though she was supposedly Jewish.

            So yeah, crosses hurt vampires, regardless of what the vamp believes.

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            • #7
              XANDER: Okay, so, crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.
              BUFFY: That'll get it done. [---]
              XANDER: So, what else? [---]
              BUFFY: Oh, fire, beheading, sunlight, holy water, the usual.


              That's how it's established in The Harvest.
              And we've seen crosses and holy water hurting vamps. We've seen staking, fire, beheading and sunlight kill them. We just haven't seen how the garlic would affect the vamp. I'm guessing that it would just be repulsive for them but wouldn't hurt. Then again garlic is repulsive for some humans as well
              And actually Buffy sitting in her room surrounded by garlic would have been quite funny if it wasn't kinda sad too. But I also think that it worked as some sort of subsitute behaviour for her. She put up the garlic so that she could feel she has done something. Because if she really had wanted to keep Spike out of her house, she could have done the de-invite spell.

              On the resilience or non resilience of crosses and holy water - I think it depends on the age of vamp (the older the stronger) but also perhaps some sort of willpower (see holding Angel and Spike holding crosses in Destiny) or maybe even natural resilience.
              Spike seems to have much stronger resistance to sunlight than most other vampires in the show (many will catch fire just by being slightly exposed to the sun). And I like about Spike how he doesn't hold that sun thing much of a limitation for him, running around covered with blanket
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              • #8
                I think this line is the answer to how well garlic works (granted, this is from the vampire that has an obsession with churches and nuns):

                Angelus: "You’re no different from the rest of them, are you, father? Cowering in their houses. Boarding up the windows. Smearing that foul herb in the doorways. You’d think something evil and vile and monstrous had taken to terrorizing this village and everyone in it."
                It seems that it is usually repellent to vampires. It probably works about as well as churches just not being a vampire's favorite place (with the exception of Angelus--but his reason is psychological). They can enter churches, enter homes filled with garlic or touch crosses, but it just isn't usually pleasant. Angelus referred to garlic as being "foul". Perhaps it is just the vampire's acute senses going into overdrive with overpowering smells (but then they'd have a problem with onions or rotted flesh/meat--probably not).

                Who knows. We never actually saw a vampire make physical contact with any garlic bulbs, garlands or cloves. They might react as they do to holy water and crosses (burning sensation). Their first instinct is to stay away from these items, but we see vampires allowing physical discomfort if there is a psychological purpose for them to do so.

                Historically, in Romanian superstitious practices, to destroy a vampire, a stake was driven through the body followed by decapitation and placing garlic in the mouth.

                Coincidentally, garlic does have effects on the blood. It increases hemoglobin levels in the blood. People with high blood pressure take it as a supplement. It also is an immune system booster. However, chronic garlic use or excessive garlic doses may lead to decreased production of hemoglobin (a compound in red blood cells) and a resulting change in red blood cells.
                NileQT87
                The Dark Avenger
                Last edited by NileQT87; 09-11-08, 11:26 PM.

                "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
                "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

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                • #9
                  I would have liked to see some kind of explaination in the Buffyverse. I always assumed that vampires were created by demons from Hell so that they could be destroyed by holy objects.

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                  • #10
                    There was an excellent thread on this whole genetics vs perception to do with vampires and reflections - that they cannot see themselves because they do not think themselves fit to be seen, or something. I think it probably started out as perception, because from the word go people have been religious, so vampires would have been able to recognise in themselves this 'evil thing', and recognise that this shouldn't mix with such 'good things' as sunlight, Christianity, mother nature (wooden stake). (please don't ask me to explain away the garlic). But over time this probably just became less of an avoidance thing and more of an actual 'allergy', if you will. Like if you don't let kids play in the dirt (tell vampires sun will kill them), they are more likely to get the illnesses found in the dirt later on in life (sunlight WILL kill them).

                    When I was studying Oleanna I came across a concept known as 'Sapir-Whorf', the belief that language constructs reality. For example, the label 'stupid' promotes stupidity; the label 'ugly' promotes a feeling of ugliness. If a vampire is told 'sunlight will kill you, crosses will hurt you, holy water will burn you', even if not by their sire, but through this 'link' to the 'almighty evil' that is especially spoken about in Conversations with Dead People, then this will become reality.

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                    • #11
                      But in that case, shouldn't the sunlight of Pylea harm Angel, and shouldn't he be unable to see his reflection? He expects to be burned and not to see himself, and yet the rules have suddenly changed.
                      Sin is what I feast upon
                      I'm forging my crematorium
                      Your tomb is waiting here for you
                      Welcome to my ritual

                      -Judas Priest, Death

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                      • #12
                        Very true, but maybe his subconscious went 'hey, this is a new world. New rules must apply.'

                        I don't know, it's all fanwank haha!

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                        • #13
                          Liam in Spin the Bottle doesn't even know what vampires really are, he figures it out when he touches his teeth which happens after he couldn't see himself in the mirror.

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                          • #14
                            I always assumed that someone put curses on Christian holy objects, created invitation spells and such to stop vampires from defiling and giving humans a chance to recognize, ward off and kill them.

                            The wooden stakes were probably original, but I'd imagine that crosses, garlic and holy water don't come from a pre-Christian source. Perhaps Christianized Romanian gypsies struck again or a bunch of monks.

                            I know that the metaphysical reason for vampires not having reflections was only originally supposed to be that mirrors (including daguerreotypes, which used a mirror) were backed by silver originally. Silver is an element found in a lot of superstitious stories as being harmful to supernatural beings. Subsequent stories have turned the myth into being about all reflections and not just the ones with silver-backed mirrors involved. It's also where the idea of vampires not photographing came from (which Joss tossed out between the film and the series).

                            It's actually a bit of a blooper in the Jossverse that vampires photograph by daguerreotype and old-fashioned cameras which did use mirrors (reflecting the image upside down) in the process of capturing an image. Digital cameras wouldn't be a problem, however.

                            "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
                            "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

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                            • #15
                              It has to do with a show?s own rules. Each show has their own mythology, but if we?re talking about it, my opinion is that it depends on the endurance and age of the vampire.

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                              • #16
                                Well, it clearly isn't mere perception. Zachary Kralik had no idea he'd drunk holy water until it burned him up from the inside out. And both The Master and Spike were burned by crosses, they just endured it (for different reasons - The Master to prove the power of his will over the fear it caused, Spike because he was flagellating himself). So there's some metaphysical property in holy water and crosses that causes the harm, not mere psychosomatic factors.

                                There's definitely a canonical basis for saying that age and power render a vamp better able to handle exposure to the various dangers, though. Kakistos required a bigger stake and there are several cases of vamps surviving some sun exposure with no worse than some mild singeing, whereas Holtz's daughter went up in flames in mere seconds on her first day post-turning.
                                Amuk
                                Hellmouth Tourist
                                Last edited by Amuk; 14-11-08, 02:40 PM. Reason: spelling
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                                Amuk

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                                • #17
                                  I always wondered about garlic in regards to food. I guess most vampires don't eat, but we know Spike does, for the hell of it. If it were caustic it'd really limit his culinary options.

                                  Hell, we know he's ordered buffalo wings, and almost every restaurant around uses Frank's Red Hot, or something similar, and those sauces are made with garlic!

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                                  • #18
                                    They never explained if garlic has any effect to Jossverse vampires

                                    As for crosses and holy water; after everyone's comment it seems right that it's NOT mere because of perception that vampires are hurt by these things. But it's definitely a factor, as Master explained.

                                    It seems vampires' weakness to those holy object is like allergy, some genetics are involved but with mentality involved.

                                    I myself have such example, I've been allergic for shellfish seafood and squid for majority of my life, but I haven't always been allergic, I could still eat shrimps, craps and squids before third grade though I always loathed their tastes. Then one day, the allergy flared up because my lunch had squids in them. So I wasn't born allergic to those seafood.

                                    In similar sense vampire maybe unknowingly get hurt by crosses, holy water and sunlight, doesn't mean the effects aren't related to perception

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by DarkRobin View Post
                                      They never explained if garlic has any effect to Jossverse vampires
                                      Well, its exact properties aren't explained, but it is affirmatively established that it will have a helpful effect on vampires. The Harvest:
                                      XANDER: Okay, so: crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.

                                      BUFFY: That'll get it done.

                                      XANDER: Cool. Of course, I don't actually have any of those things.

                                      BUFFY: (hands him a cross) Good thinking.

                                      It's also shown as being a useful item repeatedly. Buffy has some in her trunk at the end of The Harvest, for instance, and hangs it around her windows in another episode. So it's affirmed to be useful, it's just not given much chance to be. Probably because crosses are better for TV purposes.
                                      Cordially,
                                      Amuk

                                      I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
                                      Addicted to Buffy

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                                      • #20
                                        Angelus also mentions that garlic is a "foul herb".

                                        That's the closest we learned about what its effects are. Perhaps it is to the vampire sense of smell that a cross is to the vampire sense of nearness and touch. Just really repulsive.

                                        It is confirmed by Buffy's trunk supplies and Angelus' mention of it that it is useful, just not greatly used and able to be ignored when it is hanging in a doorway by vampires who often ignore the usual deterrents (like entering churches, putting your hand in holy water, risking daylight or touching crosses). Angelus might enter a house full of garlic, but maybe the average stake fodder would avoid it.

                                        The Aurelius line, in particular, tends to overcome the usual vampire fears often as a show of strength (the Master included).
                                        NileQT87
                                        The Dark Avenger
                                        Last edited by NileQT87; 23-11-08, 05:05 AM.

                                        "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
                                        "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

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