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  • Thoughts on an Potentially Interesting Issue

    So potential slayers have made me curious latley.

    How do they work?
    There are two theories:
    -One theory is that when you hit a certian age you have the chnace of becoming a potential, so lets say that age is 15, and when you hit another certian age you are no longer a potential slayer.
    -The other theory is that as soon as you are born you are a slayer up until you die.

    Well the first theory is probably the theory that fits in with the buffyverse but what if it was theory two.
    That is where an interesting story could be done. Just a standalone issue but what if we had an issue abot three slayers, one who is 11 years old, one who is 19 years old and one who is 50 years old. we have a story about all of them being hunted by a demon and they come together to destory the demon.
    What do you guys think?

  • #2
    I had once the unpleasant vision of a fetus slayer in the womb of a woman. And I can only hope that this isn't the case.

    I think that you can be called to be a slayer when they are in the puberty (the girl who was playing baseball looked 13 years old, she is probably one of the youngest). I doubt that there is a maximum age (or maybe until the menopause?). I can see that the most older slayers don't want to fight because they already have a life going on, maybe kids or a good job. That we don't see them very often doesn't mean that they aren't around.
    Last edited by Nina; 25-11-08, 09:11 AM.

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    • #3
      I agree with Nina that potentials can only become slayers when they reach puberty, but they are potentials from the moment they are born. Depending on whether the potential-ness is known (it wasn't in Buffy's case but was in Kendra's) they are trained at an early age and therefore more ready for battle by the time they are called, or they are trained quickly once they are called (Buffy and Faith fall into the second category).

      There probably is a maximum age for being called (I'd take a guess at about 18-21yrs) simply because the super powers of speed, agility, strength and reflexes don't manifest until the potential is called. Once over a certain age the body stops growing and starts aging so therefore the basis for these abilities would be on shaky ground. I have no idea if that makes any sense to anyone else but me, but still that's how I see it.

      Once a slayer always a slayer in my book - you could turn down the destiny, but I doubt any slayer ever has completely - so I don't think there's a maximum age for being a slayer. The reason why there's no Slayer Retirement Home or slayers over 25 is simply because they live a dangerous life and so are likely to get killed before they get a chance to get older. I don't think that a slayer who got married or had kids would then retire from slaying. They may choose to do both (Nikki Wood) but they would never retire. The fact that we don't see any older slayers is simply because a new one wouldn't have been called until the other one died, so when Buffy was called it was because India Cohen died, not because she retired.

      I think more interesting questions would be why are there so many potentials and why only one slayer at a time? Also, how are they chosen - who picks one girl from all the world and why that one?

      Obviously, you'd need to have more than one potential incase she got sick or died, but why hundreds of them if you're only choosing one slayer? The potentials are all over the world and we presume the forces of darkness are everywhere too, even if they are more attracted to the hellmouth - so why not have a few slayers at the hellmouth(s) and, say, one per every 5 million people all over the world? There's enough potentials to cover that surely? Just choosing one out of all those girls seems to be a waste of a good opportunity to free the world from evil, both financially and from a time management standpoint.

      So a slayer dies and another one is called but before that happens someone has to be picked from all the potentials, how does that work? I've always thought that it should be that the Watcher's Council picked the next girl from reports of how she's doing in her studies and her skills, but that makes no sense for Buffy or Faith who were called and then trained. If it's not the Watcher's Council then how about some kind of ritual that picks the girl randomly from all the potentials. Or maybe they have graphs on where all the dark forces are gathering and choose a potential who is in easy commuting distance? Or they sit, blindfolded, around a big map of the world and stick a pin in it somewhere then call the potential living closest by?

      Anyone else got any entertaining theories?
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      • #4
        Originally posted by ciderdrinker View Post
        I think more interesting questions would be why are there so many potentials and why only one slayer at a time? Also, how are they chosen - who picks one girl from all the world and why that one?
        Nobody picks them. Apparently, the Slayer spell just activates one of the Potentials when the Slayer dies - exactly what criteria it uses to select her was never made clear.

        Originally posted by ciderdrinker View Post
        Obviously, you'd need to have more than one potential incase she got sick or died, but why hundreds of them if you're only choosing one slayer?
        That's something else that was never really cleared up. My guess: the original shamans who created the Slayer picked a girl with a particular set of qualities that they felt made her a suitable candidate and set the spell up so that it would find another "host" with the same set of qualities. Which means that, at any given time, there could be dozens, hundreds, thousands, or only a handful of girls who met the qualifications.

        Originally posted by ciderdrinker View Post
        The potentials are all over the world and we presume the forces of darkness are everywhere too, even if they are more attracted to the hellmouth - so why not have a few slayers at the hellmouth(s) and, say, one per every 5 million people all over the world?
        You're forgetting the Slayer timeline - the Slayer was created several thousand years ago. At that time, there weren't people all over the world. The shamans who created the Slayer most likely didn't think beyond protecting their own village and a few surrounding ones - or, if they were a nomadic tribe, beyond their migratory range - and probably never even considered a time when humans and the monsters that hunted them would cover the entire earth. Also, I'd suspect that they really didn't want to create a whole army of super-powered girls who could, y'know, kick their asses in a heartbeat if they didn't like the way they were treated...

        Originally posted by ciderdrinker View Post
        So a slayer dies and another one is called but before that happens someone has to be picked from all the potentials, how does that work? I've always thought that it should be that the Watcher's Council picked the next girl from reports of how she's doing in her studies and her skills, but that makes no sense for Buffy or Faith who were called and then trained. If it's not the Watcher's Council then how about some kind of ritual that picks the girl randomly from all the potentials. Or maybe they have graphs on where all the dark forces are gathering and choose a potential who is in easy commuting distance? Or they sit, blindfolded, around a big map of the world and stick a pin in it somewhere then call the potential living closest by?
        The Watchers have nothing to do with calling the next Slayer. They do, apparently, have some means of mystically detecting girls with the Potential, and, IIRC, can sometimes narrow it down to the most likely candidate, but - as we saw in Buffy's case - it's a long way from being 100% accurate. And the spell works pretty randomly: Buffy is called in Los Angeles; when Buffy dies in "Prophecy Girl", Kendra was called (Jamaica); and when Kendra died, Faith was called (Boston). There's apparently no real correlation between where the current Slayer is and where the next Slayer is called.
        "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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        • #5
          My personal theory is a young girl was chosen as the symbolic vessel for the Slayer essence because in the time and world, where the Slayer was needed, a young healthy woman would be a very rare and highly prized person for the early humanity who were low in numbers.

          Thus by sacrificing potentially the most valuable member of their society, the Shamans created the most poweful vessel, they could for the Slayer's essence.

          As for potentials, I think the Maximum would probably be in her mid 40's or so at most not her mid twenties. I would hope there is at least minimum age of 13-14 or so and not have it tied directly to puberty simply because by again in those days it, women would have been married off at a younger age.
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          • #6
            The softball player is said in the script to be 12 years old.

            And I'm pretty certain she was pre-pubescent.

            Kennedy's age was given as 19 in the scripts.

            Also, it is stated that Dana was 10 when her family was murdered and she was tortured. Then, she spent 15 years in an asylum. This means she was 25 in Damage. She's our oldest Potential-turned-Slayer that we've seen.

            The ages that we know of are between 12 to 24/25 right now.
            Last edited by NileQT87; 25-11-08, 03:40 AM.

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            • #7
              I don't think there is an age-cap off limit to who can be a slayer....

              Although I think puberty is a vital time for one to become a 'Potential'.

              So while we may have slayer housewives (as seen in Buffy's infamous infomercial), we probably will not get slayer babies/toddlers.

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              • #8
                I'd have really liked the original slayer spell to have been talked about more. It would have been nice to the demon spirit that creates a slayer chose certain girls as it knew they were stong enough to cope with what was going to happen to them both mentally and physically. they may be all born with the physical potential but everyone is different emotionally and mentally it would have been nice to see that the spell helped girls who wouldn't be able to cope so well like Dana not become slayers, and ones who could cope better Buffy, Kendra become slayers. Even Faith in the end was able to overcome her problems and chose a better path.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NileQT87 View Post
                  The softball player is said in the script to be 12 years old.

                  And I'm pretty certain she was pre-pubescent.

                  Kennedy's age was given as 19 in the scripts.

                  Also, it is stated that Dana was 10 when her family was murdered and she was tortured. Then, she spent 15 years in an asylum. This means she was 25 in Damage. She's our oldest Potential-turned-Slayer that we've seen.

                  The ages that we know of are between 12 to 24/25 right now.
                  In the same montage as the softball player we saw an older woman, at least in her thirties IMO as well.

                  I think a range would be 12-45 or so would be fairly reasonable IMO.
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                  • #10
                    I think we know more from the text than we think we do. We have two very helpful pieces of information --

                    First, there is Kennedy. Kennedy was one of the more "traditional" Potentials in that she was trained from a much younger age and taught by a Watcher and familiar with Slayer lore. She says at one point, I think in "Potential", that she thought she was probably too old (at 19) to become the Slayer. That is very telling -- that means that, to the best of her Watcher-provided training*, 19 would probably be too old, that it was rare or unheard of for any Slayer to have been called at that age.

                    Second, there is the Council's practice of Cruciamentum -- a test of a Slayer on her 18th Birthday. Whatever else it tells us, it tells us that most Slayers are *not* 18 when they are Called. Think about that -- if it was common, or even foreseeable, that Slayers were or had been Called at an age older than that (other than maybe once or twice), they wouldn't have set it at 18. They'd have set it at 20, or 24. You don't come up with a test like that without expecting that most, if not all, would be eligible for it.

                    *the Watchers are unquestionably the world's authority on Slayer history, pretty much by definition.

                    So, the text itself establishes that the very high end of Slayers actually being called are in the range of 18, maybe 19. Probably statistically outliers beyond the 3rd or 4th deviation would be 20 or 21.

                    What remains to calculate is the low-end. For that, we have almost no guidance. But there is the nature of the Slayer line itself -- this is a warrior against demons. A 4 or 5 year old isn't going to cut it. The youngest we've seen was Girl At Bat in "Chosen". The actress was 12 when it was filmed.
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                    • #11
                      So then, do we think that once Potentials surpass a certain age...they lose the 'potential'?

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                      • #12
                        Well, Kennedy at least seemed to think so. Of course, she might have just come to that conclusion because of the recurrent theme of the Slayer always being a young girl (and always dying that way.) Get that hammered in enough from a young age, and I can see how someone could come to that conclusion, whether it's correct or not. But it would also make sense for the original shamans to have put some limits on the age.
                        "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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                        • #13
                          Every potential is from the bloodline of that original slayer back in Africa. That's why there's so many.

                          I think it's puberty onset. X-men mutancy-esque.

                          Also, I wouldn't think there would be any age limit. You're a slayer until you die. And the fact is, no slayer anywhere could live past their "prime". A 50 year old broad fighting, say, Spike or Angelus? B%&@^ goin down.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chamber005 View Post
                            Every potential is from the bloodline of that original slayer back in Africa. That's why there's so many.
                            That's a good thought, but other than the fact that everybody can trace their origins back to where humanity first began, there's really no evidence of that. It's a possibility, though.

                            Originally posted by Chamber005 View Post
                            Also, I wouldn't think there would be any age limit. You're a slayer until you die.
                            But that doesn't necessarily mean that someone over a certain age is going to be called as the Slayer (you're a Slayer until you die, but you may not be a Potential Slayer after, say, 21. Or 22. Or whatever.)
                            "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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                            • #15
                              Before Season 7 I have imagined you are born a potential but something probably doesn't give you away until maybe - let's say - puberty? That's a pretty big change in a young woman's life.

                              After Season 7 I guess you are born a Slayer and will stay a Slayer until you die.

                              But I don't know about the "Old Slayer" theory up there Chamber! You still have the same powers which should mean you have the same healing powers. So, I can see the 50 y/o taking care of bidness.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                I think we know more from the text than we think we do. We have two very helpful pieces of information --

                                First, there is Kennedy. Kennedy was one of the more "traditional" Potentials in that she was trained from a much younger age and taught by a Watcher and familiar with Slayer lore. She says at one point, I think in "Potential", that she thought she was probably too old (at 19) to become the Slayer. That is very telling -- that means that, to the best of her Watcher-provided training*, 19 would probably be too old, that it was rare or unheard of for any Slayer to have been called at that age.

                                Second, there is the Council's practice of Cruciamentum -- a test of a Slayer on her 18th Birthday. Whatever else it tells us, it tells us that most Slayers are *not* 18 when they are Called. Think about that -- if it was common, or even foreseeable, that Slayers were or had been Called at an age older than that (other than maybe once or twice), they wouldn't have set it at 18. They'd have set it at 20, or 24. You don't come up with a test like that without expecting that most, if not all, would be eligible for it.

                                *the Watchers are unquestionably the world's authority on Slayer history, pretty much by definition.

                                So, the text itself establishes that the very high end of Slayers actually being called are in the range of 18, maybe 19. Probably statistically outliers beyond the 3rd or 4th deviation would be 20 or 21.

                                What remains to calculate is the low-end. For that, we have almost no guidance. But there is the nature of the Slayer line itself -- this is a warrior against demons. A 4 or 5 year old isn't going to cut it. The youngest we've seen was Girl At Bat in "Chosen". The actress was 12 when it was filmed.
                                The part about Kennedy.

                                The part about the Watchers is not.

                                Simply because if nothing else, what we know of the Watchers council NOW vs when that information was created suggests that the Watchers can and would lie in their own records and would zero compunction about killing Slayers they deemed 'unfit' for whatever reason.

                                But there is a second piece of information also found in S7 that's much harder to disprove: Amanda is the only native of Sunnydale within her age group (into every generation) that pings as a potential.
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                                • #17
                                  In general, I agree with KoC's interpretation here.

                                  My own theory on how it all works was detailed here and here. It's not canon as such, but it doesn't contradict canon in any way and I think it's entertaining:

                                  Back in earliest prehistory, there were the Guardians (as introduced in 'End of Days'). These mystics had developed the secret of summoning the powerful Slayer Spirit and embodying it in specially chosen and prepared young women, who became supernaturally strong warriors to protect their tribes. The possession was temporary; after the current threat had been defeated, the Slayer Spirit was driven out of the woman again and she returned to her normal life.

                                  It had to be women of childbearing age being possessed by the Slayer Spirit, because the mystical lifeforce energy within them counteracted the dark, destructive demonic force and kept them human and sane. Even so, a vessel who embodied the Slayer Spirit for too long would be affected by it and develop a deathwish. A man possessed by the Slayer Spirit, lacking the mystical Gaia-wombmagic-lifeforce thingie, would be utterly consumed and turn into a mindless killing machine.

                                  Then came the Shadowmen. They rejected the methods of the Guardians,. because they wanted to control and dominate the Slayer Spirit. They cast a spell to trap it permanently within the body of a single woman - one of the potential vessels blessed by the Guardians. She became not a slayer, but The Slayer: incredibly powerful but no longer quite human, and easier for the Shadowmen to control.

                                  When the first Slayer died, the spell enchaining the Slayer Spirit drew it into the body of another of the Guardians' chosen vessels. And so on, throughout history. The Shadowmen didn't know the secret rituals that the Guardians had used to prepare new vessels, and the Guardians themselves went into hiding, so they had no way to control who would be the next Slayer. At most, they could make educated guesses or use magical foreseeing spells.

                                  Sometimes the child of a Potential would be a Potential herself. Sometimes it skipped a generation or two. Sometimes fragments of the old rituals, changed and mutated into folk-rhymes or prayers or blessings of forgotten origin, would combine with an auspicious time or place to actually take effect and create a new Potential. And maybe occasionally the Guardians themselves would step out of the shadows and create a new Potential for their own reasons.

                                  As for the Slayer Spirit itself; after so many centuries being trapped in the bodies of these young women it may have changed; become more human, more protective of the Slayers who embodied it - although determined to keep them following the old traditions. The spirit of the First Slayer became its voice, or the form it took in people's dreams.

                                  What Willow and Buffy did in 'Chosen' was break the spell that restricted the Slayer Spirit to a single vessel at a time. Once again, every woman who possessed the Potential would be able to embody the Slayer Spirit simultaneously. But changed by its long association with humanity, the Slayer Spirit was no longer a mindless force of destruction; you could say it had achieved redemption.

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