Again with the vampire theories

Humans, things with souls, demons, vampires. Buffy was completely muddled about its world-building, but I refuse to be muddled. I like to have a solid background upon which to romp. What are vampires? What the heck is Angel?

I've had these notes kicking around for a while. I inflict them on you now.

In the Buffyverse, souls exist as things separate from the body, and are somehow important to the essence of a human being. When a vampire kills someone and does the blood-drinking thing, the human dies. His or her soul then goes to its final disposition. A vampire, which is a species of demon, lives on in the body. The vampire is not the same entity as the human, though the shared memories allow the vampire to confuse the associates of the dead human (and then eat them).

So what about Mr Broody McForehead?

Liam: big dork. Dead.
Angelus as vampire: incorporeal demon parasitically inhabiting Liam's corpse and borrowing his memories. Not Liam.
Angelus as ensouled vampire: incorporeal demon, inhabiting corpse, borrowing memories, and cursed with the motivations & conscience of the dead human. Not Liam.

If Angelus + soul == Liam, then he'd be an idiot to feel any guilt about things done while he was dead. (Yeah, I know, Angel's not bright, but he's not that bad.) The demon did all that stuff, not Liam. So we conclude that the entity resulting from the curse is a hybrid of the two: the demon at the core, with the human layered on top. Thus it gives itself a new name, Angel. The hybrid entity feels the guilt, not the human. The hybrid is going to have some human urges and some demonic urges.

Vampires as a species reproduce asexually, by sharing the blood infection. The sex of the human host is irrelevant to them except to the extent they choose to use the memories of the human they displaced. Human sexual behavior is pure entertainment to a vampire. Vampire/demon social structures are likely entirely different from human social groupings. For instance, lots of romantic takes on vampires make much of the sire-child relationship, their analog to parenthood. A human would be creeped out by parent/child incest, but vampires aren't because they're a different species. Different taboos.

I generally theorize a pack structure for vampires, with the strongest fighter at the top. The pack leader gets the usual privileges: eats first (c.f. The Master and Darla), has its choice of sexual partners, collects all the spoils (c.f. Sunday), is the most attractive vampire to the others. You'll see this theory of vampires in lots of my writing. For instance, providing an explanation of why a 240+ year old demon would form a crush on a 15-year-old demon Slayer. The Slayer is the best fighter, obviously a pack leader, therefore attractive. Kill the Slayer or sleep with her: either action would raise the status of the vampire who managed it.

Angel thinks he's in love, and he might be, but his definition of love springs at least partially from his species' normal behavior. He's a vampire.

Are there demon species with souls? Or is demon defined as "living thing without a soul"? What does not having a soul mean? Are there any other species out there that have them? Does Dawn have one? (Fortunately for me, neither of my long stories is set in a world with Dawn.) Are all demons evil? (Does Buffy stop to ask?) The Buffy cosmology starts to get silly in Season 4, I think, starting with the absurd subplot of Buffy's roommate, and by S6 it's hopeless.

I think in the world of "Breaking Glass" & "Substitute", I'll go with something based on the early Buffy approach:
- The soul is the self. It is the aspect of humans that can cross dimensions. It is how the Powers grant life.
- Demons are by definition living things without souls. Their life comes from another source. (Something set against the Powers.)
- If it doesn't have a soul, the Slayer is supposed to kill it.
- Vampires are the single most plentiful demon on earth, by far. They're half-breeds, and weak.
- Real demons are rare, and scary. Eyghon, the Mayor in snake form, Anyanka: examples of real demons. They must be summoned to appear on Earth/our dimension. An open Hellmouth would also allow them in.
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I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Dawn thing and if she has a soul.

Since it was possible to trap Angel's soul and return it to him, I suspect it can be done with others. So, what if the monks trapped the soul of a dying girl and gave it to Dawn when they created her?

Or what if they randomly grabbed a soul from the world beyond and gave it to Dawn? After all, Spike got his soul back without it being trapped in an orb first.
You might also be able to explain Riley's change in behavior from season four to season five with this theory.

If Dawn got Riley's soul, how would Riley be affected?
Are all demons evil?

No. A good example in Buffy's world is Clem. He's goofy, comes to Buffy's birhtday party (s6), is trusted enough by her to look after Dawn, and they have a very small, somewhat moving goodbye scene is s7.

Also, see The Host, aka Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan, aka Lorne from AtS. Granted he's from another dimension, but not evil like his fellow Pyleans. He anagogic/empathic, whatever you want to call it and uses his powers to help Angel and the gang in their fight.

Also in s3 of Angel there is an episode revolving around Gunn's old gang killing demons regardless of their nature (good or evil) and how everything in the world is not completely black or white.

But I think every author must come to their own conclusion about vampires and how they exist in the Buffyverse because the mythology the writers built is so muddied.
I think if I need to fit Lorne into my universe, I'll go with "another intelligent species that has souls" or something like that. Ditto Clem. I want to save "demon" for "giant slavering evil huge bad thing that is ferocious enough to at least be Monster of the Week".
Are all demons evil?

No, but 99% of the muddiness in that regard comes to play in AtS and not BtVS. (I know, same 'verse, but it's interesting nonetheless.) There's Clem in BtVS. In AtS, there's Lorne (and I'd argue that the Pyleans weren't evil--or at least, were evil in very *human* ways), there's Doyle (half-demon; the other Brachen demon who asks him for help in the flashbacks in "Hero" didn't seem to be evil; it *sounds* like his father was not evil), there are the Lister demons in "Hero," (though they had interbred with humans and therefore arguably could have had souls, ditto for the Brachen since the Scourge were after them) there's Merl, who was sleazy but not evil; there's the Prio demon in "Judgment," etc. fact, AtS has a lot of human/demon crossbreeding, which opens up any number of possibilities for how you look at demons and whatnot.

The suggestion you make in an earlier comment that you're dividing the whole group of beings called "demons" in the Buffyverse into *actual demons* and "species that get called demons due to their appearance/supernatural abilities/etc., but are actually just more-or-less humanoid life-forms originally from another dimension, much like aliens"
It would help if I finished sentences. an interesting one, and while they don't explicitly make it on the series, it might be a useful one for the fic writer. (In fic, I proposed once that most of the harmless demons stay away from the Hellmouth because they don't want to deal with the big scary demons or get in the way of a Slayer who might not be inclined to ask, "are you a good demon or a bad demon?" - which was my way of explaining how things were much more black and white on Buffy, especially in the earlier seasons.)
so i have to ask, because everything you've laid out seems fairly plausible to me:

1) where does the "new" soul of Angel's come from? Was it created? Pulled from someone else? And if so, does this mean that magical beings can create more soul? (ie: can gypsies create a new soul to put into Angelus, can monks create a new soul to put into Dawn, etc...)

2) soulless things then are BAD, yes? I know that you basically say that cannon becomes fucked beyond belief after S4, and I agree with you, but what about Spike post-Buffy's fall then? Is his continued loyalty to the Scooby crew after Buffy's death just bad writing (which i kinda think it might be a little) or self-interest, or motivated by some sense of duty that can exist without a soul?
The soul that's used to curse Angelus both times (original gypsies & Willow's re-curse) would be Liam's, I think. Would be kinda mean to grab somebody else. And Liam does deserve some portion of the punishment for having chosen to be vamped. So in my theory, Liam is part of the hybrid entity, but not the whole of it.

Soulless things are bad, yes.

Spike... an interesting case. He's evil, and he'll tell you that himself. Without the chip, he'd eat the Scoobies in season 4. By season 5, and definitely into the start of S6, something else was affecting him. hobgoblinn's story "Summer" theorizes that it was the chip, causing his previous self to leak over. I'd theorize that the Scoobies had become his pack. Buffy was undisputed pack leader. He'd push at the the authority of Giles, constantly attempting to usurp him and move up. The others he probably perceived as below him already. (Though you'd be wrong about Willow, Spikey!)

Without the chip, he'd revert. Perhaps not instantly, but eventually.

Hmm. pokes theory I think that might stand up to the strain of a story.
The mythology of the Buffyverse is a weird and convoluted thing. I pretty much agree with all your theories.

What's your take on the anomalous Spike?
katekat1010 asked the same question above ^^ and I attempted an answer. Even before he was chipped, Spike was a bit out of the normal. Remember the Judge? He thought he sensed a lot of human in Spike & Dru. So those two borrowed more from their human hosts, maybe, than the average vamp does. So his reaction to the chip might have been unusual.
Yeah, that comment from Angel sure caught my attention on my first viewing of Buffy. It was in such contrast with "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and vamp!Jesse's contemptuous dismissal of human!Jesse as a loser who couldn't get a date. Other evidence on both sides of this argument: Giles' reminder to Xander & Willow, in "The Harvest", that they'll be facing not Jesse, but the thing that killed Jesse. Buffy's friend Ford, who believes he'll be immortal if he is turned.

I think there's a connection but not an identification. The vampire is partly the human that died to make it, partly a newly-born demon.

The demon comes into being in a freshly-dead human body. It reanimates the human body, repairs damage, figures out how to make it move around. It's hooked up to the human body's nervous system somehow (it feels pain). It has access to the human body's memories, via that nervous system & brain. It is some kind of quasi-mystical being, however, in that it doesn't need oxygen, doesn't need to digest food, does need blood, can be killed by having a twig collide with its chest. (Oh, sorry, was that snarky?)

The memories are the source of the connection. A fledgling vampire might cling to those memories and the sense of self the human had and adopt them as its own. Perhaps it even has a sense of continuity of consciousness. But it isn't the same being! The human is dead. Its soul is elsewhere. (And I am taking as read the importance of souls in the Buffyverse.) The vamp can borrow as much as it wants from the human. And, I would assume, it begins developing its own personality from the moment of awakening.

I think Angel was being Mr Drama Queen with that comment about the man in him needing the killin'. Liam was long dead. Angel-the-hybrid was feeling suicidal.

I am open to alternative explanations, of course. I'm completely happy to read stories that interpret this differently.

And dear Lord, I hope the souls of turned humans aren't stuck. Some victims didn't choose to be turned... *shudders*

PS: no shutting up!
I'll weigh in on the Dawn/soul controversy. I think she's a simulacrum--a soulless thing created by men and magic to house mystical energy. She's not human--we see that when Buffy does that revealing meditation thing--she isn't even there! I believe that if she had a soul, she would have shown up as real. People seem to assume that the longer she hung around, especially post-Glory, that this gives her more validity as a real person. Why? Buffy's genetic structure may have been used to create Dawn's body, but there is no evidence indicating that the creation had a soul. Just because she wasn't out rampaging and killing doesn't mean that she was restrained by a soul. I believe that as the Key, she could learn to adapt herself to any situation--become what was needed, if you will. The only possibility I see for her gaining a soul is if the monks somehow split Buffy's soul, giving their creation a soul sprout or graft from her genetic mother. Talk about Black Magic! Soul theft ranks pretty high up on the bad-thing-o-meter. This theory could explain why Buffy was so messed up when she came back from the dead--she didn't have her entire soul. This wouldn't be something she would miss while she was still alive--how much do you feel your soul anyhow? But, the return trip was hard and she'd need her entire soul to help balance out what was done to her. If she didn't have it, she'd be very messed up. Maybe the soul would heal itself---she does get better---and strangely, so does Dawn eventually. Could their souls have finally been recovering from the damage done by the monks? Anyhow, I hate Dawn and would have thrown her off that tower pronto. So, maybe I'm biased about soul-having.
Hee! Lots of the issues discussed in Reconnection, there! Since that one is all about souls and stealing them and missing pieces of them.
Such a cool discussion. And all I've got to offer for now is a disagreement to a minor side issue-- Anyanka isn't a pure demon, either. Not only because she came from being a human, but remember what she says in late S3-- she makes the point that "none of you has seen a pure demon.... They're much...bigger."

Not sure, for that matter, even Eyghon qualifies as Pure Demon. That symbiotic relationship it seems to need with humans, to manifest as "The Sleepwalker" would seem to indicate it's not that much different than Vampires. And what about Malcom? Again, it seems to feed off human emotion-- devotion/love.

But contrast those demi-demons (like that alliteration? I try) with folk like Clem, or Lorne. They don't prey off other beings-- they are in symbiotic relationships only to the same extent any of us are, working at jobs, cooperating with others to get things we need. Different, alien, but not actively harmful to other sentient creatures. That's one of the things I liked about the world of AtS that I wish had been explored more in Buffy.

Oddly, though, I've never had a real Need to write fic in the world or Angel. Not like I have for Buffy.

I really ought to get back to my ghost story. Or dinner preparations.
Aha, yes, that's right about Anyanka! Though, what was Balthazar, then? Another half-breed in his little tank? But I can still work with this, because it lets me reserve the word "demon" for "really evil things" and all those funny-looking horned slime-dripping things are just aliens.

I think the story behind Eyghon and Malcolm is the rules underlying the summoning, and the circumstances under which a demon can cross into this dimension. They were summoned with restrictions, and had to operate under those restrictions. The Mayor transformed in this dimension, and was therefore fully operational in this dimension. If the Hellmouth ever opened, there'd be some bad stuff comin' through (as indeed there was in the moments before Buffy killed The Master, second most boring BtVS baddie evar).
If I can chime in for a moment, I was thinking about what you said, that Liam was an idiot for feeling guilty about what the vampire had done...

Well, he's an idiot anyway, but I tend to think since memories are stored in the brain and both the soul and the vampire imprinted memories onto Liam's brain, it'd be impossible for him to say, "He did that, not me" because to him it was him. He remembers everything about it, every feeling, sensation, etc. I think it would have been impossible for him to not feel guilty.

The problem I have is with other characters holding the sins of the vampire against him. To my way of thinking, yes he remembers it, but it still wasn't him. He didn't have a choice in the matter.

As for what Slayers are supposed to kill, I'm gonna go with: Non-human entities with destructive tendencies. Soul or no soul, if you do bad things to hurt people, you get killed. If you're basically harmless, you get to live. That's the only logic I can come up with for why they wouldn't stake Spike when he had a chip.
Hmm, interesting points about the memory continuity convincing him that it was he who did the deeds, not just the demon. I will ponder.
Dude, I love the episode with Buffy's roommate! But that's because I had an Evil Roommate who I wished would get dragged off to a hell dimension.

What about Clem? He's a demon, but he seems Good. But is Good the same thing as having a soul? Little confusing there.

Overall, I've never let myself become too puzzled by the Buffy cosmology. My experience is that any universe that gets big enough and broad enough is going to contradict itself to a certain extent. HP does it too. Plus, it makes it possible and sort of pick and choose as suits you (and your fic).
In my Current Story Theory, Clem would be good because he's not actually a demon. He's just a member of an alien species that isn't human. He has a soul. Demons: Big, huge, grr, argh, Mayor-in-snake-form.

You are observing the picking-n-choosing process right here :) as I try to work out details I need for my Current Story Series.