Morning canon-pondering thought in re: vampires.

Cursed with a soul? That is, a random one that wasn't being used, yanked out of the bin and pasted onto a vampire? Or cursed with his soul? That is, Liam the drunk and shiftless's soul, retrieved from wherever it was loitering and reunited with Liam's slightly fangier-than-it-was body? William the Effulgent's soul, rescued from the room in limbo reserved for bad poets and injected into a much more interesting life?

I've always assumed it was option 2, because option 1 makes no sense to me. The cosmology of BtVS isn't exactly sensible or internally-consistent or driven by anything other than the needs of the next script, however. Where do souls come from, anyway? Maybe they're recycled all the time normally. But if not, it would be pretty cruel to snag a soul that was somebody else (because the soul is the self, it does not belong to self in this interpretation) and shove it into a vampire as a curse. Then there's the Problem of Dawn.

I always end up having to answer these questions for myself when I write certain kinds of BtVS stories. My answers vary, because exploring different possible answers is part of the fun. Probably the clearest exploration of this I've done was in "The Antique Roman", where Ethan's revenge depends on the explanation of how demons & souls work. And there I assume that the soul that Angel has been cursed with was Liam in life.
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I'm pretty sure Angel says at some point (maybe during his big reveal speech in "Angel") that the gypsies gave him back his soul. However, I tend to consider Angel next to useless as a source of information - there are so many fewer worldbuilding contradictions if I just discount everything he says. (See 'vampire breathing.')

I wish more fic addressed the Problem of Dawn. Her origins leave so much open to plotty exploration, and neither canon nor fandom pays them enough attention for my taste.
I seem to remember that. I should resume my Buffy season 1 rewatch, because I think Angel is coming up soon for me. Possibly it's where I got my idea that it's their souls, of course. But I saw something on the flist recently, pointing to some shipwar somewhere, where it seemed clear that people were thinking Spike got "a soul" installed, that is, not something that was connected to the human whose body the demon killed and then reanimated. That got me thinking.
Well, there goes some interesting theorizing shot dead by canon! I have no clue what the relevant deal is with Spike and no I'm not going anywhere near season 7 to find out.

I've always believed the second option as well. I thought Jenny addressed this in some way when explaining what her clan did to Angelus. But I may be mis-remembering.

Dawn is definitely a problem. After "The Gift" is she still the key? A key? Fully human? I wish canon had addressed that as well.
Angel says it himself in, er, "Angel". Though it is a silly curse that makes no sense. Anyway. Dawn is a sticky, sticky problem. I suspect Joss of having been uninterested in the world-building problem behind Dawn and merely interested in how badly he could make Buffy suffer.
Thank you! I will read. I'm not allergic to B/A particularly, so long as the writer is treating the other characters well.
It's a cruel thing to do to the soul no matter whose soul it is. The soul's not responsible for what the demon did while it inhabited the body.
I agree with this completely. The gypsy curse on Angel has never ever ever made any sense at all. Who's being tormented in that scenario? Liam, the hapless fool whose big mistake was letting himself be turned. Certainly not Angelus-the-demon, who lies in wait fuming and waiting for a chance to scrap. (See the fight with Eyghon.)
Somewhere I read a fic (I'm thinking it was jinxi/buffywatcher, but I'm not sure) where it was the soul of one of the gypsies, especially chosen to make sure Angelus was properly tormented.

I kinda liked that, but I think Liam's soul is most likely.

That's a fascinating scenario! There the soul is sort of riding along poking at its hapless host. But who's in charge there? Why is the presence of that soul a guarantee that Angelus won't keep eating people?

Link! Link! Want to read this! Do you remember the title?
Oh, wow, I'm not sure I even have the right author. I do remember that it was a relatively minor point in a very long fic (now I think about it, that does make it likely I do have the right author... Hmmm) I'll try to get back to you on the story.

I shouldn't think the gypsies much cared whether Angelus eats people or not, and of course he did for a while, as long as he was made to suffer.
Dawn just bugs me period. Her whole existence means the seasons the fans loved didn't actually happen that way for the characters. I'd love to see fic where suddenly they all remember what life was like without her.

I was just talking to my minister friend about souls the other day. He told me not many people realize the bible says nothing about a soul separate from the body. Your "soul" is your body and when you die, you're just dead. And the being "saved" thing simply means we'll literally be resurrected into new bodies. Kinda like Buffy, only not, lol. Hopefully with less dirt and fingernail trauma.

So, as for Dawn, if you think about it in those terms, maybe any sentient living thing automatically has a soul?

I'd love to read fic based on option 1 and see Buffy fall in love with this not!Liam Angel, but have that soul belong to some stodgy, geeky looking guy and see if she still wants him or if her attachment was to the body.
Oddly, I always thought Angel's soul was a random soul. Mostly because what I know about Liam leads me to believe he'd have no remorse for a lot of things that Angelus did.

Whereas, I think Spike got William's soul, because he asked for it. In a round about way.

Dawn... I don't know, maybe they used a Monk's soul? Either through sacrifice or someone passed away while they were creating her. Something like that.

Now you've given me something to think about in class tonight :p
It all depends on how they made Dawn. What's her parentage anyway? If they made her "out of Buffy", then either she's a clone of Buffy or Buffy is her mother, which means they needed some DNA from somebody else. (Cue one favorite fanfic scenario of years past.) If they made her the way babies normally get made, then she got issued a standard soul. Maybe. Maybe they made her another way.

Nobody knows, because Whedon wasn't interested.

Angel's soul was his own, if you believe him.
Throwing my two cents in, because now you've got me thinking. I had always assumed that Spike and Angel got their souls (option two), and that Dawn did not have a soul. It all has to do with my personal theology/cosmology. Joss has a problem with world-building, and not just in the Problem of Dawn, so I had to go with my own theories: 1. Angel and Spike got their souls back, because their souls would be drawn to the bodies they used to inhabit when the spell was performed. 2. The Key was basically infused into a body(I will not speculate here how that body was created)and acts as a soul.

The gypsy curse is one of the worst things about the show.