So. Vampire canons and religion. I’ve touched on some of this stuff before, but I think it’s appropriate to explore it again.
- These guys are susceptible to religious objects. Crosses, bad. Holy water, bad. Fairly standard stuff in that regard.
- Those who fight the vampires do not seem to be beholden to any particular religion at all. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) wears her cross necklaces, but that’s because they stop vampires. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) are practicing Wiccans, but save a few prayers, the religious aspects of that are really not touched on at all; Willow is also ancestrally Jewish, but does not often mention it save a few frowny-faced “not everyone celebrates Christmas”-type comments. Religion is not the why behind anyone’s vampire fighting, they just did it because vampires are often bad and should be stopped.
- Ethan Rayne (Robin Sachs) does practice a religion, or at least a religious worshipping of the deity Janus, as a part of his villainy. But he’s only around for a few random episodes here and there, so we don’t get a lot of detail with it. And also he’s not a vampire.
- Glory (Clare Kramer) is a hell god, but she’s not a vampire either. So.
- Flashbacks to the lives of those who are now vampires do include religion: dying Darla (Julie Benz) scorns the efforts of a visiting religious figurehead who really isn’t, Drusilla (Juliet Landau) is targeted by Angelus (David Boreanaz) for her piety and actually seeks to become a nun in order to escape his torment. Darla retains that snarky faithlessness into her vampire life; Dru completely abandons her faith and replaces it with belief in her sire and their crazy evil fun.
- Also, I should point out the puns and ironies made possible by Angel and Faith (Eliza Dushku) by virtue of their names and contrasting actions.
- The idea of hell is deeply entrenched in the Buffyverse: the town is on a hellmouth, multiple characters visit or spend time in hell dimensions. Hell is a very real concept, though it doesn’t seem to be technically associated with any one religious tradition. It simply is: it exists in a dimension alongside ours, it can be reached.
- And the idea of heaven really isn’t discussed until Buffy’s return from the grave in season six, when even she, who has probably been there, can only really say that she was probably there. There is no explanation for the how or why of heaven and, again, no real association between heaven and a religious tradition.
- These guys aren’t susceptible to religious objects, though they have plenty of other weaknesses so it’s okay. They actually address that myth in canon, so.
- For the most part, the show’s main characters don’t fight vampires most of the time, they sort of just exist alongside them to varying effects. Those who are clearly anti-vampire and act on it are people like Rene (Michael Raymond-James) in season one, people like Steve Newlin’s (Michael McMillian) Fellowship of the Sun in season two, people like Marnie (Fiona Shaw) and her witches in season four, people like the gang of anti-all supes who wear the Obama masks this season. Steve Newlin definitely made it out to be a religious thing, a branch of Christian fundamentalism – I, at least, always took it to be a splinter group that didn’t reflect the beliefs of the entire religion, like how some real churches are more avid about not being all right with some things than other churches – that was devoted to values and to eradicating vampires because they were a slight against nature and God. And Marnie’s whole thing was she just was really curious about necromancy and then whoops, possessed by the ghost of a lady who was killed by vampires in the Spanish Inquisition or something. Which also has religious background, but Marnie herself was really more of a practicing Wiccan who just delved too hard into the bad stuff.
- This season’s foray into vampire religion is kind of the flip side to human Steve Newlin’s thing. It’s religious fundamentalism, and they all say as much: the vampire Bible exists for all vampires, but most of them don’t really take it seriously, and the problem that’s occurring with the members of the Authority is coming from taking it too seriously. Taking it literally, which is not so much a good idea, all things considered. Though they do refer to it as the vampire Bible and it is steeped in a lot of the same language as the Christian Bible, the sanguinista movement is really more of a cult than anything; lots of cults are based in extreme interpretations of religious texts, and that just helps me say with certainty that no matter what you do or do not believe, it’s probably not fair to judge an entire group based on the actions of beliefs of the extreme few. ‘Cause that’s generalizing and sometimes leads to bad. This is not to say that the extreme few are not doing bad; often, as in the show, they are. But the cool thing about True Blood is that the “good” characters at least seem a lot of the time to take things on a case-by-case basis, judging a small group or an individual; speciesism is reserved for the bad guys nine times of ten.
- The only of the vampire characters who come from a religiously influenced human background are Tara (Rutina Wesley), who really only has the fact that her crazy mom recently married a pastor going on there, so it’s at most the appearance of religious propriety and nothing more, and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). I’ve mentioned this before: Jess’ family background, her too-religious parents and her abusive dad, her need to rebel leading to what seemed like an out if she looked at it the right way. There’s not too terribly much to say here that I haven’t said already, but it does color the proceedings interestingly. Presumably others of the characters had some baseline religion in their human lives, but not so much that it warrants mentioning.
- Despite the prevalence of ghosts hanging out on this mortal plane, the only discussions of heaven or hell that we really get are the terms being dropped in passing or maybe Sookie (Anna Paquin) speculating about her gran. Good and bad could very well exist in other dimensions, but the only other dimension we ever deal with is the fairy world, which is also not heaven or hell.
- They’re not vulnerable to religious objects.
- Blah blah, I’ve heard speculation that the whole thing is a metaphor for Mormonism. I don’t know if that’s true, I don’t know enough about Mormonism, so I won’t go into it. But that’s what the whisper is.
–your fangirl heroine.