Glorificus (otherwise known as Glory or The Beast) is one of the main antagonists of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who made her first appearance during the show’s fifth season. She was originally created by Joss Whedon and portrayed by Clare Kramer.
Unlike other seasonal antagonists (who were often vampires or demons) Glory was a powerful goddess who once ruled in an unknown hell dimension.
However, before the events of the show, she had been banished to earth in human form, leaving her severely weakened and mentally unstable.
During her time on the show, Glory acted as a formidable opponent to the Scooby Gang and would spend her time searching for a powerful artifact known only as The Key.
Although Glory only appeared during one season, she is now considered to be one of the show’s most dangerous villains, with the character being infamous among the fandom for being one of few antagonists to essentially defeat Buffy, with her actions resulting in the slayer’s death.
Before the events of the show, Glory was a powerful goddess who came from an unknown hell dimension, where she ruled alongside two other deities.
While the three gods originally ruled their dimension with equal power, Glory’s strength and influence began to grow, as did her lust for pain and misery.
Because of this, Glory soon became the most feared of the three deities, which concerned her fellow rulers. Believing that Glory would one day seize their dimension for herself, the other two deities waged a war against their fallen comrade, which resulted in Glory’s defeat and her banishment to earth.
To ensure that Glory would be forever contained, the gods placed her consciousness into the body of Benjamin Wilkinson, a human child who was created through magical means.
However, Glory proved too powerful to be fully contained within a human vessel, which resulted in her gaining control of Ben’s body for short periods of time.
While in her human guise, Glory would take the form of a beautiful and narcissistic woman, although her powers would be greatly diminished due to her human body.
Despite this, Glory still demonstrated superhuman abilities, such as strength, speed and durability. A magical spell also ensured that anyone who discovered Glory was Ben would forget almost immediately, even if they had seen the transformation with their own eyes.
Interestingly, Ben and Glory were aware of each other’s existence, even though they were unable to share memories of each other’s lives and actions.
Glory’s only mission was to find a mystical energy called the Key, which would allow her to open a gateway to her original dimension. However, using the Key would also break down the barriers between worlds, causing the various dimensions to bleed together resulting in a worldwide apocalypse.
Even though Glory understood the damage she could cause by using the Key, she was still determined to return to her own dimension, so that she could reinstate herself as the sole ruler.
Prior to the events of season 5, Glory would track the Key to a group of monks known as the Order of Dagon, upon which they chose to hide the Key by transforming it into a human being.
After slaughtering the Order of Dagon, Glory would follow the sole survivor to Sunnydale, where she would torture the monk to reveal the whereabouts of the Key.
It was during this time that Glory would first encounter Buffy Summers, resulting in a confrontation that saw Buffy rescuing the dying monk.
After saving his life, the monk would reveal to Buffy that the Key was now in her possession, with it taking on the appearance of her younger sister Dawn Summers.
Although shocked by this revelation, Buffy swore to protect the Key from Glory, which would lead to a recurring animosity between the two characters.
While staying in Sunnydale, Glory would set up in a fancy mansion and would be aided by a group of pale, black-eyed demons who worshiped her presence, despite being physically abused whenever they failed to please her.
Seeing Buffy as an obstacle to her plans of returning home, Glory would seek the help of the local demon community to fight the slayer and her friends, although none would be successful in this mission.
In between battling Buffy, Glory would continue to search for the Key using various methods, such as summoning demons and magic spells.
It would also be revealed that Glory’s human form greatly weakened her mental state, meaning that she would need to feed on brain energy to stay both physically and mentally sound.
In the beginning, the Scooby Gang would find every little information about Glory’s identity and would assume that she was a powerful demon.
However, through the help of the Watcher’s Council, they would soon discover that Glory was a goddess and that she was searching for a mystical energy called the Key.
After learning this news, Buffy would reveal Dawn’s true identity to her friends, which would result in her sister also learning the truth about her origins. Following this revelation, Dawn would reveal her identity to Ben, although Glory would remain unaware of the Key’s whereabouts.
It was during this time that Glory would mistake Tara Maclay for the Key, leading to her draining Tara’s mind upon discovering that she was only human.
Following Tara’s unfortunate demise, Glory would use the mentally unstable witch to learn the Key’s true identity, leading Buffy and her friends to escape Sunnydale.
While on the road, the Scooby Gang would be ambushed by the Knights of Byzantium, a religious order intent on stopping Glory and destroying the Key.
During the confrontation, Rupert Giles would be seriously injured, leaving Buffy with no other option but to ask Ben for his help. However, while tending to Giles’s wounds, Ben would transform back into Glory and kidnap Dawn for the final ritual.
While preparing Dawn for her sacrifice, Glory’s control of Ben would begin to weaken, as well as the spell used to keep their identities a secret.
After tying Dawn to the top of a metal tower, Glory would once again come face to face with Buffy and her friends, leading to their final confrontation. During this battle, Willow Rosenberg would be able to return Tara’s sanity, using a robotic Buffy to distract the clueless hell god.
Upon discovering that she had been fighting a decoy, Glory would face the real Buffy in combat, with Buffy using Olaf the Troll God’s enchanted hammer to beat the god to a bloody pulp.
Following this defeat, Ben was able to take control of his body and promised to leave Buffy and her sister alone. However, Giles understood that Glory would never stop in her mission and decided to smother Ben himself, leaving Glory trapped inside Ben’s dead body.
Despite her defeat, the gateway to Glory’s dimension was still opened through the assistance of her minions, leading to the near destruction of reality. Knowing that she was the only one able to stop it, Dawn was willing to sacrifice herself to save the world.
However, Buffy would stop her and choose to assume the role herself, with the slayer jumping into the mystical energy and closing the portal for good.
Unfortunately, this resulted in Buffy’s tragic death, leaving her friends and family to mourn over the loss of their fallen hero.
In terms of her personality, Glory was mentally unstable, narcissistic and violent, with the goddess frequently abusing her servants and being obsessed with her outward appearance.
Despite hating humans and considering them beneath her, Glory seemed to have an appreciation for human inventions such as silk, mimosas and bubble baths. Glory’s ego was so inflamed that she was horrified to discover that Buffy was a vampire slayer, viewing their initial confrontation as being common.
Because Glory was trapped inside a human vessel, she was left mentally unstable and therefore needed to feed on the energies of the human brain to remain sound.
However, if she refrained from eating, she would begin to lose control of her mental state, making her frantic and unhinged. In severe cases, Glory would be rendered catatonic by her lack of energy, leaving her minions to find a suitable human mind.
Glory was known for her violent outbursts and ruthless nature, with the god threatening to kill Buffy’s family and friends while making the slayer watch. During her time on the show, Glory would also kidnap and torture Spike, as well as drain Tara’s mind and ultimately cause Buffy’s death. Her short temper often resulted in rash decisions, such as when Willow spat in her face and she decided to crucify the witch.
Although there is little information concerning Glory’s true form, as a human she would take the guise of a beautiful young woman, with curly blonde hair and dark eyes.
Compared to other villains on the show, Glory was considered more fashionable in her tastes and could often be found wearing designer clothes and shoes, with her outfits often being rendered in various shades of red.
Powers & Abilities
Before the events of season 5, it is believed that Glorificus had the ability to summon natural elements such as lightning bolts and fire, although her subsequent entrapment left her powers severely weakened.
This means that we will never know the full extent of Glory’s abilities, which may have surpassed anything seen on the show.
Although Glory had been contained inside a human vessel, she still demonstrated god-like durability, which protected her physical form from harm or injury. For example, when battling Buffy, Glory suffered no wounds or bruises and would hardly demonstrate any physical damage during their countless confrontations.
While Willow’s magic was able to briefly cause Glory pain, there was still no sign of harm and Glory quickly recovered from the ordeal. In the end, it was only the enchanted hammer of a troll god that was able to wound Glory, leaving her with bloody welts on her face and body.
However, after she reverted back to Ben, even Buffy understood that she would one day recover from her injuries.
Glory was known to possess tremendous physical strength far beyond that of vampires, demons or slayers. In most cases, Glory could cause severe damage to her opponent through brute force, with the goddess even destroying a whole building by accident.
When confronted with Willow’s magical force field, Glory was able to punch her way through the barrier and often spoke about how she could rip out Buffy’s heart without breaking a sweat.
During the events of the show, Glory also exhibited superhuman speed, with the goddess transforming into a fast-moving blur that was apparently invisible to the naked eye.
While using this power, Glory was able to go from one location to another in seconds without being seen, thus allowing her to confuse Buffy and kill the Knights of Byzantium while still holding Dawn by the arm.
Interestingly, Buffybot once commented that Glory was slower in her weakened state, which suggests that the goddess often demonstrated this speed during battle.
Glory often demonstrated heightened senses along with her strength and speed, with the most prominent being her sense of hearing. During a mild confrontation with Buffy, Glory knew that Dawn was behind her without looking.
The goddess could also hear her minions whispering in another room, leading her to make a comment about her ‘god-like ears’.
Because of her weakened state, Glory could drain the mental sanity from people’s minds, which she used to maintain her own stability. Not only did this process drain the energy from the human brain, but it also left Glory’s victims mad and unhinged, creating a psychic link between them and the goddess.
Interestingly, it seems that the draining process also allowed Glory to access the victim’s memories, as she knew Willow and Tara were in a relationship after draining the latter. However, it seems Glory was unable to perform this ability on vampires and demons.
Although it was not explicitly stated that the spell placed on Glory and Ben was one of her own doing, it can be assumed that it was partly influenced by the goddess’s power.
The illusion made it so that anyone who learned of Ben and Glory’s shared identity would immediately forget, even if they had witnessed the transformation take place in front of them.
However, as the final battle approached, this power began to weaken and the Scooby Gang was able to remember that Glory was in fact, Ben.
Glory was able to detect a person’s species with a single look, something that was demonstrated when her minions caught Spike and she immediately knew that he was a vampire. Beyond this, Glory could also tell that Tara was human by tasting her blood.
While Glory was not a practicing witch and showed little interest in the mystical arts, she did demonstrate an affinity for magic and spells.
When using an ancient ritual to transform a cobra into her magical servant, Glory was able to perform the spell without issue or exhaustion, even though Giles commented that the incantation would require a tremendous amount of power.
Due to her villain status, Glory did not form many lasting relationships during her time on the show, with the goddess often acting antagonistically towards the members of the Scooby Gang. However, there are some notable connections that should be discussed.
After her banishment from the hell dimension, Glory found herself trapped inside the body of a human child named Benjamin Wilkinson, where she would remain dormant until his 20th birthday. During this time, Glory was able to overpower Ben’s mind, transform his body into her female guise.
Following this, Ben came to despise Glory due to her evil nature, leading him to pursue a career in the medical field. However, it soon becomes clear that although Ben resents Glory, he also understands her and knows that he must protect her to protect himself.
For example, after Glory’s arrival leaves Sunnydale with a high population of mental patients, Ben summons a Queller demon to deal with the pandemic. At the end of the season, Ben even helps Glory to kidnap Dawn, after she promises to spare his life following her return home.
While staying in Sunnydale, Glory was often assisted by a group of demon minions, who worshiped her as a god on earth. These demons were of unknown origins and displayed humanoid features as well as pointed ears and black eyes.
They could speak English fluently and were commonly used for narrative and comedic purposes. Because of their devoted servitude, Glory often relied on her minions to run errands and spy on the Scooby Gang, abusing those who failed in their mission. Interestingly, Doc (a fellow worshiper of Glorificus) referred to these demons as ‘underworld bottom feeders’.
Even though Dawn Summers was Buffy’s sister, she and Glory shared a connection due to their supernatural origins, with it being revealed that Dawn was actually the Key in human form.
Because of this, the two seemed to display an understanding of each other even before Dawn’s identity was revealed.
For example, Dawn remains one of few characters to have had a civil conversation with the goddess, using Glory’s knowledge of the Key to learn more about her own identity.
While Dawn fears and despises Glory, she prefers her company over Ben’s, who she later regards as a monster due to his dishonesty.
After the death of Joyce Summers, Dawn attempted to resurrect her mother using a reanimation spell, which she received from an eccentric old man named Doc.
While in appearance Doc takes the form of a kind and eccentric old man, it is later revealed that he is a powerful demon with reptilian characteristics, who worships Glory as the god she is. While the two are never seen together, Doc assists Glory in her attempts to open the portal, going so far as to cut Dawn’s stomach with a knife to begin the flow of magical blood.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 5)
- No Place Like Home
- Blood Ties
- I Was Made To Love You
- Tough Love
- The Weight of the World
- The Gift
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 7)
- Lessons (cameo)
- The Journals of Rupert Giles
- Note From The Underground (Part IV)
- Chaos Bleeds
- Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Big Bads & Monsters
- The Buffy Battles
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