- “I am the Dark Lord of nightmares, the bringer of terror... Tremble before me! Fear me!”
Gachnar, self-styled the Dark Lord of Nightmares and the Bringer of Terror, was the demon of fear.
- “Gachnar, of course. Its presence infects the reality of the house, but it hasn't achieved full manifestation.”
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
Gachnar was accidentally summoned after his Mark was painted as a Halloween party decoration on one of the floor of the "Goat Room" of the Alpha Delta house in UC Sunnydale and a drop of Oz's blood was spilled on it.
Gachnar's presence caused mayhem among the partygoers, who became trapped inside the house, as well as the death of one of them. The Scooby Gang was victimized as well, though they understood the situation when Giles entered the house with an electric chainsaw and told them about Gachnar and his Mark. In an impulsive attempt to stop the demon, Buffy destroyed his mark before Giles informed her that the destruction of his mark would in fact bring Gachnar forth.
However, all the Scoobies were surprised to see that Gachnar was only a few inches tall. Both Willow and Xander taunted the demon on its "cuteness" and size. Despite his attempts to scare his much taller rivals, Gachnar was killed when Buffy squashed him with her foot.
Giles later discovered that the caption to the illustration of Gachnar read "Actual size" and was annoyed he hadn't noticed it before.
Some years later, another Gachnar demon was being used by a coven of demonic witches to try and gain power by generating fear through tours taken of the Galway murders of 1753 (The first murders ever committed by Angelus). However, this plan was thwarted when Angel and Fred visited Galway on holiday, the witches' attempt to harness Fred's unusual power for themselves unleashing Illyria, who promptly tore them apart for their insolence.
Powers and abilities
- “Gachnar's trying to manifest itself. To come into being.”
- ―Willow Rosenberg[src]
Gachnar could be conjured by performing a summoning ritual, which involved spilling blood over a painted Mark of Gachnar, a pentagram-shaped symbol. Once the demon was summoned, his presence infected the reality of the immediate environment in which the ritual has been performed.
The effects of the infection ranged from - but were not limited to - transformations of inanimate objects to animate, temporary re-animation of corpses, as well as temporary hallucinations affecting those in the area.
All of these effects were not only driven by the fear of the victims, but also, the fear then "fed" Gachnar who used to eventually bring himself forth, completing the summoning ritual. The physical destruction of the Mark of Gachnar was also another way in which the demon would be brought forth.
Gachnar could also tell the future. Before he is killed by Buffy, he says to her that her friends will abandon her, to which she doesn't believe. However, in 'The Yoko Factor', Xander and Willow abandon Buffy after they accuse her of talking negatively about them behind their backs.
Behind the scenes
- He was portrayed by Adam Bitterman.
- Gachnar's presence reveals the fears of the Scooby Gang, which drive the subplots for each character throughout Season Four:
- Buffy is afraid of letting people into her life since her experience with Parker, and, as she has expressed on previous occasions, fears that being the Slayer means she will always be alone. In the house, these fears are made real by being separated from (or seemingly abandoned by) all of her friends. Also, Gachnar's last words of "They're all going to abandon you, y'know" could possibly be a foreshadowing to the events of "Empty Places", where the Scooby Gang loses trust in Buffy's leadership and temporarily force her out of the house.
- Xander fears growing apart from the others, since he is the lone Scooby that did not go to college. In his basement before the party Anya touches on this and he gets defensive about it. Gachnar makes him invisible and inaudible to the others, so that the others, in effect, "abandon" Xander.
- Oz speaks of his fear of becoming the wolf to Buffy and Willow in the cafeteria. Under Gachnar's influence, he starts to change, even though, according to Willow, there is no moon that night. (In 1999, October 24 was a full moon, Halloween, October 31, was first quarter.)
- In the cafeteria, Willow tells Buffy that the next level she is approaching in her magical skills is a "little scary". When she tries to cast a spell to help them in the house, the spell goes awry and it attacks her.
- "Fear, Itself"
- "All the Way" (Only mentioned)
- Fight or Flight
- "Note from the Underground (non canon)