- “I'm the victim here. First off, I don't even want to be here. And I don't mean this room, or city, or state or planet, I'm talking the whole mortal coil now. You know? It's disgusting. The food, the clothes, the people. I could crap a better existence than this. [...] I am hurt, yes, by your incredibly selfish behavior. Newsflash, hairdo: It's not always about you. All I want is the Key.”
- ―Glory to a monk of the Order of Dagon[src]
Glorificus, commonly known as Glory (and also referred to as The Beast, The Abomination, and That Which Cannot Be Named), was a powerful goddess of unknown name from a hell dimension, banished to Earth in human form, and one of the Scooby Gang’s most dangerous enemies.
Glory was a goddess from a hell dimension, over which she ruled alongside two other deities. The three of them originally ruled with equal power, but Glory’s strength grew beyond even what the other two could conceive, as did her lust for pain and misery, and she quickly became the most powerful and frightening of the three deities of the dimension. Afraid and fearful that Glory would seize their dimension for herself, the other two deities struck first and a great war began. Glory lost the war, though narrowly, and was banished into the earthly dimension, where she was forced to share a body with a human child named Ben Wilkinson, who was created solely to "contain" her.
Unexpectedly, Glory was too powerful to be completely contained within a human vessel, and although not until Ben reached 20, she began to gain control over Ben for short periods of time, taking the form of a beautiful, but vain and self-centered human female who possessed superhuman strength, speed, and near-invulnerability. Though her powers were severely diminished due to her being imprisoned in human form, her strength was far greater than any Slayer, vampire or demon on earth, making her a most formidable enemy. A magical "amnesia" spell prevented humans from learning that Glory and Ben were one and the same: even if she transformed right in front of them, they instantly forgot what they saw. However, as Ben and Glory’s personalities began to merge more and more, the magical ruse weakened until anyone was able to see through it. Additionally, though Ben and Glory were aware of each other’s existence, one was rendered dormant while the other was active and did not remember any of the other’s actions.
Glory’s only goal was to find "the Key", a mystical energy nexus which was the only way for her to return to her original dimension. Unfortunately, using the Key would break down the barriers between all dimensions, causing all worlds to bleed into each other allowing "hell to reign on Earth". The Key was safeguarded by an ancient group of monks known as The Order of Dagon. When they discovered Glory was after the Key, they chose to hide it. Using ancient magic, they transformed the Key into a human girl and placed her under the protection of the Slayer, Buffy Summers, altering the memories of the Slayer and anyone connected to her into believing the girl was Buffy’s sister Dawn. The Order of Dagon was ultimately destroyed by Glory, who took and interrogated the last of the monks for information. Under torture, the monk revealed to Glory that the Key had been transformed, but not about what form it had taken, and though he was later rescued by Buffy, he still died.
Glory was opposed by a military order known as the "Knights of Byzantium", composed of knights and clerics. The knights, who were sworn to prevent Glory from using the Key, fought with Buffy several times in an attempt to kill Dawn, before Glory could find her. When a large group of knights gathered to besiege Buffy and Dawn, Glory arrived and slaughtered nearly all of them, taking the Key with her.
Glory arrived in Sunnydale in 2000 in search of the Key. She began by hunting down the last remaining member of the Order of Dagon, holding him up in an abandoned factory and torturing him as he was tied to a chair, while she proceeded to complain about her sufferance in this dimension. It was soon after that Buffy arrived and rescued the monk. Glory quickly accosted and proved to be too dangerous and unmatched, forcing Buffy to take a run for it with the monk in hand. An angered Glory — not from losing the monk, but from accidentally breaking her shoe — then unintentionally destroyed the building with her immense strength, making it collapse and keep her trapped there overnight.
Glory was set up in a fancy mansion in Sunnydale and was both aided and pampered by a race of pale, black-eyed demons who were loyal to her almost to a fault, though she did not care for them, and viciously abused them, both verbally and physically, for even the slightest failures. Seeing Buffy as a hindrance to her plans, and embarrassingly learning she was also a Slayer, Glory forcibly employed the use of a group of Lei-Ach demons to assassinate Buffy; though they nearly succeeded due to a spell cast by Buffy’s ally Tara Maclay, they ultimately failed.
Efforts to find the Key
The Scooby Gang knew very little about Glory. In fact, Buffy was able to find out her name only because she heard one of Glory’s minions say it. Glory’s status as a Hell-Goddess, her extreme power levels, her history, the Key’s true power and its origins, were at first elusive. Glory came to Sunnydale looking for "the Key", which would allow her to return to reign in her own dimension. Despite knowing full well the damage the Key would cause to all dimensions, including the one Buffy and her friends inhabited, Glory did not care in the least, being ruthlessly determined to return to her dimension and be restored to the height of her powers at all costs.
Glory was vaguely unaware of what the Key was, only knowing it was in Buffy’s protection. To locate it, Glory broke into the Sunnydale Zoo and stole a cobra to use in a Sobekian transmogrification spell. She bought the remaining ingredients for the spell from The Magic Box with Buffy’s friends, having no idea what she looked like and being oblivious to her intentions when they sold her the items with no hassle, only to realize who and what she was when they learnt what those purchases were used for when combined. Buffy attempted to stop Glory, but once again she proved to be no match for the hell goddess and fled while Glory successfully performed the spell, converting the cobra into a Spawn of Sobek which could track the Key’s location, however Buffy tracked it down and eliminated it before it could inform Glory about the Key.
The human mind could not control the power of a goddess in a human body, which gradually drove Glory insane. In order to maintain her sanity and power, Glory fed off the mental energies of humans by a process that Buffy and her friends referred to as "brain-sucking". She inserted her fingers into the victim’s head, absorbing the energies that bound the victim’s mind. The humans that she "devoured" in this way became incoherent and mentally unstable, as well as able to see Dawn’s true form. Glory’s arrival in Sunnydale was followed by a supposedly inexplicable increase in the number of mental patients, a group of victims she refereed to as her “groupies”. This forced Ben to summon a Queller demon to "quell" the mentally-ill of Sunnydale, which included Buffy’s sickly mother before Buffy managed to kill the demon.
Eventually, Glory openly threatened Buffy, her friends and family by freely entering her house, where Buffy refused to fight as it would’ve been pointless. Left with a warning, Buffy stood up to the Watchers Council — who had somehow uncovered Glory’s identity but preferred to ’test’ Buffy to ensure her loyalty to them rather than just providing her with the information — leading to her finding out what Glory was. Around this time, the Knights of Byzantium arrived to Sunnydale and began their crusade against the Slayer and Glory. They succeeded in killing several of Glory’s minions in battle before she intervened, slaughtering most of them and taking one (Orlando) captive to torture him for information. He yielded no information so she feed on his mental energy.
When Ben discovered Dawn was the Key while talking to her, Glory immediately switched places with him at the hospital he worked at, unaware of what was just revealed. She took Dawn away to the x-ray room to begin questioning her, using both promises of rewards and threats. Buffy and her friends then arrived and battled her, but Glory quickly overpowered their efforts. Before Glory could do any real harm, Willow Rosenberg cast a spell to teleport Glory away. Glory later learnt that the Key was specifically in human form when Ben let it split to a minion of hers, narrowing the search down.
She commanded her minions to search out someone precious to the Slayer and bring them to her in hopes that they would be the Key. After seeing the affection placed on Spike by Buffy’s robot double, dubbed the "Buffybot", Spike was selected but Glory quickly confirmed he wasn’t as he was a vampire, reasoning that the Key would have to be pure to ensure the Slayer’s desire to protect it. She then kept him tied up at her apartment and tortured him so that he would reveal the Key’s location. Spike refused to tell Glory anything and used her own ego to his advantage by insulting her to the point of making her hit him so hard he was freed from his bonds and thus able to escape.
Continuing the search, Glory was misled once again when she assumed the key was Willow’s girlfriend Tara, believing that her status as the newest member of the gang made her the most obvious candidate. Glory approached her at the Sunnydale World Culture Fair and threatened to hurt her and kill many people if she didn’t tell her the identity of the Key, brutally crushing Tara’s hands to get the point across. Tara refused and she was then "brain-sucked". Willow, a powerful witch, was so enraged that she confronted Glory and attacked her at her mansion. Despite her best efforts, Willow did extremely minimal damage to Glory who almost killed her if it hadn’t been for the intervention of Buffy.
Discovering the Key
Wanting revenge following Willow’s attack, Glory came after her and Buffy at their college dorm room where she witnessed Tara describe Dawn as a "ball of green energy". Now knowing who the Key was, Glory chased after Buffy and Dawn, but was stopped when she was hit by a truck and then reverted to Ben. She later managed to kidnap Dawn when Buffy asked for Ben’s help, still unaware of his connection to Glory. Buffy and the Scoobies (along with Dawn) were trying to flee from Glory in an RV but were attacked by the Knights of Byzantium and Giles was impaled by a spear.
They managed to find a hideout in an abandoned gas station, but were attacked by the Knights again. This time however, Willow managed to create a magical barrier around them. Buffy called Ben to their hideout to help stitch up Giles. It was then that Glory had taken form and managed to break through the barrier with Dawn in hand and killed all of the Knights outside before taking Dawn to the Tower.
The Key could only be used at a certain time. As that time drew near, the power that separated Glory from Ben soon dissolved. They still inhabited Ben’s body separately, but their memories and personalities began to blur together. In this state, Ben initially attempted to help Dawn, but during a conversation with Glory as the two shifted back and forth, Glory convinced Ben to help her by offering him his own body once she was restored to her full power.
The Big Day
After recovering from a mental breakdown caused by Glory’s kidnapping of Dawn, Buffy decided to attack Glory with everything she had: Willow’s magic spells (which drew on and weakened the goddess’ mind, and restoring Tara to sanity at the same time), the Dagon Sphere (a protection talisman created to ward evil, which caused physical pain to Glory and appeared to lower her strength), the "Buffybot", Olaf the Troll God's Enchanted Hammer (with which Buffy was able beat Glory to pulp due to the hammer being a weapon of the gods) and eventually a wrecking ball, commandeered by Xander Harris. Meanwhile, Spike, Giles and Anya attacked her minions, who were all preparing for the Big Day.
Buffy savagely beat Glory until she lost her hold on this reality and returned to the form and mind of Ben. Buffy decided to spare Ben as he laid heavily bleeding and beaten, unwilling to kill a human. Giles knew that Glory would eventually return and get her revenge on Buffy unless Ben was killed, so he smothered him to death with his bare hands. When Ben died, so did Glory, finally ending the hell goddess once and for all.
Death and legacy
Despite Glory’s defeat, the final spell to open the dimensions had already been started by one of Glory’s disciples, Doc (who was unsuccessfully confronted by Spike), cutting Dawn with a knife and making her bleed out (the act of which opened a portal to the other dimensions). Ultimately, after killing Doc, Buffy realized that because the monks created Dawn from her essence, they shared the same blood. This meant that her own blood could also close the portal, but it would require her to die (as the portal would only close when her blood stopped flowing). After saying goodbye to her sister, Buffy jumped into the portal that was opening between dimensions, resulting in its closure and her own death.
- “Do you ever stop talking? I don't know which is worse: waking up in a dress not knowing where I've been, or having to hear all your self-involved ranting!”
- ―Ben to Glory[src]
Glory was mentally unstable, arrogant, narcissistic, egotistical, and violent. She frequently abused her own minions both physically and verbally, and was also obsessed with herself and her looks. Despite finding human things to be beneath her, Glory adored fine fabrics like silk, and had an impressive designer shoe collection. Her ego was such that she was horrified and offended when she learned that she had just faced the Slayer, describing such a face-off to be "unbelievably common." After her first battle with Glory, Buffy compared her to Cordelia Chase; in a sense, Glory had the typical fashionista mean girl characteristic of the Cordettes — if they were really coming from a hell dimension.
Being from a higher plane and another dimension, Glory’s mind did not function like a human’s or lower demon’s, and existing in our reality meant that her mental faculties were constantly deteriorating. As a result, she had to infrequently feed on the energies that held a human’s mind together, leaving the victim a mere shell of their former self. Whenever Glory had gone too long without feeding, she would grow increasingly histrionic, babbling, kicking, and screaming, most times without even purpose. As the deterioration wore on, Glory would be become nigh-catatonic, unless her followers supplied her with a suitable "meal".
Glory was particularly ruthless, unafraid to hurt those close to Buffy in an attempt to torment her, such as openly threatening to kill Buffy’s friends and family and force Buffy to watch her do it while confronting Buffy in her own home, brutally torturing Spike to get him to reveal the identity of the Key, and violently crushing and breaking Tara’s hand. Additionally, Glory frequently showed a blatant lack of empathy and disregard for human life, most notably shown in her pursuit of the Key despite full knowledge that using the Key would cause severe damage to the very fabric of reality. Other examples include her regular draining of sanity from the humans of Sunnydale, brutally torturing the last monk of Dagon, and casually snapping the neck of a security guard at Sunnydale Memorial with no hesitation.
Glory was also extremely short-tempered, and always took violent retaliation at even the smallest insult. For instance, she once gave Spike a massive punch when he insulted her status as a goddess, and quickly resolved to stab Willow to death when she spat on her after humoring her attempts at hurting her with magic.
Powers and abilities
- Buffy: “What do we know about her? You know, she's tough, yeah, but, but no bolts of lightning, no blasts of fire. Shouldn't a god be able to do that kind of stuff?”
- Giles: “Usually, yes, but being in human form must be severely limiting her powers.”
- — on Glorificus[src]
The extent of Glory’s power is not truly known, but when Buffy asks whether or not Glory, as a god, can summon elements like lightning and fire, Giles responded, "Normally, yes, but since she is in human form, her powers are severely limited." Because Glory’s true form was never revealed, it’s also unknown what she might have been like at the height of her power.
- Near-Invulnerability: Only a Troll God’s hammer was able to do any lasting damage to Glory when used repeatedly. In her original form, she was immortal. Buffy could hit her repeatedly, and Glory would appear to just absorb the blows without taking any damage. Willow’s lightning bolts caused her pain, but caused no visible damage as the hammer did, though she commented that Willow’s assault slowed her down slightly. Neither shattered glass nor daggers could pierce her skin. In fact, Buffy mentioned that Willow was the only one of them who was ever successful in actually hurting Glory up to that point. Even when a building collapsed on top of her, she was unharmed. Similarly, she was unharmed after being hit by a truck (Buffy claimed it would not have slowed her down for more than a second). She also scoffed when Giles shot her with an arrow that simply bounced off her body and did not seem affected in the least when Xander hit her over the head with a crowbar, merely telling him to "watch the hair!" before tossing him aside. Presumably, she was either unharmed or left with minor injuries after Willow’s teleportation spell during the hospital attack. However, being hit by a wrecking ball seemed to stun her momentarily, possibly due to having been beaten a bit with the Troll God’s Hammer already combined with Willow’s power drainage and being exposed to the Dagon Sphere. In addition to her invulnerability, Glory could also heal from any amount of damage she received. After a brief fight with the Buffybot, Glory claimed that she started to feel a little better after being weakened by Willow’s magic and the Dagon Sphere. However, she was weakened once more by Buffy with Olaf’s hammer. Buffy also knew that Glory would eventually get better and go after her when she reverted to Ben again after Buffy’s attack on her.
- Superhuman Strength: Glory possessed tremendous physical strength far beyond that of vampires, demons, and Slayers. In fact, she was considered to be one of the most physically powerful enemies faced by the Scooby Gang, able to inflict massive damage on her opponents through pure brute force and physical strength alone (usually by sending them flying through simple blows). She easily punched chunks out of cement column, caused large cracks on a concrete wall by knocking Buffy onto it,  destroyed an entire brick wall with her bare hands,  punched a hole through a potent force field that Willow had conjured up (though the force-field magically repaired itself after a few seconds),  and caused a building to collapse on her after she repeatedly stomped her foot in a temper tantrum over a broken shoe.
- Superhuman Speed: Glory’s super-speed appeared as a fast-moving blur that was apparently invisible to the naked eye. This was seen when she pursued Buffy and Dawn immediately after Tara, in her insane state, accidentally revealed that Dawn was the Key. Glory easily caught up to Buffy who tried to escape her while carrying Dawn, even after Willow had used magic to slow her down. She also demonstrated some speed when in the hospital with Dawn, standing facing away from Dawn who was sitting down and then appearing next to her in a second. She did this again while in Buffy’s house; Glory studied Buffy’s belonging while Buffy (standing several feet away from her) reached for the fire place poker, only to find Glory right next to her. Glory also slaughtered the entire Knights of Byzantium (consisting of hundreds of highly-trained medieval knights) in mere seconds while holding Dawn in one hand, demonstrating the power she had using both strength and speed. The Buffybot commented that Glory wasn’t "blurry with speed" as usual when she was weakened, indicating that Glory is often seen moving at great speeds in battle.
- Superhuman Hearing: Glory’s super-hearing appeared when she visited Buffy to threaten her, she knew instinctively that Dawn was behind her going up staircases discreetly. She later heard her minions talking about packing her stuff up to take it to her home dimension. During this event, Glory claimed she had "God-like ears".
- Sanity Absorption: Glory could drain the mental sanity of humans. This was primarily to maintain her own mental strength, but would also prevent Ben’s form from resuming control. Not only did the drain draw out all energy leaving the victims in an insane state, they were also able to visually see the Key’s true energy and ultimately become psychically linked to Glory and the Key. Glory couldn't drain the mental sanity of vampires or her minions.
- Memory Absorption: She also seemed able to access the memories of the people whose mental energies she absorbed, as seen when she learned of Willow’s relationship with Tara after Glory drained the latter.
- Shroud of Illusion: A mystical shroud cast to prevent people from learning that she and Ben were the same person, the origins of which are unclear. It only works on humans; vampires, demons, and other non-humans are immune to its effects. However, towards the season finale this shroud lost its effect completely, enabling the entire Scooby Gang to remember that Ben and Glory were one and the same.
- Creature Identification: When her minions captured Spike under the mistaken impression that he was the Key, she knew he was a vampire on sight. Also when they assume Tara is the Key, Glory quickly identifies she is not.
- Omnilingualism: Glory was evidently able to speak and understand all human and demon languages - she was shown to speak Czech and the language of the Lei-Ach demons.
- Mystical Power: Glory cast an ancient spell that caused an ordinary snake to grow to a massive size and granted it the ability to see the true form of the Key, in addition to making it completely loyal and submissive to her. According to Giles, a spell such as that required enormous levels of magic to perform, yet the stress of doing so did not deter Glory in the least.
Even in her diminished human form, Glorificus had very few weaknesses. However, when used against her simultaneously or consecutively, her weaknesses could severely hamper her strength and speed.
- Mystical Power: Although Glory herself was well-versed in magic, she was also vulnerable to it when it was used against her. Willow had, on at least two occasions, harmed her with powerful magic spells.
- The Dagon Sphere: It was created to repel Glory. Although its effect was not absolute, as it was ultimately crushed by Glory herself, the sphere still reduced Glory’s potential in hand-to-hand combat with Buffy.
- Divine Weapons: Weapons crafted and/or wielded by other deities or divine beings proved to be capable of hurting Glory. Olaf’s hammer was so effective to the point that it forced Glory, heavily beaten, to revert into Ben, human and mortal. Giles indicated that it left Glory so weakened it would take her a great deal of time to return, but that she would eventually return one day.
- Mental Instability: Her need to drain the mental energy of humans could disorient her. When this occurred, Glory was often distracted by the need to drain mental energy before she could refocus on her other goals. During severe instances, she would become near-catatonic until she has fed.
- Ben’s Humanity: In some instances, Ben would enforce his will to resurface, effectively removing Glory’s strength from the scene. Additionally, his influence also hindered Glory from being more ruthless. She claimed that because of Ben’s uncontrolable influence, she had lowered herself to trading blows with the Slayer, as opposed to simply driving her fist into Buffy’s heart. However, as time went on, Glory’s personality began merging with Ben’s to the point where Ben agreed with Glory’s plan to kill Dawn despite trying to protect her from Glory earlier.
- Ben’s Mortality: As explained by Gregor, Glory’s only true weakness was that Ben was mortal. While Glory could not be killed while she was in control of their body, if Ben were to die, so would she. Through unknown circumstances, a glamour was in effect so people who witnessed the transformation between Ben and Glory would forget, preventing one from taking advantage of such information. However, when the Big Day arrived, the glamour no longer worked and people who witnessed it began remembering that Ben was Glory. This weakness was exploited by Giles who killed Ben and thus Glory.
"That Which Cannot Be Named" came into existence before written word, and therefore (as its title implies) had no name. When the hell-goddess came to this dimension, she was dubbed "Glorificus", which she shortened to "Glory". She was also known as "the Glorious One" (among many other amusing, groveling titles such as "Her Splendiferousness," "Her Sparkling Luminescence" and "Oh Sweaty-Naughty-Feelings-Causing One") by her demon minions, and as "the Beast" or "the Abomination" by the human priesthood and the Knights of Byzantium. The Scoobies often referred to her by the insulting name of "Hell-Bitch", and Ben referred to her as "the Most Unstable One" at one point.
|The Glorificus article has a Photo Gallery.|
Behind the scenes
- She was portrayed by Clare Kramer, who also appeared on a magazine cover in episode "Once More, with Feeling".
- Kramer, in an interview with the BBC, said Glory’s strength was her lack of self-doubt: "She was completely secure in herself, focused on what she wanted and dedicated to her cause." However, her strength was also her downfall; Kramer notes that Glory was unable "to look at more than just herself".
- Glory was originally meant to return for the final episode of the series as one of the forms assumed by the First Evil. However, due to conflicting schedules, Clare Kramer could not appear.
- Glory’s identification as "the Beast" and "the Abomination" are seemingly references to the Biblical Whore of Babylon.
- Glory was the first, and, along with the Trio and Willow, one of the few Big Bads not to have vampires as her minions. It is not surprising that Glory is not served by vampires considering her complete disdain for them evidenced in episodes such as "Family", "Checkpoint", and "Intervention".
- Contrary to the other Big Bads of the Buffyverse, which aimed at the beginning of the apocalypse (The Master, Angelus, Dark Willow, The First Evil) or at applying their law onto human beings (Richard Wilkins, Adam, Warren, Sahjhan, Jasmine, Myresto Mor, Twilight, Whistler), Glorificus simply wanted to go back home.
- Glory is the second Big Bad in the series to be killed by Giles, the first being the Mayor Richard Wilkins, when he detonated the bomb in "Graduation Day, Part Two".
- Glory has two licensed Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures, and one Tooned Up Buffy the Vampire Slayer maquette.
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 7|
- Twilight, Part Three (Only mentioned)
- Welcome to the Team, Part Four (Only mentioned)
- What You Want, Not What You Need, Part One (Only mentioned)
- In Pieces on the Ground, Part Two (Only mentioned)
- "The Journals of Rupert Giles"
- Note from the Underground, Part Four (Only in flashbacks)
- "The Ultimate Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Gift"
- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adult Coloring Book"
- Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- "Big Bads & Monsters Adult Coloring Book"
- The Buffy Battles