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This article is about the title. For the Key's embodiment, see Dawn Summers.
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The Key is the link. The link must be severed. Such is the will of God.
―Litany of the Knights of Byzantium[src]

The Key was an ancient mystical energy with the power to unlock the gates between all existing dimensions.[citation needed]



Who, when or why it was created is unknown, though in the 12th century, the Order of Dagon was founded by Tarnis in order to protect it. Meanwhile, the Knights of Byzantium sought to destroy the Key so its destructive power would never be unleashed. While one of the monks claimed that for centuries the key had no form, Glorificus, having seen the Key very briefly, described it as "a bright, green, swirly shimmer."[citation needed]


In 2000, fearing that Glory would use the Key, the surviving monks of the Order of Dagon transformed the Key into Dawn Summers with the hope that Buffy, the Slayer, would keep it safe. Reality was altered and Dawn and everyone around her were given false memories so that they would believe she had always been present as Buffy's younger sister. The monks used Buffy as a template to create Dawn's physical body, making them biological sisters.[citation needed]

However, people "beyond reality," such as the mentally ill, were able to perceive Dawn as the Key. Since Glory fed on human sanity, she created a stockpile of these individuals, unaware of what they were capable of for months until eventually Tara of them identified the Key in Glory's presence, leading to her capturing Dawn the night after.[citation needed]

In 2001, Glory's worshipper Doc succeeded in using Dawn as the Key by spilling her blood. However, the resulting tearing of the veils between dimensions was soon sealed back by Buffy's self-sacrifice.[citation needed]

Following Glory's defeat[]

Following these events, Dawn herself stated that, to the best of her knowledge, she was no longer the Key, and even if she was, she no longer opened anything,[1] while Andrew Wells stated that she used to be the Key;[2] however, Willow's threat to turn her back into an energy ball called this into question.[3]

After the destruction of the Seed of Wonder and the subsequent end of magic, Dawn fell ill and began to fade from reality. She became physically weak and occasionally turned intangible, while her memories began to disappear.[citation needed]

In other dimensions, Dawn discovered that she didn't need a ritual to access her powers. She could open portals to any dimension and destroy the barriers that held them, shrink and destroy powerful demons with a flick of her wrist, and create a protective force field. Giles compared Dawn's powers to a godlike entity.[citation needed]

Powers and abilities[]

  • Portal creation: The Key possesses the ability to open gateways to far off existing dimensions and planes. Dawn seemingly had enhanced these abilities to even taking her to the Forest of Doom, the Cyberhive and the hell dimension of Arashmaharr.[citation needed]
  • Force field generation: Dawn had demonstrated this ability in her fight against Kerberon, where she deflected his blasts making him disintegrate.[citation needed]
  • Sensing: Dawn was able to sense that the food of Anharra was not poisonous.[citation needed]