- Holden: "You know, my girlfriend at college, she's so sweet. We have this great thing, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna go vampify her just so we can be together forever."
- Buffy: "Sire."
- Holden: "What?"
- Buffy: "The word — when you turn a human into a vampire — it's you "sire" them."
- Holden: "Cool."
- Buffy: "It's a noun, too."
- — Holden Webster and Buffy Summers[src]
- “To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood and then you have to suck their blood. It's a whole big sucking thing.”
- ―Buffy Summers[src]
To create a new vampire, blood exchange was needed. Victims of vampire attacks did not turn into new vampires unless they consumed the sire's blood when near death after being fed on by said vampire. If the vampire drained all of the victim's blood, the victim would simply die. A human who imbibed vampire blood when not at the point of death would not change.
The destruction of the Seed of Wonder cut off the world from magic, interrupting the normal process of becoming a vampire. Thus, all vampires sired after that point became a mindlessly feral variety known as "zompires", speculated to be the result of the siring process still taking place but the vampire demon no longer able to manifest in the resulting corpse. Once magic was restored by the creation of a new Seed, the outcome of the siring process was instead new vampires, independently of the sire being an older vampire or zompire.
- “Welcome to my world.. It hurts, I know. But it won't for long. Birth is always painful.”
- ―Darla to the newly risen Liam[src]
Following the blood exchange, the victim died of blood loss and, according to Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, would reawaken on the night after the siring, sometime between sunset and sunrise. However, certain other vampires rose a few hours after the blood exchange. No special preparations, such as burial, were required for the vampire's rebirth, but vampires mostly rose from graves because they spent a time between death and rebirth as corpses and were buried. Vampires were able to awake even before their funeral. Some vampires, however, still buried their progeny while expecting their awakening.
In any event, new vampires often awoke with a sensation of disorientation, in which most vampires were highly violent and feral, before recovering and realizing their new status. This was not however always the case. For example, Sarah Holtz or Holden Webster didn't attack from their awakening. This clarity usually "kicked in" after the vampire rose from the grave or at least after the first feeding. When the vampire overcame the confusion, they experienced a sensation of clarity that was new and unique, and which they would express in different ways:
- Jesse McNally: "I feel good, Xander! I feel strong! I'm connected, man, to everything! I can hear the worms in the Earth!"
- Alonna Gunn: "Don't be sad. I'm not. On this side there is no guilt, no grief. I got the greatest guilt cure ever. I can free you!"
- Spike: "Becoming a vampire is a profound and powerful experience. I could feel this new strength coursing through me. Getting killed made me feel alive for the very first time. I was through living by society's rules. Decided to make a few of my own."
- Holden Webster: "No, it feels okay. Strong, and I feel like I'm connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that's gonna suck the world into fiery oblivion."
- Anne Pratt: "It's as though I've been given new eyes. I see everything. Understand... Everything.
Sires possessed a psychic connection with the vampires they made, allowing them to sense their presence if they were at a reasonable distance. Angel, for example, dreamed of his progeny Penn's past actions, just as Penn started committing murders in the same style as he did 200 years earlier, letting Angel know that he was close but not revealing his location. Angel also demonstrated this ability to track down Drusilla when she first appeared in Sunnydale. Additionally, Darla formed a connection with Angel, even as a human, and started appearing in his dreams, manipulated using Calynthia powder.
Various Watchers had speculated that this link was the result of all vampires in the same 'bloodline' sharing a fragment of the essence of the original vampire demon that created them, which was apparently proven when Spike fell under the influence of Archaeus, the Old One who originally turned the Master into a vampire.
List of sires
- Maloker: to the first vampire and Simone Doffler
- The Master: to Darla (first time) and Yuki Makimura
- Unidentified vampire: to the Ratcatcher
- Darla: to Angel
- Angel: to Penn, Drusilla, Sam Lawson, Theresa Klusmeyer
- Sophie Downs: to Roche
- Drusilla: to Spike, Sheila Martini, and Darla (second time)
- Spike: to Anne Pratt, Holden Webster, Charlotte, Billy Fordham
- Amilyn: to Bessel
- Bessel: to Grueller
- Unidentified vampire: to Tom Mitchell
- Garner Sidle: to Marcus Sidle
- Zachary Kralik: to Blair
- Harmony Kendall: to Brad Konig and Justin
- Unidentified vampire: to Charles Gunn
- May: to Jacob
- Alessandra: to Clare
- Icarus: to Harth Fray
- Willow Rosenberg (Wishverse): to Sandy
Behind the scenes
- In episode "School Hard", Spike refers to Angel as his sire and “Yoda". While Spike was sired by Drusilla, indicating that he thought of Angel as his mentor. Joss Whedon has commented that “your sire can mean anybody in the line that made you. So, Drusilla is Spike's sire, but so is Angel in the sense that Angel made Drusilla and Drusilla made Spike. If we were being more literal we would call him a grandsire, but that term does not exist in the vampire world, so sire just means somebody that you are connected to because they came before you on the line. By that reckoning you could say that Darla is Spike's sire since she made Angel.”