That Which Cannot Be Named, known as Glorificus, "Glory", or the Beast (see name below), is a fictional character in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character appeared during the fifth season of the program and was played by Clare Kramer.
Glory is a god from a hell dimension, over which she ruled alongside two other deities though she was the most powerful of the three. Afraid that Glory would take full control of their dimension, the other two began a war against her. Glory lost the war, though narrowly, and was banished into the earthly dimension where she was forced to share a body with a child named Ben who was created solely to "contain" her.
Glory soon began to gain control over Ben for short periods of time, taking the form of a vain, self-centered human female who possessed superhuman strength but lacked many of her other powers. A magical "amnesia" spell keeps humans from learning that Glory and Ben are one and the same, even if she transforms right in front of them. However, the spell does not affect non-humans and Spike gained knowledge that Glory and Ben are the same entity. This becomes a recurring joke in the penultimate episode of Season Five, where Spike finds himself repeatedly having to explain to the Scooby Gang that Ben and Glory are the same person, only for them either to misunderstand him or to instantly forget. However, as Ben and Glory's personalities begin to merge more and more (see below), the magical ruse weakens until, in the finale, the whole gang is able to see through it.
Glory comes to Sunnydale looking for "the Key," a mystical item that will break down the walls between all dimensions, allowing her to return to reign in her own dimension. Use of the Key will also cause the merging of all other dimensions, including the one Buffy and her friends inhabit, though Glory does not care about that. Glory is not aware of what form the Key has taken. She begins the quest to locate it. Aiding her in this task are a group of pale, black-eyed demons, who are loyal to her almost to a fault, despite the fact that she both physically and verbally abuses them almost constantly.
In order to maintain her sanity and power, Glory feeds off other humans by a process that Buffy and her friends refer to as "brain-sucking." She inserts her fingers into the victim's head, absorbing the energies that bind the victim's mind. The humans that she "devours" in this way become incoherent and mentally unstable; Glory's arrival in Sunnydale is followed by an inexplicable increase in the number of mental patients. One of her unfortunate victims is Willow's girlfriend, Tara.
For her part, Buffy is not initially aware of the Key's nature either. It is eventually revealed that Buffy's sister, Dawn, is the Key, in human form. Glory soon discovers this fact, and manages to kidnap Dawn.
The Key can only be used at a certain time, and as that time draws near, the power that separates Glory from Ben dissolves. They still inhabit Ben's body separately, but their memories and personalities begin to blur together.
Buffy attacks Glory with everything she has: Willow's magic spell (that draws on Glory's stamina, giving sanity back to Tara at the same time), the Dagon Sphere (that lowers Glory's strength as well), her identical robot twin (the "Buffybot"), Olaf's Hammer (with which Buffy beats Glory to a pulp), and eventually a wrecking ball, commandeered by Xander. Meanwhile, Spike, Giles, and Anya attack her minions. However, the final spell that will open the dimensions has already been started by Doc, unsuccessfully confronted by Spike, cutting Dawn with a knife and making her bleed. Ultimately, after killing Doc and saying goodbye to her sister, Buffy jumps into the portal that is opening between dimensions, resulting in its closure and her own death.
Glory is left defeated and significantly weakened, losing her hold on this reality and returning to the form and mind of Ben. Giles knows that Glory will eventually return and get her revenge unless Ben is killed, so he smothers him to death with his bare hands. As Ben dies, so does Glory.
Glory is also referred to as "Glorificus" by her minions and in most textual references, and occasionally as "The Beast" by the monks who created Dawn (although she has nothing to do with The Beast who appeared in Angel, the spin-off series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Her final appearance in the series is at the end of "Lessons", as a form of the First in an attempt to torment Spike.
That Which Cannot Be Named
came into existence before written word
, and therefore (as its title implies) has no name. When the hell-god came to this dimension, she was dubbed Glorificus
: "glorified") or sometimes Glorifius
, names which she shortened to "Glory
". She was also known as the Glorious One
by her demon minions, and as the Beast
or the Abomination
by the human priesthood and the Knights of Byzantium
. In fact, her minions subjected themselves to verbal abuse and glorified her with numerous epithets, including:
- Good One
- Great One
- Most Beauteous and Supremely Magnificent One
- Most Glamorous Yet Tasteful One
- Most Highest You
- Most Silky and Effervescent Glorificus
- Most Sweaty-Naughty-Feelings-Causing One
- Most Tingly and Wonderful Glorificus
- O Thou
- Perturbed and Ultimately Merciful One
- Sacred Glorificus
- Shiny, Special One
- Stunning One
- Your Creamy Coolness
- Your Elaborate Marvelousness
- Your Eminence
- Your Extremeness
- Your Highness
- Your Inconceivableness
- Your Most Fresh- and Cleanness
- Your New and Improvèdness
- Your Terrifically Smooth One
- Your Unholiness
Ben refers to her as the "Most Unstable One".
Powers and abilities
It is revealed that Glory's powers were reduced when she was imprisoned in human form. However, the powers that remained were:
- 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 is immortal. Willow's lightning bolts caused her pain, but caused no visible damage as the hammer did, though she comments that Willow's assault slowed her down slightly; by the time of the season finale, Buffy mentions that Willow was the only one of the Scoobies who was ever successful in actually hurting Glory up to that point. When a building collapses on top of her (see below), she is slowed down, but unharmed. Similarly, she is unharmed after being hit by a truck at close range. Presumably, she was either unharmed or left with minor injuries after Willow's teleportation spell during the hospital attack.
- Superhuman strength: Glory possesses physical strength far beyond that of most, if not all, vampires, demons, or Slayers; in fact, she is considered to be the most physically powerful Big Bad in the series. At one point, a building collapses on her after she repeatedly stomps her foot in a temper tantrum over a broken shoe. In "Intervention", she kicked Spike clear across her living room, through a solid wooden door, and to the other end of the room behind said door after losing her patience with him.
- Superhuman speed: Glory's super-speed is depicted as a fast-moving blur that is apparently invisible to the naked eye. This is seen when she pursues Buffy and Dawn immediately after she learns that Dawn is the Key.
- The ability to drain the mental energy of humans to maintain her own mental strength, presumably to also temporarily keep from reverting to Ben's form. Victims were left in an insane state and appeared to be psychically linked to Glory from that point on.
- 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 worked on humans; vampires, demons, and other non-humans were immune. She loses this capability in the penultimate episode of Season Five.
- The ability to psychically differentiate between vampires and humans, apparently through smelling them, as seen in "Intervention", when her minions capture Spike under the mistaken impression that he is the Key.
- Apparent omnilingualism: able to speak and understand any human or demon language.
The extent of Glory's true powers as a hell god were never revealed, though according to Gregor in "Spiral", they were beyond what even her compatriot hell gods could conceive. In the finale, she gained Ben's aid in recapturing Dawn by offering him immortality should her powers be restored. Although she could have just been bluffing to manipulate him into helping her, by that time they had merged to the point that they each remembered everything the other said and thought; if she had been bluffing, it is likely that Ben would have known.
Clare Kramer, in an interview with the BBC, says 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.
- "Wait, I've always wanted to try that, you know that thing with worms, where, if you rip it in half, you get two worms? Do you think that'll work with you?"
- [To Buffy, during their first fight] "You hit me! What, are you crazy? You can't go around hitting people. What, were you born in a barn? Fine. Be that way."
- [Repeated Line before something bad happens to her] "Oh sh-."
- [After knocking the head off of the Buffybot]"The Slayer's a robot? Did everyone else know that the Slayer was a robot?"
- [When her minions drag Spike in] "Ew, what is that? And why is its hair that color?"
- [When she is trying to get information from a Lei-Ach demon who it was she fought in the previous episode] "A Slayer?? Oh god, please don't tell me I was fighting a Vampire Slayer! (Puts one hand to her forehead) How unbelievably common! If I had friends, and they heard about this ..."
- The picture in the living room of Glory's mansion is a copy of Tamara de Lempicka's Irene and her sisters a.k.a. Four nudes. The Polish art déco/futurist artist is renowned for being strongly feminist and openly bisexual/lesbian.
- In Buffy & Angel: Official Yearbook 2006, Glory was voted number one by fans as "Best Buffyverse Villain", followed by Angelus and the Mayor respectively.
Glory has appeared in 13 canonical Buffyverse episodes: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
: Glory appeared as a guest in 13 episodes:
- Season 5 (2000–2001) - "No Place Like Home"; "Family"; "Shadow"; "Checkpoint"; "Blood Ties"; "I Was Made to Love You"; "Forever"; "Intervention"; "Tough Love"; "Spiral; "The Weight of the World"; "The Gift"
- Season 7 (2002-2003) - "Lessons" (as an incarnation of The First Evil)
- The character's popularity prompted Diamond Select Toys to release two unique Glory action figures in 2006 and 2007: one figure is modeled on the character wearing her trademark red dress, and the other features the character dressed in black, as seen in "The Gift" (episode 5.22). The latter action figure was released as part of a set, the other figure being Dawn from the same episode.
- It is rumoured Electric Tiki will release a Tooned-Up Glory maquette, as a design for Glory is shown on the company's official site.