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The Grimorum Arcanorum

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Chapter One: Demona - Villainess or Victim?

By Earl Allison

Everyone knows her. Demona. The Demon. Goliath's former Second. While all agree that she was a major character in the first two seasons of "Gargoyles", there is little consensus on what role she played. On the surface, she appears to be a typical villainess, trying to eliminate the "poison" of mankind from the planet. After that initial observation, though, it becomes clear that there is far more to the azure gargoyle one loves to hate than simple revenge. Demona is in fact, one of the most complex characters one can recall from television animation. Her motivations and desires, often even a mystery to her, are some of the most realistic and interesting of anyone on the show. Unlike Xanatos, who is motivated by his desire for control and immortality (for what is immortality, but ultimate control over one's own life and death?), Demona simply wants to soothe the pain she has suffered over a thousand years. While it seems that she wants to destroy humanity to accomplish this, her actions, both in the distant past and in the present, would seem to contradict that. Demona is no more the typical cliche-ridden villain than Xanatos is the typical criminal. Considering the immutability of time, as well as repeated incidents throughout Demona's life, she is far more a victim of fate than she is an agent of evil.

The first real insight into Demona, into what made her what she was, can be found in the episode "Vows". Though the use of the Phoenix Gate, a magical artifact that facilitates travel through time itself, one sees a new side of Demona, her innocent youth. This poor, unsuspecting girl is kidnapped by her elder self, and transported to the still-burning wreckage of a sacked Castle Wyvern. Her elder self shows her the devastation. "The humans did this, and you can stop it!" she explains. Shocked and appalled, the younger gargoyle lashes out, crying "And I do not wish to be you!", only to be easily beaten back by her more experienced incarnation. Despite her defeat, the younger Demona clearly does not wish to share the fate or the mindset of her elder self. The key here is what happened. Demona was brought face-to-face with an unchangeable event, the Massacre of 994, without knowing any of the events that led to that incident. At the end of "Vows", the young Demona tries desperately to prevent the horrible future she saw. She breaks the Gate in half, and gives a piece to Goliath. This serves not only as a gesture of affection, but as a way to keep the power her older self possessed from coming to pass. Of course, her efforts failed, but she did not, and could not, have known.

Linked to this is Goliath's so-called "advice" to the young Angel of the Night. "Do nothing," he says, "but attend to the petty jealousies in your life." While this advice was more practical, it did little to put the young Demona's mind at ease. Surely the memories of her future self trying to kill her mate would haunt her until the Massacre happened. In fact, Demona's plan from "Awakenings" was also very likely an effort to preserve her clan. Considering that the Vikings did indeed lead Goliath and Hudson astray (as was her plan with the Captain), and that the Rookery remained untouched despite the castle being sacked, Demona's plan was quite clever. Unfortunately, it was fated to fail. Demona likely realized, at the very moment that she called out to Othello and Desdemona in the flashback from "City of Stone", that she had brought the very fate she had sought to avoid down on her clan. Overcome with grief and shame, she fled the castle, ensuring her own survival at the cost of her clan.

Even after the loss of her clan, and the subsequent discovery of Goliath atop the battlements, Demona had yet to fully give herself over to her hatred of humanity. After kissing her petrified love good-bye, Demona set off for a new life. Even years later, after abandoning humans entirely, Demona nevertheless had the barest traces of her gargoyle credo of protection coursing through her veins. Although she had already sworn never to ally with humans, she passed up a chance to slay the first Hunter, opting instead to save a young Macbeth and Gruoch. The two humans meant nothing to her personally, but she saved them regardless.

Now comes the crux of her entire torment, Demona's manipulation by the Weird Sisters. This spell made Demona what she is now. Without it, she could never have gone back in time to manipulate her younger self, nor could she have attacked Goliath in 1994. In fact, without Demona, the remnants of the Wyvern Clan would never have been awakened, nor would Xanatos have become the powerful industrialist he is now. At any rate, this turning point is where it all truly begins.

Despite "creating" the first Hunter when she slashed the face of a young boy, Demona still retained some decency. She spared the child's life, when it would have been so much simpler to merely end it. While this eventually led to the Canmore line taking up the mantle, Gillecomgain's manner and choice of occupation tends to lead one to believe that Demona's scratches only brought the evil within him to the surface. She shows the same mercy to a young Canmore when Macbeth took the crown, sparing the boy rather than killing him outright.

Even Demona's betrayal of Macbeth to Canmore and the English is understandable, if somewhat hasty. Having learned to trust no one, Demona eavesdrops on a conversation between Macbeth, his most trusted advisor, and his own son. Macbeth is advised to sever all ties with the gargoyles, so that Canmore's support from the English will fall away. When Macbeth's son expresses shock and outrage, Macbeth calmly tells him that all options must be considered. Predictably, Demona interprets this as confirmation of her ally's betrayal, and she leads the clan away. Why did Macbeth even entertain the comment? Demona had been a loyal ally for decades! Would he have been as open if the so-called 'option' had involved giving up his wife or son? This action probably solidified her dislike of humans for centuries.

The next thousand years could have been no easier for her. She spent that time alone, watching the world around her change, and never finding more of her kind. Worse, she saw mankind's "evolution" throughout the ages, living through such terrible things as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition (which no one expected, of course, *G*), both World Wars, and countless other conflicts. To Demona, her worst fears were confirmed. If humans cannot even get along with their own kind, then what chance is there for peaceful coexistence with gargoyles? Bitter, angry, and alone, Demona was forced to remain always hidden and alone. Always alone.

Demona was also hunted by the Canmores throughout the centuries. After the fall of Castle Moray, the Canmores somehow turned their attentions to Demona, rather than Macbeth. From "Hunter's Moon," we see that they have hounded her all over the world. Even Charles Canmore, the father of the current generation of Canmores, continued the feud. In Paris, it was he who attacked her, not the other way around. This constant fighting did little to endear the humans to her.

Demona's agenda in the modern day seems to have changed very little, as she still desires the destruction of the human race. Her actions in "Temptation" further illustrate her tormented nature. Goliath himself says that Demona's negative perception of humans is "a half-truth she has fully embraced." In other words, Demona truly believes in the worst of humanity. Her actions with Brooklyn are very telling. Domestic abuse, murder, and street crime are all chilling examples of humanity's tendency towards violence. Is Demona really so far off in her belief that gargoyle survival relies on the obliteration of humans?

Demona realizes, deep within her soul, that humanity is not to blame for her pain. Her plans are nearly realized in "Hunter's Moon", when she concocts a human-killing virus that will blanket the planet, leaving the world safe for her kind. After taking precautions to ensure that her kind will be safe, Demona practically tells Goliath how to thwart her plans. Why? Again, Demona understands why things have happened on a subconscious level. To admit it to herself would shatter her mind, but deep down, she knows that destroying all of humanity is wrong. So, to prevent it, she gives Goliath the tools needed to defeat her.

In conclusion, Demona hates humans, yes, but she is more a victim of delusion and manipulation than an entity of true evil. Given the right circumstances, Demona could very easily begin to atone for what she has done. But first, she must admit the truth to herself. For Demona to ever truly become whole again, she must accept responsibility for what happened in 994. Then, her healing can begin.

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