|[Stock image by soraneko, CC Licence. Edited by Anstice Potts]|
Today I’m continuing with the Blogging from A-Z Challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of awesome bloggers. My theme is: Elements and features of speculative fiction and entertainment. So throughout April I will be blogging about characters, objects and themes that appear in sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian series. Today’s post is all about Possession.
Possession is a supernatural happening whereby a person’s body is taken over by the soul or spirit of someone else, or by a demon. This renders the person incapable of acting on their own free-will, though they may appear unchanged and the possession may go unnoticed. Many cultures and religions around the world have some sort of concept of demonic possession, but the details vary. Sometimes an exorcism or cleansing ritual is deemed necessary to banish the malevolent demon. However, some forms of spirit possession by humans, animals or gods (particularly in tribal cultures) are seen as beneficial and undertaken voluntarily.
In Stephanie Meyer’s novel, a race of aliens has taken over Earth and possessed most of its inhabitants. This race of ‘souls’ can only survive by being implanted into host bodies. After insertion, they are supposed to erase any presence of the host mind, but Melanie Stryder is one of the few rebel humans that resists fading away. Melanie stays alive inside her mind along with its new occupant, able to think, feel and communicate with her possessor, Wanderer, and sometimes even able to control her own body.
Voldermort is capable of Legilmency, the art of magically viewing or reading someone’s thoughts. He is highly skilled in this and even able to control thoughts and even possess people. In The Order of the Phoenix, Dumbedore insists that Harry take Occlumency lessons with Snape to protect his mind from Voldermort’s attempts to enter his thoughts, but Harry doesn’t take this very seriously, leaving his defences wide open for Voldermort to place dreams about the department of mysteries in his mind. Later he is able to temporarily possess Harry at the Ministry of Magic. This is extremely painful for Harry, so much so that he begs Dumbledore to kill him. However, Harry is too full of grief at the time for Voldermort to bear residing in Harry’s soul for long without suffering unendurable pain, so he is forced to leave Harry and disapparate.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone *SPOILER ALERT*
In Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor, chimeras
are able to remain immortal
through their souls entering a new body created for them after death. Madrigal is sentenced to execution and evanescence, meaning that her soul would not be allowed to enter a new body but would be instead left to dissipate. Brimstone gives her the idea that she could enter another body after execution, and she temporarily possesses Chiro because her soul is weak and easy to push aside.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
There are lots of examples of spiritual possession-when a being who has passed away begins to feed off the energy of a living person, resulting in noticeable changes in their behaviour. Some of them draw on the energy of humans who possess their similar emotions. Willow also uses a kind of benign possession called ‘chanelling’, where she seems to voluntarily allow spirits to enter her mind or soul and offer messages or inspiration. There are also lots of demonic possessions in the show where people’s memories are erased, they have fits or convulsions and they are forced to exorcise the demon. Some demons that have possessed people in Buffy are The Master, Ethros demons, Eyghon the Sleepwalker, the First Evil, hyena spirits, Bezoar spawn, thaumogenic demons and Glory.