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In season three of Arrow it is revealed that the Lazarus Pit is having less effect on Ra's al Ghûl than it used to.

To put it simply, he is dying. Season four's Damien Darhk, however, expresses no such concern even though he is the same age as Ra's (give or take perhaps a decade) and only had a small amount of the Lazarus Pit's fluid.

On top of this, we have seen Damien use telekinesis to catch arrows, Neo-style, and suck the life force out of people just by touching them. Ra's had an entire Lazarus Pit, the might of Nanda Parbat and the League of Assassins behind him.

He also stood on the shoulders of the countless Ra's' that had preceded him. Damien on the other hand was apparently second best yet appears so much more powerful. So why is that?

  • it appears that that lazarus pit can only be used so many times on one individual, and Ra's uses it carlessly, we see him heal small cuts multipul times. now Damien dark who knows of the pits existance, yet only has a small ammount of it, would be determined to find a way to keep himself alive and gain powers of his own. i imagine well soon find a back story of what he did for the 150 years since him and Ra's had a falling out. – Himarm Nov 12 '15 at 21:21
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    The implication here is that Damien Dahrk is a legitimate wizard whereas Ra's was not. – KutuluMike Nov 12 '15 at 21:25
  • I'm with @MikeEdenfield. Darhk clearly has some serious mojo that Ra's didn't have access to. – Nerrolken Nov 12 '15 at 22:21
  • gimme an hour and I'll expand that into a fuller answer. – KutuluMike Nov 12 '15 at 23:37
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There is a very important difference between Ra's al Ghul and Damien Darhk: Darhk is a sorcerer. As such, he is presumably far more powerful, individually, than Ra's.

The title of Ra's al Ghul is bestowed on a member of the League of Assassins who has shown the necessary skills to lead them. Access to the healing powers of the Lazarus Pit are just a side-benefit of inheriting that title. Being Ra's al Ghul does not, on it's own, grant you any particularly special powers. Note, for example, that Oliver Queen was very close to being Ra's, and Malcolm Merlyn currently is Ra's; neither of them has any kind of supernatural powers.

Darhk, on the other hand, has clearly taught himself magic. The concept of magic didn't even really exist until the current season of Arrow, but between Darhk and Constantine, it's clearly a real thing; this is even beyond the simple mysticism of the League of Assassins: Darhk can "cast spells" that allow him to do things like drain life force and telekinetically control objects.

His magical abilities appear to be supplementing his use of the Lazarus Pit to keep himself young-looking. He practices a form of blood magic, which can heal his wounds without the need for the waters of the Pit. Also, though we've not seen proof of this, one of the more common tropes around blood magic is the stealing of life force from others. As such, it's very likely that Darhk has needed to rely much less on the Pit water's healing powers, and thus, it will remain potent for him for far longer than it did for Ra's.

  • I really like this answer, especially the bit about Ra's being chosen to lead, not because he was good at everything, but because he was good at the specific things that the league needed. I like your explain action for the youth question too. Does anyone else find it kind of ironic that Darhk needs to cut himself to heal his wounds? – Matthew Stevenson Nov 13 '15 at 2:51

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