The Quickening in the Highlander series and movies is characterize as magical lightning which transfers the knowledge, skill and "power" of a defeated Immortal to the victor.

Generally speaking, this is someone nebulous; while many Immortals have been slain by Duncan MacLeod, we've rarely seen him use the abilities or skills of others, and his strength and speed seems to be the of a normal, but highly athletic and very fit man in his early 30s. So there are very few indications that Immortals get cumulative strength, speed, stamina, physical ability or mental power stat increases, though each battle seems to make them more canny and slightly sharper in dealing with future threats.

In the series, we have evidence of it occasionally having specific magical affects, such as when he vanquished the immortal who killed his Native American wife and child [he was shown taking in the Quickening, with no pain, in a meditative position, floating slightly off the rooftop while an image of this family/their souls in the afterlife were shown]. However, generally, Immortals do not seem to gain any notable super-human abilities with each kill.

That being said.... has there been any evidence, either in movies, the show or any other media, how Quickening may affect normal mortals who may get caught in it?

Would they be granted some of the Immortals' knowledge or power, or would they simply be electrocuted?

  • 3
    ""if there is no Immortal present, then the Quickening just goes to the Source," - "[if] an Immortal is decapitated by something other than the sword of the Immortal he was fighting, (...) what we thought was, as long as an Immortal is present, he gets the Quickening." "If an Immortal is beheaded and there is no Immortal nearby to receive the Quickening, for example if the beheader is a mortal, then the Quickening dissipates in the sky" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quickening_(Highlander)#Mortal_Beheadings
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 16:55
  • 2
    There's an example from the spin-off TV series; youtu.be/8CRsTNi__Lc?t=2557 In short, you get all the electrical effects but the glowy lights just dissipate.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 17:11
  • 2
    One episode had the group of mortals who were dedicated to wiping out the Immortals had captured one of Mcleod's immortal friends. When he found out they were going to just kill him, he was very distraught about all his potential being wasted with nowhere to go. I believe another of his friends was killed by this same group while on holy ground, which seemed to cause more grief and confusion than when others were killed in duels. Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


From the Watcher chronicles CD-Rom:

"Witnessing a Quickening is similar to witnessing a major electrical storm -- Windows explode, lights short cicuit. It is almost as if the victorious immortal is in the center of a lightning storm. For your safety, the watchers recommend witnessing a Quickening from no closer than 50 yards"

So any effect to a mortal is indirect from flying debree or the generated electric flow which would be hazardous to their health. The Quickening itself does not have any effect on mortals. This is supported by both the original movie and the series showing no effect on Brenda Wyatt or Dr. Anne Lindsey when they find themselves in the same area as the Quickenings from the Kurgan and Ernst Daimler respectively.

From the same source:

"There is also no danger to unborn children should the mother witness a Quickening"

  • 2
    Both these examples are of people not getting caught in the quickening. OP was wanting to know what the effects would be if you did.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 10:46
  • 1
    That's exactly the point. Quickenings do not directly affect mortals, hence the examples. Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 10:50
  • 1
    In both of those examples the relevant mortals were well outside the normal range that a quickening usually takes form. They were near it, sure, but by the same token so was Kirk Matunas.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 10:58
  • I disagree but since there's no defined range for the Quickening nor the Buzz that point is as valid as my assumption that they were inside the radius. Then I'll use Nick Wolfe (from Highlander: the Raven) as another example. He, while mortal, beheaded 2 immortals, triggered a Quickening both times but wasn't affected by either one. Even the one that went nowhere. Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 11:52
  • Also a poor example. No quickening took place for him to be affected by
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 11:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.