It is noted in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel that whenever Angel makes love to Buffy, he loses his soul and becomes Angelus the vicious vampire.

My question, is his "moment of true happiness" that making love to someone he loves e.g. Buffy can turn him into Angelus or can anything that makes him happy turn him into Angelus?

As a bonus question, is the curse defined as inflicting a soul upon him with the restriction of no moment of happiness or is it the curse of living an entire life as a demi-human knowing if he makes love he will turn into Angelus?

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    Your girlfriend looks like Buffy, wants you in her bed, and you can't touch her. Sounds like a curse to me. – Omegacron Jul 31 '15 at 19:23

Angel was meant to suffer. Not to live as human. One moment of true happiness, of contentment, one moment where the soul that we restored no longer plagues his thoughts, and that soul is taken from him."


"Vengeance demands that his pain be eternal, as ours is. If this - this girl - brings him even one minute of happiness. That is one minute too many." - Enyos of the Kalderash

The ritual is intended to curse a vampire by re-ensouling him or her, thus forcing the vampire to accept massive amounts of remorse, guilt and torment for all the lives that they have taken as a soulless beast. As far as is aware, Angel is the only vampire who has been re-ensouled in this way, and it is unclear whether other soulless demons can be re-ensouled in this way.

Restoring a vampire's soul in this way is not intended as a gift. It is very much a form of revenge, or a curse since if ever there comes a time when the restored soul no longer torments the vampire, the moment the vampire is not plagued by the guilt of what they had done for the sake of evil in the past, then in that instant the soul is taken from them. Angel's soul has been lost this way twice.

Whenever the curse takes effect, it takes a few moments for the vampire to remember their actions while soulless, and when it is broken, the vampire suffers debilitating pain as his soul is ripped from his body.

While the Clan Kalderash intended the ritual as a curse, when the Scooby Gang and later Angel Investigations had the ritual used on Angel again, it was intended merely to restore Angel's soul and bring back Angel rather than Angelus. This is in contrast to the intentions of the Clan who wanted Angel to suffer because of the ritual.

  • What do you by "Angel's soul has been lost this way twice"? When was the second occasion? (When he was drugged? Wasn't that only temporary?) – Harry Johnston Jul 30 '15 at 22:36
  • spoiler Near the end of the 4th season, he voluntarily removed his soul because Angelus had information regarding the Beast and his master Jasmine. (Who was Cordelia possessed) Fred called Willow, who showed up in LA to perform the same ritual she performed the first time. – Ryan Perry Jul 31 '15 at 15:54
  • Yes, I remember that, but I don't think it was caused by a moment of happiness - was it? – Harry Johnston Jul 31 '15 at 21:47
  • The jist of it was that they enlisted the help of a shaman or warlock or something of the sort. He played a bunch of mindgames with Angels head and at the end of it, he dreamed, or imagined or something along those lines, that he has sex with Cordi, who he had fallen for. That was enough to cause Angel happiness and therefore lose his soul. – Ryan Perry Aug 4 '15 at 14:29

The curse is guilt, the guilt of knowing what he's done and caring about it. Being a monster, and having a conscience. Basically, it's what he was before Buffy started: they wanted him to be a traumatized wretch, living in the sewers because he refuses to kill, haunted by the visions of the people he's murdered and the horrible things he's done.

The "moment of perfect happiness" thing wasn't so much a part of the curse, as a safety mechanism. As Jenny's relative says, they gave him his soul to punish him, not reward him. If he'd "gotten over" his guilt and become a well-adjusted guy (as he started to do under Buffy's influence), the curse would have failed to serve its purpose, because he was no longer suffering. Thus, if he ever feels true happiness, the soul goes away. They'd rather he returned to being a monster than started enjoying his life.

As for what exactly constitutes a "moment of true happiness," it's never specifically said. Sex with Buffy will do it, but I seem to recall a moment of artificially-induced happiness (through taking drugs, I think?) being a danger during an episode of Angel. Presumably, it's anything that would inspire total, unreserved joy and contentment.

  • "The curse is guilt", well, no. The side-effect of he curse is guilt and shame, and dealing with the pain of having murdered innocent people. The curse is that a soulless demon without a conscience is being forced to have a soul and a conscience. Another side effect is that it hampers his ability to feed, as he doesn't want to kill more humans (and instead ate rats and such, before he get deals with butchers for pig's blood). – user31178 Jul 30 '15 at 21:21
  • @CreationEdge I think that's a semantic distinction. Simply "having a soul" isn't a curse, the point is the effect that that soul has on him: it makes him feel terrible. The feeling terrible is the point, just like the point of stabbing someone isn't to insert a knife into their body, but rather to do them harm by inserting a knife into their body. – Nerrolken Jul 30 '15 at 21:29
  • I don't think it's semantic. The magic gave a soul to a soulless demon. That's quite specific in terms of casting a spell. What if Angel was a terrible person before he was a vampire, and didn't mind killing people? There's no guarantee he would have been so bothered by a soul, it's purely so strong of an effect because of Angel's personality, which the Gypsy wasn't familiar with. – user31178 Jul 30 '15 at 21:36
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    I don't remember the exact episode, but it's heavily implied that Angel and Faith have sex, as Faith was trying to turn him back into Angelus. It fails because he wasn't truly happy, so sex isn't an inherent trigger. – phantom42 Jul 30 '15 at 22:42

Anything that makes Angel truly happy can cause him to lose his soul. We know this because of how Angel loses his soul in season 4 of Angel.

In order to gain more information on the season's big bad, Angel Inc. decides to ask Angelus so they hire a mystic to de-ensoul Angel. The mystic accomplishes this by creating a fantasy for Angel in which Angel and friends defeat the bad guy by working together. In the process Angel reconnects with his friends and bonds with his son. This is what brings him true happiness, not sex.

We also know that Angel can have sex without losing his soul. In season 2 of Angel, he retains his soul after his night with Darla. Again in season 5, Angel and Nina the werewolf are able to make love without any soul-lossage. Wesley explains to Angel that 99 percent of the time, sex does not result in true happiness, Angel and Buffy simply had a remarkable bond.

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