Illyria On Winning

“You have nothing. Your kind has pulled this domain apart, each of you has snatched a tiny piece of it. Even those with the mightiest hoardes are poppers.”
“The one who dies with the most toys wins, eh?”
“To never die, and to conquer all. That is winning.”
~ Illyria and Spike

Illyria was a character introduced in the fifth and final season of the Angel television show. She was an “Old One”, a demon from a time predating humanity, and had for millions of years been locked away in a place called the Deeper Well. She was resurrected through infecting one of the primary supporting characters, Winifred Burkle, using her body as a ‘shell’ or vessel. She was, by all accounts, uber-powerful. So that might offer some needed context for the above quotes.

The way Illyria looked at the modern world in comparison to the one she knew before her ‘death’, with weak, primitive creatures that has been repulsive, stinky much in her time could, in a lot of ways, be compared to how one might look at our modern world in terms of fame and notoriety. The internet is a good subject to illustrate the point.

A domain where anyone can get exposure, where the popularity of a thing can rise or fall as often by chance as by talent or lack thereof, where no matter the exposure no single person will ever be able to reach the levels of fame that were possible a few short decades ago, and no matter how well known or admired a person might be, he or she would still be competing for the attention of fans and followers. One would probably find it more difficult to gain a foothold, and more difficult still to maintain or exploit it further. 

The semi-talented can get something out of it, with the ease of exposure making a fan-base possible to an extent they might otherwise not have attracted. And the brilliant? I don’t know. I would like to think they’d get more attention, but I can’t help but think it’s probably more diluted these days than it would’ve been just a few decades ago, even if the number of people that know their name were to be higher. That’s the internet… and I think it affects and reflects other less virtual aspects of the world.

Not sure whether I care for that or not at this point, whether I view it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but those are just some thoughts/observations good old Illyria brought to mind.



  1. Its not just the Internet. Life offline reflects the same thing, and yet, in both people have and continue to make there mark. I think its more axmatter of reaching ones persona goals, rather than too large a picture like 6 billion people. In that, any one persons efforts, rewards, consequences, life, seems small potatoes, but to that one, they may feel like a God.

    Illyria is a good lesson in this after she lost a chunk of her power.

    1. That’s a good point. I’d been mulling it over a bit more after I posted this and kind of came to the same conclusion. I do, of course, have a tendency to widen my perspective to too large a picture. lol, it’s a bad habit. I do think she kind of let her disorientation get the better of her though, in some ways. But in reading up on her character online, she apparently survived past the last episode of the show in comic books, so I guess it didn’t work out that bad for her… she became something different, but not (necessarily) worse off.

  2. Interesting thoughts. I think a lot of what drives people to make their mark today and become famous is that “being famous” is the goal. In days gone by, fame was not the goal, rather it was a byproduct of talent, ingenuity and hard work. Now, with viral videos and reality TV, anyone can become famous for a brief span of time, but well deserved lasting fame still is a byproduct of talent, ingenuity and hard work.

    1. I think you’re probably right 🙂 . The internet might, overall, simply be one of the newest and easiest to observe reflections of the grand scheme of things (rather than an indication of any huge changes to the bigger picture).

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