AKA: Angel of the Night, Dominique Destine
Born: Castle Wyvern, Scotland 938
Species: Gargoyle (Twice Cursed)
Voiced By: Marina Sirtis
Featured In: Disney’s Gargoyles (1994-1997)
Born in the ancient past when superstition and the sword ruled, it was a time of darkness, a world of fear… it was the age of gargoyles, Demona is a twice-cursed member of this unique species of creatures featured in Disney’s Gargoyles. Gargoyles, as we come to learn throughout the series, are a race of creatures that turn to stone under the light of the sun and come to life upon its fall. Features amongst gargoyles vary amongst the many clans littered across the world but if there’s one common ground amongst them is the instilled urge to protect.
Save for Demona, the one true exception to the rule and yet one its greatest shining examples in her own twisted and cruel way. When she was young and a not yet cursed gargoyle, Demona was under the tutelage of the Archmage, a magic-user whose thirst for power and conquest would eventually lead to his downfall twice over. Originally it was because Demona expressed an interest in learning magic and does indeed possess the gift for it but the only thing she truly learned from the Archmage was the ability to read human languages, a skill that she would also pass onto her then-lover at the time Goliath.
It wasn’t until the Archmage bade her to try and steal the Phoenix Gate, a magical talisman that could allow one to traverse the streams of time itself with complete impunity, that her path towards darkness began, ironically by her own future self. Seeking a means of altering the events of the present (that is to say 1994 and onwards), Demona went to the past and tried to convince her younger self to use the Phoenix Gate to try and destroy the humans and avert the massacre that was to come at Castle Wyvern, and even went so far as to show her the remains and the then frozen in stone Goliath.
The younger Demona was not only appalled by what she had seen become of her family but of her own self and vowed to never turn into her future self and even outright attacked her. However, much as she wished otherwise, the vision of the future would not leave her and she steadily grew more and more resentful of the humans and their treatment of her kind until, ultimately, the future she saw came to pass again by her own claws.
For the one thing that the future Demona did not instill upon her younger self was that it was her own plan to try and rid Castle Wyvern of the humans that would lead to the massacre of her clan and the curse of stone sleep placed upon her beloved Goliath. Her own hatred of humanity blinded her to the fact that it was her actions that lead to the deaths of her family and was sadly not limited to Castle Wyvern. For in an act of petty thievery, Demona had scarred a young boy so horribly that he would eventually grow to become the Hunter, a man who would eventually pave the way for the genocide of the gargoyle race by he and other like-minded individuals.
Demona would eventually enter into an allegiance with a young monarch by name of Macbeth and yes, the self same Macbeth of actual history. In point of fact, the only true difference between history and the animated series is the involvement of Demona and a few other odd examples of magic. For you see, it was in the year 1040 that Demona received her first curse at the hands of the Weird Sisters, triplet daughters of King Oberon and Queen Titania of the Third Race otherwise more commonly known as the Fae Folk. Having their own agenda and plans for Macbeth and Demona, made unto the two of them a pact of sorts.
Their ages reversed so that Demona was once more in her prime and Macbeth a man in his early fifties, which in itself is not that surprising as gargoyles age significantly slower than humans, but one other “boon” had been granted to the two of them for good or for ill. Both were made immortal to Time and to Death, neither capable of being killed save by the hands of the other. To put it simply, they now shared each other’s very soul and, if they were close enough to each other, would feel each other’s pain but only by directly killing one could the other die. Completely unknowing of this at the time, Demona and Macbeth entered into a true alliance with each other and a new golden age of gargoyles and humans began.
For a time…
In another tragic twist of fate, it was Demona’s own actions that would lead to the death of her newly founded clan of gargoyles and earn her the wrath and hatred of Macbeth for the centuries to come. Eavesdropping on the king in council with one of his men, Demona incorrectly believed that Macbeth intended to betray her and her kind in the face of an approaching war with the English and so abandoned him and his people when he needed her most only for her own kind to be slain in their sleep yet again.
It was rather sad as she and Macbeth were quite close, or as close as Demona allowed herself to be with a human. Heck, it was because of Macbeth that she even got the name of “Demona” in the first place as it was gargoyle tradition (for those of the Scottish lands at least) to not have names as what better name could there be beside friend or family?
In the time between then and the awakening of Goliath and the other survivors of the massacre, Demona’s actions remain a mystery though one can make a few strong guesses as to what she was doing. In the centuries that follow, Demona more than likely increased her aptitude for magic and even allowed herself to follow mankind’s advancement in technology and becoming quite proficient in it herself though nowhere near to the same degree as she had with magic despite its afflictions upon her.
It was around this time that Demona would earn her second curse by way of the faerie known simply as Puck whom she had successfully managed to not only summon through Titania’s Mirror but actually capture and thus enslave to do her bidding. Of course, being one of the fae folk, “enslaved” is a term loosely followed and obeyed as he managed to distract Demona from her original desire to not be stone during the day. Of course, her command to destroy the human Elisa Maza was followed to the letter by turning Elisa Maza into a gargoyle.
Positively elated and completely oblivious to the fact that Puck was stressing the fact that the human Elisa was no more she bade him to do the same to all the humans in Manhattan. What followed was a series of events that, frankly, was equal parts surreal. Tired of the days’ events and of Puck himself despite his own elation at the fun he had and the desire to grant unto her a boon for it, Demona bade him to leave.
That… oh, that was a mistake… Let it be known right here and now ladies and gentlemen, if an ageless being, no matter if it be god or faerie, offers you a gift, you accept it in the most humblest of ways possible. Insulted as he was, Demona was lucky that Puck still granted her desire to not be turned to stone during the day but was horrified to discover the cause as to why. For you see, rather than remain as a gargoyle under the rays of the sun, Demona was instead made to become a human herself.
“A Hell of her own making” is far too accurate a term.
As to Demona’s greatest crime, it was without a doubt when she managed to cast a spell that turned humans to stone during the night and when she callously began murdering people at her leisure. People that were literally frozen in mid-step, arm and arm with their family, their friends, and she killed them without a second’s hesitation, blasting them, smashing them, and outright tearing them apart. Though no statistics were given, it can be assumed that the numbers come close to approaching the triple digit range considering how long the curse lasted…
Overall, Demona is considered one of my all time favorite villains because she, like so many others, has been given the chance at redemption so many times and only because of a slight twist of fate does she remain a villain still. More to the point, if the likes of Darth Vader represents fury in all its obsidian glory than it is Demona who emphasizes betrayal be it by her own hands or that of another. Demona is often a traitor and is just as often betrayed in kind that if events were to truly play out as described by series creator Greg Weisman, Demona would eventually receive an epiphany that could very well break her mentally and physically in the far future in the, unfortunately unproduced, series Gargoyles 2198.