- "God made me as vampire, and Adam and Eve as human. I am worshiped as a god as some may come to worship you as a god. But there is no god but God."
- ―Lilith, to Bill Compton
Lilith, also known as the Progenitor was a vampire made in God's image on the HBO original series True Blood. Played by British guest starring actress Jessica Clark, Lilith makes her debut on the episode "In the Beginning" in the series' fifth season. The very first vampire, she's believed by many to have been created before Adam and Eve, who, according to the Book of the Vampyr, were designed to sustain Lilith. Her progeny in turn would be sustained by their children, the human race. Playing a recurring role through the series' fifth and sixth seasons, Lilith is worshiped as a god by many vampires, but her divinity and existence are doubted by at least as many. The main antagonist for Season 5, along with Salome, Lilith meets an untimely demise in the Season 6 episode "F**k the Pain Away", and appears one more time, in a flashback on the subsequent episode, "Don't You Feel Me", in the same season.
Lilith is a mysterious figure. She tends to speak in riddles and does not seem to share information lightly. Unlike many of her followers, she doesn't consider herself a god among vampires, stating there is no god but God.
According to the Book of the Vampyr, Lilith was created by God in His own image: a vampire. Adam and Eve were created to sustain her, beginning the natural order of humans existing to service vampires. According to the orthodox religious view, Lilith eventually met the sun at the hands of man, although the true story is a little more complicated.
Lilith turned the fae Macklyn Warlow into a vampire in the year 3500 BC, as she was 'told by God' that he would save the vampire race. However, Warlow grew to despise her after he attempted to return home four years later (against her advice), and then proceeded to slaughter his entire village, due to his vampiric instincts. He returned to the cave in which she slept, and used his photokinesis to destroy part of the ceiling of the cave, allowing the sun to come through and destroy the progenitor of all vampires.("F**k the Pain Away")
However, a small amount of her blood remained. Lilith's other progenies gathered her remains in an earthen jar. At some (possibly multiple) point in the intervening centuries, the remains were transferred, eventually winding up in a fine crystal vial.("In the Beginning") The Guardian's original purpose was to guard Lilith's remains; the Chancellors and the Vampire Authority likely arose later as extensions of the ecclesiastical authority the Guardian wielded. At some point, the Book of the Vampyr was composed, and combined with the Guardian and the last of her blood, a religion enshrining Lilith as a dark saint or even a goddess was born.
After Roman met the true death at the hands of Russell Edgington, Salome and Nora organized a ceremony in which the surviving chancellors and a select group of newcomers drank small drops of Lilith's blood. The vampires swiftly became intoxicated, wandering through the streets of New Orleans in search of a meal. As they gorged themselves on a private wedding party, the group experienced a vivid hallucination of Lilith rising from a pool of blood. ("In the Beginning")
Bill and Nora force-feed Eric a drop of Lilith's blood, with Nora taking a dose herself to share the vision. The vampire siblings are greeted by a vision of Godric, who admonishes Nora for her ideology and denounces Lilith as "a godless god". An apparition of Lilith creeps up behind Godric and, ignoring Nora's pleas for mercy, rips off his head. ("Gone, Gone, Gone")
While praying in the shrine one day, Lilith appears to Bill. She states that she has chosen him as the one vampire to rule all others and that he should drink all of the blood in her vial. Bill is shaken by the vision, particularly when he notices that Lilith's bloody handprint remains on the glass of the shrine after the vision ends. After the vision repeats itself later, Bill resolves to follow it and returns to the shrine, only to find Kibwe Akinjide, who also claims to have been chosen. A distressed and confused Bill immediately decapitates Kibwe. While cleaning up the remains, Bill notices that the handprint is still there. Unknown to Bill, Salome also receives a vision of Lilith, who delivers the same message: she is the chosen one and must drink all the blood. ("Sunset")
Lilith again tells Bill and Salome they are the chosen one. Bill seemingly decided his vision is wrong and tells Salome that Lilith told him that she is the chosen one. Salome soon drinks all of Lilith's blood, but begins to convulse in pain. Bill reveals that he swapped the real blood for a batch laced with silver. Salome is awed by Bill's brutality and cunning, and says that Lilith chose wisely as he stakes her. Bill then drinks the real blood and appears to die, dissolving into a puddle of blood. Similar to how Lilith appeared initially, the blood re-forms before an astonished Eric and Sookie. "Billith" growls ferally and attacks. ("Save Yourself")
- "Events have been set in motion. It is the beginning... of the end."
Although Bill gained an impressive suite of new powers from consuming Lilith's blood, including flight, stake and fire resistance, telekinesis and the potential to remotely destroy his progeny, he appeared to have changed little in terms of personality after recovering from the initial shock of his resurrection. He continues to be haunted by visions of Lilith, seeing four images of her in his office, who eagerly and menacingly converge on him.("Who Are You, Really?")
Bill is brought by the visions to a sunlit wooded area, where is he is greeted by a far more pleasantly-mannered, clothed Lilith. She thanks the blood-covered visions (who in this new environment look different from Lilith and each other) and dismisses them. Lilith tells Bill that he passed the tests she set and he must do her work. At this, Bill asks if she is God, to which she states that God made her vampire, as He made Adam and Eve human. Lilith acknowledges that she is worshipped as a god, and that Bill will likely be, too. But, Lilith admonishes, "there is no god but God." She further advises him to trust what he sees before the vision ends.("The Sun")
Around the same time as Bill's vision, Nora Gainesborough, reading through the Book of the Vampyr in its original language, realizes that the passage recording Lilith's death has been consistently mistranslated over the centuries, though she doesn't tell Pam Swynford De Beaufort what she found.("You're No Good")
Nora later explains to Niall Brigant that the passage traditionally translated "the people led Lilith to the sun" actually reads "the progeny led Lilith to the sun". Nora interprets this to mean that Warlow was the one who killed Lilith originally, and therefore that he can do so again.("At Last")
Bill meets Lilith and asks him who exactly is the tyrant. Lilith answers with riddles but does not give him a name nor a place. Bill tells her that everything is all her fault and he was forced into this. Lilith tells him she is disappointed and that he fought for her blood and that he is now responsible for all of this. Lilith then tells him he has run out of time and he must act now and also to never come looking for answers again because he must figure this out on his own from here on. She then gives him one last stern look before vanishing into a red mist. ("Don't You Feel Me")
Bill is in the circular as the Sirens tell him his time on earth has come to an end. Bill tells them he is not going anywhere and he did as he was asked so they should just leave before summoning Jessica. Jessica feels his pull and recalls that they left Bill behind. James accompanies her to find Bill. Jessica and James find Bill and weakly explains that Lilith has sent her sirens to take him and James attempts to feed Bill his blood to restore him. ("Life Matters")
Powers and AbilitiesLilith possessed the normal powers of a vampire, including enhanced strength, speed, senses, accelerated healing, flight, and the ability to glamour. Her unique abilities were passed on to Bill Compton after he consumed her blood. They include:
- Exaggerated fangs ("In the Beginning")
- Telekinesis ("Who Are You, Really?")
- Invulnerability to injury ("Who Are You, Really?")
- Clairvoyance ("Who Are You, Really?")
Although Lilith met the True Death, she and her sirens were able to appear to vampires who have consumed her blood. ("In the Beginning")
Lilith's blood, exhibits all the qualities of normal vampire blood, in addition to being an extremely potent hallucinogen. Vampires who consume her blood exhibit behavior typical of vampires in nests, as well as a greatly increased appetite and vivid hallucinations of Lilith herself. Most disturbingly, it appears that these visions endure even when the vampire has recovered from the initial effects of the blood, seeing Lilith hours or even days after consuming a single drop. Lilith's blood seems to bring out an animalistic, merciless side to vampires, even from one drop of blood even vampires such as Eric and Bill, who normally exhibited an enormous amount of self-control, were draining people; the only person who could stop Eric was a vision of Godric. Lilith's apparitions also seem to possess the ability to exhale a red chemical, possibly just her breath, which also reinforces these animalistic qualities ("In the Beginning") ("Somebody That I Used to Know")
Her only weakness was apparently sunlight, as she died by meeting the sun, ("F**k the Pain Away") and Bill Compton was still vulnerable to sunlight during his incarnation as Bilith. ("You're No Good")
Although not a power per se, Lilith must had a great degree of self-control when she lived, as she was able to successfully create a faerie-vampire. Most vampires would be incapable of such a feat, as they would find faerie blood so delicious that they wouldn't be able to stop themselves. Although Lilith found Warlow's blood delicious, she forsaw a higher purpose in him, and thus retained her composture and turned him. It might also be that since Warlow was an original fae, and Lilith was the original vampire, that this particular ability to turn faeries into vampires is unique to the pairing of Lilith and an original fae ( like Niall Brigant and Sookie Stackhouse).
In spite of what the Sanguinistas believe, Lilith's expanded suite of powers seems to derive purely from her age and possibly her rank as the progenitor, and not from divinity. In unlife, she never claimed divinity ("F**k the Pain Away"), and in the true death, outright denies it.("The Sun")
As a Maker she has the ability to call and command her progeny, Macklyn Warlow, as demonstrated by Bill Compton who inherited all of her abilities.
- Lilith is a major but mysterious figure in Jewish mythology and folklore, possibly based loosely on a much older Mesopotamian myth. Her name appears only once in the entire Bible and she is not mentioned at all in the Qur'an.
- In Jewish folklore, from the 8th–10th centuries Alphabet of Ben Sira onwards, Lilith becomes Adam's first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. This contrasts with Eve, who was created from one of Adam's ribs. The legend was greatly developed during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar and Jewish mysticism. In the 13th Century writings of Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, for example, Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with the archangel Samael.
- True Blood's interpretation of Lilith but one of a great many examples of the character in various media.
- Lilith in most mythology and religions is described as the first. In most times, the first vampire. Less commonly known, she is known to be the first demon ever to be created. First human and corrupted by the devil himself.
- In the original script for the first episode of Season 6, it was stated that Bill acquired the powers equivalent to those of an 8,000 year old vampire upon consuming Lilith's blood. It is unknown if Lilith herself was of this age at the time of her true death, whether her abilities were unique to her irrespective of her age or if any vampire that reaches the age of 8,000 years can acquire similar abilities and characteristics.
- According to biblical chronology the first human, Adam, was created something around 4,000 BC. So Lilith should be at least more than 500 years at the time of her death. According to her powers she must be significantly older, most likely something around 8,000 years, as mentioned above.
- Lilith is commonly regarded by many as the villain of Season 5. It was arguably her control that caused the events of the season. Lilith is essentially the bigger bad with Salome being the big bad.
|Season five appearances|
|"Turn! Turn! Turn!"||"Authority Always Wins"||"Whatever I Am, You Made Me"||"We’ll Meet Again"|
|"Let's Boot and Rally"||"Hopeless"||"In the Beginning"||"Somebody That I Used to Know"|
|"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"||"Gone, Gone, Gone"||"Sunset"||"Save Yourself"|
|Season six appearances|
|"Who Are You, Really?"||"The Sun"||"You're No Good"||"At Last"|
|"F**k the Pain Away"||"Don't You Feel Me"||"In the Evening"||"Dead Meat"|