Vanquishing is a term describing the destruction of a magical being, most commonly the forces of evil such as demons and warlocks. The death of a mortal or a force of good, such as witches, is generally referred to as killing instead.
During a vanquish, beings are often destroyed in a violent manner (bursting into flame, exploding or being obliterated). Most vanquishes leave no trace behind and do not damage the surroundings or objects near the destroyed being. This to cover up any existence of magic from the mortal world However, big explosions can cause windows to shatter and energy balls are known to leave scorch marks behind (some beings can even be identified by these scorch marks). When magic is gone, the bodies of evil beings remain when killed.
Vanquishing can be achieved in several ways;
Some evil beings require a specific spell or potion, sometimes needing to be blessed by the Power of Three, or a piece of their own flesh (required to vanquish Upper-Level demons). A weapon can be pretty much anything from a knife to a high heel.
Alternatives to Vanquishing
Some beings that cannot be vanquishing can instead be stopped by transforming them into something else. The demon Tull, who became invincible after drinking from the Eternal Spring, was turned into a tree to end this threat.
Soul Killing is the ability to destroy the soul or essence of a being. It is different from vanquishing, where only the physical form is destroyed and the soul/essence moves on to another plane.
Notes and Trivia
- When vanquished, evil beings are send to the Demonic Wasteland, where their body and powers are separated upon arrival, the body being destroyed in flames and their powers absorbed by a monstrous thing called the Beast.
- Although being utterly destroyed, demons can be brought back through various dark rituals.
- As explained by Leo Wyatt in the season 2 episode "Ex Libris".
- Such as when Cole Turner, as the Source of All Evil, was vanquished in the season 4 episode "Long Live the Queen".
- "As seen in "The Day the Magic Died"
- Phoebe Halliwell killed the Familiar Warlock Shadow with a high heel in the season 3 episode "Pre-Witched".
- As seen in "Nymphs Just Wanna Have Fun"
- As seen in the season 4 episode "Witch Way Now?".
- A good example being the Source of All Evil in the season 8 episode "Desperate Housewitches".