Greg McHugh as Hamish in 'A Discovery of Witches'
Source: Sky UK

Greg McHugh as Hamish in 'A Discovery of Witches'

In ‘A Discovery of Witches,’ Daemons Are Drawn to Arts, Sciences… and Sometimes Murder


Jan. 15 2022, Published 12:06 p.m. ET

With the third season of A Discovery of Witches currently airing on Sky Max in the United Kingdom and streaming on Sundance Now, Shudder, and AMC+ here in the United States, fans might need a crash course in the story’s mythology. Specifically, what powers do daemons have in A Discovery of Witches?

According to the official website for Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy, daemons “are creative, artistic creatures who walk a tightrope between madness and genius.”

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The site elaborates: “[Daemons] live life in a chaotic fashion, yet show great affection for those around them who share their ideals. Daemons are exceptionally talented and often have a love for music. The origins of daemons are complicated, with many being born into human families who are unaware of their offspring’s unusual character.”

OK, but let’s get to the good stuff: What are their powers and abilities?

Many musicians and artists are daemons in the ‘Discovery of Witches’ world.

Tanya Moodie as Agatha in 'A Discovery of Witches'
Source: Sky UK

Tanya Moodie as Agatha in 'A Discovery of Witches'

According to the encyclopedia The World of All Souls — which Deborah wrote with Claire Baldwin, Lisa Hulttunen, and Jill Hough — many concert musicians, rock stars, painters, sculptors, actors, and fashion designers are daemons in Deborah’s fictional universe. “And the individuals who surround these artists, including actors’ entourages, paparazzi, and various groupies are often young daemons, drawn like moths to their flame,” the encyclopedia adds.

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But daemons excel in other areas, too — not just the arts. Many are academics who “continue to make contributions in areas ranging from biology to history, in physics, mathematics, and computer science,” the encyclopedia says. And with an interest in alchemy and astronomy, their contributions also fueled the Enlightenment during the 18th century.

Daemons have “glimmerings of supernatural power.”

We know daemons have an extra chromosome, but other than that, their origins are shrouded in mystery. They also have “glimmerings of supernatural power,” The World of All Souls explains. They can’t enchant objects like witches can, but some have reported precognitive visions and telepathic abilities, “though these readings and visions, like daemons themselves, are not always reliable.”

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At puberty, daemons’ traits come to the fore, either as mental and creative brilliance or as madness, “and even, in a few regrettable instances, murder.”

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Fans of the book series want to know more about daemons, too.

On Reddit, one All Souls fans observed that there are still many unknowns about daemons, since they’ve “never been a central focus” of the three All Souls books — 2011’s A Discovery of Witches, 2012’s Shadow of Night, and 2014’s The Book of Life.

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“They are magical creatures but not nearly as magical as witches or vampires,” that Reddit user wrote. “I suppose you could say that they’re talented humans in one aspect. Some might shine in arts, other in politics, and so on. It’s rare, but for some daemons that one talent can be something magical like telepathy or visions, but nothing compared to what witches have.”

Another commenter wrote: “Their genetics also appear to be the key to making vampires and witches extra special. You can say they are lame, but I think they have a lot going for them.”

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