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All knowing leaders of the Whitelighters, The Elders, also referred to as "the Council of Elders", "the Founders", "the Powers that Be" and "them", are cosmic beings of extreme high level in the hierarchy of Good Magic responsible for guiding and protecting the Greater Good and the Force of Goodness.
Assigning Whitelighters to Witches and humans that are destined to be future Whitelighters, the Elders act as immensely powerful Guardian Angels that are constantly in contact with Whitelighters and their witches. They bestow their wisdom of various demonic threats and forces of darkness onto Witches, mainly the Charmed Ones, viewing the three sisters as the instruments by which they fight the forces of evil.
Also referred to as Up There and the Upper Regions, the Heavens is the magical location to which the Elders reside. It is an ethereal, heavenly realm that can only be entered with the power of Orbing. The Elders choose to mostly remain here where they are protected from evil threats and guard different magical artifacts kept in a special vault.
In this region, they call forth Whitelighters in time of need to relay knowledge of magical threats to the Whitelighters who in turn give the information to their charges.
Powers Possessed by EldersEdit
Perhaps the most gifted of all magical beings, Elders possess a vast variety of powers and abilities that include:
- Orbing: a method of Teleportation in which the bestowed can travel from place to place in a swirl of white orb-like lights. Not only can orbing teleport the bestowed and whoever is touching them but both Elders and Whitelighters can use the power to only orb other beings as well.
- Healing: the ability to heal the wounds of others.
- Sensing: the power to feel out magical beings to discover their whereabouts, condition, etc.
- Calling: one of the first powers Elders were said to possess, Calling is a form of communication in which the Elder can call Whitelighters to come to the Heavens. This is an ability that is also possess by Witches who can call their Whiteighter.
- Power Granting: the ability to bestow powers onto other beings.
- Power Removal: the opposite of Power Granting, allowing a being to remove another being's powers.
- Shields: the power to create a shield-like forcefield around oneself to protect from harm.
- Lightning Bolts: electrical bolts shot from the finger tips that can stun or destroy a being upon contact.
- Reforming: the ability to pull oneself back together after destruction via a combustive power.
- Immortality: to live forever unaffected by the hands of time; eternal.
- Light Manipulation: Stemming from the power to orb, this ability allows Elders and Whitelighters to manipulate orbs creating somewhat of a light show with the spheres of light, changing the lights' form and shape.
- Invisibility: the act of make one invisible from sight.
- Immunity: the ability to withstand an attack; being impervious to weapons, powers, etc.
- Conjuring: the ability to summon an object from another space or time.
- Foreseeing: not necessarily the power of Premonition or even the ability to see the future, but this allows the bestowed to feel and sense oncoming threats. The threats can be felt but who exactly the threat is is unknown.
Becoming an ElderEdit
Most Elders are Whitelighters that have dedicated their lives to the forces of Good but some are other magical beings, such as Witches, who have been bestowed with powers of the Elders after their own dedication to Good. Some Elders choose to retire from their Elderhood and move on to the Afterlife, choosing to pass on their vast powers onto beings, perhaps Witches or Whitelighters, imbuing them with the powers while they pass on to their perspective place in the Hereafter.
The power transfer is something that must be done at the proper time, in the proper location to prevent evil from finding out about the transfer and intercepting in an attempt to steal the powers for themselves.
Defeat of the TitansEdit
Not only do the Elders possess vast knowledge but they also have numerous powers that they have used in past battles against evil beings. Mostly fighting the battle against evil, acting somewhat passively, the Elders stay on the sidelines while those they bestow with power are used to defeat dark threats. The most notable battle was millennia ago in approximately 1000 B.C.E when the Titans roamed the earth, the Elders grew concerned about their treatment of mortals, considering them a risk to humanity.
Ultimately, the Elders unleashed the powers of the Gods and Goddesses onto mortals, allowing them to overcome the Titans by imprisoning them in ice. Although the mortals declared themselves gods afterwards, the essences of the Gods and Goddesses were returned to their container and the Elders locked it away in a magical vault in the Heavens.
Creation of Magic SchoolEdit
Fearing that young witches and magical beings may misuse their magic causing chaotic ramifications following the downfall of Atlantis at the hands of untrained, unrestrained and untethered magical creatures, the Elders sought to establish a magical institution that could prepare witches and those bestowed with magic, teaching them the history of their powers and proper uses.
Using extremely powerful magic, the Elders created Magic School in an undisclosed location, protecting it from evil using shields and forcefields that prevent evil from entering the establishment. The Elders also enchanted the school with charms that protect all good magical from death if they are ever wounded by natural or magical means while on school grounds.
With various magical tomes and texts, teachers, professors and caregivers, all students given the opportunity to go to Magic School are offered the best magical training and knowledge of the powers they possess.
For centuries, an Elder known as Gideon maintained the School, acting as Head Master in charge of the institution. But when Gideon turned on the Charmed Ones and attempted to kill Piper Halliwell's son, Wyatt, Leo Wyatt quickly destroyed Gideon, leaving the school without a Head Master and the Elders concerned with who would maintain the institution.
Challenging the Elders' desire to close down Magic School after Gideon's death, Charmed One Paige Matthews persuaded Odin and other Elders to keep the school open for future generations of Magic. Ultimately, the Elders put Paige in charge of the school as Head Mistress, a job that she kept for a year until she handed over the reigns to Leo Wyatt.
Leo's title as Head Master lasted for a short period until the sisters faked their own deaths after the destruction of the demon Zankou. Zankou was able to break through the school's magical defences, leaving it vulnerable to evil and after the Charmed Ones' and Leo's "deaths", the demonic world claimed the school.
Marriage Between Witches and Whitelighters is VerbotenEdit
Viewing Witches and Whitelighters as the instruments of the fight against evil, the Elders banned the union of the two species in any type of relationship other than Witches being the charges of Whitelighters, thinking that it would distract from the work against evil. However, not all Elders were against the union of the two species and some fought to allow it.
Piper and LeoEdit
Although the Elders were not initially bothered by the romantic relationship that developed between Piper Halliwell and her Whitelighter Leo, when Leo choose to go against their wishes and healed Piper when she was near death while infected with Oroyo Fever, the Elder punished him by clipping his wings, making him mortal.
However after a few months, when he begged for his powers back as a Spirit Killing Darklighter tried to have Prue Halliwell commit suicide, the Elders returned his powers. Piper and Leo still maintained a relationship but Piper was involved with her neighbor, Dan Gordon. In the end however, Piper and Leo decided to marry against the Elders' wishes.
The two lovers along with Prue and Phoebe planned a Handfasting to take place between Piper and Leo but when Cole Turner got word of the oncoming wedding, he sent his demonic shadow to alert the Elders of the binding ceremony and just as Penny Halliwell was about to perform the Handfasting, the Elders orbed Leo away from Piper in a burst of orbs.
Leo was able to appear to Piper in her dreams, where he told her to let him go but Piper refused to do so and she demanded that the Elders return him to her. Although they were against the union, in the end however, Piper and Leo married.
Patricia Halliwell and Sam WilderEdit
The mother of the Halliwell sisters, Patricia Halliwell and her Whitelighter Sam Wilder, like Piper and Leo, fell in love, and although Patricia was married to her daughters' father, Victor Bennett, she and Sam conceived a child, who they had to keep secret from the Elders, leaving them the only option they saw fit - giving the baby to a nun at a cathedral, hoping she would find the girl a good home. This child, Paige Matthews, ultimately was revealed after the death of Prue, in which she reconstituted the Charmed Ones.
Working with the Charmed OnesEdit
Despite the fact that they share a common purpose for protecting the innocent and vanquishing evil, the Elders and the Charmed Ones did not have a good relationship. It had to do mainly with the dramatic differences in their natures: the Elders, being superior, high-ranking magical beings with powerful senses of duty, were "sticklers for the rules" and always placed their responsibilities towards the world above all things. The Charmed Ones, being first and foremost human beings despite their incredible Wiccan powers, very naturally disliked being confined by the restrictions and ideals imposed upon them by the Elders, who also seem to have an infuriating tendency to almost constantly interfere in their private and family lives for fear that they would be distracted from their Wiccan duties.
Contributing Factors to Poor RelationshipEdit
Various instances contributed to the less than perfect relationship between Prue, Piper, Phoebe, Paige, Leo and the Elders but none were more relevant than:
1. Taking Leo away from Piper during a Handfasting - this led to Piper's displeasure with the Elders and she refused to cooperate with them.
2. Leo becoming an Elder - Piper was heartbroken when she learned that Leo had become a Whitelighter and pleaded with him to come home with her to take care of Wyatt. Leo told her that his place was with the Elders and he used magic to lessen the pain Piper felt that ultimately led to Piper acting overly carefree and when she and her sisters encountered the Valkryies, she chose to remain with the demi-goddesses instead of working with her sisters. But when she learned that Leo was in Valhalla, her memories came flooding back and she was extremely infuriated by Leo's decision to be with the Elders rather than with her and their son.
3. Gideon's betrayal in which he tried to kill Piper and Leo's son, Wyatt - After Leo learned that Gideon was the one responsible for not only trying to kill Wyatt but also killing his and Piper's future son, Christopher, Leo killed Gideon and grew weary of the Elder's true intentions. This weariness was later reinforced by the demon Barbas who tricked Leo into thinking the Elders were working demons and that they were against him. Barbas tricked Leo into killing another Elder, Zola, which he and Piper kept secret.
But the Elders assumed Leo was responsible for Zola's disappearance and were threatened by him, thinking he may turn his back on them. The Avatars then surfaced and the Elders were adamant that the beings were evil but Leo chose to work with the beings, to the Elders' displeasure and in turn, they sought to punish Leo by making him choose between them and Piper.
Prior to telling Leo his fate, the Elders tried to assign another Whitelighter to the Charmed Ones shortly after Zola's death and when the Whitelighter turned up dead, Odin assumed Leo had something to do with it, but it was revealed that it was in fact the sisters, who were transformed into beasts because of a Blue Moon.
4. Odin Interfering in Leo's Free Will - After learning Leo became an Avatar, Odin and Sandra revealed the Elders came to a decision in which Leo would be sent back to earth with no memories of either being a Whitelighter and of Piper, Prue, Phoebe, Paige and his children. If Leo found his way back to Piper, her sisters and their children, then he would be able to remain with them, but if he found his way back to the Elders, he would be taken away from Piper forever.
Odin attempted to manipulate Leo when he was sent back to earth, posing as a trucker trying to convince Leo that he must have been a doctor or someone who cared for others. At the same time however, Piper fell victim to a Thorn Demon and her spirit was stuck in a void, where she met Cole Turner who informed her that she had to let go of her life, if she wanted Leo to return to her.
Phoebe and Paige tried to find Leo after they learned that the Elders sent Leo back to earth with no memories. Although the two sisters were able to track down Leo, it was too late, Odin convinced him to come with him. The two then orbed out just as Phoebe and Paige found them but Piper heeded Cole's advice and while atop the Golden Gate Bridge with Odin and a group of Elders, Phoebe and Paige reminded Leo of Piper and he felt her death.
Leo fell from grace, falling from the top of Golden Gate Bridge. His memories returned and as he and the sisters returned to Halliwell Manor, the found Piper being healed by Wyatt. Both Leo and the sisters were then displeased with the Elders but ultimately worked with them in order to defeat Zankou.
Leo Wyatt's Time as an ElderEdit
Due to his constant dedication to the Elders and the Greater Good, the Elders awarded Leo with the opportunity to become an Elder after he saved their species and the world from the Titans.
However, Leo had to choose between being with Piper and their children or dedicating himself fully to his new role as an Elder. To Piper's displeasure, Leo dedicated himself to the Elders leaving their relationship split asunder, after which Piper started dating again.
When Leo joined the ranks of the Avatars, the demon Zankou revealed that one of their own partnered with the beings and when they questioned Leo about it, he revealed it was true. The Elders then tried to kill Leo but he withstood their attempt to kill him because of his Avatar powers. Ultimately, Leo tried to convince the Elders that the Avatars wanted to end the struggle between Good and Evil to create a Utopia, a world beyond Good and Evil. They then decided to send Leo on a journey to see where he would end up, choosing Piper or them.
But in the end, the two ended up back together after the Elders tried to intervene in their relationship by forcing Leo to choose them instead of Piper and his family. Leo chose to fall from grace when Piper was infected by a Thorn Demon and nearly died.
The Book of ShadowsEdit
First shown when Kyle Brody sought to summon an Elder, an entry on the magical beings exists within the Halliwell Family's Book of Shadows. The page is emphasized with an illustration of the Elders in the center along with a brief entry describing their purpose. The page reads:
As high-ranking force of Good, the Elders are the
highest level of guardian angels, they are the
newer agents for Good, the Elders also guide and
direct Whitelighters and other charges. In times of
great need, Elders can aid with their vast wisdom.
Summoning an ElderEdit
As shown with Kyle Brody, when he found the entry on the Elders in the Book, he placed his hands on the entry and closed his eyes, focusing on the Elders as he asked them if they could hear him to come to him. Although Zankou intercepted the call, it is possible if one concentrates on summoning an Elder, they can be called forth.
In the ComicsEdit
In the Charmed Comic series, it was stated that Kyle Brody had been transformed into an Elder and that a new council of Elders emerged because of the old council's constant meddling in magical and mortal affairs. The reason given was that the old council took the free will away from beings because of the Elders' desire to manipulate things to achieve their own agenda.
The Elders were targeted by an evil being, known as the First Witch Neena and her cohort, Rennek, a Darklighter. The two evil beings along with various demons plotted an attack on the Elders, in which Kyle Brody was among those killed. In the end however, Neena was defeated.
- The Elders weren't given an official name until the Whitelighter Natalie appeared to the Charmed Ones in 2001 to notify the sisters and Leo about a powerful warlock known as Eames. From then on they were more commonly and frequently referred to as Elders. Prior to, they were referred to as "The Founders" by Leo Wyatt when he first disclosed he was a Whitelighter to Phoebe in 1999. He explained to Phoebe that he was sent by a group of Elder Whitelighters known as "the Founders". For almost one year and a half the sisters and Leo consistently only referred to the Elders as "them".
- The Elders clothing has changed many times over the course of the series. The retiring Elder, Ramus, was shown wearing a simple white robe. The next appearance of Elders saw them wearing golden, single-layered robes. Then, in later seasons, they started wearing white and gold, multi-layered robes. Brad Kern stated in a season 8 commentary, that the clothing department could never get the robes just the way he wanted the Halliwells' Wiccan ancestors.