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"There are waters in Nanda Parbat. They've permitted Ra's to live for over a hundred years. And in rare instances, told in legend, those waters have been used to restore the dead to life."
Malcolm Merlyn[src]

The Lazarus Pit,[1] historically known as the Fountain of Youth,[2] is a pool of regenerative waters that allowed the user to heal themselves of any wounds, or even prevent aging to a certain extent. The Pit can be found only at specific intersections of Earth's ley lines. The only known Lazarus Pit was owned by Ra's al Ghul before his death, by his predecessors, and lastly by Malcolm Merlyn, and is located within its chamber in Nanda Parbat. This pool in Nanda Parbat has since been destroyed by Nyssa al Ghul as revenge for Malcolm using the Pit to revive Sara Lance without her soul. However, Malcolm later learned of the existence of three other Pits.[3]

History

Nanda Parbat

The Pit was once found by Al-Khidr, later being chronicled in the religious text, the Quran. Later in history, in the fifth century BC, the historian Herodotus first wrote about the fountain, the first of many to do so. Nineteen centuries later, the explorer Juan Ponce de León went in search of the fountain, but to no avail.[2]

At one point, Damien Darhk and an unnamed man became horsemen of the then-Ra's al Ghul in the League of Assassins. Damien thought himself worthy of taking over the mantle of Ra's al Ghul, but his friend was chosen instead. Damien was to be killed but managed to escape; taking with him waters stolen from the Lazarus Pit and some loyal followers. Damien then went on and founded his own organization called H.I.V.E. to continue the League's goals in the way he saw fit.[4]

As of 1854, Ra's al Ghul had become the leader of the League of Assassins and began using the pool in order to maintain his youth and strength.[5]

Talia al Ghul used the Lazarus Pit, appearing relatively youthful in 2012[6] despite being born in the late 1940s to early 1950s.[7]

In late 2014, Nyssa al Ghul returned to Nanda Parbat to inform her father that Oliver Queen refuses to give up Malcolm Merlyn. As she arrived, Ra's stepped out of the fountain where he was bathing and was clothed.[8]

A few months later, after Oliver survived Ra's' stabbing him, Ra's took him to the Lazarus Pit to explain what would be in store for him if he took his place as Ra's al Ghul. Later, after Ra's cut himself on Nyssa's blade, he healed the wound in the pool.[2]

After being stabbed by Ra's, Thea Queen was taken to the hospital by Oliver, where she was put on life support. Malcolm and Oliver eventually agreed to take Thea to Nanda Parbat, where she was healed in a ceremony with the Pit. Upon being submerged in the water, Thea gained temporary enhanced strength and agility, as well as animalistic aggression. After waking up from being sedated, Thea's memories were briefly scattered.[1]

Resurrection of Sara Lance and destruction

Malcolm discovers that Nyssa has destroyed the Lazarus Pit.

On Laurel Lance and Thea's urging, Malcolm reluctantly used the Pit to bring Sara Lance back to life; though this left her without her soul. After a disgusted Nyssa was forced to watch, she destroyed the Pit, preventing Malcolm from using it anymore.[9] However, Oliver later asked a favor of his friend John Constantine, who then performed a separate ritual to travel to purgatory to get Sara's soul back; reuniting it with her body, allowing her to be resurrected properly.[10]

Discovery of other pools

"Nyssa; you said you know what this map leads to?"
"These are ley lines."
"Oh, great. Ley lines. Yeah.
We had some experience with those with Damien Darhk."
"
These are different. I thought they only intersected in one place on Earth."
"Doesn't look that way from this."
"Indeed. These lines are global, and suggest the existence of three intersections of a kind I thought only existed in Nanda Parbat."
"Right. But what only exists on Nanda Parbat,
really? I mean, besides really depressing decor?"
"I know now why Merlyn called his new League 'the Thanatos Guild'."
"Thanatos is the personification of death in Greek mythology."
"Exactly. I believe these lines suggest the existence of
three installments."
"But three
what?"
"Your father discovered the existence of
three Lazarus Pits."
Team Arrow discusses Malcolm's map with Nyssa al Ghul[src]

Malcolm's map of the Lazarus Pits he discovered.

After this loss, Malcolm went into deep research to discover more such water, forming the Thanatos Guild. With their help, he found three other pools scattered across the world. In 2018, almost a year after Malcolm's death, Nyssa, Thea, and Roy Harper (having learned of Malcolm's findings thanks to a special map that became readable after being exposed to Thea's blood, which they'd fought to keep out of the hands of the Guild's new leader; Athena) set out to find and destroy these Lazarus Pits.[3]

Legacy

"That wasn't Mirakuru."
"No."
"How'd it happen?"
"What do you mean?"
"How'd you die?"
"How'd you know?"
"You, Thea and Nyssa left here over a year ago in search of Lazarus Pits, and
I have not seen bloodlust like that since Thea was resurrected by one."
[...]
"The Thanatos Guild had us surrounded. I tried to get Thea to safety, but I was hit—with an arrow, which... which is ironic. I don't really remember a lot after except for... except for seeing Nyssa and Thea destroy the Pit."
"The one they used to bring you back."
"Yeah. Nyssa had the Lotus elixir. She and Thea thought we could control the bloodlust, and
we did."
"Until you didn't."
"I keep trying to figure out why. And all I can think of is that maybe the Mirakuru changed something.
"
—Oliver and Roy discuss what happened[src]

A little over a year later, requiring additional help to defeat the Ninth Circle, Oliver reached out to Roy; calling him back to Star City to aid Team Arrow. Roy informed the group that he, Thea and Nyssa had found and destroyed two Lazarus Pits. However, Roy had been gravely injured in a fight with the Thanatos Guild. Before destroying one of the pools, Nyssa and Thea used it to heal Roy and subsequently used the Lotus on him in an effort to control the bloodlust that the Pit caused. For a while, it helped; but for some reason, when Roy returned to Star City, he ended up brutally beating two security guards to death. Neither Roy nor the rest of the team is sure why this happened, but Roy theorized that it had something to do with him having previously been injected with Mirakuru, and that it'd changed something in him even though he'd been cured of the Mirakuru's effects.[11]

"You destroyed the Pits. Why didn't you come home?"
"Pits may be gone, but the Thanatos Guild isn't. I have to take them down after what they did to Roy.
"
—Oliver and Thea discuss the latter's new mission[src]

Even after Thea and Nyssa destroyed the last of Malcolm's Lazarus Pits and Nyssa parted ways with her to attend to other business, Thea didn't come home to Star City. When Oliver ran into her in Nanda Parbat when seeking to find out what (if anything) the League of Assassins (though by that time, the group had long since been disbanded by Nyssa[12]) may know about Mar Novu, Thea explained that even though the Pits were gone, the Thanatos Guild remained; and she was determined to take them down after what they'd done to Roy. After Oliver and Thea killed Athena and her underlings (putting an end to the Guild) in the struggle to get the sword of Al-Fatih, who'd founded the original League of Assassins (as the wielder of the sword had the power to start a new League), Thea, having bested Talia in a fight over the sword, asked Talia to join her in forming a League of Heroes rather than a new League of Assassins, which Talia accepted.[13]

"Listen. Oliver told me about how he brought Sara and his sister back to life—using something called a Lazarus Pit."
"I don't know. That sounds too good to be true."
"Well, it... I mean,
it is. It turns out Thea destroyed all the Pits on this Earth, but there are more Earths to choose from."
Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen[src]

John Constantine searches the multiverse for an Earth with a functional Lazarus Pit.

After Oliver was killed while fighting to buy time to evacuate Earth-38 during the Anti-Monitor Crisis, refusing to believe that Oliver was gone, his good friend Barry Allen (knowing that a Lazarus Pit had been able to heal Thea when she'd been at the brink of death and had resurrected Sara), the former's daughter Mia and a hesitant Sara Lance decided to enlist the help of John Constantine to find an Earth with a working Pit to resurrect Oliver in spite of the consequences they knew it would bring. However, in an effort to remedy this, they intended to have Constantine restore Oliver's soul to his body immediately after they used the Pit to bring him back in an attempt to minimize the negative repercussions of their actions, though John had his reservations about their plan; anticipating that something may go wrong.[14]

Powers and abilities

Powers

"It's basically a life-extending Jacuzzi, located in a place that's the opposite of life-extending."
Ray Palmer[src]

Ra's uses the Lazarus Pit to heal his cut hand.

  • Healing: The water is able to instantaneously heal all the user's previous wounds with no lingering signs; to which it can also restore one who is close to death.
    • Enhanced physical conditioning: Usage of the water also increases one's physical abilities to superhuman levels, as the disoriented Thea was seen jumping 30 feet into the air after her submergence to heal her injuries and pounced on Oliver with ease. However, this effect appears to be temporary.[9]
  • Longevity: The Lazarus Pit has the ability to delay a person's aging, allowing them to retain their health, physical prowess, and youthful appearance throughout this usage and likewise enables them to extend their lifespan at least for a couple hundreds of years.
  • Resurrection: The waters can even resurrect the dead, but only the body, while the soul reminds separate, in purgatory. This leaves the resurrected person a mindlessly aggressive animal, prone to violence and killing.

Drawbacks

"Barry and I are gonna use a Lazarus Pit to bring my dad back."
"Mia—it's not that simple. The Lazarus Pit isn't some magical mud bath where you get your soul and a cup of cucumber water at the end.
You lose your humanity."
Mia Queen and Sara Lance[src]
  • Bloodlust: Those who are resurrected in the Lazarus Pit or use it to heal life-threatening injuries gain a feral bloodlust.
    • Heightened aggression: Usage of the Pit can have a negative effect on the user's mental state, causing heightened aggression. When used on the dying, the revived person becomes mindlessly violent for a short period, after which they become disoriented; even having their memories mixed up. According to Malcolm Merlyn, this mental state happens because the Lazarus Pit contains traces of the souls of every person who has ever bathed in its waters. Those revived near or from death become so consumed by these negative effects that they become bloodthirsty once excited in battle. By giving into this impulse and killing, the person's bloodlust will subside for about a month. The longer a person goes without satisfying this bloodlust in any form, the more easily enraged into a psychotic frenzy the person becomes, as Thea demonstrated when she viciously pummeled a man who bothered her. There are only two known ways to be freed from this bloodlust: the healed person killing the one who hurt them before entering the Pit, or to be injected with a mystical elixir called the Lotus.[12] In addition, if the bloodlust is not satiated in any form for a prolonged period of time, the restored life will begin to fade, leaving the person weaker and sickly before ultimately dying from a reemergence of the very injury that leads to the person's demise. This bloodlust is even worse for one who was not immediately or quickly resurrected after death. While physically their being is restored, their soul remains missing, leaving them mindless savages with only fragmented memories and mental capacities to their former self, making their insanity and desire for murder all the more consuming. Only another person taking a mystical trip to purgatory to recover the reanimated individual's soul can allow for their true and complete resurrection; restoring them to as they were and without the need for killing, though the desire can still appear. As seen after Sara Lance was resurrected in the Pit, her bloodlust remained even after having her soul restored to her body by John Constantine. However, after spending two years with the League of Assassins in the late 1950s, she gained complete control of her bloodlust through special training from the League in that era.[7]
  • Diminishing potency: Apparently, the Pit's powers gradually lose their potency on an individual after an unknown number of repeated uses by that person; each use is less effective than the last.[2]
  • Destruction: There is a way to destroy the Lazarus Pit's waters. Nyssa's father, Ra's al Ghul, found a way to destroy it in case the waters ever fall into the wrong hands, of which Nyssa clearly knew, as she destroyed the Pit in Nanda Parbat after it was used to bring Sara back to life.[9]

Appearances

Arrow

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 8


DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 1

Season 2

Batwoman

Season 1

Comics

Arrow: The Dark Archer

Behind the scenes

  • In the DC comics, there is more than one Lazarus Pit as they are located all over the world. While the Pits can heal the sick or injured, resurrect the dead and extend a user's natural lifespan, using a Pit on a healthy individual typically has deadly consequences.
    • Following the revelation of three more locations in "The Thanatos Guild", a total of five Lazarus Pits are confirmed to exist on Earth-1, including one located in the Ashkiri temple in Arrow: The Dark Archer. Although, by the time of "Leap of Faith", four of the Pits are confirmed to be destroyed. The status of the Ashkiri temple's Lazarus Pit is unknown. Although in "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two", John Constantine could not locate a Pit on Earth-1, meaning the Ashkiri temple's was likely destroyed at some point prior to the Anti-Monitor Crisis (however, it's possible that he simply presumed that no operational Pits remained on Earth-1, and didn't bother checking to be sure when searching the multiverse for a working Pit).
    • In the comics, Bane and Batman worked together to try to destroy all Pits on Earth. While only one allegedly existed, four were left in usable condition.
      • One was under the ownership of Nyssa Raatko, who discovered a way to make the Lazarus Pit's effects last indefinitely.
      • Another was located in the Batcave, with this pool having been artificially created by Batman, as he'd learned that they were needed to maintain the world's stability.
      • A third Pit existed in the Himalaya mountains.
      • A fourth existed in the Australian outback.
    • Like its comic book counterpart, in the Arrowverse, the Lazarus Pit's waters allow a person to live far beyond their normal lifespan. However, the waters lose their potency on the same individual after a number of centuries and begin to weaken their effects.
  • While resurrection via the Pit typically causes heightened aggression, it was once used to resurrect the Joker. Due to the fact that the Joker is already insane, it actually rendered him sane; causing him to feel remorse for all the trouble he'd caused. However, the Joker's sanity didn't last very long.[15]
  • Historically, the Fountain of Youth is a mythical spring that restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters.

References

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