You might know the Lazarus Pit from original DC comics, most famously for its role in empowering Ra’s al Ghul, Batman’s fictitious supervillain adversary. Nowadays, of course, the Lazarus Pit has taken on a slightly more modern twist, and appears somewhat regularly in television’s Arrowerse, via the television shows Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
The Lazarus Pit plays a much larger role in our general understanding of these shows than we might believe – or at least first comprehend. In fact, it seems that pretty much every supervillain that emerges in Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow has actually taken a sip of the water from the Lazarus Pit, making them all the more dangerous and evil.
Qe should not underestimate the very important role of the Lazarus Pit. Instead, let's learn about some of its history. Only then can we truly understand some of our favorite DC protagonists and supervillains. While many see the Lazarus Pit as just a MacGuffin or plot device, it is actually a key part of the mythos in some of our favorite DC comics and shows.
Read on for the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Lazarus Pit.
15 Drinking from the Pit gives you bloodlust
Right from the start, we know that the Lazarus Pit isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It has some pretty nasty side effects when all is said and done. Some who have taken a drink of the Lazarus Pit soon realize that something is a bit different after the fact – they have gained what is called Bloodlust.
After drinking from the pit, initially we are led to believe that people have simply become more aggressive, but it's more than that. They also become much stronger – in fact, they gain superhuman abilities.
But with those abilities comes many drawbacks, including a need to hurt and kill others. An example of this is when Thea beats someone up when he annoyed her a bit.
14 The More Healing You Needed, The More Aggressive You Become
Depending on the state that the person is in when they first take a drink from Lazarus Pit, the side effects may be far worse than mere aggression. If someone who is dead or almost dead drinks from the pit, that person will find themselves with the aforementioned Bloodlust. If someone is not able to satisfy their bloodlust, then they become frantic and especially aggressive.
Essentially, if the pit winds up healing you a lot rather than just a little, the nasty side effects will show to be much worse. So, for Thea, who was almost or entirely dead after her fight with Ra’s al Ghul, the aggression and bloodlust she experiences afterward is more heightened than it would be for someone who only drank from the pit to heal a broken leg or a minor wound.
13 It Contains Parts Of People's Souls
The reason why the Lazarus Pit can have such nasty and deadly side effects is because of what it is made up of.
Every time a person takes a sip from this terrible, magnificent pit, parts of their souls get mixed up in the water – and actually become a part of the water. This means that every time someone takes a sip from the Lazarus Pit, the person drinking is not just drinking healing water, but is also drinking bits and pieces of others’ souls.
Malcolm Merlyn becomes somewhat of an expert in terms of the pit. He's the person who reveals to the others from Team Arrow that it was the Lazarus Pit which allowed Ra’s al Ghul to live for so long. He also warns Oliver that he would rather Thea die than be revived by the deadly pit.
12 It Becomes Less Effective Each Time It's Used
Of course, as with anything seemingly so magical and powerful, the Lazarus Pit is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Over time, someone who uses the water from the pit on a regular basis begins to slowly feel its effects less and less. This means that the person who is drinking from the pit needs to drink more each time, too.
As a result of this, the more someone drinks from the pit, the more hungry for blood they will become. This is part of the reason why Ra’s al Ghul became so deadly – not only were his combat skills particularly heightened thanks to the Pit, but also because he had to keep drinking more and more for maximum efficiency, he was also especially strong and bloodthirsty.
11 It Was Named After The Biblical Figure Lazarus
It is always interesting when a fictional comic book, book, television show, or movie has parts which are based in real life.
For the Arrowverse, this is true of the background story behind the Lazarus Pit. The name of the pit, Lazarus, is actually named after a Biblical figure named Lazarus of Bethany, from the Gospel of John.
According to the Bible, Christ resurrected Lazarus of Bethany from the dead after he was already in the tomb for four days– which means the name "Lazarus Pit" is somewhat appropriate.
In the case of the Bible, however, Lazarus of Bethany was a saint revived by God's power, whereas in the Arrowverse, most who drink from the pit become evil.
10 Damien Darhk Is The Last To Possess A Supply Of Its Water
Damien Darhk, or Kenneth Bender, was the last person to ever use the Lazarus Pit before it is destroyed. Where he was once a member of the League of Assassins and the henchman of Ra’s al Ghul, Darhk later turned against him and created his own terrorist league called H.I.V.E.
Upon escaping death at Ra’s al Ghul's hand, Darhk successfully stole enough water from the Lazarus Pit to help him in his schemes for over 100 years.
Because of Darhk’s scheming ways, he becomes the only person using the pit's powers for years after it is destroyed. As a result, he wields a huge amount of power for many years after and his league, H.I.V.E., thrives as a terrorist organization for some time.
9 It Was Once Owned By Malcolm Merlyn
Malcolm Merlyn has long been a controversial and conflicted character, wavering between good and bad. While his character edges towards good, he has always been held back by his history and descent, and by the fact that he was the owner of the Lazarus Pit for some time.
In fact, Merlyn was the last person to ever own the pit, prior to its destruction.
Because Merlyn owned the Lazarus Pit for some time, he knew quite a bit about the healing and damaging powers from the waters inside the pit, and educated other members of Team Arrow on its possible dangers. This is why Merlyn warned Oliver against using the Lazarus Pit waters to heal Thea – because he knew its nasty side effects.
8 It’s Also Called The Fountain Of Youth
Since Lazarus Pit has a bit of a funny ring to it, it should come as no surprise that over the years it acquired other names. One of the most prominent names that really stuck was “The Fountain of Youth.”
Obviously, there is reason that this name would be appropriate for such a thing – the pit resurrects those who are dead or nearly dead, heals the wounded, and brings strength, agility, and energy to those who drink from it.
However, “The Fountain of Youth” is also somewhat of a misnomer – obviously, the negative side effects that come from drinking from the pit can have quite the opposite effect if those who drink from it have not satisfied their bloodthirst, not to mention the death and injury that is felt by those who are victims of the drinkers of the pit.
7 The Pit Will Kill A Healthy User
In the DC comics, we learn that while the pit can be regenerative for those who are sick or dying, it will actually kill someone who is healthy.
Really, this makes sense. If the pit already has such nasty side effects on those who are almost dead or very injured or sick, imagine the side effects it would have on someone who is not injured or ill at all?
In the television series Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, however, this idea of it being damaging for healthy users is not accurate to what occurs in the comics, because the pit, in these television shows at least, is also used by healthy individuals to live longer and delay their ageing, as well as enhancing their strength.
6 The Only cure for Bloodlust Is The Lotus Elixir
By this point, we are well aware of the deadly effects of the Lazarus Pit, and the Bloodlust side effect is particularly alarming.
Fortunately, there is something that can counter the effects of Bloodlust, and bring the individual who drank from the Lazarus Pit back to a normal state, where they do not need to kill or to hurt in order to be calm or to be satisfied.
The cure to Bloodlust is an elixir called Lotus. It was created by enemies of the League of Assassin, in order to counter the recruits the League of Assassins procures thanks to the magical powers from the water of the Lazarus Pit.
The Lotus is used to counter the effects of the pit on Thea, when she is forced to drink the waters after she dies.
5 There Is More Than One Pit In The Comics
Strangely, the television shows chose to have just one pit. In the DC comics, however, there is more than one pit that can be used for resurrection purposes.
In the comics, most of the pits can be found in the mountains of Switzerland, where Ra’s al Ghul has his headquarters.
There is another Lazarus Pit on Infinity Island. In this case, the pit has much more strength than the others, because the waters are connection to the island’s volcanoes. This means that different chemicals are mixing with the already healing/aggression chemical, and making for a much more powerful result.
In the comics, all of the pits are allegedly destroyed by Bane and Batman – except one – which explains how the show could get away with having just one Lazarus Pit rather than several.
4 Historians Wrote About It
As if we didn’t already know that the Lazarus Pit is incredibly ancient, we also learn that it was written about a long, long time ago – in 5th century B.C., to be exact.
Indeed, according to Ra’s al Ghul, when he explains near his death how he managed to live for so long past his best before date. the historian Heredotus wrote about the pit. Again, we have to commend the writers of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow for really taking off on the backstory of the Lazarus Pit.
So many television shows have inconsistent information revealed throughout their durations, highlighting discrepancies between someone or something’s backstory from one season to another. For these shows, though, the ancient backstories, somewhat based on fact, give them a whole other level of sophistication and intrigue.
3 In The Comics, Nyssa Can Use The Pit Multiple Times
Since we are already enamoured with the stunning Nyssa Raatko, love child of Ra’s al Ghul, it should come as no surprise that she is also somewhat of a genius. It is this ingenuity of hers that helps her to find a way to make the effects of the pit last forever in the comics.
Under normal circumstances, a Lazarus Pit can only be used once. However, it is Nyssa who discovers how to use it multiple times – and does, allowing her to live into modern day. In fact, Nyssa becomes somewhat of an expert in terms of the Lazarus Pit, able to heal wounds with its waters.
Although she remains very much attached to the Lazarus Pit, both in the comics and in Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, Nyssa is good at heart, and eventually becomes aware of the harmful effects that the Pit can have on those who drink it.
2 According To The Quran, It Was Found By Al-Khidr
The link between the Lazarus Pit and the biblical figure Lazarus of Bethany is not the only religious backstory related to this magical phenomenon.
According to Arrowverse legend, the pit was first discovered by a servant of god, al-Khidr, and was written about in the Quran.
Although there’s not much more back story than this pertaining to Al-Khidr and his discovery of the Lazarus Pit, it’s interesting to see how ancient the pit truly is. It's awesome that DC creators decided to bring together history and fiction to create this complex and ancient backstory for an important part of the Arrowverse.
While it is portrayed as old in the comics and in the various television series, it is far more ancient than we could have ever guessed given its mention in an ancient text like the Quran.
1 Nyssa Destroyed The Pit Out Of Love
Although Nyssa Raatko long had a handle on the Pit, using it herself for years and years and seeing what it had done to her father Ra’s al Ghul, she eventually grew weary of its negative side effects.
When her former lover, Sara Lance, temporarily dies, Malcolm uses the pit to revive Sarah. Furious, Nyssa recognizes that Sara will not be the same person Nyssa knew and loved, as her soul had been destroyed, and decides once and for all that the pit should be destroyed. She just does that, and it’s the end of the Lazarus Pit.
Although Nyssa is definitely a controversial and confusing character, as we never know if she is good or bad, her reason for destroying the pit is noble. In the long run, she finally realizes that the benefits of the Lazarus Pit are not worth the grief and harm it causes.
Did we miss an interesting fact or backstory related to the Arrowverse's Lazarus Pit? Let us know in the comments!