Holly Marie Combs as Piper Halliwell
|Last appearance||"Forever Charmed"|
|Created by||Constance M. Burge|
|Portrayed by||Holly Marie Combs|
|Children||Wyatt Matthew Halliwell
Christopher Perry Halliwell
|Species||Witch, Charmed One|
|Notable powers||Molecular Immobilization
|Grandparents||Penny Halliwell (grandmother)
Allen Halliwell (grandfather)
|Parents||Patty Halliwell (mother)
Victor Bennett (father)
|Siblings||Prue Halliwell (sister)
Phoebe Halliwell (sister)
Paige Matthews (half-sister)
|Grandchildren||9 unnamed grandchildren|
|Other Relatives||Melinda Warren|
Piper Halliwell is a fictional character from the television series Charmed. One of the featured leads, Piper is introduced in the series as a witch and, more specifically, a Charmed One – one of the three most powerful witches of all time. The character was portrayed by Holly Marie Combs throughout the series run. In 2008, AOL named Piper the third greatest witch in television history, behind Samantha Stevens and Willow Rosenberg.
During the first three seasons, Piper starts off as the middle child of three sisters, but later becomes the oldest sister after Prue Halliwell is killed. One of the reoccurring struggles for Piper as a character is her attempt to maintain a normal life despite her destiny of defeating the forces of evil in San Francisco. In addition to the television series, the character has also appeared in numerous expanded universe material, such as the Charmed novels and its comic book adaptation.
Piper is the second eldest Halliwell sister and is portrayed by Holly Marie Combs in all of the show's aired 178 episodes as well as the unaired pilot. At the start of season one (1998–1999), six months have passed since the death of her grandmother, Penelope Halliwell(Jennifer Rhodes), and Piper has moved back into her family's Victorian Manor with her two sisters Prue (Shannen Doherty) and Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano). On the night of Phoebe's return, the sisters find a book of spells within the Manor's attic. After Phoebe recites an incantation from the book, the three sisters each receive a magical power and discover their destiny as The Charmed Ones – the most powerful good witches the world has ever known. Initially Piper receives the power to "freeze" her surrounding environment, beginning as she freezes her chef boss in a timed situation. A major plot for the first episode of the series focuses on Piper realizing that her boyfriend, Jeremy (Eric Scott Woods), is a Warlock, when he seizes upon the opportunity to kill her for her powers, forcing Piper and her sisters to vanquish him. Due to her role as the middle sister, Piper is often regarded as the peacemaker of the group as she often attempts to keep the peace between the headstrong Prue and free-spirited Phoebe. During this season, Piper works at the restaurant Quake as a chef and later as its manager. She develops an on-again off-again relationship with the handy-man Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause) who she later discovers to be her Whitelighter - a guardian angel for good witches.
In the second season (1999–2000), Piper has quit her job at Quake and has ventured into running her own business in the form of the nightclub P3. After her split with Leo, due to the strenuous nature his Whitelighter duties place on their romantic relationship, Piper begins to date her neighbor Dan Gordon (Greg Vaughan) in an attempt at a normal relationship. This causes major conflict as Leo and Piper retain lingering feelings for one another resulting in a love triangle between the three characters. As Piper hones her skills as a witch and a business owner, she eventually comes to the conclusion that despite her love for Dan, her heart will always belong to Leo. Piper later breaks up with Dan and reconciles with Leo. In the season two finale, Piper and her sisters discover that the many attacks on their lives by evil beings have been orchestrated by a demonic force known as The Triad. Piper also desires to learn more about Leo's life as a Whitelighter and asks him to take her to meet The Elders, senior Whitelighters who act as the authoritative council for all of good magic. The couple are last seen orbing off to The Elders heavenly realm.
In season three (2000–2001), after being detained "Up There" for a month, Piper and Leo are told by The Elders to end their relationship or Leo will no longer be the sisters' Whitelighter. Leo subsequently proposes marriage to Piper claiming that once married The Elders will not have the power to break them apart. Leo and Piper attempt to wed in secret during a solar eclipse, a phenomenon which prevents those "Up There" from looking down on Earth, but are caught in the act when The Elders are informed of the wedding by The Triad (who have replaced The Council), who in turn learned of the wedding through their demonic spy Cole Turner (Julian McMahon). Leo is taken into captivity by The Elders as punishment for breaking their rules and Piper is left heartbroken. After Piper makes the choice to continue to protect innocents despite losing Leo, The Elders return Leo to Earth. The Elders allow the couple to prove that their relationship will not interfere with their greater calling. Leo and Piper are finally allowed to wed in mid-season three. Before the season's end, Piper acquires her second magical ability, the power to cause explosions, in the episode "Exit Strategy". During the season three finale, Prue and Piper unwittingly expose themselves as witches to the world after being caught on camera by a local news crew fighting with a demon assassin. In the aftermath of the exposure, Piper is shot and killed by a crazed Wiccan fanatic who wanted to join the sisters' coven. Phoebe makes a deal with the Source of All Evil to save Piper's life, and time is reversed to the sisters first encounter with Shax. After the rebooted confrontation, the season ends on a cliffhanger with Piper and Prue left for dead after losing in a fight against Shax. Meanwhile, Phoebe is trapped in the Underworld.
The opening episode of the fourth season (2001–2002), "Charmed Again (Part 1)", reveals that while Piper has been healed of her injuries from the season three finale Prue was unable to be saved. Piper attempts numerous spells to resurrect Prue to no avail, and when she comes into contact with her grandmother Penny, it is revealed that Prue is still adjusting to being in the afterlife and that she is being helped to process her actual death by both Penny and the girls' mother Patty Halliwell (Finola Hughes). Penny also reveals to Piper that Prue cannot be summoned back to Earth because seeing Prue would not allow the sisters to grieve and move on to continue their destiny. This leads to Piper and Phoebe discovering the identity of their younger half-sister Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan) who was kept secret because of her Whitelighter heritage. Paige then goes on to help restore "The Power of Three". Piper and Paige initially butt heads as the new oldest and youngest sisters, but eventually grow to have a mutual respect for each other. With the addition of Paige, Piper and Phoebe are able to avenge Prue's death and vanquish the Source twice – both in his original incarnation and that of his next incarnation, Cole Turner. The three remaining sisters are later visited by the Angel of Destiny (Dakin Matthews) and given an offer to live a normal life without magical powers or the threat of demons. After Piper declines alongside her sisters, the Angel informs her that she is pregnant with her first child.
In season five (2002–2003), the powers of her unborn child makes Piper indestructible. Initially, the baby makes her self-healing, and later protects her with a force field. When the child is born, to everyone's surprise, a boy - in a trip to the future she had only seen a daughter - Piper names him Wyatt Matthew Halliwell. Piper's son is discovered to be The Twice-Blessed Child, the most powerful magical being of all time, which attracts even more demons into the sisters' lives. In the season finale, a Whitelighter from the future named Chris (Drew Fuller) arrives to assist the sisters against the ancient Titans of mythology. After the Elders are forced into hiding by the Titans, Chris manipulates events so that Leo has to become an Elder, causing him to separate from Piper. Piper is so angry that she initially refuses to give up her temporary powers (those of Demeter, Goddess of Earth), though Leo uses his newfound powers to artificially alleviate her pain.
In season six (2003–2004), Piper again clings to goddess powers when she finds temporarily becoming a valkyrie a better alternative than living with the pain of Leo leaving her. Her sisters use a spell to bring back Piper's feelings of loss. She begins to recover from her separation from Leo and date again, though Chris (in reality, Piper's second son from the future) tries to stop this from happening. Chris is able to temporarily reunite Piper and Leo in the episode "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father" in order to ensure his conception. After gaining the sisters trust, Chris informs them that his true mission is to prevent Wyatt from growing up to be the evil dictator he becomes in the future. Unlike her pregnancy with Wyatt, the pregnancy with Chris offers Piper no protection and she is forced to relocate to Magic School, with Wyatt, for her own protection. The Elder Gideon (Gildart Jackson), also headmaster of Magic School, attempts to kill baby Wyatt in order to prevent this future but is killed by Leo in the season six finale, the same episode in which future Chris dies and present-day Chris is born.
Season seven (2004–2005) starts with Piper mourning Chris. She and Leo attend two Indian friends' wedding, where they are possessed by the spirits of two passing Hindu deities, Shakti and Shiva. Piper uses these powers to defend herself from demons dispatched to kill her by old enemy Barbas (Billy Drago). In episode seven of the season, "Someone to Witch Over Me", Leo concedes to the offer of membership extended by The Avatars (powerful neutral beings who seek to create a Utopian reality). He informs Piper of his decision in the ninth episode of the season "There's Something About Leo" and later urges the sisters to join sides with The Avatars in their plan to turn the world into a utopia against the warnings of Paige's boyfriend Kyle Brody (Kerr Smith) and The Elders. Realising the Utopia robs people of their free will, Leo sacrifices himself. Piper realises her children's pain over their father's loss and allies with the underworld's new leader, Zankou (Oded Fehr), to force the Avatars to rewind time to before the change took place. Leo later chooses to return to Piper in the 150th episode, "The Seven Year Witch", at the expense of his magical abilities, becoming mortal. Piper and Leo encounter evil Future Wyatt (Wes Ramsey) for themselves in "Imaginary Fiends", but are able to stop the last impediment to his becoming a power for good. In season seven's finale episode, the sisters are forced to fake their deaths after they destroy Zankou and escape the constant threat of demon attacks as well as police and government investigations.
The eighth and final season (2005–2006) begins with the sisters assuming new identities (those of their fictitious cousins), with Piper assuming the identity of Jenny Bennett (Beatrice Rosen) later Jamie Bennett (Regan Nicole Wallake). This season the sisters also take on neophyte witch Billie Jenkins (Kaley Cuoco) to do some of their magical legwork for them when she discovers who they really are. They later resume their real identities in the episode "Rewitched" with the help of federal agent Murphy (Brandon Quinn) in exchange for helping the FBI handle supernatural investigations. An Angel of Destiny (Denise Dowse) seizes Leo in "Vaya Con Leos" to motivate Piper against their final threat as Charmed Ones. This turns out to be Billie and her sister, Christy (Marnette Patterson), who believe the sisters have stopped using their powers for good. In the penultimate episode, "Kill Billie, Vol. 2", the two sets of sisters undertake an all-out battle, which destroys Halliwell Manor, and only Piper and Billie survive. In the series finale, "Forever Charmed", Piper uses Coop's (Victor Webster) time-traveling ring to call upon her mother and grandmother and save the lives of her sisters. After Christy is defeated, Piper returns to the Book of Shadows to write about their lives. An epilogue depicts Piper with her three children including the addition of a daughter who she calls Melinda, and then living to old age (played by Ellen Geer) and being surrounded by children and grandchildren.
As one of the central characters throughout the entire series, Piper appears in the majority of Charmed literature. These appearances first began in the series of novels. The novels follow no strict continuity with the series or each other, and are often considered to be non-canon. However, the television series producers have final approval of everything in the novels, which could indicate the literature fitting into the established canon of the series and the so-called "Charmed universe". Piper's first appearance in Charmed literature takes place within the novel The Power of Three by Eliza Willard on November 1, 1999, which acts as a novelised version of the series premiere episode. Her last appearance in a Charmed novel takes place within Trickery Treat by Diana G. Gallagher on January 1, 2008.
In 2010, Charmed gained an officially licensed continuation in the form of a comic book, which is often billed as Charmed: Season 9. The series is published monthly by Zenescope Entertainment. Set eighteen-months after the series finale, the sisters are seen living happy demon free lives and have each entered into motherhood. Piper has had a third child, a girl named Prudence Melinda and is planning on opening her own restaurant. In Issue #4, Mortal Enemies, Piper develops a new power in the form of distorting the molecules of objects when she melts the ground to trap the resurrected Source of All Evil.
Powers and abilities
In Charmed it is revealed that magical witches can develop and master a variety of magical skills and powers which include scrying, spell casting, and brewing potent potions. As a magical witch Piper can utilize scrying, a divination art form that allows one to locate a missing object or person. Piper can also cast spells, often written in iambic pentameter or as a rhyming couplet, to influence others or the world around her. She can also brew potions, most often used to vanquish foes or to achieve other magical feats similar to the effects of a spell. As a witch and Charmed One, Piper has also developed a number of magical powers which include Molecular Immobilization, Molecular Combustion, and Molecular Acceleration.
As Piper first comes into her powers, the first power she develops is the ability to slow down molecular motion so that objects, people, and even energy discharges instantly freeze in place. In the Charmed series, certain magical powers are attached to emotional triggers, although all powers can be affected by the user's emotions. For Piper, the emotional trigger for her freezing power is panic induced situations which enact a fear response. At first Piper would freeze everything in the immediate area whenever startled. Gradually, Piper learned to control this ability and freeze everything in the immediate area by a conscious act of will and gesturing. She must be able to gesture to activate her freezing power and cannot do so without using her hands. Piper also learns to selectively freeze specific objects of her choosing, rather than everything in the entire area. When Piper was new to her powers, objects she froze would eventually regain their mobility on their own, usually after several seconds. She later learns to unfreeze at will, even freezing an entire object, then unfreezing only part of it. This can be seen in the season three episode, "Sleuthing with the Enemy", at which point Piper freezes a Zohtar demon named Krell (Scott MacDonald) in midair, then unfreezes his head in order to interrogate him.
The mass of an object seems to be no restriction on her power. Instead, the limitation of her freezing power appears to be determined by the size of the area, and she can freeze anything (except those entities immune to her powers) in the area of effect. The exact limitation has never been determined. Indoors, however, Piper is limited by the room she is in. She can freeze objects in the same room and cannot freeze anything outside the room, unless she has an unobstructed path to those objects, such as through an open door or window. Certain entities have proven resistant or immune to her freezing ability, such as ghosts, furies, certain demons and warlocks.
In an episode of season two, "Morality Bites", Piper travels ten years into the future from the year 1999 and inhabits her future self's body. In the episode, Piper discovers that in ten years time from 1999, her freezing power becomes ten times stronger allowing her to instantly freeze an entire city block. After returning to the present, Piper never realizes the growth of this level of power before the series comes to an end.
In late season three, Piper gains the ability to cause objects to spontaneously explode. As explained by Leo in the episode, "Exit Strategy", "[Piper's] powers work by slowing down molecules, and apparently now [she] can speed them up as well." Unlike her freezing power, this new ability is triggered by anger and frustration, but is also controllable by conscious act of will and hand gestures. She also proves able to cause magical energy discharges and even living entities to explode. However, the limitations on her explosive power are even less clear than those of her freezing ability, but appear to be determined by an object's size and durability. The largest object she ever caused to explode was a truck door entrance to a warehouse. It once took her four tries to break down a much smaller gate, although this object was magically reinforced.
In the Charmed comics, specifically in Issue #4, Mortal Enemies, Piper develops a new power in the form of distorting the molecules of objects when she melts the ground to trap the resurrected Source of All Evil. This power allows Piper to reverberate molecules at a speed which causes them to become disordered, resulting in either melting or burning. Heat and fire can be created with the power also, as seen in Issue #9, The All or Nothing.
Piper is proven to be a skilled chef, a talent which lends itself to her potion-making. While Piper has shown some gymnastic and athletic ability, unlike her sisters, she is not particularly adept at conventional means of hand-to-hand combat.
Casting and development
In 1998, the Warner Brothers Television Network began searching for a drama series, and looked to Spelling Television, which had produced the network's most successful series 7th Heaven, to create it. Expanding on the popularity of supernatural-themed dramas, the production company explored forms of mythology to find mythological characters they could focus on with contemporary storytelling. In order to create the series, Constance M. Burge was hired as the creator as she was under contract with 20th Century Fox and Spelling Television after conceiving the drama Savannah.
The character of Piper Halliwell was conceived by Burge, who wrote the pilot script for Charmed. The pilot script was based around three mismatched sisters who are initially based on Burge and her two older sisters, Laura and Edie Burge. Piper is based on Burge's older sister Edie. On creating Piper, Burge states "The middle sibling typically tends to be a real people pleaser and very funny, tends to deal with life with a lot of humour. That really applied to my sister, Edie and so I could see the character of Piper [through her]." Executive Producer Brad Kern states that Piper is written into the series as "the middle sister just trying to keep the peace, trying to find love, trying to find her career, and trying to keep Prue and Phoebe from killing each other."
When the series was in its first development stages, Shannen Doherty, an actress from a previous Spelling Television series, Beverly Hills, 90210, originally auditioned for the role of Piper while former Picket Fences actress Holly Marie Combs auditioned for the role of Prue Halliwell. By the time the roles were officially cast, the actresses had switched characters. Combs played the role of Piper in a 28-minute test pilot (the "unaired pilot", never aired on network television) alongside Doherty and actress Lori Rom who played the youngest sister Phoebe Halliwell. By the time the series aired on The WB, Rom had been replaced by the former Who's the Boss star, film and TV actress Alyssa Milano.
During the run of the series and her life as a Charmed One, Piper died thirteen times.
|Episode||Episode Name||Cause of Death||Revival|
|1x22||Déjà Vu All Over Again||Killed by an energy ball thrown by a demon.||Time was reset.|
|2x12||Awakened||Infected with Oroya Fever.||Leo healed her, but as a result of this, Leo's wings were clipped.|
|3x09||Coyote Piper||Killed by Prue, who stabbed her to dispossess her.||Leo was possessed by the spirit, who was an alchemist. She revived her, the spirit was destroyed, and Leo healed her.|
|3x12||Wrestling With Demons||Killed by demon at demon academy||Leo healed her|
|3x22||All Hell Breaks Loose||Shot by a woman because she thought that they were evil witches. Then thrown through a wall||Time was reset when she was shot. Leo healed her when she was thrown through the wall.|
|4x17||Saving Private Leo||Stabbed by evil ghosts.||Leo healed her before she could move on.|
|5x06||The eyes have it||Shot by a demon Cree||Unborn baby and Leo heal her|
|6x08||Sword And The City||Stabbed||Leo heals her|
|6x15||I Dream of Phoebe||An evil genie wished for her death.||Since the evil genie wished for the Charmed Ones to die, but not individually, when Piper called out to Leo when she was crossing over, he healed her. And since the Charmed Ones were bound together, Phoebe's and Paige's souls couldn't cross over because of this. After that, Richard was able to free himself with the help of Phoebe's and Paige's ghosts and wished for the Charmed Ones to be alive.|
|7x05||Styx Feet Under||Killed by the Angel of Death.||The mess that the Charmed Ones had made was finally cleared up, and the Angel of Death revived her.|
|7x07||Someone to Witch Over Me||Killed by a Celerity Demon.||Leo revived her after he became an Avatar.|
|7x16||The Seven Year Witch||Killed by a Thorn Demon||Healed by Wyatt, her son|
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