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John Morris was one of the two protagonists of Castlevania: Bloodlines, the son of Quincy Morris, who was a character in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. According to the game, Quincy Morris, vampire hunter, was in fact a distant relative of the Belmont Family of the main Castlevania titles. Because there were no Belmonts active in 1897, when Count Dracula was resurrected once more, the Morris family was safeguarding their family heirloom, the legendary whip Vampire Killer. Quincy was successful in defeating Dracula, but he died of wounds sustained during the battle with his minions. The whip was passed to his son John, who took it up in 1914 to fight against the Count, who had risen from the grave yet again, accompanied by his vampiric niece Elizabeth Bartley. John was accompanied by his best friend Eric LeCarde, who wielded an enchanted spear. Working together, the two of them struck down Bartley and put Dracula back in his grave once more.
The subsequent game Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin serves as a direct sequel to Bloodlines; one of the two protagonists is Jonathan Morris, John's son. The game takes place in 1944, by which point John has died and passed the whip on to Jonathan, who is inexplicably unable to use Vampire Killer's full potential, in fact it seems to be an ordinary leather whip, and is the weakest weapon that he can equip. Through the course of the game it is revealed that the whip is exactly what killed John: while a full-blood member of the Belmont family can wield the whip and immediately access its awesome power against the undead, a member of a "branch" family like the Morrises is unable to tap into that power without undergoing a magical ritual to prove themselves to the Spirit of the Whip. And even then, the raw power contained within the weapon will tax the strength of any non-Belmont who uses it. Because John used the unlocked Vampire Killer for his whole adventure (read: the entire game), it weakened his spirit to the point where he died shortly after his victory against Dracula. Near the end of Portrait of Ruin, Jonathan is given the option to undergo the same ritual as his father to unlock the whip's true potential; whether or not he accepts is up to the player, and if he does, he promises himself that he will only use the whip during the final battle with Dracula, in order to escape John's fate.