The Thing About Buffy

When I was in my formative years – fourteen, fifteen, sixteen; probably before that, if I could remember – I was a lot of things: frustrated, depressed, creative, hopeful, and incredibly, incredibly lonely.

High School was hell, home was… not a place I would actually define as a ‘home.’ But I found that music helped, some, and the creativity and hope kept me thinking that if I could just make it to eighteen I could go wherever I wanted and be and do anything.

The day to day, though… that was tough. I’m not going to go into it and I’m not going to try and pretend that I had it hardest. But it was still tough. Hardness was my reality.

I closed myself off, repressed the pre-teen years, and become someone who, frankly, wasn’t very nice in return. Someone who literally didn’t understand what being nice meant. Again, I’m not saying I was a bully who tortured small animals and wished death upon children, but life was hard and so was I.

And then there was Buffy – this innocuous little TV show about teenagers living on a Hellmouth. A TV show that had layers, and pain, character development that was mind blowing and just so many things that, amongst all the vampires and demons, were just so damn real.

The show dealt with sex and relationships, domestic abuse, betrayal and, yes, death. Everything in between. The scary and the funny and the dramatic and the exciting and the gross.

And the thing is, it made me – broken teenager on the verge of suicide me – it made me feel things. It made me feel all of the things I’ve already mentioned and a million besides. It connected with me, and I was obsessed. I was mocked for it – still am, sometimes (screw you, Steph!) – but I didn’t care. I’d found my thing and it mattered to me more than anything.

That thing is now twenty years old and still touching lives. How freaking crazy is that? THAT is what I aim for in my art. And that is what I am forever thankful to Joss Whedon for.

Let’s Talk about Spike

William PrattMy favorite character of all time from anything ever is Spike, from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

As a reader, and a writer, and as a person, I find his character so rich, and layered, and engaging that I can’t help be sucked in (pun not intended).

Yes, he’s a vampire from Victorian times, but he comes across realistically, and that’s impressive. That’s why I want to talk about him. It’s why I love him.

So, what’s the sitch on this Spike guy? First thing you should know is that he’s a killer. There’s no sugar coating it, and no escaping it. He’s also a lover, a warrior, a poet, and a punk.

Throughout his long existence, he’s been human, a soulless vampire, a soulless vampire with a chip, a souled vampire, and a souled vampire-ghost-hybrid. He’s been brilliant, and he’s been idiotic. Clever and ridiculous. Merciless, protective, and loyal to a fault.

Despite the fact that he’s hyper sexual and masculine, he’s never shy about his feelings, and never apologetic about his tears.

I once posed the question to my Facebook friends, about whether Spike is a misogynist or not, and the conclusion is that yes, he is, and no he’s not. He loves women. He loves strong women. And he’s also used and discarded various women at various times.

His moral compass often completely lost in a sea of desires, he’s been both selfish and selfless.

He questions himself, his actions, and his motives, but never tries to justify the many wrong moves he makes. He tries to be better – going completely against his demonic nature – and he succeeds.

Most of the fan fiction I write is either about Spike or from Spike’s perspective and, as divisive as he is, I often find myself torn over the little details concerning him. Sometimes, in my stories, he has calluses on his hands from all the fighting he does, whereas sometimes I depict his hands as smooth, and soft – exemplifying the huge, intrinsic part of him that is a lover. William the Bloody

He can be both gentle and firm, I know this without doubt, but what would his handwriting be like? Like everything else, I can imagine it two ways – as an immaculate, almost calligraphic, cursive script he no doubt learnt in his days as an upper class London gentleman; and as a grungy scrawl portraying his adopted working class persona.

I’m sure he can and does use both, depending on the occasion, but that’s not to imply that he’s anything less than genuine. More than anything else, he’s just himself. Crazy and compelling as that is.

To quote one Tumblr user on the topic: “I love how Spike is both super cool and also a HUGE FUCKING LOSER!!” Or to put it into the words a different user used to caption the two photos included in this post: “…if that isn’t an awesome character development I don’t know what that is.”