Sunday, February 12, 2012

7 Bits of Buffy Headcanon

So I've been watching The Vampire Diaries a lot lately (and I mean A LOT - as I write this, I am waiting for the third episode of season three to download*), and it's got me thinking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now, to be fair, there aren't a whole lot of things on this Earth that don't get me thinking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but The Vampire Diaries is an especially egregious example, as both shows contain healthy helpings of vampires, witches, werewolves,** girls who kick ass, and the ominous feeling that ABSOLUTELY ANYBODY CAN DIE AND THEY MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT COME BACK. Yes, even main characters!

So anyway. What in the world is "headcanon"? Basically, it's, um, canon that happens in your head. It may outright contradict actual canon (for example, you may wish to pretend that a certain episode or a certain scene never happened); it may, technically, "work" within established canon (for example, Darla could have totally been a Slayer - think about it), but the actual writers have never officially confirmed it, and probably never will.

I do hope that made sense. Canon for a TV show is usually much more difficult to pin down than it is for a book or a book series - if J. K. Rowling says that only wizards and witches can become ghosts, then that's the way it is; if Damon spends the first few episodes affecting the weather and using a creepy crow as his harbinger, but the writers later decide not to do that anymore, then . . . okay.

Anyway. Buffy. As anyone who's known me for longer than two and a half seconds can tell you, it's my favorite TV show of all time. I've been obsessed with it for about a decade now, and there are MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY things that were never addressed because, well, there's only so much time to explore things in a 144-episode series, and so much of that time is taken up by a) saving the world from unspeakably evil forces or b) the horror that is growing up or c) both of these things at the same time that fans like myself have plenty of room to play around and let our imaginations wander.

Sooo yeah, that's why we're here.

7 Bits of Buffy Headcanon

1. Xander's parents were verbally abusive.
Sadly, this is just shy of being out-and-out canon. We never actually get to spend too much time with them (although, now that I think about it, did we finally get to meet them in season six? It's been quite a while since I sat down and actually watched the series for any length of time), mostly hear them holler at him from the top of the stairs, but the signs are definitely there: They are not nice people. They're not exactly Vernon and Petunia Dursley, but they have treated him like crap. It's amazing that he grew up to be such a good person.
(If you want proof of this one, watch "Restless" and pay attention to his dream.)

2. When Oz came back in "New Moon Rising," he lost control because Willow was with someone else - NOT because she was with a girl.
Apparently, he went off to learn how to repress his wolf side and convinced himself that she'd just be keeping her legs crossed and waiting for him to come back to her INDEFINITELY even though he never so much as called her.
(Also, you know, when he reveals that he has learned how to stop himself from transforming, he says something about how she's probably stopped paying attention to when the moon is full.
Because that's not at all interesting to a witch.)
All of that being said, believe it or not, but: Oz is actually one of my favorite characters. I was (obviously) psyched when Willow and Tara got together, but I genuinely felt bad for him when he came back and was clearly still in love with her; my reaction was something along the lines of GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW AND HOW TRAGICALLY DELICIOUS IT IS.

3. In the first episode of season six, when Dawn tells Spike that she's not the Key anymore, she's wrong.
Just because, with Glory out of everyone's hair, it would be pretty cool if Buffy's annoying kid sister had the power to unlock portals between dimensions.
And hey, speaking of Glory . . .

4. Giles never told anyone about killing Ben.
Which I mention mostly because, in the commentary for "Lies My Parents Told Me," David Fury says that he considered having him tell Buffy in that episode, but decided not to because, since it takes place a season and a half after the fact, he figured no one would care.
Which I heard and went, "Are you kidding me?! That scene would be awesome!"

5. Witches cannot be turned into vampires, and

6. Witch blood is debilitating to vampires. It will, in fact, burn them from the inside out if they drink it (much like holy water).
Mostly just because these would be cool.
We never got to find out for sure, though, because no vampire ever tried either of them*** - basically, attacking a witch who's grown into her power is a really good way for a vampire to commit suicide.

7. Willow was not supposed to happen.
Let me explain . . .
When we meet her in the pilot, Willow is a shy, awkward, bookish girl who (along with Xander) quickly becomes Buffy's best friend. In the last episode of the series, she casts a spell to turn every Potential in the world into a Slayer. That shouldn't be possible, and she herself doesn't think she'll be able to do it.
Basically, after her power surge in the last half of season five, Willow Rosenberg quickly becomes one of the most powerful forces in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe (which probably should not come as a huge surprise to an attentive viewer, considering that her first foray into witchcraft was to restore a vampire's soul****): She's the only person who doesn't need a divine weapon to hurt Glory, WHO IS A LITERAL GOD; she brings Buffy back from the dead*****; she nearly destroys the world after Tara is killed; and The First Evil (who is basically the closest thing to Satan we ever got on this show) tries to convince her to kill herself because his plan would be much easier to accomplish with her out of the way.
But, as I say, she was not supposed to happen.
On Buffy, we got to meet several witches, but the only two who we got to know nearly as well as Willow, Amy and Tara, both inherited the craft from their mothers. Willow did not, and that is why I think she was an accident. I mean, living in Sunnydale, anybody with half an inkling can attract the attention of otherworldly forces without meaning to, so it's quite easy to be a "Wanna Blessed Be" - but, as Amy points out in season seven, it doesn't matter how hard natural witches like herself study and study and study: Willow has the kind of power the rest of them dream about. And she makes using it look easy.
The way I see it, her power has something to do with Buffy. She first did magic in the last episode of season two, and kept studying it in season three, but she didn't really start to become ridiculously powerful until after the penultimate episode of season four, when she and Giles and Xander joined their essences with Buffy's. A witch had never joined herself with a Slayer before, and that did something. I don't know. Maybe the Powers That Be had some idea what Buffy was going to do by the end of the series and figured she would need some extra protection. Maybe Willow is like Tiffany Aching - not born with a knack for witchcraft, but she found it and made it work for her, and had a lot of power because she needed it. I'm not sure. All I know for sure is that Willow went from being the most vulnerable character on the show to being (arguably) a demi-goddess . . . and she wouldn't have gotten there without Buffy.

Okay, that's all I've got for now.

You may be wondering why, if I've been watching it so damn much lately, I'm not writing about The Vampire Diaries. All I can tell you is, don't you worry.

More later. Much love,

*How the hell did I ever survive without iTunes? Heh.

**Interestingly, both shows introduce us to vampires, witches, and werewolves IN THAT ORDER.

***I know, I know, Spike tried to drink Willow's blood on more than one occasion - but not after he got his chip, which was before she really started to get powerful.

****Which, as you may recall, had only ever happened once before in the history of vampires - and she was the only human who ever did it a) by herself or b) TWICE.

*****As I said before, Willow and Xander both become Buffy's best friends in the very first episode. So it's pretty interesting that, both times she's died trying to save the world, one of them has brought her back to life.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't talked to you in forever, but I recently re-watched a couple episodes of Buffy and I think I'm going to watch the whole series again for the fourth time when Josh & I take a week off work.

    I can't begin to tell you how excited that makes me.