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Better or Luckier?

Chosen Enemy

Losing my soul
Joined
Aug 11, 2010
Messages
3,430
Age
33
"We don't know if you're actually better. I mean, you came into the world with certain advantages, sure. I mean, that's the legacy. But you didn't earn it. You didn't work for it. You've never had anybody come up to you and say you deserve these things more than anyone else. They were just handed to you. So that doesn't make you better than us. It makes you luckier than us". "“Anya, "Empty Places".

In the Buffyverse, a Slayer is the hero of humanity. She's the superman of the vampire world. A girl that evil fears of. Just the title "Slayer" is enough to invoke awe. Even if she dies after one day on the job. Each generation has its hero. But is a Slayer who dies after one day really a hero? Did she deserve to be the chosen one, the one everybody admires? After one day it's hard to say that she's earned it. She was chosen, but it wasn't after doing something that actually impresses someone. She's yet been given the chance to prove herself.

In season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we're introduced to young girls who had the potential to be the chosen ones, to be Slayers. Only one of them of course. Most of them were too scared, not too smart, no special abilities that give good reason enough for them to be the next Slayers. They have the potential. But so did the Slayers who died in their first day on the job. Do they have the potential to become heroes? The potential not to die after one day? Or they just got lucky to have the potential?

Buffy Summers is clearly a hero. She became one after proving herself. She sacrificed herself for the world twice. She's done everything that can earn her the title "hero". But she's also lucky. She was given a chance to be a hero. Every chosen one gets lucky in being given the chance to be a hero. Rarely people get the chance for that. You can say Riley is a hero, because he went on the mission he wasn't destined for. He chose that fate, fate did not choose him.

After regaining his soul back, after a century of being a bum, Angel has decided to become a hero. He took his fate in his hands and started controlling it. He became a hero.
Spike dropped his evil self for a Slayer, regained his soul on his own, and saved the world. It's worth to say he is a hero as well.

Even Xander. The powerless, geeky, weak guy, has showed heroism by the fact that even though he was powerless, even though he was scared at times, he went right into war; fought by the Slayer's side, and did things no one would expect him to do. He makes a great hero.

All of the above can be proof enough that heroism is something you gain. It's no luck. It's a choice. Choices can make one a hero. Buffy didn't choose to become a Slayer. Fate chose her. If she were another girl who's been chosen, she might not have become a hero. Because even Slayers need to gain that title.

So was Anya right? Was Buffy just lucky and that's why she should lead?

Buffy shouldn't be leading because she's a Vampire Slayer. She should lead because she's a hero. She's proven that, many times. A Slayer can be a hero, but not every Slayer is a hero. You're not born a hero, even a Slayer. But is a Slayer better just because she was born a Slayer?

Faith thinks so: "We are better", she said herself, really believing it. People need them (Slayers) to live. To survive. A little patronizing? Perhaps. But there is a glimpse of truth in it. Is the fact that the world is still here and not in some Hell dimension because Slayers have always guarded it? It's hard to believe that throughout the history of this world no evil being has ever tried destroying it. That only after Buffy came along they started wishing for a Hellish earth. So were Slayers always there to prevent that? Very possibly. Therefore, I tend to believe that Faith is actually right. No matter how patronizing that sounds, Slayers are the reason the world still exists. It's not just one person who's been saved by a Slayer. Nor two or three. It's the world itself. That Slayers held its weight on their shoulders. Can you blame them for having a death wish? Can you blame Annabelle, the potential Slayer, for running away in terror from the house? Can you blame Buffy for breaking down from time to time?

It's easy sometimes to forget that a Slayer, at the end of the day, is still a girl. Very young, very scared. The fact that she's a Slayer doesn't mean she's brave or can hold her own. Even Slayers, the strongest humans in the Buffyverse, get scared and lose. It's not just the physical aspect. It's the emotional aspect as well. You need to be a very strong person, not only on the outside, but also on the inside, to be better enough not to die. And Spike explains it beautifully. Every Slayer has a death wish. And the reason that Buffy has lasted so long, is because she had an emotional support. And even though life of a Slayer is hard, she was a hero for not giving up. In the first episode of the series, she tells Giles that she did quit. She also quit in "Prophecy Girl". But then she realized what's really important. Not boys and parties. But the world. She tells her mother how she wishes she was normal, and had normal things and did normal things. But she also understood that she has a more important goal in her life. She was chosen to have a chance to become a hero. She wants to be normal, but the hero inside her knows that there are sacrifices.

You can't blame a girl for being lucky. But you can admire her when she becomes a hero.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
R
Ripper666
Wow what a text. I think you were sitting there thinking a long time about beeing a Slayer. This is not just written in one or two minutes.I like this. if someone really thought about something. This article is great!

HisMrs

The Walking BED
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
11,926
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37
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Xander's Speedo
Sineya
WOW, very well said!! Great work on this; I agree with a lot of what you had to say, especially the last part. Wonderful job!
 
Chosen Enemy
Chosen Enemy
thank you!!

Gum Gnome33

"Well, yeah..."
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
1,148
Sineya
Great article! A lot of excellent points here.

It's interesting--I think Anya is correct in theory: that being born into something simply makes one luckier, not necessarily better. But in Buffy's case, we know that she is both born into her role and also earns it every day. So for Anya to either fail to recognize it altogether, or simply to acknowledge it in this context, is always a bit upsetting, on every rewatch.

Your article also got me thinking about the powers with which a slayer is imbued, and how shockingly short-sighted and cruel the notion of providing them only with physical strength but not anything that could be considered advantageous, emotionally. I mean, of course we know that the men who created slayers to begin with were not honorable or noble in any way, but could they not have at least been wise enough to ensure that a potential slayer could be as emotionally well equipped as Buffy? As heroic, through and through? Certainly Buffy has her doubts and her break-downs, but she is consistently strong in all matters of the mind, and that is such a great part of what saves her. What a shame to think that a potential slayer is too frightened, self doubting and unresourceful as some (as we saw in 7). To give them this potential calling--a duty to protect all, but not allow for what, arguably, is often more important than brute strength and effectively ensure that they won't last--it's just despicable.
 

KatPratt

Townie
Joined
May 23, 2015
Messages
38
Age
29
My bff and I had a discussion about Buffy being kicked out of the house in season 7 recently and we talked about what Anya said about Buffy just being lucky and there is some point to it a slayer is lucky in all the physical stuff. What the viewers see but Anya doesn't really have a way of understanding given her much more limited POV is all the sacrifice that comes with being a slayer ends up really cancelling out a lot of what might be considered a luck factor.
 

white avenger

white avenger
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
15,438
Age
72
Location
rome, georgia
Consider what being a Slayer really means, ultimately. A life consisting of more tears than laughter, more heartbreak than happiness, more loss than gain, more enemies than loved ones, and an extremely short career, and death for a retirement benefit. I would say that Buffy, or any other Slayer, is far more UNlucky than lucky.

Being called a hero is a dubious honor, because it means that you've performed some task so dangerous that only a hero would even attempt it, and the title "Hero" is quite often only awarded posthumously.

Being a good leader far too often means that you have to listen to the advise of others, who almost certainly believe that they know more about the situation than they do, then decide whether or not to take their advise, or go with your own instincts, keeping in mind that, either choice you make, you, and you alone, will have to live with the results of that decision.

I would say that Buffy, or anyone else in her position, is far more UNlucky than lucky.
 

bespangeled

Scooby
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
3,389
Location
Tucson
Black Thorn
I also happen to find it ironic that this speech comes from Anya. Anyanka gave up her humanity over a millennium ago in order to become a mass murderer. She has no moral compass beyond pleasing Xander - she has no idea of right or wrong. She didn't become human again by choice - her power center was destroyed. As she remains human she does adapt to a degree but I don't think that she has ever actually been in a leadership position, or in a place where she has to chose to do what is hardest, to sacrifice, to embrace the pain. It's very easy when you are on the outside to call being a slayer a matter of luck. It's really a death sentence, with a whole lot of pain and sacrifice during the journey.
 
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