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Buffy forgiving Spike?

Spanky

Scooby
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Aug 12, 2008
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24,324
Black Thorn
This is about Buffy and her forgiving of Spike in season 7 once she realizes he has a soul. This is not about Angel or what vampire was more deserving of her affections or which vampire was more deserving of a soul. It's about Buffy and her forgiving of Spike.

Within the context of the story, what message do you think that sends?
From the audience's perspective, what message does it send to you?

Bonus point for civility yo.
 

Buffy Summers

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Sineya
I think the message in the story is redemption, that if you better yourself you can have a second chance at life/love. In theory, I don't see a problem with that. I think what makes it hard to get that on the whole is that the delineation between pre-soul Spike and after-soul Spike is not that pronounced. And there was affection/love between Spike & Buffy before the soul happened. So it's hard to see him as a totally different person in Season 7, that it would be alright for Buffy to forgive. I also do think it's odd, if they want you to believe he's totally different in Season 7, that he was a monster before the soul, that they didn't have Buffy have any issue with him even after the soul. I mean, he still was her attacker, you would think there would have been a scene where even though her mind knows he has a soul, Buffy still has difficulty receiving affection from Spike. That would have felt more realistic. All in all, I just think it came down to bad writing, even though I understand what they were going for. I think a better job could have been shown of explaining why she would forgive him, and issues she might have had in doing so.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
I think the message in the story is redemption,
See... that's what I used to think. That it was about Spike's redemption. And more and more, and maybe it's the climate, I am thinking it's more about Buffy's forgiveness. Especially when you look at The Gift and what she did for love. I am now thinking there is a more profound and deep meaning to Buffy's act of forgiveness than any redemption arc Spike may have been on. (I agree with some of the other comments you said)
 

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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Yeah I can see that. About forgiving people that may not even deserve it. Compassion. Though I sort of feel like the soul cancels that out, because if it was really about Buffy's forgiveness, she would forgive the person who had hurt her. Not this new person who is different from that monster.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
Though I sort of feel like the soul cancels that out, because if it was really about Buffy's forgiveness, she would forgive the person who had hurt her.
I agree with that. But I also think some of it is her finally forgiving herself also.
 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
One of the huge misconceptions, in my opinion, is that this is about Spike. Buffy forgiving Spike was about Buffy. She did not excuse what he did. She did not encourage any type of violent behavior or want to forgive him just because she had feelings for him. Buffy is a forgiving person if the person asks for it, and even sometimes when they don't. It's something Giles taught her, and, perhaps even more importantly, something she had to do for herself on a few occasions.

Buffy forgiving Spike is also not a special circumstance. Spike doesn't get a free pass because he fought for his soul. She underwent a pretty familiar forgiving process. First, she rejected closeness but had sympathy, then she tried to understand what was happening, and lastly, she came to terms with the situation and moved on.

I don't think she's forgiving a different person either. I honestly think she tells herself that because she feels guilty, understandably, but the truth is she cannot turn away from her nature. Her nature is that she is compassionate. It's one of her best qualities. And everyone who gets close to her sees it.
 

Taake

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Black Thorn
See, I don't buy that it's about Buffy's forgiveness, or if it is, it's not portrayed very well.

From Beneath You:
Buffy, shame on you. Why does a man do what he mustn't? For her. To be hers. To be the kind of man who would nev- To be a kind of man. And she shall look on him with forgiveness... and everybody will forgive and love. And he will be loved. So everything's okay, right? C-can we rest now? Buffy? Can we rest?


This is the show basically telling us that Buffy should forgive Spike, but it's not - for me - showing her forgiveness or why she should forgive, other than that it's about Spike now 'deserving' her love.
So yeah, for me it is very much about Spike. If it wasn't intended to be, then I lay that at the feet of the writers. To me Buffy's just a bystander in all of this, her reaction is just to passively standby and accept, without comment or process, this new version of Spike. He won't go away, so she's forced to deal with him.

If he hadn't been in focus, maybe I would have liked it and the idea of forgiveness better. As it is, it feels like the focus is on him evolving, and that Buffy basically has a responsibility to forgive him.

The message then, for me, as an audience member, therefore becomes that it's Buffy's job to be the platform for his emotional growth, whereas her own is less relevant.
 
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Octavia

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Sineya
I feel Buffy accepted what spike was rather than forgiving his bad choices. When she realised he had a soul, she seemed to take pity on him, and cut him some slack. The message here is forgiveness as he has attempted to atone for his sins.

Within the context of the story, Buffy was a leader, and her acceptance of Spike made way for his acceptance within the group. Giles did not witness these changes and did not see the enormity of his mistake in trying to challenge Buffy's role by taking Spike out.
 

Grace

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Black Thorn
See, I don't buy that it's about Buffy's forgiveness, or if it is, it's not portrayed very well.

I'm with you. It's hard for me to see it as being about Buffy's forgiveness because everything I know about Buffy as a character from the previous six seasons tells me she will forgive Spike because of the soul. We know her attitude toward the soul and its total importance to her. We also know how forgiving she is from other situations.

To me, the question of the season is not "Will Buffy forgive Spike?", the question is: Now that Spike has given Buffy what she "deserves" by getting his soul, will she give him what he "deserves" by loving him (or openly acknowledging her love, depending on how you see Buffy's feelings)? On Buffy's side, the story doesn't culminate in "I forgive you." The story culminates with "I love you."

Within the context of the story, what message do you think that sends?

Within the context of the show, Buffy forgiving Spike is a reasonable choice. She believes that the soul is extremely important -- if she didn't, she couldn't go around staking vampires and killing demons on sight.

From the audience's perspective, what message does it send to you?

I understand there are lots of different interpretations of what happens in Season 7. But Joss has essentially said that Spike deserves Buffy's love because he got a soul for her, and I hate that trope.
 

flow

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It's about Buffy and her forgiving of Spike.

Within the context of the story, what message do you think that sends?
From the audience's perspective, what message does it send to you?


"You don`t forgive people, because they deserve it, you forgive them, because they need it." - Rupert Giles

Buffy is in season 7 despite the dark times, she has gone through, at the core of her heart still very much the same person, she always was. And her forgiveness is a very essential part of her personality. She forgives Spike, because he needs it, but she also forgives him, because it is, what she does. She has forgiven Giles for the cruciamentum, Xander for the attempted rape and Willow for amost ending the world.

I don`t even see her forgiveness connected to his soul. Does the text tell us somewhere, that she only forgave him after the church scene in Beneath You ? I believe, she had already forgiven him, when she went to his crypt with Dawn in Grave. She has been looking for him in the school basement before that - and obviously not with the intention of staking him - and she has accepted his offer of help in the dog/worm crisis. She would not have done that, had she not forgiven him already.

To forgive him does of course not mean, that she has forgotten.

flow
 

Buffy Summers

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To me, the question of the season is not "Will Buffy forgive Spike?", the question is: Now that Spike has given Buffy what she "deserves" by getting his soul, will she give him what he "deserves" by loving him (or openly acknowledging her love, depending on how you see Buffy's feelings)?

I really like this. Thinking about it this way helps me reconcile the fact that I feel Buffy loved him before the soul with what happens in Season 7.

But Joss has essentially said that Spike deserves Buffy's love because he got a soul for her, and I hate that trope.

I hate this also, because it makes it seem like all it takes to be forgiven of anything is to make a grand gesture.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
I understand there are lots of different interpretations of what happens in Season 7. But Joss has essentially said that Spike deserves Buffy's love because he got a soul for her, and I hate that trope.
But what message does that send to you?
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
I understand there are lots of different interpretations of what happens in Season 7. But Joss has essentially said that Spike deserves Buffy's love because he got a soul for her, and I hate that trope.
Did he really say that? I thought the show made it clear that Spike's belief that getting a soul would fix everything was misguided. Isn't that what the church scene shows? Spike's pain at having learned the true ramifications of his misdeeds and the impossibility of making up for it all?

At the end of the season, Spike is unable to believe that Buffy loves him and he chooses not to rejoin her in Europe. At the end of AtS, he presumable faces his death along with Angel in the alley.
 

Grace

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But what message does that send to you?

I don't know. I love the Giles line that @flow quotes above. I think you can forgive someone without loving them, and I think you can love someone without forgiving them, like an abusive parent, for example. And even if you're able to forgive someone over time, that doesn't mean you have to have them in your life, though of course you can choose to.

But the idea that, if someone changes for you, you owe them something in return is not one I like.

Did he really say that?

He said: "I'm split right down the middle because in terms of a long-term relationship: Spike’s kinda your guy because he actually went and got a soul because of her."

Obviously, everyone interprets things differently, but that's what it said to me.

I thought the show made it clear that Spike's belief that getting a soul would fix everything was misguided. Isn't that what the church scene shows? Spike's pain at having learned the true ramifications of his misdeeds and the impossibility of making up for it all?

I think in terms of wider redemption, yes. But in terms of getting Buffy to forgive him and stand by him and even tell him she loves him, whether or not he believes it, getting the soul did lead to all of that. And just a few years after getting his soul, Spike is now in a mutually loving relationship with Buffy, so it wasn't like he even had to wait all that long to get exactly what his heart desired.
 

thrasherpix

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I'm actually okay with the concept...however, TERRIBLE execution. Had the path of the story gone differently, I'd have been very supportive of it. But it's how she she decided to handle Spike with a trigger that really grates on me (as I've said many times but it doesn't help, it's not that I think Spike deserved to die or was to blame, it's just Buffy handled that all wrong and out of character) which adding the forgiveness angle makes even worse.

That's how it comes off to me, and even sends a dangerous message given how the entire season was executed (which really was more about Spike and Buffy than anyone else). I know many disagree with me, but I'm saying that's how it comes off to me.
 

MarieVampSlayer

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Sineya
I don't see how people can be against forgiveness. I can understand that you don't want Buffy to love or date Spike but can you really deny her the forgiveness. It's actually healthy to do so and I would not like to see her being tormented forever with the AR.
 

sk

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Sineya
I think it's about the ability to see beyond the face of a person.
Being able to see the difference even if the cover is the same so to speak.

That's something I think is an important thing to do but isn't always that easy.
So it's a trait I really like with Buffy and a reason why I don't mind the storyline.

Characters like Holtz and even Wood was never able to do that. They wanted revenge on creatures that didn't exists anymore.
They went for people who just looked the part since they couldn't see, or didn't want to see, the difference behind those faces.
That's not very impressive in my mind. Understandable perhaps though...

/SK
 
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