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Did Xander love Cordelia?

MarieVampSlayer

Bloody hell, Sodding, blimey, shagging, knickers..
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Sineya
Hi all!

So I was rewatching Angel S1 and Cordelia mention how she promised herself not to fall for a "loser" after Xander Harris. This shows how important he was to her and I think that we can see thoughout S2 & S3 that she really loved Xander even more than she wanted to admit.

But I was wondering, do you think that Xander had the same feelings for her? What episodes or moments in the serie proves your opinion?

MarieVampSlayer
 

Grace

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Black Thorn
No, I don't think that Xander had the same level of feelings for Cordelia as she had for him. It's especially clear in early Season 3. He falls all over Faith right in front of Cordelia in Faith, Hope & Trick and then starts with the Willow kissage in Homecoming -- the same episode in which Cordelia admits to Buffy that she thinks she loves Xander. Cordelia puts up a big front, but I agree that you can tell from moments in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Killed By Death, Go Fish, Homecoming, etc., that she really does feel deeply for him.
 

Puppet

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Black Thorn
I firmly believe that Xander loved her, about as much as he was capable of. He was a pretty immature 18 year old for the most part, so perhaps those feelings wouldn't have continued had the relationship, and it certainly wasn't the kind of love that, for example, Bangel shared. I still say it's love. I find my personal proof in their moments together in S3 before the fluke occurred.
 

Grace

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I do think Xander cared about Cordelia but not at the same level she did him. In Anne, we see that they didn't really communicate all summer (which I think was probably not unusual for pre-texting/social media era high school relationships), and his solution to their awkwardness is to use Cordelia as vampire bait. It was a cute scene, but I think it showed that for him it was mostly about adrenaline and hormones. Yes, he was immature, but to me, he showed less respect to Cordelia than he was capable of. And I can't think of anything from him that was equivalent to Cordelia's speech about being willing to still be with him as a fish monster in Go Fish, until after they broke up and he got her the dress. So it was more a case of not realizing what he had until it was gone. ("He's so busy looking around at everything he doesn't have, he doesn't even realize what he *does* have," as Willow says in Phases.)
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
I am with @Grace A resounding no.

I am not sure Cordelia loved Xander. I think he was special to her, because he was her first boyfriend who was not a ploy to consolidate her position as the popular girl.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I think Cordelia did love Xander because she sacrificed her position as the popular girl to be with him, plus the fact that Anya was drawn to her as a vengeance demon (Anya's whole M.O is scorned women) which suggests that Cordelia felt deeply betrayed. If Xander had just been a fling then I think Cordelia would've been annoyed but it wouldn't have drawn Anya to Sunnydale.

I don't think Xander loved Cordelia because he cheated on her with Willow. People in love don't do that to their partner. There were times when Xander initiated things with Willow which she couldn't resist hence why she wanted to perform a de-lusting spell.

With Willow and Oz, it's a bit more complicated. I think Willow did love Oz and what she did with Xander was her unresolved feelings in the first two seasons coming to the forefront. As soon as she got caught by Oz, Willow's feelings for Xander dissipated because she realised she loved Oz the moment she almost lost him.
 

buffy1990

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Nope, I don't think so.

I think Xander cared about Cordelia, but throughout his seasons with her he continues to show interest in other girls. He was still harboring feelings for Buffy through much of Season 2 (from Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered to his "kick his ass" comment) and then he flipped between interest in Willow and interest in Faith. I'm not saying you can't find other people attractive in a relationship, but in Xander's case I don't think he truly loved and respected Cordelia.

Once their relationship had ended, he continued to prove this through his lack of remorse for the situation. He essentially blames the timing ("And they burst in rescuing us, without even knocking! I mean, this is really all their fault.") and never really made amends with Cordelia for his betrayal, outside of buying her the prom dress. Cordelia took the split much harder, though I would argue she never loved him either, as others have said above!

If you compare Willow and Oz at the time (Willow feeling remorseful and Oz being hurt, but eventually working through it because they both wanted to be together) to Xander and Cordelia (with Xander deflecting blame and Cordelia exacting vengeance, before both resorting back to constantly insulting each other) I think it shows Oz and Willow to be a good match (at the time), and that Cordelia and Xander weren't really meant to last.
 

Mrs Gordo

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Black Thorn
I'd have to say the answer is no. I have a hard time believing Xander loved anyone with the exception, MAYBE of Buffy in Seasons 1/2. He was pretty mean to Cordy and he seemed unconcerned with her at all. He wasn't all that nice to Anya and then he would realize he was being a dick and apologize and go back to being mean about an episode later.

He actually seems like such a nicer and more gentle soul in the comics and I really do buy he loves Dawn from the few comics I have read. It makes me wonder how much of my reading of Xander was colored by Nick Brendon.
 
Grace
Grace
Well, he did go to therapy in the comics! :)

thrasherpix

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I'm going with yes, though immature.

Xander's attempted revenge in BBB was to make Cordelia feel the same pain (can't eat, sleep, breathe, and the hell of heartbreak) he did, which was the pain caused by love. It was very immature (though something a great many adults would do if they thought they could), but it was still love. If it was purely ego that drove Xander to try his revenge in BBB then he wouldn't have put himself in danger to save her.

And Xander has a surprisingly mature and selfless moment when he buys Cordelia that dress, something that would've had been very hard for him to do financially (assuming real world finances anyway, rather than the bizarre world of Buffyverse finances) and shows genuine love (not necessarily the romantic kind, mind you) as opposed to trying to get another chance (or just get into her pants--though given Xander's cringe-worthy words over his sexual encounter with Faith, it shows he confuses the erotic with the more romantic, but plenty of men and women who are adults do the same). I know it's hard for many here to understand, but splurging like that is not easy for someone like Xander and was a genuinely good, selfless moment on his part that also reveals genuine (non-romantic) love.

And his remorse seems as genuine as Willow's as well. And no, I'm not going to give Willow a pass while saying Xander doing the same exact thing means love can't be in the picture. And frankly Oz would've been just as right to kick Willow to the curb as Cordelia did Xander (that he didn't makes me wonder if Willow wasn't already dabbling in mind influencing spells even back then since she obviously did other magic stuff "off screen"), and I doubt Willow would've done anything noble and selfless as Xander did after that wasn't trying to manipulate Oz into taking her back. Just to be clear, I do think Cordelia was right to kick Xander to the curb, but that doesn't mean Xander didn't love her.
 
jls
jls
a resounding hell yeah to 'the bizarre world of Buffy finances'!

Grace

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Black Thorn
Xander's attempted revenge in BBB was to make Cordelia feel the same pain (can't eat, sleep, breathe, and the hell of heartbreak) he did, which was the pain caused by love. It was very immature (though something a great many adults would do if they thought they could), but it was still love. If it was purely ego that drove Xander to try his revenge in BBB then he wouldn't have put himself in danger to save her.

My takeaway from that episode is the opposite. I think Xander would have to be a pretty terrible person not to try to help Cordelia when he knew it was his fault that the mob was after her. I don't think that proves love. His motives for that spell were entirely gross, in my view. He was mad at her for making him care and then humiliating him, and he wanted to punish her. I could interpret a misguided spell to make her love him so they could be together as immature love, but not what Xander did.

This has reminded me of a fun fan theory that I read over on @POTN's video guide for BBB:

peggin169:
I've long had a theory that the spell in this episode worked far better than anyone realized.

What Xander said he wanted was to make Cordelia fall in love with him so he could dump her and subject her to the same pain and humiliation that he was feeling at that moment. Several months later, Cordelia admitted to Buffy that she thought she was falling in love with Xander (Homecoming -- the same episode where Xander & Willow had their "clothes fluke"). Shortly after that, in Lover's Walk, an episode where they revisited the idea of a love spell (or, in this case, a de-lusting spell), Cordelia walked in on Xander kissing Willow and, in the next episode, she was the laughingstock of all the same people who had laughed at Xander when Cordy dumped him.

It seems to me that the spell Amy cast in this episode accomplished EXACTLY what Xander had asked for, even if it was something he no longer wanted by the time he got it.
 
Mrs Gordo
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Woah!
L

Living Dead Boy

Guest
Never ever. Xander was almost always pretty immature when it comes to love and relationships, teenage Xander even more so. I knew it the second he insulted Buffy in Prophecy Girl for standing him up. I believe that when he started hooking up with Cordelia, it was the ultimate fantasy for guys like him. To score with the hottest and most popular girl in school was like hitting the lottery. It was pure lust, and a ticket to look cooler in front of his peers. And as far as the spell in BBB, that only made him look worse. Why would you do that to someone you "cared" about? Coming from a background like his, it's pretty understandable that he wouldn't know what love actually means, and throughout the series, it definitely showed.
 

Fool for Buffy

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He has his moments (the necklace, confiding in her at the hospital, the prom dress) which do prove that he felt something for her that was more than just lust. However he was not capable of love at the time. His understanding of women is seriously lacking, really all the way until during his relationship with Anya in season 4. I enjoy Cordelia and Xander as a couple, but it was never going to last because Xander was so ignorant and immature.
 

thrasherpix

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Never ever. Xander was almost always pretty immature when it comes to love and relationships, teenage Xander even more so. I knew it the second he insulted Buffy in Prophecy Girl for standing him up. I believe that when he started hooking up with Cordelia, it was the ultimate fantasy for guys like him. To score with the hottest and most popular girl in school was like hitting the lottery. It was pure lust, and a ticket to look cooler in front of his peers. And as far as the spell in BBB, that only made him look worse. Why would you do that to someone you "cared" about? Coming from a background like his, it's pretty understandable that he wouldn't know what love actually means, and throughout the series, it definitely showed.

Save that Xander was originally freaked out by their mutual attraction as well, perhaps as part of the I Hate Cordelia Club he used to be part of. He didn't seem to be playing it up for all it was worth, either.

And why would he do that to someone he cared about? Same reason why Willow was about to cast a curse on Oz in season 4 after he hurt her, though she did stop at the last minute (and likely because she had a greater understanding of what she was doing). Because love makes one vulnerable, and those who love you can hurt you like no one else can, as Cordelia hurt Xander over immature reasons (to be popular), and that makes the one hurt want to hurt the person back. Love is often filled with pain and petty viciousness, especially when breakups are involved. Frankly, I think the "real love" you talk about is rare, if it even exists at all, especially among the young.
 
My takeaway from that episode is the opposite. I think Xander would have to be a pretty terrible person not to try to help Cordelia when he knew it was his fault that the mob was after her. I don't think that proves love. His motives for that spell were entirely gross, in my view. He was mad at her for making him care and then humiliating him, and he wanted to punish her. I could interpret a misguided spell to make her love him so they could be together as immature love, but not what Xander did.

This has reminded me of a fun fan theory that I read over on @POTN's video guide for BBB:

LOVE that fan theory! :)

I also have a fan theory that Willow was upset over Xander and Cordelia so she wanted to break them up or hurt Cordelia. Xander being with Cordelia did bring her to tears and talk about how much they hated Cordelia and how much it hurt her to find out Xander was with Cordelia when he wouldn't even be with her.

I'd think it's obvious (but not sure it is) that it's possible to feel multiple and contradictory feelings for someone and be very conflicted about them, especially when hurt by someone you love and made yourself vulnerable to. Many talk about that even about their divorces where neither partner is going out of their way to be nasty (as often happens). I myself both loved and hated someone passionately who abused my trust and played me for a fool. And I resisted doing horrible things to her (other than ice her out of my life), but it was hard for awhile (and who knows how I'd have handled it as a teen?). Worst feeling in the world, and terrible to want to hurt someone but also still love them. I'm glad that has only happened to me once in my life, plenty of people experience that hell several times over.
 
Last edited:

sosa lola

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And as far as the spell in BBB, that only made him look worse. Why would you do that to someone you "cared" about?

Does that mean that Anya never loved or cared about Xander when she tried to curse him in Entropy? Does that mean that Willow never loved or cared about Oz when she tried to curse him in Something Blue?

If Xander didn't care about Cordelia at all, he wouldn't have had this strong reaction.
 
L

Living Dead Boy

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Save that Xander was originally freaked out by their mutual attraction as well, perhaps as part of the I Hate Cordelia Club he used to be part of. He didn't seem to be playing it up for all it was worth, either.

And why would he do that to someone he cared about? Same reason why Willow was about to cast a curse on Oz in season 4 after he hurt her, though she did stop at the last minute (and likely because she had a greater understanding of what she was doing). Because love makes one vulnerable, and those who love you can hurt you like no one else can, as Cordelia hurt Xander over immature reasons (to be popular), and that makes the one hurt want to hurt the person back. Love is often filled with pain and petty viciousness, especially when breakups are involved. Frankly, I think the "real love" you talk about is rare, if it even exists at all, especially among the young.

I wouldn't say that Xander didn't have any feelings for Cordelia, but to call it love would do the word a disservice in my opinion. People tend to throw the word love around too freely for my taste. Maybe I'm a unicorn in a sea of snails (how's that for an image?) but when love left me vulnerable I never had the intention to hurt anybody out of anger and spite. I've never had to resort to pettiness during my relationships the way the show exemplified, and when the relationship came to an end, it was a mutual agreement, and not based out of hate or betrayal. Maybe it was how I was raised (by my grandmother who married young and didn't leave my grandfather until he passed away) but I never believed that kind of stuff solved anything. I guess I sorta skipped that phase. So it's not the fact that my version of love isn't real, maybe it's because I have a different way of loving. :p
 
Does that mean that Anya never loved or cared about Xander when she tried to curse him in Entropy? Does that mean that Willow never loved or cared about Oz when she tried to curse him in Something Blue?

If Xander didn't care about Cordelia at all, he wouldn't have had this strong reaction.

I genuinely believe there's a difference between caring and loving someone, although the two certainly compliment each other. I guess it just boils down to our own relationship histories. Nothing wrong with that.
 

PaulParmar1

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Xander had feelings for Cordelia but "love" no I don't think so.
Cordelia was too good for him.
Xander cheated on Cordelia and then made fun of her and belittled her afterwards in Season 3.
 

jls

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I actually think that Willow is the only person he genuinely loves, though perhaps not romantically, throughout the whole BtVS tv series (I find it hard to gauge emotion in comics).
He doesn't realise what he's got w/ Cordy, he's really too immature for her (at least at that point of their lives), and he's always so ready to criticise Buffy/put her on a pedestal, there's so often an undercurrent of bitterness in his behaviour towards her (because she didn't have romantic feelings for him). With Anya, we never see a great deal of tenderness between them, and it seems as though she is the more invested, in love partner in that couple. I think he respects Giles, but doesn't love him.
All in all, I think he's got a limited capacity for love, there's really only room in his heart for one.
 

margybee

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I don't think he loves Cordelia, although he definitely has feelings for her. It reminds me of what Buffy says to Spike (don't know the episode) --

BUFFY: I have feelings for you. I do. But it's not love. I could never trust you enough for it to be love.

I think he truly loves Willow, non-romantically, and when he is asked to choose between his best friend and his girlfriend in "Triangle," he can't do it. He loves them both. He and Willow have a long, long history and it's bonded them in a way that not many people are. They're lucky that way.

I think he truly, honestly loves Anya as well. Sure, they bicker and argue, but at the end of the day, they're there for each other. His speech to her in "The Gift" when he proposes -- and his reactions to all her reactions! -- shows that.

XANDER: I think I'm gonna live a long and silly life, and I'm not interested in doing that without you around.

It's a lovely moment and really lets me see the tender side of him, which he usually hides under Funny Xander. And then at the end of Selfless... well, it's sort of beautiful. The whole "dope" exchange shows just how much these two still love each other -- but it's just not meant to be, and they walk off in different directions. Always puts a little lump in my throat.
 
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