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Scoobies Intelligence

WillowFromBuffy

To be or not to evil.
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I don't agree with this at all. There is no such thing as intelligence, at least not in the singular. People who are good at certain kinds of tasks often struggle with others. There are some people who are just generally amazing and some people who are just plain idiots, but those are the minority.

Like, Willow and Giles both do some really stupid stuff on the show, and most of it makes sense for who they are, even though they read books and play with computer and do smart people stuff.
 

Taake

Prophet of the Lord
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Black Thorn
Lol, ouch! "It's easy to be brave for someone too dense to see the consequences of her actions." (Faith)

Lol, *eye roll* "Plus, there is a lot of genuine thought that goes into dressing that well and keeping up with all the changes of what's fashionable." (Cordy)
I'm not saying it doesn't take effort, but come on.

Also, Dawn is at spot 7 but they don't motivate why really, they just say she grows wiser then explains why she's polarizing.

I mean, if you're talking book learning then the list seems pretty good. But I'd agree that it's kind of a limiting way to look at intelligence. They put Xander at 10 and says he has a "small mind" because he's not book smart and a bit awkward as a teenager, but he's one of the few characters with a lucrative career that definitely requires intelligence towards the end of the series. Some would also say humor requires intelligence. *shrug*

It's a fun list to read, but I wouldn't say I agree with it.
 

NileQT87

Billowy Coat, King of Pain
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Angel and Wesley are honestly the top in terms of just tremendous knowledge.

Giles is actually more street smart and witchcraft-practicing than strictly book smart. He doesn't know things off the top of his head as often as Wesley and has to do a lot more research.

Wesley and Angel often are shown having knowledge nobody else has and are highly book smart. In Angel's case, he's highly historical-experience and foreign-language smart (he is confirmed to know more languages than Giles' five). Wesley is the only one that really appears to have a strong grasp of demonic languages and is by far the biggest walking encyclopedia. Spike knows more demon languages than Angel, who seems to have never had interest in anything but human languages, due to frequent use of minions.

Angel has extensive book collections amongst his personal historical/travel knickknacks that are established as thought-missing or rare. He is certainly the most well read on philosophy and often plays the part of an imparter of great wisdom. Giles and Angel give the most wisdom speeches out of everyone. Angel also is highly observant with a proven eidetic memory when it hasn't been magically tampered with. Angelus was also one of the very few evil vampires we saw who was far more interested in destroying a person, thus using a lot of psychology smarts and cunning, than he was in simply eating or fighting like an animal like most of the species.

Angel and Wesley are the most head-over-heart, logic-over-emotion individuals on the shows to the point where they're often criticized for being heartless in their big-picture decision-making.

Spike is also one of the most highly observant characters (particularly of others' emotional states), even if not as book smart or wise.

Willow is highly book smart (as is Fred, but more specialized), but she's not wise and given to running on emotion over logic. Oz might test well in school, but he never uses any of it.
 
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telperion66

Potential
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My character intelligence rankings (as I perceive them, a combination of overall acting performance and attributed character acumen, not necessarily academic intelligence):

1 - Wesley
2 - Giles
3 - Holland Manners
4 - Connor
5 - Buffy
6 - Willow
7 - Fred
8 - Joyce
9 - Lindsey
10 - Angel
11 - Oz
 

Athene

Scooby
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Sineya
There’s different kinds of intelligence like Wesley would be high on academic intelligence but for emotional intelligence he’d be lower. Same for Willow. Giles I think is pretty intelligent for both in a way but with his age it’s to be expected.
 
telperion66
telperion66
I think that its also interesting for this discussion to consider the actors' intelligence. Like, the gravitas of their performance.

WillowFromBuffy

To be or not to evil.
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I think even emotional intelligence needs to be split further down. Willow and Spike can be very astute in certain cases, but less so in others. Tara has a more well rounded emotional intelligence, though her biggest strengths are patience, humility and empathy. She doesn't throw down unsolicited psychoanalysis, as Spike is wont to do.
Angel and Wesley are the most head-over-heart, logic-over-emotion individuals on the shows to the point where they're often criticized for being heartless in their big-picture decision-making
They both try to be head-over-heart, but neither are all that successful, especially not Angel. Angel is one of the most reckless and impulsive characters on the show. For better and worse, he often makes important decisions when he is either very angry or very desperate, usually with his whole team beginning him to calm down a minute and breathe.

And did Wesley abduct Faith, because he thought it was the best course of action or because the Scoobies had snubbed him? Did he leave Fred and Gunn out of the father-will-kill prophecy, because he thought it was most prudent or because he was sour, because Fred had gotten together with Gunn?
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
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Season 2 Spike is also quite intelligent by Villain standards.

In School Hard, he attacks Buffy several days earlier than planned thus using the element of surprise to put her on the backfoot. He nearly killed her until Joyce intervened which caught him by surprise. As he said, "a slayer with family and friends, that sure as hell wasn't in the brochure".

In Halloween, he only attacks Buffy opportunistically because Ethan's spell made her weak, otherwise he wouldn't have bothered. He nearly succeeds but Giles breaks the spell in time, again catching him by surprise.

In Lie to Me, he goes to the basement with a whole posse of vampires and begins a massacre which he is forced to stop because Buffy threatens Dru (who is only there so that Buffy has some leverage against Spike). Buffy was vastly outnumbered and on her own, given how much stock is put into how her friends help her survive, it's likely Buffy would've died if the writers hadn't put Drusilla there to be used as a hostage.

In What's My Line Part 1&2, Spike hires a (supposedly) world class group of bounty hunters to deal with Buffy rather than trying to take her on again himself. He is annoyed that Willy brings Buffy to the place where Dru's restoration ritual is being restored and when he can see things are starting to turn against him and Dru, he attempts to retreat to safety with her.

In Surprise, he advocates to Dru about leaving town. In Passion, he warns Angelus against riling Buffy, and in IOHEFY it revealed that he's been biding his time against Angelus rather than blindly attacking him because he couldn't take on both Angelus and Dru alone.

In Becoming Part 2, Spike negotiates with Buffy in order to secure a get out of jail free card for himself and Dru, especially as Buffy had intended on killing Dru.

It should also be noted that in THLOD, which is the last we truly see of evil villain Spike on Buffy, he has been keeping a low profile in order to avoid Buffy and find the Gem of Amara in peace.

A lot of Spike's failures during his villain stage are not his fault but a series of coincidences and decisions by other characters that end up falling in Buffy's favour eg Joyce decided to turn back rather than listen to Buffy and escape the school, Giles broke Ethan's spell just as Spike was about to deliver the killing blow, Drusilla insisted on going on the massacre trip which resulted in her being taken hostage, Willy and the woman assassin decided to take Buffy directly to Spike which is the last place he wanted her to be.

In my view, Spike's intelligence actually took a dip once he fell in love with Buffy in order to stop him being a competent threat. The only reason Buffy survived Season 2 was because of plot armour, without that she would've been Spike's third slayer kill.
 
Thieving gypsy
Thieving gypsy
The only reason Spike survived every season was because of plot armour. At no point was he going to take down Buffy.

AlphaFoxtrot

Scooby
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I think it's roughly accurate, although anyone under Oz is whim of the writer that day.
 

Give Us A Kiss

Fuffy Apologist
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Sineya
I would say that they are all intelegent in one way or another, book smarts isn't a measure for intelligence.
 

DeadlyDuo

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@Thieving gypsy Season 2 Spike nearly killed Buffy on several occasions and she was only saved because of plot armour eg another character does something at the last moment that falls in Buffy's favour. If it wasn't for Joyce and Giles, Buffy could've been dead by the end of School Hard and Halloween respectively.
 
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@Thieving gypsy Season 2 Spike nearly killed Buffy on several occasions and she was only saved because of plot armour eg another character does something at the last moment that falls in Buffy's favour. If it wasn't for Joyce and Giles, Buffy could've been dead by the end of School Hard and Halloween respectively.
Just about every character on the show is saved by someone else at some point, you're only singling Buffy out to make Spike sound special.

In School Hard, he attacks Buffy several days earlier than planned thus using the element of surprise to put her on the backfoot. He nearly killed her until Joyce intervened which caught him by surprise. As he said, "a slayer with family and friends, that sure as hell wasn't in the brochure".
This was never about Spike killing Buffy. Buffy could have been under threat from anyone, the threat was interchangeable. The point was showing that Joyce would stand up for her daughter.

The only reason Spike's background was he had killed two slayers, was to make him appear as a real threat. The only reason he was meant to be threatening, was so that when Angel killed Spike, it would propel Angel further up the food chain. When Spike isn't killed off, he continually rides the coattails of killing those two slayers for the rest of the series, when that was not the original intention.

In season 2, Spike's shoved in a wheel chair for a ridiculous amount of time, so he appears nonthreatening and we can ignore the fact that he should be killed off.

In Lovers Walk, instead of just randomly following a drunk Spike to the magic shop, Buffy could have said she was going to the factory to see if Willow and Xander were there and Spike was coming with her. There's also a point in that episode where Buffy pulls out a stake to kill Spike, but don't worry, Angels there to stop her. Angel could have tracked Willow and Xander on his own, but this isn't a time for anyone else to use their intelligence.

The examples you posted above are common sense. That doesn't equal higher intelligence.
I think it is far more noticeable that other characters are dumbed down to accommodate Spike being present, than what we see happen to Spike over the course of the show.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Just about every character on the show is saved by someone else at some point, you're only singling Buffy out to make Spike sound special.
I'm not trying to make Spike sound special, but are you seriously trying to say that Giles breaking Ethan's spell at the exact moment Spike was about to bite Buffy and kill her isn't plot armour? What about the fact that Spike was taking his sweet merry time to actually go for the bite, much slower than he did on the Chinese slayer, in order to give Giles time to break the spell?

This was never about Spike killing Buffy. Buffy could have been under threat from anyone, the threat was interchangeable. The point was showing that Joyce would stand up for her daughter.
Buffy was about to get her face smashed in. She was on the floor on her back, if Joyce hadn't turned up (despite Buffy telling her to escape), Buffy would've been a goner.

The point I was actually trying to make is that Season 2 Spike, as a villain, is actually quite intelligent because he actually avoids the standard villain tropes eg he doesn't blurt out his master plan in detail to Buffy which enables her to stop him, he doesn't bring her to his lair to force her to watch the consequences of her failure to stop him etc.

In School Hard, Spike attacks when Buffy doesn't expect it, he retreats when he realises he's not just dealing with a single slayer but one with friends and family which he wasn't expecting.

In Halloween, he's quite happy staying in. It's only because Drusilla tells him that Buffy will be weak on Halloween that he goes out to try and kill her.

In What's My Line Parts 1&2, he hires (what are supposed to be) world class assassins to kill Buffy out as he needs to focus on curing Drusilla because "time is running out" and he can't afford to have Buffy "mucking up the works". He is visibly annoyed with Willy for bringing Buffy to the church because that is the last place he wants her to be.

The only reason Spike's background was he had killed two slayers, was to make him appear as a real threat. The only reason he was meant to be threatening, was so that when Angel killed Spike, it would propel Angel further up the food chain. When Spike isn't killed off, he continually rides the coattails of killing those two slayers for the rest of the series, when that was not the original intention.
Spike not being killed off doesn't undo the fact that he'd killed two slayers and could be a very real threat to Buffy. The whole chip storyline and then Spuffy is to keep Spike from being a threat, first by having him unable to harm Buffy or her friends physically, then having him in love with her so that he doesn't want her dead.

In season 2, Spike's shoved in a wheel chair for a ridiculous amount of time, so he appears nonthreatening and we can ignore the fact that he should be killed off.
Spike was shoved in a wheelchair because the writers needed to keep him out of the action. If Buffy had to take on all three vampires, she wouldn't stand a chance, she struggled with Angelus alone and that's with Spike keeping Drusilla out of the fray.

In Lovers Walk, instead of just randomly following a drunk Spike to the magic shop, Buffy could have said she was going to the factory to see if Willow and Xander were there and Spike was coming with her. There's also a point in that episode where Buffy pulls out a stake to kill Spike, but don't worry, Angels there to stop her. Angel could have tracked Willow and Xander on his own, but this isn't a time for anyone else to use their intelligence.
It all falls down to Oz and his sense of smell. Given that Spike was drunk, he wasn't operating with a clear head so he is going to make stupid decisions, just because the scoobies also make stupid decisions isn't evidence against Spike's intelligence but highlights their stupidity.

The examples you posted above are common sense. That doesn't equal higher intelligence.
I think it is far more noticeable that other characters are dumbed down to accommodate Spike being present, than what we see happen to Spike over the course of the show.
It may be common sense to an audience, but for a villain, it shows a level of intelligence that Spike tries to avoid the standard villain tropes.

I think Spike is actually dumbed down over the course of the show in order to reduce his threat level. Season 2 Spike is the smartest version of Spike on the show, that could be because he was intended to be killed off so the writers had no reason not to make him a legitimate threat to Buffy, however his survival and consequent dumbing down doesn't diminish the fact that during Season 2 (before it was decided to make Spike a regular), Spike was a very intelligent and competent villain.
 

GaviGrimm

Slayer: She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries.
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I think Buffy is a lot more smarter than given credit for. D:
 

nightshade

Your grandfather is a cat
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I don't think they are considering Angel and Cordelia on Angel, just going by their seasons on Buffy.

I think Anya should have been on the list, she has intelligence gained from being over 1000 years old and she became a business owner.
 

thrasherpix

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I only consider Anya particularly smart in season 3. After that they dumb her down to make her Cordelia 2.0 (save Cordelia showed a common sense and people reading that Anya often lacked). The only reason she was a business owner is because she was the only one who wanted the job when Giles left, and her on the job performance wasn't anywhere as impressive as her occult knowledge (in which she could make even Giles seem dumb in comparison).
 

WillowFromBuffy

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I don't get why people say Anya is smarter in S3. She is powerful in "The Wish," but in what way is she smart? She tails Cordelia for 24 hours trying to get her to make a wish and then she gets tricked by Giles at the end. In "Doppelgangland," "Prom" and "Graduation," she is pretty much like she is in S4, just even more clueless.

But when she starts to muse about the peculiarities of mortal life or when she suggests ways for Giles to make more money, she shows that she can be quite clever. I guess there is little use for brains when you are all powerful and nigh immortal.
 

thrasherpix

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To others who want to talk about it I will simply say she understands people and expertly manipulates Cordelia (though she does grossly underestimate Giles and I think it's hilarious Giles defeated her so much more easily than Buffy did in season 7 when she damn well knew about the crystal from season 6), and also manipulates Willow. She lacks these interpersonal skills in later seasons and easily makes problems worse while blurting out things she was more discrete about in season 3. In season 3 she deduces odd events easily and is useful in that regard (one could say she was also smart enough to run, but not when she became a vengeance demon again and had no more reason to stay in Sunnydale, especially after her failed attempt to manipulate others into making wishes--even missing her golden opportunity--and decides she doesn't want revenge against Xander anymore).

And I don't remember her being particularly clever in later seasons (though sometimes having crucial knowledge about occult and demonic lore) and nearly got herself fired more than once because she lacked the interpersonal skills and deviousness of season 3. I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting, but overall, I see her as dumbed down.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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I don't think she manipulates Willow at all. Her read on Willow is completely wrong. She tells Willow that the spell is safe, but Willow is looking for excitement. Cordelia is likewise jumps straight into Anya's arms as she is desperate for friend. Anya's manner of chatting up Xander shows that she is only able to act naturally by copying others.

At the end of "Doppelgangland," Anya sends vampire Willow to kill the real Willow. When the real Willow comes back without vampire Willow, it annoys Anya so much that she decides to kill Willow instead of forcing her to get back the necklace.

Anya gains a weird sorta wisdom as the show goes on. I like her philosophical musings on smoshing and spreading life. Her sarcasm shows that she is beginning to understand people and their motivations. And she has more of a business-mind than Giles seems to have.

Anya may have the most interesting growth on the entire show. But she is herself right from the start. Even in "The Wish," her personality is much like we see later, though she hasn't yet gotten her acid wit. She is awkward and goofy and easily impressed by Xander.
 
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