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Question Was Joyce's illness 100% natural?

Tank1978

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Watched family again the other day and the big conversation between Giles and Buffy over dawn being the key. Buffy says how the monks sent dawn to her to protect the key. This made me start to wonder whether the monks may have engineered the tumor in Joyce's brain?

I know it's meant to be a completely natural death, but my thought behind this potentially mystical explanation came about from one simple question. Did Joyce's death mean that Buffy became extra protective over Dawn? With her mum around, the protection in theory would fall more on mum than big sister or at least be shared. With Joyce gone, Dawn basically becomes Buffys whole world for the season. Did the monks realise Buffy would be more protective without Joyce?

I admit this is quite a controversial question and I'm not saying that the monks did do this, but more posing the question for views/discussion.

The first sign of the illness was a headache in episode 3, so not long after dawn's appearance at the end of the season opener.
 

Puppet

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Black Thorn
My own personal theory has always been that Joyce becoming sick was connected to Dawn's creation, but I have to admit I never theorized that it was done on purpose by the Monks. My different theories more involve Joyce's tumor being accidental, something the Monks didn't realize would happen.

I've also heard somewhere that Joyce's death was payment for creating a life (Dawn) out of nothing, like the theory that Tara dying was full payment for bringing Buffy back, since it's doubtful a doe would be enough payment for a Warrior of the People.

Anyway, yours is certainly another interesting theory in a long line :)
 
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Interesting theroy!

Cohen

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Great theories! I think the tumor could definitely have been an “unintended consequences” scenario tied to the monks putting all these new memories in Joyce’s mind. She seemed perfectly fine in Buffy vs Dracula before Dawn showed up, and it wasn’t much long after that moment that her tumor was revealed.
 

Ceadsearc03

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I personally didn’t think so, because I kind of felt like the point of it was that it was something totally natural and therefore beyond Buffy’s control, which we had never really seen on the show before. I guess it could have been, and from a fanfic perspective or a headcanon perspective it makes sense, but I never got the sense that was what the writers intended for us to believe. If they did, they should have left some more clues, lol.
 
K
katmobile
It kinda works as a yes or no really.

Athene

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Sineya
That makes a lot of sense.
Buffy only really became adamantly protective of Dawn after Joyce got ill/died and I think a lot of that was because Joyce recognised that Dawn wasn’t her daughter but still reaffirmed that she loved Dawn as much as Buffy; thus sealing Dawn’s importance. If Joyce never got ill, Buffy wouldn’t have developed her own passion for Dawn in the same way so I think that would have put Dawn and the world at greater risk. The monks would have wanted to ensure that didn’t happen.
Obviously it’s not canon but I kind of believe it.
 

katmobile

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That makes a lot of sense.
Buffy only really became adamantly protective of Dawn after Joyce got ill/died and I think a lot of that was because Joyce recognised that Dawn wasn’t her daughter but still reaffirmed that she loved Dawn as much as Buffy; thus sealing Dawn’s importance. If Joyce never got ill, Buffy wouldn’t have developed her own passion for Dawn in the same way so I think that would have put Dawn and the world at greater risk. The monks would have wanted to ensure that didn’t happen.
Obviously it’s not canon but I kind of believe it.
I don't think the monks did it deliberately if it's related it's a side effect from alternating Joyce's memories.
 
Athene
Athene
That could be true
GreyWalker1958
GreyWalker1958
Indeed. Considering they had an Old One on their traik, the last thing they wanted was to cause a deatg while stopping Glory from decimating the world
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Black Thorn
Personally, I think it was a natural death but it is a perfectly plausible theory that the tumour was a side effect of the monks changing Joyce's memories. Especially since Joyce's memories would have been affected the most by the monks, as she would have to have memories before Dawn was born, either planning to have Dawn or at least finding out she was pregnant as well as all the other things she would have to do to prepare for another child. Buffy on the other hand, probably wouldn't remember too much as she was very little so she wouldn't need quite as many and plus she's the slayer so it would probably not have had many side effects anyway.
 
Ceadsearc03
Ceadsearc03
Makes sense. I feel like if Joss came and said it was canon I would not have trouble believing it, but until then I assume it’s natural.

Heljar

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I always thought Joyce death to be natural. An argument can be made for the tumor to be a side effect from the spell, but I don't think it was. Besides, if the Monks did it deliberately wouldn't Buffy have seen something when she cast that spell? She saw Dawn fading in and out on pictures and when she looked at Dawn she did the same. But she saw nothing when looking at her mother. Wouldn't she have seen the spell on her mother?

Besides Joss Whedon admitted on the extra materials on the DVD that he intended the death to be natural. BtVS was filled with supernatural deaths on a weekly basis. He wanted Joyce's death to make a real impact on the show. For both the viewers and Buffy.
 

AndrewCrossett

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Sineya
I think it was natural. I think Joss's goal was to put Buffy in the situation where the greatest pain in her life was caused by something she couldn't fight or beat up or stake, with no mystery to solve. Just pure helplessness, like people experience when losing a parent unexpectedly. More horrible than any horror fiction could be.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I think Joyce's death was only "natural" in the sense that she was killed "naturally" by the brain tumour rather than murdered. However, I think the brain tumour was a result of the monks spell because it is too coincidental that this big memory spell is done (and as pointed out, Joyce would've been hit with the most mind tampering) and all of a sudden she develops a brain tumour. Dawn was created during Buffy vs Dracula because Joyce was saying about having to get used to the house being so quiet again. At no point was she complaining about frequent headaches (which could suggest something medical was occurring), then Dawn appears and a short while later Joyce has a brain tumour.

Joss also forgot that Sunnydale has docks which were shown repeatedly throughout Season 2 & 3 when he decided to have Sunnydale be completely landlocked so it could fall into a crater. Sometimes what we're shown and what Joss tries to tell us are two completely different things. Joss also tried to say that Xander was the one to summon Sweet in OMWF despite Xander participating in "I've got a theory" where people are supposed to sing truths hence why Buffy was forced to reveal she was in heaven. Either Xander didn't know what was going on and was just covering for Dawn (most likely) or he did in which case he should've sung about it either with "what have I done?" or "I've really screwed up" (plot hole).
 

RiverandFaith

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It's shown as something completely natural that we can't control, which is what made Joyce's death so different from everyone else's. But I can see it being an unintended consequence of Dawn coming into their world. Almost the "radiation" from the energy that made the key being a start for cancer. However I think it was only intended to bring another dimension to the series by bringing the real world back to the scoobies.
 

TriBel

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But our memories change all the time. Some are repressed because of trauma; some we actively suppress. Some combine or become confused with others, creating new memories. Some settle in the pre-conscious to be drawn on when we need them. False memories can be created innocuously or deliberately. Why would the monks changing Joyce's memory have any more of a detrimental effect on her health than the everyday process of memory?

Yes - Joyce's premature death means Buffy caring for Dawn more but if Joyce had lived would Buffy have protected Dawn any less?

It makes far more sense to me that the death is natural. Buffy does everything she can for her mum during and after her illness and when she finds her body. However, despite giving her all, natural death is one of the few things she can't protect people from. It shows her the limitations of her power.
 

Btvs fan

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But our memories change all the time. Some are repressed because of trauma; some we actively suppress. Some combine or become confused with others, creating new memories. Some settle in the pre-conscious to be drawn on when we need them. False memories can be created innocuously or deliberately. Why would the monks changing Joyce's memory have any more of a detrimental effect on her health than the everyday process of memory?

Yes - Joyce's premature death means Buffy caring for Dawn more but if Joyce had lived would Buffy have protected Dawn any less?

It makes far more sense to me that the death is natural. Buffy does everything she can for her mum during and after her illness and when she finds her body. However, despite giving her all, natural death is one of the few things she can't protect people from. It shows her the limitations of her power.
Meh they could've done that just as well with having Glory kill Joyce. Being as it's a metaphor show it would work better that way too as well as actually having Glory do something besides sit on a couch
 
TriBel
TriBel
That's kinda missing the subtext...Though she does sit on the couch a lot - but isn't that the point of having minions? TBH, the Master didn't do much.

Btvs fan

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@TriBel True and the Master is openly mocked with the Fruit punch mouth. Even on Ats they have Angelus openly mock him "have you been above lately, its actually quite nice"
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Well, I'm not certain the Monks actually burned new memories into her brain. I mean, we know Dawn would have been in the Buffy Animated Series, which may mean she was just more than a memory, like they altered time, or something. The logic is also off. Yes, magic comes with a price. But that's usually for the caster or the beneficiary. Can the Summers be called either? And would magic cancer be a mystical death? I mean, it's a great idea and a natural connection. But with no evidence, it's a hard sell for me.
 

Athene

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It is interesting that Joyce could tell that Dawn wasn't hers after she got sick. It makes me wonder to what extent Dawn is really there as we know it. In 'No Place like Home' we see flashes of Dawn's room turning into a storage room that doesn't look used much which makes me wonder if we're in some sort of alternate world with Dawn and that the Buffy world of s1-4 is still going on without Dawn otherwise why would the flashes show Dawn's room as it looks without Dawn.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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There's synchronicity, but I think people are confused about the causality. Joyce doesn't grow a tumor because she has overlapped memories. It is the tumor pressing on her brain that allows her to see through the spell that created Dawn. It is made clear that people who suffer insanity can see Dawn's true nature. The stress on her brain and increased blood flow makes Joyce insane.

The connection between insanity and a truer way of seeing is a common trope. We see it with Drusilla as well. She'd definitely clock Dawn right away.
 
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TriBel
TriBel
Agree. The mad seer and the mad poet are all part of the same trope. This obviously applies to Dru but also to Joyce and to the people who've encountered Glory.

katmobile

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Dru definitely would have seen through the illusion of Dawn especially since she's psychic as well as being insane.
 

DeadlyDuo

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The connection between insanity and a truer way of seeing is a common trope. We see it with Drusilla as well. She'd definitely clock Dawn right away.
Just another reason why Sprusilla should've stayed together so that Dru could appear in Season 5 and come into contact with Dawn.

There is a difference between Joyce's insanity (and those that are victims of Glory) and Drusilla's insanity. Joyce's and Glory's victims' insanity is medical/ the result of the brain being physically messed with via tumour and brain sucking. Drusilla's insanity is trauma induced and her mind broke away from reality in order to cope with the psychological torture Angelus was inflicting on her.

Whilst it's extremely likely, near certain, that Dru would clock Dawn because we were told crazy people can see Dawn's true nature as the key, could it also be they type of insanity that allows someone to see Dawn's keyness? The insanity portrayed in Season 5 with Joyce and Glory's victims is not the same insanity that was portrayed with Drusilla, in which case there is the slight chance that Dru wouldn't be able to see that Dawn is the key because it's not the "right" insanity to be able to do so.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Re: Dru; It does make sense. But remember, Glory is completely mad, and she had no idea. So, maybe a different glamour was protecting her from sub-terrestials, and another one was protecting her from mortals? That the Monks put together in the twenty seconds it took for Glory to slaughter the Order of Dagon? Eh, Buffyverse flashbacks are best understood as an abridgement of full events.
 
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