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Xander Harris and Bangel

W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
What's with Angel's weird amputee threat? Feels very OOC.
 

DeepBlueJoy

Lion Faced Kitteh
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East of Trouble
Whilst you're right in that there is loads of reasons that Xander dislikes Spike and Angel, I think them being vampires is still one of them despite the fact that they can't help being vampires.

It's difficult because it's not wrong to not be pals with something that would drink your blood given the opportunity, but Xander is kind of lumping all vampires together rather than judging them as individuals.
As a person of color, I'm amazed how often there is racism in the world... actually, no, I've become jaded, because it is ubiquitous. But, I think Xander's situation is more complex. Yes, they are a different species -- but they are more or less human -- sentient and capable of a lot of the same kind of feeling and behavior as humans. But... they are also top predators.

It's absolutely NOT wrong to fear and to not want to interact with something that lives off your species' blood. If we suddenly had sentient tigers who were capable of interacting with us on a human level, I might talk to them... but I would not be comfortable being involved with them or feel it safe for my friends to be involved with them... Of course, tigers have that neat thing... they LOOK different. They are morphologically very different from humans.

Since vampires originated in a human body, they are identical. But they have something else that makes them seriously 'other' several other things, actually -- cold blood, a second face, the fact of being essentially animated dead. Sorry, but if my neighbors started digging out of their graves and some of them tried to come visit, I'd be very disturbed by this. DEATH is supposed to be death. Final, separating us from the people who have died.

So there's that. Now, where we come to the disturbing bits on Xander's side of the equation: his behavior. He's not afraid or concerned... no, he is full of anger. I think the root of this anger begins with Jesse and continues with jealousy. Add to that a side serving of 'hero worship' and dollops of 'i wanna be with Buffy' and you have a person whose reactions are very complicated.

Bigotry IS rooted in rage. It would be easy to call his reaction bigoted, and on some level, that may be in there... but I think it's more personal. I think he's angry b/c he's got unprocessed grief, unfulfilled longings, and add to that the fact that he knows he can't 'measure up' to not one, but two powerful, handsome, awesome fighters, superbeings... ESPECIALLY in Buffy's eyes -- but also they simply reflect his insecurities back at him.

Xander is someone who has been deeply abused - yes, I believe canon gives plenty of evidence for it and his behaviors support it. He is alone in a way the others never are. Male. Weak. Poor. Less educated. He's the 'outsider' in the group of three friends... and Willow was his friend first!! And being male in a world where manhood is equated to strength really doesn't help.

So, NO I don't think Xander is a racist. I do think some of his reactions are a bit black and white... he's a very rigid thinker in some ways, though flexible in others. I do believe he is an IMMENSELY hurt and ANGRY person. Unprocessed abuse does that to you. IF you don't become an addict, you will become angry. (Being an addict is a way of dealing with that anger, not an escape from it, though sometimes the goal is to forget).

At no time does Xander allow himself to fall into the well of heavy drinking (though I suspect a case could be made for a few times he might have been drinking). This means, he's essentially holding it all in, and forcing it down*. He does eat to excess AEB Anya's comments about his growing waistline (a truth about the actor the show runners made more than adequate use of - I wonder how Nick felt about that!?)

I wonder if the show runners knew of Nick's abuse issues early on, because the storyline about drunk parents and Christmas sleeping outside (in Sunnydale??? During winter!) appears as concepts relatively early. Maybe it was just coincidence they wrote him the way they did.

Anyway, I don't think Xander is a bigot, but I do think he's in a lot more pain than he lets on or we are led to think seriously about before season six.

*It isn't surprising it comes out sideways at times. You can't keep stuff like that inside indefinitely. And he learned to cope with things using anger. It's the only coping tool he learned at home. Anger is a tool of control, particularly for men. I think he lashes out when he's stressed and can't handle something. And often, under the rage, there's actually a good point in there.
 
Last edited:

sosa lola

Scooby
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
4,797
Age
35
As a person of color, I'm amazed how often there is racism in the world... actually, no, I've become jaded, because it is ubiquitous. But, I think Xander's situation is more complex. Yes, they are a different species -- but they are more or less human -- sentient and capable of a lot of the same kind of feeling and behavior as humans. But... they are also top predators.

It's absolutely NOT wrong to fear and to not want to interact with something that lives off your species' blood. If we suddenly had sentient tigers who were capable of interacting with us on a human level, I might talk to them... but I would not be comfortable being involved with them or feel it safe for my friends to be involved with them... Of course, tigers have that neat thing... they LOOK different. They are morphologically very different from humans.

Since vampires originated in a human body, they are identical. But they have something else that makes them seriously 'other' several other things, actually -- cold blood, a second face, the fact of being essentially animated dead. Sorry, but if my neighbors started digging out of their graves and some of them tried to come visit, I'd be very disturbed by this. DEATH is supposed to be death. Final, separating us from the people who have died.

So there's that. Now, where we come to the disturbing bits on Xander's side of the equation: his behavior. He's not afraid or concerned... no, he is full of anger. I think the root of this anger begins with Jesse and continues with jealousy. Add to that a side serving of 'hero worship' and dollops of 'i wanna be with Buffy' and you have a person whose reactions are very complicated.

Bigotry IS rooted in rage. It would be easy to call his reaction bigoted, and on some level, that may be in there... but I think it's more personal. I think he's angry b/c he's got unprocessed grief, unfulfilled longings, and add to that the fact that he knows he can't 'measure up' to not one, but two powerful, handsome, awesome fighters, superbeings... ESPECIALLY in Buffy's eyes -- but also they simply reflect his insecurities back at him.

Xander is someone who has been deeply abused - yes, I believe canon gives plenty of evidence for it and his behaviors support it. He is alone in a way the others never are. Male. Weak. Poor. Less educated. He's the 'outsider' in the group of three friends... and Willow was his friend first!! And being male in a world where manhood is equated to strength really doesn't help.

So, NO I don't think Xander is a racist. I do think some of his reactions are a bit black and white... he's a very rigid thinker in some ways, though flexible in others. I do believe he is an IMMENSELY hurt and ANGRY person. Unprocessed abuse does that to you. IF you don't become an addict, you will become angry. (Being an addict is a way of dealing with that anger, not an escape from it, though sometimes the goal is to forget).

At no time does Xander allow himself to fall into the well of heavy drinking (though I suspect a case could be made for a few times he might have been drinking). This means, he's essentially holding it all in, and forcing it down*. He does eat to excess AEB Anya's comments about his growing waistline (a truth about the actor the show runners made more than adequate use of - I wonder how Nick felt about that!?)

I wonder if the show runners knew of Nick's abuse issues early on, because the storyline about drunk parents and Christmas sleeping outside (in Sunnydale??? During winter!) appears as concepts relatively early. Maybe it was just coincidence they wrote him the way they did.

Anyway, I don't think Xander is a bigot, but I do think he's in a lot more pain than he lets on or we are led to think seriously about before season six.

*It isn't surprising it comes out sideways at times. You can't keep stuff like that inside indefinitely. And he learned to cope with things using anger. It's the only coping tool he learned at home. Anger is a tool of control, particularly for men. I think he lashes out when he's stressed and can't handle something. And often, under the rage, there's actually a good point in there.
Very interesting and accurate analysis of Xander. I would personally keep it in mind whenever I write my fics. I also agree that Xander isn't bigoted and that his dislike of Angel and Spike is personal - he doesn't show that dislike to any other vampire, in fact he was eager to hear about his vampire version from Vampire Willow.
 

FaithLehane16

"Five by Five."
Joined
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25
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I don't really have a problem with what Xander says, but how he says it. The tone NB often uses borders on verbal abuse. That it's limited to Buffy is in a way understandable since Xander doesn't see her as a human being first and foremost, but as a superhero. Her judgement, morals, choices etc. should be better than the average human being's. If she fails his percieved superhero standart it gets nasty. Which is also why it's ok for him to date Anya but Buffy shouldn't be dating Angel/Spike. She's supposed to be better than this.

It's also about controlling events he is powerless to control in the only way he can, verbally. But that's for another topic.
I always view this to be very hypocritical of him to be dating someone who slaughtered more than Angel(us) and Spike combined.
 

sosa lola

Scooby
Joined
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Messages
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Age
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I always view this to be very hypocritical of him to be dating someone who slaughtered more than Angel(us) and Spike combined.
I guess because Anya became human and was showering him with love when he was at his lowest (being directionless, getting fired from every job he gets, living in a dank and dirty basement, paying his parents for rent and food, him and his friends drifting apart) he never really saw the hypocrisy. Anya was in a way his only friend in S4.
 

FaithLehane16

"Five by Five."
Joined
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Messages
844
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25
Location
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I guess because Anya became human and was showering him with love when he was at his lowest (being directionless, getting fired from every job he gets, living in a dank and dirty basement, paying his parents for rent and food, him and his friends drifting apart) he never really saw the hypocrisy. Anya was in a way his only friend in S4.
I understand that.
 

katmobile

Scooby
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
733
Age
47
As a person of color, I'm amazed how often there is racism in the world... actually, no, I've become jaded, because it is ubiquitous. But, I think Xander's situation is more complex. Yes, they are a different species -- but they are more or less human -- sentient and capable of a lot of the same kind of feeling and behavior as humans. But... they are also top predators.

It's absolutely NOT wrong to fear and to not want to interact with something that lives off your species' blood. If we suddenly had sentient tigers who were capable of interacting with us on a human level, I might talk to them... but I would not be comfortable being involved with them or feel it safe for my friends to be involved with them... Of course, tigers have that neat thing... they LOOK different. They are morphologically very different from humans.

Since vampires originated in a human body, they are identical. But they have something else that makes them seriously 'other' several other things, actually -- cold blood, a second face, the fact of being essentially animated dead. Sorry, but if my neighbors started digging out of their graves and some of them tried to come visit, I'd be very disturbed by this. DEATH is supposed to be death. Final, separating us from the people who have died.

So there's that. Now, where we come to the disturbing bits on Xander's side of the equation: his behavior. He's not afraid or concerned... no, he is full of anger. I think the root of this anger begins with Jesse and continues with jealousy. Add to that a side serving of 'hero worship' and dollops of 'i wanna be with Buffy' and you have a person whose reactions are very complicated.

Bigotry IS rooted in rage. It would be easy to call his reaction bigoted, and on some level, that may be in there... but I think it's more personal. I think he's angry b/c he's got unprocessed grief, unfulfilled longings, and add to that the fact that he knows he can't 'measure up' to not one, but two powerful, handsome, awesome fighters, superbeings... ESPECIALLY in Buffy's eyes -- but also they simply reflect his insecurities back at him.

Xander is someone who has been deeply abused - yes, I believe canon gives plenty of evidence for it and his behaviors support it. He is alone in a way the others never are. Male. Weak. Poor. Less educated. He's the 'outsider' in the group of three friends... and Willow was his friend first!! And being male in a world where manhood is equated to strength really doesn't help.

So, NO I don't think Xander is a racist. I do think some of his reactions are a bit black and white... he's a very rigid thinker in some ways, though flexible in others. I do believe he is an IMMENSELY hurt and ANGRY person. Unprocessed abuse does that to you. IF you don't become an addict, you will become angry. (Being an addict is a way of dealing with that anger, not an escape from it, though sometimes the goal is to forget).

At no time does Xander allow himself to fall into the well of heavy drinking (though I suspect a case could be made for a few times he might have been drinking). This means, he's essentially holding it all in, and forcing it down*. He does eat to excess AEB Anya's comments about his growing waistline (a truth about the actor the show runners made more than adequate use of - I wonder how Nick felt about that!?)

I wonder if the show runners knew of Nick's abuse issues early on, because the storyline about drunk parents and Christmas sleeping outside (in Sunnydale??? During winter!) appears as concepts relatively early. Maybe it was just coincidence they wrote him the way they did.

Anyway, I don't think Xander is a bigot, but I do think he's in a lot more pain than he lets on or we are led to think seriously about before season six.

*It isn't surprising it comes out sideways at times. You can't keep stuff like that inside indefinitely. And he learned to cope with things using anger. It's the only coping tool he learned at home. Anger is a tool of control, particularly for men. I think he lashes out when he's stressed and can't handle something. And often, under the rage, there's actually a good point in there.
I think you're mostly right but he reforces a vampire bad binary beyond what the text presents us with and what is presented to him in verse. Angel's soul makes his different which Xander never fully acknowledges. Spike in season five acts in ways that are benevolent and shows he cares about more than himself. Which is why I have much more issue with Xander's behaviour towards Angel and Xander's behaviour towards Spike only bothers me in seasons six and seven not in season four. A lot of it is Buffy jealous rubbish but I think a lot of is to do with Jessie. He inadvertently killed Jessie as a vamp if the othadoxy Giles presents to him is right that what he staked wasn't his friend but the demon that killed him Xander's conscience is clear if it's not then it isn't. Maybe there's some resentment that Angel and Spike got to be treated as men and to have some chance to live a life with meaning and redeam themselves that Jessie didn't get and on some level Xander is not over that and refuses to accept it.
This would also make sense that the times he see that struggle in Angel and Spike more clearly i.e. Angel in Amends and Spike in Never Leave Me and temporarily in Intervention are the points at which his attitude softens. He can see they are doing things that pain them and might actually mean they deserve some leeway and also it's a struggle and one without the weight of a soul Jessie would have lost.

It may also have hit the bullying trauma too in that in those situations he can see them as the bullied and not the bullying. Joss has admitted to struggling to write Angel because he was sort of more of an alpha character that he associated with the people who bullied him so he had to find his way to indentify and I think the solution is having Angel fight the part of himself who is like that is a defining chracter trait. Angel is tall, handsome and charismatic of course Xander would resent him and ID him with guy who always beats him both in life and sometimes literally. Spike gets Xander's sympathy too when he's obviously being beaten down in ways Xander can ID with but a part of him enjoys feeling superior to Spike (you see that in OMWF and Gone) hence the season six doucheness where his speech to Buffy is pretty much 'I thought you were better than that'. Ok that makes sense of a lot for me.
 
Last edited:

DeepBlueJoy

Lion Faced Kitteh
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
737
Location
East of Trouble
I always view this to be very hypocritical of him to be dating someone who slaughtered more than Angel(us) and Spike combined.
You are right of course. No question.

Consider this however: Love is blind. Anger and resentment are also often blind. He's angry at Angel and Spike b/c they are so many things he can never be and both get to be with Buffy. He's angry b/c he is insecure. He's resentful I think at Spike for a collection of reasons. Spike goes back and forth between being powerful and pathetic. I think Xander relates to him in ways he never related to Angel (probably partly b/c of the amount of time Spike was around too... he becomes in Xander's eyes, a flawed and even sometimes weak real person. He loses his power when Dru leaves him. He ends up in the chair. He ends up with the chip...

Then of course, Spike somehow manages to become Buffy's confidant after Buffy distances herself from Xander and Willow after the resurrection spell. After the final insult -- Xander abandons his woman at the altar -- it is Spike who comforts her sexually... and Xander is utterly mortified that not only is it a fact, but that all his friends get to see it. And of course, it doesn't help matters that he figures out at about the same time that Buffy was sleeping with Spike too. His woman AND the woman he aspired to all those years have both found solace in Spike.

The result is humiliation, futility, mortification and pure unadulterated RAGE.

Oh, and it doesn't help that both men are very similar emotionally, though personality wise, they aren't obviously. Both wear their emotions on their sleeves. Both are loyal to the point of stupidity (this is both a flaw and a crowning glory for both men btw!!). Both are full of love and full of insecurity. The man William is is before he is sired not that different from the man Xander is before the spell separates him into two...

- I could see Xander running headlong from trying to share his love with Cecily.
- I could see William crying himself to sleep with country music!

_________

Anya is female. That gives a lot of people difficulty imagining her as a mass murderer. And the fact that most of it is probably indirect rather than hands on means that Xander can pretend her history isn't real. He needs her and when we need someone, it is hard to let ourselves see what they are really capable of. Sometimes we don't even let ourselves see abuse directed at us... so long 'distant' history is VERY easy to compartmentalize. Denial is a human talent.

There's also this thing where when a huge number of people die, we tend to distance ourselves from it... the Tsunami or earthquake or wars are horrifying, but they stop being 'human scale' and after the initial shock most of us feel, most of us let it go b/c we have to or it will overwhelm us. A lot of the deaths Anya has been responsible for have been like this. It is actually only in season seven when we see Anya act for (and against) individuals that we are reminded of how personal her consequences can be. That is AFTER the relationship with Xander has ended... but at that point he's full of guilt and regret and he still loves her b/c the love itself didn't die with the relationship...

I am not defending Xander's sometimes awful behavior. I do, however, find I understand it.

Then there's this: people in pain lash out. Some people don't do it as much as others, but I'm reminded of this acutely when someone I know and respect lashes out when they are physically in pain... and later they know they need to apologize... and that's just for being in physical pain. Xander's pain is HUGE. No question he often doesn't handle it well.

_______


And particularly (just to bring it back to the original subject) with Angel, he's still in love with Buffy. At that point, there has been no Anya. He is still 'black and white' boy.
 
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