In writing my first real “superhero” post last time, even though I was mainly focussed on Spiderman, in the midst of writing and thinking about Spidey, and rewatching all my spiderman films, what really kepy popping into my mind was a certain Blonde Girl, with her witty comebacks, her self sacrifice and her profound goodness. The Seven Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for me, was one of the most sublime storytelling experiences I have had. Joss and crew created characters that despite their supernatural powers, demonic adversaries and extraordinarily unreal experiences were real and relatable at their core.
For those of you who think you know what it’s about, how about this as a starter for ten – Love, sacrifice, courage, fear, parents, children, storytelling, family. Above all, it’s the concept that Strength and Power achieves their greatest works when they are shared, when you realise that even at your strongest you cannot ever do it alone.
Spiderman’s Mantra – with Great Power comes Great responsibility – could also be the words which hang over Buffy’s life; she often comments on the weight of responsibility, the tension of wanting a ‘normal’ life but being constantly drawn back to ‘the fight’. Even when her job is done and complete and she rests in paradise, when her friends draw her back into this world, she instinctively helps and is drawn to return to her heroic purpose. However, what drives this hero more than responsibility, what puts her above most other heroes is her empathy, her ability to really feel and understand the danger her friends, neighbours and community are in. Her empathy even goes as far as some of her enemies and to those who have hurt and betrayed her. The numerous times she forgives and welcomes people back into her life could be a sign to some that she is a pathological Masochist – For those of us who understand true redemption, reconciliation and Community, it is the Soul of her heroism. Coupled with that is her unwillingness to see others in pain, her determination that things must be set right.
Grow out of it? Well yes, if you want to “grow out of” something which espouses excellence and friendship, community and intelligence, fun and smiles in the ordinary everyday. We stand with Buffy and the Scoobies in standing up to bullies, in rejoicing in each others’ triumphs, in honest friendships that have ups and downs, in ensuring the world is as it should be for the weak, the powerless, the helpless, the hopeless – giving them help, giving them hope. Sure, these are all things you definitely want to “grow out of”. But seriously folks, this story that sometimes takes us down painful alleyways, that really puts us through the wringer emotionally is one that I would urge everyone to live and breathe with. And to really truly understand the epic “storyness” of it. Joss Whedon has truly written the modern epic. Oh and of course it’s got rather a LOT of girl power.
Raise your glass to The Slayer and her family – the family that formed around her. And embrace a truly heroic warrior, a badass, a selfless leader, a survivor, the one girl in all the world that stands against the darkness in all her humanness and with a wit that warms the coldest of hearts. and she’s not really standing alone.
“I’m beyond tired. I’m beyond scared. I’m standing on the mouth of hell, and it’s going to swallow me whole. And it’ll choke on me. We’re not ready? They’re not ready. They think we’re gonna wait for the end to come, like we always do. I’m done waiting. They want an apocalypse? Oh, we’ll give ’em one. Anyone else who wants to run… do it now. Because we just became an army. We just declared war. From now on we won’t just face our worst fears, we will seek them out. We will find them and cut out their hearts one by one until the First shows itself for what it really is. And I’ll kill it myself. There’s only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil. And that’s us. Any questions?”