July 2003 posts

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And now for something completely different...a post about, oh, let's say, Xander or somebody -- Random, 13:59:22 07/11/03 Fri

I was re-watching NKABOTFD from S1 -- aka, the pre-who should Buffy be shagging and is he a Sex God? year -- and thinking about Xander's role in the series' run....

The feminist implications of the show have been endlessly debated, but it occurs to me wonder about the manner in which Xander's -- the male Everyman archetype -- story was addressed. From the beginning, he is presented as something of a dork (but not a nerd like Willow) and a person who is both socially inept and quite good at the resultant defense mechanism (sarcasm and wit.) He was the quintessential outsider, the reject who exists on the periphery of the social spheres of highschool. Then Buffy comes along and he is suddenly presented with both a purpose and a defined role within the society -- not merely a marginalized uber-geek, defined by what he is not, but a soldier in the war against evil. And yet -- are we supposed to view him merely through the lens of Buffy, the feminist icon and tragic Slayer figure? He is certainly a well-defined personality, but his life, having been given a higher purpose, suffered from lack of self-definition. His loves, his ambitions, his actions -- his life is circumscribed by the very thing that frees him.

If Xander is Everyman, he also represents the human condition -- not always a good thing. The masses of men often lead lives of quiet desperation, and his transition from isolated outsider with only a couple good friends and no real purpose in life to isolated outsider with only a couple good friends and a very important mission in life is not a smooth one. Through the seasons, he matures -- sometimes noticably, sometimes, well, not so much -- and struggles, quite noticably, with the essential mundanity that has always characterized him. Whether or not he is special -- I think he is, and he's one of my favorite characters -- is not the real issue. Indeed, even his vaunted Everyman-who-sees aspect is ultimately irrelevant to the issue of whether his story was ever truly addressed. We watched Buffy's, Willow's and even Giles (it seemed that they were struggling to get Giles' story out all of S7, but never found the time or opportunity) stories play out, and of course they're not finished, but whatever it is that Xander represents, with the exception of a couple episodes, never quite get addressed. We watch S1 Xander and compare him to the more mature, but barely noticable S7 Xander and we wonder what Joss intended in the exploration of this character...and what went wrong.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that -- however touching -- Xander's growth into the role of he-who-sees-and-provides-emotional-support became something of a cop-out. It had much potential, but Xander never achieved the one thing the Scoobies were lacking in S7 (thanks to PodGiles ) -- wisdom. Adversities of various sorts bring their own forms of wisdom. What exactly did Xander's path teach him? For all his "seeing" and all his "heart", he never truly mastered his Everyman role and made it his strength. Plagued with uncertainty and inability even till the end, he became An Everyman...not The Everyman.

Thoughts? Just trying to kickstart my own nascent feelings about Xander's development.

[> no one makes it to Wisdom, -- lunasea, 14:46:04 07/11/03 Fri

No one but Buffy. Even at the end, they are all looking to Buffy about what they should do. Season 5-7, to me, was about transcending each participant in the conjoining spell in their respective area. Season 5 was Xander's heart. From there, he really didn't grow. It is the synthesis of heart, spirit and mind that makes it to wisdom. Only Buffy, as all of these things, could get there.

If they take any of these characters to their own shows, then they will get to take that journey, just like Angel got to.

Just a blurb, but maybe it will help you get a hold of something.

[> Re: And now for something completely different...a post about, oh, let's say, Xander or somebody -- dub ;o), 15:22:33 07/11/03 Fri

I can't help but feel that Xander's lack of story line, and the supreme emphasis on Buffy in Season 7 is a reflection of reality. I have always felt that Willow (yin) + Xander (yang) = Joss. It seems to me that most creators put themselves somewhere in their stories (the world is rampant with Mary Sues!!) but it would take at least these two to represent all that Joss is and does. Last year was pretty much a downer in Jossville...Firefly, anyone? Ripper? For various reasons I think the man felt himself somehow marginalized by Buffy, the show, and the way it had become (one of those big things that rolls down hill? not a snowball or an avalanche, oh damn, more mythological and mechanical...y'know gathering it's own momentum, out of control...?) And then with a deadline imposed by SMG, as well. Everything has to be wrapped by May. No, you don't have time to waste on your own piddling story...go with the "title" arc!

**Sigh** Maybe I should stop until the brain starts functioning again. How come my stream-of-consciousness is never brilliant and lyrical, like fresne's?

What was I saying? Willow's genius is Joss. Xander's witty sarcasm and snark is Joss. Of the two, Joss was able to take Willow much farther because she was, perhaps, less recognizable as himself. Perhaps he felt dwelling on Xander was too...self-indulgent? Xander is an ordinary, every-day hero, IMHO. Not the kind of thing you want to say about yourself in public.

Damn. Must be time for my meds...


[> [> I think you nailed it there Dub... -- O'Cailleagh, 15:40:52 07/11/03 Fri

Must be the meds....you gonna share? ;-)
I have to agree with this...Willow is another JW avatar.
Thing is though, is she hot?
That was actually a joke! (the hotness, not the avatar thing)I was actually going to wonder where that leaves Andrew. What? I know he's not a core Scoob, and quite disliked by a number of people, but I've come to think of him as some kind of Willow/Xander amalgamation...their love-child if you will...ok maybe not their lovechild, but he is entirely made up of elements of their characters.
At first I got the feeling that, whereas Xander represented us-the-audience, Andrew represented the internet fanbase, and maybe he did.
Now, however, I feel it went deeper than that somehow...not sure how exactly...but, then when am I ever sure? :p


[> [> [> Deciphering the metaphor -- manwitch, 20:03:47 07/11/03 Fri

Thing is though, is she hot?
That was actually a joke! (the hotness, not the avatar thing)I was actually going to wonder where that leaves Andrew.

The best metaphors refer not to the image you see, but to the viewer in the audience. Willow does chicks. Metaphorically speaking, that seems to suggest some serious hotness. Its not just metaphorical of the viewers desire to do chicks, but of the viewers desire to do two chicks at once.

Andrew is a totally different story and very difficult to figure out. Initially he seems like he is totally unhot. He doesn't do anybody, except perhaps his righty.

But then we see him wearing an oven mit. So metaphorically, he might be hot anyway.

Speaking of meds...

[> [> JUGGERNAUT!! -- dub ;o), 17:05:56 07/11/03 Fri

[> Like a fresh breeze -- fresne, 15:37:45 07/11/03 Fri

Yes, poor Xander fixing windows, eyes to the soul of the house, over and over. As with so much, I feel as if some growth, some development went on. It was just off stage. He gets that wonderful speech about the power of the ordinary, but was it too much to want to see him in that final fight use a hammer and stake or some other implementation of his profession. Itís like he was all poised for some epiphanic moment or a series of moments, but they were unseen.

I really liked that he became a builder. And that strange ness in that everything he built, repaired, knew, was consumed, devoured from beneath.

I donít actually have much to say, except to help keep the thread alive that you may continue.

[> Definitely have to agree here. -- Rob, 15:44:09 07/11/03 Fri

While Xander certainly matured and became more stereotypically adult throughout the seasons--holding a steady job, recognizing and accepting his station and status, learning how to accomodate all of the inconveniences of life--he was the only main character, by the end, who did not truly achieve spiritual growth. I agree with manwitch's brilliant Chakra essay that at times he was used as a symbol for spiritual growth in Buffy, most recently with the loss of his eye helping lead Buffy to her final state of enlightenment (or at least final in the series, certainly not final in her life story), but whereas Willow, Dawn, and Giles did become spiritually whole by the end of the series, Xander really did not. One could say that he left the series in the shittiest position--not only did he become irreparably disfigured but he lost the woman who most likely was his soulmate. His beautiful and heartfelt, "That's my girl!" was touching and, again, mature, indeed, but certainly didn't leave him in the psychological whole position that Buffy attained when she smiled in answer to Dawn's question, or that Willow attained when she did her "nifty," cleansing spell, or that Dawn attained when she kicked Buffy in the shin and bucked Joyce's prophecy and called Buffy a "dumbass," or that Anya attained when she died saving Andrew (or I would argue, that she attained when she offered to give her life to restore that of the murdered frat boys), or that Giles attained when he told Buffy her plan was brilliant, a small line that signfied so much.

The greatest indicators that Xander's storyline was never satisfyingly followed through, I believe was his "Oh my God!" line from Never Leave Me, about Anya replacing his heart with darkness. I thought we were finally going to get some real exploration of Xander after Hell's Bells, as we began to get during that episode. But we didn't. But we did get this line, which just screams that there is still a problem that was not handled by just having him and Anya do it again to wrap up their relationship. Despite the lack of Anya for most of the year, Anya, all the way through End of Days showed remarkable spiritual growth. Xander was left with a gaping hole in his heart, despite the brave front he put on.

Unfortunately, in the end, one of the show's best characters was just not explored deeply enough. His lack of superpowers was his strong point, not a weakness, and that should have been reflected in how he was handled on the show. He shouldn't have just accepted that he wouldn't ever be the hero (hell, he saved the world singlehandedly last season!), or taken comfort in his ability to (usually) see the truth around him and tell it like it is. Although his speech at the end of Potential is very beautiful and inspiring, that should not have been the end of his character's spiritual growth. He should have been able to realize that he can accept that he won't be the hero, and can impart wisdom, but at the same time achieve spiritual wholeness himself, and not just stand in the background as he watches it happen to all of his friends.


[> Preservyness...and a prayer.... -- O'Cailleagh, 16:58:31 07/11/03 Fri

"Oh, great and powerful Voynak,
Take not this thread of Xandery goodness,
Instead, I beseech thee, take from us all old and tired threads,
All those of a snarky nature,
(except, of course, this one)
And take no more than you need to sustain you,
For you really could choke on some of it...
So Mote It Be"

[> Xander, Anya, and Wisdom -- Anneth, 17:17:44 07/11/03 Fri

The more I think about it, the more I believe that -- however touching -- Xander's growth into the role of he-who-sees-and-provides-emotional-support became something of a cop-out. It had much potential, but Xander never achieved the one thing the Scoobies were lacking in S7 (thanks to PodGiles ) -- wisdom. Adversities of various sorts bring their own forms of wisdom. What exactly did Xander's path teach him? For all his "seeing" and all his "heart", he never truly mastered his Everyman role and made it his strength. Plagued with uncertainty and inability even till the end, he became An Everyman...not The Everyman.

For all we've discussed the eye-gouging, did we ever see any evidence towards the end-run that Xander stopped seeing the world in terms of strong dichotomies? Did losing one eye really gain him a third eye, to see into the heart of issues? For instance (though I almost hate to use the S-word today), did he ever resolve his issues with "evil vampires" via interaction with Spike?

One can't discuss Xander without discussing Anya, for the final seasons, because neither character was given any sort of life outside of the other. By dropping Anya's story in S7, they were forced to drop Xander's development too. And even then, as you point out, Anya was given some sort of closure, an epiphany, by Chosen. Xander really wasn't. (Or maybe it was Rob who pointed that out?)

Wisdom, in the Buffyverse, seems to me to be maturing into a realization that the world is not filled with stark contrasts and easy decisions. (I chose the apple over the donut because apples are good and donuts are evil!) Anya's late S6 decision to return a vengence presented Xander with an opportunity to mature in a way he really hadn't in years - to finally be personally confronted with the dilemma of being in love with someone who causes (not simply had caused) pain; someone who is "evil" by virtue of status. (Demon, vampire, werewolf.) Before Anya's return to vengence, he was the only one of the scoobies who'd never been in love with someone who spent some portion of the relationship as "evil." (Buffy had Angel/us and Willow had Oz/wolf.) While he'd never blamed Oz for his wolfiness, he certainly had problems with Angel - and that was *before* Surprise! (how many of those problems were because he saw Angel as competition and how many because Angel was a vampire, it's hard to say.)

Anyway, once Anya turned, (symbolized by her one-night stand) Xander was finally forced to deal with issues he'd previously lambasted Buffy for - loving someone who had done something he found morally reprehensible. The problem was exacerbated once he learned that Anya had become a vengence demon again - she was an evil, soulless thing (we didn't learn til Selfless that vengence demons have souls) but still he loved her. The conflict that this may have caused him comes out in Selfless, where he tells Buffy "when our friends go evil, we help them, not kill them!" - but then, along with all of Anya's arc, the conflict is dropped. Xander is never given a moment to reflect upon this newest development in his love-life. For all that Storyteller delves into their relationship - it doesn't really. THey end up just having sex.

Anyway, I've gotta run; I'll try to round out these thoughts later.

[> [> But Xander loved Willow -- Vickie, 21:22:12 07/11/03 Fri

This will probably be simplistic, as I'm giddy on a wave of irrepressable sweetie returning. But...

Xander loved "someone who had done something he found morally reprehensible." At the end of S6, he proved that irretrievably. I think that was the source of his line "when our friends go evil, we help them, not kill them!"

While he was never in love with Willow, I contend that one of the major themes of BtVS/AtS is that some of the most significant love/relationships in one's life are not necessarily the romantic ones. Willow's experience in the final weeks of S6 changed more than only Willow.

That said, I agree that Xander was dropped for most of S7. I felt cheated that we never saw any development from the disaster of Hell's Bells (well, the speech to Andrew promised some, but after that, zippo).

It's an imperfect world.

[> [> [> Absolutely true -- Anneth, 14:09:07 07/12/03 Sat

Xander loved "someone who had done something he found morally reprehensible." At the end of S6, he proved that irretrievably. I think that was the source of his line "when our friends go evil, we help them, not kill them!"

True, but the Dark Willow arc began after the Anya/Spike debacle. The fallout of Anya and Spike hooking up was, for Xander, that he learned that two of the women he loved had acted morally reprehensibly, by sleeping with Spike. He first forgives Buffy (or the process begins) at the end of Seeing Red. Then, Willow does much, much worse, by flaying Warren and trying to destroy the world. What I want to argue is that the process of maturing past a black and white world-view began for Xander with Entropy, and is best illustrated by his interactions with Anya. Anya's changes would have had the greatest emotional immediacy for him, I believe.

I contend that one of the major themes of BtVS/AtS is that some of the most significant love/relationships in one's life are not necessarily the romantic ones. Willow's experience in the final weeks of S6 changed more than only Willow.

I absolutly agree with you. What I was trying to get at with my Anya/Xander post is that Xander's final journey began with Entropy, and continued with great promise through Selfless. He had to deal with all three of the women he loved acting as he would never have believed they could; his entire world-view was, or ought to have been, totally shaken. It seemed that he was finally coming to a place where he could admit that there are no simple solutions, for him or anyone else, an idea he'd (I argue) clung to with great tenacity for years.

The eye-gouging in Dirty Girls was, as many have stated far more eloquently than I, possibly a metaphore for Xander finally gaining that 'third eye' that would allow him to see past his prejudices and strong dichotomies. I just don't think ME did a good job getting him from Selfless to DG; the journey felt incomplete to me.

I absolutly meant to bring Willow and Buffy into the post, but ran out of time when I was writing it. Thanks for pointing out what I'd missed.

[> Xander...loyal friend...no longer stuck in the basement. (S1-S7Btvs) -- shadowkat (preserving the thread too!), 21:15:21 07/11/03 Fri

(This is a slight revision of the second essay I ever wrote on Btvs. I wrote it in MArch 2002 for Buffy Cross and Stake Board and it was partly in response to a plea for less S centric threads. I do not believe I ever posted this essay to Atpo.)

Xander -loyal friend, still stuck in father's basement? (long)Well no longer, obviously

Let's talk about poor Xander.

Xander is an incredibly fascinating
character whose story is about to take off. Of the characters in BvTS - he is the only one without
special abilities or supernatural tendencies. And he has always been one of my favorites.

Xander is the guy next door, the class clown, and the boy I had a crush on in high school.
Unfortunately he only wanted the popular girl or the one he couldn't have. One of my favorite
episodes - The Witch, shows Xander telling Willow that what he likes about her is she's just one of
the guys. This is echoed by Buffy who tells Xander that what she likes about him is he's just one of
the girls. (Great Karmic moment! And says quite a bit about the old Xander - he always wanted
what he couldn't have when the best thing was right beneath his nose.) Xander also had the lowest
self-esteem of just about any character on the show - he covered it with bravado, and quick retorts.
Often making fun of himself before anyone else can. His banter with Cordelia in Season 1-3 was

Xander is first introduced as the geeky guy on the skateboard. He is comic relief. He tries to help the
hero, often falling flat on his face in the process. But he always comes through in the crunch. In
Welcome to The Hellmouth, Xander, against everyone's advice, shows up in the tunnels to help
Buffy rescue his friend Jesse. When Buffy asks if he at least brought a stake. He says - "well no, the
part of my brain that remembers that was too busy reminding me of why I shouldn't be doing this. I
did bring a flashlight." Buffy: Turn that off!" Xander somewhat sheepishly does. He does, however,
help her out. If it weren't for him, she probably would have died. Buffy has never been able to see
when she's in over her head. This act of heroism is repeated in countless episodes: Becoming Part II,
The Freshman, Beer Bad, Primeval, What's My Line, etcÖIn The Freshman - Xander is the one
who grabs the others to help her. He goes with her to the vamps lair. And Buffy does eventually
acknowledge this in Checkpoint: "That boy has clocked more field time than any of you has." (- in
her speech to the Watcher Council.)

Xander's fears. We know he is afraid of being invisible: this is shown in Fear Itself and also
mentioned in The Zeppo. His friends often take his presence for granted, treat him as a hanger-on or
someone who needs to be protected. In NA - Willow tells Buffy that Xander has gone to look for
the demon, Buffy's first reaction is concern: she doesn't believe he can handle a demon alone. (She's
right of course, but that's beside the point.)
Xander often accompanies Buffy when she tells him to stay behind. (Interesting ironic twist here -
instead of the dumb blond accompanying the hero into danger and getting hurt, we have the dopey
guy following the heroine into danger. Not that Xander always gets hurt, sometimes he actually saves
the day. And he really isn't that dopey; he just thinks he is.)

In the Replacement and The Zeppo we get to explore Xander's fear of inadequacy, that he is just a
loser that everyone has to help. He can't possibly be the confident self-assured man that finds a cool
apartment, gets a promotion at work, and deserves Anya's love. (See The Replacement). In the
Zeppo - he feels ignored, pushed aside by the SG. Both episodes end well. Xander learns in the
Zeppo that he can be a hero in his own right and does not need the SG. He can stand up for himself
and defeat the bad guy. (Before he only fantasized about this - Halloween.) In The Replacement -
he learns that he is a capable man and an insecure goofball. He is both and that is okay, because
both are lovable in their own right.

What about the fears explored in Restless? Xander's biggest fear has not been invisibility or
inadequacy, but becoming his father. How many people fear this? Isn't part of growing up - learning
to separate oneself from one's family? To be your own man or woman? All along - Xander's family
has been described as losers. Periodically characters refer to Xander's parents as embarrassing or
something Xander wishes to avoid. In Amends - Cordelia states that Xander sleeps outside to get
away from his loser parents' drunken battles. (Is Xander an only child? We don't appear to know. I
assume so. It appears that this is something Xander, Willow and Buffy have in common up to
Season 5 - all three are only children. (Please let me know if I missed a reference somewhere to
siblings.) end of digression.) Later in Forever - Xander tells Willow he'll go see her mom to get
reassurance, he really doesn't care if his parents live or die. Then Restless - Xander is stuck in the
basement. Every door or path he tries leads him back into it. The only one he refuses to try is the
one that leads upstairs to his parents. Have we ever seen him use this path? In Restless he even
states: "That's not the way out." Maybe it is? At the end of Restless - it appears to be the only way
out. And what he's afraid of is not the vampires that he first mentions when he hears someone at the
door: " Hey I didn't order any vampires." It's his father - who eventually bursts through accusing
Xander of making his mother cry. "Why won't you come upstairs - you mother won't stop crying,
you have no heart, the line ends here!" His father smashes his fist into Xander's chest, becomes the
first slayer and rips out Xander's heart.

But doesn't Xander eventually go upstairs? He gets the job, the apartment. He proposes to Anya.
Even sets up the wedding. That is until the demon appears and shows him the nightmare. It's
interesting that the nightmare is Xander's life with his parents. The drunken useless father, the nagging
mother, and the violence. I felt like I was watching a scene from Bad Marriage 101. What does
Xander say to Anya when he tells her he can't go through with it? "It wasn't you that I was
hatingÖ?" What does Xander say to the demon after the nightmare has concluded: "Is Anya ok?
What happened to Anya?" He is terrified of hurting her. He tells Anya the wedding is off while he is
watching his father abuse his mother. For the first time, we actually get to meet Xander's parents and
family. And they are worse than we ever expected. They are worse than the demons attending the
wedding. Is it any wonder that Xander is terrified of becoming them? Heck - he even looks a bit like
his father in this episode, the beefy physique.

Now let's talk about Xander and Buffy. Interesting relationship. What is Buffy to Xander? Or
perhaps the better question is what has Buffy's presence done for Xander?
Before Buffy, Xander was a geeky guy who rode a skateboard, cracked jokes, and flirted with
popular girls he couldn't have. After Buffy, Xander went on missions, fought demons, saved the
world, and found a purpose outside of his family home and cracking jokes. Buffy has given Xander a
purpose, a way of addressing his inadequacy, a way of avoiding his parents' loser life. That is up
until now. Now they are out of high school and Xander has responsibilities. He can no longer just
fight the demon of the week. He has to work. Even without Buffy present, he discovered this - see
Bargaining Part I & II - Xander got pummeled. So when he and the SG bring back Buffy - they are
in effect leaving the demon hunting business. They do not go out on patrol with her anymore. Spike
does. They aren't present when she's fighting the vamps in All The Way. Or in Wrecked. Or Dead
Things. Or AYW. We rarely see X/A outside of the Magic Shop. Has Xander grown up then? Has
he fought the hard real life battles without shortcuts? (We'll return to this later.)

Does Xander love Buffy? Yes, I think so. I think he wants to save her. He wants to be the hero but
has learned that he can't. He found this out in The Gift and to some degree in Becoming Part II. He
can help her. But he can't save her. He can't make her choices for her or give her a job. The battle
with the demons is essentially hers. He is a glorified brick-layer who can chip in from time to time.
And he is no longer ashamed of that. (See the Gift - "And the glorified brick layer - gets one!") This
must have been a tough realization for him. If it weren't for Anya - it may have destroyed him at
some point, but by Afterlife and Life Serial - I got the feeling he'd accepted his new role in SG.
Then we come to HB - this scene surprised me, it's the one that Anya says -" your back wouldn't
have gone out if you hadn't exerted yourself trying to help Buffy. I told you not to. And it didn't help.
You weren't able to save her." (Not exact but close.)
His reaction? To pick up a frying pan and hit her. So clearly Xander has not completely come to
terms with his inability to save Buffy. Or maybe he's just afraid that he hasn't - it was just a
nightmare after all. Not real.

So where does this lead us? There has been very little spoilage on Xander's future. (Or I've
managed to successfully avoid it, yeah me! Wish I could say the same for the other spoilers. Dang
me!) I think Xander's journey is different from Buffy's and Willow's.
Xander has to realize that he does not have to become his father. He has to realize that
Buffy, the SG, his father, even Anya do not define him. That he is a good man in his own right and
can survive and live a good life on his own. In a way, Xander has to get back to who he was at the
end of The Replacement and The Zeppo. He has to overcome his fears and not let his father or
Buffy remove his heart. Otherwise he will be stuck in his father's basement, heartless, and alone.

Do I think he will make it? You betcha. In many ways he's come further than the others. He has a
good job, he has friends outside the gang, before HB he had the most stable relationship, and he did
it all the hard way without magic, without stunts. Now all he has to do is find a way of forgiving Anya
and himself, and accepting that even though he's not the superhero - he can be a hero in his own

ADDENDUM - Seeing Red - Chosen Spoilers below

That's how it appeared originally. Of course we know Xander escaped the basement. He became a man in S7. He moved past his Crush on Buffy, and loved her as a friend. In Grave he learned the true meaning of love and friendship, that a man is less without his friends. It's what he tells Buffy in Seeing Red - "Warren won't get very far without his friends." Truer words were never spoken. Warren, who abandoned Andrew and Jonathan, dies in Villains. Xander who at first is seen running from everyone - like in his Restless dream, finally catches up to Willow on Kingsman
Bluff and he stands his ground. He lets Willow and Buffy too in a sense know that to Xander life is more worthwhile with them in it. It's an interesting contrast - Warren vs. Xander, since Warren see women as the enemy and friends as minions, Xander sees women as enriching his life and his dearest friends. In a sense Warren is what Xander fears becoming - the geek turned bully in the bar, just like Xander's father is a drunken bully - hitting his mother, getting into bar-room fights, making it all about his orbs.
But Xander stands up to Warren and Xander heals Willow with words of love. He doesn't use violence.

By standing on that cliff - Xander emerged fully grown from the basement. But his journey isn't over - he takes two additional steps on that path, he lets the old loves go.
He also forgives - first Anya and then Spike and finally Andrew. In defending Anya with his life and against his friend, Buffy, Xander comes to another catharsis, he finally understands why Buffy had to protect first Angel then Spike. He realizes how important love and forgiveness are - so it is Xander who sees Spike's trigger and Xander who checks out Giles' possible FE status, and it is Xander
who fixes the window and tells Dawn she is worthwhile.

When Xander revisits his past in Lance's living room.
Bringing Spike of all people with him. He revisits numerous past Xanders. 1) RJ - the geeky Xander of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, who wants the hellmouth to work for him even if it hurts others, 2) The Zeppo who feels he needs backup (bringing Spike along out of fear of Lance the bully), 3)Pizza guy and basement Xander with Mom's yummy yet embarrassing treats - Lance in the living room. At the end of the episode after Xander/Spike team has saved the friends - Xander the vocal/strategy part (which hints back to Hush, Doomed and even WtWA X/S pairings) - we see Xander realize he's not Lance anymore. Lance the joke who girls worshipped and was so great has found himself where Xander was two years before. Xander has grown up. HE can burn Lance's letter jacket, because it no longer fits. And he can grin during it.

The writers state that Xander never saw the FE really - b/c there was no need. He didn't have the issues. Perhaps they are right.

Xander's final act is losing the eye of judgement and self-righteousness - so that now...he can be humbled. By Chosen, Xander is content protecting Dawn and saving the world. HE doesn't have to fight by Buffy's side. Xander no longer judges Anya or Spike or Andrew. And Xander's basement?
It dissolves with the rest of Sunnydale into a crater.
He stands beyond it outside it's city limits. The demons of his youth swallowed whole and buried along with the symbol of the demon women he was always so attracted to. Anya. The summoner of worm demons, killer of adolescent frat boys,
the woman that Xander's first human/scorned girl friend summoned. He made his piece with her and himself.

Hope that addendum made sense. Not writing as clearly as I used to I'm afraid...writer's block and all that. ;-)

Liked your post Random, hope you don't mind me adding this long one on to it, in hopes Voy won't eat it.


[> [> Whoops typos galore. (should be Lance the jock not joke...freudian slip) -- s'kat, 21:20:07 07/11/03 Fri

[> [> Well said! think you've got Xander's journey figured out. -- jane, 21:45:17 07/11/03 Fri

[> [> That's fascinating. I don't know exactly... -- Random, 22:07:59 07/11/03 Fri

what to make of Xander's final role. I don't see him as having grown over the last season or so. From my perspective, the FE, in sparing him from visitations, basically offered the ultimate mixed blessing. It effectively considered Xander inconsequential...an assessment that I didn't see contradicted. I'm not sure that I'm right in considering Xander's passive role less important than it might have been. Something in me has trouble criticizing someone for playing the supportive background role. However, I can't escape the feeling that this was more a result of lack of attention from ME rather than a deliberate statement. It bothers me that Xander, who has been there from the beginning, never achieves his own catharsis. His eye is gouged out, but we never really learn what he gained from the experience.

Oh, and write all you want. The more, the better. ;-)

[> [> [> Re: That's fascinating. I don't know exactly... -- LadyStarlight, 06:42:18 07/12/03 Sat

His eye is gouged out, but we never really learn what he gained from the experience.

Okay, this may be pure fanwankery, but here goes.

Joss has said a couple times (sorry, too lazy to go find the exact quote) that he wanted to put Jesse in the credits to show that 'no-one is safe on this show'. Could Xander's eye have been a way to reinforce that? It's been a long time since we saw one of the Scoobs get hurt badly from a bad guy. (leaving out Buffy, of course)

[> [> [> Re: That's fascinating. I don't know exactly... -- lunasea, 08:48:11 07/12/03 Sat

Xander lost his eye to set up "Empty Places." Something horrible had to happen to him in order to turn on Buffy like that. It wasn't about what Xander gained, but what it took for him to lose his faith in Buffy, his insight so to speak.

I don't think he really gained anything. I don't think he was supposed to. Xander hasn't grown since season 5. Buffy's heart maxed out in her sacrifice to Dawn and after that, since that part of Buffy wasn't growing, neither did Xander. Just how I see it.

[> [> [> Aha! It's back - so I can respond. -- s'kat, 22:11:28 07/12/03 Sat

Sorry, had to take a break from the board for a while.;-)
July - it brings out the worst in us all.

Oh, and write all you want. The more, the better. ;-)
Hmmm...are you sure about that? My writing has been awfully emotionally bent this week. sigh.

But on to the topic. Which is far more interesting to address:

what to make of Xander's final role. I don't see him as having grown over the last season or so. From my perspective, the FE, in sparing him from visitations, basically offered the ultimate mixed blessing. It effectively considered Xander inconsequential...an assessment that I didn't see contradicted. I'm not sure that I'm right in considering Xander's passive role less important than it might have been. Something in me has trouble criticizing someone for playing the supportive background role. However, I can't escape the feeling that this was more a result of lack of attention from ME rather than a deliberate statement. It bothers me that Xander, who has been there from the beginning, never achieves his own catharsis. His eye is gouged out, but we never really learn what he gained from the experience.

If you read my Season 7 Review - you probably already know that I have serious problems with how ME wrapped up the Xander storyline. Actually I agree with a lot of what you said. One of my major problems with S7 was the lack of Xander or the skimpy story for a character I'd come to really enjoy -- it is also one of the many reasons I resent the character of Andrew who I believe ME used as a substitute for Xander.

On the other hand, I've read some dissenting opinions over the last few months with interest. And these opinions have to some extent forced me to reconsider Xander's arc and question whether my negative take is really valid.
One was leslie's about the eye - she came up with the idea that it might be symbolic gouging of the eye of judgement, which struck me as interesting - especially since Xander seems to deflate after it and stops questioning anyone.

Let's re-look at Xander's arc in S7 shall we? Maybe take a closer look??

Sleeper - Never Leave Me - Xander works during the day, constructing windows and building houses and sleeps and eats at night. Spike leaves during the night to lose his pain, drink it away. Much as Xander tried to drink his pain away in Entropy. Perhaps Spike and Andrew to some extent are being used as metaphors for Xander's own pain and anguish regarding Anya, and his own fears. Andrew - being the big bad cool guy in the jacket that does not fit him - and Xander threatening Andrew with getting his heart removed by Anya. 'She took my heart you see...and left me with nothing in return' Andrew's reply is so what, Xander has to embellish on it to scare Andrew. Perhaps showing for the first time, that Xander's heart-break and Anya's isn't the end of the world, isn't irreparable.

We also get Xander looking at the Spike situation with open eyes - "Let's be impartial here, look at it in a CSI sort of way.." he says in sleeper, or "Are you sure you want a crazy, amnesiac serial killer living here?" finally in Never Leave Me - Xander sees it clearly, his movie watching as referenced in Restless and past seasons comes into play, Spike is triggered. Xander gets it when the others are foggy about it.

When we reach BoTN - it is Xander who uncovers Buffy's Body backed by Giles and Willow after her fight with the ubervamp. (Referencing in a sense Prophecy Girl Xander)
and it is also Xander who keeps reminding Giles not to put all the pressure on Buffy - "And uhm 'no pressure' right?"
And it is Xander who wakes Buffy up from her dream of Joyce and suggests she get real sleep.

In Showtime - Xander comes up with the location for the showdown.

In Potential - Xander protects Dawn. HE is the one who suggests checking on her after they think she's the potential. HE's the one who sees her give it to Amanda and
recognizes how hard it was for her. And he's the one who comes to her in the last scene and tells Dawn how important she is. He sees not with his eyes per say but his heart. It's when Xander looks through his eyes that he screws up perhaps, but when he looks through his heart, he sees clearly. He thought Anya took it, but Andrew sort of points out that isn't the case. It's when he looked through his heart that he realized Anya didn't want to hurt anyone any more, that Andrew while annoying, was trying, that Dawn was special, that Spike was just triggered not evil any more,
that Willow was good. It's when he looks with his eyes - that he gets into trouble - like in First Date and the pretty girl whose looks are mere allusion, not real, or in
Sleeper where he sees Spike as just a killer, or in Him where he doesn't realize his first gut instinct was the right one - it's the jacket, or in Dirty Girls where he blindly follows Buffy until his eye is taken. Not questioning, even though his gut and heart are telling him to. (Actually Dirty Girls one is a bit murky.)

It's interesting that after Dirty Girls - Xander really does seem to retreat a bit. He regresses to S4/beginning S5 Xander - the monkey boy, the joke with his pirate patch and inappropriate comments. Losing his eye - makes him feel insecure somehow. He is quiet in the Empty Places vote out scene and he seems to blindly follow more. It's not really until Chosen when he is fighting those vamps that we feel him get his own back.

I think Xander was never supposed to be a super-hero or a wise one, he's only 22 after all. Expecting him to be complete at 22 is a bit much. He has however come an incredibly long way if we think about it. Starting out in Season 1 as the geeky adventurous dude on the skateboard, a la Marty mcFly (from Back to The Future) to S4' boy stuck in Dad's basement, to S5 cool dude with girlfriend and apartment to S7 single sauve bachelor with his own pad.
By the end of S7, we see S1 Xander again, the funky shirt, the sarcastic wit, the insecurity, yet also the pure heart - willing to battle the forces of darkness for his friends.
In Chosen - Xander fights his own demons with Dawn. He follows Dawn's lead, just as he followed Buffy's ages ago.
And slays a few personal demons in the process. Is he whole?
No. Is his story complete? No. But for now...it is the story the writers have chosen to provide us. Xander is at the end what he was in the beginning - the boy who will fight the monsters he fears for his friends.

I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, Random.
Hope it does.


PS: Thank you Masq, for reviving this thread.

[> [> [> [> I see your point in the episode-by-episode analysis -- Random, 09:02:24 07/13/03 Sun

And I tend to agree that the fact that he is only 22 means he is nowher close to achieving his potential. I remember listening to his speech from Dawn and thinking, "At last!" He is the heart of the group. Sigh...if only the group took him more seriously. A major problem I see is that Buffy can also be considered the "heart." Her intimacy issues aside, she is the one the rest revolve around, the one who must ultimately possess the passion to continue the war against evil and destruction. Xander can speechify and hurl himself into the fray as often as he pleases. He can even save the world all by his lonesome on occasion. But his role as the "heart" will always be incomplete so long as he is ineffectual -- or, more accurately, irrelevant -- most of the time. Perhaps this is simply bad luck -- the overlap of responsibility in the four divisions offered in Primeval tends to leave Xander with the short end of the stick because he never quite develops much of a facility with the others. Willow could easily be Sophus, or even Animus, insofar as she was possibly the most beloved of the Scoobies (intramurally speaking) pre-S6. Giles as Sophus and Animus and even occasionally Manus (as was, now that I think about it, witchy-power Willow. I also considered Giles as the true heart at one point, inasmuch as he was the one whose constant prodding and expectations kept Buffy from eschewing her responsibilities. In a strange, lowkey way, he was the one who kept her from losing her passion for the fight by preventing her from falling into an apathy rationalized by her desire for normalcy.) Buffy as all four, even without the spell. Xander exhibited flashes of the others, but rarely anything substantiative enough to mark a major shift in his character. Your point-by-point analysis of S7 demonstrates that there was potential, and lots of it. If only he hadn't reverted again. If only he had achieved something greater than butt-monkey but with a touch of maturity status. If only...well, I can drive myself nuts with this line of speculation. Ultimately, I believe he is nowhere near developing his potential because, as you point out, he's only 22. If only he didn't have to suffer from the inevitable comparisons to his fellow Scoobies -- who all achieved far greater developments than he did. I liked the thoughts above on how each one hit their defining moment, their springboard to the next level as a character. I had hoped Xander's speech to Dawn might have been a sign of that...and then it was never followed through. Sigh.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I see your point in the episode-by-episode analysis -- aliera, 09:53:30 07/13/03 Sun

If he is only 22... oddly, that number would be symbolic in tarot numbers as the end of a journey, implying the beginning of the next. In numerology both master-builder and visionary are associated with the number amongst other things. And Xander for me will always be the human factor, the place we cross through the fourth wall into the show so interesting coincidence. Thanks sk and Random.

[> [> [> [> [> One problem with the "he's only 22" argument... -- Rob, 12:51:32 07/13/03 Sun

...is that he seems to have accepted his place in the world and doesn't seem at least to have any loftier aspirations. I'm 22, and I hope I never have the sense of resignation that Xander has about his life and future. This is the time of his life he's supposed to be planning, dreaming, expanding, what have you. He seems, however, to be in kind of emotional stasis. Not saying that my experience as a 22 year-old has to be the same as everybody else's, and I would be the last one to describe myself as a full-baked cookie yet...but still, I don't want to stay cold cookie dough forever. I want to bake, dammit, and Xander seems to not be making enough (if any) progress in that department. I at times find his complete and abject acceptance that he will never be the guy in the spotlight kind of frustrating and depressing. He's just too young to have this kind of mind-set.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Well, how do you know he's resigned? -- s'kat, 14:20:12 07/13/03 Sun

at times find his complete and abject acceptance that he will never be the guy in the spotlight kind of frustrating and depressing. He's just too young to have this kind of mind-set.

But has he completely? And how great is the spotlight anyhow?? When we leave Xander - he's not dead, he's not living at home any longer (it's been demolished), he's not tied down at all - he's in the same boat as everyone else. Free of Sunnydale and all the demons that lived there. Behind him stands the wide open horizon.
That last shot is interesting if you think about it - we have Buffy, then Dawn, Giles, Willow, Faith and Xander
standing behind her and everyone one else behind in the school bus and behind them the horizon - broad open without any barriers or trees or things blocking them - an open limitless expanse of opportunity. In front of them (soon to be behind) is the past, a crater, a pit, no longer there to worry over and hold them.

Xander could go on to Cleveland, he could travel, he could move to LA, he could go to college or set up his own firm.
Of the SG he is the one with an occupation and a job, a good job and a real skill. He can build things. He can repair buildings. He can run a construction crew. And he can swing a sword and defend himself. He's no one's butt monkey (Whedon's word not mine), not any more.

What can Buffy do? She can slay demons and has superpowers, sure. But no education and no job skills.

Willow? Very bright. Very good with computers and magic.
But has Willow ever held a job?

Giles? The unemployed librarian and watcher.

For 22, Xander has come further than all of them. Maybe not in super-powers, but in real life work skills. Of all of them, he's probably the most likely to get a job -- although his bad eye might hinder him a little, but there laws against discrimination on disabilities. I think Xander's future may actually be the brightest.

I do however agree with Random, I would have a preferred a better wrap-up to Xander. Oh well.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> That's true. -- Rob, 17:10:10 07/13/03 Sun

It's just that I get the sense that psychologically, he's never going to get past his "quiet-and-in-the-background helper" situation, and that he never fully came to terms with what the dissolution of his relationship with Anya meant. Or at least, I didn't get that sense from his part this year on the show. He does have many opportunities to use his skills in the future, and may have the capability to have the brightest future, but I think he still sees himself as the buttmonkey. That may just be a personal interpretation of how I've read his actions this year. Logically, I know that there is far he could go. But I don't know if psychologically, even with Sunnydale destroyed, he's reached a point where he can be the hero of his own story, and not the sidekick in Buffy's. Not that he necessarily has to be in the spotlight, but I think he still defines himself by his helper status to the others. Maybe it's just that I'm not sensing much ambition in him.


[> [> Preserving a loyal friend -- fresne, 08:06:53 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> Oh, and thanks for my subject line...I didn't even realize until after I posted -- Random, 12:43:20 07/12/03 Sat

why the phrase "And now for something completely different" kept running through my head. I subconsciously lifted it from your hilarious post below.

[> Just preserving...treading water... -- Random, 22:50:59 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> Adding a preservation. -- s'kat, 22:59:08 07/12/03 Sat

See Random...my name does not guard against voy...
if only it did.

There appears to be no formula regarding voy - except possibly controversary. Nasty voy.

[> [> [> More preserving. -- Rob, 12:54:31 07/13/03 Sun

My Name is Legion (Angel Odyssey 4.20) -- Tchaikovsky, 16:03:59 07/11/03 Fri

Hello everyone.


The first lesson is taken from the Gospel according to St Mark

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the land of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains; Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

And always, night and day, he went into the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stnoes. But when he saw Jesus far off, he ran off and worshipped him. And he cried in a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is ty name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

Oooh, and in tru Buffy tradition- Here endeth the lesson.

-Mark 5:1-14 [actually running on a little further than Iíd planned- I keep getting drunk on the King James-ness of it all]

Just an off the cuff comment by Jasmine that sparked some good news, and that was ëWe are manyí. I really hope she said that, because thatís exactly the quote in Mark, and the story says a little about Jasmine. She could be the God, the Jesus figure in the story, but of course sheís not, sheís the demons in the possessed man. The multitude of ideas flying about coalesce into an idea of happiness which controls the population of Los Angeles in the same way that the devils control the man to self-mutilation. He does what is not right for him because he is being controlled by outside forces. Whether we consider this portrayal of ëdevilsí to be an interpretation of what weíd now consider a diseased mind and refer to a psychiatrist is really of secondary importance. What was inside the man, in his psyche or literally in his body, was obsessivenesss of some kind, causing confusion, controlling him, and restricting his free will from acting in the way he would otherwise. This is Jasmine.

And in this episode, she possesses the swine. She can become the people, and speak through them. She becomes them. And like the devils (in classic Biblical style, ëabout two thousandí, we never get anything in half measures!) it is the aspect most germane to the people whom she possesses. Each swine gets a different devil, and each person becomes a different aspect of Jasmine- or at least can do, depending what their body is suited to- her voice, her eyes, her ears, or even her fists. Of course, as we might expect from devils, the swine donít end up in a cushy pig-pen in the suave end of Nazareth. Lke the extreme disciples who (unknowingly?) put themselves up for devouring by Jasmine, so the swines throw themselves off a cliff, controlled by anything but a desire for self-preservation. Yet Jasmine gains power by being ëconnectedí, an idea she repeats throughout ëThe Magic Bulletí. It is a network of Jasmine. Jasmine is no longer simply housed by her body- her tendrils stretch further and further- until the Governor of California cedes his office. Now, truly, Jasminís name is Legion, for she is many.

Alright, obscure literary tangent done. Hereís some rather less perverse thoughts.

There are puzzles of all sorts of love going on in this episode. Itís a nice meditation, broken up by some of Lorneís funniest lines in a while- and a very accomplished debut from Ben Edlund. Everything fitts together quite nicely- hitting on the general theme- the suggestion ëLove is Sacrificeí. This is the most powerful sentiment the excellently creepy polypod comes up with while talking to Wesley. And I think itís important that he doesnít rate language. He is less accomplished at explaining what he means, and this isnít a foreign language thing only. Itís about the idea that language is over-rated in our universe, apparently. Bandying about names is dangerous- it may open ourselves to identification by others, and in doing so we may lose a part of ourselves. However the ethos works, he is much less articulate than Wesley, who, becoming the Watcher of old, outmanoeuvres him, getting him to give away more than heíd want to [hooray for ending sentences with prepositions]. Jasmineís name is what will, or may, defeat her. Acknowledging what she is- just like her blood. So while language is claimed to be over-rated in the other universe, it is actually extraordinarily powerful. How often is that true in our world? We dismiss something powerful because we want to deny its power over us.

And so with love, and so with devotion. Here we see Angel, having lost Cordelia, and deciding there is no other option than preparing to lose Connor as well, starting to close up inside. Heís doing a similar thing to what Buffy decided sheíd never do in ëThe Giftí, and what sent her catatonic in the previous episode- the idea of letting the most important person in the world to them die. Angelís situation is, as always, geyer. He has no reason to expect Connor to die from Jasmine, but he nevertheless knocks him unconscious. He denies his love- he tries to become the empty shell- explaining that ëHearts get in the way.í I suspect thatís not it at all. Itís that hearts hurt too much, and again, Angel is on the verge of losing everything. Not only that love he never quite had with Cordelia, but the son he never quite had, and the job he never quite understood. Itís like Job if Job had been Willy Loman. Just laugh politely and skip those sentences, I canít help them.

Hence we come, rather wonderfully, to Fred and Gunn. The way that Edlund links their dilemma into Angelís is pure Minear territory. We get an exceptionally truthful scene for the characters linked thematically to the idea of the episode. This is what I watch Angel for. Those moments where the story is so elegant and universal. Here, the conclusion is disturbing. For Gunn is worried about letting go, about doing what is ight. He is half-convinced to follow Angelís line. He is scared about Seidel. That this, an undercurrent in the season, is made explicit again exactly here is extraordinarily brilliant, in my humble opinion. And sweet, smiling, harmless Fred, speaks the controversial lines on which they end the scene. At least when ëtheyí killed Seidel they were feeling something. Not like leaving Cordelia- leaving Connor. Thereís something they did right in committing murder that theyíre getting wrong while abiding by every law. Itís a moral so dark, so counter-intuitive that it takes considering. It wasnít right to kill the physicist, but it was right to let the heart haven some rein. To follow some emotions- to go on the instincts that Buffy has- that Gunn has, and which Angel has always been tempted to deny. He was attempting to re-engage with that heart- with Cordelia as a friend , alover, a confidante, and Connor, a son, a protÈgÈ, a mystery, until both were ripped from him. And he hurts, and, like so many other times in the previous two and a half centuries, he tries to go on.

Itís not simple for Angel, he has Lady Macbeth hands. He finds it impossible to explain to the renegades just who the blood was from. The paradigm is too fresh in the mind of someone who has never had anything so beautiful- someone who, almost as much as Darla, has achieved nothing but Connor, or nothing if not Connor. That baby who Darla sacrificed in a transcendant act of love- trading the ëbrief candleí of her own life for the tiny flicker, the spark of the new baby. Now Angel cannot quite do the same, but itís hurting him. ëYet hereís a spotí.

And what of Connor? Jasmine replaces Cordelia, but still plays respecting her- claiming that she wishes time with her Mother. In the melee (a non book one, obviously), Iíve entirely forgotten that Angel is Jasmineís grandfather, in some strange way. Isnít it amazing the glitterball possibilities of this universe, almost eleven seasons in? Darla in the first scene, the Master the first Big Bad. And this charismatic character is the Masterís great-greatgrandchild, by a combination of vampiric and human reproduction. And so, in a sense, everything that has happened on both shows has conspired to bring us Jasmine. In a sense, we are Connor, beholding the wonder that everything came together the way it did to produce that radiant Goddess. And yet we know she is Legion, and that her words are dangerous, and that the argument itself strengthens her position. Connor yields the pain Jasmineís grandfather gives him sill, and surrenders to Jasmine, becoming her supreme minion. No longer just the son, but still the servant. The pain constant is extinguished, and yet we are left with the same hollow shell that Angel has. For Connorís love- although sacrifice of his whole life, omits emotion, allows him to believe that ëhearts get in the wayí, or even that his heart isnít in the way, because it is fully for Jasmine.

So is love sacrifice? Not only. Itís love. Sacrifice is an element. But Angelís sacrifice of Connor, Connorís sacrifice of self, are not simply motivated by love, but by other ideas. Itís dangerou s to equate two words with different meanings. Loving is sacrificing self for other, and allowing oneself to be strong in return- the moonís radiance from the shining sun of the lover.

And the other puzzle is solved by Lorne. Words can have power, as he tells the crew in a supposedly light-hearted manner how he doesnít want to be insulted for his demon-ness. ëSticks and stonesí doesnít cover it. Words can have power. As Wesley realises, Lorne is the patient explaining authorial voice. Once again. Thatís why we always need him on ëAngelí. Well, that and Edlund, can really, really write for him.

So loveís not quite sacrifice, and words do have power. And so finally, though a repetition of words, we get one of the strongest thoughts on love. Angel to his team: ëSomeone who knows the truth has to live through thisí. He sacrifices himself- not merely for love, but for his mission, and his isolation and for the Horatio clause, (sorry, Shakespeare on the mind). And so we get the same in reverse, and how much harder is it for Angel this way round? This time the others are sacrificing for him, and he for them in sacrificing his leadership role. And the choice, so hard, is repayed farcially, with the crab-like creatures seemingly indifferent between killing him, and, like the swine, knocking him off the precipice, the devil of ëlove is sacrificeí intact in him. I make as few predictions as possible, but vaguely and thematically, either this attitude will lead to even bigger problems for Angel or will be resolved in the last two episodes. I would have wagered on the latter, but Iíve seen ëTomorrowí and for that reason, these last two episodes could do pretty much anything they want- in my mind at least.

Well done Ben. Iím now free to scurry off and watch ëPeace Outí. Iím ver excited about this, as a certain relation of mine once called it the Best. Episode. Ever. And The Cheerleadery One is rarely far wrongÖ


PS- a couple of hours later. Itís not the Best Episode Ever! Review coming tomorrow-ish.

[> Can you really honestly believe the Cheerleadery One -- Masq, 16:08:29 07/11/03 Fri

When he says an episode is "The.Best.Episode.Ever"? He changes his mind with each new week!

; )P

[> [> True, bless his little pom-poms -- Tchaikovsky, 16:14:33 07/11/03 Fri

Getting my hopes up- and then leaving Fury to dash them! Actually that's not fair. It was a good Fury episode, but still a very palpable Fury episode. That's OK though- because 'Home' is a Minear episode- and, despite the consistency of Season Four, how I've missed the sparkle that Minear brings.


[> [> Hey, I resemble that remark! -- Rob ;o), 16:17:04 07/11/03 Fri

[> [> No he doesn't! He just adds a new one to the now extremely top-heavy list of "Best Episode Ever!" -- Random, 09:42:47 07/12/03 Sat

The old ones remain in the slot. It defies all logic, all reason, all moral progress that this sorry race has made, but somehow he makes it work. At last count, there were 114 Best Episodes Ever! in the number one slot. What Rob has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous. And a little spooky, like examining a real-life Klein bottle or a model of a tesseract.

~Random, who comes to gawk at Rob, not bury him

[> Ooooh! -- Rob, 16:12:52 07/11/03 Fri

PS- a couple of hours later. Itís not the Best Episode Ever! Review coming tomorrow-ish.

Get the maces out! The twins are disagreeing again. When was the last time, btw? IWRY? ;)

To add to this discussion of "Sacrifice," I thought I might as well add the review of the episode that I wrote for The Angel Sanctuary site a few months back:

"Hearts get in the way...If we donít gut ourselves, burn out everything inside that gave her power over us, then weíre lost."

One of the major themes on both "Buffy" and "Angel" this season has been about the lengths one must go to save the world. Is the sacrifice of oneís humanity an acceptable price to pay? If one must give up oneís humanity to succeed, is the victory worth it? Buffy and Fred would both say that it is not. In "Get It Done", Buffy turns down the chance at an easy victory against the First, by being imbued with the pure spirit of the demon that originally began the Slayer line. Had she accepted, one expects that she would have become a primal, raging force similar to the First Slayer. Buffy later comes to question her decision, however, despite the fact that she has fought throughout her slayage career to retain that which keeps her human and that which grounds her to the "real" day-lit world. Her decision to turn down the demon is an interesting one, since it speaks to the daily struggle Buffy has had this season in separating her Slayer and Human sides. While the human in her wants to console her friends and the Potentials, the Slayer side of her keeps telling her to push away and disregard her feelings, not to coddle them but to prepare them for battle. Angel has been following a similar code this year. Every time he has let his heart guide his way, he has been crushed this year. He opened his heart to Cordelia and Connor, and had it crushed by a single action done by both. He opened his heart to Jasmine, only to discover the maggoty truth beneath her beneficent exterior. In both cases, he reacted to these betrayals by closing himself and his feelings off from his friends. Angel believes that to be successful, he must deny himself his own humanity and his own feelings. For example, he must ignore his heart which is telling him to save Cordelia in order to callously leave her in the hands of the enemy. He must shut off all of his love for his son so that he could smash his face into a bloody pulp. Fred doesnít want to live in a world where one must become hardened and heartless in order to survive. A world where a man like Wes, for example, feels like he has no other options but to become dark and jaded. A world like that is not worth fighting for.

In the name of fighting evil, Angel has beaten his own son, Connor has facilitated in the slaughter of a terrified young girl, Wes has tortured a junkie for information, and Gunn has knocked a young boy unconscious with his bare hands, not to mention the events of "Supersymmetry", where Fred and Gunn together killed Professor Seidel in the name of revenge and ostensibly to prevent him from harming anyone in the future. Gunn and Fred facing off after he hit the boy brilliantly paralleled that earlier scene and further struck home this seasonal theme. Angel has come to believe that since Jasmine appears in the guise of love that the only way to defeat her is by closing himself off to love. The preying mantis creature seems to agree with this. The definition of love in his realm is "sacrifice". But is his savage, primitive race, obsessed and desperate to reclaim the love of a demigod who abandoned them, really the one from which Angel should be taking cues? Jasmine believes that love means giving yourself over completely to her, sacrificing your free will, just as Connor sacrificed his "pain" to her. But what Angel may not be considering is that in order to defeat The Divine Miss J he may need not to encourage people to be cold and hardened, but to rather supply them with an alternative source of love and enlightenment, one that does not demand the sacrifice of free will and mind in order to glow. The important thing is to make a sacrifice out of love, such as Wes and the Gangís at the episodeís end, not to sacrifice love itself.

Ben Edlund, a former "Firefly" writer joining "Angel" for the first time, crafted an excellent, thought-provoking episode that only suffers from a few flaws, mostly in the B-plot department. The "humans-attack-Angel-because-they-find-out-heís-a-vampire-and-donít- believe-heís-good" thread has been done before, has been done better than this, and was really little more than a maneuvering device to get the characters where they needed to be, as well as the "Gunn-runs-into-an-old-friend-from-his-early-days-who-challenges-his- authority" plot. But these clumsy moments were minor distractions from what was a remarkably strong episode. The zombie-fied people were cool and creepy, the two creepiest being the little girl in the back of the car, and Connor, both speaking with Jasmineís voice. And the preying mantis demon was a fascinating creation, for in a few short scenes, a unique, alien creature was brought fully to life before us. It was an example of what excellent writing Edlund can do that not only do we get a sense of this character as an individual, but also of the culture of his entire race. His strange way of speaking, dividing inferior creatures into "Talky-Meat" and "Non-Talky-Meat", delineating the difference between blood magic, flesh magic, and the detested word magic, contributed to this great character, who managed to be menacing, funny, and strangely childish ("We loved her first!") at once. His torture of the vampire was another example of how dark, twisted humor and horror could be intertwined to lead to a moment both disturbing and comically off-kilter. And as previously mentioned, the Fred/Gunn scene was brilliant. Gina Torres continued to surprise and amaze me with her commanding and frighteningly sincere performance. And the ending left me begging for more. While not all of the plot mechanics of this episode were smooth, the ingenious parts far outweighed those which were not so much.

I give this superior installment of "Angel" 3.90 slants.


[> [> Great review- pretty much agree -- Tchaikovsky, 15:26:10 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> Thanks. Same here about your review. :) -- Rob, 16:10:45 07/12/03 Sat

[> Saving this to read and possibly comment on later. -- s'kat, 21:36:54 07/11/03 Fri

[> Wonderful, TCH...Will respond later. Preserving thread -- Random, 21:56:51 07/11/03 Fri

[> Excellent stuff, TCH -- Rahael, 05:00:50 07/12/03 Sat

Really coherent drawing together of the themes. MOre response later.

[> Jasmine as the anti-soul -- lunasea, 07:25:58 07/12/03 Sat

Each season of AtS has been more amazing than the previous season. Can't wait to see where they take next season. I'm thinking the difference between good and evil, something they have skirted for 7 years.

Season 1 and 2, Wolfram and Hart play a rather nice bad to contrast with Angel. Angel's central motivation is his soul. It causes him to feel guilt for what he did and what he wants to do. This contrasts wonderfully with an organization whose purpose is to get people off. Season 2 Angel deals with his desires and as such season 3, Wolfram and Hart's role is greatly reduced.

Now we come to season 4. The Big Bad is essentially the opposite of Angel's soul. She makes people happy, something Angel can't be because of that pesky curse. More importantly, people don't care about anything, even their own lives. They aren't making sacrifices because nothing means something to them. It isn't a sacrifice unless it means something. For me to give up chocolate is no big deal (I hate chocolate). For pretty much everyone else, it is.

That said, I don't think that one character on either show actually understands Buffy or Angel. Both are constantly being accused of shutting down and being unfeeling. They may try, but if they didn't care, they wouldn't make the sacrifices that they do. Love isn't sacrifice, but it motivates us to make them.

For me the theme of this episode is why do we make sacrifices. It opens with Connor willing to sacrifice his father in order to preserve his world view, even though he knows it is a lie. He does it because as he tells his father, "I'm finally part of something! I belong! I won't let anyone ruin that!" The conclusion to this is heartbreaking. I will revisit this when we get to "Peace Out."

Next, Angel plays Champion and is willing to sacrifice himself so that his friends can get away. It may seem to be the hardest sacrifice of all for anyone to make. Not for Buffy or Angel. They have those huge hearts that make them into champions. It is easier and less painful for them to make this sacrifice than for them to let their friends die. What Angel does at the end is the hardest for either.

If Angel was as shut down as Fred claims, he would have just leaped through that portal without a second thought. That was one of the hardest things he ever did. Wesley and Fred (intellect and heart) had to convince him. Could Buffy have sacrificed Dawn? Because she didn't, Sunnydale was overridden by demons and almost destroyed. Her friends were almost brutally raped. It is easier for someone like Buffy or Angel to die in the line of duty than to live with survivors guilt.

The next sacrifice again is Angel's. He leaves his son behind. Again how this ends is rather tragic. He realizes that Connor is a lost cause. Why does Angel beat on Connor like that? To try and beat some sense into him? To take out his frustration? To show Connor he realizes that Connor and he are now on opposite sides? Was he doing it to prove to himself that his friends are more important?

Fred accuses Angel of just shutting his feelings off and leaving Connor behind. Will revisit this for "Peace Out."

After Angel gives up his son, we go to credits. Then we cut back to the gang driving off. We find out that the Catholic Church has given up all their false idols. They don't mean anything to them any more. This isn't a real sacrifice and contrasts sharply with what Angel just did.

I like Gunn, but his ping-ponging between kicking the board over and the universe handing out breaks can get annoying. AI has just sacrificed everything. They are no longer part of the happy collective. They have sacrificed their lives to the mission a while ago. Gunn feels that the PTBs earlier and the universe now should give them a break.

Jasmine knows where to hit Angel: But you are hurting them, Angel, just by being.

This is the guy that left Buffy because she deserved better. He tried to kill himself because he didn't want to hurt anyone. Angel is always making personal sacrifices so that others won't be hurt. Now he is accused of hurting people just by existing. This is the first time we see someone speaking with Jasmine's voice. Jasmine, the anti-soul, is judging Angel.

Angel's reaction is great: Ok. That's new.

Jasmine talking through her followers is new, but so is this new issue for Angel, which will carry over to next season probably. Jasmine calls Angel, "a disease in the body Jasmine." A few lines that as usual carry a huge message, both for the plot, but more importantly for what is going on inside of Angel.

Over on BtVS a lot is written about how the characters are symbolic representations of various parts of Angel. The same is true of Angel. The interaction between everyone while they are in the sewer shows just what is going on inside of Angel. Under the surface, he isn't quite as unfeeling as Fred accuses him of being. I think DB does an extraordinary job showing this, but some just seem him as the broody avenger. He may try to shut down, but underneath the fire still rages and he is just as conflicted as the love triangles that turned the show into a turgid supernatural soap opera.

A brief detour. The big controversy on the net now is David Fury's most recent interview where he says that Angel isn't morally ambiguous. People then bring up all of souled Angel's transgressions/gray actions. That isn't what I think that Fury is saying. He isn't talking about Angel's actions or desires/thoughts. He is talking about Angel himself, the core of the man that lies beneath the surface. The show for me has been about him discovering this core. Each season is like peeling another layer of the onion away. Angel, in the end, push comes to shove, does the right thing. It may take him a while to get there, but he does. The purpose of the darkest period of Angel's souled life, Season 2, was to get him to his epiphany. If that isn't the realization of a good man (all I want to do is help), I don't know what is. That is what I think Fury is saying.

Next sacrifice, Jasmine demands Connor's pain. It doesn't seem like a sacrifice to us. Who here would gladly give up your pain? Raise your hand. To Connor it is the ultimate sacrifice and Jasmine knows it. "I want it. I want everything you are." This will lead to heartbreak.

Demon guy is working on a sacrifice for his goddess. (not going to talk about Spike, though he REALLY fits here). He thinks his sacrifice will win back his Goddess. Thing is 1) it isn't a real sacrifice. It isn't something he particularly wants. He is making flesh magick with the flesh of others, big deal. Really gross, but not remotely like what the Beast did. The Beast's offering was his own bone. 2) Jasmine doesn't want sacrifices, at least not that kind. She wants real ones, like she gets from Connor. She doesn't care for words, Insect guy tells Wesley.

The anti-soul. The soul is what makes Angel willing to make sacrifices for things that really matter. Jasmine wants people to give up things that really matter for her.

Angel wants everyone to sacrifice their feelings for the mission. Fred brings up what they did to Siedel. Who over on Buffy accuses Buffy of shutting down the most? Xander, as Buffy's heart. It shows what is really going on and same thing here. Fred, as Angel's heart/feelings is talking about how she can't do this. Gunn as another part of Angel can, or at least he can pretend to. He admits that it hurts him, too. Then he turns the subject to "a scared kid out there." He does care.

An interesting essay would be the parallels between Fred and Xander.

With his last breath, the insect demon gives himself to Jasmine. Standard ritual BS. It gives the insect some meaning into his meaningless death, just like his obsession gave his life meaning. The anti-soul. Jasmine replaces the things that give our lives real meaning.

Angel can't make his final sacrifice this episode, leaving his friends behind, until Fred, his heart, speaks up. "Hearts get in the way, right?" Actually, seeing Fred in this light makes some other things make sense, like how Angel reacted to the kiss in "Magic Bullet." Angel comes out of Jasmine's spell and is feeling horrible. Intimate contact with Angel's heart temporarily relieves him of this feeling.

Alone and isolated from his friends, Angel is now in Hell.

Just some more thoughts to add.

[> And very legionous you are -- fresne, 08:05:40 07/12/03 Sat

Hmmm...interesting since Lorne and Wes are the ones who deal in words. Books and song. Interepreting melody into meaning. Future. Past.

Anya's Origins - In Irish Folklore! -- Jacki, 20:06:45 07/11/03 Fri

According to a website I was reading today (I stumbled accross this totally by accident):

In Irish folklore, there are many races of fairies. One such race is called the Dinnshenchas (dinn-shyn-khas). They are small, dwarven fairies who serve the Irish Goddess Aine (pronounced Anya). Among other features, they have the ability to avenge women wronged by men.

I thought that was pretty interesting. Apparently Joss was up on his Irish folklore? Either that or it's a major coincidence, but I don't think so.


[> Nifty! Thanks, Jacki. -- LadyStarlight, 20:10:08 07/11/03 Fri

[> Cool, Jacki. Nice bit of serendipity there. -- Random, 20:11:23 07/11/03 Fri

[> Re: Anya's Origins - In Irish Folklore! -- O'Cailleagh, 20:22:35 07/11/03 Fri

Yup, its true! And also, the word 'Anyanka' appears to be a conjoining of Aine and dinnshencha.


[> [> Re: Anya's Origins - In Irish Folklore! -- O'Cailleagh (getting ready to hide), 20:25:36 07/11/03 Fri

Also (and I will apologise first, to save time, its because I'm sleepy and unable to resist),
according to my research (!) the Patron Saint of fixing Plot Holes is someone called....Fanwanka!


[> [> [> ROTFLOL!!! -- LittleBit, 21:40:03 07/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> Can I borrow her for OBAFU? -- HonorH, 23:16:03 07/11/03 Fri

'Cause we could really, really use her.

[> [> [> [> Of course! I'd be Honoured...um..HonorH...:-) -- O'Cailleagh, 12:19:00 07/12/03 Sat

[> That'll make a great annotation for Rob- and he'll be at the Wish soon. -- Alison, 20:26:30 07/11/03 Fri

[> [> Absolutely! Thanks, Jacki! And thanks, Ali, for pointing it out to me! -- Rob, 01:45:36 07/12/03 Sat

[> And strangely...or not... -- O'Cailleagh, 20:38:15 07/11/03 Fri

After a quick bit of (real) research, I've found that one of the animals sacred to Aine is....thats right, the rabbit!
(BTW, Aine can also be pronounced Aw-nay, and Ee-nay)


[> [> Aha! Finally, a reason for her dislike of bunnies. Thanks for that! -- s'kat, 21:32:09 07/11/03 Fri

[> Re: Anya's Origins - In Irish Folklore! -- leslie, 21:32:25 07/11/03 Fri

"Dinnshenchas (dinn-shyn-khas). They are small, dwarven fairies who serve the Irish Goddess Aine (pronounced Anya)."

Although, sadly, Dinnsenchas means "lore of places" and refers to a genre of folktale that explains why places have the names they have. One of the more charming aspects of Dinnseanchas is that they will often give one explanation, and then say, "Or..." and go off on another, completely different explanation, and as far as the compiler is concerned, there's no one right or wrong explanation--in fact, the more the merrier. Which is a dinnseanchas for why medieval Irish narrative is the way it is.

Aine, incidentally, means "fiery, bright, glowing," i.e., effulgent. And also "speedy, swift," as when teleporting. She a goddess, the daighter of Manannan mac Lir, and is associated with the sidh of Cnoc Aine, (Knockainey) in Co. Limerick.

[> [> Any conection to Macha do you think? -- Celebaelin, 07:10:18 07/12/03 Sat

Something about Jackie's description made me look the story up and then your mention of "speedy, swift" capped it.

Here's an English version of the Irish myth.

Noinden Ulad and Emuin Machae
(The Labour Pains of the Ulaid and the Twins of Macha)

The widower Cruinniuc Mac Agnomain of the Ulaid and his sons are visited by a mysterious and beautiful woman who stays in his stronghold and becomes his wife bringing him great prosperity.

Subsequently the Ulaid stage a festival including horse-races in which the Kings' horses appear unbeatable but at the close of the day Cruinniuc claims that his wife could beat any of the horses there assembled. The King hears of this and takes Cruinniuc captive threatening to kill him should his wife loose in a race against the Kings' stable of racehorces.

The mysterious woman is heavily pregnant and requests that the race be postponed until after the birth but the King refuses. Because of this the woman prophesises doom on the Ulaid, the King demands that the woman reveal her name to him and then run the race. The woman says that she is called Macha and walks to the starting line.

Macha wins the race and promptly gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl (the Emain Macha). As she gives birth she screams out a curse on the Ulaid that any man or woman within earshot will suffer her labour pains for five days and four nights. The curse runs for nine generations and is responsible for the defeats the Ulaid suffer in their conflict with the men of Connacht. The only people unaffected by the curse are Cu Chulainn, his women and their children.

As Anya's curses go that's fairly mild I suppose, and it affects the women as well but there's some element of commonality don't you think?


[> [> From 'A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk'... -- O'Cailleagh, 12:17:00 07/12/03 Sat

By Edain McCoy. This is the section on the Dinneshenchas, as it appears in the book....more or less

Land of origin: Ireland
Element: Fire
Appearance and Temperament: The Dinnshenchas
(din-sheen-k'has) are dwarf faeries in the service of the Goddess Aine, Who is both a cattle Goddess and a Goddess Who protects women. They have been said to shapeshift into any form to help avenge women harmed by men. They also guard cattle.
Lore: It is unclear whether the stories about Dinnshenchas avenging wronged women are merely a wish-fulfillment thought-form or not. Aine was raped by a Connacht king. She later slew her attacker, and was elevated in the folklore of the early centuries of this era to the status of a patron Goddess of wronged women. The Dinnshenchas is also the name of a collection of old Irish stories.
Where to find them: In pastures or at the shrines to Aine which are found in her home county, Kilkenny. (Hmm...links to South Park??)
How to contact: Ritual invocation at your circle or during spells for the protection of women. Design a ritual to contact Aine and draw Her power into you.
Magickal and Ritual Help: It is likely that Aine and Her faeries can be called upon to protect and give strength and courage to women, and to guard and watch over cattle.In a ritual situation, ask that She allow the Dinnshenchas to guard you if you are approaching a difficult or dangerous situation.

So, it does say about the Irish folklore collection sharing this name. Another book by Edain McCoy, 'Celtic Myth and Magick', states that either the Dinnshenchas were named after the book, or the book was named after them.
It also says that the king who raped her was from Munster, not Connacht, and was named Ailill Olum.
Either way, it is clear from the amount of lore they share with Anya, that this was the original inspiration for her.


[> [> [> Re: From 'A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk'... -- leslie, 15:46:04 07/12/03 Sat

Edain McCoy really is NOT a reliable guide for Irish/Celtic folklore. Really, really, really not. Aine does exist as an Irish goddess, and any connection with vengence would not surprise me, since vengence is pretty big with both gods and goddesses (and fairies, and humans, and animals, and various rivers, rocks, and waves) in Irish myth. The Dinnsenchas stuff, though... I don't see how it could be authentic Irish--who the hell would call a supernatural spirit "the lore of places" which is a literal translation of the word "dinnseanchas." If you spoke Irish, it would be like calling a fairy "the automobile club." And if you didn't speak Irish, you wouldn't be calling the goddess "Aine," it would be some anglicized form and she wouldn't be a "goddess," she'd be a "fairy queen" at best.

[> [> [> [> Why isn't Edain McCoy reliable? I almost went and got that book! -- Uathach, 17:45:23 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Why isn't Edain McCoy reliable? I almost went and got that book! -- O'Cailleagh, 18:02:09 07/12/03 Sat

From what I gather, it has to do with her book 'Witta', which she presented as being a genuine Irish Wiccan tradition from an unbroken line of Witches..or something along those lines...this was later proved to be untrue and so the rest of her work has been tarred with the same brush.
Whether or not Witta was a genuine Irish version of Wicca, I do not know...probably not though. Whether this means that she made up everything in her other books...well, I know I've seen similar stuff in other books, both old and new, by different authors (and publishers-Llewellyn books, her publisher, have also gotten themselves a bit of a bad rep), so unless they're conspiring against us, I think its unlikely that everything she has written is automatically wrong. As with all books on the Craft, even those written by those you greatly respect, it is best to thoroughly examine everything to see if it holds up with previously established fact.


[> [> [> [> Well...after a bit of book consultation... -- O'Cailleagh, 17:48:50 07/12/03 Sat

I've been unable to find anything further on either Aine or the Dinnshenchas-the book or the faery.
I've also googled it, and found that most of the links that I could actually work (there were a number that wouldn't work, whether this is my puter or the intermanet is unknown!) seemed to come from the work of Edain McCoy.
I have put feelers out though, for any non-Edainy connections that might help us out here. (I should point out that I am aware of her current low standing within Celtic circles).
One speculatory explanation for the name shary thing though, is that perhaps the faery forms were known to be 'keepers of name lore' or some such thing and so they came to share the name. Its a possibility at least. Should I get any leads, I will keep you posted. Of course..one way to find out would be to try and contact and ask them directly....


[> [> [> [> [> ::grabbin' my 9' of cord and trusty athame to start a Faery Fetch Journey:: -- The Stolen Child, 18:22:23 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well I hope the athame isn't made of iron... -- O'Cailleagh, 18:29:53 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> just wood'n'bone -- The Stolen Child, 18:34:33 07/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Well...after a bit of book consultation... -- leslie, 20:34:34 07/12/03 Sat

Well, the stuff on Aine I had in my first post above was from T. F. O'Rhailly's _Early Irish Myth and History_. There are a couple of references in Anne Ross's _Pagan Celtic Britain_. She is said to be the mother of Earl Gerald Fitzgerald (Gearoid Iarla). Hmm, interesting, just came across a reference to the Daoine Sidhe (people of the sidh/fairy mound) along with something on Aine; wonder if this "Dinnsenchas" is a misspelling of that? But I've been studying Celtic folklore and mythology for eighteen years and have a doctorate in it, and I have never come across any fairy-type beings called Dinnsenchas, and I've come across so many references to (and have studied) the literary Dinnseanchas, I really think that that is a mistake. The Dinnseanchas are so central to medieval Irish legend and myth that if there were fairies named after them, someone would have mentioned them sooner or later.

My problem with McCoy is that she is such a mishmash of actual folklore and mythology and then stuff that is misspelled, mistaken, half-right, and possibly just made up, that it's infuriating and highly misleading.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmm...leslie's right, From Dictionary on Celtic Mythology -- s'kat, 22:56:00 07/12/03 Sat

Looked up Dinnsenchas and on p. 81, defined as Irish descent and " The lore of prominent places." A comprehensive topography of Ireland and a guide to geographical mythology. IT is contained in the twelth century "Book of Leinster". "

Looked up Aine (with an accent over the A) - "The Goddess of love and fertility. She was the daughter of Eogabail, foster son of the sea god Manannan Mac Lir. She has also been identified with Anu, mother of the gods as well as Morrigan, goddess of battles. These identifications seem suspect. Aine was continually conspiring with mortals in passionate affairs. One tale has her being raped by Ailill Olom. There are many later tales of Aine, and even during the last century the love goddess was worshipped on Midsummer Eve [D. Fitzgerald, "Popular Tales of Ireland", Revue Celtique, vol IV]"

This from: The Dictionary of Celtic Mythology by Peter Berresford Ellis, published by Oxford Paperback Reference
(c) 1992

Now the author does state in his preface:"I should point out that a major problem has been that of obtaining a consistency in the spelling of names. For the general reader this involves not simply the natural orthographical changes of a language over the centuries but also the numerous Anglicised distortions."

So in short - getting any true accuracy can be a bit like splitting hairs or finding a needle in a haystack. Apparently to be an accurrate and reliable folklorist/mythologist - one has to be incredibly detail oriented and thorough - a real nit-picky researcher.
This in a nutshell was why I didn't become one...although why on earth I chose to go to law school an equally nit-picky detail oriented area is beyond even my comprehension.
(shakes head, inconsistent? Me? ) The other reason is I suck at languages - really really suck. The furtherest I got was a rudimentary understanding of written French.

Oh well. Still dabble in it occassionally. But no where near the experts that Leslie, Caroline, Resh, and Rahael are.

Hope that helps a bit.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well...after a bit of book consultation... -- O'Cailleagh, 23:13:42 07/12/03 Sat

"But I've been studying Celtic folklore and mythology for eighteen years and have a doctorate in it"
Gah! I wish you'd mentioned this a bit earlier...I could have just taken your word for it rather than spend half the night researching it myself!
Good point about the Daoine Sidhe-the misspelling idea is a strong possibility, all things considered!
However, none of this detracts from Jacki's original post regarding Aine Herself. She still seems pretty Anya-esque even without the Dinnshenchas (so glad I won't need to type that word again for a while!).


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Research is good for the soul! And you never know what you will find... -- leslie, 12:11:45 07/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> doesn't matter if it is historically accurate -- lunasea, 11:22:30 07/13/03 Sun

it is just another story, whether true or not, that was borrowed. Even if someone from ME saw it in a book my McCoy, that doesn't mean it wasn't a source of inspiration. It's still a great story.

Heck, they still think Angel's tattoo is a Griffin. They don't care too much about accuracy.

[> [> [> [> [> Even though it matters not to you, it does matter to some. -- The Stolen Child, 13:33:17 07/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> So, what would be the most valid book on Celtic Faeries? -- The Stolen Child, 10:14:30 07/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> Re: So, what would be the most valid book on Celtic Faeries? -- leslie, 12:25:27 07/13/03 Sun

Well, I wouldn't start with anything published by Llewellyn, because their stuff is such a mish-mosh. Anne Ross's Pagan Celtic Britain is a classic, as is Alwyn and Brinley Rees's Celtic Heritage. There's a lot of stuff out there these days by Miranda Green (aka Miranda Jane Green, aka Miranda Aldhouse Green, aka just about any possible combination of "Miranda," "Jane," "Aldhouse," "Green," and their initials) and by Juliette Wood, both of whom are Celtic mythologists--Green is an archaeologist, Wood is a folklorist--but who write for a popular audience. If you start from these and then follow up on books that they list in their bibliographies, you'll start to get a good sense of Celtic folklore and mythology that will help you separate the wheat from the chaff in more speculative (and in some cases downright made-up) books. That's the problem with Celtic mythology--there is a huge amount of real crap out there--and trust me, McCoy is a bastion of intellectual integrity compared to some of them. And the thing is, the real stuff is quite bizarre and fascinating enough without having to make stuff up. What really pisses me off is that a lot of the crap really is written from the position that "well, Celtic mythology is weird and the spelling of everything is incomprehensible and therefore it doesn't matter if I don't get it right." Well, it is weird but the spelling does have rules, the words actually mean something, and if you can't bother to respect the language of the people you're representing, then you have no business writing about them in the first place! This is actually why I am making such a fuss over "Dinnseanchas," because the names of things and people and places are incredibly important in Celtic mythology.

[> [> [> [> [> Incorrect namings and spellings are highy disrespectful and egotistical. -- The Stolen Child and thank you for the book information, 12:43:32 07/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> So speaking of names... -- O'Cailleagh, 14:29:20 07/13/03 Sun

Stolen Child seems to be a new one around here. Are you a new poster/ex-lurker, or a regular who fancied a change?
If its new poster/ex-lurker, then Hey! Welcome and stuff!


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you for the welcome, but I'm just a moody regular. -- The Stolen Child, 14:37:12 07/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> Having actually met and spoken with Dr. Wood and Dr. Green -- s'kat, 13:50:00 07/13/03 Sun

I can vouch for them as valid resources, scholars and extremely helpful.

When, wayyy back in 1987, I visited Wales to collect ghost stories and legends as an undergrad on a research grant - Dr. Juliet Wood took me briefly under her wing at the Folklore Center just outside Cardiff. I was directed to the center by Dr. Green, who also was very informative and suggested further study at the National Library of Wales in Aberwysthe, Wales. These scholars were wonderful resources and advised me against some of the *more* popular writers (but not scholars) in the field. Folklore like any field gets a lot of dabblers. I was an undergrad at the time and did not decide to go further after my collection in Wales. But I can tell others - that Dr. Wood and Dr. Green are reliable sources, they exist, I met them, I saw Dr. Wood at work, I saw her office and how she researched.
I also saw the people she worked with.

Not sure if that helped. ;-) sk

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Having actually met and spoken with Dr. Wood and Dr. Green -- O'Cailleagh, 14:23:30 07/13/03 Sun

Yup, I agree, they are both extremely good, although I'm less familiar with Dr.Wood's work. Any idea if she is still at the Folklore centre, or even if it is still there itself? Nevermind that actually, it'd probably be far easier for me to find that out since I live just down the road from Cardiff!
Still, if you *were* to decide to come back for those studies (unlikely I know, after all this time), at least there'd be someone you know around...kinda. And you could tell me the secret of how to post great threads!! :p


[> Okay, this is very intriguing -- fresne - glances at partners in crime, 08:03:50 07/12/03 Sat

[> Re: Anya's Origins - In Irish Folklore! -- JCC, 12:04:07 07/12/03 Sat

About time the Irish guy stepped in. :)
The name Aine is still fairly common in Ireland and is pronounced Aww-n-ya.
All of this seems far too relative to be a coincidence. (C'mon, Bunnies!) Guess Joss does know his Irish folklore.

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