It’s Friday again! Time to look at the many issues messing with the heads of popular fantasy characters. If you remember from last week, we’re looking at the daddy issues of female characters in urban fantasy.
So let’s put the Slayer on the couch, shall we?
Buffy’s parents divorced when she was about fifteen. Her nightmares reveal that she’s afraid her father left because of her. She makes scattered comments throughout the show about her father not caring enough to make an effort to see or—after her mother dies—care for her. Because of this, Buffy takes on a parental role to her sister, Dawn.
She’s deeply attached to her Watcher, Rupert Giles, and looks on him as a father figure. After her mother dies, Giles becomes a pseudo-parental figure, one Buffy expects to deal with Dawn’s thieving ways. Giles eventually leaves in order to make Buffy stand on her own.
She dates much (much!) older men. Angel, the love of Buffy’s life, is 200ish years older than her. Spike is 100ish years older than her. Both are powerful, violent men, and that violence tends to bleed into the physical aspects of her relationships. Part of why Riley, her human boyfriend, flees is because he feels inadequate next to her strength.
All in all, what do these things tell us? Buffy’s a badass gal, we know that, and physically stronger than any normal guy. I don’t think we can say, though, that she’s hunting for a strong man who can protect her. No—I think she’s looking for an equal, not a superior. And that’s tough for the Slayer to find, if not impossible.
Daddy issues? Sure. She has issues with her father and issues with her father-figure. But those issues don’t define her: they’re just one shade of her character. She’s not looking for a new father. She’s looking for a partner… and, being the Slayer, she may never find one.
What do you think? Are Buffy’s relationships inevitably doomed because of her past history with men? Is Angel the only man for her? Is she destined to stand alone? What do these issues tell you about Buffy’s character?