View Full Version : Revenge in the Buffyverse

24-01-18, 11:55 AM
I was looking through the dead threads and saw a post on Revenge by kana, and I wondered what people thought about the revenge stories we see in the Verse. Have your attitudes changed at all over the years?

Do you feel any of the characters were justified? Do you empathise with some more than others? How you think it changed the characters and do you think in the end they still felt justified in their revenge?

'Revenge' is a major theme throughout both shows, with characters like Wood, Willow, Holtz, Xander, Fred, Marcie, the Gypsies who cursed Angel, all exacting revenge, and it seemed like many of them were punished for doing so. Do you think it was worth it for them?

24-01-18, 12:02 PM
Oh revenge plots and blood feuds are big in the verse, and I have to say story arcs like Holzt etc to be very engaging.

24-01-18, 12:28 PM
The stories and plots about revenge are a major part of the shows, but I find that most characters who go looking for revenge, whether they achieve it or not, tend to pay a high price in the end. Even though it could seem that Willow, for example, got off lightly, she punished herself far more than anyone else could punish her for seeking revenge on the Trio.

24-01-18, 02:44 PM
I like the way the verse dealt with it. It's understandable to want perpetrators of awful crimes - especially those who have hurt you and those you love - punished (and they should be), but there's a difference between justice and revenge (though the line may not always be obvious at first), and BtVS and AtS did a good job showing that getting obsessed with revenge leads to nothing good, and can ruin your life. Or even turn you into a monster. I thought Marcie was a compelling sympathetic villain (and she was even compared to Shylock in-verse!), and Holtz is one of my all-time favorite tragic villains. I really liked his story.

On the other hand, the "Gypsy curse" is a pretty terrible plot device, since the "true happiness" clause is a completely idiotic move on the part of the Romani who cast the spell.

24-01-18, 04:16 PM
On the other hand, the "Gypsy curse" is a pretty terrible plot device, since the "true happiness" clause is a completely idiotic move on the part of the Romani who cast the spell.

Totally agree, the Romani curse was awful in itself, and was destined to fail. It also led to the deaths of Jenny and her Uncle, so more Romani died because of that curse. I wonder though if, for that hundred or so years, the Romani's felt very self-satisfied with their revenge. It also goes to prove that revenge, in this verse, always blows up in your face, even if you have to wait a century.

a thing of evil
24-01-18, 08:12 PM
I don't like how Buffyverse approaches revenge. Revenge is almost unanimously* portrayed in a negative light and that's a very simplistic way of looking at it. Modern society discourages revenge and penalizes it because it has law and institutions created to uphold it. We outsource revenge to the state with a monopoly on it. And that's a great thing! Thing is, legal system exists because of revenge. It was created to keep individuals from resorting to private vengeance, which led to an absurd amount of bloodshed and chaos. So in a non-occult world discouraging revenge is perfectly rational.

Problem is, Buffyverse in not a non-occult world and the occult sphere of it has no legal system. There's nobody to outsource the revenge to. The gypsies might be unfair and cruel but consider their choices. They can take revenge and curse Angelus or they can do nothing and just let him kill more people. Flaying Warren is an atrocity but the alternative is to let him continue killing because the state cannot contain him due to his abilities and connections. Personally, I can't condemn those two examples.

* That is when an act is explicitly considered a revenge. Example. Demon kills a human. Buffy kills that demon. How is that not revenge?



What exactly did Marcie exact revenge for? Marcie is a sociopath who tries to kill people because they didn't give her the attention she believes she's entitled to. Aside from children in relation to their parents, nobody's entitled to attention.

24-01-18, 08:20 PM
No, it was not necessary to flay Warren alive. Even if one believes that he needed to be killed rather than kept imprisoned, that would pure torture and absolutely uncessary for anything other than revenge.

The Romani curse is an excellent example of revenge at its stupidest. What was the alternative? How about no true happiness clause? Without it, it makes sense - you instant-reform Angel, make him stop killing and doing other awful things, make him feel guilty and want to redeem himself. But with the clause, you ensure that if he ever feels truly happy, he turns evil and starts killing again. Wow, great job.

25-01-18, 12:36 PM
I think the curse was supposed to be vengeance at its blindest. Jenny states that they are fools and are dismissing the good that Angel could do if he retained his soul. Yes it means he is then released and can murder without guilt again. It is stupid. But it was always supposed to be about him feeling no peace in response to one specific murder. If he gets to the point of moving past the guilt and finding that then they are wanting to take that away from him because they were only interested in him feeling pain. It's idiotic, blind and stated as such.

Generally I find I can understand and, to differing degrees, sympathise with people feeling hurt or angry enough to want vengeance. But in itself it is a negative course of action and I think the verse raises the question over the choice and the acts of vengeance that we see. But as Silver1 says, they are engaging. Seeing people respond to heightened/intense emotional responses connects you to the stories more I suppose.

13-04-18, 07:30 PM
All caught up

Principal Robin Wood

* The main problem with Robin Wood is he was working for the First Evil’s aims. He’s around infinitely less sympathetic than Riley Finn toward Angel and toward Spike.

Second to that is Wood was trying to be with Buffy. Even Spike never tried to kill Riley and never tried to kill Angel simply to literally kill the competition. Riley de-chipped Spike based simply because Spike was someone Buffy didn’t want dying.

Third is Slayers die young. It’s not as if Nikki Wood would have lived many years longer had Spike not killed her.

Daniel Holtz

* Angel was back ‘with’ Darla. Angel had a child with Darla.

Angel was living in luxury off his vampiric abilities.

Angel’s Fang Gang was working for Angel knowing his past.

Holtz was mostly justified

Willow Rosenberg

* Completely justified in wanting to kill Warren Meers, Jonathan Levinson, and Andrew Wells

Jonathan was much eviler than Andrew.

Andrew has been helpful post-BtVS S6, but perhaps the Seal of Danalthar (sp?) wouldn’t have been opened if Andrew died in BtVS S6.

Alexander Lavelle Harris

* Angel had been helpful pre-“Angel” (B 1.07). Xander’s being against Angel is almost completely because of Buffy/Angel.

Xander is gross to Buffy in “Dead Man’s Party” (B 3.02), suggesting she was a hooker, severely downplaying the issues that led her to run away, etc.

Xander in “Revelations” (B 3.07) wanted Angel dead simply because of Buffy/Angel. Xander would know Buffy wouldn’t make out with Uncursed Angel.

* Xander in “Entropy” (B 6.18) was going to kill the person Anya just had sex with. He then slut shames both Anya and Buffy.


* Is literally a vengeance demon when she wants to harm Xander for dumping her at the altar. Anya probably wanted to have sex with Spike—we first see her possible interest in “Pangs” (B 4.08).

Winifred Burkle

* Fred was a member of the Fang Gang when she wanted to kill her former professor. Charles Gunn was wrong to try to stop her.

Marie Cross

* No one has the right to be popular. No one has the right to be friends with the most popular girl in school. Marcie could have been friends with other people.

Romani Gypsies

* The Gypsies curse on Angel was kinda dumb. Better to simply kill him.


* Liam’s father didn’t want Liam being a ‘trust fund kid’ who has no job. Angel essentially killed his father for daring to tell Liam that Liam eventually needs to make his own money.

William Pratt aka William the Bloody aka Spike

* William was one of the most privileged people in the entire world. He was among the around 2,000 wealthiest people in the United Kingdom during the Victorian Era. Some of his peers making fun of his poetry and Cecily rejecting him had him deciding to become a demon and kill a bunch of people.

* Spike in “Lovers Walk” (B 3.08) put the blame on Angel and Buffy for the problems in the Spike/Drusilla relationship when the actual problem is because of Spike’s feelings for Buffy.

* Spike was going to kill both Drusilla and Buffy in “Crush” (B 5.14) to rid of his “girl problems”. Cleary unjustified and Dru is still completely in love with Spike (especially if the IDW stuff is canon) and Buffy merely punches Spike and a few episodes later loves him.

* I consider Spike knew there was a camera in the Magic Box, if only after Buffy’s showing him the camera at her house he quickly scanned the Magic Box before having sex with Anya.

I consider Spike mostly had sex with Anya as revenge on both Buffy and Xander.

* Buffy’s kissing Angel and having the Cookie Dough Speech results in Spike’s refusing her at the end of “Chosen” (B 7.22) and staying away from her for years. That was his most unjustified ‘revenge’ outside of “Crush” (B 5.14). He wasn’t happy away from Buffy as he would being with her. Buffy still loved Angel but Spike clearly still loved Drusilla. If possible, Spike would prefer a Buffy/Spike/Drusilla thing.

Anyway, Willow and Fred are the most justified. Holtz is next. Wood may have been were not for all the other circumstances in BtVS S7. The others I listed weren’t justified.


My regard regarding the revenge things hasn’t changed outside of Angel’s actions in BtVS S8 makes those against Angel more justified.


* Willow got an increase in power after “Two to Go” (B 7.21). She got rewarded for being Dark Willow.


* How is Marcie sympathetic?

* The Romani Gypsies maybe knew of the Slayer and assumed Uncursed Angel would eventually be dusted. It’s clear the Gypsies ‘kept an eye on Angel’ throughout the years.

14-04-18, 03:41 AM
I pretty much agree with you on all of these, but I would go easier on Xander in regard to Revelations because I do believe recent events gave him good reason to go to the others instead of confront Angel even if Buffy is there. I also like the fact that when Buffy told Xander he was acting out of jealousy, Cordy told her to get over herself. Entropy was a more clear cut case of taking revenge.

As for William, how do you come to the conclusion that William was wealthy?
And I have no idea how Spike could have known that any of the cameras were even functional, or that Willow would hack into it at that moment. Too many variables to call that one a plan.