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Thread: Did Buffy make Angel lose his soul?

  1. #21
    Slayer Supporter vampmogs's Avatar
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    Just to circle back around to the original topic of the thread - I completely understand what bespangled is getting at. Whether it's intentional or not fans, myself included, tend to phrase the events as "Buffy slept with Angel and caused him to lose his soul" which does have the implication that Buffy caused what happened. Buffy herself even feels guilt over this in "I Only Have Eyes For You" when she relates to James destroying/'killing' his lover in a moment of blind passion. Even in "Revelations" there's an element of blame involved when Xander asks "What? Wait for Angel to go psycho again the next time you give him a happy!?" So it's brought up in the text. I will say that when I phrase it in such a way it's certainly not my intention to blame Buffy. Despite Buffy and Angel obviously being responsible for the choices they made, neither of them could've possibly known what would happen and therefore cannot be held responsible for Angel losing his soul.

    I think bespangled has done a great job of articulating how whether this is intentional or not, the phrasing and it's implications have a pretty loaded history when it comes to women, sex and misogyny.

    I guess the only POV I would offer is that I think part of the reason fans phrase it in this way is also because Buffy is the protagonist and Buffy carries such agency and force within the series itself that it's natural for fans to describe events with Buffy as the instigator, if you will. I think it's understandable that fans phrase it in such a way that emphasises Buffy's role in what happened because Buffy has such a commanding presence. Despite the story elevating Angel to Big Bad status and obviously giving him substantial screen time, the story is still very much shown through Buffy's POV.
    - "The earth is doomed" -

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  3. #22
    Graveyard Patrol Willow from Buffy's Avatar
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    Angel gets to hear it a lot, just not in season 2. Giles says Angel got "complacent about [his] existence. The Major chides him for starting a relationship with a girl he can never have a happy life with. Xander and Cordelia are ruthless in their jokes.

    The thing is, though, that this is Buffy's story. It is about how she deals with loving someone who starts treating her badly. Because of the way souls work in the Buffyverse, the allegory doesn't work from Angel's perspective. In "Innocence," Angel plays the part of boyfriend-turned-cruel. In "Passion," he plays the part of boyfriend-turned-stalker. In "IOHEfY" he plays a cougar who gets killed by the young man/woman he/she seduces. But none of these characters are really Angel. They are just personas that evil!Angel takes on. The emphasis is on how Buffy deals with it all.

    There wouldn't be much to gain to explore the details of this from Angel's side. Real life people don't loose their souls.

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  5. #23
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    Well, it isn't just Buffy or Xander than suggest it's Buffy's fault. Even the more objective characters suggest it or agree with it. Jenny agrees when Buffy says it's her fault. Giles is the only one that takes the less-incriminating viewpoint of it but even that is more about him not judging so much her not being a victim in it. There's inherent blame in the statement he makes. "It's not your fault you were attacked in that alley, but your behavior was rash in being there alone at night." Even though it's only figurative, I'd say even Angel subconsciously blames her given the goldfish metaphor in Soul Purpose. It's backed up again previously by him saying her name during the fantasy to lose his soul in S4.

    Angel gets grief for the relationship, mostly after and specifically regarding S3, but not specifically regarding the sexual angle. The Mayor's comment is more about everything else. That everything else is more subsequent to the fact that they can't sleep together.

    All in all, it's one of those metaphors that don't work very well. In real life, a guy doesn't turn into an ass after you sleep with him. He was always an ass, you just were played. The metaphor makes the change an actual result of her sexuality.

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