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Canon, Consistency and of course, Inconsistencies!!!!!!!

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  • #46
    I agree that, in hindsight, Angel killed Darla in Season 1 just a bit too cavalierly. I mean, I don't mind that he didn't hesitate -- compare "Lineage", for instance, and I bet Darla meant more to Angel overall than Roger meant to Wesley, or at least as much -- but I'd have liked that he had reacted more strongly afterwards.

    I don't have a problem with Darla's behavior in Season 1 once you accept that it is clearly all an affectation. Look, after 400 years, you probably need to fill the hours a bit, and I figure her private schoolgirl bit was just a way to keep the hunt fresh, and her approach was very "method".

    Don't get me started on the "soul" mechanics of demons, vampires, and humans in the Buffyverse. Particularly the vampire bit, where all the problems come from. It was a bad idea from the start. They gave Angel a curse and a soul for the same reason that vampires exploded into dust -- to skip the inconvenience of having to deal with tough questions about Angel's motivations. The only character through whom they actually raised some really interesting questions about "soul" or "no soul" was Lawson, and they a) killed him off in one episode, b) without having actually answered any of them. Vampire souls were a bad idea.
    Last edited by KingofCretins; 13-01-13, 04:46 PM.
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    • #47
      Originally posted by Stoney View Post
      How then do we balance what happened with Willow post her murdering Warren? I understand that she was too powerful to be contained by prison, but so arguably was Faith. Is what happened with Willow equal to Angel/Spike being left to redeem themselves whilst living with their crimes? Surely that is then a situation where we have to raise our hands and point out/admit to accepting plot armour/protagonist privilege-esque favouritism to keep three of our main characters in the story but give them the depth of dealing with what they have done? What about Buffy chasing down and stabbing Faith? Purely plot armour there as she is never held accountable at all really for doing that with her shiny Chosen One soul intact.
      Your questions are valid questions IMO and I wish the writers did spend a bit more time working on moral codes and were slightly more consistant. (Although I can understand that having 80% of your cast redeeming themselves can get tiresome. So only some characters get those kind of storylines. With Faith and Angel as the two with redemption as their main storyarc.) But I would say that while all these characters are flawed and did some bad things (in some cases really bad things), most of their crimes were understandable or even slightly justified when you look at the big picture. And when you look at each of these characters, you see characters who risk their wellbeing on a daily basis to help people, fight evil and save the world. They are good people, and build up credit because they show their goodness on a daily basis.

      Doesn't mean that they should all get away with the stuff some of them get away with perhaps, but it makes it understandable why friends and allies sometimes look the other way or give a second or third chance. And why the fans don't ask for their heads.

      The only big exception is Anya to me; there is no reason to believe she didn't have a soul while she killed all those innocent people she killed. And most of the time she doesn't care or is even kind of proud/misses those days. She also goes back to that life after a break up, showing us she barely learned anything about being a good person. At least not until that one episode where she did feel bad.
      Last edited by Nina; 13-01-13, 05:53 PM.


      • #48
        Anya's attitude showed no remorse for a very long time but then to be repulsed by returning to her previous life was a very stark reality for her. I was never comfortable with her attitude towards Buffy in S7 though, I assume there was a great deal of resentment mixed in there.

        The demons in society of S9 has done far more damage to the soul mythology than either souled vamp ever did. To a degree Angel could be put to one side because of the curse and the jumble of circumstances with Spike, which as you rightly say includes as a major factor his personality, is put forward as being so unique that this could also be turned away from. The example of Harmony being evil eventually also helps right the premise of potential good somewhat. Some demons are shown as being mostly harmless, Clem for example, in the same way that some vamps are shown as being less of a threat to the general populace, vamp whores, so we also accept some prioritising and logical practicalities. But then they tried a Pratchett black ribboners operating within society affair and I so wish they hadn't. They are showing demons as capable of living alongside humans, trying to earn an honest living and even showing Buffy as bigoted on a couple of occasions. Unless the whole idea dramatically crumbles, and how can it in a way that covers enough of the accepted demons/vamps, there will always be a greater side of disquiet for me now as such a large portion have been shown as able and willing. I hope that when, and yes I am assuming when, magic is returned the whole idea falls in a rush of chaos that sets Angel and Spike apart again as our exceptions and reaffirms the right of the Chosen One in her gut instincts and the 'see vamp dust vamp' principle as the morally correct way to protect society.
        Last edited by Stoney; 13-01-13, 07:50 PM.


        • #49
          Well, I personally find it easiest to deal with these things if you accept the premise that "soul" is not a mythological term of art. There is really no reason at all to assume that, canonically, mythologically, the word "soul" refers to one specific thing in every context in which it is used. It clears up a lot of problems to just assume coming in that what "soul" means when D'Hoffyrn talks about it or Spike and Angel talk about it or when Kathy the demon wants Buffy's, etc, that they might not all be talking about the same thing as such.
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          • #50
            But it is presented as this definable thing that is either there or not. The qualities that someone gains, what is enhanced through it, the individual strength of it if you will perhaps varies. Hence Warren's is a sh*tty soul that doesn't guide his actions. But then in this sense how can such great weight be put to the mere presence. They are not led by actions, leniency comes with the presence of a soul as if it fixes things and then they have a whole season where they show that it doesn't and yet the soulless creature seeks it as the means for improving himself. I don't think they have to be meaning different things when they use 'soul' as a thing to refer to because they never manage to explain what it is that is missing without it other than assumption something is but that 'something' doesn't work for some people who do have it. No logic.
            Last edited by Stoney; 13-01-13, 11:45 PM.


            • #51
              Ok I'm not going to quote anyone because there are far too many responses, which of course is a good thing. .

              As for the soul issue, I think Nina more or less covered it. I attempted to address the inconsistencies here and I looked at it from a Watsonian perspective. In such instances, I push aside such issues and themes and writers intention, simply because I don't always think the writers gave it that much thought.

              As for the differences between the characterization of Angel and Darla on Btvs and Ats respectively? Well we have to be more specific. Of course both characters are explored in more depth on Ats but are there any stark inconsistencies that cannot be explained? Is Darla actually less powerful? Or did she simply have less impact on Buffy than she did on Angel? And what about Angel killing Darla without any apparent effect? Well from the Doylist perspective it's obvious, they perhaps didn't give it much thought, but perhaps it's because Btvs is played out more from Buffy's perspective than it is Angel's. On Ats we see things more from Angel's perspective. It's possible that Angel didn't let on to Buffy how killing Darla really affected him. It was lampshaded that Buffy never really knew what was going on in Angel's head more than once, so this can be justified. I've always took it that it was a huge deal that Angel killed Darla. He was destroying everything that represented his old life and embracing his new life, he didn't let on to Buffy how much Darla meant to him. I could definitely see him brooding about it by himself but then realising that Buffy was now his new destiny.

              Briefly going to back to humans vs demons thing? Well I actually enjoy looking at this from a Watsonian perspective, virtually killing the author with multiple gun shots lol. I don't think the rules are as hard and fast as it may initially seem, but even in the show such things are questioned. Is it always wrong to kill a human? Is it always ok to kill demons? These things are questioned and I don't remember there being a clear cut answer to these questions. Again, are these actually inconsistencies? Even in real life, people have different views and people mature in their world view. If say Buffy had a 'no killing humans' rule (except in self defense) but say Angel didn't, that's not a canon issue, that's simply a difference in character. Even people said that Angel didn't kill humans, but of course we know he did. Again, this is a character issue not an inconsistency. In fact, again, in real life, some people's morals are not necessarily as consistent as they may like to think.


              • #52
                I actually don't have a problem with Angel and Darla's characterisation in Angel at all. I just rewatched that episode and I thought they both acted very in line with how they appear in AtS. The only time I find Darla's characterisation really jarring is in Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest when she gets beat down by Buffy far too easily and seems quite afraid of Luke. The Master also threatens her which seems inconsistent with Darla being his favourite as said in Angel and shown in AtS.

                I love the moment when Angel dusts her and I thought it felt very significant. Yeah, they never mention it again in BtVS but in the actual scene it's clearly written to have a lot of gravitas and the shot of Angel looking at Buffy and slowly walking away is probably one of the nicest shots in the entire series.
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                • #53
                  Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                  I actually don't have a problem with Angel and Darla's characterisation in Angel at all. I just rewatched that episode and I thought they both acted very in line with how they appear in AtS. The only time I find Darla's characterisation really jarring is in Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest when she gets beat down by Buffy far too easily and seems quite afraid of Luke. The Master also threatens her which seems inconsistent with Darla being his favourite as said in Angel and shown in AtS.
                  I'll have to rewatch I think, but I'm sure I liked Darla in the episode 'Angel' of Btvs, she seemed more confident.

                  I've never really had an issue with Darla's power, because, by nature she's not an 'aggressive' vampire, she's relies more on seduction anyway, but yeah, getting her ass handed to her that easily by Buffy was quite jarring.


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                    Great stuff! It's a pity you couldn't get it in store but hopefully it doesn't take too long to arrive
                    Crank up that rewatch thread, Angel has arrived!!!!!!! I'll watch episode one either today or tomorrow. (OK, perhaps a step too far in the excitement level there... )


                    • #55
                      OK, so far we've looked at writers intent, fanwanking and in general trying to make sense of the Verse.

                      I think a few people have brought up the excellent point about trying to make a fictitious world consistent, the creator of which admitted is inconsistent, is pretty pointless. It seems mindless to try and talk about what is factually true when we are dealing with a world that is made up.

                      The other extreme can also be true though. If virtually every explanation for anything in the 'Verse is given to 'production reasons' can we really have a satisfying discussion or debate?

                      Admittedly, my own position hasn't been too consistent, but I will actually default to a Watsonian perspective, when dealing with such things as characterization and morality. If we take morality for example, I tend to lean towards scrutinizing the Scoobies or the Fang Gang, etc, whether it puts them in a morally comfortable position or not. I've noticed not all posters to do this and I had to ask myself: "Why?"

                      I cannot speak for everyone, but I suppose many of us have an emotional investment in the show, at least in varying degrees. So if a question arises about say for example Buffy's moral position, people may dip outside of the show for their explanation to keep her from falling into the moral chasm, lest she becomes anything less than the hero. People may go as far as to say "But this must be an inconsistency, because Buffy is meant to be the hero". I remember this in particular when discussing the Scoobies' varying attitudes towards vampires, although to be fair, posters may use both a Doylist and Watsonian argument for this. In such situations I find the Watsonian perspective satisfying enough because in real life, people's moral attitudes actually aren't all that consistent anyway.

                      I'll end this particular post by saying this: I think sometimes many of us, myself included can become 'full of ourselves' when talking about the so-called rules of play, but I'd still defend some kind of framework when analyzing the 'Verse, because it makes for a more meaningful discussion. If we have a playing field without any structure, where anything goes, the discussion quickly goes nowhere and it descends either into a boring conversation with little debate or a shouting match, where few are heard in amongst the din of confused opinion and the distinct lack of focus.

                      Trying to find an elusive 'truth' in a fictitious world is a ridiculous contradiction in terms. Attempting to find a relatively consistent platform whereby we discuss topics meaningfully is a noble aim, in my opinion, because it really comes to down to art of discussion and the skill of debate. Where such conflict arises, the real trick is justifying one's position. For example stating why sometimes looking at things from a Doylist perspective is necessary or arguing that sometimes a Watsonian argument is not only satisfying enough but on occasions more satisfying than merely reducing most discussions to "She did it, because the writers told her to"

                      Just my two pennies worth...


                      • #56
                        All caught up


                        A lot of topics were discussed that are already being discussed in other threads. If one wants to make a “What is canon in the Buffyverse” that’s fine. But I decided I didn’t want to debate a lot of stuff that’s already being debated and discussed in other threads.

                        * For the Buffyverse, canon is simply what happened in the Buffyverse and/or what is fact in the Buffyverse.

                        * In terms of who is the arbiter of canon, Joss Whedon is the only guaranteed one.

                        I put weight to Marti Noxon saying that Angel didn’t have sex with Drusilla in 1998 because she was Joss’s Number 2 in the Buffyverse and it was never even said – or really even implied – that Dru had sex with Angel in 1998.

                        I put weight to Marti Noxon saying that Angel’s early AtS sunlight resistance isn’t canon because she was Joss’s Number 2 in the Buffyverse and in later AtS Angel is literally deathly afraid to be in sunlight for a second or so that he was walking willy nilly in in AtS s1.

                        The other writers’ opinions on things are merely that: opinions.


                        * Now, I consider this thread seems to be more about ‘What is canon in terms of debating the Buffyverse?’. In that sense, “canon” defines what shouldn’t be debatable.

                        Everything that isn’t included in “This is canon.” is inherently ambiguous and therefore is debatable.

                        * In terms of debating the Buffyverse, “production reasons” (including “plot armor” and “protagonist privilege”) should never be used.

                        Why? Because we are debating what happened in the Buffyverse, not outside reasons for why things happened.

                        Also, using “the point of the episode is _____________; therefore ____________ is the reason ___________ happened” is rather silly since posters will simply determine what the point of the episode to fit their determination of why something is the reason something happened.

                        Another silly thing is saying, “The point of the writer was ______________; therefore, that is what is actually canon” as this is also mostly used only when what one thinks that writer’s point was fits with one’s own determination of what one wants to believe is canon.

                        Another silly thing is using, “the original idea was ____________ so __________ must be true.” Again, this is mostly only used when the “original idea” of something fits with a poster’s determination for something. And, obviously later episodes apply to earlier ones.

                        * In terms of debating the Buffyverse, I like to come up with reasonable explanations for why things happened instead of saying, “Well, it makes no sense why that happened that way, but we just have to accept it.” or “This is simply an inconsistency.”

                        * A forum is not a random sampling of the Buffyverse and multiple posters disagreeing with one poster doesn’t automatically mean that one poster is incorrect.


                        There is a Spike/Dru thread:


                        There was a thread about canon not long ago.
                        There was?

                        Seriously though, what is canon? Well rather than simply trying to define it, I'll attempt to talk about it's importance in the fandom.
                        Fandom consists of anyone who likes BtVS. I assume that’s over 10 million people worldwide. There are probably less than hundreds of regular posters on Buffyverse Boards.

                        Most fans consider Seasons 1 through to 9 as canon in terms of Btvs whatever the medium.
                        Most fans probably don’t consider BtVS S8 and everything after to be canon. Probably more people consider The Origin , Fray , Tales of the Slayers , and Tales of the Vampires to be canon than the BtVS S8 and BtVS S9 stuff.


                        Originally Posted by Joss Whedon
                        “The Xander betrayal issue... hasn't come up with us, and here's why. Xander made a decision. Like a general going into battle, he had to keep Buffy's fighting spirit strong and he felt telling her the truth would blunt it. And Angel needed to be stopped. It was a tough decision, and an unpopular one, but I'm not sure it wasn't the right one. I'm on the fence, and that's what makes it FUN! So there!”

                        That doesn't sound like someone saying "My word is God".
                        He merely says he’s “one the fence” over whether Xander’s decision to do the Big Lie was the right one. Nowhere in that quote does he say or imply, “My opinion on the subject doesn’t matter.” If anything, it says he’s still not sure if Xander’s doing the Big Lie wasn’t even an okay thing for Xander to do.


                        I wouldn't say anyone should be forced to accept anything they don't like about the mythology
                        In terms of debating the Buffyverse, posters should be forced to accept canon as being canon. And posters shouldn’t be allowed to make up their own canon such as “in the Buffyverse, older vampire automatically means stronger and more powerful vampire.”


                        [Spike’s] ability or inability to survive sunlight never plays a plot point and has no significance outside of the scenes that require setting.
                        Simply untrue. You may as well have said that necrotinting and/or black-out windows have no plot significance as well.


                        "Canon"/"mythology" in fictional works is mostly a product of the "nerd" audience, living out a narcissistic need for escapism.
                        I don’t even know what you mean by “a narcissistic need for escapism”. If anything, discussing canon can be tedious and frustrating.