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Buffy Anne Summers

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"If the apocalypse comes, beep me."

Played By: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku ("Who Are You?") & Mimi Paley (young Buffy)

"Cool! Crossbow! Check out these babies. Goodbye stakes, hello flying fatality."
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The Slayer, main heroine, and unofficial leader of the Scoobies (when not fighting with Giles and Faith for control). Barbie with a kung-fu grip. Started out as a reluctant heroine, but grew to accept her destiny. For much of the show's run, she was the only really combat-capable character. Died twice.


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    A-F 
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Every single time her birthday is celebrated on-screen, it's followed by a big-time supernatural incident or crisis; Spike even lampshades it in the Season 6 episode "Older and Far Away," telling Buffy that since bad things always seem to happen whenever she celebrates her birthday, she should just stop doing so. Buffy apparently takes this to heart, since this is the last time they ever do so.
  • Accidental Public Confession: Happens in "Angel" where she accidentally reveals what she's been writing in her diary when she thinks Angel has read it.
  • Achilles in His Tent:
    • In "When She Was Bad", Buffy comes back from her summer in L.A. still steaming with issues from being killed for a minute in the Season One finale. When the Master's men steal the Master's bones with the intent to resurrect him, Buffy explodes at Giles and blows off the Scooby Gang's attempts at consoling her. This lasts until Willow, Giles, Cordelia, and Miss Calender are captured by the vampires for the resurrection ritual. In this case, the prompt for her glorious return is less that she realizes that she's needed and more that it's brutally spelled out for her by Xander, who basically gives her an "As a result of this mess I'm completely over indulging your self-pity; get over yourself and do what you should have done in the first place" speech.
    • She gets deposed by her own pupils in Season 7, who install Faith as their new leader. One episode and bomb explosion later, and everyone goes crawling back to blondie. She's at least humble enough to not rub it in their faces.
  • Action Dress Rip:
    • She does this in "Hell's Bells", tearing her bridesmaid dress before fighting the demonized Stewart Burns when he attacks Anya.
    • In "Flooded" during a fight in the bank, when she has dressed up to get a loan. Her Pre-Asskicking One-Liner becomes a Failed Attempt at Drama because she can't kick a rampaging demon. Said demon punches her onto a table, where she borrows a letter opener to fulfill this trope.
  • Action Fashionista: She has an extensive wardrobe. When joining the Initiative, she turns down their practical black-clad nightgear because it looks too Private Benjamin for her. The exception is when Buffy is having a crisis of confidence and changes into her Dungarees of Doom.
  • Action Girl:
    • Word of God states the seed for Buffy was to take the opening of every horror movie and turn it on its head; namely, the dim blonde walks into the dark alley, a monster appears, and the girl rips the monster a new one.
    • The movie and the TV series both feature such a scene: in the film, Buffy is told off for being an idiot. In the pilot episode, she clobbers Angel from above. And in the very first scene of the show, Darla chows down on a creeper while wearing a schoolgirl outfit.
  • Adult Fear: Buffy comes home to find her mother dead on the couch. Buffy, a girl who fights vampires and demons, is reduced to a near catatonic state clearly wondering how long Joyce had been in the house and if she could have been saved. It gets worse several episodes later when, despite the Scoobies' best efforts, her sister Dawn is still captured.
  • Aerith and Bob: As is constantly Lampshaded, Buffy plus About Most of the Cast and Whoever's Left.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Zig-zagged. Buffy is stronger than all the men she dates, not one of them ever beat her in a fight, and are all heavily implied to be weaker fighters than her. However, any man who she's involved with for more than a few episodes is a substantially stronger and better fighter than normal—unnaturally so, whether due to vampirism or to the meddling of evil government scientists. Normal, human men like Owen, Scott, Parker, Wood and Dowling were out of the picture extremely quickly, and Xander never got a chance in the first place. Buffy may be the strongest around, but she also tends to gravitate more towards men who can at least keep up with her in a fight.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Although its heavy on her heart, don't mistake that for weakness. It doesn't matter who you are, an acquaintance, a friend, a close friend, a family member or even a lover. Bottom line, if she has to fight or even kill you should you commit evil and threaten innocents, then she will.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Lampshaded by Buffy herself in "Something Blue" when she worries that a nice, safe relationship would lack the intensity. Ironically, Riley's attempts to make himself Darker and Edgier for her in Season 5 lead to their breakup.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: She's constantly ridiculed for her strength, even by those students whom she saves. However, at the Prom, she is given a "Class Protector" award by her classmates, recognizing how she always saved them from the strange things that happen in Sunnydale. Willow and Xander are her only friends in school, and everybody seems to consider her a violent and dangerous person with violent and dangerous friends (i.e. the vampires she fights) for most of the time. But by the end of school she's saved enough people for this to become common knowledge, and people realize they misjudged her. Part of it is because Buffy set her last school's gym on fire (it was full of - asbestos).
  • All Women Love Shoes: Buffy and Cordelia have one thing in common.
  • Alpha Bitch: She started out as the Alpha Bitch of Hemery High in the original movie (or as a Deconstruction of the AB, anyway). She mentions that she used to be like Cordelia.
  • Always Save the Girl: A more familial example: in "The Gift," she flat-out admits that she's perfectly willing to let Glory destroy the world as long as it means she can save and protect Dawn to the very end.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • She was definitely in love with Angel and Riley (and Spike, eventually, in the comics), but her legendary Les Yay with Faith was hardly one-sided, her and Willow have all the signs of a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship, and season 5 kept drawing parallels between her and Dawn and Willow and Tara. In Season 9, she thinks she slept with Willow after a night of partying, but didn't. This ambiguity is likely due to the Buffyverse having No Bisexuals.
    • In Season 8, she engages in a brief relationship with Satsu, one of the new slayers. She explicitly calls their first night together the best night of her life. However, Joss Whedon refers to this as her "being young and experimenting", so her canon orientation is unclear.
  • Amicable Exes: She manages to achieve this with all 3 of her biggest loves by the end of the comics, remaining close friends with Spike and Angel, and close allies with Riley. Maybe Ever After is still on the table for the former two.
  • Anger Born of Worry: In "Passion," she gets a moment of this after saving Giles when his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Angelus goes wrong. She straight-up decks him in the face and chews him out for doing something so stupid... then collapses and hugs him in tears.
    Giles: Why did you come here?! This wasn't your fight!
    (Buffy punches him in the face, knocking him down)
    Buffy: Are you trying to get yourself killed?! (tears up, collapses, and hugs him) You can't leave me... I can't do this alone...
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: She's the most combat-capable of the Scoobies, and their de facto leader. When she left at the end of Season 2, the Scoobies picked up the slack without her, and got curb-stomped by common vampires. It got to the point that, after her death in Season 5, the Scoobies had to reactivate and reprogram the Buffybot to make any dent in Sunnydale's demon population.
  • Author Avatar: In a 2009 interview, Joss Whedon revealed he only recently realised how much he saw of himself in Buffy. After years of relating more to Xander, he says, "Buffy was always the person that I was in that story because I'm not in every way." Whedon openly wonders why his identification figure is a woman, but describes it as "a real autobiographical kind of therapy for me" to be writing a strong female character like Buffy.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Buffy being given the Class Protector Award qualifies as a crowning.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • In "Prophecy Girl", she dies after being bitten and drowned by the Master. This was a clinical death, in which the heart stops beating, but there was still brain activity. People who experience clinical deaths have often been revived. This death activated Kendra as the Slayer.
    • She sacrificed herself to save Dawn and the world by hurling herself off a tower and using her own body to close a mystical portal. She was buried in a Sunnydale cemetery, where her body rested for 147 days until Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya resurrected her.
  • Badass Adorable: Especially in the high school seasons.
  • Badass Angster: Often angsts about her destiny of vampire slayer, but especially in Season 7, which was outright depression.
  • Badass Boast: To the first Turok-Han:
    "I'm the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show 'em why."
  • Bad Liar: Buffy exhibits this trait on a few occasions. She seems to subliminally want to be caught out in her Slayer duties, but the adults around her are too wrapped up in denial. In Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 1, when she chases Faith to L.A. and is arguing with Angel after Faith turns herself in, Buffy insists to Angel that she came because he was in danger (Faith was previously trying to kill him under Wolfram & Hart's employ), but Angel doesn't buy it for a second and accuses her of only coming for vengeance; Buffy doesn't even try to deny that.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Pulls it off against Angelus at the end of Season 2.
  • Bastard Girlfriend: While Spike was using her obvious PTSD and depression to manipulate her into striking up a sexual relationship with him in Season 6, Buffy really wasn't any better, constantly verbally degrading him, trying to force him into sex when he didn't want it in "Gone", and violently beating him bloody before leaving him on the ground in "Dead Things".
  • Bat Deduction: In Season 6, when Warren kills his ex-girlfriend Katrina and uses magic and time-distorting demons to trick Buffy into thinking that she was the one who did it. Just as she is about to turn herself in to the police and it looks like Warren's Evil Plan will succeed, she overhears the cops identify Katrina's body and immediately realizes Warren's scheme.
  • Battle Couple: With Angel (after he drops the cryptic wise man act), Riley (after he discovers her Secret Identity), and later Spike (once his "lovesick poet" personality comes out to play).
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: She has a love-hate relationship with her job. She complains about being a Slayer, but is reluctant to give up her duties when Kendra and Faith threaten to edge her out of the gang.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Spike says that just holding Buffy and watching her sleep was the most beautiful night of his life. Also, after Angel lost his soul, he would watch Buffy sleep (and draw pictures of her). While it was probably to intimidate her, it was established that he had an obsession with her, akin to what he felt for the human Drusilla.
  • Being Good Sucks: It's especially pronounced in the Season 9 comics; Buffy is seen as a pariah amongst the supernatural community for destroying the Seed of Wonder and causing the end of magic, despite the fact that thousands of demons were swarming Earth and destroying the Seed was the only way she could save the world. Near the end, even Xander is getting on her case for it.
  • Berate and Switch: Does this to Spike in "Intervention." Despite being absolutely disgusted that he had Warren create a Sex Bot in her likeness, she's genuinely moved to discover that Spike endured brutal torture from Glory to protect Dawn's identity as the Key, and was perfectly willing to let Glory kill him rather than spill the beans.
    Spike: And my robot?
    Buffy: The robot is gone. The robot was gross and obscene.
    Spike: It wasn't supposed to-
    Buffy: Don't. That thing, it... it wasn't even real.
    [she turns to go, then turns back to Spike for a minute]
    Buffy: What you did for me and Dawn... that was real. I won't forget it.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Her individualistic and rebellious tendencies culminated in developing an extreme distaste of being manipulated and "losing control", particularly when it revolved around her life. This was made most apparent in her initial request to have the monks erase her false memories of Dawn, her forced destiny as the Slayer, her brief loss of her abilities through Giles' betrayal, her rejection of Twilight, anger over Angel's decision to keep his presence hidden while in Sunnydale, as well as deciding to turn himself into a vampire again without her knowledge.
    • Hurting her loved ones is a one-way ticket to an ass-whupping, especially if it's her family.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Very sweet and friendly but there is a reason vampires and demons are so afraid of her.
  • Big Eater:
    • Writer Douglas Petrie mentions in his DVD Commentary for "The Initiative" that he wanted there to be a scene where Buffy is seen eating about three times the usual amount of food for her normal lunch, suggesting that Slayers have a faster metabolism than regular humans.
    • Dawn claims the fridge is the first place Buffy goes to after patrolling and that she's "such a pig after killing things" in "Wrecked".
    • From "The Zeppo":
    Giles: All I know is, the fate of the entire world may well depend on...(sees donut box) did you eat all the jellies?
    Buffy:...Did you want a jelly?
    Giles: I always have jelly; I'm always the one who says "Let's have some jellies in the mix"!
    Willow: We're sorry... Buffy had three!
  • Big Sister Instinct: To Dawn.
    • She goes nuts at the Knights of Byzantium, who want to kill her younger sister in order to save the world.
    • Glory for the same reason. Glory was strong enough to make their earlier fights Curb Stomp Battles, but in the final one you get the feeling Buffy's getting a lot of catharsis slamming that magic hammer at her head over and over again.
  • Big Sister Mentor: Her first scene in the final season has her giving Dawn some pointers about fighting vampires.
  • Bittersweet 17: The events of her 17th birthday are in one of the most important episodes in the series. She loses her virginity to Angel, who is said to reverse to his evil self called Angellus when he is the happiest in his life, ie: having sex with Buffy. Buffy would finally realise that Angel is definitely not the man (or Vampire) she liked and realises he must be defeated.
  • Blessed with Suck: Generally she views her slayer powers as a hassle but sometimes they come in handy.
  • Book Dumb: Truth be told, much of her Book Dumbness comes from just being too busy saving humanity to study. As one of her few sympathetic teachers tells her (right before being eaten by something, naturally), she has a first-rate mind and can think on her feet.
  • Boring, but Practical: Lampshaded in Season 4; while the Initiative uses hi-tech weaponry like Static Stun Guns to fight demons, Buffy relies on simple things like "poking them with a sharp stick."
    Buffy: It's more effective than it sounds.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: Or rather, girl meets vampire. Twice. She's even gained a reputation for it, as in season 10, she's asked by a vampire she meets while speed dating if she's the infamous slayer with a "vampire fetish". Buffy refuses to comment, but points out indignantly that she likes her vampires with a soul.
  • Braids of Action: Buffy, when on patrol, has the "two-braids" version. Alternate Buffy, from "The Wish," as the "one-braid" version.
  • Break the Cutie: She entered the series only slightly dented, and slowly bent to the breaking point, most notably during Season 6, where she spent most of her time in a depression after being yanked out of heaven. It took a full season to put her back together.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: She often skipped training or trained on her own time. It wasn't until Season 5 that she took to her training seriously.
  • Broken Bird: From "Innocence" onwards, Buffy develops a tendency to shut herself off emotionally from her friends, and especially her lovers. The Grand Finale of the show, where she confesses to Spike she loves him before escaping, is the first time she's ever said "I love you" to any of her lovers not named Angel.
    Riley: I don’t know what's happened in your past—
    Buffy: Pain. Death. Apocalypse. None of it fun.
  • Brought Down to Badass:
    • In Season 3's "Helpless," Giles is forced to strip her of her powers using powerful mixtures of adrenaline suppressors and muscle relaxers as part of her Cruciamentum, a rite of passage to test the Slayer's intellect and wit. Buffy comes out on top against Kralik, the Ax-Crazy vampire the Council set her up against, by exploiting his dependency on anti-psychotic pills, swapping the water he drinks with them with holy water.
    • In Season 11, she's forced to be drained of her powers to leave the Safe Zone she was placed in as part of the Supernatural Crisis Act. Even without them, she manages to take on a Jerkass MMA fighter harassing a girl in the park, and win.
  • Buffy Speak: The Trope Namer. It's like a whole Buffy, Speak-y... thing.
  • Bully Hunter: She throws down Larry, defends Xander and Willow, and when suspected witches start being targeted, she steps in, causing the group of thugs to back off without her saying or doing a thing.
  • Bullying a Dragon: To Spike in "Fool For Love." While Spike hasn't felt like a genuine threat to the main characters for the last couple of seasons, the episode establishes very clearly that Spike is capable of killing Buffy even with the Initiative chip in his head, and implies that the real reason he's never actually done so is because he's never truly wanted to. Buffy nevertheless ends the episode by taunting Spike and cruelly (though unknowingly) pouring salt on an old wound; Spike is about to retaliate with a shotgun, but relents at the last second because he comes across Buffy in tears over her mother.
  • Burger Fool: In Season 6, being desperately short of money, she's forced to take a job slinging burgers at the Doublemeat Palace.
  • Came Back Strong: Shortly before her battle with the Master, Buffy overheard from Giles that she was prophesied to die in the struggle. Terrified at the thought of dying young, she was no match for the Master, who easily overpowered her and left her to die in a pool. After being resuscitated (technically 'dying' for a minute), Buffy felt renewed strength at cheating fate and faced the Master again and won.
  • Came Back Wrong: What Buffy believes she has becomes in Season 6, after Willow reanimates her cadaver using dark rites and blood of animals. Indeed, Spike's chip no longer reads her as human. Ultimately subverted; the spell only altered her molecular structure very slightly, but just enough to confuse Spike's chip.
  • Caper Rationalization: It's revealed in issue #10 of Season 8 that in order to fund her big Slayer Organization, Buffy robbed a Swiss bank account, rationalizing that due to the bank's insurance, it was a "victimless crime." Willow is not convinced, pointing out that her actions just support the government's fears of Slayers acting above the law.
  • Cartwright Curse: All of her boyfriends either dump her (Angel, Riley) or die (Spike, but he got better).
  • Casual Kink: Bondage, BDSM, handcuffs, spanking, naughty outfits, porn and biting are suggested to be just some of her interests. Yowza.
  • Celebrity Crush: She had fixations on Gavin Rossdale, James Spader, Daniel Craig, and Christian Bale.
  • The Chains of Commanding: If it sucks to be the Slayer, then it also sucks to be the Head Slayer.
  • Character Development: Season one Buffy just wanted to be normal and broke down about how she didn't want to die. By the final season, she's fully accepted her role as the Slayer and become so hardened that she'll fight to the death.
  • Character Tics: The Buffy eye-roll, given whenever someone (usually Xander or Spike) does something comically annoying.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: In the early episodes, she was a perky cheerleader. Starting with "Angel", she became a grim optimist.
  • Characterization Marches On: She started out as a perky cheerleader. In the original movie, she's a vapid, ditzy, Valley Girl, much closer to Cordelia than her telvision counterpart.
  • The Cheerleader: Pre-series; the last time she so much as mentions it is in the third episode because she doesn't have time for it. Also, Giles couldn't stand the idea.
  • Child Soldier: Not as overt thanks to Dawson Casting, but when you forcibly recruit a fifteen year-old girl to fight monsters...
  • The Chosen One: Sort of. She used to be the official Slayer, "the one girl in all the world", but the moment she drowned in the Master's cave, the Slayer line moved on to Kendra Young (and from Kendra to Faith Lehane upon Kendra's death). She's still a Slayer, but while she is a Chosen One, she is no longer the Chosen One.
  • The Chosen Zero: This was Giles' reaction to her at the end of the first episode: "The Earth is doomed."
    • Repeated as part of a Call-Back in the final episode of the series: "The Earth is definitely doomed." Subverted since, in this case, he's clearly expressing good-natured frustration, rather than actual skepticism.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She frequently jumps to conclusions about Angel being involved with Drusilla or Cordelia or Faith. She also gets pretty tweaked in season 7, upon finding Faith and a shirtless Spike chatting on his bed and sharing a cigarette, despite the fact that Faith was clearly fully-dressed. Perhaps the darkest, most extreme example is when she found out about Riley going to what amounts to as a vampire prostitution ring to get his blood sucked. Even the other Scoobies think her reaction of burning the place to the ground was a bit much, given the morally grey nature of the business.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • In "Angel", she was at the receiving end of this when Darla pulled guns on her (Buffy only survived because Angel staked Darla In the Back.)
    • The Judge was an immortal demon (meaning that you could cut him to pieces and he'd return alive as soon as the pieces are reassembled) and invulnerable to forged weapon: Buffy followed Xander's advice and shot him with a rocket launcher.
    • She kicked Angelus in the groin during their battle.
    Buffy: "Don't make me do the chick fight thing."
    Kendra: "Cheek faaaiitt?" (Buffy digs her nails into Kendra's skin.)
  • Comfort Food: "When this is over I'm thinking pineapple pizza and teen video movie fest. Possibly something from the Ringwald oeuvre." There's also the Buffy-sized tub of chicken she brings back from her intense visit to Angel when she was brought Back from the Dead.
  • Control Freak: Buffy hates it when she's being manipulated and feels she's "losing control." In "Sanctuary," Faith tells her point-blank that she's "all about control."
  • Contagious Heroism: One look at Buffy pulls Angel out of a decades long depression in order to help her fight the forces of evil. She has a similar effect on Spike eventually, and although his lack of a soul draws the arc of it out, her influence is largely responsible for a supposed totally evil soulless being deciding to seek out a soul for himself.
  • Cool Aunt: She becomes this to Xander and Dawn's baby daughter Joyce.
  • Cool Big Sis: She originally filled this role for Dawn. However, after dying, coming back and basically abandoning her, it stopped applying for a bit. It was repaired in Season 7.
  • Cool Loser: It should be noted that the resident Alpha Bitch does scout her out to be one of the "cool girls" when she first arrives in Sunnydale, but her vampire-fighting ways quickly get her pegged as a violent juvenile delinquent. Which, technically, she is.
  • Covert Pervert: When hit with a love spell she tries stripping for Xander, and when normal she gets worse (better?) as the series progresses.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Played with in Season 2. Angelus was always a threat and The Dreaded, but he had been cursed with a soul and turned good. Buffy ends up breaking the curse in "Innocence" when she has sex with Angel, providing the moment of perfect happiness needed to bring Angelus back; Angelus takes great pleasure in rubbing in Buffy's face that it's her fault he's loose in Sunnydale.
    Angelus: You know what the worst part was, huh? Pretending that I loved you. If I'd known how easily you'd give it up, I wouldn't have even bothered.
    Buffy: That doesn't work anymore. You're not Angel.
    Angelus: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? It doesn't matter. The important thing is you made me the man I am today!
  • Crutch Character: Going hand-in-hand with Asskicking Equals Authority, she's the only real combat-capable character. During the Time Skip between Seasons 2 and 3, after she runs away to L.A., the Scoobies pick up the slack and struggle dealing with common vampires. It got so bad that after she died in Season 5, the Scoobies had to reactivate and reprogram the Buffybot to help keep Sunnydale's demon population in check.
  • Cute Bruiser: She's a pretty blond girl with Super Strength who frequently stops apocalypses and kicks the asses of demons much larger than her.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Occasionally, especially when around Riley. See, for instance, the Meet Cute when she dumps a pile of textbooks on his head, or the scene where he watches her struggle through a lunch line, accidentally breaking the soft serve machine.
  • Dark Age of Supernames: Buffy Summers fits more with a trope below. What she's known as, the Slayer, definitely counts.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: She admits to thinking of her boyfriend before moving to Sunnydale, listening to the song "I Touch Myself." Before claiming not to know what the song meant.
  • Dating Catwoman: Managed to woo quite a few Big Leaguers in the vampire world, including Count Dracula himself. The notorious vampires Angel and Spike both fell hard for her, and show no signs of moving on anytime soon. She even attracted the attention of The Immortal, an Italian Lothario who had racked up quite a hit count in his own right; in this case, however, The Immortal was duped into dating an impostor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often slinging some witty line at Giles for being too serious (or too British) or the Monster of the Week or something else.
  • Death Seeker: Implied, but ultimately subverted; after being resurrected in Season 6, Buffy suffered severe depression and stated at least once that she was happier when dead, but when she discovers she's fading away as a result of the Trio's Invisibility Ray in "Gone," she decides that despite her depression and her current crappy life, she wants to live. It's to the extent that in the Season 6 finale, Dawn is genuinely surprised that Buffy actually didn't want Willow to destroy the world. Then again, there's a difference between "wanting to die yourself" and wanting to let everyone die.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The first time, Buffy more or less got over it after a few months, mostly offscreen. The second time there was a price to pay; Buffy suffers major depression that lasts the entire season.
  • Defector from Decadence: She never really cares about what the Watchers' Council has to say about how she does things. During Season 3, she gets particularly disgusted when their Cruciamentum test results in the Ax-Crazy vampire they captured to test her breaking loose and kidnapping her mom, and when they refuse to help her save Angel after he is poisoned simply for being a vampire, that was the straw that broke the camel's back: she cuts all ties with them for over a year.
  • Despair Event Horizon: She crosses it in the final episodes of Season 5 when, despite her best efforts, Dawn is captured by Glory. The sheer guilt over failing to protect Dawn after everything she's been through renders Buffy catatonic for almost the entirety of the next episode, forcing Willow to embark on a Journey to the Center of the Mind to snap her out of it; during said travel, Buffy confesses she'd long since given up hope of defeating Glory and actually began wishing that Glory would win just so the fear would finally end.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: In Season 9, she looks to be slowly going bonkers after everything she's lost. Andrew reveals to Buffy at her housewarming party that he's set up a disaster relief fund with some other Slayers, much to her dismay as he has made something of his life and she, as yet, has not without being the Slayer.
  • Determinator: She qualifies as this, given everything she overcame throughout the show.
    Angelus: No weapons. No friends. No hope. Take that away, and what's left?
    Buffy: Me.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Buffy is usually the one to do this, taking out the invincible Judge, the Mayor, Glory and Caleb.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: In "Forever," Dawn openly accuses Buffy of not even caring that their mother is dead, since Buffy hasn't even cried and has been running around treating the whole thing like "just another chore." Buffy breaks down at that, revealing to Dawn that until this point, she's been bottling up her emotions because it's the only way she can deal with the grief.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When she had Willow activate all Slayers worldwide, it didn't occur to Buffy that not all of the newly-empowered Slayers would be willing to use their powers for good, with one Slayer in particular, Simone Doffler, becoming a terrorist and obsessed with killing her, and another, a mental patient named Dana, breaking out of a mental hospital and causing all manner of trouble for the Angel Investigations team in L.A.
  • Disappeared Dad: Divorced, and later vanishes overseas when Buffy really could use his help after her mother dies. Arguably the cause of her hangups with men.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Late in Season 5, this is her reaction to The Reveal that the extent of Glory's Evil Plan amounts to nothing more than just using Dawn/the Key to return to her home dimension:
    Buffy: That's it? That's Glory's master plan? To go home?
  • Disney Death: Clinical death and the outright resurrection.
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: She has this problem quite often:
    • She accidentally smashes her alarm clock with her super strength, then sweep the pieces into a drawer of likewise broken alarm clocks.
    • In "The Initiative" she accidentally tears the handle off a yogurt machine in the college cafeteria and makes a mess.
    • There are several occasions when she hugs someone too hard and has to be told to let go. When she glomps the surgeon who tells her Joyce's operation was a success, his ribs creak ominously and he shouts in pain.
    • During the season one episode "Witch", she accidentally throws one of her classmates across the gym during cheerleading practice.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: "These things? Never helpful." Guns can hurt vampires, but not kill them, whereas the Slayer is just as vulnerable to guns as any human. If vampires are given the idea to load up on guns, fighting them would be much tougher. However, she's perfectly alright with using crossbows, which are effective against vampires.
    • On the other hand, there was one case where a bazooka was rather useful. "What's that do?"
    • Of course, not being bullet proof, she has a vested interest in preventing gun play from breaking out. Spike nearly shoots her in "Fool for Love", but, finding Badass Decay has set in, is unable to go through with it.
    • As of the end of Season Six, she has a personal reason to hate guns - she was nearly killed with one in "Seeing Red" and her friend Tara actually was killed.
    • Seems to be a trait of the actress. Other roles she's played also have this trope.
    • In Season 8, the one time she allows the other Slayers to arm up when the army is gunning for them, she still refuses to use one herself.
    • In Season 9, she is shot at with blanks during a failed bodyguard exercise. She's upset that her boss (Kennedy, who offered her the job) did that, even though Deepscan use guns as a matter of course.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: A variation. After revealing to Tara that, as a result of her depression, she'd been using Spike for sexual escapism, Buffy tearfully begs Tara to not forgive her; not out of anger, but because she's so disgusted with herself that she doesn't think she deserves forgiveness or pity.
  • Doom Magnet: In the Season 10 comics, her father Hank shows up to tell her that he's getting remarried, and he and his fiancée agreed not to invite Buffy "for safety reasons" due to her Slayer status, viewing her as a danger magnet. After reflecting on the deaths of Jenny, Tara, Anya, and Giles, Buffy actually ends up agreeing with him.
  • The Dreaded: "I'm the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show 'em why. It's not simply a boast; it's an objective statement of fact.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: She foresaw events such as various of her foes for her first year in Sunnydale, Angel's transformation into Angelus, Jenny Calendar's deception, the arrival of the Gentlemen and the deaths of the Potentials Slayers by the Harbingers of Death.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Really nasty. After Chloe kills herself Buffy basically calls her a weak idiot and lashes out at everyone, in a misguided attempt to encourage the other Potentials to not follow the same path. It's simultaneously a genuine effort, stupid, desperate and cruel, and it doesn't really work.
  • Drives Like Crazy: She often displayed poor driving skills. She repeatedly asked her mother if she could take lessons, to little avail. When she finally did get behind the wheel, she didn't know what the hand brake was for. She later admitted that "drive and Buffy are unmixy things." She also drove while in Faith's body, again badly (although this could be because she was being chased by assassins at the time and was trying to get away). Still later, she was shown to still have possession of Joyce's SUV, but was still characteristically terrible at driving and parking it. Strangely, however, she was shown driving at one point and did so perfectly.
  • Dumb Blonde: Strongly averted. She gets poor grades (mostly due to her role as the Slayer taking up the time that she could be using to study), but she's quick-witted, well-spoken, and very intelligent.
  • Easily Forgiven: By her family and friends, despite engaging in behavior ranging from jerkass ("When She Was Bad") to blatantly irresponsible ("Revelations") to insanely murderous ("Normal Again"). This is partly because the Scooby Gang genuinely admire Buffy's heroism, and also because their lives depend on her. Plus when a Slayer goes off the rails there's not much they can do about it. Besides, most of them have gone homicidally evil at some point, so it's kinda hard to judge.
  • Dynamic Character: She starts the series cheery, sometimes depressed but generally upbeat. She ends it basically broken, having lost her mother, died, gotten dragged out of heaven, gets thrust into a war she never asked for and then epically fails when expected to lead people.
  • Enter Stage Window: She typically uses her bedroom window to enter and leave the house after curfew, before her mother finds out she is The Slayer.
    • At one point, she climbs in through the window, despite knowing that her mother is out of town for the weekend. When asked why she didn't just use the door, she is at a loss.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: She attracts quite a few guys, but there's also subtext with Faith.
  • Experienced Protagonist: By the time of the first episode, Buffy is already an established Slayer.
  • Expy: Buffy, as a character, is largely based on Kitty Pryde, a character in X-Men. It's been theorized she was inspired by Regina and Samantha Belmont of Night of the Comet: blonde, Californian morons who find themselves battling the undead.
  • Extreme Doormat: At times, when it comes to her friends. Most notably in Season 6 when the Scoobies bring her back and she finds out that Willow and Tara had been living in her house and off her money the entire time she'd been dead, and hadn't even had the decency to pay her bills, thus landing her in a deep financial hole at the time of her resurrection. And then they still don't bother to pay rent even after all that, even though they're still living in Buffy's house.
  • Extremely Protective Child: Hurting her mother is a bad idea. She gave beatdowns to Angel, Spike, Faith and Ted when they so much as laid a finger on her.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Throughout the early part of Season 6, she doesn't notice all of the obvious signs that Willow has developed an addiction to magic, even after Xander and Anya point it out to her and after Tara breaks up with her because of it; it isn't until Willow's addiction leads to her getting Dawn in a near-fatal car accident that Buffy finally notices.
  • Fallen Princess: She had an opportunity to enter the top cliques, but declined. After her vampire-bustin' ways freaked the cheerleaders out, the offer was rescinded. We're also frequently reminded in early seasons, once via an actual Flash Back, that before learning about her powers and moving to Sunnydale Buffy was a popular and slightly shallow cheerleader, and even Prom Queen in her last school.
  • Fantastic Racism: Mostly. She has no problem killing demons, but when humans do things that are just as bad (like murder one of her best friends), she absolutely refuses to fight. She starts the shape up in the comics in this regard, sticking to only killing demons who are actively dangerous and more or less leaving all others alone.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her tendency to shut people out and keep secrets, which often leads to Poor Communication Kills. Xander and Dawn both call her out on this in "Beneath You", upon discovering she saw Spike in the basement during the events of the previous episode and didn't tell them.
    Buffy: Okay, yes. I saw Spike. I just didn't—
    Dawn: What? You just forgot to mention it?
    Buffy: Things were insane in the basement! I saved your life! We can discuss this later.
    Dawn: Sure.
    Xander: Whenever you want.
    Dawn: Right. 'Cause that seems to be the only time you let us in, Buffy. Whenever you want.
  • The Fettered: Buffy is adamant that being the Slayer does not give her a license to kill, and her powers do not make her above the law. She expresses such views to Faith during Season 3, and again in "Villains" when disapproving of Willow's intent to kill Warren for killing Tara, as well as Dawn and Xander's support of her intent, insisting that Warren's a human criminal who should be judged by human laws:
    Buffy: Being the Slayer doesn't give me a license to kill. Warren's human.
    Dawn: So?
    Buffy: So the human world has its own rules for dealing with people like him—
    Xander: Yeah, we all know how well those rules work.
    Buffy: Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. We can't control the universe. If we were supposed to, then the magic wouldn't change Willow the way it does. And we'd be able to bring Tara back...
    Dawn: And Mom.
    Buffy: There are limits to what we can do. There should be.
  • Fluffy the Terrible:
    Xander: Someone has to talk to her people. That name is striking fear in nobody's hearts.
    • Even her allies can't quite believe it:
    Ancient Guardian: What's your name?
    Buffy: Buffy.
    Ancient Guardian: No, really?
  • Flying Brick: After getting a power-up in Season 8, she can fly in addition to her slayer super strength.
  • Forgiveness: Takes Giles' "Forgiveness is an act of compassion" speech in Season 2 to heart, full stop, and becomes the most forgiving characters on the show. She forgives Angel for the deeds of Angelus; forgives Giles for poisoning her and nearly getting her and her mother killed as apart of the Council's twisted test in Season 3; forgives Riley for going to a vampire brothel behind her back; forgives Spike for nearly raping her; forgives Faith again and again for all of her numerous betrayals, etc.
  • A Friend in Need: Frequently. Most notably all of the times she went out of her way to help Faith get herself together, at least prior to "This Year's Girl": and when she forgave Willow and continued to allow her to stay in her home, rent free, after Willow nearly killed Dawn during her magic addiction phase.

    G-M 
  • Gallows Humor: Buffy has always had a morbid sense of humor; in Season 6, after she's brought back from the dead, it tends to get a Dude, Not Funny! reaction from the Scoobies.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: She has a stuffed pig named Mr. Gordo.
  • Girly Bruiser: Cheerleading (in one episode), dancing, and chasing boys whenever she's not busy slaying vampires. In the Season 1 finale, she killed The Master while wearing a prom dress. Downplayed as her overt girliness wanes considerably after the first season, and even during then some aspects (like the cheerleading) drop away very quickly.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Teenage Buffy loved cheerleading and was boy crazy, but also fought and slayed too. She later grows out of her preppy girly girl stage and falls in between tomboy and girly girl.
  • Good Is Not Soft: If you're human and not cutting up dead bodies or killing children, she's quite nice. If you are, then she's all for prison, death, Prison Rape then death, basically having a soul makes such actions inexcusable.
    • When Angel is poisoned and Buffy learns that Slayer blood is the cure, her rather scary initial plan is to force the psychotic Faith to him to feed on, dead or alive. When that doesn't work, Buffy offers herself to feed on, which Angel absolutely refuses. So Buffy punches him in the face until the blows anger him enough to vamp out, then she makes him feed on her.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: She has a vampire bite scar on the right side of her neck. The Master first bit her there, and Angel, Dracula, and Spike all bite her in that same area in that order. Of course, the scar isn't shown on-screen until "Harsh Light of Day".
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: "Goldilocks" fights evil, looks after her family, and is a big pile of forgiveness for reformed enemies (this is not to say she's perfect).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed in "Graduation Day, Part 1". Buffy is resolved to drag Faith back to a poisoned Angel for him to feed on, even if she has to kill her to do so. Xander is legitimately scared by Buffy's intent; he says he doesn't want to lose Buffy in the fight, pointing out that it's not the possibility of her dying that frightens him.
  • Healing Factor:
    • She has suffered from a sprained arm as a consequence of fighting vampires, but seemingly healed mid-fight. Despite the injury taking a toll on her fighting and her injured arm being twisted once more, she still could punch a vampire in the face, sending it flying, without any problems later.
    • She was hospitalized with a high-grade fever, some bone fractures and an injured arm. She was completely healed of her injuries the next morning with no signs of swelling (to the doctor's surprise) and was relieved of her fever the morning after that.
    • She was almost completely drained of blood by Angel, but recovered in time to be able to lead the Graduation Day battle in the same day.
    • She was shot by Warren and in critical condition, but Dark Willow takes the bullet out and she's back on her feet within a few hours.
    • Usually, she was completely healed within 24 hours of being injured, though more serious injuries have taken at least a few days; Buffy suffered from a severe stab wound to the belly that required at least a few days to heal and, according to Violet, was heavily bruised for several days after her second encounter with the Turok-Han.
  • Heaven Seeker: In Season 6 because she was there before Willow revived her and the pull back was traumatic.
  • The Heroine: She is the Slayer and so it is her job to kill bad guys For Great Justice.
  • Hero Antagonist: She serves this role in the Angel episode "Sanctuary," wanting to kill Faith for swapping bodies with her and sleeping with Riley at that time; this puts her into conflict with Angel, who wants to rehabilitate Faith. Eventually, Buffy calms down and wants Faith locked up instead, but as Angel notes it's touch and go.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: A tragic irony is that Joyce and Principal Flutie assume Buffy is a juvenile delinquent, when she's actually trying to do the right thing. Then in Season 8, she literally has bad publicity, while the vampires are Villains With Good Publicity.
  • Heroic BSoD: Several times:
    • "Prophecy Girl", when Buffy hears the prophecy that she's going to die.
    • In "Ted", when Buffy believes she's just killed her mother's new boyfriend.
    • She has a brief one in season 2 when she realizes that it was her having sex with Angel that caused him to lose his soul and become the evil Angelus once more.
    • The events of "Becoming: Part 2" cause her to do the "Walk into the mist" version of this trope.
    • In "The Weight of the World", the idea that a moment of doubt had caused her to fail in her mission to protect Dawn caused Buffy to mentally check out for several hours, scaring the heck out of her friends and requiring magic to snap her out of it.
    • The first few episodes of Season 6 are this for her after having been brought back to life and taken out of Heaven. She is finally snapped out of it by Spike in "Once More With Feeling"
    • Spike also snaps her out of the one she suffers when the Scoobies turn on her in Season 7 and she's thrown out of her house by her own sister.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: She's is in this state throughout "Forever", bottling up her emotions in order to deal with the grief over Joyce's death. Sadly, Dawn mistakes this as Buffy not even caring that their mother is gone. At the end of the episode, the dam breaks.
  • Heroic Second Wind: During her fights with the Master, Angelus, Glory, and the First, she typically gets her butt kicked before recovering and staking them.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Zig-Zagged. In "Conversations With Dead People", she realized she had an inferiority complex about her superiority complex. She's very quick to think something is wrong with her whenever something suggests that this might be the case. Over the course of the series, she prevents ten apocalypses and saves people from lesser threats on a regular basis.
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: In addition to having a full time job as the Slayer, Buffy has to take several low-paying jobs throughout Seasons 6 and 7 to support herself and Dawn.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Willow, even after the latter's coming out. In Season 6's "Gone," the case-worker that visits the Summers home even briefly mistakes them for a couple.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Buffy often patrols wearing bright colors to lure out vamps.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Often comes across as such when it comes to dealing with evil humans. She lets a werewolf hunter leave even though judging by the collection of teeth he's killed dozens of people to get werewolf pelts. She refuses to kill her friend Ford, who betrayed her, until after he becomes a vampire. And in the sixth season, despite the fact that Warren killed her friend Tara in cold blood and nearly killed her as well, she insists that she can't kill him because he's human and being the Slayer doesn't give her a license to kill. Perhaps the most extreme case of this is in Season 5, where she adamantly refuses to kill Dawn even to save the world.
    • Throughout Season 4 and most of Season 5, she refuses to kill Spike after he was chipped because he couldn't harm humans and was effectively helpless, despite the fact that he was one of her most dangerous enemies, kept swearing he'd kill her as soon as he got his chip removed, and proved to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain in episodes such as "The Yoko Factor". Of course, this doesn't stop her from regularly mocking him about his "impotence" and beating him up.
    • She also has this in regards to her aversion to guns. In the Season 8 comics, Buffy refused to use a Chinese assault rifle Giles gave her, even in the midst of a war with human soldiers.
  • Humble Hero: An interesting version, Buffy knows she's awesome, but her self-esteem has taken so many hits throughout the years that she feels bad about owning it.
  • Hurting Hero: Her life sucks beyond all reasonable measure, she goes through multiple Heroic BSoDs, outright depression at points, yet she always manages to keep fighting.
  • Hypocrite:
    • During Season 6, she attempts to talk Dark Willow down by getting her to focus on the positives in life, but Willow promptly shoots her down with a Breaking Speech, pointing out all of Buffy's self-destructive habits during the season and reminding her that Buffy is not happy to be alive again.
    • Shows compassion and empathy for Warren's Sex Bot April, but views the Buffybot, who was designed by Warren for Spike, as nothing but an "it" and calls it as such.
    • In the Angel episode "Sanctuary," she tries claiming the moral high ground with Angel, declaring that both he and Faith are killers. Of course, this falls a bit flat considering the fact that Buffy outright tried to murder Faith during "Graduation Day, Part 1," and had come to Los Angeles to finish the job.
    • When Willow goes dark, Buffy insists on helping her and talking her down, but when Anya, now a vengeance demon again, kills several people in granting a wish, Buffy jumps right to Murder Is the Best Solution; when Xander points this out, Buffy replies that it's not the same thing because Willow is human and Anya is a demon. In the same conversation, she states that when it comes to demons, she is the law and her word and judgment is absolute, when previously, she specifically told Faith that Slayers aren't the law or above it. Although her comment about Slayers was specifically about humans, who have an entire justice system apt to deal with them and whose propensity and talent for evil is much lesser than most demon's. And she does come around regarding Anya once she realizes her potential for redemption.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Being forced to kill Angel to save the world at the end of Season 2. She recalls it during Season 7 while explaining her intent to kill Anya to Xander, and even years later, is still torn up about it.
      Buffy: I killed Angel! Do you even remember that? I would have given up everything to be with... [fights emotion] I loved him more than anything I will ever love in this life, and I put a sword through his heart because I had to.
    • Her attitude towards causing the end of magic during Season 9, hence why she repeatedly dismisses Willow's concerns. She only accepts the true magnitude of it when she discovers that Dawn is dying without magic.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: She constantly wished for nothing more than a normal life, an attitude that was particularly prevalent during her high school years. However, as time moved on, she slowly became more accepting of her Slayer duties, particularly after Kendra helped her to understand that being the Slayer was part of who she was and not simply a burden forced upon her shoulders against her will.
  • I Warned You: In "Doomed," when an earthquake strikes, Buffy is paranoid and convinced the world is going to end, especially since the last time an earthquake hit Sunnydale, it led to her Disney Death at the hands of the Master; when she tells Giles, however, he dismisses her concerns, reminding her that earthquakes are a common Southern California occurrence. When Willow later comes across a body with an arcane symbol carved into its chest, Giles does some research and discovers that it is indeed the end of the world again; Buffy does not let him live it down.
    Buffy: I told you. I-I said end of the world and you’re like "poo-poo southern California, poo-poo!"
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: She's never seen getting sick, as Joyce commented that she "never gets sick" when she contracted the flu during a period of great emotional stress in "Killed by Death".
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: In "Villains," when Warren accidentally shoots and kills Tara while trying to kill Buffy, Willow goes insane with grief and fully intends to kill him. Buffy desperately tries to reason with Willow by invoking this, insisting that if she does this, she lets Warren destroy her as well; Willow is beyond caring, and the episode ends with her torturing Warren and finally flaying him alive.
  • Improbable Weapon User: She certainly qualifies, since she frequently uses improvised weapons to kill vampires, especially in the early seasons. Most of these are improvised stakes, ranging in size from a pencil to a mop handle (and, in "Homecoming", she stakes a vampire with a spatula). She also decapitates a vampire with a cymbal in "The Harvest".
  • In a Single Bound: She could leap to great heights and distances, though the maximum is unknown. She was capable of reaching the roof of the original Sunnydale High School in a very short period of time, after running up a sloping rail, and then flipping onto the roof. She has also made standing jumps over the heads of foes much larger than her, including the Master and a troll and performed improbable mid-air kicks.
  • Incompatible Orientation: With Satsu. Even though Buffy is flattered, and sleeps with her (twice!), she is quite adamant that she is not a lesbian and they can't be together.
  • Inconvenient Attraction: Played rather darkly. She begins to feel sexually attracted to Spike in season 6, but ends up coldly and sometimes violently rebuffing him whenever he takes note of it. Her refusal and violent rejection of her attraction is a leading factor in their Destructive Romance.
  • Ineffectual Loner: She falls into this, at least once a season, before coming back to her friends for support.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: As noted in a DVD Commentary, Buffy has a superiority complex in that she's the Slayer and believes herself better than those she protects (pretty much everyone), but this makes her feel bad so she has an inferiority complex about having the superiority complex. This was also pointed out In-Universe by a vampire psychology student who opted to put Buffy on the couch while she was trying to kill him. It actually worked for a while.
  • Informed Flaw: A complicated example. Buffy is supposed to be a inversion of the girly blonde cheerleader who gets killed by the monster in a horror film. It's implied that the Buffy movie takes place before the series and there she started out as the girly bimbo cheerleader, but that becoming The Chosen One put an end to that. The show doesn't start until after she has Taken A Level In Badass.
  • Informed Kindness: In "Sanctuary," Faith remarks that Buffy was the only person in Sunnydale who was there for her and tried to be her friend, and Buffy herself states that she tried her best to help her. As shown throughout Buffy Season 3, even before the events of "Bad Girls" and "Consequences," Buffy generally treated Faith more like a commodity than an actual friend, picking a fight with her on their very first patrol together, having to be talked into including her on several different gatherings, and dumping all of her responsibility for Alan Finch's death onto her, all of which contributed to Faith's Face–Heel Turn; all in all, Buffy's efforts to "help" Faith were halfhearted at best and completely nonexistent at worst.
  • Invisible Jerkass: In "Gone," after being hit with the Nerd Trio's invisibility ray. She had so much stress and depression going on at the time that she felt trapped and powerless. The invisibility let her get away with doing the things she wanted to do anyway, without having to take any responsibility for her actions—as Spike points out, she's pretending that she isn't really "there" as she does it.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: As early as the first episode she knows how much it sucks to be the Slayer: kicked out of school, losing friends, going out behind her mother's back, etc. Best summed up when her mom finds out her secret:
    Buffy: Do you think I chose to be like this? Do you have any idea how lonely it is? How dangerous? I would love to be upstairs watching TV or gossiping about boys or... God, even studying! But I have to save the world. Again.
  • It's All About Me: She hits this territory in several episodes, but it usually doesn't last long.
    • In "Prophecy Girl," when she finds out that she's destined to die at the Master's hands, she freaks out and quits being the Slayer, stating outright that she doesn't care that she's the only one who can stand up to him and he'll unleash Hell on Earth if he isn't stopped. Despite her claims, Buffy clearly does care, but she just can't take it anymore.
      Buffy: Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't wanna die.
    • In "Sanctuary," Buffy doesn't care about Faith's Heel Realization, or that Angel wants to try to redeem her. All she cares about is getting back at Faith for swapping bodies with her and sleeping with Riley during that time. When Angel calls her on it, Buffy blows him off, declaring that she has a right to vengeance.
    • In "Blood Ties," when laying into Spike for letting Dawn find out that she was the Key from the book in the Magic Box, Buffy accuses Spike of helping her just because he hates and wanted to hurt Buffy herself rather than bringing up the effects it had on Dawn.
  • It's All My Fault: Because of her powerful feelings of responsibility for those around her, it's easy for her to blame herself harshly for failures or misfortunes of those she cared for.
    • She blames herself after having sex with Angel and he lost his soul, becoming Angelus. Though as Giles is quick to point out, they didn't do anything wrong, and they had no way of knowing what would happen.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Initially tries this with Riley, being unwilling to get involved with someone in the demon-hunting business, especially after what happened to Angel and Faith. By the end of "Doomed," she comes around.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The time she used a cross and a vampire's burning throat and actually doing what the Trope Namer only threatened.
  • Kick the Dog: In the Angel episode "Sanctuary," there is an interesting example. At the end of the episode, she takes the time to inform Angel of her new boyfriend, and unlike what she had with Angel, she actually knows and trusts Riley. Angel promptly snaps and gives her a major tongue-lashing before ordering her to leave Los Angeles. It is interesting because, if she were the point of view character, then he would be the one Kicking The Dog by harbouring a criminal who used Buffy's body to have sex without her consent, just because he identifies with Faith and wants her to be redeemed like he wished he could be. Note that his possible latent feelings for Faith and/or Buffy's unjustified jealousy in an earlier season complicate the matter further. For those reasons, Buffy seems to be portrayed as sympathetic and partly in the right when she returns to her own show. Overall, a great example of Angel building up not just an alternate point of view on philosophical issues compared to its sister series, but also a slightly different take on each character.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Her beatdown of Glory in the fifth season finale counts as this. The way Glory is breaking down near the end and tearfully begging for mercy almost compels you to feel sorry for her... until you remember that Glory had Mind Raped Tara, threatened Buffy's family while confronting Buffy in her own home, and all in all put Buffy through a hell of a lot of pain and overall bullshit for the past year. Buffy certainly doesn't bother with pity and calmly beats Glory to a bloody pulp.
  • Kid Hero All Grown Up: She begins the show at age 16, and has been slaying since she was 15. The show ends when she's in her early twenties, and by the time of the Season 12 comics, she's hit 30.
  • Lawful Stupid: She's Neutral Good for most of the series, but falls into this at times. For example, in "The Gift," despite having been shown in previous episodes to be willing to kill evil humans if necessary, she blatantly refuses to consider killing Dawn for even a second, and goes so far as to spare Ben despite full knowledge that Glory would eventually return, because "she's a hero." Never mind that at this point Dawn is going to either die or get a Fate Worse than Death no matter what, and all that will be changed by protecting her is ensuring everyone else will go down with her.
  • The Leader: She's a Charismatic leader with a traits of a level-headed one as the series progresses.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In "Graduation Day, Part 1," she, having decided to kill Faith to save Angel's life, enters her apartment to find Faith lying on the bed facing away from her, the stereo blaring. Rather than sneak up and cut her throat, Buffy turns off the stereo to let Faith know she's there, either out of respect for her former comrade-in-arms or because it's easier to justify killing Faith if Buffy is fighting for her life.
  • Lethal Chef: According to her sister Dawn, the only things Buffy can cook without coming close to poisoning people or setting the kitchen on fire are those foods regularly associated with Thanksgiving (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yam casserole, and so on) and even then, she's only good at cooking them when she's cooking them all at once for Thanksgiving.
    • Then there was the time she tried to make lemonade:
    Willow: What kind of punch did you make?
    Buffy: I made lemonade!
    Willow: How much sugar did you use?
    Buffy: Sugar? [Willow makes a face and spits it out]
    Later... Willow: Cordelia, have some lemonade.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The Light to Faith's Dark, being a blonde with a typically bright wardrobe.
  • Lightning Bruiser: She's strong enough to perform such feats as kick down steel doors, fast enough to outrun speeding motorcycles, and tough enough to get up and keep fighting after being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • Likes Older Men: In the last season, the Main Characters finally comment on Buffy's tendency to date older guys. When she goes out with a man ten years older than her, Willow mentions that this is "a hundred years younger than your usual".
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Her romance with Angel was this at times, especially from her end. Case in point: in Season 3, she chooses to get back together with him despite full knowledge that he'll lose his soul if they ever have sex, this being right after he told her to her face that he wants her so badly he's willing to lose his soul again just so he can sleep with her. When you ex tells you that, you don't get back together with them. It's a marked indicator of her Character Development when Angel returns again just before the series finale, and she admits that she doesn't know what she wants and still needs to finish figuring herself out, before sending him off to return to Los Angeles while she metaphorically and literally deals with her own problems.
    • Giles accuses her of this in season 7 with regards to Spike, noting that her emotional attachment to him is causing her to underplay the danger he poses to the group.
  • Ma'am Shock: For a different reason than normal: when Satsu calls her ma'am, Buffy remarks that she can't believe she thinks that it is hot.
    • She's aghast when Dawn's schoolmates refer to her as such, as they assume she's her mother.
  • Made of Iron: Her Slayer powers include superhuman strength and endurance that enable her to survive things that would kill or severely injure a normal person, from beatings to being shot.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: In "When She Was Bad". After saving her friends from being ritually sacrificed to bring the Master Back from the Dead, Buffy crushes the Master's skeleton to dust with a sledgehammer to ensure he'll never come back.
  • Malaproper: She had a tendency to mangle the names of vampires, demon species, and mystical terminology, much to Giles' constant irritation. For example, "astral body" became "asteroid body"; "Tirer la Couverture" became "Rolling Food Stuff"; Bezoar" became "Bozo"; "Morgala" became "Morgan Freeman"; "Kakistos" became "Kissing Toast," "Taquitos," and "Khaki Trousers"; "Acathla" became "Alfalfa" and "Al Franken"; "Beljoxa's Eye" became "Botox's Eye"; and "Turok-Han" became "Chaka Khan." She mispronounced as well even some words unrelated to the supernatural, such as "Haberdashery," which became "Haerbradasgrening," "Habbledaspery," and "Have-a-dash-of-tea."
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life:
    "Dates are things normal girls have. Girls who have time to think about nail polish and facials. You know what I think about? Ambush tactics. Beheading. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of."
  • Master of the Mixed Message:
    • Tells Satsu that she can't be with her romantically, but sleeps with her; twice. Poor Satsu was more than a little confused.
    • With Spike in Season 6, as she swung between welcoming his advances and violently rejecting them.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Both her main love interests are immortal vampires. It can be argued that all her romances will end up as this, as Slayers don't have long lifespans due to occupational hazards.
  • Meaningful Name: Her last name "Summers" is associated with the Sun, which is quite appropriate for someone who is the current Vampire Slayer.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In the second season finale. Buffy shows up at the library while Angelus' goons are attacking the Scoobies, and finds that Drusilla has killed Kendra. The police show up at that exact moment, and since Buffy is standing over Kendra's dead body amongst the ransacked library and the unconscious bodies of her friends, is believed to be the one who killed her; Buffy subsequently escapes police custody, becoming a fugitive from the law, and after killing Angel, flees for Los Angeles. While Principal Snyder brags to her that the Sunnydale police are "deeply stupid" and will never realize that Buffy is innocent, in between Seasons 2 and 3, they do in fact discover the truth and clear Buffy of all charges.
  • Mommy Issues: With Joyce because she had to keep the slayer thing secret. Then her mother becomes more supportive of her.
  • Monster/Slayer Romance: She's the Slayer and she's got the affections of the only two non-evil vampires on Earth.
  • Moral Myopia: She repeatedly insists that the Scoobies have no right to take a human life, but she herself has killed humans, actively killing Caleb and the Knights of Byzantium and trying to kill Faith to save Angel.
  • The Mourning After: Despite her attempts to move on from him after Season 3, it's made clear throughout the series that Buffy still carries a torch for Angel. In Season 5, Xander forces her to realize that she was just treating Riley as a "convenient rebound guy" after Angel left town, and she tends to subconsciously compare all of her subsequent lovers to Angel.
    • Quite literally. Given the extremely traumatic fallout of the first time she and Angel slept together, Buffy jokingly asks Spike if he's "evil now" the first time they sleep together after he's obtained his soul. At his awkward stare in reply, she rushes to admit that she's a bit leery of the morning after given her history and apologizes for bringing up an ex... then proceeds to still expect him to answer the question, suggesting it may have been a genuine worry on her mind. Perhaps a reasonable one, as it's unclear whether or not she's aware if there are any conditions on Spike's soul.
  • Mugging the Monster: About Once an Episode. She's the monster.
  • Mundane Utility: She once used her Super Strength to open a crate that her mom was unable to. In "Life Serial", she also uses it to her advantage when Xander hires her as a construction worker, which pisses off her coworkers - they were being paid by the hour, so having someone speeding up the process was not welcome.
  • Murder by Inaction: Pulls this off in "Lie to Me." After thwarting Ford's plan to sacrifice her and the Sunset Club to Spike and his pack, she locks Ford in the club with the vamps; Ford is sired, and later dusted by Buffy herself.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: When it comes to demons, Buffy, as per her job description, will inevitably slay or attempt to slay them if they do something evil no matter the circumstances. Case in point: in "Help," when Anya grants a vengeance wish that kills several frat boys, Buffy automatically decides that the only option is to kill Anya, stating outright to Xander that they can't reason with her like they did with Dark Willow because Willow is a human and Anya is a demon.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: She's not buff by any stretch of the imagination. She doesn't need to be — she's the Slayer, she can throw down with anything short of an invincible Big Bad or demon-human-cyborg hybrid, or Physical God.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Has this twice, once in Season 6, when she learns that she didn't come back wrong and has been doing all sorts of horrible stuff of her own free will, and again in Season 8 when Giles is killed, magic is destroyed, and the Slayer line is ended, as a result of her space frak with Angel.
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  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Slayer.
  • The Neidermeyer: Throughout Season 7, many of Buffy's decisions and plans are awful and end up causing a lot of damage. The final straw is in "Empty Places," when she decides to try to take the fight to Caleb once again mere hours after he had just curb-stomped them all, killed two Potentials, and blinded Xander in one eye, without any idea or explanation of how they would do things differently; after this, the Scoobies and Potentials all rebel, appoint Faith their new leader, and kick Buffy out of the house.
  • Never My Fault: It's rare that this trope applies to her as most of the time she's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and feeling responsible for everyone and everything. However, it's played straight on two separate occasions:
    • She, and the rest of the Scoobies by extension, fall under this during in regards to Faith's Face–Heel Turn. She constantly acts like Faith should shoulder all the blame and responsibility for Alan Finch's death despite Buffy literally handing him to her and that her treating Faith like a commodity rather than a friend played no part in her turn to the dark side.
    • In "Blood Ties," Buffy's immediate reaction upon finding out that Spike helped Dawn break into the Magic Box is to storm off to his crypt and start to beat the crap out of him, blaming him for Dawn finding out about being the Key in the worst possible way. However, Spike quickly turns the tables on her, pointing out that not only did he not know that Dawn was the Key before then, but Buffy was the one who kept it from her in the first place. When Dawn later runs away, Buffy admits that he was right and the whole mess is her fault.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Creating the Twilight dimension by screwing Angel, which let thousands of demons invade Earth, which resulted in the destruction of the Seed of Wonder and removed all magic from the world.
  • No Sympathy: For Spike after he was chipped in Season 4. She actively enjoyed taunting him over his helplessness and beating the crap out of him. It reaches a head in "Doomed": Willow insists on bringing Spike with them on patrol because he's suicidal and will try to stake himself if they leave him alone, to which Buffy straight-up asks, "And that's bad because...?"
  • Not Helping Your Case: The government fears that Slayers are Slayers are dangerous and may act above the law; Buffy herself contributed to that image when it's revealed that she robbed a Swiss bank account in order to fund her Slayer Organization, reasoning that it was a "victimless crime" due to the bank's insurance. Willow even calls her out on it.
  • Not Herself: Once a Season, beginning with her stressing over The Master, then getting over the traumatic events that ended with her killing Angel. A demon tries to steal her soul, she has to deal with her Retconned sister, she sacrifices herself to save her sister only for her friends to bring her back to life (and pull her from heaven to hell on earth) and crack under the pressure of trying to command.
  • Not So Different: To Spike — they love to fight (and when forced to fight together, cooperate instinctively), refuse to be bound by tradition, and seem addicted to doomed unconventional relationships. Spike pushes this line when trying to court Buffy in Seasons 5 and 6; and while Buffy angrily denies the idea it's clear she also secretly believes him, fueling her decision to enter into a Destructive Romance that highlights all the ways they're not alike.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the Angel episode "Sanctuary," Buffy chases Faith down to L.A. after her recent antics in Sunnydale, during which Faith used a device to switch bodies with Buffy and used it to her advantage to sleep with Buffy's new boyfriend Riley... only to come into conflict with Angel, who's firmly convinced that Faith can be rehabilitated. At the end of the episode, when Faith turns herself in to the LAPD, Buffy insists to Angel that she came to help him because he was in danger (Faith had previously been hired by Wolfram & Hart to assassinate Angel), but Angel doesn't buy it for a second, pointing out he's in danger every day, and knows she was just using that as an excuse to come to L.A. for vengeance on Faith; Buffy doesn't deny it and states outright she's entitled to revenge.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • In "Prophecy Girl," after the Master bites her and leaves her to drown in a puddle of water. Xander is able to revive her with CPR; nonetheless, as revealed in "What's My Line," Buffy being Not Quite Dead was enough for the next Slayer, Kendra, to be called.
    • In "Villains," after Warren shoots her. Buffy briefly flatlines on the table before Willow extracts the bullet and heals her.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Seeing her on her first day at Sunnydale High caused Xander to fall head over heels, literally, as he crashes into a railing. Buffy, however, is completely clueless as to his feelings until he asks her to the dance in the season finale. Then in Season 8, when Buffy's loneliness and need for stability compels her to go to Xander. Xander declines, having long since decided he and Buffy are Better as Friends.
    • Despite Spike's Stalker with a Crush behaviour, she only realizes what's happening when Dawn points it out.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: She's the older hero to Simone Doffler's younger villain. It's even lampshaded during one of their confrontations.
    Buffy: I've been doing this longer than you. Which means I'm more experienced, so you're done.
    Simone: And I'm younger than you. Which means I'm faster, so you're f@%ed.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: In the Grand Finale, she gets stabbed in the gut straight through. After a few minutes, she gets back up and keeps fighting.
  • Only Mostly Dead: In "Prophecy Girl," after the Master drowned her. Xander revived her with CPR.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • If she ever willingly kills or attempts to kill another human being, you know things are getting bad.
    • When she drops the snark, you are in big trouble.
  • Person as Verb: The inimitable Buffyspeak.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Her most obvious noted feature was her relatively small size and slender frame, somewhat of an ironic statement given her physical strength and superior slayer agility. Lampshaded by Jenny Calendar:
    Jenny: The part that gets me, though, is where Buffy is the Vampire Slayer. She's so little.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Xander eventually. To get there he had to get over his crush on her and she had to stop thinking of him as a simple 'friend'.
  • The Power of Friendship: A mix of this and The Power of Love is the entire reason she's the longest-lived Slayer. All others before her were cut off from their family and friends and worked alone, their self-imposed isolation causing them to lose their will to live. Buffy, on the other hand, has friends and loved ones that help her in her duty, thus giving her something to live for.
  • Powerful and Helpless: She's the Slayer, a superpowered monster hunter who can easily handle vampires and demons... but is unable to do anything when she comes home and finds her mother on the couch, dead from a brain aneurysm. Buffy is left nigh-catatonic, wondering how long Joyce had been in the house and if she could have been saved, even as the doctors state that the aneurysm was very sudden and there's nothing Buffy could have done even if she had been at her mother's side at the time.
  • Punished for Sympathy: Goes out of her way to be kind and welcoming to Faith, even tries to help Faith after her Start of Darkness only to have Faith try to kill her/ruin her life multiple times. By the Angel episode "Sanctuary", Buffy has finally gotten sick of it.
  • Promotion to Parent: After Joyce's death, Buffy is forced to take over the parenting of Dawn. It's not easy at first, and Buffy finds herself at risk of losing Dawn to child services in "Tough Love" and "Gone."
  • Protectorate: She's very protective of her loved ones in general. Her best moments include throwing Angel through a window when she thought he bit her mother, nearly killing Faith when she attacks Angel and later had her way with Riley, telling off Maggie Walsh for being mean to Willow, standing up to Tara's abusive family and graphically killing Caleb after he not only killed several potentials, but took Xander's eye out.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Her attempts to rediscover her passion in a Destructive Romance with Spike during Season 6 only make things worse. When Buffy (incorrectly) thinks she has murdered an innocent woman, she savagely beats an unresisting Spike, describing him in terms that clearly mirror her own fears over what she has become.
    "You don't have a soul! There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!"
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the final issue of Season 9, she dishes one out to the newly vampirized Simone before staking her.
    Buffy: I let you steal my Slayers. I let you twist what we were all about. I let you terrorize too many people. But now... now you've turned yourself into everything I'm not. And I'm going to stop you.
    Simone: Good luck. The Scythe is mine.
    Buffy: No. It's mine. [stakes Simone] And I'm sorry I ever used it to make you a Slayer.
  • Refusal of the Call: She at first refuses her call and comes to Sunnydale to get away from her delinquent reputation and Slayer responsibilities, but is forced into it. And frequently during the series, she expresses the desire to quit and turn her back on Slaying.
  • Resigned to the Call: Her attitude for most of the series. She tries to refuse the Call at various points, especially at the beginning, and the hope she feels when other Slayers start showing up is just heartbreaking when it becomes clear that she can't just step down and let the new Slayer take over. She also implies, at various points, that the job itself is pretty cool - her objections to it are based in the masquerade killing any chance of her ever having a normal relationship - or in some cases any relationship (count her exes, folks: Angel (vampire); Riley Finn (super soldier); and Spike (vampire) and a string of normal men) and the fact that "retirement" means dying. Also, the Call keeps dragging her friends and family into the mix, which she really objects to. Plus, by age 18, she's one of the oldest slayers ever (by the end of the series when she is in her early 20's, she's the oldest slayer in history) and she's been revived twice.
  • Relative Button: Do not threaten her little sister, Dawn.
  • Reluctant Warrior: She didn't like her Slayer duties, especially during the high school seasons. Giles has to do everything short of grabbing her by the hair.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Upon her resurrection in Season 6, Buffy is initially disoriented and out of it for a while, and is depressed and self-destructive until the sixth season finale. Of course, it's largely because she was ripped out of Heaven and had to claw her way out of her own grave.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Provoked by Faith stealing Buffy's body, and her boyfriend too. Once back in her own skin, Buffy becomes a bloodhound, chasing Faith all the way to Los Angeles with vengeance in mind, only to form an Enemy Mine with Faith to fight off the Watchers' Council black ops and be satisfied by Faith's voluntary incarceration.
  • Rousing Speech: Pointed out in Season 7 that she's really good at this. She once gave a Rousing Speech to a telephone repairman. It's averted in "The Gift", much to the bemusement of fellow Brits Giles and Spike, who were expecting something more Shakespearean.
  • Scars Are Forever: She had a scar left from the Master's bite on her neck, though Angel and Dracula have also bitten her in the exact same spot.
  • Selective Obliviousness: For the early part of Season 6, she displays this attitude towards Willow's magic addiction, ignoring it and even making excuses for her. It isn't until "Wrecked," when Willow's addiction ends up landing Dawn in the hospital, that Buffy is finally forced to acknowledge it; even then, she believes that the addiction started because of her break-up with Tara... only for Willow to inform her that said addiction is why Tara dumped her in the first place. Buffy admits to Giles in "Grave" that with all the other crap that's been going on, she "barely even noticed" Willow's magic abuse.
  • Sex Goddess: At least twice in Season 4, it's suggested that Buffy's superhuman physical abilities translate to bedroom prowess; both her one-night stand Parker and Faith, who steals her body in a Grand Theft Me plot, comment explicitly on the matter. In Season 6 Spike mentions having sex for five hours straight and raves about what an animal she is; he specifically mentions biting — coming from a vampire, that's an impressive recommendation!
  • She's Back:
    • "Welcome to the Hellmouth", deciding to resume slaying after it had gotten her kicked out of her previous school.
    • Then again in "Prophecy Girl" (season 1 finale) when she heads out to fight the Master after initially being terrified by the prophecy that the fight will kill her.
    • At the beginning of season 3 ("Anne") a brief trip to hell reminds her of her purpose, and she returns to Sunnydale. This after getting kicked out of her house and killing her boyfriend in the season 2 finale, at the start of the episode she is hiding out in LA waiting tables.
    • "Beer Bad" near the beginning of Season four shows Buffy finding her power again after four episodes of being put way off-balance by College.
    • "Primeval" at the end of season four has Buffy (plus a few other people) destroying Adam after several losing battles that had pretty well convinced her she couldn't win against it.
    • The beginning of the season 5 finale, "The Gift" has Buffy stepping up to the plate and deciding to go out fighting after spending most of the previous episode catatonic, mentally reliving over and over the moment she gave up on defeating Glory.
    • Subverted in "Bargaining, Part 2" when a traumatised Buffy starts kicking demon ass, causing her friends who are worried that she Came Back Wrong to think the old Buffy has returned. Instead she's just acting on instinct — Buffy runs away leaving her friends alone with the demon leader and tries to commit suicide.
    • Subverted in Season 6 in general; it takes most of the season for Buffy to recover from her depression over having been wrenched back into the real world.
    • After spending most of the second half of Season 7 in denial about all the people she was going to lose going up against the First, "Touched" has her deposed as leader of the potentials and kicked out of her own house by her sister, until Spike pulls her together and she decides she's going to take the Scythe from Caleb.
  • She's Got Legs: They get a good showing in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Says this word for word to Willow about Satsu and a Running Gag with Spike before, during and after their relationship.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Coming back from the dead is no picnic, as Buffy is to discover twice. She's already this by "Welcome to the Hellmouth." She'd already had a year of being the Slayer under her belt, during which time, she'd been expelled from school, had her first Watcher die on her, lost all her friends, and, if "Normal Again" is to be believed, was institutionalized by her parents. Yeah, it's not as bad as dying and coming back to life, but keep in mind that Buffy is only 16 at the start of the show.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • She's supportive of Giles and Jenny, even forgiving the latter for the sake of her mentor.
    • She pushes Willow toward Oz.
    • She ships Xander/Anya, as evidenced by the line, "You and Anya give me hope. It's like...you two are proof that there's light at the end of this very long, long nasty tunnel."
    • She's at least supportive of Xander/Dawn. She's more open to it in the season 10 comics, after Dawn's emotional state has been reset and Xander is stuck in the friend zone until she loves him again.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Sometimes with her sister Dawn.
  • Smug Super: Has shades of this at times, usually in her more Jerkass moments.
    • In "When She Was Bad", when Willow tries to defend Giles on the revivification matter regarding the Master, Buffy snaps that she'd like to "have a little less from the civilians."
    • Zigzagged in "Conversations with Dead People". Buffy admits that being the Slayer, she feels herself superior than those she protects (which is pretty much everyone), but feels guilty over it. Holden Webster sums her attitude up as an Inferiority Superiority Complex.
    • Then there's "Get It Done", where after Chloe's suicide, Buffy gives everyone a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that amounts to this, making it clear that they do what she says and she's done carrying them all; Anya even lampshades it, regarding it as Buffy basically saying "Everyone sucks but me."
      Buffy: I'm the Slayer. The one with the power. And the First has me using that power to dig our graves. I've been carrying you—all of you—too far, too long. Ride's over.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: In "Get It Done", when Chloe is Driven to Suicide by the First, Buffy explicitly calls her a weak moron for quitting when things got tough.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Angel, the ensouled vampire that kills other vampires.
  • Stepford Snarker: She utilizes sarcastic quips and makes light of things less to be funny and more as a reflection of her low self-esteem and deep insecurities about herself. This is made particularly apparent on matters such as her love life and her life in general, such as her difficulty finding a balance between saving the world and a normal life.
    Anya: The house. See, this house...just sitting here, doing nothing, by itself, costs money.
    Dawn: So what do we do?
    Buffy: (deadpan) Easy. We burn the house to the ground and collect the insurance. Plus, fire? Pretty.
    [Everyone stares at her]
    Buffy: You guys, I'm kidding, okay? It's-it's bills, it's money. It's pieces of paper sent by bureaucrats that we've never even met. It's not like it's the end of the world. (beat) Which is too bad, y'know. 'Cause that I'm really good at.
  • The Strategist: She posesses strong leadership skills and having a natural flair for tactical planning.
  • Street Smart: Buffy is Street Smart, as are most Slayers in general. They typically contrast with the Book Smart Watchers. However, Buffy's poor academic performance is chalked up to other factors rather than being Book Dumb (she's actually quite intelligent).
  • Strong and Skilled: Buffy's largely Taught by Experience. She has the superpowers that come with being the Slayer, and is the oldest, longest-lived one, having achieved numerous victories over such beings as vampires, demons, cyborgs, and even Physical Gods; by the time of Season 5, she's able to defeat groups of almost 20 vampires by herself.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Sometimes she can deform metal with her bare hands and knock steel doors off their hinges with one kick, while other times, she has trouble taking on newly-sired vampires and even Badass Normals. When questioned, Joss Whedon himself said that Buffy is literally "as strong as the plot needs her to be".
  • Suicide Is Shameful: In "Get it Done," she expresses this when Chloe, spurred by the First Evil's manipulations, hangs herself. After burying her, Buffy has absolutely No Sympathy for her trauma or struggles, and openly calls her a stupid, weak idiot in front of the Scoobies and other Potential Slayers.
    Buffy: Anyone want to say a few words about Chloe? Let me. Chloe was an idiot. Chloe was stupid. She was weak. And anyone in a rush to be the next dead body I bury, it's easy. Just...think of Chloe, and do what she did. And I'll find room for you next to her and Annabelle.
  • Super Reflexes: She's snatched a crossbow bolt in mid-flight, blocked a sword with her hands (her eyes were closed at the time) just as it was thrust towards her face, caught/deflected/dodged knives thrown at her from varying distances, dodged gunfire from multiple ranges and set off a bear trap without getting caught in it.
  • Super Senses:
    • She pinpointed the position of invisible Marcie Ross by standing silently for a few seconds to hear her movements before landing a perfect punch.
    • She sensed a trio of invisible demons quietly entering the room before hearing a faint growl that alerted her to the presence of the demon standing behind her just in time to turn around and block it's attack. The demons were silent enough to sneak past Buffy's friends inches away from them unnoticed. She later ordered her fellow Scoobies to be quiet in order for her to sense the position of the other demons during the ambush.
    • Giles once required her to throw a ball at him after being spun around in order to test her awareness of her opponent's location during fights in total darkness. Despite initially missing him when throwing the ball, the ball bounced off the wall she threw it at and landed on him.
    • She dispatched an axe-wielding Watcher while blind-folded, relying entirely on instinct when she found the orders given to her in Japanese too complicated.
    • She easily dispatched The Trio when they were invisible (and as she was invisible herself).
  • Super Speed: She was able to run fast enough to keep up with a school bus going at full speed. The bus had already taken off before she caught up to it and she was still recovering from a deep abdominal stab wound she got only minutes before. She also could outrun a raiding motorcyclist on his bike shortly after her resurrection, Outrun the Fireball and was able to reach the police station to save Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson on foot shortly after Willow reached there via flight.
  • Super Strength: She's heaved up a metal portcullis which a group of people were unable to budge, snapped a metal blade in half over her knee, punched through a demon's chest, hurled a piece of glass with enough force that it severed a person's arm, effortlessly lifted steel girders weighing several hundred pounds, demolished the interior of an abandoned building from having rough sex, accidentally kicked Riley clear across a room even though she "held back a little" and easily lifted Olaf the Troll God's Enchanted Hammer, which even Spike couldn't manage.
  • Super Toughness:
    • She could leap from a two-story window with a man in her arms, landing on the ground and letting her body take the brunt of the fall. She was already tanking powerful blows from Glory minutes before.
    • She looked relatively unfazed after she had a vase smashed over her head by Tucker Wells.
    • She has been hit by a moving car, got up and walked off, ignoring the several bystanders who offered to help.
    • She appeared only to sustain some minor damage after being shot by a high-voltage blast from the Initiative's taser blasters. While normal human beings and even demons were shown to become incapacitated, and require time to recuperate afterward, she was fit enough to escape.
    • She has survived contact with a live electrical wire; the normally fatal jolt simply melted her shoe soles. Giles noted that if she was anyone but the Slayer, she would not survive it.
  • Suppressed Rage:
    • She's in this state during "When She Was Bad," having been traumatized by her temporary death at the Master's hands. While mostly sullen, moody, and having Took a Level in Jerkass, moments such as her beating on a training dummy until it breaks and finally smashing the Master's bones to bits with a hammer show just how not okay she really is.
    • In the episode "Ted," Joyce ends up in a relationship with the eponymous Ted, who acts like a nice guy in front of Joyce and Buffy's friends, but is an ass to Buffy herself and threatens her when they're not around. Even before this, Buffy takes an instant dislike to him and spends her time taking her anger out on vampires. When Ted reads her diary and slaps her, Buffy unleashes all of that suppressed rage, happy that Ted finally gave her an excuse to hit him.
      Buffy: [smirks] I was so hoping you'd do that.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Giles worries Buffy's done this from Season 4 onwards, since Buffy's at college and he's no longer her Watcher officially or unofficially. He considers leaving Sunnydale entirely, but changes his mind when Buffy asks for more training. When he does leave in Season 6, it's for the opposite reason. Of course, it doesn't stop Spike from accusing Giles in participating in the mutiny against Buffy for this reason.
    Spike: You used to be the big man, didn't you? The teacher, all full of wisdom. Now she's surpassed you, and you can't handle it.
  • Take a Third Option: When faced with the painful choice of saving her little sister Dawn, or letting her walk into and close the dimensional tear that had been opened with her blood (which would result in her death), Buffy instead chose to throw herself into the tear to close it since they had the same blood (Dawn had originally been created using some of Buffy's essence, therefore they literally shared the same blood).
  • Taught by Experience: With every passing season, she gets more experiencing in dusting vampires and other nasties, which means it gets easier and she becomes capable of more. She goes from having trouble with 2-3 vampires in Season 1, to killing 20 at once with a giant stake in Season 5.
  • Teens Are Short: Sarah Michelle Gellar is a good five inches shorter than the actress playing her mother, and eventually ends up shorter than her 'little' sister.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: She acknowledges that humans can be just as bad, if not even worse, than demons, but flat-out refuses to take a human life. Of course, she makes exceptions from time to time, and in Season 6, the main reason she's against Willow killing Warren for killing Tara is because she doesn't want her best friend to become a murderer.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill Muggles: She sometimes fights against "normal" humans, but usually tries not to kill them. In one instance, accidentally "killing" a human-looking robot in self-defense is enough to give her a Heroic B So D. This comes to a head in Season 6 with Warren, who, by killing Trina and Tara, has established himself a genuine threat, but Buffy still refuses to take lethal force on him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While always a badass, she gradually becomes much stronger and a more capable fighter as the show goes on. Compare getting her ass handed to her by vamps in Season One with her wiping the floor with the goddess Glory at the end of Season Five.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Seasons six and seven saw her worldview become much bleaker having following being yanked from Heaven in the former and dealing with being a leader in the latter. She gets over it both times, though.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She started out as a vapid Alpha Bitch not too dissimilar to Cordelia. It takes meeting Willow and Xander to start taking her responsibility as the Slayer more seriously and becomes gradually more caring and selfless.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • She became increasingly arrogant over the last two seasons. It's partially justified in that being yanked out of Heaven and coming to Buried Alive in her own grave had been very traumatic. However, by the last season she had practically declared herself dictator of the group and made sneering comments when one of the girls under her charge committed suicide (though she later confessed to Willow that she went too far on that occasion). Thankfully, she gets over it.
    • This is hardly the first time she does. First she is stressing over The Master, and her Jerkassness as he starts to affect her would impress Faith. Later everyone took a level after she runs at the end of the second season. Justified in the fourth season as a demon was stealing her soul. And in season five a magical retcon gives her a sister, and Buffy struggles with this.
  • Trauma Button: In early Season 7, it's clear that Spike's Attempted Rape of her has left scars. Simply touching his hand by accident in "Beneath You" causes her to flash back to that moment, and in "Him," Spike unexpectedly touching her arm startles her. Even years later, during Season 10, she still has some troubles with it despite having long since forgiven and accepted Spike; in "Triggers," Spike unexpectedly entering the bathroom while she's showering causes her to instinctively kick him into a wall.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: She displayed a usually forgiving nature, the only exception possibly being Faith to an extent, despite the fact that others have done worse than Faith, such as Willow, Spike, and Angel, though the vampires didn't have a soul, so at least they had an excuse.
  • Ultimate Job Security: It's a Running Gag in Season 7 that she's a terrible guidance counselor and was only hired because Principal Wood knew she was the Slayer and about the Hellmouth; whenever she mentions her "skills" at the job, the person she's talking to laughs or otherwise looks amused, and whenever she's talking to a student, she often gets distracted and doesn't listen to what the student is saying. The only reason she ultimately gets fired from the job is so she can devote all of her attention to the war with the First.
  • Underestimating Badassery: In regards to Warren in Season 6; she explicitly dismisses him as nothing but a "pain in her ass" and doesn't take him seriously... until he accidentally kills his ex-girlfriend Katrina and uses time-warping demons to dupe Buffy into thinking she did it; only a last-minute Bat Deduction after hearing Katrina's body being identified at the police station stopped Buffy from taking the fall for Warren's mistake. From that moment on, Buffy realizes how dangerous Warren really is and makes it a point to bring him to justice.
  • Unwanted Revival: In Season 6, Willow brings Buffy back to life after her demise at the end of Season 5. Buffy was in Heaven and at peace, and is not happy to be alive again. It takes the entire season for her to get past it.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • With Angel because they Can't Have Sex, Ever.
    • With Spike. After their relationship fell apart in Season 6, they spent most of Season 7 walking on eggshells despite still obviously having feelings. Then circumstances were such they had to go their separate ways and didn't reunite until Season 9... at which point they still failed to resolve anything. Finally resolved in Season 10, where they get back together and manage to get into a relatively healthy relationship for the duration of season 10 and 11.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Discussed Trope with her comparisons to Dark Action Girl Faith. Losing any strong family figures (Joyce's death, Giles leaving) proves the trope correct.
  • Use Your Head: Whenever Buffy finds herself in tight quarters with a vampire, chances are she is going to headbutt her way out of it. That situation can be found in episodes such as "The Harvest", "Helpless", "The Freshman" and "No Place Like Home".
  • Vigilante Woman: Strictly speaking, she fits this trope, as she is acting outside of the bounds of the law by hunting vampires and demons (admittedly, the laws aren't really written with anything of the sort in mind, due to The Masquerade).
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • With regards to Angel. She nearly rips Kendra's head off when she finds out she left him for dead when she tries to kill Angel. And later, when Faith poisons Angel and the only cure is for him to drain a slayer, she doesn't even hesitate in hunting her down so she can feed her to him. Even her friends are worried she's going too far with that last one.
    • In "Hush" a rioter is about to attack Riley from behind with a lead pipe. Buffy coldly breaks the man's wrist without even looking at him. A darker, perhaps even Yandere-esque example happens in "Into The Woods" once she finds out that Riley had been going to what amounts to a vampire prostitution den to get his blood sucked. She burns the place to the ground and impales the vampire who'd drank from him.
    • While not technically dating at the time, she was pretty pissed off to find out that Robin Wood and Giles had conspired to kill Spike behind her back. While she never has to get violent, as Spike manages to subdue Robin non-fatally before she gets there, she does warn Robin that she would not stop Spike from killing him in self-defense if he ever tried anything again. It's pretty much the first and only time she rolls back on her very firm "no killing humans" rule.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Faith in the third season up until Faith joined the Dark Side.
  • Waif-Fu: The extremely petite Buffy certainly doesn't look like she'd be able to roundhouse kick a marauding demon across a room.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Early seasons were split between Buffy's slayer duties and her studies/dating life.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: She quite enjoys nursing Angel back to health, and says that Riley looked "even cuter when all weak and kitteny". In the Season 8 comics, we discover one of Buffy's sexual fantasies involves Angel and Spike chained to her, with Buffy dressed in a Naughty Nurse Outfit.
  • Weapon of Choice: Her most common weapon over time was shown to be frequently identified as the traditional wooden stake, even being completely unbothered with using it on creatures other than vampires. When probed of this habit, she would simply say it was because she knew how to use it.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Both instantiated and subverted in "I Was Made to Love You" from season five, where, after chasing Robot Girl April for most of the episode with the intent of bringing her down, Buffy finally ends up staying with her as she slowly fades away, allowing April to "die" with dignity. Later, however, she does not show such concern for the worth of the "Buffy-bot" Spike has built for his amusement. Certainly, anyone would be Squicked over being the basis of somebody's -ahem- artificial stimulation, but the series had established that these robots are people too.
    • She freaks out in "Ted" when she thinks she's killed the eponymous character in self-defense, but when he comes back and is revealed to be a robot, she has absolutely no qualms about destroying him (though he was an asshole Serial Killer).
    • She has no problem with beating Spike to a bloody pulp shortly after voluntarily sleeping with him after his Heel–Face Turn. Well, she beat him to a bloody pulp while she was sleeping with him, too, but that was different. Sure, Spike is a vampire, but so is Angel, Buffy's previous lover. The justification she tries to use is that Spike possessed no soul (true at that time), while Angel did. However, it's clear that throughout the season, her guilt over her abusive treatment towards him is still compounding her self-loathing, regardless of his soul or lack thereof.
    • When Willow turns evil and kills people in season 6, Buffy tries her very best to help her and worries for her sake more than for the people she's trying to kill. When Anya turns evil in season 7, Buffy immediately decides she has to kill her, justification being Willow is human, Anya is a demon. It is explicitly said later in the episode that vengeance demons have souls, which makes it all a lot worse.
    • To the end, she flat-out refuses to take human law into her own hands and just kill Warren, preferring to simply turn him over to the police. The other Scoobies, however, are so disgusted with him that they rally behind Willow en masse when she goes out to kill him and avenge Tara's death. The only issue anyone really has afterwards is how gruesome Warren's death was, and the fact that Willow refuses to settle for just killing him.
    • In "Hells Bells", there is her killing of the guy who was cursed by Anya to be tortured in a hell dimension. He had a very legitimate grievance with Anya, and he's unconscious and helpless, and he's killed like it's nothing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • EVERYONE freaks out on her (Xander, Willow, and Joyce in particular) when she comes back from running away at the end of Season 2, to the point where she wants to run away again. Willow and a group of zombies crashing her house keeps her from doing so, much to everyone's relief.
    • They have the same reaction in Season 3 on discovering that Angel (last seen as Angelus) has returned and Buffy has been keeping it secret.
    • Also, in Season 7, Buffy is kicked out of her house for her Drill Sergeant Nasty attitude and crappy leadership skills and decisions.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Many characters (heroic and villainous) wonder what kind of parents name their kid "Buffy"note . Some assume it's a nickname.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She admitted to finding puppets creepy and that they gave her "a wig".
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: After her meeting with the first Slayer and battle with Dracula, she finally came to terms with her role as the Slayer. Despite her ever-present reluctance to be the Slayer even in her later years, she was depicted as having an incredibly strong sense of responsibility to the people she saved and the world as well. This was shown in her disagreements over Faith's impulsive and careless attitude and her self-righteous stance on many other things.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • A literal case in "Killed by Death." Buffy is weakened by the flu, which leads to her poor performance in a fight with Angelus and would have cost her her life had the other Scoobies not warded him off with crosses. Xander himself muses that Buffy is "half the Slayer."
    • In "Seeing Red," Spike's Attempted Rape of Buffy in "Seeing Red" only got as far as it did because a run-of-the-mill vampire had got a lucky shot in earlier and caused her to injure her back. Both injuries carry over into Buffy's fight with a superpowered Warren - even with super-strength and near-invulnerability, he can tell she's off her game.
    • Her poor performance against the original Turok-Han during the first two fights is in part because she had gone without sleep for two days solid. After the first encounter, Giles explicitly told her she should get some sleep, but Buffy refused. Of course, even after resting and recovering, Buffy has a hard time dealing with the Turok-Han and has to use literally everything she can get her hands on to take it down.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Buffy uses a Frankensteiner at least once.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: She has a sarcastic and ironic sense of humour, often cracking jokes and puns about her opponents, especially in the midst of battle. She apparently took much enjoyment out of taunting them, usually getting very annoyed when her enemies didn't respond.
    • Lampshaded:
    If I were at full strength, I'd be punning right now.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Spike certainly thought so, and was nearly killed in the process of earning his soul back. Conversely, Angel turned down a chance to become human again rather than risk her dying on his watch.

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