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This page deals with the original four members of the Scooby Gang in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


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Willow Rosenberg

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/41455bf180b993303ba7d73ed6605fdd.jpg
"Oh, I don't get wild. Wild on me equals spaz."
Click here  to see Dark Willow

"You're the Slayer and we're, like, the Slayerettes!"

Wallflower and Buffy's best friend. Started out as the book-smart girl, but gradually became an extremely powerful witch, giving her newfound confidence — and hubris. Willow realized she was a lesbian after falling in love with another woman in Season 4, and is one of the most recognized lesbian characters in fiction.


  • Action Girl: Anyone who manages to inflict pain on a goddess deserves this title.
  • Addictive Magic: A big part of her character arc in Season 6, where magic is treated as a very clear metaphor for drug abuse.
  • Adorkable: Probably has the most of this out of the core four, especially in the early seasons where she's shy and quietly pining after Xander.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Started out nerdy, shy and fairly weak, but as the show went on, she gradually became more assertive, powerful and hot.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: After the Dark Willow fiasco at the end of Season 6, she spends most of Season 7 terrified of using her magic out of fear of losing control again.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Miss Kitty Fantastico!
  • And Starring: Starting in Season 6. It's pretty jarring.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: She slaps Angel to punctuate her Motive Rant about how important it is to restore magic.
  • The Atoner: At the beginning of Season 7, she tries to make up for the bad stuff she did because of the Dark Willow thing.
  • Badass Bookworm: Studying magic leads to beating up monsters that give the Slayer trouble.
  • Badass Gay: A lesbian, and one of the most powerful Wiccans ever.
  • Best Woman: At Xander and Anya's wedding, Willow is Xander's best "man".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hints are given throughout the series of a more darker side to Willow's Shrinking Violet nature — her liking for revenge, her childlike petulance, her anger at being an Extreme Doormat or mere Sidekick leading to a desire for power through magic (and a complete irresponsibility in its use) — all culminating in tragedy at the end of Season 6 with the arrival of Dark!Willow.
  • Big Blackout: Dark Willow fuses out lights wherever she goes.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The dark arts cause Willow's irises to turn black. It also darkens her hair, causing to complain that she can't get any work done without getting dark roots.
  • Break the Cutie: After her girlfriend was brain-sucked by Glory, she was traumatized by grief.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Tongue-tied about her crush on Xander in Season 1 just like how he does with Buffy.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Played with. She pines after Xander, but when she and he do get together, she decides she doesn't want him. Then, when she was in a rut with Oz, she discovered that she prefers Tara.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: After Tara was mindsucked, Willow got amped up on magic, attacked Glory and succeeded in hurting her... for a few seconds. Then she got her ass beat.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: In "Villains," she does this to Warren, using the very same bullet he shot Buffy with and slowly driving it into his chest with telekinesis.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Dark Magic addiction turned her evil and then filled her with angst.
  • Covert Pervert: She calls out other women for their forthright views on sex, and yet she's the one who suggests orgies, group sex, kinky fun and other various forms of entertainment.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Does this with Tara's clothes when Tara breaks up with her in Season 6.
  • Cute Bookworm: Willow spends much of her time in the library with Giles or on a computer. When Willow first appears, Cordelia mocks her clothes, joking about having seen the softer side of Sears. She tends to start saying something, then trail off as she realizes thinks that whatever she is saying is weird.
  • Cute Witch: More so as the series goes on. Just don't make her angry. Parodied in a Halloween Episode where Willow is ranting about the Wicked Witch stereotype... until she sees a little girl dressed up as a witch and finds it adorable.
  • The Cutie: Due to the "shy bookworm" thing she had going on in the earlier seasons.
  • Depower: With the destruction of the Seed of Wonder, she can't use magic anymore.
  • Defiant to the End: After getting her ass kicked by Glory during her ill-fated Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Willow defiantly spits in her face.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Does a better job at this than even Buffy, having punched out several legitimate gods. Buffy punches out the invincible, Willow punches out gods.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Does this to Xander in "Prophecy Girl" when, after failing to successfully ask Buffy to the school dance, he tactlessly asks Willow to come as his backup.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: "Cibo Matto can clog dance!?"
  • Easily Forgiven: For her rampage as Dark Willow, all she had to do for entry-level forgiveness was go to Magic Addiction Therapy. True, she was hopped up on Black Magic at the time, but Willow chose to absorb said Black Magic of her own volition to begin with.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Dark Willow because of the evil magic thing.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Dark Willow comes with She-Fu skills that she uses in her fight with Buffy.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: On a meta level - the writers quickly discovered that threatening her was one of the best ways to get the audience to react. An aphorism among the writing staff was "When in doubt, put Willow in danger".
  • Evil Makeover:
    Xander: And can I just ask, what's with the Make-Over of the Damned?
  • Evil Me Scares Me: The way Willow feels about the "Doppelgangland" Willow, and her own Dark Side in Season 7. It's to the point where she starts going dark again in the "Family Reunion" arc in Angel & Faith, she nearly freaks out, and Angel has to comfort her and calm her down:
    Willow: Angel, I can't! Please, I can't fight! Not now...
    Angel: It's going to be okay.
    Willow: No! You don't know me like this! It's never okay!
    Angel: Willow, it will be. I promise you. I need you to trust me. I know that's hard, after Twilight, after everything, but please, Willow. Can you trust me?
    Willow: I... I... yes. But I don't trust me.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Overlaps with Compelling Voice.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Towards the end of Season 6 she becomes Dark Willow and almost destroys the world in her grief over Tara's death. She gets better in the nick of time.
  • Fallen Hero: Magic high leads to Dark!Willow. There was also an Alternate Universe book trilogy ("Wicked Willow") that explored what would have happened if she had stayed that way. The canonical Season 8 comic books state she is still this; specifically the "Time of Your Life" arc. In the Season 9 comics, we learn that while she is holding it together around Buffy, Willow is hell bent on bringing magic back, believing the world is going to end and she has to save it.
  • Final Boss: In Season 6 as Dark Willow
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: See Beware the Nice Ones. Jonathan, having known her almost as long as Buffy and Xander, can hardly believe she's the same person by the end of Season 6.
  • Functional Addict: In Season 6, she becomes addicted to magic, and during the second-to-last episode, after killing Warren and going after his cohorts in prison, Buffy explicitly mentions this:
    Buffy: Willow's got an addictive personality. She just tasted blood.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: "Why else would she be acting like a B-I-T-C-H?"
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Amy's motivation for hating uber-witch Willow by the seventh season is that Willow became an uber-witch easily while she herself had to "work twice as hard to be half as good".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Buffy, even after coming out as a lesbian. In Season 6, Buffy makes it clear to her social worker that she and Willow are not a couple.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Dark Willow reappears in the Time of Your Life arc of Season 8.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Before becoming a witch, Willow's ability with computers was a great asset to the team. She could hack into computer systems, secret government files, and eventually even city power grids. For a short time when she was afraid to use magic, she returned to using her computer hacking to help out the team. At one point, she even combined her magic powers and computer hacking in order to tap into the Internet, being able to locate information faster since she could see it in her mind.
  • Hollywood Nerd: In high school, Willow often wore unflattering clothes like big sweaters, but she was still very pretty since she was played by Alyson Hannigan. Eventually she became more confident and started dressing better.
  • Hot for Teacher: It's mentioned that Willow developed a crush on Giles during series one, even having a photo of him in her locker.
  • Hot Witch: Both her and Tara were undeniably attractive witches for the most part, they avoided the stripperific outfits common to the trope and both tended to be quiet and shy, especially Tara. Exceptions were a dream sequence of Xander's where both wore revealing dresses.
  • Hot Scientist: Before she started dabbling with magic, she was the Scooby Gang's go-to for all things science. Less so in later seasons.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: At the beginning, she was as nerdy and bookish as it gets and was rewarded with a heaping help of scorn from the cool kids. You can imagine what it meant to her when Buffy came into her life.
  • Informed Judaism: She mentions celebrating Hanukkah, and outright calls herself Jewish on multiple occasions.
  • Invincible Villain: As Dark Willow, there is little that is a direct threat to her. Ultimately, Xander had to talk/kiss her down.
  • Is This What Anger Feels Like?: Which hilariously carried over to her vampire counterpart. "I don't like you!"
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Dark Willow's Breaking Speech to Buffy in "Two to Go" is harsh, there's no denying that she makes a valid point in said speech, since Buffy herself admitted that she was happier when dead and finds it so difficult to be alive again.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: As Dark Willow during the final few episodes of Season 6. She goes from killing Warren for shooting Tara, to trying to kill the other members of the Trio who had nothing to do with it, to hurting/trying to hurt Buffy, Dawn, Giles, and Anya, the last of whom actually sympathized with her before then, to trying to destroy the world to "end all pain." All of this is within the span a couple of episodes that, together, take place over less than a single day.
  • Kick the Morality Pet:
    • In Season 6, her downward spiral into magic addiction ultimately leads to her crashing her car with Dawn in the passenger seat; Dawn suffers a broken arm as a result and is so pissed at Willow for her actions that she responds to Willow's tearful apology with an Armor-Piercing Slap. The sheer guilt of this incident is what convinces Willow to quit magic completely.
    • Later, as Dark Willow, she's so far gone that she actively attacks the other Scoobies simply for trying to stop her from killing Andrew and Jonathan, even threatening to turn Dawn back into an Energy Ball simply to put an end to her constant whining.
    Buffy: You're attacking the people who love you now?
    Willow: Only the ones in my way.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Vamp Willow, more accurately a Depraved Bisexual. It's basically normal Willow (Lesbian) plus a vampire's lack of morals and boundaries.
  • Light Is Good: Bright white haired Willow from the last episode of Season 7, in context to Dark Willow from the previous season.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: By the TV show's finale, Willow is considerably more powerful than Buffy (the traditional fighter class here), and is one of the most powerful witches on earth.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: From Season 4 onwards. "I'm not good with the butch."
  • Literal-Minded: "KISS Rocks? Why would anyone want to kiss— oh."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Her Season 6 addiction to magic planted the seeds, but it was Warren murdering Tara that pushed her over the edge into Dark Willow. She's later brought back to normal thanks to The Power of Friendship.
  • Magic Misfire: Several times:
    • In "Doppelgangland," she accidentally sets her vampiric counterpart from the Wishverse loose in Sunnydale.
    • In "Something Blue," every unheeding, angry comment Willow makes throughout this episode sparks one of these. The original spell could be branded a misfire itself, since it didn't do what she'd hoped (get rid of her pain over Oz's loss) and worked in a way she hadn't wanted or expected.
    • In "Triangle," she tries to make magical sunlight to help Buffy kill vampires, but a resulting argument with Anya instead frees Olaf the Troll.
    • In "Tabula Rasa," she tries to cast a memory-wiping spell to make Buffy and Tara forget the negative effects of the spells she used on them. Instead, the spell ends up completely mind-wiping the entire Scooby Gang, including Willow herself.
  • Misplaced Retribution: In Season 6. After exacting her revenge on Warren, Willow promptly decided to try to kill his accomplices Jonathan and Andrew, who were in prison at the time and had absolutely nothing to do with it. While the Scoobies (sans Buffy) were so disgusted and furious with Warren that they rallied behind Willow en masse with her intent to kill, they all agree that Jonathan and Andrew don't deserve Willow's wrath.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Regular Willow and Vampire Willow, when impersonating each other in "Doppelgangerland", do so poorly.
  • Motive Rant: In the "Family Reunion" arc of Angel & Faith, when Angel calls her out on wanting to involve Connor in her plans to restore magic, Willow loses it, bitch-slaps him, and calls him out on his ways before breaking down about how Earth is becoming a Crapsack World without magic:
    "Don't you dare. Don't you dare try to say I'm like you! This is all your fault! Thinking you can fix things! Running blindly down any road that might lead to redemption! And you're doing it again! Never worrying about the consequences until it's too late! You've ruined everything, Angel!!" (beat) "Can't you see what we're missing? How empty the world is? There hasn't been a decent song, movie or book, since we lost the Seed! Suicide rates are spiking! All over the world people are losing hope! It's just starting! It only gets worse from here! The world's dying and nobody will admit it! I need to save it. There's nothing more important. Why doesn't anyone understand...?"
  • The Mourning After: After Tara's death, she continues to hold a torch for her despite her efforts to move on, even during her relationships with Kennedy, Saga Vasuki, and Lake Stevens. In the Season 10 comics, she admits to Andrew that every time she comes across a new artifact or spell, her first thought is to use it to bring Tara back... but Tara is dead and at peace, and that's the way it should be.
  • Mundane Utility: In Season 6, she gets so addicted to using magic that she starts using it for everything, including simply getting dressed.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • After going Dark Willow in the final few episodes of Season 6, she is adamant that Warren needs to die for shooting Tara despite Buffy repeatedly insisting that they don't kill humans and there are other options. On top of it all, Xander and Dawn are so disgusted and furious with Warren that they declare him to be just as bad as any vampire or demon Buffy's slain and fully support Willow's intent to kill... at least until the minute she actually goes through with it.
    • Furthermore, when she gets a power boost and hears "the suffering of all mankind" in an attempt to bring her back to her senses (in a "You Are Not Alone, people have to weather loved ones dying constantly" way), she instead decides that destroying the world to end all of humanity's pain is a better course of action.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Her reaction in Season 6, upon discovering that rather than saving Buffy from Hell when she resurrected her, she actually pulled her out of Heaven.
    Willow: We took her away from that. We wrecked it for her.
    Xander: We didn't wreck. We didn't know.
    Willow: We didn't want to know. We were so selfish. I was so selfish.
  • Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: Ooh! Ooh! Study Party!
    Xander: You need a life in the worst way.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Willow's decision to resurrect Buffy in Season 6 disrupted the magic protecting the Slayer line, which allowed the First Evil to embark on its infamous Slayer/Potential Slayer genocide in Season 7.
  • No Bisexuals: Turns gay and stays that way, despite having dated (and enjoyed sex with) guys in the earlier seasons.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Vamp Willow.
    Willow: It's a little binding. I guess vampires really don't have to breathe. Gosh look at those.
  • Oh My Gods!: For the love of Hecate!
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Has displayed advanced knowledge in a wide array of fields, such as: Robotics, Medicine/Anatomy, Chemistry, Programming/Hacking, History, Philosophy and obscure Literary References.
  • Parental Neglect: To the point of not noticing a new haircut for four months. The extent of their neglect verges on Fridge Logic when you consider that the episode establishing their neglectfulness came about a half-season after a bookcase had fallen on her and briefly landed her in a wheelchair. You'd think if anything would make them pay attention...
  • Parental Substitute: To Dawn; in Season 8, Dawn outright declares that Willow is "like a mom" to her.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Her murder of Warren, which consisted of her telekinetically driving a bullet into his chest and ultimately skinning him alive while he begged for mercy; while Buffy simply can't condone killing a human for any reason, considering the fact that Warren was a blatant Straw Misogynist who fatally shot Tara, tried to kill Buffy herself more than once, and already killed his ex-girlfriend before then, Anya, Xander, and Dawn are all so disgusted with him that they rally behind Willow's decision to do so. Xander sums it up best:
    Xander: Warren was a cold-blooded killer of women just warming up. You ask me, that bastard had it coming to him.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Is so stricken by grief, she decides to bring about the Apocalypse and end the world's pain.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Xander, for the first three seasons. They've known each other their whole lives (or at least since kindergarten), and are so close that Xander is even able to save the world at the end of Season 6 by telling Willow how much he loves her. They "dated" as children, Willow had a mostly unrequited adolescent crush on Xander, and have a brief fling as teenagers, but are basically friends throughout.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: She often collapses after overdoing the spellcasting, or experiences a Psychic Nosebleed.
  • Promotion to Parent: She's Dawn's favorite person; Dawn treats her and Tara like parents, and in the Season 8 comics, Dawn says "Will is like a Mom to me."
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: What her arc in Season 6 leads up to, culminating in Dark Willow. In fact, hints are given throughout the series of a more darker side to Willow's Shrinking Violet nature — her taste for revenge, her childlike petulance, her anger at being an Extreme Doormat or mere Sidekick leading to a desire for power through magic coupled with a total irresponsibility in its use.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Along with the Motive Rant above, she gives out one to Faith in Season 3, especially since Faith was more prepared for an "it's not too late to turn back" speech:
    Willow: Faith, wait. I wanna talk to you.
    Faith: Oh yeah? Give me the speech again, please. "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
    Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo. Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big, selfish, worthless waste.
  • Recovered Addict: Willow's storyline in Season 6 involves her becoming addicted to magic, using it excessively and for mundane tasks like getting dressed. It reaches a head in "Wrecked," where her addiction nearly kills Dawn, and she swears off its use. She spends several episodes recovering... until Warren shoots Buffy and Tara, resulting in Willow going Off the Wagon and absorbing massive amounts of Black Magic, becoming Dark Willow and nearly destroying the world. After that fiasco, Willow spends the Time Skip between seasons and the early part of Season 7 on a rehab course with the Devon Coven in England, and when she returns, she spends most of the season terrified of using magic again.
  • Red Is Heroic: She has red hair, and is one of the Scoobies protecting the world from the nasties in a Hellmouth.
  • Redheads Are Uncool: She is presented as a bookish nerd with considerable computer skills, dowdily dressed and easily intimidated by more popular girls in school. Willow becomes much more confident in college, finally finding a place that respects her intellect, and to show that, she has embraced the redness of her hair by having dyed it a brighter red.
  • The Reliable One: Buffy explicitly calls her this at one point. Which is part of why her behavior in Season 6 was so shocking.
  • The Resenter: "Six years as a side man, now I get to be The Slayer."
  • Revenge Before Reason: In Season 5, she goes after Glory in a rage after Glory Mind Rapes Tara, ignoring Buffy's warnings and reminders that Glory is a Physical God and she stands no chance against her. While Willow does manage to cause Glory pain and weaken her somewhat, she ultimately goes down and is only saved from certain death when Buffy shows up Just in Time.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Two.
    • After Glory "brain-sucks" Tara in Season 5, Willow is so pissed off that she attacks Glory in her own home, and manages to both cause Glory pain and weaken her somewhat before getting curb-stomped; if Buffy hadn't shown up when she did, Willow would've been toast.
    • On a much bigger scale in Season 6; when Warren flips out and shoots Buffy and Tara (the latter accidentally), killing the latter, Willow, still recovering from her addiction to dark magic, suffers a relapse, personally hunts him down, and skins him alive, and all the Scoobies except Buffy herself back her up because they're so disgusted with Warren. However, Willow then proceeds to go after Jonathan and Andrew, who were in prison at the time and had nothing to do with it, which eventually spirals into a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum that Xander just barely manages to talk her down from.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Especially in earlier seasons, which she herself lampshades.
    Xander: Oh, hey, did you guys hear that Cibo Matto's gonna be at the Bronze tonight?
    Willow: Cibo Matto? They're playing?
    Xander: No, Willow, they're gonna be clog dancing.
    Willow: Cibo Matto can clog dance? (gets a look from Xander) Oh, sarcasm, right.
  • Screw Yourself: In "Doppelgangland," Vamp Willow openly flirts with her human counterpart and even gropes her.
  • Secretly Selfish: During the Season 9 comics, she becomes obsessed with finding a way to restore magic to Earth, 222convinced that the world is dying without magic and needs it to survive. Over the course of the Willow: Wonderland miniseries, Willow eventually realizes and confesses that she actually just wanted magic back so she could feel powerful again.
    Willow: ...Maybe just a couple of sads. My friends need me. At least, I keep telling myself they need me. The truth is... when I think about now, they seemed to be doing fine. I'm the one who was falling apart. Without magic, I'm back to being part hacker, part hostage, while my superpeeps kick evil's butt. I was so convinced the world needed magic. That life on Earth is fundamentally missing something. But maybe... maybe it was just me.
  • Sex Is Cool: Responds with an awed "Wow!" when Buffy decides she's going to have sex with Angel, and is eager to start smoochies with Oz, given she's a socially-outcast nerd who never had a boyfriend before.
  • Shrinking Violet: In the first few seasons because of a lack of self-confidence and inability to spit it out to Xander.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Originally protested Thanksgiving because it was all about death. Also in the Season 6 Halloween episode goes off on a tirade on a customer wearing a witch costume, although in that case, being a real witch herself, she had more legitimate grievances.
  • Stepford Smiler: By series' end, she could wipe out the human race with a snap of her finger, which she sometimes makes light of. Realizing the threat she poses to her loved ones, she hammers on the moeblob mask and wears it to the end — but she's clearly not the same person we knew.
  • Stock Superpowers: She starts displaying a ton in Season 8 with her magic.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Willow finally gets together with Xander, the innunedos start. It's when they're both with other people.
  • Super Strength: After casting a spell on herself, she's able to take on Buffy hand-to-hand and win.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: When Giles tricks her into absorbing magic from him that puts her in touch with all of humanity's pain, Willow, either because the world just sucks so much or because she's in no mood to think of the positives, decides to destroy the world to end all of said pain. Fortunately, Xander shows up Just in Time and talks her down from it.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: During early Season 7, especially the scene in "Selfless" where she reverts to her evil personality for a few seconds while fending off a spider demon.
  • Sweater Girl: Season 3 Willow.
    Vamp Willow (looking Willow over): Well, look at me. I'm all fuzzy.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Her attitude towards the chipped Spike in Season 4, to the extent that she refuses to let him stake himself in "Doomed." This is especially noticeable compared to Buffy and Xander, who not only have No Sympathy for Spike, but actively enjoy taunting him.
  • Teen Genius: Has enough book smarts to keep up with Giles and she's a computer wizard on top of that.
  • Teens Are Short: Much like Buffy she's at least a head shorter than the actress playing her mother.
  • Tempting Fate: A Running Gag with her.
    • "Dead Man's Party": Talking about it isn't helping. We might as well try some violence. (zombies crash into the house) I was just kidding!
    • "Beer Bad": Men haven't changed since the beginning of time. (cavemen burst in)
    • "Triangle": I wish Buffy were here. (Buffy enters)
    • "Two to Go": There's no one on in the world who has the power to stop me now. (Giles blasts her with a fireball)
  • That Man Is Dead: Dark Willow talks about Standard Willow as if she were a different person.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: In Season 3, Faith expects Willow to give her a speech about how it's not too late to turn back and how they can still be friends. Instead, Willow tells Faith point-blank that it is too late for her, and that she's beyond redemption after everything she's done. Ironically, Willow becomes one of the few people who actually could later understand what Faith was going through, having gone evil and killed someone only to be brought back by someone showing caring and kindness when she didn't deserve it.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Due to magic being used as a Fantastic Drug metaphor, and this happening to be Dark Magic, all the worst parts of her personality came to the fore.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From being the show's main Distressed Damsel to the most powerful character of the group. For almost two seasons, other characters had discussed how powerful Willow was becoming as a witch. Then she goes and becomes the first character in the series to cause Glory pain.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mocha coffee.
  • Tragic Bromance: Her refusal to lose Buffy pushes her to take more risks with magic than ever before. The resurrection leaves her so high off success that she responds to Giles' concern with threats, setting most of her Season 6 arc into motion. In Season 8, she admits that she believes that had she not brought Buffy back, Tara wouldn't have died; nonetheless, in Angel & Faith, she insists to Angel that despite everything that happened as a result, she has never regretted bringing Buffy back.
  • Training the Gift of Magic: After Season 6 and for the first few episodes of Season 7, she undergoes a 'recovery course' with the Devon Coven in England at Giles' behest. Though a slightly odd version of this trope, given that Willow was already a powerful and capable magician, it's strongly implied that by embracing the Coven's philosophy on magic (a more Zen-ish, earth-based approach, in contrast to her previous reliance on raw power) she comes back a much better, or at least much more mature, witch.
  • Tranquil Fury: In the case of hunting down The Trio. Although very enraged, she almost never raised her voice beyond a venomous half-whisper and aside from a few occasions was The Stoic for the whole ordeal. The most noticeable bit was her torturing and flaying alive a begging Warren without breaking her calm demeanor, even going so far as to say "Bored now" before killing him.
  • The Unchosen One: By all appearances has no particularly special destiny laid out, and is just a particularly talented and powerful witch. Yet Willow is the one to restore her reality’s Seed of Wonder, restoring magic and rewriting its rules.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Willow goes into one when Glory sucks Tara's mind, and again when Warren shoots and kills Tara.
  • Vigilante Woman: Kills Warren (whom everyone figures deserves it) and tries to kill Andrew and Jonathan, even though they're only guilty by association.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: Willow wears one naturally. It becomes this once she morphs into Dark Willow.
  • Wicked Witch: As Dark Willow, because of the magic addiction and power madness. Anya calls her the most powerful Wicca in the Western Hemisphere, which of course would make her the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In Season 6, Dawn slaps her after almost killing her in a car crash and Tara leaves her after she screwed with Tara's head and broke her promise to avoid magic for a week when she couldn't last a day.
    • During Angel and Faith's "Family Reunion" arc, Willow and Angel give one to each other. She wants him to use his son to bring magic back. He's not willing to take such a risk:
    Angel: "You want me to find the son I've never been there for and ruin the life he's built. Ask him to go back to the hell he grew up in because of me. For some wild goose chase. Something that's not even possible. Here I was ashamed to see you."
    • In general, she's incredibly reckless with magic, until the events of Season 6. First Tara calls her on it, then her nearly destroying the world forces her to treat magic with a lot more caution.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Suffers from Ranidaphobia.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In Season 6, after Tara's death and her murder of Warren, Willow decides to destroy the world to end her own pain and everyone else's. She's thankfully stopped from that.
  • You Are in Command Now: Took charge of the Scoobies when Buffy was absent or incapacitated such as between Seasons 2-3 and 5-6.

    Xander 

Alexander LaVelle "Xander" Harris

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/92418bb8688610312c7ee8f77981746f.jpg
"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I... hide until it goes away."
Played By: Nicholas Brendon & Kelly Donovan

"Whatever you choose, you've got my support. Just think of me as... as your... You know, I'm searching for supportive things and I'm coming up all bras. So, something slightly more manly, think of me as that."

Buffy's other best friend. Unlike Willow, Xander never gained any powers (apart from some military training). He had a crush on Buffy early on.


  • Abusive Parents: Not explicitly abusive per se, but they're definitely not loving parents. His father is also, at least verbally and emotionally, abusive of his mother, and on one occasion tried to sell him to some Armenians. It's also noted that every Christmas, Xander sleeps outside so as not to deal with his drunken family.
  • Accidental Pornomancer: Both girls he hooked up with (Faith and Anya) propositioned him, without Xander being able to get a word in edgewise and neither willing to take no for an answer. This being Xander, however, he was all too eager to take them up on their offer.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Zeppo" is all about him and his lower deck adventure.
  • An Axe to Grind: Becomes his main weapon in the comics, since having only one eye has ruined his ability to use crossbows.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: While he is smart enough to seek professional help for his building anger issues and the trauma he's been through by Season 10, Dr. Mike is only useful for the personal stuff. Dealing with the potential ghost of an ex-girlfriend is out of his league and the advice he gives Xander proves disastrous.
  • Amazon Chaser: Xander has a noted thing for Slayers, showing interest in Buffy, Kendra, and Faith (and losing interest in Kendra when she becomes tongued-tied). He ends up losing his virginity to Faith.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Originally it wasn't certain whether Xander or Willow would come out as gay, so a few jokes on the subject were placed in the early seasons, continuing as a gag in later seasons after Willow became the gay character.
  • Author Avatar: According to Nicholas Brendon, his character is based on Joss Whedon in high school, which is why Xander "gets all the good lines." They also dress alike. It would explain Xander's avowed fetish for spandex and his taste in comics.
  • Badass Normal: He's the only Scooby who never gains any superpowers, but he manages to keep up with the rest and can be quite fearsome when he wants to be. For example, in "Killed by Death," he stands up to Angelus, the most evil and brutal vampire in history, and actually intimidates him into leaving the hospital, and in "The Gift," he nails Glory with a wrecking ball.
  • Basement-Dweller: Downplayed in that he pays rent and works a variety of jobs to support himself. It is very clear that he loathes every minute of having to live with his parents.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Grows one shortly after Renee's death in Season 8.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Cordelia before they started dating, and possibly Spike.
  • Berserk Button: Don't harm or endanger his friends. Case in point: in the Season 2 premiere, after Willow and Giles are captured by the Order of Aurelius after Buffy refuses to work with them and leaves, Xander bitterly tells her that she could have prevented the kidnapping if she had just stayed, and explicitly threatens to kill Buffy if the vamps hurt Willow. At the end of Season 8, he snaps on Angel for killing Giles and pummels him.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's very goofy and snarky, but when push comes to shove, he proves just why he's the Badass Normal of the Scooby Gang. Just ask Angelus, the vampire he threatened into a complete retreat, Buffy herself, who took him completely seriously when he threatened to kill her if Willow died, or Glory, who never quite recovered from the wrecking ball he hit her with.
  • Body Motifs: Xander is the one who sees everything, so Caleb pokes out one of his eyes. In "Restless," Xander is The Heart of the group, so the First Slayer rips out his heart.
  • Book Dumb: Granted, he's a little slow on some of the academic stuff (mostly math and spatial relations), but is a quick thinker and has a lot of common sense.
  • Brainwash Residue:
    • After being turned into a soldier during Season 2's Halloween Episode, he still retains his knowledge of military training, and uses it to help the gang on multiple occasions (such as when he sneaks into a military base to steal a rocket launcher).
    • After being temporarily Brainwashed and Crazy by Dracula in Season 5, he continued to refer to Dracula as "Master" several episodes later and in the Season 8 comics.
  • Butt-Monkey: Trope Namer.
    Xander: Dammit! You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt-monkey!
    [Giles, Riley, and Buffy nod and try to look solemn]
    Buffy: Check. No more butt-monkey.
  • Cartwright Curse:
    • Of his four major love interests, three are dead: Cordelia, Anya, and Renee (though Cordelia had been broken up with him for 5 years by the time she died on Angel), and all his other possible love interests turned out to be demons trying to kill him. Hopefully Dawn will have better luck.
    • In the comics, she nearly dies and then has her emotional state reset to when she was first created, erasing her romantic feelings for him. Ouch.
  • Chick Magnet: He's THE Butt-Monkey, but there's no denying that a lot of women fall for him throughout the course of the series. To wit, there's Cordelia, Anya, Willow and Dawn, and even Faith has had sex with him. Taken up to eleven in the love spell episode in which Amy's spell accidentally forces every woman except Cordelia in Xander's vicinity to fall madly in love with him.
  • Class Clown: His personality in the early seasons is comical. In "The Prom," he complains about not winning the Class Clown award.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In a world where most people think they need to use swords, stakes, axes, and other similar melee/medieval weapons, Xander came up with the idea to use a rocket launcher to kill the Judge, and later bashed Glory with a wrecking ball.
  • Cool Loser: Xander is attractive, friendly and funny, but has no friends except Willow and Buffy and everyone looks down on him because he lacks any shred of confidence in himself (he gets better). Only the science geeks are lower on the social ladder.
  • Cowardly Lion: His fear is a Running Gag, yet he shows incredible courage for someone with no superpowers whatsoever.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's a goofball, but when push comes to shove, he's unstoppable.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even among an entire cast of snarkers, Xander reigns supreme.
    Oz: That was my sarcastic voice.
    Xander: Sounds a lot like your regular voice.
  • Dub Name Change: The French dub changes his nickname to a more widespread "Alex".
  • Easy Amnesia: Exploited. After Xander is possessed by hyenas, he tells Buffy and Willow he has no memory of it, but when Giles confronts him, he confesses that he was lying so he wouldn't have to talk about it. In Season 2, he inadvertently reveals he was lying.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: LaVelle.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: His interactions with Andrew, who he would indulge in pop culture-based conversations with before telling him to shut up.
  • Eyepatch of Power: After he loses his eye in Season 7, he wears a Nick Fury-style eyepatch.
  • Eye Scream: At least he gets to be Nick Fury now, right?
  • The Face: He lacks the supernatural powers of his teammates, but is best friends with Buffy and Willow to the end. His storylines tends to revolve around interpersonal relationships, and, as the most consistent of the Scooby Gang, he interacts with everyone.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In "Villains," he's so in shock over the fact that Warren shot Buffy that he completely fails to notice that Willow's shirt is covered in Tara's blood.
  • Fantastic Racism: His hatred of vampires has always been noticeably stronger than that of the other characters, as seen by his relentless dislike of Angel and Spike during even their "good" periods. Best summed up in "The Harvest":
    Xander: I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say that they're not good.
  • Fatal Attractor: All of his dates are demons. All of them. He and Willow have devised a secret phone code for "My date's a demon who's trying to kill me."
  • Green-Eyed Monster: While he has plenty of reasons not to like vampires, the ongoing tension he has with Angel is clearly based on the fact that Angel won Buffy's heart where Xander didn't.
  • The Heart: His position in the Scooby Gang as 'The Heart' was a key component of a spell — the others were 'The Mind', 'The Spirit', and 'The Hands'. It's made clear more than once that Xander's strength doesn't lie in battle or conjuring spells, but in his interpersonal skills which hold the group together and keep them sane despite all the insanity swirling around them. He brought Willow back from the brink by telling her he loved her.
  • Hollywood Dateless: It's a running joke that the only dates he gets are with demons disguised as women, which is partially true, but he did spend most of the series in long-term committed relationships with Cordelia (Seasons 2-3) and Anya (4-6). Plus he had a one night stand with Faith and Willow wanted him. As of Season 8, even Buffy confesses her love for Xander. He turns her down, since he's now in a relationship with Dawn and he believes Buffy has just finally gotten to the settle-for-the-best-friend option (after "trying girls", mind you, so he might be right.) Earlier in the comic, he was dating a Slayer named Renee, who was killed during a mission in Japan.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager:
    Cordelia: Does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
    Xander: I'm 17. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.
    Xander: "What am I going to do? I think about sex all the time. Sex. Help. Four times five is thirty. Five times six is thirty-two... Naked girls. Naked women. Naked Buffy. Oh, stop me!"
    Buffy: "God, Xander! Is that all you think about?!"
  • Hopeless Suitor: In the first season, he tries and fails to get Buffy's attention in a romantic manner.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In Season 3, he's furious that Buffy knew that Angel had come Back from the Dead and withheld the information from the others, when he himself had deliberately neglected to tell Buffy that Willow was planning to curse Angel with a soul again in the Season 2 finale to ensure that Buffy would kill him.
    • He also has a relationship with Anya, a former demon, whilst looking down on Buffy's relationship with Angel because Angel is a vampire. As Angel has a soul and regrets the things Angelus did, he is really just as moral as Anya is. This gets magnified when he yells at Buffy for wanting to kill Anya, who is back on a vengeance demon killing spree, and she reminds him that she killed Angel to save the world.
  • Ironic Echo: In "The Gift," Spike mockingly refers to him as a glorified bricklayer. He uses this in a Bond One-Liner after nailing Glory with a wrecking ball:
    Xander: And the glorified bricklayer picks up a spare.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He eventually reconciles himself to Buffy seeing him as a friend. In Season 8, Buffy briefly comes onto him. However, Xander recognizes that she's looking for a warm body, not love, and reaffirms that they are friends only.
  • I Warned You: In "Passion," he gives off such a rant regarding Angelus after he kills Jenny.
    Xander: I'm sorry, but let's not forget that I hated Angel long before you guys jumped on the bandwagon. So I think I deserve a little something for not saying "I told you so" long before now. And if Giles wants to go after the, uh, fiend that murdered his girlfriend, I say, "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"
  • In with the In Crowd: Due to possession by hyena spirits in "The Pack" he hangs out with a clique, who was also possessed.
  • It's All About Me: Sometimes. Overlaps with his issues taking blame for some things, like when he didn't want his friends feeling sympathy for Cordelia after he cheated on her. He also dismissed Buffy's need to leave Sunnydale to grieve having to kill Angel as "boy troubles," focusing on the worry she caused them instead of any real empathy even though Angel's death was partly due to a lie he told.
  • It's All My Fault: In the final episodes of Season 6, he views Dark Willow's rampage as his fault, revealing that he saw the gun in Warren's hand before he even raised it and just froze up in fear and stood there while Warren shot Buffy and Tara.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: It relates more to his lack of powers or supernatural abilities as anyone who has helped save the world multiple times can hardly claim that they have lived an unexceptional or unexciting life.
  • Jerkass Realization: In "Revelations," Xander, furious that Angel has come Back from the Dead and Buffy withheld it from the rest of the Scoobies, gives Faith the bare minimum of details regarding it, knowing she won't hesitate to stake Angel. However, Angel isn't evil anymore and helps in the resulting fight against the treacherous Watcher Gwen Post. While his lie to Buffy in "Becoming, Part 2" was a bit justified, since Angelus was actively trying to bring about an apocalypse, Xander realizes that he crossed a line here, and makes it up to Buffy by helping her save Angel from the First in "Amends."
  • The Lancer: Often acts as Buffy's "voice of reason" when he feels she's not thinking straight. By Season 8, he's her official second-in-command. Also plays this to Spike in Season 10, particularly the "Love Dares You" arc.
  • The Leader: Come Season 8, he's the de facto leader of the international Slayers' organization because of his uncanny ability to bring out the best in his girls. See The Heart above.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After telling Buffy he was once roped into working as a male stripper.
  • Likes Older Women: Harbors an unspoken desire for Joyce Summers. He's a conquistador! This is true for some Sunnydale High teachers as well. Also Anya, who is 1120 years old.
  • Literal Metaphor: In "Dead Man's Party," while Joyce and the Scoobies are taking turns giving Buffy a What the Hell, Hero? speech, Xander tells Buffy that "You can't just bury stuff; it'll come right back up to get you." Unbeknownst to the gang, Sunnydale is undergoing a Zombie Apocalypse at that very moment.
  • The Load: Most new characters think he's useless. They're wrong...
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Discussed in Season 7 when he objects to Buffy planning to kill Anya, despite the fact that Anya brutally murdered several humans; Buffy herself believes that Xander's lingering feelings for Anya are clouding his judgment:
    Xander: Buffy, I still love her.
    Buffy: I know. And that's why you can't see this for what it really is.
  • Making Use of the Twin: Nicholas Brendon's twin brother, Kelly Donovan, appears as a clone Xander in "The Replacement," and as his double for most of the episode "Intervention" while Brendon was sick.
  • The Masochism Tango: With Cordelia, from acting like they hated each other in public to having private makeout sessions in the school broom closet.
  • Monster Roommate: Had Spike forced on him in Seasons 4 and 7, much to their mutual dislike. In Season 10, however, they're splitting an apartment willingly.
  • Neural Implanting: After being turned into a soldier during the first Halloween episode, he still retains military knowledge, which helps out the Scoobies on more than one occasion.
  • Never My Fault:
    • He doesn't want the other Scoobies to feel sorry for Cordelia after the break-up, despite the fact that he cheated on her with Willow.
    • In "Dead Man's Party," he blatantly ignores the fact that him refusing to tell Buffy crucial information (that she should stall the fight because Willow was going to try to restore Angel's soul) probably caused her more suffering than if he had just told her. Also, him lying to her by saying that Willow wanted Buffy to "kick [Angel's] ass" when she actually said the opposite didn't help with Buffy's fear of opening up to Willow. But of course Xander just blames Buffy for keeping things to herself.
    • Throughout "Seeing Red," he's angry and annoyed over Buffy's Destructive Romance with Spike and how she kept it from him, despite his active dislike of Spike and how he told Spike that only a complete loser would ever want to sleep with him right in front of Buffy. By the end of the episode, he gets past it, and acknowledges that he gave Buffy a lot of reasons not to tell him.
  • The Nicknamer: He's the one that came up with the "Scooby Gang" nickname.
  • No Sympathy:
    • During Seasons 2 and 3. Having always hated Angel, Xander is ecstatic that now that he's evil, he finally has an excuse and repeatedly urges Buffy to kill him, uncaring that Buffy still loves him and it's very hard on her. When she returns in "Dead Man's Party," rather than be even remotely sympathetic for her need to mourn Angel, he gripes about how she "ruined his life" by running away and dismisses the months of Mind Rape she suffered at Angelus' hands as "boy troubles."
    • He hits it again in "Doomed." Unlike Willow, he couldn't care one bit about how depressed and purposeless Spike is after being chipped and actively taunts him over it, declaring he's a pathetic waste of space who's Not Worth Killing. When he and Willow come back to find Spike trying to stake himself, Xander disapproves... because Spike was wearing his clothes at the time and he didn't want them dusted, and because he'd much rather kill Spike himself.
  • Non-Action Guy: He doesn't always accept the fact that he's not supposed to confront evil things like his friends are.
  • Number Two: Official second-in-command to Buffy in the Slayer Organization.
  • Oblivious Mockery: In "Gone," he mocks Spike for his continued obsession with Buffy, declaring that only a complete loser would ever want to sleep with him... right in front of Buffy, who had done just that two episodes ago. Needless to say, this gives her an added incentive not to tell her friends about her Destructive Romance with Spike.
  • Odd Friendship: Considering how often he helps in the vampire slaying, he and Dracula get along well.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: He's normally one of Buffy's biggest fans, especially during the high school seasons, so when Xander of all people is pissed at her, you know Buffy's really messed up this time.
    • In "When She Was Bad," Buffy's attitude problem causes her to get baited easily by the vamps, leaving her friends unprotected so that Willow, Cordelia, Giles, and Miss Calendar get kidnapped by the vampires working for the Anointed One. When Buffy returns to the library to find it ransacked and Xander beaten to a pulp, Xander gives her a scathing What the Hell, Hero?, going so far as to openly threaten to kill her if the vamps hurt Willow.
    • In "Dead Man's Party," he's easily the least enthusiastic to see Buffy return to Sunnydale after she ran out on them, going on about how miserable his life was while she was gone.
      Xander: And what'll we talk about at a gathering, anyway? "So, Buffy, did you meet any nice pimps on your travels? And oh, by the by, thanks for ruining our lives for the past three months."
  • Out of Focus: During Season 7, with an all-time low of three lines in "Lies My Parents Told Me" and an absence in "Conversations with Dead People."
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Giving him a sense of kinship with Dawn, who likewise feels overshadowed by her big sister.
  • Pals with Jesus: With Dracula in the comics. Xander taught him how to motorbike.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Until he gets promoted at work, he had little spending money.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Buffy and Willow, after it was made clear there could be no romantic prospects between them and that they were Better as Friends.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Badass enough to not only survive Sunnydale but save the world a couple of times; without powers, and geeky enough to want to be addressed as Sergeant Fury.
  • Runaway Groom: Leaves Anya at the alter out of fear that they will turn out like his parents.
  • Sad Clown: Big time. Usually has all the snarkiest dialogue, and it's pretty obvious that it's just something to mask the loneliness and inferiority complex he deals with.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: If he's got issues with The Plan, he will tell the group, in true Xander fashion.
  • Scars Are Forever: His eye never heals.
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: He was mystically turned into a soldier during the Halloween Episode of Season 2, and even after the spell is broken, he still recalls everything about military protocol. It helps the Scoobies more than once.
  • Sex God: According to Anya, he is "a real Viking in the sack!" and she would know, because she was a real Viking once upon a time.
    Anya: "I love Xander because of his thoughtfulness, and compassion, and his kindness. Plus he can hold his breath for nearly twenty minutes, which is a bonus during some sexual acts, I can tell you."
  • Shipper on Deck: Encourages Buffy to get back together with Riley. Ironically by Season 10, despite formerly being one of its biggest naysayers, he'd actually pro-Spike and Buffy, to the point of calling Spike out for turning Buffy down for a date since it's obvious Spike is still in love with her.
  • Shipping Torpedo: To wit: he loathed Buffy with Angel because he's in love with Buffy; was a Torpedo to Spike/Buffy because he dislikes Spike and thinks he's bad for Buffy, and anti-shipped Wesley/Cordelia for all of the above reasons.
  • Slut-Shaming: Xander's favorite form of comeback against Cordelia after they break up.
    Cordelia: You dragged me out of bed for a ride? What am I, mass transportation?
    Xander: That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker room talk. I wouldn't pay it any mind.
  • Stepford Snarker: Xander's primary defense mechanism is snark, which he sometimes uses to mask hurt feelings or lack of self-confidence. Lampshaded by Anya after he calls off their wedding and she refers to him as "a scared, insecure little boy" who has spent his entire life telling "stupid, pointless jokes" to conceal it. "The Zeppo" and "The Replacement" center around Xander's poor self-image and how he really thinks of himself among the Scoobies.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Xander only awakens to his attraction to Willow when they're both going steady, with other people.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: How he beat Dark!Willow in Season 6.
    "I saved the world with talking from my mouth. My mouth saved the world!"
  • Team Dad: To the new Slayers in Season 8. Any Slayer who ever seems depressed or on the verge of a Heroic BSoD is always quickly cheered up by Xander.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Buffy's vampire Love Interests because he is one himself and overshadowed by them.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: As foreman on the Sunnydale High 2.0 construction project, he has intimate knowledge of its blueprints. He's also handy at building barricades at Chez Summers. Once got in a fantastic shot on Glory using a wrecking ball.
  • Tranquil Fury: He's a surprising example of this trope, given his usual goofy temperament, but threaten some one he cares about and it doesn't matter how much stronger than him you may be—he will calmly inform you that he will kill you (see his conversation with Buffy after she got Willow kidnapped, or his conversation with Angel at the hospital). It is telling that none of the super-powered characters he has threatened have ignored the threat. The man can be scary when he wants to be.
  • Undying Loyalty: Seven seasons of this, when most guys his age would probably have just fled the city ages ago.
  • Virgin-Shaming: In "Teacher's Pet," the reason that the praying mantis teacher wanted to kill him was because he was a virgin, which Xander vigorously tried to deny after Buffy and Willow found out. After being propositioned by Faith in "The Zeppo," he sheepishly admits that he's "never been up with people before". It doesn't stop her.
  • Weirdness Magnet: While everyone shows some of this, Xander has it more than most. He comes closest to fulfilling this trope when he is recruited by Zombie Bank Robbers as a wheelman. Most of the women interested in him turn out to be a demon.

    Giles 

Rupert Giles

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/d381fafda1c84a8427dd26914e8b325c.jpg
"The Earth is definitely doomed."
Played By: Anthony Stewart Head

"In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed."

Buffy's Watcher. A Quintessential British Gentleman of British Gentlemen. Originally just Mr. Exposition, turned out to have quite a past. Also played Team Dad to the Scoobies.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: While he's describing how the phases of the moon exert a degree of psychological influence over people and the full moon brings out their darkest qualities, Xander quips that it led to the creation of the moon pie. Buffy and Willow are unimpressed, but Giles almost cracks up right then and there.
  • Admiring the Abomination: He does this occasionally. "Werewolves, it's... it's one of the classics!"
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Council shunned him even before they fired him, and wouldn't let him come to the Watcher Retreat in the Cotswolds. This is Justified: before Giles was as we currently see him, he was part of a group of magic-abusing rebellious youths, who did things like summoning demons and getting high on the possession as a fun, everyday activity.
  • Anti-Hero: As he puts it, Buffy is a "real hero" who always puts helping others above anything else. That's also what allows Giles to assume this role, as the group needs someone more ruthless and vicious when difficult choices have to be made — Giles is the man who carries that burden so Buffy and the others don't have to.
  • Badass Bookworm: Watcher pretending to be a Librarian and using to assist slaying demons. However, the Badass part only really started to become apparent once his Dark and Troubled Past did as well. Of course, even before that, he was willing to go toe to toe with vampires himself in desperate situations.
  • Batman Gambit: Season 6. The magic Willow stole from him tapped into what humanity was left in her. As a result Willow senses the pain of all human beings. And her reaction is to try to wipe out all life on earth. However, this also gives Xander the opportunity to get through to her and talk her down.
  • Berserk Button: When people threaten to harm/truly harm his friends, particularly his surrogate daughter Buffy.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While generally pleasant and polite, he is not one to be trifled with when his patience is at an end. So far, he's beaten the living shit out of Ethan Rayne for information on how to break his "turn people into their Halloween costumes" curse, embarked on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Angelus upon discovering that he killed Jenny Calendar, burning down his hideout and beating him senseless with a flaming baseball bat, physically and professionally threatened Principal Snyder into readmitting Buffy back into Sunnydale High, manhandled Spike while ordering him to get over his obsession with Buffy and move on, tortured one of Glory's minions for information, and smothered Ben to death with his bare hands to prevent his Superpowered Evil Side Glory from coming back.
  • Broken Pedestal: Buffy has moments like this with Giles, although she usually eventually gets over them. Until Season 7, when Giles conspires with Robin Wood to kill Spike behind her back; when the attempt fails, Buffy tells Giles point-blank that he's taught her everything she needs to know and shuts the door in his face. It only gets worse in Season 8, when Giles forms a secret partnership with Faith to assassinate a rogue Slayer; he and Buffy fall out of speaking terms for several issues as a result.
  • British Stuffiness:
    • When Giles is mad, but too English to say anything, he makes a weird "cluck-cluck" sound with his tongue. Early in Season 3, Joyce acquires an artifact that summons zombies. When he finds out (after calling Buffy's house only to be hung up on by a drunk partygoer), Giles is pissing and moaning as he speeds to the rescue:
  • Came Back Strong: When he's resurrected in his child body at the end of Season 9, it reawakens the great magical potential he had previously repressed.
  • The Cast Show Off: He was the first to show off his awesome singing voice.
  • Commuting on a Bus: In Seasons 6 and 7, due to Anthony Head finding all the travel between the UK and USA to be too difficult. He requested a reduced role in the series.
  • The Comically Serious: Surround a stuffy British nerd with three very 90s California teenagers, and you're gonna get a lot of this.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It has trouble staying buried, too. 'Ripper' Giles used to be evil (or at the very least, violent and criminally inclined Jerk With A Deeply Buried Heart Of Gold) in his younger days; a vicious delinquent practicing dark magic.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Of a somewhat more eloquent nature than the others, but no less cutting. Especially around Principal Snyder and Wesley.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Throughout the Season 10 comics, he's disconnected and unsure what to do with his life, now that he's been resurrected in a 12-year-old body and Buffy and the Scoobies don't seem to need him anymore. By the end, he's managed to find something to do; being the vice president of the new Magic Council.
  • Drink Order: Scotch, most of the time.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Not so much embarrassing as evil, but it's embarrassing because it's evil. It's like a DIY Dark Mark except it binds him, Ethan Rayne and other former "friends" from his youth to the demon they used to get high on.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Bits are added on as time goes by, most notably The Reveal of his past as 'Ripper'.
  • Evil Twin: Two Alternate Universe versions of him; Ripper from the game Chaos Bleeds, and a vampire Evil Overlord from the The Lost Slayer book series.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In "Dead Man's Party," while arguing with the Scoobies over what kind of welcome home party to throw Buffy, he turns a page in his book and fails to notice a picture of the mask Joyce has mounted on her wall.
  • Fake Guest Star: Throughout Season 7. But we'll act conciliatory and call him a Super-Duper Extra Special Guest Star.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Most of his friends from his rebellious twentysomethings still call him "Ripper."
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He slips into this trope now and again, mainly because of I Did What I Had to Do. It becomes prevalent in Season 5 when he prepares to sacrifice Dawn and suffocate Ben in cold blood to stop Glory's return.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: a well dressed, well mannered classical English gentleman who happens to be ludicrously well-versed in History, Linguistics and the Occult, implied to have formerly been Curator of the British Museum.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Not as prolific a snarker as other Scoobies, often being The Comically Serious, but he's plenty snarky.
  • The Glasses Come Off: He does this frequently, such as in "I Was Made to Love You," where he does so before going Papa Wolf on Spike, ordering him to back off of Buffy. In Season 6, Xander and Willow mention in passing that Giles' habit of taking off his glasses and cleaning them was both a silent signal that he disapproved of what the Scooby Gang were doing, whether this be goofing off or doing something morally grey, and also a way of averting his eyes in the latter case so he could claim to have no knowledge of what they were doing.
    • Notably averted in "The Gift." Before he smothers Ben to death, Giles makes sure to put his glasses back on, so as not to spare himself the horror of what he's doing.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Smothering a wounded Ben to death rather than risk Glory coming back. Before doing the deed, Giles cryptically remarks, "[Buffy's] a hero, you see. She's not like us." He wanted to spare Buffy from doing it.
  • The Handler: In theory anyway; he realizes early on that Buffy doesn't respond well to orders.
  • Hard Head: Giles tends to get knocked out, but never suffers any brain damage. On one occasion, he quipped that he believed that he had developed a resistance to head trauma. Though in Season 3, one such incident led to him being hospitalized.
    "I know I'm back in America now; I've been knocked unconscious."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Giles got between a Twilight-possessed Angel and Buffy as they fought near the Seed of Wonder, wielding the Scythe to try and destroy the Seed himself and end Twilight's invasion of Earth, or get killed by Twilight and give Buffy the motivation she needed to take the Scythe and end things herself.
  • Helping Would Be Kill Stealing: Giles in Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He chose to abandon Buffy because he felt that she was limiting herself by clinging to him in a immature way. In principle he had good reasons, but he chose to make his stand right in the middle of a crisis, and forbade everyone else from helping Buffy. That can only vaguely be justified by him following musical logic at the time. When he comes back to help against Dark Willow, he apologizes for leaving her, especially after hearing about everything that had gone wrong with the gang since he skipped town, but Buffy assured him that he was right.
  • Hopeless with Tech: He admits to being scared of technology, and when he finds out that the library of Sunnydale High 2.0 consists of nothing but computers, he's absolutely horrified.
  • Hot Librarian: In the view of Faith, Joyce and possibly Willow.
  • I Am Very British: In the second episode, he asks Willow to "wrest more information from that dread machine... That was a bit... British."
  • I Did What I Had to Do: His reaction to smothering Ben to stop Glory for good. Nasty work, which is why he did it; Buffy shouldn't have to.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: "It's all right... I have more scotch."
  • In-Series Nickname: Ripper. He earned it.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: A kidnapped minion of Glory defiantly refuses to talk. Giles asks Willow and Anya to get twine, the camera follows them, and a Sickening "Crunch!" is heard. The minion sings like a canary, with Giles answering Willow's question about what happened with a very casual, "He changed his mind." Exactly what he did is unclear.
    • Giles has also managed to withstand being on the receiving end of this: when Angelus attempts to resurrect Acathla, Giles tells him that, in order to be worthy, he must perform the ritual in... a tutu, before calling Angel a pillock.
  • Last-Name Basis: The only people who call him "Rupert" are his romantic interests and Spike.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: While in London during Season 6, Giles did a spell to bind a demon, but it required him to lose the memory of one of the happiest days in his life. That day was the day he fell in love with Jenny Calendar, leaving him with a heartache that he felt would never go away, even though he had no idea what the memory was about.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • A Watcher scoffs at fashion! One tweed suit is all you need.
    Jenny: Do you own anything else?
    Giles: Uh well, not as such, no.
    • It gets to the extent that the Scoobies joke that he wore tweed diapers as a baby. However, in the post-high school seasons, he dresses casually far more often.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: For Buffy in the first half of Season 6. Giles eventually leaves to force her to become independent. Come Season 10, the Scoobies try to lean on Giles again, only for him to quickly point out his return as a 12 year old is more than physical, and that he can't be relied on for everything.
  • Magic Librarian: A librarian with a certain talent for magic, albeit one he largely forsook after his My God, What Have I Done? moment with Eyghon.
  • Mark of the Beast: The Mark of Eyghon on his left arm. First revealed in "The Dark Age" and is still there by season 4's "Goodbye Iowa" suggesting Giles opted not to have it removed in the interim.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Frequently threatened. In the comics but not the series because he doesn't die in the series.
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car: It seduced him, all red and sporty.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: When transformed into a Fyarl demon in "A New Man," Giles experiences the demon's natural violent urges. Also, in Season 10, his being resurrected in a 12-year-old body leads to him being more impulsive and less able to concentrate, not to mention becoming more fixated on the other sex's physical charms, much to his embarrassment.
  • Mr. Exposition: Gets parodied in "Restless" when he sings his latest exposition.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Ripper."
  • Necessarily Evil: Most noticeable in "The Gift," where he smothers Ben with his bare hands to prevent Glory from resurfacing because he knows Buffy can't bring herself to do it.
  • Neck Snap: This is how Angel, as Twilight, ultimately kills him.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    Giles: But that's the thrill of living on the Hellmouth! There's a veritable cornucopia of fiends and devils and ghouls to engage! (beat) ...Well, excuse me for finding the glass half-full.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the Season 5 episode "Tough Love," Giles, Willow, and Anya capture one of Glory's minions and are about to interrogate him for information. Giles tells Willow and Anya to get some rope to tie him up, and the minute they turn around, we hear a Sickening "Crunch!" and the minion painfully and frantically agrees to tell them everything. Giles' response to their questions?
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In the Season 5 finale. Buffy flat-out tells him to the face that they are not talking about killing Dawn to stop Glory, at which point Giles loses his temper and screams "YES, WE BLOODY WELL ARE!!" at the top of his voice. Cue shocked reactions and gaping mouths from all the other Scoobies.
  • Opening Narration: Previouslys just aren't previouslys without Giles' smooth buttery tone.
  • Papa Wolf: Threatening Buffy isn't a wise move if you want to stay healthy.
    • In "Dead Man's Party," after Snyder shoots down multiple attempts to allow Buffy to return to Sunnydale High, Giles has a go. In full Ripper mode, he threatens to tell the state supreme court about Snyder's unjust treatment of Buffy and make life very difficult for him, professionally speaking. When Snyder still refuses, Giles shoves him against a filing cabinet and asks if Snyder would like him to convince him with a smile on his face. By the next episode, Buffy is readmitted.
    • In "I Was Made to Love You": when Spike shows up at the Magic Box, Giles shoves him against the wall and, in full Tranquil Fury mode, tells him off; Spike wisely chooses to beat it at that.
      Giles: We are not your friends. We are not your way to Buffy. There is no way to Buffy. Clear out of here. And Spike, this thing... get over it.
      Spike: [smirks] I don't know what you mean.
      Giles: Yes, you do. Move the hell on.
  • Parental Substitute: Gradually becomes a surrogate father to Buffy and the gang as a whole (all of their biological fathers being sadly lacking in various ways), and partially to Faith in Season 8.
    • His strong paternal feelings for Buffy almost led to him being dismissed as her Watcher, as he was focusing more on protecting her than in getting the job done. Watch Buffy's face in the episode where it's pointed that Giles has "a father's love" for her. She's speechless. Judging by Giles' body language in the same scene, it's something that he was very reluctant to admit even to himself.
  • Poisonous Friend: Often does (and says, and thinks) what Buffy can't or won't.
  • Pragmatic Hero: As he puts it to Buffy in "The Gift":
    Giles: I imagine you hate me right now. I love Dawn.
    Buffy: I know.
    Giles: But I've sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing... what other people can't. What they shouldn't have to.
  • Promotion to Parent: Averted. While he does help Buffy and Dawn with settling some of Joyce's affairs after she passes away, and he does love them like his own daughters, he ultimately leaves for Europe shortly thereafter so as to avoid Buffy becoming too reliant on him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Compared to Wesley and the rest of the Watchers' Council. He understandably often tries to get Buffy to take her studies more seriously, but he's also one of the few Watchers who doesn't feel the need to prevent her from having friends or a life outside of slaying.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In "Passion," he attacks Angelus in a rage after the latter kills Jenny Calendar. While Xander, who always hated Angel, openly supports and endorses Giles' intent, Buffy realizes right away that Giles' plan is only going to get him killed, and rushes off to save him.
  • The Smart Guy: Giles knows something about everything, except synchronized swimming.
  • Smart People Speak the Queen's English: One of the smartest characters, held up as the brainbox of the Scoobies (along with Willow, though her expertise leans more towards the technical), and speaker of flawless Queen's English — unless he gets reverted back to his youthful Ripper persona.
  • So Proud of You:
    • He tells Buffy as such in "Spiral," while badly injured.
      Giles: I'm so proud of you. You're everything a Watcher... that I could have hoped for.
    • He does it a second time in the penultimate issue of the Season 12 comics. Buffy is legitimately moved to tears by his confession.
      Giles: If I may say, Buffy... you have surpassed every hope and ambition I ever had for you. I never had any children of my own... and it's probably just as well. Because I cannot imagine how they could ever compare to you.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: He worries about this from season four 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.
    • Played with in late Season 7; Spike directly confronts Giles with words along these lines, accusing Giles of 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.
  • Team Dad: to the Scoobies, being a surrogate father to the lot of them, especially Buffy. He's even this to Spike, in a very weird way, as jokingly explored in Tabula Rasa.
  • Teen Genius: After he's killed in Season 8, Angel and Faith resurrect him, but due to other circumstances, he comes back with his adult memories intact, but in the body of a 12-year-old, thanks to his immortal aunts, who remember him as a 12 year old, doing the resurrecting. His behavior is also influenced by being a hormonal teenager, much to his chagrin.
  • Tranquil Fury: He often falls into this.
  • Underestimating Badassery: In "School Hard," he initially dismisses Spike as a major threat as he's "barely 200" and vampires are Stronger with Age. He quickly realizes his mistake when he discovers that Spike has killed two past Slayers.
  • Unwanted Revival: Zigzagged; at the end of Angel & Faith, Giles is successfully resurrected by Angel in the body of a twelve-year-old boy. Considering his soul had been held captive by Eyghon, as well as his being trapped in Angel's body and forced to endure Angelus' crimes and Angel's sorrow, Giles admits he would be grateful for Angel bringing him back and saving him from all that... were it not for the fact that Angel killed him in the first place and focused on reviving him rather than dealing with Whistler's plan.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: With the lovely Romani granola girl monster-truck loving techno-pagan Wicca hippie Ms. Calender.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Andrew has this reaction when he finds out that Giles knew that Buffy had gone to the future and killed an evil version of Willow, but didn't tell him or set up precautions in case Willow turned evil again. Giles even acknowledges he is right, and they begin working on an emergency plan in case Willow does go evil again.
    • Spike has this reaction to all of Buffy's friends and allies in "Touched" when he finds out they threw her out of her house while he and Andrew were away on a mission. When Giles starts to defend the group, Spike cuts him off and begins to focus on his faults specifically. In a way, it mirrors their conversation in Season 5 when Giles found out about Spike's romantic interest in Buffy. There, Giles called upon the remnants of his darker Ripper persona in an effort to get Spike to drop his Stalker with a Crush tendencies by making him know that there would be severe consequences if he didn't. By contrast, in Season 7, Spike draws upon his lighter side via a newly-restored soul to call out Giles for turning against his own student in a way that Spike saw as a betrayal.
      Spike: Oh, that's ballsy of you. You're her friends and you betray her like this.
      Giles: No, no, you don't understand—
      Spike: Oh, I think I do... Rupert. 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.
  • Workaholic: Particularly evident in Season 4. Due to his not having a job at the time, and Buffy not really requiring a Watcher in the same way as she once did, he struggles to fill his time. Whenever any opportunity to help the gang or investigate evil comes about, he leaps on it.
  • Your Door Was Open: This happens to Giles a lot in the fourth season, even when he's sure he locked the door.
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