But it’s not over yet. Draculaura and I are so happy to have ONE MORE DAY!
Oh! and Happy Halloween!
With that said, let’s get to it.
W is for Watcher, which, regardless of your thoughts on Buffy, I think was an excellent addition to vampire lore.
In the Buffyverse, where “into every generation, a Slayer is born….” that chosen one is assigned a Watcher, who is a member of a secret organization called the Watchers’ Council, whose goal is to prepare the Slayer to fight the forces of evil.
Buffy’s first and main Watcher is Rupert Giles, who is also Sunnydale High’s librarian for the first three seasons. In addition to normal high school fare, his library also houses numerous books on the occult which no one except the Scoobies generally ever notice because who hangs out in the high school library?
When Giles is fired by the Watcher’s Council Wesley Wyndam-Pryce takes over the job for a while, but Giles is still there and helping (because, well – school librarian!) and eventually gets reinstated so Wesley can join the spin-off show Angel.
After high school, Giles goes entrepreneurial and opens a magic shop in town. Along with Buffy and the gang he continues to help to save the world. A lot.
He is also very clearly Buffy’s father figure. On that note, please enjoy the following number from the episode in Season 5 where a demon made them do a musical where they had to sing the truth:
X is for ….
(come on, I know as soon as I started this EVERYONE tried to figure out what the heck X would be…)
Xander Harris. I know. Again. Buffy.
I’d say I was filling a letter if this character didn’t so perfectly personify many of the (non-dinner) humans in vampire fiction – and the type of person I hope many aspire to be.
He’s one of Buffy’s best friends and, as the series progresses, the only one in the group not to possess any supernatural abilities.
Despite that, he muddles through (muggles through? Should I punny go there? If this isn’t yet an established term it should be!) time and time again and finds ways to help out with his own completely non supernatural skill set.
I know as a woman I was supposed to identify with Buffy. But I also identified with Xander.
I once had a swim coach in my teens who told me I did very well for someone with no natural ability.
Shall we flesh that out a bit? Humour me, it goes to theme.
Thanks for coming to elite outdoor swim camp in Florida and working so hard.
I noticed how you swam right through Hurricane Andrew and the freezing weather when half my national qualifiers got out of the pool due to hypothermia/not really “wanting it.”
And I also noticed you keeping up to those who hadn’t wimped out yet.
If you remain that determined you might make nationals. That would be a really good goal.
So I get how it feels to be unexceptional when you want so very badly to excel – and to be told so.
I know many of us do. And so it’s hard not to love Xander.
Over the years I’ve also come to love that comment. I like to think – like Xander – I do pretty well at a number of things for which I had no natural ability.
Take that Hurricane Andrew!
I’m going to leave X with this quote from Xander to Dawn – Buffy’s non-slayer sister – when she momentarily thought she’d been chosen to be a slayer, before realizing she hadn’t, and so wasn’t special:
Seven years, […] Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful. […] All of them. And I’m the guy who fixes the windows.
They’ll never know how tough it is, Dawnie. To be the one who isn’t chosen, to live so near to the spotlight and never step in it.
But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You’re not special. You’re extraordinary.
Like the Lost Boys said:
Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never Die. It’s fun to be a vampire.
Kind of sums it all up, yeah? It’d be fun, right? Eternal youth. Forever replay whatever moment you hold in your head as “the best you”. An entire beauty industry works full-time to give it to us; we have stores called Forever 21, teen fiction and high school dramas are watched and read by millions north of 30 and here’s the myth that offers the solution!
Of course, many stories talk about the double-edged sword that is eternal life. Anne Rice tells of Claudia who is turned as a child and so never grows up. This clip rather poignantly sums that up:
Rice’s vampires also lose interest in life for periods of time and must go to ground, sometimes for decades, before re-surfacing again to be able to deal with the reality of living forever and seeing the world change when they do not.
Other stories tell of the painful realities of watching your loved ones grow old and die. There are vampires who dream of becoming human again. Twilight has the joke that the family collects high school diplomas because the children – forever 17 – have graduated SO. MANY. TIMES.
Regardless, the attraction of eternal youth isn’t going to die anytime soon. If you really want to freak yourself out Google Vampire Therapy or Vampire Facelift. Twenty-five vampires and counting and THAT’S what creeps me out.
So let’s finish this. The final entry to our gallery is the second new vampire to me; the second new book I bought to “educate” myself prior to posting.
We’re ending firmly in genre which – good or bad – seems to currently dominate: vampire teen fiction.
Z is for Zoey Redbird, the 16-year-old vampyre fledgling in P.C. Cast and daughter Kristin Cast’s House of Night Series.
The series, which started with Marked in 2007, is planned to include 12 books and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
The vampire lore here is that a small percentage of teenagers change into vampires when puberty triggers a strand of otherwise junk DNA. When the change is triggered, a Tracker finds and marks them with a blue crescent-shaped tattoo on their forehead and they must then leave normal life and attend a “House of Night” boarding school where they remain for the four years required to complete the change from human to vampire. During that time they take courses to learn about their new lives.
Not all fledglings survive. About one in ten die, so the students every now and then get to watch their classmates whose bodies reject the change, die.
Zoey very quickly rises in the power structure at her House of Night in Tulsa and it becomes clear she is a fledgling of exceptional power. I’m currently mid-way through the second book and I’m enjoying it. Well written, and I loved the anti-bullying/be yourself messages in the first book. The other characters are engaging as well: mean-girl Aphrodite isn’t just straight-up evil; her mentor Neferet provides support and vampire history to help move the plot along; and of course there are hot vampire boyfriends like Erik Night and hot teachers and drama with parents and all the good stuff which makes vampire high school coming of age fiction both fun and poignant.
Let’s give our dolly co-host a round of applause!
And for those wanting a full list, here you go!
I hope you had as much fun as I did. Any other favourites I missed? Let me know!
Today’s photo credits: Giles and Buffy are from the Buffy Wiki; Xander is from (and I love this site name) The Nerd Cave which I found via a search for “free Xander Harris pictures”; the Lost Boys are via Wikipedia; and Zoey is from the House of Night Wiki – and specifically the cover of Hidden. Finally, the Draculaura gifs are from here and here.