“If my heart could beat, it would break my chest” (Spike). When you think about epic love, what comes to mind? Is it that indescribable feeling that you get within your gut? Is it the tears that pour down your face when you witness a significant moment that will change your outlook on love forever?
I think that epic love can be described in so many different ways and that is what makes it so incredibly powerful. It can be passionate and fiery or even one-sided, but there is something to be said about the things we do for love. As I am re-watching one of my all time favorite television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have realized that Joss Whedon does an incredible job of introducing us to so many great loves on the show. They don’t end up living happily ever after, but that’s what makes them so real and consuming.
We watch our favorite characters go through heartbreaking moments, as they desperately try to pick up the pieces when it seems impossible to do so. However, we cannot deny the chemistry and beautiful connections they have shared, touching our hearts and souls in the process. Please note spoilers are ahead.
My top five ships from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are:
Giles & Jenny
Giles: In my years as watcher, I’ve buried too many people. But Jenny was the first I loved.(Passion, season 2 episode 17)
The budding romance between Giles and Jenny was absolutely delightful to watch. Even though they both often spent their time supervising Buffy and the Scoobies, they had some undeniably sweet moments together and real chemistry. Jenny often teased Giles and he would get baffled in front of her, which was absolutely adorable. However, a strain was put on their relationship after Jenny was possessed by a demon targeting Giles.
We then later found out that Jenny was sent to Sunnydale to watch Angel, as her ancestors were responsible for the curse of his soul. Giles supported Buffy here and kept Jenny at a distance, but Buffy eventually let go of her anger and confided to Jenny that Giles did truly miss her.
In the episode, “Passion,” it looked like Giles and Jenny were finally going to get the romantic evening they deserved. Only Angelus ripped this chance at happiness away from them. Angelus killed Jenny to prevent her from cursing him again, but took this tragic moment much further when he staged a romantic evening for Giles at his home. Giles walked in to rose petals and opera music with champagne and a note reading, “upstairs.” To Giles’s horror, he discovered Jenny’s lifeless body on his bed, as the champagne glasses shattered along with his heart and ours.
Xander & Anya
Xander: I’ve gotta say something cause I don’t think I’ve made it clear. I’m in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do, the way you think, the way you move…I get excited every time I’m about to see you. You make me feel like I’ve never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know. (Into the Woods, season 5 episode 10)
There is something to be truly said about the quirky and adorable love between Xander and Anya. Anya initially came to Sunnydale as a demon to grant Cordelia’s wish in season 3, but she ended up human when this backfired. Anya soon found herself attached to Xander and the two started an interesting relationship together. While it first seemed like a relationship of convenience, Xander began to truly fall in love with Anya.
Even though Anya typically said the wrong thing at the wrong moment, you couldn’t help but adore her. Anya also started to truly feel for Xander, which really helped her develop as a mortal, as she finally started to understand what it meant to be human.
When Xander and Anya were about to get married, I thought that two of our favorite characters were going to get the happily ever after ending that they deserved. Only Xander had second thoughts and didn’t go through with the wedding after witnessing how his father treated his mother and seeing something similar in an alternate future for him and Anya.
This moment is truly heartbreaking, as Anya loved Xander so completely. Xander felt like he was doing the right thing here, but my heart goes out to Anya.
Buffy & Spike
Spike: I’m not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try…I’ve seen your kindness and your strength, I’ve seen the best of you and the worst of you and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the one, Buffy. (Touched, season 7, episode 20)
I always felt a spark between Buffy and Spike even when they were mortal enemies. There was just an undeniable sense of desire between them and I often used to wonder about what would happen if they ended up together.
In the episode, “Something Blue,” fans got a chance to see a potential for these two when Willow’s spell went horribly wrong and Buffy and Spike said that they were getting married. When Spike got the chip in his head, he was no longer able to hurt anyone, but this became even more complicated for him when he became infatuated with Buffy. Spike’s feelings for Buffy started out somewhat stalker-like, as he would wait outside her window and even steal her panties here and there.
However, Spike revealed true potential and friendship when he sat next to Buffy on her porch after she learned that her mother was very sick. Buffy and Spike remained here in silence and Spike awkwardly patted her back, letting her know that he was truly there for her.
Later on in the series after Buffy came back from the dead, she was desperately trying to feel something and her and Spike shared an epic kiss at the end of the episode, “Once More, With Feeling,” leaving fans completely shocked. Buffy started a dark relationship with Spike, as she tapped into her desires, keeping her relationship with him a secret at first. Later on, their relationship got even more complicated when Spike attacked Buffy sexually, which was extremely difficult to watch.
Spike left town, horrified by his actions, and ended up earning his soul, which gave him a real chance to redeem himself. Even though Buffy and Spike did not get a chance to truly work out, Buffy did appreciate everything he did for her and Spike truly became a man because of her.
There’s something to be said about true love redeeming someone who started out so evil. Spike became a hero one could be truly proud of, performing selfless acts because of his unconditional love for Buffy, which sparked the humanity within his vampire soul.
Willow & Tara
Tara: Even when I’m at my worst, you make me feel special. How do you do that?
Willow: Magic. (Family, season 5, episode 6)
While I always shipped Willow and Oz, I felt so incredibly heartbroken when Oz left town. I was beginning to wonder if Willow would ever find true love and we were all lucky enough to witness the beautiful love and friendship between Willow and Tara. Willow and Tara met in Wicca club and quickly discovered that they were the only two members of the group to have any real powers. Willow was very interested in experimenting with witchcraft and magic and she shared so many intimate things with Tara, as their friendship blossomed into something more.
Willow and Tara have always had such a pure and magical love. Tara’s heart had always belonged to Willow and she was even willing to let her be happy when Oz returned, but Willow could not deny where her heart belonged now. When her and Tara blew out the candle together, they were ready to fully explore their feelings for one another.
In a tragic moment later on in the series, Tara was shot and killed in front of Willow. Her lifeless body collapsed in Willow’s arms, as Willow’s grief escalated into pure darkness and vengeance, as her dark magic consumed her. Even though Willow got another chance at potential love later on in the series, nothing can compare to her love with Tara, which is something so transcendent and beautiful.
Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one ship are:
- Willow & Oz
- Spike & Drusilla
- Xander & Cordelia
- Spike & Harmony
- Buffy & Riley
Buffy & Angel
Angel: Are you still my girl?
Buffy: Always. (Enemies, season 3 episode 17)
My number one ship has to go to Buffy and Angel. Giles got it right when he said, “A vampire in love with a Slayer. It’s rather poetic.” There is something so completely romantic about these two together. It’s almost like we are trapped within a dark fairy-tale, as we witness the emotional roller coaster ride between them. Ever since Angel first saw Buffy, he loved her and wanted to help her.
Buffy gave Angel a true sense of purpose, as he did not know how to live with his soul previously. Buffy and Angel’s love has always been complicated, however. They have some unbelievably romantic moments together and some hot and steamy ones as well. After Buffy and Angel make love for the first time, the unthinkable happens when Angel experienced a moment of “true happiness” and lost his soul, as the monster, Angelus, returned. Angelus began tormenting Buffy and her friends, which was so cruel and heartbreaking.
I remember crying along with Buffy so many times after witnessing what she had to go through. To make matters even worse, Angel’s soul was returned right at the moment that Buffy needed to kill him to prevent a demon from swallowing the world. Buffy made the ultimate sacrifice when she told Angel to “close his eyes” and kiss her, right before she stabbed him with her sword. Buffy left town after this, as she could not bear to handle it, but Angel soon returned from hell, as his purpose was not over.
Buffy and Angel tried out being friends, but learned that they could really never be just friends, as Spike pointed out. They both desperately want to be close to one another, but knew that they could never have a true chance at a real life together. Angel wanted Buffy to have a normal life, rather than keeping her hidden in the shadows, and ended up leaving town.
Before Angel left, he surprised Buffy at the prom and the dance between them was so beautiful and romantic, as the rest of the world seemed to just fade away, leaving only Buffy and Angel together. Even though Buffy and Angel do not end up together, their love is so powerful and undeniable. Buffy and Angel will always love one another and I will always continue to ship them.
Their love is beyond messy, but there is something truly perfect about it as well, reminding us that epic love is never easy, but there is really nothing like it in the world.
I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own comments and thoughts about your favorite ships on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!
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