Summary: Reasons why Anya was easily accepted as a Scooby than Spike.
Spoilers: From S2 toward S7.
Word count: 2,609
Notes: This essay is an answer to
’s question: Why is Anya, a demon who has lost her powers and has tried to kill the Scoobies at least twice, regarded as being less of a threat/more acceptable to the group than Spike, a demon who has lost his powers and has tried to kill the Scoobies as well?
Great thanks to
for being my wonderful beta and giving me the cutest title.
Spike and Anya have always been described as having similar storylines; usually the Spike fans have a soft spot for Anya, and vise versa. Those two characters’ first appearance was for one sole reason: to kill their future love interests, and when that backfired, they fell in love with them and tried their hardest to change for the better just for them.
To read more info on Spike and Anya’s characters, check Wikipedia: Spike’s page
and Anya’s page
It’s always arguable why Anya was easily accepted in the Scooby circle while Spike was always regarded as an outsider. Both characters were killers and tried to hurt the Scoobies in the past. I’ve posted three questions in my LJ
about the topic, you can check out the answers.
Let’s start with the reasons to why Anya mingled better with the Scoobies than Spike:
1- First impression
2- Seen crimes, unseen crimes
3- Currently human, currently soulless vampire
4- Relationships with a member of the Scooby Gang
5- The desire to become a Scooby1- First ImpressionBuffy: Who are you?
Spike: You’ll find out on Saturday.
Buffy: What happens on Saturday?
Spike: I kill you.
This is the first time Buffy and the gang met Spike, he was a new villain who was so confident he would kill Buffy that he set a day for it. No one knew about this new villain, not even Giles. The only one who knew about Spike was Angel, and the information he had wasn’t thrilling.Angel: (suddenly appears) He’s worse. (they all look at him) Once he
starts something he doesn’t stop until everything in his path is dead.
Spike is described as a dangerous killer whose purpose is to kill the slayer (Buffy). It was the major idea for three years, not a short time obviously. S2, S3 and S4 all had Spike trying to kill Buffy, or talking about it, in case of S4 chipped!Spike, so it’s really hard to accept him as anything else that easily.
As for Anya, she was introduced as a new student in Sunnydale High, she’s known to be Cordelia’s friend, this term is used a bit loosely though. None of the Scoobies know her. Willow was the first one to meet her:Anya: Uh, Willow?
Willow: (turns around) Uh, hi. (doesn’t recognize)
Anya: (gestures at herself) Anya. (smiles) I’m sort of new here.
(hopefully) Um, I know Cordelia?
Willow: (smiles thinly) Oh, fun.
Anya asked Willow to do a ‘safe’ spell for her, in which later Willow discovered that Anya was lying to her. Willow didn’t treat Anya like a killer – Anya didn’t kill anyone in the scene for Willow to think of her as a murderer - but a misguided student. She didn’t know Anya used to be a demon, and her first impression of Anya was a student who had a knack for dark magics.
Then at the Bronze, Anya appeared in new unpleasant colors in front of Willow. Of all the Scoobies, it’s Willow who saw the bad in Anya, keep in mind what Willow saw was nowhere as bad as they first met Spike, but it was still enough to make Willow dislike
Later, the Scoobies learned that Anya was a former vengeance demon who had granted Cordelia a wish. They knew that Anya was human now, with no powers, and gave her a warning (like always, the Scoobies rule is ‘Can’t kill the human or the defenseless no matter how evil they are’) Giles: (to Anya, warningly) Don’t you try any tricks now, dear.
Anya: (sulkily) I don’t need tricks. (arrogantly contemptuous) When I get my powers back, you will all grovel before me.
Both Willows roll their eyes and shake their heads at her delusions of grandeur.
Willow’s reaction was also the Scoobies’ naïve look on both Anya and Spike. Anya will never get her powers back, she’s no threat. Spike will never get his chip out, he’s no threat. Perhaps that naivety is one of the reasons the Scoobies are heroes. While they don’t like Spike or Anya, they give them a chance for redemption and the chance to live. Seen Crimes, Unseen Crimes
The Scoobies had a longer history of badness with Spike than with Anya. They had seen
Spike in action, they had lived
it, more than once. From trying constantly to kill Buffy, to horrifying the whole school, to lying to a big number of lost kids with false promises to turn them into vampires, to kidnapping Xander and Willow, beating Xander on two occasions, going against the Scoobies with Adam… and many more events that the Scoobies lived through, all that had a very bad Spike image drilled into their minds. The only Scoobies who didn’t seem to dislike Spike were Dawn and Tara, because they didn’t come face to face with Evil!Spike.
It is a huge difference between living and seeing a murderer in action than hearing about past crimes from a former murderer. Anya had her stories, she proudly talked of her past because she believed she did the right thing: the men she tortured deserved her punishments. The Scoobies either ignored what she said or brushed it away because Anya for her part was trying her best to mingle into the human world, deeply loved Xander, was clearly no threat to them. What made it easier to accept her was that she was never seen in action until S7. The only Scooby who seemed to vocally dislike Anya is Willow, because she’s the only one who dealt with Evil!Anya in person.Currently Human, Currently Soulless Vampire
Anya was turned into a human from S3. Since S4, she’s trying so hard to fit in. She has a boyfriend and a job, and her humanity was impossible to miss. And ever since she became part of their lives, she never betrayed them… until she became a demon again in the second half of S6. Actually once Anya becomes a demon again and starts killing, Buffy didn’t hesitate to kill her.
Spike was a soulless vampire. He didn’t pretend to be anything else. Certainly Buffy feels he’s “like a serial killer in prison.” Spike was capable of love obviously, but he only showed affection to Buffy, and during S5/early S6 to Dawn, usually he’s too caught up in the Big Bad act. Only Buffy was able to see behind the façade because Spike allowed her to. The Scoobies see him saving their lives, but can’t trust him completely, because of the lack of soul and the way Spike usually expresses himself to them. Relationships with a member of the Scooby Gang
When Spike fell in love with Buffy, it’s obvious she was repelled by it. She didn’t want his love and she was mostly annoyed and freaked. It was reflected on the people around her. Willow, one of the few Scoobies who showed Spike some tenderness, was also freaked. Joyce wasn’t thrilled either. Giles threatened Spike not to come near Buffy. All because Buffy didn’t want Spike.WILLOW: Well, he … he actually told you? He, he said, “I love you”?
BUFFY: Well, I-I didn’t let him get that far, but … I could see the words coming.
JOYCE: Honey, did you … somehow, unintentionally, lead him on in any way? Uh, send him signals?
BUFFY: (ponders) Well, I … I do beat him up a lot. For Spike that’s like third base.
Joyce looks upset, stands up.
WILLOW: Buffy, um … I’m really worried.
JOYCE: So am I. He could become dangerous.
BUFFY: Not really. As long as it’s still chips ahoy in Spike’s head he can’t hurt me, or any of us. You know, besides, this’ll probably just blow over. You know? It’s just some weird Spike thing. He’ll have the hots for some gak demon before we know it.
WILLOW: I don’t know. Uh, these things can, can become pretty twisted.
JOYCE: (comes back to sit down again) Yeah, and Spike, I mean, he’s…
BUFFY: Pretty twisted.
WILLOW: Well, well, you made it clear, right? That it could never happen. That there’s no possible way. Ever.
BUFFY: Yeah! (looks at them) I, I think so. I don’t know, I, I was just so thrown.
WILLOW: Well, Buffy, you have to talk to him again.
BUFFY: What? No. No, no, no, I have to avoid him again.
WILLOW: Not until you shut him down completely. If he thinks there’s even a little chance with you, there’s no telling what he’ll do.
Buffy looks concerned.
With Anya, it was different. She asked Xander to take her to the prom. Xander didn’t seem that concerned about her past. She looks so much like a student for him to care, and he was probably too desperate for a date to the prom. It was apparent he didn’t want her as anything else at the moment. The reactions of his friends:Oz: Anya, huh? Interesting choice.
Xander: Choice is kind of a broad term for my situation. See, it’s either Anya or the sock puppet of love for this boy. (holds his right hand in puppet shape, speaks in silly voice) I love you, Xander. I’ll never leave you.
Willow: Well, if Anya tries to get you killed, put me down for a big 'I told you so.'
Xander: (puppet) Who’s this Anya? Is she prettier than me?
Willow: She just better not try to cross me. That’s all I’m saying.
Buffy: Well, at least we all have someone to go with now. Some of us are going with demons, but I think that’s a valid lifestyle choice. More importantly, I have the kick dress.
So of all of them, Willow seems the most concerned, mainly because of what had happened earlier between her and Anya. Oz is laid back as usual. Buffy just wants everyone to be happy because she is.
One of the main differences between Spike and Anya, the biggest, is that Xander accepted Anya. He wanted her to be his girlfriend, he acknowledged her as one, despite Willow’s obvious dislike of Anya, he still kept dating her. He usually brought her to every Scooby meeting ever since they started sleeping together. He took her to Buffy’s Thanksgiving gathering. He made her part of them, and while his friends didn’t warm up to her, they accepted her presence because Xander liked her.
As for Spike, Buffy was ashamed of him. She didn’t want him around her friends, she didn’t even want to tell them about her relationship with him. Other than Xander, the rest of the Scoobies didn’t mind Spike being around and Dawn liked him just fine. If Buffy had pushed Spike into the group – just like Xander did with Anya – the Scoobies will accept him, and like Willow was able to deal with Anya being around, Xander will eventually be able to deal with Spike being around (He dealt with his presence just fine in S7).
Spike would be a permanent Scooby member if Buffy just said the word. That will lead us to another important point:The desire to become a Scooby
Did Spike really want to become a Scooby? He never seemed to exhibit any desire to fit in. While he was chipped and unsouled he always emphasized his vampireness and was antagonistic towards the Scoobies. He usually threatened to kill them once his chip stopped working. The only reason he teamed up with the Scoobies was for his own benefit. It was in exchange of money and blood, to survive.
His priorities did change after he fell in love with Buffy. When Buffy died, Spike seemed to be part of the group. He was joking with Giles, he fought side by side with Xander, he was there for Dawn… but once Buffy came back, he didn’t seem to want to hang out with them anymore than they want to hang out with him. Even his affection to Dawn seemed to disappear once Buffy came back. Were all his contributions in the summer between S5 and S6 for the promise he gave to Buffy? Certainly he was more interested in Buffy the rest of S6. After he was souled, he was still more focused on Buffy, he didn’t even make an effort to patch things up with Dawn.
On the other hand, Anya made some kind of effort to assimilate into the human world, and she tried to get along with the Scoobies. With time she did end up caring about their well-being. She showed a desire to become human, a desire to help the Scoobies with research, a desire to become
one of them. Perhaps it was all for Xander’s sake, and while she was tactless and unbearable at times, she was always eager to help and lend a hand. She was never sarcastic about it until S7, for obvious reasons. Was It Entirely the Scoobies’ Fault?
had said that the Scoobies were made to be naïve morons because they had quickly accepted
Spike as one of them once he had gotten the chip.
Let’s see: While the Scoobies found it hard to warm up to Spike, Giles and Xander gave Spike a place to stay with free blood. Giles actually let him roam in his place without chains. Xander only chained him when he went to sleep. The decision to move out was clearly Spike’s, no one kicked him out.
The Scoobies more often than not ask Spike for help and information later, in which he keeps reminding them that he’s evil and that he doesn’t like them and that he’d kill them one day when he finds a way to get rid of the chip. The Scoobies still trusted him and considered him on their side. Why would Giles keep blood in his fridge after Spike moved out if he didn’t consider Spike one of them? Why would Willow stop Spike from committing suicide? Why would Xander put his life in danger of being hit by falling rocks to save Spike’s life? In The Yoko Factor, when Spike planned to 'pretend to go back under disguise into the Initiative’, Xander delivered him the clothes appropriate with the 'job’.
The Scoobies got burned for their naivety when Spike started working with Adam, and betrayed that forming trust they had for him. Xander: Spike’s working for Adam?! After all we’ve done–nah, I can’t even act surprised.
Funnily enough, later when Spike asks for forgiveness, Giles and Willow turn their eyes to Xander as if asking his permission to forgive Spike. Xander shrugs and lets him be.
The Scoobies’ attitude toward Spike had always been neutral, even Xander and Giles, it was until Buffy told them that Spike is in love with her and appeared grossed by it that Giles and Xander started to be overprotective. Personally, if Buffy returned Spike’s feelings by that time, I don’t think the Scoobies would have minded having him around, and even Xander will eventually loosen up, he seemed to take it well when he thought that Buffy was sleeping with Spike in S5.In Conclusion:
Spike would have easily become a Scooby if he made a better first impression, played nice with the Scoobies, had a soul, was accepted sooner by Buffy, and expressed a desire to become one of them. Anya was as rude as Spike, but she was never a threat. She was liked by Xander, she never tried to kill the Scoobies the way Spike did, she tried to fit in, and she was human. All and all, I think if S7 was made into two seasons with more space for Scoobies/Spike development, I’m sure Spike would have become a Scooby. It’s not just about the Scoobies accepting him, it’s also about Spike’s desire to be one of them.