final!fantasy

The woods are quiet as he makes his way home, walking slowly in the twilight. It’s been a long day of gathering and foraging for ingredients, but Farmer Stilinski needs his expertise, and Scott hates to let him down. He hates letting any of them down.

The thunder of hooves behind him sends a chill up his spine in the cool evening air. There are rarely horses even close to the forest; mostly they spook and run away as soon as the whiff of fey magic becomes apparent to them. Horses, Scott thinks, are often smarter than people. Like dogs, and cats, and the sweet, fatted rabbits he sees in Missus Martin’s garden.

The fall of hooves grows closer, anyway.

He clutches close the little basket he uses to gather herbs and plants from the edges of the wood. There are stories, old widow’s tales about a deadly horseman who follows anyone who trespasses here until their heart stops from fear of him. Scott knows that isn’t true, though. There are deadly things in the wood, but he’s faced them each unafraid, and has nothing to fear from them after.

Still, closer.

The horse is almost upon him before Scott looks back, sees a dark knight on a darker horse, eating up the trail in a billowing cloud of dust. For a moment, he thinks the widows were right after all. But then, abruptly, the horse stops, and the fear in its eyes is so understandable that he can’t help it. He reaches out a hand, hoping to comfort the poor beast.

“There, shhhh, they won’t hurt you,” he murmurs, trying to soothe it as its eyes roll and its breath heaves.

“And you know that for a fact?”

He startles, thinking wildly that the horse spoke to him before remembering the knight upon its back.

“I do,” he says, squaring his shoulders. “There is no need to fear these woods, as long as you are with me, Ser Knight.”

“And why is that?” The knight’s voice is muffled by his helm, a large faceplate covering all but flashing eyes and the hint of dark scruff. “What protection are you from the fey? You’re barely bigger than a boy yourself.”

“I’m a witch,” Scott says proudly, defiantly, daring the knight to question him. “And they are afraid of my magic.”

The knight sheds his helm, running his gloved fingers through a thick thatch of dark, sweaty hair, pushing it away from the most beautiful face Scott has seen in many years. His green eyes crinkle with humor as the knight says, “Well. You must be very great indeed, then. May I request your company the rest of the way through the wood? I would hate to be caught out here unprotected.”

Though Scott knows he is being teased - somewhat relentlessly, even, by a big man on a bigger horse - he still flushes deeply at the compliment. “Of course, sire. I, too, would hate for you to be harmed. Walk with me. I’ll see you safely to the road.”

William Pratt, Captain Peroxide, Blondie Bear, William the Bloody, The Slayer of Slayers, Spike: The character everyone hates to love, and loves to hate.

Spike is my favorite male character (Buffy Summers being my all time favorite, but I’ve already written like 50 posts on that, so). I used to call him trash, I used to love him apologetically and shamefully. But the more time I had with my thoughts, and the less time I spent around other peoples opinions, I realized how much I actually love him. And while I’ve been unapologetic about it for a while now, I would like to make it crystal clear exactly how great I think Spike is.

The “story of Spike” is a very feminist one, and being a raging feminist myself this is a topic of great importance. It’s also a topic that can lead to heated arguments, since so many disagree on what “feminist storytelling” actually is. When in reality it comes in a huge spectrum, with one kind not cancel out another. The “story of Spike” is simply one particular flavor of it, not more right or wrong than any other - just different. It’s also a very thought provoking (and anger inducing) one, which in my eyes is even better. So why is it feminist?

  • Spike’s a metaphor for a meninist turned feminist ally. It’s a long and messy road of making a decent, functional person, out of a misogynistic, sociopath.
  • The rape attempt is treated as the worst thing you could possibly do. So vile that it makes even a soulless, murderous, monster, question his ways.
  • He takes on the stereotypical role of “naive, love-sick, secret mistress”, which is almost exclusively reserved for female characters in entertainment.
  • The content is very self aware of his flaws, making it clear that his behavior is unacceptable.

Also, I’ve never seen such a drastic, yet organic, character development.

Spike would take baby steps in the right direction, then huge strides in the wrong one, getting beat down, built up, and torn back down all over again. And it all made it feel so very authentic. He didn’t better himself on a steady curve - he was flying all over the chart, making massive mistakes on his way, which took the viewers on a very intense emotional roller coaster of not knowing whether to hate or love him half the time. Other times hating him with such sheer intensity that you just knew it was beyond repair, then growing to love him again against all odds, crying rivers when he sacrificed himself in Chosen.

There are many more reasons why I find this character so wonderful, but to keep this post relatively short and to the point, I’d like to conclude with this:

The character “Spike” is art. Everyone wont appreciate him, everyone will interpret him and his story their own way. But the vast array of raw emotions he evoke in so many of us, the soul searching and questioning he forces us to do, is what makes him not only art - but a masterpiece, worthy of going down in history as more than just your “problematic fave”.