On shows created by Joss Whedon

An Analysis of Slayer Longevity

By Tracy R. Gleason, Nancy S. Weinfield

“A Slayer with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn’t in the brochure.”

-Spike, “School Hard” (2-4)

The following report has been commissioned by a concerned party who seeks to understand issues related to slayer effectiveness and longevity. Once called, slayers, due to the nature of their mission, have historically had short and brutal lives. One slayer, Buffy Summers, has managed to survive well past the span of any of her predecessors. Her endurance cannot be attributed to superior strength, discipline, or training. Slayers are all imbued with the same strength, and all receive thorough training by qualified Watchers. If anything, Buffy seems to have been less thoroughly dedicated to the training mission of the Slayer than those who came before her. Documented history suggests she never studied the slayer handbook, and she failed to operate within the parameters of secrecy and separation from civilians that have been observed in traditional slayer training (“What’s My Line, Part 2,” 2-10). What is more, reports indicate that Buffy’s training began much later than that of the typical slayer. Unlike slayers Kendra and Kennedy, she was not identified and indoctrinated to her destiny in childhood.

Because Buffy’s unusual effectiveness as the Slayer cannot be explained by unusual fighting prowess, this report focuses on possible psychological explanations for her success. After careful consideration of the evidence, we assert that Buffy’s success as the Slayer can be explained precisely because she did not adhere to the slayer tradition of isolation. Buffy’s relationships with her mother  …

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