deird1: puppet!Angel brooding, with text "brood brood brood brood brood brood brood brood brood" (PuppetAngel brood)
[personal profile] deird1
So, over on Mark Watches, the comments are discussing Angel. And someone just said this:
Vampire Spike was never as evil as Angelus (considered one of hte most evil vamps ever) he just does the killing bit because he truly enjoys it. He's not a good guy, doesn't try to be, doesn't pretend to be, but he isn't so evil as to actually want to tear someone mentally to pieces.


I responded by pointing out this line of Spike's:
Do you know how much blood you can drink from a girl before she’ll die? I do. You see, the trick is to drink just enough to know how to damage them just enough so that they’ll still cry when you… ‘cause it’s not worth it if they don’t cry.

...and the answer I got? "Yeah, but he's just saying that so Buffy will kill him."

Allow me to get my ranty pants on for a minute or so.

Spike is a vampire. An evil vampire. A VERY evil vampire.


I am, admittedly, a pretty big Spike fan. The guy is awesome. BUT - that doesn't mean glossing over the utterly appalling stuff he did for over a century. HE'S EVIL.

When you start deciding that the evil vampire guy is so cute and fun just a big softy, and didn't really do anything so bad because it wasn't actually on screen, and actually, when he mentioned raping/killing/torturing people, he was probably just lying or exaggerating or something, because he never really wanted to be evil, he just kinda liked violence, and really, can you blame him? it's not like he's actually a bad guy.
...when you do that, I want to scream and write meta on how SPIKE IS THE WORST PERSON EVER. Which I don't actually think, so I'd appreciate it if you could stop motivating me to write it.

It minimises Spike's redemption arc, dismisses murder as irrelevant if you don't know the victim, and also gives the more vindictive Bangel fans lots of ammunition of the "rapist lover" variety, which I'd really like to never hear again.

In short? A character can do awful, evil stuff. And still be your favourite character. And you don't have to gloss over one to keep the other.

Let me leave you with a fanfic that addresses this. Because if I could write that fic, I wouldn't have to write this rant instead.

Date: 2012-01-23 11:08 pm (UTC)
velvetwhip: (Tasty)
From: [personal profile] velvetwhip
I tend to LIKE characters for their vices so, yeah, seeing Spike as a fluffy bunny is not my cuppa.


Date: 2012-01-23 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gabrielleabelle

There's a reason Spike has a redemption arc. He's a bad guy at the start.

*huggles evil!Spike*

Date: 2012-01-23 11:27 pm (UTC)
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Fuckin' A.

Especially this: It minimises Spike's redemption arc, dismisses murder as irrelevant if you don't know the victim. If the coal cellar story is just a story, what's the point? Why isn't Spike just a weird guy with an overabundance of peroxide? A redemption story fails the second you say "Well, that all didn't actually happen. He really didn't do any of it. And if he did, it was totally an accident. And it only happened to characters you don't know anyway."

Yes, Spike kinda liked violence. He thought it was fun for its own sake. He still did it. That's the point.

Date: 2012-01-23 11:42 pm (UTC)
quinara: Spke standing over the Chinese Slayer, with the caption 'Slayer' at his feet. (Spike Slayer)
From: [personal profile] quinara
Well, I think there's a distinction to be made between Angelus as a sadist and Spike as a hedonist - this is part of what allows Spike to get onto a redemption arc, after all - but since I think evil is as evil does, yeah, it really doesn't make either of their crimes worse or better than each other's.

Date: 2012-01-24 12:26 am (UTC)
next_to_normal: (Damon)
From: [personal profile] next_to_normal
Yeah. To be honest, the "it's not worth it if they don't cry" line always sounded more like Angelus than Spike. Spike, after all, is the one who "liked the rush. I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the victims."

But that's a difference in style more than anything else. If Spike didn't torture his victim, it was because he didn't have the patience, not because he wasn't ~evil enough.

(And let's be real here - "not as evil as a sadistic psychopath" is A REALLY, REALLY LOW BAR. Spike's still pretty damn evil, even if Angelus is qualitatively "worse.")

Date: 2012-01-24 02:14 am (UTC)
stormwreath: a wreath of lightning against a sky-blue background (Default)
From: [personal profile] stormwreath
always sounded more like Angelus than Spike.,/em>

True... but on the other hand, Spike's thing has always been to try and reshape himself to be the sort of man the people he respects would want him to be. Buffy is the most obvious example, but he did it with Drusilla too.

So I can easily see him doing the same with Angelus, back in the 1880s. Trying to model himself on him, do the same things he did, get the same kind of thrill from psychological torture.

Ultimately, of course, he must have decided that it wasn't really what he enjoyed the most... but some of it could have stuck with him. He certainly seemed nostalgic about the old days with Angelus back in S2, before Angel started putting the moves on Dru.

Date: 2012-01-24 02:44 pm (UTC)
next_to_normal: (Spike/Harmony punishment)
From: [personal profile] next_to_normal
So I can easily see him doing the same with Angelus, back in the 1880s. Trying to model himself on him, do the same things he did, get the same kind of thrill from psychological torture.

Oh, agreed that he would copy Angelus, but I don't know that I'd say it was a thrill for him, necessarily. He seems pretty annoyed with Angelus' prolonged torment of Buffy in S2 - he's always asking why Angelus doesn't just KILL her already.

But it's not a matter of not being evil enough to enjoy psychological torture. He's not morally opposed to torture. He just gets bored too quickly to enjoy the drawn-out stuff. :)

Date: 2012-01-24 06:21 pm (UTC)
stormwreath: a wreath of lightning against a sky-blue background (Default)
From: [personal profile] stormwreath
Well, I did say trying to get the same kind of thrill. :) I can see him hero-worshipping Angelus at first as the role-model of a vampire, someone he should copy and live up to. But after a few years of that, he'd have an epiphany that actually, all that slow psychological torture stuff was boring, and even as a vampire he didn't have to do it.

He could do his own thing instead, and mock Angelus instead of trying to imitate him. Much more fun. :)

Mind you, on a similar note I have a suspicion that he isn't annoyed at Angel's actions in S2: he's annoyed at Angel himself, and so whatever Angel did would be wrong.

Date: 2012-01-24 05:00 am (UTC)
pocochina: tvd: tessa campfire story (nikki the vampire slayer)
From: [personal profile] pocochina
Yeah, that particular line has always struck me as....more shock value than characterization, which I think is the script enabling the woobifying. I mean, I completely agree that it doesn't necessarily make either Angel or Spike out to be more or less evil. They are both naughty children who like to play with their food. It's just that Spike had spent five and a half seasons getting his kicks in other ways.

Date: 2012-01-24 05:33 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Spike)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
Remind me where that line is, about "It's not worth it if they don't cry"? I might have an opinion to state, depending on when it appeared. *g*

Date: 2012-01-24 08:38 am (UTC)
quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quinara
Never Leave Me, just after The First triggers him to try and kill Andrew before he can talk. It's almost immediately followed by the line 'you have have to kill me, before I get out', angst about killing people while triggered, rounding off with Buffy's 'I believe in you'. :D

Date: 2012-01-26 06:47 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
Thank you! That's when I thought it was from, but I couldn't remember for sure.

Date: 2012-01-24 08:45 am (UTC)
quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quinara
Agreed. The delivery of 'it's not worth it if they don't cry' always struck me as ironic quotation, either of Angelus or of himself, in a scene that's about trying to shock Buffy with words, but he probably still did it.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:21 pm (UTC)
lirazel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lirazel
There are no words to express my love of your choice of icons for this discussion. PSYCHOPATHS ARE HIGH-MAINTENANCE.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:51 pm (UTC)
next_to_normal: (Damon's a dick)
From: [personal profile] next_to_normal
Um, I might totally have iconed that line, but I can't post it yet because it's someone's Galentine's Day gift. It is KILLING ME.

Date: 2012-01-24 11:41 pm (UTC)
lirazel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lirazel
NIIIIIICE! It's my new favorite Damon line, and I will be using it all the time. I've made it my official Damon-tag on tumblr. THAT BOY.

Date: 2012-01-24 03:20 pm (UTC)
lirazel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lirazel
Well, I think there's a distinction to be made between Angelus as a sadist and Spike as a hedonist

Oh, yes. I haven't seen anyone phrase it quite that way but: yes.

Date: 2012-01-24 10:56 pm (UTC)
quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quinara

Date: 2012-01-24 09:39 pm (UTC)
timetravellingbunny: (Default)
From: [personal profile] timetravellingbunny
I'm not so sure about this distinction. For most people, being a hedonist means enjoying food and fine wine and comfort etc. But if the thing you're deriving pleasure from is killing people (or torturing them with railroad spikes)... you're a sadist, and not in a nice consensual-BDSM-sex kind of way.

Saying that Spike was a hedonist is as true as saying that Angelus was an artist because he enjoyed the artistry of torturing people.

Date: 2012-01-24 11:22 pm (UTC)
quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quinara
The way I see it, Angelus seeks the pain of others (specifically weak and innocent humans while soulless) in order to find pleasure, while Spike seeks pleasure and most often finds it in the pain of others (while soulless and unchipped). The outcome is the same but I think the outlook behind it is slightly different: Angelus is fairly stable in his desires, but we see Spike not only getting sadistic pleasure, but also masochistic pleasure (when Dru cuts his face in School Hard), a sense of comfort from luxurious food (with Joyce in Lovers Walk) and enjoying violence for the sake of violence (with the mobs and the slayers in the FFL flashbacks, where there was risk of pain to himself as much as others). He's more flexible about his source of fulfilment, which I would say allows him to adapt to chipped life and get on the path to good much more readily than Angelus would have been able to.

And I would say Angelus is an artist - a massively Baroque one, who missed out on the main movement by being born too late and living over in Ireland. I would also say he is seriously, seriously warped and evil. But I don't think the two are incompatible.

Date: 2012-01-24 11:57 pm (UTC)
timetravellingbunny: (Default)
From: [personal profile] timetravellingbunny
Well, my point was that he is an artist as much as Spike is a hedonist (Angel/Angelus also likes to draw, enjoys watching ballet and apparently has collected artefacts from different parts of the world, so he found pleasure in more conventional types of art as well), but they are also both sadists. Getting pleasure out of snapping people's necks is as much sadism as enjoying the mental torture they feel when you're leaving them creepy messages and watching their reaction to having someone else's neck broken, it's just a different type of sadism. Spike quickly loses patience and he'd be too bored with it. Basically it's like the difference between a kid who gets a kick out of tearing off cat's legs and snapping its neck, and a kid who first tears off its leg, watches it for a while, pretends to give it a chance to run away, lets it wobble and try to run away and then catches it again and snaps its neck.

As for masochism, it's really common to have it go together with sadism (Marquis de Sade would've been more accurately considered a sadomasochist, though more on the sadistic side). Angelus was the one who thought of sticking his hand out in the sun to burn and taunting Spike to do the same.

Date: 2012-01-24 12:11 am (UTC)
verity: spike sipping blood, from the episode Something Blue, text: there's good days and bad days (spike (there's good days and bad days))
From: [personal profile] verity

Date: 2012-01-24 12:13 am (UTC)
kisekileia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kisekileia
Irrelevant Buffy question: Do you know if Netflix has all of Buffy? I want to watch the show from the beginning, but DVDs are really expensive, especially when I don't know if I'll like the show.

Date: 2012-01-24 12:33 am (UTC)
kisekileia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kisekileia

Also, I think I left a message about this somewhere, but I'm not sure if you got it: Thank you for the Christmas card! I'm sorry I didn't send one back--I had a temp job with a two-hour commute each way right before Christmas, so I ended up not sending out cards at all this year.

Date: 2012-01-24 01:59 am (UTC)
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] brin_bellway
Not necessarily. I'm told Netflix America has quite a few things that Netflix Canada doesn't. (I don't actually have Netflix myself, because my family tend to be very late adopters despite our general geekiness.)

Date: 2012-01-24 12:38 am (UTC)
diamondtook: (Default)
From: [personal profile] diamondtook
Hear hear! I find myself having to defend Spike's evilness to my mom and bff, which is just weird. Explaining how the attempted rape is not ooc because Spike totally used to rape people all the time! Isn't really my favorite necessary conversation.

Date: 2012-01-24 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] a2zmom
Yeah, I've never understood that. He's a vampire. He murdered people for kicks. He pushed railroad spikes through people's heads. He's not a puppy.

Date: 2012-01-24 02:27 am (UTC)
rahirah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rahirah
Erm. I hesitate to point out that Drew Goddard is on record as saying that he feels that (Spike was massaging the truth to get Buffy to kill him) is a reasonable interpretation of that scene. He didn't go so far as to say he felt it was the one and only correct interpretation of the scene, nor am I saying that I necessarily hold that interpretation myself, but I'm a little taken aback by the idea that we have to condemn the writer of the episode as a fluffy-bunny woobie Spike fan for allowing for the possibility.

Date: 2012-01-24 07:39 am (UTC)
maggie2: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maggie2
Yeah, I actually think it's the best reading of that line. Not so much that it wasn't true as that Spike was pushing for the darkest take on himself to provoke Buffy.

That said, Spike was full-on evil for more than a century. He had a ton of guilt post-soul for a reason. I just think it's arguable that this wasn't his particular flavor of evil. As he told Dru back in season 2, he never was much for the pre-show part of things. But a guy who could wax nostalgic about eating a homeless guy, or commiserate with Anya about not stopping to smell the corpses isn't a fluffy bunny with bad teeth.

Date: 2012-01-24 05:03 am (UTC)
pocochina: tvd: tessa campfire story (darla scales)
From: [personal profile] pocochina
It minimises Spike's redemption arc, dismisses murder as irrelevant if you don't know the victim

So much this. If I didn't engage with fiction that explored different psychologies of violence, I wouldn't do vampires.

Date: 2012-01-24 06:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I get where you live. I have that emotional response to Spike apologies. Canon!Spike, I don't see him as a fluffy guy. The Spike I see is a horrific monster, and that's part of what makes his story compelling and tragic, and ultimately triumphant.

Here's the rub: emotionally it pushes my buttons. Maybe it's a dog in the manger thing? If my Spike can't be a hero, no one's Spike can? But rationally, I can't honestly think what the harm is in choosing to see Spike in another way. A person could legitimately decide that Spike is pretty much all talk and that he's been secretly rescuing people all along. Writers with a capital 'W' retcon things all the time. I'm not sure how retconning with a motivation to make money is somehow more noble than retconning because someone prefers it when the guys they are attracted to are not mass murderers.

Date: 2012-01-24 01:09 pm (UTC)
lynnenne: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnenne
Spike is my favorite character because he was evil. Nice, well-adjusted characters make for boring fiction!

Date: 2012-01-24 03:24 pm (UTC)
lirazel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lirazel
I think, as has been said upthread, that Spike was putting the absolute worst spin he could on his actions in that moment: it was a very manipulative thing to drive Buffy to stake him. BUT. That doesn't make him any less evil, just a different kind than he was advertising in that moment. And yes: I very much hate the idea that he wasn't really all that bad. Of course he was. He was flat-out evil. That's the point of his arc. From good (or at least weak) to evil and back again.

Date: 2012-01-24 05:33 pm (UTC)
londonkds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] londonkds
I'm torn on this, because I think that Spike was very evil but that the line in question was out of the blue and a bad idea. As I see it, Spike used to kil people for sensual pleasure and excitement, but didn't share Angelus's sadistic love of torture for no purpose. (But he'd torture someone to find out where the beer was.)

But that in itself was very, very evil, and making him the same as Angelus gives too much respect to amoral fans who think killing people for fun or money is cool, and that only extreme sadism counts as evil

Date: 2012-01-24 09:34 pm (UTC)
timetravellingbunny: (Default)
From: [personal profile] timetravellingbunny
That was you? I replied to that thread with this:

I'm a Spike fan and I see no reason to doubt what he said. The guy was introduced as a really evil mass-murdering vampire - funny, charming, devoted to his girlfriend - but still really evil. Just because we are later shocked by Angelus being even more evil, is no reason to idealize and whitewash Evil!Soulless!Unchipped Spike. If Angelus was known as the worst vampire ever in the Watchers books, Spike was called the second worst. They were both more notorious and dangerous than your average vampire. It's like, just because the other guy is a bigger jerk, doesn't mean you're nice.

Spike's character journey wouldn't be as amazing if he hadn't started from being a really evil vampire.

Date: 2013-01-20 11:21 pm (UTC)
spuffy_luvr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] spuffy_luvr
THIS is everything I feel about Spike, and I am a huge Spike fan and shipper of Spuffy. Besides that one line, there were actually several others 'cut' from S7. So I personally don't believe Spike said it just to push Buffy's buttons, even if you could interpret it that way based on what made the final cut. In the scene in the church, where Buffy discovers he has his soul, they ended up rewriting quite a bit (if you compare the transcripts to the shooting scripts). And one thing specifically left out is Spike talking about how he raped and murdered for over a century.

There were other signs of his 'evil' nature that got left out of previous seasons. In Smashed, I think it was, he prepped his crypt with whips and chains for what he hoped would be a 'romantic' encounter with Buffy. *Shudders* I suspect the writers often cut some of these more potent reminders in order not to lose sympathy for such a popular character. Just my personal suspicions, however.

Spike obviously enjoyed a different brand of evil than Angelus... but does that make him less evil? I can't buy into that.

I suppose one could say that he is less evil than Angelus in that he WAS redeemable (maybe) when soulless, whereas Angelus was evil through and through. But that doesn't negate Spike's previous evil in any way.

I love Spike because of his redemption arc, and because he chose redemption, even when soulless. Minimizing his evil takes away from how powerfully different Spike is, to me. In a sense, his ability to choose to turn good means that it was a choice to be evil... and you might say that makes his evil worse. This leads into whether or not vampires have free will or not, and is *that* what makes Spike different, and we could get very metaphysical and philosophical here. Which would make my brain hurt.

You wanting to scream that he's the worst person ever when people turn him into a fluffy evil vampire - OMG I not so long ago wrote a similar post due to the exact same feelings. You're more coherent than I, though. :)

*Shameless self-promotion* I wrote an entire story for this last round of Seasonal Spuffy due to that line of Spike's, and the others that were cut from the same scene (such as "You never met the real me").

Date: 2013-01-20 11:26 pm (UTC)
spuffy_luvr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] spuffy_luvr
I just checked out the fanfic you linked to, and I've read that before. I love that one. Especially the scene with the girl in the coal bin. I have seen fans say/stories written where they believed Spike's alternate nice-guy ending. NO NO NO! Now that would be Spike putting a spin on his actions. :P

Date: 2013-04-01 12:06 am (UTC)
red_satin_doll: (Default)
From: [personal profile] red_satin_doll
Especially the scene with the girl in the coal bin. I have seen fans say/stories written where they believed Spike's alternate nice-guy ending. NO NO NO! Now that would be Spike putting a spin on his actions. :P


Date: 2013-04-01 12:05 am (UTC)
red_satin_doll: (Default)
From: [personal profile] red_satin_doll
Selenak's fic is probably one of the best buffyverse fics I've ever read. In over 16 years, how many fanfics actually bother to make us stop and consider the victims? How many authors actually bother to stop and consider that.
Which is actually troubling in it's own right, when I consider it.


deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)

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