Soylent Green is Buffy

February 19, 2009 at 9:06 am (Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems)


Some people play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a funny game because it’s true. I play Six Degrees of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because I’m finding more and more that pretty much everything can be explained using Joss Whedon’s amazing Buffy-verse. (And, just for the record, this may eventually evolve into Six Degrees of Joss, but as we’ve only watched Firefly through once, have never watched Angel, and Dollhouse just started, it’s going to be a little bit before that evolution. Hang tight.)


Take, for example, Harry Potter. Yes, the Boy Who Lived. Allow me once again the writer’s curse of backstory.


I have discovered that when I’m writing a particular genre or style, I shouldn’t read those types of books, as they leak into my writing. The most startling example of this is when I was doing a first draft of my screwball paranormal, I re-read the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. One day as I was merrily typing along, I found my heroine saying “Damn skippy!” ala Lula, and thus the rule was created.

So, during my dark historical, I have studiously been avoiding any historical romances. I’ve read Heidi’s fabulous Tangled Up in Love, a few Jennifer Crusie’s, about half of the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher, Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and finally came to a point Monday night where I needed another book. Enter the perfect series to take me through the rest of my editing: Harry Potter. No way Wingardium Leviosa was going to make it into my gritty Victorian London, right?


So I’m reading book one (aka Sorcerer’s Stone) last night, and I get to the point where Harry has overheard Snape and Quirrell in the Forbidden Forest, and Harry is convinced Voldemort is alive and using Snape to get the Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry is now having nasty nightmares and his scar is hurting, but Ron and Hermione try and assure Harry that both he and the stone are safe, as Dumbledore is the only wizard Voldemort was ever afraid of and with both Harry and the stone firmly protected at Hogwarts, there is no cause to worry.


There’s a line in the book (which I’ll have to add here later, as I don’t have the book in front of me right now), that caused a little bell in me to ring. Harry, as The Boy Who Lived, is essentially alone in this battle, bearing a burden others can sympathize with, but have no way of knowing what it’s like. And that’s when it struck me.


Harry is Buffy.


The whole arc of Buffy, all seven delicious seasons, is about Buffy coming to understand, embrace, and ultimately share her power as a Slayer. But, throughout, she knows there are certain things that only she understands, certain things that only she can do. Harry’s struggle with that same knowledge—that only he understands what it would mean if Voldemort regained his former power and followers, that there are things that only Harry can do to stop him—made me realize how much like Buffy he was.

Taking it one step further:

So if Buffy = Harry, then

Willow and Xander = Ron and Hermione, and

Giles = Dumbledore

Getting kinda creepy, isn’t it?


Now, I know with a lot of this I’m talking out of my golden snitch, especially since I’ve recently watched Buffy through twice and it’s been at least 1½ years since I’ve read any of the Harry Potter books, but you have to admit there’s some merit to it. So, I’m throwing this out for discussion and as I read through the Harry Potter books, I may come back to this topic.


Then I’ll discuss how Buffy helped broker Nixon’s 1972 visit to China. Trust me—it’s all there.




  1. Robin said,

    Very interesting…I think there’s definitely some merit to it. And I love that you’ve discovered it! How are you liking The Dresden Files? Those are my favorite books – almost ever! OMG, I love Harry. A lot. And I think Jim Butcher is an incredible writer.

  2. Kyle said,

    LOL, interesting theory, but I’m gonna say you’re stretching it a bit! As much as I love Buffy, my loyalty lies with Harry… 😀

    Definitely have a great imagination, though!

  3. Pam said,

    Robin–my brain works in mysterious ways! And I love the Dresden Files (ditto Jim Butcher–he’s a hoot!) It’s just such a wonderful series. 🙂

    Kyle–aw, us fiction writers are all about stretching it a bit, aren’t we? 😉 And may my imagination soon pay off with a contract!

  4. alyson noel said,

    Haven’t read Harry Potter yet (I know, I know!) but I just finished the final season of Buffy and WOW!! Now, I’m going to start all over again!

  5. L.A. Mitchell said,

    I could be more adept at commenting on quantum physics than I can this post, though it was completely enjoyable 🙂 Alas, my pop culture knowledge really has missed the boat on a few things.

  6. Hollie said,

    Hi Pam..i’ve read the Harry Potters…which i loved…and watched the Buffys when it was on,which was a while ago….and all i can say is ..Wasnt Angel HOTTTT!!??????!!!!!!!!

  7. Caryn Caldwell said,

    Talking out of your golden snitch?!? That’s PERFECT!!! I will never think of the golden snitch the same way again. Ever. *snicker*

    As for the lone hero, I can definitely see the connection, though it’s an archetype seen throughout literary history, so it’s hard to say whether Whedon and Rowling were influencing each other, or if they were both simply using a common formula. I just watched Spiderman and I saw it in there, too, for example. There’s something romantic about the strong, loner hero – or, in Buffy’s case, heroine. It makes them sympathetic, when they otherwise might be too perfect to gain reader empathy.

  8. Marilyn Brant said,

    Pam, you fascinate me. I’ve read most of HP but have only seen a few scattered episodes of Buffy (I need to watch more, I know–I’ve been told this repeatedly!), but your connection between the 2 is interesting. While I’m inclined to agree with Caryn on the archetypal element (The Hero Has a Thousand Faces, and all that…), I just love how passionate you are about these storylines. To me, that’s the really intriguing part–how certain tales and characters can capture a collective imagination and inspire the viewers/readers of those stories to find connections everywhere…because if life is used truthfully in the creation of the art, the art can, likewise, influence life again. Or so I like to think.

    LOL about Buffy and Nixon! You’re working on that post right now, yes? 🙂

  9. Pam said,

    Alyson–yeah, Buffy does that to you. For HP, I can’t point fingers because it took my YEARS to accept the “You gotta…” and besides, you’re busy being a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!!!! Woo hoo!!! 😀

    L.A. Don’t worry–I love me my pop culture, so we anytime you need a little help, just give a holler. Lots of useless trivia stored up in the brainpan. 😉

  10. Pam said,

    Hollie–yeah, Angel had that smoldering quality, but I have to admit to being a Spike fan, too. And Nathan Fillion as Mal in Firefly? Joss sure knows his heroes…

    Caryn–you and Montana are in the same camp. The first thing he asked me was about common archetypes. Buffy is absolutely a Crusader (, though that’s listed as a heroine archetype, not a hero. I didn’t look at the hero list, but it’s something that’s really in my head now. Maybe we’ll have to do some loner hero posts. (Including Angel, Miss Hollie!)

  11. Pam said,

    Marilyn–I’m going to have fun re-reading Harry so soon after watching Buffy to see if my idea is strengthened or falls apart. I just love finding the spark of an idea and seeing what I can build or dissect from it. (And notice how I didn’t say a thing about yes, you should watch Buffy? 😉 Subtle, that’s me.)

  12. Hollie said,

    Oh yes!! Please bring on the loner hero posts Miss Pam!!! ;o)

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