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StephenT [userpic]

(Meta) Why is Dawn a giant?

27th September 2007 (00:59)

As Adam might have said, I've been thinking. I've been thinking about Giant Dawn. Specifically, I've been wondering what the point of this plotline might be.

Of course, I'm working from the assumption here that there is one, unlike some of you doubters out there (you know who you are). :-) 
But first, a pretty picture. Click on it for a wallpaper-sized version.




So. Why is Dawn a giant?


It's a metaphor

This is the obvious one - after all, it was the core idea of BtVS, at least in the early seasons. Even the characters themselves are well aware of the concept by the end of the show: "There this thing that happens here, in this school, over the Hellmouth. Where the way a thing feels — it kind of starts being that way...for real." (Buffy, 'Storyteller').

In 'The Long Way Home', therefore, Xander assumes that Dawn's giantness is a cry for attention, a reaction to feeling sidelined and abandoned. Joss even anticipates readers complaining that the metaphor isn't very subtle, by having Buffy protest about the very same thing! (Of course, predatory teachers actually eating schoolboys, ignored girls turning invisible, and boyfriends becoming soulless jerks after you sleep with them aren't exactly subtle either...) Buffy herself seems to think that Dawn's condition is a result of her having magically-unsafe sex, which is a different but equally powerful metaphor.

Which of them is right? Or maybe both, or neither? Personally, I suspect that Joss is deliberately playing with our expectations here. We all now presume that there'll be a big magical metaphor in any Buffy story: what was once fresh and surprising is now predictable. So instead he gives us a situation that everybody - even the characters themselves! - assumes must obviously be a metaphor, and just steps back and watches to see what we make of it.


It's funny

In the light of many of Joss's own comments in interviews this seems to be one of the most important reasons why Dawn's a giant. It's a bit of whimsical, random humour, made possible by the unlimited special effects budget of comics. What surprises me is how some people react so badly to this idea. They seem personally offended: they complain in indignant tones about how Joss is being "self-indulgent", how the idea is "stupid" and "pointless". I wonder if they'd have said the same thing if someone had suggested doing an all-singing, all-dancing musical episode of the show, back in the day? 

Of course you can't make a person find something amusing if they just don't, but at least it can't be said that the TV show never threw in random cool or funny ideas just for the sake of it, in between the high drama and emotional crises.

Personally, I'm disappointed that we haven't seen more GiantDawn crack!fic yet. 

owenthurman has investigated the possibilities of Buffy/Buffy now she has a double in Rome; but where's the GiantDawn/PersonMuchSmallerThanHer pr0n? 

Yeah, yeah, I know. Nobody's writing it because fandom still clings to a tattered shred of sanity, decency and good taste.  
Well, except for me. I've recently been bitten by a 50-foot tall plot-bunny with abandonment issues and giant-sized sexual frustration; but don't tell anyone.


It's establishing the background

Here, I suspect, is the real reason why Dawn's a giant - and also the reason why the official story to date has only featured her in brief scenes (much to the frustration, of course, of people who want an explanation for everything right away.) It shows us that Buffy and the other characters inhabit a living, breathing world which doesn't entirely revolve around the monster of the week. 

This world has history: there have been previous events that they still have to deal with the consequences of; and future: and there are coming plot arcs to be resolved - since presumably Dawn will be the star of her own arc sooner or later. Probably in issues 11-14, from what I gather. The fact that Dawn's size is a subplot rather than the main focus of the story also serves to highlight the size of the job facing Buffy, since she (and the writers) clearly hasn't got much time to spare yet dealing with Dawn's issues.

 

Starting a story like this, in medias res - in the middle of things - and only getting round to the exposition later is a time-honoured literary technique, of course. It's found in works from Homer's Iliad to Lucas's Star Wars. Joss has also used it plenty of times: 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' itself features a Buffy who is already an experienced Slayer, and we are left to puzzle out what this actually means from her actions and other people's reactions. We don't actually get to see her Calling until the end of season 2 (assuming we've not seen the film), and it's a full seven years before we find out where Slayers come from and how they get their powers. Closer to home, we meet Dawn in 'Buffy versus Dracula' but don't learn why she's there for another four episodes.

The benefit of the technique is that we get straight to the action. We don't have to sit through several paragraphs of explanation telling us what's been happening and why; we're just shown it. Consider the effectiveness of the following two alternative opening paragraphs of a novel:

England in the future has been taken over by a bureaucratic and militaristic government. They are obsessed by the totalitarian need to extend their control to every aspect of their citizens' lives, and their power is far-reaching and all-pervading. Nothing can escape their grip, and nothing is too small to escape their notice.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

By thinking about the implications of the second alternative, we can draw all the conclusions that the first sets out for us explicitly - and do so without being sent to sleep by long-drawn-out exposition. Of course, this does require the author to trust the intelligence of his or her readers. :-)

This brings us to the overriding question: why is Joss writing Season 8 now? The initial interviews said that he realised there was a story he wanted to write using these characters. Please note the difference between that and "he wanted to write stories about these characters"! He has a specific idea in mind - in his own words:

"It's about the ramifications of everything that happened in Season 7. At the end of the show, Buffy made every girl who might be a potential vampire slayer into a fully realized slayer with all the remembered history and powers, so she's made a big change in the way the world works. The comic will be dealing with that when we pick up the story several months later."

In other words, he's telling a story about what happens when a group of fairly ordinary people suddenly find themselves having great power, and what they do with it. aycheb has pointed out the implications of public accountability when you can no longer operate in secret; I've written meta on how power relates to issues of consent and identity. I'm sure more questions will be raised in future story arcs.

Here's the thing, though. Because Joss wanted to write this particular story, he had to move things along to the point where the story could start. He's writing about "women with power", not "women processing their grief over lost loved ones, tracking down other women with power and explaining things to them, enjoying a holiday shopping and nightclubbing in Rome, and arranging premises and funding." He can skip over those things because they're not important to the story he's telling here, and he trusts us to fill in the blanks ourselves.

Maybe it's a misplaced trust? I hope not. After all, "filling in the blanks" is one of the strengths of fanfic, and what Joss is writing? It isn't fanfic. :-)

Now back to my GD crack!fic. Where else can you use the expression "picking up guys" and mean it perfectly literally?

Comments

Posted by: hobgoblinn (hobgoblinn)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 00:39 (UTC)

You crack me up. I was going to point out the obvious answer to your cut question "Because she's always been a giant pain in the...." But you make some great points, as usual, about the stories to be told (not just by Joss) and about writing in general.

Can't wait for your crackfic.

Hob

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:03 (UTC)

Season 5-6 Dawn was (intentionally) a giant pain, but she was one of my favourite characters in season 7. I'm hoping she'll get more opportunities to crack one-liners and be bouncy and irrepressible (her best points) in S8, rather than just being whiny...

Thanks!

Posted by: hobgoblinn (hobgoblinn)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 11:23 (UTC)

Posted by: spikeNdru (spikendru)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 00:53 (UTC)
Dawn&Joss - Giant!

Love the picture! Also enjoyed the meta, and I'm really hoping that you're correct in that Joss is playing with expectations here and there will be a point to it eventually. From what I've read in interviews, though, I'm cynical eough by now to fear that the only reason Dawn is a giant is because it amuses Joss. I really hope I'm wrong, but I lost my explicit trust in Joss with Fred's death. By then, the caveat of 'no intact relationships - ever' had become so predictable that as soon as Wesley and Fred got together, we were taking bets on which one would die and how many episodes it would take. When events can be predicted with that degree of accuracy based upon knowledge of writers' quirks, it sort of takes the shock value out of things. (And who didn't guess that either Zoe or Wash would die in Serenity?)

Ah, well . . . glad you're still enjoying the comics, because I enjoy your musings on them.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:11 (UTC)

Joss is playing with expectations here and there will be a point to it eventually.

But what if the expectation he's playing with is exactly that - that everything in the show must have a point? That it's not possible to do something just because it's fun? (Though I agree I too will be disappointed if Dawn's giantness isn't made the focus of at least one story arc, rather than always being in the background.)

I think Joss is aware of his reputation for destroying relationships - it was ironic that he insisted Willow and Kennedy at least should end the TV part of the story still together, because that was one relationship many fans *didn't* want to carry on. (And in the comics he's possibly broken them up already, of course).

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 01:21 (UTC)

Because Joss wanted to write this particular story, he had to move things along to the point where the story could start. He's writing about "women with power", not "women processing their grief over lost loved ones, tracking down other women with power and explaining things to them, enjoying a holiday shopping and nightclubbing in Rome, and arranging premises and funding." He can skip over those things because they're not important to the story he's telling here, and he trusts us to fill in the blanks ourselves.

Well and good. But if an author uses a set of established characters to tell a story, those characters will come with a set of established issues and loose ends which a portion (possibly even a largish portion) of of one's audience will want to see dealt with. And while an author has every right to say "I don't care about those issues any longer, I'm moving on to new ones," said author perhaps ought not to be terribly surprised if that portion of that audience which does care about the old issues does not immediately embrace the new ones.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 05:25 (UTC)

^^ Agreed.

Posted by: Liliaeth (liliaeth)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:13 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:22 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 01:31 (UTC)

Good stuff. I've been on the fence about the new comics, though starting to tilt to the negative side. To the extent that I continue to be hopeful, my hopes are pinned on the in media res idea. There are a lot of weirdnesses; they will be explained or explainable as the big picture unfolds. I'm just not sure how well the technique is working here (though we can't really say until we see the big unfolding). Here are my concerns:

1. I think Joss needs to take into account the time in which the comics are unfolding. We started this project back in March. It's September now, and there's still an awful lot we don't know. Of course, we're only the equivalent of an episode or two or three into the 'season' -- but the audience has been waiting in real time for much longer than we had to wait to figure out what the deal was with Dawn. It's not surprising that people are getting restless.

2. The reveals on the show made more sense than the reveals we are waiting for here. Your examples: we had to wait to find out the full scope of Buffy's slayerness. True. But we had a good picture right away about the essentials. She meets Giles and we get exposition right away on the basic set-up. We had to wait to figure out about Dawn. Yes. But Dawn is obviously meant to be a question mark. We know she's not supposed to be there, and we are confident that an explanation will be forthcoming sooner or later. By contrast, we have some dangling threads here that don't quite work that way. For example, we are getting winks and nods about Bander. But this isn't a situation we're encountering de novo as we did Buffy's slayerness or Dawn's appearance. Rather, it's a big shift in a relationship we think we know something about. If we don't know the journey, how can we know what we're looking at? Does Buffy know that Spike is alive? Is her sexual attraction to Xander due to loneliness, or have they built up a new relationship since we last saw them? Maybe these will turn out to be mysteries worthy of the in media res technique. But the issues themselves don't seem to be that 'deep' -- it's not like jumping to a new sister. And if there is a relatively natural development that took place from Chosen to Long Way Home, why not toss in a few sentences to fill us in? The Faith issue covered the dangling Faith/Robin question in a few panels. We are ready to move on. The in media res technique sets up an expectation that there's a significant story here, but it's hard to imagine what that could be. And since, as you say, Joss's main interest is in a world made new by being overrun with slayers, the relationship questions ought to be sidelined, by sketching in the gap in a few panels. I just find it confusing. I'm supposed to be connecting with characters who have jumped. But I've lost track of them; and there doesn't (thus far) seem to be any dramatic purpose served by postponing the delivery of the information necessary for a sense of continuity. The Giant Dawn thing does work better as an example of the technique. I'm perfectly content to wait for the reveal on what that's about. It's the not knowing more about her 'new' closeness with Willow that bugs me.

The two points combine to leave me remarkably uninterested in the comics thus far. As they stand, there's too much that I don't understand about the situation for me to get much from reading and re-reading them. And with the slow real time unfolding, it's just hard to maintain any kind of enthusiasm. I'll keep reading, but my feeling about the project is now much more meh than it was back in March.

And while I hope that 40-some months from now that the big picture will be as rich and interesting as the show was, I have one more reason to be a bit less hopeful. And that's that Joss's stated interest, exploring how a world changes with all those slayers in it, just don't grip me. I always thought Joss's grrl power stuff was just lame. I did like the exploration of what it means to be a hero. But I liked it served up with the contemplation of sin and redemption. Looks like we'll get some of that in the Faith arc. But I miss the two vampires. They were an important part of the mix, and I'm not sure that the thing balances properly without them.



Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:33 (UTC)

I can sympathise with the idea that in medias res doesn't work so well with stories serialised over a long period, although perhaps it's a fault of our modern-day expectations rather than the technique itself.

I think, though, that we do already have a good idea about Buffy's current situation. The Buffy/Xander, relationship, to my eyes, has been covered just as well as the Robin/Faith one. They (or Buffy, at least) are suffering from UST because it's been a 'slow year' and there are no other suitable partners nearby.

Put it this way: if Joss had totally omitted those scenes, we'd all be asking questions. Do they have new partners? How do they feel about each other? So he shows us in a couple of scenes what's going on: they're not in a relationship, but they're not immune to the knowledge that Xander is the only available member of the opposite sex for Buffy for 50 miles. Point made, next plot issue?

I think that's how Joss sees it, but then again he's mostly a gen writer, so his focus on what's important may differ to other peoples'. :-)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 16:00 (UTC)

Posted by: Murielle (murielle)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 03:04 (UTC)

I *love* the wallpaper!

Always enjoy reading your meta. The idea of JW writing fanfic tickles me. I haven't been following the comic series. Someone very kindly posted the first two online so I was able to read them, but there is no outlet near me so I haven't followed season eight.



Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:36 (UTC)

Glad you liked it. :-) The thing is, Joss can't be writing fanfic by definition, because he's getting paid for it!

Posted by: Murielle (murielle)
Posted at: 29th September 2007 01:45 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th September 2007 13:32 (UTC)

Posted by: counteragent (counteragent)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 03:14 (UTC)
Buffy counteragent

I for one am fascinated by this world. I was always of the opinion that Buffy could aim a bit higher in her professional life, and I love seeing her the head of a worldwide organization. I also think the dynamics of a world full o' Slayers is interesting.

I don't mind that we've been dropped into the middle of the story, even if it means Dawn is inexplicably a Giant.

I just hope we get a few logistic details along the way...I'm especially curious as to where all the money is coming from. Giles mentioned the Watcher's Council funds, but surely that's not enough to house, feed, and arm all the Slayers? Do they also run a series of profitable Girls Gyms? Slayer Spas? :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:41 (UTC)

Yay! Someone else who agrees! :-)

Giles mentioned the Watcher's Council funds, but surely that's not enough to house, feed, and arm all the Slayers?

Don't see why not. In the old days they were housing and feeding a whole lot of Potentials and their Watchers - now the second part of that expense has gone. Plus most of the new Slayers seem to be living in a relatively small number of large communal living accommodations - the castle, the villa in Italy - which is presumably cheaper than scattering them around in individual Watcher-Potential pairs.

And if the Watchers have been around for 10,000 years, they must have a huge investment portfolio...

Posted by: counteragent (counteragent)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 15:00 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 19:10 (UTC)

Posted by: A. (inperfectpeace)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 03:41 (UTC)
Angel- Eve/apple/irony

I love the wallpaper and the meta! Can't wait to see your crackfic... :D

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:43 (UTC)

Thanks! (I've currently got the Dawn picture as my own actual wallpaper).

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 06:09 (UTC)

Great read as always, and I love the wallpaper.

I do hope you're right, but there is a problem in what rahirah and 2maggie2 said above: to borrow your example, Orwell wasn't continuing a popular story of Winston Smith living in a non-Big-Brother-ruled England with a given set of storylines and characters, and he wasn't making his readers wait 2 years for the denouement (which, if the reveal is coming in the "No Place Like Home" of s8 - episode "five" - what we're looking at here). Starting a story halfway in is a great way to keep people reading, turning the pages; but if they don't have the chance to turn the next page until a month, or two, or twelve from now, they're going to get frustrated. After all, if we could fill in ALL the blanks ourselves, we wouldn't need authors at all; I don't want the stories to be so predictable that I could have guessed everything that's going on.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Is it a metaphor? Dear God, I hope not. Because it doesn't *work* as one if we don't get to see what leads to it. For instance, the metaphor of Angel losing his soul after sleeping with Buffy wouldn't have worked 1/10th as well if we had picked up the story in "Phases" rather than see them courting for a year, and THEN... In Giant Dawn's case, we're getting everything in second- and third-hand mumbled hints, several months later. While that's a funny idea - Dawn goes back to California and immediately gets hit with a typical BtVS-style curse offscreen - it doesn't make me care about *how* the situation happened.

But sure, Giant Dawn is funny. I've cracked her a couple of times. But there's a definite limit to how many times you can tell the same simple joke with no variations. The sixteenth time someone goes "Hey guys, look! Dawn's a giant!" you sort of want to smack them.

So I'm inclined to agree with your third point - only I'm not as confident, for reasons mentioned above. I was hoping for some explanation of how Warren is back; Joss forgot. I'm still hoping for some sort of explanation of why Faith has been ostracized once again, but the preview of 8.07 seems to suggest that that flashback is what we're getting. Etc etc. I'm not asking for a full-on recap, but it would be nice if he put some little bit of nominal effort into justifying how they got from A to E.

"It's about the ramifications of everything that happened in Season 7."

Except thanks to that 18-month gap, he doesn't have to cover everything; he can skip right past a lot of stuff he doesn't need here. Fine, it's his AU. But us fans are still at "Chosen" and indeed want to know the ramifications of everything in season 7 - and so far Joss seems to be ignoring a lot of it, in particular some of the events of 2003 and 2004 that made the characters grow (hrm) or revert quite a lot. And when he's basing entire plot lines on that, it bugs me; you can't write character-based fiction if your characters are are suddenly inexplicably, or at least unexplainedly (ouch) different. If Joss eventually does give us good hints of what happened in his story, I won't be complaining - but as you say, he has a new story to tell, and so far that seems to take priority.

what Joss is writing? It isn't fanfic.

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... hmm... what's the phrase I'm looking for... "All animals are equal". :-)

I'm definitely looking forward to your GD fic, though. Especially as I couldn't really read your last couple, having no idea whatsoever of what a dragonrider is...

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:41 (UTC)

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... hmm... what's the phrase I'm looking for... "All animals are equal". :-)


Agreed!

How can it be anything else when he clearly isnt bothered about continuity. It doesn't need to be his prime or even third concern but he should as a comics lover know what a bane clashing continuity is and therefore have made an effort to avoid falling into the same trap. Plus if he is so willing to forget/ignore canon events on the show he clearly would be happy to do the same to the comics.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 10:26 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 11:00 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 11:47 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 12:12 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 12:46 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:57 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 15:49 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 19:15 (UTC)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 06:42 (UTC)
S8 Buffy by dreamer1104

Hmmm. Good points, and the Dawn story *better* be important, since it's taking up so much space. (Pun unintended) Agree with rahirah etc as usual.

What I'm currently hoping for is what I'm calling 'the Doctor Who' factor. DW is a show that can be brilliant and it can be *rubbish*. However, when looking back on a season, even the worst episodes are usually carrying the overall theme of the season, and doing it well. So, I'm not expecting to suddenly *like* all the lame stuff so far in S8, but I am hoping that one day I'll see the point of it.

Oh and I'm writing S8 crack!fic. Not about Dawn, but...

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:59 (UTC)

Oh okay to friend you to keep an eye out for that.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 5th October 2007 15:47 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 5th October 2007 18:43 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 10:05 (UTC)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 11:25 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 15:52 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:32 (UTC)

"Of course, this does require the author to trust the intelligence of his or her readers. :-)"

See if I didn't know better I might find that insulting and it is a time honoured technique from Joss worshipers , i.e you don't get what Joss is trying to do because you're thick. :-)

Joss is writing Giant Dawn because it is cool and supposed to be funny, he has said so himself. Because he can do it in comics but not on TV. You hear the same thing from BKV oh great we can ignore budgets and the discipline they bring and just write dross. Well epic dross. I mean Dawn's story is in Tokyo and they have mentioned Godzilla in interview doesn't that tell you all you need to know? So far the obvious has always been right.

Even if the metaphor argument is right Dawn about wanting to be noticed haven't we been over this tired old ground before. And the other stuff about the size of the story is the same fanwank that was served up to justify Warren and we know who was right there.

Joss is writing S8 now because he has the time and he needs a hit. :-) Me I would much rather he was back on TV.

"he's telling a story about what happens when a group of fairly ordinary people suddenly find themselves having great power"

Now this we agree on. Although I do think this is his intention he is being ham fisted about it rather than subtle. This may be due more to the constraints of the medium.

He is writing in medium rez so he can ignore character consistency and here to there logical plotting so that he can fit the characters to the plot he wants to tell. So he doesn't have to address the subplot questions arising from S7. This wouldn't be a problem if we could as you say fill in the gaps ourselves with 180 characters. One we could do but he has so far done it for every single character. Maybe the gap paradoxically is too small. If it were larger say 2-3 years I would be more comfortable.

I also agree with the subtle 'he has a story he wants to tell using these characters'. This confirms it is plot rather than character driven and why the characters are being shoe horned to fit roles without any thought of character continuity. Most likely as with Warren, Sunnydale crater, magical healing, portals, Faith,Dawn regression, changing eye colours he just forgot.:-)

"Maybe it's a misplaced trust?"

That's the core question isn't it? He is losing mine. It's not the story he is telling it is the execution which imho that is the issue and that is exactly the same issue that most people have with S6/7. We were hoping that S8 would show a return to form and at the moment it doesn't, it shows all the same old problems that burnt people the first time. So the question of trust is the crux of the matter.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:46 (UTC)
Late Season Love by eyesthatslay

It's not the story he is telling it is the execution which imho that is the issue and that is exactly the same issue that most people have with S6/7. We were hoping that S8 would show a return to form and at the moment it doesn't, it shows all the same old problems that burnt people the first time.
Well I am someone who *adores* S6/7 (for their depth, complexity and wonderful greyness), and I'm finding S8 a disappointing return to the simpleness of the early seasons. (Don't get me wrong, I love the early seasons too, and the Angelus story of S2 is stunning. But it was character driven! What I mean is the clumsy metaphors and lame S4 villain. Meh.)

Not trying to start a fight btw, just illustrating that although we come from totally different sides, we still have the same issues - we don't trust Joss to bring the good stuff.

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:53 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 10:19 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 10:52 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 09:41 (UTC)

Great picture, maybe you should be giving jeanty pointers.:-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 10:23 (UTC)

Photomanipulation is a lot easier than drawing, though. :-)


(And to be honest, while I was one of the chorus criticising the likenesses in the comics when they forst came out, I 've pretty much got used to his style now.)

Posted by: Margareth (spankulert)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 12:27 (UTC)
buffy power

A great Meta. I'm kinda holding out on making any judgements so far. From my point of view, the first 4 issues amounted to on episode of the series when it was on TV. So we're at the very beginning, he's just setting things up, and will put them in motion as the story progresses.

I think a lot of people in the comments further up are right, people are antsy. They're used to getting their story-fills weekly, and now they have to wait around for 4 months just to get the equivilant of one episode. Hard to adjust, when you're not used to the comic-book medium. I'd suggest if some people finds it's killing their joy of the story, to wait around for the TPB instead.

As for the characters, I don't think any of them have regresed or gone through weird changes(except for Faith, but I expect an explination there). I've loved every single scene Buffy and Xander have had together. I'd say those amount to my favorite parts so far. I think they're close enough to be able to joke that way.

As for people complaining about the lack of Spike mourning, I'd think she knows he's alive. Him and Angel paid Warren a visit in s5 of Angel, so I'm assuming word reached her. Besides, you know he's in her thoughts, given the dream image we were afforded a glimpse of(*giggles*). He's also tied up in Angel After The Fall, so that makes things tricky. I wouldn't be super surprised if he shows up in some form or other further into the story.

As for Giant Dawn, we've just been introduced to it. I'm holding my judgement until I see where it's going, in stead of sitting around thinking what it might be, and then criticising them for it. That's silly and pointless.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 12:51 (UTC)

I pretty much agree with everything you say. It is difficult waiting forever for each new installment - although personally it's not much different to waiting months for each DVD set to be released, except then you got a bigger chunk of story in each bite...

Well, I don't agree with you on Faith. People seem to be questioning why she accepted Giles' mission with apparent readiness, but then she's famous for always thinking things through, never acting impulsively, and always sharing her inner doubts and feelings, isn't she? :-)

Posted by: Margareth (spankulert)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 13:25 (UTC)
faith grit

Oh, I have no trouble with that one. I was referring to her forking giles :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 19:29 (UTC)
faith2

Well, she fantasised about stabbing Willow in 'Who Are You?' and Angel in 'Sanctuary', so this isn't a big stretch.

And such a violent over-reaction to a man grabbing at her unexpectedly is another piece of evidence in the 'Faith was sexually abused as a child' column...

Posted by: Margareth (spankulert)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 22:19 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 16:02 (UTC)

Don't worry, you're not alone. I love the comics and I'm enjoying them. Not really fond of Giant Dawn plot, but hey, I wasn't fond of a lot of stuff on the earlier seven seasons, does that mean I hate the show? No.

The comics has more positive stuff than negative stuff. And I'm a fan, I'm following, and they're not fanfic, that's insulting to the creater. It's his story, his characters, he knows them better than us. Don't like it, don't read it.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th September 2007 19:21 (UTC)

Thank you for the voice of support! :-)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 29th September 2007 09:14 (UTC)

Late to the party but with option three you really put your finger on what’s been making me so happy about the Dawn story. That and a side order of two.

More generally about the idea of starting a story in media res the sequels to the two examples you quote (Star Wars and the Illiad) both show that it works perfectly well for continuing stories. Interestingly it’s not a technique that’s used very much in the fanfic genre where the convention seems to be to explicitly tell the reader what the background is in the labelling and summary. That Joss doesn’t feel the need to do this is as good as indication as any that whatever he’s writing it’s not fanfic :-)

Reading the comments it does seem that some of the complaints about lack of character continuity stem from the complainer having a different idea of the places the story had reached than Joss may have had. I don’t, for example, find the idea that Faith has become isolated from the Scoobies at all surprising. She and Buffy had one very awkward conciliatory conversation but the only person she really connected with was Robin. So she put all her eggs in that handbasket and it ended up in hell or at least Cleveland.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th September 2007 11:40 (UTC)

Interestingly it’s not a technique that’s used very much in the fanfic genre

I suspect it's part of the psychology of most fans that they [we] want to know every little detail about their chosen object of obsession. Deliberately leaving things out when you could have written about them is anathema to such a mindset. :-)


Reading the comments it does seem that some of the complaints about lack of character continuity stem from the complainer having a different idea of the places the story had reached than Joss may have had. I don’t, for example, find the idea that Faith has become isolated from the Scoobies at all surprising.

Yes; everybody has different interpretations of what's important to a character and what different things symbolised. To build on your Faith example, I've seen a lot of peple saying Giles was out of character in 8.06 because in late S7 he was close to Faith and acted like he was proud of her. That's not what I saw: I saw a reasonably competent manager giving praise and encouragement to his only remaining staff member after the other one let him down. He was doing his job as a Watcher, not bonding with Faith...

Posted by: lilred26x (lilred26x)
Posted at: 30th September 2007 23:37 (UTC)

Very nice picture! I enjoy reading your thoughts about S8. I wasn't sure if I liked the comics in the beginning, but the stand alone issue completely won me over. I refuse to believe that Joss will not comment on the effects of her sacrifice in a future issue. I'm looking forward to seeing where he goes with all of this (including giant Dawn). :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st October 2007 00:06 (UTC)

Thanks! :-) I hope he does refer directly to 'The Chain' again, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a fair bit further down the line, or a passing mention, rather than being a major plot point or big emotional crisis for Buffy. Whatever he does or doesn't do, I daresay it'll be controversial...

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