Controversial Characters: Buffy’s Dawn vs. Angel’s Connor

SPOILERS AHEAD

Whenever a show has a devoted fandom there’s always going to be something that, right or wrong, the fans aren’t happy about. The big controversies on Buffy and Angel were the late additions of two new characters, namely Dawn and Connor. Now that I’m re-watching both shows, I’m looking at both characters with fresh eyes, wondering whether they deserved the hate.

Dawn

Dawn was introduced at the end of the first episode of Season 5. “Buffy vs. Dracula” (a great episode, by the way). Her introduction was really well done, first with hints and foreshadowing going back as far as Season 3, then with her unexpected appearance in the episode. After years of being an only child, Buffy suddenly has a sister, and everyone acts as though she’s always been there.

Controversial Characters: Buffy's Dawn vs. Angel's Connor, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, Vampires, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BtVS, Angel, Angel the Series, Buffy gif huh

After some perfunctory hinting that Dawn is this season’s Big Bad, it comes out that she’s actually a mystical, dimension-unlocking Key, put into human form by some monks with too much time on their hands, and given to the Slayer as a sister for protection from the Hell God (Glorificus/Glory), who needs the Key to get back to her hell dimension before her window of opportunity closes. Got all that?

Yeah, it’s a lot.

I really believe all the planning around Dawn went into the character’s concept, and very little into the execution. Dawn is supposed to be fourteen when she shows up, but she’s written like she’s eight. It’s both painful and annoying to watch this teenager smiling with her mouth plastered in ice cream. Or interrupting Buffy’s training sessions because she’s “bored.” Or threatening to tell their mom that Buffy slayed in front of her. At fifteen, Buffy, Willow, and Xander were fighting monsters, trading quips, and hanging out at the Bronze. Their characters were funny and interesting. But somehow at fourteen Dawn is too young to be left alone without a babysitter.

And yet by season six Dawn manages to get worse, alternating between whining that no one spends time with her, and screeching for everyone to get out of her room. Maybe this is a realistic portrayal of teenagers (I have my doubts), but nobody watches TV for realism. If we’re supposed to sympathize with Dawn, the writers made it really difficult, especially when she shows no empathy for what anyone else is going through.

(I want to add that none of this is the fault of Michelle Trachtenberg, the actress who played Dawn. She did a decent job, but just didn’t have much to work with.)

By the seventh and final season, Dawn’s over her annoying phase, and even proves herself useful and capable– but she also fades into the background. Season five was supposed to be the show’s last season, but since it ended up extended for another two years, I don’t think they really knew what to do with her once she was no longer The Key. Overall, I think the Dawn character had a lot of room for improvement, and the writers/producers repeatedly dropped the ball. The show could have been just as good, or better, without Dawn.

Also, she killed Miss Kitty Fantastico.

Controversial Characters: Buffy's Dawn vs. Angel's Connor, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, Vampires, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BtVS, Angel, Angel the Series, Angel and Darla

Connor

Connor’s origin story begins in season 3, and is almost as convoluted as Dawn’s. When two vampires hate each other very much (after spending centuries together as a couple), and unknown forces conspire to get them back together for a night, sometimes the mommy vampire finds herself nine months later going into labour in a back alley, where she finally just stakes herself to get the whole thing over with.

Connor is the human-ish son of Angel and Darla, both vampires, one with a soul. His existence is cause for much excitement, mostly by nefarious cabals who generally want to kill the kid. Despite Angel and co.’s best efforts to protect baby Connor, he ends up in the hands of Angel’s longtime enemy, a vampire hunter named Holtz. Stuck between letting Holtz take the baby or watching Connor fall into the hands of those who will definitely kill him, Angel chooses the lesser of two evils. Holtz escapes with the baby by jumping through a portal to the darkest hell dimension: Quor’toth. The portal is then sealed behind them with no way to open it.

Angel tries to get Connor back, but realizes it’s impossible. Once Angel accepts that he’ll never see his son again (it takes only a few days, apparently), another portal opens and out comes an armed teenager wearing a skin suit and trophies made of body parts. I’m not gonna lie– it’s pretty epic.

Controversial Characters: Buffy's Dawn vs. Angel's Connor, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, Vampires, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BtVS, Angel, Angel the Series, Connor hi dad

We soon find out that not only did Connor survive Quor’toth, but he can kick some serious ass. Besides impressive fighting skills, he has super speed and strength. He can easily jump on a moving bus and he’s got a vampire’s sensitive hearing (but none of the drawbacks, like a need to consume blood or intolerance to sunlight).

I thought he was an excellent addition to the show, but a lot of people disagreed. Connor was so hated by some fans that when rumours started about bringing Spike to Angel, people started urging (there may have been a petition– I can’t remember) the producers to kill off Connor and bring on Spike. Note: none of the characters actually had to die to add Spike to the cast. It should also be noted that the dislike of Connor spilled over into people specifically targetting Vincent Kartheiser, who played Connor. The actor did an awesome job and deserved none of what was directed at him. This is why fandoms have a bad reputation.

I never understood why people found Connor annoying. Yes, the character did a lot of questionable– and some downright wrong– things (same as pretty much all the other characters, I might add). What haters didn’t seem to get (or care about) is that Connor is a deeply traumatized kid. He was raised in a hell dimension, by a man who (rightfully) hated his father and manipulated him into wanting to kill Angel. And that’s only the start of what Connor went through. He’s a tragic character who manages to never be boring. He also undergoes a fair bit of character development, and a redemption that continues in the comic books (meanwhile Dawn in the comic books goes back to being annoying, but with added recklessness). Watching these episodes again, I’m finding I like and sympathize with Connor even more now. It’s too bad he was hated– he could have pulled off his own show.

In the end, my opinion on these characters hasn’t really changed. Dawn didn’t improve Buffy, even though her initial season included one of the best villains ever. Meanwhile, Connor, despite having one of the cringiest storylines (him + Cordy = ew), was a great character and a solid addition to Angel. But what did you think of Dawn and Connor? Share in the comments…

Can’t get enough vampires? Download my books now:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books, Amazon
FREE Blood Magic: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

10 Ways to Be Creative This Weekend

10 Ways to Be Creative This Weekend, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Creativity
Photo by Bruno Scramgnon on Pexels.com

Is anyone else feeling stuck lately? It could be winter blahs. It could be two years of mostly staying home and not being able to go anywhere fun or interesting. Or maybe it’s just something everyone goes through once in a while. Whatever the reason, if you’re feeling meh, you can bring back a bit of the spark by injecting some creativity into your day. Give these a try…

Dance

Put on some music and, as the saying goes, dance like no one’s watching. It’ll get you energized and maybe even spark some inspiration.

10 Ways to Be Creative This Weekend, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Creativity, Umbrella Academy, Tiffany, I think we're alone now, dance gif, dancing gif

Cook

Skip the recipes and see what you can put together with what you already have on hand. If cooking’s not your thing, order in and get something you’ve never tried.

Play

Break out a creative or problem-solving game– basically anything that involves active participation instead of just following instructions. RPGs (like D&D) are perfect for this, although you generally need at least three people and a few hours to get the best experience.

Doodle

Blank paper + the writing tool of your choice. Don’t overthink it– just scribble away.

10 Ways to Be Creative This Weekend, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Creativity, Buffy, Willow, A doodle. I do doodle. You too. You do doodle too.

Photograph

Go for a walk or just wander around the house until you find something that catches your eye. Try to get as many different photos of one object as you can.

Daydream

Let your mind wander and see where it goes.

Redecorate

Rearrange the furniture in a room, or plan out your dream house. See the potential in your space.

10 Ways to Be Creative This Weekend, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Creativity, moodboard, palettes, decorating
Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

Repurpose

If there’s something around the house you’ve been thinking of getting rid of, see if you can figure out how to improve it or find a new way to use it.

Compare

Pick (or have someone pick for you) two random things (e.g., a bear and a pair of socks). List everything you can think of that the two have in common (like, a bear and socks are both fuzzy).

Sing, with a Twist

Pick a song and make up new lyrics for it. You can write them down if you want, but it’s more fun to make them up as you go. The lyrics don’t have to be deep– sing about what you’re making for dinner or about your pets or how you’re feeling at that moment.

At its heart creativity is all about seeing things in a new way. Have fun and don’t overthink or self-edit. It probably won’t solve your problems, but being creative can set you free.

What do you do to stop feeling stuck? Share in the comments…

Books take you to new worlds. Download one of mine now:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

End of an Era

End of an Era, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Livejournal, Friendster, MySpace, social media, the web.
Photo by Monoar Rahman on Pexels.com

Were any of you on LiveJournal? LJ was social media before social media, back in the pre-Zuckerberg days of Friendster and MySpace (remember those?) People would friend one another and write journal entries about anything and everything. Once posted, friends (or the public, if you wanted) could read and comment on your entries. You could also join communities to discuss specific topics with other like-minded users.

I loved LiveJournal. Your posts could be as long or short as you liked. I posted everything from random updates, to recipes, photos of my cats and garden, and memes and quizzes (so many). Posts showed up in your feed in chronological order as they were uploaded, not in the order chosen by some obscure algorithm based on post engagement and black magic (and you couldn’t pay to boost your posts, either). If there were ads, they were unobtrusive enough that I don’t remember them.

End of an Era, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Livejournal, Friendster, MySpace, social media, the web.
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, a brand new type of social media came along and I, along with most other people, jumped on board. Twitter and Facebook were fun. There were games, there were multiple kinds of engagement (Likes! Retweets! Poking!), and they were easier. Who had time to read and write page-long entries when you could enjoy 140-character witticisms? I never thought about algorithms or information gathering or any of the potential negative consequences of these platforms that are now a depressing reality. By the time I realized that LiveJournal was better, everyone had left it. The site is still there but, from what I can tell, it’s much less active, and has also made some changes to be more like the other guys. Going back is pointless.

I spent the last few days copying and pasting my old LiveJournal entries into a Word document (because of course there was no easy way to download them), and then I deleted my account. I really should have done it years ago, but it still was a sad moment. Much as I wish it wasn’t the case, it’s the end of an era: an official conclusion to when the internet was still a tool and not a monster.

I started on LiveJournal in 2003 and was active until 2007. I tried again in 2010/2011, but it was too late by then. My entries amounted to 160,321 words, which is equivalent to two decent novels (and why I went to the trouble of saving it all).

For fun, I thought I’d also share a meme from one of my early entries. Feel free to revive it, either on your own blog or in the comments below. For the record, I have since added Douglas Coupland to my shelves 🙂

September 30th, 2003

07:35 am: Fun with authors…
Instructions: Take one list of authors, remove those whose efforts do not grace your shelves and bring the list up to ten by adding some more that do. Bold indicates newly-added authors.

Cherie Priest
Douglas Coupland
The Dalai Lama
Terry Pratchett
Neil Gaiman
JRR Tolkien
Douglas Adams
Edith Wharton
Charles De Lint
J.K. Rowling
Vladimir Nabokov
Joseph Campbell
Margaret Laurence

Current Mood:

enthused

Current Music: The Chieftains, Celtic Wedding

(It was also nice to be able to add your Current Music and Current Mood. You could customize the mood icons too: I opted for goth girl. The one for feeling sick was a gif where she alternated between her usual look and having blonde hair and bright clothes.)

What sites do you miss from back in the day? Share in the comments…

Do yourself a favour and spend some time with a book instead of social media: download one of mine now…

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Quote of the Day

Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com. vampire. vampires. vampire books, free book, free books

Gift giving season is upon us and if that’s something you’re into, may I just point out that Love Lies Bleeding makes an excellent gift for book- or vampire-loving friends, loved ones, and distant acquaintances (not to mention the good karma you’ll get for supporting independent authors!)

If you’ve already read and enjoyed any of my books, could you please take a minute now to leave a rating or review (links below)? It’ll help keep your stocking coal-free…

What if Santa comes at night because he's a vampire, keanu ted meme, via aspasia s. bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding

A novel about delusion, obsession, and blood.

Goodreads

Amazon

DOWNLOAD HERE

Paperback available from Bookshop – when you use this link, a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself.

Blood Magic

Myth and magic collide in this story about choices, transformation, and retribution.

Goodreads

Amazon

DOWNLOAD FREE

Tooth & Claw

A dark fantasy story about memory and delusion, violence and consequences; inspired by real events in Belle Époque France.

Goodreads

Amazon

DOWNLOAD FREE

Feel free to leave a rating/review on any other book sites too!

Thank you for supporting authors ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Wear a mask and get vaccinated!

What he said!

honor the gods

This has been a public service announcement from Marcus Aurelius.

Readers, if you’re eligible for the vaccine and haven’t already done so, please get the shot/s.

We can’t make the world a better place without your help.

⋞~•━━━━━━━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━━━━━━━•~⋟

Remix background: Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius by Eugène Delacroix, 1884. Collection of the Fine Arts Museum of Lyon. Image source: (X). Image license: The author died in 1863, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

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