The A to Z of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

As Buffy and co celebrate their 20th birthday, Paul Jones lays down the letters of the lore

P is for Potential – Potential Slayers, that is. A new Slayer is activated each time the existing one dies (Faith – see F – is the result of Buffy’s brief death at the end of series one – see D). All over the world, young girls with the potential to be the next Slayer wait to be called. They are unusually fast and strong but lack the power of a true Slayer. As the endgame approaches, The First’s acolytes, the Bringers, are tracking down and killing all the Potentials they can, while the Watchers Council sends the survivors to Sunnydale to be trained by Buffy for the final showdown…

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Q is for Quentin Travers – a member of the Watchers Council and not a fan of Buffy and Giles’s close relationship or their unorthodox training methods. Rather than support Buffy, Quentin tries to make life difficult for her – until Buffy realises she is the one with the power and that the Watchers Council should be working for her.

R is for Rhonda the Immortal Waitress – Joss Whedon’s original concept from which Buffy evolved: “The idea of some woman who seems to be completely insignificant but turns out to be extraordinary,” a chance to subvert the cliche of “the little blonde girl who goes into a dark alley and gets killed in every horror movie”. “Wouldn’t it be fun if the girl fought back?”, thought Whedon. It is…

S is for Spike – aka William the Bloody, slayer of Slayers. In life, a sensitive soul with a penchant for poetry and no luck with the ladies. In death, a ruthless bloodsucker with the dress sense and attitude of Billy Idol. Spike’s hate-hate relationship with Buffy became love-hate on his part and finally love-lust/begrudging respect. Spike (James Marsters) sacrificed himself to help destroy the Turok-Han (see U) in the series finale (but ended up being resurrected via a magical amulet in Angel).

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T is for The Trio – three teen nerds – and self-styled supervillains – Warren Mears, Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson, experts in technology, demon summoning and magic, respectively, who join forces in numerous attempts to thwart Buffy. Mostly hapless but – in Warren’s case (see D) – occasionally deadly.