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13 September 2008 @ 05:08 pm
Memorable BtVS Objects  
This past week I've been out and about evenings after work, so there hasn't been any time to work on fic. But when I opened up a few potential documents today, I feel like the wind's been knocked out of my sails. Writing Pre-Nuptial Bliss took a lot out of me and now here I am on a relaxing weekend pouting, not knowing what to write. It's annoying, since I'm all ready to go!

To get my mind off my stubborn muse, I started reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and so far, 25 pages in, I've really enjoyed it. It's about renewal after divorce and heart-ache. In other words, a story of self-discovery through journey. Sounds right up my alley, doesn't it? I was chatting with my dad about the book and he asked me if it shared any similar themes to what I write. Looking over my work, there are several themes that I seem to return to again and again in various forms and with various characters, including: objects and memory, death and grief, survival and healing.  

On Thursday evening at 1AM I was watching PBS and they had an entire shown called "Objects and Memory," which covered the years following the Oklahoma City Bombing, Vietnam and 9-11. I did a lot of scholarly and theoretical research on the topic of memory for my thesis work, as well as the sort of value that material objects have for people. This is also something that I recently explored in The Cross/Burn Marks.

My question to you is are there any objects or places on BtVS that made an impression on you or you wish that you knew more about?

I've already tackled the cross necklace that Angel gave to Buffy, but anything else is on the table. The hidden lives and history of things is fascinating.   


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M: Faith far awayspankulert on September 13th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Well, a pretty obvious one for me is the knife the Mayor gifted Faith with. That's got a spotlight on it, as far as I'm concerned anyways.

Giles' glasses are always fun. He's been so frustrated at times, he's probably worn trough several pairs just by rubbing on them. hehe.

Mr. Pointy's got some history for sure, and Oz's van must have its own stories to tell.

Those are the ones at the top of my head anyways.
ClawofCat: faith reflectionclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
I love Faith's knife. It's a great object because it seems to haunt Faith's dreams. It appears in Graduation Part II when Buffy and Faith are doing their mind-meld thing and later in Season 4 when Faith dreams Buffy kills her just before she wakes from her coma. Mm, that definately has some great potential.

Oh, Giles glasses! I hadn't even thought of those. They are such an extension of him, aren't they? Good one!

Mr. Pointy is Kendra or Buffy's stake? I forget.

Yes! Oz's van! I had a bunny for an Oz/Willow story that tracked the progression of their relationship and the van was to feature in a section of it. Hm, maybe I should dust it off and see if I can make anything of it.

Thanks so much for sharing. All very good objects.
M: Buffy look up - writing breaks my brainspankulert on September 14th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Mr. Pointy is Kendra or Buffy's stake? I forget.

It was Kendra's lucky stake. She gave it to Buffy. I remember it came up later in the show too, but I don't remember the context.

Yes! Oz's van! I had a bunny for an Oz/Willow story that tracked the progression of their relationship and the van was to feature in a section of it. Hm, maybe I should dust it off and see if I can make anything of it.

Sounds very interesting! He also left in his van to go learn how to control his inner wolf, and so on. Lots of stories ;)
ellan_vannin on September 13th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
I thought this would be a simple question to answer, but it really gave me pause. I couldn't come up with a single object that held more symbolism for me than what was already obvious on the show. I'm not sure if this is because material objects mean comparatively little to me in my own life (even though they have a tendency to pile up) or if I just don't think in those terms.

Places are more important to me for the memories that went in them. Joyce's bedroom, for instance, gets a gut reaction from me for being a sanctuary of bittersweet emotion. Buffy's L.A. apartment in "Anne", for much the same reason. The church Angel imagines his wedding to Buffy in (and her immolation outside of). Spike's cave-dwelling retreat with Harmony, which makes me cringe but I can't help being fascinated by it (like a train wreck).

It doesn't take Freud to figure out it's because in the dozens of moves I've made, too many objects were lost or destroyed and I pretty ruthlessly burned "sentimental value" from my vocabulary at a young age. But places are my emotional connection. So when they do things like blow them up on my fave t.v. shows, I blubber like a baby!

ClawofCat: hotchicksclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
I am quite devilish that way, tripping people up with seamingly obvious questions >:D I love thoughtful conversation.

Interesting thoughts about the importance of place on BtVS. We become very familiar with the locales the Buffy gang spend time in because, well, there aren't very many. The library, Revello Drive, Xander's basement, Spike's crypt, the Magic Box, the Bronze, Angel's mansion. Buffy's world is a fairly small place and we get attached to the sets they frequently visit, where their lives play out, whether good or bad.

Joyce's bedroom is a rather sad affair. Not only was it Joyce's room, but it later becomes Willow and Tara's. A teary moment for me was when Willow animates Tara's clothing on their bed and embraces it as she cries. And, then, of course there is Tara's untimely death in that very bedroom. Certainly some sad memories associated with that place.

Spike's cave-dwelling retreat with Harmony
God, what was that about? It was such a weird place for them to stay since I wouldn't have really pegged it for either of their styles.

too many objects were lost or destroyed and I pretty ruthlessly burned "sentimental value" from my vocabulary
Recently, I've thought of revisiting a late S7 Faith gen fic that I wanted to work on and was rewatching "Dirty Girls." Faith glibly commetns to Buffy that it's "the same old house" to which Buffy responds that "every window and piece of furniture has been destroyed and replaced." When it comes to homes, is it really about the stuff that clutters a house or the place itself and the people in it?

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.
Rebcake: hellorebcake on September 13th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
Since I'm all about Spike these days, the objects that interest me are the skull ring he gave to Buffy (which I know I've seen mentioned in various fics) and his lighter. When unbridled_b asked for prompts last month, I asked for something about the lighter, which seems to have *ahem* lit her fire. Alas, she doesn't seem to think it's good enough to share. Silly unbridled_b! So, hey! If you are looking for prompts, that's mine: the lighter. Somebody will humor me, someday.
Owenowenthurman on September 14th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
I love how that lighter plays out in The Butterfly Effect by cousinjean.
ClawofCat: pondersclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
The lighter definately is a memorable Spike icon. I've used it before in fics. It's difficult not to when it seems to be an extension of the character himself. I've never given much thought to its origins though. For some reason, it doesn't strike me as "old," though it might well be. Zippos can take wear and tear quite well. The one thing that might make me think there's some history behind it is when Spike tells Buffy in "Gone" that he's "Bloody fond of that lighter" and goes out of his way to search for it.

Good food for thought. Thanks! Also, welcome to my journal. I don't think I've ever seen you comment before.
Owenowenthurman on September 14th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
Hmm. Some random ones are,

*Miss Edith
*Spike's skull ring
*The Fish Tank
*The Master's Sunken Temple
*The box in Doc's place
ClawofCat: spikedru dancingclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
Heh, Miss Edith, indeed. Dru's doll collection is eerie and fascinating. Vampires don't seem to carry a lot of personal effects with them, but that doll collection is certainly very dear to Dru. I'll be thinking about that one.

The Master's temple is also an interesting idea. It brings me back to S6 and S7 when Buffy goes in search of the scythe in the temple and Willow raises the demonic temple from the desert. Places like that must abound in Sunnydale what with all those CA earthquakes to bury and unearth buildings left and right.

Excellent thoughts. Thanks for your contribution!
dragonflylady77dragonflylady77 on September 14th, 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
I've always wondered about that Slayer Handbook that Kendra read but that Giles never gave Buffy...
ClawofCat: giddyclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
Good one! Kendra seemed to "study" what being a Slayer meant, while Buffy's formal education really came in the way of physical training and fieldwork. It makes you wonder if past Slayer's had more of a hand in doing research and demonology than Buffy did.

Thanks for bringing this up. It's a fact I might work into a story about an OC Slayer from the '30s.
shanmarashanmara on September 14th, 2008 10:15 am (UTC)
Objects are very important in BTVS (way more than in Angel - I realised that lately when I was making objects and places icons), and even if many of them don't have any special meaning, they stay in my memories as sort of beloved 'winks' to the show and to the production crew's skills: the Sunnydale Press, Jonathen's merchandise in "Superstar", young Giles photo...

Oddly, the one that truly made an impression on me when I first watched the show was the book of Sartre (La Nausée) that Angel is reading. Of course, it was kind of a surprise to see Angel reading this book -and in French- but, funnily enough, it was the same exact edition (a worn paperback from the early 60s) that I had read when I was a teenager and which I still have :)
ClawofCat: spangelclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
Objects are very important in BTVS (way more than in Angel - I realised that lately when I was making objects and places icons)
I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that BtVS has much fewer sets than AtS does. Buffy lives in a small town and she has a small social network. Many of the sets include people's homes, school, or regular hang-outs like the library, the Bronze or the Magic Box. This intimacy with their domestic lives makes the viewer very familier with what sort of things our characters value as personal mementos. Whether its Mr. Gordo or Xander's ugly orange chair in S4, we get a sense for the characters' aesthetics, which say a lot about people.

AtS is much more action-driven with lots of set changes in a large, urban area. The familiarity is lost a bit. Angel's work also converges with his domestic spaces. Most of what we see of the Hyperion is the lobby and most of W&H is the lobby and offices. The quiet, domestic spaces like Fred's apartment (*sob*) or Wesley's blue pad or Cordelia'd Denise-haunted house get short shrift on the show. As such, there's just fewer opportunities to see stuff that might mean a lot to each character (like Fagenbaum, *sniffle*).

it was the same exact edition (a worn paperback from the early 60s) that I had read when I was a teenager and which I still have
How wonderful! That's a great detail that makes the show more personal and links us to the characters. Is he reading the Sartre in "Lover's Walk?" I think I remember him reading in front of the fireplace.

Actually, this brings up an interesting point. I wonder about the role of the arts in Spike and Angel's life. We see Angel read rather often and Spike to a lesser extent. Angel sketches and also has a decent art collection from his travels that he displays in both Sunnydale and LA. Spike was a writer and perhaps still is (though we're never shown this) and clearly loves music. It seems that the arts is a real point of convergence for these particular vampires.

Hm, it's got me thinking. Maybe I can make something of that. Thanks so much for contributing to the discussion!
shanmarashanmara on September 23rd, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
I hope you don't mind, honey, but I've friended you - no need to reciprocate, but I love posts like yours that get me thinking about the shows.

And yes, the role of the arts! It's especially obvious about Angel (each of his 'homes' is very specific, with a distinct Art Deco flair, whereas Spike tends to be more tuned to pop culture) and, when you think of it, it's a bit of a surprise: Liam is shown as a tavern boy, when Spike comes from a 'good' family and is a poet. Yet, Angel reads Sartre and collects art, when Spike watches Passion and listens to the Ramones... I'd love to know how they became like that :)
ClawofCat: buffy smileclawofcat on September 24th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
Happy to have you as a friend! I occasionally do posts like this where I pose questions to my flist. I really like engaging in analytical or metaish thinking when it comes to the show. Lets overturn that moniker of the "idiot box!"

My muse has been a bit dead after I wrote a fluffy Spuffy fic *whimper* but I've been trying to work with the idea of Angel and his art. Maybe in a few days I'll have something to show for it.

Do you post art to your own journal not x-posted to nekid_spike?
framedinlove: banner iconframedinlove on September 14th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
What an unexpectedly hard question! I find it really weird that my mind goes totally blank in the face of it. I mean objects are important. In BtVS and in general. Lately, I've been going through some boxes filled with items from my past that I haven't been able to give up despite the fact that I don't bear to have them around all the time. From one of those boxes I found a necklace that my ex boyfriend had given me, and whoa - the memories and the emotions that rushed over me were downright overwhelming. It's only a somewhat tacky piece of jewelery and yet it comes with this humongous package of stuff attached to it.

So I'm weirded out by myself. There has to be something I've found important there. *frowns* Damn. Spike's lighter comes to mind. And the skull ring from Something Blue. Also, I remember wondering what happened to the jewelery Spike used to wear around Season 6. Or what was he reading when Buffy stormed into his crypt in As You Were. Or does Angel have this huuuuge storage room for all his drawings somewhere or does he just toss them away. But this is just me being curious. As far as my deeper feelings go, it's all about the people and the themes and the stories.

Btw, I'm sorry about that unnecessarily embarrassing angst-fest message I sent you on Friday. I was afraid of going to sleep and it was getting really late and I ended up bothering you with such a lame, typo-infested letter. *looks sheepish and feels like an idiot*
ClawofCat: angel stareclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
Heh, I'm all about the unexpected hard questions. Get everyone thinking the thinky thoughts *wink* :P

Lately, I've been going through some boxes filled with items from my past that I haven't been able to give up
I think it's pretty natural for people to hold on to things that meant a great deal to them for whatever reason, but also hold a lot of emotional baggage. The sort of effects it can have on people have been illustrated in "The Cross," but I actually did something similar in one of my earliest Spuffy fics called Show Me How. Buffy finds a piece of pottery that she and Joyce made together when she was younger and it sends her into this emotional breakdown of sorts because she realizes how her hands, which have this potential to create things, have become instruments of destruction. She realizes how out of control she's become and goes to Spike to apologize (in her own way).

From one of those boxes I found a necklace that my ex boyfriend had given me, and whoa - the memories and the emotions that rushed over me were downright overwhelming.
Hm, now that sounds familiar. *hugs* For my 21st bday my grandmother gifted me with a silver wedding necklace that my grandfather bought for her in Panama where he served in WWII. With the necklace came a letter addressed from him explaining that we wished I would wear it on many happy occasions. He'd been dead for 10 years. The postumous gift had me balling in literally 10 seconds flat. It was so overwhelming to think that he had thought of me and the woman I'd become in the future.

I remember wondering what happened to the jewelery Spike used to wear around Season 6.
Me, too! That was the sex! *drool* And it gives me a fun post-NFA idea. Must make some notes to self about it!

Or does Angel have this huuuuge storage room for all his drawings somewhere or does he just toss them away.
I think this concept has a lot of potential. You should check out my response to shanmara about the role that the arts seem to play in Spike and Angel's lives. It's something integral to both their characters - how they value art, music, poetry, literature. I once got a plot bunny in which Buffy finds Spike playing the piano ("Moonlight Sonata" of course) in S6 and is totally thrown for a loop. It, uh, died on me a little bit because it seemed like a rather unlikely scenario.

I'm sorry about that unnecessarily embarrassing angst-fest message I sent you on Friday.
No worries! I invited you to vent and I'm glad you did, especially if it put your mind at ease a bit before bedtime. Sometimes it's helpful to just get the words down on paper.
louise39: Buffy eyes wide openlouise39 on September 14th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
Many others have commented on items that are instant memory traps in BTVS. Two item/ places, in addition, for me are Spike's De Soto and the 'Beneath Me" church.

This inquiry made me remember. Thanks.
ClawofCat: thesparkclawofcat on September 14th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
*smiles* Ah, of course. The DeSoto. No doubt he's had many a wild time in that car. I'm sure I could come up with a Spike/Dru fic for that.

The church in "Beneath Me" is definately memorable. Lots of high drama in that place.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Every little bit helps!
louise39: Buffy eyes wide openlouise39 on September 14th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
The church was memorable for my because [and I didn't know what was to happen] my mind wandered on the church itself that Buffy entered. When a church is 'de-consecrated' [if that is the correct term] all religious items are removed. Pews and crosses would be removed. Therefore, to me. Buffy and Spike met in a consecrated church and the 'soul' scene played out in a holy place. Later, I read or heard that the church was one that was 'abandoned' and I did not agree.
Why did Spike go to that church? Distance? Memory?
Just thinking. Rant over.

louise39: Buffy eyes wide openlouise39 on September 19th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thought some more -- [slow, you know] and came up with more items: Faith’s tattoo and Angel’s tattoo.

There was also the amulet. Spike wore it but it was in Angel's care first and later. I guess Buffybot could be classified as a thing.