In celebration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s 20th anniversary, it seemed fitting to list the reasons why we are obsessed with one of the protagonists of the series: the brooding, dangerous and gorgeous Spike.
The chemistry between Spike and Buffy was a tenuous balance of hatred and passion for one another which caused the two to have the most tumultuous relationship of the series. It was one full of disgust, fascination and—most of all—a raw unyielding desire from the moment his character first debuted in the Season 2 episode, “School Hard”.
Spike immediately stole the hearts of everyone who was attracted to the “bad boy” stereotype, as opposed to the heroic and more conventionally handsome vampire in Buffy’s life, Angel.
Originally intended to be a disposable villain in the series, creator Joss Whedon decided to transform Spike into not only the love interest of Buffy, but into the most rounded out and multi-faceted character in the series.
Though Spike lacked certain qualities of a hero such as morality and decency (since he did pride himself on killing two slayers previously), he ultimately sacrificed himself for Buffy and managed to save Sunnydale and, consequently, the world from destruction.
From the vicious, blood-thirsty vampire who tortured others and killed for pleasure, to the loyal and ensouled member of the Scooby Gang, here are the reasons why we love Spike the most:
1. He Was a Punk.
Wild and untamable, Spike simply embodied the UK punk scene with his bad boy reputation and his rebellion against, well, everything. With his bleach blond hair, black ensembles, cockney accent, cheekbones and jawline so sharp they could cut, he was the spitting image of Billy Idol (who, as Buffy claims, stole the look from Spike).
He was also vocal about his love for the Ramones and Sex Pistols throughout the series. His punk aesthetic was shown best in the intense New York City flashback scene set in 1977 when Spike dueled Nikki Wood, a slayer. In this scene, Spike wore a full punk outfit of ripped jeans, combat boots, safety pins and chains.
2. He Was a Poet Before He Became a Vampire.
Spike was born as William Pratt in the mid-1800s and was an unsuccessful poet, nicknamed William the Bloody for his “bloody awful poetry”. He was highly sentimental and expressive in his emotions towards the aristocrat Cecily Addams but much to his disdain, Cecily rejected his bouts of love and left him heartbroken.
Despite how despicable he became after turning into a vampire, Spike did begin his life as a human with all the wants and desires we all possess. This sort of inherent devotion and sensitivity returns when he falls in love with Buffy.
3. His Relationship with the Slayer Was Completely Masochistic.
Spike thrived on the sexual tension that he created with Buffy. Much to his horror, he realizes in Season 5 that he’s in love with her after a sexual dream where Buffy nearly stakes him but, in a moment of passion, they kiss. The episode ends with Spike waking up from his dream, unable to deny his feelings for the slayer saying, “Oh god no. Please, no.” From then on, Spike willingly endured Buffy’s constant disgust for him and her aggressions—he remains unwaveringly loyal to her despite the fact she uses him as a punching bag.
When they finally have their first sexual encounter after exchanging blows and insults at each other, they literally cause the house to cave in around them from their intensity. Spike knew Buffy could never fully love him, yet he endured the torture of their destructive relationship to it’s fatal end.
4. He Wasn’t All Bad.
It’s fair to say that Spike wasn’t always the easiest to get along with (that was more Angel’s territory, after all) but throughout the series there were palpable instances of his sincerity and sensitivity.
During the episode “Touched” in Season 7, Spike is completely honest to Buffy in his feelings and admiration for her. He confesses that before he had met her, he thought that he was completely evil and unable to love. Buffy had brought out the good inside his cold, heartless self, which was reflected in his devotion towards Buffy. Eventually, she began to realize this as well.
5. In the End, He Was Willing to Sacrifice It All for Love and Loyalty.
Because Spike is love with the slayer—someone who is truly good—Spike simply desired to be a person Buffy could love in return. In two truly selfless instances, Spike proved his loyalty to Buffy beyond any doubt.
In a plight for forgiveness, he travels to Africa in order to undergo a series of inhumane mental and physical tests to prove his worth in an undertaking called the Demon Trials. By conquering the series of tests, his soul is restored and he can once again feel true human emotion.
Now with the ability to retain a greater capacity for love, he has returned to his sentimental beginnings as William the poet. This act of redemption was to prove to Buffy his worth and importance in her life—another masochistic endeavor.
Finally, in the last episode of BTVS, Spike dies in the Hellmouth so as to save the world from extinction. As flames leapt around him during his final moments of life, he told Buffy he wanted to die for “love, honor, and all the right reasons.” Spike sacrificed himself to prove his tortured, undying love to Buffy one last time.
And, honestly, is there really anything more heroic than that?
Let us know in the comments below!