Xander Harris


Xander Harris

Infobox Buffyverse Character

Xander Harris
Title=Xander Harris
First="Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Creator=Joss Whedon
Name=Alexander LaVelle Harris
Status=Alive
Kind=Human
Affiliation=Scooby Gang, formerly Sunnydale High students and briefly servant of Count Dracula
Powers=None
Actor=Nicholas Brendon, Kelly Donovan|

Alexander LaVelle "Xander" Harris (born 1981 in Sunnydale, California) is a fictional character in the cult television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". The character is portrayed by Nicholas Brendon, whose twin brother Kelly Donovan occasionally appeared as his double or as a substitute actor when Brendon was unavailable.

Biography

Character history

Alexander LaVelle Harris was born to Anthony and Jessica Harris in Sunnydale, California. According to Xander, his dad once tried to sell him to some Armenians. Anthony (sometimes referred to as 'Tony') is a self-pitying drunk who first appeared in a nightmare sequence in Season Four's "Restless"; in it, he tore out his son's heart. Jessica is a fragile mess without a stove; her culinary repertoire includes a "famous phone call to the Chinese place." She's known to neglect her son and appear cheerful in front of strangers as an attempt to cover the true nature of her miserable life. According to his Aunt Carol, the family are Episcopalians. Xander's uncle, Rory, is an alcoholic taxidermist who claims to have invented Velcro. Every Christmas, Xander sleeps outside to avoid his family's drunken arguments. Neither parent is happy with their marriage, but they have stayed together for decades. When he was thirteen, Xander attended Willow's bat mitzvah, where his parents drank to excess. Throughout the series, Xander's family was said to be unreliable, abusive, and the main source of his insecurities. They finally appeared at Xander and Anya's aborted wedding in Season Six's "Hell's Bells."

Xander briefly dated his best friend Willow Rosenberg, but they broke up over a stolen Barbie when they were five. At his sixth birthday party, which Willow attended, his parents hired a clown who chased him, resulting in his coulrophobia (a fear of clowns). He overcame this phobia in Season One's "Nightmares." When he did not get a toy firetruck for his seventh birthday, the house next door caught fire. Xander saw real firetrucks then and believes Willow started the fire so he could see the firetrucks. Xander and Willow developed a mutual dislike of their snobby classmate Cordelia Chase, which led them to form the "We Hate Cordelia Chase" club, of which Xander was the treasurer (cf. "Innocence").

cooby Gang

In Season One, Xander meets Buffy Summers on her first day at Sunnydale High. He overhears her bizarre conversation with Rupert Giles in the school library and loses his best male friend Jesse McNally to vampires in "The Harvest." Xander takes the view that "vampires are bad," and is reluctantly forced to stake his former friend. Following Jesse's death, Xander becomes a wisecracking sidekick of the Scooby Gang, often annoying those around him, including Angel (cf. "Enemies") and the more uptight Giles. Xander soon develops a crush on Buffy, but it is not reciprocated; because of this, he is jealous of Angel and unsupportive of Buffy's relationship with him, although he appeared to be just as worried about him as the other Scoobies in "Innocence". In the Season One finale, "Prophecy Girl," he saves Buffy's life by administering CPR after she is bitten by the Master and left to drown in a pool of water (cf. "Prophecy Girl").

In Season Two, Xander almost kisses Willow, but they are rudely interrupted by a vampire; when Buffy shows up and kills the vampire, Xander forgets about Willow and returns his attentions to Buffy. Xander gradually begins a turbulent and ambiguous relationship with Cordelia after they are thrown together in several life-or-death situations. The military knowledge Xander acquires - thanks to a spell (see "Halloween") - enables Buffy to defeat the Judge, a supposedly invulnerable demon, in the episode "Innocence." When being seen with Xander costs Cordelia her position among Sunnydale High's most elite clique, she dumps him on Valentine's Day. Xander retaliates by coercing Amy Madison to cast a love spell, which misfires: for a few hours, until the spell is broken, Xander finds himself irresistible to every female (human and vampire) in sight, except Cordelia, who, realizing how much Xander loves her, reunites with him in defiance of her former friends (cf. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered").

Season Three sees Xander's interest in Willow revive. They first kiss in "Homecoming" and play footsie in "Band Candy". In "Revelations", they kiss passionately and are almost caught by Giles. Their final liaison leads to Cordelia's near-fatal injury in the episode "Lovers Walk" and Anyanka's arrival in the episode "The Wish." Unable to forgive his infidelity, Cordelia unceremoniously dumps Xander, whom she labels "The Zeppo", mocking him for being useless compared to his more powerful friends. Attempting to prove her wrong, Xander embarks on an adventure with a group of zombies led by tough guy Jack O'Toole, losing his virginity to rogue Slayer Faith Lehane in the process. However, when O'Toole and his friends try to blow up Sunnydale High, Xander single-handedly puts an end to their plan. Later, he is asked to the Prom by Anya Jenkins, formerly the vengeance demon Anyanka. In the Season Three finale, "Graduation Day, Part Two," he leads Sunnydale High's students in a war against ascending demon Mayor Wilkins and his vampire army.

In Season Four, Xander's inferiority complex and feelings of isolation increase when he chooses not to enroll in college with his friends. Instead, after graduating from high school, he sets out on a cross-country trip inspired by Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" that ends when his car breaks down (having not made it out of Southern California). Returning to Sunnydale, he moves into his parents' basement, for which he has to pay rent, and takes a series of odd jobs as a food vendor, a bartender, a phone-sex operator, and a deliveryman. After much persuasion, he has sex with Anya and they begin dating. Initially, his interest in Anya is purely sexual, but as the season progesses, his feelings for her intensify and the two fall in love. In the Season Four finale "Primeval", Xander gives Buffy his "heart" in the spell that defeats Adam.

Season Five sees Xander mature significantly, pursuing a more stable career in carpentry and construction work, and moving into his own apartment with Anya. Nonetheless, the infamous vampire Dracula is able to hypnotize Xander into briefly becoming his willing manservant. Once freed from the thrall (and demanding "Where is he? Where's the creep that made me into a spider-eating man-bitch!"), Xander voices resentment for the unfortunate mishaps that often afflict him, citing his previous bout of "the funny syphillis", and complains that he is tired of being everyone's butt monkey (cf. "Buffy vs. Dracula"). After being hit by the demon Toth's Ferula Gemina, Xander is split into two separate beings; one displaying his strengths and one displaying his weaknesses (cf. "The Replacement"). In "Triangle", he defends Willow and Anya equally from Anya's ex-boyfriend, Olaf the Troll, despite being ordered to choose between them. Shortly before going into battle with the hell-goddess Glory, Xander asks Anya to marry him should they survive.

By Season Six, Xander is beginning to have doubts about his future with Anya. Hoping for a happy ending, he summons the demon Sweet to turn Sunnydale into a living musical, which goes horribly wrong when people start bursting into flames as well as song (cf. "Once More With Feeling"). Xander's fears over marrying Anya are made worse by a visit from a demon pretending to be his future self, showing him a bitter future trapped in a marriage similar to his parents' (cf. "Hell's Bells"). Although the vision is later revealed to be false, Xander admits to having doubts beforehand and leaves a heartbroken Anya at the altar. When Willow turns evil after her girlfriend Tara is killed, Xander's love for his childhood friend melts her hardened heart, and saves the world (cf. "Grave").

In Season Seven, Xander struggles with his feelings for Anya and suffers a devastating injury. When Buffy's sister Dawn mistakenly believes herself to be a Potential Slayer, Xander empathizes with her disappointment over not being the one in the spotlight (cf. "Potential"). Despite admitting that they still love each other, he and Anya finally break up for good, but continue to have the odd fling in times of crisis. In the episode "Dirty Girls," Xander has his left eye gouged out by the evil preacher Caleb, and begins wearing an eyepatch. [In the DVD commentary for the episode "Dirty Girls", writer Drew Goddard mentions there was talk of killing off Xander towards the end of Season Seven and having The First Evil assume Xander's appearance when conversing with Buffy for the remainder of the season. This was ultimately decided against since Xander was thought to be too important to the series, and that his death occurring so late in the season would leave little time to deal with it correctly, and that throughout the series' run, Xander was the one character who never wavered, and to punish that characteristic with death would send a message the staff wasn't trying to convey. Instead of killing Xander, he was blinded in one eye.] In the final battle against the First Evil, Anya is killed by a Bringer's sword, and her body remains in the new Sunnydale High's ruins as the empty town is swallowed by the earth. Andrew Wells, whom she had fought alongside, comforts Xander by telling him that Anya had died saving his life. Xander replies by saying, "That's my girl. Always doing the stupid thing."

Post-Sunnydale

The last time Xander is referenced on television (in the "Angel" episode "Damage"), he is in Africa, rounding up Potential Slayers for Buffy. He is later featured in the story "Antique" in the "Tales of the Vampires" comic book line, having spent some time under the thrall of Dracula again, as his manservant. He is summarily rescued by Buffy and two newly-activated Slayers.

In Season Eight, Xander leads Slayer "central command" in Scotland. Buffy describes him as her "Watcher," a description he disputes. From Slayer central command, Xander views his operatives on a large screen as well as monitoring the progress of several computer-based operatives, psychics, and neophyte witches under his command. He talks to his Slayers through earpieces in an Oracle or Nick Fury-style role.

Xander remains in contact with Andrew and Giles, and maintains a close relationship with Buffy, Willow and Dawn. He begins to date the Slayer Renée, but is devastated when she is killed on a mission in Japan; his friendships with Buffy, Willow, and Dawn remain strong, although he is less comfortable around Dracula, who seems to consider Xander his friend.

Powers and abilities

Xander represents the importance of everyday humans in the struggle against evil since he has proven that even an "average" person can make a difference and save the world. He is the only main character in the series who has never developed any permanent superpowers of his own, but he gains much experience from battling by Buffy's side. As Buffy explains to the Watchers' Council, Xander has clocked more field time than all of the Watchers combined (cf. "Checkpoint"). His gifts of persuasion and empathy are often his most useful assets. For example, Xander saves the world from Dark Willow, using only his words in the episode "Grave." He also recognizes that Buffy and Riley are "imploding" and forces Buffy to accept responsibility for the failed relationship (cf. "Into the Woods"). Xander's most notable character trait is his laid back, joke-making attitude, even in dangerous situations. He often jokes about his family and school life, though this is probably a cover for his dislike of both.

While possessed by a demonic "hyena" spirit in the Season One episode "The Pack," Xander exhibits enhanced strength equal, if not superior, to a Slayer, and heightened senses, as well as predatory instincts, a taste for fresh, raw meat, and a lack of social inhibitions. He lost all of these capabilities when the spirit was exorcised; while he retained his memories of this experience, he keeps it secret from everyone except Giles.

Xander is briefly transformed into a soldier on Halloween, and thereby acquires knowledge of military training, tactics, and weapons handling techniques. His abilities fade, but do not disappear completely, over the next few years, giving him access to such information as military codes and training, and enabling him to organize and lead a militaristic defense against Mayor Wilkins after his ascension is completed in "Graduation Day, Part Two". His knowledge also helps him to acquire a rocket launcher to destroy the Judge in "Innocence". Xander admits in "The Initiative" that his knowledge and skills have degraded over time. While he also demonstrated knowledge of the First's hypnotic control over Spike in "Never Leave Me", he claimed that this was just from seeing military films and not from his "army days".

Xander was once hit by a bolt from the "Ferula Gemina" which split his personality into two different beings (cf. "The Replacement"), resulting in one Xander who was laid-back and confident, easily getting a promotion and a large apartment, and another Xander who was highly insecure and paranoid, believing that the other him was a demon who was hypnotizing his friends. Later on, before Willow fuses them back together, they both become more alike, to which Giles proclaims that he is (literally) a "bad influence on himself".

Xander is something of an expert on pop culture; he can be seen reading an "X-Men" comic in the episode "Tough Love" and references both the Human Torch and Nick Fury. In the episode "Seeing Red", Xander displays the ability to read Klingon. In Season Seven, he often demonstrates pop culture knowledge rivaling that of Andrew Wells.

Xander becomes a skilled carpenter by the end of the series, gaining practical job experience from repairing damage caused by various conflicts involving the Scooby Gang (most notably the windows at Buffy's house; Xander complains that he is doomed to replace their windows for all eternity) and as a foreman of a construction crew. He was promoted to this position in the Season Five episode "The Replacement." Spike mockingly referred to Xander as "a glorified bricklayer" in "The Gift." He referenced this insult later in the episode; after hitting Glory with a wrecking ball, he states, "And the glorified bricklayer picks up a spare."

In Season Seven, both Xander and the evil priest Caleb make reference to Xander being "the one that sees everything" in that he sees his friends' flaws and strengths more clearly than anyone else, simply because no one is looking at him. During an emotional conversation between the two, Dawn theorizes that this perhaps is his super power. This human (non-supernatural) strength - his insight, empathy, and understanding - is what prompts Caleb to take Xander's eye, also knowing it would incite Buffy's wrath.

In the non-televised Season Eight, Xander uses his military knowledge to lead a government-described "army" of Slayers, witches and seers, viewed from outside as an international "terrorist" organization based in a Scottish citadel. The organization which he and Buffy head employs high-tech and magical weaponry. Xander oversees and orchestrates the efforts of Willow, Dawn, Buffy, and his Slayers through cameras and earpieces.

Romantic Relationships

A recurring joke about Xander is that he is a "demon magnet," as many of the women he has dated or been attracted to have turned out to be demonic or in some other way supernatural:
* Willow Rosenberg — After a brief romantic involvement in elementary school, Xander and Willow remained best friends for years. Xander shares a moment of tenderness with Willow during the boring summer of 1997, which is ended by Buffy's return. Later, during Season Three, Xander and Willow begin a secret romance while he is dating Cordelia and Willow is dating Oz. This ends when Cordelia and Oz rescue a kidnapped Xander and Willow and discover them kissing. Nonetheless, Xander retains deep feelings for Willow: these feelings are what he reaches out to in order to turn Dark Willow away from her path of destroying the world, simply by refusing to leave as she commands him and reminding her of the memories they share and the love and friendship between them. Also, when he's affected by a memory loss spell, he assumes that the two of them are going out, despite being engaged to Anya and Willow being in a relationship with Tara.
* Buffy Summers — Seeing her on her first day at Sunnydale High caused Xander to crash off his skateboard and into a railing, literally falling head over heels. Buffy, however, sees Xander only as a friend, and over time, they have become surrogate siblings (the only exception to this was in the episode "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered", see below). In issue #2 of "Buffy" Season Eight, Buffy dreams of them being in a relationship, a dream in which Buffy attempts a more than platonic kiss (which results in Xander's still talking head popping off his shoulders), and it is implied that they have slept in the same bed.
* Every woman in Sunnydale — In the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Xander was dumped by Cordelia for the first time, and asked Amy Madison to perform a magic spell to make Cordelia fall madly in love with him just so he could break up with her and hurt her. The spell backfired and made every woman (the vampiress Drusilla included) in Sunnydale "except" Cordelia fall in love with the "irresistible" Xander Harris; as a result, Xander was nearly killed by an army of demented women intent on killing Xander if they couldn't have him for themselves.
* Cordelia Chase — Cordelia and Xander met as children and were antagonistic from the beginning of the series, making their romantic relationship in high school all the more startling. They faced several obstacles, including peer pressure from Cordelia's fashionable clique (she was ostracized from her social circle), Cordelia's self-involved and insensitive manner, and Xander's unresolved attraction to Willow, Buffy, and Faith. When Cordelia discovers Xander and Willow kissing in the basement of an abandoned factory (where they are being held prisoner), she ends their relationship for good. By the end of Season Three, they have settled into a hesitant friendship (for example, Xander buys her a prom dress after he discovers that her family has lost its wealth). After graduation, their lives take different paths; he remains in Sunnydale and fights evil with Buffy, and she moves to Los Angeles to become an actress (see "Angel"), later helping to "help the hopeless" with Angel.
* Faith Lehane — Some weeks after his relationship with Cordelia imploded, Xander found himself helping Faith fight a demon one night in the episode "The Zeppo". After the battle, an adrenaline-fueled Faith took Xander back to her apartment and had sex with him; this was Xander's first sexual encounter. Weeks later, after Faith had gone rogue and killed a man, Xander confronted her about her actions. Faith started to rape Xander and tried to strangle him before being hit in the head with a baseball bat by Angel. Faith mentions that she never wanted a relationship like Xander thought that she did, and was merely with him for the sex. During Season Seven of "Buffy", when some Potential Slayers complain about Anya mentioning her sex-life with Xander, Faith tells them that whenever she hears Anya talking about sex, she reminds Anya that she was Xander's first, which makes Anya shut up.
* Anya Jenkins — Xander's romance with Anya was his most enduring romantic relationship, despite Anya's demon past and disregard for social conventions. The two fell deeply in love, nearly marrying, and retained strong feelings for each other. The two officially remained broken up, but once Xander lost his eye, Anya began to care for him more. The two became swept up in the moment when overhearing Willow and Kennedy, and Principal Wood and Faith respectively having sex. Before going into the final battle, Anya and Xander wish each other luck. Anya fights alongside Andrew, but she is killed by a Bringer. As the school is crumbling, Xander frantically calls out Anya's name, but doesn't notice her body lying among the rubble. When Xander asks Andrew what happened to Anya, he is told that she died protecting him, to which Xander replies "That's my girl, always doing the stupid thing."
* Renée — Renée is a young Slayer who has a crush on Xander. She appears in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight" comic. Immediately before the attack by Amy's army of the undead, she and another Slayer discuss Renée's feelings for Xander, which she denies. Later, she and Xander joke with each other and he comforts her about feeling like she was doing a poor job as a Slayer. In issue #12, Xander - after some prompting - finally asks Renée on a date, which she accepts. In issue #14, while Xander is rationalizing that their upcoming offensive against the Japanese vampires is a good first date to get out of the way, Renée disagrees with him, then kisses him. Later that evening, Buffy leads them all into a trap and Renée is violently killed by the vampire Toru, impaled on the scythe they'd been attempting to retrieve, her blood splattered across Xander's face, in a manner similar to Willow when Tara died and Wesley when Fred died.

Appearances

Canonical appearances

Xander has made 159 canonical Buffyverse appearances.;"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" : Xander was a series regular for all seven seasons, but was absent from Season Seven's "Conversations with Dead People". He appeared in 143 episodes in total.

;"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic" : Xander has appeared in 15 issues so far.
*The Long Way Home, Parts 1-4
*No Future For You, Part 1 and 4
*Anywhere but Here
*A Beautiful Sunset
*Wolves at the Gate, Parts 1-4
*Time of Your Life, Parts 1, 2 and 3

Other stories featuring Xander which are considered canonical include "Antique" from the 2004 comic mini-series "Tales of the Vampires".

Non-canonical appearances

Xander has also appeared in "Buffy" expanded universe material. He appears in most of the "Buffy" comics and novels, and is a playable character in the 2003 video game "".

References

External links

* [http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/Xander_Harris Xander Harris at Buffyverse Wiki]
* [http://www.buffywiki.org/wiki/Xander_Harris Xander Harris at Buffy Wiki]
* [http://www.buffyquotes.co.uk/xander/ A collection of quotes by Xander]
* [http://btvswritersguild.dymphna.net/characters/xander.html The BtVS Writers' Guild] - Main character page for The BtVS Writers' Guild featuring Xander's various incarnations and relationships. Each page features character profiles, essays on the character and writing, as well as fan fiction and links.
* [http://vrya.net/bdb/character.php?char=3 Buffyverse Dialogue DB:: Xander] - Character profile for Xander Harris including his main story arcs and a detailed list of episodes and script lines.


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