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This article is about the Scooby Gang member. For other uses, see Xander.

Seven years… Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful… All of them. And I'm the guy who fixes the windows. They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie. To be the one who isn't chosen, to live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me.
―Xander[src]

Alexander LaVelle[6] "Xander" Harris was the best friend of Slayer Buffy Summers and a founding member of the Scooby Gang.[7] Being the only one of his group of friends to not possess any supernatural abilities,[8] Xander was usually the one who saw everything beyond the supernatural.[9] Besides this, he was known to be very humorous and sarcastic, especially in the face of danger.[7]

Biography

Early life

You're a whipping boy. Raised by mongrels and set on a sacrificial stone.
―Snyder describes Xander in a dream.[src]

Xander was born to Anthony and Jessica Harris, and grew up in Sunnydale. Tony struggled with alcohol addiction and was verbally abusive toward Jessica.[10]

Xander's lifelong best friend was Willow, who secretly harbored a crush on him. The pair briefly "dated" when they were five but broke up over a stolen Barbie.[11] In kindergarten, Xander suffered an unknown humiliation involving Aquaman underpants.[12] Xander and Willow developed a mutual hatred of their snobby classmate Cordelia Chase, which led them to form the "We Hate Cordelia Club," of which Xander was the treasurer.[13]

At his sixth birthday party, Xander's parents hired a clown that chased him; this incident gave him a lifelong phobia of clowns and caused him to suffer from nightmares.[14] When Xander did not get a toy fire truck for his seventh birthday, the house next door burned down, and he believed that Willow had set the fire to let him see real fire trucks.[4] Also at the age of seven, Xander had to take a test to see if he had a learning disability. Despite being a little slow on math and spatial relations, it was assured he wasn't "challenged."[8] When he was sixteen, he attended Willow's Bat Mitzvah, where his drunken parents caused a scene.[10]

Sunnydale High

Crush on the Slayer

Xander bumps into Buffy and finds the stake that spilled from her purse.

In his sophomore year of high school, Xander met Buffy Summers on her first day at Sunnydale High School and overheard her bizarre conversation with school librarian Giles regarding demons and vampires. He and Willow discovered that Sunnydale was situated on a Hellmouth and that Buffy was the Slayer who was granted supernatural powers and destined to fight the forces of evil.[11]

When his other best friend, Jesse McNally, was kidnapped and turned into a vampire, Xander fought him and accidentally staked him when someone pushed Jesse into the stake Xander was holding. After stopping the Harvest together, Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles formed what Xander named the Scooby Gang, a small group of allies who helped the Slayer fight the forces of darkness.[15]

Xander was attracted to Buffy since he first saw her,[11] but this was put alongside when a substitute biology teacher arrived. Xander ignored Buffy's suspicions about Miss French until he was captured by the She-Mantis, a giant insect that disguised itself as a beautiful woman to seduce, mate with, and eat male virgins. Buffy rescued Xander and his attraction to her returned.[6]

Xander becomes possessed by a hyena spirit at the local zoo.

Xander's feelings took a dangerous turn when he and a gang of bullies were possessed by the spirits of hyenas through a Primal ritual. Influenced by the animal spirit, Xander sexually assaulted Buffy, bullied students, insulted Willow, and ate a live pig. Buffy and Giles found a way to remove the hyena spirits from him and the other students. Ashamed, Xander pretended to not retain any memory of his exploits under the hyena spirit's influence; only Giles was privy to the truth.[16]

Xander showed bouts of jealousy towards any man Buffy took an interest, such as her brief relationship with loner Owen Thurman and her attraction to the handsome stranger Angel.[17] His hostility towards Angel deepened when he learned that Angel was a vampire, albeit one with a soul. He encouraged Buffy to kill him since she was the Slayer, and was willing to do so when it seemed that he hurt her mother. Finding out Angel was framed, Xander still didn't trust him and was shocked to discover Buffy still liked him.[18]

Xander saves Buffy after performing CPR.

Come Prom, Xander finally admitted his feelings to Buffy, wanting her to be his date. Buffy, however, did not share the same feelings and spurned him, leaving him bitterly disappointed. He then asked Willow on the rebound but, despite her crush on him, she rejected his offer as she knew his true intentions. Saddened and depressed, Xander lay on his bed and listened to country music ("the music of pain"). However, he still made it his mission to save Buffy when he was told she went off to fight the Master, despite destiny claiming she would die. Xander forced Angel at cross point to lead the way to the Master's lair in order to find her, but the Master had already drowned her. As Angel had no breath, Xander brought Buffy back to life by performing CPR, allowing her to defeat the Master.[19]

Overcoming insecurity

In their junior year, Buffy did a provocative dance with Xander that bothered Angel, Willow, and even Xander himself, leaving him in the dance floor after asking if he'd like her to thank him for resurrecting her. Later, Buffy's new distant and emotionally crude attitude allowed vampires to kidnap Willow, and Xander threatened to kill Buffy if anything happened to his best friend. Buffy saved her friends and the Scoobies were well again.[20]

During a foreign exchange student program, he fell for Buffy's assigned partner, an awoken Inca Princess disguised as the Peruvian exchange student Ampata Gutierrez. As the mummy needed to suck the essence of others to survive, Xander refused to let her take Willow's life so they could be together, and she died. Being his second supernatural love interest, Xander noticed a pattern that would soon follow up.[21]

Xander as a commando during a Halloween curse.

On Halloween, Sunnydale fell victim to the spell that caused trick-or-treaters to take on the personalities and/or traits of their costumes. Xander was transformed into an armed and experienced soldier. When the spell was lifted, he retained his memories and knowledge of the military, giving him better fighting skills and the know-how on using certain weapons or technology.[22] This came at its handiest when Buffy needed to disassemble the Judge. With his knowledge, Xander gained access to a military barracks by blackmailing a soldier who was dressed wrongly, and obtained a rocket launcher for Buffy.[13]

While hiding in Buffy's basement from Norman Pfister, the tension between Xander and Cordelia resulted in a kiss. They tried to deny their attraction, but couldn't resist each other and thus began a secret relationship, consisting largely of making out in a closet.[23] When Willow discovered their affair, she was devastated and offended that Xander would rather be with Cordelia than her.[13] Cordelia's friends found out about the relationship as well, and Cordelia became alienated from the popular crowd, leading her to break up with Xander on Valentine's Day. Wanting revenge, Xander coerced Amy into casting a love spell on Cordelia so he could dump her and hurt her as she hurt him. The spell backfired, and Xander became irresistible to every female in Sunnydale except Cordelia. When he noticed his mistake, he took no enjoyment and rejected all the advances from Amy, Willow, and Buffy. After the spell was broken, Cordelia, realizing Xander genuinely cared for her, reunited with him in defiance of her former friends.[24]

Xander joins the swim team to try and help figure out what is happening to the players.

After the suspected deaths of the Sunnydale High swim team by fish-like beasts, Xander infiltrated the team by joining them, which required him to wear small red Speedos to the pleasure of Cordelia and Willow. He soon discovered that the swim team members were actually becoming Gill Monsters as opposed to being killed by them. Exposed by the performance-enhancing cold war drugs that initiated the change via aromatherapy, Xander feared he would become one of those monsters until he received the necessary treatments to undo the process when he and Buffy stopped Carl Marin, the swim team's coach who perpetrated the transformations.[25]

When Angel lost his soul and reverted to his evil persona, Xander felt his long-standing mistrust of the vampire had been validated, especially when he murdered Giles's girlfriend and Sunnydale High teacher Jenny Calendar.[26] Xander opposed Buffy's back-up plan for Willow to re-ensoul him if required, believing Buffy wanted to forget his actions to get her boyfriend back.[27] The attempt to re-ensoul Angel failed when his minions attacked the Scoobies, causing a fight which left Xander with a broken arm, Willow unconscious at the hospital, Giles kidnapped, and Kendra dead. He encouraged Buffy to kill Angel and did not inform her that Willow was going to attempt the restoration ritual once again. Xander rescued Giles during the ambush at the Crawford Street mansion, before Buffy sent the newly re-ensouled Angel to hell.[28]

Finding his identity

In his senior year of high school, Xander joined Willow and her new boyfriend Oz in patrolling for vampires in place of Buffy, who had left Sunnydale without a word.[29] When she returned, he voiced his disapproval of her leaving during her homecoming party, accusing her of being selfish.[30]

Xander was the first of the Scoobies to discover Angel had returned from hell and that Buffy had been secretly rehabilitating him. Resentful that Buffy still loved Angel after his rampage only a year before, Xander informed the other Scoobies of the vampire's return and convinced Faith to attempt to slay him. However, when Angel saved Willow from being killed by the corrupt ex-Watcher Gwendolyn Post, Xander begrudgingly accepted him back into the fold.[31]

In their senior year, Xander and Willow become more than friends.

Xander and Willow began to exhibit a mutual romantic interest, leading to several secret kisses despite both being in relationships.[32] While Willow tried to find a way to eliminate their urges through magic, they were kidnapped by Spike. Injured, Xander and Willow shared what they believed would be their final kiss. However, they were discovered by Cordelia and Oz, who had come to rescue them. After Cordelia suffered a near-fatal injury, Xander visited her at the hospital with flowers, but she told him to stay away from her, thus ending their relationship.[33]

Unknown to others, Xander alone stops a group of zombie delinquents.

Returning to school, Cordelia's anger, along with being mocked by her friends when she reunited with them, led to the arrival of the vengeance demon Anyanka.[34] Following their break-up, Cordelia stepped up her usual ridicule of Xander, labeling him "the Zeppo" and mocking him for being useless compared to his friends.[8]

In an attempt to prove Cordelia wrong, Xander acquired a hotted-up car, which led him to embark on an adventure with a group of zombies led by Jack O'Toole. However, when Jack and his friends tried to blow up Sunnydale High, Xander single-handedly put an end to their plan by convincing Jack to deactivate the explosives. While this happened, the other Scoobies fought to prevent the apocalypse, dismissing Xander's involvement for his safety and remaining unaware of his heroism the next day. Also, during that night, Xander lost his virginity to Faith after he aided her in a fight.[8] After this, he believed he and Faith shared a connection. As Faith wouldn't own up after murdering a human, Xander visited her in her hotel room, but she forced him into bed and nearly strangled him until Angel arrived and stopped her.[35]

Xander witnesses his school explode during graduation.

As the Senior Prom loomed, Xander was asked by Anyanka, now Anya, to be her date, as neither of them had dates; he accepted. During this time, he discovered Cordelia's family lost their wealth, home, and cars because of her father's tax evasion, and made peace with Cordelia by helping her pay for her prom dress. At his high school graduation, Xander led Sunnydale High's students against Mayor Wilkins and his vampires, acting as a commander alongside Buffy. After the school blew up and killed the Mayor, Xander expressed his happiness that high school was literally destroyed and that it was the best part of it, which was agreed upon the rest of his friends.[36]

Struggle with growing up

This is so like them lately. It's all about them and the college life. You know what college is? It's high school without the actual going to class. Well, high school was sort of like that too but the point is, I'm the one working hard to earn a living and it's a huge joke to them. 'Xander got fired from Starbucks.' 'Xander got fired from the phone sex place…'
―Xander[src]

Xander's inferiority complex and feelings of isolation increased when he chose not to enroll in UC Sunnydale like Buffy, Willow, and Oz. He set upon a cross-country trip inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road that ended when his car broke down having only gone as far as Oxnard. Needing to pay for repairs, he was forced to take a job as a dishwasher at Ladies Night club for a month and a half, where no one ever spoke to him until one night when one of the male strippers called in sick, though he claimed "no power on this earth would make me tell you the rest of that story." He then traded his car for one that wasn't "entirely made out of rust." In his entire trip outside of Sunnydale, the only aspect of knowledge gaining he accomplished was watching the film Grand Canyon, which he found lame. Returning to Sunnydale, he moved into his parents' basement, where he had to pay rent. He arrived several days before his friend's first day at college without calling them, as he didn't want to help them move. [37]

While sick and riddled with various diseases, Xander accepts Anya as his girlfriend.

Reuniting with Buffy, Xander continued to help the gang fight demons, and also hung out with them on campus. He took a series of odd jobs, such as a food vendor, a phone-sex operator, and a deliveryman. One of his most notable jobs included being a bartender at the college bar, using a fake ID. He served a brand of beer called Black Frost that, unknown to him, was cursed by the bar owner to turn the patrons, including Buffy, into savage cavemen, likely leading to the end of that job.[38] He also worked at a construction site, building a new Cultural Center that led him to be briefly contracted with mystical syphilis, malaria, and smallpox after he was attacked by the Hus.[39]

Xander was approached by Anya, who still had feelings for him. After very little persuasion, he had sex with her[40], and they began dating.[41] Initially, his interest in Anya was purely sexual, but as time went on, he developed genuine feelings for her. Xander's problems multiplied when he was forced to shelter Spike for a short time while the Scoobies were hiding from the Initiative.[42]

Throughout the year, Xander had to deal with the fact that his friends were going places in their lives while he struggled to see himself as a grown-up. These feelings were used against him when Spike, recruited by Adam, manipulated Buffy, Willow, Giles, and Xander into separating. Spike made Xander feel he was useless in the gang and that his friends talked about sending him to the army,[43] so Xander fled to the basement where he lay down in his bed in the nude. It wasn't until Anya came and made him feel important. He then rejoined his friends in their plan to defeat Adam. Walking through the Initiative compound, Xander helped Buffy clear through the rioting demons with the help of an Initiative taser blaster. He then joined them in performing the Enjoining spell, binding their essences; Xander provided the "heart" in the team so they could defeat Adam.[44]

Xander helps to fight through the Initiative underground.

Later, when the four had a movie night at Buffy's house, Xander brought Apocalypse Now, but they all fell asleep before it even began. Sineya, the First Slayer, attacked them in their dreams, angry that Buffy worked with others to fight evil. In Xander's dream, he abstractly dealt with aspects with his life, such as his inner primal desires, insecurity around others, loyalty to Buffy, relationship with Anya, crummy upbringing, and journey in life.[45]

Maturation

You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt-monkey!
―Xander decides to take control of his directionless life.[src]

Xander declares the end of his reputation as a "butt monkey" once and for all.

When Dracula came to Sunnydale in search of the Slayer, he hypnotized Xander into becoming his willing manservant. Xander became a bumbling, spider-eating Renfield that escorted an entranced Buffy to Dracula as he was promised he would become a vampire. He tried to prevent the intervention of Buffy's boyfriend Riley Finn, but was easily subdued. After Buffy defeated Dracula, Xander, free from the vampire's thrall, expressed his anger, not only at Dracula but generally how he was the "butt monkey," and declared he would be no more.[46] Despite what Dracula did to Xander, the pair apparently remained in touch through letters following Dracula's departure.[47]

After Xander watches his replacement, he realizes he can also change and becomes a little more confident.

Xander decided to move out of his parent's basement and try for an apartment, but he failed to impress the building manager with his inability to pay for it and his physical appearance, disappointing Anya, who wanted him to buy it. When the demon Toth came in search of the Slayer and attack her with the Ferula Gemini, Xander took the blast for her and was split into two separate beings, one displaying his strengths while carrying a flattened nickel and one displaying his weaknesses. His stronger half excelled, dressing more presentable and getting a promotion at his construction job, which allowed him to lease the apartment. The weaker half believed the other half was evil, using the nickel to mesmerize people into trusting him. While the stronger Xander was with Anya, the weaker Xander tried to kill him with Anya's revolver. After Toth was killed, the Xanders found out about their true nature. Xander was merged back into one being, and he discovered the real reason why one of them was so ambitious and fortunate was that it was his true potential. However, as Riley helped Xander move out of the basement, he confided in Xander that he knew Buffy didn't love him.[4]

Xander kept Riley's words a secret until he confronted Buffy, who was left with an ultimatum after she discovered Riley was secretly paying vampires to bite him for the rush. Riley told Buffy that he would be leaving her to rejoin the military. After Buffy killed Riley's vampire client, Xander came and told her that it was because she largely treated Riley as a rebound from Angel and asked her if she really wanted a serious relationship. Because of Buffy's experience, Xander told Anya that he fully appreciated their relationship and how she made him feel like an adult.[48]

In Giles' absence, Xander became the center of a conflict between Anya and Willow, who had disagreements about running the Magic Box. Anya was suspicious of Willow's feelings for Xander, while Willow was irritated by Anya's personality. This led to them accidentally summoning Anya's ex-boyfriend Olaf, who rampaged through Sunnydale. Xander tried to rescue the girls, but the troll easily overpowered him and forced Xander to choose between them. Xander couldn't, and Buffy defeated Olaf, who was taken out of this dimension.[49]

Xander and Anya look at Buffy's body after she sacrificed herself.

Shortly before going into battle with the hell-goddess Glory, Xander asked Anya to marry him should they survive, and she accepted. During the battle, Xander acted as one of the many pillars to weaken Glory. As Buffy temporarily lost Olaf's hammer, Xander used his skills as the "glorified bricklayer" against Glory, operating a wrecking ball to keep her off her feet. Even though Glory was defeated, the portal to her dimension was opened via the blood of Buffy's sister Dawn. When strings of lightning sparked caused a load of wreckage to fall onto Xander, he was saved by Anya, who pushed him out of the way and took the damage. Xander later carried an injured yet alive Anya as he and the rest of the Scoobies found Buffy's dead body after she sacrificed herself to close the portal.[50]

Unready engagement

For months after Buffy's death, Xander aided Willow, Tara, and the Buffybot in looking after Dawn in her sister's absence. He some doubts about his future with Anya and didn't want her to announce their engagement during such a time when they were recovering from their loss. He hesitantly joined in Willow's spell to resurrect Buffy despite his deep misgivings about it.[51]

Xander and Anya announce their engagement.

As the spell was successful, Xander tried to help Buffy find a job by letting her try her hand at his construction site, making use of her superhuman strength. However, that only caused trouble for him when Buffy was attacked by a bunch of demons summoned by the Trio.[52] Xander eventually announced his and Anya's engagement during Halloween after seeing that everyone was happy after a strenuous day working at the Magic Box, deciding to do so while watching Anya's "dance of capitalist superiority."[53]

Hoping for a happy ending, Xander summoned the demon Sweet to turn Sunnydale into a living musical, which went horribly wrong when people started bursting into flames as well as singing their feelings out. He and Anya expressed their love and excitement over their upcoming marriage while also revealing each other's flaws. Buffy also revealed that, while dead, she was actually in what she believed was heaven, and her return to life was hell by contrast.[54] Buffy then began a secret affair with Spike, which Xander failed to notice despite some heavy indication when she was briefly turned invisible, having nearly caught them in the act during that period.[55]

Xander decides he doesn't want to repeat his parents' marriage and leaves Anya at the altar.

Xander and Anya showed both excitement and frustration on their upcoming wedding, as they learned to waltz while arguing about preparations, which they resolved after being given advice from Riley and his new wife Sam. They concluded that they feared their wedding, not their marriage.[56] However, Xander's fears over marrying Anya were made worse during their wedding by a visit from a man, who claimed to be his future self, showing him a bitter future trapped in a marriage similar to that of his parents. In reality, this man was Stewart Burns, who had been turned into a demon by Anya and was seeking vengeance on her. Although the vision was revealed to be false, Xander became more conscious of the doubts and fears he was already having, while his drunken father insulted his mother and Anya's demonic "family." To avoid hurting Anya, Xander called off the wedding, leaving Anya at the altar.[10]

Xander attempted to fix things with Anya as he still loved her. However, Anya returned to the vengeance fold and tried to have Xander's friends make wishes against him. Failing to do so, she got drunk with Spike and subsequently had sex with him. Discovering them in the act, Xander attempted to kill Spike, but abandoned those plans out of disgust when he discovered that Buffy and Spike had been sleeping together behind their backs for quite some time.[57] When Spike attempted to rape Buffy, Xander was infuriated and later realized Buffy had not told them about her relationship with Spike because she knew that Xander would react as he had. After a peaceful conversation, Xander made amends with Buffy.[58]

Xander saves the world by stopping Willow with the power of love.

Meanwhile, Tara was fatally shot by Warren Mears, who was trying to kill Buffy. Xander blamed himself for both that and Willow's subsequent turn to the dark side; he had seen Warren's gun before he raised it and was merely frozen with fear. Xander supported Willow's intentions to kill Warren in revenge until she actually did so.[59]
When Willow attempted to destroy the world, Xander confronted her. Even as Willow attacked him, Xander simply refused to leave her and professed his love for her, which managed to return her to her senses and restore her humanity.[60]

The one who sees

They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie. To be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because...nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.
―Xander[src]

Xander shows Buffy the blueprints of the new Sunnydale High School.

Xander looked after Dawn along with Buffy while Willow was away in England for rehabilitation with Giles. He continued a steady career in construction, where he was one of the workers who built the new Sunnydale High. This allowed him access to a map of the restored school where Dawn attended so she could avoid any supernatural occurrences, though this did not stop Dawn from encountering a group of evil manifestations on her first day. Xander defeated these beings by destroying their talisman.[61]

As the remaining Scoobies came into contact with a still-demonic Anya, Xander struggled with his feelings for her. He protested Buffy's resolve to kill Anya after she had a group of frat boys killed, believing there was still a chance to redeem her, even though Anya didn't believe it herself. He warned Anya of Buffy's intentions, but Anya nevertheless fought back until her boss D'Hoffryn intervened, having been summoned by a recovering Willow. In order to revive the frat boys, Anya was stripped of her powers once more, and she and Xander finally broke up for good, despite admitting they still loved each other.[62]

Xander helps Dawn understand their part in all this, as well as his admiration toward her.

Xander played an active role during Buffy's conflict against the First Evil and its attempt to end the Slayer line by murdering all the Potential Slayers in Buffy's protection. It was his job in construction that provided Buffy an arena to fight the near-invincible Turok-Han in order to provide an example for the Potentials. When Dawn mistakenly believed herself to be a Potential Slayer, Xander empathized with her disappointment at not being the one in the spotlight, while also praising her initiative when she encouraged the actual Potential, Amanda, to follow her destiny.[9]

Xander had his left eye gouged out by the evil preacher Caleb, and he began wearing an eye patch.[63] Despite his insistence on fighting side-by-side with Buffy, he was asked by Buffy to drive himself and Dawn out of Sunnydale, as the two of them were the most vulnerable. He had to have Dawn chloroformed as she couldn't be negotiated with, but ended up being tasered unconscious and driven back to the Summers' home by Dawn herself.[64]

In the final battle against the First, Xander fought alongside Dawn while Anya was killed by one of the Harbingers of Death, and her body remained in Sunnydale High's ruins as the empty town was swallowed by the earth. When Andrew Wells comforted Xander by saying that Anya had died saving his life, Xander replied: "That's my girl. Always doing the stupid thing."[64]

Watcher

Xander as Dracula's manservant.

Following Sunnydale's destruction, Xander took a "leave of absence" from the Scooby Gang to mourn Anya's death.[47] He spent some time in Africa[65] and eventually reunited with Dracula. Falling under his thrall again, Xander resumed his old position as the vampire's loyal manservant, living with him in his Transylvanian castle for several months, during which the pair provided each other company and Xander taught Dracula how to ride a motorcycle. Buffy eventually tracked her friend down and showed up at Dracula's castle with two other Slayers in a bid to rescue him, but the brainwashed Xander remained loyal to his "master" and tried to fight them off. Dracula admitted that Xander belonged with his friends and, after an emotional farewell, released him.[66]

Xander returned to the Scooby Gang, which had expanded into a worldwide organization, and took on a Watcher-like role, leading various Slayer squads from the central command base in Scotland via computer screens and earpieces.[67] He became a confidante to Dawn after she was turned into a giant by her Thricewise ex-boyfriend Kenny; she admitted to only Xander that Kenny cursed her because she slept with his roommate Nick.[68] Xander also began a flirtatious relationship with a Slayer named Renee,[67] eventually asking her out on a date.[69]

Xander leads the Slayer Organizations beside Buffy.

When the Scoobies came under attack from Japanese vampires with unusual powers, Xander reluctantly recruited his former master Dracula to help bring them down.[69] In Tokyo, the Slayers confronted the vampires, and Renee was killed by Toru.[70] Dracula protected a grief-stricken Xander during the battle and fought Toru, but handed the killing blow over to Xander, who beheaded him. Afterward, Xander scattered Renee's ashes and told Dracula that he would no longer be the vampire's manservant.[71]

When Dawn was turned into a centaur, Xander assured her she looked "awesome" and even rode her to safety when their base came under attack from the Twilight Group. When she was finally released from her transformation curse, she and Xander realized they had developed romantic feelings for one another, and they began a relationship in private. This relationship was eventually discovered by a devastated Buffy, who admitted that she too was now attracted to Xander.[72] Buffy tried to explain her feelings to Xander, but he gently dismissed them as her need for connection and informed her that he was in love with her sister.[73]

Xander and Dawn get closer while caught up in a war.

When Twilight threatened the entire universe, Xander suggested to Dawn that, if they survived, they get an apartment together and live a normal life.[74] When Dawn was injured by a demon inside the crater that was once Sunnydale, Xander carried her to safety and accepted medical help from their enemy, the General. The General observed that Xander and Dawn were ordinary people caught up in a magical war that wasn't theirs, leading Xander to believe they wouldn't survive.[75] Xander witnessed Giles die and Buffy defeat Twilight by smashing the Seed of Wonder, which also severed Earth's connection to magic.[76]

As a dazed Angel woke from his possession by Twilight, ignorant of his killing of Giles, Xander punched him multiple times. He wielded one of the remaining pieces of the Scythe to stake him. Buffy, however, stopped him, telling him she didn't want to lose anyone else, especially Xander himself by crossing a line, so he backed down. Overcome by loss and despair, they gazed at Giles' body.[77]

World without magic

Xander and Dawn live together in San Francisco.

With magic cut off from the world, the Slayer Organization disbanded, and the Scoobies returned to relatively normal lives. As they had planned, Xander and Dawn moved into an apartment together in San Francisco, with Xander resuming his career in construction. As time passed by, Xander struggled with his retirement into normalcy for the most part. He helped Buffy, who was caught by the cops[78], and briefly came out of retirement to help Robert Dowling against the zompire version of his partner Miranda Cheung, giving the policeman advice by referring to the first vampire he staked, his friend Jesse.[79] Xander spent time with Buffy at his house, rekindling their friendship that was previously somewhat distant during most of the year. He had even playfully, along with Dawn, teased her about Dowling and over whether or not she liked him.[80]

While living in San Francisco, Dawn grows very ill.

However, this moment of peace and enjoyment was soon broken when Dawn's health deteriorated, much to Xander's distress. When Dawn suddenly passed out, Xander transported her to the hospital for treatment. Much to his confusion, the doctor claimed she fell into a coma, but he could see nothing wrong with her at all. It was soon discovered that the end of magic was causing Dawn's essence to fade away because of her former status as the Key.[citation needed] When Buffy tried to comfort him, Xander, fed up with everything, let out all of his resentment and anger towards her, blaming Buffy for Dawn's condition. Unwilling to hear Buffy's excuses or explanations, he stormed out.[77]

Xander reflected on how all he had done was "watch" the people he loved constantly die in front of him, never being able to do anything to help. He struggled with his sense of helplessness as he saw Dawn fading out of a photograph he was carrying, remembering he had stayed out of supernatural affairs to keep her safe. He was suddenly brought before Severin and Simone Doffler, who expressed an awareness of Dawn's condition. Severin manipulated Xander into helping him and Simone, and Xander, in a moment of weakness, asked him what it was he had to do. Severin explained all he needed him to do was steal the Vampyr book. Despite his uncertainty and reluctance to betray Buffy, Xander was heavily tempted by the prospect of reversing Twilight and saving Dawn's life. Having reached his limit in the constant level of uselessness he had been feeling for years, he decided to side with Simone and Severin, and ultimately betray Buffy's trust as a result.[77]

Having had Simone beat him up to make it seem like he rejected their proposition, Xander was teleported on the street where Buffy happened to be. Despite his intentions, he had told her the truth about what they had wanted with him, even acting annoyed when she assumed he would betray her to stop Twilight from happening. Xander continued to feed Buffy information about Severin and their interest in the Vampyr book. Eventually, when Willow managed to make Dawn conscious and they formed a plan to go to the Deeper Well in England to charge her up, he had been persistent in going. Dawn begged him to stay with her and that they didn't need his help, but Xander explained only he could save her.[81]

Xander betrays Buffy until they join the battle in the Deeper Well.

Xander informed Severin and Simone of the Scoobies' plans as they reached the Deeper Well. Along with Buffy and Willow, Xander stood up against the Magic Council.[81] While Buffy and Willow fought against the Council's demons, Xander remained on the sidelines, texting Simone and Severin information. Unable to watch his friends run blindly in an unnecessary battle, he spilled everything he had done and his intentions to reverse Twilight and save Dawn. Buffy was the most affected by his betrayal. Everyone reaching a unanimous vote that it was Xander's fault, the group steeled themselves to stop Severin since what he was doing would create tears in the reality and end the world.[82]

While Buffy and Willow journeyed deeper into the Well, Xander was left on the sidelines since his friends no longer trusted him. Just then, he received a phone call from Spike, who informed him that Simone's secret plan all along was to form an army of what Xander called "slaypires." Spike also told him of Dawn's form starting to disappear as well as his own memories of her beginning to go, so Xander ordered the vampire to put her on the phone. Dawn expressed her confusion and fear of her condition, while Xander tried to comfort her and told her that whatever happened, she would always be in his heart.[83]

Armed with Spike's information, Xander sought to find Buffy. They both came across Simone's dead body near the coffin of an Old One. Xander told her of Simone's plan; while Buffy still regarded him with hostility, she believed him. Buffy then moved to behead Simone, but the zompire suddenly woke up and attacked them.[83] As Buffy's fight with Simone raged on, Xander grew increasingly impatient and tried to attack her many times. He was especially angry when Simone told him she never intended to help him with Dawn.[84]

Personality

Sorry. Joking in the face of death. I do that.
―Xander[src]

Xander, the cheeky teenager.

Xander's most notable character trait was his sarcastic, flippant attitude and sardonic views on life. He often joked in serious situations or when someone made what was intended to be a dramatic statement which was usually unnecessary. He frequently quipped about school, his family, and his romantic life; in the case of the former two, this appeared to be a cover of his dislike for both.[citation needed] He was scared of failing his friends as well as not making something of himself, as indicated by his dreams when he continually returned to his basement.[45]

Xander's feelings of being a failure in the eyes of his loved ones and never being able to help them enough increased throughout the years. While Dawn was on her way to her complete disappearance, he bitterly reflected that all he had ever done was "watch." He had never been able to truly save his friends when it really mattered, causing a deep-rooted self-loathing and inferiority complex. This escalated to the point that he betrayed Buffy by teaming up with Severin to undo Twilight, unable to sit back and watch anymore if there was a possibility he could do something about it.[77]

Although Xander was often laid-back and easygoing, he could overreact in certain situations and lose his temper. He also had a tendency to quip against his foes with the most ridiculous choice of words, often finding something insulting to say. He was usually comically surprised and angry during one of the rare occasions he could not think of one. He was very loyal to and protective of his friends, whom he viewed as family. When Willow was kidnapped,[20] a resentful Xander told Buffy he would kill her if Willow got hurt. After Spike attempted to rape Buffy, Xander remained openly hostile and distrustful of him, even after learning he had regained his soul. Xander had also nearly staked Angel when he had snapped Giles's neck while possessed by Twilight.[77]

He would speak his mind on issues involving his friends and be always willing to stand by and fight for them when necessary. Xander was never afraid to warn his friends if he considered something they were doing wrong, causing him to clash and argue with his friends many times, especially Buffy.[citation needed]

Despite not being supernatural, Xander became more brave and courageous, and was quite useful. Another notable trait was his tendency to hold grudges. It usually took him a very long time to let things go, especially in the case of murderers. He could be very judgmental and critical of others, even if he was no better.[citation needed]

Through the Ferula Gemina, Xander had his personality temporally split into two different beings. One possessed his more aggressive traits, such as his courage and confidence, easily getting a promotion and a large apartment, in addition to some of Xander's impetuous qualities and impatience. The other possessed Xander's more passive traits, including his sense of humor and fun, in addition to being highly insecure and paranoid, believing his double to be a demon who was hypnotizing his friends and trying to steal his life. However, both sides were protective of Anya. Shortly before Willow fused them back together, they showed the same quirks, causing Giles to proclaim him "a bad influence on himself."[4]

Xander was something of an expert on pop culture. He read X-Men comics[85], and referenced both the Human Torch and Nick Fury. He displayed the ability to read Klingon[58], and often demonstrated pop culture knowledge rivaling Andrew's.[86]

Xander was Christian[87] and had a fixation on the Chinese actress Amy Yip.[88]

Powers and abilities

You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can do about that.
―Caleb[src]

Xander never developed any permanent superpowers of his own but gained much experience from battling by Buffy's side. As Buffy explained to the Watchers Council, Xander had "clocked more field time" than all other Watchers combined.[89] His gifts of persuasion and empathy were often his most useful assets. For example, Xander saved the world from Dark Willow using only his words.[60] He also recognized that Buffy and Riley were "imploding" and forced Buffy to accept responsibility for the failed relationship.[48]

While possessed by a hyena spirit through a Primal ritual, Xander exhibited enhanced strength, 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 kept it secret from everyone except Giles.[16]

Xander was briefly transformed into a soldier under the effect of the Ritual of Janus, when he thereby acquired knowledge of military training, tactics, codes, and weapons handling techniques, enabling him to steal and use a rocket launcher to destroy the Judge,[13] and later to organize and lead a group defense against Mayor Wilkins after his Ascension to Olvikan was completed.[36] These skills slowly decayed by his own admission,[90] and he was later unable to decipher Riley's military hand-signs while on patrol.[91] While he also demonstrated knowledge of the First's hypnotic control over Spike, he claimed this was just from seeing military films and not from his "army days."[92]

Even if his long-term strategy skills deteriorated with his military expertise,[90] he retained an expert ability to think on the fly, mostly relating to talking to others in stressful situations. He managed to convince Jack to not blow up the school with nothing other than his words.[8] Xander also threatened Angel into submission, even if he didn't have the skills to back up those threats alone.[93] Additionally, Giles came to depend on his skills to talk Dark Willow down, which he did by relying on memory all the way back in kindergarten.[60]

Xander became a skilled carpenter, gaining practical job experience from repairing damage caused by various conflicts involving the Scooby Gang (most notably the windows at Buffy's house; Xander complained he was doomed to replace their windows for all eternity) and as a foreman of a construction crew.[4] Spike mockingly referred to Xander as "a glorified bricklayer."[50]

Caleb noted that Xander was "the one that sees everything,"[63] as Xander described that he saw more than anybody realized because nobody was watching him. Dawn suggested this may be his superpower.[9]

Xander used his military knowledge to lead a paramilitary group of Slayers, witches, and seers based in a Scottish castle, viewed from outside as an international "terrorist" organization. The organization which he and Buffy headed employed high-tech and magical weaponry. Xander oversaw and orchestrated the efforts of Willow, Dawn, Buffy, and his Slayers through cameras and earpieces. He again displayed a broad knowledge of warfare and military operations by instructing the Slayers in the use of various modern weapons and basic strategy.[72]

Relationships

Xander was once called a "demon magnet," as many of the women he had dated or been attracted to have turned out to be demonic or in some other way supernatural.[94] Xander was seduced by the demonic She-Mantis,[6] dated the Inca Princess mummy,[21] had a year-long relationship with Cordelia[33] (eventually part demon),[95] slept once with the Slayer Faith,[8] had a long-term relationship with the ex-vengeance demon Anya,[10] went out in a date with the demon Lissa,[86] had a brief relationship with the Slayer Renee,[69] and built a family with Dawn[96] (the human form of the Key).[97]

Gallery

Buffyverse.png The Alexander Harris article has a Photo Gallery.


Behind the scenes

  • He was portrayed by Nicholas Brendon, while Kelly Donovan occasionally appeared as his double. He was also dubbed by Daniel Taylor in Season Eight Motion Comic.
  • When Brendon was cast for the role of Xander after, according to Joss Whedon, he asked if "anybody feel like shawarma? I feel like some shawarma." Whedon has described "shawarma" as "the word that probably changed your [Brendon's] life" and used the very same quotation as Tony Stark's line in the Avengers film.[98]
  • Brendon was told by producers to stop working out because they didn't want Xander "looking too buffed."[citation needed]
  • Whedon discussed with Brendon and Sarah Michelle Gellar the idea of Buffy and Xander ending up together at the end of the final season, which the actors reportedly agreed.[99] Gellar has stated she believes Whedon's original intention was "was to put Xander and Buffy together. I really do believe that."[citation needed]
  • Whedon has likened Xander's character to himself and had this to say: "Xander, I've always identified as the figure I most was like, 'cause he did have that inability to sort of... talk to the girl and come through in the big moment. And he does make an idiot of himself a lot. Of course, he's a lot prettier and more muscular than anybody who acts like that should be but this is television, so, get over it."[100]
  • Whedon briefly described Xander in the shooting script for "Welcome to the Hellmouth": "Weaving along the road. On it is XANDER, dressed with the shaggy indifference common to skateboarders. He is bright, funny, and will one day be suave and handsome. Till that day arrives, he'll do the best he can with bright and funny." 
  • Xander was a regular in every episode of every season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the exception of "Conversations with Dead People." He is the fourth character with the most appearances in the Buffyverse (143 episodes), after Angel (166), Willow (147), and Buffy (146).
  • Along with Buffy, Willow, Giles, and Angel, he is one of only five characters to appear in both the Buffy series debut ("Welcome to the Hellmouth") and finale ("Chosen").
  • Ryan Reynolds was offered the role of Xander but passed on because he "didn't want to play a guy in high school. I had just come out of high school and it was f------ awful."[101] Sarah Michelle Gellar herself refused to believe this when she was told during a Buffy trivia test promoted by SheKnows.com in 2016.[citation needed]
  • Danny Strong auditioned for the role of Xander prior to being cast as Jonathan.[citation needed]
  • When Buffy ended, Nicholas Brendon offered to move to Angel, but Whedon didn't feel that Xander would fit well into Angel's life and Spike was shunted over to Angel instead.[citation needed]

Appearances

Canonical

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Angel

Other

  • As one of the main characters in the franchise, Xander has also appeared in the majority of Buffy expanded universe material of unknown canonicity, including comic books, novels, and video games.

References

  1. "Blood Ties"
  2. "Tabula Rasa"
  3. "Dead Man's Party"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "The Replacement"
  5. Season Eight Motion Comic
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Teacher's Pet"
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Witch"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 "The Zeppo"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Potential"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Hell's Bells"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
  12. "The Killer in Me"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "Innocence"
  14. "Nightmares"
  15. "The Harvest"
  16. 16.0 16.1 "The Pack"
  17. "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
  18. "Angel"
  19. "Prophecy Girl"
  20. 20.0 20.1 "When She Was Bad"
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Inca Mummy Girl"
  22. "Halloween"
  23. "What's My Line, Part Two"
  24. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
  25. "Go Fish"
  26. "Passion"
  27. "Becoming, Part One"
  28. "Becoming, Part Two"
  29. "Anne"
  30. "Dead Man's Party"
  31. "Revelations"
  32. "Homecoming"
  33. 33.0 33.1 "Lovers Walk"
  34. "The Wish"
  35. "Consequences"
  36. 36.0 36.1 "Graduation Day, Part Two"
  37. "The Freshman"
  38. "Beer Bad"
  39. "Pangs"
  40. "The Harsh Light of Day"
  41. "Fear, Itself"
  42. "Hush"
  43. "The Yoko Factor"
  44. "Primeval"
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Restless"
  46. "Buffy vs. Dracula"
  47. 47.0 47.1 Wolves at the Gate, Part Two
  48. 48.0 48.1 "Into the Woods"
  49. "Triangle"
  50. 50.0 50.1 "The Gift"
  51. "Bargaining, Part One"
  52. "Life Serial"
  53. "All the Way"
  54. "Once More, with Feeling"
  55. "Gone"
  56. "As You Were"
  57. "Entropy"
  58. 58.0 58.1 "Seeing Red"
  59. "Villains"
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 "Grave"
  61. "Lessons"
  62. "Selfless"
  63. 63.0 63.1 "Dirty Girls"
  64. 64.0 64.1 "Chosen"
  65. "Damage"
  66. Antique
  67. 67.0 67.1 The Long Way Home, Part One
  68. Anywhere but Here
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 Wolves at the Gate, Part One
  70. Wolves at the Gate, Part Three
  71. Wolves at the Gate, Part Four
  72. 72.0 72.1 Retreat
  73. Turbulence
  74. Last Gleaming, Part Two
  75. Last Gleaming, Part Three
  76. Last Gleaming, Part Four
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 77.3 77.4 The Watcher
  78. Freefall, Part Two
  79. Apart (of Me), Part Two
  80. Welcome to the Team, Part One
  81. 81.0 81.1 The Core, Part One
  82. The Core, Part Two
  83. 83.0 83.1 The Core, Part Three
  84. The Core, Part Four
  85. "Tough Love"
  86. 86.0 86.1 "First Date"
  87. "Bad Eggs"
  88. "The Dark Age"
  89. "Checkpoint"
  90. 90.0 90.1 "The Initiative"
  91. "Fool for Love"
  92. "Never Leave Me"
  93. "Killed by Death"
  94. "Something Blue"
  95. "Birthday"
  96. One Year Later
  97. "No Place Like Home"
  98. Jill Pantozzi, "Buffy's Xander Is Responsible For That Avengers Shawarma Scene." The Mary Sue, October 11, 2012. Retrieved on April 30, 2019.
  99. Esther Zuckerman, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Nicholas Brendon thinks Xander was underrated." The A.V. Club, March 8, 2017. Retrieved on April 30, 2019.
  100. From Joss Whedon's audio commentary of the episode "Welcome to the Hellmouth" in the DVD set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One, Disc One
  101. Philip Marchand, "No regrets for Canuck actor Ryan Reynolds." The Star, February 12, 2008. Retrieved on April 30, 2019.
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