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Buffyverse Wiki
Note: This article is about the mother to Buffy and Dawn. For other uses, see Joyce.

You get the hell away from my daughter!
―Joyce Summers[src]

Joyce Summers was the mother of Buffy[4] and Dawn Summers[5] and an art gallery manager.[4]


Early life[]

Joyce was born in 1958[1] and had one sister, Arlene, who would later live in Illinois along with her own family.[6] Her niece, Celia, whom Buffy was very close to, died at a young age.[7]

In high school, Joyce had a Gidget haircut and was on the yearbook staff. Joyce met Hank Summers at the prom during her freshman year of college. Joyce did not have a date, but Hank did.[8] The two married and had one daughter, Buffy Summers, who they raised in Los Angeles.[9]


Joyce confronting Buffy after her first slay.

By 1996, Buffy was called as the Slayer and, despite her reservations, accepted her role as such.[9] Her secret identity clashed with Buffy's home life as Hank and Joyce's relationship eventually deteriorated. Their arguments included those about Buffy when she came home after her first slay.[10]

Hank and Joyce placed Buffy in an asylum after she was expelled for burning down the Hemery High School gym[11] in her battle against the vampire Lothos.[12] Neither Hank nor Joyce believed that Buffy was a vampire Slayer and, to appease them both and leave the asylum, Buffy hid her identity from both.[11]


Mother to the Slayer[]

When did you die? You never told me you died!
Images (32)

Joyce seeing Buffy off to school on her first day at Sunnydale High School.

After Hank and Joyce's divorce, Joyce gained custody of Buffy[13] and made the choice to move to Sunnydale, where she managed an art gallery.[4] Buffy made efforts to please her mother, while simultaneously balancing her secret life as the Slayer,[14] often which Joyce interpreted as teenage rebellion.[15] While protecting and always ready to offer guidance, Joyce could also be strict with Buffy, situationally grounding her and being disappointed in academic failure.[14][15] She also became a maternal presence in the lives of Buffy's friends, Willow and Xander.[16][7]

For Buffy's prom, Joyce bought Buffy with a white prom dress she noticed Buffy had her eye on, and recounted the story of how she met her father, unknowingly encouraging her to fight fate and the Master.[8]

When vampires attacked Sunnydale High School on Parent-Teacher Night, Joyce protected her daughter by attacking Spike with an axe after others fled the school. She was concerned about Buffy's poor academic performance, but she was proud to discover that Buffy was a strong leader who took care of herself.[14]

Joyce was disturbed when Angel revealed to be a stalker after losing his soul. She was even more upset when she learned that Buffy had lost her virginity to him. Joyce became increasingly frustrated with the distance between herself and her daughter.[17] When police officers visited the house and informed her that Buffy was a murder suspect, Joyce feared the worst. She met Buffy, who was accompanied by Spike, outside their house. Buffy initially tried to convince her mom that she and Spike were in a band, but when the three were attacked by a vampire, Buffy was forced to stake him and once again told Joyce she was a vampire slayer.[10]

After making a deal with Spike, Buffy then explained the situation to Joyce, who attempted to rationalize the situation and simply call the police on Angel. Frustrated and running out of time, Buffy forced Joyce to understand it was her duty to stop Angel. Joyce reacted badly to Buffy's callousness of the situation, demanding more time for her to explain. In a heated argument, Joyce warned Buffy to not return if she left. Grieving from the loss of Angel, Buffy took her word and departed Sunnydale for Los Angeles, leaving behind a letter for her.[10]

Moo Joyce President

Joyce founds MOO.

While Buffy was gone, Joyce worked with Rupert Giles and the Scooby Gang to locate her. She developed a close friendship with Pat, a woman from her book club who was later killed by zombies. Joyce was relieved when Buffy returned and wanted things to go back to normal.[18] She tried to support Buffy's extracurricular activities while also encouraging her to think about her future. After accompanying Buffy on patrol, Joyce fell under a demon's spell, which drove her to lead Sunnydale on a witch hunt. She and others attempted to burn Buffy, Willow, and Amy Madison at the stake and was later horrified at her actions.[19]

Spike stopped by the Summers' home when he returned to Sunnydale where Joyce lent a sympathetic ear as he related the details of his recent break-up.[20]

For Buffy's Tento di Cruciamentum, a rite of passage practiced by the Watchers Council to test the Slayer, they pitted her against Zachary Kralik, a psychotic vampire who, in life, had been a serial killer who tortured and murdered young women. However, he escaped captivity and abducted Joyce, taking her to Sunnydale Arms so Buffy would come to him to fight. With this, her Watcher Giles finally revealed to Buffy about the test with the intention of canceling it, and Buffy, even powerless, was able to save her mother and defeat the vampire.[21]

Mother to the Key[]

No matter what she is, she still feels like my daughter. I have to know that you'll take care of her. That you'll keep her safe. That you'll love her like I love you.

In 2000, the ancient Order of Dagon decided that Buffy as the Slayer was the only warrior strong enough to protect a mystical energy known as the Key. In a ritual, they manage to grant the Key a new form as Joyce's second daughter, Dawn Summers. History and memory was rewritten, as to maintain the illusion that Dawn had always existed in Joyce' life.[22]

Later on, Joyce's health deteriorated and she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.[23] Pressure from the tumor interfered with her mind and she temporarily lost mental clarity. At that time, Joyce recognized Dawn's anomalous nature and confirmed with Buffy that Dawn was not her daughter by birth. Despite the revelation, she loved and accepted Dawn as a member of the family and urged Buffy to do everything in her power to protect Dawn.[24]

Joyce's health improved after successful surgery, although her life was soon in danger again. Glorificus, a hell-goddess, sought Dawn in order to return to her home hell dimension. Although Glory did not realize that the Key was, in fact, Dawn in another form, she knew that Buffy protected it. She threatened Buffy's family, which forced Joyce and Dawn to temporarily stay with Spike for protection. She continued her friendly relationship with Spike and they watched the soap opera Passions together.[25]

Joyce met a publisher named Brian who took her out for dinner and a movie. They had one date that went well, and he left her flowers the next day. Soon, Joyce suddenly died from a brain aneurysm.[2]


First evil joyce

The First Evil takes on Joyce's form to appear before Dawn.

Dawn, devastated by Joyce's death and feeling abandoned by Buffy, who was picking up greater responsibilities and trying to avoid emotional breakdown, resorted to necromancy, despite Willow and Tara Maclay's warnings. With help from Spike and Doc, she performed a resurrection spell for Joyce. However, Dawn realized the inherent dangers of what she has done and that her mother may return as a zombie and broke the spell before Buffy could open the door and allow her in. Ultimately they decide to let Joyce rest in peace.[26]

After her own resurrection, Buffy was poisoned by a Glarghk Guhl Kashmas'nik demon, which caused her to have visions of a version of herself incarcerated in a Los Angeles mental institution, and nearly became convinced she wasn't a Slayer. Joyce appeared, still married to Hank, and attempted to convince her daughter to get over her apparent insanity. However, her message of strength ultimately led Buffy to fight against the poison and return to save her friends in Sunnydale.[11] 

The First Evil also took her form to contact Dawn and tried to drive a wedge between the Summers sisters.[27]

Years later, when cornered by the Scoobies, D'Hoffryn offered to grant them all one wish if they let him go; in Buffy and Dawn's case, he offered to resurrect Joyce and make her healthy again. While they were tempted, they ultimately refused, knowing there would always be a catch.[28]

In the quiet year between the Supernatural Crisis Act and the Reckoning, Xander and Dawn had a baby daughter named after Joyce.[29]


Joyce was a stereotypical Californian mother, distant and reliant on "pop psychology" techniques in raising her daughter, but well-meaning, such as listening to tapes that taught her to be used to say no.[30] In stark contrast to Willow's absent-minded parents[19] and Xander's angry parents,[31] Joyce was a positive presence, acting as a mother and friend to all the gang.[7][32] Due to the frequent danger encountered by her daughter, Joyce at times was in the cross hairs of supernatural threats, but was able to hold her own, such as when she struck Spike with a fire axe to defend Buffy[14] and defended her home against zombies.[18]

Similar to Buffy, Joyce came to deeply dislike Principal Snyder.[18][33] She also used sarcasm in the face of danger, such as when she held her own against Faith when the rogue Slayer held her hostage, sneering: "Are you planning on slitting my throat any time soon?" in the middle of Faith's monologue.[34]

Joyce was a fan of the soap opera Passions (which she watched with Spike),[25] the movie Thelma and Louise,[16] and art (particularly African art).[18] She was also a competent seamstress.[35] She admired the actor Burt Reynolds, the singer Juice Newton, and the band Seals and Crofts.[36] She was a member of a book club[18][22] and learned to cook Mexican food.[18]

Joyce hated potlucks, which she gave as a reason for not wanting a wake, and Jell-O, which, she confessed while in the hospital, gave her "the heebie-jeebies."[24] She often cared more about others than herself, being more concerned about Riley Finn than her medical condition.[37] She had a friendly and motherly relationship with Spike,[10][20][38] who claimed she was the only one he could stand.[26]

When Joyce reverted to her teenage years under the effects of the cursed candy Milkbar, she demonstrated an attraction toward mysterious bad boys like Ripper.[36]



  • Hank Summers — Joyce and Hank's relationship ended around the time Buffy began slaying, due to disagreements about raising her and his affair with his secretary. After the divorce, Hank was allowed to spend weekends with his daughters where he and Joyce retained mutual respect for each other when unpacking her suitcases.[39]
  • Ted Buchanan — Joyce began dating the seemingly perfect software salesmen Ted after he revamped her computer system at the gallery. Although he gained the trust of her mother and her friends, Buffy became suspicious of Ted who threatened her over cheating at mini-golf. Joyce, drugged by Ted's cookies, dismissed Buffy's claim and was rendered passively uncertain about what to do after Buffy seemingly killed him. After an encounter with the reawakened Ted and what the police discovered in Ted's house along with what he did to his other wives, Joyce became apprehensive, still believing he would still jump out at her while not knowing his true nature as a robot. Since she was cautious of her daughter's Slayer status, Joyce had presumably learned his real nature at some point.[16]
  • Alexander Harris — Along with the entire female population, Joyce fell under Xander's love spell and attempted to seduce him at the Summers' home, even employing a kitchen knife to break the door that kept her away from him.[40] Xander also once dreamed of Joyce wearing a red silk nightgown inviting him to her bedroom.[32]
Band Candy Giles Joyce 02

Giles and Joyce.

  • Rupert Giles — Joyce shared a temporary fling with Giles under the influence of the Milkbar, when they reverted to their teenage selves. Both regretted it when returning to adulthood.[36] She apparently likened his sexual performance to a stevedore when Buffy read her mind,[41] having sex twice on a police car.[42]
  • Dracula — Joyce met Dracula when he came to Sunnydale in 2000, going out on a date for coffee together. She invited him back to her house, presumably while under his thrall.[5]
  • Brian — Before her death, she met a publisher named Brian who took her out for dinner and a movie. They had one date that went well, leading Joyce to tease Buffy by jokingly claiming to have left her bra at his car, then further tormenting her by saying it was actually left at the restaurant and then a dessert cart.[2]


  • Buffy Summers — Joyce's relationship with her eldest daughter was fairly distant before learning that she was the Slayer.[13][15] The two slowly became closer over time, as Joyce became a single mother to Buffy. Most of their disagreements came from Joyce's early beliefs that Buffy was troubled.[15] She disapproved of some of her choices and activities, such as joining the cheerleading squad,[13] dating Angel,[43] and being a Slayer, a concept she struggled to understand and led to Buffy's departure to L.A.[10] Sometime after Buffy's return to Sunnydale, Joyce became more supportive and more involved in her life, respecting her Slayer status, but encouraging her to find her own path in life independent of Slaying.[44]
No Place Like Home Joyce Buffy Dawn

Joyce, Buffy, and Dawn.

  • Dawn Summers — Being her youngest, Joyce tended to baby Dawn, nicknaming Dawn as her "little pumpkin belly"[22] and being over-protective of her, often putting the responsibility on Buffy, to her distress.[45] As Buffy was in college, Dawn and Joyce often spent a lot of time together, which at some points made Buffy left out.[22] Even after finding out Dawn wasn't actually her daughter, Joyce's love never wavered and insisted Buffy look after Dawn in case anything happened to her.[24]
  • Faith Lehane — Faith thought highly of Joyce because of her motherly kindness in contrast to her own mother's alcoholism and lack of care for her. Joyce, in turn, liked her positive stance on slaying as she potentially could of taken over for Buffy when she went to college.[33] Faith spent Christmas Eve at the Summers' home at Joyce's request and even brought her a present.[46] When Faith held her hostage at her house, Joyce put on a strong face and stood up to the psychotic slayer. However, after Buffy came to the rescue, Joyce still felt sorry for Faith's situation, knowing she was unhappy and wondering if she would be given help after her apparent arrest.[41]
  • Scooby Gang — Joyce provided a surrogate mother figure to Buffy's friends, happily making them Christmas dinner and showing equal concern for their problems. One example is when Willow received the call about Jennifer Calendar's death, Joyce held her as she cried over Buffy who was less affected.[17] Her death strongly affected the group, including Spike because she treated him affably, and Anya Jenkins who Joyce could stand without being offended by her strange honesty.[47]


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Behind the scenes[]



Buffy the Vampire Slayer


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