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Fandom's View of Liam and William

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Joined: 22 Feb 2014
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:16 am    Post subject: Fandom's View of Liam and William Reply with quote

So, a bunch of comments in Ms. Gellar's AMA and on linked poll in the "Does Spuffy threaten you?" thread have caught my attention:

The general opinion of some fans on why soulless Angel is "so much worse" than soulless Spike is that Liam was a worse person than William. William loved his mother, and that love (or a twisted version of it) transferred over to Spike. Liam is cited as being, and I quote, an "amoral shithead" who was "complete scum."

Um...what? These people clearly watched a different show than I did, because Liam doesn't seem like any of those things. He's definitely immature: lazy, a skirt chaser (I wonder how many bastards he's left behind?), loves to drink, and prone to get into fights when he's drunk. But those things don't make him the scum of the Earth or anything, IMO. Plus, there's the whole Catholic Guilt thing going on, his "sins" were probably being exaggerated from that mindset.

I think he was as sensitive, in his own way, as William. He expressed it through art whereas William/Spike used words. Plus, he clearly loved his sister.* Just because he didn't turn her into a vamp doesn't mean he didn't. Clearly, he had something dark in him to create the basis for something as horrendous as Angelus, but we don't see much of it in what little glimpse we see of Liam himself.

What does everyone else think?

*How pissed am I that "the Prodigal" is the only canon sighting of Kathy? I wanted more on his relationship with her. In my headcannon, she was totally similar in personality to Fred.
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Forum Gargoyle

Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 1421

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

William wasn't good, he was harmless. He was too psychologically weak to accomplish much of anything, good or evil, unless he was being influenced by someone with a stronger force of will. Thus: he was exactly the kind of person who would react to a vampiric transformation by doing whatever the demon prescribed. Sex, violence, self-serving.

Liam was weak too, but in a different way; he had no defense against addiction, for one. However, he fought being controlled by other people, and he refused to depend on anyone. (Check out the difference between Spike's attachment to his mother, who he couldn't live without, and Angel's attachment to his sister, who he didn't need but loved anyway.) He was exactly the kind of person who would react to the transformation by becoming a sadist. He approaches evil like a field of study - causing pain interests him because people interest him.
But there the silver answer rang: not Death, but Love.
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Dark Avenger

Joined: 28 Jun 2010
Posts: 323

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The general opinion of some fans on why soulless Angel is "so much worse" than soulless Spike is that Liam was a worse person than William. Um...what? These people clearly watched a different show than I did.... What does everyone else think?

I've got a lot of thoughts, but I don't know if I'll be able to organize them well enough to make any sense...but here goes. Firstly, I don't buy into the idea that souless Angel "was so much worse" than souless Spike, and I don't buy that Liam was so much worse than William.

Souless Spike was second only to Angelus in the expression of sure Angelus was worse....but not by much. Angelus crawled out of the grave and his first thought was to prove to his father that he had made something of himself after all...then he planned to slaughter the entire village.

Spike's first thought was to make his mother a vampire...and then exactly like Angelus, to ravage the city.

Spike: We'll ravage this city together, my pet. Lay waste to all of Europe. The three of us will teach those snobs and elitists with their falderal just what—You, me, and mother. We'll open up their veins and bathe in their blood as they scream our names across...

If Liam and William were such an influence on souless Angel and Souless Spike then I wonder what fans of that theory see in "William the man" that would make souless Spike have such evil desires. Those fans want to credit William's love for his mother for the reason he turned her into a vampire...and well, fair enough, but to what do they credit wanting to lay waste to all of ravaging the city? No, souless Spike came out of his grave with the same evil impulses that Angelus did. There was a definite change from the human beings both once were. Both now desired to kill, ravage, and make people scream in terror. That's not a desire coming from the human being's personality...that's the demon.

Not to say that the human being was of no consequence or had no influence but rather that the expression of emotions, thoughts, and feelings, when expressed by a demon who is instictively drawn toward evil, will be far different than the expression of those same emotions, thoughts and feelings by a human being or souled person who is instinctively drawn toward good.

Imo. the blending of the human personality with the evil nature of the demon produces a distortion of the original human personality. Every thought and emotion from the human's life is now filtered through the evil nature of the demon rather than some dormant previously unexpressed evil residing in the personality of the human being.

There are so many similarities in William and Liam's stories. William was mocked and rejected by snobs...Liam was mocked and rejected by his father. Both experienced self loathing, humiliation and a desire for acceptance...William by the snobby public and Liam by his father. As vampires both set out to change that, and both did.

Angelus and souless Spike were flooded with Liam and William's memories, and in turn experienced the same rejection, and humiliation that Liam and William had felt, only now the demon will be the one who has memories of being bullied and mocked, and the demon will despise those feelings. The demon isn't going to cry about having his feelings hurt...he's not going to get drunk...he's going to get revenge, because he is instinctively pointed toward evil. The human emotions provide the driving force to act on those emotions but the demon provides the manner in which those emotions are expressed. And the manner is evil.

Spike killed orphans in Vienna... Spike stalked Nikki wood and tried to kill her while her young son watched...and when he finally did manage to kill her, he stole her coat and wore it like a trophy. According to souless Spike. killing the Chinese slayer was the best night of his life. And then there's the railroad spikes he drove into people's heads and the things he did to girls Dawn's age....I'm not seeing how he was "so much better than Angelus.

Both vampires embraced evil and threw themselves into it with gusto. Both had over a century of rape, murder and mayhem under their belts, before circumstances out of their control forced them both to stop.

Neither of them willingly stopped expressing evil.... they were both forced to stop. Angelus was stopped when Liam's soul was returned to the body and Spike was stopped when the Inititive put a behavior modification chip in his head.

The confusion imo, stems from souless Spike appearing to have lost his evil nature by his own free will prior to getting the soul....when it was really the result of conditioning. The chip prevented Spike from expressing his evil impulses and it forced him to adapt to humans in order to ensure his survival. It also softened up the image the viewer had of him as a dangerous vampire. The viewer began to see Spike as harmless, and of helping Buffy and the scoobies fight evil. By the time Spike had fallen for Buffy the viewer had all but forgotten that Spike was only harmless because he had no other choice and that he was only fighting evil because demons were the only thing he could kill without the chip firing. So there was this illusion of souless Spike being a "so much better" than souless Angel...but it was just an illusion. Souless Spike didn't have a choice.

The chip didn't create in souless Spike a separate consciousness, the way the soul created a consciousness named Angel in Angelus. Chipped Spike was still a demon who after being forcefully conditioned to reject his evil impulses, still didn't possess a moral compass that would allow him to distinguish right from wrong. He still had all his evil impulses...he just had the equivalent of shock collar controlling him.

Spike was forced by the chip into trying to fit in with Buffy and the scoobies. Spike was trapped between being a demon and being forced to live as a human, so he was in limbo. But the chip can't just be wiped away like it never happened the way some fans if Spike changed his life style willingly...because he didn't. If it weren't for the behavior modification chip Spike would still be souless and most probably still trying to kill Buffy.

Spikes demon was brought to the point of saying "uncle" after having a behavior modification chip in his head for almost 3 years, and the demon is therefore not much at odds with souled Spike. But only because of the conditioning. Spike doesn't have the daily struggle with his demon the way Angel does. If Spike had gotten a soul before being chipped he would be in the same position as Angel. and we'd be able to see a marked difference in his souled and unsouled state,
because without that chip Spike was no different from Angelus

He started out just like every other vampire. He embraced evil, enjoyed evil, and killed people.
If it weren't for the chip, souless Spike would have went on killing and feeding and wouldn't have come to Buffy and the scoobies for shelter and food. He would have never moved in with Giles or sat at the Thanksgiving table. He would never have fought alongside Buffy and the gang and he wouldn't have been shunned and attacked by his own kind.

He wouldn't have been forced to spend time with Buffy and her friends in order to survive...wouldn't have been forced to adapt to human life. Wouldn't have fell in love with Buffy and most definitely would have never sought out a soul.

There are fans who want to give Spike all the credit but in reality all of his changes had their origin in the chip that was implanted in his head, forcing him to change or cease to be. Williams nature had nothing to do with it.
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