BSV Forum - General - The Bloodshedpub

Illyria Sue

Apr 12 2008 08:34 pm   #1goldenusagi
I'd like to preface this with the fact that I've had entirely too much sugar today.  Okay.

If Illyria wasn't canon, if a character like her had shown up in a fanfic, she'd seem like an automatic Mary Sue.  She's ancient, she's a god, she's incredibly powerful, she can do things no one else can, she thinks she's superior, she has an odd way of speaking, she has blue hair, oddly colored eyes, and a name with an L and a Y in it.

Of course, no one likes her, she murdered the woman who's body she's got, and she does get taken down a peg.
Apr 12 2008 08:51 pm   #2Chaotic_Soul
Personally I like Illyria. While I agree that she WAS too powerful to start, they did knock her power down a few notches. Also, she wasn't really responsible for Fred's death, that was Knox's fault. But I do see your point. At first glance she does seem a bit Mary Sueish. I just think there was a bit more to her than most people see. For example, while she does present herself as superior, she spent much of her time with Wesley and Spike, either trying to get one of them to open up to her(Wes), or sharing a love of fighting(Spike). All in all she was pretty interesting, you just had to read between the lines.
I am misunderstood and therefore, feared. Humans will always fear that which they don't understand, and are therefore eternally ignorant of true beauty.
Apr 12 2008 10:01 pm   #3Nika
I actually loved Illyria, I thought she was an interesting character. I liked her developing relationships with Wesley and Spike.
"Perhaps a great love is never returned."

-Dag Hammersjold
Apr 12 2008 10:41 pm   #4pfeifferpack
While I do like Illyria and find her character one that let Amy Acker shine and gave lots of new room for story the one thing that struck me about her was it showed another case where "regular women" no matter how smart were marginalized or eliminated in the Jossverse.
Fred  (like Willow on Buffy) was brilliant and formidable and in both cases their characters were "augmented"...Fred to a god and Willow first an uber powerful witch and then goddess-like.
Cordy was made part demon then a Higher Being instead of just the changing, maturing, capable woman she had been.  Tara was killed off, Joyce was killed off, Anya was given her powers back then when they were gone was killed off....all the women in both verses had to be given "special powers" to get storytime....that's just .... sad.

Kathleen
Apr 12 2008 11:19 pm   #5goldenusagi
Oh, I like Illyria too.  I thought she was awesome, even though it was a shame that Fred had die.  I just thought it was sort of funny how many "Sue"ish things she seems to have going at first glance.

Interesting point, pfeifferpack.  I never thought about it before, but girls do get the short end of the stick in the Jossverse.  They either have to upgrade or they're gone.  I really didn't like Fred's death, especially as how they made it a point to say that her soul was used up, so there's no chance for anymore Fred anywhere, this life or the next (unless I totally misinterpreted that).  But on the other hand, I wish Illyria had been given more time.  They opened up a really cool storyline that was cut short at the end of season 5 (the comics, I know I know, but it's not the same).  BTW, I think it would have been cool if Illyria had infected Eve.  That would have solved several problems nicely, LOL.
Apr 13 2008 01:07 am   #6Guest
I remember in Season 4 Joss talks about how Willow made such a wonderful victim at the start and she was always the one in danger, except she kept getting more magic, which was needed for solutions in the show and she became too useful to just get killed off. But I agree that as the enemies get stronger those without super powers do get killed, but that's because we need to really understand the price and not have it just be a bunch of nameless strangers we don't care about.

Umm, feeling dumb here.... What do you mean by 'Mary Sue'? I thought it was just a name used for any original character not from the show that someone made up, but apparently it's more specific. Could someone explain that to me?
Apr 13 2008 01:17 am   #7Guest
Mary Sue is just a character that is basically perfect. A female character, the male term is gary sue. But they're smart, powerful, beautiful, exc.
Apr 13 2008 04:58 am   #8Eowyn315
I think the one thing Illyria is missing (and for me, this has always been a major marker of a Mary Sue) is that she doesn't fix problems. She may think she's superior, but she doesn't have a great knowledge of the other characters and tell them all the things they're doing wrong and solve their relationship problems, etc. She does have powers no one else does, but they're not particularly useful to the group... and occasionally it puts them all in danger.

Also, regarding the "normal girls get upgrades or get killed" thing - I don't think it's just girls. It's normal people in general, and I think the reason for that is that normal people are boring. If you don't have superpowers, what good are you in a battle against demons? Granted, the normal folk have their moments, but look at Dawn and Xander, for example - for the most part, if they're not being annoying or getting themselves into trouble, they're not doing anything. Same with Anya - if she wasn't a vengeance demon, she rarely had anything to contribute. Giles is useful as exposition guy, but he's also the guy who gets knocked unconscious every other episode. On Angel, too: Wesley started out useless, and then "upgraded" when he developed all kinds of magical knowledge. Gunn was normal for a while, but even he went for the lawyer upgrade eventually. I think it's just very hard for Joss to find things to do with people without superpowers, so he either gives them powers or kills them off. If not, they end up neglected, and you get underused Dawn and Xander in season 7.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Apr 13 2008 06:03 am   #9Guest
I think the one thing Illyria is missing (and for me, this has always been a major marker of a Mary Sue) is that she doesn't fix problems
She does have powers no one else does, but they're not particularly useful to the group... and occasionally it puts them all in danger
so, does all that make her less of a mary sue, or more??
i've known of the concept of that kind of character in ff for a while, in other places i've seen it called a mary jane(honest) but how do you add a new character with out making them that and that character still be usefull?
Apr 13 2008 06:04 am   #10Guest
I think the one thing Illyria is missing (and for me, this has always been a major marker of a Mary Sue) is that she doesn't fix problems
She does have powers no one else does, but they're not particularly useful to the group... and occasionally it puts them all in danger
so, does all that make her less of a mary sue, or more??
i've known of the concept of that kind of character in ff for a while, in other places i've seen it called a mary jane(honest) but how do you add a new character with out making them that and that character still be usefull?
Apr 13 2008 09:03 am   #11Guest
I think Eowyn315 was saying that Illyria was less of a Mary Sue.  If so, then I would have to agree.  But Goldenusagi made a good point about her hair and eyes and super powers.  : ) 

It is very possible to have original characters in a story that are not mary sues/gary sues.  I would suggest doing a google search on the words Mary Sue.  Find out what one is and it will help you avoid creating one.  They even have limus tests that you can take online to see if a character you've created is one.  Though you could take some of those tests using canon characters and get a failing grade.  LOL! 

Some things to avoid when writing an original character.  (This is off the top of my head, close to midnight my time, so it won't be the best/most intelligent list ever).

1.  Don't name the character after you.

2.  Avoid names like, Kitty, Cat, Kat, etc.  (I don't know why, but many of the Mary Sues I've seen are named like that.).  Kitty Longfinger, Katra Lightfoot, Cath Leigh Wondertoe.  All not good names. 

3.  Avoid strange hair color and eye color. (Yes, I know my OC Torch has orange hair, but he's from Scotland, LOL).

4.  Don't let your OC have all the answers to the canon characters' problems. 

5.  Don't let your OC be instantly loved by all the canon characters.  And whatever you do, don't let every canon character go on and on about how great your OC is. 

6.  Don't have your OC come in and single handily save the Scoobies , including the Slayer and her strong and capable vampire lover.  And afterwards have the whole lot of them falling at her feet in gratitude.

7.  Don't give your OC extra special super-dee-dooper powers that exceed those of the canon characters.

8,  Don't give her a pair of cat ears, unless you plan to have a dog demon come in and gobble her up in the first chapter (because then it would be funny).

9.  Don't make her the long lost relative of any of the canon characters.

10.  Don't give her a weally weally bad, super-sad, twagic, terrible abused past.

I'm sure I'm missing a whole bunch of  things, but if you google it, you'll get more/better information.


Apr 13 2008 09:11 am   #12dawnofme
Okay, that was my post above.  I was logged in when I wrote it.  I guess I took too long writing it out?  I hope I didn't make too many mistakes, because I won't be able to edit. 
Apr 13 2008 09:23 am   #13nmcil
Also, regarding the "normal girls get upgrades or get killed" thing - I don't think it's just girls. It's normal people in general, and I think the reason for that is that normal people are boring. If you don't have superpowers, what good are you in a battle against demons?

I think Riley and the other men from the Initiative are another example of this - I was thinking about Riley and why he was not particularly popular with a great many of the viewers - as you state, primarily the non-super powers characters are outside of the "circle of power" - Riley, without all his tech gadgets and soup-up pills, cannot function as a powerful equal, Giles is interesting because of the power of his intellect, Warren, while normal, is interesting and powerful due to his intellectual powers and human evil face.  Oz is interesting because of his elegance of mind and wonderful "cool."  It's too bad that Dawn was not used as the young female of high intellectual powers as a counterpart to Giles or Wesley.  Especially as the series was meant to show strong women, Dawn gave them the opportunity to feature a young woman with high intellectual powers without being attached to superpowers like Willow.  

I think that with Fred and Tara, their deaths were primarily to have intense emotional response from the viewers - these are probably the most popular females characters from the perspective of being beautiful and nice women that you would actually like in the real world - women that most viewers would like as friends.  

Buffy and Angel were both great series, extremely interesting, powerful drama, and wonderful comedy - but viewers also loved that it was not set in the "everyday normal" world - and the "normal Joe and Mary, simply had not the same power and appeal when they had to compete with all the "supernaturals." 
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Apr 13 2008 04:50 pm   #14Spikez_tart
and a name with an L and a Y in it.   LOL, didn't know about that one, golden.  Illyria is a Mary Sue, but she wants to keep Spike as her pet, so I forgive her.  I know this will upset many, but Tara is the biggest Mary Sue of them all.  Sometimes she makes me gag.

Giles actually has some power - he knows and performs magic on a semi-regular basis, he's just not as arrogant as Willow as a result of being burned when he was as arrogant as Willow.  Dawn is a mystical key - which JW dropped in S7, which makes no sense because Buffy could have used a magic battery.  Joyce is human and so, must be killed off, but she did take on Spike and crack him over the skull with an axe.  You've got to admire that. 

Sometimes, humans get downgraded - Riley has to go through rehab and be a normal person again.  Xander gets his eye poked out (which was only right because he was blind and full of hubris about his supposed clear headed vision.)


If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Apr 13 2008 04:59 pm   #15Eowyn315
so, does all that make her less of a mary sue, or more??
Less. While Illyria does have some Mary Sueish qualities, even if I had encountered the character in fanfic, I don't think it would have occurred to me to label her a Mary Sue. Dawnofme's got a pretty comprehensive list of what makes a Mary Sue. Illyria mostly fits the physical description, but not so much the personality/relationships with other characters aspects of it.

Oz is interesting because of his elegance of mind and wonderful "cool."
He was also a werewolf, which is why I never really considered him "normal." Granted, he couldn't really use those powers (he couldn't control the wolf, and the only ability he had in human form seemed to be a good sense of smell), but it still made him different from a normal human.

I think that with Fred and Tara, their deaths were primarily to have intense emotional response from the viewers
I agree. With Tara particularly, I think it's that she was a popular character, but not very important to the story. She was never as prominent as the others, and so was pretty much expendable. Joss could cause a big emotional impact without losing a critical character. (Imagine the difference if it had been a member of the core four that had died.) Even her death is only a service to explore Willow's character - the fact that Tara is gone is meaningless to the story, except as it affects Willow.

Fred seemed to be the same way. She'd been somewhat marginalized over the course of the series, existing mostly to be put in peril and get rescued, or to be the love interest of one or another of the men. Pretty much a weak link. Her death, like Tara's, is less about her and more about how it affects the others. If she wanted a more prominent role, she had to be able to contribute more than science. So she gets the super-strength and time-shifting upgrade and suddenly there's lots of things we can do with her.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Apr 13 2008 05:08 pm   #16goldenusagi
and a name with an L and a Y in it.   LOL, didn't know about that one, golden.

It tends to fall to Lord of the Rings fic, I think.  A Mary Sue will be Elvish, and have a completely unpronounceable name with an L, Y, and lots of vowels.  And one that probably has nothing to do with Tolkien's Elvish. 
Apr 14 2008 02:33 am   #17nmcil
I would never think of Illyria as a "Mary Sue" - she has powers and can manipulate situations but her intent almost always is predicated on her own needs - Illyria does not have the human quality outside of her Fred persona to go beyond her God's Eye perspective.  When I think of a "Mary Sue," that formula most often comes across as a personal fantasy - and the character's main goal is to set the world according to her personal "I want, therefore I will fix all to feed that want."  The story that is created with a "Mary Sue" often reads like "personal gratification" mode -  "Mary Sue" sometimes takes on  "the grand lecturer" role - making problems disappear by having all the answers.

Oz was a werewolf and not a "normal" but I always found him interesting as a human - Oz was always the one male character that I admired the most in the entire series and Tara was his female counterpart - Both these characters, in my eyes, were more about spiritual quality and metaphor - Spike being the, for me, the great metaphor of all.  It is almost like these three characters merged at the moment of Spike's Sun Transcendence - The Mother Goddess, The Serenity of Mind, The The Self-Created Man.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Apr 14 2008 09:33 pm   #18Guest
I took a Mary Sue test for Buffy and she failed. Big time. While this does not effect my viewpoint of her, or how I'll write her, I certainly found it humorous.
Apr 14 2008 10:47 pm   #19Guest
Fred did get to save both herself and everybody else in Season 4, and it was just with her brain and ingenuity. Thank you, Angel writers.

If BTVS hadn't been so anti-modern weapons (except the rocket launcher), the humans could have picked up in Wesley's footsteps. That was one "real life" thing I felt lacked on the Buffyworld. They didn't have to use fixed ammo, but tranq guns would have been a BIG help for the humans to carry when they were outside. There are plenty of things that aren't a gun that you can stash in a bag and save yourself with. Another reason I like AtS more on the whole.

CM
Apr 15 2008 04:59 am   #20nmcil
somehow the Scooby Gang carrying weapons just does not work for me - I guess mainly because I first saw them as such young teens in high school - I am one of those people who would never buy a toy gun  for a child - and it positively makes me feel so sad whenever I see a child with a toy gun -

Over at AtS all the main characters were adults and by the time they take over W/H it seemed perfectly right that modern weapons were used - plus Wesley and Fred using guns, for me, seemed like commentary on the changed circumstances of their lives - Just think of how Wes used his gun to shoot out that lawyers knee - definite sign of the times for Wes.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Apr 15 2008 07:10 am   #21Guest
I wonder if Spike ro Angel would come out a Gary Sue.
Apr 15 2008 10:12 am   #22Guest
Scooby gang carried stakes, crossbows, axes, and bats plenty, though. But except for the crossbow, you need to be really close up to use those weapons. When you're a weak human, you need to think about taking down a demon from a longer distance. There's no way I'd go out at night in Sunnydale without a taser in my purse, for example. It's just dumb.
Apr 15 2008 12:06 pm   #23Guest
Victory through superior firepower

Even if a bullet wouldn't kill a vamp, loading them with a full clip would incapicitate him/her enough to flee unhindered.
Apr 15 2008 07:54 pm   #24Eowyn315
Random thought on the weapons thing - I know we suspend a lot of real world rules here, but technically, there are laws regarding the purchasing/carrying of a gun. Usually they need to be licensed and/or registered, and you need a permit to carry, not to mention you'd have to be 18, which means they couldn't use them at all until late season 3 or season 4. All those other weapons are unregulated, and probably more easily accessible (especially since it seemed like Giles already had a collection of medieval weaponry, possibly acquired through the Council). There's a reason why any time a modern weapon was used, it was usually stolen from the military, lol.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Apr 15 2008 11:47 pm   #25Guest
As far as the weapons go, I suspect that was a message the writers and producers didn't want to send. Buffy had many teenage and even younger viewers, whatever your views on the influence of the media on violence, people running around with guns and such is probably not a good thing. Plus, metaphors can carry. Maybe the stakes represent mace or something.
Apr 16 2008 05:14 am   #26nmcil
One metaphor with weapons  is that Buffy, unlike AtS, was primarily the metaphor for Young People going through rites of passage and finding their inner strengths for getting them through a good life - All the weapons on Buffy are "hands on" - taking life and the fight into your hands.  With a gun, while no question that it is effective, having to be more active with hands and skills seems more appropriate with the metaphor.  Guns are not the weapons that the white hats normally used - And the worst use of guns was the evil human, Warren, killing Tara and shooting Buffy - We also had Riley, when he was totally out of control use a hand gun.  Did Jonathan also use a gun, I can't remember if he had a gun when Buffy found him in the tower.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Apr 17 2008 02:15 am   #27Guest

Jonathan had a rifle in the belltower at school. Another image that they didn't want was the 'teenagers with guns' one. Columbine happened the week before they were going to air the Jonathan episode and they didn't air it for months.

Joss also said he didn't want people thinking Buffy was going around killing people, and shooting vamps will look the same as shooting humans.

~Varin

Apr 17 2008 06:22 am   #28Guest
That's why I mentioned other weapons BESIDES guns. So, because they're young, they're also supposed to look stupidly arrogant for thinking they can take a demon hand-to-hand? Real teens would have been looking for anything they could use, in a war like that, so I would have liked just a tad more reality that actually looked SMART.

CM