BSV Forum - General - The Bloodshedpub

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Mar 27 2007 01:52 am   #1Immortal Beloved

In another thread, someone mentioned the Cassie premonition in "Help."  I was posting a comment, and I kind of went off the topic.  So, I thought that I'd start a new one instead of hijacking that thread.

Cassie says to Spike, "She'll tell you.  Someday she'll tell you."  We all know that Cassie meant that Buffy would tell Spike that she loved him.  And in "First Date," Buffy asks Willow, "Why does everyone think I'm still in love with Spike?"  We all know that no one has ever accused Buffy of being in love with Spike (save for Spike, himself).  Both of these things make me wonder why some people don't think that Buffy meant it when she told Spike that she loves him in "Chosen."  Cassie was psychic.  She doesn't say, "She will.  One day she will," implying that one day Buffy will love him.  Cassie says that Buffy will tell Spike, meaning that she loves him now, and eventually, (when it's too freaking late) Buffy will tell Spike that she loves him.  Buffy says, "still in love with Spike."  She can't still be in love with him if she never loved Spike in the first place: "Calling Dr. Freud!  Dr. Freud to the living room!"  There are other more subtle things that imply that Buffy might love Spike, such as in "Dead Things" when she repeats what Spike said to her in the alley: "You always hurt the one you love."  But Cassie the psychic and Buffy's Freudian slip are pretty blatant indications that Buffy loves Spike now, and therefore meant it when she (finally) told him.

Anyway, my question is can anyone think of anything else that would indicate that Buffy loved Spike all along and meant those three little words?

 

Give me Spuffy, or give me death.
Mar 27 2007 02:13 am   #2Scarlet Ibis

I agree- I think Buffy loved Spike before... everything, but I just think that in s6, she hated herself for feeling that way and in extreme denial.  I just felt that in "Chosen," the character meant it, but I didn't believe SMG's saying it at all...

However, I think (although not verbal), she does a much better job of *showing* how much she loves him in "Showtime."  The look she gave him when he realized it was really her and not the First playing with him, that moment touched me and made me believe more than in "Chosen," or anywhere else.  She was terribly scared for him, and so... I dunno, elated, okay, that's not the word I want to use, but, she was so (that word) when she found him, and you could see the love in her eyes there.  And then when Giles tried to have him killed, well, she held that against him until nearly the end.  She treated Giles almost as bad (if not worse) then Faith.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Mar 27 2007 02:42 am   #3TwilightChild

   I also think that she did love him and was only in denial.  The real problem was with 'Chosen', was the fact that it was entirely valid of Spike didn't believe her.  He had alot of reasons NOT to believe her.

Mar 27 2007 03:13 am   #4Maggie2

My brother and I argued about this for a long time.  I really wanted to believe that she loved him, but just couldn't bring myself to believe that she did.  The "does it have to mean anything" line after their platonic night together and her big smooch with Angel (gag) were big problems.  But my brother successfully persuaded me.  On his view, we have all these little clues you guys are mentioning.  More importantly we get actions that progressively show that he is rising on her scale of priorities.  In First Date, she runs past Xander, whose just been bled on a wheel, to check up on Spike.   She is incredibly pissed at Giles about the attempt on Spike's life.  So by the time he is the only one who sticks with her, it's quite clear that he is more important to her than the Scoobies.  But there's still one big obstacle she needs to clear -- and that's to let go of Angel.   When Angel shows, she flings herself into his arms.  But importantly (so says my wise brother), it's a very short kiss and then she's down to business.  Even if it doesn't fully register -- from that point on, Angel is not the pinacle of Buffy's experience of love.  And so when she finally says "I love you" in the hellmouth -- it's a really big "I love you" -- Spike matters more to her than anyone.  She's finally seeing that she's loved him all along -- and that Angel is yesterday's paper.

But, alas, Spike has plenty of reason to not believe her.

And now that we know that Buffy never dated the Immortal, I think my brother's story has some merit.  Of course, Joss is going to Joss it.  Darn that sinister fiend.

Mar 27 2007 04:30 am   #5maryperk

Don't forget Buffy's little pep talk in the end of season 5 where she tells the scoobs she loves them all.  When Spike pipes up, she's not the one that protests.  Just saying

Mar 27 2007 04:57 am   #6lostboy

Well one pepper in the patch is the post-smooch moment after Ethan's death, where Angel and Buffy discuss the prophecy.  Angel makes a reference about Spike being Buffy's "boyfriend" and Buffy retorts "He's not my boyfriend...but in my heart he is."

Case closed.  Da goil is gaga!

 

Mar 27 2007 05:09 am   #7Scarlet Ibis

She told Angel "he's in my heart."  And actually, she didn't contradict his assumption here:

ANGEL
You in love with him? OK, maybe I'm outta line, but this is kind of a curve ball for me. I mean, we are talking about Spike here.

BUFFY
It's different. He's different. He has a soul now.

She doesn't deny being in love with him here.  However, I still don't like how everytime someone asks about Spike, it's all "he has a soul now."  Whatever- he loved her just as much without the damn soul. Sorry, it just irks me a bit.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Mar 27 2007 05:24 am   #8Guest

Oh, but there's the moment in Chosen after Buffy kills Caleb and she says...



Okay. Went to find the quote and there's a little to much to put down here. But it, if a little cryptically, says that she loves Spike. "He's in my heart..." thats kinda like something Shakespeare or someone would say for cyrptically say 'I love you'. And she's right. Spike wasn't her boyfriend. Far from it. He was deeper than the shallow boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

Mar 27 2007 05:40 am   #9Dead Man Walking

Ugh. 

Curse my forget-to-sign-in-ness!

Mar 27 2007 06:16 am   #10lostboy

Right, I meant Caleb... who the frig  is "Ethan"... sorry,don't know where I got that.  Anyway, now I can't remember if it's what you said, what I said or something else like "he is in my heart" - whatever that means.

In any case, I still think the little lady is over the fence in love since "Intervention."  I'm pretty much unshakable.  Unless someone, well, shakes me really hard.

Mar 27 2007 11:14 am   #11Always_jbj
who the frig is "Ethan"...

*coughsplutterchoke*

Ethan is Giles' (aka Ripper's) 'friend', the chaos mage who caused all that Halloween fun, the Band Candy incident and other chaotic fun such as turning Giles into a Fyarl demon.

Sorry... dedicated Giles/Ethan shipper here.

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Mar 27 2007 04:20 pm   #12lostboy

OK, I'm officially stupid.  Sorry about that!

::: shutting up now :::

Mar 28 2007 01:21 am   #13GoldenBuffy

Buffy loves Spike, nuff said, lol. I write the kiss of with Angel as a "hello," long time no see kiss. I mean I did that once to an ex, but it didn't mean anything, and we both knew it. She's always going to have a place in her heart for Angel, we have to accept that but by that time she belonged to Spike.

And in the air the fireflies
Our only light in paradise
We'll show the world they were wrong
And teach them all to sing along
Mar 28 2007 03:27 am   #14Immortal Beloved

I like the long-time-no-see kiss, GB.  I'd like to chalk it up to typical Buffy dumbness, a knee-jerk reaction that she always has with Angel.  Every time that they see each other, it's as though they both slip into the same roles as when they were together.  The same thing happens when he comes after Joyce's funeral.  I think a big indication is that this is the first time that Angel has shown up and offered to actually help Buffy with an apocalypse, and Buffy sends him away.  Not-in-love-with-Spike Buffy would have been ecstatic to finally have Angel come back to her, but Spike is the first thing that comes to her mind when Angel says that he wants to fight with her.  It's almost as though Buffy kisses Angel and realizes that she doesn't feel the same way about him anymore.  Angel used to be at her side, but now Spike is at her side.  She kisses Angel, but she chooses Spike.

And, lostboy, I also think that Buffy has been in love with Spike since "Intervention," and nobody is ever gonna convince me of otherwise

Give me Spuffy, or give me death.
Mar 28 2007 03:29 am   #15Spikez_tart

Proof positive that Buffy loves and trusts Spike - she never uninvited him after the rape incident.  When he gets back from Africa, he walks right into her house.

 

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?
Sep 13 2007 05:06 pm   #16Guest

She also instinctively saves his life, not once but twice in Tabula Rasa.

She  talks about how confused she was when they broke up in potential.

Sep 13 2007 05:51 pm   #17pfeifferpack

One word choice in all of S6 struck me even at the time.... she NEVER said she DIDN'T love him but that she COULDN'T love him....implying she was making a conscious decision to withhold love even if felt.

Speaking of invitations....she never took his invitation from him after S2...not until he told her he loved her (not after catching him playing at biting Joyce in S3 or at any other time that would have made sense).  Only when faced with his emotions, and possibly hers????

The non verbal messages abound in S7..too numerous to mention.  I think another verbal clue was when the FE had Spike she did not say "we have to defeat the ubervamp" or anything like that, she said (over and over) "we have to save Spike"...her priority and reason was clearly to save Spike to the point that even the potentials noticed it (remember the FE as Eve asking why she cared about that vampire that had been killing again?).  

I think her character speaks of it too.  Aside from Parker, Buffy was not the sort of girl to just fall into bed with a guy she didn't care about.  Her relationships involved emotions (she even wanted to manufacture emotions with Parker!) so to engage in an affair that intimate with Spike she had to care on some level.  He knew that and that was why he believed she loved him even though she said she didn't.

Kathleen

Sep 13 2007 06:01 pm   #18pfeifferpack

Oh!  After the "rape" incident and Buffy takes Dawn to Spike to protect (huh???? if she were of the opinion he HAD tried to rape her would she take Dawn there?  Even if she thought Dawn would be safe SHE wouldn't have wanted to see Spike, she would have had Xander take Dawn!!!), The look on her face when Clem said Spike was gone was classic shock and sadness.  She then began to ask how long he'd be gone.

Note in S7 that Buffy and CLEM have become such buddies over the summer.  Now keep in mind it is Buffy...Clem mentions taping the History Channel for her (since when would SHE be interested in the History Channel????).  Sounds like they spent a LOT of time together over that summer with lame excuses on her part that didn't fit the Buffy we know.  She was clearly hanging around hoping for Spike to return IMHO.

ITA with Immortal Beloved and LostBoy that Buffy fell in love right at the end of Intervention but events got in the way (including her death) of exploring it.  Part of her tried to pick up where they had left off upon resurrection but she was too damaged and afraid for it to be healthy.  I think she KNEW how she felt by the time she rescued him from the FE but wasn't able to get past the fear yet. By the time she was ready for the words it was too late.

Kathleen

Sep 13 2007 06:08 pm   #19Maggie2

Soulless Spike believed Buffy loved him because she slept with him.  Souled Spike believed she was using him to punish herself -- and Buffy didn't dispute him when he said this. But I guess a lot of our assessment of this question comes down to what we mean by the word 'love'.  She's had strong feelings for him for a long time.  But did she ever feel for him in a way that cared about him for his own sake?  Would she have gone through torture to keep Spike from being hurt?  We don't get hints of that kind of love until season 7.  And even then, she keeps a big chunk of herself back from him.  The 'does it have to mean anything' line, for example.  So probably she did love him, in a way.  But Spike was right to say that she didn't.

Sep 13 2007 07:04 pm   #20Eowyn315

she NEVER said she DIDN'T love him but that she COULDN'T love him....implying she was making a conscious decision to withhold love even if felt.

I think she definitely didn't want to love him, because of who Spike was, but another way to take that is that she thinks she's incapable of love. (Wasn't that the whole point of "Intervention"? And I don't think we really saw her take much from that experience.) After being hurt so badly by Angel, she wasn't able to love Riley, even though she wanted to. Maybe part of the "can't" is that she's expressing how screwed up she is.

That could also play into her decision to have a sexual relationship with Spike. If she's recognized how hard it is for her to love, maybe she's making the conscious decision to have sex with someone she doesn't love because she's tired of being the girl who only has sex when she's in love and getting burned by it.

I think there are plenty of moments that indicate that Buffy had strong feelings for Spike, but Maggie does have a good point about Buffy's love being incomplete. She never fully gives in, and even when she appears to love him, it's still selfish - her "I'm not ready for you to not be here" line stands out to me. Spike's got a decent point in not wanting to inadvertently make himself a weapon of the First, but Buffy's only focused on her own needs. She doesn't even ask Spike if he *wants* to stay. And the "does it have to mean something" conversation sounds an awful lot like, "I have feelings for you, but I only want to love you when it's convenient for me."

So, yeah, Buffy did love him... but she didn't love him (and probably never would love him) in the unconditional, all-consuming, selfless way that he loved her.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Sep 13 2007 09:15 pm   #21Guest

That, IMHO, Eowyn, is what makes Spuffy so compelling, that Spike loves her beyond everything and Buffy is too messed up to love him in return at all or in the right way. It really is a nice juxtaposition: here is probably the most altruistic, selfless person on the planet when it comes to fighting vampires and saving people, but Buffy has to be the most needy and selfish person when it comes to love and relationships.

I do, however, think she gave herself to him fully when he held her for that night. She'd never done that with anyone before, not fully like that. It would probably be thought as a weakness to her, but he gave her the strength and the courage to defeat the first evil that night.

Sep 13 2007 09:22 pm   #22Guest

I've said it before, but since there are many types of love, I do believe Buffy meant it when she said it to Spike in "Chosen", but not in the same way he does, or at least, she's only *just* coming to it, where he's been there for a long, long time.

The Greeks have many words for "love", and it's unfortunate that the English language only uses one to mean many things. Buffy was to the phileo level - brotherly/friendship love, but not all the way to agapeo - unconditional love.

I agree with all the issues you guys have mentioned - her lack of emotioanl readiness, her self-chatisement, etc. It all leads up to Spike not being able to believe her when she says it, since now that he has the soul, he *really* understands what love means, in its varying forms. He's probably putting himself on level with a Scooby, but not as a "true love" - and he could be quite correct.

I'm not going to take anything from the comics, though, since I think Joss has kinda gone loony over there. As I've seen others say, it's like Joss is writing fanfic for his own show.

When Buffy put aside the "what should I do's", her love actions were very much "love is a verb" - rescuing Spike and being so grateful he was more or less alright, rushing to check on him, checking his ribs with the Potentials, taking the chip out, choosing him over Giles, Robin, and everyone.... - but it's her *thinking* that always gets in the way of her claiming that real love. Her heart wants to make him the "one and only", but her head (and mouth) keeps screwing it up. And poor souled Spike is too tired of the games by the end of the season.

SMG's acting bothered me more than Buffy's words in Season 7 - she could have conveyed things with her eyes or used a different tone of voice that really would have matched James' intensity as Spike, but she couldn't be bothered. The only times I believed the feelings were when she had tears in her eyes for him, as her voice was so damn flat practically all season. She looked like a deer caught in headlights when she said "Does it have to mean anything?" - and maybe that was more poor direction - but it just came off as so cruel!!! Spike makes that big confession, and SLAM! Buffy doesn't give him anything to show that it was more than just comfort for her. Ouch! It was Sarah's job to convince us Buffy loved despite the words, and she just didn't measure up most of the time.

I wish they'd made Buffy a bit more brave emotionally, since they *knew* they were ending the show/story. (We all knew SMG would never come back to the character, so Buffy should have gone out with a lot of development.)

CM

Sep 14 2007 12:18 am   #23Scarlet Ibis

 If she's recognized how hard it is for her to love, maybe she's making the conscious decision to have sex with someone she doesn't love because she's tired of being the girl who only has sex when she's in love and getting burned by it.

Actually, she has sex with Parker and Riley, and she didn't love them. 

But...I agree with Kathleen (I think it was Kathleen who mentions it).  In "Tabula Rasa," she has it deeply imbedded in her subconscious to protect Spike.  The vampires grab Joan, and she struggles a bit, but doesn't really fight back until Randy is in danger.  Very telling.

In "The Gift," she says I love you all.  I don't know...it's an odd thing to say to a roomful of people if you didn't mean it (even if in varying degrees for each individual).  But I think she meant it then.  I think Spike's near sacrifice in "Intervention" did melt the thick walls of ice around her heart, and that she felt something, maybe loved him then.  I don't see that as being as too far stretched.  Their relationship and interactions shift dramatically after that.  Not only doe she go to him, she knows without a doubt that he will be there for her.  He surely isn't State Farm (like Riley), he was her rock.  Unfortunately, we don't get to see much of it cause she dies, and the season was over.

S6 rolls around, and she doesn't know how to handle to it.  She's unsure of how to act around him, and tries to distance herself even then (All the Way). In fact, in "Afterlife," she can't stand to be around her friends.  There are only two people on her mind- Giles, understandably so, and Spike.  Pre OMWF, she's the one who seeks him out, then she freaks after the kissage, cause that makes it more real.  It makes her have to face what it is she's feeling and has been feeling for awhile.  You can't make yourself not love somebody, but Buffy sure as hell spent the duration of s6 trying to convince herself that she didn't.  However, I don't think she was 100% successful. 

It's funny how Buffy and her feelings and relationship towards Spike became more out in the open in s7, which is exactly the same time Xander started warming up to him...huh.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Sep 14 2007 02:44 am   #24Eowyn315

Actually, she has sex with Parker and Riley, and she didn't love them. 

But she wanted to love him, at least with Riley, and in both cases, she convinces herself that there are deeper feelings there than they are. In contrast to Spike, where she's convincing herself that she doesn't have feelings. The point is that she has always wanted emotion with her sex - and for the first time, she's trying to keep emotion out.

In "The Gift," she says I love you all.  I don't know...it's an odd thing to say to a roomful of people if you didn't mean it (even if in varying degrees for each individual).

I thought that was more of a general comment... and the fact that she didn't really mean it is emphasized by Spike's remark about "when you say you love us all..." I mean, do we really think she loves Anya or Tara? Likes them? Sure... well, Tara at least. Anya, more like tolerates. But loves?

It's funny how Buffy and her feelings and relationship towards Spike became more out in the open in s7, which is exactly the same time Xander started warming up to him...huh.

I would say that's because both were reacting to the soul. I think their acceptance of Spike was mostly separate... maybe it helped that Buffy was being nicer, but I thought Xander and Spike probably bonded during the time when they lived together.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Sep 14 2007 04:01 am   #25Scarlet Ibis

Actually, she was just pretending with Riley.  She was shut down from him emotionally.  She was literally going through the motions with him, and Riley and Xander (and Spike) could see right through her cheesey performance.

The "when you say you love us all" comment was interesting in the since that it's Xander and Giles who immediately shut Spike up, and thus not allowing Buffy to answer for herself.  Giles, as we all know, is capable of hot wiring a car, so she didn't really need Spike for assistance in the wheels department.  In fact, he's a bit of a hindrance, since he can't fight the knights, and also that annoying daylight factor.  I think she brought him along because she knew, just like the others, that he would be a target to Glory.

s7-I don't think it was the soul that made Xander do a 180 (though it most certainly helped), cause when he first moved in, one of his comments to Buffy was "what if he tries to soullfully rape you?" or something like that.  At any rate, that was just something that really struck a chord within me.  It was shocking, really. I would've expected more from Dawn than Xander, and recieving the exact opposite was like a kick in the chest- but in a really good, surprising sorta way.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Sep 14 2007 04:52 am   #26Eowyn315

Actually, she was just pretending with Riley.  She was shut down from him emotionally.

Yes, but Buffy either didn't know she was shut down, or didn't want to be shut down, and was trying to open up, but was just incapable of it. She tells Riley that she gave him everything she had - which, true or not, it seems like she really believes. She cares about him enough run after his helicopter. I think she really wanted to love him, really wanted it to work with him - but because she has so many issues, she just couldn't do it. I don't think she was deliberately trying to deceive him into thinking she loved him when she didn't. I think she was just trying as hard as she could to love him, but failing because she couldn't never fully open up because of how she'd been hurt with Angel. That's why everyone else *but* her realized that she and Riley were imploding.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Sep 14 2007 11:39 am   #27Guest

They didn't really start imploding until Joyce got sick. It was Buffy's choice to not lean on Riley emotionally once that happened that really clued him in to her not loving him like he loved her. I actually don't think their relationship is a "because she couldn't love" thing - I think it's very much an extremely *normal* relationship where you get to the end of the infatuation fuzzy feelings, and for one partner, all that's left is kinda liking the person. You get to the end of that chemical romance (about 2 years in max), and you have to make a conscious decision to stay together for more than just "feelings".......there has to be so much more, and you have to really like them for those days that it's hard to love them, if you catch my drift.

And Buffy didn't feel that she *needed* him to get through the crisis with her mom. Not that she talked about it with anybody, really, but she didn't need Riley for it, either. But she was so focused on Joyce and Dawn, that she was pretty blind to Riley being unhappy, which is also normal, until the vamp feeding thing came up, and he gave her the ultimatum. And when Xander put it into the terms of his speech, she was like "oh, crap, I really haven't been giving this the chance I wanted to", and ran for the helicopter. And I think they could have made it work for a while if he'd seen her, until the crisis got too big with Glory, or she relied on Spike because of his strength and Riley got jealous again.

Now, ultimately, Riley and Buffy's life goals are too different, but I don't think Buffy was completely incapable of loving him. It's just that he wasn't first in her life. She was so independent in S5, that I have a hard time believing she'd let Angel do everything for her when it came to Joyce's health issues, either.  Buffy's just the type to face big issues by herself until she's worked out what she's going to do about it. She's never really been the cry-on-the-shoulder type - she wants to work out what needs to be done and delegate jobs so she can have her space.

CM

Sep 14 2007 09:49 pm   #28Guest

I always peg that running after helicopter scene as heat of the moment, and the show making fun of its melodrama. I think it's blatantly obvious that she didn't love him, especially when you compare it to the way she loved Angel. When Angel died in season two, she fled to LA for the summer. When Angel left in season three (ultimately his undoing IMO), she was completley haunted by him for that whole summer and even followed through with his last request - to have a normal boyfriend. And when Riley leaves in the middle of season five? She has one, maybe two episodes of her thinking about him, one of which was the show again poking fun at its melodrama.

When she said she gave Riley everything, I think she just means she gave him her body. Or that she was desperately trying to convince herself that she gave him everything when she knew she didn't. Again, it's heat of the moment.

Clearly, though, this all has very much to do with the Spuffy relationship, because she's too emotionally hurt to love Spike after all the heartache she's been through. She's become overly cynical about love at this point, in addition obviously a vampire loving her, and she puts up a steel wall around her heart not only so she doesn't get hurt, but also so no one can touch her. Ironically, the episode where Spike finally touches her heart, where he holds her for the entire night, is called "Touched."

I still stand behind my conviction that she went "all the way" when she allowed Spike to hold her and be with her in those last episodes. Remember, Buffy is supposed to be a superhero, third wave feminism's last chance, and yet she leans on Spike, a male, for support. They were telling us one thing (GIRL POWER RAHR!) and showing us another thing. Also, she'd never truly allowed someone to hold her and give her strength like that before. Not even with Angel - when Angel comes after Joyce dies and holds Buffy, she's practically more emotionally distraught when he leaves.

I can never believe that they loved each other as "just friends." With Buffy and Spike, it was either all the way and then some or nothing at all. Maybe it was at that point she was starting to realize "oh shit, this vampire's done SO much for me" and said to herself "well, I must love him as a friend then." But then she would also see how much Spike loved her all the way, and that would put quite a crack in the "I love you like I love Xander" way of speaking.

Sep 16 2007 11:59 pm   #29SpikesKatMac

I agree completely with so many of the comments made above (i.e. the look on Buffy's face when she cuts Spike down from the wall in "Showtime") that 'prove' she was in love with him, but for me, a very important scene was the scene between Faith and Spike that Buffy interrupts.  I'm sorry, but the look on her face when she was standing at the bottom of the stairs was not that of a woman walking in on a harmless flirtation, it was more "Ok, is this skanky ho gonna sleep with  another boyfriend, and do I finally get to kick her ass if she does???"  The look she gave Faith was completely and totally Hands off, Bitca.  You don't throw those looks around for someone you don't care about.  Buffy is so closed off when it comes to Faith, she wouldn't reveal that much of herself it she didn't love Spike, IMHO.

A beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain - Matthew Arnold