Heroes : Xander Harris
It must be really hard when all your friends have, like, superpowers; Slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires; and you’re, like, this little nothing. You must feel like Jimmy Olsen.
One of my greatest academic achievements was the load of psychobabble I once told a tutor about representation in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (nonsense about eyes, souls, outsiders, blah, blah). So I think it’s fitting that when thinking about someone who doesn’t get the credit he deserves Alexander LaVelle Harris sprung to mind.
Excuse me? Who, at a crucial moment, distracted the lead demon by allowing her to pummel him about the head?
For those not in the know about Xander Harris he is one of the original ‘scoobies’ and has been an essential part of the team that has prevented the Hellmouth from opening on numerous occasions.Yet his part in this is often overlooked due to his normalness, he is the archetypal everyman on the periphery of the action. He is the representative of the viewer, watching but not involved.
You and Willow go do the superpower thing, I’ll stay behind and putt around the Batcave with crusty old Alfred here.
No he doesn’t have any special abilities (unless you count the time he picked up skills as a soldier one Halloween), what he does have is a special quality that all of us can possess. He is human, he can be loyal, brave, kind and loving; and he does so in the knowledge that it is not being supported by something supernatural. He is willing to put his life on the line for his friends knowing that he is not likely to survive.
I love you, Willow. I love crayon breaky Willow and I love scary veiny Willow. So if you’re gonna end the world, you’re gonna have to start with me!
Xander Harris is flawed, his romantic achievements are littered with missteps and a tendency to pick up the demonic ladies. He is also full of self-doubt and underestimates his abilities, when he faced with his ‘evil twin’ who is self-confidant and extremely competent it is finally revealed that this is just the side of himself that he doesn’t see.
Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful… a witch. A demon. Hell, I could fit Oz in my shaving kit, but come a full moon, he had a wolfy mojo not to be messed with. Powerful, all of them. And I’m the guy who fixes the windows
Like anyone who finds themselves pushed to the background in a group of more ‘powerful’ friends he is more aware of goings on than anyone would give them credit for, and is the most likely to be able to keep the group together. He is the one who sacrifices themselves for the greater good.
They’ll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn’t Chosen, to live so near 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.
How could he garner more credit? I’m not sure it would be appropriate. Xander Harris is us, one of the many who live their lives in an unassuming manner being super in our own unextraordinary way.
I saved the world with talking, from my mouth. My mouth saved the world