Canon VS Fanon
This is not intended to be a list of things to avoid. There is nothing wrong with fanon, per se. Spike kissing Xander is fanon and we all know there's nothing wrong with that happening. ;-)
However, not everyone has seen/memorized all the episodes, and sometimes it's hard to remember if something was from the show (generally referred to as Canon), or from a fanfic. This is an on-going guide to things that are Fanon -- facts and trends created in fanfic which have been picked up by other writers, and perpetuated to the point that someone who has never seen the show might not realize they are not in fact Canon -- as well as a guide to the Canon that surrounds the issues.
This isn't to say a writer cannot use fanon in a story. The difference is that when using canon, no explanations are required. Anything else the author creates is subject to explanation. If you want to make Spike a former elf, go right ahead, but be prepared to have to justify it in the story.
For example, Spike hasn't ever said he's good with languages. We know he speaks Fyarl (A New Man), and possibly Latin and Greek (What's My Line and Empty Places respectively). Most upperclass British men would have learned schoolboy Latin and Greek in Spike's time, though -- and he only knows one demon language that we know of, in
a hundred and coughmumble years. A demon langauge that mostly consists of "Like to crush. Crush now?" It's reasonable to make having a gift for languages part of his history, and many do. There isn't anything in the show that contradicts it -- but it isn't canon. Likewise, Xander has never said that he thinks of Giles as a father figure. He might, but he also might think of him as the older bossy guy who thinks Xander's an idiot. He might have a crush on Giles, and that's why he's never made many vaguely sexual remarks about the man, unlike every other male main character on the show. Those are reasonable things to bring into a story, but they require support within the story itself, whereas stating that Xander's middle name is LaVelle is simply a
fact of the show. Canon.
Many of these can be argued either way -- that is, Joss has not come right out and said "Spike has never ever shagged Xander." But he hasn't said Spike has, and therefore, Spike shagging Xander isn't canon. Just because something isn't inconsistent with canon, doesn't mean it is canon. It just means it's plausible. We all have differing opinions on what is plausible, and the items on the list are intended to be part-fact, and part-opinion.
If you have a suggestion for the list, or have references to clarify a piece of canon already on the list, please send it in! If you want to argue that something is canon, or is plausibly canon, write an essay and submit it for the essays section.
Two other useful places to check for Buffyverse canon information:
- Buffyverse Canon vs. Fanon
This is a large list of canon and fanon information in much the same vein as the S/X canon-v-fanon section on our site -- except it's devoted to characters and concepts in the whole Buffyverse. Quite a few BtVS/Angel fans, including your hostesses, helped compile it, and the Bratqueen was
crazy devoted enough to edit and host it. Go read this - it lists names, dates, episodes... Everything you always wanted to know, but didn't want to go looking through 7 years of scripts to find out.
- The BtVS/Angel Canon Livejournal Community
This is a community where, if you are a Livejournal user, you can post Buffyverse canon questions, and other users will try to find the answers, or point you to the right source (as well as discuss/cuss/argue whether X is really true, since Xander said Y two seasons later). You don't have to be a Livejournal user to comment/answer, though you do have to be a user to make a question post in the first place. However, if you aren't an LJ user and would still like to post a question in the community, feel free to e-mail it to us and we'll post it for you. (I guarantee the community owner won't mind, because that would be me. ~MP)