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Buffy quotes for every occasion. Part 8: History and Literature

Harmony: "I've been doing my homework. Reading books and stuff."
Spike: "What? Evil for Dummies?"

Lest we forget, the setting of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was high school and college. And cemeteries and the Bronze and the dorm and so on, but there was definitely a learning theme going on. It was pretty obvious that the Buffy writers knew their way around good books; some of my favorite quotes ever were about historical figures and classic literature.

(Yes, Buffy dropped out. But she had a really good excuse.)

So without further ado (notice how I got a little Shakespeare in there?), here are Buffy quotes on history, historical figures, famous writers and great literature. And as always, if I missed one that you particularly like, feel free to post it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is such a witty show that the only way to catch every good quote is to work your way through 144 scripts. And that would be, well, crazy. Much like recopying your notes with a series of different colored pens.

Giles: "Emily Dickinson."
Buffy: "We're both fans."
Giles: "Yes, uh, she's quite a good poet, I mean, for a..."
Buffy: "A girl?"
Giles: "For an American."

Giles: "I'm just going to stay and clean up a little. I'll be back in the Middle Ages."
Jenny: "Did you ever leave?"

Cordelia: "Oh, look, it's the Three Musketeers."
Buffy: "Was that an insult?"
Xander: "Kinda lacked punch."
Willow: "The Three Musketeers were cool."
Cordelia: "I see your point."
Xander: "I would have gone with Stooges."

Willow: "Giles, were the Incas very advanced?"
Giles: "Yes, yes, very."
Willow: "Did they have orthodontists?"

Cordelia: "I just don't see why everyone's always picking on Marie Antoinette. I can so relate to her. She worked really hard to look that good, and people just don't appreciate that kind of effort. And I know the peasants were all depressed..."
Xander: "I think you mean oppressed."
Cordelia: "Whatever. They were cranky. So they're, like, let's lose some heads. That's fair. And, and Marie Antoinette cared about them. She was gonna let them have cake."

Giles: "This ring is worn only by members of the Order of Taraka. It's a society of deadly assassins dating back to King Solomon."
Xander: "And didn't they beat the Elks this year in the Sunnydale adult bowling league championships?"
Giles: "Their credo is to sow discord and kill the unwary."
Xander: "Bowling is a vicious game."

Xander: "You're having parental issues, you're having parental issues... what? Freud would've said the exact same thing. Except he might not have done that little dance."

Giles: "I suppose there is a sort of Machiavellian ingenuity to your transgression."
Xander: "I resent that! Or possibly thank you."

Buffy: "They needed to win. And winning equals trophies, which equals prestige for the school. You see how they're treated. It's been like that forever."
Xander: "Sure. The discus throwers got the best seats at all the crucifixions."

Buffy: "You wanna see my impression of Gandhi?"
Lily: "Gandhi?"
Buffy: "Well, you know, if he was really pissed off."

Gwendolyn: "Faith, do you know who the Spartans were?"
Faith: "Wild stab. A bunch of guys from Spart?"

Xander: "Oh, man. It's Nazi Germany and I have Playboys in my locker."

Buffy: "My mom said some things to me about being the Slayer. That it's fruitless. No fruit for Buffy."
Angel: "She's wrong."
Buffy: "Is she? Is Sunnydale any better than when I first came here? Okay, so I battle evil. But I don't really win. The bad keeps coming back and getting stronger. Like that kid in the story, the boy that stuck his finger in the duck."
Angel: "Dike. It's another word for dam."
Buffy: "Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now."

Cordelia: "Oh, God. Is the world ending? I have to research a paper on Bosnia for tomorrow, but if the world's ending, I'm not gonna bother."

Wesley: "Wait for Faith."
Buffy: "That could be hours. The girl makes Godot look punctual."

Buffy: "The whole senior class has turned into the Sixties. Or what I would have imagined the Sixties would have been like without the war and the hairy armpits."

Giles: "But you knew it was beer."
Xander: "Well, excuse me, Mr. I-spent-the-sixties-in-an-electric-koolaid-funky-Satan-groove."
Giles: "It was the early seventies, and you should know better."

Spike: "I just can't take all this mamby-pamby boo-hooing about the bloody Indians."
Buffy: "Uh, the preferred term..."
Spike: "You won. All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do. It's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying, I came, I conquered, I feel really bad about it."

Walsh: "So, the Slayer."
Buffy: "Yeah. That's me."
Walsh: "We thought you were a myth."
Buffy: "Well, you were myth-taken."

Ethan: "You know demons. It's all exaggeration and blank verse."

Buffy: "Who better to bring together a bunch of demon types than someone who's made out of a bunch of demon types?"
Tara: "So he's, um, bridging the gap between the races."
Willow: "Like Martin Luther King."

Buffy: "Stay back! Or I'll pull a William Burroughs on your leader here."
Xander: "You'll bore him to death with free prose?"

Xander: "Hey, man. That's all ancient history."
Riley: "She went running to L.A. to bone up on her history."
Xander: "No. I'm sure it's boneless."

Riley: "Having the inside scoop on the administration's own Bay of Mutated Pigs is definitely an advantage."
Willow: "It's like you're blackmailing the government. In a patriotic way."

Riley: "We like the ceiling fan."
Willow: "Yes. It's very, you know, kind of Old South."
Buffy: "But without the unpleasant slavery associations."

Willow: "I just don't see why he couldn't end up with Esmerelda. They could have the wedding right there, beneath the very bell-tower where he labored thanklessly for all those years."
Tara: "No, see, it can't end like that, 'cause all of Quasimodo's actions were selfishly motivated. He had no moral compass, no understanding of right and wrong. Everything he did, he did out of love for a woman who would never be able to love him back. Also, you can tell it's not going to have a happy ending when the main guy's all bumpy."

Willow: "It frightens you? I frighten you?"
Tara: "That is so not what I meant. I meant impresses. Impressive."
Willow: "Well, I took Psych 101. I mean, I took it from an evil government scientist who was skewered by her Frankenstein-like creation before the final, but I know what a Freudian slip is."

Xander (in the hospital): "Man, words cannot express how much I hate this place."
Giles: "It's dreadful."
Anya: "It's like communism."

Buffy: "Everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die. And I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn."
Spike: "Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?"
Giles: "We few. We happy few."
Spike: "We band of buggered."

Anya: "I found one of those 24-hour places for coffee. Remember that bookstore? Well they became one of those books-and-coffee places, and now they're just coffee. It's like evolution, only without the getting-better part."

Buffy: "You know what they say. Those of us who fail history? Doomed to repeat it in summer school."

Andrew: "Hello! Screen-wipe, new scene. I had nothing to do with the devil dogs. I trained flying demon monkeys to attack the school play. School play, dude."
Warren: "That was cool. That was kinda cool."
Jonathan: "Remember, everyone was like, 'Run, Juliet'!"

Todd: "I mean, it's not like we work at Burger World, or the Happy Bun, where the power structure is simple. No, here at the Palace, you gotta keep your friends close, but your enemies? Closer. It's like Machiavelli says. You know Machiavelli, right?"
Buffy: "Tall guy, bleached mullet, works day shifts?"

Xander: "Poems. Always a sign of pretentious inner turmoil."

Buffy: "Well, we'll fix it. We'll hit serious research mode."
Spike: "Good. Try Behavioral Modification Software Throughout the Ages."

Dawn: "Translation's going to be a bitch. Did you know that ancient Sumerians do not speak English?"
Buffy: "They're worse than the French."

Faith: "Man, look at that. My hand's shaking. Demons, vampires, women in the penitentiary system, none of that freaks me out."
Wood: "That's exactly what The First does. Finds your Achilles heel."
Faith: "Nah, it just talked to me. What? It does a heel thing, too?"

Giles: "In addition to being ancient, it's clearly mystical."
Buffy: "Yeah, I figured that one out when I King Arthured it out of the stone."

No good excuse for missing last week, but I promise I'll get the next entry up next week. [I lied. This turned out to be the last one],

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. First of all, having a ball going through these gems. (and too bad if I discover (a lot) before the re-watch)

    Second of all, quoting you : "Much like recopying your notes with a series of different colored pens." SOB !!! I DID that ! Gonna bang my head on the wall now.

  2. I still count it as a literary reference when a line paraphrasing a well known source (in this case: Shakespeare) is phrased such that it still specifically evokes the original line.

    Along those lines, I loved it when Drusilla effectively likened vampires (as a group) to the title character in Othello:
    "We can love quite well, if not wisely."

  3. Thank you for those great quotes! It brings back fond memories of watching and rewatching the series.
    Possibly difficult to include as quotes are some pre-title scenes between Buffy and Willow having friendly chats - something like, chatting on their way: “B: I’m afraid people will think I’m violent. - vaporizes an impeding vampire - W, unphased: Of course not!”
    And another one I like, not sure in which section it would fit;
    Willow: Carpe diem! You told me that once.
    Buffy: …Fish of the day?


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