"For a thousand years I wielded the power of the wish. I brought ruin upon the heads of unfaithful men. I offered destruction and chaos for the pleasure of the lower beings. I was feared and worshiped across the mortal globe and now I'm stuck at Sunnydale High! A mortal! A child! And I'm flunking math." -Anya, "Doppelgängland"
Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins, born Aud (formerly Anyanka, the "patron saint of scorned women"), is a fictional character on the cult television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character is portrayed by Emma Caulfield.
"I don't talk to people much. I mean, I talk to them, but they don't talk to me. Except to say, 'Your questions are irksome', and 'Perhaps you should take your furs and your literal interpretations to the other side of the river'." -Aud, "Selfless"
Aud was born in Sjornjost, Sweden in 860. She grew up raising rabbits and became the outsider of her village, who labelled as "odd." By the age of twenty, Aud had fallen in love with a man named Olaf, a Viking warrior who enjoyed hunting trolls and drinking at the bar. One night, Olaf drunkenly slept with a bar maid named Rannveig and a furious Aud resorted to magic to curse him with boils on his penis. She then turned him into a troll, and he was forced to flee from his fellow villagers, who did not believe his story.
The act of vengeance against her lover Olaf, gained the attention of D'Hoffryn, a demon who offered to elevate Aud to the status of a vengeance demon. She was transformed into Anyanka, patron saint of scorned women, and given an amulet with the power to grant dark wishes for the amusement of the pestilent gods. However, like all vengeance demons, Anyanka's interpretation of the wish expressed would often be rather loose and considerably more destructive than the wisher intended.
"Vengeance is what I do, Halfrek. I don't need anything else. Vengeance is what I am."-Anyanka, "Selfless"
In 1199, Anyanka travelled to the Kastka valleys above the Urals to curse an unfaithful shepherd and was caught in the middle of a sorcerer's Ascension to the form of the demon Lohesh. She managed to escape, but was shocked by the death and carnage which claimed almost the entire village. She met up with the famous vampire Dracula in 1579 and was present at the Salem witch trials in 1692. In the 19th century, Anyanka became close friends with fellow vengeance demon Halfrek, who she shared a fierce rivalry with during the Crimean War. Despite their competition, Halfrek secretly admired Anyanka, and was impressed when a wish she granted sparked a revolution in St Petersburg, Russia in 1905. In 1914, Anyanka went to Chicago, Illinois to exact vengeance on a philanderer called Stewart Burns, transforming him into a grotesque demon and banishing him to a hell dimension for all eternity.
In 1998, Anyanka arrived at Sunnydale, California to punish teenager Xander Harris for cheating on his girlfriend Cordelia Chase with his best friend, Willow Rosenberg. Taking on the guise of Anya Emerson, she enrolled at Sunnydale High and befriended Cordelia in order to trick her into making a wish. Blaming the Slayer Buffy Summers for everything that was wrong in her life, Cordelia wished that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and was transported to a grim alternate universe where the Master had risen and both Xander and Willow were vampires. Unfortunately for Anyanka, Buffy's Watcher Rupert Giles discovered what was going on and destroyed her amulet, undoing Cordelia's wish and rendering Anya mortal again. D'Hoffryn refused to restore her powers and Anya was forced to live out her life as a human as punishment for her failure.
Determined to get her powers back, Anya tricked Willow into helping her retrieve her amulet from the alternate universe. Instead, they accidentally pulled out the vampire version of Willow, who proceeded to cause mayhem in Sunnydale. When Anya realised her mistake, she allied herself with the vampire Willow, but they were both captured by Buffy and the Scooby Gang, who forced her to send the vampire Willow back to her own reality. Anya continued to live her life as a high school student and, despite her hatred of all men, she yearned to have a date for the prom. She asked Xander to the dance because she knew he had no other date and he reluctantly accepted for the same reason. After the prom, Anya began to develop feelings for Xander and asked him out again shortly before graduation. However, these plans were put on hold when he told her that the Mayor of Sunnydale was planning to ascend to true demon form on graduation day and eat all the students. Although she offered some advice to the Scoobies regarding the Ascension she witnessed in 1199, Anya was too afraid to help them fight the Mayor and decided to leave town. Xander refused to abandon his friends, so she left without him.
Anya returned to Sunnydale several months later, still infatuated with Xander. She persuaded him to sleep with her in the hopes of getting him out of her system, but it didn't work and instead they began dating. Xander invited her to a Halloween party and she decided to wear a bunny suit as her scary costume. When the demon Gachnar attacked the party, Anya saved Xander and his friends by going to Giles for help. Worried that Xander did not really care about her, Anya was moved when he mistakenly believed that she had been killed by Spike and proceeded to beat the vampire up. The couple began to argue over where their relationship was going, but when a party they were attending was attacked by a poltergeist, Anya risked her life and braved painful injuries to rescue Xander from being drowned. Anya's lack of social skills soon made her unpopular with the rest of the Scooby Gang, particularly Willow, who had little trust for the ex-demon. However, she continued to help them for Xander's sake, and was eventually accepted as an official member.
When Giles briefly left Sunnydale, he reluctantly left Anya in charge of the shop. During an argument, she and Willow accidentally released Olaf the troll from a crystal. It was revealed that Willow and Anya's mutual dislike stemmed from their fear that the other would hurt Xander. When Xander protected both women equally from Olaf, they finally came to an understanding and worked together to banish Olaf to the Land of the Trolls. As the Scoobies prepared to confront the hellgod Glory, Anya provided crucial advice by suggesting that they use the Dagon Sphere and Olaf's hammer in the fight. During the battle with Glory, Anya heroically saved Xander from falling rubble and was knocked unconscious, while Buffy sacrificed her life saving Dawn and the world from a dimensional rift; Anya later played a part in the spell to resurrect her .
Mrs. Xander HarrisEdit
"I, Anya, want to marry you, Xander, because... I love you and I'll always love you. And... before I knew you, I was like a completely different person. Not even a person really. And I had seen what love could do to people, and it was... hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then suddenly there was you, and... you knew me. You saw me, and it was this... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do." -Anya's wedding vows, "Hell's Bells"
Anya began to feel frustrated when Xander refused to announce their engagement so soon after Buffy's death, but he finally did on Halloween. On her wedding day, Anya's former victim Stewart Burns showed up and tried to manipulate Xander by showing him false visions of an unhappy future with Anya. Buffy defeated the demonic Burns, but Xander decided to call off the wedding anyway and left Anya heartbroken at the altar. Hurt and angry, Anya accepted D'Hoffryn's offer to become a vengeance demon again.
Unable to wish vengeance on Xander herself, she attempted to get Spike drunk so that he would make the wish for her. Instead, she found comfort with Spike and the two had sex with each other in the Magic Box, to Xander's disgust. When Tara was murdered, Anya recognised Willow's thirst for vengeance but was unable to stop her from being consumed by dark magic and turning evil, Anya revealed to the other Scoobies that she was a vengeance demon again, but nevertheless aided them until Xander managed to get through to Willow and restore her humanity.
As she continued being a vengeance demon, Anya discovered she no longer enjoyed her work. She spent a summer granting half-hearted wishes and soon gained a reputation as "Soft Serve" among her fellow demons. To gain her co-workers' respect, she turned a man whose girlfriend wished he were a worm into a Sluggoth Demon. However, Xander convinced her to reverse the wish and D'Hoffryn punished her by removing her ability to teleport. Encouraged down a darker path by Halfrek, Anya massacred a group of fraternity boys by summoning a Grimslaw Demon to rip their hearts out. She was later horrified by what she had done and, after an even battle with Buffy, begged D'Hoffryn to reverse the wish. D'Hoffryn agreed, but at the cost of a vengeance demon's soul, and Anya was willing to sacrifice herself for the boys. Instead, D'Hoffryn murdered Halfrek and turned Anya human once more so she would have to live with the pain of what she had done. Realizing she had always been dependent on others in life, Anya resolved to find a purpose for herself. However, when D'Hoffryn sent assassins to kill her, she sought safety at Buffy's house and re-joined the Scooby Gang. Anya and Xander finally made peace with each other, though had several last flings together. Anya admitted to Andrew that she secretly admired how determined humans could be in times of crisis, and in the final battle against the First Evil, she died when she was brutally bisected from behind by a Bringer's sword.
"When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting but they do. They never... they never quit. So, I guess I will keep fighting too." -Anya, "End of Days"
When Anya had her arm broken defending Buffy's younger sister Dawn from a vampire, she was reminded of her own mortality and began to feel depressed about her inevitable death. Anya discovered she had a love for money and capitalism, and her budding retail skills encouraged Giles to hire her as a cashier in his occult shop, the Magic Box.She continues to have a characteristic inability to react to things like a normal human, and is frequently frustrated by her lack of powers. She has also shown some knowledge of pop culture, possibly due to her relationship with Xander, and was described by Andrew Wells as "the perfect woman." (She responds to this with "I've often thought so.")
-"That’s your scary costume?" -"Bunnies frighten me." -Xander and Anya, "Fear, Itself"
Anya's irrational fear of rabbits is established for the first time in "Fear, Itself", and becomes a running joke for the remainder of the series.
Anya, or Aud as she was known, bred rabbits before becoming the demon Anyanka. She suggested to her lover Olaf that they should give the rabbits to people, "not for goods or services, but for goodwill and the sense of accomplishment that comes with selflessly giving of yourself to others". Aud's generosity, as well as her comfort around her rabbits, would be a marked contrast to her later persona as Anya.
For Halloween, 1999, the newly human Anya dressed up as a bunny in response to her boyfriend Xander's advice that she wear something scary. Shortly before battling Glory, Anya believed that a stuffed bunny she found was an omen that they were all going to die. When Sunnydale was turned into a living musical, Anya decided to blame bunnies for the incident, singing "Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes. They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses, and what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?" After losing her memory, Anya accidentally used magic to conjure dozens of bunnies, much to her terror. In the battle against the First Evil, comrade Andrew Wells advised Anya to think about happy things to ease her nerves, like "A lake. Candy canes. Bunnies". The thought of bunnies filled Anya with a grim determination, and she slaughtered several Turok-Han as a result.
Although she has a phobia towards bunnies, she seems to love monkeys. In the episode "Into the Woods" she tries to convince Dawn and Xander to go and see a movie about a monkey who plays ice hockey. Furthermore, in Once More, With Feeling Anya says that she and Xander were watching Monkey Trouble when they started singing.
Anya has a love of money and is considered greedy by some. She has been known to try to cheat at cards, trade in her pink, plastic children for more money while playing The Game of Life and lecture daily episodes of "Go Money Go!".
She was also able to triple her money working for Giles through online trading.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Anyanka possessed the ability to grant wishes of vengeance and had a frightening demonic form in which her face appeared to be skinless with exposed veins. She was much stronger than some demons and vampires (knocking Spike across the room while lying down in "Beneath You") in addition to holding her own against Buffy in "Selfless", surviving being run through with a sword. She could teleport, use telekinesis and heal quickly. Anyanka also had a psychic sense of a woman's desire for vengeance and could tell if a vampire has a soul. Anya could also manipulate some energies to invisibly knock over an opponent.
With over a thousand years of experience as a former vengeance demon, Anya's knowledge of demonology was immense. Although Anya's native language is Old Norse, she spoke fluent, if sometimes stilted, English as well as some French and Latin.
Thanks to her countless years of experience, Anya also exhibits some basic knowledge of magic. She is seen numerous times commenting on Willow's spell-casting and interest in magic with a reasonable degree of insight, and has occasionally participated in the casting of spells herself ("Doppelgangland"). When she was a human, Anya's experience and practice of combat from her times as a demon allowed her to be an effective fighter, as seen in the series finale.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Anya was portrayed by Emma Caulfield.
- The "Anya Emerson" alias comes from the Sunnydale High Yearbook, which reveals the surnames of a number of characters throughout the show's first three seasons.
- Anyanka's appearance while in her demon form changes in season 7 compared to that in series 3. Her makeup becomes more like that of Halfrek. Instead of veiny and pale, Anyanka's skin is covered in red sores.
- Joss Whedon joked at the Noctural convention in 2001 that Anya was originally supposed to die during the Season 5 finale, "The Gift". However, he had to keep her alive because Emma Caulfield kept moving as Xander was carrying Anya.
- In an interview with Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel magazine #93, Emma Caulfield revealed that she was very pleased with her character's abrupt death, stating, "She didn't get a big, maudlin send-off, it was very quick and to the point - very Anya in that respect."
- Anya will definitely reappear in the canonical Buffy the Vampire Slayer season eight comic book series, although she will not necessarily be alive. Whedon has also hinted that "it's all about Anya" and a memorable appearance of bunnies.
- In 2005, Diamond Select Toys (DST) produced several action figures in the likeness of Emma Caulfield for their "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" line. Each figure featured a "real-scan" likeness of Emma, and episode/character specific outfit. Figures produced: "Season 5 Anya" in red top and black skirt, "Hell's Bells Anya" in wedding dress, "Once More, With Feeling Anya" in butterfly top and green skirt, "Anyanka" in demon dress, and "Bunny Suit Anya" in removable bunny suit. A repaint of "Bunny Suit Anya" was featured in the Vengeance Book boxset.
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