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"The things you do and have, I was taught distract from my calling. Friends. School. Even family." -Kendra, "[[What's My Line, Part Two"

Kendra is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon and introduced by Marti Noxon for the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character is portrayed by Bianca Lawson. Eight years after the character's creation, Whedon granted her the surname Young for a role-playing game and subsequent material.

Kendra is a Slayer: a young girl endowed with supernatural abilities and destined to battle evil creatures such as vampires and demons.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Born in another country (never mentioned, but implied to be Jamaica, re. "Accent"), her people apparently know about Slayers and consider them highly important, so much so that her parents gave her up for Slayer training at a very early age. She did not even know her own surname as she studied under her Watcher, Sam Zabuto. Zabuto was very strict with his charge, forbidding her from enjoying a social or romantic life, which he taught her would distract her from her duties as the Slayer. Kendra became fully versed in the Slayer Handbook and fighting techniques, and owned a trusty stake which she named Mr. Pointy. After a lifetime of preparation, she was called in 1997 when Buffy Summers died at the hands of the Master; though Buffy's friend Xander Harris managed to revive her, her death nevertheless activated a second Slayer, causing two to co-exist for the first time.[1][2][3]

Meeting BuffyEdit

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In her first year as the Slayer, Zabuto sent Kendra to Sunnydale when signs indicated that a very dark power was about to rise there. Kendra saw the benevolent vampire Angel kissing Buffy, and assumed that she too was a vampire — the first of many quick conclusions she would draw. After a brief battle, they discovered that they were both Slayers.[1] Buffy's Watcher Rupert Giles told them that two Slayers existing at the same time was unprecedented. Kendra's social isolation and dedication to discipline and technique in pursuing her calling contrasted sharply with Buffy's independence, whereas Buffy believed that her emotions and friendships made her a better Slayer. The two girls initially shared an antagonistic relationship, but eventually began to empathise with each other's lifestyle. Buffy's friends, the "Scooby Gang", learned that the dark power Zabuto detected was the vampire Drusilla, whose boyfriend Spike was planning to sacrifice Angel in order to restore Drusilla's strength. Despite her reservations about saving a vampire, Kendra aided Buffy in the rescue of Angel from Spike and Drusilla, before returning to her home country.[2]

DeathEdit

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File:Buffys1 drusilla.jpg

Kendra returned in 1998 when her Watcher informed her that the demon Acathla would open its mouth and suck the world into hell. By that point, Angel had lost his soul and reverted to the infamous Angelus, and was the one who had activated Acathla alongside Spike and Drusilla. Zabuto gave Kendra a special sword, which Kendra passed on to Buffy after surprising her as she patrolled. Kendra helped the Scooby Gang protect Willow Rosenberg as she performed the Ritual of Restoration to return Angel's soul. Drusilla and her vampire lackeys arrived in the library to stop the attempt to bring back Angel and after a brief fight, Drusilla hypnotized Kendra and slit her throat, killing her.[3] At the very moment that Kendra lost her life, her successor Faith Lehane was called as a Slayer in Boston.[4] As Buffy was found next to her body, she became a suspect for murder and expelled from Sunnydale High; as revealed in "Dead Man's Party", Buffy has been cleared of all charges by eyewitness reports, though it takes both physical and professional threats from Giles to get Principal Snyder to readmit Buffy.

ConceptionEdit

AccentEdit

According to writer/producr Marti Noxon in the "What's My Line, Part 1" DVD Commentary, Kendra was never intended to have an accent. The addition of the Jamaican accent to the character was a last minute decision, and a dialect coach was brought in to work with Lawson. However, Noxon goes on to explain that the accent he coached her in was supposedly from a very specific, obscure region of Jamaica, and while the accent may have sounded authentic to that region, to the rest of the cast and crew (and the majority of the viewing audience) it simply sounded like a very bad impersonation of a common Jamaican accent.[5]

CharacterizationEdit

J.P. Williams states that from the perspective of the Watchers' Council, Kendra is the "practically perfect Slayer: solemn, respectful, and efficient." She has mastered the use of every weapon reliant on muscle power, such as swords, knives and axes, and although she lacks field experience, she possesses more textbook knowledge about slaying than Buffy (from her Watcher and the Slayer's Handbook - a book that Giles felt was pointless to give to Buffy). Unlike Buffy, Kendra wields her power "exactly as her superiors instruct."[6] However, Kendra's tendency to unhesitatingly follow orders means she lacks moral autonomy[7] and is easily hypnotized by Drusilla; Jana Riess argues that Kendra's death occurred because "she always obeyed without question and has not strengthened her mind and spirit by discovering her own unique path."[8] Ironically, Kendra's initial reaction to Buffy's insistence of doing things her own way instead of following orders was to retort, "No wonder you died." ("What's My Line, Part Two")

Kendra's brief display of individuality was her naming her favorite stake "Mr. Pointy". Buffy later admits that she had it bronzed.

Other mediaEdit

Kendra has also appeared in Buffy expanded universe material. She has appeared in the comic Ring of Fire in 2000, and the novel The Book of Fours in 2001.

See alsoEdit


AppearancesEdit

Canonical appearancesEdit

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Expanded UniverseEdit

The Book of Fours

This novel reveals that she is from Cane Town Plantation, Jamaica. The novel also shows a closer friendship between Buffy and Kendra and how deeply affected Buffy was by Kendra's death. Also, it reveals Kendra's past and suggests her doom was inevitable.

Ring of Fire

Graphic novel written by Doug Petrie.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "What's My Line, Part One"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "What's My Line, Part Two"
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Becoming, Part One"
  4. "Faith, Hope & Trick"
  5. Marti Noxon, "What's My Line, Part 1" DVD Commentary
  6. Williams, J. P. (2002). "Choosing Your Own Mother: Mother-Daughter Conflicts in Buffy". In Rhonda V. Wilcox, David Lavery (eds.). Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 63–64. http://books.google.com/books?id=amKx_wH-PDYC&pg=PA61&ots=lqCTxJ0D11&dq=Choosing+Your+Own+Mother:+Mother-Daughter+Conflicts+in+Buffy&sig=7BjlcdrCJHslRGNC0Q4tOmqOYgY#PPA63,M1. 
  7. Richardson, J. Michael; Rabb, J. Douglas (2007), "Buffy, Faith and Bad Faith: Choosing to be the Chosen One", Slayage 23, http://slayageonline.com/essays/slayage23/Richardson_Rabb.htm, retrieved 2007-07-26 
  8. Riess, Jana (2004). What Would Buffy Do?: The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide. San Francisco: John Wiley a & Sons Inc.. pp. 70. http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0787969222/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-5874349-0613739#. 

External linksEdit

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