It's here, you guys: the final face-off, which many of us accurately predicted. There were surprises along the way, and some of our favorites left us far too soon, but nevertheless, we persist.
Let's take a look at that final bracket:
And now, it all comes down to this. Posh and I have constructed some Very Scholarly Arguments to appeal to your better natures, but in the end, it all comes down to you and your vote.
Take it away, Posh!
Okay, let's get one thing straight before we go any further: I'm a huge Buffy fan. I watched the pilot when it originally aired and remained devoted to the series until the bitter(sweet) end. So when I say that Harry, Hermione and Ron are the superior trio of besties, I'm making an educated statement with full knowledge of both sets of friends. In other words, I'M RIGHT, Y'ALL.
Complete confidence in my correctness makes me feel like I could end this argument right now, but instead, I'm going to lay it out like a freaking academic essay. And not just, like, an Honors English paper--I'm talking COLLEGE LEVEL.
Prepared to get schooled, Jennie!
There's a lot of similarities between our Hogwarts heroes and the Scooby Gang. As social outcasts, they're brought together by a fellow underdog with special powers, and their connection grows stronger in the face of challenges both supernatural and ordinary. There's even a romance within the ranks that each friendship circle manages to survive.
Given the similarities of these BFF-doms, they might seem equal in strength and awesomeness. But upon closer examination, the trio most deserving of your vote becomes clear, because it's not just about loyalty, and it's not even just about love. On those two counts alone, Buffy's crew and Harry's gang would be in a dead heat. They all sacrifice so much (even their lives) for each other, and nothing, not even the greatest evil the world has ever known, can tear them apart.
What elevates the wizards to the #1 bestie slot is something far less serious yet just as vital to the bonds of friendship: their camaraderie. It's the joy that comes from being in the presence of a kindred spirit, the pleasure you take in each other's company. It's why people become friends in the first place, and by that measure, it's the foundation of BFFs.
Initially, both groups have it in spades, and while there are certainly moments when Hermione is fed up, or Harry's being a brat, or Ron is acting like a HUGE baby, they always find their way back to that warmth of togetherness. When it comes to Buffy, Xander and Willow, their love for each other never wavers, but their like for each other suffers some serious setbacks from which it never seems to fully recover. There's the fallout from the Willow and Xander hook-up, then there's Buffy's increasing sense of martyrdom which develops into a super loner attitude. And you know Dark Willow really put a dent in the group hugs.
You also can't discount the impact of romantic relationships in eroding that chummy chemistry. While Ron and Hermione's long road to coupledom certainly put the trio's friendship through the ringer, each member of the Scooby Gang became consumed, at some point or another, with a serious significant other. Sure, they still played pool together at the Bronze or brainstormed ways to Not Die at the magic shop, but in the last few seasons, there was a sense that they didn't yearn to spend time together.
In contrast, Harry, Hermione and Ron all lived in the same building for YEARS and yet still hung out together 24/7. Even when Harry was in the early stages of infatuation with Ginny, he seemed like kiiiind of a bad boyfriend because he was more often in the company of his pals. And who could blame him? These three have their own rhythm, an effortless happiness in being together.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "But Sarah, what about when Hermione and Harry and Ron were doing all of that awful camping and they all started to hate each other?" To which I would respond, "THAT WAS THE HORCRUX, YO." And also, camping, even in a giant magical tent, always brings out the worst in people.
In closing, I'll point to the ending of each series, our final glimpse of the bestiehoods. That may not seem fair, since J.K. Rowling gave us an epilogue set 19 years in the future and Joss Whedon left us on a bus heading out of the crater formerly known as Sunnydale. (I don't want to get into the comics but even if I did, they would still support my argument, SO THERE.) Sure, Buffy's ending isn't as neatly tied up as Harry's, yet the ending of both series offers a crystallization of the friendship as it is and has always been. Buffy, Willow and Xander each have very separate parts to play, and as much as they care for each other, their unity is based very much on trying to save the world. With Harry, Hermione and Ron, you get the sense that defeating Voldemort, important though it may be, is secondary to their need to support and love each other, and ultimately, his death is merely a footnote in the history of their friendship.
In the grand tradition of well-researched, ironclad arguments, I will rest my case with one final word: BOOM.
It’s not easy being the Chosen One’s bestie(s). It’s even worse when society is up in your business, telling you that you (Buffy) can’t possibly be competent because you’re a girl, you (Xander) are less of a man because this lady with superhuman powers is outshining you in traditionally “masculine” ways, and you (Willow) aren’t even worthy of love, admiration, or even notice, because you’re a lady nerd who favors fuzzy sweaters and bucket hats.
On the surface, this friendship never should have worked out…but it did. It worked out through countless vampires, demons, and dickish high school principals who metaphorically represented All The Shit We Go Through; it worked out through the non-supernatural deaths of loved ones (The Body. Come on. Do I need to go on?), star-crossed romances, ill-advised hookups, sexuality expansions, college, and the terrible fashion of the 90s.
Now, I know Posh THINKS she’s right, but when it comes to best friendship between the two groups, the Scooby Gang are clearly the best.
First of all: it’s two girls and a (straight) guy, which might be many a dude’s dream, but it’s also not a demographic you often see in pop culture best friendships. In 1997, it was pretty revolutionary. Even J.K. Rowling, who is obviously a pop culture queen, made her trio male-dominated. Sure, Hermione’s the smartest, but so what? Willow’s the smartest, Buffy is the strongest, and Xander is there as comic relief and as the heart of the trio. He often is the one discovering himself while the girls take care of business…and the friendship still survived.
Banter, too, is always an important part of any friendship. I don’t know about you, but do you quote Harry Potter nearly as much as Buffy? Buffy, Willow, and Xander deliver one-liners with the ease that spawned a zillion gifs. Yeah, Harry, Hermione, and Ron inhabit a magical world (which eventually becomes more sinister than not), but when I think about the lines and the gifs I want to use, Buffy and her buds have always said it best. Buffy, Willow, and Xander always knew what they were up against and had the gallows humor to go with it. Sure, Harry & crew had some good lines, but in general, I like my apocalyptic happenings with a super side of snark.
It's not all vampires and demons and hideous college roommates, though. Sometimes, your friends are just dicks, and a good friendship is one where you can actually say as much. These friends were never afraid to call each other out on their respective shit. Sure, Harry, Hermione, and Ron had their tiffs (especially when the Horcrux was around), but it was usually Hermione who had to facilitate any healthy emotional processing. Remember when Buffy was dancing all sexy-like up on Xander to make a (stupid) point? Both Willow and Xander scolded her, without hesitation, and let her know that her actions have consequences. Then there was Dark Willow, and Buffy's attempt to alienate everyone who loves her—despite both of these ladies being totally out of line, their friendship survived, thanks to the ability to call each other on their shit. That’s what best friends do—what they have to do, in order for their friendship to survive.
Finally: the Scooby Gang brought Buffy back from the dead. We could debate all day long about whether that was a purely selfish decision (and whether the show should have just ended there), but when it comes down to it, Willow and Xander missed Buffy so much that they resurrected her. I'd do the same for my bestie. Wouldn't you?
So, did we add sufficient agony to this decision? Make that Sophie's choice and cast your vote!
Voting ends Saturday, April 15 at 11:59pm. Who do you think will take it all?