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It's been about 2-3 years since I've seen Buffy. I finished Buffy seasons 1-4 and Angel season 1. I'm now watching Buffy season 5 and Angel season 2.

In Buffy S05E02, when Buffy comes to rescue Dawn from Harmony et al, why do they attack Buffy instead of for example threatening to harm/kill Dawn?

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Probably overconfidence

There’s probably no grand strategy to it, just mundane overconfidence. If the vampires were at all smart, they wouldn’t be attacking Buffy or threatening to kill Dawn. They’d be running in the other direction. As demonstrated by how easily Buffy dispatches the first three (Peaches, Brad, and Cyrus), ordinary vampires are not so dangerous at this point. Harmony’s minions clearly overestimate their fighting skills. They believe they can beat Buffy in a fight, so why bother threatening Dawn? Obviously, they’re mistaken. Don’t forget, these were the same vampires who agreed to follow Harmony and her plans. They’re not the smartest people around.

Plus, vampires often are eager to drink the blood of the Slayer. As the Master says after drinking Buffy’s blood:

Master: Oh, God! The power!

Presumably ordinary vampires want that power as well, which might tend to cause them to act somewhat irrationally.

  • Another factor is the prestige that comes from killing a Slayer. – DavidS Oct 14 '16 at 8:34
  • Ah, yes, that too. – Adamant Oct 14 '16 at 8:35
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    Spike is prestige level 2. Everyone else is a scrub. – Smeghead Sev Oct 14 '16 at 18:49
  • @SmegheadSev - True enough. – Adamant Oct 14 '16 at 19:19
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Harmony has a plan. That plan doesn't involve her minions killing or threatening Dawn, but simply keeping her as bait to draw out the Slayer.

Despite their persistent bitching, when the time comes they follow the plan to the letter. You may wish to note that these particular vampires are not the sharpest tools in the box since they're following Harmony in the first place.

HARMONY: We send Buffy a note telling her if she wants to see her sister again, she has to come, alone, to a place we choose. She comes, we jump her, we kill her.

MORT: So it doesn't really matter if we're actually holding the Slayer's sister, as long as she thinks we are, she'll walk into the trap.

HARMONY: I guess…

CYRUS: So it won't make any difference if we eat the girl now.

HARMONY: We're not eating the girl.

PEACHES: Why not?

HARMONY: 'Cause… That's not the plan.

Buffyworld - "Real Me" Script / David Fury

For me, the question is why they'd want to threaten Dawn during the fight since the goal here is to fight and kill Buffy rather than escaping from her.

Attacking Dawn might make her divert her attention for a few seconds, but doing so would require the vampire to take their eyes off of Buffy which is basically a death sentence for them. On top of that, hurting Dawn would just make Buffy more angry so there's really no upside in doing so.

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