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Thread: Buffy & Willow's power

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    Default Buffy & Willow's power

    Buffy in S7 says "I am the Law."
    Willow in S6 says "I am the Magic."

    I'm interested in comparing their power, ideologically. Buffy's name was chosen deliberately to subvert the trope of the blonde victim/ valley girl. Willow's name is closely connected to nature, as are the names of her romantic partners (barring Kennedy). On the show, Tara McClay= the Earth, in the comics, Lake Stevens. Buffy saves the world, a lot, and philosophises about life. Willow saves the world with her magic power as well as pioneered Buffy's resurrection. Even before the magical prowess, she helped in saving the world with her computer skills and her intellect is an important aspect of her power.

    What do you think?
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    Buffy's power seems less selfish. She was chosen without her input to save the world. Willow's power seems like she chose it to help herself and through that extension her friends. She's using it, mostly, for good but it doesn't seem as clean and pure as Buffy's to me.


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    One doesn't have anything to do with the other, other than, maybe, a comparison to one being forced to use their power and the other not-so-much.

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    I think it's important that Willow was filled with dark magic when she said this, and this is something she wouldn't normally say.

    Buffy was being matter of fact when she told Xander and Willow that she was the law. The slayer's purpose is to kill demons that prey on humans. She can't separate herself from the legacy, it is in every cell of her body. As part of being the slayer Buffy decides if a demon is dangerous. She's the judge, jury and executioner, and there is no court of appeals. Her battle with the demons occurs in the outer real world.

    Willow had just drained Rack when she said she was the magic. She was completely out of her mind. In her normal life she spends a lot of time learning how to do magic, and then learning how not to. But Willow exists separate from the magic. It is a force that must be tamed, directed, used and respected. Willow has to master the magics and that is an internal battle.

    Buffy is the law, and Willow needs to not be the magics but to control them. Not sure wear that stands ideologically.
    Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments...The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

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    Buffy is law, also death (hello, slayer!) Willow is magic but more precisely she's chaos. Magic and chaos are basically synonyms - magic, by definition, breaks the rules of nature, right? Willow, like all witches, represents and personifies and ultimately is an agent of chaos. And that's good because chaos is life, without chaos there's nothing, just neatly organized heat death of the universe. When you look at Buffy's and Willow's stories this law/chaos dichotomy essentially works in all of twelve seasons. And before some monkey tries to tell me I'm wrong here's Willow with the symbol of chaos:

    Another difference is that Buffy's power is a birthright, Willow's is earned. Buffy's the princess in her castle, Willow's a stable girl who becomes the knight and stuff. Buffy's the aristocracy, Willow's a folk revolutionary, you know what I mean? Sticking to the fairy tale logic, Willow's path to power is traditionally masculine, Buffy's traditionally feminine. It's really neat.

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    I've copied the following straight from my thesis:

    Wallace argues that we must all give ourselves over to some form of worship, because “In the day to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is not such thing as not worshipping” (This is Water 98-99). He further argues that one should either choose to worship a deity or “some infrangible set of ethical principles,” because “pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive” (102).

    The quotes are from a speech David Foster Wallace gave to a graduating class at Kenyon College. In the speech, he list things that are dangerous to obsess about, such as money, your own beauty and your own intelligence. He argues that you should not worship these things, because they will eventually take over your life.

    Buffy and Willow are extremely powerful women. Buffy is the most successful slayer of all time and Willow is the most powerful witch in the western hemisphere. However, they struggle with regular life-stuff. The worse their lives are going, the closer do they identify with their super power. Buffy says, "Angel, if I am the slayer, then who am I?" Willow says, "If you could be Super Willow or regular old Willow, then who would you be?" They cling to the thing that make them feel in control and validates their worth, and they distance themselves from all that leads to failure, shame and a sense of worthlessness.

    I really wish the final BtVS season had been happier and that we could have seen the Scoobies move on to happier lives. The awakening of the potentials suggests there won't be as much fighting in the future and S5 of AtS gives the impression that the Scoobies are livin' large. However, I would like to see this on screen. As a coming-of-age-story, it feels a little unfinished, as the Scoobies are mostly struggling with the same issues when the show ends as they always were. The destruction of Sunnydale suggests a wiped slate, but the story does not progress on from that.

    P.S. Great post @a thing of evil. One of the few things I liked about the comics was Willow as this complicated hero. She chooses the trickster Aluwyn as her mentor. She brings magic back to the world. She makes herself immortal and insane to protect our dimension from the return of demons while the slayer line is defunct.

    Chaos is a little complicated, though, because Willow works against entropy and heat death by restoring magic. Entropy is usually described as a movement from order to chaos. Willow wants to maintain opposing forces in the world. I therefore think chaos could be better understood as balance. In the comics, she is the true neutral of DnD morality.
    Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 11-06-19 at 01:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    I think it's important that Willow was filled with dark magic when she said this, and this is something she wouldn't normally say.

    Buffy was being matter of fact when she told Xander and Willow that she was the law. The slayer's purpose is to kill demons that prey on humans. She can't separate herself from the legacy, it is in every cell of her body. As part of being the slayer Buffy decides if a demon is dangerous. She's the judge, jury and executioner, and there is no court of appeals. Her battle with the demons occurs in the outer real world.

    Willow had just drained Rack when she said she was the magic. She was completely out of her mind. In her normal life she spends a lot of time learning how to do magic, and then learning how not to. But Willow exists separate from the magic. It is a force that must be tamed, directed, used and respected. Willow has to master the magics and that is an internal battle.

    Buffy is the law, and Willow needs to not be the magics but to control them. Not sure wear that stands ideologically.
    Magic, much like soul, is never squarely defined in the shows. What exactly *is* it? Much of the text suggests it's just a pre-existing well inside any individual. Some have more than others. It can be "drained" as we saw in S6 with Rack and Giles. It seems to be passed along lineages, such as Amy and her mom, Tara and hers. Amy in fact complains that Willow basically had it easy.

    Which all goes to say I'm not sure Willow's juice is a separate entity any more than Buffy's would be. It does, perhaps inadvertently, delve into the physical v mental argument about what is more "earned". But this is an area I think Joss's nerd heritage tends to sabotage things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HardlyThere View Post
    Magic, much like soul, is never squarely defined in the shows. What exactly *is* it? Much of the text suggests it's just a pre-existing well inside any individual. Some have more than others. It can be "drained" as we saw in S6 with Rack and Giles. It seems to be passed along lineages, such as Amy and her mom, Tara and hers. Amy in fact complains that Willow basically had it easy.

    Which all goes to say I'm not sure Willow's juice is a separate entity any more than Buffy's would be. It does, perhaps inadvertently, delve into the physical v mental argument about what is more "earned". But this is an area I think Joss's nerd heritage tends to sabotage things.
    WILLOW
    I don't have that much power, I don't think.

    GILES
    Everything's connected. You're connected to a great power, whether you feel it or not.

    WILLOW
    Well you should just take it from me.

    She gets up and storms off, angry at herself. They walk toward a building.

    GILES
    You know we can't. This isn't a hobby or an addiction. It's inside you now, this magic. You're responsible for it.

    If she's connected to a greater power than it is something outside of her that exists independent of her. She has a piece of it within her, and is responsible for that piece. This is how I read it. Willow can run out of power and refill, but the power itself doesn't run out. Given that the magic from the hellmouth must taint the power, I've wondered if part of why she went dark is because the power she drew on was dark. It's an amoral power that can be used for both good and bad, and Willow is responsible for the expression of that power.

    Buffy's legacy was not an external power at any time since the shadow men trapped Sineya. The potential exists within the Slayer, and the slayer never runs out of slaying power. Like any power it can be misused - witness Faith - but it can't be stripped from her. She is the Slayer - she is the law when it pertains to demons. She decides who is a danger and who is not.
    Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments...The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    WILLOW
    I don't have that much power, I don't think.

    GILES
    Everything's connected. You're connected to a great power, whether you feel it or not.

    WILLOW
    Well you should just take it from me.

    She gets up and storms off, angry at herself. They walk toward a building.

    GILES
    You know we can't. This isn't a hobby or an addiction. It's inside you now, this magic. You're responsible for it.

    If she's connected to a greater power than it is something outside of her that exists independent of her. She has a piece of it within her, and is responsible for that piece. This is how I read it. Willow can run out of power and refill, but the power itself doesn't run out. Given that the magic from the hellmouth must taint the power, I've wondered if part of why she went dark is because the power she drew on was dark. It's an amoral power that can be used for both good and bad, and Willow is responsible for the expression of that power.

    Buffy's legacy was not an external power at any time since the shadow men trapped Sineya. The potential exists within the Slayer, and the slayer never runs out of slaying power. Like any power it can be misused - witness Faith - but it can't be stripped from her. She is the Slayer - she is the law when it pertains to demons. She decides who is a danger and who is not.
    And yet that power can be taken from others. She "taps" Kennedy for power in Get It Done. The power she has at the end of S6 is the power Giles gave to her. If the power is external, there wouldn't be a need to give or take from others, you could just take the power from a source like a vengeance demon. As I said, it's like the whole soul thing. You can find proof for either stance. To me, most things seem to suggest that it's some kind of internal pool and some have more than others. Willow's pool is particularly large, but everyone appears to have one. Xander manages to do spells. As does Buffy.

    I don't think that power has any good/bad qualities. It's only how the person chooses to use it. What exactly makes magic dark, having a bunch of pentagrams on it? Even good magic seems to usually entail having something killed--eyes of newt, pieces of toad. It doesn't turn "evil" because it requires the blood of a cute deer.

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