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Stake vs Spell: The Strength of a Witch

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  • Stake vs Spell: The Strength of a Witch

    It's been shown throughout Buffy The Vampire Slayer that not only are slayers the heroes with power, but others are capable are proving vast strength: Wiccans. We've seen Willow grow and grow from when she was floating pencil in "Choices" to ending the world in "Grave" and help saving the world in "Chosen." However, the original motive of the show was that slayers are the ones with the true power.. they are the most powerful ones are the ones capable of saving the world more than any other person.

    Another interesting fact is that Buffy considers Willow the most powerful person to exist, and she states this blatantly in "Chosen." Some have argued that Willow would have killed Buffy in "Two To Go/Grave" if Giles hadn't intervened... although this is all truly debatable. My question is, are witches stronger than slayers? Was Willow a stronger person than Buffy? Would she have defeated her in their battle in "Grave?"

    To me this concept of Witches over Slayers always seemed indecent to me. For a show that was promoting a sense of security for their hero.. in that she was above all in terms of strength.. I think it was subtly incorrect for Joss to hint to an idea of a Witch being stronger than a Slayer. I also have to disagree on this idea.. because it not only is it reversing the original purpose of the show.. but Slayers have much more experience, technique, and training for them to lose.. I don't care how strong the Witch is (even Willow). Of course slayers aren't completely protected (we've seen Spike kill two..) but comparing in terms of using Buffy and Faith as a standard.. I don't think Willow would end up winning the battle for multiple reasons. I would delve into these reasons, but I am more interested in responses.
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  • #2
    I think yes, Witches are stronger, if they are strong enough. Slayers only get the agility and strength. Witches can get anything. Witches can get strength, agility, become more smart, through lighting at people, start a fire, launch people into the moon, or whatever the hell they want. As long as they have the spell, they can do it. Willow destroyed Buffy and she can't fight back because Willow has so many other resources. She lunges at Willow, Willow can throw up a barrier. Or, open up a hole and close it off. She'll be trapped. Witches can do anything, given the right amount of power.

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    • #3
      This also raises the idea of whether or not a Witch's strength is borrowed.. considering Willow stole the black magic from books and absorbed the power from resources.. while a Slayer's strength is given to them.. and they are called upon it.. with years of training.
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      • #4
        Agreed. But, Willow had all that power. She was over whelmed with power. If she got more, she couldn't fight. So, she had just the right amount of power for what she wanted to do. So, Willow could do anything then.

        Buffy's power was given to her, yes. She didn't really have years of training. She didn't know she was a potential. Her watcher was killed early on. (see the movie). And she was trained differently than other slayers. So, she had many more weaknesses than other slayers. But, she also had many more strengths than other slayers.

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        • #5
          I'd say yes but I don't think it is a clear cut answer either.

          I think in a hand to hand fight Buffy would win over Willow fairly easily if the fight had continued onwards longer than it did. I'm assuming that Willow gave herself as much physical strength as she was capable of doing to 'beat them to death' and later to fight Buffy. And I'm not convinced Willow was the clear winner in that fight.

          Buffy clearly wasn't fighting at her best, regardless if she (not very convincingly) told Willow she'd show her what a slayer really is. One scene that comes to mind is when she catches Willow's fist in mid air, and rather than continuing onwards in an attack when Willow was vulnerable, she chooses to stop and try and talk Willow down.

          This gives Willow the opportunity to break free and hit Buffy repeatedly in the face. Buffy fighting her hardest wouldn't have gave herself up like this, she would have followed through immediately with an attack, not try and talk her enemy down.

          Notedly, when we cut back to them fighting again Buffy seems to have given up on that option and manages to beat Willow twice in the face and hurl her into some shelves. So in my opinion, Buffy would have won in a smack down against Willow.

          In terms of power though, Willow would win. As soon as Anya is out of the picture and Willow's magic isn't being blocked, she blasts Buffy to the floor rather easily. She does this again when Buffy runs at her in the training room with Giles. Not to mention the fact we've seen Willow a year earlier be able to "thicken" the air around her enemy (Glory) preventing them from even moving. Willow could do this to a slayer, holding them in a fixed place, and simply walk up and kill them.

          The only weakness a witch really has is the fact her strength can be 'tapped' out if she uses it to much. This happens to Willow when controlling the truck, forcing her to go get a little pick-me-up. If Buffy somehow managed to hold on long enough, she may be able to use this to her advantage.

          Witches are stronger, but the fact Buffy has faced three now (Amy, Willow and Amy's mother Catherine) and survived, sometimes even won, I don't think it is fair to rule out slayers completely.

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          • #6
            Ive always felt that in the Buffy universe Witches had far to much power. I always felt the Slayer should be the most powerful person in the world but season 6 proved that Willow was actually stronger. I wish Jose didnt give Willow so much power as it really takes alot away from the mythology of the slayer.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ykickamoocow View Post
              Ive always felt that in the Buffy universe Witches had far to much power. I always felt the Slayer should be the most powerful person in the world but season 6 proved that Willow was actually stronger. I wish Jose didnt give Willow so much power as it really takes alot away from the mythology of the slayer.
              IMO it doesn't really. Buffy has faced many opponents who were stronger than her in battle. Glory was stronger than her, as was Adam, the Mayor in snake form and then Willow. I don't really think it has taken anything away from the slayer mytho at all, never was it stated directly the slayer was the strongest out of everyone. If that were the case it'd be very boring because nothing would ever be a threat to her. I think it is big of the show to paint Buffy's sidekick as stronger than her rather than following the traditional route of the main lead always being the strongest.

              It is also important to remember that whilst Willow may technically be stronger than Buffy this in no way means that Buffy wasn't needed a great deal in other ways. When she was kicked out in 'Empty Places' the house fell apart, there was no strong leader and when there was they ended up walking straight into a trap when she was actually proven to be right in following her instincts. And Buffy states Willow was stronger than her as far back as 'The Gift' but Buffy was still needed to protect Sunnydale in 'Bargaining Part I & II.' Admittedly though, Willow now could have probably taken out the demon bikers.

              Regardless, I've always felt the character Buffy is far more important than the slayer itself. Faith was a slayer but nowhere near capable yet to lead a group of people (some of whom are stronger and thus harder to maintain in a sidekick position) and Faith hasn't displayed the ability to come up with battle plans and scenarios like Buffy has either. A lot of what makes Buffy so special isn't the fact she is a slayer but who she is, that's what makes her different from other slayers.

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              • #8
                *Willow* is stronger than a Slayer, yes. Maybe even Amy. But I don't get the impression that they are stand-ins for witches in general in the Buffyverse. I think if you were going to compare "random witch" to "random Slayer", you'd be comparing... the women in the wicca group in "The Killer in Me", or the magic shop owner that Spike killed, to a Slayer. Slayers are consistent and vary in power and effectiveness only by how long they've been doing it. I get the impression that the vast majority of witches in the Buffyverse are basically about as mystically superpowered as any normal person is.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                  *Willow* is stronger than a Slayer, yes. Maybe even Amy. But I don't get the impression that they are stand-ins for witches in general in the Buffyverse. I think if you were going to compare "random witch" to "random Slayer", you'd be comparing... the women in the wicca group in "The Killer in Me", or the magic shop owner that Spike killed, to a Slayer. Slayers are consistent and vary in power and effectiveness only by how long they've been doing it. I get the impression that the vast majority of witches in the Buffyverse are basically about as mystically superpowered as any normal person is.
                  I agree with Dan here; the key to slayerness is that it is something that comes down the generations without a great deal of variation in strength. Witches on the other hand have to cultivate their skills and only to a very few does it come easily and naturally, as was the case with Willow. Amy had quite a bit of power too, and we've seen her continue to become more powerful in season eight
                  Spoiler:
                  which kinda makes me think her growth as a witch has come from the energy which must still be emanating from the hellmouth, since she had some skills but wasn't overly in her control of her magic, and in season six we saw her magic was very often a trip from Rack rather than her own magics.


                  Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                  I'd say yes but I don't think it is a clear cut answer either.

                  I think in a hand to hand fight Buffy would win over Willow fairly easily if the fight had continued onwards longer than it did. I'm assuming that Willow gave herself as much physical strength as she was capable of doing to 'beat them to death' and later to fight Buffy. And I'm not convinced Willow was the clear winner in that fight.

                  Buffy clearly wasn't fighting at her best, regardless if she (not very convincingly) told Willow she'd show her what a slayer really is. One scene that comes to mind is when she catches Willow's fist in mid air, and rather than continuing onwards in an attack when Willow was vulnerable, she chooses to stop and try and talk Willow down.

                  This gives Willow the opportunity to break free and hit Buffy repeatedly in the face. Buffy fighting her hardest wouldn't have gave herself up like this, she would have followed through immediately with an attack, not try and talk her enemy down.
                  Only a tiny comment; as I was reading this my mind flashed back to Buffy telling Kendra her emotions were a strength. This made me think, this is what always made Buffy that bit different from the watchers' council's idea of the ideal slayer- it doesn't always come easily to Buffy but we do see throughout the years that she tries as much as possible to be 'just a girl' first, slayer second, and while Buffy verbalises that she's gonna kick butt, I think her human love for her friend totally got in the way- she could have taken Willow out for sure, had she only been wearing her 'slayer' hat.

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                  • #10
                    Only a tiny comment; as I was reading this my mind flashed back to Buffy telling Kendra her emotions were a strength. This made me think, this is what always made Buffy that bit different from the watchers' council's idea of the ideal slayer- it doesn't always come easily to Buffy but we do see throughout the years that she tries as much as possible to be 'just a girl' first, slayer second, and while Buffy verbalises that she's gonna kick butt, I think her human love for her friend totally got in the way- she could have taken Willow out for sure, had she only been wearing her 'slayer' hat.
                    I'm in a definite minority when I say that I think Buffy went into that fight willing to *win the fight* if she had to. Buffy isn't cavalier about engaging the fight. When she asks Willow if they're "really gonna do this", the question is implicitly the same one Buffy was asking herself in "Graduation, Part I" -- are they going to do it for real, to the finish if it must be. And Buffy promises to match her when Willow confirms it's the way it has to be.

                    When she offers to help Willow in mid-fight, I think it's her resolve weakening less than a clue that she hadn't committed to the fight on Willow's terms.

                    Emotions are a huge part of Buffy's fighting spirit but I don't think it's what happened in "Two to Go" -- she just got beaten. Willow was better, would have killed her long before if Anya's spell hadn't been running.
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                    • #11
                      I strongly have to disagree here.. it's evident to me personally that Buffy is fighting to handle the situation more than giving it her all in the fight.. I'm surprised you'd say that.. you honestly think she'd take out her best friend in a battle to the death without holding back at all? If she was constantly trying to help Faith.. I think it'd be very OOC if she suddenly decided to give Willow a good beating. The way Buffy fights the entire time shows me that she wasn't trying as hard as she could.. I certainly think the emotions factor is a perfect reason for this because she is indeed her best friend.. and Buffy indeed does have a hard time hurting the ones she loves. When Buffy does catch Willow's arm, it's shown that not only was she holding back at that point.. but I got the appearance of Buffy clearly being in the chance to break her arm there.. but she tries to reconcile.

                      I think it's a bit harsh and rough to Buffy as a character to say she'd be dead very quickly after their battle if they continued. If Buffy had to step up to the plate, she would definitely give her all.. For God's sake we saw her defeat a god!).. and although Willow had a good shot at winning, Willow was no near far superior to Buffy in terms of strength at that point.. I don't care how much juice she had in her. The main thing that would keep Buffy from winning would be the healing capabilities, but if Willow didn't have that.. I'd say Buffy had a clear shot to win. I'm actually more excited for Amy coming back now because I've always wanted to explore the power of a witch in terms of a villian a lot. Just because Willow was supernatural and could use spells, doesn't tip the scale completely. We can rattle off the spell list anytime we want, but we've seen Buffy fight other people with spell capabilities.. even if they weren't as strong as Willow. In fact if Glory had no hard time with Willow... and Buffy defeated her.. how can we say that Willow would beat Buffy? I'd say Buffy's anger towards Glory is about just as equal to Willow's for Tara's death.. so we can't throw out the motivation card.
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                      • #12
                        I strongly have to disagree here.. it's evident to me personally that Buffy is fighting to handle the situation more than giving it her all in the fight.. I'm surprised you'd say that.. you honestly think she'd take out her best friend in a battle to the death without holding back at all? If she was constantly trying to help Faith.. I think it'd be very OOC if she suddenly decided to give Willow a good beating. The way Buffy fights the entire time shows me that she wasn't trying as hard as she could.. I certainly think the emotions factor is a perfect reason for this because she is indeed her best friend.. and Buffy indeed does have a hard time hurting the ones she loves. When Buffy does catch Willow's arm, it's shown that not only was she holding back at that point.. but I got the appearance of Buffy clearly being in the chance to break her arm there.. but she tries to reconcile.
                        When I saw this face, from the minute it aired, I felt like Buffy had made the last decision. I can't escape seeing it. In many ways, Season 6 was just as much of a steady, relentless pummelling of Buffy's reserves that Season 5 was, and Willow had just tried to kill Dawn, had implicitly threatened to kill all of them, Xander, Anya, herself, and I think she'd run out of answers except the last answer the Slayer always has. What other "do this" could she have meant?

                        I think it's a bit harsh and rough to Buffy as a character to say she'd be dead very quickly after their battle if they continued. If Buffy had to step up to the plate, she would definitely give her all.. For God's sake we saw her defeat a god!).. and although Willow had a good shot at winning, Willow was no near far superior to Buffy in terms of strength at that point.. I don't care how much juice she had in her. The main thing that would keep Buffy from winning would be the healing capabilities, but if Willow didn't have that.. I'd say Buffy had a clear shot to win. I'm actually more excited for Amy coming back now because I've always wanted to explore the power of a witch in terms of a villian a lot. Just because Willow was supernatural and could use spells, doesn't tip the scale completely. We can rattle off the spell list anytime we want, but we've seen Buffy fight other people with spell capabilities.. even if they weren't as strong as Willow. In fact if Glory had no hard time with Willow... and Buffy defeated her.. how can we say that Willow would beat Buffy? I'd say Buffy's anger towards Glory is about just as equal to Willow's for Tara's death.. so we can't throw out the motivation card.

                        There only *was* a hand to hand fight because of Anya's counter-spell. Not only do I think she could and would have been able to pretty easily do to Buffy what she did to Warren if the mood had struck her, I also think that, had Giles not stepped in when he did, that Willow was about to give Buffy a coup de grace right then.
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                        • #13
                          Can you explain to me why you believe this? Because I don't see how Willow would be so powerful to destroy to easily defeat the best Slayer there ever was without a scratch.. Are you saying she's the most powerful thing in the world?
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                          • #14
                            She wouldn't have to be... but, unfettered by the counterspell? She was paper to Buffy's rock. Buffy can't defeat or survive something that she can't actually touch. It kinda reminds me of the "Superman vs. Wolverine" joke Wizard Magazine printed -- "well, after Superman burns all his skin off and kicks him into outer space..."

                            Willow was in the "dark lightning from her hands" and "flaying people with a gesture" stage of her power -- exactly what was Buffy going to do? It was only a hand to hand fight at all because Anya's spell limited Willow's immediate options into giving herself super-strength. Once Willow was down, it was all lightning, fireballs, telekinesis, etc.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              I'm in a definite minority when I say that I think Buffy went into that fight willing to *win the fight* if she had to. Buffy isn't cavalier about engaging the fight. When she asks Willow if they're "really gonna do this", the question is implicitly the same one Buffy was asking herself in "Graduation, Part I" -- are they going to do it for real, to the finish if it must be. And Buffy promises to match her when Willow confirms it's the way it has to be.
                              I never thought Buffy went into the fight believing she'd have to fight to the death. I don't see hesitant Buffy moments earlier suddenly coming to such a decision that quickly, especially when it concerns Willow. I think that moment came when Buffy was trying to get out of the hole saying she had to stop Willow from destroying what she was chosen to protect. IMO she sounded far more willing then than she ever did in 'Two to Go.'

                              When she offers to help Willow in mid-fight, I think it's her resolve weakening less than a clue that she hadn't committed to the fight on Willow's terms.
                              I was never convinced by her shakiness as she asks Willow "if they were really going to do this."

                              Emotions are a huge part of Buffy's fighting spirit but I don't think it's what happened in "Two to Go" -- she just got beaten. Willow was better, would have killed her long before if Anya's spell hadn't been running.
                              I agree she would have in terms of power, but if we are talking about hand to hand fighting abilities Buffy would have won IMO.

                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              What other "do this" could she have meant?
                              I always took it as meaning, "are we really going to fight." Like are they really going prepared to violently attack each other. That in itself is something pretty big given their relationship, I never took it as fight to the death at all.

                              There only *was* a hand to hand fight because of Anya's counter-spell. Not only do I think she could and would have been able to pretty easily do to Buffy what she did to Warren if the mood had struck her, I also think that, had Giles not stepped in when he did, that Willow was about to give Buffy a coup de grace right then.
                              Agreed.

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                              • #16
                                It's changeable according to the people we compare. i.e, I believe that Dark Willow would be much more powerful than some of the slayers. To be better than a slayer, a witch should be in a high level.
                                Slayers approximately have similar powers, but witch powers are really dfferent from each other.
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                                • #17
                                  I agree with Nostalgia. I think Buffy is trying to convince Willow to back down and stop doing what she?s doing. I mean, if she could, she could beat Willow into a pulp, no matter how strong Willow is, but she backs down, because Willow is her friend and she really doesn?t want to fight. She wants to help her. And it?s also true that emotions are a great asset to Buffy. Emotions give her strenght, give her the abiltiy to win a fight. And in S7 Buffy admits that Willow is the most powerful person in the room because she already knows what she is capable of, even for good or for bad. In Chosen, Buffy and the potentials without Willow?s spell would be dead in a minute. So she is extremely powerful. Buffy is strong but I think Willow is stronger. The reason Buffy didn?t kill Willow was because she didn?t want to, the two were friends.
                                  But if she could, Willow was dead because sooner or later, her magics would also be gone.

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                                  • #18
                                    I think Willow's more powerful, in the right circumstances. Buffy's more powerful in the right circumstances for her. It's like scissors paper stone - it's not necessarily about raw power, it's about context. Scissors beats paper, but paper beats stone. So, let's take a season 8 example:
                                    Spoiler:
                                    Amy was able to turn Willow's power against her, to strengthen her bonds. She wouldn't have been able to do that against Buffy. So, if Buffy had been quick enough, she could've just duffed Amy up....to use my favourite old playground expression


                                    There's also the question of when they should use their power, which affects how powerful they are in practice. Willow, at least in season 7, has to hold back somewhat in order not to go evil. While Buffy doesn't need to hold back, because using all her strength doesn't carry the same risks. I'm not sure what the score is post season 7 for WIllow and magic mind you.
                                    Spoiler:
                                    I haven't really noticed any moments in the comics when she goes black eyed or anything...but should re-read to check!


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                                    • #19
                                      Wolfie, in answer to your spoilered question...
                                      Spoiler:
                                      Willow goes black-eyed in 8.03 while fighting Amy. Dawn and Willow even have a brief exchange indicating that it will pass. And, in 8.08, Willow looks black-eyed when 'porting Buffy back out of the Savidge Estate.
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                        Wolfie, in answer to your spoilered question...
                                        Spoiler:
                                        Willow goes black-eyed in 8.03 while fighting Amy. Dawn and Willow even have a brief exchange indicating that it will pass. And, in 8.08, Willow looks black-eyed when 'porting Buffy back out of the Savidge Estate.
                                        Right, in witch case (sorry! But thought I'd allow the unspoiled to glory in my pun...)
                                        Spoiler:
                                        then even in season 8, Buffy is better able to give her powers full rein than Willow is.


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