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Willow: Self-entitled and quietly hostile?

Discussion in 'Sunnydale Cemetery' started by Anyanka Bunny Killer, Sep 26, 2016.

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  1. Anyanka Bunny Killer

    Anyanka Bunny Killer Jotunheim

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    Black Thorn
    I've been thinking about this. After a complete series re-watch over the weekend, I began to notice many disturbing things about sweet Willow.
    Definitely passive aggressive and vengeful, yet plays the "I'm just a nerdy loser" card quite a bit. Yes, she's quite intelligent...and easily manipulates pretty much everyone. Except Cordelia, who is also intelligent (but hides it mostly).
    It makes me wonder what really happened in the past...why Cordy began to pick on her.

    I also think that the most dangerous characters are Willow and Xander...because their mutual self-loathing (combined with such neediness) makes them feel that the world OWES them.
    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Guy

    Guy Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    Ah, but is she a passive-aggressive power-player who pretends to be a nerdy loser, or a nerdy loser who pretends to be a passive-aggressive power-player?

    Remember Willow's dream in 'Restless':



    They've reached the front of the class. Buffy turns to Willow, really regards her for the first time.



    BUFFY
    Play's long over. What are you still
    doing in costume?




    WILLOW
    Okay, still having to explain wherein
    this is just my outfit.




    BUFFY
    Willow, everybody already knows.
    Take it off.




    WILLOW
    No… No, I need it…




    BUFFY
    Oh, for God's sake just take it OFF.


    And so saying, she grabs at an out-of-frame Willow, shoving her to the front of the class and ripping the outfit from her. Buffy stands, Will's outfit in hand, looking the girl over.



    BUFFY
    That's better.


    REVERSE ON: WILLOW

    As we saw her once, a long time ago. Long, slightly duller red hair. Plain grey frock that embodies the softer side of you know what. (Uh, Sears, just in case you don't.) A hapless, almost sick expression of embarrassment. She stands by the teacher's desk, looking at herself.

    REVERSE ON: THE CLASSROOM

    The curtain is gone from the back of the class. Buffy stands at the front, looking at camera with disinterested contempt.



    BUFFY
    Well, that's a little more realistic.


    She sits behind a desk and we see the class is in fact filled. Among the students, all of whom eye us with contempt, are Xander, Harmony, Anya, Oz and Tara. Oz and Tara lean in close to each other, as though they've been whispering for some time.



    HARMONY
    See? Is everybody very clear
    on this now?




    ANYA
    (laughing)
    Oh my god! It's like a tragedy!




    OZ
    (to Tara)
    I tried to warn you…


    Tara smirks, leans back in to Oz.



    ANYA
    It's exactly like a greek tragedy.
    There should only be greeks.


    Willow tries to stand up straight, tries to get on with class. She is holding a sheaf of loose-leaf papers.



    WILLOW
    (reciting)
    My book report. This summer, I read
    The Lion, the Witch and the
    Wardrobe





    XANDER
    (to the ceiling)
    Oh, who CARES….?




    WILLOW
    This book has many themes.
    One of the first --


    It LEAPS into frame, knocking Willow to the ground. No one even reacts (of course) as Willow thrashes, fighting for her life against the Primitive. It hasn't its knife this time, just struggles to hold the panicked girl down.



    WILLOW
    Help! Help me!


    ANGLE: THE CLASS

    Does nothing.

    CLOSE ON: WILLOW

    As a gnarled and filthy hand closes around her throat. The head is lowered to hers -- we see its mouth open, dirty brown teeth as its mouth closes over Willow's -- then we hear a great RUSH OF AIR as the life is sucked out of Willow, her eyes widen and her skin goes sallow, gaunt, the lifeforce sucked out of her --

    INT. BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

    -- and she lies, unwakening, gasping for air, choking, dying in her sleep.




    Which is the costume? The passive-aggressive avenger, or the nerdy loser?

    The way I see it - The real Willow is the nerdy loser.
     
  3. Blaze

    Blaze Let it Burn

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    Black Thorn
    I think Willow has a lot of insecurities. I also think she can be very manipulative and self-entitled.

    I love Willow as a character because she is quite complex. She feels like a real person because of that. She would make a great character to study and analyse, I'm sure different people would see her traits in different ways, as Guy just showed. But the important thing is that the traits are there and that's what makes her interesting.
     
  4. brinkster130

    brinkster130 Riley's BFF Staff Member

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    Sineya
    Yup, Willow is extremely self entitled.

    Willow was never a very secure person who wore her feelings on her sleeve so she was an easy target for the popular kids to pick on (Cordy and gang). Once Willow met Buffy and felt like she truly had friends and was able to use her intelligence for something other than school grades she started to feel better about herself; it was then that these more negative qualities started coming out.

    I agree that Willow is one of the most dangerous characters because she does have that chip on her shoulder and a whole lot of power.
     
  5. Bluebird

    Bluebird two by two, hands of blue

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    Black Thorn
    Yes, after many watches it is easy to see the bad sides of Willow. I think Xander gets a lot of heat for the same behaviour that Willow shows, but it's more overlooked when Willow acts selfishly. Don't get me wrong, I like Willow, but only because of her interesting flaws. She's a realistic character that shouldn't be put on a pedestal.
     
  6. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    I think Willow is genuinely insecure about herself which is why she tends to revert to the "nerdy loser" persona because it's what she knows and feels quite comfortable. When Willow was the "nerdy loser" in the first 2 seasons, nobody really paid her any attention and she could stay out the spotlight, everybody was looking at Buffy. Her choice of Halloween costume supports this, she wanted to hide away under a sheet rather than be out front in the outfit Buffy made her wear. As Willow became more experienced with magic, everybody started looking to her for solutions all the time which kind of made her the focus of attention. Whilst Willow has grown in confidence, she would still find the attention a bit too much as she is not used to it. I also think she's worried about being rejected if she messes up, everybody looks to her to use her magic to help but if it doesn't work then she's the failure. Is it better to try and fail than never try at all?
     
  7. Monkey Pants

    Monkey Pants Bored Now

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    Black Thorn
    I agree, Willow can be very manipulative. Personally, I liked her displays of selfishness in high school because she was finally standing up for herself, but then she kept going and never stopped. She still thought she was the stepped on loser, even though that hadn't been the case for a long time. It made her a much less likeable person. Interesting, but definitely not as sweet. That being said, nobody on the show was perfect and I think the way the writers wrote her later on was influenced by how perfect both Oz and especially Tara were, and they tried to make her different from them, which I didn't think was exactly fair to her, and kind of annoyed me. I wanted her to stay my sweet Willow, but oh well. And yeah, the most dangerous people are ones with a chip on their shoulder like Willow and Faith, etc.
     
  8. alanasilverstar

    alanasilverstar Witch of Sunnydale

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    In my opinion Willow is a very complex and interesting character.

    I like her because she is "human".
    At the beginning of the series is an insecure girl (I think "dominated" by his mother). She is the best in school because she is very intelligent and studious.

    Later and I think that because of her friendship with Buffy she feels more sure of herself.

    The discovery of the world of magic and witchcraft with Jenny Calendar and its further development in this area with her relationship with Tara make her to be a powerful witch, with the dangers that have power.

    She is human because she can be the sweet girl but can also be the vindictive and dangerous woman (dark side), that all people can be. What happens is that in her case she has very strong magical powers that make her be more dangerous.

    I think she is an exciting character and deserves a detailed study.

    I don't think that Xander could be dangerous. He is an insecure boy. I like the Xander-centric episodes. He deserves be the "hero" sometimes. :p
     
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  9. DoktorRock

    DoktorRock Potential

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    I think Willow's "self-entitlement" and ego is quite over-exaggerated by fandom. Maybe I translate it incorrect, it isn't listed on dict.cc and I'm not a native. Urban Dictionary, however, says it describes a person who thinks she deserves more than she actually does. If this aims at Willow's hunger for power, in other words her ambition, being able to fight the good fight and not being a doormat and victim who needs to be saved by others, well I know the show punishes ambition and thinks it's EVOHL. There's no evil like ambition in the Buffyverse. The characters who are really ambitious, work hard to become more powerful, make themselves better for a lack of words, are creative and resourceful to accomplish their goals are basically all villains... and Willow. As long as you don't have have a crushing burden like a slayer destiny, a shiny soul stuck up your demon ass, complete with a Stamp Of Approval from TPTB, or hurtful, pitiful visions you are NOT entitled to become a powerful warrior on your own and steal the "real" champions, certified by Destiny, the show. Unless your name is Spike. Spike is so popular, he can do whatever he wants.

    I think "self-entitlement", in that sense, is an outright insult and character bashing with little foundation in the show. A part of Willow's growth is that she *needs* more self-entitlement. All her attempts to become powerful are rooted in her deep-held feelings of worthlessness. Willow thinks she has to be useful in order to be loved and respected. And yes this is manifested sometimes in manipulating behavior, primarily in S06, but by far not as much as fandom claims. The crux is that Willow deep down believes she *is* worthless and deserves to be a doormat and a loser. If this is "self-entitlement" then you're basically saying that Willow doesn't deserve love and respect and all she has to do is to wear her mom's clothes, keep her mouth shut, swallow remarks like "Who gave you permission to exist?" and keeps being a victim who needs to be saved by others to be a decent human being.

    As for Cordelia being more intelligent than Willow. Lol, who fell for the delivery-trick? Or who easily bought supposedly being a perfect saint who is so awesome and perfect that she's granted ascension to a higher being? Don't get me wrong. I do think Cordelia is quite clever. At least in BtVS and ATS S01 until mid S02. Then she turns to a gullible moron and becomes increasingly and unhealthily Angel-only fixated.

    I also wonder why an Anya fan of all people ponders about Willow's alleged selfish, manipulative and rotten personality... it's weird. Willow and Anya have quite some traits in common. One of them is manipulating conversations to get what they want.
     
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  10. Icarium

    Icarium Scooby

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    Yes, that Willow sure is manipulative and vindictive. Xander starts dating Cordelia without informing Willow she yells at him once and after that everything is fine between them, she even becomes friends of a sort with Cordelia. Monstrous behaviour, am I right? Spike tries to murder her in The Initiative, an episode later she is fine with inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner. Vindictive bitch! Tara hid her (non-existent) demon side from Willow for almost a year, even ruining spells that Willow was casting in the process and she yet she was immediately forgiven. Probably just to lure Tara in a false sense of security, right?

    Seriously, every time I hear how the writers apparently planted "clues" for Dark!Willow in S1-4 I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Mostly because to me the character assassination of Willow in S6-7 is blindingly obvious but also because Joss and co never really planned things so many years in advance. And no offense but in a cast full of murderers, including several serial killers, I find the idea that Willow and Xander are the most dangerous ones laughable.

    Because she could, same reason all bullies pick on people.
     
  11. Anyanka Bunny Killer

    Anyanka Bunny Killer Jotunheim

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    Black Thorn
    Actually, if you think about it, all of the Scoobies have a few traits in common.

    Anya is more straight forward than Willow. When she wants something, she generally lets everyone know. Plus, I really haven't witnessed her creeping around casting spells on people...however, when Willow wants something, she has absolutely NO qualms about using magic to change things...including (and especially!) the way she invaded Tara's mind to make her forget their argument.

    Anya is definitely selfish, but she doesn't try to play God like Willow does; using magic to mold the world to her liking. And the thing is, Willow just automatically whips out a spell when things aren't going her way. What if no one ever got their memories back in Tabula Rasa? Did she even consider that before casting the spell? Of course not! Messing with the minds of others is the ULTIMATE form of manipulation.

    I really don't see any noticeable traits that Anya and Willow have in common.
     
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  12. Icarium

    Icarium Scooby

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    No, she "merely" spent a millennium murdering people for shits and giggles. Not to mention that she created a literal dark alternate world in the very episode she was introduced, mostly to amuse herself.

    Are we talking about the same Anya whose job was to, you know, manipulate people into making deadly wishes? Wishes which she loved twisting in a way that harmed the wishers too? Yes, she is a real paragon of honesty and openness, all right.
     
    Anyanka Bunny Killer: She was a vengeance demon. It was her JOB to torment people. You've seen the show, right?
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  13. DoktorRock

    DoktorRock Potential

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    Anya and straightforward? Do you mean her childlike bluntness to the point that she acts like a 5-year-old?

    It's kinda in the job description of vengeance demons to NOT be straightforward but manipulative to get wishes out of the "customers". Like, when she tried to trick Buffy/Willow/Dawn/Tara to wish the most brutal and lethal nastinesses on Xander?

    No, Anya doesn't try to make Xander forget that he left her at the altar. Instead, she tried to manipulate Buffy/Willow/Dawn/Tara to wish lethal nastinesses on him. Right after she wished herself that Xander was never born, but luckily forgot that the mechanics don't work this way.

    Um, Anya cursed Olaf with *magic*. Then she spent 1000 years murdering and slaughtering, using her very magic demon powers. After she lost her powers, she manipulated Willow into the spell to find her necklace in the Wishverse, using, you know, magic. That was all Anya having no qualms using magic to change things, one way or another.

    Willow in All The Way, Tabula Rasa, Smashed and Wrecked is Willow committing crimes not playing god. There is no such thing like playing god or violating laws of nature. Unless you buy all the dogmatic bullshit Tara is selling. Willow successfully resurrected Buffy to full health and functionality (albeit nicely complexed). When something is possible, it's natural. Period. Mold the world? When? The activation spell in Chosen? To which she was pressured to by Buffy and circumstances? Trying to destroy the world? When she was loaded to the brim with black magic and the entire pain of the planet? When did she try to mold things on a global level? When she fed on the Seed to become godlike to defend Mother Earth itself against multiple apocalypses unleashed by Angel and Buffy? Or when she restored magic because a vital part of the planet was lost? Or now in S10, when Giles/Buffy/Willow write the new rules of magic?

    And Willow just automatically throwing out spells when things don't work her way? Did you watch the entire show or only Lover's Walk, Something Blue, All The Way, Tabula Rasa, Smashed, Wrecked and the Dark Willow eps? What about all the other plenty of opportunities where it had been convenient, like keeping Oz from leaving her or making Buffy dislike Faith, where she chose to NOT resort to magic or didn't even consider it? Or in S07, when she didn't want to do any magic at all? Or in Oulder and Far Away when Anya tried to bully her to do magic?

    I think both mindwipes are *by far* less grave than cursing a man into a demon and banishing him into a hell-dimension. I think it's less grave than manipulating countless women to make lethal and vile wishes and granting them with the intent of maximum pain and torment. I think it's less grave than trying to manipulate Buffy/Willow/Dawn/Tara to wish death and mayhem onto Xander. I think it's less grave than manipulating Willow to find the necklace so Anya can slaughter for another 1000 years. I think it's less grave than removing the ability to see demons of the entire gang. I think it's less grave than manipulating the spell to find Adam which could've lead to deaths of more innocents. It's less grave than lying to your girlfriend about your supposed dark and dangerous demon powers for almost a year. I think it's less grave than turning your ex-girlfriend into a sex-slave. It's less grave than infecting your chosen enemy with a hallucinogen which leads her to believe she's in a mental hospital. It's less grave than stealing the body of your chosen enemy. Or trying to remove Angel's soul (and you can pick if I mean Faith or A.I. ;)). It's less grave than playing mind games with the Scoobies and Slayers for an entire year, manipulate them, murdering countless people, just for having the opportunity to literally "copulate" Buffy into paradise to the detriment of millions of humans and sentient demons, not speaking of the Earth itself. I think it's less grave than subjugating the will of an entire town by summoning a demon who forces everyone to sing and dance until they burn. It's less grave than subjugating the will of the entire female population of Sunnydale with a love spell. I think it's less grave than mindwiping your entire team, technically killing your own son, and crucially influencing your team's rational decision making of joining an evil law firm. Willow mindwiping Tara/Buffy was certainly disgusting and reckless but "ultimate" isn't an adjective I'd use to describe Willow's crimes if you ask me. Let's keep things in perspective.
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 30, 2016 ---
    Um, both have vengeful streaks? Both crave Giles affection and approval (counts for Xander and Buffy too)? Both fancy Xander? Both compete over Xander? Both are suspicious about each other re: Xander? They fight over Xander? Both luurve Xander? Both have difficulties in controlling their emotions? Both have SOs who like to be The Boss in the relationship and apparently are mostly fine with it.
    Both have unhealthy romantic ideals (that counts for Buffy too)? Both are very ambitious in their respective fields (knowledge, money)? Both are verrrry insecure? Both have self-identity issues?
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 30, 2016 ---
    Agreed. I think the writers toyed with the idea since S03 but determined on it mid S05 (while being unsure how to portray Tara. Rather creepy and ambiguous in S04, than a Mary Sue in S5/6). That's why you have to look mostly at the traumatic events in S05 with Glory brainsucking Tara right after their first fight, Willow having no other choice to load herself up with lots of magic to protect Dawn/the Gang and cure Tara, Buffy's Big Gun, Buffy's death etc., when you want to justify her S06 story, and less on S1-4. All those rationales that Dark Willow is a natural progression from S1-6 is bullshit IMO. You can make use of some personality traits and events to characterize her but the juice that led to Dark Willow are grounded in end-S05 and S06. I read lots of fascinating and well-elaborated meta which softened my attitude about S06 a bit (though I still dislike it because it's badly conveyed).

    Most ridiculous Evil!Willow foreshadowing theory I've heard so far? Willow slut-shaming Cordelia is the groundwork for flaying Warren. XD So we're just waiting for Buffy's and Xander's (and Giles! He just uses more polite words) killing sprees right? And Cordelia is the devil himself according to this rationale.
     
  14. Icarium

    Icarium Scooby

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    So? Anya chose this "job", she enjoyed it very much, she whined about how much she missed disemboweling people after she lost her powers, she never showed any regrets for the thousands of lives she had ruined till Selfless, she again chose to become a vengeance demon in S6 and tried to trick Xander's friends into wishing for his death. That's like saying hitmen or war criminals are nice people because killing people is "merely" their job.

    You haven't heard people say that Willow tricking Cordelia into pressing the "deliver key" foreshadows Dark!Willow then? Lucky you. :)
     
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  15. DoktorRock

    DoktorRock Potential

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    Oh, I did. However, somebody (I think it was on Mark Watches Thread which ran elsewhere some years ago) specifically tied "1-800-I'm-Dating-A-Skanky-Ho" to Dark Willow flaying Warren in Villains. The poster even gave a weird explanation which I don't remember. It struck me as more funny because it was so specific.

    Another one: Willow is EVOHL and revels in pain because she first made Darla turn her face before dousing her with holy water in The Harvest.

    My favourites are the double standards in broader fandom:

    Xander subjugating the will of the entire female population of Sunnydale in B,B&B was dangerous, selfish and screwed up but his original intent, forcing only Cordelia to love him so he can reject her and break her heart, is essentialy coded as kinda sweet and romantic because Cordelia was sooo swayed. *sigh*

    Buffy's attempt to violate Angel's fundamental privacy in Earshot is cute and just sweet Bangel Goodness.

    All of Anya's crimes or attempted crimes are not to be considered serious because they're coded in comic relief (except in Selfless).

    Tara lying to Willow (and the Scoobies) about her supposed demon-powers (which Tara believed were real) with the supposed potential to corrupt Tillow's spells and being a danger to Willow are quickly swept under the rug because Tara has the Stamp Of Approved Victimhood.

    Willow attempting the de-lusting spell in Lover's Walk is proof of her rotten personality and inherent malignity.
     
  16. Anyanka Bunny Killer

    Anyanka Bunny Killer Jotunheim

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    Black Thorn
    I actually tried to read all of this, I really did.
    Please let me know when a more condensed version might be available in the future. ;)
     
    DoktorRock: Either try harder or don't. I don't care ;)
  17. Icarium

    Icarium Scooby

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    Wasn't Mark Watches full of comments from extreme SJWs - the type of people who are far more likely to forgive murders than, gasp, politically incorrect remarks? I am not at all surprised someone there would say something like that.
     
    DoktorRock: Yup, it was quite "colorful". SWJs are quite entertaining... with a little distance... and a high pain threshold.
  18. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    I disagree about Willow being manipulative in Tabula Rasa because the ulterior motives weren't there. She wanted to do the memory spell to make Buffy forget her time in heaven so she could adjust easier, she was very open about that. It wasn't her place to do that but in her mind she wasn't doing it for self-gain. Willow didn't have the intention to be manipulative. She does whip out spells at the drop of a hat but that is to show how addicted to magic she's become where she's using magic to deal with insignificant problems that could easily be sorted given time eg the party decorations.

    The only time Willow was truly manipulative is when she cast the memory spell on Tara because she didn't want to deal with Tara being angry at her.

    A lot of the times Willow does things is because she doesn't think about the consequences. In order to be manipulative, she would have to have an end goal in mind that would benefit her.

    I never understood why a vengeance demon didn't appear to Anya and then afterwards D'Hoffryn offered to make her a vengeance demon again. Anya was a human woman who wanted revenge against the man who jilted her at the altar. Te vengeance demons really dropped the ball on that one.
     
  19. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    Check out Willow's spell in "Wild at Heart". Willow has set up in an empty lab with a fire going over a burner and all manner of arcane spell stuff laid out before her. She starts mixing ingredients and begins an incantation - its clear intent being to harm Oz and Veruca:

    WILLOW
    I conjure thee, by Barabbas, by Satanas,
    and the Devil… As thou art burning,
    let Oz' and Veruca's deceitful hearts
    be broken.

    With these words the FLAME RISES. Willow's spell gets more involved… She tosses more ingredients into the growing fire. Willow is really into it, all her rage and pain pouring into the magic.

    WILLOW
    I conjure thee by the Saracen Queen,
    and by the name of hell. Let them
    know no love or solace, let them
    find no peace as well.

    Willow appears infused with energy and a few small objects around her, beakers and test tubes and such, start to FLOAT.

    I'm glad I didn't have any girlfriends like Willow. No wonder d'Hoffryn was trying to recruit her - she is every bit as good a prospect as Anya ever was. Self-entitled? Cursing someone to never have love, solace or peace is definitely self-entitled. Quietly hostile? Not that quiet.
     
  20. Anyanka Bunny Killer

    Anyanka Bunny Killer Jotunheim

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    Black Thorn
    Ah...this is exactly what I meant. Willow was far more dangerous than Anya, I believe. Even before she became Dark Willow, the power she possessed was a threat to everyone. Why? Because she was emotionally unstable...and extremely vengeful.

    Willow knew that her spells would sometimes go wrong, yet that never stopped her. Actually, I feel that psychologically she was quite young; perhaps 14. She had book smarts, but was dreadfully immature...add to that her considerable Wiccan powers and you have a ticking time bomb.
     
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