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Dawn appreciation thread


Jan 4, 2020
Dawn is one of my favorite characters and maybe one of the most underrated character. She's a character that I would always defend because what I love with Dawn is the fact of showing a normal teenager and discovering more about her. During season 5, I love her narrative arc and I even felt bad for her when she learns that she is the Key. She is one of the best element of season 5.
Even if I'm a fan of season 6, I find it unfortunate that Dawn has lost importance in this season. Ironically season 7 which is the one I like least, Dawn seems to evolve what I found interesting.
And I also really enjoy Michelle Trachtenberg's performance during this three seasons.


Bored now...
Jan 22, 2020
The Hellmouth
I’m a shameless Dawn apologist. Yes, Dawn could be annoying at times but uh, little known secret here: real life children can be very annoying. Her being a little grating at times was just a side effect of her being young and dumb. Some fans of the show were angry that Dawn wasn’t as mature as Buffy was at her age, but here’s the thing: Buffy is the slayer, Dawn is a normal girl with no superpowers (aside from the whole key ordeal but that was over at the end of season 5). So unlike Buffy, who had many more demanding responsibilities and didn’t get to have the most normal teenage life, Dawn was the typical teenager who could be bratty and naive and make stupid decisions. Some were annoyed about her whole identity crisis when she realized she was the key, but hell, you try learning your entire life was fabricated, tell me you wouldn’t be thrown into a downward spiral. 🙄
She is a very realistically portrayed character. Maybe her introduction to the series was a little strange and could’ve been executed a little better, but it was quite an interesting plot development.
Do note that I’m only speaking in terms of the TV series, I’ve not finished the comics yet.


Oct 19, 2020
I never actually minded Dawn, I mean she portrayed her role as the typical pre-teen and the actress did it flawlessly
And yes I'll admit she was a bit annoying but, everybody regardless of age has annoying moments in their lives.
But remember even in season 5 she did show she had some caring mome ts like when Joyce walked in on Riley bandaging up Buffy from being staked on the job Dawn covered for her, and then she stepped up to help Buffy defend Tara against her family. And then when their mother came home from the hospital the first time she was stroking her hair and attempting to help Buffy to cover her up and when she tried to revive Joyce she INSTANTLY showed worry for her sister when Buffy had heard "Joyce " coming home
She also almost sacrificed herself for Buffy and her friends at the end of the season and at season 6 she just kept getting Better like even trying to help Willow and Tara to get back together and lets not forget to mention when she tried to stand up to Dark Willow by herself and fought back to back with Buffy against those monsters to help save the world
And season 7? I fricken adored her then, she was awesome it felt like when she started researching that she was FINALLY accepted among the other scoobies not just Buffy. Even on the first watch of Buffy years ago? I never really had an issue with Dawn at all


Mar 13, 2016
Just adding as I figured some would appreciate it (and I chanced across it reading Buffy articles)...don't feel like sharing my own thoughts or quibbles on the character or this article in particular, just the article:

A couple of excerpts:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) is a relatively young show, but it’s one that is so rich with fascinating female characters that I always knew I wanted to devote a column to at least one of them. My only problem was in deciding which woman to highlight. There’s Buffy, of course, the most iconic character in the Whedonverse, a stereotype-busting feminist superhero that also happens to be one of the greatest television characters of all time. Then there’s Willow, who evolved from an insecure, mousy teen into a powerful, confident witch. Cordelia was also an option thanks to the way she handily subverted the typical mean girl archetype by growing into a hero in her own right, but ultimately I realized the character I really wanted to talk about was Dawn, Buffy’s kid sister and, perhaps, the most maligned member of the Scooby Gang.

At that point, Dawn had become the de facto victim of the Scooby Gang, a role that had previously fallen to Willow (before she powered up) and Xander in the early years. One of Dawn’s contemporaries, 24‘s Kim Bauer received similar ridicule for what the audience saw as her constant ineptitude that required her father, Jack, to rush in and rescue her time and time again. In both cases, the writers were leaning too heavily on the characters as plot devices. A hero needs someone to save, but if they are constantly saving the same person it reflects poorly on that character.

The fact that both Dawn and Kim also happen to be teen girls only makes the audience more primed to pounce on any perceived weakness. This goes double for Dawn, who existed in a universe where teen girls regularly saved the world. Casting characters like Dawn and Kim as the proverbial damsels in distress reinforces the idea that young women are less capable than their male counterparts. Pop culture has trained us to believe that teen girls in action driven narratives are nothing more than plot devices, and when the truth is more complicated than that, our kneejerk instinct is to rebel. From action films, like 2009’s Taken, which used the kidnapping of a retired CIA agent’s teen daughter to get the former agent back into the business of killing bad guys, to the most recent season of Homeland, which catapulted Agent Brody’s daughter Dana to the top of television’s most hated characters list, teen girls are consistently perceived as the albatrosses around the heroes’ necks (and in the case of Agent Brody, I’m using the term “hero” very, very loosely). The question becomes is this a problem that lies with the writers or with the viewers’ perception of whose story is the most valuable?

Teens are angsty; it’s just a facet of growing up and one that most of us can relate to. As BTVS progressed, Dawn went on to struggle with kleptomania and feelings of abandonment as one parental figure after another failed her. Because the audience had seen Buffy and her friends grow up sans parental guidance for the most part, Dawn’s desire for stability was seen as another failing on her part, when in truth it was a natural response for a normal teenager to have. Unfortunately for Dawn, Sunnydale never had much room for normal behavior.

Unlike her older counterparts, Dawn’s teen years weren’t hyperstylized or couched in metaphor. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a teen series at heart, and one that deftly handled issues of young adulthood, but Dawn was the series’ first actual teenager. Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Dawn, was the same age as the character she was portraying. By comparison, when the series began in 1997, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, and Alyson Hannigan were all in their twenties and the visual contrast to their early appearances and Dawn’s is striking. It’s not just that they look like adults (which they do, especially when compared to Trachtenberg), it’s that they live in a world heightened by danger that requires them to behave as adults. Right from the start, Buffy, Xander and Willow were tasked with averting an apocalypse, and outside of Buffy’s Watcher, Giles, parental figures played little to no role in their day-to-day lives. Even as they went through the motions of typical high school life, it was hard to view them as teenagers.

Dawn was all teen, all the time. In her first showcase episode, “Real Me,” we see the world through her eyes: she confesses to having a crush on her big sister’s best friend (Xander), she expresses her frustration for the way Buffy regards her as “her dumb little sister,” and her deep desire to be perceived as an adult, despite the fact that she is still very much a child. By all accounts, Dawn is entirely average when we take her former key status out of the equation, and being average in a world populated by slayers, witches and vampires is a thankless job. She may have lived in the same extraordinary world, but Dawn never had to deal with the crazy in the same hands on way Buffy and the others did until very late in the series’ run
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