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Hot Topic: If Dawn had been on the show since episode 1?

Brian Runyon

Townie
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Feb 21, 2018
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It would've worked better for her character if she'd actually been a character from the beginning.
 

Ghost Boy

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Feb 22, 2018
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I wondered if Dawn was some kind of metaphor for being an adopted child. I know some kids that are adopted at a very young age don't realize that their parents are not their biological parents. And their adopted parents don't tell them until they are older. And when they eventually find out they are adopted, some people have an identity crisis, "Who am I?", "My family are not really my true family" etc. I'm not sure if the writers had any intention of this though.

Who created the idea for the Dawn character, was it Joss or one of the other writers (Marti Noxon etc)?
 

TriBel

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I wondered if Dawn was some kind of metaphor for being an adopted child...And when they eventually find out they are adopted, some people have an identity crisis, "Who am I?", "My family are not really my true family" etc. I'm not sure if the writers had any intention of this though.
Yes and no. It's not that she's a metaphor for adoption but that she foregrounds identity itself. It's not just Dawn who suffers from an identity crisis in S5 onward...all the characters do. And yes...they intended it. Identity's been under barrage/in crisis probably since the onset of early capitalism. It's why we have Marx' wonderful description of the social maelstrom in The Communist Manifesto: "All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind". Isn't this what happens from S5?
 

Ethan Reigns

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Canada
Sineya
It would have been better to have had Joyce as the godmother of Dawn and when her parents died, she would have automatically been added to the family. You don't need anything supernatural to make this a possibility although you could - Dawn's parents could die by vampire attack or by traffic accident. It is a plausible way to add a character to the family that does not depend on anything supernatural. You don't get this huge retcon of everyone who knew Buffy instantly knowing about Dawn. This would allow Dawn to be inserted at any point in the story, not just episode 1.

Of course, Buffy would try to hide the fact that she is the slayer and Dawn would have to find out. Then Dawn's status as the Key would have to come out. There could have been a logical development of her character rather than having her arrive as a magic trick. This could replace some of the lame Movie of the Week episodes in Season 2.
 

Priceless

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Adding Dawn as a sister was a fantastic move I thought. It was so unexpected and only explained by magic, which fitted with the show. If she'd been there since Season 1, as a biological sister, I don't think her impact would have been great and it would have spoilt one of the tenets of the show, that of found family being as important if not more so, than biological family.
 

spikenbuffy

"Why can't I stay"
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No.

I love Dawn the way she is & how the key storyline played out. I also love S5 the way it is and am truly invested in Buffy & Dawn's sister relationship. S5 Dawn was the best for me because of the key storyline. 😍 🗝 🔑

I would change nothing. 👎
 

ChaseRules

When it comes to dating I the Slayer.
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Sineya
Not necessarily. Instead of having the monks create Dawn out of, apparently, thin air, then altering everyone's memories to include her, they could have them simply infuse the Key's energy into Dawn, much like Illyria was infused into Fred, but without the destructive results or major character change. The Key would become part of a preexisting being (Dawn) so no background story would have to be fabricated. If it were kept dormant until the time that it could be used by Glory in her spell, no one, not even Dawn, would have to know that it was even there until the last moment. It could all be revealed just 1 or 2 episodes prior to the finale. Better yet, Glory could know all along, but no one else would. Everyone would think that she was trying to attack or subdue Buffy, so that she wouldn't interfere with Glory's plan, until Glory finally reveals the truth by grabbing Dawn.
That would have worked out . Another way you could have worked it was have Dawn staying with her Father for the first season & then at the start of the second season have Dawn come back with her . And i can see Dawn as 13 so old enough to care for her self but young enough to be
a pain to Buffy.
 

rogueangel

Townie
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I think Dawn would've been accepted better, but I'm glad she wasn't there. I like Buffy's one on one time with Joyce and wouldn't have wanted Dawn getting in the way of the other stories that were going on. The earlier seasons didn't need Dawn.
I have wondered how everyone's memories were different of those early years though.
 

DeadlyDuo

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They should've had Dawn be a really introverted personality so her lack of "appearance" in the early seasons could be explained away as her holing up in her room even though she doesn't exist until Season 5.

I have wondered how everyone's memories were different of those early years though.
Spike's "memory" of the Sprusilla break up was completely different to what actually happened in the true pre-Dawn canon. That's the generous interpretation of what is an otherwise blatant retcon designed to push Spuffy by pretending it was "destined" because Dru saw it in a vision.
 

ChaseRules

When it comes to dating I the Slayer.
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Sineya
I can see Faith & Dawn getting along well if she had been around then . Both Faith & Dawn a times felt like the S didnt care for them .
And if that the case then Faith might not have gone off if Dawn haddn;t been around for Faith .
 

Ethan Reigns

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Sineya
I can just see Buffy trying to keep the secret of slayerhood from Dawn and Dawn doing a lot of detective work and blabbing her secret all over the place. Buffy fighting a rear-guard action to keep Dawn out of the loop might be played for laughs or might be a real threat but I prefer the they did it to that even though Joyce being a Godmother would be better than either. One of the signs of good writing is that you have no unnecessary characters in the story and no characters appear before they are needed. Having Dawn be part of the cast from day 1 would have made her extraneous for four seasons.
 

rogueangel

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I have thought how it would've worked out if Dawn had been Faith's sister instead. Having Dawn to take care of would've probably grounded Faith, although obviously Dawn would've had a harder life instead of being Joyce's daughter.
 
Athene
Athene
I often wonder if Faith has any siblings out there I find it kind of unlikely that she's an only child given the impression of her parents

ChaseRules

When it comes to dating I the Slayer.
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Sineya
I have thought how it would've worked out if Dawn had been Faith's sister instead. Having Dawn to take care of would've probably grounded Faith, although obviously Dawn would've had a harder life instead of being Joyce's daughter.
That would have been a totally different Dawn then the one we know . But it does make for some good plot lines .
 

BuffyBot22

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I think it would have been better that we at least knew Dawn existed, but wasn't even on the show physically.
Have Dawn stay with Hank after Joyce and Hank split. Hank could be concerned that Buffy's behavior could harm Dawn so he decides to take Dawn while Joyce takes Buffy.
Then we as the audience know Buffy has a sister, but she lives with her dad and we never see her until we need to.
Then you could introduce her gradually through s4 or just shove her into s5, that part doesn't really matter, because at least we know she exists.
She could come to live with Joyce because Hank died (could explain some of her horrible behavior and why Hank never even seemed to care that Joyce died, Buffy died, and Dawn was left all alone)
Just have Dawn be a regular human but then infused with the key unknowingly as someone said above. So you still get identity crisis and everyone figuring out she is the key.
I think the most annoying thing about Dawn is her existence retcons s1-4 if you think hard about it. Every interaction is different if she was always there. But, if she just existed and lived with her Dad in s1-4 it doesn't change any character interactions and then we as the audience always knew she existed.
 

Ragnar

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I think it would have seemed like a desperate stunt if they revealed her big secret after all that time. Imagine if there was no Dawn, and instead we found out in season five that Xander or Willow were the Key. I don't know, I think it would annoy me more than being some great development.
 

vitriol

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Apr 11, 2020
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She would hang in the background and only in s5 we would find out that she's the key. It wouldn't be as interesting and surprising. The way she was introduced in the show was perfect and innovative.
 
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