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Article The official BtVS Grimoire: A magickal history of Sunnydale [review and discussion]


WOW, Sarcasm, that's original!
Oct 29, 2018
The cursed area of tons of sweet tea (Arkansas)
Black Thorn
Oh hey look, I'm not dead anymore. How surprising.

So this holiday season, I managed to get my hands on two recently released Buffy books, Willow's Grimoire and the Buffyverse Encyclopedia. I haven't read much through the encyclopedia seeing as I'm only in season two of Angel and don't want spoilers, but the Grimoire has so much to talk about.

First off, I'd like to talk about just how accurate to Wicca the book is. The tools page, the materials, the meanings, the goddesses, nearly everything listed falls under things used in Wicca. Flipping to the page directly before the contents page, you see this poem:
Bide the Wiccan Law ye must,
In perfect love, in perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan rede fulfill:
An ye harm none, do as ye will
And ever mind the rule of three:
What ye send out, comes back to thee.
Follow this with mind and heart,
And merry ye meet, and merry ye part.

This lines up completely with the two Wiccan rules: Do no intentional harm to others and whatever you do comes back to you times three.
Flipping to the tools page, Willow lists off several tools often used in Wicca. All are completely accurate, including the descriptions for Athame and Censer.

On some pages, a spell will talk about a specific goddess in a specific culture, and all of these are accurate with true mythological descriptions. I really enjoyed this, and it implored me to further explore. However, on one page, I'm fairly angry about one page, page 83, where some runes are shown. Whilst two of the runes are actually runes (specifically the second and fourth ones, Uruz and Tiwaz respectively), the others are not. It quite upsets me as the rest of this is highly accurate to Wiccan culture.

Moving away from Wiccan culture, the journal notes left by Willow are highly reminiscent of the show's timeline and Willow's feelings throughout. They use frequent Buffyisms and my personal favorite speech pattern in the show. They also highly represent Willow's character development over the course of the continuity. Apart from that, there isn't much to talk about with the journal entries. However, I'd like to draw attention to the letter from Tara in the back of the book. Whilst the handwriting is awfully hard to read and my copy came with a very large fold, it is still the source of a lot of happiness (and sadness due to Warren). I've done my best to transcribe the cursive font, as shown below:
Dear Willow,

When I was little, my mother used to tell me the story of Cadria. While other little girls grew up with princesses and nursery rhymes, my mother would tell me stories of the goddesses and witches whose names peppered the spells that she would do in our kitchen when we were alone. As she plucked herbs and pulled crystals from their hiding spot in the cupboards, I'd ask her to tell me about Aphrodite, Isis, and Tara, my favorite, the Buddhist goddess of many aspects, for whom she said I had been secretly named.
But the story she told me the most - and the one I hated - was the one about Cadria. She was a half-demon queen whose lie was exposed when she bore her husband a demon child. She was sweet, and good, but it didn't matter; as soon as her husband saw that she was not fully human, his love soured.
Unable to bear the new look of hatred in his eyes, she ran to the kingdom's witch, begging for a spell that would put things right again. The witch said that she could give Cadria the ability hide her demon half; however ,in return, she would she would need to sacrifice her sight.
When Cadria returned to the castle that night, she was blind.I never understood how she could lop off a part of herself so easily, and I said so to my mother. Most of the time she wouldn't answer and would just nudge me out the door to play. But one day, after she wasn't able to finish the story without getting tears in her eyes, my mother told me that when the women in my family twenty-one, their inner demon would emerge, but that it was okay; she had found a spell so that I would never need to go through what she did after my father discovered that she was a witch.
I never thought that I would need to use it. I planned on spending my life alone, so being half-demon would never an issue; after all, Cadria had been doing fine until the king came along.
Then I met you, Willow. Suddenly, I understood what Cadria had been so desperate not to lost. Because when you look at me, the world falls away, and I feel like I can do anything. I know that you sometimes feel like your power is what makes you special, but it's not. It's you. It's your kindness and your loyalty to those who you love and believe in. Even after I used Cadria's cure on you and your friends, you were willing to forgive me, and look past it. I didn't need the curse.
And because of that, I'm giving it to you. I know I can trust you with it again; I see the way that you've grown, and the way that you've come back to yourself. You don't need spells, on incantations, on special charms, because YOU are the magic.

On the flip side of the page, she writes down Cadria's curse. But I'm not transcribing that today. Anyway, surprisingly I hadn't heard of the story of Cadria before this. It's actually an incredibly interesting subject, and the version mentioned here is the most common that I've found. Part of this letter's charm is the backstory presented in it, which in my opinion makes the book completely worth the thirty bucks that it is.

My third point, which kind of looks insignificant to the last one, is the character notes in the margins. Whist not as story heavy, they add little bits that just improve it overall. Probably the best example in my opinion is the page where Buffy and Spike's wedding plans are. There are a bunch of notes on this page and they're absolutely hilarious, as well as the plans themselves bringing back good memories.

Whilst my review is over, there's one other beautiful part:
The part where Anya talks about bunnies.
So. Worth. It.
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