"Let me tell you something about Willow. She’s a loser, and she always has been. People picked on Willow in junior high school, high school, up until college with her stupid mousy ways. And now… Willow’s a junkie.”
Willow is a character, that over the course of seven seasons, goes through numerous relationships, perspectives, changes and developments. Yet a constant part of her character always remains: the fear and shame that the ‘nerdy’ persona part of her- the one that is smart, intelligent and curious, loves computers yet also shy, ‘not good with the talking’, believing that no one, would ever love her will always remain. Her dream sequence in Restless shows this- her ‘costume’ is the softer side of sears dress that Cordelia mocked and riddled in Welcome To The Hellmouth. In the high school years of Buffy The Vampire Slayer- her on and off crush with Xander only brings much devastation to her. Learning that he had sex with Faith in Consequences, and in Innocence when she finds out that Xander is dating the girl who tormented her for years. This makes her feel as if ‘how could I ever compare to Faith and Cordelia’ two characters who are wildly different to her- which hints on a level of self loathing, despair and destructive behaviour.
This destructive behaviour gets worse over time- when she discovers Oz and Veruca naked, in a cage together, she runs out, and nearly gets herself hit by a car. The feeling that she is, yet once again, not good enough comes into play- as in an earlier scene, she struggles to talk about guitars with Oz and Veruca, standing around awkwardly. And then… there’s Tara. When Glory turns Tara’s brain into a vegetable, she loses herself in magic. Buffy makes a comment, that it ‘would be like suicide’. At the end of Wrecked, Willow acknowledges her development in a jaded, cynical way, seperating herself into two distinct personas- ‘plain, old willow’ with the jumpsuits and a hopeless Xander crush or ‘Super Willow’ who was very, very powerful, managed to resurrect Buffy, and, later on in the series, managed to flay a man, wreck havoc, and in Two To Go, she leaves Anya and Buffy, begging to her. The fear of regressing back to ‘old, plain Willow’ is so constant within her everyday life- that she pushes herself into deadly, self-destructive situations. She clings onto Oz and Tara- and found in situations when she is losing them, that is when she loses control- consequences to herself be damned.
She is a fascinating character and definitely one of my all time favourite female characters ever in fiction. She is one I could relate to, painfully, her arc is engaging. She has moments of sheer compassion and of being simply vile. She can be passive or defiant. She’s a character that refuses to be defined by a single word, demands closer analysis and attention. Her arc is extremely engaging and captivating. It’s the arc of more importantly, a character that is a character- doesn’t exist as a trope or the ‘best friend’ stereotype.