Willows character then starts to go off the rails – for two specific reasons. First: she starts to make use of darker magic (instead of just lighter/safer magic). Second: she starts to make use of too much magic (instead of accomplishing some tasks naturally). Initially, Willow has no choice but to play with darker magic, when she undertakes a “Resurrection Spell“, with the aim of bringing Buffy back from the mystical death that she suffered (after defeating Glory).
Darker Willow – At an early stage of the Resurrection Spell – With “sacrificed blood” upon her face
The spell involves Willow speaking several incantations, together with: using blood from a sacrifice (within a specific urn), enduring several tests (cuts, lumps, a snake emerging from her throat) and powerful red fires engulfing Willow (whilst she casts the spell). Willow eventually succeeds in resurrecting Buffy, although she is a “little drained” afterwards (and as such, is unable to cast any spells – for a while).
When it comes to a Willow who is both “helpful”, and is regarded by her friends as a “powerful witch” – these are my favourite seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Best season to watch for “Powerful Willow” – the “Scoobie Gang Witch” – Buffy Season Five
At this time, I feel that Willows character is akin to a Willow Tree, that appears to be strong; yet unbeknown to her (and her friends), decided to grow it’s roots in “sand stone“. At the core of the tree, there is no denying that her witchcraft is helpful to Buffy (especially when it comes to her encounters with Glory). Yet at the leaves of the tree, does Willow appear to have gained a reputation for “spells going wrong” (especially in the eyes of Giles and Anya). This is a fact that is overlooked, by various members of the scoobie gang, depending upon “which way the wind is blowing”. For example, Buffy seems not to notice/care whether Willows spells can go wrong; whilst Giles and Anya are “more than happy” to go along with – when their “lives are on the line”. Yet, at the base of the tree, does the “sand stone” make it’s presence known – for Willow is too emotional. From a distance, does there appear to be strength in both Willows character, and her emotions; yet at close range, do we start to realise that Willow is only strong because of Tara. This is first evidence when Glory (temporarily) destroys Tara’s mind – as Willow reacts like most lovers would (by lashing out); but with a complete lack of morals, decides to “lash out”, by resorting to Black Magic! It is here that I started to wonder about “two things”. The first: how did a “computer nerd” that always “followed the rules” even consider going against the Wiccan Rede? The second: if Buffy had never encountered Glory (or Glory had just been, lets say, a simple vampire); would Willows character have wanted/needed to experiment with spells, that continued to grow in power so much? My answer to both questions is essentially “the same” – it’s much more fun to be “yourself”; and like many of us, we may have (at least for a time), forgotten exactly who our “authentic self” is! In Willows case, she liked to learn, and as “knowledge is power”, so is her witchcraft 🙂
Later (despite Willows failed assault on Glory), Willows magic still continues to prove its worth: being able to temporarily freeze Glory, being able to throw Glory (backwards), being able to raise a “force field” (to help protect the scoobie gang) and being able to re-power a telephone (so that Buffy can call for medical assistance). Willows growing ability/willingness to undertake dangerous spells is again illustrated when she later assists Buffy (who has suffered from a “mental shut-down”).
Willow – in deep Meditation (within the Depths of Buffy’s Mind)
After arranging several candles, Willow starts to mediate, entering a trance which allows her to navigate through Buffy’s memories, eventually “snapping her out of it”. Again, this (necessary) spell raises concern from Giles, who regards the spell as “extraordinarily advanced”. Willow then takes her powers a stage further, when she enters Glory’s mind, in a bid to regain Tara’s mind (and disorientate Glory). Doing so involves Willow placing a hand on both Glory’s and Tara’s heads, then channelling explosive blue energies between herself and them (until her spell completes). Later, we also learn that Willow has gained the ability of telepathy (when she speaks with Spike, through his and her minds).
It is not until Buffy starts to battle Glory (a hell god who has been banished to Earth) that we realise just how powerful Willow is becoming. This is first evidenced when Willow (with the help of Tara and some magic dust) casts a “Teleportation Spell” on Glory: to remove her from a fight that Buffy was losing. In doing so, Willow again encounters concern from Giles, who advises her that the spell was “dangerous for an adept at your level Willow”.
Willow – with Darkest Magick and “revenge intent” Black Eyes
Further evidence of Willows growing power (and lack of emotional control) occurs after Glory destroys Tara’s mind. Willow seeks revenge, and after reading a book on “Darkest Magick“, goes knocking on Glory’s door. It is here that we first encounter the darker side to Willows character, as she uses black magic to cause Glory pain: Willow freezes Glory, then lashes out with powerful blue lightening. Willow also makes use of several other nasty spells in her assault against Glory: throwing of shards from a shattered mirror, throwing of a bag of knives and summoning of a serpent. Unfortunately, none of this has any lasting affect on Glory (as she’s a god), and Buffy has to intervene to rescue Willow (as Willow has tired herself out).
Willows character then evolves to have two specific traits. Firstly, she is still known for her computing skills (which are of use when researching particular enemies). Secondly, her magical skills are now considered as being fundamental to the scoobie gang (when helping to defeat various enemies). The main reason for this change, is the fact that Willows continued study of witchcraft, has helped to make her more powerful.
Willow “witchcraft can be fun” – A “fire incantation” at a beach BBQ.
This is first witnessed when Willow impresses the scoobie gang with her ability to control fire: speaking a simple incantation that results in a BBQ being lit. Willows magic then continues to show its increasing power through the diversity of her spells, for example: erecting warding spells (to help keep “Count Dracula” out), breaking spells (that were cast by their enemies), bringing forward sunlight (to help light the dark), making use of reverse spells (to “fix” Willows own spells that have gone wrong) and moving a variety of objects (by force of mind alone).
When it comes to the development of Willows character; both “growing in power”, and “finding her roots” – these are my favourite seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Best seasons to watch for “Young Willow” – the “Growing Witch” – Buffy Seasons Three and Four.
At this time, I feel that Willows character is “many things” – for she is akin to a Willow Tree, whose roots are attempting to “spread”; in several different directions. At the core of the tree, we can see that she is still herself – as she is keen to help the scoobie gang; through both friendship and research. Yet, it is with her breakup from Oz, that Willows roots, start to seek “new directions”; especially for something that can be, “just hers”. She finds this in two places. The first is witchcraft. The second is her friendship with Tara. It is with witchcraft, that Giles “throws some fertilizer”, amongst Willows roots; as he integrates Willow further into the scoobie gang, but as a “source of magic“. It is here that Giles is somewhat “naive” – for he is keen to have Willows assistance in various magical spells; yet fails to fully appreciate, that Willow wants to learn more about the craft, especially in her spare time. It is also here that Willow starts to view witchcraft as a “tool“, when she starts to use magic as way to “fix” her problems. Unfortunately, Willows character, is constantly at the mercy of her emotions – which is something, that the scoobie gang fail to realise; at least for sometime. As such, it is “all too easy” for Willows character, to disregard a cornerstone of witchcraft; the fact that you should be “clear and concise”, when casting spells! A good example is when Willow casts a “guiding sphere” spell, aka Will-o’-the-wisp; within a Halloween house, but then looses control of her spell – when she attempts to do “too many” things with it, aka Will-o’-the-wisps!
One such “scoobie spell” involves Willow making use of the four elements, within an incantation to “ionise the atmosphere around us”, with the aim of interfering with an electric tracer signal (that’s being emitted from Spike). At the time, stopping the tracer is important, because it was embedded by “The Initiative” (a secret government operation), which the scoobie gang believes are “up to no good”.
Willow – Reading an Incantation (a “soon to be” familiar sight)
In time, this is proven to be so, and Buffy encounters an opponent that she has trouble defeating: Adam (a hybrid demon/human/machine). With Willows growing power, she is eventually able to cast the dangerous “Adjoining Spell” (which is fundamental to helping Buffy defeat Adam). The spell involves speaking several incantations (assisted by candles and spirit cards) with the aim of combining: spirit (Willow), heart (Xander) and mind (Giles) within strength (Buffy), to create a single “being”. The “being” (an “Uber Buffy”) is then easily able to destroy Adam (by ripping his uranium power source from his chest).
Uber Buffy – with Possessed Yellow Eyes (a theme that later takes its own path)