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:
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!