Writing Willow

Willow is not perfect.

In fact, Willow is far from perfect.

She is sweet, loving, and tries hard to be kind. She's smart and works hard. In the first half of the series, she is shy and geeky and socially awkward. She got good grades and was a little too accommodating and a little too easy to push around.

But that's not all she is.

Much as some fans dislike the direction her character took in seasons five, six, and seven, it still happened, and it's still a part of her. Willow has a dark side, and it isn't just because of her magic. She has a side that is manipulative and greedy. She likes to get her way, and is willing to do things to get her way. She makes mistakes. She is power-hungry.

Some of these character traits are even intertwined. Willow believes in goodness. She believes that there is a right way for things to be. It is her faith in that goodness that makes her stay in Sunnydale after season three, to continue fighting the good fight. However, in season five, her desire to make things "right" begins to become a desire to make things as they should be -- in her opinion. It is out of a desire to make things "better" that she revives Buffy... and makes things worse. It is out of a desire to make Buffy happy and make Tara come back to her that she casts the memory spell in Tabula Rasa. It is out of a desire for justice that she murders Warren at the end of season six.

Similarly, it is her intelligence and thirst for knowledge that lead her to magic in the first place. It is her devotion to learning that makes her keep going with magic, even when Giles and her friends consistently tell her to slow down.

These character contradictions are what make Willow fascinating and deep. Even before everything went wrong, these flaws were there inside her. To write her as perfect or to write her as purely innocent hurts her as a character.

Willow is not perfect.

Embrace this.

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