Willow Rosenberg

From Academic Kids

Willow Rosenberg is a fictional character in the popular television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer played by Alyson Hannigan.

Missing image
Alyson Hannigan

Willow was introduced in the first episode of the show as a naïve and fairly stereotyped brilliant high school nerd capable of performing any scientific or hacking trick needed to advance the plot. In addition many jokes are played off of her character's apparent innocence and sweetness, which allows even her mostly lightly risqué statements to be humorous. She had a hopeless crush on her lifelong friend Xander Harris, who ignored her to pursue his own equally hopeless crush on Buffy and later a relationship with Cordelia Chase (despite the fact that he and Willow were charter members of the "We Hate Cordelia" club and he was the treasurer).

Subsequently Willow had a more satisfying relationship with Oz, a guitarist in the local band Dingoes Ate My Baby. The relationship survived her discovery that Oz was a werewolf, and a more trying crisis when Oz and Cordelia caught Willow and Xander kissing.

Before Willow and the rest of the "Scooby Gang" had graduated from Sunnydale High School, Willow, who had begun performing simple spells after she met Jenny Calendar, was a quite powerful witch. In fact, Willow's increased power as a witch allows her to restore Angel's soul -- a feat she would repeat five years later.

After graduation, Buffy and Willow moved across town to UC Sunnydale, where, after Oz's departure, Willow attended some meetings of the campus Wicca group, a disappointing experience except for the presence of one student, Tara Maclay. After discovering their magic was more powerful if they performed in unison, they became friends, and later, lovers. Willow's interest in women had been hinted at as early as the season 3 episode "Doppelgängland" when her vampire Doppelgänger from an alternative reality showed a distinct lust for the "real" Willow. Willow and Tara formed one of the very few lesbian couples portrayed in American television.

Willow's magical skills first peaked in "Bargaining", the opening episode of season 6, where she joined with other members of the Scooby Gang to raise Buffy from the dead. Afterwards, she became obsessed with using magic constantly, which was portrayed as being analogous to a drug addiction. Her magic addiction eventually led to Tara leaving her, and Buffy's sister Dawn being injured, the emotional consequences of which finally forced Willow to attempt to give up magic for good. Late in the sixth season, Willow's fury at Tara's tragic death unleashed the dark energies once again, and her vengeance reached a climax when Willow magically murdered Warren, Buffy's nemesis, who had fatally shot Tara. Willow's rage continued until she became so powerful that she attempted to cause an apocalypse. She was saved in the end by her friend Xander.

Willow would not make another attempt to abandon the use of all magic. Rather she was forced to deal with her magical nature, and come to grips with her place in the universe. This is evidenced in an important crossover in which she magically battles Jasmine, the then-current villain on Angel, while trying to restore Angel's soul and wins. After her battle, she returns from Los Angeles with Faith, an important character during season 7.

During season 7, Willow slowly regained control of her powers and entered a new relationship with the potential Slayer Kennedy. In the concluding episode of the final season "Chosen", it is through Willow's magic that the potential Slayers are turned into full Slayers and are able to destroy The First Evil's army of ubervamps, saving the world. During her performance of this magical process, Willow temporarily has a goddess-like appearance as Kennedy, who is assisting her, remarks.

Willow appears to have survived an unenviable family life. Her supercilious and unaffectionate mother Sheila has appeared in only one episode, season three's "Gingerbread". Her father Ira, who has never been seen, is hinted to be not much of an improvement. No siblings have ever been mentioned, and Willow refers to herself at one point specifically as "Ira Rosenberg's only daughter" while she is putting up a protective cross (erroneously called a crucifix) on a wall in her house. Willow is the only Jewish member of the core characters.

Willow's hair color is used in season 6 and 7 to mark her state: Red for "normal" Willow, black for "evil" Willow, white for "goddess" Willow. At various times in the show, different characters use "Red" or other references to her hair as a nickname. Willow, like most television good-guys, uses mostly Apple computers, and the show faithfully follows the evolution of the iBook line.

The character of Willow is one of only four, along with Buffy, Xander, and Giles, who remained a part of the series throughout its run. From its initial stereotype, her character became more complex as the series progressed.

Willow is the only character aside from the title character to have appeared in every one of the 144 Buffy episodes. Xander has been in 143 of them, missing one, Conversations with Dead People, in Season Seven, and Giles had been in every single one until Season Five whereafter he was a recurring guest appearing sporadically in Season Five, Six and Seven.

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