Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg

Willow Danielle Rosenberg is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was portrayed by Alyson Hannigan, who also played the character in three episodes of the show's spin-off, Angel.

Willow is the show's only major character known to be Jewish[1], and later was one of the most prominent lesbian characters in American television. In 2007, AOL named her the second greatest witch in television history, behind Samantha Stephens of Bewitched.[2]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Character history[edit | edit source]

Willow Rosenberg was born to Sheila and Ira Rosenberg. Her mother is supercilious and distant. Under the influence of a demon, Sheila tries to burn her daughter at the stake for being a witch, and though she loses much of her memory of the incident, Willow does not. Willow may have inherited from her mother a strong sense of outrage against political injustice, especially that committed against Native Americans.[3] Willow's mother initially thought her being gay was a political statement, but that she later realized that Willow was serious about being lesbian and became less enthusiastic about it. Her father seems to be equally uninvolved. Willow has a fear of frogs, a fact she exploited to help Buffy in "Killed by Death".

Sunnydale High[edit | edit source]

Willow meets her future best friend, Buffy Summers, for the first time in her sophomore year of high school.

In her early years at high school, Willow is a shy, naïve nerd with a light, risqué sense of humor. A member of the Math, Science, and Computer clubs, she is the person to go to for tutoring help. Willow is ridiculed by her more popular classmates, including cheerleaders Cordelia Chase and Harmony Kendall. She has a hopeless crush on her lifelong friend Xander Harris, who ignores her to pursue his equally hopeless crush on Buffy Summers. Willow soon becomes Buffy's best friend, and upon learning that she is actually the Slayer, dedicates herself to aiding her friend in the battle against evil.

Although Willow is at first useful to the Scooby Gang mostly through her computing and hacking skills, in her junior year she begins to develop an interest in spells and witchcraft. She also becomes more assertive, leading the Scoobies in Buffy's absence. After discovering Xander kissing Cordelia, a heartbroken Willow decides to move on, starting a romantic relationship with Daniel 'Oz' Osbourne, a guitarist in the local band Dingoes Ate My Baby. She continues to date him after the revelation that he is a werewolf.

When Jenny Calendar, a computer science teacher and technopagan who Willow admired, is murdered by Buffy's vampire boyfriend Angelus,[4] Willow agrees to teach her classes for the rest of the year. During this time, she goes through her former favorite teacher's belongings and dabbles in magic, performing the Ritual of Restoration to re-ensoul Angel.

Willow's first spell : the Ritual of Restoration to re-ensoul Angelus

In Season Three, Willow continues to blossom through witchcraft and her relationship with Oz. Joining a coven with fellow magic-users Amy Madison and Michael Czajak, Willow becomes the victim of a witch-hunt led by Buffy's mother who form a group called Mothers Opposed to the Occult (MOO). However, it is revealed that they were under the influence of a demon who impersonated two witch-victims; Buffy slays the demon, and the spell is broken. She and Xander discover a growing attraction for each other, despite the fact that both of them are in other relationships. While being held hostage by Spike, Willow and Xander share a kiss, believing that they will never escape Spike alive. To their dismay, they are caught in the act by Oz and Cordelia, who have come to rescue them. Although Cordelia breaks up with Xander for good, Oz and Willow eventually manage to work things out. Tired of being "old reliable", Willow aids former vengeance demon Anya Jenkins in a spell, unwittingly releasing her own vampire counterpart from an alternate universe. She is shocked to discover that her vampire counterpart exhibits homosexual tendencies, a foreshadowing to her own lesbian relationships in the future. Despite being accepted by several colleges, including Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, Willow decides to attend UC Sunnydale so that she can continue fighting the "good fight" with Buffy.

"I mean, you've been fighting evil here for three years, and I've helped some, and now we're supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives. And I just realized that that's what I want to do. Fight evil, help people. I mean, I think it's worth doing. And I don't think you do it because you have to. It's a good fight, Buffy, and I want in." - Willow chooses her path in life, "Choices"

College[edit | edit source]

In Season Four, Willow suffers heartbreak and comes to terms with her own sexuality. Moving across town to UC Sunnydale, Willow and Buffy become roommates at Room 214 in Stevenson Hall. When Oz leaves town after cheating on Willow with another werewolf, a devastated Willow casts a spell to have her will done, accidentally endangering her friends' lives in the process. She joins the campus Wicca group, a disappointing experience but for the presence of serious witch Tara Maclay. After discovering each other's magic, they become friends, lovers, and later soulmates. Oz returns after gaining control over his wolf-side, with hopes of continuing his relationship with Willow. After some serious consideration, and coming out to Buffy, Willow chooses Tara over Oz.

Willow's power increases at a dramatic rate. Her relationship with Tara is strengthened when she discovers how Tara rose above her family's abusive lies. However, they argue when Tara voices her concerns at how powerful Willow has become over the past few months. Shortly afterwards, Tara is "brain-sucked" by the hell-goddess Glory, left in an insane, babbling state. Ignoring Buffy's warnings, Willow arms herself for a fight and attacks Glory with knives and dark magic, managing to weaken her significantly before Buffy comes to the rescue. When Buffy later goes into a catatonic state, Willow magically enters her mind and frees her, assuring her that they will find a way to defeat Glory. In the final fight against Glory, Willow manages to slow her down by restoring Tara's mind, reuniting with her lover. However, Buffy is forced to sacrifice herself to save the life of her sister, Dawn.

Dark Willow[edit | edit source]

-"The magicks you channeled are more ferocious and primal than anything you can hope to understand, and you are lucky to be alive, you rank, arrogant amateur!"

-"You're right. The magicks I used are very powerful. I'm very powerful. And maybe it's not such a good idea for you to piss me off."-Giles condemns Willow over her growing misuse of magic, "Flooded"

Willow Season 6

In the sixth season, Willow suffers an unbearable loss and faces her own dark side. Her magical skills first peak when she leads Tara, Xander, and Anya in resurrecting Buffy. Afterwards, Willow becomes addicted to using magic, and her disregard for the consequences of her actions eventually drives Tara away and lands Dawn in the hospital.[5]With Tara's departure and Dawn's injury, Willow is forced to face her problem and stops using magic. When Tara is murdered by Warren Mears, however, a grief-stricken Willow unleashes the dark energies once more, and her vengeance reaches a climax when she uses magic to flay Warren alive. Willow absorbs volumes of magic as she pursues Jonathan Levinson and Andrew Wells, Warren's accomplices, turning against her friends in the process. She ultimately absorbs so much power that she is overcome by all the pain she senses in the world. She attempts to trigger the apocalypse to end it all, but is thwarted by Xander who, out of love, refuses to leave her alone, regardless of what she has done or is doing. This eventually causes Willow to break down over her actions (partially because she has absorbed power from Giles that put her back in touch with her true emotions and feelings).

"Let me tell you something about Willow; she's a loser. And she always has been. Everyone picked on Willow in junior high, high school, up until college with her stupid mousy ways. And now... Willow's a junkie. The only thing Willow was ever good for, the only thing going for me, were those moments—just moments—when Tara would look at me and I was wonderful. And that will never happen again."- Willow becomes fueled by grief and magic after Tara's death, "Two to Go

Willow managed to overcome her dark side to activate Slayers all around the world, briefly turning her hair white in the process.

Willow is forced to deal with her magical nature and her place in the universe after some time in England with Giles. She slowly regains control of her powers and begins a relationship with Potential Slayer Kennedy. After their first kiss, Willow finds herself transforming into Warren, the result of a hex placed on her by a vengeful Amy. Kennedy saves her by helping her come to terms with Tara's death and move on. Soon afterwards, Willow battles the being later known as Jasmine, and restores Angel's soul for the second time. During the fight against the First Evil, Willow is able to overcome her dark side and use her powers for good again, changing the rules for the entire Slayer line.

"In every generation one Slayer is born because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined."- Buffy trusts Willow to activate the Potential Slayers, "Chosen"

Student of Saga Vasuki[edit | edit source]

Following the destruction of Sunnydale, Willow and Kennedy reportedly spent some time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Willow also visited the Himalayas, and was unable to aid Fred Burkle with her mystical illness because she was astrally projecting to another plane. She began to study under Saga Vasuki, a mysterious snake-like being, and her contact with Buffy and the Scooby Gang diminished. When Kennedy died a mystical death, Willow resurrected her a month later and they began to take their relationship more slowly. Over a year after the Hellmouth battle, Willow appeared at Buffy and Xander's Scotland base, battling Amy and her army of the undead. Willow was kidnapped by a skinless Warren Mears, who revealed that Amy had revived him back in 2002. The pair had been conspiring against her ever since, and were responsible for her transformation into Warren in 2003. Warren lobotomized Willow, who took refuge in a mental plane before being rescued by Buffy, unharmed. Kennedy voiced her concerns that Willow was keeping her away from her friends; Willow admitted that she was afraid to let her get close to Buffy because of what happened to Tara.

Willow began to settle in Scotland with Buffy and Xander, and attempted to aid Dawn who had transformed into a giant. When Buffy and Willow went on a mission to find out about more about the Scoobies' newest enemy Twilight, the demon Sephrilian revealed the friends' secrets to each other, leaving their friendship strained. While fighting a group of vampires in Tokyo, Willow met and battled a fellow student of Saga Vasuki, the witch Kumiko. The vision she receives during this fight with Kumiko would later lead her to investigate a possible ripple in time in New York. When Buffy was kidnapped into the future, Willow contacted Vasuki for help during sex with an oblivious Kennedy. Saga Vasuki warned Willow not to look forward into the future when she rescued Buffy from it; Willow complied and successfully returned Buffy to the present.

Future[edit | edit source]

After a lifetime of two centuries, Willow is finally killed by her best friend.

"History is all romantic adventure stories. Until you live it. Until you live long enough to be a part of it."- Willow Rosenberg, "Time of Your Life" Through currently unknown means, Willow remained youthful for centuries and eventually resumed her "dark" appearance of black hair and veins. Approximately two hundred years into the future, Willow was located in Haddyn—otherwise known as Manhattan—and was the one responsible for bringing Buffy Summers through time. Willow was allied with Harth Fray, the vampiric brother of current Slayer Melaka Fray. Harth considered Willow to be a "madwoman" but believed her claims that Buffy's presence in the future would cause that future to exist. However, Willow also manipulated Melaka into viewing Buffy as her enemy, telling her that if Buffy returned to her own time, Melaka's time would cease to exist. Melaka and her sister Erin captured Buffy, who was shocked to see what her friend had become. When Harth arrived at Melaka's home, both parties learned that Willow was lying to one of them. Buffy managed to escape and fought her way across Haddyn to get to a rift in time and return to the present, battling Melaka in the process. When Buffy arrived at the rift, Willow stood in her way. Before Willow could reveal her true agenda, Buffy stabbed and killed her friend with the Scythe. At that point, present Willow—blindfolded so as to avoid seeing the future—grabbed Buffy and pulled her back in time.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Willow is consistently shown as a very sweet, gentle, intelligent, caring person. At the start of the show, she was portrayed as a somewhat naïve, painfully shy nerd who was stuck with a hopeless crush on her best friend Xander. As the series progressed, she became much more confident and strong-willed. When Buffy dies, Willow takes care of Dawn to whom she represents a maternal figure. She has been very friendly and understanding, even with Spike, though she is not afraid to be tough.

Powers and abilities[edit | edit source]

For the first two seasons of the show, Willow's major "powers" were her intelligence and computer skills, as well as marked snarkiness. She aids Giles as he researches information to aid Buffy in overcoming various challenges. Willow also aids in the preparation of magical materials, making her first potion to detect a witch and performing the ritual to revoke Angelus' invitation to Buffy's house and her own, but does not seriously begin practicing magic until the death of Jenny Calendar, one of her teachers. She is asked to take over teaching the class because of her high aptitude, and one day comes across a floppy disk containing a spell that Jenny Calendar had successfully translated to English, which can restore a vampire's soul.

Willow's initial interest in Wicca lies more in the spell-casting portion rather than the faith itself; she sees magic as a way of hacking the universe, and an extension of her computer hacking skills. This mentality may have been influenced by her relationship with Jenny, who identified herself as a "technopagan," and was connected to an online pagan network.

Willow's first major spell involves re-cursing Angel with a soul, a feat she later repeats. She learns to levitate a pencil early in her senior year, and her powers continue to develop until she is casting powerful spells independently and with the help of Tara Maclay. Soon she surpasses Tara, a more experienced witch, in skill and being able to draw enough power to fend off the hell-god Glory.

Willow bringing Buffy back to life

Willow demonstrates the ability to bring Buffy back to life, leaving her drained but regaining her magic in a few hours. Her friend Amy Madison introduces her to a warlock, Rack, who gives her the ability to go longer and do more spells, which leads Willow further down the path to the dark side of magic. Eventually, after Tara dies, magic consumes Willow and she nearly destroys the world. It is at this time that Anya assumes Willow is now the most powerful Wicca in the Western Hemisphere. Willow is capable of a level of superhuman strength (allowing her to go head-to-head with Buffy in a physical confrontation), flying, absorbing life from others, teleportation, being impervious to physical damage, curing herself and others instantly at will, unleashing powerful energy blasts, locating people and objects at a distance (even when theoretically protected from such spells), emitting high-pitched shrieks in frequencies harmful to human ears, and exerting powerful levels of telekinesis and telepathic mind control. This mind control even extends to Anya, despite Anya's statement that vengeance demons are immune to mind controlling magics.

Her willingness to use magic is greatly diminished after her experience as Dark Willow. Willow spends time at a coven in England with Giles where she develops a better understanding of magic, balance, etc. At this point, she is so powerful her very feelings and thoughts can affect the world. Amy comments that other practitioners "work twice as hard to be half as good" as Willow. Despite this, Willow is largely prevented from accessing more than slight magic by the First Evil, who attempts to corrupt her at each spell. Examples of the controlled usage of her power are her use of telekinesis to practice self-restraint, conjuring force fields, extensive telepathic conversations, opening a portal, and exerting hypnotic control. Willow also comments that she now absorbs power from the things around her, one time unwillingly draining some of Kennedy's life-force. Willow casts a spell that imbues all Potential Slayers on Earth with Slayer powers (formerly reserved for only one girl in every generation), temporarily turning Willow's eyes and hair crystal white in the process. Kennedy remarks on it by calling her "a goddess." Xander has once called her Elphaba, the name of the Wicked Witch of the West in the novel and musical Wicked.

Willow's powers have greatly expanded since these events. She can now fly by force of will and has regained control of her powers, and although her roots continue to go dark whenever she taps into more power, this doesn't faze her. She is able to project vast amounts of energy from her fingertips and cast aside powerful spells. She is able to heal herself rapidly from extreme injuries, at least including partial lobotomy. She is also able to heal injuries in others. Amy characterizes her as a "big all-powerful earth-mother witch goddess". The Season Eight time travel storyline "Time of Your Life" depicts Dark Willow as powerful, alive and youthful hundreds of years into the future, though unable to cast spells of much power.

Dark Willow in 23rd century

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Willow's appearance changes drastically over the course of the show to reflect her growing level of confidence and power. In her initial appearances, she dressed like a little girl and her mother still picked out her clothes for her. Cordelia comments on this in "Welcome to the Hellmouth", cruelly stating, "Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears!" After Buffy encourages Willow to "seize the day", her fashion sense begins to reflect the growing confidence that her friendship with the Slayer grants her. In reality, this is due to the WB requesting that Willow dress more "hip" like Buffy. In his DVD commentary for "Welcome to the Hellmouth", Joss Whedon explained, "The incredibly nerdy clothes that she's wearing, you'll see her wearing for exactly one episode, because [the network] kept sending us memos 'You must make her more hip. You must make her more cool. You must make her more... like Buffy' which confused me because, you know, I wanted to do an ensemble show and ensemble means that people are different. Besides, I think that outfit's really cute."

By Season Three, Willow has blossomed through her relationship with Oz, and her appearance reflects this. She cuts her hair shoulder-length (although it takes her mother several months to notice this - "Gingerbread") and develops a penchant for fluffy sweaters and peculiar hats. One of her memorable outfits in Season Three is her pink sweater from "Lovers Walk" and "Doppelgängland". Feeling undervalued by her friends, Willow threatens to change her look, shortly before the arrival of the alternate universe Vamp Willow, dressed in her iconic leather outfit. Upon seeing Vamp Willow, Percy asks her if she is "trick-or-treating", while Buffy describes her as a dominatrix. Upon seeing her human alter-ego's pink sweater, Vamp Willow teases her by saying, "Well, look at me. I'm all fuzzy." When she later wakes up dressed in said sweater, Vamp Willow says "Oh, this is like a nightmare." In Season Four's "The Initiative", Spikes admits that he finds Willow's "fuzzy pink number with the lilac underneath" to be arousing.

When Willow is corrupted by black magic, her physical appearance is altered as well.

By college, Willow cuts her hair even shorter, and begins to wear long skirts and high shoes, which make her appear significantly taller and more confident than in her shy, wallflower years in high school. However, in "Restless", it is revealed through a dream that Willow feels she is only hiding her true geeky nature, with Buffy and Riley describing her normal clothes as a "costume." She finds herself back in a high school classroom, where Buffy rips off her "costume", leaving her dressed in her "softer side of Sears" outfit from "Welcome to the Hellmouth", shortly before being attacked by the Primitive. In "The Body", Willow focuses her grief over the death of Buffy's mother Joyce Summers on what clothes to wear while visiting Buffy at the hospital. She describes her clothes as having "stupid things on them" and asks why she can't dress "like a grown-up." Joss Whedon stated that this was based on his own irrational obsession over what tie to wear to a funeral.

When Willow is consumed by black magic in the closing episodes of Season Six, she inadvertently takes on a goth look. Dark Willow, as Andrew Wells refers to her in "Storyteller", can be identified by her black hair, black eyes, and numerous veins over her face. Xander described Dark Willow's appearance as the "makeover of the damned", but later assured her that he loved "scary, veiny Willow" just as much as "crayon breaky Willow." Willow's hair and eyes revert to their natural colour following Xander's heroic speech in "Grave", but she sometimes resumes this appearance when her powers are pushed to their limits, such as battling the Crimslaw demon in "Selfless", or Amy in "The Long Way Home."

In Season Seven, Willow's hair has grown slightly longer and she dresses more maturely. While performing the spell to activate the potential Slayers in "Chosen", her hair briefly turns white, contrasting the benevolent intent behind this spell against the black magic performed by Dark Willow.

In the Season Eight comics, Willow is dressed in clothing reminiscent of Tara and her hair is shoulder length again. In the time travel "Time of Your Life" storyline, her future counterpart is dressed in clothing that combines elements of her vampiric counterpart from the Wishverse and Drusilla. Her future self, much like the first appearance of Dark Willow, has black hair, black eyes, and veins over her face. While magic leaves Willow ageless, her power is all but depleted and she relies on Harth's power to bring Buffy to their present time.

Religion[edit | edit source]

Willow is portrayed on the show as a "Wicca". For example, in the Season Three episode "Doppelgängland," Anya tells her: "I heard you were a pretty powerful Wicca, so..." Willow replies: "You heard right, mister!" Critics have pointed out that the depiction of Wicca on the show is inaccurate. In the book Seven Seasons of Buffy,[6] author Christie Golden describes Willow as a "Hollywood witch" and points out that even the phrase "a Wicca" makes no sense, stating: "One who follows the faith of Wicca is a Wiccan." The term is, however, closer to the root word (wicce).

Willow also identifies -- at least ethnically and culturally -- as Jewish. She refers to herself on a number of occasions as Jewish and appears to come from a religious family, noting in the Season Two episode "Passion" that she has to go to Xander's house to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas every year. Xander mentions this fact again in the Season Five episode, "The Replacement". Also, in Season Two, when doing the spell to un-invite Angel from her house, she hides the crosses she's nailing to the wall behind a curtain, having noted that her father will have a fit if he sees them. Willow says her egg is Jewish in the Season Two episode "Bad Eggs". In "Amends", she mentions multiple times that she celebrates Hanukkah and not Christmas. She also mentions that she's "Like Santa Claus, only skinner and Jewish" when she brings presents to Joyce in the hospital. Willow does not keep Kosher, although this is true of many Jews. In the Season Six episode, "Hell's Bells," Willow mentions that she had a Bat Mitzvah several years ago. In the Seventh season episode "Help", Willow places stones on Tara's headstone, a Jewish tradition to honor the dead.

Sexuality[edit | edit source]

Although Willow had previously been established as a "straight girl", enjoying a long-term relationship with Oz, there are hints of her being at least bisexual in the episode "Doppelgängland" when she meets her vampire alter ego.

In Season Four, following Oz's departure, Willow secretly performs spells with fellow Wicca Tara, but there are hints that they are more than just friends. The first confirmation that their relationship is romantic in nature comes in the episode "Who Are You." Since coming out in Season Four, the Willow character became one of the most prominent lesbian characters in pop culture, having enjoyed the longest-running lesbian relationship on network television, lasting approximately two and a half seasons. Willow and Tara earned a dedicated fan base of gay and bisexual viewers who were inspired by the characters, with Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson becoming gay icons.[7]

However, broadcasting constraints from the WB meant that, unlike the heterosexual characters, Willow and Tara were not allowed to be shown in any sexual scenes. The couple did not have their first on-screen kiss until the Season Five episode, "The Body", almost a year after their relationship began. This changed significantly when Buffy switched networks to the more lenient UPN, with Willow and Tara shown kissing, sharing a bed, and even having metaphorical oral sex (cf. "Once More, With Feeling"). The character of Willow continued to break new ground when, in the Season Seven episode "Touched", she was seen having sex with her new girlfriend Kennedy, in the first lesbian sex scene on network television. It is worth noting that this relationship is the only one involving one of the "core four" (Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles), to survive the series, all previous relationships having come to a tragic end one way or the other.

While identifying as lesbian, there are indications that Willow has a bisexual side to her. Willow's alter ego in "Doppelgangland" displays overt bisexuality, with Willow forming strong heterosexual relationships across the first three seasons of Buffy. She also comments upon Dracula's sexiness, which is likely caused by Dracula's thrall over people, in "Buffy vs. Dracula," and even reveals a former crush on Giles after seeing him sing with his guitar at the coffee shop. Later in the series, Willow's relationship with dealer Rack takes on sexual overtones, although it is mostly because of the magic he gives her. However, Willow does make her preferences clear. In "Him", as one of the many women under RJ Brooks' love spell, she seeks to transform him into a woman. Discussing the conquests of best friend Xander in "The Long Way Home, Part Three", Willow teasingly says that even she "went in for smoochies" before reiterating "and I don't truck with the stubbly crowd."

A new species of sea slug found on the West Coast, Alderia willowi, was named after this character in a tongue-in-cheek tribute due to Alderia willowi's rare reproductive dimorphism and Willow's own unique sexuality shifts during various seasons and episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Romantic interests[edit | edit source]

  • Xander Harris — Willow "dates" Xander when they are five, until he steals her Barbie. She continues a hopeless, unrequited crush on her lifelong friend into high school. Her moment of tenderness with Xander in the Season Two opener ends when Buffy reappears after having been gone all summer. Willow and Xander begin a brief affair in Season Three's "Homecoming," though they are each involved with someone else. Willow's bisexual vampire alter-ego also has a long-lasting relationship with her universe's Xander after each of them are turned into vampires. She wrote angst filled love poems about Xander as a teen but when she mentions them in Help she politely tells Xander "Over you sweetie." In Season Eight, Willow reminisces upon having found Xander very attractive during her teen years. Ultimately, even though the two of them are not in love, they do have a great deal of love for each other; this fact saves the world in the Season 6 episode "Grave" when Xander points this out repeatedly and stops Willow from ending the world.
  • Thomas — Encouraged by Buffy to "seize the day", Willow builds up the courage to talk to this boy and go for ice cream. However, when he turns out to be a vampire and tries to kill her, Buffy has to save her, and Willow is forced to accept the existence of demons. Thomas is the first vampire ever to be dusted on Buffy (cf. "Welcome to the Hellmouth").

Willow and Oz.

  • "Malcolm Black"/Moloch — Willow unwittingly awakens this ancient demon by scanning him into the Internet. He claims to be in love with her, starting an online relationship with her under the identity of Malcolm Black. However, when Willow rejects Malcolm after discovering he is actually a murderous, demonic robot, he tries to kill her and Buffy is forced to slay him.
  • Daniel "Oz" Osborne — Willow dates this guitar playing-werewolf for almost two years, losing her virginity in the process. However, their relationship ends when she learns of Oz's affair with Veruca, a female werewolf. After Oz kills Veruca to save Willow from her, he leaves to try to find a way to control his lycanthropy. When he returns to Sunnydale months later hoping for a reconciliation, Willow has begun her relationship with Tara. However, her feelings for Oz have remained strong, and she tells him, "I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you."
  • Willow Rosenberg — Willow's bisexual vampire alter ego expresses an attraction for her (cf. "Doppelgängland") in the first hint that Willow's sexual orientation may be something other than heterosexual. Willow finds this somewhat disturbing, asking, "Would that mean we have to snuggle?"
  • Tara Maclay — Willow's first lesbian relationship initially starts as a friendship but quickly develops into something more. Willow meets Tara in a Wicca group during college, and begins a relationship which eventually becomes sexual (cf. "The I in Team"). They are portrayed as each others' "soulmates" throughout the series. Tara briefly leaves Willow during Season Six because of her inappropriate use of magic to erase part of Tara's memory, but they soon get back together (cf. "Entropy") just in time for Tara's shocking death (cf. "Seeing Red").
  • Rupert Giles — When Willow sees him sing at the Espresso Pump, her reaction is to say, "Now I remember why I used to have such a crush on him." There are a handful of hints of this crush in the high-school seasons: Giles recognizes Willow in the Bronze because she's one of the few students who actually enjoys visiting the library, there's a picture of Giles and Willow together in Willow's locker, when Buffy thinks its 'eww' that Faith thinks Giles is sexy Willow doesn't raise her hand and has an impish smile on her face, and it's totally unsurprising that any book lover would have a crush on a favorite librarian. But Willow's crush on Giles never goes anywhere. Normally, they share a "mentor-mentee" relationship (more than the "daughter-father" one that both Buffy and Anya have with Giles); very affectionate, mutually respectful, but often conflictual.
  • Dracula — Willow describes the infamous vampire as "sexy", to Tara's surprise and mild jealousy.
  • R.J. Brooks — Under a love spell along with Buffy, Dawn, and Anya, Willow becomes obsessed with this male high school student, despite his "physical presence." When Anya points out that "his physical presence has a penis", Willow insists that she can "work around it", summoning the goddess Hecate to transform him into a woman. Xander and Spike intervene before she succeeds, and the love spell is soon lifted.

Willow and Kennedy's first kiss

  • Kennedy — Willow continues her recovery from Tara's death as she embarks on a relationship with this Potential Slayer. When mentioned the in Angel episode "Damage", they were living together in South America. They decided to take things slowly following Kennedy's month-long mystical death.
  • Winifred Burkle — Though not technically a romantic relationship, in the S4 Angel episode, Orpheus, Willow is seen somewhat slyly inquiring as to what is Fred's "story" to Wesley, indicating a possible interest on Willow's part and earning her a surprised look of pondering from Wesley. Additionally, Willow, later in the same episode, mistakes Fred's excitement at seeing her, and her eagerness to spend time with her, for attraction. Willow tells Fred she is already seeing someone, namely Kennedy. (cf. "Orpheus").

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • Rack - Rack is a dark warlock who becomes Willow's metaphorical black magic "drug dealer" after being introduced by Amy. Rack's business relationship with Willow takes on frequent sexual, perhaps abusive overtones in his referring to her "taste" as being "like strawberries", and the euphoria she attains in her transfer of power. Eventually, after her transformation into Dark Willow, Willow murders Rack and steals his life force.
  • Amy Madison — Amy and Willow are friends from junior high through high school, with Willow keeping her as a pet after Amy transforms herself into a rat. The two become closer during Willow's magic-junkie period in Season Six; however, their friendship ends abruptly, and Amy later seeks retribution. Starting a romantic relationship with Willow's enemy Warren Mears, whom she has kept alive mystically since Dark Willow skinned him alive, Amy puts a hex on Willow and later tries to assassinate Buffy on behalf of the American military. Willow intervenes and engages Amy in an airborne battle.
  • Warren Mears — Warren incurs Willow's wrath when he accidentally shoots Tara while aiming for Buffy. Consumed by grief and black magic, Dark Willow tracks him down, torturing and eventually flaying him alive (cf. "Villains"). However, unbeknownst to Willow, Warren is kept alive by Amy Madison, and plots revenge on the woman who tried to kill him.

Sororal[edit | edit source]

Willow's friendships and rivalries with Buffy and Anya largely reflect sisterly relationships. Each of the three characters shares a paternal relationship with Rupert Giles and either an animosity or extreme closeness which resembles a typical sister relationship. These patterns are commented upon in "Grave" when Giles attempts to stop the three from fighting, and Dark Willow comments, "Uh oh, daddy's home. I'm in wicked trouble now."

  • Buffy Summers - From the first episode onward, Buffy and Willow establish a close friendship. The two risk their lives for each other on many occasions. Buffy is there for Willow when she comes out as a lesbian and also during her rehabilitation from addiction to magic. In Season Eight's "The Long Way Home, Part 4", Buffy comments upon their closeness as a connection between the two no matter how far apart they are. Despite Buffy's recent lesbian experience both women (loudly) insist they are not attracted to each other, this has not prevented Kennedy becoming some what suspicious when she sees the duo hug after Buffy's trip to the future. Willow does asks Satsu what Buffy was like in bed however (Satsu refuses to answer). Ironically in the (possible?) future Buffy will be the one to finally end Willow's life (It's unclear if the future of Fray is what will be or what Could be).
  • Dawn Summers - Despite Buffy's strained relationship at times with Dawn, Willow and girlfriend Tara act as cool older friends to the young teenager despite her angsty turbulence. Willow's sisterly affection for "Dawny" continues towards Season Eight where even Buffy envies that Dawn sees Willow as a better sister than her ("The Long Way Home, Part Two").
  • Anya Jenkins - Their love-hate feelings towards each other provide common comic relief throughout the show, having its apex in the episode "Triangle", from the show's 5th season. Though being loyal allies, saving each other's life many times, they share always a love-hate, not truly friendly, relationship.

Other[edit | edit source]

  • Angel - Angel shares deep affection and mutual confidence with Willow, and not just because she restored his soul not once but twice; in several occasions he asks for her help, looking at her as a reliable ally and friend. During his initial time in Sunnydale, after Buffy, Willow was probably Angel's closest friend in the Scooby Gang, although, as with all the team, his relationship with her was somewhat strained after he came back from Hell. At the end of episode "Orpheus" (the last time they meet onscreen) they hug as old friends.
  • Spike - Willow and Spike maintained what could be classified as a friendly relationship. She comforted him following his break up with Drusilla even though he had kidnapped her to perform a love spell. He once offered her a choice of being sired or killed. Following season Four, They maintained a friendship with Spike being respectful of her relationship with Tara. Spike understood her motives for attacking Glory and said he would've done the same. Following Buffy's death, Spike worked with Willow and Tara in taking care of Dawn. He also defended her slightly when Anya attempted to pressure her into a spell during her recovery. Following his attack on Buffy, their relationship suffered although she turned to him for help after her return. Willow trusted Spike after his chip was removed.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Canonical appearances[edit | edit source]

Willow has been in 153 canonical Buffyverse appearances.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow was a series regular for all seven seasons. Buffy and Willow were the only characters that appeared in every episode of the TV show, 144 overall.
Willow made guest appearances in three episodes:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight
She has appeared in six issues so far:

Other appearances[edit | edit source]

Willow has also appeared in Buffy expanded universe material. She appears in most of the Buffy comics and novels, most notably her mini-series Willow & Tara, and the Wicked Willow Trilogy, which explores the events the might have transpired had Willow not returned to good. She is also a playable character in the 2003 video game Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds.

  1. Joss Whedon (1998-11-15). "Amends". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. episode 10. season 3. The WB. 
  2. "AOL - Top TV Witches".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Pangs"
  4. "Passion"
  5. "Wrecked"
  6. Seven Seasons of Buffy edited by Glenn Yeffeth, BenBella Books, April 2003.
  7. How Buffy changed the world of lesbians on television[1]
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