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Willow Rosenberg

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

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers.

Willow was introduced in the first episode of the show as a fairly stereotyped brilliant high school nerd capable of performing any scientific or hacking trick needed to advance the plot, not unlike characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, and several other shows. She had a hopeless crush on her lifelong friend Xander Harris, who ignored her to pursue his own equally hopeless crush on Buffy.

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 Chase caught Willow and Xander kissing. Oz was written out of the series, apparently at the request of the actor playing him, Seth Green, early in the fourth season.

By this time Willow and the rest of the Scooby Gang had graduated from Sunnydale High School, in a moving ceremony in which the commencement speaker - the mayor of Sunnydale - turned into a giant snake, ate the sadistic principal, and attempted to eat the graduating class until he was blown up, along with a sizable part of the school, by Buffy - much more stimulating than a few bars of Pomp and Circumstance. Willow, who had begun performing simple spells after she met Jenny Calendar, was also by now a quite powerful witch.

Buffy and Willow moved across town to UC Sunnydale, where Willow attended some meetings of the campus Wicca group, a disappointing experience except for the presence of one student, Tara Maclay. In the midst of one of Sunnydale's frequent demonic invasions, this one by a group known as "The Gentlemen", who stole the voices of everybody in town and then began harvesting hearts from various non-voluntary donors, Tara found Willow and they discovered that they could perform more powerful spells together than either could individually. The rituals soon gave way to romance, and Willow and Tara formed one of the very few lesbian couples portrayed in American television.

Willow's magical skills peaked in "Bargainings", the opening episode of season 6, where she joined with other members of the Scooby Gang to raise Buffy from the dead. Afterward, she became obsessed with using magic constantly, which was portrayed with an occasional sledgehammer subtlety 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 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 with the show's recurring theme of near-apocalypse. Willow made another resolute attempt to abandon the use of all magic.

Willow appears to have survived an unenviable family life. Her supercilious and unaffectionate mother has appeared in only one episode. Her father, who has never been seen, is hinted to be not much of an improvement. No siblings have ever been mentioned.

The great strengths of Buffy are its clever dialog and complex characters. Willow, as one of only three characters to have been a part of the story throughout, has grown from the simple stereotypes of the first episodes to a richly drawn individual, skillfully acted by Hannigan.

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