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February 12 2010

"Love Saves the World" - a Buffy essay. Taken from "Seven Seasons of Buffy", this essay looks at redemption, survival and the Buffy family.

That's really lovely. My only (tiny) quibble is the statement that Spike loves Dawn like a daughter. I always got a strong older brother vibe.
There are a few notes here and there where I think the author misses the mark. One, Buffy never relied on Spike to protect Dawn from discovering her origins. Spike was the person who helped Dawn discover she was the Key (however inadvertently). Buffy relied on Spike to protect Dawn from Glory--that was it. Two, Willow and Tara broke up because Willow was violating Tara's sense of self, her mind, her memories and identity (and considering how we see this explored at length in Dollhouse, it was treated breezily in BtVS). I believe the series glossed over how harmful Willow's act was, specifically in how easily Tara reunited with Willow. I'd say Xander and Anya's relationship was more about people making inadvertent mistakes, while Willow and Tara's relationship became about abusive control on Willow's part.

Some important nuances seem to be glossed over, but overall an interesting read.
Great essay. Thanks for recing it. *g*
I did like the essay, but, yes, a few problems.

The discussion of season seven seems a little radical to me: "Faith returns, redeemed in her own way, and is accepted into Buffy’s family only to betray it by undermining Buffy’s authority in “Empty Places.” However, Faith quickly recognizes her inadequacy as a parent figure." Really? How was what Faith did a betrayal?

Do more than half the potentials die in "Chosen"?

I do think that the claim that Spike is redeemed by "Chosen" is pretty debatable--the role of redemption in the verse is very tricky, and even great effulgent sacrifices don't necessarily help you get it.

The discussion of Dawn hits on what I think is one of the major elements of "The Gift," which is that by jumping Buffy proves that Dawn really is her sister--that they are the same, and consequently that Dawn is human. That's a wonderful metaphorical way for Buffy to give Dawn life, and realness. But is the essay actually suggesting that Buffy gave Dawn a soul? The soul has a specific meaning in the Buffyverse, so it seems odd to suggest that Dawn, who seemed pretty human and pretty capable of guilt and remorse, would be soulless before then.

Agreed with Emmie that the biggest mark missed was saying that Willow and Tara had clearly the best relationship in season six. Willow wiped Tara's mind, guys.

As an aside, I do think that the series should have dealt with this (Willow's violation) more fully...but you know, I think that what happened was realistic in many ways. Willow and Tara both blamed Willow's abuse of magic rather than emphasizing the personal violation, which is a mistake that Willow would obviously make (because she has a hard time seeing bad as something intrinsic to her, before season seven anyway), and Tara...should know better, but I think convinces herself (wrongly, I'd argue) that Willow is essentially good and wouldn't abuse her without magic. People do return to their abusers often, assuming rightly or wrongly that they've changed. Tara makes the point in "Entropy" that they are skipping several steps, and I think implicit in that speech is the fact that she is taking a big chance on Willow hurting her again, one which maybe she shouldn't make. That Willow goes off the deep end right after Tara's death--not just getting upset, not even just revenge but lashing out at everyone and the world--proves that Tara was wrong. But it's an understandable mistake for her to make. And after Tara's death, Willow's crimes--killing, nearly ending the world--overshadow her violation of Tara, even though the latter was a much more personal one.
I read this collection a long time ago and remember liking this particular essay, some minor quibbles aside.
I didn't agree with all the essays, but they all made interesting reading.
This is considered pornography by my library. Darn.

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