Join us, Cory and Laine, as we talk about witchcraft! We get into the differences of Hollywood witchcraft vs real witchcraft. We’ll also talk about its influence on the characters in the Buffyverse and their relationship to it. We also briefly touch on witches in pop culture, both then and now.
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Music for this episode is “Digging a Grave,” by Shadows from the Underground, and is used under license from Magnatune.
One thought on “Episode 4: The Myth of the Witch”
Random thoughts I had throughout this episode and various characters relationships with magic (I’m sorry this is so long! It just happened.):
I know this will come up more as you get to the particular episodes, but I always had the impression that Willow, while always (for a while) trying to do good and deal with the consequences of her magic, never really consciously developed any kind of code of ethics with her magic. Some of her early missteps actually make a lot of sense with what I know of just learning how to work with magic–for example, her missteps in ‘Something Blue’ have more to do with not understanding exactly how her intent will interact with the spell. But others, like her spell in season 3 in ‘Lover’s Walk,’ show that she is willing to disregard certain ethical boundaries. She tries to perform a de-lusting spell on Xander and herself, without even telling Xander what she will be doing. Her intentions are totally understandable, but that does show a willingness to manipulate other people’s minds through magic. Also, regarding her switch from ‘magic is like chemistry’ to pointing/snapping, I wasn’t that big of a fan of it as well, though I think an in-universe explanation that kind of works is that she needed the tools to focus her energy and then she got practiced enough that eventually she didn’t, so much. I don’t think that’s what the show was going for, entirely, and it’s so dramatic that it seems to change the mechanics of magic on the show (also this was when it was shifting into a drug metaphor) but I could kind of see the logic of it.
re: the Wicca group. I agree with all of what you said about it, but that scene always leaves a slightly bad taste in my mouth. In the commentary Joss says that he made sure to include ‘the misuse of the word ’empowerment,’ and I agree that the term ’empower’ gets used in a lot of not entirely accurate ways, but there’s just something there that makes me think of a grown man correcting young women on their feminism. It’s a very small moment, but I just needed to make note of it.
I never thought about this before, but I agree about how she just kind of exists with it and uses it occasionally. I also love that spell she does to see the magic around Joyce in season 5.
I agree that he’s looking for instant gratification/doesn’t really understand the potential consequences. I can headcanon his decision to do the spell in OMWF because, even though there was such fallout in B,B,&B, he could say his intentions for the ‘everybody will be happy and dancing spell’ were totally positive. It’s possible that he thought that would be enough to prevent any harm. But yeah, contrasted with him getting on Willow for using magic, and the actual harm that happens in that episode… it’s not great. Also, YES I TOTALLY AGREE about Jonathan and Xander being too sides of the same coin. Throughout season 6 it’s made clear how much they have in common in terms of interests, and when he insults Andrew & Jonathan at the end of season 6, his insults are so personal. (Side note: my hs experience was most like Jonathan’s and though I’m sad about all the turns he took I will always have such a soft spot for him).
Giles: Giles’ relationship to magic is so fascinating to me. Because, despite how much she knows about it, he is overly cautious (probably because of his own history) to the point where he refuses to guide Willow more when she starts working with it. What she does, at the beginning, she mostly does behind his back. He encourages her to develop her skills to help them, but particularly in seasons 2 and 3, he’s wary of how fast she learns and tries to keep certain books hidden from her. I think this lack of magical mentorship contributes to Willow’s lack of understanding of boundaries as her magic grows. Now, I don’t want to say that Giles must be responsible for everyone’s actions in the group. He’s already there to guide Buffy, and contribute to the team as a whole. But I can see places where he theoretically could have stepped in to help Willow as she learned, especially early on. He does do that for her at the beginning of season 7, though, which I liked.
Okay, I’ve only listened through once, but I don’t think Jenny Calendar being a technopagan was brought up, so I’m eagerly awaiting when I get to that episode. 🙂
Seriously, thank you so much for this podcast and your great discussion, and apologies again for the length of this!