I've recently been reading and enjoying the Director's Commentaries beer_good_foamyhas been creating for his fics and drabbles, and decided it was definitely a meme worth imitating. If anybody wants to suggest one of my own pieces that you'd like me to write a commentary for, please leave a reply here.
In the meantime, though, I've decided to start off with an Author's Choice. Back in January I wrote up an interview with Willow, set some time after the end of season 7, following the meme that was going around back then. I thought it would be interesting to go back and comment on it - explaining why I made her answer some of the questions the way I did, and thus casting more light on the way I interpret her personality.
Added commentary is in red.
What's the worst thing someone could do? You mean, apart from torture people to death, threaten to kill her friends and almost destroy the world? Um. I think, betray someone they love.
Willow, of course, has done all of the above. I'm using 'betray' in the sense that includes 'magically mind-raping them', as well as the more commonly accepted 'being unfaithful to them'.
What's the worst thing someone could do to you? Worst for me personally, or worst for those around me? 'Cause some sort of memory spell or mind control that made me forget myself, turn back to the dark magics, that would be bad. Seriously bad. Better stop there in case Amy or someone ever reads this.
Or Joss... (Honestly, I had no idea that Amy would be appearing in the Season 8 comics when I wrote that.)
What's the worst thing that could happen to you?
Being left alone. Being told that I'm not worth knowing.
What's the worst thing someone could say about a person?
That they're worthless.
What's the best thing someone could say about a person?
That they made a difference. They're special. They did what they had to do to make the world a better place.
Yay for lingering insecurity and lack of self-worth! (And possibly some projection/hero-worship of Buffy)
Are men and women basically different?
Well, apart from the obvious... no. Not really. We all want the same stuff, when you get down to it.
I remember when this meme first went round, most other 'interviewees' answered "yes" to this question. Willow, though, claims to be all about the person, not the gender. And hey, she actually turned into a man once ('Killer in Me') so she's one of the few with first-hand knowledge of both sides of the equation...
Which is better, to be a woman or to be a man?
Well, we women have the whole lifeforce goddess creatrix blah blah thing going for us, so gotta say 'woman'.
Yes, that's a call-back to 'Hush'.
What can men do that women can't do?
Y'know, Tara and I once discussed whether you could use magic to conceive a child without needing a father. She knew about a spell that was supposed to make it possible, but she thought it was wrong because it went against the natural order of things and upset the Balance of Life. I thought that was silly, and researched the spell anyway, though I didn't tell her 'cause it would have upset her but, y'know, she might have changed her mind when we were older. And now... well anyway, the answer is there's absolutely nothing a man can do that I can't also do.
For me, this perfectly sums up Willow's attitude to Tara in S5/early S6 - doesn't want to upset her, but goes ahead and does what she wants to do anyway, and honestly believes it's for the best because one day Tara might want her and Willow to have a baby together after all.
Now in season 8, of course, it's impossible, outside of really bad and freaky fanfic.
What can women do that men can't do?
Loads of stuff.
Is it possible to change genders?
Abso-frickin'-lutely. It's an easy spell. You want me to cast it on you, just ask. Um, it's not permanent though. And there are a few side-effects. Nothing major.
Yes, that's a call-back to 'Him'. I deliberately leave the side-effects to your imagination...
How old is old enough to have sex?
When you're old enough to understand what you're getting into, and you're not just doing it out of peer pressure. Although peer pressure can work the other way too... sometimes I wish the guys would lighten up and give Dawnie a break some times. Heck, she's as old as Buffy was her first time now.
Again, most other interviews I read specifically mentioned Dawn by saying she should be about 57 when she first has sex... Willow, on the other hand, has always been about encouraging her to push the boundaries (yes, that's an indirect 'Forever' reference). Though possibly not pushing them by having sex with a Thricewise. Whatever that is...
Is it wrong to have sex if you're unmarried?
Well, it would be nice if some of us had the option of getting married to the person we have sex with...
Ooh! Politics! No prizes for guessing Willow's attitude to the whole gay marriage issue.
Is it wrong to have sex with someone other than your spouse if you're married?
Yes. Trust is important. Well, unless you're into all that polyamory stuff: I suppose it's OK then. Or if your spouse agrees.
Being unfaithful causes badness, being dumped, and vengeance demons creating horrible parallel dimensions where your alter ego is a kinky leather-wearing dominatrix. Although Willow tries hard to be open-minded and liberal about other people's choices.
Is it wrong to have sex with a person of the same gender?
(Gives the interviewer a Look and rolls her eyes).
Is it wrong to have sex with a person of a different race (or a different intelligent non-human species)?
I think it's sweet. And sometimes kinky, but in a fun way. Um, not that I ever have. Especially not with any sentient robots, absolutely not.
It was obvious she was talking about the Buffybot there, and not Ted, right? Right? Also, Willow was a fan of interspecies vampire/Slayer romance right back in season 1. Mind you, she did have nasty experiences with human/robot sex back then, which hopefully she was able to work through and get over in between seasons 5 and 6. :)
Is it wrong to have more than one sexual partner at the same time?
I don't think I'd want to. Your relationship would feel, I dunno, diluted if you shared it with more and more people. Though I'm not saying it's wrong.
Is it wrong to have sex with someone you don't love?
Not wrong, but why would you want to?
"I just sort of like having something that's just, y'know, mine?"
What are the responsibilities of a mother toward a child?
To listen to her, show an interest, be there for her when she needs love.
...remember her name...
What are the responsibilities of a father toward a child?
Give her a sense of stability, teach her right and wrong, look after her. Of course, both parents can do any or all of that stuff, it doesn't have to be restricted by gender.
Yes, Willow's political correctness is a call-back to 'Pangs'.
What are the responsibilities of a child toward a parent?
Um. I suppose, respect them, make them proud of her.
Which should be more important to you, your parent or your child?
I think, when you're a child, your parents are automatically important to you, it's not even an issue. But your children should be important to you if you're a parent, and sometimes they aren't, and that's wrong because you shouldn't have the kids in the first place if you aren't gonna be there for them, you know?
"Ouch. I think I cut myself on all that brittle".
Which should be more important to you, your parent or your spouse?
Yikes. Why should it come down to a contest? But I suppose your spouse. You choose them, and they choose you.
Which should be more important to you, your child or your spouse?
Double yikes. I don't know. Your child, I suppose. They need you for everything.
You just know that "double yikes" is something Willow would really say.
Is it wrong to have a child if you're unmarried?
Nope. As long as you're in a position to look after them properly.
Is abortion wrong?
No. A woman should have the right to choose. Though I don't know what I would do in that situation... thankfully, I doubt I'll ever need to find out.
I made Willow answer this question with a political slogan because I think abortion rights are a cause she would support pretty much by reflex (see above and 'Pangs' re. political correctness) but not something she's actually thought through in detail to work out her own position on. Until it's her turn for the Mystical Pregnancy of the Season, it's not really a concern for her now, anyway.
Is contraception wrong?
Not really an issue for me now. But no, of course not.
Is there one true religion?
I think most of them are true, actually. For certain values of true.
It's difficult to be a strict atheist when you've personally cast a brain-suck spell on a God to restore your girlfriend's sanity...
Does a deity or deities exist?
I've met a few. Heck, if you listen to some of the new Slayers talking, I'm one myself.
How important is it to believe in a deity or deities?
How important is it to believe that fire burns, that electricity can kill you? The gods are real. Ignoring them would be, uh, unwise.
How important is it to actively practice your religion?
I think it gives you a sense of stability. Tradition's important, y'know? And, well, for me it gives me a sort of philosophy, a self-discipline. A framework to use my powers in, 'cause otherwise I'd be like I was before the Coven taught me about consequences and responsibility and stuff. So, heh, you could say me actively practicing religion is, uh, vital to the continued existence of the world.
If you asked Willow to state her religion (for example, on an official form), I suspect she'd write 'Jewish' in her early to mid-teens, leave it blank in seasons 4 - 5, defiantly write 'atheist' in season 6 and write 'Wiccan' in season 7.
Does magic exist?
Huh? Um, no. No such thing as magic. No sirree. Just a fairy tale. Yup.
For those who may not have realised, she's actually being sarcastic here. Yup.
Is practicing magic wrong?
Now there's a question. Sometimes it is. For some people, it might be. Sometimes not. I used to think magic was just a tool, that it was your intentions that made it good or evil. I'm not so sure now. It's like, I suppose, there's different kinds of magic, different flavours, different sources. I mean, an electric toaster and an advanced AI robot and a nuclear missile are all pieces of technology, but they're vastly different in what they do and whether it's right to use them. And it's the same for magic; an invocation to Hecate and tapping the Belinarian Matrix for energy are both called magic, but morally? Not even on the same planet. And when... you're not the slightest bit interested in this, are you? Sorry. Next question.
Willow's a magic geek.
Is killing always wrong?
Yes... uh, I mean no. Sometimes it's necessary. Sometimes it's a good thing.
Unlike the abortion question, Willow's obviously had good reason to examine her own deepest beliefs here already.
Is war always wrong?
Imperialist wars of conquest are. People fighting to defend their homes and way of life? Nope.
How old is old enough to fight in a war?
I was 16. Buffy was even younger. Age isn't important, you've just got to do what you can to help.
People who get annoyed at the Scoobies being flippant at the end of 'Chosen' need to remember that they're all hardened combat veterans - with seven years' experience in facing death and seeing people die all around them on a nightly basis.
Is rape always wrong?
Goddess, yes, of course. (Long pause) Violating someone else is always wrong.
Ashamed of something in your past here, Will?
Is torture always wrong?
It corrupts the person doing the torturing, so yes. Even when it's necessary, it's wrong.
Is theft always wrong?
Er, yes? (Looks shifty)
Yes, that's a 'Triangle' reference.
Is slavery wrong?
Absolutely. Except in the leather and whips and chains sense.
Yes, that's obviously a 'Doppelgangland' reference.
Is lying wrong?
If it hurts someone you love, yes.
Is swearing wrong?
Yep. That's why it's fun. Not that I do it very much; Ken's always winding me up about saying 'fricking' when she thinks I should just say, well, you know. I blame my parents.
Meta-joke here; of course non-British characters on BtVS never use real swear-words because they're on TV; but in my mind they also don't swear off-camera either. Except Faith, for some reason; I can't write more than five lines of dialogue for her without going all 15-rated.
Oh, and she's not talking about Barbie' boyfriend there. Since Willow regularly shortens Buffy to 'Buff' and Xander to 'Xan', I'm fairly sure Kennedy would quickly become 'Ken'. (And for those keeping score at home, if I ever write any W/F stuff her partner there would be 'Fay').