1st Anniversary Character Posting Board Party - Tara
Wiccagrrl - June 13, 2001

Tara: 1st Anniversary Character Posting Party

Well, guess I get to go first :) Hope this is what people had in mind, I had fun working on it.

To save a bit of time, I'm gonna start with a Bio I wrote for the BC& S Board Book of Tara. A bit of background, some of my feelings about her at the time. This was written after Family, but well before the Body and the events at the end of the season which really give us a lot more insight into Tara, her backstory, and the strength of the W/T relationship.

We first see Tara, an incredibly shy yet endearing witch, and fellow student at UC Sunnydale, in the episode Hush. She is at an on-campus Wicca meeting that Willow is attending. Even though it's obvious that Willow is dissatisfied with the group as a whole, there seems to be a connection between the two. When the Gentlemen come to town, Tara seeks Willow out, hoping they can do a spell to help the situation. They aren't the ones to stop the Gentlemen, but they do manage, by working together, to magically send a vending machine flying across the room to block a door, keeping them safe and showing just how powerful they can be when working together.

From that point on, the two start spending a lot of time together, working on their magic and developing a very strong bond. Just how strong is put to the test in New Moon Rising, when Oz returns, hoping to try and reunite with Willow. Not only does this force Willow to make a very difficult choice between her old flame and her current girlfriend, but the circumstances also lead her to clarify to Buffy the nature of Willow's relationship with Tara. In the end, while still obviously caring very much for Oz, she makes it clear that the one she loves and wants to be with is Tara. If there was any doubt before this ep that Willow and Tara were involved romantically, there is none after.

Once the Scooby Gang becomes aware that they are involved, they seem to (after a little awkwardness) accept Tara into the group. But she still seems to feel a bit like an outsider, and at least Buffy and Xander. Until her Father, brother, and cousin come to Sunnydale. In one of the earlier eps where we see Tara, she sabotages a spell that is intended to disclose any demons in Sunnydale. In this episode, we discover why. Her father had told her that, when she turned 20, her demon side would emerge. On her 20th birthday, they come to town, intending to persuade her to come back home, and force her to if she will not. She is frightened, and does a spell to hide her demon side from the Scoobies. It backfires, leaving them unable to see some demons who have come to attack them. It was unintentional, but does put everyone in great danger. She says she'll leave with her family, figuring she's probably destroyed any chance of acceptance with Willow and her friends- and is amazed when they stand up for her. Eventually it's disclosed that she isn't a demon at all. It was, as Spike put it, a family legend to keep the womenfolk in line.

After this, her place in the group seems assured and she seems much more comfortable with them. Her relationship with Willow has remained strong and she has been developing friendships with the rest of the gang, especially Giles who she seems to honestly like and admire. She has also been helping out more and more with the magic and with researching the occult, and with helping Willow's growing interest in magic. She's come a long way, managing to overcome a home environment that was at least verbally and very possibly physically abusive, she's regained her self confidence, is apparently putting herself through school, and has found a place in this world where she can be loved and accepted.

Since then, we've learned that Tara's mother died when she was young (17) and it can be inferred that it was a long illness (her saying so firmly at first to Buffy that it wasn't sudden, the look on her face when Xander is ranting about the evil doctors) We've seen her really act as a supportive/comforting force in the scoobs, being there for Willow, Buffy, and Dawn as they deal with Joyce's death. And we saw a real act of heroism in refusing to tell Glory who the Key was, knowing the consequences. We also got to see Willow and Tara's first fight, where both women, IMO, allowed their insecurities to get the better of them. And we got to see just how much Willow loves Tara, taking care of her, knowing she may never get better- putting everything on the line in going up against Glory not once, but twice, and eventually bringing "her girl" back.

I love the W/T relationship, but I have come to really like and admire Tara in her own right. She's not particularly flashy or self-assured. She's awkward at times. But I think she's beautiful and courageous and strong in her own way. And she's really been blossoming as a person. She's come so far from the frightened, painfully shy girl in Hush. And for me it's been fun to watch.

Tara hasn't always been an easy sell, for a variety of reasons. She's quiet, and shy, we've had glimpses of "who she really is", but she's a secondary character and therefore not always very well developed. And she was coming in as the same-sex love interest to a well-established character whose previous love interest was very, very popular. I happen to think that Amber and Aly have both done a fabulous job with these characters and the storyline, and I think that, while not always being on the front burner, Tara and the W/T relationship have been progressing very nicely.

I'm also anxious to see where the relationship is headed. I think that there may be some strife, and it's likely that some of the issues brought up in their first fight will come up again (most likely, IMO, the issue of their very different approaches to magick) I also think Tara's probably going to be key to helping Willow from going over the edge when it comes to her magick, to keeping her grounded. Willow's gotten very, very powerful, and at times seems rather reckless and/or unfocused when it comes to using that power. Tara seems to have a slightly better grasp on why certain rules and boundaries are in place, and the consequences for misusing these gifts. There's a lot of story left to tell with Tara.

Many of you have probably seen this, but I just felt it showed so much grace under fire, that I wanted to add the post Amber made to the Bronze after NMR (This was posted May 4th, 2000)

Amber Benson says: (Thu May 4 00:00:30 2000 I've been thinking a lot about what people said about Tara on the internet after the last episode aired. At first, I was very hurt. I tried to disassociate myself from feeling bad by saying: This is Tara that they are talking about, not me. But I couldn't. I guess it hurts when someone calls you ugly or makes nasty comments about your weight whether or not it is really YOU they are referring to. I am just a human being and I feel like I deserve to be treated as such. I also feel that Tara deserves to be treated with a little more kindness and compassion. Yes, I am not a STICK. I am a NORMAL, HEALTHY (I was gonna say Girl, but...) WOMAN. I have breasts and hips and I am very happy that they are part of me. I weigh 118 and I am 5'4". If you saw me in real life, you would think I was on the thin side. But on tv, next to my very petite costars, I do like heavier. I am PROUD to be NORMAL. A body is a beautiful thing to waste. Believe me, I have seen enough of my friends and peers waste away to NOTHING so that they could work in this industry. So that they could perpetuate the LIE that ANOREXIA is Beautiful. IT IS NOT. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. ALL OF YOU. Just for being. You all can judge me and Tara for being 'fat', 'gay' and 'shy'. I suppose that my being on tv gives you that right. But I DO NOT have to read what you say. I have enjoyed being a lurker. But my feelings just can't take the criticism. Those of you (you know who you are) with sensitivity will understand. Thank you for sticking up for us. Tara and I both appreciate it. I think that being a beautiful, heavy, lesbian witch rocks! No matter what happens I'm glad I get the chance to walk in Tara's shoes. All you girls and guys out there who think that starving, binging and purging and exercising yourself to DEATh is gonna change how you feel inside-- It's NOT. Don't buy inot all the media crap. Love yourself for who you are, not what others THINK you should look like. It's DEFINITELY more important in this life to love each other despite our imperfections. I hope this works. Still not sure how to do this whole posting thing...

Archived discussion of this post