Friday, May 21, 2010

In Defense of... Dawn Summers

My name is KC, and I began clapping my hands and hitting my boyfriend upon the ending of Iron Man II... and I do mean the ending scene after the credits. And I am an Anomaly.

Hey guys! Long time, no blog. Oftentimes, I will play devil's advocate for a character, plot device, or anything else noteworthy from a movie, TV series, or book that pertains to the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres.

I'm going to start this little blog with something along the lines of Buffy, especially since the Anomalies are covering another Buffy episode and I've been re-watching the show. And so, I am going to begin by saying something that a lot of Whedonites and Buffy fans might not like to hear.

I like Dawn.

There, I said it. Before I was a Buffy fan and had only seen two episodes, I didn't like her. I had no reason to. She was merely a plot device--the damsel in distress that had the whole annoying little sister vibe. I already had a little sister, I didn't need to watch another one on TV. :P

But then I began to watch the series all the way through. We're talking "Marathon Buffy." It was all Buffy all the time during finals week one or two years ago. And I was reintroduced to Dawn when I began watching season five. As I took in each episode, I noticed my feelings for Dawn beginning to change. Did she still have the same annoying little sister vibe? Yes, there's no getting rid of that. But I discovered something different that I had never noticed before. To quote Buffy and the monk...

BUFFY: What is she?
MONK: Human.

Dawn is the character that experiences humanity and the emotions that come with it the strongest because not only is she a teenager, but she's also a newly minted human. Remember Anya? Yeah, she was human too and it took a while for her to really handle it. I felt connected to Dawn as she went on this journey of self-realization. When she discovered she was the Key, she had this major crisis and was scared out of her mind. She began questioning who she was and what she was meant to be. When Glory tells her that the Key could be used for evil, the look on Dawn's face is horrified. And then when you think about the way she reacted to Joyce's death, it's so heartbreaking and real.

In season six, she went through this whole new struggle of her sister coming back to life and yet a whole new journey of figuring out who she is. She's not the key anymore, and she has to try to get back into the groove of being a normal girl. Yeah, not really easy after being the cause of the deaths of many people, including the sacrifice of your own sister who also happens to be the protector of the human race. Do I like Season Six Dawn? No, but I'm also not a big fan of how the characters behaved in season six. Dawn is one of the few messed-up characters whose motives I could semi-comprehend.

But season seven is when Dawn really began to come into her own--she was human, she was a teenager, and she was more than ready to take on some vampire and demon tail. I know many will not agree with this, but Dawn is very much like her older sister. Y'know, minus slayer powers. When you watch "Chosen," after Xander tries to carry out Buffy's orders of evacuating Dawn from the soon-to-be blown up Sunnydale, there's a small moment of confrontation between Dawn and Buffy. Dawn stares at Buffy, but rather than argue with her, she gives her sister's leg a kick. It's like watching two Buffys on screen. I know a lot of people won't see the similarities, but that's what I see every time I watch it.

And that's all I have to say about Dawn for now. I could say a whole lot more, but I don't think there is the time or the space.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Interesting. I never had very strong feelings about Dawn either way, although I know a lot of people who hated her. I found her appearance... odd. But I think everyone did. But the character never bothered me, and I think I eventually warmed to her. Maybe because I am the little sister in my family.

But I never really looked at it from the "newly-minted-human" standpoint, and that makes a lot of sense. Being an infant, essentially, and a teenager at the same time would not be pretty. ;)