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- “She still thinks I'm little miss nobody, just her dumb little sister. Boy, is she in for a surprise.”
- ―Dawn Summers[src]
Dawn Summers was a member of the Scooby Gang, sister of Buffy Summers, and daughter of Hank and Joyce Summers. In her original form, she was a mystical power of living energy known as the Key, transformed into a teenage human to hide her from the hell goddess Glorificus.
- “They had to be certain the Slayer would protect it with her life. So they sent the Key to her in human form… in the form of a sister.”
Dawn’s arrival into the life of Buffy Summers was seemingly foreshadowed in a number of dreams the Slayer experienced in the years 1999 and 2000. Prior to the Graduation Day Battle, Buffy dreamed of preparing a bed with rogue Slayer Faith Lehane.
The next year, in a similar dream, the still comatose Faith told Buffy, while in Dawn’s future bedroom, "Little sis coming, I know," to which Buffy replied, "So much to do before she gets here." Some months later, in a third dream, Buffy was told by the spirit of Sineya (in the form of Tara Maclay) to "be back before dawn."
In 2000, the Order of Dagon continued to protect the Key, as they had done since the 12th century, which was a concentration of living energy that could be used to shatter the veil separating all dimensions. However, they were attacked by Glorificus, a hell goddess bent on returning to her home dimension regardless of the cost.
The three surviving monks used powerful magic, as well as a portion of the Slayer’s own essence, to perform the Key Embodiment Ritual, forging the Key into human form and sending her to Buffy as a fourteen-year-old sister for protection. The monks also altered reality to make the now human Key fit into the world, making everyone in Buffy’s life remember Dawn as always present as her younger sister.
- “This is blood, isn’t it? It can’t be me. I’m not a key. I’m not a thing. [...] What am I? Am I real? Am I anything?”
For many months, Dawn, as well as her family and the Scooby Gang were unaware of her mystical origins, believing the memories the monks had crafted for them. In this reality, Dawn was born in 1986 in Los Angeles and had moved with Buffy and Joyce at age ten to Sunnydale. According to Buffy’s recollection, she was deeply upset at her parent’s divorce and cried for a week when Hank left. She would rally when she moved to Sunnydale and enjoyed her 11th birthday party there, continually riding a merry-go-round Joyce had hired, as she had yet to befriend any new kids in town.
Only those "outside reality" were capable of seeing Dawn’s true nature, as in her first days of existence a mental patient was the first to tell her she "doesn't belong here." When Joyce developed a brain tumor in the same year, she was briefly capable of perceiving Dawn in her original form. By this time, Buffy had discovered Dawn’s mystical origins through Tirer La Couverture, "a spell to see spells", but only when she met the last dying monk of Dagon did she learn her sister was now human, with no memories of her original form, and in need of protection.
In 2001, Dawn had became suspicious of the Scooby Gang conversations about her, as at this point all members were aware of her origins. During Buffy’s birthday party, she snuck into The Magic Box with Spike to read Giles’ Watcher diary, and came to learn how she came into existence. She then suffered an identity crisis, took to self-harming, and ran away from home, though Buffy, who had initially considered Dawn a burden laid upon her shoulders against her will, managed to assure her that, no matter how she came to be, they were real sisters no matter what, securing those words with a blood oath.
Dawn was then subjected to further turmoil when her mother died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm. Devastated to the point of irrationality, and feeling abandoned by Buffy, she turned to black magic in order to bring her mother back to life, though she undid the spell when she came to realize the inherent dangers of what she had done. After Joyce’s death, Dawn began to suffer from kleptomania, beginning by simply stealing Anya Jenkins’ earrings and then growing to the point where she began to repeatedly and excessively steal from many stores around town, including the Magic Box.
Weeks later, when Glory tortured Spike for information and "brain-sucked" Tara, leaving her completely mad, Dawn was greatly affected and blamed herself for all of the harm that Glory had done to the people of Sunnydale, describing herself as a "lightning rod" for pain. Despite her sister’s best efforts, Dawn was nonetheless kidnapped by Glory and taken to a tower, crudely built for the ritual where Dawn would be bled and the gates between dimensions would fall. Dawn tried to plead with Glory’s human alter-ego, Ben, and while he tried to help her at first, he ultimately decided to help Glory with her plans out of self-preservation. Dawn was so disgusted by this that, during a subsequent encounter with Ben, she demanded that he turn into Glory, preferring Glory’s in-your-face evil to Ben’s cowardice.
As Glory’s plan came to fruition and the barriers between dimensions began to crack, Dawn was willing to give her life and suicidally jump into the dimensional tear because once her blood stopped flowing, the chaos would cease; but Buffy stopped her and sacrificed herself instead.
- “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”
- ―Dawn, quoting Buffy’s last words[src]
Following Buffy’s sacrifice, Dawn struggled with abandonment issues, as well as her escalating kleptomania. Having been devastated by her sister’s death, Dawn was overjoyed when Willow Rosenberg resurrected her through magic. On Halloween, Dawn experienced her first kiss with a vampire named Justin, who she was reluctantly forced to stake when he tried to kill her.
Shortly after, Xander Harris accidentally summoned the demon Sweet, who forced the residents of Sunnydale to perform musical numbers. Sweet was ready to claim Dawn as his bride when he saw her wearing his amulet, which Dawn had stolen from the Magic Box. However, Xander admitted his part in things and Buffy admitted she had been in heaven while dead, leaving everyone, including Dawn, shocked and horrified.
Dawn later accompanied an increasingly reckless Willow to the home of Rack, a magical drug dealer, which goes awry when the two were attacked by a demon and Willow attempted to magically drive herself and Dawn away. The resulting car crash landed Dawn in the hospital with a broken arm; this event served as the catalyst that led to Willow’s decision to stop using magic altogether. When Buffy briefly became convinced that she had murdered Katrina Silber due to the manipulations of the Trio and resolved to turn herself into the police, Dawn reacted violently, accusing Buffy of running away and deserting them.
In January, Dawn’s feelings of abandonment drew the vengeance demon Halfrek to Sunnydale. After inadvertently making a wish to Halfrek, Dawn got the Scoobies and their friends trapped in the Summers house on Buffy’s birthday. During the group’s imprisonment, Dawn’s collection of stolen items was discovered, as well as her abandonment issues. The group was eventually released from the house and Dawn returned all the items she still owned, resolving to do better, while the gang attempted to assuage her feelings of abandonment.
When Tara was shot by Warren Mears, Dawn was the first to find her dead in the house, hours after Willow had left her side to pursue revenge; she was noticeably affected by her friend’s death, even advocating Willow’s decision to kill Warren in revenge, though she quickly changed her mind when Willow actually did so and then went after Warren’s accomplices, Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson.
When she later confronted a corrupted Willow at Rack’s place, Dawn desperately attempted to reason with her, but Willow, unmoved and slightly annoyed, simply threatened to turn Dawn back into a ball of energy and end her human existence simply to put an end to her constant whining, but Buffy arrived on the scene before Willow could make good on her threat.
While helping Buffy battle demons set loose from the Earth by Willow, Dawn proved herself to be capable in a fight, finally earning Buffy’s respect. The combined trauma of Tara’s death and Willow nearly ending the world made Buffy eventually snap out of her own depression and realize that the world was worth living in, and she promised to show Dawn the wonders of the world.
By the time of the reopening of Sunnydale High School in 2002, Dawn had matured and was considered a full-fledged member of the Scooby Gang. She often helped her friends solve cases and battle monsters in a similar capacity to the role Willow had played as a teenager. When Buffy feared she would fail on her first day as the school counselor, Dawn reassured her that she would be fine and that she would be a great counselor.
Days later, Dawn was the first victim of the love spell her classmate R.J. Brooks had inadvertently cast on the females of the town with his magic letterman jacket, and she nearly killed herself by train to prove her love for him. Thankfully, she was saved by Buffy, and the letterman jacket was destroyed.
While home alone one night, Dawn was forced to perform a solo exorcism to protect what she believed to be her mother from a demon. Joyce turned out to be The First Evil, and it attempted to persuade Dawn that Buffy "would not choose her."
Shortly after this, Rupert Giles returned to Sunnydale with a slew of Potential Slayers in tow, as The First had been attempting to wipe out the Slayer line. Willow cast a spell in an attempt to trace the Potential that was found within Sunnydale’s borders, and the results made Dawn believe that she was the Potential. However, it was soon discovered the Potential was actually Amanda, a classmate of Dawn’s. Xander explained to a disappointed Dawn that being normal was possibly the hardest role of all, telling her she wasn’t special: she was extraordinary.
During the Scooby Gang’s mutiny against Buffy who was making questionable decisions, Dawn was the one responsible for personally kicking her sister out of the house, an act that had a profound effect on her. When Buffy returned to the fold, Xander, on Buffy’s orders, chloroformed Dawn and departed Sunnydale with her, but Dawn subsequently tasered Xander and adamantly returned to town to help in the fight.
In the final battle against the First, during which all the Potentials were activated as bona fide Slayers, Dawn kept a clear head as she guarded one of the high school’s above-ground exits with Xander, slaying at least three Turok-Han Vampires independently. The battle culminated in Sunnydale’s destruction, and Dawn was among those that survived the battle unharmed and escaped the crater that had once been her home, asking her sister what they were going to do next.
After the Battle against the First, Dawn and Buffy move to Rome where Dawn finished her years of high school and went to college.
A year and a half after the destruction of Sunnydale, Dawn had become a giantess, which Buffy believed was the result of losing her virginity to her college boyfriend, a thricewise named Kenny. Xander, however, believed that she may have subconsciously brought it on herself as a way of gaining Buffy’s attention after so many new Slayers moved in with them, as the three took residence in a citadel in Scotland. Buffy and Dawn’s relationship had been strained and conflicted.
Dawn didn’t want to speak with Buffy about her condition, preferring to wait for Willow, who Dawn described as a mother figure. Her exact height was unknown but she was tall enough to pick apples from the very top of the trees. Dawn had indicated that she wants to leave Scotland once her condition was back to normal and possibly return to Berkeley. Dawn began to accept the advantages of being super-sized when she stomped on malevolent witch Amy Madison, knocking her unconscious and allowing Willow to capture her.
Dawn was unsure whether Kenny was the reason for her massive growth spurt. Dawn revealed to Xander that she did not have sex with Kenny like everyone else believed but she had, in fact, slept with his roommate.
She eventually shrunk to normal size again but then turned into a centaur. Xander surmised that she will likely experience a third transformation before she could return to normal. Dawn underwent her final transformation into a living doll and was kidnapped by a doll maker for her protection. Buffy, Willow, Andrew, and the Slayers managed to confront Kenny about the curse but he fled, only to show up later alongside Buffy to rescue Dawn. After she apologized to him, the spell was instantly broken and she became a real girl again. The two had a heart-to-heart, where she explained that she wasn’t ready for sex with Kenny because of how intensely she liked him, before parting ways again. Afterward, she and Buffy mended their bridges as well. As a result of Xander being Dawn’s only confidante during her transformations, the two developed romantic feelings for each other and began dating.
When Buffy gained a multitude of new powers, Dawn showed increasing concern that the new abilities would have a major consequence, only to be increasingly frustrated when Buffy and Willow repeatedly dismissed her theories as paranoia. Ironically, Dawn proved to be correct when reality began to "evolve" to accommodate Buffy’s newfound status, unleashing numerous hordes of extra-dimensional demons on Earth in the process.
World without magic
Following the destruction of the Seed of Wonder- and the subsequent loss of virtually all the world’s magic - Dawn and Xander settled into a semi-retired life in San Francisco. Dawn also began her freshman year of college over again. While Willow was currently in another dimension trying to find a way to restore Earth’s magic, she saw a horrific vision depicting Dawn without a face. As of late, Dawn had been suffering from an illness which is implied to be mystical in nature.
Eventually, this illness became worse and manifested itself into something far more dangerous. Due to the constant strain, Dawn passed out and was quickly taken to the hospital by Xander. The doctors could find nothing physically wrong with her and Andrew deduced his own uncertainty, only positive that it was definitely mystical and seemingly incurable. Buffy and Illyria immediately arrive to see what’s wrong with her, horrifying and worrying her sister with the sight she was seeing. Illyria looked her over and noted expertly that Dawn was emitting energy from her body in steady amounts, clarifying her as slowly dying. Buffy and Xander realized that this was an effect of the end of magic since she was originally made up from a ball of energy as the Key.
Not wanting to lose Dawn, Buffy quickly called many people to come over and help her, only to be rejected by Faith, assuming Spike would be no help, Kennedy being busy with her own thing, and not wanting to call Angel at all due to her very complicated relationship with him at that moment. Faith and Angel had already forgotten Dawn’s existence, although Spike still remembered her, suggesting that memory of Dawn was being lost based on the amount of time people have interacted with her in reality.
Somehow, after working tirelessly on her, Willow had managed to use her magic to make Dawn conscious enough to be out of her comatose state. However, Dawn was seen to be very out of it and could not remember certain events or even people. Willow informed Buffy and Xander that her limited magic only enabled her to give her a few more days before fading away completely. Desperate to save her, Willow, Buffy, and Xander had left her in the supervision of Andrew while they traveled to the Deeper Well to get enough magic to restore her life completely. Unexpectedly, Spike had arrived at the apartment. Dawn expressed no memory of him, but nevertheless, he had firmly decided to stay with her and look after her until Buffy and the others came back to help her.
Spike started to tell Dawn stories about both her and himself, specifically when she had first realized she was the Key. Dawn failed to remember any of it, but nonetheless felt like what he was saying was right. She confided in Spike her identity crisis, and bonded with him. However, Spike soon started to forget certain parts of her life, but did not tell her this.
Eventually, Spike was forgetting her name and big important events of her life. Buffy, Willow, and Xander also began to display this to a lesser extent, but they could still focus on rescuing her above all else. Dawn’s condition became horrifically worse when she became transparent, starting to fade physically out of the world. She expressed her fear to Xander on the phone, and the two had a meaningful heart-to-heart. Back in the Deeper Well, Willow felt pulled toward a power source, and declared that it could not only save Dawn, but the world as well. Dawn appeared to be missing afterwards, but Spike and Andrew both seemed to think she hadn’t faded yet. Meanwhile, Willow decided to use Severin and the "seedling" she had created to help her manage enough power to save Dawn. Dawn was finally restored when Willow pulled the last of her essence together after magic had been brought back to the world, although her relationship with Xander has apparently cooled due to her knowledge of his temporary alliance with Simone (albeit to try and save her).
Despite everything she was put through beforehand, Dawn was among the Scoobies who came to the aid of the people in Santa Rosita to save them from the zompire menace. She was responsible for driving Buffy, Andrew, Spike, and two civilians to their rendezvous point with Xander, where a trap he set for the zompires awaited them. She was also involved in the fight against the more powerful breed of new vampires while wielding a crossbow.
She later confessed to Buffy that, having been brought back by Willow’s spell, her emotions had essentially "reset" and now experienced everything as she did when she was first created. This included the death of their mother, leaving her in profound emotional turmoil. She also merely felt a teenage crush on Xander rather than being deeply in love with him, leaving her distant from him; Xander had been overly suspicious that something was "wrong" with Dawn since she came back. When Dracula took Xander as his manservant again, Xander blurted out his real fear, which was that Dawn did not love him anymore, and she was upset to realize he was right. The two attempted to restart their relationship with a new date, but Dawn called it off as she still remembered how they had fallen in love even if she didn’t have those feelings any more, and felt that he was trying too hard.
- “What do ya know. Bitty Buffy.”
Dawn was a strong-willed, confident young woman. Much like her mother and sister, she possessed a deep reserve of inner strength and a cynical and sarcastic streak. However, Dawn suffered from moderate abandonment issues, which branched into self-harming and kleptomania for some time. Dawn was very kind and caring, but also very stubborn and independent, much like her sister Buffy.
However, after helping Buffy out by killing zombies, she became more comfortable in her own skin and in her fabricated life. With time, she displayed an air of maturity and a willingness to fight evil without hesitation.
Andrew described Dawn as a “bubbly and sweet with a hunger for fun and a smile that lights up the room.”
Dawn was a keen diarist and professed to like activities featuring water. She read the Harry Potter books and was a fan of Britney Spears’ early work ("before she sold out"). Her favorite pizza topping was anchovies. She played chess with Willow and always led with her knight.
Powers and abilities
Dawn had no superhuman powers; however, her experience in battling vampires and demons made her a capable fighter and gave her a limited knowledge of spell-casting. She suggested that she learned multiple fighting skills from watching Buffy, and Buffy began formally training her the summer before her first year at Sunnydale High. This training paid off in the end, as she was seen holding her own even at the threat of vampires who are impervious to the sun.
She also developed excellent driving skills, managing to get ahead a horde of zompires all the while keeping her passengers safe and sound. She can also read a variety of languages ranging from Turkish to Latin. Dawn has grown to rarely flinch when in danger, and her loyalty to her sister and friends is absolute. Throughout her dealings with the Scooby Gang, she has gained and developed increased knowledge on demons, planning for battles, and general information on the mystical.
Dawn is a human being who, as seers and the mentally unstable can see, is really a massive ball of energy. With the right ritual conducted in the right time and place, her blood opens a dimensional portal to all universes, bringing chaos and destruction to Earth within minutes. After Glory’s failed attempt to use her to go home, it was left ambiguous whether or not Dawn was still the transfigured Key; several of her friends stated that she was or used to be the Key, and Dawn herself told Spike that, as far as she knew, she was no longer the Key, and even if she was, she no longer opened anything.
Following the return of magic, Dawn demonstrated a stronger link to her Key status. It was seen when The Soul Glutton tried to devour her soul, which resulted in him losing his energy and giant size. Shocked and surprised that she was the fabled Key, he revealed that her mystical energy was too pure for him, comparing it to poison. While in an entirely magic-based reality of the hell dimension of Anharra, Dawn used this power to destroy the demon god-king Kerberon. Giles describe her "god-like" powers, and Dawn become feared an worshiped by Anharrans demons as well, then classified as a higher being. Among her powers, she discovered able to open portals to more dimensions, destroy the barriers separating them (which can lead to an apocalypse), shrink and destroy powerful demons with a flick of her wrist, and even create a Force field in order to protect herself and others.
Thanks to a curse put on her by her ex-boyfriend Kenneth, Dawn mystically grew to the size of a giantess. However, she was not as proportionally strong as she is large, as mentioned by Buffy. Nevertheless, she still takes an active role in large scale battles, decommissioning enemies with super-sized kicks. She could damage a large stone wall by punching it, although she hurts her hand in the process. Despite this, Dawn has proved herself to be a capable fighter as she could overpower the likes of Mecha Dawn and Maloker who were roughly the same size.
Later, the curse transformed Dawn into a centaur and then a living porcelain doll, with the inherent physical traits of those forms, until it was removed.
- Kevin Berman — Dawn took a liking this boy in her junior high art class. He was surprisingly sensitive about her "family problems," indicating that he too had resorted to self-harm on occasion.
- Justin — A charming, manipulative teenage vampire with whom Dawn, unaware of his identity, shared her first kiss. When Justin tried to turn her into a vampire, Dawn was forced to stake him with a discarded crossbow bolt, an experience which upsets her greatly.
- R.J. Brooks — Dawn developed an obsessive crush on this popular high school athlete because of his bewitched letterman jacket, resulting in her humiliating herself at cheerleader tryouts and pushing his rival down a flight of stairs. When pitted against the other female Scoobies in contest for his love, Dawn decides to commit suicide by lying on a train track to prove her "love" for him. Buffy rescued her, and the spell was broken.
- Kenny — Dawn dated this boy for some time, although Buffy, Leah, and Giles warned her that he was a "Thricewise". He apparently disappeared after Dawn became a giantess, which Buffy believes to be a side-effect of losing her virginity. Dawn later revealed that she cheated on Kenny with his roommate, and he cast the spell on her that resulted in her transforming into three different things. However, the two made peace and the spell was broken.
- Nick — Dawn cheated on Kenny with his college roommate Nick, losing her virginity. She and Nick attended a frat party during her freshman year at Berkeley. Xander described him as "cigarettes, dirty hair, didn’t care what anyone thought, never gave you the time of day, but he seemed to be in pain deep down." He was also the vocalist and bass guitarist of a band.
- Xander Harris — Dawn harbored a crush on Xander into her adolescence, feeling that he was the only one who treats her like an adult. She saw him as brave and "seeing everyone as equals", expressing jealousy and dislike over Anya and his relationship with her. When Harmony had taunted Xander in front of the Summers’ house, Dawn became defensive over him, only to accidentally invite Harmony in the house. After getting kidnapped by Harmony and saved by Buffy, she noted that Xander wasn’t mad at her as one of the good things that happened that day. Xander was both well-aware of and very flattered by her crush, exhibiting notable jealousy when Buffy informed him that she moved on to Spike. Although she eventually outgrew her romantic feelings for him, Dawn and Xander remained extremely close, bonding over the fact that neither has any real "superpowers". When Dawn was undergoing a series of mystical transformations, Xander was Dawn’s only real confidante with Willow’s absence and Buffy’s duties as head Slayer. Throughout the transformations, he was there to comfort her and allay her insecurities. By the time she was a human again, and despite the possibility of romantic interest from Buffy, Xander and Dawn began seeing each other. After the end of magic and the relocation of the Scoobies to San Francisco, Dawn and Xander moved into an apartment together. However, Dawn and Xander where seen to argue because of him forgetting her birthday, and she ordered him to sleep on the couch for a couple days as punishment. As the year carried on, Xander continued to be there constantly for Dawn as her health started to deteriorate more and more. Eventually, this climaxed in her falling into a coma and suffering from a mystical illness, slowly killing her due to being created from The Key that was a form of magic. Grief-stricken and feeling once again useless, Xander angrily took his emotions out on a wall punching it over and over again. Buffy took action and stopped his self-destructive behavior, only to have him turn on her instead. Venting his anger and guilt by self-projecting it on Buffy, they pulled out all of the stops to save Dawn. Still driven by blind anger and helplessness, Xander reflected in his inner monologue that he had given up being involved in supernatural affairs to protect Dawn and now all he was doing was "watching" again. His sense of desperation and self-loathing built to the point he had decided to work with Simone and Severin if it meant he could save Dawn’s life, knowingly betraying Buffy by doing so. When Dawn was registered mostly conscious thanks to Willow, Xander had did his utmost to comfort her. He informed her of her fading away essence, but promised her it would be fixed before anything could happen to her. When Dawn begged him to stay with her in San Francisco, Xander had rejected her pleas. He was resolved to save her on his own through the plans of Severin and Simone and did not see Buffy’s plan involving the Deeper Well as successful. Following the restoration of magic and Dawn being restored to existence, her emotions ’reset’ to the point when she was originally created, causing her relationship with Xander to come to a halt as she had reverted to her original childish crush rather than actually being in love with him.
- Buffy Summers — Buffy and Dawn had a typical sibling relationship, with some added strain. They constantly held an almost hostile relationship, as Dawn felt overshadowed by her elder sister and how everyone seemed to treat her better. Buffy felt unreasonable jealousy too of how their mother focused so much on Dawn and never truly gave her the same affection, though rationally acknowledged that she was "the baby" so that’s how it was. Despite their constant bickering, Buffy still was protective of her little sister as she rushed immediately to save her from Harmony who had abducted her. When realizing that Dawn was the Key, Dawn and her sister develop an unbreakable bond due to Buffy’s continual efforts to protect and defend her from Glory. When Dawn discovered she was the Key, she saw herself as not real and initially refused to believe Buffy or Joyce loved her like she was their actual family. Buffy, however, comforted her and confessed honestly that she loved her like a sister, even if she was just created six months before. Following Joyce’s sudden death, Dawn noticed Buffy’s distant attitude and angrily assumed she wanted nothing more to do with her little sister. Dawn was also extremely upset by Buffy’s lack of tears and constant work, seeing her as treating their mother’s death as a chore. The two soon had a heated argument when Dawn recklessly attempted to resurrect Joyce but after seeing Buffy’s complete breakdown and all of the pain she was repressing, her attitude softened considerably. After halting her mother’s resurrection, Dawn comforted Buffy and the two sobbed together. Their bond was so strong that Buffy adamantly refused to kill her little sister despite knowing that’s how she would save the world, and threatened to kill anyone who tried, telling Giles that Dawn was more than a sister to her, their relationship was physical and she felt as though Dawn was part of her. Upon realizing that she herself had to die to save the world, Buffy genuinely told her that she loved her and always will, begging her to live for her and giving her the advice that "the hardest thing in this world was to live in it" before jumping off the tower to her death. Dawn was heartbroken when realizing that Buffy died for her and when realizing she was resurrected, she was overjoyed and this time begged her to live, insisting that she was trying to carry on her life but it was so hard without her. Dawn promptly almost died on the collapsing tower but seeing her in danger, it seemed to awaken her from her almost feral state as Buffy had saved her life. Dawn was also furious when Willow had realized that she had brought something over besides Buffy, mistakenly believing they were going send Buffy back and that they couldn’t take her away from her after bringing her back to her. However, due to Buffy’s closed off attitude as well her being never home (instead, she was with Spike), Dawn began to worry that her sister was trying to avoid her. This thought stuck with her until Buffy assured her that she didn’t want to die again, and that she wanted to see her sister grow up. Following their mother’s death, Buffy seemed to represent a maternal/sisterly relationship with Dawn, as she had become her parental guardian. This was especially seen in the next year, when Dawn started High School. Despite this, Buffy said firmly to Giles that she’d kill Dawn if it was necessary to save the world again because of her duty as the Slayer. After Sunnydale’s destruction, Dawn was envious of the Slayer army as they took up most of her sister’s attention, jealously calling them "her slayer sisters" to Xander. Buffy admitted enviously that Dawn seemed to see Willow as a better sister than her. However, they eventually reignited their close relationship when Buffy apologized and resolved to try better. Closer to the Battle at the Hellmouth, Buffy had Xander kidnap Dawn in order to get her to safety, telling her by letter that ’Everything I do is for you’. Dawn however returns to Sunnydale and Buffy allows her to fight in the final battle, finally accepting her as an adult. Following the end of magic, Dawn allowed Buffy to room with her and Xander in their apartment until she wanted to leave. As her health began to deteriorate, Buffy and her friends were desperate to save Dawn’s life. Her sister, Willow, and Xander had proceeded to go to the Deeper Well in hopes of saving her life. Buffy was overjoyed when they succeeded in getting her sister back.
- Joyce Summers - Dawn and her mother were very close, just as Buffy was. However, Dawn viewed Buffy as being her mother’s favorite. Xander disagreed with her and told her Joyce loved them both equally. Joyce had intuitively realized before everyone else but Buffy that Dawn was not actually her daughter and was something else entirely. However, Joyce told Buffy that she still loved Dawn like her daughter and requested Buffy to protect and love her the same. After realizing she was The Key made for Buffy to protect, Dawn shut out her mother and sister, convinced that they did not truly love her. However, this eventually dissipated when her family told her otherwise. Dawn loved her mother very much and was absolutely grief-stricken over her passing, recklessly resorting to magic to bring her back to life only to halt the ritual before whatever she had resurrected reached the house, realizing what she was doing was wrong. Dawn eventually had to battle supernatural forces in order to speak to an apparition of her mother claiming to be trying to warn her.
- Hank Summers - Dawn and her father shared a similar relationship that Buffy did with him - neglectful and distant. However, it was mentioned by Buffy that Dawn had cried for weeks after Hank ceased his visits. This was especially enforced when Hank refused to show up her mother’s funeral, much to Dawn’s anger. In the next year, Hank was back in touch with Dawn at least by phone. Years later, when the sisters were living in San Francisco, Hank was attempted to reconnect through monthly reunions. Announcing he was about to marry again, he communicated his decision to exclude Buffy from their wedding ceremony "for safety reasons," based on her public reputation as a Slayer, which enraged Dawn and saddened Buffy.
- Rupert Giles — Originally, Giles had no strong connection to Dawn and was merely just Buffy’s watcher. While writing in her diary, Dawn claimed she didn’t think Giles liked her very much, probably because he was "old". Eventually, she warmed up to Giles and viewed him as a father figure. Dawn even ate cookie dough, listened to music, and gossiped about boys when Buffy asked him to babysit her. However, Giles was greatly uncomfortable and appalled by the experience. He, as with Buffy, was protective of her and the two were shown to be rather close. Dawn was clearly upset when Giles left for England, and he softly told her he was only a phone call away as they hugged. After his return, they were planning to conduct an experiment by mixing food cereals together before a demon attacked. Giles acted as the lone parent figure to Dawn, being forced to reprimand her for her actions after Buffy absently avoided them. Giles consoled Dawn after the gang unanimously decided that Buffy should leave for the time being. Due to this, it’s reasonable to say Dawn grieved just as much as everyone else did when Giles died.
- Willow Rosenberg — Dawn always admired Willow; she stated "Willow’s the awesomest person. She’s the only one who likes school as much as me." The two grew closer and in the aftermath of Joyce’s death, Dawn had asked her and Tara to resurrect her. Tara adamantly refused while Willow was more hesitant, her main reason being spells like that usually backfired. Dawn was furious with both of them for their rejection, but Willow secretly helped her by getting out a book about resurrections, unbeknownst to her. When Buffy died, Willow and Tara moved into Buffy’s house and acted as guardians to Dawn. Years later, Willow revealed that she and Tara considered simply taking Dawn and moving out of Sunnydale to start their own family together. Their relationship suffered a blow when Willow, strung out on dark magic, gets Dawn into a car accident, but they soon make up. When Willow was kidnapped by Amy and Warren, a furious Dawn told Buffy that Willow was "like a mom" to her.
- Tara Maclay — Dawn befriended Tara when the other Scoobies didn’t know her too well. They bonded over their shared feeling of being an outsider from the Scoobies, causing both to feel great sympathy for each other. Dawn was quick to defend Tara against her father, and asked if Tara could help her resurrect her mother along with Willow. Naturally, Tara refused, much to Dawn’s anger. She was devastated when she was "brain-sucked" by Glory. Even after Willow and Tara broke up, Dawn and Tara continued to meet up for the occasional milkshake. Dawn appeared to consider Tara as a surrogate mother until her death. Dawn was deeply affected by Tara’s death, staying with her corpse so she wouldn’t be alone and finding the courage to voice her opinion of what her killer, Warren, deserved.
- Spike — Feeling isolated from the others, Dawn ran into Spike when she wanted to steal from The Magic Box to find out what Buffy and her friends were keeping from her. She initially mocked him and claimed she was "badder" than him since his chip as well as making fun of his attempt to give Buffy a present for her birthday since she hated him. However, Spike accompanied Dawn to the Magic Box and he helped her realize that she was actually The Key, not a real human. She would arrive at his crypt soon afterwards and listen to the stories Spike told her about his past killings. Dawn would also tell him she liked how he treated her normally and said she felt safe with him. She developed a crush on Spike in the process, saying " He’s got cool hair and wears leather coats and stuff. And he doesn’t treat me like an alien." However, she also acknowledged that Spike would never notice her with Buffy around since he loved her. Because of this, she never pursued him seriously and quickly got over him, eventually regarding him as a kind older brother/protector figure instead. Nevertheless, she later joined the Scoobies in ostracizing him and ejecting him from the Magic Box. But she did, however, get Spike to go along with her plan to bring back her mother and he protected her the entire time. Dawn initially believed he was only doing it for Buffy but when Spike refused to get credit, she was surprised and touched by his concern. When Tara got brain-sucked by Glory, Dawn confided in Spike to believe herself to be evil, which Spike discouraged and comforted her. Promising Buffy to protect Dawn with his life after her death, he was a type of guardian towards her, helping Willow and Tara raise her, and he was the only one that Dawn constantly confided in.They retained a close-knit bond, shown when she wanted to go to Spike’s after Tara’s death as she felt safest there. When Xander told her that Spike attempted to rape Buffy, Dawn denied it. But when she realized that Spike did tried to rape her sister, she was clearly disgusted, angry, and personally betrayed. So much so that she had threatened to set him on fire, which Spike was noticeably disturbed by. After Spike got his soul back, Dawn still remained somewhat distrustful. Nevertheless, she seemed willing to give him the benefit of a doubt, and they began to repair their friendship, as Dawn was quick to defend him when Andrew asked why Buffy wanted to save him. Spike often called Dawn by pet names like "Nibblet" and "Little Bit" affectionately. Strangely, Spike was not invited in her apartment in San Francisco despite their close relationship, which was likely under the request of Xander. Due to the end of magic causing her to fade away from reality, Spike’s dedication and platonic love for Dawn was reawakened and touched on. While she expressed no true memory of him anymore, he had decided to stay with her and take care of her with Andrew while the other Scoobies traveled to England. As Spike continued to tell stories about herself and their past, Dawn didn’t remember much but still felt a close bond with him. She took comfort in him and confided in her identity crisis, reminiscent of when she was fourteen.
- Kit Holburn Kit was a student at the rebuilt Sunnydale High who, alongside Dawn and Carlos Trejo, was targeted by three Manifest spirits on her first day of school, but were all saved by the Slayer. Dawn was talking to Kit on the phone before an evil presence invaded the Summers house.
- Andrew Wells — As a member of the Trio, Andrew was at first a foe of Buffy’s, and by extension, Dawn. Dawn never really interacted with Andrew until he was captured by the gang during the First’s rampage. Like the rest of the Scoobies, Dawn treated Andrew with hostility because of his alliance with Warren and his numerous annoying habits, and found herself put off by his mannerisms, even wondering if "there’s a language that he’s speaking". However, she, like the rest of the gang, gradually warmed up to him, and gladly allowed him to film her for his documentary. Dawn and Andrew developed an unusual brother-sister relationship, which grew when Andrew helped Dawn fight against her Japanese robot counterpart with his comprehensive knowledge of Japanese monster movies. When Andrew later saw Dawn (after she was cured of her transformation problem), they hugged like old friends.
- Amanda - When Dawn thought that she was a Potential Slayer, she teamed up with her classmate to slay a vampire Amanda has trapped at the school. It turned out that Amanda was the Potential Slayer rather than Dawn, and she joined the Scoobies. Amanda and Dawn appeared to remain close, trading a friendly smile as Buffy led Amanda and the other Potentials off to training, and danced together later at The Bronze.
- Glorificus - Glory was a major enemy of Dawn because she was searching for the Key, which was in fact Dawn herself (although Glory was unaware of this at first). Initially, the hell goddess treated Dawn as a minor annoyance, but pressed her for clues concerning the Key’s location, although Dawn was too frightened to do anything against her. Still upset by discovering she was the Key, Dawn asked Glory questions about the Key in an attempt to gain information on her origins, which Glory provided hoping Dawn might reveal the Key’s location. When Glory came to assume that Dawn had no information, she tried to kill her, but was stopped by Buffy and the Scoobies. However, upon discovering that Dawn was the Key, Glory made it her mission to capture her, and eventually succeeded. In their final meeting, Dawn called Glory "a monster", and insinuated that she couldn’t take on Buffy. An enraged Glory revealed to her that, while her blood can open the portal, her death can close it, or, in her words, "the faster [Dawn] dies, the better for [her] sorry species." She then taunted Dawn by suggesting that Buffy wouldn’t show up to save her since "she’s not really your sister." In the end, however, Glory’s plans were foiled while she herself was killed in her human vessel Ben at Giles’ hands, while Dawn’s life was saved at the cost of her sister’s.
- Warren Mears - Warren could be considered a major antagonist to Dawn, considering how much Dawn mourned over the death of Tara. Dawn also claimed she sat in the room with Tara’s dead body because she didn’t want her to be left alone. Immediately afterwards, she openly supported Willow’s intent to kill Warren, even stating that if she could, she would do so herself.
- Anya Jenkins - Dawn was initially unfriendly towards Anya, jealous of her relationship with Xander and accused him of "having the worst taste", meaning Anya. She also found Anya’s ignorance of human ways and abrupt rudeness very annoying, similar to most of the Scooby Gang. Anya was, however, very protective of the young girl. When Dawn accidentally invites the vampire Harmony into the Summers house, Anya defends her reaction, to Buffy’s shock. However, as time went on, they did bond somewhat, despite the fact that she often spoke to Dawn as if she was much younger than actual age. When finding that a kleptomaniac Dawn had stolen magic artifacts from her shop, Anya reprimanded her severely. However, this conflict was not extended. Anya demonstrated a genuinely human affection for the teenager, almost as she would for her own daughter or little sister. Over time, Dawn displayed almost no real hostility towards her and grew accustomed to her odd personality like the rest of the Scoobies, serving as a bridesmaid at her wedding and doing the ’Dance of capitalist superiority’ with her in the Magic Shop.
- Riley Finn - Dawn and Riley seemed to have what you would call a friendly relationship for the most part. However, she did express annoyance at Riley’s obvious interest in Buffy at first, saying in her thoughts "He’s so into her. And they’re always kissing. And groping. I’ve bet they’ve even had sex." She was irritated that Riley always called her "kid" and considered her a kid just like everyone else, which she vehemently denied. Riley did take Dawn at to a carnival under Buffy’s request and they seemed to get along, as Dawn mentioned how Angel always made Buffy cry and she never got that worked up over him, causing her to say that she thought he was good for her right now. She had however unknowingly depressed Riley by her statement, due to his insecurity and doubts that Buffy didn’t actually love him the same way he loved her. After Riley broke up with her and returned to Sunnydale with his new wife, Dawn seemed angry with him for leaving and hurting Buffy’s feelings, but she accepted Riley’s friendliness and hugged him in forgiveness.
- Angel — Dawn concluded that Angel always seemed to make her sister cry and that Buffy and Angel’s relationship was very dramatic due to the "her boyfriend being a vampire" thing, which caused Dawn to deduce that Riley seemed the better choice for her. When the two were reunited in San Francisco, Dawn mentioned having a crush on him as a child.
- Faith Lehane — When Faith returns to Sunnydale to assist against the First, Dawn is antagonistic towards her for trying to murder Buffy, and Faith refers to her as a ’brat’. However, after Faith takes her and the Potentials to The Bronze, the enmity between them seems to fade, Dawn dancing with Faith, leading the Potentials in saving her from a group of possessed cops, and siding with her when Faith takes over the leadership of the Scoobies.
|The Dawn Summers article has a Photo Gallery.|
Behind the scenes
- She was portrayed by Michelle Trachtenberg, Elyssa D. Vito as her younger self in "Blood Ties", and dubbed by Julie O'Connor in Season Eight Motion Comic.
- Dawn was a regular character for the last three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, she joined the regular cast in "Real Me" right after she was introduced in season five premiere "Buffy vs. Dracula" as a guest-star. She appeared in 66 Buffyverse episodes.
- Aside from Buffy and Willow, who appeared in every episode in the series, Dawn is the only Buffy regular to appear in every episode after her debut.
- Dawn has the final line on Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series: “Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?”
- Trachtenberg says she was thrust into the role without knowing much about Dawn’s personality; she describes her initial meeting with Joss Whedon as "Alright, welcome to the cast, you’re a teenager, you’re a Key, have fun."
- Responding to fan complaints of Dawn being whiny throughout Season Six, Joss Whedon said "I scratched my head. I was like, ’Excuse me, she’s been abandoned by about six parental figures. The girl has huge issues.’" However, he acknowledged that he and the writers hit "the same note for a while... We needed to make some changes." Likewise, Whedon expressed regret over not being able to go further with Dawn’s character during Season 7, though he expressed "You get into a situation that you do like to stand alone [but] Dawn Goes on a Date is not something that people would really sit for.
- Dawn was originally intended to appear in the Angel episode "The Girl in Question" after Sarah Michelle Gellar was unavailable to appear as well. However, Michelle Trachtenberg was unavailable for filming, so the character of Andrew Wells, played by Tom Lenk, replaced her.
- In 2005, Diamond Select Toys produced several action figures in the likeness of Michelle Trachtenberg for their Buffy the Vampire Slayer line. Each figure featured a "real-scan" likeness of Michelle and episode/character specific outfit. Figures produced: "Lessons Dawn", "Once More, With Feeling Dawn", "The Gift Dawn" alongside Glory, and "Intervention Dawn" alongside Buffy and Joyce in a "Summers Family Figures" set.
- David Fury came up with the name of Dawn which Joss Whedon later approved. It is also the name of Joss’ sister in law.
- Dawn Summers at the Internet Movie Database