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Note: This article is about the witch. For other uses, see Tara.

Yeah, you learn her source and we'll introduce her to her insect reflection! That was funny if you've studied Taglarin mystic rites and... are a complete dork...

Tara Maclay was a witch, a member of the Scooby Gang, and a girlfriend of Willow Rosenberg. Born on October 16, 1980,[1] Tara grew up in a patriarchal family in which her father and her older brother asserted their belief that the women of their family were part demon.[2] Despite their warnings about the origins of her power, Tara developed an interest in magic and underwent a rebellious period after the death of her mother,[3] who had also been a witch.[4]

In 1999, Tara began attending UC Sunnydale, where she met Willow in a Wicca group. She recognized Willow's interest in actual magic, which led the two to begin practicing spells and spending time together. Their relationship eventually became romantic in nature as well.[4] Willow initially kept their romantic relationship to herself,[5] until she revealed herself as a lesbian to her friends.[6]

On her 20th birthday, Tara's family tracked her down in Sunnydale, and demanded that she return home with them because of the alleged curse she had as a half-demon. The Scoobies declared their support, claiming Tara as part of their own chosen family and refusing to let her be taken against her will. Tara discovered the curse was a lie and choose to remain with her friends in Sunnydale.[2]

Tara was a victim of Glorificus when the goddess interrogated her about the identity of the Key, so Tara kept Dawn safe at the cost of her own sanity being absorbed.[7] Willow was eventually able to restore it[8] and, after Buffy's death, the two moved into the Summers' residence together to care for Dawn. [9] After Buffy's resurrection, Tara disapproved of Willow's growing magic abuse, which resulted in Tara breaking up with Willow after Tara discovered that Willow had altered Tara's memories to erase Tara's concerns about Willow's misuse of magic.[10] Willow eventually proved that she left magic aside and they reconciled.[11] Their rekindled relationship was short lived, however, as Tara was killed by a stray bullet fired by Warren Mears,[12] her death causing Willow to fall into a downward spiral of grief and vengeance.[13]


Early life[]

I was just afraid if you saw the kind of people I came from, you wouldn't wanna be anywhere near me.
―Tara Maclay[src]

Tara Maclay was born on October 16, 1980,[1] and was roughly the same age as the rest of the Scoobies. Both her brother Donald "Donny" Maclay and her father were psychologically abusive toward her. She had few friends before meeting the Scooby Gang. At a young age, her father told her that she was part demon as, they alleged, all the women of her family had been, an aspect that would began to manifest on her 20th birthday.[2]

This did not stop Tara from developing her skills in the magical arts, although she attempted to hide that fact from her father.[2] She lost her mother when she was 17, at which point she went through a rebellious period of lying to her father and staying out all night.[14] She came out as a lesbian before her freshman year in college.[7]


Tara hush 1

Tara in her freshman year in college.

While a member of UC Sunnydale's Wicca group Daughters of Gaea, she met Willow, herself a practicing witch. Since the Wicca group did not consist of real witches, Tara took notice of Willow when she spoke out about actually performing spells. Tara attempted to speak out in support of the idea, only to be silenced by another group member's taunting. When the demons known as the Gentlemen stole the voices of everyone in Sunnydale, Tara took it upon herself to meet Willow, thinking they could try to restore everyone's speech, as she had a book of spells about sound and vocalizations. However, when making her way over to Willow's dorm at Stevenson Hall, Tara was chased by the Gentlemen and their footmen. Willow then joined her when she stepped out of her dorm in response to Tara knocking on doors for help. Together, the two witches used their combined powers of telekinesis to fling a vending machine across the room to block a door.[4]

Tara a new man

Willow and Tara levitate a rose.

After this, Willow and Tara began regularly seeing each other, meeting up at Tara's dorm room to practice spells together. Through this, Willow got over her grief after her boyfriend Oz had left her. Willow nonetheless kept her meetings with Tara secret, claiming she enjoyed the idea of having something that was just hers, to which Tara responded that she was happy to be Willow's. During one of these visits, Tara secretly sabotaged a spell used to detect demonic activity through contacting the goddess Thespia, in order to hide her supposed demon heritage from Willow.[5]

In many ways, the shy and quiet Tara was reminiscent of the way Willow was in years past. As Willow's romantic relationship with Oz had caused her to begin to bloom, it was through Tara that Willow became a more powerful witch, and through Willow that Tara's confidence grew. Willow and Tara started to grow affectionate to each other, and Willow then felt safe to introduce Tara to her friend Buffy Summers, the Slayer. However, as Tara soon discovered, it was actually Faith, another Slayer, in Buffy's body. Tara was able to determine this because she sensed something wrong with Buffy's aura. Faith, in Buffy's body, made comments to the two which suggested she knew they were attracted to each other. Once Tara expressed her concern to Willow that Buffy was not herself, the two performed a spell to confirm this. Tara and Willow then conjured a Draconian Katra to reverse what Faith had done, putting the real Buffy back into her body.[15]

Tara then became acquainted with the rest of Willow's friends including Xander, Giles, and Anya but her growing feelings for Willow and vice versa remained unnoticed. She began attending meetings with the supernatural fighting group, dubbed the "Scooby Gang," and the two became involved to the point that they planned on getting a pet kitten.[6]

Tara new moon rising

Willow and Tara confront their feelings.

Things were going well for them until Oz returned, believing he had found a way to stop his werewolf transformations. Tara instantly backed off as Willow and Oz started to renew their relationship, though Willow found it hard as she started to realize that she was quickly falling in love with Tara. This left Willow with the choice between her ex-boyfriend and her new girlfriend. Tara tried to avoid Oz but eventually crossed paths with him on campus where he noticed that she was wearing Willow's clothes, unearthing Willow and Tara's involvement. Because his lycanthropy was only able to be controlled by keeping his emotions in check, this upsetting discovery caused Oz to turn right at that moment and attack Tara. She was then saved by the Initiative, who seized Oz without letting her explain that he was actually a person. After Oz was released from the Initiative compound and left Sunnydale, Willow revealed that she wanted to be with the person she loved, which was Tara.[6]

Tara restless

Tara appearing in Buffy's dream.

Willow and Tara then became open girlfriends and adopted a pet kitten, which they named Miss Kitty Fantastico. When the first Slayer, Sineya, attacked Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles in their dreams, Tara appeared in Willow's dream and acted as the voice for the first Slayer in Buffy's.[16]

Member of the Scoobies[]

Months later, Tara had become a constant member of the Scooby Gang and Buffy's circle of friends. Her main function was her skills in magic, as she would perform spells alongside Willow, such as revoke invitation rituals for de-inviting vampires like Dracula,[17] Harmony Kendall,[18] and Spike.[19] She occasionally looked after Buffy's kid sister Dawn Summers, who admired Tara along with Willow.[18]


Willow and Tara dancing at her birthday.

Furthermore on her twentieth birthday, her father, brother, and cousin Beth came to return her to their home, claiming that like her mother, she would then became a half-demon. Afraid of what her new friends would think, she cast a spell causing them to perceive all demons invisible. Ending badly, she broke the spell after an attack from a group of Lei-ach demons at the Magic Box shop. Tara's family arrived just after and demanded that she come home. But, by disclosing errors in their logic, and confirming she wasn't actually a demon when Spike hit her, as his chip was triggered, which would only happen with a human, the Scooby Gang managed to convince the family to leave. This gave Tara a new found confidence, as she had stood up to them, and she got to celebrate her birthday with those she truly loved as a result. She celebrated at the Bronze with the gang, and slow danced with Willow while magically levitating.[2]

When Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers, died, Tara sympathized with Buffy as she had lost her own mother.[14] Although, she did exclaim that she was "nuts" when hearing from Xander and Anya that she was having sex with Spike (in reality, the robotic duplicate Buffybot that Spike used to substitute his desire for Buffy).[3]

Tara tough love

Tara in deep danger.

Willow and Tara's relationship started to develop problems when they fought about each other's development as witches, Willow acknowledging that Tara had far more experience while Tara noticed Willow's growing power. After the fight, Tara attended a cultural fair alone. She had planned on going to this with Willow, but didn't due to their dispute. Whilst there, she encountered the evil hell-goddess Glorificus, who came to her thinking she was the mystical energy known as the Key. Upon learning she was not, Glory threatened to kill a large amount of people at the fair if Tara didn't tell her who the Key was, while crushing her hand. Glory then threatened to remove her sanity by energy absorption, thus Tara would become one of Glory's ever growing number of victims. These were people who became insane because she fed on their mental energies to sustain herself. Tara refused to reveal Dawn was the Key, so Glory absorbed her sanity, leaving her in a babbling state. This angered Willow,who then nearly got killed taking on Glory by herself.[7]

The gift(45)

Willow restores Tara's sanity.

Tara, unable to look after herself, was left in Willow's care. Even though she could be controlled most of the time, Tara was prone to random violent spasms and required to be tied down during her sleep. She also, as with every other of Glory's "brain sucked" victims, noticed Dawn was the Key. This made her blurt out that fact in front of Glory,[7] who soon was able to take Dawn from Buffy to ready her for the ritual to open the walls between all dimensions. The Scooby Gang used Tara to lead them to the site of Glory's "Big Day," where her insane victims had been drawn to, in order to build Glory a tower. Glory instantly noticed Tara just before Willow was able to transfer some of Tara's brain energy back into Tara, which restored her sanity, as well as weakening Glory enough to be eventually defeated.[8]

Leaving Willow[]

Tara bargaining part 1

Anya, Xander and Tara witness Willow's trials to resurrect Buffy.

The following year, Tara and Willow became surrogate parent figures to Dawn Summers after Buffy' death, living in the Summer's house and sharing Joyce's room.[20] Willow and Tara considered simply taking Dawn and moving out of Sunnydale to start their own family together.[21] When Willow revealed that she planned to resurrect Buffy, Tara was at first hesitant, as it was breaking the laws of nature, though eventually she went through with it.[9] Tara was supportive and understanding of Willow's efforts to deal with the pressure of and struggle with her leadership over the Scooby Gang, reminding her that their bedroom was "the room where [she] don't have to be brave."[20]

Tara tabula rasa

Tara packs up and leaves.

Despite Tara's trust in Willow, their relationship began to decay as Tara complained about Willow's overuse of magic, having a fight at the Bronze when Willow suggested using inter-dimensional magic simply to find Dawn in a crowd of people. Willow, hoping to repair things, used Lethe's bramble to make Tara forget the incident.[22] Tara eventually found out what Willow did[23] and was so appalled she compared it to when Glory had sucked her sanity. Willow promised to take a week off magic so Tara wouldn't end things; however, she secretly attempted to make Tara forget this discussion as well, which unintentionally caused the whole gang to lose their memories and become vulnerable during a vampire attack. After the memories were restored, Tara broke up with Willow and left the Summer's house.[10] This eventually motivated Willow to cut down on her magic use.[24]

Tara still remained close to Dawn[25] and was the first person who Buffy confided about her affair with Spike. She helped Buffy to understand that she was still human after the resurrection, even though Spike could harm her without triggering the chip.[26]

Tara entropy

Tara and Willow reunite in passion.

When Halfrek, a vengeance demon, used Dawn to make the gang along with several attendees at Buffy's birthday be mystical trapped in the Summer's house, Anya pressured Willow to use magic to set them free who didn't want to on account of her desire to stay away from magic. Tara stood up to her,[27] which was the first in several steps where they reunited in their relationship, taking slow steps such as attending Anya and Xander's wedding together as bridesmaids[28] and reminiscing about times when they were separated. Though Willow was unsure about approaching a serious relationship too quickly, Tara went out and asked at the end of a speech: "Can you just be kissing me now?"[11] before the two witches made love.[12]

Death and legacy[]

The only thing Willow was ever good for… the only thing going for me were those moments — just moments — when Tara would look at me and I was wonderful — and that will never happen again.
1tara-maclay 528x297

Tara is shot.

Tara was killed on May 7, 2002,[1] by a stray bullet to the heart shot by Warren Mears intended for Buffy. In that moment, her blood splattered on Willow's top. Tara's last words were "Your shirt?" before she collapsed to the floor, dead.[12]

This consumed Willow with grief and rage. She immediately called upon Osiris to bring Tara back to life. However, he refused because her death was at the hands of a non-magical human, thus barring demonic or supernatural intervention or concern. Willow then set out to murder the Trio, a group of troublesome nerds led by Warren. She managed to attack Warren before aiming at his previous teammates Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson.[13]

The Scooby Gang tried to protect them,[29] while Giles, having heard of Tara's death from a coven in Devon, tried to contain Willow with the powers given to him by the coven. He was unsuccessful and Willow drained him of the power which propelled her into a destructive and nihilistic rampage that attempted to destroy the world. Ultimately, Xander was able to persuade Willow to not destroy the earth, and Willow was sent to England with Giles to learn how to control her powers more efficiently. Additionally, the trauma of Tara's death and Willow's subsequent rampage finally forced Buffy, who had developed several self-destructive habits and severe depression after her resurrection, to finally snap out of it and realize that life was worth living at the same time.[30]


Willow visits Tara's grave.

Willow was offered to have Tara be her guide on her journey towards improving her understanding of her powers. However, Willow surmised this would either be robbing Tara of her afterlife or an illusion, and instead chose Aluwyn.[31] Willow eventually explained to Kennedy, her girlfriend at the time, that she was keeping Kennedy and herself away from Buffy because she felt guilty for her decision to resurrect Buffy; returning to the life of increased danger associated with slaying which ultimately cost Tara her life, rather than taking the opportunity of Buffy's death to be with Tara in a safer environment, and she did not want to repeat this mistake with Kennedy.[21]

In a dream, Buffy was marrying skinless Warren and Tara was by her side saying "I still blame you for my death." A drowsy Buffy concluded: "Everybody die always."[32] When she realized Xander owned a gun, Buffy stated: "I don't like them. They keep killing my friends," in reference to Tara's death.[33]

After the creation of the new Seed of Wonder, Andrew returned to the ruins of Sunnydale, hoping to use the new rules of magic to his advantage to resurrect Tara and a copy of Jonathan to atone for his past sins; however, his efforts attracted the Soul Glutton. After the creature was dealt with, Buffy and Willow convinced Andrew not to go through with it.[34]

When cornered by the Scoobies, D'Hoffryn tried to bargain for his life by offering to grant them each one wish; in Willow's case, he offered to bring Tara back for her. The Scoobies ultimately refused, knowing there would always be a catch.[35]

Personality and traits[]

At the time Tara first met Willow, she was quiet and shy, rarely speaking up, and stuttering when she did speak. She also wore baggy, ill-fitting clothing that hid her body.[4] After her father's lies were exposed and her place within the Scooby Gang was established,[2] Tara became more comfortable with her friends, and started to voice her opinion more often. In fact, her comment that April practically had "machine molded plastic stamped on her ass" amazed Buffy and Giles,[36] and she teased Willow that making up after a fight was "the best part."[12] When she became more comfortable with speaking out, she also started to wear more well-fitting clothes that displayed confidence.[27]

Even before Tara developed confidence, one of her most prominent traits was her determination to put her friends and loved ones before herself. This was best illustrated through her decision when Oz returned to Willow's life: despite the fact that she had strong feelings for Willow, and their romance was blooming nicely, Tara was still willing to end it so that Willow could return to her ex-boyfriend, choosing to be happy with Willow's choice no matter what it turned out to be.[6] Besides this, to protect Dawn's identity as the Key, she endured Glory shattering her hand and brain-sucking her.[7]

Another one of Tara's most significant traits was her prudence and wisdom regarding witchcraft. Despite her being a powerful witch who, after severing ties with her abusive family, learned to thoroughly embrace her Wiccan identity, Tara believed that magic should only be used when it was absolutely necessary, and not for selfish purposes. For instance, though she truly sympathized with Dawn over Joyce's death, she was firm in her refusal in teaching Dawn resurrection spells, as she felt that even witches had to honor the most fundamental laws of nature; as tragic as it was, Joyce's death was still a natural one, not one caused by magical or mystical circumstances.[37] She was also concerned over how increasingly powerful a witch Willow was becoming, to the extent where it led to a bad quarrel between them. Presumably, part of this was her instinctively foreseeing that Willow's dramatic increase in magical powers would lead her down a dark path, and therefore she was anxious to nip it in the bud.[22]

In time, especially after Buffy's resurrection, Tara established herself as having truly outgrown her family's negative influences, and matured into a strong, independent, and realistic woman who firmly stood by her morals. An example of this would be her management of her and Willow's relationship: though she truly loved Willow, Tara still made the decision to break up with her, for she realized that Willow's addiction to magic was out of control, making their relationship become abusive and unhealthy.[10] This instance of assertiveness is a definite testament as to how much she had grown emotionally: refusing to let love blind herself to the reality that Willow's problems could not be rectified as long as they were together, and acknowledging the necessity of their separation for her own self-protection.[23] Despite this, they never stopped loving each other dearly, which led to their subsequent meetings after the breakup being awkward and uncomfortable for them both.[26] Tara also continued to maintain a good friendship with the other Scoobies: she attended Buffy's birthday party,[27] was a bridesmaid in Xander's and Anya's (cancelled) wedding,[28] and took Dawn out for milkshakes.[25] Another instance of strength was when she defended Willow against the peer pressure put on her to use magic, and actually stood her ground against Anya herself, which was something that the Tara of old was highly unlikely to have done.[27]

Tara's most commendable and endearing traits were, undoubtedly, her compassion, her understanding, and her capacity for forgiveness when it was truly deserved. For instance, when Joyce died, Tara was the one who offered Buffy the only helpful guidance, having experienced the exact same grief when she lost her own mother.[14] In fact, she became a surrogate mother of sorts to the Scoobies, caring for Dawn when Buffy was busy with slaying[18] or too emotionally cut off.[24] Besides this, when she learned that Buffy was sleeping with Spike, she did not judge Buffy in the least, and only offered acceptance, love, and her promise of absolute secrecy.[26] Ultimately, when Tara realized how Willow had truly changed for the better, and how much she herself missed and wanted Willow, she reconciled with her, demonstrating her exceptional capacity of forgiving an offender who was truly remorseful and had dedicated sincere efforts into making amends.[11]

She was quite playful and not above winding her friends up on occasion, like tricking Dawn into seeing a book with a funnily-endowed demon,[38] teasing Willow about being cured when she thought men might be attracted to her,[23] or preventing Spike to be alone with Buffy.[27]

Tara grew up riding horses,[39] and rarely used the Internet because the preponderance of bad spelling depressed her.[36]

Powers and abilities[]

Tara was a skillful but prudent witch who performed a wide range of spells to help the Scoobies in their fight against evil. She had the lowest kill count of all the Scoobies: only one demon, Razor.[40]

Tara was shown to be capable of telekinesis, which allowed her to move objects using only the power of her mind. When she was in physical contact with Willow, her telekinesis would be enhanced beyond its usual strength — in fact, it was the very first magical feat that they accomplished together. Hence, whenever there was a need to move an object without touching it, and said object was beyond the telekinetic capacity of one witch, Tara and Willow would always pool their powers by concentrating on moving the same object.[4] Their combined telekinesis was also strong enough to levitate objects (a flower)[41] and even themselves.[2]

Tara also displayed the rare and unusual power of reading auras, which enabled her to instinctively sense individuals for who and what they truly were, when something was wrong with someone, and even detect the use of mental powers. For instance, during the Sunnydale Wicca group gathering, Tara sensed that Willow was the only other member who, besides herself, possessed true passion for and genuine skills in witchcraft. Another example was the instance where Buffy had her body switched with Faith.[15]

Last but not least, Tara had a good knowledge of Latin, and was even well-versed in several rites and rituals that some other witches or watchers were not familiar with, such as the Taglarin mythic rites.[2]

Notable spells and incidents[]

Tara was the only one to notice that Faith's spirit was trapped in Buffy's body and was central in sending Willow to the "nether-world" in order to discover how they could reverse the body switch.[15] Tara cast a defensive spell which fended off a demon by conjuring a magical "fog of protection."[42] Tara aided Giles and Willow in an attempt to reach and reason with the residual spiritual manifestations of numerous abused children who were plaguing a fraternity house.[39]

Tara cast a spell to stop the Scooby Gang from being able to see demons so she could hide her supposed demon side. This also put the Scoobies in grave danger when Glory sent a horde of Lei-ach demons after Buffy, but Tara reversed it in time.[2]

Tara used effective combat spells and was the only one that saw Buffy for what she was after she returned from the dead. For example, Tara cast a spell creating an "energy ball" that struck a demon biker attempting to kidnap Anya, thus freeing her friend.[9][40] Tara magically conjured a jet of flame in an attempt to intimidate the bikers' leader and she also conjured a light to help guide Willow and Xander who were lost in the forest.[40] She cast a spell to free the trapped party goers in Buffy's house, but the spell instead freed a demon from a sword.[27] Tara cast a spell that untied Willow and Dawn and she also magically sent a heavy shelf flying towards a demon to save her friends.[43]

Tara made her first and only demon kill when she axed a demon in the back, as he tried to strangle Willow.[9][40]




Tara kisses Willow.

  • Willow Rosenberg – While in a Wicca group full of wannabes, Tara had quickly noticed that Willow stood out and was the only one with true witch powers. After escaping successfully from the Gentlemen, Tara praised Willow and commented on how she could feel her power as a witch. Willow denied this, but was very flattered by the compliment. The two witches soon became friends.[4] It was around this time that Willow was led into depression after Oz left her, and Tara's entrance into her life, coupled with their shared interest in magic, filled the void Oz left. Starting off as a apparent friendship, it soon became clear that it had strong romantic undertones. Willow had purposely resisted Tara not meeting her other friends, admitting to her that she still wanted to keep something that was hers; Tara replied that she was. Faith was the first to identify their romantic relationship in a blunt and rude manner, thoroughly alienating Tara.[15] When Willow's ex-boyfriend Oz returned and her feelings for him resurfaced, Tara was hurt and slightly distanced herself from Willow. However, Tara was very understanding and selfless, admitting that she wanted Willow happy, whoever she chose. While Tara was under the impression that Willow still loved Oz more, she was proved wrong when she admitted she loved Tara and the two entered an official relationship.[6] Tara eventually expressed to Willow how she felt like somewhat of an outsider from the Scooby Gang, given their tight bond with each other that was hard to fit in to, causing her to be able to relate to Dawn's own feelings of alienation. Willow was discouraged and protested against this, telling her that she was one of them.[18] Given her strained relationship with her family, Tara kept her past hidden from Willow, feeling it would only drive her away. After her family was stopped from taking her home and she was finally fully accepted in the Scooby Gang, Tara would say to Willow that she always made her feel special. The two shared a loving dance on her birthday, levitating off the ground through their magical connection.[2] When Willow broke down over Joyce's death and criticized her style of clothing, Tara immediately comforted her and they shared a kiss.[14] It was Tara that nurtured the growth of confidence in Willow and vice versa. Tara allowed Willow to become a better witch, yet also acknowledging when she went over the line, worried for her safety. Eventually, she began to show a partly hidden fear of Willow's reliance on magic, worrying that one day she would abuse her abilities for wrong purposes. Willow reacted with hurt, but Tara insisted she did trust her, she was just worried. She also admitted a fear of Willow leaving her for a man and that their relationship had been an "experimental" phase. After the argument, the two ran off on their own only for Tara to be brain-sucked by Glory. Willow was distraught and took it upon herself to take care of Tara, calling her her "everything."[7] When the Scooby Gang fell victim to an amnesia spell, there was still a heavy attraction between Willow and Tara.[10] Eventually, Willow was shocked to learn that Tara found her power frightening and worried on some level that she would use that magic for the wrong purposes. She was especially hurt when she realized Tara worried that Willow would leave her for a man. Feeling like Tara did not brain-sucked by Glory, however, Willow was devastated and felt like it was her fault. Enraged beyond reason, Willow delved into dark magics and recklessly attacked Glory even though Buffy told her not to. She managed to land a blow on her, but was in the end beaten. Afterwards, she took care of her during he insanity and simply said she was everything to her.[7] Willow managed to restore Tara's sanity by transferring it to Glory, briefly disorienting the goddess. They hugged in relief and Willow told Tara she would always find her.[8] After Buffy's death, both her and Willow served as surrogate parents to Dawn and even moved in her house. Tara left Willow because of her inappropriate use of magic to erase part of Tara's memory,[10] but they soon got back together just in time for Tara's sudden death.[12] Tara's death hit Willow so bad that she lost all sense of morality and vengefully gave into dark magic and skinned Tara's murderer, Warren Mears, alive.[13] However, Willow later admitted that after, Buffy died and she resurrected her, she felt that she chose Buffy over Tara, which caused her death.[21]


  • Buffy Summers – Buffy initially held no attachment to Tara and was only connected to her through Willow. Upon Tara's birthday, she was distant from Tara and did not know what to get her since she didn't really understand her. However, this began to change when Tara's family tried to force her to go home, thinking her witch side meant she was a demon. Buffy and the rest of the group stood up for Tara and refused to allow her family to take her against her will. After this event, Tara realized the Scooby Gang was her friends and felt more accepted.[2] Buffy and Tara became more comfortable with each other and they began hanging out in college on some occasions without the company of others. Tara expressed sympathy over her break up with Riley Finn, explaining that things happened for a reason. Buffy had lost control of her emotions when Tara had mentioned Anya and Xander had a fight, causing her to sob uncontrollably into her shoulder, projecting it to how she had ignored the signs of her own gradual failing relationship with Riley. Tara was confused and uncomfortable at the overreaction, but nonetheless awkwardly comforted her.[44] When Buffy's mother had passed on from an unexpected aneurysm, Tara related to her situation and confessed her mother had died too when she was seventeen. Buffy was nonetheless grateful and questioned how she had felt when it happened.[14] After Tara was brain-sucked into insanity, Buffy's guilt and stress built. She listed it as after Joyce's passing and her impossible fight against Glory, it was becoming too much for her.[8] Tara, like the rest of them, grieved when Buffy passed on but worried about reviving her.[9] After Tara had broken up with Willow, Buffy had told her about Spike's chip not reacting when he had hit her and asked Tara to check if she came back wrong. Tara had told her she didn't but she was different a little after being revived as her soul was channeled back in her body. Buffy told her that she had been having sex with Spike, and Tara placated her by saying it was okay if she did or didn't love him. Buffy, while in tears, confessed to her that she had been using Spike for sex and for her to not forgive her. Tara had comforted a distraught Buffy and promised she wouldn't tell anyone what she told her, a promise she kept until everyone else had figured it out themselves.[26] Following Buffy's request, Tara became protective of her towards Spike, and often tried to stop Spike's sexual advances on her,[27] the two becoming increasingly close afterwards. Buffy was noticeably sad upon hearing about Tara's death.[13] Much later, she had a nightmare of Tara telling her that "I still blame you for my death," but it was merely a dream.[32] After Tara's death, Buffy developed a strong dislike of guns; when Xander told her about owning a gun, Buffy said, "I don't like them. They keep killing my friends," a reference to Tara's death.[33]
  • Dawn Summers – 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.[18] Dawn was quick to defend Tara from Mr. Maclay when he threated to take her away.[2] After her mother's death, she asked if Tara could help her resurrect her along with Willow, but she refused.[37] Dawn was devastated when she was "brain-sucked" by Glory. While Buffy had been dead, Willow and Tara considered simply taking Dawn and moving out of Sunnydale to start their own family together. Even after Willow and Tara broke up, Dawn and Tara continued to meet up for the occasional milkshake.[24] Upon Tara's death, Dawn stayed with her corpse so Tara wouldn't be alone, then voiced that she'd kill Warren herself if she could.[13]
  • Alexander Harris — Although not close, Xander and Tara were good friends with mutual respect.[2] He described her as one of his three "favorite girls."[44] When Xander and Anya almost got married, Tara was one of their bridesmaids.[28] When Tara was shot, Xander blamed himself for not acting fast enough.[30]
  • Rupert Giles — Giles acted as a father figure for Tara as he did for most of the Scoobies.[2]
  • Anya Jenkins – Anya had a friendly relationship with Tara as they were both the relative newcomers in the Scooby Gang. They often spent time together apart from the original four Scooby Gang members.[45] Anya had Tara invited to be a bridesmaid at her wedding.[28]
  • Spike – Much like he did for Willow, Spike had great affection and respect for Tara. When Tara's family attempted to take her home with them, Spike, realizing that their tale about Tara's demonic heritage was a lie, proved it by punching Tara in the nose, which caused his chip to go off.[2] When his feelings for Buffy became known, Tara was the only one of the Scoobies to speak in a civilized matter to him in a subsequent encounter at the Magic Box, calmly telling him to leave as opposed to the others, who openly criticized and insulted him. When Tara was brain-sucked by Glory, Spike defended Willow's decision to attack Glory.[7] Later, he attempted to comfort an insane Tara after she accidentally exposed him to sunlight.[46] After Buffy's death, Spike helped Willow and Tara raise Dawn, and this, along with his remaining loyal to the Scoobies in the months before Buffy's resurrection,[9] caused Tara to respect him. Tara was one of the few members of the Scooby Gang who was genuinely friendly towards Spike, to the extent that she was the only Scooby who believed that his feelings for Buffy were genuine. When Buffy confided to Tara about her and Spike's sexual relationship, Tara followed her request on interrupting his multiple attempts in flirting with Buffy.[27]


Buffyverse The Tara Maclay article has a Photo Gallery.

Behind the scenes[]

  • She was portrayed by Amber Benson.
  • Joss Whedon has revealed that, thinking of Tara as "a new Willow," he initially thought of casting "somebody more physically like Alyson [Hannigan]: smaller and less womanly than Amber." However, Marti Noxon saw the vulnerability in Benson's portrayal of Tara and called her back after her audition.[47]
  • Benson was normally credited as a guest on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, despite appearing in more episodes than other regulars like Oz and Riley. This is typical of how contracts are written for the actors — Seth Green and Marc Blucas's contracts specified that, as regular characters, they had to be available whenever they were needed for an episode. In contrast, Benson's contract was on a per-episode basis, like Kristine Sutherland and Eliza Dushku, hence they were not in the main credits.
  • The only time Benson was credited as a cast member in the opening credits was for the episode "Seeing Red," the episode in which Tara was killed, the shortest tenure as a main character of any character from either Buffy or Angel. This was something Whedon had wanted to do from the start: kill a character listed as a regular in one of their first appearances as such. Whedon had considered listing Eric Balfour in the two-part pilot as a regular, only to surprise the audience by killing Jesse off, but financial restrictions didn't allow for this at the time.[48]
  • In the episode "Conversations with Dead People," the First Evil originally was going to appear as Tara, taunting Willow instead of Cassie, but Benson turned it down: "There were a lot of other reasons [I didn't go back], but one was that I didn't want [Tara] to go bad. As an actor, of course, it appeals to me to play kind of evil and bitchy and sexy, but, as a human being who gets letters that say 'I didn't kill myself because of what you and Alyson did,' that part of me goes 'You're not just an actor any more, you're making a social commentary now, baby. You've got to be responsible.' And I couldn't be responsible coming back, because as an actor you have no control."[49]
  • In 2004, Whedon claimed that he had planned to bring Tara back from the dead at the end of season seven: "In one of the final episodes, the third to last episode, Buffy was going to basically get a 'get out of jail free' card. One completely reality-altering things that she could have — she could bring Angel back to her, she could do anything she wanted. At the end of the episode she basically comes to Willow and says 'Look at these shoes I got!' and Willow's, like, 'What?' 'I got these really awesome shoes. I wanted them, and now I have them!' and Willow's like 'You... used... the wish... for shoes?' and Buffy says 'Of course not, you idiot,' and walks out of the room and Willow turns around and Tara's standing behind her."[50]
  • In reference to Whedon's revelation, Benson explained her previous refusal to return: "You know, sometimes people tell you one thing in this world, and then things don't turn out the way you're told. Who knows what Joss had 100% planned in his mind? I'm not psychic. I just didn't want anyone else hurt after everything that had happened. When a character has that kind of social impact, you just don't have the right to do anything else to her. I know Joss had good intentions, but for me, personally and professionally, it wasn't the right decision. Besides, I was super busy. I'd moved on from Buffy."[49] She elaborated on this in 2022, explaining she was told she would be brought back and not killed off again, but did not necessarily trust Whedon to follow through on this promise, noting she knew of some other actors who were asked to return to Buffy with the promise of not being killed off only for Whedon to change his mind.[51]
  • Tara has a total of four Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures: "New Moon Rising Tara," "Hush Tara," "Triangle Tara," and "Together Forever Willow & Tara." She has as well one bust and one ornament.






  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Help"
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 "Family"
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Intervention"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Hush"
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Goodbye Iowa"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "New Moon Rising"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 "Tough Love"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "The Gift"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Bargaining, Part One"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 "Tabula Rasa"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Entropy"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 "Seeing Red"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 "Villains"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "The Body"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "Who Are You?"
  16. "Restless"
  17. "Buffy vs. Dracula"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 "Real Me"
  19. "Crush"
  20. 20.0 20.1 "After Life"
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Anywhere but Here
  22. 22.0 22.1 "All the Way"
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "Once More, with Feeling"
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "Wrecked"
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Smashed"
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 "Dead Things"
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 27.7 "Older and Far Away"
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 "Hell's Bells"
  29. "Two to Go"
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Grave"
  31. Willow: Goddesses and Monsters
  32. 32.0 32.1 "Always Darkest"
  33. 33.0 33.1 Twilight, Part One
  34. Return to Sunnydale, Part Two
  35. Own It, Part Five
  36. 36.0 36.1 "I Was Made to Love You"
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Forever"
  38. "Flooded"
  39. 39.0 39.1 "Where the Wild Things Are"
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 "Bargaining, Part Two"
  41. "A New Man"
  42. "Superstar"
  43. "Normal Again"
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Triangle"
  45. "The Yoko Factor"
  46. "Spiral"
  47. Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD; audio commentaries for the episode "Hush." [DVD]. 20th Century Studios, June 10, 2003.
  48. Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season on DVD; audio commentaries for the episode "Welcome to the Hellmouth." [DVD]. 20th Century Studios, January 15, 2002.
  49. 49.0 49.1 "Amber Benson - October 2003 Curve Magazine Interview." Whedon.info, October 14, 2003.
  50. "Joss Whedon - Wizard World Con Chicago on August 2004 - Tara Comeback Plan." Whedon.info, April 30, 2006.
  51. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer star reveals real reason why they didn't return to the show." Digital Spy, March 21, 2022