Monday, May 12, 2014

Names in Restless

In the commentary on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Restless, " Joss Whedon says
Somebody actually pointed out to me something that I hadn't noticed, which was that they talk about letting something tell you its name - and then later on Riley talks about naming things. Specifically, the idea of the more feminine and masculine versions of how to experience the world. In the feminine version of letting it come to you and the masculine version of conquering it and codifying it yourself.
The two conversations which Joss references went as follows:

Tara:  You'd think she'd let us know her name by now.
Willow: She will.


Riley: Buffy, we've got important work here.  A lot of filing, giving things names.

I don't see it as masculine vs. feminine.  I see it more as spiritual vs. material, or druidic vs. modernist.  For me, druidry is about letting things unfold, seeing things for what they are.

There are three other references to names in this episode.

  1. Willow asks Tara,  "Have you told me your real name?" and Tara replies, "Oh, you know that."
  2. The former robot-demon Adam appears now as a human government agent.  When they are talking of names, Buffy asks him "What was yours?"  He says, "Before Adam? Not a man among us can remember."
  3. The first slayer, speaking through Tara, says, "I have no speech. No name. I live in the action of death, the blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute ... alone. "

It seems we must have names in order to be connected, to be known.  Willow and Tara are connected, so Willow  knows Tara's true name.  The first slayer is alone, and has no name.  Adam's past is lost, so his name is forgotten.

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