Tara Maclay

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Name: Tara Maclay
Occupation: Student
Status: Dead
Relationships: Willow Rosenberg
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Other: Played by Amber Benson
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Tara Maclay is a recurring character in Buffy The Vampire Slayer for seasons 4 - 6.


Tara is a shy young woman with magical talents who falls in love with Willow Rosenberg, one of the core characters. Together, they help Buffy Summers, who has been given superhuman powers to defeat evil forces in the fictional town of Sunnydale.


Common Pairings

The canonical Willow/Tara is the major pairing. Despite clearly identifying as a lesbian, there's little other femslash, and she is probably more often paired with Spike than any other character.[1] As of 2018, Buffy/Tara and Faith/Tara are both more popular than Tara/Spike.

Fan reaction to Tara's death

Joss was heavily criticized for writing Tara's death, causing, as it did, a formerly positive gay relationship to suddenly fulfil two negative stereotypes, that of the mentally unstable gay person (Willow), and the gay person who must die as 'punishment' for their sexuality (Tara). Other fans felt it was unfair to criticize Joss who had previously killed fan-favourite characters with no warning.[2]


See also PsychoLesbian at TV Tropes.

Notable Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


  • Quiet as a Mouse by Miranda (Fic author), Events have driven Tara from Sunnydale and five years down the line they start to draw her back in, along with a reluctant Spike. (2006, Tara/Spike)
  • The Lamb by Tara the Phoenix, Tara is a hospice nurse in Los Osos, California about to get a new patient: Willow Rosenberg, the sole survivor of the Sunnydale implosion.
  • Terra Firma by Tulipp, When Tara returns three months after Grave, Willow and the Scoobies must learn how she came back...and why. (2003, Willow/Tara)
  • The Wish of Three Hearts by 9kodama, AU Post season 7/end season 6. Tara's been dead for three years. On Tara's birthday, Willow drives out to the remains of crater that was once Sunnydale California to talk to her lost love. She makes a wish, and everything changes. (2010, Willow/Tara)
  • Impossibly Delightful Flesh by Sadbhyl, In which the Scoobies have a small accident that leads to some major changes in their lives and has them questioning the deeper issues of sexuality, gender, and the heart. (2012, Willow/Tara and other pairings)


Links and Resources


  1. Works by pairing on MysticMuse.net appears to have more Tara/Buffy and Tara/Faith works than Tara/Spike, with most of these works from the noughties. This pairing doesn't even appear in top 10 pairings for Tara's character tag on Ao3;Tara/Willow(769) Spike/Buffy(276) Xander/Anya(195) Xander/Spike (104) Tara/Buffy(91) Angel/Buffy(75) Faith/Buffy(72) Faith/Tara(70) Riley/Buffy(42) Oz/Willow Rosenberg (38). I think the assertion that there is little femslash other than Tara/Willow, is wrong, but maybe someone better informed could change it?
  2. http://www.ink19.com/issues/july2002/streaks/deathOfTaraQuotThe.html