F&H and retrospective magic

andrew osmond andrew at ozma.demon.co.uk
Mon Aug 19 05:43:01 EDT 2002

>> This next questions starts from F&H but isn't really about it. In Australia,
>> it is unconstitutional for  laws to operate retrospectively. But how does
>> this apply to the laws of magic. Can magic operate retrospectively?  It's
>> one thing to magically KNOW something that has always been, but can someone,
>> at a definite point in time, CREATE something that has always been? I
>> suppose there'd be a fair tangling up of Here Now and Nowhere for this to
>> happen. Certainly time-travel stories dabble in this. Any thoughts/ideas
>An example of this is in Buffy The Vampire Slayer where monks use magic to
>retrospectively create Dawn, Buffy's sister.
I think the Dawn plotline is fascinating, but it's somewhat ambiguous.
In the TV show so far, it's indicated that Dawn's 'history' is an
_illusion_ and that's she's really only existed for the few months
_since_ the monks cast their spell. (SPOILER: That's why Dawn goes
berserk and slashes her wrists when she learns the truth.) That said,
some philosophers would have problems with that - given everyone
_remembers_ Dawn in the past, does it make sense to say they're all

Joss Whedon now seems to inclined to change the premise and allow that
Dawn 'always' existed after all. There's an upcoming cartoon version in
development, set back in Buffy's high-school days, in which Dawn appears
as a support character. IIRC, Whedon was talking about the cartoon and
confirmed that the monks had created a 'real' past for Dawn. (In SF
terms, it would presumably be a parallel timeline, as Dawn certainly did
not 'exist' in the first earlier live-action series as presented on TV.)
andrew osmond
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