A Look at the Journey of Willow Park from The Owl House
Who would’ve thought that the shy, timid girl Luz first met would become one of the strongest Witches in her generation? Because that’s what happened with Willow Park on The Owl House, and I love her for it. The first friend her age that Luz made on the Boiling Isles, Willow started the series as an insecure wallflower. Going into the series finale, she’s good enough at plant magic to give Poison Ivy a run for her money. Willow’s one of the show’s most dynamic characters, and it’s been enjoyable getting to see her blossom, pun entirely intended.
I’m RJ Writing Ink, and we’re continuing my in-depth look back at the most dynamic characters from The Owl House to prepare us for the finale. Today, we’re looking at Willow Park, the girl who went from a wallflower to a mighty tree.
A Girl With a Lot of Pent-Up Frustration in Her
Introduced in the episode “I Was a Teenage Abomination,” Willow is the first person her age to meet Luz Noceda, the Human girl who aspired to be a Witch. Unfortunately, that first meeting also showed that Willow had a lot of pent-up stress. Bullied and called “Half-a-Witch” by her classmates, including her former best friend, Amity Blight, and stuck studying a type of magic that she had no talent for, Willow tried to bottle all that stress up, only for it to keep leaking out. Thankfully, Luz came into her life.
After meeting and befriending Luz, Willow’s life changes for the better. While their plan to pass Luz off as her Abomination project at Hexside almost leads to Luz getting dissected, the incident allows Willow to let her true talents with plant magic shine. Bump’s so impressed he immediately lets Willow switch tracks, providing her with the environment she needs to hone her skill and gain a new friend in Luz Noceda.
From this moment on, Luz, Willow, and fellow Witch Gus Porter become virtually inseparable, giving each the friendships they’ve been lacking. However, despite being happier with her life, Willow’s still someone plagued by feelings of inferiority. She desperately wants to prove all her naysayers wrong, especially regarding Amity. This ends up getting her and her friends in hot water during the “Hooty’s Moving Hassle” events when they accidentally animate the Owl House itself. Willow’s insistence on showing this off to Amity almost gets the trio killed by Demon Hunters, and Hooty sent to slaughter. They get out of it, but the underlying issues remain unresolved.
Making Amends With Amity and a Fresh Start
Willow’s issues with Amity Blight appear in the episode “Understanding Willow.” When Amity tries to erase Willow’s memories of their friendship, thinking she would be better off that way, it backfires by erasing all of Willow’s memories, potentially damaging her mind. Thus, it falls to Luz and Amity, with help from Eda, to go inside Willow’s mind and restore it before the damage becomes permanent. While things go smoothly at first, they soon run into a problem. A very, very angry problem.
Willow’s inner self manifests itself as an entity that’s wrapped in literal fires of rage. It’s a visual manifestation of how much anger towards Amity the young Witch has been suppressing over the years, essentially blaming her for how miserable her life at Hexside’s been before meeting Luz and Gus. Now Willow’s mind is directing all that emotion onto Amity herself, becoming willing to destroy itself to burn away all traces of Amity, even if that means killing everyone. It’s not until Amity reveals she had no choice but to end their friendship, thanks to her parents blackmailing her, that Willow can let go of all that anger. While they don’t renew their friendship right away, Amity and Willow’s relationship becomes far more positive when compared to what it was before.
Willow loses a lot of emotional baggage thanks to making amends with Amity. Without that to weigh her down, she grows more confident and sure of herself, and her talents truly begin to blossom. Thanks to that and the support of Luz and Gus, Willow goes from being a timid girl into one of the most popular people at Hexside. However, this also draws the ire of mean girl Boscha, who starts bullying her even more, and she shrinks back into her old self. Even more so when Luz challenges Boscha to a Grudgby game over Willow’s protests. Thankfully, even though they lose the game, Willow wins the respect of Boscha’s teammates. Once a failing student, Willow’s become one of Hexside’s finest.
As a side note, Willow’s also one of the first people who pick up on Amity’s crush on Luz. That silent look of judgment says it all: “If this girl hurts Luz, she’s gonna answer to me.”