It's pretty obvious (to me at least) that the character Tara McClay on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is named after the Buddhist goddess Tara. She is always the compassionate one, the one who sees what others are feeling: in fact you could almost call it her "special ability" (everybody on Buffy has at least one). I'm not going to go through my tape collection for examples, but in "The Body" (the episode where Buffy's mom dies), she calms and comforts both the frantic Willow and Buffy herself as they experience their grief and pain in their own disparate ways. Even hers' and Willow's magical "styles" differ - we rarely, if ever, see Tara cast in anger, or cast an overtly violent spell (things Willow does with alarming frequency), and Willow's use of black magic concerns her.

Tara's kindness is returned upon her in two particularly touching episodes. When her magic-phobic relatives arrive in Sunnydale to drag her back to the Ozarks or wherever they crawled out of, Buffy and her friends see through their hate and lies, and protect her. And when Hell-goddess Glory turns her into a gibbering lunatic, her girlfriend Willow pledges to take care of her always, even if she never gets better. Fortunately, she does.

Of course, all of this only makes it more ironic that when Tara is murdered by Evil Trio leader Warren, Willow goes on a murderous rampage and then tries to end the world.