Not that long ago, we knew witches as wart-covered cackling old women with pointy hats, they were sometimes even green. But in recent years you could say they’ve been reborn. Now, more and more young women are identifying with the feminine rage and plight of witches. From The Craft to American Horror Story: Coven, TV and film has joined this resurgence and given us some iconic witches for the new age. One of which is Sabrina Spellman, beloved Archie Comics character and sit-com heroine. Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes Miss Spellman back to her gothic horror beginnings – offering more satanic demons but fewer studio laughs and sarcastic felines. And with a new series in production, it’s time to look at the horrifically heroic Spellman.
We meet Sabrina, a half witch-half mortal, just days away from her sweet sixteen, where she’ll be made to sign her name in the Book of the Beast at her ‘dark baptism’. But she’s a strong-willed young woman, she won’t just do it because it’s what’s expected of her. She comes bearing questions, she challenges ‘the old ways’. Just one reason why she’s my new hero; here’s five more.
1. She knows who she is.
Sabrina is torn between two worlds, the path of light (mortals) and the path of night (witches). But she still knows exactly who she is amongst the challenges of balancing it all. She has values and sticks to them. Sabrina is often faced with decisions that may leave her mortal friends in danger, but she makes every sacrifice to keep them safe whilst fulfilling her destiny as a witch. Who says a girl can’t have both?
2. She uses her privilege to give her friends a voice.
Obviously, Sabrina is a tad different from other high schoolers. Bearing certain gifts – bestowed by The Dark Lord himself – comes with its benefits. When Sabrina’s friend Susie is being consistently bullied by some of the football team, she takes matters into her own hands to teach them a lesson. She means well, but also knows she can’t always fight peoples battles for them. Again using her witchy perks, Sabrina ensures the approval of a special women’s club at school. WICCA (Womens Intersectional Cultural and Creative Association) is an open and safe space in the school for ‘women supporting women’. As she explains to her aunt Zelda: a coven of sorts.
3. She’s in love but she’s not defined by it.
‘Harvina’ is endgame. Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch) is a sweetheart who cares deeply about Sabrina and doesn’t let a day go by where he doesn’t remind her of the fact. A lot of the season Sabrina is contemplating how to tell him the truth about her double life, she even tells him at one point then quickly wipes his memory, as his reaction is not quite what she hoped. As much as she adores him and puts a lot into their relationship – it’s not the only thing on her mind. Her world is built up of those that she loves, her aunts, her cousin Ambrose, her friends, and her town. She selflessly dedicates herself to everyone and not just her boyfriend. It’s made immediately clear that she can be in love but that relationship does not define her character.
4. She’s far from perfect.
Contrary to popular belief, one can be a feminist icon and make mistakes. Sabrina meddles with dangerous magic she knows nothing about and often goes against the advice of the people closest to her. Her heart may be in the right place but she can be reckless, and that’s okay. She’s just sixteen after all. Imagine trying to balance two schools, a boyfriend, a social life, homework, and The Dark Lord constantly on your back? Yeah, I thought so.
5. Her name is Sabrina Spellman, and she will not sign it away.
Need I say more?