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Rupert Giles

Rupert Giles is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character is portrayed by Anthony Stewart Head.

Biography

Character history

Rupert Giles (most frequently called Giles) was born circa 1955 in England. His family has worked within the Council of Watchers for at least three generations; both his father and grandmother, Edna Giles, were also Watchers. As a child, Giles dreamed of being either "a fighter pilot or possibly a grocer", but he soon learned that being a Watcher is a Vocation, much as being a Slayer is, and Rupert's father explained his destiny to him when he was ten years old (revealed in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date").

Although the Scooby Gang later joked that he wore tweed diapers as a child, Giles was in fact a rebellious youth, rejecting his responsibility as a Watcher and dropping out of Oxford University, where he was studying history, when he was twenty-one. During this time, Giles claimed to be a founding member of Pink Floyd in order to impress girls, and may have delved into criminal activity (he remarks that hot-wiring a car is "like riding a bloody bicycle"). He is a talented singer and guitar player (as Head is in real life) which the gang discovered, to their horror, when they saw him singing "Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who in "Where the Wild Things Are". Spike also saw him singing "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd in "The Yoko Factor".

He began to explore dark magics and befriended a group of young people who delved into the dark arts for fun or money: Ethan Rayne, Philip Henry, Dierdre Page, Thomas Sutcliff, and Randall. Giles gained the nickname "Ripper" during this time. Together, the group summoned a particularly grotesque demon called Eyghon, who would eventually murder Randall. Following Randall's death, Ethan and the others failed to exorcise Eyghon, and Giles accepted his destiny of becoming a Watcher. Before becoming a fully-fledged Watcher, he also worked as "the curator of a British museum, maybe the British Museum" as Willow says ("Welcome to the Hellmouth").

Sunnydale

At the behest of the Watchers' Council, Giles travels to Sunnydale, California, and works as the librarian at the local high school. There he meets the current Slayer, Buffy Summers, whom he begins training. The library, a sort of command center for Buffy's demon-hunting gang, sits right above the Hellmouth.

As the Watcher, librarian, and general authority figure, Giles often delivers exposition. He is a father figure to Buffy and an advisor to her friends Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg, together forming the "core four" of the Scooby Gang. Giles is often portrayed as somewhat of a "straight man" and his "stuffy" Oxford sensibility serves as counterpoint to the stereotypical Southern Californian characters and setting. He makes a "weird cluck-cluck sound with his tongue" when he is angry, but "too English to say anything" ("Faith, Hope & Trick"). He admits to being technophobic, a fact which often brings him into conflict with technopagan and computer science teacher, Jenny Calendar. However, after Jenny aids him in casting the demon Moloch out of the Internet, the pair reach an understanding and begin a romantic relationship.

In Season Two, Giles' dark side is revealed and his relationship with Jenny deepens. In "The Dark Age", Ethan Rayne comes to Sunnydale to flee the demon Eyghon. Giles ashamedly admits to Buffy that he was responsible for summoning the demon in his youth, and is horrified when Jenny becomes possessed by Eyghon. Although Eyghon is defeated, Jenny takes time to cope with her ordeal, retaining distance from Giles in the process. When new Slayer Kendra Young arrives in Sunnydale, Giles shares with her an appreciation for obscure texts, resulting in Buffy nicknaming her the "She-Giles." Giles feels betrayed when Jenny reveals she is actually a member of the Kalderash gypsy clan, sent to keep an eye on Buffy's relationship with the vampire Angel. When Angel loses his soul and murders Jenny, leaving her corpse for Giles to find in his apartment ("Passion"), Giles seeks revenge by burning down Angelus' home. Angelus later kidnaps and tortures him, and Drusilla hypnotizes him into thinking she is Jenny, so he will reveal how to awake Acathla. Buffy is forced to kill Angel, despite Willow restoring his soul, and subsequently leaves Sunnydale.

In Season Three, the paternal relationship which Giles feels for Buffy is strengthened significantly. He spends the summer desperately following up any clues of Buffy's whereabouts, and is overjoyed when she finally returns months later. Giles briefly serves as Watcher for Kendra's replacement Slayer, Faith Lehane. The Scoobies are given another disturbing glimpse in Giles' past when, along with every other adult in Sunnydale, he is reverted to a teenager by enchanted band candy supplied by Ethan Rayne. During this time, he indulges in theft and vandalism, and has sex with Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers. When Buffy keeps Angel's return from hell a secret from the other Scoobies, Giles feels betrayed by her affection for the man who tortured him and murdered Jenny, but later agrees to help Angel in "Amends".

As Buffy's Cruciamentum approaches, a brutal tradition of the Watchers' Council in which a depowered Slayer is forced to battle a vampire, Giles struggles to cope with the guilt of betraying Buffy's trust. Despite describing the test as "an archaic exercise in cruelty", he secretly strips Buffy of her powers, before eventually coming clean when the vampire she is meant to fight escapes. Buffy is disgusted, but is later moved when Head Watcher Quentin Travers dismisses Giles for having a father's love for her. Giles is fired, and replaced with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, but continues to act as Buffy's unofficial Watcher. When Buffy briefly finds herself endowed with telepathic powers, she discovers that her mother believes Giles to be "like a stevedore in bed." In a battle with the demonic Mayor of Sunnydale, Giles presses the trigger which destroys the Mayor and Sunnydale High, putting himself out of a job.

In Season Four, Giles must cope with being unemployed, and the growing knowledge that Buffy no longer needs him. He continues a sexual relationship with his old friend Olivia, who Anya tactlessly labels his "orgasm friend." Lacking a sense of purpose, he spends most of his time lounging around his apartment, watching Passions with Spike. He begins to suffer from depression, especially when the Scoobies fail to keep him in the loop regarding Buffy's new boyfriend Riley Finn and his membership in the Initiative. In the episode "Something Blue", Giles becomes blind as a result of a faulty spell cast by Willow Rosenberg. When Ethan Rayne casts a spell on Giles which turns him into a Fyarl demon ("A New Man"), he must enlist Spike's help to escape the Initiative and Buffy, who believe him to be a demon who murdered Giles. However, Buffy later realizes from his eyes and "annoyed" expression that he is in fact Giles, and Ethan is taken into custody by the Initiative. In order to defeat the cyber-demonoid Adam, Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles cast a spell to combine their strength. Giles provides the "mind", and Buffy is able to defeat Adam.

In Season Five, Giles finds a new purpose as Buffy embraces her destiny as the Slayer. When the owner of The Magic Box is killed by vampires, Giles is convinced by the shop's high profit margins to buy it, hiring Anya as his overtly enthusiastic assistant. Buffy discovers that her sister, Dawn Summers, is actually the Key; mystical energy in human form to protect it from the hell-god Glory. Buffy initially confides only in Giles about Dawn's true nature, and he decides to contact the Watchers' Council for more information about Glory. In "Checkpoint", Quentin Travers blackmails Buffy into obeying the Council's demands, threatening to have Giles deported if she does not comply. Buffy stands up to the Council, informing them that they will release all information concerning Glory to them, and will re-instate Giles as her official Watcher, to be paid retroactively from the month he was fired. Travers reluctantly agrees, and leaves.

As the Scoobies labor to find a way to defeat Glory, Giles brings up the difficult idea of killing Dawn to end her plans. Buffy refuses to listen, and vows to protect Dawn at all costs, much to Giles' anger. Giles admits that he loves Dawn, but that sacrifices have to be made. It is revealed that Glory shares her body with an innocent human male called Ben, and can be killed if Ben dies. In the final battle against Glory, Buffy decides to spare Ben's life, but Giles is less merciful. Explaining that Buffy is a hero and therefore different from them, he suffocates Ben with his bare hands ("The Gift"). Buffy later sacrifices her own life to save Dawn's, saving the world in the process.

Season Six sees Giles reluctantly stepping back to allow Buffy to gain independence. Several months after her death, Giles decides to return to England. On the very day he leaves, Willow, Xander, Anya and Tara resurrect Buffy, and he comes back as soon as he hears of this. Despite being overjoyed to have Buffy back, he is furious at Willow for invoking such dark magic, and angrily dismisses her as "a rank, arrogant amateur." As Buffy begins to over-rely on Giles for financial and emotional support, he decides that his presence is preventing her assuming responsibility for her own life. He leaves again for his native England, moving to a place near Bath, where he works with a powerful local coven.

A few months later, Tara is killed by a stray bullet as Warren Mears attacks Buffy. Willow, still recovering from an addiction to dark magic, suffers a relapse, kills Warren, and attempts to kill his former partners in crime, before resolving to end humanity's pain (and her own) by destroying the world. Hearing about a dark power rising in Sunnydale, Giles teleports back there, wielding great magical power borrowed from the Devon Coven. As Dark Willow boasts of her indestructibility, Giles knocks her to the floor with a blast of magic energy, stating "I'd like to test that theory" ("Two to Go"). Knowing that Willow is too strong, he tricks her into draining him of his magics, which brings him near death. It also allows Xander to reason with Willow as the good magic brings out her natural love and compassion, eating away at the evil within her. Giles returns to England with Willow for her rehabilitation. A few months later, he brings Potential Slayers to Sunnydale to protect them from the First Evil and its Bringers. Giles had removed a few volumes from the headquarters of the Watchers' Council, which is soon afterward destroyed by Caleb, an agent of the First. An injured Watcher named Robson witnessed Giles about to be decapitated by a Bringer, before blacking out. When the Scoobies hear about this, they worry that Giles may have been killed, and that the First is merely impersonating him. They are relieved, however, when they manage to tackle him to the ground, proving he is corporeal and therefore not the First. Giles later loses Buffy's trust somewhat when he takes part in a scheme with Robin Wood to kill Spike ("Lies My Parents Told Me"), with Buffy telling him, "I think you've taught me everything I need to know." Ironically, Giles was proved to be correct in his belief that Buffy kept Spike around out for personal reasons rather than tactical ones when she talks to Spike the night before the final battle under the Hellmouth. In the series finale, he is present at the battle of the Hellmouth, and survives.

Post-Sunnydale

In season five of Angel, Angel contacts Giles via phone twice. It is established that after the First's plan is foiled by the destruction of the Hellmouth and of Sunnydale, Giles travels to Europe with Buffy to train new Slayers. He also takes Andrew Wells under his wing, training him to be a Watcher. In "Damage", Andrew claims to be "faster, stronger and 82% more manly" as a result of Giles' mentoring. Later in "A Hole in the World", after Fred dies, Angel phones Giles, desperate to get in contact with Willow, who cannot be located.

In Season Eight, the Scooby Gang has expanded into a global organization, training approximately five hundred Slayers spread over ten squads. Giles is head of the Slayer operations in England, parallel with Andrew's operations in Italy and Buffy and Xander's in Scotland, and he keeps in close contact with Xander and Andrew, discussing issues. In the Season Eight arc, "No Future For You", he comes to Faith to request her assistance assassinating another Slayer, who will bring around the Apocalypse if left unchecked. After they are both forced to make the difficult decisions to kill the rogue Slayer Gigi and her mentor Roden, they decide that they will work together in the future as equal partners, keeping Slayers from turning down the dark path both Faith and Gigi walked.

Shortly after Buffy ended its seven year televised run, there was talk of a Giles-based spin-off series for the BBC entitled Ripper. As of Comicon 2007, Joss Whedon has confirmed Ripper is still planned and in the pipeline.

Powers & abilities

Giles has immense knowledge of demonology and Slayer combat (including at least a theoretical knowledge of jujutsu and aikido, but excelling at the art of fencing), mainly due to his training as a Watcher. His youthful interest in witchcraft and sorcery has endured into his adult life, though his natural aptitude for it is only moderate (much less than that of Willow). Giles is proficient in several languages, including Latin, ancient Greek, German (although his grasp of it is comparatively weak, as seen in the episode "Gingerbread"), Sumerian (see the episode "Primeval"), Japanese ("Checkpoint"), and possibly Gaelic ("Fear, Itself"), but weak in Mandarin and Cantonese ("First Date").

Giles has moderate skill in hand-to-hand combat, as well as various melee weapons. While his demeanor is typically mild and polite, Giles is not above using raw violence to solve a problem, such as physically threatening Principal Snyder into readmitting Buffy to school after her expulsion, pummeling Angelus senseless with a flaming baseball bat and then attempting to set him on fire upon discovering that he had killed Jenny Calendar, suffocating Ben, Glory's human host, with his bare hands, and severely beating up Ethan Rayne for information (or simply to make himself feel better). Typically however, Giles' calm demeanor and professionalism offer him a detached state of authority even in the face of fearsome monsters, as demonstrated during his confrontation with a violent demon in "The Long Way Home". He is also shown to be able to quickly hotwire a car in the episode "Dead Man's Party".

In the Season Six finale, Giles was temporarily granted with the powers of the Devon Coven in an attempt to stop Willow. During this time, he demonstrated powers such as teleportation, telekinesis, and energy projection. He lost all of these powers when Willow drained him and left him on the brink of death, but he recovered immediately after Xander calms her down from her rampage.

Relationships

Romantic

  • Jenny Calendar — A computer science teacher at Sunnydale High, Jenny was a techno-pagan. Giles saw her at first as a symbol of the encroachment of sterile technology into the organic world of books, but they grew closer after cooperating to defeat the demon Moloch in the episode "I, Robot... You, Jane." When Angel lost his soul in the second season, Jenny was found to be part of the Gypsy clan who had cursed him with a human soul in 1898. She had been sent to Sunnydale to keep an eye on him, not knowing about the loophole in the curse that cost Angel his soul. Angry at not being told the truth, Giles initially joined Buffy in ostracizing Jenny. They eventually reconciled, but Jenny was soon murdered by Angelus in the episode "Passion," devastating Giles.
  • Joyce Summers — As Sunnydale's adult population came under the influence of magical chocolate in the episode "Band Candy," Giles reverted to his rebellious teenage persona, Ripper. He got intimate with Joyce Summers twice, including once on the hood of a police car. They were too embarrassed afterwards to be romantically involved again, partly due to Buffy's reaction to the idea, although due to Giles' duties as Buffy's Watcher, they remained friends and often discussed Buffy with each other.
  • Olivia — Whilst unemployed during Season Four, Giles saw this "old friend," a black English woman with whom he seemed to share a casual, albeit sexual, on-again off-again relationship. Olivia seemingly met him during his Ripper era, the 1970s, as he had once claimed to her that he had been a founding member of Pink Floyd, as well as being into the occult. She was last seen in reality in the episode "Hush". Olivia is seen once more in a dream state in the episode "Restless", in which she appears pregnant as she and Giles take Buffy to the "demon carnival".
  • Anya Jenkins — When the gang lost their memories because of a spell Willow performed in the episode "Tabula Rasa," evidence led Giles and Anya to believe that they were engaged. They shared a kiss while amnesiac, ironically seconds before the spell wore off; they were so embarrassed afterwards that they never mentioned it again (compare Joyce, above).

Paternal

The episode "Grave" makes reference to Giles' parental role in the lives of Buffy, Willow, Xander and Anya. After Giles comes to stop the havoc Dark Willow is wreaking and Buffy and Anya call his name in surprise, Willow snidely remarks "Uh-oh, daddy's home! I'm in wicked trouble now."

  • Buffy Summers - Buffy and Giles formed a close bond over the years. Giles had become the father Buffy always wanted, and Buffy became the daughter Giles never had. In a rare explicit reference to this aspect of their relationship, in the episode "Once More, with Feeling," Giles sings, "Wish I could play the father, and take you by the hand," in reference to Buffy. However, in "No Future For You", it is revealed that he and Buffy "aren't on speaking terms at the moment".
  • Willow Rosenberg — Since she first asked Giles, "What can I do?" and he responded, "You can help me", Willow has proven to be an invaluable assistant in the fight against evil for both Giles and Buffy. The most recent indication of their relationship featured Giles' assisting Willow after her brief time as Dark Willow, helping her overcome her dark side so she could again assist her friends. Willow once mentioned that she had had a crush on him early on, but obviously nothing came of that.
  • Anya Jenkins - Anya looks up to him as a keen business man and as her boss, and he treats her like a daughter, albeit a strange one.

Other

  • Angel — At first, Giles regards Angel with an even temper (even commenting that his relationship with Buffy was "rather poetic... in a maudlin sort of way"), regarding Angel almost as a peer, sharing books and prophecies with him. But when Angel became Angelus and murdered Jenny Calendar, Giles, devastated to the point of irrationality, set fire to the vampire's warehouse lair and attacked him with a flaming baseball bat, severely beating him before being disarmed by Angelus and rescued by Buffy. When he later needed information, Angelus kidnapped and tortured Giles. After Angel returned from Hell, Giles was upset and wary. He kept a loaded crossbow in hand when talking to Angel in the episode "Amends", yet he also attempted to help Angel with his hallucinations. Giles and Angel come together again in the episode "Pangs," by which time he seems to have lost some of his anger towards Angel, even suggesting that it would be less cruel if Buffy were allowed to see him. When he starts to work for Wolfram & Hart, Angel calls on Giles for help twice. The first time, when the insane Slayer Dana is on the loose, Giles sends Andrew Wells. The second time, when Angel and his crew need help to cure Fred of the infection that becomes Illyria, Giles tells them Willow is unavailable. Both times, there are indications that because of Angel's association with the evil law firm, Giles, like the other Scoobies, no longer trusts him.
  • Ethan Rayne — Giles and Ethan used to be best friends, but by the time the series begins, they are mortal enemies. In "A New Man", Giles points to Ethan Rayne beginning to worship Chaos as what began their separation. Giles beats Ethan Rayne in "Halloween" until he is forced to tell him how to break the spell he has cast, and on seeing Ethan Rayne in "A New Man", he says "you have no idea how much thrashing you is going to improve my day." Eventually Ethan convinces Giles that he has come to give information, and the two end up getting drunk and reminiscing together. Writer of Ethan/Giles episode "A New Man", Jane Espenson opines that Giles and Ethan may have had some sexual history in their younger days.

First and last names

  • In a show that has a clear delineation between "kid" and "adult," the use of Giles' first name versus his last is significant. Very few people call him by his first name, 'Rupert,' notably Jenny, Joyce and Spike -- three people who are treated as adults in the show. Almost all other ones call him Giles (Willow calls him Rupert just when she's evil and is attempting to break his authority over her). He's called by his wiley teenage nickname 'Ripper' by Ethan Rayne, Olivia, and again Joyce Summers, when they are both under a spell that made them adolescent-like.

Appearances

Canonical Appearances

Giles has been in 128 canonical Buffyverse appearances. Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Giles was a series regular for the first five seasons (1997–2001). He disappeared from the opening credits but made guest appearances in Season Six and Seven. He appeared in 121 episodes overall.

* Season 6 (2001–2): "Bargaining, Part One"; "Flooded"; "Life Serial"; "All the Way"; "Once More, With Feeling"; "Tabula Rasa"; "Two to Go"; "Grave"
* Season 7 (2002–3): "Lessons"; "Beneath You"; "Sleeper"; "Bring on the Night"; "Showtime"; "The Killer in Me"; "First Date"; "Lies My Parents Told Me"; "Dirty Girls"; "Empty Places"; "Touched"; "End of Days", "Chosen" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Comics: Giles appears in seven issues so far:

Non-Canonical Appearances

Giles also appears in Buffy expanded Universe. He appears in many Buffy comics/novels. Giles appears notably in Ring of Fire (Buffy comic); Giles (Buffy comic);

References

External links

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