Rupert Edmund Giles was the Watcher and father figure of Slayer Buffy Summers, the former librarian of Sunnydale High School, and the occult expert of the Scooby Gang. Born into a family who worked for the Watchers Council for three generations, Giles initially rebelled against his family legacy and became a rogue magician, until the death of a close friend led him to return to the Council's fold. Nevertheless, he would retain his rebellious streak, and a fierce, ruthless devotion to his loved ones. As the Watcher of Buffy Summers, Giles developed a father-like bond with his charge, not only training her but also fighting by her side and openly defying the Council in order to save Buffy's life, which ultimately led to his dismissal from the Council.
Fired from the Council, Giles remained as a member of the Scooby Gang for two more years, trying to find his way even after being reinstated in his position as Watcher. He left Sunnydale in 2001 when he came to the realization that he had to leave Buffy so she would embrace the responsibilities of adulthood. He returned to Sunnydale the next year to stop Willow Rosenberg from destroying the world and nearly lost his life in the process. After she was stopped, Giles took her to England to aid her in her rehabilitation and coming to terms with her power.
When the First Evil began its campaign and had the Watchers Council destroyed, Giles gathered a group of Potential Slayers and returned to Sunnydale to prepare for the coming battle. However, he came into conflict with Buffy regarding the vampire Spike, whom Giles considered a potential threat. When Buffy's leadership was questioned by her friends and allies, Giles sided against Buffy but reconciled with her when Buffy devised a plan that would allow the Scoobies to defeat the First.
When the power of the Slayer was activated in all potential Slayers throughout the world, Giles helped Buffy create the Slayer Organization, though in secret he sent Slayer Faith Lehane to eliminate a rogue Slayer. After Buffy discovered Giles had gone behind her back, they were not on speaking terms for a while, and Giles joined Faith as the two sought troubled new Slayers to help them come to terms with their powers and prevent them from falling into the path Faith had fallen to in the past. A short time later however, as the Twilight crisis came to the near destruction of the world, Giles was murdered by Angel, who was possessed by the sentience of a newly created universe.
Angel and Faith worked tirelessly the next year to resurrect and bring back Giles despite it being a near-impossible task in a world without magic. Angel figured out a way through the Tooth of Ammuk, a magical artifact that would gather pieces of his soul through magical artifacts. Giles' soul was snatched away for eternal torment by Eyghon the Sleepwalker and briefly inhabited in Angel's own body. After finding a proper incantation, Giles' was successfully brought back to life. However, the spell had backfired through the Fairweather sisters involvement in the ritual and Giles was forced to deal with the stressful return to his twelve-year old body, but with his memories, intellect, and experience still intact. Feeling purposeless and disconnected, Giles nevertheless chose to aide Angel and Faith from stopping Whistler's release of deadly magical all over the world. After the battle was won, Giles briefly helped them with the changed people of London but nonetheless chose to part from Angel with Faith, seeing that the place he was at his best was with Buffy.
- "Giles at sixteen? Less 'Together Guy', more 'Bad-Magic-Hates-the-World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy.'"
- ―Buffy, summarizing Giles' rebellious youth
Rupert was born in 1954 into an upper-class family in London, England. His family had worked within the Watchers Council for at least three generations; both his father and grandmother, Edna Giles, were also Watchers, though his great-aunts, Lavinia and Sophie Fairweather, instead used their magical prowess to remain forever young and pursue carefree lives as hedonists. Although as a child Giles dreamed of being either "a fighter pilot or perhaps a green-grocer," being a Watcher was a calling, much as being a Slayer was, and Rupert's father explained his destiny to him when he was ten years old.However, any chance of Rupert having a normal life ended when, as a child, he used the Shard of Stronnos to turn a light demon that was attacking his aunts into a solid form that they could kill, his use of such powerful magic at such a young age confirming his potential, prompting his father to send him immediately to the Watchers Academy where his aunts would have preferred him to have more time as a child before taking on such a responsibility.
In 1972, as part of his Watcher training, Rupert, along with four other Watchers-in-training, was dispatched to the Highgate Cemetery to deal with the mysterious "Highgate Vampire." As it turned out, the Council had sent them out to deal with the threat on faulty intelligence, and the "vampire" turned out to be a Lorophage Demon, a powerful and deadly insectoid demon that fed on the traumatic memories and experiences of humans, driving them insane and killing them in the process. The Lorophage killed the other four Watchers-in-training and began to feed on Rupert, but two elder Watchers, one of them Rupert's own father, arrived and fought the Lorophage off before it could complete the process. Giles lost his innocence that day and his already-tense relationship with his father only worsened. Because of the incident with the Lorophage, Giles chose to turn his back on his destiny and follow his own path.
In 1975, Rupert was a rebellious youth, rejecting his responsibility as a Watcher and dropping out of his attempt at a history degree at Oxford University when he was twenty-one. He delved into 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 Sutcliffe, and Randall. Rupert gained the nickname "Ripper" during this time. Together, they summoned a particularly grotesque demon called Eyghon and continued to explore dark magics.
During this time, Ripper employed tales of demons and dark magics and also claimed to be a founding member of Pink Floyd in order to impress girls, although he later admitted this was untrue. He delved into minor criminal activity, primarily stealing cars, but most likely for joyriding. Following the death of Randall, Ethan and the others failed to exorcise Eyghon, Rupert halted his dark magic dabbling and started his own Punk band named Wretched. He ran into Edna after many years who expressed to him her worry for Giles and encouraged him to become a watcher. Giles rejected it at first, showing her his Mark of Eyghon and how unworthy he felt over mentoring a slayer. Edna was angry and remarked his mistakes in his youth made him perfect to be a watcher so he could have insight over them not making the same decisions. He showed his guilt over the deaths of his friends because of his recklessness, causing his grandmother to say he could accept his destiny to redeem himself. Rupert accepted his destiny of becoming a Watcher in 1980. His mentor in the Watchers Council was Archie Lassiter.
- "You were a young fool who felt immortal, did remarkably ill-advised things, and it cost people their lives, eh? You bloody idiot. The doesn't disqualify you from being a watcher. It makes you perfectly suited to mentor a slayer. They're young girls granted tremendous power. Who can relate to them better? A man like your father, who's done the right and proper thing his entire life? Or you?"
- ―Edna to Giles
At some point Giles acquired homes around the south of England, including properties in Bath, Devon and Westbury, in addition to his family home in London.
Watcher to Buffy SummersEdit
At the behest of the Watchers Council, Giles traveled to Sunnydale, California, and took up the post of librarian at the local high school. There, he met the Slayer, Buffy Summers, whom he began to train. The library, a sort of command center for Buffy and her friends who became known as the Scooby Gang, sat right above the Hellmouth. He was a father figure to Buffy and an adviser to her friends Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg, together forming the "core four" of the Scooby Gang. He also shared an attraction with computer science teacher, Jenny Calendar, and developed a friendship with Angel, a vampire with a soul sent to aid Buffy, who shared a mutual attraction with him. While researching the Master, Giles and Angel discovered a prophecy in the Pergamum Codex that stated that Buffy would face the Master and be killed by him. When Buffy learned of this, she decided to quit being the Slayer altogether; thus, Giles, realizing that he has spent too much time in his books, decided to fight the Master in her place. However, Buffy ultimately accepted her fate, and knocked Giles out with a single punch when he attempted to intervene. Subsequently, a demon known as the Hellmouth Spawn emerged from the floor and attacked Giles, Willow, Cordelia Chase, and Jenny, but they were saved when Buffy killed the Master.
When Buffy returned from Summer vacation, Giles' constant pressuring of her to hold to her Slayer duties led to her directly disobeying him and attending a party at the Delta Zeta Kappa fraternity, where she and Cordelia were nearly sacrificed to the demon Machida. After being scolded by Willow, Giles assisted in saving Buffy and decided to stop pushing Buffy so hard. When Ethan Rayne came to Sunnydale to flee the demon Ehygon, Giles shamefully admitted to Buffy that he was responsible for summoning the demon in his youth and was horrified when Jenny became possessed by Ehygon. Although Ehygon was defeated, Jenny took time to cope with her ordeal, retaining distance from Giles in the process. Eventually, Jenny revealed she was actually a member of the Kalderash gypsy clan, sent to keep an eye on Buffy's relationship with the vampire, Angel, whom they cursed with a soul. Giles felt betrayal when he learned that Jenny knew that if Buffy gave Angel a moment of pure happiness, he would lose his soul. When Angel lost his soul and murdered Jenny, leaving her corpse for Giles to find in his apartment, Giles sought revenge by burning down Angel's home, and suicidally taking the vampire on, only being saved when Buffy arrived, punching Giles out for doing so, telling him that he could not leave her alone. Later, Angel kidnapped and tortured Giles in order to get information on how to awaken the demon Acathla. As Giles refused to reveal anything, the vampire Drusilla hypnotized him into seeing her as Jenny, convincing him to tell what he knew. Buffy was forced to kill Angel, and subsequently left Sunnydale an emotional wreck.
Giles spent the summer desperately following up any clues of Buffy's whereabouts and was overjoyed when she finally returned months later. Giles briefly served as Watcher for new Slayer, Faith Lehane. The Scoobies were given another disturbing glimpse in Giles' past when, along with every other adult in Sunnydale, he was reverted to his teenage self by enchanted candy supplied by Ethan Rayne. During this time, he indulged in theft and vandalism and had a romantic and sexual fling with Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers. Despite that, he aided Buffy in rescuing babies from the demon Lurconis, remembering a snippet of information his older self knew about the demon. When Buffy kept Angel's return from hell a secret from the other Scoobies, Giles felt betrayed by her affection for the man who tortured him and murdered Jenny, but later agreed to help Angel.
As Buffy's Cruciamentum, a brutal tradition of the Watchers Council in which a de-powered Slayer was forced to battle a vampire, approached, Giles struggled to cope with the guilt of betraying Buffy's trust. Despite describing the test as "an archaic exercise in cruelty," he secretly injected Buffy with numerous adrenal suppressors and muscle relaxants, which weakened her significantly, before eventually coming clean when the vampire she was meant to fight, Zachary Kralik, escaped. Buffy was disgusted and heartbroken, but was later moved when Giles interfered in her Cruciamentum to save her life, staking her foe's minion, Blair, after Buffy managed to best Kralik through a trick involving Holy Water. Because of this, and having a father's love for Buffy which Head Watcher Quentin Travers described as "useless to the cause," Giles was fired and replaced with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, but continued to act as Buffy's adviser, especially since Wesley turned out to be extremely cowardly and incompetent. When Buffy briefly found herself endowed with telepathic powers, she discovered that her mother believed Giles to be "like a stevedore in bed." In a battle with the demonic Mayor of Sunnydale, Giles pressed the trigger which destroyed him and Sunnydale High, putting himself out of a job.
- "I imagine you hate me right now. [...] But I have sworn to protect this sorry world and sometimes that means saying and doing things that ... other people can't. What they shouldn't have to."
- ―Giles to Buffy
As the Watcher, librarian, and general authority/father figure, Giles frequently delivered exposition. Giles was often portrayed as somewhat of a "straight man" and his "stuffy" Oxford sensibility served as counterpoint to the stereotypical Southern Californian characters and setting. According to Willow, he made a "weird cluck-cluck sound with his tongue" when he was angry but was "too English to say anything." Giles was well-known for wearing tweed clothes, so much so that the Scoobies joked that even his diapers were made from the material.
- "I am so very sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse."
- ―Giles to Buffy
However, he wore non-tweed suits and even casual clothes more often after his retirement from the library. A good deal of humor came from Giles contradicting his established prim and proper image. Giles (like Head in real life) was also a talented singer and guitar player.  He also loves Halloween, which Buffy was surprised to learn.  At times, he also proved to be arrogant and somewhat of a liar: when explaining how he survived being attacked by a Bringer in Robson's flat, he initially stated that it was instinct that saved him, but later admitted that he simply heard the Bringer's shoes squeaking.
He was not what one would call technology-savvy, and was even somewhat technophobic by his own admission, a fact which often brought him into conflict with technopagan and computer science teacher Jenny Calendar. However, after Jenny aided him in casting the demon Moloch out of the Internet, the pair reached an understanding and began a romantic relationship. Despite this, he never overcame his aversion to technology and was horrified to see that the new Sunnydale High School library had only computers.
Giles had tendency to take off his glasses and wipe them during situations. It was eventually figured out by Buffy that this was his way of avoiding having to see the activities of the other Scoobies, when he did so as Xander and Anya passionately kissed after announcing their engagement. At one point, Giles wiped his glasses so hard they broke when the Watchers Council came to Sunnydale.
Very few people called Giles by his first name, Rupert, including the Scoobies. Willow called him "Rupert" while she was evil, and Spike did so often in disdain or just to be annoying. He was called by his nickname, Ripper, by Ethan Rayne and by Joyce Summers, when she and Giles were both under a spell that made them like teenagers.
Although seen early on as purely present to be her adviser and trainer, Giles developed a very close almost father-daughter relationship with Buffy, who lacked a father figure because of her own father never being around for her. One thing that definitely separated Giles from most Watchers was his compassion. While most Watchers were completely ruthless and fanatically devoted to their mission to the extent that they were perfectly willing to sacrifice people and perform unethical deeds, Giles truly did care for Buffy and her friends to the extent that he defied the rules of the Cruciamentum to save Buffy's life—as well as being willing to at least tolerate Angel and Spike, even after witnessing their crimes as soulless demons, although he never fully trusted them—he has shown a willingness to commit more questionable actions than the rest of the Scoobies could condone, such as killing the innocent Ben in order to prevent Glory from returning. This darkness in him was evident to the addled Tara ahead of the conflict.
His personality also became darker over the years with insights into his past actions. He once reverted to his teenage personality of "Ripper," a violent criminal . He was also shown to have meddled in dark magics which got a friend of his killed. He was not above using violence to solve problems, such as coercing Principal Snyder to get Buffy readmitted to school and even murdering Ben to prevent Glory from returning. Ironically, this event proved that Giles was not against the end justifying the means method, a similarity to Quentin Travers, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and Angel.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- "He'll be alright. He's like 'Super Librarian'. Everyone forgets, Willow. Knowledge is the ultimate weapon."
Giles had 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. While he had no true supernatural powers of his own, his extensive experience in dealing with vampires, demons, and other creatures made him capable of handling them effectively. His youthful interest in witchcraft and sorcery had endured into his adult life, granting him knowledge of a wide variety of spells, though his natural aptitude for it was only moderate (much less than that of Willow or Amy). Giles was proficient in several languages, including Latin, ancient Greek, Sumerian, Japanese, and possibly Gaelic, but weak in German, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
Giles had moderate skill in hand-to-hand combat, as well as various melee weapons. He also implied that he was a skilled marksman. While his demeanor was typically mild and polite, Giles was not above using raw violence to solve a problem (his nickname "Ripper" should suggest something), such as physically threatening Principal Snyder into readmitting Buffy to school after her expulsion, pummeling Angelus senseless with a flaming baseball bat and burning down his hideout upon discovering that he had killed Jenny Calendar, smothering Ben to death with his bare hands to prevent Glory's return when Buffy chooses to spare him, brutally beating Ethan Rayne for information or simply to improve his mood, manhandling Spike while ordering him to get over his obsession with Buffy, and forcing Glory's minion, Slook, to talk by inflicting a painful-sounding injury. Typically however, Giles' calm demeanor and professionalism offered him a detached state of authority even in the face of fearsome monsters, as demonstrated during his confrontation with a violent demon. He was also shown to be able to quickly hot-wire a car.
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