Today's FF is brought to us by Beth, who is an all-around awesome nerd and fellow contributor to Gadchick. You can find links to her various Internet haunts at beth-fury.net. When she told me she wanted to write about her love for Giles, I was totally on board. I mean, he really is the coolest librarian/Watcher/reformed Bad Boy you'll ever meet.
When you enter my house and look upon the mantle, you don’t see a wedding picture or a family portrait. Rather, you see one of 18-year-old me with a gigantic grin sitting next to Anthony Stewart Head that I proudly announce to visitors, “That is me and Giles!”
However, my love affair with Rupert Giles started five years earlier when Buffy the Vampire Slayer first premiered on the WB and I was introduced to his character as the main character was. While other girls talked about how cute Angel was or how cute Buffy’s boots were, I found myself drawn to Giles. Serving as her Watcher, sent from the British Museum with an array of tweed suits and package of classic vinyl, Giles entered Buffy’s and my life as the Sunnydale librarian and grew into a role model.
As a character, he may have started off as formal and confused about the world his new charge inhabited. U.S. High School life was baffling, Buffy’s needs were confusing, and the lovely computer teacher he wanted to date only added to the complications of his life. These situations pushed growth for the character as he more comfortably inhabited his role of Watcher, but also of surrogate father. This came to a head when the Council asked Giles to put Buffy in harms way as a test and Giles could not follow through with the plan. He was removed as her Watcher but it only strengthened the bond between himself and Buffy.
After high school had wrapped up for Buffy and the other Scoobies, Giles left his librarian position and went from happily unemployed to the owner of the local magic shop/clubhouse for the gang. However, he began to feel unneeded with the group who was fast becoming adults. When he left to return to UK, I cried the same tears of the characters, convinced that he’d only appear as a guest moving forward. But this absence was vital for the other characters’ growth and for Giles to recognize that he was a pivotal figure in all of their lives. He accepted them despite of any choice they made and provided strength for them to draw on. In the final season, he serves Buffy as an advisor, a confidant, and a family member that is barely recognizable against his first appearance on the show.
I finally met Anthony Stewart Head due to a Buffy convention and my mother who knew that a picture op would be the best birthday present that a girl could ask for. Standing in line with my then-boyfriend, I tried to stay relatively calm until I heard a familiar British laugh and immediately felt all color leave my face. When my turn finally came and I positioned myself on the bench next to him, he warmly put an arm around me and prompted me to move closer. The look on my face in the picture sums up that love for a character that grew to the appreciation of an artist who knew and appreciated the praise of his fans.
I’ve yet to remove the picture from my mantle and I’ve stayed in full denial about anything that has happened in the comic books because my love for Giles still remains. Whether it be a continued fondness for all things British, or my Masters in Library and Information Studies; I can’t deny that as a character he influenced and changed me.
Plus, give me a man in tweed and I’m a happy girl.
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