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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Power Grid

10 Action Librarians


Rupert Giles

Rupert Giles

“Xander, don’t speak Latin in front of the books.”

Rupert Giles. Where do I even start. He drinks lot of tea, cleans his glasses when he’s stressed (which is often), and helps a bunch of teenagers save the world on a regular basis. He’s also a spectacular badass. A spectacular badass with a thing for tweed and sweater vests.

Sent by the shady Watcher’s Council to help Buffy make sure the antics of one tiny Southern California town doesn’t cause the world to implode, he is quintessentially British and academic, and for this Giles gets made fun of a lot at the hands of the teenagers who seem to be his only friends, but he always comes through for them nevertheless. He’s always there for a timely “the world is doomed.”

We find out in season two that Giles has hidden quite the wild adolescence under all that tweed; when he was a child he dreamt of being “a fighter pilot or maybe a grocer,” but when his father informed him of his calling as a Watcher, he rebelled. He dropped out of Oxford, went by the name of Ripper, and pretended to be a founding member of Pink Floyd to impress the ladies. He was a general hoodlum, as is evidenced when his youthful spirit re-inhabits his body in the episode “Band Candy,” causing him to break into a clothing store and sleep with Buffy’s mom on top of a cop car. Twice. Oh, and there’s black magic back there in his past, too. Lots of it.

Still, he grew up to be the buttoned-up tea-loving Giles we all know and love, as well as the closest thing Buffy has to a father figure in the series, even when her boyfriend decides to (spoiler alert) murder his girlfriend, Jenny Calendar. He often plays the straight man to Buffy’s former mall-rat and the shenanigans of all those young people, but never let it be thought that Giles left his badassery completely in the past. He still knows how to hot-wire a car with the best of them, and when (spoiler) Evil Willow decides to destroy the world in grief, Giles storms in with one of the most studly cliffhangers the show ever saw, and, subsequently, one of the most studly of fight.

Oh, and he can sing. And he spends some time as roommates with Spike. God, now I have to go watch this show again.


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  • Anonymous

    im having the worst day of work (at the library), but this totally made my day.  see also: rex libris and jack of fables.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    lolz “sand-ninjas” and ”negative Arab stereotype” in the same paragraph. Ah, but Omid Djalili has made a career out of subverting and making fun of negative stereotypes, including those of white Britons. I think he’s allowed a free pass on this one.

    I love Evie. She’s a wonderful character. Smart, beautiful, courageous, resourceful, loving and strong.

    Wrote a rant about JK Rowling and her uselessness… then decided that this was completely off topic. You should totally thank me for deleting it :P

  • nmlop

    I read the first line of this and was already saying to myself, “‘Ook, ook’ said the Librarian.”

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    Seconded for Rex Libris, but to pick a character for this list, my vote would be for Circe, who quelled an entire barbarian horde with her Librarian Voice.

    The Librarian Voice is a Thing.  Fear it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7G4SWUX2MCWWXLMYNN347JMIZY Frodo Baggins

    I think Ninth Gate was intentionally hilarious. The satanic cult in particular seemed like Polanski doing a riff on his own villains from Rosemary’s Baby.

    And the climax is the main character fucking a demon in front of a burning church? Yeah, pretty sure that’s meant to seem ridiculous. It’s a very metaphorical, fable-y tale, not meant to be taken entirely seriously. Also, AMAZING SCORE. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDl0GkTAWgw

    If we’re expanding the list to include book dealers, perhaps you would consider Umberto Eco’s trio of ephemera-enthused publishers in Foucault’s Pendulum. They don’t get into a lot of fisticuffs, but they are certainly badass on an intellectual front. 

    Great list! I’mma check out this Abhorsen story.

  • Anonymous

    I’d have to nominate Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist. She was fired from the library for reading instead of shelving; her photographic memory proves invaluable to the Elric Brothers’ search for the Philosopher’s Stone. First, though, the brothers have to rescue her from the mountain of books she’s literally buried under in her home…

  • Francesca M

    OH I forgot Lirael was a librarian! I need to reread those! But why can’t I find my copy of Sabriel!

  • http://twitter.com/Menshevixen DH

    This is the best Power Grid yet (said the admittedly-biased librarian)!

    As much as I enjoy Sabriel, Lirael is one of my heart’s heroines. I drew fanart of the Library of the Clayr when I was a teenager.

  • http://twitter.com/Menshevixen DH

    Ohhh the Abhorsen series is so great. I hope you like them.

  • Anonymous

    You’re discussing action librarians and there’s no mention of the characters in Library War?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mynameisemmam Emma M.

    I squeaked with glee at a mention of Lirael/the Abhorsen trilogy. I haven’t thought about those fabulous books since my elementary school book fair days. Time for an adult-re-read. I think yes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628296864 Naomi Kietzke Young

    Just go to Audible and download the audiobooks. They’re narrated by Tim Curry. You can’t go wrong there, can you?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t like the lumping of introversion into a group of negative traits by Wikipedia. Love your list though.
    Maybe your next list could be 10 introverted BAMFs. As an introverted female I’m getting tired of the conflation of introversion with meekness. I always identified with women like Scully and Ripley, neither one seems like an extrovert.

  • http://twitter.com/WanderinDreamr dreamer

    Oh goody, I saw the title for this and immediately thought of Lirael so I’m so glad she made it onto the list (forgot about Wan Shi Tong though, probably because he was only in two episodes).  And seconding the comment about Library War/Toshokan Sensou (alternate timeline where one of Japan’s laws got interpreted a little differently and has created two huge factions, the Media Betterment Committee which fights for censorship and the Library Defense Force who are literally military trained librarians who can and will protect the libraries with a gunfight if they have to). And, it isn’t a library in the traditional sense but another anime, Armed Librarians: the Book of Bantorra, does have a full cast of action librarians with a dangerous library and other people who really want to steal their books (books in this case being tablets created after a person dies that has their entire life recorded in them, it’s a bit strange).

  • Anonymous

    Where is Rex Libris?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SRA5OF4DDP2CLVI2U3R26GIVCA lemone

    Glad to see Barbara Gordon on the list.  I’m a huge Batgirl fan, and a librarian.  Barbara Gordon will be returning to the cowl next month as Batgirl in DC’s relaunch of 52 titles, after somehow magically not being shot and paralyzed.  Current Batgirl Stephanie Brown is also a library worker, being a page while she’s in university. 

  • Anonymous

    Rex Libris was the first one I thought of (and he didn’t even make the cut!).  But I am SO SO SO glad, that Yomiko Readman made this list!  That was pure joy to see. As you can see from my avatar. :P

  • Anonymous

    Woohoo for Lirael, Wan Shi Tong, Yomiko, and the Librarian!  Also must second the suggestions of Rex Libris and the anime Library War.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R2FMHKH5PXMKNIJ5PDG37N4SVQ Erin

    Erm, Lirael steals the sword from the Chief Librarian’s bedroom.  While she’s sleeping right there.  At midnight.  When all such adventures should begin.  :D  Oh, how I adore that series!

    And this power grid is also awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/qarylla Seanna Lea LoBue

    Also if you haven’t read it is Nepenthe (if I’m remembering correctly) from the Alphabet of Thorn. It is one of my favorite stories by McKillip.

  • Anonymous

    I am definitely checking out the Abhorsen trilogy. I am a librarian in a public library and I often feel the three things all librarians are equipped with (whistle, magical dagger, and voice-activated mechanical mouse) would also be handy where I work. The library is indeed a dangerous place… but usually in a wonderful way.

  • Anonymous

    i guest these lesbozians like to read alot

  • Rebecca Fabian

    What about the librarian from the movie series “The Librarian”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646528939 Erin DeLavan

    I like the Cat, formerly known as Chesire because of boundary changes is now the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat.

    From the Jasper Fforde Thursday Next series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646528939 Erin DeLavan

    I like the Cat, formerly known as Chesire because of boundary changes is now the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat.

    From the Jasper Fforde Thursday Next series.

  • http://twitter.com/Leluisme Aarie K

    I was also wondering where Flynn Carsen, played by Noah Wyle, (of “The Librarian” movies) is on this list. Seems like a series of 3 movies with the word “librarian” in the title should have made a list about action librarians. Sure, they’re a little campy, but they’re fun.