10 Action Librarians
by Susana Polo | 12:32 pm, July 26th, 2011
“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.