G is for Rupert Giles
Rupert Giles was Buffy’s Watcher (mentor, guide and trainer) and surrogate father figure. Giles was born in 1954 in London, England, into a family who had worked for the Watchers Council for at least three generations. Giles rebelled against the family legacy and became a rogue magician, until the death of a friend led him back to the Council. The Watchers Council sent Giles to Sunnydale in the mid 1990’s to become the school librarian, and await the arrival of the new Slayer. Giles developed a father-like relationship with Buffy, which lead to him being fired from the Council in 1998. When the school burnt down at the end of that school year (end of season 3), Giles was out of a job.
A year later (beginning of season 5), Giles purchased The Magic Box, an occult store in Sunnydale, and later that same year he was reinstated in his position as Watcher. Giles left Sunnydale in season 6, when he realised his presence was preventing Buffy from taking on her adult responsibilities. Giles returned to Sunnydale in Season 7 with a group of Potential Slayers in order to help Buffy stop the First Evil and prevent the hellmouth from opening. After destroying Sunnydale he joined the others on the big yellow bus riding off into the sunset (it’s a big bus – room for everyone).
Giles was the adult for the show – the surrogate, visible parent (we never meet Xander’s parents, and only meet Willow’s mother once), the voice of reason and intelligence, the grown-up in the room. He was the dry (as in sarcastic) British voice surrounded by Americans, and the well-read gentleman in a room full of teenagers. Giles showed us that intelligence was power, and that smart could be sexy (particularly when he starts singing). Giles showed us that sometimes the best way to show people you love them is to take a step back or walk away. He also showed us that sometimes the best way to show people you love them is to throw them across the room using magic (like when Willow went bad). Giles taught us that our teenage years don’t have to define our adult life, that redemption is possible, and that even the quiet bookish person can have a rebellious streak.
Anthony Stewart Head will always be Giles to me. I have a hard time watching Merlin and Little Britain and that episode of Doctor Who. I find myself screaming at the TV "Giles, what are you doing?!"