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Rupert Giles

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

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Rupert Giles


On March 10th 1997, the WB Network premired the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, supernatural feminist teen drama about a young girl choosen to fight vampires who tries to navigate the supernatural and mundane realities of teenage life. The show gained critical acclaim and ran for seven seasons.


One of the key characters on Buffy was that of Rupert Giles, portrayed by actor Anthony Stewart Head. Often refered to by his surname, Giles worked as a librarian at Sunnydale High School and served as mentor to the titular heroine. As Watcher he trains Buffy in various fighting styles, gives her orders (in theory more then practice), researches her foes, and keeps a diary on her activities and experiances. Personally, he acts like a father figure to Buffy (and to a lesser extent her friends) and often dispenses sage-like wisdom.


Giles was born in England into a family of Watchers — both his father and grandmother were Watchers. The young Giles was disappointed to find out that he was destined to be a Watcher; he had wanted to be a fighter pilot or a grocer. He briefly attended Oxford University, but dropped out before completing his degree in history and it is unclear if he ever went back. He went on to work as a museum curator before becoming the school librarian at Sunnydale High right around the same time that Buffy Summers moved into town.


His lack of MLS degree or teaching credentials poses no problem in Sunnydale, a town plauged by violent supernatural occurances, and the Sunnydale School Distict often hires teachers and staff without any degrees or experiance in their fields out of desperation. For instance, Principal Snyder in seasons 1-3 has no education experiance at all and hates children, Jenny Calendar teaches computer science in seasons 1-2 under a fake name and her actual credentials remains much a mystery, high school junior Willow Rosenberg teaches computer science classes after Miss Calendars murder in season 2, and Buffy gets a job as a guidence counselor dispite never having finished her undergraduate degree in season 7.


At the begining of season 1, Giles is very much a librarian all about books, even refering to the lone computer in the Sunnydale school library as "that dread machine". His library does not have a computer lab at all, partially because the show was filmed in 1996 before the common use of computers in schools, but also because Sunnydale High has a computer lab and classroom that is completely seperate. However over time, experiance, and a short relationship with self described techno-pagan and computer science teacher Jenny Calendar, Giles looses his snark towards computers. While you never see him using one, by the end of season 7 he admits to thier usefulness.


The show was also unique in that the high school library served as a hang out and second home to the entire cast of characters for seasons 1-3, and over time it became more and more rare to actually see any other students in there looking for books. That made it all the more ironic when the library was revealed to be located right on top of the HellMouth, something Giles describes as "the center of a mystical convergence" which leads to an underworld full of demons and primordial vampires. However Giles also had the ironic task of blowing up his library (and all of Sunnydale High) at the end of season 3 in a desperate bid to stop the demonic mayor. This ended Giles career as a librarian. Ironically when the school is rebuilt by season 7, the principals office stands over the HellMouth where the library once was.


Although he is a school librarian, Giles better fits the image of an academic librarian. He is a rather stern, bespectacled, middle-aged Englishman with an interest in history and world languages. However, he also differs from the stereotype in that he practices martial arts, enjoys rock music (and plays the acoustic guitar), and briefly in his youth smoked, drank a lot, did drugs, and experimented with demon posession for the emotional and physical high. He has been described as "our great sage and sex symbol" by GraceAnne A. DeCandido, MLS. The immense popularity of Rupert Giles has resulted in books, comic books, trading cards, an action figure and a lego figure.


There is no known relationship between Rupert Giles and SLIS student Kelly Giles.


Memorable Quotes on or by Giles on Life, Death, Research, and Librarianship:


Buffy: Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school!

Xander: Oh, yeah, that's a plan. 'Cause lots of schools aren't on Hellmouths.

Willow: Maybe you could blow something up. They're really strict about that.

Buffy: I was thinking of a more subtle approach, y'know, like excessive not studying.

Giles: (to himself) The Earth is doomed.


Giles: I'd much prefer to be home with a cup of Bovril and a good book.


Willow: How is it you always know this stuff? You always know what's going on. I never know what's going on.

Giles: Well, you weren't here from midnight until six researching it.


Jenny: Yeah, y'know how you have to, to dog-ear your favorite pages so you can go back to them?

Giles: Uh, uh, uh, what?

Jenny: Well, I mean, I-I practically had to fold back every single page. So finally I just, I just started underlining all the pages I really wanted to discuss.

Giles: U-u-underlined...?

Jenny: But then, of course, I spilled coffee all over it, I can't even read it..."

Giles: "It's a first edition!

Jenny: "I'm lying, Rupert. The book's fine. I just love to see you squirm."


Giles: Well, we start, not surprisingly, with research.


Giles: Well, then help me. I've been researching this Harvest affair. It seems to be some sort of preordained massacre. Rivers of blood, Hell on Earth, quite charmless. I'm a bit fuzzy, however, on the details. It may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine. (At the others' stares) That was a bit, um, British, wasn't it?


Giles: I'm sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon.


Willow: I'm sure he will. He's like...Book Man!


Xander (to the students who just entered the library): Excuse me, but have you ever heard of knocking?

Jonathan: We're supposed to get some books. On Stalin.

Xander: Does this look like a Barnes & Noble?

Giles: This is a school library, Xander.

Xander: Since when?


Xander: He's like SuperLibrarian. Everyone forgets, Willow, that knowledge is the ultimate weapon.


Giles: They're confiscating my books.

Buffy: Giles, we need those books.

Giles: Believe me, I tried to tell that to the nice man with the big gun. This is intolerable. Snyder has interfered before, but I won't take this from that twisted little homunculus.

Snyder: I love the smell of desperate librarian in the morning.

Giles: You get out... and take your marauders with you.

Snyder: Oh, my. So fierce. Just how is, um, Blood Rites and Sacrifices appropriate material for a public school library? Chess Club branching out?


Giles: I'd best head to the library. Research beckons.


Giles: You mean life?

Buffy: Yeah. Does it get easy?

Giles: What do you want me to say?

Buffy: Lie to me.

Giles: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by the pointy horns or black hats. And, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Buffy: Liar.


Giles: Could it possibly get uglier? I used to be a highly respected Watcher, and now I'm a wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily.


Giles: Well, now are we going to discuss this? Save the world to go to the mall?

Buffy: I'm having a wicked shoe craving.

Xander: Aren't you on the patch?

Willow: Those never work.

Giles: Here I am, invisible to the eye.

Xander: See, I need a new look. It's this whole eye patch thing.

Buffy: Oh, you could go with full black secret agent look.

Willow: Or the puffy shirt, pirate slash—

Giles: (to himself) The earth is definitely doomed.


External links and sources:


Wikipedia article on Rupert Giles

Wiki Quote Archive - with audio




Giles: Hero Librarian


\"Anthony Steward Head says he was glad to play librarian on `Buffy'\"


Photo Credits:








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Entry created by Sarah Stumpf

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