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Rupert Giles was born in the fifties into an upper-class family in London, England. They had worked within the Council of Watchers for at least three generations; both Rupert's father and grandmother, Edna, were also Watchers. Being a Watcher is a calling, much as being a Slayer is. Upon reaching maturity, he became the curator of a British museum and later joined the Watchers Council, where he studied up on the occult. During his studies, Giles pursued a relationship with Alexa Landry, an operative of the Council, but quickly broke it off when he realized that she enjoyed the more visceral aspect of her duties a bit more than was healthy. While competing for the position of Watcher over the new Slayer, Giles discovered that his opposing candidate, Willem Bryardale, was dabbling in forbidden arts, exposing him with magic that was prohibited by the Council to be used by anyone. Sullying his reputation in order to stop Bryardale, Giles was given the option by the Council to save face and embrace the essence of a Watcher.
Viva Las Buffy)
Heading to a small cave owned by the Council along the Synne Head Coast of Northern Ireland dubbed the Blackshed, Giles attempted to exorcise his inner demons, but instead embraced it to better serve his Slayer by realizing that he could not deny what he once was. Returning to England, Giles graduated and was bestowed with the distinction of Watcher.
At the behest of the Watchers' Council, he traveled to Sunnydale, California and worked as the librarian at the local high school. There he met his charge, Buffy Summers, whom he began to train. The library, a sort of command center for Buffy and her Scooby Gang, sat right above the Hellmouth. As the Watcher, librarian and general authority figure, Giles often delivered exposition. He was a father figure to Buffy and an advisor to her friends Xander and Willow. (BtVS:
A Stake to the
Giles became devastated after his girlfriend Jenny Calendar was murdered by Angelus, a vampire who lost his human soul after having sex with Buffy. Angelus took pleasure in torturing Buffy, and by extension, her Watcher. The ramifications of Jenny's death caused Giles to become distant, abandoning his duties as Buffy's watcher to find a spell that could bring Jenny back. Jenny's spirit intervened in time, causing Giles to end his path of self-destruction and return to his role as Buffy's watcher. (BtVS:
Ring of Fire)
After the Council of Watchers fired Giles for caring for his charge too much, Buffy refused to forgive the Council or take orders from them any longer. Buffy continued her duties as the Slayer without the Council's guidelines, while Giles continued to supervise on an unsanctioned basis. Giles's first summer unemployed was spent hospitalized in bed, after being wounded by a vampire.
Beyond the Pale, BtVS:
After recovering from the attack, Giles' past came back to haunt him, when the Council informed him that his old flame, Alexa Landry, had gone rogue and set her sights on Buffy's old flame, Angel, who was now re-ensouled. Buffy, Giles and the Scoobies ventured to Los Angeles to help Angel defeat Alexa and return her to the Council's custody. Giles later met a new love interest in Rebecca Stansberry, but the Scoobies suspected that she could not be trusted. Rebecca ended their brief romance when she realized that Giles could not return her feelings as long as he remained in Sunnydale and left him. (BtVS: Past Lives, Out of the Woodwork)
Giles ended his status as unemployed, after buying the local magic shop, The Magic Box, hiring Anya as his overtly enthusiastic assistant. Giles relationship with Buffy became tense when she discovered that despite no longer being employed by the Council, Giles’ loyalties to them as a Watcher made him withhold valuable information from her about a centuries old Slayer turned vampire who had targeted Buffy.
(BtVS: False Memories)
After Buffy sacrificed herself to save the world, Giles decided to return to England, appointing Anya as the new manager of the Magic Box. He returned to Sunnydale after Buffy was resurrected, but soon decided that his presence was preventing Buffy from assuming responsibility for her own life and left again. (BtVS/Angel: Reunion)
Following Sunnydale's destruction, the Scooby Gang expanded into a global organization, with Giles heading Slayer operations in England. He went to Faith to request her assistance assassinating another Slayer who would bring around the Apocalypse if left unchecked. The decision to leave Buffy out of the loop has put a strain on their relationship. After Giles and Faith are both forced to make the difficult decisions to kill the rogue Slayer and her mentor, they decide that they will work together in future as equal partners, keeping Slayers from turning down the dark path both Faith and the rogue Slayer walked.
(BtVS: No Future For You)
Book Guide to Buffy
of the Slayers