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Giles as a lonely man

spikenbuffy

"Hi honey, I'm home"
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Giles is old, there's no signs/indications of him being married once nor having being in a long time relationship with a woman before meeting the scoobies, he doesn't have children. What are your thoughts about that?

Giles seems incredibly lonely. He always just stayed around the scoobies who are young people lol, like Dawn want to be around Buffy & co. although they are older than her.
 

nightshade

Your grandfather is a cat
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Black Thorn
He's not old!

However yes I do think he was lonely, especially during season 4. I don't think he made friends in Sunnydale, and he didn't seem close to any of the staff at the school. He did have Jenny but I imagine after her death he may have felt like he couldn't get close to someone again incase someone else killed them to get to him or Buffy.
 

Priceless

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Giles was so wrapped up in his work, I doubt he had much time to be lonely. He did make a new friend in Bath when he moved back to the UK, and he had Olivia to occasionally keep him company.
 
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He strikes me more as being bored than lonely in s4 (hard to be lonely with Spike chained up in your bathtub).

He'd only just moved to Sunnydale at the beginning of season 1 from London, where we don't know much about his life but that he worked for some (or maybe the) British museum - where he would have had colleagues, which may ave included Olivia. Plus he had the watcher's council. So between two jobs he would be pretty busy and have a lot of colleagues around him.

A move to a different country is a big deal and probably quite bewildering and would take some settling in, but once he's in town he's straight to work as the watcher and that is a pretty intensive role, plus the school librarian. He starts dating within a year of arriving and that ends in her dying and after that it is going to take quite some time to be ready to move on. Like about a year ... which would take him to s4.

That's when we see him at a loose end - though it's lack of work, not lack of friends that seems to bother him. Olivia comes to visit. He starts to reassess his life, now he's no longer a watcher and not the librarian, insisting on having his grown up time at open mic night at the espresso pump. He goes running - which Buffy says she didn't know he did. So there are suggestions of a life outside of the scoobies. But by the end of s4 he has decided to pack up and go home - because the forced down time has made him realise he has no purpose there any more. It's his lack of purpose that makes him try to move home at the beginning of season 5 and at the start of season 6.

Giles is not old - not by a long shot - but he is at an age where I imagine the 3 years in school just flashed past him (I'm younger than Giles was, and a teacher, and school years go faster every year) so he didn't really have a chance to be lonely what with being so busy and so invested in Buffy as the slayer. It's not until s4 that he gets a chance to stop and reassess and that's when he gets restless and tries to leave. But finding new purpose there, being the watcher again and getting the shop, convinces him to stay.

By the time he does return home he's only been gone five years - and five years is nothing once you're an adult. He would still have plenty of friends, colleagues and relatives in England - which we know he met up with when he went back because he tells us so.
 

thrasherpix

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I don't think Giles would have much opportunity to marry. Olivia didn't really care, and "teen" Joyce had already accepted the supernatural so could openly embrace him (before turning to her old mindset where it became too awkward for both of them), but most women would not be able to relate to him or appreciate the fact that he's obviously hiding something. He knew witches, but it's clear he sees magic (and thus witches) as dangerous from early on, and will resort to magic only as a last resort, perhaps after his own magical dabblings as Ripper. (That said, I'm sure he's had many one night stands, but that he was honest about what they are, either that or rusty, given that he was practicing before asking Jenny on date.)

He did seem shunned by the Watchers, however. Didn't even invite him on that retreat, or warn him of rogue members. Maybe they sent him to die. Be curious as to why.

He hangs around the Scoobies because he feels responsible for them. I say that's very clear up until season 6. He was even going to leave in season 5 until Buffy convinced him she still needed him.

But I don't doubt he loved Jenny, someone else part of his world, and as a bonus, knows magic but isn't a witch. They'd have been perfect together.

And it was poignantly sad to me that after Joyce dies, Giles plays a record that he and "teen" Joyce listened to.
 
burrunjor
burrunjor
Have you ever seen Merlin? It's funny you saying he hates Witches reminded me of his character Uther in that LOL.
r2dh2
r2dh2
How do we know that Olivia didn't care? Is it mentioned at some point? I don't remember.

AlphaFoxtrot

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No, not really. I once speculated that Giles has the qualifications of Field Agent without the experience of one. Like, each Watcher is placed in a job that serves the Watching of Evil. Giles was to be placed as a Museum Curator, so if an mystical artifact is found, or if Expedition or Dig Site goes silent, he'll know first. This type of work at the height of the Empire would involve a lot of field work, but in recent years, not really so. So, I would guess that Giles in his younger days was a dashing love them and leave them type, because odds are, he would have to move, and quickly, or he'd be on expeditions most of the time. Or, he'd get eaten by mummies. In his forties, he's found that not to be the case, but he's now the Slayer's Watcher, he's away from his world, and he spends an inordinate amount of time with a teenage girl, one who is going to die in about three years. He thought those opportunities were behind them, that Jenny of all people, would be interested in him, is a surprise.
 
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This type of work at the height of the Empire would involve a lot of field work, but in recent years, not really so. So, I would guess that Giles in his younger days was a dashing love them and leave them type, because odds are, he would have to move, and quickly, or he'd be on expeditions most of the time.
This might be a fantasy he had as a little boy (except he was going to be a fighter pilot or possibly a grocer, so not) but he can hardly have still believed this was the case by the time he entered the world of work!

We know he dropped out of Oxford, but to be a librarian he must have at least a masters degree - which means at some point he went back to uni, finished his B.A and took a post graduate degree. Considering by the time he was done he would be post Ripper and in at least his mid twenties, it's highly unlikely he entered museum work with the childish expectation of being away on digs related to empire and mummies, and it certainly wouldn't take until his forties to notice the empire was gone. It was gone before he was born.
Besides, Ripper was a counter culture youth, he certainly didn't have any for King and Country, Howard Carter fantasies.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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This might be a fantasy he had as a little boy (except he was going to be a fighter pilot or possibly a grocer, so not) but he can hardly have still believed this was the case by the time he entered the world of work!

We know he dropped out of Oxford, but to be a librarian he must have at least a masters degree - which means at some point he went back to uni, finished his B.A and took a post graduate degree. Considering by the time he was done he would be post Ripper and in at least his mid twenties, it's highly unlikely he entered museum work with the childish expectation of being away on digs related to empire and mummies, and it certainly wouldn't take until his forties to notice the empire was gone. It was gone before he was born.
Besides, Ripper was a counter culture youth, he certainly didn't have any for King and Country, Howard Carter fantasies.
Scientists employed by museums tend to specialize in either research or field work. Think of Giles as being a Paleontologist who wanted to dig up dinosaur bones in the remote areas of the world, but then became employed in a museum that didn’t have enough money to fund digs, so he found himself researching the museum's collection, but still maintains an interest in digs. But in this case, the dinosaur bones are actually demon bones, that reanimate and eat you. That’s the type of job Giles thought he had, as opposed to the type he trained for.

As an example of what I think Giles did for a living before Buffy? In "Becoming Part 1," the Sunnydale Museum of Natural History finds a massive object of uncertain origin during an Archeological dig. Not knowing what it was, they searched for an expert, to come in, examine it, try to explain what it was. They found out that one the best in the field was already under their nose. The expert came in, determined the true nature of the object, and sought to neutralize the threat it posed. Then the expert was kidnapped, eaten by vampires, who then proceeded to turn him. He proceeded to go home and murder his family. Maybe that’s why Giles wrote off family in his younger days. But that’s what I think Giles actually did.

And yes, there is a need for that type of thing. This is a world where mystical artifacts are a real thing. "Pangs" is a good example of an archeological dig gone wrong. "Incan Mummy Girl" is an example of an Ancient Relic gone amok that would require the needs of a specialist. Spike actually organized an archeological dig at one point. How many lab techs have suffered horrible deaths because someone tried to open something blue they shouldn't have. Moloch was locked in an ancient artifact that wasn't handled correctly. It wouldn't be a fantasy, because Giles lives in a fantasy world. Goodness, he’s a member of a secret society while posing as a librarian/ museum curator. There’s literally a guy in ”The Mummy '99” who fits that description.

Per the comics, I think, Olivia was one of his college students, she was not part of the Egyhon cult. Giles collecting live-in girlfriends, but never settling down with a future widow seems quite reasonable, especially if he spent most of his life in Academic and Museum circles. He obviously can’t really do that in Sunnydale, and he’s facing diminishing returns on the practice as he ages.
 
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We don't have to 'think' about what he did before Sunnydale - we know because Willow tells us, he worked at a museum - possibly The British Museum. That's how come he is the expert when Acathlas tomb turns up (remember he isn't called in because they think it's mystical - they have no idea about that, Giles is officially the expert in relics not mystical relics).

So we know he worked in a museum with relics. I studied archaeology at uni - you don't get to 'ready to work at the museum' level and still have these fanciful notions about life on digs only to suddenly discover there is no money. Life as an academic is a constant scrabble for funding but academics are different people to museum curators - the ones on digs work for the universities, the ones in the museum work for the museum. It's the academics that do the fieldwork, it's the curators who curate their finds.

It's not the idea that he's in the museum to watch out for mystical artefacts that doesn't make sense, or that some of those artefacts were dangerous - it's simply the idea that the need for rushing around dig sites stopped after 'the height of the empire' and yet born after the empire Giles reached professional adulthood without realising the world had changed. He started work in the early 1980s not the early 1880s.

It's the Giles having these ridiculous romantic fantasies that doesn't make sense - not to who he was when he was Ripper and not to who he was post Riper, when he was a man in a tweed suit who liked a cup of hot bovril. And it definitely doesn't make sense that he would have them and truly believe they could be a reality and train and enter a profession and only then discover that working in a museum is not the same as being Indiana Jones. Museum jobs are like hens teeth and you have to fight tooth and nail to get them, Giles went into that job knowing the score.

I wouldn't even be arguing if you were claiming that his life at the museum had been all Indiana Jones - because the Buffyverse is different to ours and has mummy curses for real - and now he had left it.
It's the fact that he went in believing it was going to be - it wasn't - and it took him until his 40s to realises the empire was gone that makes no sense. And the fact that mystical digs were more prevalent at the height of the empire. A dig is a dig and there are always plenty ongoing and they might be mystical - and plenty of British archaeologists go on digs overseas. The empire has got nothing to do with that, it's just funding comes from academic projects now and not aristocrats.

But the fact is a museum curator isn't an archaeologist and an archaologist isn't a curator - they are two different roles. And Giles did not study to be a curator thinking this would make him an archaeologist. Nor will he have failed to notice that Egyptology isn't the same as it was back in the 1920s until after he had entered the word of work.

If Giles worked in a museum (which he did), I'm not sure why he would have college students. They would be at university - which is an entirely separate institution. If he stayed on at uni to do a phd (which would make him a doctor of whatever he studied - and he is never referred to as one so it is unlikely he has a phd) he would have occasionally led seminars with some undergrads but he wouldn't have had major contact with any. They wouldn't be 'his students'. If he doesn't have a phd he would never have had any kind of 'students' at all. Masters degree students are not expected (or indeed qualified) to lead undergrad classes. Olivia might have been another postgrad. He might have met her later once they were working. If the comics have her as a college student of Giles - who was never a lecturer - then this is a case of an American piece of media misunderstanding how things work in other countries and thus making a mistake.

Obviously Olivia wasn't in the Eyghon cult because she doesn't believe him about the demon stuff until Hush. But she does know about him being Ripper. It's unclear whether he knew her in the Ripper days or if he just told her about them. He does tell her about demons and how he was the original guitarist for Pink Floyd - but again, that could be Ripper boasting (lying) or a staid older man recounting his glory days.

I don't understand why he's unlikely to settle down because he spends time in 'museum and academic' circles. There are a lot of women in museum and academic circles ... including possibly Olivia. Plenty of archaeologists who put in serious dig time have spouses and families - and working a day job in a London museum would be far easier on family life. Again he cannot have got to the stage of entering the professional world and still not understand what his job actually entails and still have these utterly daft notions of fighting mummies and dying young. Watchers don't expect to die young - they grow old and have families, watching is a family business. So if he thinks he's going to die young and leave a widow then it's from his museum work which I reiterate would be stupid. He has trained for years to get into a museum, he knows what it entails and the watcher's council has loads of dangerous artefacts, they don't expect to be killed by them, they know how to handle and how to store them - a bit like a curator. Like Giles is for his museum.

It makes perfect sense that part of his secret remit at the museum is watching out in case any artefacts are mystical. It's the rest of it that makes no sense.

He hasn't left the museum because it's not what he expected or he's disappointed in his career choice. He was part of the watcher's council all along and now he has been sent to be the active watcher so he has left London to do his duty.
 
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R
RachaelJurassic
I head canon that he worked at the Pitt Rivers. Back then I always imagined it had magical artifacts in it because it was full of stuff in drawers with no labels etc I can imagine him being posted there to look at the stuff that arrived

burrunjor

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Giles I think was someone who put his devotion to his work and the good fight above all else, and so didn't have time for proper relationships. Jenny was obviously the one for him, and after she died he was too heartbroken to move onto anyone else. It's even more tragic that he and Jenny never really shared much as a couple either. Their relationship wasn't even consumated.
 
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tbh I know he was busy but I've always thought of him as lonely. There is a lot made of the isolation of the slayer, and it's true for the most part but at least there are other slayers and Buffy has her friends and family. Giles spends the majority of the series having nobody to talk to. He has Jenny briefly, Olivia very briefly (but I don't think he talked to her much because Hush sure as hell surprised her lol), and he seemed to be getting to be on better terms with Joyce just before she died (although he could never share everything with her either), but other than that he seemed to be on his own. I can't imagine him calling up his friends in the UK to cry down the phone either ;)
 

wolfpuppy

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My take on things is that Giles lived a selfish, hedonistic life in his youth, and when that ended so badly, he threw himself into his work as a Watcher in penance. I'm sure there was the occasional polite fling with other watchers, but he was too committed to his work to get serious.
Also, Giles seems pretty obviously bisexual/pansexual from his dynamic with Ethan. I expect their coven were having bisexual orgies, and his occasional lovers after that were just as likely to be men as women.
Also, possibly if he had deeper feelings for Ethan that's all the more reason that Giles wasn't open to pursuing relationships, as he had been burned by love once, and associated love with disaster.
There's not a whole lot of evidence that this is true, but there's also not much evidence that it's 'not true, and it fits the facts of what we see.
 
r2dh2
r2dh2
what of his dynamic with Ethan makes you think that he might have been bisexual?

Stake fodder

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LOL, ASH was only in his 40's during the show, not that old!

In S1's "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", Giles says his father and grandmother were Watchers, so they do have families, as others have pointed out. He speaks of being told his destiny as if he was reluctant at first, so that might be why he doesn't want to have children, to thrust the same destiny on them.

Otherwise, he seems to have started later for reasons mentioned above, and his Slayer lived longer than average. I would guess most Watchers don't have serious relationships until they are "retired," so Giles hasn't had a chance.

I do agree that he does seem lonely sometimes, but he tends to be viewed by Buffy and the Scoobies as not needing a social life (as I guess we all do of our parental figures!), and the show mostly follows along with this, spending very little time on his inner life.

That said, I'm sure he's had many one night stands, but that he was honest about what they are, either that or rusty, given that he was practicing before asking Jenny on date.
Um......"practicing"? Hmm, I gotta watch that episode again! :p
 

thrasherpix

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Nothing definitive is stated about Olivia, but given how the Jossverse works, if Olivia was on the path to marriage or even a serious relationship rather than "friends with benefits" then she'd have been a lot more jealous of Buffy as well as clingy in general. Love makes almost everyone insane in the Jossverse.

Though it occurs to me now that this is a time where it's just sex (no, it's not stated definitely that it's all it is, but it's what's shown, one can project anything they want into it, but nothing she says or does indicates it's more than that), and yet she's shown as a normal, sane, undamaged woman who is not a villain. Gotta give the episode props for that! I didn't think that was even possible for Joss to imagine in a woman going by the rest of the show (even the brief sexual encounter under a magical effect between Angel and Eve, sheesh).

Um......"practicing"? Hmm, I gotta watch that episode again! :p
It's in Some Assembly Required, practicing with an empty chair.
 

wolfpuppy

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My take on things is that Giles lived a selfish, hedonistic life in his youth, and when that ended so badly, he threw himself into his work as a Watcher in penance. I'm sure there was the occasional polite fling with other watchers, but he was too committed to his work to get serious.
Also, Giles seems pretty obviously bisexual/pansexual from his dynamic with Ethan. I expect their coven were having bisexual orgies, and his occasional lovers after that were just as likely to be men as women.
Also, possibly if he had deeper feelings for Ethan that's all the more reason that Giles wasn't open to pursuing relationships, as he had been burned by love once, and associated love with disaster.
There's not a whole lot of evidence that this is true, but there's also not much evidence that it's 'not true, and it fits the facts of what we see.
What comes most to mind is that before Giles is turned into a demon he thinks that Ethan is flirting with him and looks pleased, only to look disappointed to realize he's flirting with a woman.
Other than that, I get a love/hate/lust vibe off of Giles and Ethan from their chemistry. It's subtext, ,you either feel it or you don't. Especially in years past same sex content couldn't be addressed directly but was written and performed to be implied.
 
r2dh2
r2dh2
Interesting.
R
RachaelJurassic
Yeah, I think you can read it either way but certainly Jane Espenson thought they'd been a couple. Plus somebody said that both actors said they played it that way but I have never seen any post about it so that could be mis remembered, I don't know.
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
He doesn't look pleased - he looks confused. If they'd been a thing in the past, he wouldn't be confused. It's really sad that two men can't have known each other a long time without people 'supportively' assuming they're f******
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