Buffy/Giles

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For the non-romantic relationship see Buffy & Giles.
Pairing
Pairing: Buffy Summers/Rupert Giles
Alternative name(s): B/G, BG
Gender category: Het
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: fairly common
Archives: The Buffy/Giles Fanfiction Archive (BuffyGiles.Net)
Other:
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Contents

Buffy/Giles is a noncanonical het pairing between Buffy Summers and her Watcher, Rupert Giles, from the tv show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Very much a marmite pairing, it's perhaps the most popular pairing for Giles.

Nomenclature

The pairing name is usually given Buffy first (unusually for a het pairing), and is only very rarely smooshed. The most common abbreviation is B/G; shippers are sometimes referred to as "BeeGees".

Canon

Buffy & Giles have a close relationship in canon, with Giles not only leading & teaching Buffy, but also acting as her mentor & father figure in place of the absent Hank. He has a (temporary) canonical liaison with her mother Joyce under one of those pesky revert-to-teenhood spells. In later seasons, their relationship becomes more equal, after he's fired as her Watcher, and particularly after her mother's death when they end up sharing parental-type responsibility for her younger sister, Dawn. Giles appears to (platonically) love Buffy (his worst nightmare is her being turned into a vampire) and she, at least in early seasons, clearly relies on him, respects him & trusts him.

Later seasons were not kind to the pairing. Giles's decision in S6 "Tabula Rasa" to leave Buffy and return to England when she's clearly in need of support was not popular among his fans, and the ensuing rift was never completely healed in canon.

Fannish Opinion

Buffy and Giles do not have an easy relationship. In some ways, it is the most complex relationship in the Buffyverse, and to simplify it as a father-daughter relationship shows a very poor understanding of the show.

You don’t have to be a ‘shipper to see that the two of them love each other. The question of whether that love is romantic or paternal is terribly limiting, and misses the point. Sometimes you love someone and that love defies explanation; it just is. And for the most part, that’s what I see between these two. Staying strictly in canon, Buffy and Giles are a team. They’re friends and they’re partners in the fight against evil. Giles may be Buffy’s mentor, but he’s not her father. Buffy’s friendship with Giles may be different than the one she shares with Willow and Xander, but it’s no less true or intense for all that. Their relationship may be difficult for us to understand or define, but it can’t be trivialized without doing severe damage to the text. It can be expanded in fanfiction, but it should never be reduced to an easy concept that never existed in the show. ...

Putting them together romantically is highly dependent upon your understanding of what Buffy’s role is supposed to be, and indeed, your conception of the entire idea of a Slayer. If you believe that Slayers are only needed for lots of angst and stopping the occasional apocalypse, then this pairing is not for you. If you like Buffy’s status as the first line of defense against evil, if you buy into the mystical Watcher-Slayer connection, then it isn’t too great of a stretch to see her destined companion-in-arms as also her destined soul mate. (Jedi Penguin)[1]
They're fated to the world, to the darkness, and to each other. With all the chances they had to walk away from one another permanently, the most either has taken is a sabbatical. Whatever the emergency, the first thing either wants is the other. He considers her a miracle, and when she returned from the grave, the first spark of emotion she showed was a longing for him. (Gileswench)[2]
The attraction to this particular pairing stems from the onscreen relationship between the two characters. The nature of their relationship is deliberately kept undefined in the first two seasons, yet the actors manage to charge their scenes with more chemistry than many an onscreen romance, without actually having one. ... Buffy is also very similar in nature to those women Giles is attracted to (Olivia, Jenny)…feisty, independent and strong. Even Spike, known for his perceptiveness, has noticed that *something* is going on between these two, even if they don't know it yet. ...
Any shipper stories featuring these two characters pre-season four is extremely difficult to make believable. The integrity of the Giles character precludes his taking advantage of anyone in his charge in his capacity either as a teacher up until graduation, or as a family friend. Buffy is also far too besotted with Angel and later with Riley to make B/G stories from this period plausible or believable without some extremely AU gymnastics. There is also a perception, by a very vocal minority, that their Mentor/Student relationship is too 'parental' to evolve into anything else. (Gail at The Giles Writer's Zone)[3]

Fandom

Buffy/Giles is probably the most popular pairing for Giles.[3] Though never as prevalent as Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike, it was a fairly common alternative pairing in the mid-seasons of the show.[4] Jedi Penguin states the ship set sail after the third season episode "The Prom", which first aired in 1999.[1]

Some fans shipped the two in a purely gen relationship, and they and many others found the pairing a squick for various reasons including the age difference, Buffy being underage (she's 16 when they meet), Giles being Buffy's teacher, immediate superior in what amounts to a war-zone & especially her father figure,[1] and the canonical relationship between Giles and her mother. Jedi Penguin, in her 2004 Shipper's Manifesto essay, calls it probably the most reviled pairing in the Buffyverse, adding I'm not sure that there is a single BGer out there who hasn't received at least one ship-based flame by a reviewer who never bothered to read the fic in question. She devotes much of the manifesto to refuting the But he’s her dad! argument.[1]

Other fans found it a turn on for much the same reasons, plus Giles' all-round hotness, the Little Black (Leather) Dress qualities of Ripper-Giles & their perceived onscreen chemistry.[5] Adherents of the pairing stress that Buffy's two canonical vampire boyfriends are both a century or more older than Giles.[1] As Buffy became more experienced in sex & life, the pairing became less transgressive, and possibly less popular, though the Spuffy bus had a tendency to squash other het pairings in the later fandom. Post-"Tabula Rasa" the pairing became more difficult to justify from canon. The uptick of popularity of teacher–pupil ships in the Harry Potter fandom after the release of the first film in 2001 might also have contributed to a change in the way the pairing was considered.

Fanworks & Tropes

The Buffy/Giles pairing has spawned fic in a multitude of different genres, from angst to erotica, romance to comedy, to adventure and drama, according to The Giles Writer's Zone.[3] Relatively few works are set before Buffy's 18th birthday.[6] Common tropes include variants on Magic Made Them Do It, including sex magic, especially when set early enough that Buffy is a virgin, and Green Card marriage of convenience stories. Some stories explore the mystical bond between Slayer and Watcher, often giving it a sexual dimension. There are a few Ripper AUs.

In erotic stories, Giles is usually an accomplished, indefatigable lover – building on the famous "stevedore" comment from Joyce – and sometimes reverts to a Ripper-like personality in sexual situations. Much is made of Slayer abilities in bed, as well as the abundant canonical evidence for Slayers being sexually voracious.

Stories written or set after "Tabula Rasa" often major on explaining Giles's abandonment of Buffy; and those written or set after Spike & Buffy canonically become lovers often bash Spike.[1] Fans of the pairing tend to ignore the show's final season.

Notable Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanfiction

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 ship-manifesto: The Perfect Thing: Buffy/Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (accessed 15 September 2014)
  2. The Giles Writer's Zone: Buffy and Giles: Not So Opposites Attract. (accessed 16 September 2014)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Giles Writer's Zone: Guide to Giles Shipper Fiction (accessed 16 September 2014)
  4. To the extent that the 18,177 works at Archive of Our Own as of 15 September 2014 are representative of the fandom, there are 2293 works tagged Spike/Buffy, 849 Angel/Buffy, 476 Giles/Buffy & 441 Faith/Buffy
  5. Creator Joss Whedon is said to have acknowledged this from the incident in the first episode where Giles leans over Buffy's shoulder in the Bronze; see ship-manifesto: The Perfect Thing: Buffy/Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (accessed 15 September 2014)
  6. At least in 2004; Jedi Penguin ascribes this both to lack of Buffy/Giles shipping before the third season episode "The Prom" and to many lists not accepting underage stories
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