Tuesday, February 19, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 8

Day 8: Favorite Friendship

I'm a bit behind, so I'm going to get this one done today, and another one too, and try and catch up a little.  I promise it's not just me trying to bury the Xander hate-fest.

Giles and Buffy

I don't know if this technically counts as a friendship because it's a mentor/mentee relationship, but the relationship between Buffy and Giles is just so fantastic in so many ways.  From day one they have a great dynamic together.  I'm going to go through some of the Buffy and Giles Greatest Hits here.

In Season One we learn that one of Giles' greatest nightmares is letting Buffy die.  For so early on in the show, it's impressive that he is so connected to her.  In "Prophecy Girl", the finale of Season One, Giles finds a prophecy that says Buffy must face The Master and die.  After she--rightfully--freaks out about this, Giles decides that he will go up against The Master himself instead. 

Buffy isn't going to face the
Master. I am.
No you're not.

So I'm looking for a kid, huh?
He'll take me to the Master. GILES
Buffy, I'm not sending you out
there to die. You were right.
I've waded about in these old books
for so long I've forgotten what
the real world is like. It's time
I found out.
You're still not going up against
the Master.
I've made up my mind.
So have I.
Well, I made up mine first. And
I'm older and wiser and just do as
I say for once. All right?
It's not how it goes. I'm the
I don't care what the books say.
I defy prophecy. I'm going. Nothing you
can say will change my mind.
I know.
She punches his lights out. He goes down in a heap. She looks at Calendar a moment, then takes the cross Angel gave her from the table. She puts it on.

When he wakes up, tell him... I
don't know. Think of something
cool, tell him I said it.
 I love that.

In Season 2, Giles and Buffy really grow closer.  He tries his best to comfort her through the difficult points of this season (their exchange at the end of "Lie To Me" comes to mind) and after Jenny Calendar dies in "Passion" his commitment to Buffy is reaffirmed.  She is more than just the subject of his job, he has to protect her at all costs. He is kidnapped by Angelus and tortured in "Becoming" for his trouble.  Here's that exchange from "Lie To Me", because warm fuzzies:

I believe that's called growing up.

(little voice)
I'd like to stop, then. Okay?

I know the feeling.

Well, does it ever get easy?
Ford BURSTS from the grave, a snarling VAMPIRE, and lunges at Buffy -- who plants a stake firmly in his chest. She doesn't even look as he explodes into dust.

You mean life?

Yeah. Does it get easy?

What do you want me to say.
She thinks about it a moment.

Lie to me.

Yes. It's terribly simple.
As they start out of the graveyard:

The good-guys are stalwart and true.
The bad-guys are easily distinguished
by their pointy horns or black hats and
we always defeat them and save the day.
Nobody ever dies…and everybody lives
happily ever after.

(with weary affection)
Season 3 is a complicated time for Giles and Buffy.  I've already covered their dynamic in "Helpless", an episode that is essentially about their relationship.   Buffy also keeps Giles on after the Watcher's Council fires him.  And he fights the Council on behalf of her.  The expression of pride and joy on his face when she wins the Class Protector award in "The Prom" always makes me...get something in my eye.  And at the end of "Graduation Day Part 2" he actually fishes Buffy's diploma out of the wreckage of Sunnydale High.  Also here's that time Giles would instinctively kill a dude for threatening Buffy:

You never get even a little tired of
hearing yourself talk, do you?
He smiles at her, turns to Giles.

That's one spunky girl you've raised.
Giles says nothing. The Mayor's smile goes away.

MAYOR (cont'd)
I'm gonna eat her.
Giles is a blur as he lifts a sabre from the table and SHOVES it through the Mayor's heart. The Mayor stumbles back, sword sticking through him.

Season Four is kind of sad in some ways with these two.  There is no longer a high school where Giles can be the librarian, and Buffy goes off to college and doesn't need him as much anymore.  But even within the first episode we see her return to him--for comfort and normalcy more than anything--and their relationship is maintained throughout this season despite some bumps.  She even holds Thanksgiving dinner at Giles' house!  Of course the most important moment for their relationship in Season 4 comes in the episode "A New Man" in which Ethan Rayne turns Giles into a demon.  Giles is feeling replaced and obsolete after Buffy teams up with Maggie Walsh and the Initiative.  But when he is turned into a demon by Ethan Rayne and Buffy thinks he is dead, her true affection for him comes out.

(crossing to Giles)
Giles? You okay?

Embarrassed mostly. Buffy, I don't
know what to say. You know I'd
never intentionally--

I know. And I'm so sorry about,
you know, stabbing you in the heart...

How, how did you know it was me?

Your eyes. There's only one
person in the world who can look
that annoyed with me.

At the beginning of Season 5, Giles has every expectation of quitting and moving back to England because Buffy doesn't need him anymore.  But he is happy to stay after she tells him that she needs him to help her understand her past and that they have plenty of work left to do.  In this season Giles buys The Magic Box and uses the space to sell items as well as make a training room for Buffy.  When Joyce dies, Giles is the first one that Buffy calls and he is there for her and Dawn every second of the way.  He begins to serve as a sort of surrogate father figure for Dawn in this season as well.  Then, in "Spiral", he almost dies AGAIN for the cause.  

I'm sorry.

For what?

We should have stayed. If we had,
none of this --

(a beat)
You did... what was necessary. What
I've always admired.

Running away?

Being able to place your heart
above all else.
(a beat)
I'm so proud of you. How far you've
come. You're everything a Watcher -
everything I could have hoped for ...
Note how he separates himself from the idea of just "a Watcher".  Then, in The Gift, he does the dirty work he knows Buffy can't.  
Can you move?

Need... a minute… She could have
killed me.

No she couldn't. Never. And sooner
or later, Glory will re-emerge and make
Buffy pay for that mercy, and the world
with her. Buffy even knows that, and
still she wouldn't take a human life.
Because she's a hero, you see.
She's not like us.

Giles coldly clamps his hand over Ben's mouth and nose. Ben struggles feebly for a while. Then stops.
Giles' expression never changes.

Season 6 provides us with probably the most interesting dynamics between Giles and Buffy.  Here, Giles returns after Buffy comes back to life but when Buffy's depression makes her too reliant n him to do everything for her he decides to go back to England.  He has a very heartfelt song about this in "Once More With Feeling" and he leaves in the next episode, "Tabula Rasa".  After Tara dies and Willow turns evil he returns to England to save Willow--and the world.  

God. I don't know where to start- GILES
Well, Willow's clearly been abusing
the majicks-
She has. She was - and I barely even
noticed. Everything's been so...
Dawn's a total klepto, Xander left
Anya at the altar and Anya became a
demon again. And I - I'm so... I've
been sleeping with Spike.
Buffy stops. Can't believe she just blurted that out.
GILES stares at her for a moment.
Buffy becomes self-conscious, assuming he's disgusted with her. She's about to say something when, suddenly
GILES bursts out LAUGHING. 


Duct tape?
Over their mouths! Then I'm letting
the demon eat them-

Because they're just figments?
More laughing.

All of it! You, Sunnydale... And I'm
a nutcase in L.A.!
Of course. Why didn't we see it
After a few beats, they catch their breaths. 

GILES (cont'd)
Can you forgive me? BUFFY
For what?
I should never have left.
Oh, Giles... You were right to
leave. We're just... stupid.
They both chuckle faintly at that.

But I know you're all stupid. I
shouldn't have abandoned you. BUFFY
No. You were right about everything.
It is time I was an adult.
Sometimes the most adult thing you
can do is ask for help when you need
Now you tell me.

In the midst of such a bad situation, Giles and Buffy still manage to be candid with each other and remember how much they care about each other.  

I'm not going to go into Season 7 here because that, again, is another post for another time.  But I love these two interacting with each other.  It's sweet, sometimes hard, and very emotional.  They both help each other to grow massively over the course of the series and they also have some hilarious moments along the way.

Next, for an entirely different dynamic, I will give you my Favorite Romance. 

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