I thought we could talk about Giles because after #33 his story is in a whole new light. I thought we could maybe look back on past issues and see how it all ties together. I’ve incorporated some ideas from other members here and have tried to quote their relevant posts so I hope that is ok. I left out appearances by Giles that I don't find relevant but thankfully the majority do.
(I added in visuals because I had some free time and thought it would be fun! Also because I always like looking at past issues so now everyone can )
The Long Way Home Issue #2
The first time we see Giles in S8 he's in St Petersburg training a large group of slayers. He states,
"I see some superior fighting out there. Technique and power that might just give Buffy Summers herself a run for her money. Impressive force."
What could he be doing here? This isn't his squad because he doesn't have one and he mentions how he's observed that some of the slayers displayed techniques that could match Buffy. I have two theories here and one of them is very close to Maggies so I’ll quote her;
It’s possible Giles was trying to prepare for a force, should the slayers have to turn on Buffy and take her on themselves. My other theory is that he was trying to see if any slayer was a standout because he's hoping, perhaps naively, that the prophecy isn't about Buffy but some other girl -- "Technique and power that might just give Buffy Summers herself a run for her money."He has known there's something dark coming *through* Buffy. His opening scene was talking about whether all the slayers together would be able to take on Buffy herself.
Giles then goes on to state,
"It is, of course, useless. You’re all fighting alone. Getting in each other’s way, not protecting each other’s flanks… failing to use your single most valuable asset…"
Which leads into Buffy's training montage with her slayers,
"… each other. One Slayer fighting alone is formidable. Two is formidabler. Or… three? Mega-formidable. And after mega, it goes to mondo, then super, hyper, beaucoup d’crazy, stupid… it gets *exponentially* prefixy."
Emmie notes how this was Whedon's way to foreshadow Buffy's power boost and how she gained strength by sucking the energy out of the other slayers;
I think she's spot on. This clearly was foreshadowing Buffy's boost later in the season which means the Giles scene has to be about the prophecy/power boost because Joss connects both scenes with the overlapping dialogue. They are, by extension, about the same idea. So what was Giles doing? Training these girls incase they have to take on Buffy? Or looking out for any possible standouts? I get into that idea more when we come to #6.Remember that line from Long Way Home about two Slayers being powerful, then three then four and "exponentially prefixy"? Well, looks like Buffy is now "exponentially prefixy." And it really calls back to the whole Slayers don't work well together--well, if Buffy's the only one left, then they don't have to work together anymore.
The Long Way Home #3
I'm not sure there's anything terribly important here but it does suggest that Giles doesn't know everything about Twilight. He enlists the help of the demons from #1 who were led into a conflict with Buffy's Alpha Team and asks them to research Twilight's symbol,
DEMON: They were lured out there!
GILES: I think they were, yes. Someone engineered that conflict – and sacrificed two young men in the process. I think we need to know who.
DEMON: This symbol is meaningless to us. And we are not convinced this is not some Slayer trick. We have ever been enemies.
GILES: And ever shall be. We’ll come to grips one day, but on a day we choose. We’ll not be led there like cattle. Right now, information benefits us both. If you learn anything…
It's unclear right now if the symbol relates to this prophecy but if it does Giles doesn't know it yet, or needs to know more, so whilst he's trying to work out who engineered the conflict he may be trying to learn more about the prophecy as well.
The Chain Issue #5
Giles doesn't appear much in this issue but it looks like he has a gig to come around and talk to new slayers. Again, I have to wonder if he's trying to sniff out any girl with the potential to be 'the one' and if this job is a cover for that. He also mentions the 'chain' between all slayers, which ties in nicely to #2 and Buffy sucking power from them later in the season. The image above shows the link between all slayers with the scythe next to them. We should pay attention to this as Allie told us the scythe will be significant and pop up again before S8 ends.
No Future For You Issue #6
Buffy and Xander discuss how Giles has been distant for some time,
BUFFY: Sorry, I’m in full-on fret mode about this whole “Twilight” gimmick. We still don’t know what this thing has to do with uncle Sam declaring shock and awe on us, right? You heard anything more from our friend in the library?
XANDER: That’s a nugatory. Giles has been incommunicado for a few weeks now. But I’m sure he’s got too many *new books* that need shelving to worry about a classic that’s already been checked out, you know?
Xander believes that it’s because he’s so focused on the new slayers to concentrate on Buffy, whereas the irony is he’s concentrated on nobody but Buffy. He’s searching the world for clues about this prophecy, trying to prove it is or isn’t her. This was “always about her.”
Giles comes to Faith asking her to take out Genevieve because his sources claim she’ll bring on an apocalypse if she’s not assassinated,
GILES: If the girl in question were merely guilty of the same mistakes you once made – considerable though they may have been – I would opt for rehabilitation. But according to every augur in my employ, including the Great Bearded Wizard of Northampton, unless this young lady is terminated before fall’s end, she will usher in –
FAITH: – the end of the world, right? You’ve got apocalypse written all over your face.
This doesn’t come up again throughout the entire arc but I think it’s still important. What if Giles fears Gigi was the one the prophecy spoke about? What if he eliminated her not just because she was gunning for Buffy, but because he was trying to prevent her from getting the power boost? Is this what his ‘sources’ meant? Buffy and Faith may have outmatched her in a fight but she showed potential, she killed a slayer with one punch, after all. If this is true then Buffy and Gigi battling for ‘queen’ holds even greater significance. In #33 Angel says that Giles was in *England* searching for something related to the prophecy, this is the only time in S8 he’s shown in the UK. Gigi may indeed be that something.
No Future For You Issue #9
In this issue Giles and Buffy have a falling out over his plan, not so much because he planned to kill Gigi, but because he left Buffy out. But he left her out because this is all to do with the mysterious prophecy. This explains why Giles didn’t want Buffy to have any part in this. Giles wants Buffy as far removed from all of this as possible because deep down he fears Buffy is the one the prophecy is about.
Vampire in Rug notes that Roden claims Gigi was supposed to be the "slayer who ends all slayers" and adds;
It’s a great catch and shows that it isn’t only Giles who’s fixated on the prophecy in this arc. If we’re right NFFY plays an integral part in the overall arc of S8, which is nice as it’s often people’s favourite but seemed a little removed from the big picture. This brings it all back in a major way and makes me love Brian K Vaughn even more for planting so many seeds. Whedon and Vaughn really should collaborate more for S9, they’re a wonderful team.Roden was instructed to train the Slayer who will end all Slayers. First he thought it was Gigi, then when he saw how deadly Faith was, he realized he'd been backing the wrong girl and thought that Faith was a much better candidate. I've been suspecting for a while now that there might be something more to that, and the Slayer that will end all Slayers is Buffy.
Safe Issue #24
Giles hasn’t heard of the ‘Slayer Sanctuary’ but is very interested in it. Is it just natural curiosity or does he want to find more possible candidates? Note that in #33 Angel mentions that Giles was in *Germany* looking for something. On the train he tries to entice Faith to get these girls back into the fight,
"If these girls are hiding here, seeing you might get them back in the fight"
Does he want more slayers ready to take on Buffy, perhaps?
The Hanslestadt demon sucks the energy from people in the town to become stronger. Sound familiar? It’s exponentially prefixy!
Retreat Issue #26
Nothing of great significance here but Giles still deeply cares for Buffy. It proves that his distance isn’t because he dislikes her, but because he’s busy doing something else.
Retreat Issue #28
We all observed how haggard and shady Giles looked in this issue. He’s stewing in his room for the entire issue and seems gravely concerned about something. The solicitation says that Giles is unhappy with the slayers giving up their power, is it about the prophecy? Is Giles witnessing all the puzzle pieces slowly piecing together? Can he foresee what’s about to happen next?
Which brings us to….
Twilight Issue #33
Angel states that Giles has known about the prophecy all along and this appears to be true. He also states that "every Watcher wonders if his girl is the one." He states that Giles went looking in England and Germany for something related to the prophecy and I believe he was referring to Gigi and quite possibly the slayer sanctuary. I believe he's been either preparing slayers to fight Buffy if they have to (Issue #2), trying to spot any potential candidates (Issue #2, Issue #5, NFFY), or both. I believe he wanted Gigi eliminated because his sources stated that she was the one and believe he's been distant from Buffy and the organisation because he's been hiding this secret. It all leads back to the prophecy and whatever Buffy has become...
So that's my theory all laid out. I'll probably get Jossed next issue but it was worth a try
Any thoughts? Opinions?