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Thread: How much is a watcher worth?

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    Default How much is a watcher worth?

    What's the best guess on what a watcher is paid? Can anyone tell by what their clothes or accents? You would think they are university educated in languages or archeology or the classics. Do you think it's sort of like royalty and the council owned the offices and land and books etc and the watchers paid a salary? It must be fairly decent pay with the educational requirements and associated danger. So strange there isn't enough left over to pay the slayers.


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    I always believed that Watchers would get paid well but it did surprise me in the comics when suddenly Giles was depicted as this incredibly rich man with estates etc. I don't recall that every being stated on the series and whilst he certainly had a nice house in England, I kind of chalked that up to TV magic the same way Buffy and Willow's college dorm room was ridiculously large in comparison to RL dormitories. He lived quite modestly in Sunnydale with a beat up, creaky old car in Season 1-4. He did splurge in Season 5 and get a new sports car, and he obviously had the money to invest in the Magic Box, but I always took him as someone who lived comfortably due to both his Watcher's salary + Sunnydale High salary, his age, and I imagined he'd be careful with saving and investing his money.

    In terms of clothes, I assume that Giles' tweed suits wouldn't have been cheap but I'd also not have taken him for someone who would spend lavishly on clothes given his apathy and bewilderment to Buffy's interest in fashion. That said, in "Amends", he's wearing a pretty nice Ralph Lauren shirt, so he does have some interest in fashion it would appear. They're about $150-$200 a shirt which isn't cheap but doesn't necessarily mean Giles is rich, either. I own 4-5 and I'm certainly not rich. His suits in Season 5-6 also looked nice but I can't recall deciphering a brand so it's a bit of guess work on how much they'd cost.

    Watcher's definitely appear to be well-educated and well-connected. The Watcher's establishment seems both elitist and very nepotic. Both Giles and Welsey are sons of Watchers and I imagine this is the case for most Watchers. I always imagined that there's a hierarchy of older Watchers controlling the organisation and that Giles' grandmother and Wesley's father were up there with Quentin Travers etc. We never do find out what happened to Giles father and grandmother (we assume they're both deceased) but I imagine Giles lost some of his standing in the Council after that and whilst he was appointed Watcher, Travers deliberately kept him isolated. We know that there's a Watchers Academy but Giles also attended Oxford University (and Buffy tells Willow in "Choices" that "that's where they make Gileses") so I wouldn't be surprised if most Watcher's attend an elite university for their regular education before then studying at the Watchers Academy to learn about the supernatural. Giles could also be a bit of an outlier as he rejected his "destiny" as a Watcher initially so it's very possible that some Watchers, like Wesley, receive all their education via the Academy.

    I think the Council would own a lot of property. In "Checkpoint" they're said to be powerful politically and their headquarters in "Never Leave Me" appeared very fancy. We know they also had a retreat in the Cotswolds from "Faith, Hope and Trick" and they're stationed all around the world. Gwendolyn Post even assumed that Giles would have his own private library well beyond the library at Sunnydale High. They'd have been a very rich and powerful organisation that could infiltrate the highest offices of the land and also have influence on a local level by securing Giles a position at Sunnydale High with apparently little problem and could've closed down The Magic Box permanently should they have been so inclined.

    I don't think it has ever been a case of there not being enough money left to pay the Slayers. I think it's more of a case that the Council just didn't regard the Slayers highly enough to consider paying them. Seeing as how they consider a Slayer nothing but an "instrument" to fight their evil I don't feel they'd consider that they should be paying someone who they pretty much consider their property. I do think that the Council paid for most Slayers and provided for their shelter, food and clothing as most Slayers lived with their Watcher. Whether or not this was added to the Watcher's salary on top of their own wage or if Watcher's were meant to dip into their own funds, I'm not sure. But it'd never have been a case of handing the Slayer a pay cheque themselves. And we know that some Watchers appeared to be quite minimal with their spending as at one point Kendra only had one shirt ("That's me favourite shirt! That's me only shirt!").
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    I imagine Watchers are paid about 80,000 which is the same salary (nearly) as a British MP in Westminster. That's how I imagine the WC, as a bunch of unelected officials, perhaps like our House of Lords. I think that's a good wage for someone who lives in London. I imagine they are paid travel expenses as they seem to travel widely. I would also expect they get a housing allowance if they have to live away from home for any length of time.

    Giles did sound quite posh to me when he first appeared on the show, though his accent and manner did slip in later seasons. His name is made up of two incredibly posh names. Rupert and Giles are names used by upper middle class people predominantly, so I think he's meant to appear very British and quite posh. Wesley isn't such a posh name, though it does of course have religious connections. Wyndham-Price, being double barrelled, sounds posh.

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    I always had the impression that Giles apart from his Watcher‘s salary had a fortune of his own. Maybe something he inherited during the show. He was keen on getting his salary retroactively in season five and his flat was rather small and not very posh decorated. But later he seemed to be better off, quit his job, flew all over the world, bought an expensive car...

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    He left Faith well off in his will. Not sure where all that $$$ came from and I still think it should have gone to Buffy.


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    Quote Originally Posted by GoSpuffy View Post
    He left Faith well off in his will. Not sure where all that $$$ came from and I still think it should have gone to Buffy.
    Giles had a wealthy family, as we learnt in the comics. I'm torn about his decision to leave everything to Faith. I understand why he did it. Faith had nothing, so it made her financially stable and emotionally it meant he loved her enough to leave her everything. But he should have warned Buffy that's what he was going to do. She was so hurt by it, and I don't think Giles thought about that. Or perhaps he did, and just didn't care.

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    At one level, I don't think it matters much. Do we know why he drove that old car? He’s English upper middle class - landed gentry. We know from the comics he has a town house in London and, from S7 a house in Wiltshire. For various reasons, I think it could be an estate. We see him patrolling the fences. There are cottages in the background. Perhaps they're tied cottages (a dwelling owned by an employer that is rented to an employee)? The point I'm making is everything points to him being "old money" (doesn't he train Faith to fit in with old money?). Doesn’t he want to be a grocer or a pilot when he’s young? You can see this as an early sign of rebellion - join the trades - the petit bourgeoisie - and escape the land. Perhaps his excitement at taking over the Magic Box is another form of rebellion? He doesn't really sully his hands with cash though does he? In S12, they refer to him as "distinguished looking - and Andrew is still responsible for money.

    At the same time, he returns home to take refuge in the land - it's his little piece of heaven and he's a little god there (I can back this up with theory) The point about the car is - Spike's De Soto is a reflection of who he is. Giles doesn't need status symbols - status comes naturally to him - he was born to it.

    The county he lives in is Conservative*. Giles, I think, is small c conservative - a social conservative.

    Social conservatism is the belief that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships, which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions. This can include moral issues. Social conservatism is generally sceptical of social change, and believes in maintaining the status quo concerning social issues such as family life, sexual relations, and patriotism”. These are the core values. It’s an “ideology” but not an ideology in the simple sense of a political idea. It’s a mind-set that creates reality.

    • Individualism – where people take personal responsibility for their actions
    • Organic society – where people have positions in society and that everyone integrates and has obligations to the community
    • Human nature - They believe that humans are imperfect and cannot be changed
    • Order & Hierarchy – Essential to the continuation of society for there to be structure and leadership
    • Tradition – This refers to the beliefs, institutions, customs, and practices handed down from one generation to the next
    • Inequality – There is an acceptance that while this has negative connotations it is a necessity for society to progress.

    It’s a set of values that usually go under the banner of “paternalism”. I’d argue that these are the ideas Giles holds dear. He might deviate from them at certain points but I think they’re probably fundamental to his sense of self. They’re values not only inscribed in Giles but in the landscape of the place he inhabits. I think he gives Buffy money in S6 to buy himself out of his paternal responsibilities.

    He could earn 80,000 but it could be 30,000 or 50,000. I don't think it matters to him. It doesn't matter because he has tons of it (probably tied up in property) and doesn't need to think about it. I think he considers money "vulgar". He's not ostentatious because ostentation - conspicuous consumption - was associated with the new middle class when capitalism started to emerge.

    Oh I dunno...I'm brain dead. I got most of this from that ruddy horse he's riding in S7! Much of what vampmogs says about hierarchy makes sense.

    *The filming in S7 is done round ASH's real home in Somerset. His real MP is Jason Bloody Rees Mogg*. That tells you all you need to know about the area!
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    Err...Jacob RM but Jason sounds funnier so I'm not changing it! And I think I might have already posted this on another thread.....
    Last edited by TriBel; 23-06-19 at 11:40 PM.

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    I love reading the reactions from those folk who live across the pond. It gives me a completely different appreciation of social class and values. Does WWP present as upper class? Does the fact that Giles sounded less posh as time went on mean anything about his actual class? What about Spike? Does he truly sound like a devolved gentleman?

    The fact that the Council has the lock on all watcher jobs could lower the pay considerably. After all, it's not like a trained watcher could get a job in the profession elsewhere. This is a quasi mystical calling passed down in families. Giles's father and grandmother were watchers, and he was told early on not only that this would be his career but that he had no choice in the matter. Clearly the council has a huge hand in educating watchers in areas that no other institution touches on - identification of various demons, methods to kill such demons, magic, protections, etc.

    Like a lot of people, I always assumed that Rupert Giles came form old money. He has never shown any sign of needing anything that he couldn't easily acquire. A watcher has to have the ability to purchase artifacts, books, and magical tools quickly and easily. While the council might be willing to reimburse for purchases, watcher would have to maintain considerable liquidity. Once the council is in the picture, I am sure there is a multitude of paperwork. I would guess that the careful accumulation of wealth is one aspect of being connected with the Council, but that the wealth is more tied to the family than the individual. This would expedite reimbursement.

    Being part of the council in some capacity is not only high in status, but that status accrues through generations of family connection. There is no other reason I can think of that would lead to WWP being given the charge of two slayers. Leaving the council is leaving behind the power of all those family connections. Those who have left, like Sirk, are viewed more like those who have left a religious cult than those who simply took a competing job offer. Arcane knowledge in the hands of those who would turn their backs on the mission is unearned power, and dangerous. I don't believe we meet any former watchers who aren't either insane or evil, a possible by product of dark magics. It's understandable given that they literally lose everything if they choose to leave. Even the Cruciantem was not enough to get Giles to quit. He had to be dismissed as a failure.

    Not sure if this add anything to the conversation, just some musing. Watchers are only brought into the fold from designated families that are part of a secret society. No one can ring the doorbell and just ask to become a watcher. In effect, the Council holds all the cards when it comes to pay, benefits, retirement, and working conditions.
    Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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    Fury says in the Real Me commentary they decided Giles was personally well-off.

    I don't think any specific watcher would be paid extremely well, maybe the upper folks like Travers, but a regular watcher would have access to large sums if they needed it.

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    I think the fact they are university educated and have enough money for generations to stay in the same line of work speaks to decent paychecks.


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    Quote Originally Posted by GoSpuffy View Post
    I think the fact they are university educated and have enough money for generations to stay in the same line of work speaks to decent paychecks.
    Along with severely padded expense accounts and the occasional under the table sale of excess ancient artifact.
    Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    I always had the impression that Giles apart from his Watcher‘s salary had a fortune of his own.

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    That fortune could belong to his family, and at some point he inherited them. Doesn't his big house in the comics belong to his wealthy aunts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoSpuffy View Post
    I think the fact they are university educated and have enough money for generations to stay in the same line of work speaks to decent paychecks.
    Here's a list of "political families" in the UK (there's 89). I'm inclined to use Westminster as the model simply because there seems to be an emphasis on England in relation to the WC. This is what Wiki says:

    "Certain families, such as the Cecils, owe their long-standing political influence to the composition and role of the House of Lords, which was still mainly composed of hereditary legislators until the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. Other families, such as the Longs, have had a long tradition of standing for elected office, usually in the House of Commons. Many such families were part of the landed gentry, who often exerted political control in a certain locality over many generations".

    The paycheck might be decent (as Priceless says, an MP's salary is 80,000 plus expenses) but for some of these families it's a drop in the ocean. It's status, influence, family expectations and tradition that are the determinant/attraction. Many MPs could do more lucrative jobs (the head of a primary school in Bath, Somerset earns as much as the MP for the area). Jacob (or Jason ) RM is alleged to be worth 150 million.

    What interests me about Giles when we see him at home in S7 is, this is the land of Arthurian Legend. Westbury's 27 miles from Glastonbury Tor. According to legend, Glastonbury Tor was the site of Avalon and the hiding place of the Grail. I wouldn't make this point if it weren't for the fact that S7 draws deliberate parallels between the Scythe and Arthurian legend (I also love the fact that "Somerset" means "the land of the Summer people" but I'm presuming this is coincidence!). It's associated with hidden forms of power, (ley-lines for instance), myth and magic, and I'm fairly sure it's this "power" (literally underground in some senses) that attracts families etc. I also note that we don't know the source of Kennedy's wealth and that JFK was also associated with Arthurian myth via Camelot (plus shady dealings that were less mythic). As Willow says - "everything connects". Have I mentioned recently how much I like Lessons?

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