Yes I know this is my second Buffy-related OOT but what can I say, I have a major crush on the dashing librarian Rupert Giles, played by Anthony Head. I have difficulty separating the character from the actor (see also: Rupert Penry Jones) but I don’t think that really matters, does it?
As Giles (and why is he always referred to as ‘Giles’ by Buffy and chums, as if that’s his first name? is it a reference to his public school background?) Anthony gets to play to his strengths as a suave, debonair Englishman with an academic bent.
I’m only on Season 4 so far (so please don’t reveal any gigantic spoilers in the comments!) but from what I’ve seen so far, Giles has evolved from his original role as Buffy’s uptight, overcautious Watcher into a more fatherly figure who cares deeply about his ward and her friends.
As the seasons passed, he fell in love (with Miss Calendar, who died), held up bravely under torture and was shown to have a debauched, misspent youth (which he revisited in Band Candy, Episode 6, Season 3) when all the adults in Sunnydale reverted to their teenage selves – and THIS is when he enjoyed a dalliance with Buffy’s mum Joyce!)
Giles is charming, mild mannered, intelligent and brave and I don't believe another actor wouldn’t have been able to give his character these qualities in quite the same way as Anthony did. I’m sure this is in part due to the fact he studied at LAMDA but more importantly thanks to the pivotal role he played in the Nescafé Gold Blend adverts in the late ‘80s.
Rupert Giles/Anthony Head embodies all those qualities that we ascribe to the quintissential Englishman - well mannered, courageous, courteous but with just a hint of a more rebellious character below the surface which you want to unleash! I imagine he smells of musty books, a refined, old fashioned aftershave from some little gentlemen's barber on Jermyn Street and tobacco ('young Giles' had a packet of fags tucked into his sleeve, James Dean-style.)
Is it strange that I conflate fictional characters with the actors who play them? Or is that what fantasies are all about - creating a person in your head who possesses exactly those qualities that you admire who couldn't possibly exist in real life?
Tell me which made-up people you like and if you want to write a tribute to them, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!