Antenna (antennapedia) wrote,

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Today's collection of half-formed thoughts concerns Ripper.

You remember Ripper. It's the name Ethan Rayne always uses for Giles, first introduced in "Halloween". It's the name Joyce uses for him in "Band Candy". It's bad-Magic hates-the-world ticking-time-bomb guy. It's Mr I spent the 70s in an electric Kool-Aid funky Satan groove.

I maintain that Ripper is not a separate person from Giles. And he doesn't necessarily speak in that accent we hear in "Band Candy".

Let's start with the Giles of "Band Candy", since this is really the only time we see a Giles who calls himself Ripper. The candy: magically cursed to remove inhibitions, or at least suppress an adult's sense of responsibility. The effect was designed to allow the Mayor's vamps to steal babies as a demon sacrifice and leave the town's adults blaming themselves the next morning, when they sobered. (And one suspects it was also designed to satisfy Ethan's sense of whimsy. He does love his chaos.) The adults under the influence of the candy are far more irresponsible than actual teenagers. The Scoobies are shocked.

Candy!Giles is irresponsible. He steals, knocks out the cop who sees his theft, and then there's the whole stevedore/hood of the policecar/twice thing with Joyce. But he still fights with Buffy to stop the demon and save the day. He still remembers his demon lore and produces it at the right time to find the demon. At the core, he's still Giles.

Candy!Giles is more a construct of Giles' own image of himself as a younger man than who Giles actually was at age 16. I suspect at 16 that Giles was actually a hard-studying schoolboy. Giles uses the name "Ripper" in that mode because it's the name he chose for himself during a time when he was genuinely irresponsible.

Ripper is irresponsible Giles. Ripper was who Giles tried to be at the age of 21, when he ran from Oxford to escape the pressure of his destiny. When Ethan uses that name, he's attempting to force Giles back into that role. Giles doesn't want the role any more-- he's chosen responsibility.

Giles hasn't locked away his violent side. He pulls that out when it's useful: beating Ethan to undo the Halloween spell, threatening Snyder, shoving a sword through the Mayor's chest. All cases where he's defending Buffy, you'll notice. He's still acting as the Watcher. That's not Ripper.

Olivia calls Giles "Ripper" as well. We have little information about her, so we don't know why. Is it because she's known him since those days? Or is "Ripper" what Giles wants his non-Council friends to call him? If the latter, then all this theorizing goes right out the window.

Anyway. I'm not going for the multiple personality approach to Ripper, Rupert, and Giles.
Tags: analysis, fandom:btvs, giles

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