Giles/Ethan

Tell me

Oh flist, tell me a thing you fervently believe about Giles and Ethan. You can tell me two things if you're inspired, but just one will help. It can even be something like, "No, I never believed that their relationship was canonical."
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I believe Ethan was Giles' lifeline when he didn't want to go through watcher training. I believe Giles never dabbled in magic until he was with Ethan and that he looked up to him and ultimately felt betrayed when he realized how much Ethan didn't care if he hurt people....which is what pushed Giles back into being a Watcher.

Hope that helps.
Interesting! Your view overlaps with the one I've taken in this story in a whole bunch of ways. Woah.
I TOTALLY believe their relationship was canonical, to the point that I blink really hard on reading a fic in which DIERDRE is presented as Giles' primary or only sexual partner from that period.

I passionately disbelieve that Ethan-really-was-poor-and-tough-unlike-soft-posh-poser-Giles. Some subset of that may be true, but not the whole shebang.
I also think it was canonical, and renewed (if only for one night) in "A New Man". (Season 4: the season of Giles nookie.) I could also read it as Giles' only relationship with another man, possibly. Though generally I read Giles as that rare critter, the bisexual male.

Ethan just has that spurned-lover-stalker thing going, doesn't he? He desperately needs reaction from Giles, even if it's a boot to the kidney.
*nods* Yes. I could buy it being his only same-sex relationship, but I couldn't buy it as just a fling or a dalliance or a Magic Orgy Thing. The stakes are too high in their interactions for it to have been other than a relationship. And thus, I have a hard time seeing Giles any lower than a 2 on the Kinsey scale (that being "more than incidentally homosexual.")
Jane Epson pretty much confirmed that it is cononical. She said that when she wrote the Ethan Giles scenes she had in mind that the anger that they had for each other could only have been because they were once lovers.
There's all kinds of other interesting G/E contrasts in "A New Man": the green backdrop with plant behind Giles in the bar, contrasted with the reds behind Ethan. Feeds into my Giles-as-life-magic thing, along with all those houseplants in his library office. And the environs of his flat.
I don't think Giles felt the least bit bad about packing Ethan off with the Initiative. I think he would feel sympathetic for whatever Ethan suffered with them, but I don't think he would blame himself that Ethan was in that situation.
Hmm... we see Ethan a grand total of 4 times in canon, yes? And in the first 3, we see Giles actively hostile to him-- way out of proportion to what we see on screen as a provocation. We Giles actively cruel, dangerous, quite chillingly controlled in his rage. And we see an Ethan who taunts him with statements like, "They don't know what you are, do they?" And we get the nickname "Ripper", an obvious echo of the mass murderer of the same appellation.

I believe that ME never knew what they wanted canon to be, and they did a lot of selective ignoring of the ramifications of the clues Ethan conveyed about Giles. But-- I also believe there's enough there to say that:

Ethan retained fond, possibly sexual feelings about Giles, and
I think it's significant that Giles should turn to Ethan in "A New Man"-- the first friendly encounter, and the last we ever see. I think it's indicative of just how lost he is, how far from his true self he's wandered, that he should reach out to Ethan then. Ethan's some kind of reflection of Giles' own darkness.

I love the Band candy episode, but I think it gives too warm and fuzzy a picture of Giles' past. It's a Walter Mitty kind of imaginary life a 16 year old boy might have, that he's some kind of James Dean rebel. The lack of impulse control a 16 year old might also exhibit under the influence of this magical drug might be dangerous-- but the calculated cruelty, and enjoyment of it-- isn't present in this episode.

I believe, now that I think about it, that Ethan may have been attracted to Giles in some way. But I don't think it was ever reciprocated. Giles may have had sex with Ethan, but the magic and the power and yes, the evil they were tapping into, was more important to Giles than any human relationship. And that's why he has to work so hard to repudiate it later. Giles lost himself for a time, and gave in to some very dark parts of his nature, and Ethan is a reminder of that.

I also think it's not a coincidence that Ethan seems so affable and harmless. So might the serpent in the Garden of Eden....

Pretty sure that doesn't help. I like fics that make a loving relationship work between these two. But I'm pretty sure they're not canonical, in a rigid sense.

But then, neither was canon. But that's another post altogether.

Hob
I love the Band candy episode, but I think it gives too warm and fuzzy a picture of Giles' past. It's a Walter Mitty kind of imaginary life a 16 year old boy might have, that he's some kind of James Dean rebel. The lack of impulse control a 16 year old might also exhibit under the influence of this magical drug might be dangerous-- but the calculated cruelty, and enjoyment of it-- isn't present in this episode.

My personal take on it is that it is imaginary. "Band Candy" Giles isn't who Giles actually was at age 16. (Face it, he was a prep school boy.) It's who the adult Giles *wishes* he could have been. He's still the Giles he was at age 45 underneath: he drops what he was doing to fight the demon.


Yeah, either reading works. I was thinking that at 16, Giles might also have wished to be that way, and his later rebellion might have gone the direction it did precisely because he had these fantasies at 16. What doesn't work, though, is Buffy's take on the situation-- that they were dealing with "ticking time-bomb guy". She's extrapolating from the very limited info she has about Giles' past, but the candy has not really transported him back to the past she imagines. In some ways, as we see later (Season 5 where Giles interrogates the minion, or when he bullies Snyder to take Buffy back into school) that ticking time bomb is still present in him. There's a disturbingly dangerous something behind his eyes there. Shame it wasn't there more often, but that kind of complexity was beyond the writers, as was the internal consistency that would have made this kind of exploration of his character possible at all.