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The Journals of Rupert Giles: Volume 1 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2002
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About the Author
Nancy Holder has published more than 200 short stories and seventy-eight books, including the New York Times bestselling Wicked series. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, and far too many animals. Visit her at Nancy Holder.com.
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Hepless: It's Buffy's 18th birthday and she has her powers removed by the Watchers Council, She is tested against vampires and survives using her wits. Giles is against all this.
A New Man: It's Buffy's 19th birthday. Giles feels like he's not part of Buffy's inner circle anymore. She has Riley as a new boyfriend and talks about Professor Walsh all the time. Giles goes out for a drink with Ethan. He wakes in the morning to find he has turned into a Horned Demon. Buffy saves Giles by stabbing him with a silver letter opener.
Blood Ties: Buffy's 20th birthday. Glory is the main enemy and she is looking for The Key. Dawn discovers that she is The Key. Buffy saves Dawn from Glory. Buffy proves that Dawn is important to her no matter what.
There are some cases where this isn't completely true. Some authors (notably Chris Golden and Nancy Holder) use the opportunity to flesh out the characters and give the reader a deeper sense of the forces in play. Also, there are cases where one wants to know the contents of an important show and doesn't want to wait for the DVD. This latter is the reason for my decision to read 'The Journals..."
The story in point is "Helpless" where Giles deliberately cancels out Buffy's powers so that she can take a 'Cruciamentum' - a do or die test the Watchers put a Slayer through on her eighteenth birthday. In essence, the Slayer is trapped with a strong vampire and must use her wits to overcome it. Only in this case the vampire, Kralik, manages to get free. After turning one watcher and eating another, Kralik sets out after Buffy's mother. The slayer, betrayed by her own watcher must find a way out.
Holder does a great job of bringing across the inner characterization. Giles' agonizing and final rebellion against anything that might hurt Buffy redeems him from his betrayal. Surprisingly, Holder also manages to make Quentin, the head slayer, just enough more understandable, which adds to the intensity.
The other stories are handled equally well. 'A New Man' is set on Buffy's nineteenth birthday, with Giles feeling more than a bit useless. Buffy has a new boyfriend in Riley and someone else to admire in Professor Maggie Walsh. Giles is having a tough time letting go, and the sudden entrance of Ethan Rayne with a less that tasteful gift for Giles that leaves the ex-librarian dependent on Spike, of all people.
The last story, 'Blood Ties,' is set on Buffy's twentieth birthday, in the middle of Glory's search for the key - Dawn. This is the episode when Dawn discovers that she is not really human and goes through a complete identity crisis even as Glory is tracking her down. Buffy must stage a wild hunt of her own to keep Dawn from being used and erased. Holder does a good job of taking the reader from irritation at Dawn's less attractive personality traits to sympathy will a lonely person who does not know who she really is.
All three of these stories center on Giles feelings about Buffy during each of three very difficult birthdays. They demonstrate the tender nature of their feelings for each other as they shift from watcher and slayer to slayer and true father/friend. Nancy Holder does this sort of work as well as anyone can, taking a great deal of care to stay within the bounds of the show while deepening the overall experience. As such, this is worthwhile and entertaining reading. If you haven't seen one or more of these tales, this is recommended reading.
In negotiating the deal Krathalal makes Giles look back at Buffy's last three birthdays: "Helpless" (teleplay by David Fury), when Giles let the Watcher's Council do their incredibly stupid test of the Slayer without her powers, the Cruciamentum (yes, a dramatic episode, but, sheesh, what a stupid ritual for people with a supposedly vested interest in keeping Slayers alive�I really think they were tired of her and were trying to take her out); "A New Man" (teleplay by Jane Esperson) when Giles turns into Fyral demon, which is worse than being a fifth wheel in Buffy's life, especially since he has to turn to Spike for help; and "Blood Ties" (teleplay by Steven S. DeKnight), the events of earlier in the day when Dawn discovered the truth about herself and Glory almost killed them all. Ironically, it is the actual Watcher's journal that Giles keeps which reveals the truth to Dawn.
Will Krathalal protect Buffy and keep her alive until her 21st birthday? Well, we watched Season Five so we know the answer to that one, but that is not the point here. This book has to do with the departure of Rupert Giles (and Anthony Stewart Head) from Buffy. Holder makes these novelizations not simply retellings of the episodes but re-examinations of Giles and his relationship with the Slayer. After all, in "Helpless" he is fired, in "A New Man" he feels useless, while in "Blood Ties" he fails her. Usually I give novelizations four stars as a matter of course, but this framing device bumps it up one more. We should not have been surprised that Holder put some effort into this job. Of course, we cannot help but wonder how there will be a Volume 2 of "The Journals of Rupert Giles," since the Watcher has returned to England.
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By Nancy Holder, based upon teleplays "Helpless" by David Fury, "A New Man" by Jane Espenson, and "Blood Ties" by Steven S.Read more