- “Chaos. I remain, as ever, thy faithful, degenerate son.”
- ―Ethan Rayne[src]
Ethan Rayne was a very skilled chaos-worshipping wizard from Rupert Giles' troubled past, an enemy of the Scooby Gang, and a magical subcontractor who performed odd jobs for demons and humans alike either for money or his own pleasure.
- Buffy: “You know Giles?”
- Ethan: “We go back. Way back.”
- — Buffy Summers and Ethan Rayne[src]
In the early 1970s, Ethan met, and became friends with, Rupert Giles, then known as Ripper. Together, with Deirdre Page, Philip Henry, Thomas Sutcliffe and Randall, they practiced small magics for pleasure and gain, until Ethan and Ripper discovered something bigger: the demon known as Eyghon, or the Sleepwalker.
The group tattooed themselves with the Mark of Eyghon. They would take turns falling asleep while the rest of the group would summon the demon into the sleeper. Eventually Eyghon took control of Randall, the others tried to exorcise the demon, which resulted in Randall's death. Ripper was changed by the event; he left London and returned to the Watchers Council. Ethan, on the other hand, went the opposite direction, delving deeper into the black arts. When Ethan asked, years later, when things had changed, when they stopped being mates, Giles replied "When you started to worship chaos."
- Giles: “Hello, Ethan.”
- Ethan: “Hello, Ripper. What, no hug? Aren't you happy to see your old mate?”
- — Giles and Ethan[src]
Ethan first appeared in Sunnydale as the seemingly benevolent owner of Ethan's Costume Shop in October 1997. On Halloween, Ethan cursed his costumes, in the name of the god Janus, to change the wearer into whatever they were dressed as. However, he was discovered by Giles, who beat Ethan until he divulged the secret to reversing the spell.
Ethan later looked for Giles at the Sunnydale High School library. He had been having dreams of Eyghon and the fate of the others who wore his mark; Ethan knew that the demon had returned. The Mark of Eyghon acted as a beacon for the demon to locate, kill, and possess each member. Ethan planned to "hide behind the Slayer", exploiting her desire to protect Giles and thus protect himself in the process. He knocked Buffy Summers unconscious in order to restrain her. He tattooed the Mark of Eyghon on the back of her neck and removed his own with acid, in the hope of fooling Eyghon. The substitution worked and the demon lost interest in him, instead it attacked Buffy. However, Giles, along with the rest of the Scooby Gang, arrived and killed Eyghon. Ethan managed to escape while the others were distracted.
The Tribute to Lurconis
- “I'm subcontracting. It's Trick you want. I'm just helping him collect a tribute.”
- ―Ethan Rayne[src]
About a year later, Mr. Trick, in the employment of Mayor Richard Wilkins, called upon Ethan to distract Sunnydale's adult population during a tribute ceremony for Lurconis. Ethan cursed the candy bars that were distributed to adults through Sunnydale High School students. During this incident Ethan saves one of his employees by stopping him from eating the product, knowing Mr Trick would kill this worker. This was one of the few acts of mercy we see from Ethan. He does not stop Trick from killing another worker for this transgression. Ethan's curse on the chocolate made adults act as if they were teenagers, leaving much of the city unprotected, including the hospital where the tribute of small babies needed to be taken from. Though Buffy and Giles uncovered the plot and prevented it from being carried out, both Mr. Trick and Ethan escaped.
- “You know demons, it's all exaggeration and blank verse. "Pain as bright as steel", that kind of thing. They're scared. And there's something called three-fourteen's got 'em scared most of all.”
- ―Ethan Rayne[src]
Ethan returned to Sunnydale, yet again, the following year. He was discovered, lurking in a crypt, by Giles. Ethan convinced Giles not beat him, as Giles had earlier threatened if Ethan returned. Instead, they went for a drink together. Ethan warned Giles that The Initiative was throwing the worlds out of balance, which went "way beyond chaos", into "one hell of a fight." Giles didn't seem to take the warning seriously; instead he was somewhat envious of the Initiative. After spending the night reminiscing and drinking with Ethan, Giles awoke the next morning in the form of a Fyarl Demon. Ethan went into hiding at the Sunnydale Motor Inn while Giles, with the help of Spike, tracked him. After Ethan reversed the spell, he was arrested by the Initiative, who placed him in military custody pending determination of his status. Afterward, he was sent to a rehabilitation facility in Nevada.
- “Twilight is falling. You're gonna need all the help you can get. Pet.”
- ―Ethan to Buffy[src]
Ethan reappeared for the first time in several years, acting as Buffy's guide in the "dreamspace," where he offered her cryptic messages about an approaching Twilight and showed her some of her more symbolic dreams. He also helped Buffy find a fragment of Amy Madison's "dreamspace" in order to find a memory to use against her.
While infiltrating a military installation two miles south of Sunnydale, Buffy attempted to break Ethan out of his cell, but instead found him dead, having been shot in the head and apparently killed by General Voll, a member of the Twilight Group.
Agent of Eyghon
Despite his death, Ethan returned thanks to Eyghon, who was able to reanimate Ethan in a state virtually identical to his appearance in life, albeit with a hole in his head from where he had been shot. With a hat to disguise his injury—and with his death during a black ops operation meaning that he was never officially declared deceased—Ethan attended Giles's funeral to recover his old friend's body, turning Giles into another vessel for Eyghon.
Personality and traits
- “I've got to learn to just do the damage and leave town. It's the stay-'n-gloat gets me very time.”
One of Ethan's most distinctive traits was his taste for theatrics shown in most of his schemes and manner of speech. A sadist at heart, he derived great pleasure from causing mayhem, chaos and suffering, as well as from turning people away from social norm and releasing their inner darkness. It was his hubris, however, and his egotistical nature that led him to constantly "stay-'n-gloat" to admire the result of his actions, which he acknowledged.
Powers and Abilities
Ethan's years of experience in the world of the supernatural made him a skilled sorcerer and chaos magician, adept at performing curses and transmogrification. He also had great knowledge of demonology and black magic as well as possessing fluency in Latin. The Mark of Eyghon granted him a psychic link of sorts to the demon, and gave him visions when the demon was in close proximity. He also claims to have "missed [his] calling as an artist" after tattooing Buffy with the Mark of Eyghon.
However, his fighting skills were mediocre, as Giles repeatedly beat him up with little-to-no effort; whenever Giles did so, Ethan didn't even try to fight back.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by the late Robin Sachs. Sachs died of a heart attack in February 2013.
- Writer Jane Espenson believes that Giles and Ethan had some sexual history in their younger days, stating "Come on, they both went to public school!"
- Ethan was one of the villains of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds having set the story by making a deal with the First Evil to gain incredible power if his five champions (Buffy, Faith, Spike, Willow and Xander) beat the First's five champions (Anyanka, Vampire Tara, Ripper, Kakistos and Adam). Buffy and her friends won the contest but Buffy defeated the First with Hope's Dagger and Ethan was left behind in its dimension when the others returned home, having been dragged there against his will by Buffy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy Season Eight
- "The Long Way Home, Part Two"
- "The Long Way Home, Part Three"
- "The Long Way Home, Part Four" (Killed)
Angel and Faith
- "Death and Consequences, Part Two" (Only in flashbacks)
- "Death and Consequences, Part Three"
- "Death and Consequences, Part Four"