Watcher was the title given to a member of the Watchers Council, devoted to studying, tracking, and combating malevolent supernatural entities, doing so through a Watcher assigned to train and guide the Slayer.
- “As I recall, I was informed at the age of ten that I would become a Watcher, then summarily packed off to study horror and death alongside Latin and Geometry.”
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
Watchers received training from a young age and had to attend the Watchers Academy, where Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was head boy when he attended. Watchers-in-training were often forced to take part in field tests, which required facing and defeating an enemy. These were often set in controlled setting, where a Watcher-in-training was placed in a situation without any information given to them or warning before hand, where they had to fight a vampire or demon by means necessary, similar to a Slayer's Tento di Cruciamentum.
A common testing method that lasted for decades involved locking them in a room with a starving vampire. Other tests weren't organized and were merely pre-existing threats, in which the Watchers-in-training were tasked with dealing with based on their studies. This could lead to an oversight on the Council's part if the information were incorrect, as with the Highgate Vampire incident. When it came to theory, Watchers were known to write theses on famous vampires.
Watchers swore sacred oaths that included an oath to protect the innocent. Associations with vampires were shunned and considered a perversion.
According to Wesley, training procedures have changed to some considerable degree since the 70's, with a greater emphasis on field work rather than books and theory. Watchers tended to be well-versed in ancient, supernatural texts and demonology along with possessing a reasonable degree of skill in hand-to-hand combat and linguistics.
As well as a calling, being a Watcher was also a paid occupation.
Training the Slayer
- Giles: “The Slayer slays. The Watcher...”
- Buffy: “Watches?”
- — on a Watcher's role[src]
Watchers taught Slayers hand-to-hand fighting skills mostly in the form of martial arts as well as teaching them to use traditional slayer weapons such as crossbows, axes, swords and quarterstaves. Slayers would be trained regularly; either to learn new skills or to maintain their physical well-being.
Rupert Giles often trained Buffy Summers during and after school hours in the Sunnydale High School library and later built in a training room in the Magic Box filled with gym mats, punching bags, and throwable weapons hung on the walls, such as shuriken and knives. He also would sometimes accompany her on patrol to monitor her slaying and review her technique.
Other than physical capability, Watchers also trained their Slayer's mentality and senses. Giles once required Buffy to hit him with a ball while blind-folded to test her awareness of an enemy and also conducted meditation with stones after Buffy requested he provide her with extra training so that she could become a better Slayer.
The approach to training the Slayer depended on the Watcher; Giles had a lighter manner of treating Buffy, accepting her social life with few conditions. Sam Zabuto employed a stricter attitude towards training his Slayer Kendra Young, barring her from her family and any form of a social life while teaching her according to a handbook which required her to study demon mythology. Buffy on the other hand was not given the handbook as Giles didn't feel she needed it after he met her. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce opted for a more orderly method of planning out strategies and focusing on three key concepts: Preparation, Preparation and Preparation. Sometime after Giles was fired, Buffy and Faith Lehane had to receive testing from the Watcher Council's shrink with things like the Rorschach test, physical examinations to assertive logic, and personality tests that asked if they ever wanted to be a florist (which apparently meant crazy).
After the activation of every Potential Slayer, Slayers were free to join the Slayer Organization where they were trained alongside each other. Joining Slayers were allocated to a specific area or country where they would receive their training under a sole Watcher or experienced Slayer.
- Willem Bryardale
- Bernard Crowley
- Duncan Fillworthe
- Mr. Giles
- Edna Giles
- Rupert Giles
- Rupert Giles (Wishverse)
- Alexa Landry
- Archibald Lassiter
- Frederich Lichtermann
- Merrick Jamison-Smythe
- Gwendolyn Post
- Rutherford Sirk
- Quentin Travers
- Laura Kay Weathermill
- Geoffrey Wyndam-Pryce
- Roger Wyndam-Pryce
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
- Sam Zabuto
- Unidentified Watcher
- Anni's Watcher
- Faith Lehane's Watcher
- Melaka Fray's Watcher
- Naayéé'neizgháni's Watcher
- Violet's Watcher
- Unidentified Council member I
- Unidentified Council member II
- Unidentified Council member III