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I've been indexing the Watcher Diaries covering the past two centuries. You'd be amazed at how numbingly long-winded some of these Watchers were.
Rupert Giles[src]

Watchers Diaries were a collection of journals, logs, and diaries kept by Watchers throughout the centuries,[1] written with the intent to be used in research for following Watchers.[2][3][4] The main focus of the Diaries was the actions of the Slayer,[5][6] including as well historical records on demons,[4][7] vampires,[2][3] and other foes[8] — but not always precise[9][10] nor complete.[6]


My death would already leave far too many important matters at loose ends. That is one of the unspoken purposes of the Watcher's Files. So that, when the end comes for me, others might have the information they need to take up the burden. May God have mercy on their souls.
―from the journal of Rupert Giles[src]
Watcher Diary 1774

A 1775 Watcher Diary entry.

In the late 19th century, the then Watcher-in-training Edna Giles wrote in her diary about her encounter with the vampire Roche and her suspicion on what turned to be a trap.[11]

In 1996, the Watcher Rupert Giles accompanied his Slayer, Buffy Summers, and wrote down observations on her technique, prioritizing, and execution while slaying a vampire.[12]

When Giles researched the vampire Angel, there was nothing under this name in text, except a Watcher Diary with entry from 200 years before with a mention in Ireland of Angelus. It described him as the one with angelic face, with a tattoo behind his right shoulder. According to the diary, he left Ireland and wreaked havoc in Europe for several decades; until about the year 1920, when he went to America, shunned other vampires, and lived alone, with no record of hunting.[2]

Bad Girls Watchers Diaries

With various Watchers Diaries, Wesley reads Giles's first entry.

In 1997, Giles researched Spike under the name William the Bloody and read that the vampire had earned his nickname by torturing his victims with railroad spikes. Notably, the Watcher also discovered Spike had fought two Slayers in the last century and killed them both. However, his age was described as barely 200[3] was imprecise, as William was born in 1853[13] and sired in 1880.[6] Another incorrect information was about his paramour Drusilla, reported as killed by a mob in Prague.[9]

In the same year, Buffy and her friend Willow Rosenberg stole a Watcher Diary from Giles to study Angel. The two girls found a 1775 entry with an illustration of Sarah Goodfriend, which inspired Buffy's Halloween costume.[14]

Watchers Diaries Buffy Fool for Love

Buffy disappointed with her research on Slayers' last battles.

Also in 1997, Giles indexed the Watchers Diaries covering the last couple of centuries. He noted the "numbingly pompous and long-winded" personality of some of the past Watchers.[1] In 1999, Buffy's new Watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, attempted to begin his writings on the Slayer, asking her to describe her patrol from the previous night. Wesley then had the opportunity to read Giles's first entry on Buffy, which described: "Slayer is willful and insolent. Her abuse of the English language is such that I understand only every other sentence."[5]

In 2000, Buffy suffered a near-fatal encounter with a vampire, and she studied the Watchers Diaries to learn more about previous Slayers' deaths and how to avoid making the same mistakes. However, she found the journals lacking any details about these deaths, which Giles speculated to be because the Watchers found it too painful to write about. In their research, they found the description of a Slayer in the early 18th century who had forged her own weapons.[6]

Watchers Diary Spike Dawn Blood Ties

Spike and Dawn read Giles's notes on the Key.

In 2001, Dawn Summers and Spike broke into the Magic Box shop to find Giles's hidden notes. Reading one of the books, Spike noted Giles wrote in a small handwriting and "as dull as he [talked]." With the information Giles had secretly archived, they discovered Dawn's original identity as the Key.[8]

Following the Twilight crisis and Giles's death, Faith Lehane inhered most of his possessions,[15] which included his Watchers Diaries collection. With Angel, they used his diaries to deal with Giles's unfinished business and as a guide to fighting demons, such as a Plagiarus demon in his late years.[4] The collection of Diaries pointed out to Alasdair Coames as a go-to guy in demon biology,[16] and Giles's journal described his own traumatic encounter with the Highgate Vampire.[7] Ultimately, Angel and Faith had the intention of studying the files to learn how to resurrect Giles.[17]

In the 23rd century, the Slayer Melaka Fray found an abandoned apartment full of past Watchers Diaries, with an illustration of the weapon on its floor. Reading through the old journals, she was able to learn about and connect with her predecessors, as she neither had the Slayer dreams nor a Watcher to guide her.[18]

Watchers Diary Tales

Fray finds the Watchers Diaries.

However, when time-traveled into this future, Buffy did not found useful information in the Diaries, only "a few sketchy references" that might be her or her friends, and the books did not mention the existence of thousands of activated Slayers.[19] The Watchers Diaries mentioned a certain "Gates," the last great Watcher, who sacrificed himself at "the Battle of Starbucks."[10] The inconsistencies of these writings may indicate this was a reference to Giles's death in a battle in the ruins of Sunnydale.[20]

After assisting the Scooby Gang in the Reckoning, Melaka returned to the 23rd century, although in a new and improved timeline. A group of Slayers welcomed her and explained that the Watchers Diaries described how she and her allies saved the world, which helped the Slayers forge a much better future than the one she had come from.[21]

Behind the scenes[]

  • In "What's My Line? Part One," Giles announces to be "indexing the Watchers Diaries covering the last couple of centuries," with piles of at least a hundred books; while in "Bad Girls," Wesley confirms with Giles if the less than fifteen books were "all the Diaries, including [Giles's] own." The difference in quantity may be a continuity error, but various in-world causes are plausible, such as the loss of books from the library in "Gingerbread," or Giles's distrust on the new Watcher making him hide most of his collection, or even that Wesley had asked him for the totality of Diaries only under a specific theme.