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John Fay Reveals Why Ianto Joens Had To Die


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#1 DWF

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 07:33 PM

http://blastr.com/20...ter-reveals.php

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In an interview with scyfilove, Fay explained how Torchwood creator Russell T. Davies came up with the idea and why it was the right thing to do for the show:

"Russell wanted that to happen, although they are my words," he said. "It was absolutely the right thing to do, though, from the point of view of the story and what it gave to the last episode.

"The strength of Torchwood and Russell's vision is that you don't know the heroes are going to survive. That's been well established now!

"That adds a sense of jeopardy to the show which leaves everyone wondering what will happen next."

For the writer, Ianto's death was a means to show the cost of immortality for Captain Jack Harkness: a character who could only live to see everyone else ultimately die around him:

"In my mind, I was always aware that Jack had gone through this situation many times before, and that was really interesting to me. How do you have a relationship and fall in love with someone when you know -- absolutely know -- you will be around to see them die?

"That's a real tragedy that Jack has to carry around with him, as well as a fascinating weight to hang around a character's shoulders."

When Fay was asked if he planned to bring Ianto Jones back to the series, the writer answered: "I'm not going to answer that [...], you'll just have to watch and see."

:huh:
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#2 Cybersnark

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:09 PM

If Ianto does come back, I hope it's only as a ghost in Jack's memory.

Much as I loved the character, bringing him back would just cheapen it.
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#3 Bad Wolf

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:36 PM

Yeah just like bringing Spock, Buffy, Angel and Spike back cheapened it.

Oh wait.

The "it will cheapen it" argument is not nearly as persuasive as some might think.

That said, this interview...um, it's nothing new.  I wish they'd just leave it alone.  If he's dead he's dead.
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#4 NexusNine

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 11:27 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on 10 September 2010 - 09:36 PM, said:

Yeah just like bringing Spock, Buffy, Angel and Spike back cheapened it.

Oh wait.

The "it will cheapen it" argument is not nearly as persuasive as some might think.

  

It depends on the story.  In this case, it would absolutely cheapen it.  It was a statement of Jack's immortality and what he loses because of it.  They can only bring back Ianto if bringing him back has consequences.  There were consequences for bringing Buffy back.  The same with Spike.  Whedon shows almost always explores the consequences of one's actions.
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#5 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:05 AM

Jack's immortality has been thrown in his face over and over.  Estelle's death.  Owen's death.  Tosh's death. Suzie's death.  His GRANDSON'S death.  We didn't need Ianto's death to have that dramatic point made.  It was gratuitous in the grand tradition of Joss Whedon doing things like killing Tara or Wash.  I have zero respect for it.  

And bringing Ianto back will not undo a single one of those other dramatic *reminders* to Jack about how he gets to live while those around him die, some of them even at his own hand.

Edited by Bad Wolf, 11 September 2010 - 11:07 AM.

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#6 NexusNine

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:22 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on 11 September 2010 - 11:05 AM, said:

Jack's immortality has been thrown in his face over and over.  Estelle's death.  Owen's death.  Tosh's death. Suzie's death.  His GRANDSON'S death.  We didn't need Ianto's death to have that dramatic point made.  It was gratuitous in the grand tradition of Joss Whedon doing things like killing Tara or Wash.  I have zero respect for it.  

And bringing Ianto back will not undo a single one of those other dramatic *reminders* to Jack about how he gets to live while those around him die, some of them even at his own hand.
  

There was nothing at all gratuitous about Tara's death in Buffy.  That was an absolutely necessary story beat in the series.  Tara was Willows voice of reason, her heart in many ways.  Her death needed to happen for the sake of the story.  And the same goes for Wash.  It was Zoe's test of will, the solid leader figure that was tested when her heart and soul were ripped away from her.  Joss goes through a long process before killing off a character.  Sometimes a process that lasts for years.  And usually those who dislike his decision to kill a character stems largely from their love of said character.  

CoE was about loss and making the hard choices.  Jack was being pushed to his dramatic ends, pushing him to test his conviction as a person.  Jack held his ground through all of it, the loss of his lover and his grandson, and he saved the world.  But he shut down right after it was finished and ran.  Ianto fans won't let it go, but I stand by that the death was needed in this case.  Tosh was my favorite character on the show, and I was pretty upset about her death, but I see why it works for the story.

Edited by NexusNine, 11 September 2010 - 08:42 PM.

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#7 DWF

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:46 PM

If Ianto returns in person his death would IMO be alittle meaningless, it's bad enough they found a way to kill Owen twice over which I'm sure some fans were thrilled about. Still though I didn't know John Fay was involved in the new season, so I have to wonder if he's just talking off the top of his head. :unsure:
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#8 Bad Wolf

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 01:51 AM

Nothing about Ianto dying had a thing to do with Jack making a difficult choice.  Killing his grandson.  THAT was a difficult choice.

As for Tara, I disagree.  But I seem to remember that you're a Season Six Buffy fan so that may just have to be one where we agree to disagree and leave it at that.  Though imo it's the story (not her needing to die for it) that WAS the problem in S6, which I'll allow is a different issue than whether the death was gratuitous within the story context.
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#9 NexusNine

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 02:31 AM

View PostBad Wolf, on 12 September 2010 - 01:51 AM, said:

Nothing about Ianto dying had a thing to do with Jack making a difficult choice.  Killing his grandson.  THAT was a difficult choice.
  

It was about loss and difficult decisions.  Jack could have stopped right then and there, but he didn't, even in the face of losing someone he loves.  And then he, in some sense, had to betray his own daughter for the greater good of humanity, even after losing one person that he loved.  CoE was about pushing Jack to the very edge, and Ianto, I really think, was the first and proper step story wise.  I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

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As for Tara, I disagree.  But I seem to remember that you're a Season Six Buffy fan so that may just have to be one where we agree to disagree and leave it at that.  Though imo it's the story (not her needing to die for it) that WAS the problem in S6, which I'll allow is a different issue than whether the death was gratuitous within the story context.
  

Season six was outright brilliant in my opinion.  It was bold and it was human.  It forced us to see our favorite characters with all their flaws.  That is a bold move on a show that many had come to see as a clear cut, good guys versus bad guys kind of thing.  Here the heroes WERE the bad guys.  Well, not bad, but flawed and just as capable of being evil and messed up as anyone else is.  And in the end, it was a tender human moment that saved not just the wold, but Willow's soul.  I stand by that season six, I think, is wildly unappreciated.  But that's just my view.  I get that mileage varies on this one.  Now I want to watch season six. :)
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#10 NeuralClone

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 03:55 PM

I completely agree with NexusNine about Ianto. It was necessary for the story.

Personally, I've never understood the appeal of Ianto Jones. Both him and Owen were two of the blandest characters on the entire show. Owen didn't get interesting until he died in mid-season 2 and by then it was too late. Ianto did have some good one liners but other than that, he was rather bland and underdeveloped as a character. And his relationship with Jack was barely explored. Now Tosh, on the other hand, was an absolutely gratuitous death on every level. They killed off one of the strongest characters on the show and got rid of one of their best actors.

I felt Tara's death a lot more than Ianto's death because she was developed more as a character. And so was her relationship with Willow. Joss Whedon made me care more about the characters and their relationship. THEN he killed off Tara. Her death was about as brutal to watch as Buffy's mother's death. Although I think Alyson Hannigan is a much better actor than John Barrowman. So that may have had something to do with it too. That isn't a dig at Barrowman, by the way. I love him as Jack Harkness. I just think Alyson Hannigan has far more range as an actor.

If the first two seasons of Torchwood had had more consistent writing, then I think the character development issue with Ianto would have been solved. And the same goes for his relationship with Jack. It wasn't until Children of Earth that Ianto felt like a fully realized character, which was just bad timing to start fully developing him. He needed that development long before they killed him off. I blame inconsistent writing and not acting for why it was difficult for me to care as much about Ianto as Tara. It has nothing to do with it being a gay relationship instead of a lesbian one. If a story doesn't get me to care about the characters, then their deaths won't hit me as hard.

As for season 6 of Buffy...

Hide: Digression about season 6 of Buffy

Edited by NeuralClone, 12 September 2010 - 03:59 PM.

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#11 Christopher

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:43 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 12 September 2010 - 03:55 PM, said:

If the first two seasons of Torchwood had had more consistent writing, then I think the character development issue with Ianto would have been solved. And the same goes for his relationship with Jack. It wasn't until Children of Earth that Ianto felt like a fully realized character, which was just bad timing to start fully developing him.

I tend to agree.  In the first two seasons, Ianto's flirtation with Jack just came off as kind of gratuitous and arbitrary -- hey, here's this guy who's sort of the Torchwood butler and does stuff for people, and oh, by the way, that includes providing sexual favors to his horny male boss, even though the one thing we know about his personal life is that he really loved his girlfriend who just recently got killed.  I'm reluctant to apply the word "gratuitous" to sexual interactions between characters, because that usually implies that there's something wrong with the fact of the sex itself, but it's gratuitous in that the character motivations are arbitrary or nonexistent.  It's just "Hey, look how post-watershed we are, everyone's screwing everyone."

But in CoE, Ianto's relationship with Jack started to become interesting, a heterosexual man who, to his own surprise, found himself in love with another man and trying to figure out what it meant.  If they'd started with that in S1, had Ianto gradually begin to realize he was falling in love with Jack as Jack helped him cope with Lisa's death and then eventually begin responding sexually to Jack, that would've been much better storytelling and character development.  And it would've been a more positive and mature exploration of a gay relationship than just doing an all-male version of the antiquated "secretary sexually servicing the boss" trope.
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#12 NeuralClone

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:51 PM

View PostChristopher, on 12 September 2010 - 04:43 PM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 12 September 2010 - 03:55 PM, said:

If the first two seasons of Torchwood had had more consistent writing, then I think the character development issue with Ianto would have been solved. And the same goes for his relationship with Jack. It wasn't until Children of Earth that Ianto felt like a fully realized character, which was just bad timing to start fully developing him.

I tend to agree.  In the first two seasons, Ianto's flirtation with Jack just came off as kind of gratuitous and arbitrary -- hey, here's this guy who's sort of the Torchwood butler and does stuff for people, and oh, by the way, that includes providing sexual favors to his horny male boss, even though the one thing we know about his personal life is that he really loved his girlfriend who just recently got killed.  I'm reluctant to apply the word "gratuitous" to sexual interactions between characters, because that usually implies that there's something wrong with the fact of the sex itself, but it's gratuitous in that the character motivations are arbitrary or nonexistent.  It's just "Hey, look how post-watershed we are, everyone's screwing everyone."

But in CoE, Ianto's relationship with Jack started to become interesting, a heterosexual man who, to his own surprise, found himself in love with another man and trying to figure out what it meant.  If they'd started with that in S1, had Ianto gradually begin to realize he was falling in love with Jack as Jack helped him cope with Lisa's death and then eventually begin responding sexually to Jack, that would've been much better storytelling and character development.  And it would've been a more positive and mature exploration of a gay relationship than just doing an all-male version of the antiquated "secretary sexually servicing the boss" trope.
Well-said. Agreed on everything.

I should clarify that I didn't find Ianto bland or uninteresting in CoE. Quite the opposite. The same goes for his relationship with Jack. In the first two seasons, he didn't really do enough and wasn't developed enough for me to really connect with the character. He was mostly just in the background. They started to develop him early in season 1, but that development was mostly put on hold again until CoE. And that's a shame. Then again, I found that most of seasons 1 and 2 had tons of wasted potential throughout.

Edited by NeuralClone, 12 September 2010 - 04:53 PM.

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