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29 November 2012 @ 10:18 am
Show-canon, Extended-universe canon, Fanon, & Head-canon  
Hey there!

I'm fairly new to Torchwood, having just found the show and gotten into it within the last few months. I'm trying desperately to catch up with the fan community, and I love that this community-about-meta exists! I thought I'd toss some stuff out there:

Most of us accept the show as Canon (though some vary about the ending of CoE and all of MD). How do you feel about the extended-universe Torchwood stuff? Here I mean the audio books/plays, the torchwood.co.uk website*, the print books, and other Official BBC Releases.

What Fanon is common in the fan community? Part of my problem is that, coming into it late, it's hard for me to tell what's fanon and what's extended-universe stuff that I just haven't encountered yet.

Also, what do you have in your personal head-canon that isn't part of any of the above, just stuff that feels Right to you?

*I really wish that the website from Season 1 was still available. I've only heard about the Captain's Logs, and there's lots of stuff from there that shows up in fics.
nothing-rhymes-with-iantoqafkinnetic on November 29th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
All of my meta is on Tumblr (Maybe I should post it over here?) and we've had some conversations about that: http://nothing-rhymes-with-ianto.tumblr.com/post/31713202616/compilation-of-conversation-about-jack-ianto-and-pet

Some fanon common in the fan/fanfiction community:
Ianto working in the archives.
Myfanwy being Ianto's pet.
Jack living in the Hub 24/7 (meaning he doesn't have an actual proper house somewhere).
Ianto's mum being in Providence Park (the mental institute).
Ianto being a cat person is another thing I've seen a lot, also Ianto liking old movies.
Myfanwy actually being named Myfanwy. The crew named the greenscreen pterodactyl 'Myfanwy' while they were filming Cyberwoman. Barrowman mentioning that just carried over into fanon.

There are others, but at the moment I can't think of them.
Oni no Maggieoninomaggie on November 29th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the meta discussion! I generally avoid Tumblr, just because it seems so set up for images and discussion is more difficult to do than it is at a place like LJ, so I didn't see it there before.

I agree with you that "Yan" is annoying, and that "Cariad" is out of character for the type of relationship that J&I have in canon, except mayyyybe in exceptionally intimate moments. (I disagree that pet names are distancing, but there y'go.)

I think that Ianto liking old movies can be inferred from canon, especially FOOTR.
nothing-rhymes-with-iantoqafkinnetic on November 29th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
Yes! Also, if you take the novels, radio plays, etc as canon, we also know that he's a James Bond fan, as it's mentioned in two separate novels.
Kate: bad a** teaboyjedi_harkness on November 30th, 2012 06:27 am (UTC)
Ah, I wondered if the Bond thing was mentioned in the novels. Thanks for clearing that up for me. (I've only read four of the novels so far.)
nothing-rhymes-with-iantoqafkinnetic on November 30th, 2012 06:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, in Trace Memory and....Consequences? I think? Or Pack Animals? I forget now.
Kate: wintertime Jackjedi_harkness on November 30th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
Ha! Those are the titles I want to read next! ;D
You People And Your Quaint Little Categories: Ianto By Star Of The Moonjoanne_c on December 9th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)
Well, that puts a whole new spin on the poly Bond story (with Ianto/Gwen watching Jack and Bond) story I wrote ages back... heh.
Kate: Torchwood teamjedi_harkness on November 29th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the fandom!

Firstly I'd like to recommend the iantos_desktop comm, which has an archive of the Captain's Blogs. You can also find the Captain's Blogs in print form in The Torchwood Archives hardcover book from BBC Books.

I like the all the "extended universe" works I've read and listened to so far, and I have to say if there's any form of them I take as canon, it's the radio plays. They seemed to have been the most intended to go along with canon, especially "House of the Dead" since that seemed to have been written to give closure to the Jack/Ianto story, and "Lost Souls" took place right after "Exit Wounds". As much as I enjoy the books, it's sadly clear that they don't pay attention to canon. As you pointed out, even the show deviates from established canon at times. (The one thing that irritates me the most about it, much as I love it.)

As for fanon, well I've read so much fanfiction that it's hard to think of specific things. The ones in my mind mainly regard Ianto and Jack. Interestingly enough I've noticed most fanon has to do with Ianto, most likely because the least was revealed about him on the show. I'll list which fanons I've noticed the most, but bear in mind that I haven't read all the books, so some of them might actually have been taken from the novels...

Ianto is a James Bond fan: I think this sprang from the fact that Ianto introduced himself to Jack as "Jones, Ianto Jones", plus that he prefers to dress in suits (although I think that's because he was in Torchwood One where suits were required). Another thing about the suits, that Ianto kept wearing them just to please Jack. That's certainly within the realm of possibly, and it seemed clear from "Fragments" that the suits were initially part of Ianto's plans to get in Jack's good graces.

Ianto's childhood: The most common things I see in the fics are that Ianto father abused him, and that his mother went mad and was institutionalized. Again, I don't know for sure if this is fanon, or if it was mentioned in the novels. There was the mention that Ianto's broken leg was caused by his father, the fact that Ianto lied about his father being a master tailor, and some vague allusions to what went on in the Jones family in "House of the Dead", but nothing more than that.

Ianto's sexuality: This has to be one of the most debated things in the fandom. The most common fanon has him being either bi-sexual or gay, and there's a lot of stories where he has encounters with other men during, after, and even before his relationship with Jack. The "Twilight Streets" novel has Ianto identifying himself as bi-sexual, but tortured about it. If you take the scene with Rhiannon as canon, the only man he's been with, and ever wants to be with, is Jack. To tell the truth, GDL sells that scene so well that I believe it.

Jack is not monogamous: He might have casual relationships, but all the evidence in the show and other BBC materials suggest that he's not a cheater.

Jack prefers 1940s music: This has been discussed here before, and this notion is taken from the fact that Jack played Glenn Miller when he met Rose. While he has an apparent affinity for the '40s, I don't think he exclusively likes the music from that period. What about the music from his own time, for instance? I also seem to recall a couple of moments from the show where he seems to enjoy the music whenever he's gone into a club. Jack just likes to have fun, and he seems like the kind of guy who doesn't care what sort of music he has that fun to. Well, he doesn't like "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper", and I also have a sneaking suspicion he doesn't like country music. *heh*
Oni no Maggieoninomaggie on November 29th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
Oooo! I had seen the Ianto's Desktop comm, but when I read the most recent post I wrote it off as yet another dead TW comm - I didn't look into it and see the actual content. That helps a lot!

Yeah, I don't get the non-monogamous!Jack trope either. It was clear that he could have tapped Gwen anytime he wanted to, and that he was definitely interested in her, but he respected the relationship between her and Rhys. (He certainly didn't refrain because he felt that boss-employee liasons were unethical, that's for sure.) I've known people like Jack before - they like to flirt like crazy, but that doesn't mean they're constantly looking for one-night stands. He's got a busy life and a steady source of nookie, I don't think he'd go out looking for strange on a regular basis.
Kate: Santa Jack Harknessjedi_harkness on November 30th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
iantos_desktop has sadly been dead for a while, but folks here still use it for reference, especially since the old TW website has gone into the ether.

Yeah, if Jack was as much a man-whore as some writers portray him as, he would've been tapping the whole team! (I'm sure he might have fantasized about the idea once or twice!)
You People And Your Quaint Little Categories: Blue Rose by My Utopiajoanne_c on December 9th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
To be fair, there's a middle ground between monogamous and cheating, and that's understood, negotiated poly, which is, I'll freely admit, my own personal fanon. Just because we never see it talked about doesn't mean it's not possible. But I just feel Ianto would've known that about Jack before getting involved with him and have accepted it.

Others may interpret it differently and it is just as valid as my own, of course.
marii_chanmarii_chan on December 2nd, 2012 07:14 am (UTC)
Totally agree with you about non-monogamous Jack. Had to say that.

I remember reading one of the books (or it might have been an audiobook) but basically Ianto was sitting around in the Hub and/or Tourist Office having a personal Bond-a-thon. This is probably where this stems from. I believe this was also the book/audiobook where Jack bestows on him the nickname "Tiger-pants".
Kate: Ianto Jones Societyjedi_harkness on December 2nd, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
I did know that "Tiger-Pants" came from the novels, and I now know the Bond thing comes from them as well. Thanks for the reply. :)
coldwater1010 on November 29th, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
I tend to think any material officially sanctioned by the show is canon particularly for the purposes of fanfiction. Of course that leads to all sorts of contradictions like Ianto is bisexual in the books, but Jacksexual on the show and his father was some sort of miner in one of the books, I think, but the show tells us he worked at Debenhams.

Other fanon: Ianto cries at the drop of a hat, especially about being Jack's part-time shag and everyone on the team is mean to him, especially Owen, who always, and I mean always, calls him teaboy.

Ianto and Tosh are best friends or Ianto and Gwen are besties. Ianto seems pretty friendly with everyone as far as I can tell especially post season 1, but other than Jack, there's no real indication he really hangs out with these people all that much. They all seem like work friends rather than real friends.

Tosh obsessively watches Jack and Ianto on cctv and the team is overly invested in Jack and Ianto's sex shenanigans.

The whole Ianto puts the team on decaf when he's upset with them.

Ianto is ocd.
marii_chanmarii_chan on December 2nd, 2012 07:09 am (UTC)
Man I was just thinking about the Ianto/Tosh besties-4-eva thing the other day.

I just kept thinking how out of character it feels for Tosh whenever I read it. They don't spend a whole lot of time developing Tosh, but one thing they do make clear is the fact that she's pretty introverted.

I started thinking that perhaps it stemmed from that moment in Adam when they start talking about Ianto's diary, but the whole point of that episode is that she was out of character.

I also agree with pretty much everything else you said too. Glad to see I'm not alone.

Edited at 2012-12-02 03:31 pm (UTC)
the_silver_sunthe_silver_sun on November 30th, 2012 12:17 pm (UTC)
If you want to see the original BBC series one website it's viewable here the basic red and black html version http://web.archive.org/web/20070208010644/http://www.torchwood.org.uk/html/index.shtmlor the swirly blue version http://web.archive.org/web/20070212032935/http://www.torchwood.org.uk/ or alternative for the blue version http://www.torchwood.org.uk/tw_host.swf

Extended canon things.
Twilight Streets book - Ianto like some music by ABBA
Twilight Streets book - Jack had a relationship with a man who worked for Torchwood in the 1950's called Greg.
Book canon (can't remember which one) Ianto's house or flat is in Radyr (a suburb of Cardiff)
BBC wesite - The cinema Ianto apparently visited in From out of the Rain closed 1977 before Ianto was born 1983 --- So either wrong date was used on website - Ianto lied about going to the Electro cinema or Ianto isn't the age he claims to be.
Retcon was devopled by Torchwood One just a few years before the series starts (Fanon often has it that Jack help invent it, extended canon suggests he didn't, actual canon doesn't say one way or the other)

Ianto or Gwen or PC Andy can speak Welsh. No evidence in canon one way or another. However Welsh has been taught as a compulsory second language in primary schools in Wales since 1989 so they definitely would have been taught it - whether they remember who knows?

Ianto and Tosh both becoming vegetarian after Countrycide. (although I've not seen this one lately) This seems to based on a conversation between Tosh and Ianto on the BBC series on website which was along the lines of. Do you want anything to eat? Not hungry. Okay maybe a salad and a packet of prawn cocktail crisps.

Jack can't get drunk because of his immortality.
This seems to be based on the fact that he drinks water in the two times we see him in a pub in series one (talking to Gwen in first episode, and with John Ellis in Out of Time). (I don't follow this logic - if you can't get drunk, why not drink it? My own take on this generally not drinking in series one is that he was waiting for the Doctor and didn't want to miss his chance because he'd drunk too much. The drinking water could be seen as that he has a low tolerance for alcohol as a result of his immortality so avoids drinking it.)

Ianto and or Owen used to smoke, but gave it up sometime before the start of the series. Based, I'm guessing, on the fact that Gareth David-Lloyd used to smoke.

I'm sure there are plenty of other I'll try to see if I can think of any more. I've been around the fandom since the very start and hopefully I'll be able to think of some more things.

Jedi Rita: torchwoodjedirita on December 2nd, 2012 04:06 am (UTC)
Jack specifically says at some point in Season One that he drinks water because you have to stay hydrated for timetravel. It's an allusion to the fact that he's waiting for the Doctor to show up.

I've also seen in many fics where he drinks water because he's had bouts of alcoholism.
the_silver_sunthe_silver_sun on December 2nd, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
Yes and no. There is a deleted scene from series one (it would have been in the scene in the pub where he gives Gwen retcon) which is

Jack is bringing drinks to the table...a pint for Gwen and water for
Gwen: "Cheap date? What's that tap water?
Jack: "Yes, I have to keep myself hydrated. I might have to
travel at any moment."
Gwen: "Where?"
Jack: "Home!"

This never made it into the episode and was only in the dvd extras.

Needing to stray hydrated for time travel actually comes from the Turn Left episode and is actually what Donna is told before being sent back.

So if it's anything it's extended canon.
marii_chanmarii_chan on December 2nd, 2012 07:00 am (UTC)
Gonna point out that in the first episode of Torchwood, right after he drugs her, Jack says to Gwen, "It's an amnesia pill. My own recipe. With a touch of denial and a dash of retcon."

This is most likely where that one comes from. Not just something the fans made up, just another inconsistency in the writing.
the_silver_sunthe_silver_sun on December 2nd, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
I guess it's how you read the line. I always took it as meaning that Jack had altered the basic retcon to suit his own needs, rather than he'd made retcon in the first place.
dylantomsdylantoms on December 1st, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
I've read most of the books and heard all the radio plays and I love his topic!

Fanon: Ianto doesn't like ice cream - it gives him a headache. I like this one, I've read it many times, but no idea where it comes from.
The sofa in Jack's office - often used for 'literary' reasons ;)
Ianto being called 'Tad' - this one does my head in. I am Welsh and although don't speak Welsh myself, I know many who do and NO ONE uses Tad, or know anyone who does. Makes me want to scream reading that.
'Cariad' is ok if not overused and in context.
'Yan' - this is a tricky one. In real life, yes he would be called Yan. The Welsh shorten every name. Mine is Ceri, i get called 'Cer'. In the context of Torchwood and Jack, I don't think so as Jack is quite formal with names and I've never seen/read it shortened in canon. On the other hand in close, intimate moments, yes, I think Jack would use it.
Ianto calling Jack 'sir' - another thing that makes me scream as I can't remember a time [I'm sure someone will prove me wrong] that Ianto does this anywhere after KKBB.
Why, oh why is Ianto written as such a cry baby and so dependent on Jack. Only really saw him cry in Cyberwoman [you were allowed there Ianto!] Ok and a bit in Adam and a bit in FOOTR, but only a bit and NOT about Jack.
Ianto's father being a master tailor - James Goss stated quite categorically after House Of The Dead that Ianto's father WAS a master tailor and he wanted that cleared up. Yes his sister said he worked in Debenhams, maybe he did, but it didn't stop him being a trained tailor did it?
Jury's out for me over the whole Ianto/mother/mental institution bit. Depends on how well the story is written..
Ianto liking old things etc. I think the whole quality of the suits and his appearance would lead to that being extended to all areas of his life - driving an Audi, good coffees etc. Stands to reason that he would have a very nice flat, good furniture, comfy bed etc :D
The over formality of Ianto. He is formal, polite, correct, but he is also VERY funny, droll and sarcastic. He may act like a butler, but he doesn't bloody talk like one!!

Few things been simmering there it seems!

If you have access to a library you should be able to borrow lots of written and audio materials there or order them in. It's what I did, but then I work in one!
Jedi Rita: oh pleasejedirita on December 2nd, 2012 04:04 am (UTC)
The ice cream thing actually comes from Children of Earth Day Two. After the Hub is blown up, Ianto calls Gwen. She suggests they meet at some place where they had eaten ice cream, and Ianto says he hates ice cream because it gives him a headache.

And I have to confess, I'm horrified to hear that "Yan" is actually very Welsh. I thought it was a horrible abbreviation that American fans had come up with. Seriously? Really Welsh people would probably call him Yan? Is "Rhi" also a genuine nickname for Rhiannon? Here in Texas I have friends whose daughter is named Rhiannon. They call her Rhi-rhi.
dylantomsdylantoms on December 2nd, 2012 10:17 am (UTC)
Thank you for the 'headache' explanation. I've not rewatched COE, only bits. The box sits there and looks at me. I just look right back...

Yes, in Wales Ianto would be called Yan! But like I said, it doesn't work with the TW world. I don't think Jack would as he is so formal over names at work, like Tosh is nearly always Toshiko. But away from work, alone, close, yeah I think he might :) And I think Ianto himself wouldn't like it or encourage it anywhere else.

But the Welsh and those abbreviated names! My eldest daughter is called Aran after the mountain in North Wales. We call her 'A' - what can I say? My youngest daughter is Lowri and we call her 'Low'.
So yes, Rhi would be a common abbreviation of Rhiannon.
dylantomsdylantoms on December 2nd, 2012 10:21 am (UTC)
I meant to add that I also hate Jack calling Ianto 'Yan' partly because I love the name Ianto and it is who he is, and partly because it just does seem out of character for Jack. It is never heard/used in canon to my knowledge.
Kate: bad a** teaboyjedi_harkness on December 2nd, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
I don't remember Ianto calling Jack "sir" at any time in series 2, but he did call Jack "sir" as they left for Thames House in CoE. *sniffle*
marii_chanmarii_chan on December 6th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
Forgot I wanted to say this, but Ianto being an archivist seems to be fanon. At Torchwood One he was described as being a Junior Researcher, and at Three he's the butler.
coldwater1010 on December 6th, 2012 10:54 am (UTC)
Does Ianto actually have a specific job title in the show? He looks after the hub, keeps track of supplies, puts away the artifacts,names the artifacts, looks after food and drink, possibly deals with the bodies, is the one who erases Gwen's computer episode one, possibly man's the tourist centre, looks after Jack, man's the computers when Tosh is out or even when she's in and we're also told in the pilot he's a back up agent. But other than Jack's he looks after us and keeps us running on time is it actually specified in show what his actual job is? Heh, thinking about this I think I'm beginning to understand that 'The Hub falls apart when Ianto's away' trope. Is there a job he doesn't do maybe besides Owen's?
itsmeyouseeitsmeyousee on December 7th, 2012 07:01 am (UTC)
I don't think Ianto has a job title, but he does put things away in the "Secure Archives" for Jack and since he has access to that i guess it's assumed he looks after just the archives. And i'm in a rewatch atm and in GBG in the background when Owen stuffs up Tosh's computer Ianto is archiving what they brought back from the site. So i would say that's one of his jobs. But his intro in EC sorta sums it up he cleans up after us and gets us everywhere on time. Also add Tosh's back up in reading the Rift Manipulator as mention in CJH and PA to Jack since he enters Jack's office when Jack's not there, we don't see anyone else do that. And feeds everyone in the Hub team member or guests downstairs

The only one i'm not sure about is the "clean up " outside the Hub, we never see that , Ianto job is firmly about the Hub and making sure TW runs smoothly and while Owen is always shown to have a foul mouth in fanfic, Ianto swears the most on the show LOL and i love that

As for extended things what i personally take as canon is all the Radio plays, cause it's the actors and they seemed to be written to fill the gaps in between Seasons and the Audio books/ Novels from Consequences onwards the also seem to be filling in the gaps, not so much the early stuff that's all over the place to me about who the characters are

Edited at 2012-12-07 07:04 am (UTC)
eldarwannabeeldarwannabe on December 9th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
We've already discussed this briefly, but I'll reiterate! :)

I truly hold that everything in the core show is "canon," all the books, radio plays, captain's blog, etc. are "optional canon." Some people will take it as canon and argue for it, some people won't. It's good to have passing familiarity with them to know what people are talking about (example: Ianto was turned into a woman in the book Almost Perfect. Some people hate it, some like it and a lot of people broad strokes it, as in they acknowledge it happened but feel free to play fast and loose on the details.)

Fanon, of course, is a messy thing. Much of it comes from things I would label "optional canon." Like the fact that Ianto went on a one-month suspension post-Cyberwoman. It's a grey area, but the comment here have been great in compiling.

One fanon thing that I love to play with is the Jack/Ianto "love" thing. Accepted fanon states that Jack is the one who couldn't say "I love you" to Ianto, while Ianto was either more capable of saying it or wanted to get it out there. (John Barrowman also supports that theory, which means some people will declare it canon. I'll argue that John Barrowman's opinion is just as optional as anything else not aired in the show.) Meanwhile, some authors like pocky_slash have written stories that reverse the trend: Jack is totally fine with admitting love, and it's Ianto who has trouble with it. I like playing with that idea both ways, because canon supports both options, even in CoE. It provides a different flavor when watching some specific scenes.

Edited at 2012-12-09 04:56 pm (UTC)