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The Shrine
Me
fiwen1010 wrote in tw_tourists
The Shrine has come up in a few comments so far, and seems like a popular place to visit. So the question for this week is: What do you think of the Shrine? Have you been to it/do you want to go to it? Would you leave something or have you left something - and what is it/would it be?

What does Ianto's Shrine mean to you?

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I have been to the shrine, and I have left something. I wasn't planning on it beforehand, but after seeing the shrine in person and reading all the messages, I sort of felt compelled to leave something too.

It's kind of a strange thing, really - the whole idea of the shrine. I guess for me it was sort of...a place to leave a fan letter on display. Which is a very strange and unique thing to have for a character. ;) But for me, because I have been so inspired by the character of Ianto Jones, it felt like a place to say thank you, really. And so that's what I did, with my card. *nod*

I have been to the shrine but have never left anything. I never felt the need, after all Ianto was not real. I have friends who have left items.

I liked what it represented in the beginning, but then it became a dividing line between the 'real' fans and those who are okay to move on and enjoy Torchwood without Ianto.

Did you know that the shrine is being catalogued by someone as part of their studies? Check out thanatos_kalos if you want more information about what she's up to. I've been to it many times, its quite overwhelming that so many people have put so much up

I've left something at the shrine (by proxy - one of the savecoffeeboy girls did a mass print and post session) and visited it although as I was with a 'non believer' I wasn't able to take as much time as I wanted to.

Its a strange thing really, I know it sounds like such a daft idea, mourning a fictional character, but to me its more than that. Its a way of saying goodbye to a very special time in my life - Torchwood got me writing, brought me a whole group of friends I would never have met otherwise, it helped me discover my own sexuality through its portrayal of the first (and only) decent Bisexual character I've ever come across, and even introduced me to a woman I still love, even after (like RTD and TW itself) she broke my heart.

Its odd but also feels like if you leave something there it might actually get read or feels more real somehow. If you just email something or send a letter to an agent or fanclub you know full well it will probably never reach them but the shrine has that possibility that one day they will know what the show meant to people and we will get the chance to thank them for it.

I think the shrine is a lovely idea, and I think it's one of the things that really worked, in fact probably one of the reasons Ianto actually got more stories. I simply think that the fan reactions and the campaign meant that TPTB did take notice and gave us radio plays, and audiobooks. Which is kind of hypocritical of me because I didn't participate at all in any campaigns.

I've never seen it, the times I've been to Cardiff since CoE I haven't got down there, although one time I just forgot. I will get down there sometime, if it lasts for a while longer. I don't feel desperate to see it, but would pop down there if I was down at the bay.

I do wonder what will happen if they finally announce the end of TW (please!) whether the shrine would be taken down. Or even better, when pigs are flying and unicorns running about and they decide to revisit TW in Cardiff and use the area for filming again.

I have never visited the shrine, but I have sought out pictures and posts from people who have been there. If I went I would definietly leave something. The shrine represents an outpouring of love and grief, even if it is for a fictional character. Ihave lost people in my life (haven't we all) and i don't feel that a shrine for a fictional character cheapens the meaning of death or grief, nor do I feel it is weird or that the people who place things there are 'stuck' in their grief or in any way odd.

The shrine to me holds the same place as the Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens, the Sherlock Holmes plaques, statues and etc. around Baker street and elsewhere, the statues of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in Hannibal, Missouri.

Or even more relevant, the staue of Superman in Metropolis, Illinois, the statue of Rocky Balboa in Philiadelphia, Pennsylvania, the statue of Ralph Kramden at the Bus Termainal in Manhattan, New York, the statue of Mary Richards, in Minneaplos, Minnesota, the Statues of Andy and Opie Taylor in Raleigh and Mouny Airy, North Carolina, and other such tributes to fictional characters.

Except that the shrine was placed by fans, who only have paper and a fence, and that fans did it spontaneously, out of real feeling for the character. It isn't some civic work, meant to inspire tourism. Nobody asked for permits or any government money to erect the shrine. It didn't take twenty years for someone to decide that a certain fictional character has left a mark on the cultural landscape and should be enshrined. Ianto Jones left a mark in people's hearts, and those people want to show that.

I hope the shrine becomes permanent. It does pay tribute to the creator and many different writers of the character, and the performance of Gareth David-Lloyd, but it is also a tribute to an unplanned outpouring of affection, and loss, from regular people, who needed a place to connect and mourn, and so they made one.

I haven't been to the shrine as I haven't been to Wales. I do want to visit it but have no plans to leave anything there. When I first found out about the shrine, I was startled and then amused. I found it funny; the fact that people would memorialize a fictional character in such a way. To me the shrine is incredibly human. I see shrines all the time... you drive along and see small memorials on the sides of highways or some such. After 9/11, I visited Ground Zero. Yes, Ianto's shrine is a memorial to a completely fictional character but the idea of paying tribute and memorializing things that are important to us, is a very human trait. Real is relative. And though it wasn't said on Torchwood... "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?"

We were at the Shrine. All of us being Torchwood fans, we stayed for at least an hour, just lingering close to it and reading all the cards and stuff. We didn't leave anything and we didn't feel sad or depressed or I don't know.

On one hand, I didn't know what to think of it, because Ianto was after all just a fictional character. On the other hand, I really loved it because it's so fannish.

Ianto was still around when I was in Cardiff, I'm all for the shrine but wont ever put anything up on it or just go see it should I return to Cardiff one day, it's not my thing

I went to Cardiff in January 2010. Had the trip planned since Dec 2008 when I bought panto tickets. I was SO looking forward to seeing the sites of where TW was filmed, but especially the water tower and surrounding area. I was excited to get a photo of me outside the fake tourist entrance.

Then COE happened and the fake tourist entrance was turned into "THE SHRINE." Okay, at first I thought that's a nice thing, I loved Ianto as much as anyone else, then it blew up into a ginourmous thing. I thought, maybe I didn't love Ianto as much as everyone else.

I was hoping that by six months later when I would be there "THE SHRINE" would be gone and I'd get my photo in front of the fake tourist entrance.

Didn't happen.

I smiled in the photos, read some of the things left there, but in the back of my mind was like, this isn't how I wanted the photo to be.

I would like to get back to Cardiff one day...and I hope I can fulfill my dream of getting my photo in front of the FAKE TOURIST ENTRANCE and not "THE SHRINE."

I went to the shrine, but I didn't leave anything in person. I really wish I had, but I didn't have access to a printer or a computer while in Cardiff.

I think it's a bit strange, especially since there were all sorts of people who were like "who's this Ianto Jones" and I'm like "..uhhhhhhh..." when they realize "oh, it's a TV show. :/" Still, I think it's sweet, and another way fans can show devotion to the show.

My friend and I started the shrine a few days after the episode aired. She left a pack of coffee, which was later stolen, and I left a ridiculously poetic note of remorse. Can't believe it's grown this much. And that it's still there!

OMG you guys are amazing.

I would love to visit the Shrine - yeah, it has a capital letter! Ianto's character really resonated with me, even though I was introduced to him literally right as he was killed off. Maybe that's why I find it hard to let him go. *shrugs*

I would definitely leave something. My family might think I'm insane, but I don't really care. The fact that the Shrine is still there, almost two years later (is it two or three? I can't remember - denial!) just shows what an impact that one character made. Maybe because he was part of a same-sex relationship, and those just aren't shown that often. Maybe it's also a bit of a tribute to the actor himself - he's been really gracious about the reaction to his character. I couldn't say for sure what the reason was, I just know I want to visit and leave something.

Hi! I went to Cardiff in January 2010. I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and travelled around Europe for twenty days with my family (parents and younger sister- I was 19 at the time). We were staying in London for five days, and I suggested we go to Cardiff for a day instead of Oxford or Bath, which were the traditional outings our travel agent had been talkig to us about. I wanted to go purely for Torchwood reasons. The show had glamorized the city entirely. Also, knowing how the entire DW production takes place there, and how many scenes were filmed in Cardiff locations (mostly pretending to be London), was an extra motivation. I did not tell my family about the show. I researched the tourist spots and prepared an enticing presentation about the glamorous Roald Dahl Plass, the Millenium Center and Cardiff Castle.
When we went there, I had my picture taken in the Invisible Lift while my family thought I was just taking a picture of myself in the water tower, and while we were walking around breathing in the sea air, we CHANCED upon the Shrine. I pretended I didn't know it was going to be there and acted like it was pure luck I found the shrine to a dead actor (I didn't tell them it was a dead fictional character). I spent the rest of the day recognising filming spots and trying to identify familiar faces around me (there were none, of course, but even actors and producers go out for coffee sometimes, don't they?).

What not just the Shrine but the Plass and the water tower mean to me is that some things are real. To me, from so far away, Cardiff and London were as real as Hogwarts- locations I see on the screen and read about but that aren't really tangible. Even the fandom became real for me in the shrine. I had seen pictures, and I have fandom friends but I had never met another DW fan in the flesh. This was proof that this is not all just in my head, this world I live in through the internet in complete solitude in the real world (RL friends are not generally as fannish as I am) actually exists and there are people out there who actually come to this place and leave stuff behind. Even people outside the UK had left stuff there so I knew I wasn't the only crazy person coming from afar. It's an experience I haven't really been able to replicate.

I didn't leave anything behind. I forgot a little sign I had created in my hotel room in London. I would have loved to leave my city's name behind and be a representative of my nationality.

(I'm sorry it's so long! I hope it's useful to you)

I have visited the shrine every time I've been to Cardiff! (3x)

The first time I took a picture of everything on it and hung out for an hour and sort of watched other people reading it.

I haven't left anything. I'd feel a bit weird, honestly, because I'm not sure what to say. I didn't have an emotional breakdown over Ianto's death (I knew it was coming) and while this is my biggest fandom, I don't need it. Nor do I think Ianto is coming back. Basically...I'm not sure what to say.

The idea of the shrine both excited me and weird me out. Exciting because it's the most tangible, long-term manifestation of fandom I've ever seen in the real world. And that's amazing. I really like that fandom is making a public statement like that. It's also facinating to see people who come from all over to visit and leave something. Because fandom is typically online and instantaneous and divided into pockets and this is the exact opposite - slow growth, time-lag, bringing a lot of fans who would never otherwise communicate together.

It's weird, though. It's almost a fandom rebuke to BBBC and RTD and I can't figure out why it hasn't been taken down yet. And I don't think they get it. And while John Barrowman can sort of shrug and ignore it, poor Gareth has to carry this crazy thing, and he's not exactly big enough to get out of Ianto's shadow. (Although I imagine it has something to do with his music focus recently.) Not to mention that he lives fairly close. And while it's a great manifestation of fandom, I'm not sure that THIS is the side we want to present to the world - the slightly manic, obsessive side that can't let go, and has a disproportionate obsession with gay couples. It's not our prettiest side, is it?

On our upcoming trip, one of our plans is to visit "The Shrine". As as fan of the character, I know the area will be moving to me. But I also am interested in it from an academic/fandom perspective. It's such a unique physical expression of fandom. Different than at Cons, which are temporary outpourings of fandom, this is stationary and (theoretically) open to all. I'm eager to see all the different ways in which this character was celebrated and remembered, especially the touching and comical.

I don't think I'll be leaving anything behind, but who knows what I'll be inspired to do when I'm there!

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