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March 05 2004

The history of Illyria In history, Illyria was a kingdom of warriors who were ultimately defeated by the Romans and went on to distinguish themselves in service to the Roman army. In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Illyria is a land of fantasy where a lost girl mourns the death of her twin brother - who is, in fact, alive.

Hmm....considering how important names are in the Whedonverse, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Illyria was a warrior - whose army was defeated - who goes on to distinguish herself in service to the MoG. Have to see how this one plays out, though...
Another Twelfth Night similarity is the fact that the Viola (the girl) assumes the idenity of her (thought to be dead) brother Sebastian and takes his place in the court of Count Orsino, thhus dawning a male disguiese over her feminine figure. Thus a woman acting like a man, where as Illyria is a male demon that has taken over the phsyical form of a woman. Thus the wearing of Shells hiding there true form. I just thought it was interesting. The 12th Night is my favorite Shakesphere play.
Illyria was getting a lot of comparisions with Ilia from the first Star Trek movie. I thought she was more Seven of Nine myself.
I've only seen the first four eps of Season 5 but I just thought that I'd add this. Well I looked up Illyria on and didn't find out anything interesting. But then i looked up Joss Whedon, apparently he is a big fan of the movie “Wild Bunch”, on crack, one funny bloodsucker and not just evil! Heh, I love Googlism; so funny... ever looked up your name? So funny. Apparently I'm a collaboration among investigators at carnegie, the man for all seasons, continuing its onslaught at box office for the second week as well and said to have worshipped shiva on a full moon night in the month of virgo. Ok I'm just a liitle obsessed at the moment, Thank you for your most likely very insightful post Xkot.
My 2c added to RavenU's follows. If I had to summarize the major theme of *12th Night* in an awkward phrase, it would be, "people getting confused and falling in love with the wrong people, because they look like the *right* people." Which certainly seems to be playing out with Illyria right now, whatever is in store for the future. It's interesting, too, that, in *12th Night*, Illyria is the (unsafe) place where Viola & co. wash up. The idea of "identity as a place" (as opposed to a state of being, or a sum of parts, or a relationship with the past, etc.) has been floating around *Angel* -- particularly w/ regards to Fred -- for a while now. (For instance, who is Fred when she's in Texas, vs. when she's in Pylea or LA? Who is Illyria when s/he's in LA, or when s/he's in another person?) Thanks so much for this thread -- the Illyria reference has been driving me nuts with speculation!

[ edited by finalgirl on 2004-03-05 15:28 ]

[ edited by finalgirl on 2004-03-05 15:29 ]
So what we're saying is that Illyria is Fred's "twin" and not her, so Fred is trapped in an alternate universe? How did the lost twin plot tie up in 12th Night?
Was it ever explicitely stated that Illyria was male? Do the Old Ones have gender?
No - when Wesley, Spike and Angel were looking up Illyria in the book in the episode, Illyria was referred to as "IT". "That's Illyria in it's native form" as I recall.

So, I'm kind of thinking as the Illyria essence as being sexless. The only reason Illyria is conceived of as female now is because IT is inhabiting Fred's body.

More than that - it's "native form" looked like a giganto insect!

Oh and Fred's dead and gone, baby. Even the writers have said so. All the dialogue confirms it as well. Fred's soul isn't displaced in the "ether". It was consumed, burned up with the rebirth of Illyria. So even though we know that in the Buffyverse that re-ensouling is possible (not to mention resurrection), there is NO SOUL to place within Fred's animated corpse. Illyria even stated "she" couldn't leave the body even if "she" [oh hell with the quotes around she for now..,] *wanted* to (and between you and me, at the beginning of the episose, I was pretty darn sure she would have loved to go into any non-human body/form possible!).

I think Illyria would be such a great character to flesh out more in a sixth season. *sigh* She's not like Anya or the possessed Cordy. She's very unique.

[ edited by cubiclesatan on 2004-03-05 18:25 ]
All I remember is Knox calling her a "King".
Joss is HUGE on Shakespeare as we all know. Cordelia was named after the good daughter in King Lear. She was the only sweet one, but of course we know that Cordy was mostly acerbic and a bitch for her first seasons. Joss turns stuff on its head to avoid cliché and to create new clichés, so I wouldn't be surprised if Illyria becomes a good guy in the spirit of her shell, or not.
Knox also said, "I practically worship IT."
Hey, happy birthday phlebotinin!
vpececoraro - rent the movie :) it ends ironically on a happy note after all is exposed they end up with the right people and Viola can be herself again but not really as they say "walk a mile in my shoes"

ringworm - all the references so far have lent toward Illyria being masuline - king and god are two of the male terms that they used in reference to the demon.
vpececoraro--there's a link in the post to a synopsis or here is the text.

I don't know about your gender assessment RavenU. I mean, we're relying on cues that Knox gave us but he was kind of a whack job. Cute, but still a whack job.
phlebotinin - when Knox said, "I practically worship IT," he was referring to the shell, Fred. He DID worship Illyria.

RavenU - Glory was referred to as a god, not a goddess.
I don't remember the reference to Illyria being a "king", although I'm sure it was there. For some reason my brain is remembering the term "monarch" being used...

But yeah, even if there were hints of masculinity, I think the writers generally went out of their way to keep Illyria genderless. They used "it" many times, for many characters, not just Knox.

I'm gonna hafta re-watch Shells.
Glory was referred to as a god, not a goddess.

I kind of took that to be along the same lines as female acting people being called "actors" nowadays instead of "actresses".
ringworm--Knox called Illyria "king" twice when they were trying to open that gateway or whatever it was just before Wes bumped him off.
*L* My hubby named our daughter Cordelia, telling me that he got it from King Lear, and later told me that it is entirely from Buffy. I will be suspicious if he suggests Illyria for our next child! *L*
Speaking of Shakespeare, did anyone else think of Lavinia from Titus Andronicus when Spike's hands went 'missing' in Damage?
melsta - that was kinda my point, i.e., the masculine form of words are often used in a gender-neutral manner.

[ edited by Scott on 2004-03-05 20:39 ]
cubiclesatan- I think they made too much of the fact that Fred's soul had been completely destroyed by Illyria that's why I'm thinking this idea about a lost twin (or clone in sci-fi speak) would give them an out. If a copy was made of her before she got sick and died then the copy would be fine. They could even do a Star Trek Bearded Spock thing and have Amy Acker do some split screen. I know I'm just wildly speculating but it's too much fun to resist.
Cool link, xcot, thanks for that.
Scott - but also remember Glory was trapped in the body of a male child - Ben - so god could be used indescrimently for either sex or perhaps that which represents both sexes equal in one form. However it is more used to suggest masculine line over the feminine.


Anyone else notice that even on Angel the guys are always getting there butts handed to them by women :)

Buffy and Angel are the only show on TV where it's ok for a man to hit a woman - how strange is that?
Also something else that struck me that Illyria may not be the big bad was Illyria's temple was called Valhalnesh which I thought might be an reference to Valhalla which means "hall of the slain", it was the hall in which Odin received the souls of slain heroes. Valhalla, was Viking heaven. The Vikings believed that if you died in a battle then you would go there but if you died peacefully then you would go to hell. Just another piece to add to the mythos of the Jossverse - Nordic mythology - which actually would fit quite well in Angel.

Perhaps Ragnarrokr is coming to Angel. "Ragnarökr" or "Ragnarøkr" means "doom of the powers" or "destruction of the powers". From all the corners of the world, gods, giants, dwarves, demons and elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid ("battle shaker") where the last battle will be fought.

[ edited by RavenU on 2004-03-06 04:29 ]
I immediately thought of Fray when I read this post. I'm making this invisible though, so that those that still haven't read it, won't be spoiled by the information if they don't want to be.

No deep thoughts, I just wanted to point out that small similarity.

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