(This previous ask has been made rebloggable by request.)
I think just about every Whovian who’s been around for a while now, who has watched both Classic and Modern Who, has few questions about The Valeyard, The Dream Lord; (and even what was going on with The Watcher who was actually the Fifth Doctor.)
Really, just how does Time Lord physiology work?
We know the first rule is that they’re not generally allowed to cross their own Time Period; but The Doctor has always bucked this trend and rules have been broken many times.
A good source for at least an attempt at an explanation of Time Lord physiology, and indeed The Doctor himself, is still The Gallifrey Chronicles by John Peel.
(The non-fiction work, not the novel by another author. Although, the novel does hold some interesting information of its own when it comes to The Doctor.)
I can never not recommend this book more highly. Even though it’s twenty-two years old now and written in the “Dark Doctor Who age” (and even pre-Doctor Who movie) This is still the greatest written source for anything close to Gallifrey physiology and an anthropological approach to the Time Lords. It goes into much more detail than any online source, including the tardis wiki.
(It is a little pricey on amazon, but check out eBay or a secondhand book-store. I bought mine for under twenty dollars off of eBay.)
Anyway, as we know the Time Lords have the ability to regenerate. Regeneration appears to be not only a physical but also mental change, something altering them in a very short time. Although the changes may appear to be vast, in actuality the changes are not as great as many may think.
The Time Lord essentially remains the same person, same memories, feelings, emotions. What actually occurs is a shift in the emphasis of the what makes up their physiological and psychological profiles.
So The Doctor sulking in his Tenth incarnation (End Of Time (Part One)) about another man getting up and walking away, is just pre-regeneration fear. It’s not envy, it’s not the truth, it’s a level amount of fear, because of his worry about what his next incarnation will be. Primarily because of this shadowy figure below:
First, a little background for those who haven’t watched Classic Who or who haven’t yet arrived at the Sixth Doctor’s epic Trial Of A Time Lord.
The Valeyard is, to this day, a virtual enigma. It is believed he is a mental projection made physical, of The Doctor, much like the Dream Lord later in Modern Who and The Watcher earlier. However, the Valeyard is a distillation of the evil side of The Doctor. We’re all too aware of that dark side of The Doctor that appears every so often; lurking under his goodly nature is often something very cold and calculating.
The Valeyard makes his appearance at some point in the future regeneration of The Doctor; mentioned to be between the 12th The Doctor regenerates. His ultimate fate is stealing the body of the Time Lord Matrix Keeper. Yet another curiosity…and a potential storyline to return to.
But how was the Valeyard pulled somehow out of time, away from his projectee (The Doctor) and able to be used in a ploy by the Time Lords, (who were offering The Doctor’s remaining generations to the physical projection,) ?
The Gallifrey Chronicles, John Peel (pg85, Section: Speculation)
How had all of this come about?
The Time Lords had already wrecked the Doctor’s own past by their continual interference in all of his previous incarnations. (See Chapter 6). The corrupt High Council presumably seized upon this and began to manipulate his future lives.
(A/N: This is big stuff, considering what some of us have been theorizing about the 50th Anniversary and Clara. But we’ll get there in a minute.)
At his initial trial before the Time Lords, the Doctor was offered a number of different possible future incarnations, all of which he rejected (The War Games). When the first Romana had to regenerate we saw that she had her own option as to the final form that her own next regeneration could take (Destiny of the Daleks). And when the Time Lord K’Anpo had to regenerate, his next incarnation, Cho-je, carried on a separate existence for a while beforehand. (Planet of the Spiders). Even the Doctor had met one of his future selves in the form of the Watcher. (Logopolis) It is quite clear, then, that the business of regeneration is not a simple set of pattern of inevitability. There is always room for flux and change.
The High Council must therefore have carefully selected future incarnations for the Doctor from among the many possibilities open to him. They would then have manipulated those choices so that the Doctor’s last incarnation would be the embodiment of all that was evil within the Doctor—the Valeyard. Then, using their temporal abilities, this potential Doctor could be brought into current Gallifrey.
(A/N: Peel is suggesting that The Valeyard is not, in fact, a projection as presumed, that he could be a potential regeneration (12th or 13th) for The Doctor.)
Whatever the Doctor might wish to think about himself, he clearly has the potential inside himself to be evil. And nothing could be more evil than a good person totally corrupted.
The Valeyard thus would not exist if the Doctor were to continue unaffected by the manipulations of the Time Lords. With the High Council now deposed, the Valeyard will never come to be as part of the Doctor that we know. However, the High Council had managed to create a living being from his potential. The Valeyard could be stabilized only through the destruction of the Doctor— or so they believed.
I can imagine everyone who suspect the Fields of Trenzalore and the 50th Anniversary will involve either the unlocking of The Time War; or the Time Lord’s ultimate return…and presumably both, might be a little shocked at the way it all seems to fit in so well with this speculation.
Particularly with this odd projection of The Doctor’s below:
The Dream Lord
Now The Dream Lord (first appearance: Amy’s Choice) is an entirely different kettle of fish to the Valeyard, really. Certainly he’s another aspect of The Doctor, but in that case that would actually make him more relative to this aspect:
rather than the Valeyard, as he’s not a permanent fixture in Time and Space when we first meet him; as the Valeyard appears to be, because of the interference of The Time Lords. Physical, yes, but also transcendental, like The Watcher. (So it appears regeneration might be entirely within the mind of a Time Lord. The Doctor has seen future incarnations and potential ones; even the Tenth encountered the Eleventh in his own dreamscape:
but was still quite unsure if he was going to regenerate into him.)
However, and this is speculative, the Dream Lord may have everything to do with what Peel mentioned about the Time Lords being able to manipulate The Doctor throughout time.
Malicious intent? Rather. And we can see The Doctor reacts to The Dream Lord pretty much the same way he reacted to the Valeyard:
DOCTOR: Drop it. Drop all of it. I know who you are.
DREAM LORD: Course you don’t.
DOCTOR: Course I do. No idea how you can be here, but there’s only one person in the universe who hates me as much as you do.
(Season 5: Amy’s Choice)
…badly. For good reason:
The Dream Lord drew his personality and observations from the ‘dark’ dimensions of the Doctor’s subconscious. This included his innermost thoughts and doubts about the course of his life and perhaps cavalier treatment of others, including self-loathing, guilt, arrogance, selfishness and even lust. The Doctor said to the Dream Lord, not long after they met, that he knew who the Dream Lord really was because only one person hated the Doctor as much as the Dream Lord did.
The Doctor, since returning in Modern Who, has been grieving. Remember his rant in the Waters Of Mars:
DOCTOR: For a long time I thought I was just a survivor, but I’m not. I’m the winner. That’s who I am. The Time Lord Victorious.
BROOKE: And there’s no one to stop you.
BROOKE: This is wrong, Doctor. I don’t care who you are. The Time Lord Victorious is wrong.
DOCTOR: That’s for me to decide
(Easter Special (Season 4): Waters Of Mars)
There are subtle traces of the Valeyard’s arrogance, (and a touch of the Sixth Doctor too,) in The Doctor’s words. And when Adelaide kills herself, it’s only then that the The Doctor realises what he’s done…and what he is on the path to becoming.
DOCTOR: I’ve gone too far. Is this it? My death? Is it time?
(Easter Special (Season 4): Waters Of Mars)
The Tenth Doctor is closest Doctor we’ve encountered so far, that has been on the precipice of becoming The Valeyard. His mannerism later in life, his snapping and even bemoaning that someone like him, would have to sacrifice themselves for someone “unimportant.” (Wilf).
In fact, I believe the ultimate reason Ten was so scared about regenerating, was that he feared his arrogance and despair bordering on hatred for his tenth death, (perhaps a fear also born of those lessons at the Time Lord Academy, warning those Time Lords who left the Citadel will use up their regenerations much too quick.) would lead to him becoming the Valeyard in this current incarnation.
DOCTOR: I don’t want to go.
(Season 4: End Of Time (Part 2) )
Look at the fear in his eyes. The Doctor has regenerated many times before, but he’s frightened. Because he fears becoming the Valeyard; or being one step closer to being the Valeyard; or becoming whatever produced the Valeyard.
All that fear caused The Doctor to project all the good he could muster into his current regeneration (Eleventh body), becoming childlike, playful, cheeky and boyishly charming. Much like K’Anpo (the Hermit and The Doctor’s “guru” or mentor,) had made him regenerate into his Fourth body. So perhaps we’re getting another glimpse of what The Doctor was like as a young man, before all the weight of his life afterwards.
But, at the same time, there is a level of darkness and sadness carried on from The Doctor’s previous incarnation. He didn’t want to regenerate. He’d had enough of death and dying. A Time Lord could live thousands of years…he was barely into his nine-hundreds. How much longer would this go on?
The guilt and the blame are causing as yet something within The Doctor. Perhaps he’s being deliberately manipulated by the Time Lords from beyond the Time Lock still. They could be plotting and planning for The Doctor to fulfill his prophesied role to first lock then unlock the Time War. The Time Lords are primarily telepathic beings.
Using humans may be the first step. The Time Lords know The Doctor’s weakness for them, (because, as it is television canon, The Doctor is half-human.) So perhaps it was no mere coincidence that The Doctor left for Earth the moment he Time-locked Gallifrey.
An additional layer to the Dream Lord’s identity emerged when the Doctor described the Psychic Pollen which created the Dream Lord as a ‘mind parasite’.
I wonder, as well, if The Doctor grieves about having to hide his name from those whom he travels with…like he’s hiding part of himself:
DREAM LORD: Oh, is that who you think you are? The one he trusts?
AMY: Actually, yes.
DREAM LORD: (stands) The one girl in the universe to whom the Doctor tells everything?
DREAM LORD: So what’s his name?
(Season 5: Amy’s Choice)
The Dream Lord’s parting remarks are also worth noting:
Dream Lord: (…) I hope you’ve enjoyed your little fictions. It all came out of your imagination, so I’ll leave you to ponder on that. I have been defeated. I shall withdraw. Farewell.
(Season 5: Amy’s Choice.)
So while the Dream Lord is more transcendental, like The Watcher, his ultimate nature leads more towards the Valeyard. They are all aspects of the The Doctor.
Perhaps they are also all potential regenerations, as they lurk in his mind. Perhaps they are manipulations of Time Lords throughout Time and Space; playing off of The Doctor’s fears, much in the same way they did with The Master.
As I mentioned about the physical nature of the Time Lords, very little is still known. But I believe we may see a return of them soon and discover a little more about them.