The Midnight Entity and Goblin Market
i’m working through Midnight in a rewrite of series 4 right now, and when I reached the poem, I finally stopped to actually do a bit of research. I’d never read the entire work before, or looked into literary analysis.
For reference, the lines Dee Dee quotes are,
“We must not look at goblin men.
We must not buy their fruits.
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry, thirsty roots?”
The poem is a story of two sisters, both of whom hear the calls from the Goblin market as they do their evening chores together. Laura is being seduced by their wares, Lizzie is trying to warn her to stay safely away.
Only she fails. Laura eats the goblin fruit, and slowly wastes away. She nearly dies before Lizzie finds a way to save her.
And I started wondering why, exactly, RTD chose this poem–outside of the fact that the creepy tone fits the episode. The most common interpretation of the work is that it is a warning against falling for seduction. Men who seduce young maidens use pretty words to make sex sound appealing, but once they’ve ensnared you, they won’t let you go.
The entity doesn’t seduce, though. It gets into your head, stirs up your fear, and then urges you to say things that will incite fear and anger in others. Even the Doctor’s abrasive arrogance is a sign of the entity at work. While he’s never one to deny his own cleverness, he doesn’t typically claim that his life is more important than everyone else’s because he’s clever.
So. It’s not about seduction.
But… Just like the fruit of the goblins gets into you and won’t let you go, the entity gets into your mind and won’t let you go. And just like the sister warns against even looking at the goblin men, any form of interaction with the entity makes it stronger.
The Doctor told Dee Dee the poem wasn’t helping, and it’s definitely true that the creepy tone of it drove the panic higher… but on the other hand, she had a very good point–the same one he was trying to make, in fact. The entity–Sky–was dangerous, and the only way to avoid getting hurt by her was to avoid any interactions with her altogether.
Now if I could only figure out how the Doctor didn’t realise that the entity was telepathic…