Perhaps you can clear up the great big mystery about what has been going on up there. For the past two weeks, some extremely odd things have been happening at Clavius. Whenever you phone the base, all you can get is a recording which repeats that the phone lines are temporarily out of order. Well, they’re probably having some trouble with their equipment or something like that. Yes. Yes, that’s what we thought was the explanation at first, but it’s been going on now for the past ten days. You haven’t been able to contact anyone for the past ten days? That’s right.
Quite frankly, we have had some very reliable intelligence reports that quite a serious epidemic has broken out at Clavius. Something, apparently, of an unknown origin.
I haven’t, actually. One of many gaps in my MCU viewing - I’ve not seen the first two Iron Man films, or Age of Ultron. I feel like there’s another one I’ve not seen, but I can’t quite place it off the top of my head.
(I almost wrote in that post about how it was another reason I needed to try and watch Thor, because it’d be an example of how Kenneth Branagh adapted movies from pre-existing source material… but then I realised the same was true of Much Ado about Nothing, which made me feel a little silly.)
thinkingingallifreyan gave a really good reaction to this here:
“[…] each finale has been smaller and less universe breaking than the last. The Big Bang: The Universe was destroyed. A Good Man Goes To War: Amy is kidnapped and her baby is stolen, the Doctor summons an army. The Wedding of River Song: All of time plays out at once, localised to Earth. Angels Take Manhattan: New York is in danger of undergoing a total existence failure. The Name of the Doctor: The Doctor is in danger of undergoing a total existence failure. The Day of the Doctor: They hide Gallifrey so it looks like it always got destroyed. Time of the Doctor: A town called Christmas is in danger of being destroyed because the Time Lords send their distress signal from there.”
“[…] And what Moffat did with this special, and in fact Matt’s entire arc, is build up the false greatness to the point where everything had to be revealed, and then give it an ending that threw the whole thing into a harsh light and showed how meaningless it all was. It’s not pleasant or rewarding, not at first. But after you get over the fact that it’s all simple and the Doctor never really mattered, you realise that he did matter, and it all the ways that really count. The Doctor is made by his actions, by himself, but what he chooses to do and what he doesn’t choose to do. He’s made by the people’s lives he improves, by Amy Pond and River Song and Clara Oswald. By the girl he ran away with until she could run on her own. By the woman who loved him enough not to kill him. By the one who reminded him who he was. Moffat wasn’t getting carried away with his own greatness, he was making sure we got carried away, caught up in the confusion and wonder of the Doctor and his complicated and *meaningful* stories. He was making sure everyone saw the Doctor as larger than life, both in and out of universe, before he tore it all away and revealed what had really mattered and had been developing the whole time. And it’s fantastic.”
Personally, I think Moffat likes to play with overtly “flashy” elements in his writing. Wars, legends, fate, mystery.
But he is always deconstructing just as much as he is constructing these images and themes. The Doctor is a god, he’s the great hero, he’s the wizard in fairytales, he’s the man whose name can start a universe-shattering war all over again. He is a blood-soaked creature, he is a trickster, he damages all he touches. And yet he is neither. He is reallly just a madman with a box. In the end he is just an old man trying to save some insignificant little village on some insignificant little planet.
And don’t get me started on Clara. Oh wait. I already wrote about that. Her whole arc until The Name of the Doctor was based around a deconstruction, a subversion of what we were expecting. She might be the “Impossible Girl”, but in the end we are meant to actively question her “definition” as a mystery. We are told repeatedly that this can’t be really it, we are shown a complex character with a full life… and in the end, we find out the Clara has alway been just Clara. A normal girl who chose to do something extraordinary to save the life of somebody she cared about.
Clara exemplifies Moffat’s treatment of legend and mystery more than any other character on the show - or at least did so until The Time of the Doctor. Maybe, after a re-watch, the Doctor will turn out to be a significent contender for the role.
One of the major themes of the Eleventh Doctor stories just occurred to me: the power of names in defining the identity of the named.
Amy chooses different names as her identity changes: fairy-tale child Amelia Pond becomes cynical but hopeful Amy Pond, who becomes the thoroughly jaded (and defined by her marriage) Amy Williams, and then Amelia Williams, who is much more comfortable with the balance of magic and mundanity in her past.
Rory, in sharp contrast to Amy’s choice of names, is named and resists being named. Rory Williams is his own man; Rory Pond is subordinate to both the Doctor and his own wife. For a sympathetic male character in contemporary media, such a limiting naming violates all kinds of norms, and suggests to me that the writers are acting, albeit clumsily, in favor of feminism. But that’s another story.
More names! Amy chooses her daughter’s name: “Melody Williams is a librarian. Melody Pond is a superhero.” The daughter’s paradox-filled journey from Melody to Mels to River Song deserves more screen time than it got (maybe we could have a Jenny series in which young Melody/Mels/River shows up?).
a lot of classical Bajoran composers, some alien stuff he found that is mostly made up of notes so low human ears perceive them as vibrations instead of sounds, Shostakovitch
the one place they sometimes end up falling asleep — where they’re not supposed to
He definitely fell asleep in his office at least once while he was human. the game they’d destroy everyone else at
hide and seek the emoticon they’d use most often
He’s basically the living embodiment of :/ what they act like when they haven’t had enough sleep
He melts. It’s kind of gross. their preferred hot beverage on really cold nights. or mornings. or whenever.
When he first turned human, he tried Raktajino just to see why everyone else was so obsessed with it. He burnt his tongue and swore off all hot beverages as a result. how they like to comfort/care for themselves when they’re in a slump
He likes to turn into a bird and fly around the habitat ring or an unused cargo bay. what they wanted to be when they grew up
Anything other than a scientific curiosity. their favorite kind of weather
Humid and rainy. thoughts on their singing voice (decent? terrible? soprano? alto?)
gravelly, probably a low tenor, though if he’s any good at modulating his vocal cords, he could sing basically any note how/what they like to draw or doodle
He doesn’t doodle. (but if he did, you know he’d write ~Constable Kira Odo~ or something all over the back page of his notebooks)
It just occurred to me the other day that most of the Doctors find some physical object soon after their regenerations that help to stabilize their identity. Here are my thoughts about what each one is and why, and what they say about the Doctors.
re: Edinburgh. the vowel on the end could be a leftover of an epenthetic vowel between the /r/ and the /x/? Added vowels like that being not uncommon in Scottish dialects/languages.
Yes, definitely also a possibility! I’m not sure how good a coda /ɹx/ is, although there’s reasonable speculation that it had become /ɣ/ (the voiced velar fricative) around when things were being written down, hence the “gh” rather than “ch”. So /ɹɣ/ might be considered difficult enough to add an epenthetic schwa.
It’s also occurred to me that the word might have originally been borough but with the final /o/ reduced to schwa, which would be completely reasonable for English since lots of vowels reduce to schwa. But in that case I can’t figure out why you’d just stop writing any vowel at all (normally a vowel that’s reduced to schwa keeps getting written as whatever it was historically).
I’d love to see any historical evidence for burra/burgh though, as I couldn’t find any!
(Note that there’s variation in whether English broad transcriptions use /r/ or /ɹ/. Technically it’s /ɹ/, but since English only has one r-like sound, people – including me on the original post – often write /r/ as it’s easier to type. Here, it occurred to me that the precise nature of the r might be relevant for whether it’s hard to pronounce, so I switched symbols.)