Saturday, April 22, 2023

#AtoZChallenge2023: Doctor Who River Song

River Song
The Doctor: Oh, you're not, are you? Tell me you're not archaeologists.
Professor River Song: Got a problem with archaeologists?
The Doctor: I'm a time traveler. I point and laugh at archaeologists.
Professor River Song: [offering handshake]  Ah. Professor River Song, archaeologist. 

The Doctor and River, Silence in the Library

There can be endless debates on who was the best companion. Rose vs. Clara, Sarah Jane vs. Leela, Mel vs. Ace. Just kidding, no one liked Mel (poor Bonnie Langford!).  But there can be no doubt the companion who had the biggest impact on the Doctor and his stories was "the child of his best friends" and his wife, Professor River Song. Played by the AMAZING Alex Kingston.

We are introduced to River in the episodes she dies, Silence in the Library/Forrest of the Dead. She meets the 10th Doctor, and she seems to know him well, but they are also "squabbling like an old married couple." And then River does something. Something no other companion has ever done before or since.

She tells the Doctor his name. Not "The Doctor," his real name, the one he tells no one.

I mean, how is that for an entrance?  

We do go on to see River more and more, but her history and the Doctor's ar all messed up. They keep meeting out of order. So they keep diaries to figure out where they both are at any given time. 

River was the brainchild of writer, then showrunner (during the 11th and 12th Doctors) Steven Moffat. He based her somewhat on the book "The Time Traveler's Wife," which he would later adapt as a series on HBO.

THAT in an of itself would have made River very interesting. But it was her next big reveal that stunned everyone.  

In the episode "A Good Man Goes to War," the Doctor and Rory assemble an army to take back Rory's wife, Amy, and their baby daughter, Melody.  The Doctor calls in all his favors, and everyone shows up, except for River Song. When she finally does she tells the Doctor there was nothing she could do to stop it. Why?

She would have been erasing her own timestream is why. Because River Song is Melody Pond.

NO ONE saw that one coming. 

The Doctor and River had all their adventures, just not always in the same order (we still don't know much about Jim the Fish) but one day was going to be the last day the Doctor saw River and he tried to avoid it as much as he could.

To quote River herself,

“When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it'll never end. But however hard you try you can't run forever. Everybody knows that everybody dies and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But I do think that all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark if he ever for one moment, accepts it. Everybody knows that everybody dies. But not every day. Not today. Some days are special. Some days are so, so blessed. Some days, nobody dies at all. Now and then, every once in a very long while, every day in a million days, when the wind stands fair, and the Doctor comes to call... everybody lives.”

I could spend the next few days talking about how awesome River Song is. While I do want her to come back I also accept that her story has been played out in full. We know she and the Doctor had a wonderful life and we all also knew there was no way the Doctor would have been able to stay with her forever. Their story is wonderful and sad in all the right places and that is good.

If anyone asks how do you kill off a beloved character and make it matter, I always point to River Song, the Doctor's Wife.

A to Z of Doctor Who

All images are used with permission from the BBC and are copyrighted 2023 by the BBC.


PT Dilloway said...

If you hadn't mentioned it, I would have thought it sounded like The Time Traveler's Wife. Only maybe less creepy than that book was.

Joy said...

I love River Song!

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