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Past | Future

In which we travel along the World Tree, the Forest is the Afterlife, there is both Love and Death, we are on the Road of Trials stage, the Doctor is Alec Palmer and River Song is everywhere.

The World Tree
The World Tree as a mythic symbol -  it's forever there in Moffat's Who, as is the use of the Forest as an Afterlife metaphor.

The World Tree is found in both subtle and obvious forms - not always directly as an actual tree, sometimes as a symbolic tree, though we have already seen it used explicitly in the form of an actual tree a couple of times this series. The use of the Forest as an Afterlife metaphor is usually more direct. From the Clerics walking into the light in the forest in the crashed Byzantium in Flesh and Stone, to the symbol of the leaf from Clara's dead mother; from the spirits of the Forest in the Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe that leave their physical bodies to be reborn into a new life to the Tardis kept hidden in a woodland shrine while the Doctor contemplates the death and rebirth of Clara/Oswin; from the tree symbol over River's bed as she awakens to her new self after giving away all her regenerations to the Doctor, to the Forest of the Dead where those who are Saved live on inside a virtual forest of books, where the little girl who controls it all has wallpaper covered with trees. The Forest is death and rebirth, it's an afterlife. It's the cycle of life that the Leaf represents, when it falls from the tree, rots down and nourishes the roots of the tree, and then is reborn in continued life of the tree.

So.... the World Tree represents the Universe, the different plains of connections between things, the life cycle of everything, it represents the fabric of reality. Part of that fabric of reality is birth death and rebirth, and this is shown through the symbol of the forest as the afterlife.

Appropriately in an ep which is concerned with journeying between different worlds, and with the idea of ghosts, our first 3 shots of the ep are of a tree, leaves blowing in the wind, and branches silhouetted against Caliburn House. This is reminiscent of the theme setting at the start of The Rings of Akhaten where the first 3 shots are of leaves blowing, and of a tree.

The World Tree in this ep represents the ability to journey inbetween the worlds. Myhtologically, in spiritual traditions, the branches of the tree extend across all worlds and into all times. Here, the Tardis is parked directly in front of the tree that we see in the first shot of the episode, and as it comes and goes, we see it materialising against the tree. This spot, where the tree is, is where the Doctor and Clara journey from the beginning to the ends of the Earth.

Thresholds, Wormholes and the Afterlife
Archways and open doorways are used extensively in this episode. Open doorways are often used in cinema, TV and photography when trying to create a unsettling sense of the horror or the "Gothic". The suggestion of an open door or a darkened archway especially one with half suggested shapes thruogh it, is that there is something beyond which the character/viewer cannot see, something which may well be unpleasant. So on one level, arches and doorways are used in this ep to create a sense of Gothic horror.

The other way in which they are used is to link in with the theme of journeying between the worlds. Archways and doorways are liminal spaces, they are thresholds - neither one thing nor the other. They are places which are crossed to step from one place/room/world to another.

When first calling on the spirit of the house, Emma Grayling stands before an archway into darkness, and walks into it as she continues to call. It is in this space inbetween that the Forest overlaps with the ordinary universe and that allows the spirit passage to move towards her and then thruogh her.

The initial door knock from the Doctor is framed through another partially open doorway, and there's lots of action shot from beyond doorways, and featuring open doorways in the background.

Clara's confrontation with the Tardis as herself takes place next to a stone archway. The doorway from the Forest to this world is very much framed as passing thruogh a doorway from an afterlife state - light is all around Hila.

So, the Forest. The Forest represents the Afterlife, or Rebirth - essentially what happens after death. Those who occupy this Afterlife appear as ghosts in our own realm, and this place is accessed via a Dark Mirror (the wormhole spins reflective black before manifesting). One of the ideas which has also been used often in Moffat's Who when the idea of passing from one world to another in play, is the concept of stepping Through the Looking Glass. The When the Dark Mirror/wormhole appears, the looking glass spins faster and faster, before finally cracking as the connection between the worlds is made. The glass shatters, and It's at this stage where the realms overlap, and the ghostly figure can be seen. Or else people can pass back and forth between the two, coming and going Through the Looking Glass. As well as being a looking glass, the wormole is also a well.

Hila is described as The Wraith or The Lady, the maiden in the dark, the witch of the well. There’s no well on the property plans, and no well that they can actually find, and in the end the Doctor recognises that the well is the wormhole. Water is an element strongly associated with the afterlife. Historically, in many pagan spiritual traditions, wells were seen as entrances to the Otherworld. In some of the Celtic traditions, the Land of the Dead was seen as being over a great ocean in the west. In modern paganism, the element of water is associated with the festival of Samhain/Hallowe'en, which is the festival of the ancestors.

Apart from already having seen the Forest a number of times in Moffat's Who as an Afterlife, visually we are cued into it here. Not only is Hila presented as a ghost, but she also wears white, a colour very much associated with the Afterlife (see: the outfits of River and her team in the Library episodes of Forest of the Dead.) Passing through the wormhole from that world to this is very much presented with the traditional idea of a bright white light, although this time they are walking out of a bright white light rather than into it.

Another of Moffat's themes that features heavily in this ep is that of Love and Death. It's all over the place; series 5 and 6, particularly River Song's story arc tap into this really strongly. We are told explicitly by both the Doctor and Emma that the only thing that can transcend the reality of everything ending is Love. It's the light of Emma's psychic connection - based upon a familial bond-  that shines out between the world like a beacon.

Emma: What’s wrong?
Clara: I just saw something I wish I hadn’t.
Emma: What did you see?
Clara: That everything ends.
Emma: No, not everything.  Not love. Not always.


Doctor: Blood calling to blood, out of time. Not everything ends. Not love. Not always.

The love between the two monsters keeps them seeking and searching for each other, the one trapped in the pokcet universe trying to join its partner. This isn't a story about Death, it's a story about Love.

Doctor: Every lonely monster needs a companion.
Clara: There’s two of them!
Doctor: It’s the oldest story in the universe, this one or any other. Boy and girl fall in love and get separated by events. War, politics, accidents in Time. She’s thrown out of the place, or he’s thrown into it. Since then, they’ve been yearning for each other across time and space,  across dimensions. This isn’t a ghost story, it’s a love story.

The Hero's Journey - The Road of Trials
In terms of the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey which Clara is currently making, and which I talked about ant length in my last meta, she is now entering the Second Stage which is referred to as Intiation. This is the stage where the Hero has entered fully into the Special Place (the Doctor’s world) and it is comprised of a number of different phases. The next couple of weeks will give me more perspective as to how exactly these stages will unfold in Who will unfold with reference to the mythic structure, but one thing for sure is that they have entered into the initial phase of this second stage, The Road of Trials.

The Road is where the Hero is presented with a number of challenges, some of which they pass, some of which they fail, but all of which are necessary for them to undergo in order to move towards their transformation. We have seen Clara dealing with Fear in the last episode, at the Belly of the Whale stage of the journey. This time. though Emma tells the Doctor Clara is more scared than she lets on - she has overcome some of her fear. She asks the Docotr - her Mentor in the special place - to "dare" her to take the candlestick and go off into the dark house hunting for ghosts. She steps forward at least partially willingly to combat her fear. However, the lesson of mortality that she began to learn in Cold War is now slammed home even harder, in the most extreme of ways.

The Doctor and Clara go from the beginning to the end of the Earth, via the World ,Tree. They go to 6 billion years ago, They see the Earth from the beginning to the end – the full cycle of its life. There's a link here back to the Doctor's speech to the Sun God in the Rings of Akhaten, when he talks about having witnessed the beginning and the end of the Universe.

Clara: Have we just watched the entire life cycle of earth, birth to death?
Doctor: Yes.
Clara: And you’re okay with that?
Doctor: Yes.
Clara: How can you be?
Doctor: The Tardis, she’s…Time. With…wibbly vortex. And so on.
Clara: That’s not what I mean.
Doctor: Okay. Some help. Context? Cheat sheet? Something…

For the Doctor, this is both his curse and his role as mentor. He drags Clara onto the Road of Trials, ripping away from her the illusion that we sometimes labour under, that things that move at a much slower rate of time than us, last forever. As a denizen of the Special Place, he is both familiar and comfortable with this notion. The rules in the Special Place though, are totally different to those in the Ordinary Place.Wisdom won in the past life cannot be used to understand it.

Clara: I mean, one minute you’re in 1974, looking for ghosts. But all you have to do is open your eyes and talk to whoever’s standing there. To you, I haven’t been born yet. And to you, I’ve been dead a hundred billion years. Is my body out there somewhere, in the ground?
Doctor: Yes. I suppose it is.
Clara: But here we are, talking. So I am a ghost. To you, I’m a ghost. We’re all ghosts to you. We must be nothing.
Doctor: No. No. You’re not that.
Clara: Then what are we? What can we possibly be?
Doctor: You are the only mystery worth solving.

Just as Cold War showed Clara the fragility of the human body and that her life is actually at risk when she travels with the Doctor, so this shows her that she is both not yet born, already dead even she is living right now. It hits her hard. Along with Emma's words, it begins to fracture something in their relationship (that - let's face it - for him was already fractured - he doesn't trust her.) What hit her hardest is  that he doesn’t really connect any emotion to this fact.

Emma: What did you see?
Clara: That everything ends.

However it is quite a transcendental message. By travelling in the Special Place with the Doctor, the companion experiences all 3 states – pre-birth, living and post death. Clara’s challenge on this bit of the Road of Trials is to come to terms with that, to understand and accept that the Doctor has come to terms with that too.

(Incidentally "what can you possibly be" are the Doctor's words to the Pandorica as he waits for it to open in the Underworld of the Pandorica opens. The Pandorica turns out to be life/death combined.)

One thing that's very interesting to me in the context of the Heroic Journey is that we are seeing a deep mistrust growing in Clara and the Doctor's relationship. The Doctor usually plays the role of mentor- and while, yes, he challenges his companions on a mythic level, in order to help them grow - i'm not sure i have seen this level of mistrust before in New Who between him and a regular companion. I was somewhat shocked to hear that he doesn't necessarily regard her as a real girl, more as a thing. He asks not who is she, but "what is she?"

Doctor: Clara?
Emma: Yes?
Doctor: What is she?
Emma: She’s a girl.
Doctor: Yes, but what kind of girl, specifically?
Emma: She’s a perfectly ordinary girl. Very pretty. Very clever. More scared than she lets on.
Doctor: And that’s it, is it?
Emma: Why? Is that not enough?

Similarly, Clara is learning that the Doctor's ways of seeing the world are vastly different to her own. She is beginning to mistrust him, the seeds are sown by Emma.

Emma: Don’t trust him. There’s a sliver of ice in his heart.

The Doctor asking "what is she?" about Clara is mirrored by Alec's question to him when first meeting him: "Doctor what?" rather than "Doctor Who?"

I have no doubt that the unraveling of both there secrets will be core to the lessons that the Doctor and Clara learn on the Journey, but it's unnerving to see the fracturing of this relationship, and that the Doctor is not so much playing the mentor archetype to her.

Character Mirrors
Moffat has got a cheeky little nod into Sherlock here, by saying that Alec Palmer was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars – a group of urchins who helped Sherlock out in some of the original stories.

He’s a bit of a mirror of the Doctor – he was a hero in the war who has his Victoria Cross hidden in the attic, just as the Docot ris in some ways a war hero who doesn't shout about his credentials. He is also a Professor. He has a companion, in the same way that the Doctor does in the form of Emma Grayling. As he describes the character of the Doctor to Emma, he is clearly reflecting upon his own character.

Emma: Is he really from the Ministry?
Alec: Er…I don’t know. He’s certainly got the right demeanor. Capricious, brilliant.
Emma: Deceitful?
Alec: Yes..ha. He’s a liar. But you know…that’s so often the way it is, when someone’s seen…a thing or two. Experience makes liars of us all. We lie about who we are, about what we’ve done…
Emma: And about how we feel?
Alec: Yes..always. Always that.

Doctor: How does that man, that war hero, end up here in a lonely old house, looking for ghosts?

This is the Doctor, right now – he is chasing ghosts. Clara is the ghost that he is looking for, the woman twice dead. It goes to the core of the question of why the Doctor does what he does, why he feels compelled to help and save, and Alec’s answer to the Doctor’s question is telling.

Alec: Because I killed. I caused to have killed. I sent young men and women to their death. But here I am still alive and it…does tend to haunt you. Living. After so much of…the other thing.

This is the Doctor. How many has he killed and caused to have killed? Like Alec, he is hainted by the things he has done, so tries to atone for it by going round and saving/helping people where he can

It’s appropriate that this conversation takes place in the equivalent of a photographer's “dark room”. This is the Docotr’s darkness coming out and being reflected back to him. As an image develops of him with a ghost standing behind him, so we are reminded through Alec's words of the ghosts that haunt the Doctor.

As the Doctor and Alec have this conversation - a conversation all about the effect of Death and the ghosts that haunt a person - there is a mirror conversation going on between Emma and Clara. It's a reverse mirror. Their conversation is essentially about Love, focusing as it does on Emma and Alec's feelings for each other and these mirror conversations reflect one of the central themes of the ep.

Recurring ideas and Rivers
There's that old chestnut of red and blue/fire and water. Clara gives Emma whiskey to drink - also known as "fire-water". The Doctor uses a red and blue balloon to demonstrate the relationship of the two Universes to each other. The whole thing takes place amidst thunder an lightening - the storm as the elemental union of fire and water.

There are hints and ideas that we are beginning to see again and again that may give nods to the way that this series is going to unfold . There's the mentions of familial connections. We have it here again in the form of a great great great granddaughter. Along with the idea that blood can call to blood across time, suggesting a reason why the Doctor may have been able to find Clara/Oswin again and again. I am more and more convinced Clara is related to the Doctor.

There's the Tardis's dislike of Clara. Clara says she gets the feeling the Tardis doesn't like her, the Tardis makes weird noises at Clara again. The ship won't let Clara in, and Clara insults her. However, interestingly, here the Tardis actually presents herself as Clara.

She mirrors her, suggesting snidely that Clara is arrogant. This could link in with the idea of the Tardis being jealous and familial rivalry, if Clara is a relative of the Doctor's, this mirroring of Tardis and Clara could suggest that they are much much closer than we think. Both of them like family to the Doctor.

Or maybe it's just because the Tardis can see ahead the Timelines that will ultimately lead Doctor to Trenzalore; something which Clara will inevitably play a part in, or perhaps just a reflection of the Doctor's own mistrust of Clara.


There's the idea of song and music as central to the plot of this series, which has come up repeatedly now.

Emma: The music room is the heart of the house.

The idea is that music is core to the plot, that it has the power to save the world, to sing gods to sleep, to help people remember who they were. With all the other links to River going on this series, this surely isn't an accident. While River has been conspicuous in her absence, both physically and in terms of the Doctors' dialogue, she is very much present thematically. In The Bells, we have a virtual world which is a dark mirror of the Library where people are trapped, along with the Spoonheads who are visually similar to the Flesh Librarians in the Library episodes. We have the use of song to sing a God asleep in The Rings. There is a spacesuit that provides its wearer with everything they need in Cold War, like Melody's astronaut suit, and again in that episode we have the power of song to save and remind people of the good inside them. Now, we have a woman trapped in an echo Universe, clad all in white, just as River is trapped in the Library computer. Then, there is the idea of lovers separated by time, circumstance, politics, universes. One lover (monster) trapped in an Universe which is the echo of the other (like the Library.)

Let's just talk for a moment about how Emma is River is the Tardis. Emma puts on a crown in order to hold open a connection which will allow those from the symbolic Afterlife to transition into the real world. River puts on a crown in order to allow the 4000 souls saved in the Library Afterlife to transition into the real world. Emma is linked with the Tardis; the gem on the middle of the crown she wears is located over the third eye chakra, believed to be the seat of the psychic powers. The third eye gem is mirrored by the Eye of Harmony which has been wired out of the Tardis. Emma and the Tardis reverse-mirror each other; Emma's mistrust of the Doctor mirrored by the Tardis's mistrust of Clara. River is the Child of the Tardis and was show to be able to communicate psychically with her in let's kill Hitler.

So, really, what i'm saying is that while River may not be here in the episodes, she is very much here symbolically. Everything up til now suggests that she is going to save the world at the end of the series. Song saves.

There was a lot more to this ep than I thought. If i wasn't so meta'd out right now, I'd be writing about links to The Tempest by Shakespeare.

About the most obvious link being that the episode takes place during a storm, just as the beginning Tempest does, and that the house is called Caliburn House, which reminds me of the character of Caliban. Id' probably write a lot about how it’s interesting to me that there may be links to the Tempest, because I think that current Who is very self aware of itself as modern myth, and is deliberately positioning itself as such, while the play is very much concerned with its own nature as a play... Like the links that are drawn in The Tempest between Prospero’s ability to weave magic and the ability of Theatre to weave illusions, and the Doctor's ability to weave seeming magic and the show's ability to weave illusion.  I'd likely write a lot about the Docotr as Prospero. About how Ariel the spirit of the air appears as a number of characters from Classical mythology, just like characters in Who manifest different archeytypes. About how The end of The Tempest breaks the fourth wall, when Prospero bids the audience to release him from the island through their applause, and the fact that the core Question at the heart of this arc threatens to break the fourth wall.

But...brainpower and time are in short supply now, so thank you for reading this.


( 26 comments — speak to me, sweetie )
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:50 pm (UTC)
Whoa...this is...this is mind-blowing!! As always, you just cut right to the center and spiral out, showing secrets that knock at our hearts, but we can never quite see.

The title 'Hide' was perfect for this episode. On so very many levels!

Apr. 26th, 2013 09:44 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you my love, such lovely words <3 Glad you enjoyed it. ~hugs you hard~
Apr. 25th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)


Have to run, but this is glorious. Will try to be back with proper thoughts.
Apr. 26th, 2013 09:44 am (UTC)
Hee! Glad you enjoyed. I wanted to unpack the whole Tempest thing, but i've got a bit of meta fatigue and saving myself for this next ep which i predict will be STELLAR and full of masses of meta!
Apr. 26th, 2013 11:29 am (UTC)
I made this juxtaposition for Elisi back . . . I think it was after A Christmas Carol aired:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich, and strange.

And suddenly everything is Time War this and that and Time Lords all gone and graves and yet renewal and flowers all over the place . . .

Thank you, Santa Moff.

And because I have to run and be a real person rather than sitting down and reading The Tempest all day like I want to, I'll just copy and paste my commentary:

Holy. Buckets.

Found my copy of The Tempest and reading the introductory essay . . .

Huge chunks of it could read like meta for Moffat's Who with only minor tweaks.


Elisi, let me tell you of my love for The Tempest (do you know it?):

I love The Tempest so much. The only reason I will not call it my favorite Shakespeare play is because MacBeth and Much Ado About Nothing both exist and are too much different to be able to compare them all. There is something about The Tempest that truly is magical in the same way that season 5 is magical: it's ethereal and complicated and a mash of genres and moods and ideas and is full of the natural elements and change and acceptance and renewal and the idea of the arts and how they give us influence over life without allowing us to control everything and the whole of it is just gorgeous and hopeful without being mindlessly idealistic and without simplifying often irreconcilable complexities . . . *sigh*

And really the best encapsulation I could give of it, both its themes and its feel, is those lines I've already quoted.

*flails helplessly*

Sadly it looks like I didn't actually write out much more of my thoughts than that (I thought I had . . .), but hopefully somebody will find some time and energy at some point to do it all up properly.

saving myself for this next ep which i predict will be STELLAR and full of masses of meta!
OMG, yes! *That* premise with *this* character? I think it's gonna be utterly amazing. Though it is far too possible my brain is gonna short-circuit itself with waistcoat lust and I will be useless, so I look forward to your thoughts!
Apr. 26th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Ah, those images...fantastic fire and water, rebirth and baptism. And, that scene with Amy on the beach where she says "what are you thinking" and he says "Time can be rewritten" as they are looking out over the sea always struck me as so incredibly important....he's just had the convo with River at that point - and everything can be reborn in the womb of the sea, it's where life came from and it's the arhcetypal womb - what better element to rewrite time and birth thing anew. But, I'm rambling now...

Totally agree with you about The Tempest being ethereal and magical in the way that series 5 was, and the way that you describe it to Elisi just sooooo fits with so many things about Moffat's Who.

The next ep...oooh ~dances~. Was saying to Janie below that if we're tracking the Monomyth and are in stage 2, then the next ep is the Meeting with the Goddess stage. Clara and the Doctor are also very interesting to me at the mo, their dynmaic...i wonder if we've ever seen a mentor/initiate relationship so laden with mistrust. From the preview at the end of this last ep, it looks like that relationship's going to fracture further...i wonder what will be at the core of it. In that satge of the Monomyth, the power of Love is at the core, it's the Hero's meeting with the pure power of love....hmmmm....
Apr. 26th, 2013 04:28 am (UTC)
Lovely as always!

I'm not so sure the TARDIS is meaning to be snide -- I could totally see her being earnest about reflecting Clara's own image and self-esteem back at her.

Clara goes to the TARDIS when she hears the Cloister Bells. Which is to say, there's an awful lot of bell-ringing going on. The Great Intelligence was first introduced back in the 60s with the Doctor trying to return a sacred bell to a Buddhist monastery. It's the Bells of Saint John that get the Doctor back in action; he says the Great Intelligence "rings a bell" back in the Snowmen, and in that same episode Clara's death and (earlier) rebirth are both marked by church bells.

The "movie poster" for Crimson Horror has Clara under a Bell Jar. Hope it's not a Sylvia Plath reference.

Okay, so if this is the Road of Trials, perhaps the next episode and its journey to the heart of the TARDIS will be the Meeting with the Goddess? Clara getting a bit more of a one-on-one with our favorite Blue Box. Ooh, ooh, the Doctor has left Clara behind in this episode, so she has to be more proactive: convincing Emma to re-open the wormhole, then heading off to the TARDIS to rescue the Doctor, the time-traveler who's in danger of being ghosted. Oh, wait, is that another mirror?

Apr. 26th, 2013 09:48 am (UTC)
Thank you sweetie.

Gods, yes, of course, the Cloister Bell. Heard it and didn't make the link - also hadn't noticed she's under a bell jar in the poster for the Crimson Horror. It links with the whole power of sound thing too, of course, the resonance of the bell.

~nods~ Yup, that's totally what I was expecting from the Tardis ep, since she is the Goddess on so many levels. Having seen the trailer too, there's this fracturing with the Docotr and Clara going on so i wonder also if we are going to approach the Atonement with the Father stage as well - wonder if things will be healed a little between them by the end of this ep....hmmm.

Mirrors all over ~dances~

So looking forward to this next ep.

So, so scared for River in the finale.
Apr. 26th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC)
Wonderful meta, as always!

Just some thoughts...

From Wikipedia:

The Special Operations Executive (SOE), tasked by Winston Churchill to "set Europe ablaze" during World War II, had their headquarters at 64 Baker Street and were often called "the Baker Street Irregulars"[1] after Sherlock Holmes's fictional group of boys employed "to go everywhere, see everything and overhear everyone," as they spied about London.

The beginning of Alec's wartime career?


The Baker Street Irregulars is also the name of an organization of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts founded in 1934 by Doubleday Editor Christopher Morley. Formal members are known as "investitures" and bear club titles derived from the Holmes stories.

Primarily an American group. Very intellectual, but also on the very basic level, fans.

"Caliburn" is another name for Excalibur, the "great sword," the "hard cleft," which will breach through battle.

And that's all I've got.

Edited at 2013-04-26 12:24 pm (UTC)
Apr. 26th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
oooh, great catch there with the link to Excalibur! I love it when Arthurian myth shows up in Who, it gives me happy feelings!

I love Moff's meta references to fandom and Sherlock, just awesome. He's great at getting those cheeky little nods in.

Thank you for reading and commenting, it's always appreciated x
Apr. 26th, 2013 01:38 pm (UTC)
I love reading these, it definitely puts it all together before the next episode. I would like to know your thoughts on the doctor's screwdriver. In the past several episodes we see it being on the fritz, not working half the time. The last few seasons that happened only when the doctor was dying. Is the screwdriver not associating itself with him? Is the sliver of ice the reason? Is it killing him? Which heart is the ice in or is it in both? Is it just coincidence?
May. 3rd, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the comment!

Hmm, the sonic screwdriver...that's a damn good point and not one i'd really thought of. On a mythic/archetypal level, the sonic is the equivalent of the wizard's magic wand. The psychic interface means it is literally controlled by the power of the mind and the will of the user. If it's malfunctioning, it'd suggest some type of gulf inside him that's widening, separating him from his will that usually allows him to accomplish the "good" things with the screwdriver. I'm sure this sliver of ice is linked to his name and identity. Psychologically, I'd say the Doctor is more and more aware he's coming to the point of revelation of his name and identity - but that it is shrouded in such deep darkness that he's in denial. He clearly wants to totally forget this dark secret at the heart of himself. Thing is, you can't deny your Shadow Self, you have to accept and embrace it - otherwise you aren't whole. Him running faster and faster from his name, means his identity is more and more fractured.

That was a lot of rambling, but i was thinking as i was typing! So yeah, i think him denying his true name as it draws closer is fracturing himself. To wield magic properly, a the wizard has to be in balance. That isn't possible when parts of the self are disowned. There's also a tradition of names granting power in fairy stories. If he won't accept his own name...really he's draining off one of the biggest sources of his own power :)
Apr. 26th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
*screams in joy and merriment* Oh that was so great, so, so great. Straight to the point.
All the mirrors, all the rivers, all the trees and The Tempest!

I'm trying very hard not to trust that theory Clara might be related to the Doctor -because Moffat *shakes fist*-, but holy mackerel the hints are so numerous... As for your speculation about River saving the world at the end of the series, that would only be one step further TATM in which the Doctor did nothing.

It was not very constructive but your meta was great and organised so well what I thought of the parallels in the episode, I'm just left squeeing on my chair.
May. 3rd, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for such a lovely comment, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it so much!!!

I know, i'm all like "but, hmmm, is Moff just trolling us AGAIN" because as we all know, that could well be the case. The family thing could be a huge red herring. ~shakes fist at Moff~
May. 3rd, 2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

I'm not sure Moffat is such a troll, the hints and symbols he used seemed pretty consistent with the overall arcs in the previous seasons... I think the family thing will be right, but not necessarily as we expected.
Apr. 27th, 2013 12:44 pm (UTC)
Incidentally "what can you possibly be" are the Doctor's words to the Pandorica as he waits for it to open in the Underworld of the Pandorica opens. The Pandorica turns out to be life/death combined.
And all I'm doing is chortling to myself and going SHANSHU! (Which won't mean anything to you unless you've seen Angel the Series. *g*)

I am more and more convinced Clara is related to the Doctor.
I can't see how it could be otherwise. Also Palmer/Emma/Hila are very obvious mirrors for Doctor/River/Clara. This was totally this season's 'Black Spot', and we know how it all ends... ♥ (Not literally HOW, but the dynamic. Love my icon.)
May. 3rd, 2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
Oh yup, i've seen and loved and adored Angel!!!

I think the only way it can NOT be that they are related now, is if it's been Moff on an epic trolling mission. Which - y'know - could happen. But it just makes sense, everything about it does.

Everything about River sacrificing herself to carry whatever weight the revelation of his name means makes sense to me too. Sadly.
May. 3rd, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
Everything about River sacrificing herself to carry whatever weight the revelation of his name means makes sense to me too. Sadly.
And you've lost me, sorry. 'Splainy? (No spoilers though. So if it involves spoilery information I'm happy to wait.)
May. 3rd, 2013 10:45 pm (UTC)
Ah, it's not spoilers, i avoid them. It's more my own musings, and i sometimes make the mistake of thinking people are with me in my brain!

This theme of music and song which we have seen in every ep, to me it's saying "Song saves" - it's something that has the power to evoke compassion, memory, to stop bombs from going off etc etc, the music room at the heart of the house etc. The recurrence of this suggests to me that River is going to be the key to saving the Universe from whatever dark secret the Doctor's name holds.

With the theme of forest as afterlife, echo universes being put into sync, it being a love and not a ghost story, death in the future being averted, i'm seriously beginning to wonder if Moff will rewrite the Library. Not unwrite her death, or her sacrifice, because that's pivotal to her arc, but I wonder if it's going to be rewritten by her meeting some other kind of fate. I get the strong feeling the finale will be the last time we see her. His name has to be spoken, someone has to take the weight of what that means, it feels like it might be her.

Then again, i could be waaaaay far of the mark!!!!
May. 4th, 2013 09:13 am (UTC)
The way I see it, then Clara will save the Doctor/the day (possibly by refusing being a weapon - see Dalek!Clara), the Doctor will save Clara and Song will guide them home. (See Hide & family ties.)

Mind you, it might very well be the last time we see her, as learning his name will be the thing that ties up all her loose ends, but I don't think she'll be rewritten. The story is Clara-centric, and she will be the major catalyst. Also it will be TARDIS centric, and I suspect that it's their tied to the TARDIS which will be important - River is, after all, the Child of the TARDIS.

(It's early, I might come back once I'm properly awake.)

PS. The stories keep having happy endings. Even 'Summer Falls' has a happy ending. :)

Edited at 2013-05-04 09:29 am (UTC)
Apr. 28th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
And oh my! Tonight, in the TARDIS, in that room, with the cables and globes...my thoughts jumped right to here and all the symbolism of the World Tree!
May. 3rd, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
I KNOW, RIGHT? My meta on the last ep is unfolding very slowly, but i hope to have it up tomorrow. I nearly screamed when there was an actual tree in the Tardis!!!
May. 3rd, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
And my daughter said, Oh, it must be validium! Which someone else cited in a recent post about the episode and the "tree."

Waiting for your meta!
Apr. 28th, 2013 08:43 am (UTC)
Warning, spoiler from latest episode...

So the TARDIS has Yggdrasil inside it?

'The branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, and the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations; one to the well Urðarbrunnr in the heavens, one to the spring Hvergelmir, and another to the well Mímisbrunnr. Creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the wyrm (dragon) Níðhöggr, an unnamed eagle, and the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór.'

Does that mean that someone will find the Doctor's kryptonite [mistletoe] and pin him against a tree?

Edited at 2013-04-28 08:45 am (UTC)
May. 3rd, 2013 01:09 pm (UTC)
~happy dance~

I know, i was gleeful about the tree being actually physically there in the Tardis!!! This positions the Tardis as divine - but we all know she is effectively a goddess. But that whole thing about the Tree being the essence of pure creation, that it could repattern particles into anything...i was bouncing up and down in my seat!

Meta is forthcoming on the last ep, hopefully soon!!!
May. 10th, 2013 11:54 pm (UTC)
You know the one thing neither of us have discussed visa-vi this episode is the Hide/Hyde possible subtext. There are monsters here (in the parallel portal-verse and in the ID. Or would that be of the id? The Doctor has a hero-self and a monster-self and so possibly will be pushed to be both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. No doubt it's something Palmer experienced, his 'hyde/monster' self being a killer in war, but it's less straightforward I feel.

The Doctor isn't seeing things clearly, or at least is being presented as an unreliable narrator where Clara is concerned. He wants Emma's opinion, but possibly doesn't believe it.
( 26 comments — speak to me, sweetie )