The Girl Who Died

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    Starla @starla

    Sorry, haven’t read all the posts. Just had a thought about the “run, you clever boy, and remember”… if precognition is really “remebering things backwards”,  maybe what the Doctor needs to remember is in the future, not the past. I’m sure someone has probs thought of this/posted this.

    Anonymous @

    @starla no not at all! Great minds and all that anyway… 🙂

    If you’re new, halloo and welcome….! I agree, the Doctor does need to remember the future and possibly his ‘shiver’ of recognition when he met Ashildr is that sense of de ja vu -I want to express that with a  lot more Time Lord sophistication -but I haven’t got a chance so I’ll say ‘timey-shwimey’ instead 🙂

    Starla @starla


    Yes I’m new! I’ve been reading along for a few weeks now, thought I might join in on the discussion now and then. 😊 Thanks for the welcome. This is such a great discussion board, everyone’s ideas are ao imaginative!

    The thing about this season so far that has stuck in my mind is from ep 1, where as the Doctor assists Clara out of the Dalek he says something like ‘I’m so, so sorry”. The way he said this felt to me like there should have been a follow up “there’s nothing I can do”… but cut scene, and they’re standing on a ridge looking ok. My gut feeling is the Doctor knows that by Clara being connected to the daleks in this way, and by being infected with dalek nanotech, she is no longer completely human (i.e. hybrid), and is changing. He is watching for changes – sonic sunglasses might help in this sense.

    That’s all I’ve got! Lol. 😆

    Anonymous @

    @starla Glad you decided to join!

    well, wow, as a theory for a new member you’ve done extremely well! I’ve wondered about the “I’m sorry”  line as well.

    I thought it was an “oh no, I nearly killed you, it must have been traumatic listening to Missy and saying “help me” and it coming out as “exterminate” ” type of sorry -but the more I think about it and the read the boards, the more I also dwell on the possibility of some residual nanowotsits hurtling around Clara’s brain doing irreparable gradual damage.

    I’m assuming it’s ‘damage’ and therefore negative, but perhaps it’s a positive thing?

    I saw them (dalek nanogenes) like the nanogenes in Eccleston’s The Doctor Dances, where eventually something similar will occur that happened to Ashildr –she’s immortal thanks to the Doctor, so could the nanogenes of the Daleks not turn Clara into a dalek but actually recognise the ‘real’ Clara and so in the face of illness, fatal wound, death, keep ‘fixing’ her so that the Impossible Girl dying to save the Doctor, never dies again!

    Just a theory: based on available evidence not a particularly good one. I like to observe the phenomena of these great episodes as my bonkerising isn’t splendid or correct, but that’s OK – I hope some of the ‘smart folks stuff’ will rub off eventually! 🙂



    ichabod @ichabod

    @winston   I also have a feeling that there is no original Clara just Claracles and the Doctor knows that. But I am usually wrong.

    Or not . . . good grief, can you imagine finding out that you are a bootstrap paradox and have not beginning and no end?  WHAT?!!!!

    @purofilion   It was such an internalised piece, made into external reflection with the norse, the Vikings (whomever..) as a backdrop to a bigger story: a Don Giovanni or a Magic Flute opera buffa where the serious quality and rich fabric is ‘in between the lines’ or behind the pages of this ‘story of the Vikings’ so that it sets scenes for future happenings.

    For sure — inference, a brief touch, a quirk of the lips — gorgeous work.  You know, Capaldi isn’t the only one with dstinctive eyebrows.  Jenna Coleman’s are pretty brazen, too — dark and of a definite shape.

    @countscarlioni  my money’s still on the story telling Ashildr (who, she told us, had brought bad luck to her village) turning at some stage into (or threatening to do so) the tidal wave the Doctor agonizes about in the last minutes of the episode. Has the Doctor just made a cataclysmic mistake? Indeed, Doctor, what have you done??

    Oh, made a mess, as he usually does, impelled by having too much heart(s) and an admiration for humanity that I often find myself wishing I could share . . .

    @bluesqueakpip  they’ve now had The Talk, where the Doctor explained that the companions who survive him are the companions who choose to walk away.

    Maybe; or at least they’ve finally broached the subject, because they allude to it now pretty freely, compared to anything we’ve seen before; yes, it’s all going to end, and yes, there are negative issues as well as positive gains to even conditional immortality but different issues perhaps for each of them . . . I want to see more of this, but possibly it’s better, dramatically, not to do too much of it.  Let the context of the stories do it, through the actors’ excellent expressiveness.

    spacedmunkee @spacedmunkee

    Thanks DWF. Only a couple of days since joining and I have now been infected with Bonkers Theory nanogenes 😄

    Ashildr = Tasha Lem?

    Credit to someone who I can’t locate right now who mentioned the connection between the chip placed on her forehead and the Dalek stems. This reminded me of Tasha, who appeared immortal, was in charge of an army, had history with the doctor, and was also responsible for rejoining Clara with the Doctor when he was dying, followed by a regeneration that created a tidal wave. Some similarities there. Maybe that’s why the doctor recognised her. It also got me thinking of the theme of something being placed inside people’s forehead or people’s foreheads opening. This goes back to season 1 (AG) in “The Long Game” I’m probably giving the showmakers too much credit for playing out something over 8 seasons but at times I’ve felt RTD and co. were playing a very long game.

    That should keep the nanogenes at bay for a while 😄

    Anonymous @


    an admiration for humanity that I often find myself wishing I could share .

    Funny that you should say this, for I always feel you to be quite optimistic and ‘heart-y’??

    @spacedmunkee I like that theory: The Long Game: not a bad episode was it? And of course they do play the long game themselves: the face of Capaldi in Ten’s time; but of course they needed to find an ‘out’ for that particular situation. And they dealt with that well: spelt it out and I recall my boy saying “oh that episode. I couldn’t remember [being 9 or so].”

    @ichabod I think she’s had the brows re-shaped a bit since her arrival: they’re thicker, which is the trend now but it certainly does add “width to her face” (as the Doctor would claim). Together with her enormous brown eyes she is certainly a captivating young woman.

    221BadWolf @221badwolf

    Just a thought- Why doesn’t the Tardis translate Baby? For that matter, in past episodes, (eg. The Rings of Akhaten and many more), why doesn’t it translate for all the aliens?

    Mirime @mirime

    Waters of Mars seemed in play too

    @countscarlioni glad you saw that too 🙂

    The existence of technology that can grant near immortality with such a simple procedure as implanting a chip makes ZERO sense whatsoever, and some way needs to be found to expunge this from the Dr. Who universe.

    @jphamlore what about the nanogenes in The Doctor Dances/The Empty Child? Ok, so they didn’t make anyone immortal, but presumably they have the potential to given that they could bring the dead back to life as the patch did.


    Mirime @mirime

    @221badwolf I thought translating baby might might involve some telepathy as well. It’s not really a language after all. Don’t know about when it’s not translated for aliens, maybe there are limits to what it can translate?

    Starla @starla

    I have to share a bonkers theory my husband has been tossing about now for 5 weeks.  His theory is based on the fact that not only did the Doctor express sorrow when he saw Clara in the dalek armour, but that we don’t see him remove her from it (I know many of you have dismissed this idea,  but hear me out 😆). During this season so far we have seen three examples of hologram tech in action, holograms so good even alien tech and other sentient species are tricked by them (the ghosts, hologram Clara, & the Mire dude). My husband’s theory is that the Doctor (or someone) is projecting a hologram over dalek clara. For what purpose I have noooo idea. But holograms have been featured a fair bit, so who knows? Maybe to shield Clara from the truth of her situation.

    Bonkers! I thought I’d post this, even though it’s probably way off. Good fun guessing!

    Starla @starla

    Addition to my post… we know the Doctor can project a hologram on to someone, quote from Tardis wikia in relation to The Time of the Doctor: “When the Papal Mainframe arrived, the Doctor made Clara swallow a holographic projector to generate holographic clothes around her, as it was considered very courteous for visitors to appear naked.”

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @countscarlioni @ozitenor A link to an episode including Medusa? Multiple snakes already this series? On running theme of people dying but not dying? A pill to make people immortal/ A lengthy explanation of bootstrap paradoxes? The continuous references to tarot, coupled with what a snake card means? Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking???

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    Following on from that, I’ve just done a little bit more research on tarot and found something very interesting. So in TMa, and throughout the series in general CapDoc has been referred to as a Magician. Now if I remember correctly this forum came to the conclusion that the apprentice was Davros. But what if there was more than one? What if it was also referring to Clara. throughout the series we’ve been seeing Clara becoming more and more like The Doctor, to the point where I’m sure by the end of the series some may see her as a magician.

    Now there are 4 cards that have a snake on them in Tarot apparently and one of them just so happens to be the Magician. This fits in nicely with The Doctor, because of the connotations of rebirth and regeneration. However, it is also the only snake card that has an Uroboros. An Uroboros is a snake swallowing it’s own tail, symbolising a neverendind cycle. Very bootstrap paradoxy. The Uroboros is also often associated with the ability to re-create oneself, like a Pheonix rising from it’s own ashes.

    Now let’s look at the facts. Clara is becoming more Doctory every episode. There are an infinite number of Claricles, each born to save The Doctor. Coupled with the significance of Snakes, Oroboros, and the multiple uses of Tarot already, this surely cannot be a coincidence.

    Anonymous @


    Coupled with the significance of Snakes, Oroboros, and the multiple uses of Tarot already, this surely cannot be a coincidence.

    Mmm. I’m missing something: what’s the coincidence?

    if I remember correctly this forum came to the conclusion that the apprentice was Davros

    Ahem 🙂 when did that happen?

    I personally thought that any one person could be the apprentice.

    Actually when the titles were released for the general public and people here were talking about them on The Sofa and in general, I think there was some agreement that Clara would be the apprentice: her behaviour in Listen certainly made it appear so.

    Equally I suppose Missy could be the apprentice, learning, watching, wishing. If she was the apprentice in The Magician’s Apprentice then who was the familiar to the witch? I think @ichabod could speak to the theories she had before the airing of either episode: I remember some of the points she posited  -but I’d rather let her speak to those as she’s eloquent in her annunciation! I would go for Clara being the ‘familiar and the apprentice’.

    Your Tarot knowledge along with @kharis is very well informed! I have to say I know little, but these wonderful posts, each day, chipping away at the ‘facts’ and the theories of the mythos of Tarot is really intriguing: it reminds me of people dressed in exotic, colourful jacquard fabrics in some far flung continent, old buildings with high ceilings painted red, gilt mirrors, fragrant fabrics, incense accompanying mysterious music:  an air of mystique and everywhere questions lingering in the air. Much like Who really!

    Uroboros perhaps I will dream of this dreaded thing shortly? 🙁 I certainly hope not.

    This reminded me of something @bendubz11 and I couldn’t think what: it was Kasterborous: the constellation on which Gallifrey is? Would that be correct Whovians? @denvaldron would know perhaps and @arbutus also? Anyway, I wanted to commend bendubz for your tarot research.

    Kindest, Puro

    Anonymous @

    @bendubz11 so would Kasterborous be connected to this Uroboros? It sounds very like it to me! Have you stumbled onto gold?

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Well, opinion is certainly mixed on this one. Could this be this year’s Kill The Moon? Certainly it’s got enough contentious elements to keep the Graun Brigade going for days, if not weeks.

    As others have said, this is quite likely a highly arc-significant story dressed up as a romp. I can understand @bluesqueakpip‘s reservations about the episode and probably share a few of them. My interest did flag about midway through but definitely perked up by the end. I think this is possibly because I didn’t find the whole Viking stuff that interesting.

    Part of the problem there, I think, is that I kept getting the impression that Matheson didn’t find it that interesting either and wanted to get through it as quickly as possible. Thus we get a Pythonesque take, with Norsemen with a decidedly 21st century outlook. Overall I actually think it works because all the performances are good, particularly Capaldi who, let’s not forget is great at this stuff. But this wasn’t really a Viking story (in the sense that The Time Meddler could be described as — although is the period signifcant because we’re now seeing the Doctor essentially playing the part of the Time Meddler himself. His motivation by the end of the episode is not that different.) The horned helmets, the out-of-character dialogue, the electric eels, I think, are all deliberate — possibly even with the intention of giving the more humourless corners of the internet a mischievous prod.)

    And Capaldi has never been better than he is here. Matheson’s two stories last year and this one make me think that of all the non-Moffatt writers, he’s the one who ‘gets’ the 12th Doctor the most. It’s interesting how much Capaldi’s Doc has wrong-footed some. Part of it is down to the costume which has now clearly evolved. There were some who clearly wanted Capaldi to be a Pertwee clone, and the early promotional material seemed to point to that, but this episode shows most clearly that he’s a hybrid(!) of Hartnell and Tom Baker. With something of his own thrown in. As I’ve said before there’s a lot of the ageing rocker in here (and perhaps even a little of Capaldi’s take on Rory McHoan from The Crow Road). One the costume, by the way, I’ve seen some complain about it online but I love it. It’s got echoes of the traditional Doctors but it’s nicely punked up and contemporary too. It’s perhaps what Ecclestone was trying to aim for with his costume but didn’t quite get right. I love the idea of the Doctor in a hoodie and t-shirt.

    This whole story had something of a Tom Baker feel to it I thought and I suspect that’s deliberate. The Mire’s leader is definitely riffing on The Pirate Captain and the generally crap end of the BG villain spectrum — he’s meant to be a scenery-chewer reminiscent of Professor Zaroff, Graff Vynda-K, the Borad. But it had to me something of the vibe of an Androids of Tara or a Pirate Planet. The verisimilitude of the backdrop being absolutely secondary to the romp in question. (And, of course, it’s a double bluff because the romp is not really the point. The interesting stuff here is about the Doctor. And about Clara. And I suspect Ashildr is going to be a huge piece of collateral damage.

    On which note, I for one am very glad that she didn’t turn out to be Susan, or Jenny, or Romana or whoever. I do find it odd that the Susan trope is one that crops up so often. Susan was written out of the show in the first place because the writers had nowhere else for her to go. I’m not convinced that’s really changed in the last 50 years. There’s no reason to bring her (or any companion) back unless it’s progressing the story. The show, to continue, has to open its story up and out, not retreat into former glories and nostalgia. I think, anyway.


    Mirime @mirime

    @starla re “run, you clever boy, and remember”

    I keep wondering about that phrase as well. Three stories now with serpents in, two with aliens taking the name of gods associated with ravens/crows. Apart from the associations with death there are also associations with knowledge and memory.

    And sorry if this has already been said (I’m in work, skim reading), but didn’t the Doctor say something to Clara about running away but the memories always being there?

    tommo @tommo

    hi guys. great forum, great minds, great show.

    pretty new here. nothing to really add in the way of theories that hasn’t been floated already.

    however, a little niggle. Isn’t the quote from Clara; “run. run you clever boy and remember ME” ?

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @purofilion Okay, I’m going to make this quick. The Norse were marginal pastoralists who eked out a living on a mixed subsistence package in Scandinavia. Essentially, they were pretty close to the arctic circle and a lot of the southern agricultural package based on grains didn’t work. The most northerly grain was barley, which was used to make beer. The Norse also cultivated a handful of root crops, parsnips, turnips, etc. It wasn’t enough to sustain them, so their package needed two other legs – one was fishing, they needed to go to sea fishing steadily and often. North atlantic waters were highly oxygenated and so were rich fishing grounds, but the seas were treacherous. They needed to become master sailors and boatbuilders to get out into the seas, collect a harvest and come home. Their other pillar, the other leg of their agricultural package was cattle – even if most grains didn’t survive, and even if the land was poor, there was plenty of grass and pasture, so they could sustain a lot of cattle, and cattle could be milked and harvested for meat and leather. So, with that reliance on milk and meat, the Norse were getting a lot of protein in their diets, particularly growing up at crucial development phases. Because so much of their landscape was marginal, what you had were tiny areas of local population density, controlling larger areas of low value pasture, and that lead to conflicts and raids between communities. Most Raids back then consisted of just marching over some hills to the next door village – ie, to go Viking. Or… Hiking? Ever notice the similarity of the words: Hiking/Viking? Same root. So bottom line, you had a culture which was thinly populated and marginal, but which had a terrific tradition of seamanship, of raiding, and of physically robust specimens. But hey, they were the ass end of Europe, cold, remote and inaccessible, not even missionaries wanted to go there.

    Now, along comes the medieval warm period, and everything changes. Because… it gets warm. Suddenly, you can grow barley a lot further north, and you can grow more barley, the root crops are more productive, there’s more grass, more cattle. The Norse get busy and take advantage of this wealth and warmth to make more Norse. Lots and lots more Norse. Population explosion.

    Now normally, a population explosion just gets dense, and the normal situation would be a lot more murdering of neighbors. But the neighbors are also having their own population explosion, so that gets messier and messier. And it turns out, that the Norse have become pretty good seamen.

    So off they set in their boats, and going west they discover the Faeros, Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Helluland, Labrador, and Newfoundand, some of which they keep, some of which they throw back, and some of which they try for. They also go east, discovering the coats of the Barents and White Seas, and the mouths of rivers draining into the Arctic, which they follow south, eventually making their way to the Byzantine Empire and the Middle east. Mostly, they discover that it’s fun to raid their neighbors on the Southern European coasts, from Germany all the way through England and Ireland, across France, Spain and even as far as the western Mediterranean. Their ability to show up suddenly, armed to the teeth, raiding in mass and leave just as quickly means that Europe has no defense against them. Back then, you had the feudal system of warfare, which involved a top down hierarchy calling up forces. It just wasn’t able to respond quickly, and wasn’t able to respond to this.

    Because they’re severely overpopulated and the medieval warm spell is starting to wind up, they’re colonizing whole populations all over. The Viking Era comes to a close as the Viking colonies make raiding more unpalatable – the Viking raiders are meeting people like themselves who are not easy pickings. Technology is moving forward, military tactics are evolving to meet them, and people are starting to learn how to cope with their shit. Little Ice Age begins and suddenly, all the stuff that the Norse used to do no longer works, they can’t sustain the population, and kaput.

    In terms of the role of women, mostly women didn’t go to sea, unless there was colonizing to be done. They didn’t go fishing and didn’t have the same maritime tradition. Communities could afford to lose a boatload of men at sea. Couldn’t afford to lose a boatload of women. So women and boys would look after the cattle, do the milking (access to protein!), and maintain the gardens. So there’s some fairly traditional divisions of labour. But the tradition of Viking each other meant that women fought or had to learn to fight. It was just like the pricks over the hill to come raiding when all the men were at sea, at which point, what’s a woman to do.

    50% of graves of Norse Women from this period are buried with weapons or armour, and a significant fraction of women’s bodies suggest either fatal or healed injuries sustained in combat. Norse deities and norse sagas also give good credit to women who fight. Norse society was quite egalitarian as far as societies went.

    221BadWolf @221badwolf

    Mixed feelings about this. I found it jarring that the Doctor had such a giant reaction to Ashildr dying, yet in the previous episode seemed to not really care if O’Donnell died.. Or is that just me? Maybe I’m just upset at him; I think he was terribly irresponsible to make Ashildr immortal. Like some of you have said, he’s saved her, but at what cost? Now she has to watch everyone she’s ever loved grow old and die; as @bluesqueakpip ‘s mentioned, she’d initially died in ‘battle’; a glorious and heroic death for the Norse people.

    And in the initial sequence of events, why did Clara need to bring Ashildr along, anyway? She didn’t need her at all (or I haven’t watched closely enough- correct me if she actually did!); Clara could have just used the sonic sunglasses herself and gotten herself beamed up, instead of putting an innocent girl in danger.

    Also, did anyone else think that the “fire in the water” could be a sly reference to GoT- “A Song of Fire and Ice”?

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  Funny that you should say this, for I always feel you to be quite optimistic and ‘heart-y’??

    I am, a lot; this has been largely a damn good life, and looking back over it (as you are forced to do when you really need to, as they say, “get your shit together”, ie documents etc.) I’m pleased.  On the other hand, I think I inherited from my dad’s line an inclination toward depression, which long perspectives both ease and exacerbate, so my background hum is low-pitched and in a minor key.  Luckily, I am also easily distracted.

    @mirime  I thought translating baby might might involve some telepathy as well. It’s not really a language after all.

    My thought, too.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    Yet another impossible character, Odin, yet another “appearance”.  Of course this Odin was fake.  But who implanted the original idea of Odin in human consciousness?

    Robin Hood, Santa Claus, Odin, etc.  What are they?  I argue they are placeholders put by someone as hooks so that they can manipulate the story.  Need some miracle done in human history?  Use a “mythical character,” then have no one believe the human primitives when they ascribe the miracle to gods.  That is how one avoids a paradox, because no one believes the actual story.

    It’s the ancient astronaut theory applied to the Dr Who universe.  Only the Time Lords are the ancient astronauts.  Because otherwise they cannot come back, so they must influence humans as spirit beings.

    Mirime @mirime

    @221badwolf The Doctor seemed to recognise Ashildr in some way, maybe that’s why. Maybe it was, in a sense, ‘supposed’ to happen, perhaps part of some bigger loop we can’t see yet?

    His reaction was rather Tenth Doctor ‘Waters of Mars’. ‘I can do whatever I want’. We had a bit of that last week as well with his ‘I don’t see anyone here who is going to stop me’, except the Tardis had other ideas.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @mirime: I think Ashildr is important because even before she met the Doctor and Clara she was a born dreamer and creator of stories. She is a future shaman.

    Whoever controls the story controls what can happen, particularly concerning what Time Lords can do and not have paradox. An immortal storyteller could potentially put an unlimited number of hooks into the human story where gods, demigods, superheroes, etc. can intervene without their story being believed, and thus not vulnerable to paradox. Storytellers are miracle machines in the Dr. Who universe.

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    Kasterborus is the Constellation in which Gallifrey and it’s star system is located.

    That doesn’t make any sense at all because a Constellation is simply a random assortment of stars which looks kind of like a shape or pattern when viewed from a certain vantage point.

    I’m not sure if our sky actually has a Kasterborus constellation.

    It’s possible that Kasterborus is the name of a star cluster, of which Gallifrey’s sun is a member.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I found it jarring that the Doctor had such a giant reaction to Ashildr dying, yet in the previous episode seemed to not really care if O’Donnell died..

    He did care: he offered O’Donnell the chance to stay in the TARDIS. She refused. The way she reacted suggested she’d guessed that it was to keep her safe – so, she didn’t want to be safe.

    Ashildr, on the other hand, had that helmet put on her by the Doctor. He couldn’t keep her safe, because he needed her to save the village. But had he explained to her how dangerous it was? Or had he just used her – like a battery, not like a human being?

    Had he been too much the detached Time Lord, like in Pompeii? Needing Donna to remind him, again, that his job is also to save someone.

    Incidentally, this script explains the little blip last week, when O’Donnell didn’t mention Donna. The writers couldn’t mention Donna too early, because the Doctor needed to remember her by himself. 😉

    In-story, the explanation is probably that Donna’s identity as Companion was classified Top Secret, for her own protection. Too much danger of UNIT’s keen Doctor fans being unable to resist a chat with one of the surviving Companions.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I think Robert Holmes meant the Kasterborous Sector, or System, but somehow ‘constellation’ slipped through and got thoroughly stuck in Who legend.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    To follow-up the point on the Doctor’s trousers (which I believe are supposed to be Troughton era trousers-see below the bit from the Radio Times in August), Peter Capaldi has directed us to “specific trouser things that happen for specific reasons” in the series (unless he’s joking!?). Why, then, point us at the Troughton era for this story?? Is it just a little bit of homage, or more?

    Personally, I think the Radio Times got it wrong. Let’s compare trousers:

    If anything, Capaldi’s trousers seem to be closer to Hartnell’s–to my eye, anyway.

    If we assume Capaldi wasn’t joking, and we should think about the trousers, is there something in the Hartnell era that we should be thinking about?

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    In Pyramids of Mars there is an interesting exchange between Sutekh the Destroyer and the Fourth Doctor where Sutekh simply assumes that the Doctor’s planet is in the Milky Way galaxy and the Doctor does provide its coordinates relative to “galactic zero center.”

    That’s a rather interesting coincidence isn’t it that Gallifrey and the Earth are even in the same galaxy.

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @purofilion Did you ask me about Norse? I thought you did, but I can’t find it here.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I think Gallifrey is already one of the entrants in the ‘a spaceman did it and ran away’ theory of human evolution, though I can’t quite recall which story.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me terribly if the story of the Gallifreyans and the Time Lords turned out to be an Ouroboros Loop. That, for example, they created Clara – and she created them. 😈

    [Later addition]
    And come to think of it, that would be a lovely, Moffatian twist. That hybrid warrior race that the Doctor is so terrified of creating?

    It’s the Gallifreyans themselves. 🙂

    lisa @lisa

    I felt that when Ashildr was telling the Doctor about always being different
    it struck a cord in him. As a very young Doctor he may have been approximately
    the same age when he had those same feelings. Therefore when she died that might
    of been in his mind and so hit him particularly hard. That might to be in part
    why she was brought back. But I agree it was a little irresponsible. Also, good
    catch on the song of fire and ice from GofT! In the next episode I actually hope
    Maisie’s character evolves away from being so similar a character.

    @denvaldron Thanks professor! I like your lessons.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Just re-watched the episode. At the point at which the Doctor realises why he has the face he has (to save people, just as he did at Pompeii) and decides to save Ashildr, he shouts into the air that if anybody is listening and objects, “to hell with you”.  It occurred to me, not just that he was shouting at the Time Lords, but that he was alluding to The War Games, when the Time Lords punish him (by giving him a new face) for interfering in the life and death of others too much.

    So, I went and watched the end of The War Games again, and sure enough, Troughton’s trousers (yes, this post really is about trousers) do match Capaldi’s.

    Consequently, I take back what I said in my previous post about the trousers.  (I should have known–how can one disagree with the Radio Times…)


    Mersey @mersey
    1. What an inconsistent episode! A combination of silliness, drama, Maisie Williams and really serious stuff with Donna Noble and the Doctor’s face. Donna, you were an amazing companion. So now I have a few words about Clara. When she stepped in in the second part of the 7th series she was a very, very undeveloped character. She had no real background, no family (yes, her father was mentioned but he didn’t play any part), no friends, no real job. Was she rich, poor or middle class, educated or uneducated? We didn’t know that. She was pretty, smart and clever, almost without any flaws. Nothing interesting really. I couldn’t stand her. But she was strong and yes, at that time she was mature and responsible. When Doctor said ‘Stay!’ she stayed. Why? Because she wasn’t Amy. And as the Doctor was getting weaker and weaker she had to be the strong one. But perfection is really boring and writers had planned something nasty for her. But the next series showed us how much undeveloped she was. Doctor companions usually start their journey with him as young, a bit immature people. But they grow up, become adults and leave the Tardis. It’s natural. But with Clara is exactly the opossite. She was strong when she started and now she’s cracked. Did you see in her eyes? ‘Why didn’t you give it to me’ look. She wants to be immortal! She wants to accompany the Doctor forever! You can say that’s her development (reverse I think). Yes, it is, but I had these two seasons I wanted her to go so much. Now she’s fine for me. But it’s too late to like her.

    To sum up, it wasn’t my favourite episode. I don’t know why they care so much about Capaldi’s face. It’s not as clever as they think.

    Oh, and I have this little conversation:

    Clara: Doctor?

    Doctor: Yes, Clara?

    Clara: I have this funny feeling that I’ve seen this girl before.

    Doctor: Clara, my Clara! Haven’t you watched Game of thrones? Haven’t you waisted your time before this flat, electric box? I thought every human child watches Game of thrones!

    Whisht @whisht

    Just wanted to say “hi and welcome @starla – fantastic theorising*!”

    * ie I agree 🙂


    jphamlore @jphamlore

    I wonder if the next episode will deal with some of the constraints on what Ashildr can do as a woman in that time period.   It seems to me that The Girl Who Died placed Ashildr in a Norse society that relative to its time may have accorded women considerable authority, especially since the warriors would often have been absent.  Ashildr herself appears to fancy herself something of a Valkyrie.

    Moving on through the centuries, perhaps the best role in leadership for a woman would have been Maria Theresa of Austria.  But that would have required considerable machinations to have replaced her.  For a storyteller and a woman, the ideal time and place might have been for her to be running a salon in Paris before the French Revolution.


    Mirime @mirime

    Had he been too much the detached Time Lord, like in Pompeii? Needing Donna to remind him, again, that his job is also to save someone.

    @bluesqueakpip In Pompeii everyone was going to die and he saved one family. Here he saved everybody except one person and then, presumably unwisely, saved her as well.

    And now I’m thinking again of  The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and how pleased the Doctor was that “just this once everybody lives”. He got that here (ignoring the people who were ‘juiced’ as he didn’t have the opportunity to try to save them) as well but at what cost?

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    Just randomly searching for famous women, here’s a perfect person for Ashildr to have been in history, Aphra Behn.

    1. Mysterious past
    2. Writer
    3. Adventurer
    4. Died in her late 40s.


    nerys @nerys

    @tommo The phrase really is “Run, you clever boy … and remember”:



    Consequently, I take back what I said in my previous post about the trousers.  (I should have known–how can one disagree with the Radio Times…)

    And also clearly a Buffy allusion. Who can forget the Red Leather Pants of Moral Ambiguity?


    And also….

    If there is a humungous loop of causal causality, is Ashildr where 11 learn that “we are all story in the end”?

    Don’t just look at the story, look at the writer.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Yes! One of the recurring themes of Moffat is that we are all stories in the end. That is how Moffat breaks the 4th wall without actually breaking it, if that makes sense.

    I have the feeling that the departure of Clara will be linked to that theme in some way.

    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish  – good to read your analysis

    And, of course, it’s a double bluff because the romp is not really the point. The interesting stuff here is about the Doctor. And about Clara. And I suspect Ashildr is going to be a huge piece of collateral damage.

    I mentioned something similar too – that the ‘story’ of “Norse/Viking”, eels and testosterone – was a colourful backdrop to a different equally poignant tale of immortality and its trials. The tribulations of Time Lords and the fears Clara still possesses about ‘going home’ -going back to an ‘ordinary life’ where, really, she is extraordinary; remarkable, in fact, where she is already: working in a tough school in a challenging socio-economic position where daily she faces the ‘lack of’ Danny.

    She needs to appreciate the memories she’s had with the Doctor, and like other companions (for instance, Martha), be ready to forge a new life (the black-smith metaphor). Though there’s some nice allegories to be drawn from the testosterone story/suggestion for both Clara, Danny, soldiers in general and of course, the Doctor: feeding pleasures and sensations into other people; so he can continue to feel the excitement about a new planet vicariously -as few things surprise him now, but when they do, you hear him say those intriguing and alien phrases: “it’s extraordinary, it’s delicious, I want to kiss it to death”

    And death is his highway, it’s where he walks, I guess. No wonder he feels responsible for all those people, for the “loss” -and that he’s tired of it. I can see where TLs might simply lay down their fez’, chequered trousers, bow ties and say “it’s over for me now.”


    She was pretty, smart and clever, almost without any flaws. Nothing interesting really. I couldn’t stand her. But she was strong and yes, at that time she was mature and responsible. When Doctor said ‘Stay!’ she stayed. Why? Because she wasn’t Amy. And as the Doctor was getting weaker and weaker she had to be the strong one…

    If she’s strong and mature, not flagging when the Doctor patently is, why couldn’t you “stand her”?

    I believe now she’s at her best. I do also think the Impossible Girl shtick, whilst an exciting development, meant the writers concentrated on this (perhaps writing themselves into a corner)and other character’s reactions to this “girl” rather than the girl herself –possibly. Now, she’s kinder, more meticulous in thought and yet a long time ago, I recall her plea to the TLs on Trenzalore and how poignant and successful she was in asking for their help. I then recall her accepting this new, totally alien man, knowing, even in Deep Breath, that despite his confusion he wouldn’t ever abandon her. So on the contrary there’s as awful lot to like. But I take your point about Donna: what’s not to like? 🙂

    However, I had issues and I know others did  -perhaps @arbutus with the idea of yet another pretty, motor-mouth ‘tween’: fitting nicely into those “tight skirts” and I wished for a another Donna -someone embodying the brash personality and transparency of Noble’s character. But towards the end of last season as she coped with Danny’s death as well as the last five episodes of S9, Coleman has grown on me -both as actor and companion. She’d had a lot to do with the success of the Doctors too: in the anniversary special, she played the counterpoint to the Doctors and The Moment especially well.

    On this: “I don’t know why they care so much about Capaldi’s face. It’s not as clever as they think.”

    On the contrary, I think it was clever: from Deep Breath onwards we knew where the face had come from, but in the way of dramatic irony, we’re waiting for the big reveal for the Doctor and I thought it was nicely done. Boy Iion didn’t remember Fires of Pompeii very well at all until he saw it again on screen (same with the other age end of the family) -& it was surely great to see a glimpse of a previous companion. I understand others, though, may not like lose ends tied up if we, the audience, don’t require the explanation. Perhaps it seems patronising?

    Loved, @mersey, your Game of Thrones conversation: I must be one person who, in watching the series, didn’t particularly enjoy it. Actaully, when is it all going to be over! 😉

    lisa @lisa

    @purofilion About your ‘a dr’ idea – have you read this?

    good catch puro!

    ichabod @ichabod

    Came across a very interesting review of this episode here:

    Scroll down a bit to find it.  I’m thinking I have to back and read reviews on that site of the other episodes of S9 so far. Good ideas, I think — stuff I never would have come up with on my own.  Did anyone else see the transfer of Clara and Ashildr to Odin’s space ship as something effected by half of the broken sunglasses, triggered by Ashildr being told to “think, open!” by Clara?  I thought the Mire had sent them up with the warriors, but that does raise the question: why?  They’r not aggressive, testosterone carrying males.

    Anonymous @


    one of the recurring themes of Moffat is that we are all stories in the end

    Well said Mr Blenkinsop! I think a lot of those ‘tales,’ as you said, that many people (particularly on d’other place) found jarring was the writer’s point of beginning: “you, the  audience, believe that the operator of a police box which flies thru time and space can die repeatedly and be resurrected and yet not accept various myths and legends  (or at least create a believable, approachable construct or paradox for them), hologramic ghosts, puppets which come alive as well as unwieldy- looking ‘Fisher Kings.’ ”

    Of course I know it’s more complex than this: the stories need to be believable, to use science with the knowledge that we have at hand (although that knowledge will be obsolete sooner than we can install Windows 10) and to create monsters (like the F. King) which hold our attention and are worthy adversaries.

    That Clara is “this story” is possibly what the Doctor has ‘seen’ already. It appears when he’s talking to Missy, to Davros and Ashildr (or to Clara about Ashildr), he’s partly distracted as the problem in the background, like a mosquito buzzing or a song stuck in your head like the ghost’s ‘code’  is always Clara.

    @denvaldron @bluesqueakpip thank you for answering those questions. Den -I might have asked you about Norse but typically I’ve forgotten -or else somebody sorted that out for me! So thank you :doffs hat:

    Anonymous @

    thank you @lisa I must admit I did read that article. Whilst I’d come up with ‘dr’ seems like others did too. But what about ‘ardis’ from ‘Ashildr -no ‘t’ but still, she’s about continued dimension in space -not four dimensional, her line is linear, but a continued and unstoppable existence one way only! An endless monopoly game.

    Anonymous @


    just caught up with your post on Norse (keeping it brief I see 🙂 ) history.

    Certainly I have plenty of knowledge about the medieval way of doing things but Norse history? Not so much; so thank you. Generally, universities here would expand upon arguments regarding the elimination, transformation or ‘fall’ of the Roman Empire so that took up our valuable lecture time in our first year. By 3rd year and preparing for  post-grad in Arts, I was looking to a modern and Western era for compartmentalisation.

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    On reflection, maybe we shouldn’t be referring to the big bad critter as the F.King. It could be misinterpreted.

    @purofilion It was brief. I was trying to coherently condense 500 years of history, subsistence economy, the nature of a marginal culture whose very marginality lead to the development of certain skill sets, two major climactic changes and explosive expansion and exploration across three continents, and throw in commentary on gender relations. It’s pretty tough boiling that down to three or four paragraphs. I suspect though, that this episode had more of the comic book or old movie Norse than anything with anthropological rigour. Electric eels? Humm.

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