The Husbands Of River Song

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    Anonymous @

    @pedant @blenkinsopthebrave @mersey

    I suspect that you are skirting around the superficially fine, but in terms of underlying causation very different, distinction between obsession and addiction. While obsession can be passionate and destructive, it can also bring splendour and majesty.

    Indeed yes, and I can witness the fatal flaw, as it were, in my own ramblings on that matter and also within one of the characters about which we write.

    Milton to some extent is correct in believing that the mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell. The writers didn’t claim to make River a TL or complete maniac, in the dolorous sense but certain interpretations have concluded River is either a Bohemian or a capitalist with seething intent to self-satisfy. She is true and isn’t self-destructive (unlike Clara who initiated this and for which, unfortunately, the Doctor blames himself). Clara is at times disingenuous and often discontented -and it’s indigenous to any place seemingly.

    River possesses a deeper more fulfilled persona -it is consistent and the times during which I disliked River were almost certainly, if I’m truly honest with myself, down to a puritan streak in my own nature. She is wild. Am I seething with envy that I lack that extreme confidence (shaded in with compassion despite the assassin within)? Possibly I must own to that.

    It is the examination of these characters that we acknowledge our own occasional vacancy or miasma. ūüôā

    Certainly, River was egregious at times and without conscience (so it seemed) but I don’t think she painted herself up to look pretty (metaphorically) -she lived wholly and roundly and in so doing entreated us to do the same.

    That roundness of character, the wild, the game, the anti-misanthrope, ¬†gave me confidence in River Song the person, in¬†the immutable qualities she presented so boldly. Part of this was her detachment from the Doctor for a good deal of her existence so she could fulfil her destiny whilst for Clara the attachment -and the Doctor’s, remained unhealthy, brokered, as it was, on the one element -and it over-heated.

    Anonymous @


    Yes, I echo pedant in that statement


    I understand your point -it is sometimes a wish we cannot have: we want a Christmas message and whilst it’s delivered, we would have preferred a different one. ūüôā

    @arbutus yes, I probably didn’t explain myself well -the above post may be clearer, or not!¬† Yes, the lack of completion that we saw in¬†Clara’s character was deliberately intended as you said. Absolutely did the actress nail that part -and for a young person as well working¬†with a variety of experienced actors¬†-not bad at all. I will enjoy going back over the last two seasons later this month.


    Anonymous @


    I thought that at the closure of her life River would be more philosophical, maybe more stoic (like in  A Good Man goes to War). That was my vision and it didn’t come true.

    She was stoic at the end of her life -in Silence in the Library she died so the Doctor wouldn’t: “don’t you re-write any of the lines, you watch us run. You have all of that to come yet.”

    She was brilliant and the Doctor knew it.

    I think this xmas episode had a blend of Cheer, the malcontents, altruism, kindness, passion and melancholy. Quite beautiful: from beginning to end, imo.

    Kindest, The Hybrid.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @pedant ¬†[of River] ¬†You don‚Äôt get to have the beautiful balcony scene without the Doctor seeing that, for all her wild ways, she is a good person who loves him unconditionally, with no expectation of reward. She is wild, but true. And then he says ‚ÄúHello sweetie‚ÄĚ and she realises that the sunset is loves her back . . .¬† there was huge bravado. there had to be, we now know, because she did not feel she was loved back.

    Beautifully put; thanks. ¬†For me, that puts Clara/Doctor in a somewhat different light. ¬†He was frantic over Clara — enough to risk the coherence of the universe. ¬†Maybe because he knew that she didn’t love him back, not in the same deep-seated and constant way? ¬†Clara tried to betray him in Dark Water; did he ever betray her (ignoring, rightly, a couple of instances where he appeared to abandon her to danger, in Deep Breath and in KtM, but in fact he did nothing of the sort)?

    Maybe it works with River (when it works) because she’s not just human — she’s at least part TL, and her love for the Doctor is a version of Missy’s description of TL “friendship”? ¬†I’m seeing Clara/Doctor and River/Doctor as complementary relationships . . . ?

    lisa @lisa


    Clara as River’s second wife which¬†might be why the Doctor reminds River of her?

    I like that!¬†¬†¬† So that means River recognized Clara in the “conference call’ as her

    wife but that hadn’t happened for Clara yet.¬†¬† lol¬†¬† Love the timey whimey!


    The thing I feel about River is that she hasn’t changed who she is from the time she

    was hatched.   Clara has changed a lot!   You can make many character connections

    between the¬†two¬†but Clara always felt to me a bit like she was¬†‘bigging herself up’

    and River never came off artificial in that respect to me because having some TL in you

    lends yourself to actually being that way .¬†¬† So I guess I’m saying River seemed more

    authentic (?) somehow  compared to  Clara for me.  Its like some folks are on a quest

    for wonderfulness (Clara) and others are born with that (River).    I think- maybe?

    Plus what @ichabod  just said about the time lord notion of deep friendship is a great

    perspective on this too.




    Maybe it works with River (when it works) because she‚Äôs not just human ‚ÄĒ she‚Äôs at least part TL, and her love for the Doctor is a version of Missy‚Äôs description of TL ‚Äúfriendship‚ÄĚ?

    No, I think River’s sensibility is entirely human (and English to boot). What is it the Jesuits say? Give me the boy until he is 7 and I will give you the man. (That was always¬†the flaw in Kovarian’s plan.) She was (albeit inadvertently) brought up by Amy who, at the first instance, was the one who told River (newly regenerated) that The Doctor¬†was worth saving.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Some lovely posts, still working through all of them!

    Agree with @winston that River doesn’t really notice that the Doctor has a different face – she sees under that. Likewise the Doctor doesn’t particularly notice superficial changes in his companions – he vaguely notices River’s done something with her hair, and comments about Clara’s appearance in S8. He comments because he feels he’s supposed to but it’s not something that’s important to him. I agree with @arbutus – River is so confident she knows all his faces, that she hasn’t contemplated the possibility of extra regenerations (and why would she).

    And as @pedant says – River’s not dead yet – and she only suspects she’s coming to the end, she doesn’t know. For the first time it’s the Doctor who gets to say “spoilers”.¬† For the first time (as far as we know) he’s not on the back foot where their relationship is concerned.¬†¬† And they’ve got 24 years to spend the night together!! (Plenty of scope for future Big Finish possibilities).

    Btw has anyone picked up on where the diamond came from? I haven’t managed to have a proper relisten and make out the words – just wondering if it was the bank of Karabraxos…

    Meanwhile – someone’s put together this beautiful little sequence of clips – hardly a wibbly bit in it ūüôā


    winston @winston

    Thanks for that @scaryb¬† it was great!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I just watched SiTL and it is¬†very bittersweet¬†now that we have come to know River. I also love that the Doctor gave River his Sonic because she told him he would and that is how he “saves” her. Very timey-wimey.

    Anonymous @


    Absolutely well done.

    I watched SitL and even have on my sticky notes those lines of hers.

    Isn’t Ten’s performance brilliant? Both of them. Neither knowing as actors what these parts would bring.

    Those two lovers. Part of a coterie of the few : Grace Kelly with Stewart in Rear Window; Bogart with Bergman in Casablanca, Capaldi and Kingston (OK, Tennant, Smith and Capaldi with Kingston) in Who.

    The shivers.

    Anonymous @



    Ah yes, the flaw in the plan. In The Wedding of River Song Amy allows Kovarian to die -we see¬†River gets that from her mother, Amy, but also inherits the other bits -that the Doctor is important and worth loving. There is a deeply sexual quality to River which the Doctor is intrigued by and attracted to. I don’t think one can compare it to the Missy discussion of “you humans with your grubby minds” speech. Mind you, it’s a good point and that was a great speech by Gomez -perfectly delivered, imo.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @lisa   River seemed more authentic (?) somehow compared to Clara for me. Its like some folks are on a quest
    for wonderfulness (Clara) and others are born with that (River). I think- maybe?

    Yes, maybe; though there’s also the age difference. ¬†Clara is very young when we first meet her, still looking for further boundaries of herself. ¬†Having found those boundaries (the Raven, the long way round, no more Doctor), she steps into possession of them as she leaves. ¬†River is a mature woman from the get-go (as I recall), so even if she wasn’t always so Auntie-Mame as a kid, she’s had time and adventures (mostly on her own, I think?) to turn into her full-powered self the way people sometimes do in maturity and middle age (yes, even “wild” people). ¬†And yet, under all that is this self-deprecating view of herself as not nearly grand enough for the Doctor to love and care about. ¬†Very human, that.

    And interesting. ¬†Thinking back to the discussion of how he “takes on” the role of the Doctor, that tells me that in himself, he’s nothing so grand; he’s the fool, the mad improviser, the man who keeps losing people he loves while he keeps going on, for all his big brains and his freedom in time and space (limited, after all, in all kinds of ways), and his track record of trailing a great deal of destruction in his wake. ¬†All that’s his public truth, the mantle he puts on ¬†(the burgundy coat, the colorful scarf, the plaid trousers), his dress uniform when he’s boasting to the universe and everybody in it about how dangerous he is, how brilliant, how feared.

    But the man wearing the mantle is perfectly capable of loving a bold adventurer so like himself, so much not a mountain range or a sunset. ¬†People see the mantle, the mountain range, the sunset, as he wants them to, but there’s a cost. ¬†River seems to have mistaken him for the grandeur that he plays (and also, sometimes, actually owns and inhabits); and she’s suffered for seeing him as too tall, and herself not measuring up.

    Well, it’s okay. ¬†He’s got 24 yrs to make it up to her. ¬†Hello, sweetie; hearts to heart.

    Missy @missy

    @puroandson said:

    Yay! you’ve watched it! So glad you liked it. I don’t think you’ve seen the other episodes yet though? So, better stay away from the other threads?
    I admire your power and lack of temptation. You must be one of those people who if they go on a macrobiotic diet never deviate ever or if coffee must be given up, you’d do it and never ever be tempted!
    Can I have your tenacity please?

    My reply:

    Hello Sweetie! (I’m not flirting by the way.)

    Indeed I have, three times now and love it even more. You are quite right, I haven’t as yet seen the last 6 episodes, and am waiting for Amazon to get its finger out. However, I feel that I must rectify something.

    Yours truly, is among a certain breed of human who thrive on teasing itself – depending on the subject/object.
    Although I suffered hell on earth not watching, I sustained the fasting by convincing myself that anticipation beats realisation and I COULD do this!

    Actually, I’m an idiot, a pudding head and deserve no praise whatsoever. (Ta anyway) I could in no way keep up a diet, could probably give up coffee (for a bit) but never tea. I need my cuppa. Tenacious I ain’t!

    Still, it’s nice to be considered a heroine for once.



    midnyt @midnyt

    @notime – transcripts (mostly accurate, I have seen a few errors) here:

    @arbutus – I agree with you about perceptions. It colors everything we do in life. I can absolutely see her being so stuck in “he only has these 12 faces” that it never even occurs to her that something could happen and he could have more.

    @puroandson – I think it boils down to writing for me. Clara never earned her confidence. I identify with River. I see many facets of her in my own life, be the person I think I am or the person I want to be. I can identify with the character (River) or I can identify with the story (Rose, Amy, Donna). With Clara, they didn’t give me anything to work with that that’s my problem with her.


    River, now, River drove me bats from the get-go, probably for the same basic reason that I dislike Captain Jack: there‚Äôs a certain style of flamboyant self-confidence that just gets my back up (partly because it always feels *fake* to me ‚ÄĒ an act, a defense ‚ÄĒ unless the person in question is, say, an opera singer, because people able to live *that* life carrying around that kind of talent just amaze me the hell out of me).

    That’s interesting to me. That’s exactly why I like Captain Jack. And River. It doesn’t feel like an act to me. John Barrowman is genuinely like that. Alex, to a certain extent, seems the same. It’s funny how our own perceptions color everything in life, even how we can all watch the same TV Show and see completely different characters. It keeps life interesting.

    @mersey – At first we didn’t know, and that was what we were supposed find intriguing about Clara. Unfortunately, for me at least, they failed. I really couldn’t care less. Now River’s reverse timeline, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it completely and so it’s still something that continues to fascinate me. And when they add a new story with River, it’s like I get a new puzzle all over again with even more pieces to play with. It’s somewhat familiar, but brand new at the same time.

    Missy @missy

    I feel like others, that River will back. It was such fun rmembering “The Library” where
    River uses the screwdriver, informing the Doctor when he asked, that he’d given it to her.
    Remembering the planet Darillium, where they’d spent their last night together, mentioned in one of the previous DT episodes.
    I especially enjoyed, even though sad, the reference that River’s diary was running out of pages, and the Doctor allowing so many and no more.
    There was much more, but I can’t think for now.
    As I’ve prevously mentioned, by far my favourite scene, was when PC says: “Hello Sweetie.” I’m not ashamed to tell you all, that my eyes began to leak! Sigh.

    SM is a flippin’ genius!


    Missy @missy

    Damn! I daren’t read anymore, have noticed that Clara has been mentioned – spoilers.



    midnyt @midnyt

    @scaryb The diamond is The Halassi Androvar. King Hydroflax was raiding the Halassi vault when it exploded on him.

    Anonymous @

    @midnyt @ichabod

    have you seen Barrowman in interviews? he’s quite the …..pose…I don’t suppose it worries me but there’s something there that does….not sure what….shiny jackets…lots of “I” phrases ūüôā

    All good but . You’re right: it makes it interesting…



    My God! She lives!

    That vid was very well done. Still haven’t worked out why a library needs an auto-destruct sequence though…

    Mudlark @mudlark

    You were right, @puroandson , there is something that I needed throughout my professional life without ever realising the lack. Forget my trusty WHS forged steel 4″ trowels;* so much labour could have been saved with a trowel that was sonic ūüôā¬† I’m not sure about the design of River’s trowel, though – far too baroque.¬† What was with the blunt, wavy edge, for a start – unless the curves were supposed to somehow modulate the sonic pulses?¬† I’d have gone for something more streamlined.

    As for the rest, I am re-joining the thread far to late in the day to do much more than echo what others have said days ago, and for any failure to acknowledge those people, I apologise in advance.

    The trailer left me with a slightly apprehensive feeling, but my worries were unfounded. For the whole hour on Christmas evening there was a silly grin plastered over my face and, for the last 20 minutes or so, perhaps just the teeniest lump in the throat.  It was a gloriously mad whirlwind of an episode, fizzing and sparking with jokes and one-liners, and the combination of Capaldi and Kingston was everything I hoped for and more.  River was in fine, amoral bad-girl form, and the Doctor, after his initial bemusement at her failure to recognise him, in wry mood, deciding (as @ichabod noted ) to milk all the fun he could out of the situation, right up to that pivotal moment of stillness when River, having finished her impassioned declaration, finally became aware of the steady gaze of the person next to her and turned to face it Рa moment perfectly realised by both actors.

    One of the delights of second and third viewings was being able to focus on the subtle changes of expression on Capaldi’s face.

    I agree with all those who have said that River’s failure to recognise the Doctor was in large part due to the fact that she knew of only twelve faces, but I think that there was more to it than that.¬† If she had not been wholly preoccupied with her schemes she might have picked up a good deal earlier on what he was trying to tell her. Even his initial, delighted grin on seeing her should have been enough to cause her to give him a second look, if she had been paying attention.

    I think it was @blenkinsopthebrave who observed that the first part of the episode had more of an RTD ‘feel’, while the second part was pure Moffat, and I can see the point, although I think that even the first part was slicker and funnier than anything I can recall of what RTD wrote for the show, and the segue from one part to the other was very deftly managed, so that nothing jarred.

    *Trowels, plural.  With use they tend to wear down to a nub and become useless except as a status symbol.



    Remember, as Rory’s Dad Brian, noted:¬†“What sort of a man doesn’t carry a trowel?”

    Only modified with gender-neutral lanaguage, obv.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pedant¬†¬† Or, as someone I knew once observed, ‘Security is the feeling of knowing that one’s trowel is tucked firmly into the back pocket of one’s jeans’.

    Even more comforting than knowing where one’s towel is.

    midnyt @midnyt


    I follow Barrowman on social media and got his autograph at Heroes and Villains FanFest back in November. I got to see his panel there as well. John is very much Captain Jack, and is very good with his fans. There’s a clip of him and Alex at a recent con on YouTube. He’s a total fanboy himself and his flamboyant nature really makes it fun to watch him geek out. I’ve been trying to think of a good theme for a photo op when I go to Wizard World in February, because Barrowman will do just about anything. Wizard World Portland will have Matt, Karen, Alex, and Arthur in addition to John. I did see Karen at FanFest as well, but was working and didn’t get her autograph.

    Craig @craig

    Just got home and comfortable, so not sure if this has been posted yet. Just waiting on my pizza. But it’s quite a good history/herstory of River pre the final√©.

    Anonymous @


    thankyou so much for the links for us.I really like it. Mum claims I have remembered this but I was pretty young so I didn’t remember all of it. It makes it really clear to see river’s picture or life in this way.

    Thankyou Craig and also happy new year. I echo everyone I’m sure in saying you’ve madethis site a wonderful place to hang out and learn and discuss. I have learnt so much about Buffy, Who, literature and books (I was watching farscape which @phaseshift said would be good)¬† and good TV -as well as etiquette and how to behave on web sites or forums like this.

    I’ll go the Sofa but I wish you a happy new year Craig and a restful one. All the ways you’ve improved this site -I’m happy to pay a fee from my pocket money to help keep it going without advertisments.

    Thanks again

    Son of Puro


    Epikrocket @epikrocket

    I continue to laugh days after this episode ended. What always got me was when River walked into the Tardis and The Doctor was like “Finally, it’s my go” and he just starts freaking out and then I start freaking out because he’s freaking out and it’s just so freaking funny.

    Brewski @brewski

    How meta fun would it have been if, instead of Stephen Fry, River had married Mark Gattis?


    CarisaJemison @carisajemison


    Missy @missy

    I have just finished watching, or should I say RE- watching – “Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead.”
    Both of them brought a tear to my eye in past viewings, but after seeing “The Husbands of River Song” the episodes
    made perfect sense.
    I must admit to crying like a baby THIS time. SM must have written this ages ago and kept it for future use.
    Just thought I’d share this with all of you.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy ¬†SM said “Husbands” was an old script of his, that he presumably re-tooled to cap off S9 with a view of the Doctor post-Clara and doing well, not to mention having learned about accepting the fact that things end, and you just have to accept it. ¬†New Doctor-ly maturity, to match a mature companion-for-the-xmas-season (+ 24 yrs on Darillium). ¬†Extremely gratifying, and you’re right.

    nerys @nerys

    The other night I gave “Husbands” a second watch, then rewatched the “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” episodes to reacquaint myself with how we viewers first met River. I think I shall have to review the Amy/Rory episodes, as well, as I have forgotten so many of those details. (‘Tis the curse of binge-watching Doctor Who on Netflix.) But the remarkable thing, as others have noted, is how remarkably consistent River has been in her behavior. Many things have changed in the course of Tennant, Smith and now Capaldi, but River is one unswerving refrain. Bravo to Moffat for giving her such a brilliant swan song!

    Missy @missy


    it’s simply amazing that SM kept this for five years – at least I think it is. You’d think he had enough to remember.

    A very special special.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy ¬† Yep; Moffat is an amazing talent with the gift of long perspectives — very useful, in writing stories about time travel, I should think.



    Missy @missy


    Delighted that we agree on that score. Some of the members on another general forum I belong to, think that SM should go, he’s a ‘terrible’ writer – thst includes his cripts for Sherlock?

    I suggested that they obviously weren’t on his ‘wavelength,’ so don’t watch.



    midnyt @midnyt

    @missy¬† I’ll never understand why people go on to a forum and whine about things they don’t like.¬†¬† Life is too short to spend so much time on the negative and purposely frustrating yourself.¬†¬†¬† I’ve just finished Sherlock The Abominable Bride and I know that one is going to have a lot of people not getting it.¬† But Moffat is doing just fine by me.¬† I love his long game and seeing how it all ties in down the line.

    Franchiseadman @franchiseadman

    Hiyall. Long-time watcher and very, very old UK Whovian (my first doctor was… well, the first doctor!!) saying hi.

    Also – did anyone notice that when CapDoc changed for the final dinner-on-the-balcony scene, his formal evening wear was a major tip of the hat to William Hartnell’s later costume – dark jacket, lined lapels and floppy black necktie?


    Franchiseadman @franchiseadman

    Errrm… no idea how the avatar¬†(my youngest daughter!) landed!

    Craig @craig

    @franchiseadman Welcome to the forum! Hope you enjoy it here. We’ve got quite a few members who remember watching the very first episode. I too liked the nod to Hartnell

    The reason you have an automatic avatar of your daughter is because that picture has been registered with your email address on

    If you want to change it you can sign in at Gravatar and do it there – that will change it on all sites. Or if you just want to overwrite it for this site you can do that by going to your profile and under the Profile tab click Change Avatar and upload a new pic from your computer – you can crop it square after it has been uploaded.

    Missy @missy


    Me too. My sentiments are that if you don’t ‘get’ Moffat, don’t watch anything he writes.



    xaxiomatic @xaxiomatic

    I cried. I’m a grown man and I cried…

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @xaxiomatic- a perfectly grown up reaction.

    The final scene is the perfect companion to the last scene in the library.

    Missy @missy


    My dear man, so did I. I had tears running down both sides of my face. Just couldn’t stop.


    xaxiomatic @xaxiomatic

    <div class=”bbp-reply-author”><span class=”useratname”>@miapatrick</span></div>
    <div class=”bbp-reply-content”>

    It’s strange I’m not the sentimental type. But that last scene really got me. And besides the emotional impact the story itself and the way it’s told is brilliant.

    A love story that starts out as a tragedy with a known end. Told in random order¬†and in doing so turns out from a sad to¬†a happy ending. ¬†I don’t think I’ve seen that before and I’ve read an enormous amount of fiction.

    I don’t know how much of it was planned from the start but the courage of the writers to do something like this can only be applauded. It was a big risk and the payoff was huge.


    Kitty-Cat @kitty-cat

    Okay I am ¬†new to doctor who so I’ve only watched each episode once but I loved the husbands of river song it was brilliant I cried at the end and applauded when River realised it was the doctor but I have a question, if somebody could answer it would be awesome, in the episode he said something along the lines of not everything can be avoided when River said that she expected him to find away around this being their last meeting because we all know she’s going to the library next, but isn’t it possible to avoid Rivers death? I mean didn’t the Doctor avoid his own “fixed point” in time death by using the Teselecta- he said he barely/didn’t get singed right? So therefore couldn’t it have been possible for a different Teselecta to take Rivers place and therefore one “River” did die for the sake of protecting he doctor! Sorry if it’s a terrible idea I’m new to dr who and it’s been playing about in my mind. Is it stupid? (he’s had hundreds? of years to come up with a different way to “save” river I just don’t believe a screwdriver is all he thought up, yes it’s an upgraded screwdriver but… It’s River I don’t actually want her to be decade!) x



    You have to bear in mind that 11 had full knowledge of what he was doing at Lake Silencio, – it was him who was shot, and he who was the masterplanner – and specifically he knew who River was.

    But in the Library, 10 had no clue of the full context other than that River knew his name, so 12 had to guide him as best he could – so it had to be obvious (How come River has a sonic?) and simple (remembering the neural link).

    ichabod @ichabod

    @xaxiomatic ¬† Welcome; and yes, what impresses me most is how bold Steven Moffat is. ¬†I think it’s his risk-taking that his haters hate most. ¬†They see it as arrogance, which tells me so much more about them than it does about him, none of it good. ¬†River’s character wasn’t appealing to me from the start, as her “chemistry” with SmithDoc felt forced to me. ¬†Any sympathy I can achieve for the Clara-haters goes back to my inward cringe whenever River showed up, and feeble, silent cries of, “Oh no, here *she* is again!”

    I generally dislike the whole “this woman is Force of Nature!” thing, partly on ideological grounds (“Force of Nature” is so often a mask used to blot out the individual behind the label — it sounds as if it magnifies the person, but it often reduces the woman in question to a non-human status); and partly on stylistic ones, since bombast and flamboyance in any form (except satire that works) tends to repel me.

    So I couldn’t like River until “Husbands”, in which she explicitly rejects that label and claims her humanity by turning around and describing *the Doctor* as a force of nature — several of them, in fact — and emphasizing the difference between the two of them as unbridgeable. ¬†He immediately demolishes that distance, first with humor, and then with action; but then, he *is* sometimes a force of nature — tidal wave, S9? — whose human side as been ¬†explored for us in the show itself for decades now.

    So the “chemistry” between these two characters is wonderfully affirmed in “Husbands”, and I find myself liking River enormously — just before we lose her, probably for good. ¬†I also love it that it’s to her that CapDoc brings the greatest, most human-scale lesson he’s learned in his first two seasons: to let things end when their end comes (but hey, maybe there’s a bit of that delicious “wiggle-room” to be wrested from fate first, if you’re brave and clever — will 24 years do?).

    I sometimes say to Moffat-haters on other internet boards that I’m sorry they just don’t get him. ¬†I’m not being facetious or sly; I really *am* sorry for them. ¬†Moffat has his irritating writing tics, all right; but his daring as a story-teller is, IMO, wondrous to behold.

    Anonymous @


    I…dislike the whole ‚Äúthis woman is Force of Nature!‚ÄĚ thing, partly on ideological grounds

    Is feminism an ideology to you?

    For me it’s something different. If ideology, it becomes a separate unbonded issue (like a chemical compound) which can be argued away -I suppose. But that’s the way I look at it. I had trouble with River sometimes but certainly liked Silence in the Library with Tennant. Episodes with River at Silencio worked well for me too. By this current episode, River (and Kingston) had found that sweet spot, as it were (ahem).

    @xaxiomatic welcome to you -in my week or fortnight’s absence we have new members. Excellent!

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @ichabod, @puroandson- – I get it over disliking the ‘force of nature’ thing. It sits with me a little like that idea that ‘if women ran the world they’d be no/less war’ (cough Thatcher cough).

    You do still see semi serious comments about men having the capacity for abstract thought, and this idea that women are ‘more practical’, rooted in the day to day world. Bad deal, I’ll take the abstract thought. But historically women seem to be frequently either raised onto a pedestal, or pushed down into the gutter, rather than being allowed to stand on even ground.

    One thing I like about River is that at least she was presented as an academic (a somewhat Indiana Jones kind of academic) from the start, even if that side was more in the telling, and her adventurous side was what was shown.¬† I think she has always been shown with a balance of insecurity and ego, a kind of bravado. She is after all a very old human, but a very young timelord. But she’s always been smart, and calculating and, I think, humanly (and timelordly) flawed.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @puroandson  Is feminism an ideology to you?  For me it’s something different. If ideology, it becomes a separate unbonded issue (like a chemical compound) which can be argued away -I suppose. But that’s the way I look at it.

    I was looking at it as rejecting the cultural habit of identifying assertive, even flamboyantly dominant women this way as a call-back to the 19th c European concept of “woman” as wild, scarily powerful but irrational creatures — as opposed, of course, to the high-minded, abstract thinkers of Great Thoughts and Doers of Great Deeds that the class of (upper class, educated) men were supposed to at least aspire to be. ¬†Not sure how that fits or doesn’t fit as ideology; probably depends on a lot of contextual factors.

    But I was speaking of River in particular, as feeling overdone, to me, but not in a way that I would describe as being “a Force of Nature” (more like over-acting to get the character across, but that’s a matter of taste). ¬†Come to think of it, when the Doctor is letting his feelings drive him to stir up “tidal waves” of events through time and space, *he’s* the one acting like a Force of Nature (once again, DW turns gender assumptions on their head?). ¬†River’s the one who’s having a high old time while thieving for fun and profit.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @miapatrick  historically women seem to be frequently either raised onto a pedestal, or pushed down into the gutter,

    Yep; and the pedestal wasn’t *ever* a pedestal of intelligence and abstract thought, but one of idealized “purity” and a weird high-mindedness empty of actual thought. ¬†Since women were not to be permitted to be Thinkers or Doers, really (unless very privileged, usually due to some association with upper class men), all that was left was to be the sweetly passive guardians of morality and conduits of prayers and forgiveness (yeah, vast over-simplification of a very complex and changing situation, does anybody here want or need extended essays on this stuff?).

    As for River, it didn’t stick with me that she’s supposed to be an academic, because (as you point out) I can’t recall ever seeing her *being* one, or hearing her talk like one; too busy talking like, er, a pirate . . . ? ¬†(Stop thinking of Robert Newton! ¬†Well, no go ahead — that’s kind of the exaggerated acting style that I see in Kingston when she plays River.) ¬†And that’s what overwhelmed these other qualities, for me:

    . . . she has always been shown with a balance of insecurity and ego, a kind of bravado. She is after all a very old human, but a very young timelord. But she’s always been smart, and calculating and, I think, humanly (and timelordly) flawed.

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod @miapatrick

    interesting discussion. And often pushed into the gutter by each other -not denying the role of The other (man) but acknowledging the position of ‘this other’, or¬†‘woman’ role/position.

    Won’t go down the herstory path either.

    God I am hard to please! ūüôā

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