“Doctor Who” Question

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Okay, I’m sorry, I have to continue my current “Doctor Who” rant, because there’s something I’ve been thinking about and I can’t figure it out and it’s bothering me. Does the Doctor love River? Does he? I can’t figure out if he does or not. I really can’t. I mean, I get what Moffet was trying for with this storyline, I really do. I’m picking up what he’s putting down. He’s trying for a retelling, or maybe reimagining is more accurate, of “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, which I haven’t read, but I quite enjoyed the movie. So, fine, cool, whatever. Meeting in the wrong order? Fine. It’s a weird and cool way to tell a story, if it’s done in the right way. She knows him more as he knows her less, and vice versa? Really a very cool way to tell a story and show just what it is that makes each of them fall in love with the other, showcasing what each of them finds most attractive in the other, what draws them in, despite everything. It can’t help but be tragic, as there is that short, so short, period of time, where each really knows the other, truly loves the other for all that they are, before they each start to move in opposite directions, each destined for that day when they look into the other’s eyes and see no recognition looking back. Awesome, epic idea- if done right. See, that’s the problem I think. It hasn’t been done right. For that kind of story, you need possibly a stand alone kind of character in a stand alone novel or movie, not something that is so decade- sprawling as “Doctor Who”. This needs to be something where it’s just those two, it will always be those two, with their love blazing away, in defiance of time and space.

I don’t feel like that’s happening here. For starters, I’m not even entirely sure if the Doctor really loves her. She loves him, very clearly, and has, very clearly, from the beginning. Even from her beginning, when you watch her grow up obsessed with the Doctor. Quite rightly obsessed, since she had been brainwashed to kill him. She probably thought about him a lot for most of her life, what with the brainwashing and being best friends with Amy, the girl who waited. So, you put her face to face with him, of course she’s gonna go a bit bonkers, which she did. And then she blew past “a bit” into I don’t even know what. She wants to marry him, then she kills him, then she sacrifices all the rest of her regenerations to save him. That’s… that’s a bit extreme. But, again, to be fair, she was raised to be a psychopath. Then, she crafts the rest of her life around the Doctor. She becomes an archaeologist in order to find him again, she tracks him down, again and again, she breaks Time itself, shatters it, in order to save him. She says that her suffering at having to kill him would be worse than all the suffering of all the billions of people in all the universe. Which is kind of sweet and kind of creepy. I mean, if she had said something like what Rory said way back in the Pandorica episodes, that, to paraphrase, the Doctor was more important than the rest of the universe to her, then I wouldn’t have a problem. But the way she put it? That’s pretty extreme. Like, really extreme. And being more afraid of the day when he wouldn’t recognize her than of his death or hers? We’re entering into fatal attraction territory here. But whatever, I get it, they’re going for a great, epic love. And God knows she has the pedigree for it, it’s in her blood. Her father guarded the Pandorica for about two thousand years, just to keep Amy safe. He would do absolutely anything for her, protect her from anything, fight through anything, do whatever it took, even if it meant giving her up for someone she wanted more. And Amy was willing to die several times to either get back to Rory or stay with him. That is deep, true, epic love. So it’s in her blood. But, I don’t know, it just seems a bit much to me. But I’m a cynic, I’m probably the wrong person to ask.

Then, we have the Doctor. What proof of love do we have on his side? He married her, that’s true. But why did he marry her? See, that’s where the problem comes in for me, because he flat out says “I don’t want to marry you.” And yes, marrying her wasn’t really presented as a condition of her touching him and going back to the beach, so they could fix Time, but I look at it this way: they say earlier in the episode that no one is sure if she is the woman that marries him or the woman that murders him. So, what if he saw it as he had two timelines to choose from? Or if that’s what he thought she thought? What if he thought he had to choose one, marriage or murder, and she wouldn’t accept the second option without shattering the universe. So that left him with one option. He had to marry her. I mean, they argue on top of that pyramid for several minutes before he busts out the bow tie. And the whole thing, to me, didn’t feel very romantic. It was more “end- of- the- worldy” than romantic. But, hell, when you’re over a thousand years old, you can certainly do things for more than one reason. So, maybe he does- a little. Because, recently, when I was spelunking in the internet, to try and figure this out, I read a quote from Stephen Moffet, that said that the Doctor feels very responsible for River (incidentally I would cite that quote but I have no idea now where I read it. But I promise that, unless the website I was reading lied to me, it is true). Responsible. He looks at this woman, crying and loving him with all her heart, just as she has the entire time he’s known her, destroying the entire fabric of the universe in order to save him, and how can he not give her something in return? How can he not give her this thing that she clearly wants, and what he probably knows she had to begin with. What is a Timelord to do? Save the universe and all of time, as well as give her what she wants/needs, not to mention keep him promise to Amy (to take care of her daughter) or to not?

Also, there’s this: in the killing Hitler episode, when he’s in the Tardis talking to the visual interface he asks it to show him someone he actually liked instead of an image of himself. So, let’s examine who it shows him: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble and then little Amelia Pond. At no point does it show him River. I mean, even if it was working chronologically, wouldn’t River be between Donna and little Amelia? (Incidentally, when I googled this earlier, “Does the Doctor love River”, all I got was people arguing about was who was a better match for him: Rose or River? Not only does this not answer my question, thank you Google, but I maintain that the question doesn’t matter. Not only is Rose in another universe, hopefully living happily ever after with 10A, but he let her go. When 10 is dying he goes back and basically says good- bye to everyone who had been important to him, leaving Rose for last and then he walks away. He is letting her go. He accepts that they can’t be together, he’s accepted that for a while, and no matter how much he loved her, and he loved her a lot, he has to let her go. So he does. And then he regenerated, which really helped that process along. He told everyone goodbye and now he pretty much never references them. So, the whole Rose or River thing isn’t even really a question. He probably still loves Rose, but in that way where you’ll always have feelings for that person, you’ll always care for them and they’ll always be very important to you, but it fades, so that they’re simply special to you, and no longer the sun and the moon. But that’s just my opinion, we’ll find out for sure on the 50th anniversary special, when David Tennant and Billie Piper guest star, which I’m really looking forward to. Ten bucks says he stammers a lot and knocks something over.)

Anyway, there are all sorts of little things they show that says he cares about her, is attracted to her, worries about her and values her, but I can’t say as any of that adds up to “love”. They flirt constantly, he calls her a “bad, bad girl”, and every now and then they kiss but I don’t know if he loves her. Admittedly, the Doctor is pretty famous for playing it close to the chest, in any incarnation. He is a man with secrets and is very reluctant to give any of them up. Nor does he strike me as particularly emotionally aware. He isn’t given to much introspection, unless he’s yelling at himself for something. So, maybe he does love he and just doesn’t show it for some reason. Or maybe he loves her and doesn’t realize it. But then, why would he flirt so much with Clara? The one from the Christmas episode, not modern Clara, though I’m sure that’s coming. More to the point, why would he react like that when she kissed him? At this point, he is in fact a married man, yet when Clara kisses him he looks astonished and confused and maybe a little thrilled, like something confusing but awesome just happened, such as a pretty, smart, fun girl grabbed him and kissed him. Not the look of a man who has been kissed by someone who is not his wife and lady love.

Then there’s a separate question: in the “The Angels Take Manhattan”, at the end, after Rory and Amy went back in time and essentially died, the Doctor asks River to travel with him and she says no. She says she’ll have adventures with him, but she won’t be his companion, after having a pained look on her face. And she comes from his future. And, at some point after that, he finds modern Clara and they start traveling together. So, after they have such great chemistry together and the kissing and the attraction, does something cook up with Clara and River knows it? Is that why she wouldn’t travel with him? Because the reason she gave is just bullshit. “There should only be one psychopath per TARDIS?” What kind of excuse is that? Not any kind. It’s the kind of thing you say when you’re trying to avoid saying the real reason. And since she comes from his future, she would have seen that he has Clara later and, based on the kiss and attraction and her look of pain, there’s something there.

All of this brings me to one very unfortunate conclusion, which I really wish was the opposite: I don’t think the Doctor loves River. I think he cares for her, a lot, that she’s special to him and that he feels a great deal of responsibility for her, not only because she’s his dead best friend’s daughter but because when they first met she sacrificed her life for his and then tried to do it again later. And then again, when she used up all her regeneration for him. Of course he feels responsible for her. She pours so much of herself into him and this relationship that she insists is there and we have seen no real evidence of. He’s not the kind of man to just walk away from that kind of responsibility, that weight. He’ll carry it and take care of her, but I have yet to see real evidence that he loves her. Which, btw, makes this whole story arc they have going, officially one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. Here’s hoping that I’m really, really wrong.

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“Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin

Initially the title for this post was going to include “Or Why I Hate Sansa” but the end made me feel bad for her, so I’ll dial it back a little. Not that I don’t still hate her, cuz I totally do, but I don’t hate her as much. It’s a little hard to hate someone when they’re stuck in that kind of situation.

Anyway! Moving on to the breakdown! I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book since I find the concept and the story itself very interesting, but the writing and the characters kind of kill it for me. There is, out of a cast of like twenty or something, five characters that I liked. Everybody else was out and out evil, horrible, kind of heartless or fairly unsympathetic. I liked Jon, whom I have a theory about that I will share momentarily, Robb, Bran, Arya, Danaerys and Tyrion. I really wanted to like Ned but I just didn’t. I respected him but I can’t say as I really liked him, dug him, would want to hang out with him, etc. I’m a little on the fence with Danaerys too, but she’s a survivor and she’s got moxie, I like that in a character. Catelyn should have been cool but she was just… flat, I guess. She had no heart, no depth. I didn’t feel like there was any traction with her character, like the author had no idea what was going on inside her head so he just navigated her around like a puppet on strings. I hate it when authors do that.

The story itself is interesting; the ruling houses duking it out for the throne and power while winter is coming and the Others are massing north of the wall, which is deeply understaffed? Awesome concept! But the writing… maybe it’s just me, but it took me a good few weeks to finish this book. That’s unheard of! I had to slog my way through six hundred pages before I felt like things really got interesting.

I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to continue with this series. I mean, it’s a great concept and I’d love to see how it turns out, I’m very interested to see what happens when winter does come, when the Others start coming south, who becomes king, who dies, if freaking Sansa makes it out alive (and if she does, I swear to god…), but the fact that I had to slog through six hundred pages until war came and all of a sudden I was like “Now we have a book!”… it doesn’t bode well.

But I do have a bet going with myself as to who becomes king. Some of my money is on Danaerys, who, like I said, has moxie and the pedigree to claim the throne. And apparently an army to back it up, if she can get it pointed in the right direction, so good for her. I had money on Robb, but if he becomes King of the North I guess that works too. Although in his fight for independence I guess he could inadvertently conquer the rest of the kingdom, which would be cool. But most of my money is on Jon, and I will tell you why: everyone keeps talking about how winter is coming, winter is coming, send the troops north, not south, winter is coming, and Jon is on the Wall and set up as the heir to Castle Black, basically. He has sworn an oath to protect the Wall, and his loyalty is to the Wall before all else. In a way, that’s swearing protection to the realm itself, which is a king’s job. Also, he’s a bastard and there’s a certain mythological rightness to the bastard becoming king. It happens in all the fairy tales, the child of mysterious origins (note how Jon has no idea who his mother is) becomes king by saving the kingdom. And winter is coming. Bad things will be coming south, very soon. Jon will be saving the day, I promise you that. And what was King Arthur if not a bastard? But my largest reason hangs on a bit of supposition, but bear with me here. Ned will never say who Jon’s mother is, he never even speaks her name, but all throughout the book he keeps having flashbacks to his sister making him promise something, but they never say what. All we know is that Lyanna made Ned promise something, something very serious, before she died. We also know that Lyanna had intercourse with Rhaegar before she died. I say intercourse because while King Robert says she was raped, Ser Jorah makes a comment to Danaerys along the lines of Rhaegar was anti- rape. But we at least know that their private bits got to know each other. My theory is that Jon is not Ned’s son at all, but his nephew. My theory is that Jon is both Stark and Targaryen, which would make him heir to the iron throne and at least kin to the king of the north, if not actually heir to the north himself, which would quiet the lords who are currently (as of the end of book one) clamoring for independence.

Now, obviously, I have no way of knowing if this is true or not without reading the rest of the books and a good chunk of the series has yet to be written, from what I understand, but I’m fairly confident in my theory. I have reconciled myself to the fact that, unlike most author’s, I cannot guess what George R.R. Martin is going to do but, based on the little details he sprinkled throughout the first book, that’s what I put together.

Also, what the hell is wrong with George R.R. Martin? Seriously! He has a book with crazy people, incest, sadists, a cast that is largely unlikable, girls who hate their sisters unto not caring what happens to them during a castle coup, treason, murder, women who hate innocent children, rape casually being bandied about and all sorts of lies being told all the time. And from what I understand it only gets worse! What is it like inside that man’s head? Not that I really want to know, the broad strokes I got from reading his book were enough, but I would like a diagnosis. (And for anyone who hasn’t heard, he totally goes after his characters with a freaking meat cleaver. He has zero sentimentality about his charcter and has terrible things happen to them at a moment’s notice.)

Oh, and here’s the “Why I Hate Sansa” part: she’s horrible! She is a shallow, pathetic, naive, incredibly stupid, spoiled brat who betrays her family! She runs straight to the queen when Ned is about to make his big move, begging her not to let him send her away. She basically told the queen exactly was about to happen, giving her an exact timeline for when she needed to make her move and kill the king and take over the castle. And she was too stupid and naive to realize that that’s what she did. She is being played by the Lannisters like a freaking harp and she is too freaking stupid to realize what’s going on! She’s so blinded by that little sadist’s princehood to realize what he is, that she determines she’s in love with him on zero acquaintance! She yells at her little sister all the time for not being a lady and hates her for ruining everything, just by being herself! And she apparently thinks so very little of her that when a freaking palace coup is going on and people are dying, her father is in jail for treason and armies are being massed, that she didn’t think to ask what’s going on with her ten year old sister! A ten year old little girl is all alone in the midst of that chaos and she is so spoiled, self centered and mind blowingly stupid that it never even occurs to her to ask what happened to her! I can’t express enough to you how much I dislike her character and would like to beat the shit out of her. To be fair, Joffrey does beat her, or is the cause of her being beaten. To which I feel bad for her and say “Be careful what you wish for.” She wanted her prince and now she’s got him. I do hope she gets out of there, if only because he’s a sadist and he’ll kill her horribly and painfully, but I live with the hope that she gets offed in some smaller, less painful way. I mean, everyone else is being killed, all over the place they’re being killed or crippled for stupid or random reasons, so if fucking Sansa makes it out this series alive…

Thoughts

It’s always been amazing to me that people can watch the same movie, the same car accident, the same fight, the same argument, whatever, and see completely different things. I have two friends that are fighting, possibly never to reconcile, and I’ve heard two versions of the story. Each has a different spin on things and each says they’re the one that is right.

Everything we see is through the prism of our own experience, everything we experience is felt through a brain that is set up completely differently from everyone else’s. Honestly, it’s amazing that we as a species get along at all.

(Incidentally, I think this explains the difference in religion and how people experience it or need it in their lives, but that’s neither here nor there.)