Saturday Waffling (April 12th, 2014)

(26 comments)

Hello all. I've finally gotten around to those tax things, so the general "here's where things were in 2013 for Eruditorum Press" post should be up this week.

But for now, gossip! Discussion! Games!

The following eight posts will have other stories subbed in for them in the manner of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone.

  • The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
  • The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
  • A Good Man Goes to War
  • Let's Kill Hitler
  • The Wedding of River Song
  • Angels in Manhattan
  • The Name of the Doctor
  • The Time of the Doctor
The stories available to go into those slots are the first six as well as Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone.

I have already selected which ones are going to go where, and have in my head some sort of spurious justification and plan for why I picked the order I did.

What order do you think I'm going to tackle them in? 

Give cool justifications for your picks and you might even change my order from the one I'm planning.

Comments

Eric Gimlin 3 years, 4 months ago

Let's see if I can figure this out.

You've stated that Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang is your favorite story in your "An act of madness" post. I'm going to assume it gets the ultimate spot in that case.

Even if you're not going exactly in reverse order, I suspect you'll want River's debut fairly late in the game. So let's give Silence in the Library/ Forest of the Dead to the Name of the Doctor spot. Since you've already said that will be a big post, that gives you time to get it written, as well.

For whatever reason, having River & Amy's first meeting from Amy's perspective take the spot of their last meeting from Amy's perspective (as well as keeping a Weeping Angels story there) means Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone goes in the Angels in Manhattan spot.

I think flipping Good Man Goes to War/ Let's Kill Hitler so they're collectively in the right place would amuse you for structural reasons.

I'm going to directly swap Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the Moon with Wedding of River Song as well; not for the amusement value this time but to show how the season arc works.

Which leaves us with Angels in Manhattan taking the Pandorica Opens/ Big Bang slot by process of elimination; but that also seems to fit well in terms of the Rory & Amy dynamic.

To summarize:


The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang Angels in Manhattan
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon Wedding of River Song
A Good Man Goes to War Let's Kill Hitler
Let's Kill Hitler Good Man Goes to War
The Wedding of River Song Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the Moon
Angels in Manhattan Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone
The Name of the Doctor Silence in the Library/ Forest of the Dead
The Time of the Doctor Pandorica Opens/ Big Bang

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 4 months ago

Grr, my spacing on the final list went away. And I seem to have skipped half a thought in the paragraph starting "For whatever reason", but it's 3:30 in the morning and I have no idea what else I was thinking.

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Alex Antonijevic 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm more interested in the massive mind**** infinite recursion that will happen when you do a Pop Between Realities covering the Eruditorum.

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Chrshea 3 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately for all of us who have to wait for it that long, but the only way i see is to do Silence in the Library for Time of the Doctor. Moffat began with the death of River, so the Eruditorum ends with the birth of the Moffat era.

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David Anderson 3 years, 4 months ago

OK -
Last ( replacing TotD): Silence in the Library, for obvious reasons.
Penultimate (replacing NotD): Angels Take Manhattan as the era closer and summary.
Replacing AtM: Pandorica Opens/Big Bang (as the era summary).
In any truly random reshuffle there is an approx. 65% chance that at least one item will end up in its original place. Therefore,
Replacing TWofRS: The Wedding of River Song. Being I think a shaggy dog story about things that replace themselves.
Replacing LKH: The Impossible Astronaut /Day of the Moon (LKH being the remake as farce)
Replacing AGMGtW: Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone (largely by elimination)
Replacing: TIA/DotM: Let's Kill Hitler.
Replacing: TPO/TBB: A Good Man Goes to War.

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 4 months ago

I'd rather we just replace them with tumbleweed ;)

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 4 months ago

Sorry; that should be tumbley-wumbley weed.

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Chris 3 years, 4 months ago

Which will have The Last War In Albion as a footnote.

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xen trilus 3 years, 4 months ago

You've hyped up The Library like Moffat hypes up his season finales.

However, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, a story in which the Doctor actually...well, does THAT, and then Amy does that other thing... it's like it was written for Eruditorum. I'm unsurprised it's your number 1 episode, and I'll be quite surprised if it doesn't take the final spot. It'd certainly be the most uplifting conclusion possible.

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jane 3 years, 4 months ago

So, basically, you're just running the rest of them in reverse order, but saving the Pandorica for the end.

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Marionette 3 years, 4 months ago

Thinking about these episodes, it occurs to me that the episodes I like least are the ones with two dimensional villains. And the Moffat era has a lot of villains with either the depth of a monofilament, or some mysterious motivation that gets dragged out for a season or more and never really properly explained.

So the Angels are great in their first appearance, because they are a puzzle, but once the puzzle is solved we are left with villains that have no depth, no personality, and even the rules that define them are randomly changed. Similarly, the Silence are faceless bad guys who are a puzzle to overcome. Once the puzzle is solved they are nothing but flat antagonists. By the time they are actually explained even Moffat seems bored with them, such that the big reveal comes as little more than a footnote in an infodump.

See also the Library bugs, at one point held at bay with Moffat cliche #17 "look me up", the Ice Warrior, and now I think about it, so many other episodes. I'm not saying that the Moffat era hasn't had any fully realised, three dimensional antagonists, but I'm struggling to think of any at this moment.

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jane 3 years, 4 months ago

Okay, I'm sure this is not what Phil has got planned, but I think it's kind of cool so I'm going to lay it all out. I propose a sequence that resembles an astrological trip through the solar system, the better to highlight some of the alchemical currents running through the era.

We began at Neptune, which rules the 12th House, when we covered The Name of the Doctor. The 12th House is Piscean, a place of death, and the trip to Trenzalore was a visitation with Death, and included the (presumably) final passing of River's ghost. But Neptune is also a planet of illusion, as this vision was ultimately rendered. Because...

The 11th House is ruled by Uranus, the planet of awakening and rebellion. The Time of the Doctor broke all the rules, or at least overturned them, awakening a brand new Doctor and a whole new set of regenerations. Very Uranian.

Following in this vein, we come to Saturn. Saturn is the Ringed Planet, and represents Restriction and Limitation. I propose The Angels Take Manhattan in this place -- it's where the Doctor's relationship to Amy finally comes to an end, an end that's "fixed" by his returning to her childhood to let her know what's to come, making a "ring" in the process. It aligns with the Series Five finale in that both are concerned with Amy's acceptance of adulthood.

Jupiter, by contrast, is a planet of expansion, of the great and lofty, lording over religion and philosophy. Here we get The Crash of the Byzantium, which is Amy's first trip to an alien planet. We get an ancient Maze of the Dead, which is surely a religious metaphor, but also a futuristic Spaceship, with its own Forest of the Dead, with trees that make life out of starlight. It corresponds with the Series Six opener in that it's a story that lays out much of what's to come, and it even features a literal cliffhanger.

Next we come to the Asteroid Belt. In Series Six it's the point where the great two-parters finally break down; in this slot I propose First Night / Last Night, a pair of DVD extras that have multiple Rivers and Doctors running about, all to reveal the eventual growth of their relationship. It fits with the "duplicate" themes brought in by the presence of the Flesh, and one of River's jokes; it also confirms that future knowledge "fixes" the present.

(continued...)

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jane 3 years, 4 months ago

(continued...)

In place of Hitler there's A Good Man Goes To War, which is ruled by Mars, the Roman God of War. We've got Rory here, of course, and also the parallels drawn to Hitler himself. (So much of the two stories are mirrored, one is good for explaining the role of the other.)

In Astrology, the ordering of the planets isn't determined by how we move through the solar system, so we jump now to Venus, the Goddess of Love. Naturally this brings to mind The Wedding of River Song, which is quite possibly the most romantic of the Doctor's stories. This story falls where it belongs -- the Wedding isn't replaced by another story -- because terrible things happen when you try to change fixed points in the universe.

Because we've pulled in some DVD extras for Season Six's midpoint, one of those stories ends up here, in the midst of Outside the Governments and Pops between Realities. Let's Kill Hitler is a natural choice to represent Mercury here, for Hitler is the most Mercurial of River stories. There's all kinds of mirroring going on here, all kinds of trickery, even a proper regeneration.

The Impossible Astronaut, which is all about the Moon landing, is the perfect episode to be ruled by the astrological Moon. It even works to replace Angels Take Manhattan, because both stories are concerned with confronting Death. Except here we have Amy standing over the Doctor's "dead" body rather than the Doctor standing over her grave. And, of course, both stories take place in America.

That leaves the ordering of The Library and The Big Bang to fill the slots of Name of the Doctor and Time of the Doctor. And they will, respectively. But at this point I'd like to point out that we have only "planet" left, which is the Sun. Naturally that would correspond with The Big Bang, and the position of the Exploding TARDIS. There's another planet, though, which is missing in astrology, which is "hidden" by its ever-presence, and that planet is Earth, to which we marry The Library.

Given the nature of Name of the Doctor, The Library gets inserted here, a flash to the past, which is also a flash of Death. Name of the Doctor features the "library" of Doctors, of course, and also the final vision of River from the Library. This is a natural fit. Which leaves The Big Bang and the Sun to end the Eleventh Era, with its promise of Rebirth, and a final revisitation with a little girl from Leadworth.

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jane 3 years, 4 months ago

In summary:

Name of the Doctor (Neptune)
Time of the Doctor (Uranus)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Angels Take Manhattan (Saturn) to replace The Big Bang
Crash of the Byzantium (Jupiter) to replace The Astronaut
First Night / Last Night (Asteroids) to replace A Good Man
A Good Man Goes to War (Mars) to replace Hitler
The Wedding of River Song (Venus) to make the Wedding a fixed point
* Let's Kill Hitler (Mercury) to replace DVD Extras *
The Impossible Astronaut (Moon) to replace Manhattan
The Library (Earth) to replace NotD
The Big Bang (Sun) to replace TotD

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 4 months ago

That is where I wound up; but that wasn't the logic I used to get there. Now that I've had some sleep I'm a bit torn, Part of me thinks it will be mixed up more on general principles and part of me figures that the original idea may have been a simple reversal so only minor changes are right.

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 4 months ago

I find it interesting that, on the batch of lists we have so far, everybody seems to agree that one story will replace itself. I went with A Good Man Goes to War/ Let's Kill Hitler as the only one that could both swap and stay in place. But Wedding of River Song is definitely the obvious one if "The following eight posts will have other stories subbed in for them" isn't an absolute rule.

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Nyq Only 3 years, 4 months ago

I'll try to guess based on different criteria.

Currency:For key supporting characters you have stressed the need to understand their first episodes in terms of how the audience at the time would have engaged with the character as presented rather than how we might now engage with them knowing the future role they will play. Most notably this applies to the Brigadier. So one order is chronological order of the selected episodes but out of step with the rest of the series to mark both the timey-wimey aspects of River but also the development of Moffat's structure for the Doctor.

Alchemy: to hard to guess what alchemical spin each episode will take but surely The Wedding of River Song is the most alchemical. Therefore it is is either last or penultimate.

Rosicrucian: The Time of the Doctor is not a River Song story (speculation about Tasha Lem aside) but it is a Silence story. The Silence are both invisible and in plain sight. The Doctor starts in opposition to them (and they to him) and end fighting for a mutual cause.As it is River who initiates the Doctor into the word which the Silence occupy then these stories can be sequenced as a Rosicrucian fable. The order is therefore in terms of the appearance of the Silence. The exact order of the start of the sequence is mutable but later episodes should therefore be:
A Good Man Goes to War
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
Wedding of River Song
The Time of the Doctor

Jerry Cornelius: The story telling needs to be even more non-linear. An octahedral dice is used to determine which episode appears at a given time. If the same number is rolled again then you right a wholly new entry on the same story.

Mystery/Wisdom Cult: Song's journey is one of a series of trials by which she ascends both to heaven and to wisdom. In doing so she becomes a guide to enlightenment for the character of the doctor. Her journey is the Whovian Book of the Dead that instruct the faithful on how to journey successfully to afterlife.The Time of the Doctor is therefore a coda to this in which the now old and wise Doctor attains immortality. The order then is in terms of Song's life stages with a final coda about her grieving husband:
A Good Man Goes to War (Birth)
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon (Childhood)
Let's Kill Hitler (Coming of age)
The Wedding of River Song (Marriage/Fall from Grace)
Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (Imprisonment)
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (Wedding of her child)
Angels in Manhattan (Loss of her child)
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (Death)
The Name of the Doctor (Afterlife)
The Time of the Doctor (Coda)

Alphabetical: A Good Man Goes to War
Angels in Manhattan
Let's Kill Hitler
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
The Name of the Doctor
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
The Time of the Doctor
The Wedding of River Song
Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone

Aesthetically distributed titles:
Let's Kill Hitler
A Good Man Goes to War
The Time of the Doctor
Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
The Wedding of River Song
The Name of the Doctor
Angels in Manhattan

OK I give up.

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Nyq Only 3 years, 4 months ago

As a general rule it is wise to read Jane's posts first. I'd forgotten that Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone features a passage through an underworld of the dead chased by Angels. Consequently it could also move between Silence in the Library and The NotD.

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Adam Riggio 3 years, 4 months ago

A minor, if interesting, addendum. You put The Name of the Doctor in the place of Neptune, the 12th house. This story is also where Matt Smith's Doctor is revealed as being, technically speaking, the 12th Doctor. However, it does so by revealing the existence of John Hurt's Doctor, who (while in the more fannish purely in-universe chronological order of Doctors is the 9th, 8.5th, or War) is himself the 12th Doctor to have been revealed to us, the viewing audience. So in the global cultural experience of Doctor Who, John Hurt is the 12th Doctor.

But Hurt's Doctor, because of his nature as the Doctor who denied himself the right to use the name through committing mass murder, is himself, in The Name of the Doctor, a harbinger or echo of death and violence. Another dimension to Jane's interpretation.

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Bennett 3 years, 4 months ago

Hmm...I'm not quite ready to give up on the idea of Silence in the Library being the last entry (and by extension "Sweet dreams, everyone." being the last line). But this proposition is so interesting and thoughtful I'm convinced that even if this wasn't the order before, it will be after Phil reads your comment.

But, for interest's sake, I'd like to see if my own preference would fit into your scheme without bending it too far. All I need to do is find a way to swap the last two stories...

The TARDIS Sun may be a key image in The Big Bang, but it is also a story where the Earth sits alone in a starless sky. Astrology is dead. There is no external space. We stand in silence, clinging to our memories of the Universe as the last light goes out. (Yes with the Alliance, the destiny trap, and the Doctor's death/rebirth there's many more parallels with Time than Name - but I'm choosing to tactically ignore this.)

Though it is the Moon whose name in invoked in Silence in the Library (and named as a Doctor), the theme of the story seems to be in line with the astrology of the Sun. (At least I think it is - my knowledge of astrological meaning extends only to what I've just read on Wikipedia.) The Sun is seen to represent the conscious ego, the self, creativity and vitality. And Library ends with the conscious ego surviving the physical form by becoming a story. A book on a shelf in a forest in a library. For a blog concerned with telling the story of Doctor Who, that's practically the equivalent of a happy ending. Doctor Who will survive because Doctor Who is a story. And we're all stories in the end.

I also like the "in my beginning is my end" strand of counter-pointing Library with Time. Even putting River to one side, Library is definitely the beginning of the new era - the first story we saw with knowledge of what was to come. And Time also frames the death of the Doctor with stories - in the folklore recited by Tasha Lem, and in the drawings of the children of Christmas.

Of course, either story would make a fitting end to the Eruditorum in my book. In fact, it was the combination of these two that made me give up on ranking my favourite Doctor Who stories. Suffice to say, I kind of like them.

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jane 3 years, 4 months ago

@Bennett: "Hmm...I'm not quite ready to give up on the idea of Silence in the Library being the last entry (and by extension "Sweet dreams, everyone." being the last line)... But, for interest's sake, I'd like to see if my own preference would fit into your scheme without bending it too far. All I need to do is find a way to swap the last two stories..."

I think it'd be easy to swap the last two. As you say, the Sun is the end of astrology, and it's supposed to come right after the Moon -- or rather before, except we're going in reverse. The Earth being the hidden planet, and the end to which we're all fated, would then fall to the final position. (Indeed, anyone who's read The Luminaries this logic and positioning.)

My real concern with having The Library come last, though, is that it's still very much a Davies-era story. And, I dunno, to have Davies and Ten reappear at the end of the blog to cap off Eleven's run, it doesn't sit right with me. To do so would almost be to say that the show is still RTD's baby, that Ten is really informing Eleven's work. It's kind of cutting Moffat off at the knees -- and it's not like he's yet to step down as showrunner!

There's one other reason I'd hesitate to put the Library at the end. I'm not sure its message is truly representative of the era. There's a finality to River's death, a recognition that she's now in the afterlife. It's sweetly coated, but that's still where the story stands. But this isn't really the ethos of Eleven's run. Eleven's run is truly about breaking that rule, over and over again. His run doesn't end in death, it ends in rebirth. If there's a story that truly encapsulates the era, it's got to be The Big Bang, because the show itself is one that constantly renews itself. Even though I'm more inclined to prefer the maturity of The Library's message, I just don't think it's as apt for describing this... arc of infinity.

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David Anderson 3 years, 4 months ago

Stories go on for ever. People die. The Moffat era is committed to the first, but contrary to the consensus, it never forgets the second. It's rather the way that everybody always quotes 'everybody lives', and forgets the 'just this once'.

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ferret 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm unsure as to most of the swaps, but if it were me I'd place "Name of the Doctor" last - it has an air of finality to it, how could it fail to? We have the graves of River, the Doctor and the TARDIS itself. River speaks from beyond the grave and the Doctor puts the final word on their relationship with a final kiss.

Every Doctor appears in some fashion or another, and Clara ends up having her own Psychochronography throughout the life of Doctor Who: man, show and tale.

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elvwood 3 years, 4 months ago

Just caught up with the blog - a week ago I hadn't started the Moffat era - and am really enjoying the current Eruditorum run. Thought I'd weigh in with the undoubtedly correct order. It's obvious that the sequence is based on the first letter of each title, excluding articles. These rearrange to make the observation that "N-T twigs pal", clearly an indication that John Nathan-Turner worked something out about a major figure of this era. This makes the order for the remaining episodes

Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
The Wedding of River Song
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
A Good Man Goes to War
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
Angels in Manhattan
Let's Kill Hitler

I can't wait to find out what Phil has discovered!

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Nyq Only 3 years, 4 months ago

"wig's pal" seems appropriate for the Time of the Doctor...

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Author 3 years, 4 months ago

P.S. jane, I love your ideas and I wouldn't be surprised if they came true. I wasn't expecting Time of the Doctor to be here, I thought it might have been Silence in the Library, but with everything you've stated and the thematic order...yes, it does absolutely fit, in my opinion.

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