Is River Song’s Doctor the Time Lord Victorious from the Waters of Mars?

‘Now my Doctor, I’ve seen whole armies turn and run away and he’d just swagger off to his Tardis and open the doors with a snap of his fingers. The Doctor in the Tardis, next stop … everywhere.

Professor River Song, Forest of the Dead

I THINK about Doctor Who alot, probably too much for a man of my age whose name isn’t Russell T Davies or Steven Moffat.

For the last few days – since Sunday night really – it has rarely been out of my thoughts, but then something happened that kicked my random musings into overdrive.

On Twitter, @samshepherd (who until now has kept her geek light hidden under a bushel – your card has been marked lady!) said I thought the Time Lord Victorious was the closest we’ve seen to the Doc River Song described in Forests of the Dead.

Bang – overdrive time.

So is she right? After watching the episode again, and listening to virtually every line River Song spoke, I think Sam has a point.

By the time River Song met the Doctor for the first time and they went on – it seems – to get married, he would have been older and it follows would have had much more time to dwell on his place in the Universe as last of the Time Lords and what that truly means.

As we saw on Sunday, that could mean the he has fully inherited his Time Lord Victorious status – arrogant, unchecked, changing whatever he wants whatever the cost – who is certainly the kind of man who you could say the above quote about, making armies scatter and clicking his fingers and who knows what else.

The oncoming storm, the destroyer of worlds.

The Doctor and the Tardis, next stop everywhere can also seem like a prophecy of chaos given how the Doctor behaved in The Waters of Mars – rewriting any events as he believes they should be, leaving no stone unturned to make things ‘right’.

But given the nature of the character and the show, I don’t think that is all he would be. River says as much herself – You know when you see a photograph of someone you know, but it’s from years before you knew them, it’s like they’re not quite finished, they’re not done yet.

I have to believe that with that development would come greater wisdom and the ability to stop being as emotional as his younger self (and to stop being so much of a cock), to accept his responsibilities and come to terms with who and what he is.

What I mean is the Time Lord Victorious would simply fly in and save River Song or wipe out the Vashta Narada because that fits in with his anything goes as long as I say so vision of the Universe.

However, River’s Doctor does not do that, instead saying goodbye to River with their night out on Darillium where he gaveĀ  her his sonic screwdriver, trusting his younger self would save her life. River even says you’ve always known how I was going to die. Yet he did not directly step in.

Which, IMHO, means while they would still be a big part of who he is, the Doctor is capable of controlling his TLV urges.

Whew, that was a bit of a stream of consciousness but I hope it made sense.

I don’t know if Sam would come to the same conclusion (let’s be honest, to her it was a quick Twitter message, to me two days of thinking and two hours to write this!) although I think so, but that is where I ended up.

Either way, it was a great shout and something I have loved pondering. Thanks Sam!

9 thoughts on “Is River Song’s Doctor the Time Lord Victorious from the Waters of Mars?

  • Hellian Lunaris


    It’s weird finding this so many years later, after we found out what 11 was like.

  • Apropos of nothing …. have only just seen the Waters of Mars nearly a week after everyone else …. just thought I’d run a couple of observations up the flagpole at UNIT HQ and see who salutes them ….. I literally have no idea what any of this means ….
    Adelaide Brooke is of course, A Brooke, which is very like A Brook, which is of course, a watercourse. ….. rather like a River ….
    Her grandaughter is Susan Fontana Brooke – Fontana is Italian for fountain ….
    Her colleague Alex Stone is, of course, A Stone …. ooo, elements
    Her colleagie Maggie Cain has a name very similar indeed to Cain, who was the son of Adam and Eve, who lived in Eden (somewhere in Kent, I think – but also mentioned in relation to Mars at the start of the episode) …
    Her colleague Tarak Ital shares his name with the Morris Ital, a revamped version of the Morris Marina … Marina is, of course, Italian (Ital, you see) for marine ….
    It’s all true … ehrlich (Google it!)

  • Sam Shepherd


    and… *geek hat back on* have just been watching a bit of The Christmas Invasion again because I think the “Witchcraft” “Timelord”, “that’s the sort of man I am” stuff has a tiny hint of Timelord Victorious about it. Just a hint. *hat back off again*

    • That side of the Doctor has been seeded through the show, but he usually keeps it under wraps or is stopped from showing it by his companion. Remeber Donna in the Runaway Bride saying ‘Doctor, that’s enough!’ when he is using the Thames to drown the Rachnos? And how in Turn Left, without her, the Doctor gets carried away and died by drowning himself? (Although funnily enough, she is the one who convinces him to rescue a family from Pompeii, a fixed point in time. She makes him break the rules, but as they are ‘little people’ maybe he thinks it is ok?)

      As for River Song, (SPOILER) pics have been circulating for a while now of Alex Kingston filming with Matt Smith, supposedly at the Crash of the Byzantium that she mentioned in her diary in series four. I think she recognises the Doctor, in whatever incarnation – the spirit or energy of him – or at least that’s how they will play it. It will be fascinating as well to have the tables turned, because whereas before she knew everything, this time is presumably the first time she meets the doctor, but he will know everything about her. Should give the Moff something good to get his teeth into!

  • Sam Shepherd


    But when she says all that about the armies and the swagger, she seems almost disappointed that the Doctor in front of her isn’t like that, so maybe the doctor described above is exactly her kind of guy.
    I know there’s been a lot of debate elsewhere about River Song and if she’ll ever be seen again – she seems to recognise Ten, so is he her incarnation, just younger, or is that a red herring and we don’t know how far in the future she’s from?
    But I wonder if Stephen Moffat would have thrown in a description like that without knowing exactly what he meant – she could have described him any way at all and he chose this particular future doctor… guess we’ll have to wait and see! Roll on Christmas.
    *removes geek hat*

  • Great point as always Stuart. He would be insufferable and to attract a woman like River, there has to be something more

  • She’s right, but the problem is, assuming the Doctor and River do become man and wife or close enough for him to hell some big secret, she’d have to want to be close to him. Timelord Victorious does is not the kind of man, alien or not, that you’d want to be in the same TARDIS with.

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