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Doctor Who XXXII part one - afterthoughts

Why did the Little Girl (who is probably Melody Pond) have the need to regenerate at the end of 'Day of the Moon'? When the Doctor said that he thought that she would find them, while I don't think he knew the girl's identity he guessed she could look after herself. What if the Little Girl is out having adventures? Perhaps she has been mortally wounded heading off the Nestene Consciousness's attempt to establish a bridgehead on Earth in New York, after which they decide that Epping Forest is a more viable alternative, Spearhead from Space following [say]? I like the idea of River learning some of her skills on the move, as a (very) junior Doctor... (but do I trust CBBC to think that?)

The Doctor's ability to talk to babies isn't that surprising - and reminds me of someone else who fell out of the sky, Mary Poppins, whom I seem to remember from reading one of the books could talk to the youngest infants as well as to animals.

Looking up the 'How goes the day?' greeting, it appears in Shakespeare's King John and elsewhere, but is closer in context to an exchange supposedly before the death of John Graham of Claverhouse, first Viscount Dundee, at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. 'Bonnie Dundee', the dying but victorious Jacobite commander, asked a soldier 'How goes the day?' to be told 'Well for King James, but I am sorry for your lordship.' The dying Lord Dundee replied (or so says Wikipedia), 'If it goes well for him, it matters the less for me.' The exchange might be appropriate if one substitutes River Song for King James and Melody for Dundee, given that River and Melody are the same person.

Comments

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)

River/Melody Song/Pond, groans....

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC)

It's at least explained in the episode as a translation problem!

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)

It's a very odd translation problem, though, to me it seemed like an explanation thought of after the rest of the storyline, rather than a part of the storyline.

Melody - Song, fine. Pond - River? So different, in concept, about the only thing they share is water.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)

I think it's been there a while; Mr Moffat is presumably not an expert on water features, and we are probably lucky that River and Pond are not translated as 'Clyde', given where he stems from.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
snow

..the only thing they share is water.
Well, they are both liquid fresh water in significant quantities occuring inland - that is quite a bit of overlap. The main differences are that a river tends to be bigger than a pond (as opposed to a lake), and not stagnant.
:-)

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 04:41 am (UTC)

But they are such opposite types of water - ponds tend to be small, still, and affect only a small amount

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)

Gah - bad iPod posting too soon. Ponds have only a small influence while rivers lead from one place to another, can be huge, but most importantly are running water. The influence of a river can be enormous, for good or bad.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)

Yes, of course a river is different from a pond, but the two also have a number of things in common.
Many languages do not use as many fundamentally different words as English, but work with overarching terms for categories of ideas, of which subcategories can then be expressed e.g. by compounds.
I can see the Gamma people having a word for a "permanent body of fresh water", which can then be qualified as big / small / moving / still / etc. in contexts where precision is needed. If, as River says, the main body of water in their forest is a river, it would make sense for the overarching term to appear as "river" in translation.
:-)
/language-geekery

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)

See, you're being a language geek, I'm just looking at it from a science geek point of view :P And in that point of view, standing water vs moving water is just the biiiiggest difference!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 7th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
tolkien

Beware language historians with an interest in medieval maritime terminology!

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: June 8th, 2011 07:40 am (UTC)

Beware marine biologists who have studied a lot of oceanography / limnology / difference in habitats due to flow conditions and like Dr Who :D

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: June 8th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

Ah, but this was a translation problem, and people tend to
develop language before they develop scientific classification :-P

I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was a kid - before I noticed I liked marine but not biology...
Doctor Who came later.

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: June 9th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)

It doesn't have to be a translation problem, does it? A translation or classification problem, surely? One develops words based on the essential attributes of the surroundings, and different people may consider different essentials.

And my teachers always wanted me to study ancient Greek at university, I love languages, but killer whales trumped translating Homer.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: June 11th, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

It is not just what people consider essentials, but also the nature of their environment (e.g. the absence of ponds) and how they expeience it. Of course these are both aspect of the same thing.
I'd say the classification differences between English and the gamma language lead to the (apparent) problem - I wonder if Lorna thought of it as a problem, but from a English point of view, it is looks odd.
Scientific classification of course needs to be much more universal, although even there it would be intersting to "study" the differences between planets...

Posted by: Susan (lil_shepherd)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)

Yipes! I'd forgotten the regeneration!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
RegenGirl

The Doctor still doesn't know about it!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 09:09 am (UTC)

This. It feels too convenient.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)

I'm not sure whether there's story room in the season for her to be anyone else, unless (as is possible, as we saw last year) part of the season mystery is held over until next year.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 11:33 am (UTC)

Didn't Moffat say in DWM that at the halfway mark we'd think we knew how the story arc would pan out, but that we wouldn't really?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 11:39 am (UTC)
MattKaren

I'd forgotten that - but I have no idea how the story arc will develop from now anyway!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 10:45 am (UTC)
RegenGirl

The incidental music during 'A Good Man Goes to War' seemed to encourage the identification, but I agree that there may be a further twist.

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)

Apparently that was the same music playing during future!Doctor's cremation, so it could be a Time Lord biodata leitmotif rather than a Melody Pond leitmotif.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)

Hmm... that's that theory out of the way, then...

Posted by: promethia_tenk (promethia_tenk)
Posted at: June 8th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
happy endings

(Here from who_daily)

Before this episode aired, I was arguing that regenerating girl is the Doctor and River's child. I haven't quite decided what I think now in light of the new reveal, but I'm certainly not giving up on it altogether.

At the very least I'll agree that there's gotta be a twist to this somewhere. We're only halfway through the season, after all.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 8th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)

I agree that there may well be a further twist to this; at the moment the Doctor thinks that the girl in the space suit was Melody/River, and on the basis of evidence so far that's the hypothesis I'd go for; but we will be offered more information in the autumn, as you say. I look forward to reading your post more closely, but it's remarkable how far fandom was diverted from the Doctor's "The little girl... it's all about her" to the mystery of River Song - from a mystery tagged as 'plot', to a mystery tagged as 'character'.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: June 9th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)

remarkable how far fandom was diverted from the Doctor's "The little girl... it's all about her" to the mystery of River Song - from a mystery tagged as 'plot', to a mystery tagged as 'character'.

I don't think it's surprising at all, given that since 2005, Doctor Who and its fandom have generally prioritized character over plot.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 9th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
RegenGirl

Remarkable rather than surprising, I say in my defence... though there have been a lot of complaints over the years that there isn't enough plot in latterday Doctor Who.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: June 9th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)

Many of those complaints were from me! Although this year has not been so bad, even if there is a danger of the story arc overwhelming the individual stories.

Posted by: nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 08:44 am (UTC)

Re. "How goes the day", my first thought was of "Went the Day Well".


Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)

It's a long time since I've seen that!

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)

The little girl may have been injured getting out of the spacesuit.

I missed the "How goes the day?" quote here, but I vaguely remember Morgaine greeting the Brigadier in Battlefield with "A warrior no less; how goes the day?"

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 6th, 2011 11:40 am (UTC)
Arthurian Logo

Given it's six months after the events of 'Day of the Moon' when she regenerates, I think her injuries might be more recent.

'How goes the day' seems to be established as the sort of thing soldiers say to one another in epic...