Looms

Dec. 15th, 2015 04:03 pm
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Oy. I had originally locked this post because I wrote it in a burst of frustration, and I've been trying not to step on another fan's fun, but I think I need to post a rebuttal to the flood of "Nyssa is loomed" replies that are dominating my blog. I have repeatedly disputed that headcanon, but nothing I say seems to get through.

Let me explain why. Then I am never going to discuss Looms again, because, honestly, I think they're a terrible idea. I generally try to avoid all discussion of them, but this one fan won't let me do that.

Even if you accept Marc Platt's invention of Looms in two out-of-print novels published during the wilderness years,* despite it contradicting a lot of TV canon, it makes absolutely no sense to assume that any other planet in the universe had looms.

Looms were an impartial solution to the fact that the Pythia cursed the followers of Rassilon to be barren and infertile, as part of a Gallifreyan political struggle. She literally caused Gallifreyan mothers all over the planet to have miscarriages. I know some people advocate Looms as proof of Time Lord asexuality, but the book that mentions them has Time Lords having sex and bearing children in wombs before and after the curse is lifted. More importantly, I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that asexuality = infertility, let alone that it's a punishment and a curse.

The Pythia cursed Rassilon's followers due to a power struggle between her and Rassilon for rule of Gallifrey. There's no way her curse could apply to Traken or any other random planet, since nobody else had anything to do with that dispute.

It's bizarre to bring Traken into alignment with Gallifreyan history. The Fourth Doctor had never gone to Traken before — he said so. Nyssa has little experience with the Time Lords. Gallifrey is off in its own little pocket behind its transduction barriers and has few dealings with the outside universe.

Also? It is very strongly implied that Nyssa has sex in Circular Time. That's part of her "Nyssa's growing from girl into independent young woman" arc in "Autumn," in which she has a love affair that includes kissing, heavy petting in the woods, and going to bed with the bloke. The audio doesn't cover the R-rated bit, because it's not porn, but he wakes up in bed afterwards and calls out for Nyssa to find she's slipped out of bed and left him a memento to remember her by.



*At the time Lungbarrow was released, the BBC had washed its hands of the show and let Virgin do whatever it liked with the books. What it liked was to hire die-hard fans as writers: (Gary Russell: "That great thing where at the time you think, ‘Wow, this is real foresight, this is good thinking by Virgin. They want to find exciting new writers.’ With hindsight of course, you go, ‘It’s because they’re bloody cheap, and they couldn’t afford big posh writers to keep doing Doctor Who books because they had to do them on a shoestring.’") I've heard Marc Platt himself doesn't subscribe to the Loom theory any longer, although I have searched and searched and can't find the quote where that came out.
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“Enough, Trakens. Enough! Applause is heady, and I've already drunk more wine than a man of my responsibilities should. To be a consul and a father I thought were duties enough, but now once again to be a husband, and to Kassia.” — introduction of Tremas and Nyssa in Keeper of Traken

Wait, what about Nyssa's Mom? Did Nyssa even know her? Canon discontinuity alert....

Here's all the evidence I can find... )
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Shipping came up in that interesting discussion thread about Big Finish and New Who. As rochelle-templer points out: hey, wait a minute, some classic Who fans ship the Doctor, so why isn't it valid for some new Who writers to ship him with somebody?

That was a very tactful way of NOT calling us hypocrites, so thank you. ;) 

To answer the question...Read more... )
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I’ve run into this problem for years.

It originally came up for me in some of the later Trek iterations and, especially, in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, which weakened and undermined a lot of characters because flawed characters are more interesting easier to dramatize than nice guys. (See: Faramir wanting to take the Ring, Frodo’s “go home, Sam,” or even Denethor, reduced to a madman instead of a pragmatist who saw no rational hope of victory.) Lately, I've been noticing the problem in the nuWho I've watched. It turns up in Big Finish as well, to a lesser extent.

Here’s the pattern I’m seeing...

Read More... )
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  • Only canonically queer companion of the Fifth Doctor so far?
  • Only BRITISH companion of the Fifth Doctor so far?
  • Only deeply religious companion of the Doctor I can remember?
Hannah defies the gender norms and expectations of her time, dresses in men's clothing, refuses the epithet of "lady," and insists on being called "Ms." She's from the lesbian community of Boston in 1910 or so, probably P-Town. A hearty soul who's partial to liquor, she carries a shotgun, flirts genteelly with the ladies (including Nyssa, if you listened to that clip!), and is unfazed by aliens and alien technology. And her boisterous frankness can be quite entertaining.

Her spirituality interests me. It's rare for science fiction to deal with spirituality or religion. It's even rarer for a Who companion to express religious beliefs openly. But Hannah's spirituality informs her actions and motivates her to seek enlightenment among the stars, an unusual reason for a companion to join the Doctor. Of course, BF played it safe. Rather than portraying her as a member of a mainstream religion, Hannah is a member of "The Order of the Crescent Moon," an imaginary spiritual sect modeled on late 19th-century Spiritualism and The Order of the Golden Dawn.

Surprisingly, her spiritualism gives her something in common with Nyssa. In Darkening Eye and Land of the Dead, Nyssa mentions that her culture has learned to "combine the spiritual and the rational." For Nyssa, science and the rational come first, but can be informed by the spiritual and non-rational, those things which science can't measure or quantify. Hannah's not a scientist, but she's a very down-to-earth person, making her woo-woo convictions surprising. I think a skilled writer could do something with the two of them, tapping into the ongoing "science vs. religion" cultural debate.

On another topic, I loved Hannah pretending to be Nyssa's governess. On the one hand, it's a handy disguise, since it deflects nosy questions about the Doctor and his young lady companion: she's not his *cough*, she's his ward, for whom he's employed a respectable chaperone. On the other hand, Nyssa's not going to tolerate that arrangement for long; she's more experienced than Hannah, she's been with the Doctor for years, and she's certainly not going to act subservient to Hannah (or the Doctor). The sham governess/ward dynamic could make for some interesting character tension, plus some hilarious moments when Hannah is pretending to be in charge while Nyssa's really calling the shots. (Then again, Hannah's not likely to take any orders from her.)

Granted, the Doctor didn't seem to strike up a rapport with Hannah the way he did Erimem. Granted, the stories with Hannah so far haven't served her particularly well: the writers struggled to integrate her into the Five & Nyssa team that everyone knows so well at this point. And granted, she seems to have been a three-story-only companion.** But I can't help hoping we'll see Hannah again.

(above left: Francesca Hunt as Rebecca Fogg in The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne... too feminine a look for Hannah, but the right attitude.)




**[SPOILERS to MASQUERADE]

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Read more... )

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(posted on Tumblr in reaction to someone trying to shame somebody for using "Dr. Who.")

Who's Dr. Who?

Since the anon is confused, here’s screencaps from the show to answer their question:

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— “Dr. Who” in closing credits for original episode, Unearthly Child

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— “Dr. Who” in closing credits for Tomb of the Cybermen

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— “Dr. Who” in original pitch for the show by its creator, Sydney Newman

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 ”Dr. Who” in Radio Times listing for the very first episode. Radio Times magazine was owned by the BBC, and reported on its programming.

The BBC’s internal documents used “Dr. Who” for both the character and  the show for years.

Tons more examples of 'Dr. Who' in the show... )
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originally posted on Tumblr Dec 2014

circular time cd cover

Circular Time contains four mini-stories tracing the arc of the Fifth Doctor’s friendship with Nyssa. The last one, “Winter” by Paul Cornell, is my all-time favorite Big Finish audio. It’s a touching, bittersweet half-hour that makes my eyes water, but more than that, it’s a powerful, sensitive character study.

Most classic Doctors keep their true feelings well-hidden. This story lets us peel away that mask and dive inside his head during a moment of extreme crisis.

MEGA SPOILERS warning.

Read more... )
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Originally posted on Tumblr, this meta post digs up classic Who canon on two surprisingly complicated questions:

  • How and when did we first learn the Doctor wasn't human?
  • Was he ever called "Doctor Who" in classic Who, or only "Doctor"? 

It's tempting to say that the Doctor was explicitly nonhuman from the start of the show (in 1963, you whippersnappers ;)). In fact, his status was ambiguous for several seasons, and yes, I do remember the pilot episode's title!

Read more... )
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Originally posted on Tumblr (with more creepy screencaps)

The Watcher — Logopolis

NYSSA: That’s the man who brought me from Traken.
DOCTOR: Yes.
NYSSA: He said he was a friend of yours.
ADRIC: But he’s the man on the bridge.
DOCTOR: Yes.
ADRIC: You said to be prepared for the worst.
DOCTOR: Indeed I did, and I am prepared for the worst.
ADRIC: Why are you prepared for the worst, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Because he’s here.

This is one of those tiny mysteries that intrigues the heck out of me… why and how did little Nyssa take off into the unknown with THAT INCREDIBLY SPOOKY PERSON?

Read more... )

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