Monday, April 25, 2011

A Brief Clarification

When River says, "I've never seen you looking so young," (in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead), she's not referring to the physical age of his current incarnation. She's referring to the youthful, carefree demeanor he has about him--a demeanor she'll never see in him again, because this is the only time he ever meets her that he doesn't know, to the exact second, when she's going to die.

Please stop pointing out that Matt Smith is younger than David Tennant, because that is missing the point.


Mory Buckman said...

Moffat said in an interview that he was going to cast the doctor older, but he changed his mind based on Matt Smith's audition. The line is a continuity error, but a forgivable one. It is just one line, after all. I'm sure there will be much bigger plot holes by the time this new plot has resolved.

Eric TF Bat said...

"There are no inconsistencies in the Discworld books; occasionally, however, there are alternate pasts."

- Terry Pratchett.

I think the same will apply, only moreso.

Aaron Peterson said...

"Moffat said in an interview that he was going to cast the doctor older, but he changed his mind based on Matt Smith's audition."

- but that was a whole season ago! I think they'd have noticed, given the time they had to prepare for the second season with Matt Smith. It's not a continuity error

Jim S said...

Thank you for bringing that up. When Matt Smith first encounters River, he's not pleased to see her. I always took it to mean htat it's not that he doesn't like her (apparently he does, I on the other hand can't stand the character), it's because he knows her fate. So yes you're spot on, and because you actually put that notion out on the Internet first, you get all the credit and I am just a wannabe.

I know we're supposed to feel the irony of knowing River's fate and thus have her every appearance informed by that and feel sad, but like I said, I really hate the character.

Or I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think you've got a Watsonian explanation for a Doylist error. It's a perfectly good Watsonian explanation, and I see no reason not to run with it in continuity and accept it to assuage the inconsistency, but at the same time, I feel that it's entirely true that it was originally intended for River to interact with a physically older looking Doctor.

John Seavey said...

Except that the problem is, I came up with that interpretation before Matt Smith was cast. It seemed obvious to me at the time that River wasn't referring to physical age; that's a meaningless term with Time Lords, and Moffat knew it. Even if he was planning to cast an older Eleventh Doctor (and remember, we don't know whether he'd been made showrunner by then. Everyone is now assuming it was foreshadowing the Doctor's next incarnation, but that might not have been something Moffat had any reason to think he could control when he wrote the script...)

Even if he was planning to cast an older Eleventh Doctor, he had to know he was writing the ending to a story that he couldn't possibly film in its entirety--a story that involved multiple incarnations of the Doctor, and an actress who aged backwards. He had to imply all that by the script choices, and he must have known he couldn't control the casting choices for the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth et cetera Doctors and that there was a good chance at least one of them was going to be physically younger than Tennant. The line has to refer to something other than physical age.

Remember, River doesn't say it on first realizing he's the Doctor. She says it while looking him in the eyes (the "windows to the soul".) She sees a quality of youth to that soul, a quality she's never seen before. And at the end of that two-parter, she dies. It does not take some sort of convoluted logic to figure out that Moffat was referring to the fact that every other time she's looked in those eyes, she's seen a burden that ages the Doctor in some indefinable way not of the body, but of the soul...and she's never known it, but that burden is the knowledge of her death.