Doctor Who: Are Weeping Angels Really Time Lords?

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The Weeping Angels remain one of the few significant contributions to The Doctor's rogue's gallery made in the revived series. Since "Blink" they've appeared in four episodes and a handful of short stories and novels. Unlike the Silence or the Ood, though, they remain very mysterious in origin. According to the Tenth Doctor they have been around since the beginning of the universe, and that seems to be the extent of his knowledge regarding them.

The idea that the Angels may somehow be connected to the Time Lords is not new speculation. It's been wondered about since "The End of Time" when Rassilon declared that the two members of the High Council who had voted against his plan to destroy the corporeal universe and ascend to beings of pure consciousness would "stand as monument to their shame, like the Weeping Angels of old". Many fans took this to mean that Rassilon might have special knowledge of the Angels, or perhaps had even created them for the Time War. Likely it was just a throwaway mention for fans, and all it really indicates is that Rassilon, like The Doctor, knows they exist.

There are similarities. Both races are essentially humanoid. Both races have mild telepathic powers and in some form seem to control time. Really, though, aside from Rassilon's line and those few bits of evidence there's not much reason to think the two are otherwise related.

However, if you follow the Big Finish audio stories (And you really should), there was an adventure that might possibly hold the key to the history of the Angels as Time Lords. "Neverland" was an Eighth Doctor and Charley story released in 2002, long before Steven Moffat even wrote "What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow" let alone "Blink". So from a writing standpoint it's unlikely the two were ever meant to be linked, but then again since it leads directly into "Zagreus", the show's unofficial 40th anniversary special, it's probable Moffat at least knew about the story.

In "Neverland" The Doctor is rounded up by the Time Lords for the crime of creating a paradox when he saved Charley Pollard from dying on the airship R101. They plan to use Charley as a gateway into an anti-time universe, where they believe they may recover the body of Rassilon and restore it to life. The reality was far more sinister.

It turned out that the Gallifreyan elite, including president Romana herself, had for eons used a device called the Oubliette of Eternity that erased people from history completely. The problem was, once it was used no one could ever remember it had been because the person they used it on never existed in the first place. So throughout Gallifreyan history administration after administration would assume that they were the first in living memory to use the device.

These political opponents were banished to the Antiverse, where they eventually formed a colony on a small planet. When The Doctor threatened the web of time by saving Charley, he opened a huge gateway that allowed these Neverpersons the ability to travel back into our universe and consume linear time, which they hunger for.

See the connection? Hold on for more.

This story continues on the next page.

The Neverpersons settle on a plan to lure the Time Lords to their universe in order to trick them into bring back and anti-time bomb to detonate on Gallifrey, fraying the web of time completely and allowing them unrestricted access into our universe. To that end, they traveled to points in time and space spreading legends of Rassilon and a hidden figure named Zagreus known mostly through a nursery rhyme. This trail of bread crumbs leads The Doctor, Romana, and the rest of the Time Lords to the anti-time universe to retrieve Rassilon's coffin, which is the bomb in disguise.

Though Neverpersons aren't quantum locked like Angels, they cannot be perceived as who they were even by close friends they knew in our universe because of their erasure from time. They also demonstrated the ability to travel vast interstellar distances and through the time vortex, which presumably the Angels also do as they otherwise do not appear to possess high technology capable of reaching places like Trenzalore and wherever the Byzantium picked up its Angel from.

The main difference is stone. Why stone? Well, even here Rassilon's possible connection to the Angels has been referenced. In "The Five Doctors", The Doctor in various incarnations participates in The Game of Rassilon in Rassilon's Tower in the Death Zone.There, The Doctor's old mentor and then-Gallifreyan president Borusa found the true immortality that Rassilon was rumored to have discovered. It turned out that it was actually a trap set to ensnare power-mad individuals, and Borusa was turned into a living statue.

Just like an Angel.

In the recent novel Engines of War it's revealed that Borusa ended up as an experimental subject of Rassilon's after he was resurrected to fight in the Last Great Time War. This combined with the information he would have gleaned from The Matrix (Where another version of himself had orchestrated much of the Eighth Doctor's actions in the anti-time universe from behind the scenes) upon re-assumption of power leads even more credit to Rassilon having possibly created the Angels as time-hungry war weapons from Neverpersons made of unbreakable living stone. The paradoxes of the conflict would certainly have allowed contact with the anti-time universe, and the Neverpersons would have been desperate for a chance at corporeal existence within our universe. Augmented by Rassilon and sent back through time to create their own legend, they would be the perfect temporal assassins.

It's just a theory, of course, but as the Twelfth Doctor continues to be drawn to the time-locked Gallifrey, where presumably Rassilon is waiting and scheming, it makes me wonder if he won't find the Weeping Angels waiting for him there.

Doctor Who returns at Christmas.

Jef has a new story, a tale of mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called "Sleepers, Wake!" available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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