MONDO EXTRAS

The Queen Lived

by Jacob Clifton August 1, 2008
Doctor Who Season 4

I am trying to think of things to say about "Midnight," if it's not obvious, because I don't want to keep going. We're almost done. One more story, and I will say goodnight. And maybe you'll read this, maybe you'll see the words but they won't help, maybe you never read it at all. Maybe you're somewhere these words can't go. Maybe that's better; it's certainly safe. But Donna, if you could see yourself. If you could see Donna the way we do, it would be like an infinite library: every stall: such comedy, and such humanity. Such depth of feeling. Such beauty, in every movement and every word. And you just walk away.

That's how it works: we see our stories, we live them. We don't see all the stories around them, moving through time, twining around each other. It's one of the things wrong with the world: we see the little things, not the big picture. Sometimes we miss the small things, too. You'll wake up tomorrow and you'll go back to your unhappy life, the life you've settled for. You'll paste on a smile, and wait for the day to end. And there will be a quiet sigh, a crack, a fault, a tiny little place, an ache, in your heart. And you'll wonder where it came from: what memory, just out of reach, explains this sadness and this loneliness. This feeling that things should have gone better, this trapped feeling that now they never will. Just for a moment; it'll hardly qualify as a thought. It won't be a memory. Because that's something you were born with: we all were. It's the keyhole.

There are things that words can't do, places words don't go, where time and space don't matter. Where everything that ever was and will be, is, all at once. Nobody's meant to hold that, or to feel it. So instead of driving each other mad, we use images, and metaphors. We tell lies. Stories. This is how the world went wrong. This is how you fix it.

Your next adventure with the Doctor took the form of a horror, a quasi-racist Yellow Peril encounter on a ching-chong stereotype planet. And you were tricked, by a Trickster, into creating a whole world. St. Eco and St. Calvino bless us and keep us, you've got stories within stories in your stories. And in this world, you didn't choose hope. You chose to settle for even less than that. And the world ended, on your word.

But the way you earned your wedding -- two years too late! -- was the way in which you saved the day. You took a look around yourself, and you hid and you cried and you whined, you let them do such awful things to you, but in the end you'd had enough. Enough pain, enough horror, enough of being controlled and abused. You believed, out of nowhere, in a better world. You sacrificed yourself, and saved everyone. You closed the loop, and in dying, you ended a world. You wrenched time back into alignment, the way the Doctor would. And you did this in a world where not only did you never meet him, but you also never saved him. And the results were ugly. Horrific, in fact. But the truth remains that in your death, you saved the world. And how? It's nothing to do with him -- he was already long dead -- but by saving yourself. End your fantasy, and the world is changed. Fix yourself and fix the world.

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