MONDO EXTRAS

The Queen Lived

by Jacob Clifton August 1, 2008
Doctor Who Season 4

"One more thing, before dying. Do you know what happens if you hold two identical sonic devices against each other?" No. "Nor me. Let's find out." And the Doctor said, "Mum and Dad have got the kids now, they don't need the nanny anymore." He knew more than he was letting on; he was thinking of Mad Martha, who fancied him. Blind Martha. Charity Martha. Wonderful Martha, strong Martha, soldier Martha, who didn't need the nanny anymore. Martha, who learned to save the world with the sweat of her brow, walking a world gone wrong, saving it one story at a time. All he wanted was a mate; you promised you would never mate with him. Funny old world.

"Children! Oh, my children, behold. I am taking you home... And you will fly! Up you go, babies. Up you go! That's it, fly away home!" said Miss Foster. And "That's Donna. And that's him! That's him! Go on, girl! Go on, get up there!" said your grandfather. The proudest man in the universe.

I was proud too. You'd jumped, again, after being bitten once by your own punishment. You knew you deserved more. But you still had no idea how to take it. The Doctor is many things: a man, a traveler, a helper, a God. Rose loved the man, and this was her tragedy and her triumph. Martha loved the God, and learned to be a helper. But you, weren't you just traveling alongside? You didn't love him; you liked him. Maybe that's the key to a good marriage.

Magic comes when the world outside our heads doesn't match the world inside. Sometimes it's dark magic: that man at work that gets enraged, or enrages you, no matter what he says. That face you can't kick out of your dreams. The ones we do violence to, the ones we cross lines for. And love, too; love is magic. You put all your crap on somebody else, all the wonderful things inside you, you apply them to this strange face, and think you can be saved. You never did it, though. You never let him be anything other than what he was: you saw both hearts beating, all the time, you saw the dark bits and the shining ones, and you took care of them all. And that's great, but it still leaves you out. You're still vacationing on somebody else's dime. You're a traveler, but you're unsatisfied with Egypt: you want the stars. You wanted somebody to hand them to you. That's dark magic, too: you needed the world to be more wonderful than it is, and you waited in silence for the moments that it was. You were in love with magic.

In Pompeii, you were still working it out: what is it, to be a God? To be a helper, and a traveler? He'd seen what it was, to control events, to ignore the trees for the forest, the big picture for the people in it, but he needed you there, again, to stop him. You wanted to pull everybody into the amphitheater, ring the bells, save everybody at once, but he explained it. The enormity. "Every waking second, I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not. That's the burden of the Time Lord, Donna. And I'm the only one left." And he was. But your question was equally important: "How many people died?" He begged you to stop, then, but you wouldn't.

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