I have posted this on Tumblr already, but I would like to have it posted here as well. So here we go.
Well, I have to say that I found the episode to be a bit underwhelming. I do not have anything against Moffat or his episodes, actually my favorite ones are by Moffat. And I do not tend to be overly critical of DW, but I just can’t say I’m impressed by this episode. Slow buildup leading to anticlimactic ending with a massive cliffhanger.
But to give credit where credit is due, there are some things are really liked. I’m glad they did not reveal the Name, although I always knew they wouldn’t. It makes no sense to do so, to take the mystery out of the character. And I like they actually turned it around and made the pseudonym Doctor the name that matters, the name that’s at stake. Not in risk of being revealed, but in risk of being changed. Because when the Doctor stops being Doctor, that’s when Doctor dies.
Another thing I liked was the way they incorporated previous regenerations. Yeah it’s upsetting that they won’t bring more actors for the 50th anniversary, but I’m glad they are honoring them at least in this way.
But one thing, that upsets me the most about this episode, was that it highlighted the one problem I always had with the series. That it blatantly disregards the rules it set’s up. Trenzalore - the one place Doctor must never go. And what’s the first thing he does? He fucking goes to Trenzalore. And ends up entering his own past. Like, seriously, how did that not broke the universe? He even said it was like the ultimate paradox. When Rose wanted to save her farther, all hell broke lose, but when Doctor wants to save somebody, there isn’t paradox he can’t break.
Also I can’t help, but feel like the feel like the ending was quite predictable. Ever since the Doctor’s “remains”, or whatever you wan’t to call it, were revealed, it was quite obvious Clara will enter them to save him and thus get scattered all over his timeline. It felt kind of drawn out, waiting for it to happen. And maybe it’s just me, but I found it quite anticlimactic, that she basically saved him just by entering his past. I know she saved him at so many points in his life, but from this episode’s standpoint all she’s done was enter the “light”. It’s not explained how she actually saved him and how she dealt with Great Intelligence.
And then he proceeds to follow her, to save her. Forget that he’s crossing his own timeline in biggest way possible. Like, why he could never do this for any other companion. Why he could not go back in time to pick up Amy and Rory again, after they were sent back by the Angel? That’s barely even a paradox. He might as well do it now, that paradoxes are not issue anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Clara, and I really didn’t want her gone, but the show should make sense.
The most interesting part of the episode was definitely the introduction of John Hurts character, an “evil” regeneration of the Doctor. I’m very interested in how they will flesh him out. If done well, he should really just highlight Doctors negative traits, while keeping his personality. The more he is the Doctor, the scarier he’ll be, because Doctor is fucking scary, if you’re not on his side. I hope they will address the whole Timelord Victorious attitude of his, his disregard for the rules and such. And hopefully Matt’s Doctor will learn his lesson as well, because, damn, he needs it.
They’ve made a really good cliffhanger, I have to give them that. I’m really interested, how it’ll all turn out. Wish it was November already, screw the summer.
As with any fandom, fans of high fantasy like their trivia. But arguably fantasy trivia is far more complex than the trivia about any other type of work, because besides the information about the story itself, there is lot to learn about the world and it's history. There is lot of characters and events that do not appear in the story itself, but are essential for the lore of given work. And with lot of this information, you're not presented right away, sometimes fans have to work out a lineage of some characters, or calculate dates of certain events, based on bits and pieces of information spread out across the work. Even more apparent it's in The Elder Scrolls series, because in story itself you're barely presented with any lore at all. You play through a story of one specific character; it's important character and plays big role in the grand scheme of things, but you're always just concerned with your own personal adventure. But the game has immense lore with many different races, cultures, religions and a detailed story of the creation of the world. Lore has impacts on the game itself, on the way different races act and interact, on architecture and even gameplay, but in order to find out why, the player has to put in the effort to collect and read in-game books (and there is a ton of them) and talk to many different characters. And the books are not always history books, there are short stories, journals and poems and through them player has to find out about the lore. TES fans have to do actual research in order to learn the history of the fantasy world. (And it's the reason, why I have such a respect for TES lore buffs.)
Now the question I'm asking is: Can learning fantasy lore be equally beneficial as learning actual real life history? It sounds stupid, but think about it. What is the point of learning about history? Is knowing dates of important events and names of important people any good to you? No. It doesn't matter whether Hitler's first name was Adolf or Alfred, just like it doesn't matter that Thorin was son of Thráin. It's just a trivia, it has no practical use. What is important is to understand Hitler's motives, how he managed to gain the thrust of his country and the ways war affected the lives of people around the world. The point of history is to learn about people, about how they act in different circumstances and what impact do their actions have. An even though the world in fantasy books can be very different from ours, the people and their behavior is the same. Different races may highlight different human traits - greed, thirst for power, wisdom, courage; and sometimes a character may be bit extreme in some manner. The antagonist may occasionally be an embodiment of evil, but more often then the characters are very realistic, as far as the personality goes. That's actually what makes a work good, having realistic and relatable characters. I mean look at the Song of Ice and Fire, it's main selling point (at least in my opinion) is that it threw the good and evil archetype out of the window (it defenestrated it - god I love that word :D). More than anything it's a political drama and that's just as relevant for our world as it is for Westeros.
Man, I'm saying it like I just made some breaktrough discovery, of course through literature, including fantasy, we can learn a lot. That's the whole point, and the reason why people study literature. But I guess what I'm trying to say is, that learning fantasy trivia is never a waste of time, because just like most of "trivia" you learn in history class, the whole point of it is to give context to the history as a whole. A history as a compilation of stories, of stories about people. And whether those stories are real, mythical or made up, it doesn't really matter, does it?
Of course I'm not saying that there is no point in studying real world history or even that fantasy is equally as important. History helps us understand current state of affairs, as well as learn about different cultures. Which fantasy kind of does as well, but only through metaphor. Different races may be based on real cultures, but you can't say that the Nords of Skyrim for example really are the Vikings, even if they share fair amount of traits.
And now that I'm thinking about it, all this is also true for some sci-fi works, because they too can have a complex lore and even if they share the real world history, the genre leaves plenty of space for any future "history", history of other races, alternate history or it can even be set in Galaxy Far Far Away, in which case it's basically high fantasy with advanced enough technology.
And maybe that's the whole point. Not to worry about all that and just write stuff for a month. But I'm not sure I'm going to be capable of that. When I write I tend to over think every sentence, every word. I research everything, making sure I don't get any facts wrong. And that's exactly what I should try and avoid, if i'm ever going to finish at least one chapter without losing my mind.
But I don't want to back out, earlier today I almost did want to chicken out. But I'm typing this blog, bit late (it's technically Sunday already), but still. Not because I wish someone read it and gave me a motivational talk, but because I promised myself to write one every day until November. And if I can do it for one week, I'm hopefully going to be able to do it for next four weeks as well.
For those of you who don't know what NaNoWriMo is and too are lazy to google it, I'm going to vaguely explain it in very insufficient matter. Basically National Novel Writing Month is a month (more specifically November), when people who have a lot of time on their hands, or are sufficiently mad and sadomasochistic like me, write a short novel. Goal is to write 50 000 words within this month, which I consider absolutely ridiculous and unrealistic. I personally would be pleased by 10 - 20 thousand words, but I'm going to do my best to exceed my expectations (and most likely fail miserably).
To get ready for the November I'm going to write a blog every day until then. And possibly post finished pages on here (or burn them immediately after realizing how awful they are).
BTW: This blog is 287 words long (including this part), so at this rate I might finish the novel in about six months.
And yes, I'm writing the novel in English. It's first time I'm attempting to write something of this size and I'm going to have to write with ridiculous deadline, so of course I'm not going to pick my first language, duh!