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The Sea of Stars

Water-stained pages, pebbles and traces of stardust

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Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead: Review
DWPretty Meh - lemonstation

One, in hindsight they are full of great big anvils about what is going to happen to Donna. The look on River Song's face when she realises who Donna is; the ending of Silence in the Library with Donna's face on the node saying "Donna Noble has left the Library; Donna Noble has been saved" when, in order to save Donna, the Doctor has to make her 'leave the Library' and basically wipe her mind of all the information she's acquired over Series 4; the fact that Donna spends most of Forest of the Dead living in a fantasy world because Doctor Moon has put her brain to sleep and how she will live the rest of her life with a part of her brain sleeping; Lux's statement that "a half life is better than no life at all" which must influence the Doctor where Donna is concerned in Journey's End. Oh yes, there are indeed rampant spoilers in these episodes, but you only see them when you rewatch.

Two, there is a massive love of reading and books running through the two episodes which every bookworm will love. CAL is a descendent of both Alice and Dorothy Gale, exchanging a real world for a fantasy one. The scene were the Node delivers the Head Librarian's message to the Doctor and Donna is an echo of the scene in Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf reads aloud the last days of the Moria dwarfs, ending with the ominous "They are coming." And they (the shadows) are coming. Doctor Moon telling CAL "the real world is fantasy and your nightmares are real" - come on, this is what every child suspects! Books can be more real to children than life because they contain superreality and truth and you never forget the books which mark your life and mind, whether they're well written or badly written.

Three, these two episodes ARE like a 'Greatest Hits' set for Moffat, but since they were written about the time he knew he was going to be taking over as showrunner and David was deciding whether to stay or not, I think they are like a showcase for him. Here is what Moffat can do: scary monsters; meta writing that isn't clumsy (the whole discussion on spoilers between the Doctor and Donna, then the Doctor and River Song); strong (if irritating) female characters; strong foreshadowing; multiple layers; bittersweet endings; moments of true horror - the moment where Donna's children disappear from their beds in the blink of an eye has to be one of the most terrifying moments in New Who, I went cold and I don't have any children; messages about the thoughtlessness of humans (the forest of the Vashta Nerada must have covered a whole planet in order to produce that many pages, and yet there was no research into the ecosystem and lifeforms of that particular planet, which also ties in nicely with the theme of planets disappearing) balanced with how humans can do great and wonderful things (River Song sacrificing herself).

Four, the Doctor is put in the position that Reinette occupied in Girl in the Fireplace: this mysterious person appears in his life, knows everything, won't share that knowledge. I think River Song was deliberately designed to be a little irritating: that's how the Doctor often comes across, jumping in and rattling off orders, telling everyone he knows best. It's a bit different when someone does that to him. And even though you get the repetition of "Everybody lives", it comes at a price. Unlike in The Doctor Dances, this time, people are not revived and reborn. Their bodies remain dead. The Doctor can only give them a half life, but it's still better than no life at all. Just as he will do for Donna.

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hee, I just watched that literally like two hours ago. The library ones, I mean. I never keep up with Dr. Who stuff and I very much enjoyed it.

:D I love them. They are full of spoilers about what happens to Donna, though, as is my review. :/

Yeah, but half the people on my flist are DW fans. I'm all spoiled by now. It did make me want to go back and watch the "early" ones with Eccleston. Watching the one with Charles Dickens now.

YES. WATCH THEM. Nine is AWESOME. I love Nine over Ten.

I loved River Song, even though "That man of mine...." stuff about the Doctor got old quick. I didn't enjoy the lionizing of the Doctor. Admiration, love and trust of a friend, good; near worship, disturbing.

I never liked all this deification of the Doctor, either. It even spoiled The Family of Blood (which has the most egregious example, to my mind).

I was kind of confused whether the Matrix like existence was considered good or bad. River goes from action women leading a team of explorers to Earth Mother Nanny? Did that strike anyone else as odd?

It's not exactly good. But in the Doctor's view, a half-life is better than no life at all. River gets to live in the Library forever, which, as a professor and an archaeologist, would be paradise for her, as Moffat himself pointed out. I don't think she's the mother, she's the Storyteller, which is a slightly different role.

The Doctor needs help. Or Moffat does. I think that kind of ruins the idea of sacrifice. Earth Mother refers to her appearance. The dress reminds me of the Mother Earth costumes in the "Parkay" commercial.

Her sacrifice still stands. He can't bring her back to life but he can help her live on in a way. We don't have "Parkay" in the UK so her clothes wouldn't be a reference to that.

Oooh, I love the Donna episodes... she may be my favourite among the new companions. I love the chummy brother/ sister relationship she and the Doctor have.

Four, the Doctor is put in the position that Reinette occupied in Girl in the Fireplace: this mysterious person appears in his life, knows everything, won't share that knowledge

I hadn't thought of that! That *is* cool. Poor Doctor getting the tables turned for once... Hee.

She and the Doctor had a wonderful relationship. Helps that David and Catherine have such good chemistry. :)

The Parkay part was a Joke. In the Parkay commercial there was a Mother Nature figure who has the same sort of dress. The Earth Mother Dress was the point. The dress was very 1960's Earth Mother looking. I thought it was nice, but it wasn't quite River, if that makes sense.

And, of course, her sacrifice still matters, but still, wouldn't you think Heaven or being saved would have been a life in the computor Matrix that is like the adventures she had with her team? That makes sense?

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