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Elric VIII, 428th Emperor of Melniboné

Elric is a weak, wasted albino, product of at least a millenia of inbreeding. His febrile Empire clings to illusions of past grandeur, the inconsistent favor of the Chaos Lords, and half remembered remnants of once puissant magic Elric is too anemic to perform unaided by drugs.

The only thing that gives him power is his mystical sword, Stormbringer. Capable of slaying thousands with a scratch it consumes their souls and feeds part of that energy to Elric.

He’s also involved in an incestuous love triangle with his cousin Cymoril and her brother Yyrkoon.

Elric is not very happy so he makes the incredibly logical (as in earth shatteringly stupid) decision to go off adventuring leaving Yyrkoon as regent and Cymoril in his care. Of course Yyrkoon usurps him, why not?

So Elric recruits an invasion fleet and since he knows all the secret defenses and passwords pulls a Baltar. Everthing is going just swimmingly when, in a climactic encounter with Yyrkoon, he “accidentally” kills Cymoril and Stormbringer eats her soul. I put quotes around it because Stormbringer has bad habits like that.

Naturally he’s a little pissed off and crazed by this and he makes another stunningly intelligent choice- release the Imperial Dragons and burn everthing to the ground, Capital City (Immyr for the trivia inclined) and his invasion fleet and allies alike.

After this he’s pretty well hated by just about everybody, Melnibonéan survivors for the obvious reasons and his former associates because he betrayed them too. Elric is a very dangerous person to be around whether you like him or not since Stormbringer kills enemies sure, but it also, indeed especially, has a taste for his friends and companions. In the end Stormbringer devours Moonglum of Elwher, his most steadfast and loyal comrade, Zarozinia, the true love of his life, and Elric himself. At that he dies in failure, his quest accomplished by another Champion.

ek, this is even obscurer than Game of Thrones and also more depressing. Why aren’t you writing about the Red Wedding?”

Well, because this is about The Doctor. Elric is just a metaphor. Let’s talk about chips shall we?

Who are you?

Do you know like we were sayin’? About the Earth revolving? It’s like when you’re a kid. The first time they tell you that the world’s turning and you just can’t quite believe it ‘cos everything looks like it’s standin’ still. I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinnin’ at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We’re fallin’ through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go… That’s who I am.

You think it’ll last forever: people and cars and concrete. But it won’t. One day it’s all gone. Even the sky. My planet’s gone. It’s dead. It burned, like the Earth. It’s just rocks and dust. Before its time.

What happened?

There was a war, and we lost.

A war with who? What about your people?

I’m a Time Lord. I’m the last of the Time Lords. They’re all gone. I’m the only survivor. I’m left traveling on my own, ‘cos there’s no one else.

There’s me.

You’ve seen how dangerous it is — do you want to go home?

I don’t know… I want… Oh, can you smell chips?

Yeah. Yeah!

I want chips.

Me too.

Right then, before you get me back in that box, chips it is. And you can pay.

No money.

What sort of date are you? Come on, then, tight wad, chips are on me… we’ve only got five billion years ’til the shops close!

That’s who he is. Everything he touches dies, sooner or later. Four and a half Billion years, more or less, bashing away at a diamond mountain to save Clara. That didn’t quite work out. Of course he only experienced it as something less than a day. Nine hundred odd years saving Christmas on Trenzalor, every minute of that.

How many years in the Time War coming to The Moment (Bad Wolf to you) that he decides the only way to end it is by destroying Gallifrey?

Did you ever count?

Count what?

How many children there were on Gallifrey that day?

I have absolutely no idea.

How old are you now?

Uh, I don’t know, I lose track. Twelve hundred and something, I think, unless I’m lying. I can’t remember if I’m lying about my age, that’s how old I am.

Four hundred years older than me and in all that time you never even wondered how many there were. You never once counted?

Tell me, what would be the point?

Two point four seven billion!

You did count.

In the reboot of Dr. Who those have always been the storylines that interested me the most, how The Doctor comes to terms with the fact that he’s essentially a monster. To the extent the writing has been flawed in the Moffett years (yeah, yeah, massive continuity errors, forced jokes, breaking character) I think the biggest one is the abandonment of the exploration of that side of his personality. Capaldi would have been the perfect actor for it (after Eccleston) and instead he was wasted on silliness and pointless distractions like Matt Smith.

So don’t count me as someone who pines for Stephen who I think is quite adequately summed up by The Empty Hearse which basically throws its hands in the air and says to the audience, “Too complicated! You figure it out!”

But I’m not looking for a lighter, more humorous Doctor which is why I’m hopeful for the new regime of Chibnall and Whittaker. Broadchurch is not a comedy and character development is as important as it is in any serious drama like The Wire.

And if you can’t get over the fact that Whittaker is not just another White Guy (or think that’s the most important stunt casting point) you are doing a disservice to her ablity as an actor of emotional depth and range and The Doctor’s complexity as a character.

It’s not just aliens running around in cheesy rubber suits to amuse the kidlings any more, if it ever was.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

    Vent Hole

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