Notes From Around the Sundial

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Gnomon's column image, showing a sundial surrounded with the words Notes From Around the Sundial'

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!

The Real Origin of Doctor Who

I'm sure you all know of Doctor Who. You know, tall chap, travels around in a telephone box. I'm not what you'd call a fan, although I enjoy watching the programme occasionally. I recently made a discovery about Doctor Who which is mind-boggling in the extreme, so I thought I'd share it with you, my dear readers.

One of the distinctive things about Doctor Who is that we don't know his name, because nobody in fact knows his real name. The name Doctor Who applies to the program, but not apparently to the character1. Throughout the programme, he calls himself "the Doctor" and steadfastly refuses to provide any other name. Occasionally he adopts a disguise, and goes by the name of John Smith or just Mr Smith, but is always clear that this is just a pseudonym.

I was somewhat surprised to read that an early nickname of the Doctor was Theta Sigma. Being interested in Greek letters, I took the trouble to write that out in full Greek capitals:


Obvious, isn't it? No? Think of it as one of those text smileys like :) and turn it on its side: you have a very good drawing of the Eye of Sauron, on its Dark Tower.

smiley - wow

So is the good Doctor really the umpteenth incarnation of Sauron, the Dark Lord, from Lord of the Rings? Cool. It explains a lot.

  • The Doctor doesn't die, but regenerates into a different body. Originally there was supposed to be a limit to the number of times he could do this, but as more and more actors move on to other things, the limits are stretched. Sauron was a Maia, a type of immortal elemental spirit with huge powers. He was well known for regenerating when killed. He did it after the Downfall of Numenor, taking a new body, and again at the time when Isildur cut off his finger with the ring on it—his body dissolved and he formed a new one later in a different place. When the Ring was destroyed in the fire, that was supposed to be the end of him, but obviously not.

  • Sauron was an expert at construction: he was very good at building things, having learnt a lot from his original master, the smith Aulë. In fact Sauron learned from Aulë so well that he at one stage adopted the nickname Artano, the High Smith. We're specifically told "his knowledge was great". The Doctor is also a master of construction, having modified his ship the Tardis many times, and being able to assemble advanced technology from simple components. He can fiddle around with just about anything and get it to work. And he also adopts the nickname 'Smith'.

  • Sauron put a major part of his soul into a magic ring. The part of him left behind was lessened by this, in that a lot of his power resided in the ring. Later in his 'David Tennant' incarnation as the Doctor, he put his soul into a fob-watch, the part of him which remained becoming human rather than super-human.

  • In the episode 'Family of Blood', Timothy Latimer, who gets a chance to see the Doctor's soul, says 'He's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heat of the sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe.' A good description of Sauron. And the Doctor has apparent magical powers, more so than you would expect of a guy who travels around in a machine—he traps one of his enemies inside every mirror in the world. Only someone with the power of a Maia could do this.

The obvious problem with this is that Sauron was evil and the Doctor is good, isn't he? Well everybody deserves a chance to change their ways. Sauron must have repented of his evil ways some time after Frodo threw the ring into the fire. This is probably why the Doctor is always so careful to allow his enemies a chance to change their minds.

Notes from Around the Sundial Archive


11.06.2009 Front Page

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1Although there have been times when he has made jokes about the name "Who", and once a robot called him "Doctor Who".

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