purplecat: Twelfth Doctor and the number 12 (Who:Twelve)
[personal profile] purplecat
Three formative things from my childhood/teenage years: The books of Rosemary Sutcliff, the folk-music inspired output of Clannad, holidays spent in Scotland.

To be honest, I also rate Survival pretty highly, so The Eater of Light would have had to try pretty hard for me not to love it. I'm not sure I can even remotely claim to be looking over this story with an unbiased eye. I loved it a lot. It does reassure me that The Teenager also loved it however, despite considerable sceptism about Rosemary Sutcliff (occasionally I give her the books, she tactfully ignores the gesture), and no memories of Scotland (or Survival).

She does like Clannad though, but I'd argue that the music here, while definitely folk-inspired, is not particularly Clannad-ish.

So if I was going to quibble at The Eater of Light I would quibble that:

  1. It was all teenagers. I have a fairly low tolerance of "young adult" literature and this smacked a little of that. That said, it was making a point about our modern perceptions of youth and maturity set against the realities of of the past, so it was hard to write it off a simply pandering to the Whiny-Vampire fans.
  2. The resolution didn't quite join all the dots. The Doctor, having made the case that only he had the longevity to defend the portal, is prevented from doing so. I think one could argue that temporal distortion around the portal means he was wrong about this - or at least that human defence could last long enough, but the story didn't quite make that case.
  3. It presented a slightly idealised version of Roman sexuality. I'm not an expert on Roman sexuality but I get the impression that there were some fairly firm ideas about things like marriage, and what age gaps made homosexuality acceptable which were lost in translation. On the other hand, did we really want a dissertation on Roman attitudes to underage gay sex? and I liked the subtle way it was poking fun at Bill's presumption of civilisation and thought it worked much better than the point Oxygen tried to make about racism.

On the plus side, as well as the setting and the music and the scenery (yes, I know it's Wales pretending to be Scotland but it looks pretty convincing), this was the moment were I went from liking the relationships between the Doctor, Nardole and Bill to simply adoring this TARDIS team. I loved Bill's cheerful confidence in setting off to prove the Doctor wrong and the sense that this was ribbing between friends not some desire or need to actually prove him wrong. I loved Nardole integrating with the picts. I loved Bill and Nardole ganging up on the Doctor.

I loved this. It hit me in all my nostalgia weak points and handled this particular TARDIS team, which I already liked, perfectly enough to convert me from well-disposed to a fan. The Teenager said she thought it might be her favourite Doctor Who story. I'm not sure I'd necessarily go that far (this is no Blink!) and I'm almost frightened to see how it would stand up to a rewatch because I'm very aware that external factors were effecting my ability to think critically about this. But on a single viewing, I'd say it was my favourite Twelfth Doctor, Bill and Nardole story.


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