Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Doctor Who: from wizard to superhero

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The early Doctor Who (canonical incarnations one to seven - from William Hartnell to Sylvester McCoy) was a wizard - but the revived Doctor Who is a superhero.

This shows itself in many way, but mostly in relation to sex: a wizard is celibate and asexual - the revived Doctor is sexually-interested and sometimes has girlfriends - even a wife.

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Obviously a wizard cannot be married!

Think of the great wizards: Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Getafix...is it imaginable that any had a wife?

Equally, they cannot have a girlfriend nor indeed any kind of sexual infatuation; and if they do, then they will be punished and lose their powers - if they do not repent.

Think Merlin and Nimue - which got him imprisoned in an oak tree/ crystal cave; think Dumbledore and Grindlewald - which led to the death of his sister but then repentance.

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The new Doctor Who is all about smutty innuendos, snogging, declarations of undying love to (serial) companions, besotted companions, and so on - that is the stuff of superheroes.

The sex prohibition for wizards is absolutely non-negotiable, because we are dealing with an archetype: a basic, universal, fixed, symbolic figure.

However, in making the Doctor a sexual being, he has changed archetype: the revived Doctor Who is now a warrior, not a wizard - because the superhero is a version of the warrior archetype.

Warriors are, of course, exactly the kind of people to have a string of (ahem) 'girlfriends' and to become the objects of sexual infatuation like the revived Doctor.

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So with the revived Doctor Who we have gone from Merlin to Lancelot, from Gandalf to Boromir, from Dumbledore to Sirius Black, and from Getafix to Asterix (sort of...).

A poor exchange, in my opinion.

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