2

Can they? I mean, I am pretty sure that they are mortal beings, but does it say anywhere that they can die of old age?

4

Unknown, but they're pretty long-lived

It's an idea that's never been explored on the show, or in any of the prose books as far as I can tell.

The closest we've come are the Angels in "The Time of Angels" and "Flesh and Stone"; according to dialogue on the show, those Angels were trapped on Alfava Metraxis for four hundred years, after wiping out the Aplan civilization:

Doctor: Who built that temple? Are they still around?

River: The Aplans. Indigenous life form. They died out four hundred years ago.

[...]

Doctor: The Aplans. What happened? How did they die out?

River: Nobody knows.

Doctor: We know.

[The Angels did it]

Doctor Who Series 5 Episode 4: "The Time of Angels"

After four hundred years, the Alfava Metraxis Angels are in danger of death by starvation; not, notably, of old age:

Doctor: Look at them. They're dying, losing their form. They must have been down here for centuries, starving.

Doctor Who Series 5 Episode 4: "The Time of Angels"

It's by no means clear that it would be impossible for an Angel to die of old age, but it would evidently take a while.

  • As an aside, I would speculate that the Angels are immortal. Their power is derived from their image, so they should be able to live for as long as they can maintain that image - and we see in "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone" that they can refresh their image by feeding – Jason Baker Mar 6 '16 at 23:50
  • Conversely, a starving human can go from emaciated to healthy by eating and exercising, but that's doesn't make us immortal. It's possible that feeding can only sustain their form for so long, even if it's a seemingly-infinite timeframe by human standards. – MichaelS Mar 7 '16 at 6:35
1

In Blink, the Doctor says that the angels are "as old as the universe, or very nearly." That suggests that old age doesn't do them in.

The objection here would be that perhaps he's referring to the race, rather than to individual angels. That would imply that they can reproduce, which seems problematic: how can they do that with the whole "turns to stone when seen" dynamic? (Might give the idea of a "blind date" a whole new meaning, though!)

  • We know from "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone" that the Angels can reproduce virally ("the image of an Angel is itself an Angel") – Jason Baker Mar 7 '16 at 4:51
  • Not sure that reproduction like that makes death by old age compatible with "as old as the universe," since when the image stops, the reproduced Angel is gone, yes? So the original Angel is still all that's left to be around for centuries on end. – Ralph J Mar 7 '16 at 5:18
  • Arguable. We see images become Angels on two occasions (the television screen and Amy's eye), and both times it appears to become more tangible with time. It's implied, if not outright stated, that given sufficient time the image becomes a full-fledged Angel in its own right – Jason Baker Mar 7 '16 at 5:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.