In "Forest of the Dead" the Doctor saved River's consciousness by uploading it to CAL. She also says how the Doctor brought her to Darillium and how she now knew the Doctor always knew how she dies. Then in "The Wedding of River Song" the Doctor has to die at the fixed point. If he knew that he was going to live past the fixed point because he never took River to Darillium yet, then why did he still let the fixed point happen?

If some of you say that's because he knew he would die on Trenzalore, the Silence made the fixed point so he wouldn't.

  • 4
    He's already rebooted the universe by then and got rewound out of existence. And popped back in good as new. I don't think he's counting on "I know the future" as a get out of death free card.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


Time can be rewritten. At least sometimes.

The whole idea of a "fixed point in time" is that it's one specific event which cannot be changed or rewritten. No matter how much time travel happens around it, some things must always happen. We see this in, for example, "The Waters of Mars", when the Doctor tries to change a fixed death and it just happens anyway.

DOCTOR: I'm sorry, but I can't. Sometimes I can, sometimes I do. Most times I can save someone, or anyone. But not you. You wondered all your life why that Dalek spared you. I think it knew. Your death is fixed in time for ever. And that's right.

In "The Wedding of River Song" (and elsewhere in Series 6), the event of River shooting the Doctor at Lake Silencio is a fixed point in time. When she changes it, the whole universe collapses until she decides to make it happen after all.

But there's no indication that Darillium is a fixed point. Perhaps it's one of those things where, in theory, the Doctor or another time traveller could prevent it from happening and the universe and timelines would simply adjust themselves.

  • From his point of view, perhaps it did already happen and for some reason his memory of it disappeared. (River Song has met earlier incarnations than the Tenth Doctor, at least in some levels of canon, and presumably memories of those disappeared since he didn't remember her in "Silence in the Library".)
  • Perhaps he simply didn't notice the contradiction between her Darillium line and his supposed death at Lake Silencio. Perhaps when he did realise it was when he started making the plan with the Teselecta.

Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey ... It's Doctor Who - don't try to make too much sense of its internal consistency.

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    My experience - Most writers seem to use the rule of thumb that whatever has been witnessed has been fixed. Or that the Doctor's lying and fixed points / time in flux / timey wimey is just his shorthand for getting the muggles to go along with how he thinks it's working at the moment - which I think Rory's constant dead / not-dead shenanigans leans into.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 21:37
  • @Radhil: The 10th's exploits on Mars where he decides to save everyone - time be damned - kind of proves the point that it's not that you can't do it, it's that you shouldn't. The ramifications far outweigh the benefit. It seems to mostly be a matter of butterfly effect, or the universe not even being able to process the butterfly effect and effectively crashing. In either case, the consequences may be unforeseeable and dramatically larger than the minor evil you're trying to correct by rewriting time. OOU, time rewriting is also a lousy plot resolution, as nothing matters anymore.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 11:49
  • @Flater Since it's shouldn't rather than can't, one wonders why some rogue Time Lord like the Master hasn't destroyed the fabric of time by now ...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 12:39
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    @Flater Well, even if not him specifically, surely other Time Lords have gone rogue, and perhaps even more rogue. For that matter, the Doctor himself is sort of a rogue Time Lord ... maybe "respecting the laws of time" is the most solidly ingrained rule for all Time Lords, even the battiest. Which makes "The Waters of Mars" even more chilling, of course.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 12:49
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    @Flater "out of the box" - the police box? :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 13:39

I think you missed that River and The Doctor are experiencing time reversed from each other. River meets Doctor #10 at the end of her life, but at that point he's only meeting her for the first time. At that point she knew he hadn't died, because she met Doctor #12 on Darillium (meaning she had to know Trenzalore wasn't fixed either).

Amy, Rory and River don't know the Doctor himself won't die when River (under the control of The Silence) goes to shoot him, and thus River allows time to be shred. The Doctor finally pieces it all back together and let her in on how he won't die if she kills him then and there. Thus "The Doctor" (actually the Teselecta) is killed, his "body" burned, and everyone believes The Doctor is actually dead.

To NOT allow the event to happen is to destroy the person River Song became (which is likely why this was a fixed point). Thus you have a paradox in that a River who hadn't murdered Doctor #11 wasn't the person who saved Doctor #10 (and died in the process).

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