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===== minor Season Six Spoilers =====

So in the beginning of Season Six of Doctor Who, we meet a species that's been controlling earth's development for centuries... the funny creatures with the big heads, no mouths, who make you forget them as soon as you no longer see them.

Later on though, on the base where Amy Pond was being held so she could birth Melody Pond for the Eye-patch Lady, we are told that "The Silence" is not actually a race, but a religious order, to which many individuals from numerous species belong.

So then, my question is, those beings we were first introduced to us as The Silence, the "Forget-Me" beings, ... who are they? Do we know anything else about their race, where they're from, etc.?

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    possible duplicate of How did The Silence manage to stay undetected? – Thaddeus Howze Sep 13 '12 at 4:14
  • Not so much asking about their powers or how they erase themselves, as WHO they actually are, and where they come from. – eidylon Sep 13 '12 at 5:37
  • My response gives all the information available from the series on the Silence. Few resources give more. The Dr. Who Wikia offers a bit more about their religious organization. – Thaddeus Howze Sep 13 '12 at 6:00
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    @Thaddeus While your answer to the other question may answer this one, the questions themselves are not duplicates. – Xantec Sep 13 '12 at 15:39
  • Much surrounding The Silence is still a mystery. Why do they do what they do, where do they come from, etc. – Force Flow Sep 13 '12 at 22:22
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The Silents are a genetically engineered species.

This is clarified in The time of the Doctor when Clara asks The Doctor about them:

CLARA: What are those things?
SILENT: Confess.
DOCTOR: Confessional priests. Very popular. Genetically engineered so you forget everything you told them.

"The Silence"(The Kovarian chapter) were a cult within the Silents, who went back in time to stop the Doctor, so as to avoid the events of Trenzalore altogether.

DOCTOR: Well, I did come to Trenzalore, and nothing can change that now. Didn't stop you trying though, did it?
TASHA: Not me. The Kovarian Chapter broke away. They travelled back along your timeline and tried to prevent you ever reaching Trenzalore.

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According to The wiki, The Silence is the religious order lead by a race known as the "Silent".

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The Silence are a religious order that tried to kill The Doctor because of a specific prophecy which stated,

On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, Silence will fall when a Question will be asked, a question that must never, ever be answered.

Dorium Maldovar told the Eleventh Doctor that the question ws 'Doctor Who?' which he had been running from his entire life. He further went on to say,

The Silence are determined the question will never be answered. That The Doctor will NEVER reach Trenzalore.

The Doctor is surprised to discover this

And silence would fall. All the times I've heard those words, I never realized… it was my silence. My death. The Doctor will fall.

That being said, with Doctor Who, we're never sure how to interpret any of this. We know he will eventually be on the Fields of Trenzalore. We know that it is very very possible that Clara will find his real name in the library in the Tardis at some point. We also know that NONE OF THE DW FANS WORLDWIDE want to KNOW the "name of The Doctor" and we would REALLY REALLY love it if silence really would fall when the question is asked. But do we want this enough for him to die ? Of course not !!

Then again, the fall of the eleventh, could mean anything. It could mean morally, or ethically or in so many other senses of the word "Fall". Trust Moffat to use a word like "fall" with so many meanings.

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    Does "Silence will fall" refer to the fall of the order? – Keith Thompson Apr 29 '13 at 17:25
  • @KeithThompson no one knows. The wording has been interpreted several different ways so far. The Silence seem to think it's their downfall that's being predicted; the Doctor, at last count, assumed it was his silence that would fall. Moffet has kept the meaning intentionally vague enough that it will certainly change before we find out. – KutuluMike Apr 30 '13 at 0:26
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    actually, I'm pretty sure the Silence believe it is their triumph, not their downfall. After all Dorium said the translation was more accurately "silence MUST fall" and later he said "the Silence are determined the question never be answered" – childcat15 May 24 '13 at 1:39
  • This answer could now be improved with information from the 2013 Christmas special. – Martha Dec 30 '13 at 17:54
  • @Martha was that Christmas special at all relevant? – TheMinecraftMan757 Jun 18 '15 at 16:41
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This is not really revealed before the season 7 Christmas special , so I'll use spoiler tags here and strongly urge you to not follow the links before having watched up to that episode:

The Silents were genetically engineered by the Church of the Papal Mainframe as confessors - you'd confess all your sins to them and afterwards forget you did so. But since The Question was broadcast, the Church (or, according to Tasha Lem, a renegade faction of it led by Madame Kovarian) deemed it necessary to prevent the Doctor from answering it ever, by all means possible - including manipulating mankind to orchestrate the events at Lake Silencio.

  • Seems like an odd thing though, if you don't remember you've confessed then it kinda seems like it defeats the point of confession. lol – eidylon Jun 12 '15 at 15:57
  • I think the idea was to make you forget you confessed everything, not just the thing you wanted to. Or maybe it way in order to help you coping with denial by not forcing you to knowingly remember something you're truly not fond of. Who knows? – Zommuter Jun 12 '15 at 15:59
  • IIRC though, the Silence could only make you forget the past couple of moments, no? Or could they control what they made you forget? – eidylon Jun 12 '15 at 16:10
  • My guess is unlike the Neuralizer (which I suddenly realize looks rather similar to a Sonic Screwdriver) they cannot actively control the memory wipe; from what I've seen so far it is simply all time spent seeing one of them that wipes the memory (though it seems to partially return when looking at other Silents) – Zommuter Jun 12 '15 at 19:03
  • slightly related – Zommuter Jun 12 '15 at 19:05

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