After the events of "The Angels Take Manhattan" how is

River Song able to give Amy the manuscript of the book to publish

but The Doctor cannot

see (or visit or travel with) Amy and Rory again?

We know that he cannot go to that particular time / place (New York, 1938) but the

dates given on the tombstone for age of death seem to give a long range where he could pop in and say hello (or goodbye).

  • 2
    Note that River says she will "deliver" the object in question; that strongly implies that she isn't going to hand it over directly or she would have just said "give".
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 30, 2012 at 15:20

4 Answers 4


Without revealing too much of the show, the events which precipitated the period being closed to TARDIS travel were caused by a Weeping Angel-precipitated paradox.

  • The paradox energy essentially creates a shielded fixed point in time. That particular region of 1938 New York can neither be changed nor visited by the Doctor or the TARDIS. The Doctor mentions trying to penetrate such a fixed point could conceivably destroy New York or potentially the planet.

  • However the Vortex Manipulator, used by River Song, could conceivably be used to arrive BEFORE the paradox period, allowing her to write the book and have it delivered for Amy and Rory to edit and print.

  • Since River was also available during the paradox she would not be able to visit the period either even with the Vortex Manipulator. During the length of the Ponds/Williams' lives, it is unlikely any time travel mechanism would be able to easily reach them.

  • Why couldn't he travel to see them in 1940 (say) or at anytime until they were in their 80s? Sep 30, 2012 at 8:51
  • They were linked by Paradox to the Angels who created the event. They were the fixed point in time, so he may be able to visit other places in the era but NEVER them. They may not have even been able to leave the city proper, since the Angels were feeding on their temporal energy. Sep 30, 2012 at 9:40
  • 2
    I like the idea that they are the fixed point, you should add it into the answer. However, Jack Harkness was a fixed point in time after his ressurection by Rose and 10 could (abeit eventually) hangout with him OK. (Hopefully I'm not coming across as argumentative). I've only seen it once last night but I'm pretty sure that they lived a normal life after the Angel zap. Sep 30, 2012 at 10:00
  • 4
    @Thaddeus It may also be helpful to point out that River's book is part of the fixed point; she HAS to write it and have it published or there will be another paradox, so it must be possible for her to do so.
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 30, 2012 at 15:26
  • 1
    @Pureferret when we meet River in Manhattan she hasn't written the book yet, as she hasn't lived the events in the book.
    – Ishamael
    Sep 30, 2012 at 16:59

It is possible that River was able to see Rory and Amy. The Vortex Manipulator is much less powerful than the Tardis, so it may have caused much less interference with the paradox period than the Tardis would have.

I think of it like a non-newtonian fluid. The Tardis is like a fist hitting the fluid, and not being able to get through. But the Vortex Manipulator is like something gently pushing into it, sliding through with ease.

As far as fixed points go, the Tenth Doctor proved that they could be changed (though, that one brought about a tragedy). So, I have to assume that it wasn't simply that Amy and Rory were fixed points. I think that it's also because in attempting to see them, the Tardis would have set off some type of chain of events though the warps in time the angels had caused. After all, he didn't actually tell anyone that it was impossible to see them - He just said it would rip New York apart. That tells me that the fixed point can be changed, but to do so would bring about such negative consequences (namely, the destruction of a city with a huge number of people in it) that the risk isn't worth taking, even to see them again.


The whole end of the episode - that the

Ponds being stuck in New York is fixed point because the Doctor saw their tombstone - directly contradicts the resolution of the previous season finale.
There, the Doctor got around his observed death being a fixed point by using a robot duplicate to fake it.

There is no reason why the limitations imposed on the Doctor & co. by the ending of The Angels Take Manhatten could not be overcome in a similar way, as suggested in the question. River Song being able to meddle where the Doctor can't puts the already faulty logic of the episode under further strain. This is a result of sloppy writing; or, if you prefer an in-universe explanation, those pesky meddling Silents placing a post-hypnotic suggestion to stop the plot from being trivially solved.


If you notice in the letter that the doctor read at the end, Amy stated that she believed that he would not see them for a long while. I personally believe that the characters, will be back towards the end of the 11th's life, but as it has been written that they will both die in New York, at 82 and 87, they therefore must live, or at least die. Also Karen Gillan has stated that she did not want a back and forth to the show like Rose Tyler. So this gave an out, but left the door open as well

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