Consider the following scenario:

The Doctor is in a location where there is an Angel present. While walking down a (ahem, well-lit) corridor, he turns a corner and sees an Angel, which is also facing his direction and is now aware of his presence.

The Doctor steps backwards, continuously facing the direction of the Angel. He turns the corner around the corridor and continues to face the direction of the Angel.

Assuming the Angel persues the Doctor, what will happen to it if the Doctor stays still and continues to stare at the corner wall of the corridor?

I ask because this is a bit of a paradox. If the Angel pursues the Doctor, it will freeze as soon as the Doctor sees the Angel. However, angels can't move when they are viewed by another being.

This is a circular problem and I'm curious of this has ever been addressed. Can you see an angel move for the fraction of a second it would take for it to come into your field of vision or is there some other rule that governs this series of circumstances?

  • Seeing as how the Angels are aware that they become locked, they don't attack head on like this scenario. More than likely they would circle around the Doctor and "Bushwack" him.
    – Monty129
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:23
  • @Monty129: True, but assume that the Angel wanted to pursue the Doctor, for what ever reason, what would happen? Maybe it was located in a dead-end of a corridor. It would have to move in some direction.
    – RLH
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:26
  • Your comment does not mention the light source. Since Weeping Angels have been known to manipulate and alter light sources, it is exactly how they prevent themselves from being unable to attack prey which might be able to keep staring at them. No light, no awareness, no awareness, no quantum-locking, no quantum-locking, dinner is served. Time travel for all my food! Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 9:14
  • What if an Angel was attacking someone and got into a position where they were off balance, or leaping, and someone were to see them? Would they freeze and fall over? That might be a way to see an Angel move in some sense.
    – user12300
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 9:44
  • 3
    I always thought that areas of the universe which are being actively observed by anything which could quantum lock an angel serve to angels as walls serve to humans. You can't walk into a wall just as an angel can't walk into any space that would cause someone to see it move into that space. It could go to the absolute border, but it would be physically unable to enter. Well you could walk into a wall, but go try it. Right now go walk into a wall. Harder than it sounds, right? I can't bring myself to do it with any conviction. That is probably magnified for angels, since it's not even a wall.
    – Sheph
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 3:46

4 Answers 4


The Angel will freeze as soon as the tiniest sliver of it is visible by the Doctor - even though that sliver may be too small for the Doctor to actually notice its presence. Thus, no paradox.

  • 1
    The quantum locked nature of the Angels probably means that they freeze just before you'd be able to see them. Though I believe your interpretation is just as valid, @Donald.
    – John O
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:30
  • I'm trying to find a source but I don't think this is the case. I seem to recall there being some form of psychological/cognitive connection that caused the angels to freeze. In which case, the Doctor's mind would have to register that it saw an Angel. Looking for a citation...
    – RLH
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:55
  • 3
    @RLH: No, it's not psychological. You don't even have to know what a weeping angel is and they will still freeze when you look at them. It's quantum-wibbly-wobbly. See the first episode Blink for a thorough explanation.
    – bitmask
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 20:46
  • 2
    The amazing thing about the episode Blink is that you don't even have to have any prior knowledge to enjoy it. I've shown friends that particular episode who have openly stated their lack of intrest in Doctor Who, but all agree they really liked that episode. The Doctor is only in it for all of about 5 minutes total anyway!
    – Monty129
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 14:49
  • 1
    It's also likely they've learned to move in such a way that this doesn't happen to them. That could help to explain why they are described as so impossibly fast and yet are shown moving sometimes arbitrarily small distances towards people in moments of darkness. They're super fast but have to move somewhat awkwardly so that in the event of a sudden/unexpected lock they remain stable.
    – PeterL
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 20:50

No. As we've seen from many episodes involving the angels, they have the ability to make the lighting flash and they probably will do it.

More importantly, the freezing is the inborn nature of the angels which is automatic. You just can't see it move because whenever you are looking they are not moving.


There is not a paradox -- while the Doctor is unable to see the Angel, it is free to move. It will continue to be free to move until such time as it is seen. Just how much of it has to be seen (and whether or not it's clothes count) might be under question, but the basic "if you you see it, it can't move" doesn't seem to be in question.

So, while around the corner, the angel could go elsewhere or it could pursue the Doctor -- if it pursued the Doctor, it wouldn't get very far, but it might do so anyway (it will be free to move after the Doctor again as soon as he goes around the next corner).


Another possibility ::

If you notice most of the weeping angels have their hands over their eyes so that they don't accidentally look at another. The decision they make to move around and when to open their eyes is purely "instinct" or some sort of angel "intuition" where I'm guessing they know if/when another angel/human is looking at them.

Or of course you can claim that they can sense/hear humans breathing and therefore know when its possible to move, or any other of the claims running around the internet with the same result.... they know when to move safely in the presence of other living things.

I'm assuming here that they use this same "intuition" to know when to move around a corner

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