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In The Time of the Doctor, the Silence of seasons 5-6 are revealed to be a splinter group from The Church. This splinter group went back along the Doctor's personal timeline and tried to prevent him from going to Trenzalore. So why did they also control Earth's history for thousands of years? In The Time of the Doctor it's stated that their goal was purely to stop the Doctor from reaching Trenzalore, but controlling Earth doesn't seem to further that goal.

Why did the Silence interfere with or guide Earth history?

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I was under the impression (q.v the Impossible Astronaut) that the Silence needed the suit to physically control River Song. They're aware of the events surrounding his death; e.g. that he's shot by River Song at Lake Silencio on the date in question and must have been quite surprised to find that she had no intention of doing so.

Their reaction was to travel further back into time and guide the development of the human race to the point that they'd developed a space suit capable of being used as a physical control device, turning her into a 'people puppet'

In the episode 'The Impossible Astronaut' River Song says to the Doctor at the moment of his apparent death: "I can't stop it - the suit's in control"

  • Woah - I have to admit, I never thought about it like that. Great answer! – Amy Dec 29 '13 at 7:21
  • It doesn't answer the question of why they didn't travel further forward in time or simply use their space-travel and time-travel capabilities to collect a spacesuit from another location. Messing with humanity for thousands of years seems unnecessarily complex but then they may have had other motives or realised that their continued intervention was necessary to preserve the timeline in other ways [speculation] – Valorum Dec 29 '13 at 9:26
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    The thing about the Silence (or at least, Kovarian's renegade faction) is that they call themselves the "sentinels of history" and have a clear respect for time. As the Doctor said, it's the destiny trap - "You can't change history if you're part of it." Without the Silents there to guide humanity's evolution to the point of constructing a spacesuit, the future humans would not even have spacesuits for them to try and use if they were to attempt to take such a shortcut. They wanted to prevent the future war on Trenzalore, but in order to do that, they had to play by the rules of history. – Amy Dec 30 '13 at 0:26
  • Agreed. It's also worth mentioning that they're religious zealots, hence their slavish (and illogicial) adherence to prophecy and nursery rhymes. – Valorum Dec 30 '13 at 0:40

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