Ok so I just recently thought of this...

In the episode "The Name of The Doctor", you see that Trenzalore is to be his final resting place involving a large epic battle and you see his floating timeline energy inside The Tardis..

Doctor's Timeline Tardis

Here's a problem I was thinking about the episode where Smith regenerates into Capaldi.

How did the Timelords give The Doctor more regenerations without creating some sort of paradox or cause problems with timelines...

The Main reason I ask this is because Trenzalore is supposed to be The Doctor's final grave...

If Trenzalore was to be his final grave and giving him more regenerations changes this, doesn't this mean that The Name of The Doctor would have never happened?

And if that's truly the case that would mean that Clara never went inside his timeline to save him and therefore Clara would have never met The Doctor to begin with.

Also another thing to note is that if Trenzalore is still the final resting place of a future incarnation of The Doctor wouldn't that mean that Clara would have seen his future incarnations as well... if we assume that The Doctor has X amount of regenerations after turning into Capaldi, given that there is some debate as to if he used up some of his regenerations shooting down the Daleks in the last episode.

So all in all doesn't what they did completely mess up the chain of events that would have lead to him going to Trenzalore to begin with?

If I'm not being clear you can look at the Grandfather Paradox:

the time traveller went back in time to the time when his grandfather had not married yet. At that time, the time traveller kills his grandfather, and therefore, the time traveller is never born when he was meant to be. If he is never born, then he is unable to travel through time and kill his grandfather, which means he would be born, and so on.

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    Not necessarily it's one overarching question... as to how did the Timelords give The Doctor a new regeneration without creating some sort of paradox or mess up the universe... Jan 8, 2014 at 21:23
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    Answer claiming it is "timey-wimey" in 4, 3, 2... Jan 8, 2014 at 21:56
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    @DanielRoseman This time it's Timelordy-Wimelordy.
    – BESW
    Jan 8, 2014 at 22:37
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    nothing says he still won't end up buried on Trenzalore, just not now...
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 9, 2014 at 0:01
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    I agree with @MichaelEdenfield. Now that The Doctor knows that his tomb needs to be on Trenzalore in order to close the loop, I think he will do everything in his power to make it so during his very last incarnation.
    – Chahk
    Jan 9, 2014 at 1:20

9 Answers 9


Time Lords have ways to deal with paradox.

Of course, they've never been explicitly explained on the show, but we know that they have methods and tools for mitigating and minimising time-travel-based paradoxes.

In fact, keeping the universe from breaking because of time travellers was their primary mandate: officially the only time they interfered with the affairs of the wider universe was to keep it stable and on-track when people messed around with the timelines. The Doctor's dedication to making things better rather than just stable is what made him run off in the first place.

Exactly how the paradox is dealt with depends on the needs of the story. The mechanics of time travel are notoriously inconsistent in Doctor Who. Sometimes it's a self-fulfilling cycle, sometimes both versions of events occurred simultaneously, sometimes one overrides the other, and often stuff just happens.

The Time Lords' ability to smooth over rips in the fabric of the universe is referred to a few times in New Who: Father's Day contains a line about the Time Lords being able to prevent or mitigate paradox; Rise of the Cybermen says that inter-universal travel is nearly impossible now that the Time Lords are gone; and the Master repurposes the TARDIS as a "paradox machine" to allow contradictory timelines to interact with minimal paradox.

The Blinovitch Limitation Effect may kick in.

The BLE is a Doctor Who conceit dating back to the Third Doctor. It's a natural process by which the universe attempts to fix paradoxes which arise from people encountering past or future versions of themselves --either physically or causally-- and has implications for other kinds of paradox as well. The BLE can be drastic or subtle, and sometimes doesn't seem to be in effect at all, so it's hard to say whether it's in effect until we look back with the benefit of hindsight (because quite often the writers forgot it exists, and we have to shoehorn the Effect into fitting the events as written).

Paradox and the BLE move at the speed of plot, so we may not have seen the full impact yet.

The consequences of a paradox are imposed on those involved at whatever rate the plot needs. It may be instantaneous, or it may be slow, or never happen at all, whatever's most dramatic. History in its natural state doesn't care about paradox: it's fluid and wibbly-wobbly. Time Lords didn't like that, and invented a thing called the Web of Time, a meta-structure which imposed order on history and tried to automatically compensate when bits of history got fiddled with: Kill Hitler before his time and another man would take his place, save the Titanic and another ship will sink in its place. The Web is in disrepair now that the Time Lords aren't around to maintain it, but the presence of Fixed Points in History (as Ten was so fond of calling them) indicates that it's still working at some capacity. On the other hand, the massive continuity shifts that Eleven has managed show the Web isn't working very well.

  • Could they possibly have done all that from outside of the universe though? I mean they were able to send him a new regeneration cycle, but did they have the ability to stop a paradox such as that? Also would they even have known this would create a paradox? I'm under the assumption they have no idea what was going on in the universe considering they are no longer a part of it... Jan 8, 2014 at 22:31
  • @DoctorWho22 Since we have no idea exactly what their paradox-mitigation abilities are, it's difficult to usefully speculate on the limits of those abilities. Additionally, the rate at which paradox catches up to those associated with it varies greatly; it's possible that the paradox will come into play in the upcoming season(s).
    – BESW
    Jan 8, 2014 at 22:36
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    @DoctorWho22: The Time Lords would have known that giving the Doctor more regenerations would create a paradox; for one, the Doctor, like any Time Lord, is not supposed to have more than twelve regenerations, so in of itself, this was a big change. But for two, and more importantly, Clara explicitly tells them to "help him change the future," which implies that a paradox is going to be created.
    – Amy
    Jan 8, 2014 at 23:20
  • @Amy There's one thing that bugs me about that... In Day of The Doctor the Timelords when they see all the Doctors... They end up saying "All THIRTEEN" wouldn't this imply that they thought the thirteenth was his final incarnation? I don't think the Timelords knew about the Meta-Crisis Doctor... so if that's the case how would The Timelords have known that giving Matt Smitth's doctor a new regeneration cycle cause a Paradox? Also if they are in a separate universe they wouldn't be privy to know what's going on in ours? So how would they know that this would cause one? Jan 24, 2014 at 18:46
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    @DoctorWho22: They don't need to know that giving him more regenerations will create a paradox. They can infer that one will be created by them "changing the future" as per Clara's instruction. Whether or not they saw thirteen Doctors doesn't matter because Clara told them (within a truth field, no less) that the future needed to be changed, which would, by nature, result in a paradox (which is how they knew one would be created; changing the future does that). But even then, they knew of thirteen Doctors, so it would still make sense to them that he was on his last life and needed more.
    – Amy
    Jan 24, 2014 at 23:08

Clara could have said "help him change the future" more as rhetorical emphasis than statement of fact. They could all know the Thirteenth Doctor will exist, but they could also know that if they didn't do anything then, there wouldn't be a Thirteenth Doctor. So it could be more of stating that their action will change things. If they don't act, though, things will happen as they happen. It's more a call to action rather than knowledge of the future.


I think these comments warrant being an answer, so I've modified them with extra explaination.

The answer is self-preservation, specifically of Gallifrey. Not creating him may have caused the death of their entire planet (which might have been a paradox in itself because they would not have been there to give him the regens). So creating him, whatever the consequence, was something that they would want to do.

A Time Lord gets 12 regenerations. That equals 13 Doctors. (The first Doctor is born, when he dies he gets his First regen into the 2nd Doctor and so on). When the Doctor saves Gallifrey, they see 13 TARDISES and the face of the 13th. ("All 13" they say).

At that time they don't necessarily know about the 10 Doctor regenerating into himself again during the whole hand/Doctor Donna thing. The 10th Doctor took up two regens. They might not have 13 on record, but they do know how many faces the Doctor should have. 13. So as far as they are concerned, this last Doctor (who is really #14) and gets put in their records as one of his faces.

On Trenzalore, they only knew he was on his last because they could hear everything that was going on there and were monitoring it. As far as they were concerned, 11 was the 12th incarnation of the Doctor, not the 13th leaving him with one more face, and one more regen. Until they learned about who we know as 10 regening into himself TWICE-- they might not have known he was the last. So they hear through the crack that 11 is really the last (because they have the War Doctor on Record--he's actually #9, making the person we know as #9 the 10th and so on, with Tennant's Doctor taking up 2). That he isn't going to be regenerating and that he's dying of old age.

This likely set them into a panic, because they have a record of 13 faces.

Specifically, the man with the 13th face was present and part of saving their planet. Once they realized that (which they would because they are very smart and would be pretty obsessed with every detail of the Doctor they had on record), it was very much ESSENTIAL for them to make it happen.

Whatever paradox that might have been caused by them giving him extra regens would be worthwhile, because their very PAST existence may well have depended on it. Not creating 13 might have caused the plan to save them to go awry, resulting in their destruction rather than their salvation.

There was probably argument about it, that it was possible they could have been saved without #14 (who we know as 12), but in the end, they likely didn't want to risk their own timeline.

And because #14 was part of their timeline--the events leading up to Trenzalore might well have never been able to happen at all without him.

Also, when the Doctor jumps into his own timeline, the future for Clara and himself might actually have been locked in some way. Were I the Time Lords, I would have made that happen. They know he has to come to Trenzalore and he has to die, therefore, they would have to alter his grave. Reality actually depends on him believing he is the last. Time Lords play the long game. They may have placed his grave not in the place he ultimately actually dies for good, but where they know it needs to be placed.


The doctor will always die on Trenzalore. The only thing he changed is when he will die. He will make sure that his last regeneration will be on Trenzalore to die, when the time comes.

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    But who's to say he will die on Trenzalore? I mean, the only reason he ended up on Trenzalore, was because he was in his 13th incarnation, and decided to use his final years to protect its people. Plus, there were the cracks to the Time War there, so he had to keep guard and not speak his name. Now that those cracks have closed up he doesn't need to go there ever again. He's changed his future completely
    – L.J Rob
    Feb 21, 2015 at 20:54
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    Can you provide any evidence for this claim? By my understanding, the timeline in which he dies on Trenzalore is gone. Dec 3, 2015 at 18:18

This has been somewhat addressed in the past. The paradox doesn't affect them directly because they are so close to it.

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    you should develop on this and put some link in it
    – Rocket
    Jan 26, 2015 at 15:08

Who's to say that the final incarnation of the doctor isn't moved to Trenzalore? Who's to say that the Time Lords won't make it so that the Doctor MUST end up back on Trenzalore to sort the paradox. Who's to say that this needs to be the final death of the Doctor inevitably? There's a lot a variables. The truth is, since the Doctor has an uncertain future, there can be tons of resolutions -- rather, we all assume that the paradox must be fixed in the past. Yet we're not considering the future. Anything from this point out can happen to that grave.


as for using regeneration energy to shoot the dalek ship down, timelords have 13 regenerations and the timelords of galifrey gave him more and he says in the episodes "we're breaking some serious science here boys" it must mean getting a new set of regenerations can be unnatural and will cause bigger explosion lets not forget that 9-10 10-11 11-12 where pretty big they where corked in by and caused the tardis to crash (yes as a plot device for a new companion). thats my pennys worth, to the question as to the big paradox bit i just let the show run with its only the same as the high council being stuck in galifrey in the actual time lock in the war as the wars happening yet due to the 50th aniversary being aired they where supposed to be in a pocket universe safe locked in an instant of time "like a painting" and they would of realise it as the master was pulling them out that they wernt being pulled out of a war. but hey you gotta write an exciting story


Probably because they only partly entered the universe, and didn't bring the rest of the Time War with them (tons of Daleks, the Nightmare Child, and all that other stuff that sound like an Eldritch Abomination). It was probably a group of members of the High Council who gave the Doctor his new cycle, seen as they're implied to able to give other Time Lords regenerations. I didn't think Rassilon would because he wants the Doctor dead at that time, and plans to activate that Final Sanction thing.

  • That doesn't explain how it didn't cause a paradox, though.
    – user44330
    Apr 27, 2015 at 23:58

Or, simply, Trenzalore at "the fall of the 11th" is a parallel universe. Multiverse theory is that all possible outcomes happen in parallel universes. We saw that with the Cybermen being CREATED on Earth in an alternate universe.

Doctor dies on Trenzalore because Clara has NOT YET been saved from jumping into the Doctor's time stream. In fact, when the doctor saves Clara, he said his time stream was collapsing in on itself. This indicates that the future became more fluid than fixed. Indeed, it is CLARA who intercedes to the Timelords to save the Doctor when he's about to die.

I've always explained this by saying "personal timeline" versus "universal timeline." Clara had not yet been rescued from her sacrifice. Clara had not yet implored the Timelords to help. Hence, the first trip to Trenzalore was based on what it looked like at that moment, and once elements changed, the Doctor may have entered a universe where that original Trenzalore no longer exists.

Even going back to Tom Baker, it's been implied in the Doctor's own journals that A originally happened, B then happens, then none of it happened anyway. The Timelords had an awareness of these things and could see it all (something David Tennant said was the burden of the Timelords).

Finally, "fixed points" are about as wibbly wobbly as time itself. The magnitude of a paradox reflects how badly it changes time itself. Kill off humanity during the Roman Empire and cosmic history is forever altered in an extreme way. Erase the Doctor's original date of death, and it might not have had any huge negative effect on time.

  • There is a problem with your answer. You claim that she has not yet jumped into the Doctor's Timeline to save him. The problem is that in Doctor Who previous to that episode Clara was seen multiple times in which each version of her died at some point. Her jumping in the timeline is what caused that to happen so how do you explain that? Jan 15, 2016 at 18:44

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