At the end of this episode,

when Rory and Amy are taken by the weeping angel, the Doctor realizes the last page of the book is an afterword written by saying they lived a long happy life. However, River says before this that the Doctor will never be able to see them again.

What I am confused about is, if the author of this book had prior knowledge of what would happen when they wrote it (as seems apparent early in the episode), then why

wouldn't/couldn't she, in the afterward, simply write something like "by the way, after the angel took me, it sent me to location X at time Y, if you want to come pick us up". Even if they had no way of knowing where/when they were sent, it seems from the rest of the episode that reading an event from the book made that event a real fixed point (i.e. the portion Amy reads about River breaking her wrist), so by writing it there and then reading it, wouldn't the Doctor have been able to go to that time and place and find them? I guess I'm confused why all the other details of what happened are in the book but they couldn't put where they end up.

There seems to be another possible solution as well:

Since their gravestones are in New York, with their real names, it seems very likely that there is some sort of record of them in public records, including where they lived and when. It doesn't seem like it would be too hard for the Doctor and River to track them down this way either. Why can't they?

Also, for the record I'm only at that episode in the series, so there could very well be something in future episodes that explains it (in which case please refrain from giving it away).


2 Answers 2


The gravestone creates a closed circle. The Doctor knows that they lived, died, and were buried, to get to where he was right now. The information is staring him in the face, and you can only change history (barring really broken circumstances) if you haven't already seen it. Going to get them would change that timeline, create another paradox, one he couldn't be sure they'd all get out of.

  • 1
    Thanks, I suppose that makes sense for why they couldn't go with him anymore (considering how often he finds himself in dangerous situations, the odds of something happening to one of them to break that circle would be too high). However, wouldn't it have still been possible for him to at least visit them? It doesn't seem like there's really any harm in that. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:31
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    What, he couldn't just drop them off when they got old? Or have fake tombstones created? There is no rational in universe reason for not just picking them up in jersey or something.
    – user16696
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:45
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    @cde - yeah, for a being that has rebooted the universe, and dodged his own foretold death twice just in this incarnation alone, the reasons feel flat. He reads the book, he's TOLD he never goes back, but there's ways, so it's still flat. Maybe he thought it was just selfish to assume the risk, and it was finally time to let Amelia go. They should have gone into it more.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:57
  • Time is not like we think it is. Don't forget that the Doctor is a TimeLord, and like is showed in Season 8's "Kill the Moon" a Time Lord could "read" past, present, and future at he same time. It wouldn't be mad that he could "read" when a point in time is fixed and when he could tamper with the Space-Time Continium as he wishes.
    – Kmi
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 17:46
  • @Kmi - The episode "Waters of mars." clearly shows that he is capable of changing the timeline if he wants to. Remember? "The Doctor: For a long time now, I thought I was just a survivor, but I'm not. I'm the winner. That's who I am. A Time Lord victorious. Adelaide: And there's no one to stop you? The Doctor: No." I think he simply got tired of Amy Pond. And - to be honest - I fully understand if he is. He is a godlike creature, who mostly plays with humans, and only poses as a good person.
    – mg30rg
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 15:21

In the great words of that one famous Scotsman: he knows when he can, and he knows when he can’t. (Which is no doubt a narrative device that the writers of the show will continue to beat to death, much like ‘reversing the polarity’ of God knows what, lol.)

The doctor said himself that the paradoxes resolve themselves, generally. So, sometimes a point in time is a stubborn problematic diva which refuses to be rewritten, and other times a point in time is more... chill, and doesnt damage anything in the universe when it is rewritten.

And it’s basically the same with paradoxes. Sometimes it’s OK to make a paradox, sometimes you can’t. *shrugs you need to ask a Time Lord to get a definite answer, I’m afraid. And I hear they’re all dead.

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