In the "River Song's timeline" minisode / narrative story, Melody uses all her remaining regenerations to restore Doctor's life, after she first killed him with poison from a Judas tree. Melody now becomes River Song. Narrator says directly:

River: But I was shown who River Song would be and I saw just how much I would love him.

And so I gave all my remaining lives to restore his.

Because I knew the Doctor was worth it.


saving doctor's life

But she also mentions moment earlier:

I escaped the space suit and lived on the streets homeless, alone and dying until I regenerated.

child melody regenerating

That's one regeneration we can be sure of. My questions are:

  • Did River Song had full 12 cycles of regenerations?
  • How many regenerations were used to restore the Doctor to life? Why was more than 1 required?
  • 2nd question leads to this one: Why she couldn't regenerate after the sacrifice in the Library?

1 Answer 1


Unknown, but assuming the two regenerations we see on-screen are it, River gave up 10 "lives".

We only see two of her regenerations on the show, but we don't know if others happened between those two off-screen. Assuming they did not, it would appear that Melody Pond/River Song gave up TEN incarnations (9 regenerations) to save The Doctor.

  • First Regeneration - while homeless, young Melody Pond apparently succumbed to hunger & illness, undergoing her first regeneration in the episode "Day of the Moon".
  • Second (?) Regeneration - now going by the name Mels, Melody assisted The Doctor and his companions in the episode "Let's Kill Hitler", but was wounded by a stray bullet. She then regenerated into her third (?) incarnation, River Song.
  • Sacrifice - also in the episode "Let's Kill Hitler", River gave up her remaining TEN incarnations to effectively bring The Doctor back to life. The Doctor was out of natural regenerations at that time, so he would have actually been dead without her intervention.

This is assuming, of course, that she only died once from living on the streets and did not experience any further regenerations between her first and the events of "Let's Kill Hitler".

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  • 2
    I don't see how this answer can be correct. Melody had no means of time travel herself. Yet she was a child in the late 1960s, and then a child/teenager again when she grew up with Rory and Amy in the 90s. She must surely have regenerated in the mean time. Jul 3, 2015 at 7:21
  • 1
    ^ This is true. I'd say it's unclear how many regenerations she's had, but she appears to have used all the remaining ones up when restoring the Doctor (unless both of them are lying).
    – Huey
    Jul 3, 2015 at 7:32
  • After her regeneration in Let's Kill Hitler, Melody says that "last time I did this I was a toddler!" This implies that her young self from The Impossible Astronaut was AT LEAST her second regeneration. Not her first. Am I correct? Jul 12, 2015 at 14:39
  • @theminecraftman757 Sorry. When I say second regeneration I mean second reincarnation. Jul 12, 2015 at 15:03
  • 1
    I agree; I had always assumed Melody regenerated another time between the starving child and Mels catching a stray bullet. Either that, or she something aged only half a dozen years over a space of twenty-plus.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Dec 16, 2019 at 16:58

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