The Weeping War: In Defense of a Doctor Who Adversary

Art by Elizabeth Buller

Art by Elizabeth Buller

I believe Weeping Angels are not evil.

Now, before every Whovian hunts me down in the name of the Ponds, let’s take an honest look at the facts.

I think it is possible the Weeping Angels have been misunderstood. After all, we only know the basics about them: they are quantum-locked aliens who survive on the potential days of a person’s life, they look scary as all get out, they have the ability to turn off lights, and they can only speak through a dead human’s voice-box.

The Doctor said that Weeping Angels, “[Z]ap you into the past and let you live to death.”* But won’t death end our lives even without being touched by an Angel? So, really, all the Weeping Angels could do is move us to a different time. Were I given the choice of my own extinction or the mere displacement of another, I would choose the later. It is not very kind, but it is survival.

What would you do if you and your family were on the brink of starvation? To what lengths would you go to survive? Historically, famines involved numerous crimes, even cannibalism. I think it is fair to say that humans have the potential to do just about anything to stay alive.

I believe that it is just as fair to say that Weeping Angels do what they must to survive. The only way, literally the one-and-only solution, for them to get the necessary energy for life is to move people back in time. If they do not feed on lost years, they will die.

The Doctor may be taking his position as the protector of humanity to the extreme here. The Angels are just trying to survive, but instead of working out a solution, he calls them psychopaths. If it is true that they only exist to kill, why are any of us still alive? Why haven’t the Angels attacked us in our sleep or sabotaged electricity worldwide? Maybe they aren’t as malevolent as the Doctor believes.

For instance, the Doctor said that Weeping Angels have the best defense mechanism in the universe because, “you can’t kill stone.”* But you can blow it up with dynamite or crush it with a bulldozer. An Angel could not unfreeze itself and escape if a group of humans really wanted to obliterate it. It would be trapped. The best it could do is make an ugly face to scare people away.

Humanity is not willing to sacrifice itself anymore than the Weeping Angels are. We cannot ask one race to be crushed for the other, and this sad war cannot continue. There must be a diplomatic solution, and I am sure that the Doctor could find one if he would face the reality of his prejudice against the Angels and his obsession with the human race.

In each case where he met Weeping Angels, the Doctor reverted to his natural state of running away. He never took time to try and help. I am not saying that the Weeping Angels are right to do what they do, but what choice do they really have? They are not kind, but they are desperate. They are dangerous, but they are not evil. I think the Doctor has misjudged “the lonely assassins” and led the rest of us to do the same.

 

* Season 3, Episode 10; “Blink”

 

This Author: Cadi Murphy loves reading and writing (but definitely NOT ‘rithmetic). Her favorite Doctor Who character is River Song. You can follow her epic quest for publication at her blog, Storyteller: A Writer’s Journey.

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Humor Me

     It was William Zinsser who wrote, “[S]ermons are the death of humor.” While serious messages can be beneficial, humor is the invaluable “spoonful of sugar” to help the medicine of truth go down.

     And now that my proper essay beginning is out of the way, I can start this thing the way I first wanted to:

     Comic relief is like a loud fart; they both sound funny and make you feel great. Not to mention, both are necessary for successful and happy experiences in life.

     Pippin 2Can you imagine how dreary stories would be without our funny characters? What if there was no Pippin to Frodo, no C-3PO to R2-D2, no  Toad to Rat, no Inigo Montoya to Wesley, no Laurie to Jo March, and no Dory to Marlin? These are the characters we love, sometimes even more than the main characters, but they are also the ones who teach us valuable lessons.

     These are the ones who showed us what faithful friendship and overcoming personal obstacles looks like. They didn’t do it by standing there and preaching. They were just interesting and funny. We fell in love with them because they made us laugh, and then we listened to what they had to teach us. C-3PO

     Truthful lessons brighten our lives. Humor does, too. Together, they make an amazing team that helps us to see the world in a different light.

This Author: Cadi Murphy is a reader, movie watcher, and writer. She’s also really crazy (watch out). You can read more from Cadi on her blog, Storyteller: A Writer’s Journey.

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Power of a Story

           Story is powerful.

            I’m not the only one claiming this fact. Now, science is backing up the assertion that story has the ability to change the way we think, to change the way we even act.

            At a recent writer’s retreat, I listened to an inspiring presentation by author Tessa Afshar, in which she spoke of the incredible power of story. This week, as I tried to pull together this blog post, I berated myself for not taking notes. Lucky for me a simple search online brought up a 2012 New York Times article by Annie Murphy Paul, in which she explores Your Brain On Fiction.

            “The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated,” Paul writes.

            When we read of metaphors, textures, and scents imparted to us in rich words, the same places of our brain that are stimulated when actually experiencing these things are roused when we read them. 

            A powerful story can even go beyond this. The same way the brain responds to smells and textures as if we were truly experiencing them, so the brain also responds to a character’s heartaches, happiness, and frustrations as if they are our own. We can learn from make-believe characters. We can become more empathetic to those around us. We can hone our social skills simply by picking up a book.

            Wow. Great news for those of us who already love a good story.

            As I read this scientific evidence, I thought of the Master Storyteller. Many times, Jesus taught with a story. The Parable of the Lost Sheep certainly has a deeper impact on His listeners than if Jesus simply said, “God loves the lost with a passion you can’t imagine.”

Instead, we can see ourselves in that story—alone and afraid, and yes, as a sheep! It doesn’t matter. God made His point in this story and many others, as well as in His entire Word—one huge beautiful story of His love for us.

            So I don’t know about you, but next time I’m wrapped up in a good novel I won’t feel quite so guilty about the laundry not getting done. After all, I’m not just reading. I’m improving my social skills. I’m relishing a creation. I’m becoming a more empathetic person.          

And who can argue with the power behind that?

 

    This Author: Heidi CHeidi's web sizehiavaroli writes “History Woven in Grace.” She is a wife, mother, disciple, and grace-clinger. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and pursues the craft of writing by rising before dawn—the only time her house is quiet. You can read more from Heidi at her blog, New England Inspiration.

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Dangerous Story

     Stories have incredible influence over us. We have all felt the motivation to better our lives when we hear of a great work someone accomplished. But when it comes to fiction, I think most of us tend to say with Howard Pyle that a journey to “the land of Fancy” will leave you with “no harm done.” Is pure entertainment really pure?  

     Entertainment is wonderful, but every story carries a message. Listen closely to it; most messages are subtle.

     Once upon a time, there lived a man who robbed from the rich to give to the poor (helping the poor is great, but not so much thievery). Once upon a time, a princess fell in love with a man whom she had only just met (whew, good thing he loved her back). Once upon a time, a puppet learned to stop lying and be a good boy (consequence, good or bad, follows behavior).

     My dad likes to say, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” We love the fun and adventure of stories, but we are stupid if we think the characters and plots are just there for no reason. Come on, we are human after all. We are complicated beings. Of course those complications are going to overflow in our imaginations, whether we realize it or not.

     Look at Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy for an example of a story with an agenda. Look at Harry Potter; the kids who turned to Wicca after reading the series probably wouldn’t have done so if they hadn’t read the books then. Look at poor Heath Ledger and James Holmes; granted, both “Jokers” had issues, but it was the Batman story that helped to bring out what was inside them. Watch a child view their favorite show and they will begin to mirror traits of certain characters.

     Here’s a funny story: ABC’s TV show “Once Upon a Time” is in its third season. Way back in the first season, we saw that all the fairy tale characters had forgotten their real identities. Prince Charming and Snow White are now unaware that they are married. For some strange reason (that might have had something to do with the evil queen), Prince Charming is actually married to a different woman. As the season goes on, Charming leaves the woman he believes himself to be married to and falls for Snow White. That’s so nice, right? Snow and Charming were meant to be together and live happily ever after, right?

     The actor who plays Charming was married when the show started. The woman who plays Snow was engaged. Recently, it was announced that the actor and actress are now, in fact, engaged to each other. He left his wife and she left her fiancé. While that might be cute in fairy tales, let’s face the fact that divorce and heartbreak are always ugly.

     Stories are dangerous for those who toddle into them blindly. Be on your guard. The realm of story is not what it seems.

 

    This Author: Cadi Murphy is a writer who is trying to create something decent enough to publish. For more from Cadi Murphy, visit her blog at http://storytellerjourney.blogspot.com.

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