Doctor Who Reviews 01.06 The Legends of River Song

The Legends of River Song tells several stories of River Song throughout time and space. Some of these adventures, she shares with her husband, while others she simply goes about on her own. River Song’s brilliant stories bring us right into her mind and tell us more about a character that we know and love.

The first two stories allude to her first appearance in ‘Silence in the Library.’ She and the Doctor take a picnic in Asgard. It is not exactly how I pictured it. Asgard in the story is a large theme park of Norse Gods. The Doctor and River find someone is hacking the system and people are getting hurt. It’s one of those stories I would have loved to seen on screen. The tertiary characters keep thinking that River is Brunhilde, and by the end of the story, she is riding a winged horse and calling a charge of the Valkyries. The story itself is pretty straight forward. There’s a problem. The people ignore the Doctor and River’s help. River and the Doctor find themselves deeper involved when the problem persists. They save the day and find the cause.

Jenny T. Colgan writers the Doctor and River’s relationship perfectly. They play off each other well, and the narrative shows in every word how much River loves and appreciates the Doctor. There’s a game about their relationship and I can say that every writer in the compilation seem to understand that.

The second story does not have the same direct reference to ‘Silence in the Library’ but it alludes to the Bone Meadows River mentions after the Picnic at Asgard. It also alludes to the Nestene Duplicate River mentioned dating in the “The Big Bang”. He’s an auton who looks like Elvis. This story intrigued me throughout as I wondered where it went. It’s also another interesting look at the Doctor’s relationship with River. She never pretends to be a one-man woman, and I love that about her. She’s simultaneously married to the Doctor and not all at the same time. The Bone Meadows was an interesting and eerie story. A woman loves insects and uses humans who don’t respect them as fertilizer. River unknowingly destroys the shields holding up the different areas and the Auton comes to save the day. It’s a wonderful adventure that once again shows a new look at the Doctor and River’s relationship.

The last three stories each proved to be stories of River basically just kicking butt. The first story, the Doctor uses River to get involved in a time sensitive adventure. He cannot do it himself in fear of meeting himself. River ends up not being the hero here, but manipulating events so that time is safe. It also shows a bit of her morality. She turns a man into a paradox and sentences him to some extent to live out the same day for all eternity. He is the hero for that one day, every day, forever. The Doctor himself has done this kind of thing. It creates a gray area of morality that the Doctor lives in, but does not try to associate himself with. He is the hero, and a gray area confuses that. River lives in that area.

The final two stories are River centric without the Doctor. They showcase her own ingenuity. The first h as her working for a company and inevitably destroying all her work to save the day. She also makes a ton of money at it. It works out well for her. The final story actually starts before the Doctor’s own timeline in the Dark Ages of Gallifrey. It introduces an old species known as the Qwerm. River ends up getting drawn into an adventure because of a TARDIS that looks like the Doctors. It’s a trick for the Qwerm to awaken and once again regain control over the universe. However, River ends up saving the day with the help of a Time Lord the Qwerm trapped inside.

River Song provides fertile ground for stories of adventure that have a more gray area. She can find a solution that works out well for her and generally saves the day, but may not always work out for the other people around her. She also has an incredible love for the Doctor that creates a romantic tale that, we who watch the series, knows ends tragically. I hope that this is not her final book, and I know because of Big Finish Productions this will not be the last time I adventure with River Song.

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