Weeping Angel

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Doctor Who alien
Doctor Who Weeping Angel from The Time of Angels.JPG
A Weeping Angel as seen in "The Time of Angels"
Weeping Angel
TypeWinged humanoids
Home planetUnknown
First appearance"Blink"
 
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Doctor Who alien
Doctor Who Weeping Angel from The Time of Angels.JPG
A Weeping Angel as seen in "The Time of Angels"
Weeping Angel
TypeWinged humanoids
Home planetUnknown
First appearance"Blink"

The Weeping Angels are an ancient race of aliens from the long running sci fi series Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, their creator, attributes their appeal to childhood games such as Grandmother's Footsteps and the notion that every statue is secretly a Weeping Angel.[1]

Their usual mode of feeding is to send their victims back in time, which creates time energy to feed on. When they are not being observed by another being, they can move very quickly and silently, but when they are being observed, they become "quantum-locked", occupying a single position in space and becoming stone. In this state, they are frozen and difficult to destroy. They cannot suppress this reaction. If two Weeping Angels were to look at each other at the same time, they would be trapped in stone form until an outside force moves them apart. To prevent this, they often cover their eyes while moving, which makes them look as though they are weeping.

Description[edit]

According to The Doctor, the Weeping Angels "are as old as the universe (or very nearly), but no one really knows where they come from." He describes them as the loneliest beings in the universe, since their quantum-lock reaction makes it impossible for them to socialise; he also describes them as "the deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent life-form evolution has ever produced." That said, in all their TV appearances, the Angels could communicate with each other and work in groups. They are also very physically strong, capable of snapping necks, though physically killing a victim is rare for them unless the need arises (such as stealing someone's voice). In the episode "The Angels Take Manhattan", another form of Weeping Angel is shown, the cherubim.[2] Unlike the Weeping Angels they are not silent, making a childlike giggling and having audible footsteps. It is not explicitly stated that they are young Angels, but they are referred to as "the babies". The Weeping Angels possess several notable abilities. In "The Time of Angels" it is suggested that when Angels need bodies for communication they snap their victim's neck and rearrange the brains for their purposes. The Angels speak in their victim's voice, as "Angel Bob", a fallen soldier of the Church, becomes the "voice" of the Angels and explains the Angels' motives and thoughts to the Doctor. As they close on more aware victims, their features transform from calm angels with normal proportions to more horrific, bestial demons with wide open mouths baring vampiric teeth and clawed hands. Their paramount ability is their speed, as they are able to close distances of metres literally in the blink of an eye, allowing them to reach a victim or move to an unseen or darkened area before their quantum-lock freezes them again.

With a touch, a Weeping Angel can send a person into the past, to before his/her own birth. The Angels feed off the "potential energy" of the years their victims would have lived in the present. The Doctor describes them as "the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely" because their victims are otherwise uninjured and may live out their lifespans in the past. They can drain other forms of energy, such as that from electric lights, as seen in the Season 3 episode "Blink", or other electronics. Without power, the Angels start to decay, turn to stone without being watched, and corrode as a statue does; their speed is also extremely hindered if Angels reach starvation, as seen in The Time of Angels, lessened from meters to a partial step in a blink. This can be undone by providing the Angels with energy, but it is implied they can no longer acquire energy themselves in this state. In "Blink," the Angels attempted to steal the Doctor's TARDIS after trapping him in the past. The engine of the vehicle contained enough time energy to feed them forever, but the The Doctor stated that the possible damage they could cause "could switch off the sun".

They have also exhibited the power to project themselves through images. In "The Time of Angels", an Angel trapped in the vault of the Byzantium is able to control a video screen that was playing video footage of it. It overrode the screen controls and could control nearby electronic equipment as well. The Angel is able to take over the screen and come through it in an attempt to kill Amy because "that which holds the image of an angel becomes itself an angel", from a warning in an ancient book on the Angels, found by River Song. Also in the novel Touched by an Angel, a starving angel no longer has a physical being, and instead exists in the image viewed by cameras. As such, whatever is within the sight of the camera is within range of the angel. The angel retains fast movement, but at the cost of range. Normally, as in "The Time of Angels", the image would walk right out of the screen; but when it is starving, it cannot do so. To stop movement, simply viewing the screen is enough to lock the angel.

Weeping Angels can plant an image of themselves into a person's mind by looking straight into their eyes. Amy Pond was infected in such a manner where an involuntary verbal count-down indicated her remaining open-eyed moments as a human. She was able to suspend the Angel's gestation (but not eliminate it) by closing her eyes, refusing to let it breach the 'filter' of her optic nerve.

The Weeping Angels are well known to Doctor Who companion River Song, as she appeared in more than three episodes including the Weeping Angels. It has been said by River Song herself that she studied the Weeping Angels, and she had wanted to learn more about them.

In the seventh series episode "The Angels Take Manhattan", despite being removed from New York's history, a lone angel gained a small victory in permanently trapping the Doctor's companions, Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams, in the past.

The Time of the Doctor, the finale for the Eleventh Doctor, had at least two Weeping Angels being present on the planet Trenzalore when the Doctor and Clara Oswald teleport down. The Angels emerge from the snow covered ground of a frozen forest, the swirling blizzard causing both Clara and the Doctor to be unable to see the approaching creatures clearly thus allowing them free movement in the snow storm. However, they were able to escape the angels.

Appearances[edit]

Angel of the Waters, one of the real-life angel statues appearing in the episode The Angels Take Manhattan
Television episodes
Novels

"Melody Pond"

Short stories

In "Blink", a quartet of Weeping Angels send the Doctor and his companion Martha Jones to the year 1969, and seek to feed off the vast "time energy" reserves of the TARDIS he left behind in the present. But though they found the key to the TARDIS, they cannot find the machine itself. Sally Sparrow takes the key from one of them while it is in stone form, leading them to stalk Sally to recover it. During their pursuit, Sally inadvertently leads them to the TARDIS. Eventually the four Angels, having surrounded the TARDIS, are tricked into looking at each other when the box disappears, leaving them quantum locked in their stone forms.

In "The End of Time" The President of the Time Lords refers to the two dissenters on the return of Gallifrey as being forced to stand like the weeping angels, and the two Time Lords are posed with their hands over their eyes.

In "The Time of Angels", in the distant future, a large group of Weeping Angels have been trapped in a catacomb for centuries, slowly losing their form due to starvation. When a rogue angel causes a starship to crash into the catacomb, the Angels feed off its leaking radiation and revive. The Weeping Angels are seen moving on-screen for the first time when they realise that Amy Pond cannot see them. They are defeated when they fall into a crack in time and are erased from existence.

In "The Angels Take Manhattan", numerous Weeping Angels including the Statue of Liberty have taken control of a building in New York, holding victims captive so they can repeatedly feed off their time energy. Rory Williams and Amy Pond create a paradox by having Rory kill himself before he can be fed off to death. This paradox kills all but one of the Angels and erases the events from history. However, this surviving Angel encounters the Doctor and his companions in 2012 and sends Amy and Rory back in time, separating them from the Doctor forever.

In "The Time of the Doctor", Weeping Angels are discovered on Trenzalore by Clara Oswald buried in mounds of snow. After Clara touches the hand of the Weeping Angel, believing it to be a statue, the Weeping Angels start digging their way out of the snow and surround The Doctor and Clara, the snowstorm making it difficult for either Clara or The Doctor to keep eye contact. They escape by summoning the TARDIS with the TARDIS key which the Doctor has concealed in his wig. Later in the episode another Weeping Angel (unspecified if it is one from earlier or not) is seen in the town of Christmas as one of the many species including Sontarans and Cybermen which have managed to bypass the forcefield around Trenzalore in an attempt to silence the Doctor. The Angel is seen staring into a mirror the Doctor has placed, thus remaining quantum-locked whilst it looks at its reflection.

Reception[edit]

In a poll conducted by the BBC, taking votes from 2,000 readers of the Doctor Who Adventures magazine, the Weeping Angels were voted the scariest monsters of 2007 with 55% of the vote; the Master and the Daleks took second and third place with 15% and 4% of the vote. The Daleks usually come out on top in such polls. Moray Laing, Editor of Doctor Who Adventures, praised the concept of escaping a monster by not blinking, something both simple and difficult to do.[4] In a 2012 poll of over ten thousand respondents conducted by the Radio Times, the Weeping Angels were again voted the best Doctor Who monster with 49.4% of the vote. The Daleks came in second place with 17%.[5]

The Weeping Angels came in at number three in Neil Gaiman's "Top Ten New Classic Monsters" in Entertainment Weekly.[6] They were also rated the third "baddie" in Doctor Who by The Telegraph, behind the Nestene Consciousness and Daleks.[7] The Angels were listed as the third scariest television characters by TV Squad.[8] In 2009, SFX named the climax of "Blink" with the Weeping Angels advancing on Sally and Larry the scariest moment in Doctor Who's history.[9] They also listed the Angels in their list of favourite things of the revival of Doctor Who, writing, "Scariest. Monsters. Ever."[10]

"Blink" won the Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation (short form) in 2008.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Doctor Who Confidential. 2007-06-09. BBC. BBC Three.
  2. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (23 September 2012). "Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan preview". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "New Companion Announced for BBC America’s ‘Doctor Who’". BBC America. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Monster Hit". BBC. 2007-09-12. Archived from the original on 1 March 2008. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  5. ^ Jones, Paul (9 June 2012). "Doctor Who: Weeping Angels beat The Daleks to be voted fans’ favourite ever monsters". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Neil Gaiman: My Top 10 New Classic Monsters". Entertainment Weekly. July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  7. ^ "Doctor Who - the top ten baddies". The Telegraph (London). 4 May 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Wu, Annie (24 October 2007). "All-time scariest TV characters". TV Squad. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "21 Scariest Doctor Who Moments 7". SFX. 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  10. ^ "27 Things SFX Loves About New Who 3". SFX. 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  11. ^ "2008 Hugo Award Results Announced". Hugo Awards website. 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 

External links[edit]