Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Best of Me: River Song

"One minute she wants to marry you, and the next she wants to kill you."
"She's been brainwashed; it all makes sense to her. Plus, she is a women. "
-Amy and the Eleventh Doctor on River Song

River Song is one of the most controversial figures in revived Who. Part of that stems from her role as the Doctor's love interest and backlash from other shippers*. People also claim she's a Mary Sue, a term which has expanded so far that it has absolutely no meaning. But I'm not discussing Mary Sues or shipping on this post: It's about River Song.
First of all, a confession. I ship River/Doctor. Not just a little bit, but hard. That's not to say I think he hasn't been in love before, but I think that River's complexity and confidence make her an intriguing match and more of his equal.
Secondly, I find River intriguing because she meets the Doctor in the wrong order. The only other companion that happens too is Melanie Bush in the classic series, but one would expect it to happen more frequently. The contrast between where she is and where the Doctor--or for that, Amy and Rory are--provides emotional conflict that is gold for fanfic writers. Even little scenes--like the kiss in "Day of the Moon"--- are painful and sweet.
Also, River has a lot of traits that make her a foil for Eleven--likes to carry a gun, overtly flirtatious, serious demeanor. While I'd never like to see a female Doctor, River can fill that role to a certain extent.

*a shipper in a fandom is someone who romantically 'ships' two or more characters. It's like being a matchmaker for fictional people.

Fanfiction Recommendations

Set Links:
The site A Teaspoon and an Open Mind allows authors to put their stories in 'collections,' sets of multiple stories.
Lonewytch (My note: this author writes only Doctor/River, so it seemed the easiest way to post her stories. Some of them are smut, but those two are clearly labeled 'adult' and have content warnings)
madis hartte Her stories are primarily River/Doctor fics, including the amazing AU series Melody Williams.
Madman in a Box My Eleventh Doctor stories, collected in one place. (My note: It's technically an Eleventh Doctor collection, but with six of thirteen about River, it's the easiest way to post the link. Besides, 11 is my Doctor, and this author writes phenomenal stories.)
River in Pete's World A series of ficlets depicting River meeting TenII in Pete's World
River Saga Stories about River Song. "Chronological order" is an oxymoron with River, but I've done my best. They don't need to be read in this order, but they make sense in it. River as River or River as Melody; River when we know who she is and when we have no idea; River driving the Doctor crazy or being driven crazy herself: this is the life of River Song.
Theories of You and I Does she marry him or murder him? My stories exploring the life of River Song, golden-haired enigma. Spoilers.
Individual Stories
32 Minutes The Doctor's been poisoned and will be dead in 32 minutes. Where could he possibly go? River/Eleven. Partially inspired by the line- "He said no one could save him — but he must have known I could."
Aftermath The Stormcage guards know by now that they have as much chance of keeping Doctor Song locked up as they do of waking up to blue skies over the prison. That doesn't mean they don't try, but they've developed a coping mechanism, too.
Aixo era y no era Aixo era y no era: It was and it was not. Because he was Time, and she was Death, and they spun around and around and around. "On the matter of apologies, I have none."
Biographies "I love biographies." "Oh very you, always a death at the end." "You need a good death. Without death, there'd only be comedies!"
Birds are Leaving over Autumn's Ending "Victorian England," he says, through a haze of tears. "It was at a ball." Based on an abandoned prompt at SpoilerSong. River/Eleven, River asks the Doctor about the first time he met her in his timeline. He has to lie.
Book Smarts When John Smith takes a gander into the university library in Pete's World, who ever could he meet?
Born and Bred Jenny never thought anyone could understand what it's like to be born and bred as a weapon, but perhaps there is someone out there who does, so much closer than she thinks.
Born in Blood Mels would like to see her parents get married, but sometimes, things don't go according to plan.
The Case of the Dead Doctor Sherlock/Who crossover.
The Christmas Gift The Doctor has a very special gift for River. Set immediately following the 2011 Christmas Special, and a sequel to "Home".
Failing to Communicate The Doctor is dead, long live River Song. My note: Obviously an AU, but a drabblish one.
Forever, Ever More The sound echoed back and forth like a monstrous demon wail. It was horrible, horrendous, awful. So many words could be used to describe such an irritating sound! "Sweetie!" River cried. "You're humming again!"
A Good Shot In which there is an aborted revolution, an aborted murder, and an aborted kiss. Based on a prompt from the spoiler-song ficathon, Hell in Heels.
Half of Me There is still one, life-changing thing that she does not tell him, even on the eve of her death. *One-shot*
Hope Spoilers! The Doctor's feelings and thoughts during River's identity reveal in AGMGTW.
Kind of Magic Some days the Doctor thinks that Young River is even worse than Spoilers River
Like Sand through an Hourglass "'You watch us run,' she told him, and he's counting every step." Knowing exactly how it's going to end isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, it just makes it easier to count your blessings. River/11, spoilers for 4x9 and 4x10.
Missing Pictures Some people call pictures a window to the soul; River searches for hers.
Momentum He aged, and she watched. (Set during TWoRS.)
Mosaic The Doctor is kidnapped and discovers the amazing truth about a certain someone. *Theory on River's identity, one-shot* My note: written before AGMGTW, this is the most original and best theory of River's identity I'd seen. It might make even River-haters reconsider.
Night Shift Being a guard isn't the most glamourous job in the world. If part of your duties includes watching over Cell 426, though, at least it's never boring. DISCLAIMER: No Time Streams were harmed in the writing of this fic. Probably. My note: some of them are rated higher then others, but she generally includes a warning.
Out of Place The first time Doctor River Song met Polly Plummer
Raising Cain Spoilers through series 6. Because a decade is a long time to do nothing but plot murder and exchange lectures. Mels's relationship with Amy and Rory and their relationship with each other and references to others as well.
Rewriting History One Death at a Time "The first time I met you, you died." Ten times. A Library fix-it, a little different
A River Runs through It River Song, meet River Tam. Two Rivers in one time and space. The universe may implode.
River Styx River Song was dead and very, very bored. Just what was she going to do about it? A dark Doctor fic (also starring Captain Jack Harkness and Doctors Nine and Ten).
Stitches in Time Happy New Year! Series of One-Shots for 11/River. Latest chapter: It's New Year's Eve. Somewhere.
Stories For The Strong Of Heart She became what the silence inspired: a killer, quick and quiet, slipping in and out of shadows. One-shot.
The Time Travelers' Wives The Doctor helps out a fellow time traveler, and River and Clare commiserate.
The TimeyWimey Games How River Song and the Doctor won the 73rd and 78th Hunger Games, respectively. River/1
What Child Is This The Doctor and River find themselves thrown together at Christmas and must make one of the hardest decisions either could imagine.
Where He Is Needed That's where the TARDIS takes him. And when a student of history gets hold of Spoilers she really shouldn't have, he really IS needed. Set after Let's Kill Hitler, spoilers for just about everything.
Where River Song Proves A Point to Sarah Jane So two women - one who's very quick to use a gun and one who doesn't like them meet. Here's what happens... My note: This one will probably show up again on my Sarah Jane lists, but it's really funny and contains two of my favorite characters.
to whisper in their presence It may be the wrong Melody Pond he's found, but it's exactly the right River Song. doctor/river, post-6x07.
You Always Knew The Doctor was the only one to ever manage to surprise her, but this was intangibly unthinkable. The Doctor in a papoose. With a baby. The night before her trial.
In Your Place there were a Thousand Other Faces The Doctor is dead. - AU for The Wedding of River Song


  1. This is fascinating how you managed to totally open up the topic that you have chosen for this exact blog entry of yours. By the way did you use any other articles as a source of information to complete the entire situation that you provided in your blog post?

    1. The fanfic recs are from my own reading, and the other information is my own opinions of her character. Glad to know you liked it.