Just Who is River Song?

Contains spoilers up to and including Doctor WhoThe Almost People“- you have been warned!

With the Doctor Who mid season finale and the imminent reveal of River Song’s identity drawing ever closer, we here at MCMBuzz have decided to take a look at some of the speculation surrounding the mysterious character and who she may be before saturday’s big payoff.

Starting from the top, most fans seem to be sold on the idea that River Song is none other than The Doctor’s wife.
It’s not hard to see why when you look back at her previous episodes in the show – most notably The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone two-parter, and The Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon two-parter. Head writer, Steven Moffat, repeatedly teased the audience about her identity as being The Doctor’s wife in these episodes in particular. Scenes such as Amy asking The Doctor, “Is River Song your wife?”, followed by The Doctor responding with “Yes.” caused viewers worldwide to squeal in shock back in 2010… only to then frown as he continued talking about something else, and another one of these scenes took place later on with just Amy and River, in which Amy stated “You are so his wife”, causing River to respond with “You’re good, I’m not saying you’re right, but you are good.”
Skip forward to April 2011 and River Song is back on our screens alongside The Eleventh Doctor, but this time something is clearly going on between the two as their flirting with eachother knows no bounds! – “Don’t worry, I’m quite the screamer. Now there’s a spoiler for you!”
Following a climactic battle with The Silents and a whole lot more flirting during, River and The Doctor share a passionate kiss in her cell in Stormcage. This pretty much rules out any blood relation with The Doctor, or else Doctor Who has gone down a route that I’m pretty sure shouldn’t be seen in a tea time kids show. Such a passionate kiss, to me, means that the only person she really can be is either his wife or someone else along those lines, it’s also worth noting that River herself said that it wasn’t the first time they’d kissed like that.
This has been the most popular theory for a long time, starting with the first appearance of the character alongside the Tenth Doctor back in 2008. The fact that River knows The Doctor’s name – his greatest secret – is a big factor in this, after all, who better to tell your greatest secret to? The Doctor himself states that “There’s only one time (he) could.” Another line spoken in the episode (by Mr Lux) also gave the Doctor/River train momentum when he said, “Oh for heavens sake! We’re all going to die here and you two are squabbling like an old married couple!”
This has definitely been outlined as the most obvious choice for her identity, and a small throwaway line in The Big Bang further supports this when River says, “I’m sorry my love” to The Doctor before appearing to die.

A second popular guess as to who her character may be only began a lot more recently with the start of the show’s sixth series.
Many fans worldwide have come to the conclusion that River Song is in fact the daughter of Amy Pond.
With the full scale of the deadly Silent’s invasion becoming apparent, Canton Everett Delaward the third and Amy both went to check out an old orphanage as a part of their search for the mysterious girl in the spacesuit (Day of the Moon). Upon their arrival it was apparent that something wasn’t right, and so began what were in my opinion, some of the creepiest scenes in the show’s 48 year history.
One of those scenes featured Amy finding her way into a child’s bedroom to discover several pictures of herself holding said child as a baby – indicating that she was the mother. Later on in the episode we see the same child from the orphanage regenerating just like a Time Lord, and the previous conversation about Amy’s potential baby having a “time-head” certainly stirs up the possibility that they are actually closely related. Skip forward to the conclusion of last week’s episode, The Almost People, and you have all the evidence you need to say that it’s Amy’s child when she wakes up about to give birth in a mysterious facility. The theory is that the child actually regenerates into the River Song that we know today, and as we don’t see the child finish her regeneration, this could still turn out to be true.

A third very popular theory is that River Song is a later incarnation of The Doctor himself. This is pretty self explanatory, but just incase you haven’t been paying attention: When a Time Lord regenerates, every single cell of their being changes. This should technically mean that the same Time Lord could be anything from male to female, black to white or ginger to black-haired in their lifetime. Moments before he regenerated, the Ninth Doctor himself backed this up by saying, “I could have two heads, or no head”, and in The Doctor’s Wife, this is further backed up by the Eleventh when he spoke of another Time Lord, The Corsair, who changed from a male to a female (and back) after regeneration. It could make sense I suppose, future Doc regenerates, loses his Tardis and spends the rest of her life developing a romantic relationship with her past self… Maybe not then. If it does turn out to be true though, it will raise some interesting questions about the show’s future!

Another interesting theory is that River Song is the Tardis itself… or rather some kind of human projection of it. What is interesting about this is that we have just recently seen an excellent story penned by Neil Gaiman (called The Doctor’s Wife!) in which this exact scenario takes place, and it is stated that it won’t be possible again. The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey nature of the show could see an explanation for the Tardis personification to return as River Song, but it doesn’t seem likely. After the climactic events of The Big Bang, River also states that The Doctor will find out who she is soon, but then goes to on to ominously say “but that’s when everything changes”. Would a human version of the Tardis really be that threatening to The Doctor? Maybe, but perhaps by “everything changes”, she simply means that finding the entrance to the Tardis will become a lot more tricky… or fun… Hello sweetie indeed!

Number five in the most popular theories for River’s identity is simply that she is another Time Lord – well, Time Lady.

The Doctor has encountered many female Time Lords over the years, most notably, Romana, who he travelled with for some time. Their relationship with each other was borderline romantic, in a similar way that his tenth incarnation and Rose were, so a flirtatious return for her wouldn’t be so out of place in the series – especially with the new, more kissy kissy nature of the show. We’ll put that one in the maybe pile.  Another, more unwelcome Time Lady to return would be one of The Doctor’s old nemesis’s known as The Rani. Much like The Master, The Rani were always out to get The Doctor with various different traps and schemes to catch him in. It seems unlikely though that the character would suddenly return after all these years with nothing but a desire to kiss him, but hey, maybe she got lonely after Gallifrey went boom? It certainly happened to The Doctor. Naturally, with all this talk of female Gallifreyans, The Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan deserves a mention. I won’t dwell on this too much though due to my point earlier, which is that sharing such a passionate kiss with a blood relative would be wrong (for a show like Doctor Who anyway) and so that is pretty much ruled out.

All we do know for now though is that according to Karen Gillan (who plays Amy Pond in the series), “In Episode 7 of this series, she (River Song) finally reveals who she is, and it is such a shocker. I couldn’t believe it when I read it. It’s such a clever twist, and it will change everything.”  
The mid-season finale and the reveal of River Song’s identity will be airing tomorrow at 6:40pm on BBC One and BBC One HD,  so until then all we can do is wait and theorise!

Have we missed a theory? Be sure to let us know your theories before then in the comments section below!

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