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Professor River Song (born Melody Pond) was a “child of the TARDIS” and the wife of the Doctor, specifically his eleventh incarnation. She was mostly human, with some Time Lord DNA, conceived by her parents, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, aboard the TARDIS as it travelled through the Time Vortex, and then raised and conditioned by the Silence. (A Good Man Goes to War) This gave her great strength, the ability to regenerate and a great understanding of the complex principles of time and space. (The Time of Angels, Day of the Moon, A Good Man Goes to War, The Wedding of River Song) She loved the Doctor, and shared a long-lasting relationship with him. River was one of the very few people who knew the Doctor’s true name. (Forest of the Dead, The Name of the Doctor)
Melody was stolen from her parents as an infant by Madame Kovarian to become a weapon of the Silence in their war against the Doctor. After a later regeneration, she killed the Eleventh Doctor, but then broke her mental conditioning to give her remaining regenerations to revive his corpse. Before doing this, the Eleventh Doctor asked her – still using the name Melody Pond – to give a message to someone named River Song. When told the message, she replied with, “Well, I’m sure she knows.” She then asked who River Song was, and learnt that she was River Song. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
The Doctor and her parents left her to make her own way in the universe. With no connection to her family or the Silence, River became an archaeologist, ostensibly to track the Doctor through time. She crossed the Doctor’s path on several occasions, generally with the result that she was meeting him at progressively earlier points in his own time stream. Hoping to avoid temporal paradoxes, the Doctor gave her a diary to keep track of their meetings and to prevent her from revealing “spoilers” to him about his own future.
Again forced by the Silence, she made a second attempt on the Eleventh Doctor’s life. Though actually unsuccessful, she was convicted of his murder and spent many years in Stormcage Containment Facility for it — apparently to convince the universe that the Doctor actually was dead. This confinement was made more bearable by escaping frequently to go out on dates with the Doctor. (First Night, Last Night) She was eventually pardoned, due to there being no evidence that the Doctor ever existed, and became a Professor of Archaeology. (The Angels Take Manhattan)
After a final adventure with the Twelfth Doctor which ended with them spending a twenty-four year long night at the Singing Towers of Darillium, (The Husbands of River Song) she died saving the Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble, Strackman Lux, and the 4,022 people saved in the computer system in the Library. The Tenth Doctor saved her consciousness digitally to the Library’s computer system CAL. (Forest of the Dead) This data echo desired a true goodbye from the Doctor, and persisted for some time. (The Name of the Doctor)
Conception and gestation
Melody was conceived on or soon after her parents’ wedding night, aboard the Doctor’s TARDIS while transiting the Time Vortex. (A Good Man Goes to War) Melody’s mother, Amy Pond remained unaware that she was pregnant for awhile, as the symptoms hadn’t started yet. So she continued enjoying her honeymoon. (A Christmas Carol)
Amy was kidnapped during or shortly after her honeymoon and replaced with a living flesh doppelgänger. The ganger functioned as an avatar through which Amy perceived existence as if she was present in place of the Ganger. In reality, Amy was taken to a church marine base on the Demons Run asteroid in the 52nd century to gestate Melody. Through some combination of the circumstances of her conception in the vortex, plus interference by the Silence, Melody developed Time Lord characteristics (A Good Man Goes to War) including regeneration. (Day of the Moon, A Good Man Goes To War, Let’s Kill Hitler)
Madame Kovarian harvested Melody’s embryonic DNA in order to clone more children like her. This resulted in the creation of River’s clones, but the clones referred to one another as siblings. The first batch consisted of seven clones: Lake, Rindle, Tarn, Wadi, Creek, Stream, and Beck. (The Lady in the Lake) The second batch of clones included: Brooke, H-One, H-Two, and O. (My Dinner with Andrew, The Furies) Like River, the clones had the ability to regenerate; however, the exact amount of regenerations they each had were random. (The Lady in the Lake)
Melody was born on Demons Run. Melody’s mother Amy insisted using her maiden surname, Pond, for Melody. Amy opined that “Melody Williams” was a name of a geography teacher, whereas “Melody Pond” evoked a superhero. Amy told the infant Melody that she would never be alone, that her father was coming for them and not even an army could stop him. The centuries-old Last Centurion would never let them down. (A Good Man Goes to War)
Within a month, Melody was replaced with a ganger and taken by Madame Kovarian to the 20th century to be reared to kill the Doctor. (Day of the Moon, The Almost People, A Good Man Goes to War) She was chosen for this task because of her conception in the Time Vortex. This gave her the potential for great strength and regeneration, to pilot the TARDIS and understand complex principles of time and space. (The Time of Angels, Day of the Moon, A Good Man Goes to War, The Wedding of River Song)
It was through her ganger avatar that Melody first met her father and the Eleventh Doctor. The Doctor, claiming he could speak baby, told her that she should call Amy mummy, not “big milk thing”, before correcting her by saying that his bow tie is cool. Melody’s connection to her ganger was severed, and her ganger thus liquefied, while her father and others fought to save her from the Headless Monks. (A Good Man Goes to War)
Kovarian placed a neural block on Melody as a failsafe to ensure that Melody would never be able to kill Kovarian, even if she wanted to. (The Furies)
A little girl lost
Melody was kidnapped and trained by the Silence to kill the Doctor; she later claimed this part of her life was “a bit of a jumble” to remember due to their memory-erasing powers. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Her first words were “kill the Doctor”. She was taught to use a throwing star at ten paces before she even knew how to pace, her first steps were towards a box of grenades, and for her third birthday she was given nunchucks.
As a little girl, Melody was kept isolated in “the Nightmare Room” on Demons Run. The room contained clockwork toys, a jack-in-the-box, teddy bears, and a door with a force field on it. Kovarian told Melody bedtime stories and one of Kovarian’s favourites was about the Furies. Just prior to being transferred to the Graystark Hall Orphanage there was an incident where Melody’s teddy bears were disemboweled, which Kovarian blamed on Melody. Kovarian gave Melody nightmares and was also the one to put her back to bed when she woke up afraid of the very same nightmares. (The Furies)
Melody was transferred to Graystark Hall located in 1969 Florida under heavy security (Day of the Moon) and forced into an Apollo astronaut suit that the Silence upgraded with alien technology. The suit could move autonomously and would insert Melody into itself both for control and to provide sustenance. The suit’s artificial intelligence and communication faculties automatically put the frightened Melody in contact with the highest authority it could find: President Richard Nixon, at whatever telephone was closest to him at a given moment. Melody repeatedly rang Nixon, asking for help and describing the “spaceman” (the suit) going to “eat” her (autonomously place her within itself), but not knowing what help she needed or where precisely she was. (The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon; WC: Prequel (The Impossible Astronaut)
Young melody escaping
These telephone calls led to her first physical meeting with the Eleventh Doctor, and the earliest contact with him which she would presumably remember. From his and her parents’ perspective, however, they had yet to meet via her infant Flesh ganger on Demons Run. She approached the Doctor whilst in the space suit, prompting her mother to shoot at her in fear of the Doctor’s impending death; the suit’s visor was damaged, but Melody was unharmed. (The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon)
She returned to Graystark three months later, to discover her mother in her room. Melody begged her for help, but Amy was confused because of a picture of herself with Melody as an infant. With the arrival of the Silence, Melody forced her way out of the suit and fled; she lingered long enough to see the Doctor once more. (Day of the Moon)
Melody’s first regeneration. (Day of the Moon)
During the next six months, she made her way to New York City. She developed a terminal illness but knew she could “fix it” by regenerating. She was in an alley when she finally succumbed to her ailment in January 1970, and regenerated. (Day of the Moon) However, Melody regenerated into a baby again. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Growing up again, Melody went by Mels for short. With the Silence continuing her training, Melody grew up knowing that Amelia Pond and Rory Williams were her parents; she became good friends with them, despite often having outbursts of reckless criminal behaviour into her adolescence. Like Amelia, Mels often mistreated and bossed around Rory. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Mels attended Leadworth Primary School with her parents. During Year Three, she was the only person Veronica Stackmore was afraid of. One year, after Veronica stole Amelia’s Raggedy Doctor doll, Mels dressed up in a mask and proclaimed herself “the Sheep of Doom.” She successfully scared Veronica into giving Amelia her doll back, but not before beheading it. Mels assured her mother that the doll could be repaired with some tape. When Amelia asked why adults did not believe the things Veronica did, Mels said she felt adults were dumb and that she might stay a kid forever. When Krampus and his goblins invaded Leadworth, the goblins told Mels they had heard “many stories” about her and then tried to attack her, but instead she used her super human strength to attack them. Afterward, Krampus trapped Mels, along with her parents, by wrapping them in Christmas wrapping. When Veronica denied Krampus, he and his goblins vanished, leaving only Mels with memories of the incident. After the school nativity play in which her parents played Mary and Joseph, Mels presented her mother with her repaired Raggedy Doctor doll and agreed with her grandfather that Amelia and Rory made a “lovely couple.” (Imaginary Enemies)
Mels held the school record for confiscated property. She once had Amy and Rory cause a distraction so she could sneak her confiscated items out of the teachers’ supply closet and then escaped over the roof and through the window of the teachers’ loo. (Nothing O’Clock)
Ironically, Amy largely reared Mels without knowing she was doing so. Amelia would wait for Mels outside of the headmistress’ office and lecture her after these incidents much in the way a mother customarily would. Mels was obsessed over Amelia’s “Raggedy Doctor”, dreaming of marrying him and claimed in school that historical disasters were his fault because he did not intervene; all of these negative views of the Doctor came from her conditioning by the Silence. Mels was also involved in stealing cars and buses. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Mels drove a Mini Cooper and worked as a management consultant. (River of Time)
Mels eventually helped Amy see that Rory loved her after she spent an entire decade thinking he was gay, as he never spent time with any other girl; she thus ensured her own existence, which would have ceased without her intervention. (Let’s Kill Hitler) Mels decided not to attend their wedding though, (The Big Bang) claiming that she “[didn’t] do weddings”. (Let’s Kill Hitler) This also prevented her from creating a paradox, as her future self, River Song, had briefly attended. (The Big Bang)
In Autumn 2011, Melody stole a car (again) and followed her parents to a cornfield, where the Doctor had arrived due to their “message”. They were trying to contact him in hopes that after several months he had found their infant daughter lost to them at Demons Run. Glad to finally meet him, Melody soon held the Time Lord at gunpoint to escape the police. When asked if she had anywhere specific in mind to visit, Melody jumped at the idea of time travel and decided to go kill Adolf Hitler, therefore erasing the damage he caused to the world.
Melody shot the TARDIS, causing it to crash into Hitler’s office in 1938, inadvertently saving him from the Teselecta. When it recovered, Hitler fired at it in fear, causing the bullets to ricochet. As a result, a bullet hit Melody in the gut. She got the Doctor to promise to marry her, telling him that her parents are with them if he needed their permission. (Let’s Kill Hitler) Beginning to regenerate, Melody reflected on her last regeneration, which turned her back into a toddler. (Day of the Moon) Melody silenced her dumbfounded family, and exploded with regeneration energy. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Becoming River Song
When the regeneration ended, Melody immediately began examining her new body; unknown to her, this was the form her family recognised as Professor River Song. Quite fond of her new form, Melody ran out the room to put on lipstick laced with Judas tree poison. Per her programming, Melody began using every obvious means of trying to kill the Doctor, which lulled him into a false sense of security. She kissed him, calling him “sweetie”; the Doctor mentioned only River Song could call him that. Calling it a boring name, Melody cheerily called herself a psychopath and ran amok in Berlin, stealing clothes from patrons at the posh Hotel Adlon.
Melody becomes River
The Teselecta (which had taken her parents on board) decided to punish her next, but the Doctor stopped them. When her parents were in danger of being killed by its antibodies, Melody was surprised to see the Doctor ignore his pain for the sake of saving them. She also became jealous of the “River Song” he kept mentioning, demanding to know who she was. However, the Doctor had her pilot the TARDIS (which taught her how) to save Amy and Rory. Melody then agreed to give a message to River Song from the dying Doctor, and he whispered it in her ear. Asking who River was, Amy had the Teselecta turned into Melody’s new incarnation. Melody realised that she was the person the Doctor kept calling for help. Amy asked Melody what the Doctor whispered in her ear. Instead of answering that question, Melody asked her parents if the Doctor was “worth it.” Upon being told “yes,” Melody reawakened the Doctor and kissed him, using all of her remaining regenerations to bring him back to life. She passed out in the process.
The Doctor took River to the “best hospital in the universe” to recover. Knowing of her future as an on-and-off companion, he left a TARDIS-shaped diary as a gift, hoping to avoid “spoilers”, foreknowledge that might wreck the universe. (Let’s Kill Hitler) The Doctor made it so that the diary’s number of pages reflected exactly the amount of adventures they would have together for River to record. (The Husbands of River Song) The next morning River found the clothes her parents left for her; she believed Amy bought them as there were too many short skirts. However, they had not left River anything to write in her diary with. The nurses called the closest antique shop and were able to secure a pen for River, the latter of which were extremely rare in the 52nd century, and she used it to make the first entry in her diary. (The Eternity Clock)
Hoping to find the Doctor once again, River entered the Luna University in 5123. When asked why she wished to study archaeology, River said she was “looking for a good man”. Her studies led to her knowing some of the Doctor’s locations in the past. (Let’s Kill Hitler) One of the things River decided to research after she gained her freedom from Kovarian was the legend of the Furies. (The Furies)
Adventures with the Doctor
The day River received her doctorate, Kovarian appeared with agents of the Church and the Silence. They seized her, forced her into a modified astronaut suit, took her to Utah on 22 April 2011 and submerged her in Lake Silencio to await the Doctor. (Closing Time)
When the time came to kill him, River drained her weapon pack to defy a fixed point in time. Time shredded into a reality where all history happened at once. She initially refused to rectify her error. River confessed to Kovarian that she had fallen in love with the Doctor. She also confessed this to the Doctor himself. At the top of the Great Pyramid with the Doctor, Amy and Rory, River said to the Doctor that she could not let him die and it would be her who would suffer the most if she killed him. After marrying the Doctor and sharing a kiss, she went through with his apparent murder to restore the timeline, knowing he was really safe inside the Teselecta. (The Wedding of River Song) Despite their marriage, River never believed her love for the Doctor was mutual. (The Husbands of River Song)
River was sentenced to twelve thousand consecutive life sentences in the Stormcage Containment Facility in the 52nd century for the Doctor’s murder. (The Time of Angels, The Pandorica Opens, First Night) She served the sentence to make the Silence believe him dead, but often escaped to spend time with her husband, then returned to her cell. They started on her very first night in the prison, when he paid a visit to bring her to Calderon Beta and explained to her the purpose of their diaries. (First Night)
During her imprisonment in Stormcage, the Doctor and River visited Easter Island and met “Jim the Fish.” (The Impossible Astronaut) River attended a party with the Doctor and helped him search pet shops for a Queen of England who had become a goldfish. (Bad Night) River and the Doctor had an adventure involving a euphonium, a biplane and someone named Marilyn. (Good Night)
River also escaped from Stormcage on her own using a vortex manipulator. During one such adventure, five years after her imprisonment, she encountered several Sontarans who shot at and chased her halfway across the galaxy after she asked them if they were on a “hen night.” She escaped into the TARDIS where the Doctor returned her to Stormcage via her vortex manipulator to prevent her from interacting with her past self and her future self. (Last Night)
According to one account, River was already a professor during her imprisonment. (River of Time) However, others say otherwise. (The Time of Angels, The Angels Take Manhattan)
Dates with the Doctor
River spent some time at her parents’ house, at one point being picked up for a date by the Eleventh Doctor, wearing a long black dress of which her father did not approve. (Pond Life)
River escaped Stormcage for a date with the Eleventh Doctor on Asgard, a planet-sized theme park. Throughout their date River wrestled with her deep desire to have a child, even though she knew she didn’t lead a life conducive to raising children. She attempted to ask the Doctor his views on her or them having a child multiple times, but was either too nervous to get her thoughts out or interrupted by the continuing problems occurring on Asgard. After she and the Doctor saved Asgard from Tomith, River decided to enjoy a private picnic with the Doctor and not ask him about having a child. (Picnic at Asgard)
Return to the Battle of Demons Run
After Kovarian had fled with her infant incarnation at the end of the Battle of Demons Run, baby Melody’s connection to her ganger was severed, and her ganger was liquefied, horrifying Amy. Minutes later, as the Doctor contemplated possibly giving up, River appeared via vortex manipulator with a prompt “well, how goes the day soldier?” As the Doctor angrily confronted River on her refusal to help, River pointed out how his own actions had led to the events of the battle due to making people so afraid of him. As the Doctor demanded her real identity, River showed the Doctor his old cot and the prayer leaf inside it. As the excited Doctor raced off to locate her past self, he ordered River to return his friends home. Once the Doctor was gone, Amy demanded answers. In response, River showed her parents the prayer leaf upon which the name Melody Pond became River Song in the language of the Gamma Forests because “the only water in the forest is the river” and explained that she was their daughter Melody. (A Good Man Goes to War)
On one birthday, the Doctor took her to the last Winter Frost Fair on the River Thames in 1814. Stevie Wonder performed, not knowing where and when he had truly been brought, before being restored to his proper time. Back at Stormcage, River met Rory in his Roman garb. Looking in her diary, River realised that he was there about the Battle of Demon’s Run. Having already experienced the event, she refused to come aid them at Demons Run, saying she couldn’t be there “until the very end.” When Rory pressed her for a reason, River simply explained that it was the day that the Doctor would learn her true identity. (A Good Man Goes to War)
Silence in America
On receiving an invitation from the Doctor, River escaped from Stormcage to meet Amy, Rory and him in Utah in the United States on 22 April 2011. (The Impossible Astronaut) The Doctor, inside a Teselecta double of himself, took them on a picnic where the Teselecta was shot by River’s younger self. Amy, Rory and River went to a cafe to find a version of the Eleventh Doctor two hundred years younger than the one inside the Teselecta. (The Impossible Astronaut, The Wedding of River Song)
River secretly revisited her childhood when she accompanied her parents, the Eleventh Doctor, and Canton Everett Delaware III to Florida on 8 April 1969 to find the little girl who kept ringing Richard Nixon. Adhering to the Doctor’s rule against “spoilers” which could collapse time, she feigned ignorance of her childhood self’s identity. The only information she gave the Doctor about her old spacesuit was that which she could have reasonably determined by her inspection of it and she offered Amy and Canton no forewarning about what they would find in her old orphanage. Any knowledge she may have retained about the Silence she kept to herself. (The Impossible Astronaut)
River, Amy, Rory, Canton, and the Doctor split up to investigate the Silence over the next three months. By July, River was in New York City. She showed her reliance upon and faith in the Doctor and his TARDIS being in the right place and time to rescue her as she dove backwards out of the 50th floor of a building and into the TARDIS’ swimming pool. She helped the Doctor defeat the Silence by using their brainwashing of humanity against them, while making sure she did not meet her first incarnation. River killed all of the Silence who were holding her mother hostage. At her request, the Doctor returned her to Stormcage, where she kissed him. He was shocked and she realised that from his perspective, it was their first kiss. (Day of the Moon)
The opening of the Pandorica
In 5145, the TARDIS rerouted a phone call for the Doctor from Winston Churchill to River. She escaped to warn the Doctor of a prophecy of the TARDIS exploding. She blackmailed a Time Agent’s vortex manipulator off Dorium Maldovar and stole a Vincent Van Gogh painting from Liz Ten showing the TARDIS exploding and space-time coordinates. She graffitied a diamond cliff at the dawn of time with the coordinates, then travelled to England in 102 AD to meet the Eleventh Doctor and Amy.
The Pandorica lay under Stonehenge, transmitting a signal to summon an alliance of the Doctor’s enemies. The Doctor got them to back off and sent River to fetch the TARDIS. Instead, it took her to Amy’s house on 26 June 2010. When River told him the date, the Doctor realised the TARDIS was about to explode and told her to escape. (The Pandorica Opens) Unable to leave, she was trapped in a time loop of the first moments of the explosion. (The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang) The Doctor rescued her in 1996, told her his plan to use the Pandorica’s restoration field to reverse the Total Event Collapse of the universe and was shot by a stone Dalek. River told the Dalek to look in its data banks for her, taunted it into begging for mercy, then killed it.
After the Doctor had restored the universe by erasing himself, River left her now blank diary at her parents’ wedding so Amy could remember him back into existence. After a brief conversation about her marital status and identity, River told the Doctor he was “going to find out very soon now and I’m sorry, because that’s when everything changes”, and left him wondering. (The Big Bang)
Temporal anomalies and the Eternity Clock
In 5145, River escaped from her cell in the Stormcage Containment Facility using her hallucinogenic lipstick, after receiving a phone call saying that the Doctor needed her help. She located her vortex manipulator and used it to travel to London in 2012 where she rescued her stranded husband.
She helped the Doctor fight off Cybermen, Daleks, Silents, and Silurians in different eras of London; each had a piece of the fabled Eternity Clock to fuel their plans against humanity. She and the Doctor collected the pieces and brought them back to the TARDIS, which was at the heart of a temporal storm being caused by the Eternity Clock pieces trying to pull themselves together.
River discovered, much to her shock, that there was an entry about the clock in her diary that she hadn’t written; the Doctor explained that it was due to the temporal anomalies the clock was causing to time. No sooner had this been explained, the clock began tracking all fixed points in time and began attempting to rewrite them. Adding to the insanity, the TARDIS was towed away with them inside for the ride. (The Eternity Clock)
The Crash of the Byzantium
River was put in Father Octavian’s custody in the 51st century for a mission to try to earn her pardon. She infiltrated the Galaxy class Byzantium to find its Home Box, into which she carved “Hello Sweetie” in Old High Gallifreyan, along with her temporal coordinates. This attracted the Doctor’s attention twelve thousand years later, leading Amy (who at this point in time had not met River before) and the Doctor to her and Alfava Metraxis. (The Time of Angels) They defeated an army of Weeping Angels who had awakened in the planet’s Maze of the Dead. She hinted they would meet again by the opening of the Pandorica. (Flesh and Stone)
Following this adventure, she visited Amy and Rory after they witnessed the Doctor’s “death” in Utah and exposed some of the truth behind her many lies to her parents. (The Wedding of River Song)
A pardoned woman
River was later pardoned and released from the Stormcage Containment Facility after it was discovered that there was no evidence of the man she had murdered having ever existed. This was due to the Doctor erasing himself from all databases as part of his return to the shadows. As a result of this, she returned to Archaeology and became a professor. (The Angels Take Manhattan) However, she alternated between using the titles “doctor” and “professor”. (The Husbands of River Song) According to another account, she was already a Professor in a time when she was still detained in Stormcage. (River of Time)
At some point, River had had an augmented lifespan, and eventually reached 200 years of age. She mentioned it was a “long story”. (The Husbands of River Song)
Investigating the Weeping Angels
River arrived in 1938 New York City via her vortex manipulator (The Angels Take Manhattan) and set up the Angel Detective Agency where she was the sole employee, investigating the Weeping Angels’ invasion of New York. During this time she went by the alias “Melody Malone.” She was there for at least a month before a man named Rock Railton hired her to investigate what he feared to be a murder plot against him involving “the kiss of an angel.” The following day, while attending a Starlight Studios party, she encountered an old man claiming to be Rock Railton, but believed him to be a bum. When she encountered the man she recognised as Rock, he had no memory of their meeting in her office the previous day.
After dealing with two thugs that were hired to kill her, River returned to her office only to receive a call from head of Starlight Studios, Max Kliener. She agreed to meet him at his studio the next afternoon, where she was reintroduced to Rock, who claimed to remember their prior meeting. However, River knew he was lying when she asked about giving him coffee and he pretended to remember this although it never happened. She also noted that Giddy Semestre, Rock’s co-star, also did not remember meeting her the day before at the party.
Max then led River down a block from the main studio and revealed to her a room full of giant bell jars filled with what appeared to be clones of Rock Railton, Giddy Semestre, and of Max’s bodyguard, Hank Sissy. Max explained that they were not clones so much as everyday people who had had their flesh redistributed in their bodies to make them look identical to their template bodies. To do this, he had used “the kiss of an angel.” The duplicates did not live very long, however, and were in fact growing old and dying out faster and faster because the Weeping Angel he was using to create his duplicates was growing stronger and therefore absorbing more and more of the victims’ energy. Max planned to transform River into a copy of Giddy Semestre, but River kissed him using her hallucinogenic lipstick and managed to escape by killing the Hank copies and pushing Max into the arms of his Weeping Angel, who kissed him and turned him to dust.
As River was reversing the process to turn the other transformed victims back into themselves and escort them to safety, she was unaware that the Weeping Angel was being stolen from behind the curtain it was sitting behind via an escape hole that had been cut into the wall. She returned in time to see a van speeding off, presumably with the Angel inside. (The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery)
After River’s run-in with Max Kliener and his Angel, River met her husband in Manhattan, along with her parents. Rory was sent back in time to 1938 New York City by one of the Angels and met River. Amy and the Doctor had difficulty following him since all the time energy the Angels had consumed made time travel difficult. With the help of a Chinese vase as “landing lights”, they managed to get through but found River trapped in the grip of one of the Angels; she had to break her wrist to escape and the Doctor used up some of his regeneration energy to fix it. Rory was locked in a cellar with a group of baby Weeping Angels but instead of sending him back in time, they just sent him to Winter Quay. When River, Amy and the Doctor found Rory, they also found an older version of him, dying in a bed. After that they heard loud thumps, made by the Statue of Liberty, which had become a Weeping Angel.
With the Angels closing in, River, her husband and her parents were forced to flee towards the roof and got separated on the way up. The Statue of Liberty was waiting for them and Rory and Amy decided to sacrifice themselves to create a paradox which would poison the Angels food source and kill them. River and the Doctor watched in horror as Amy and Rory threw themselves off the roof, and the paradox killed all the Angels except one, who somehow managed to survive.
The group found themselves in a graveyard that had a gravestone with Rory’s name on it. As they were preparing to leave, a surviving Weeping Angel ambushed them and sent Rory back in time. Because of the paradox, and all the poisoned time energy, the Doctor couldn’t take the TARDIS to find him. Amy decided to allow the Angel to touch her so that she could be with Rory. After a tearful goodbye to River and the Doctor, Amy turned away from the Angel and allowed it to touch her so that she could live with Rory for the rest of her life.
The devastated Doctor asked River to travel with him. River said she would go with him anywhere, but “not all the time”, as there was “only room for one psychopath” on the TARDIS. Under the name “Melody Malone”, River went upstairs to write the book that led the Doctor to 1930s New York and said that she would get Amy to write the afterword when she sent it to her for publishing, in hopes that the Doctor would listen to Amy. (The Angels Take Manhattan)
Meeting the Twelfth Doctor
River learned that King Hydroflax had the Halassi Androvar diamond embedded in his head. She purported to have married him as part of a plan to retrieve it. For this reason, she joked that she had actually married the diamond itself. At around the same time, she also claimed to have married her assistant Ramone.
River planned to use a surgeon to remove the diamond. She sent her assistant Nardole to bring the surgeon to her but Nardole inadvertently found the Twelfth Doctor and brought him to River by mistake. River did not recognise the Doctor in this incarnation. River brought the Doctor to Hydroflax, as part of a ruse to steal the diamond from his head. The Doctor repeatedly tried to tell her who he was, but she did not understand what he was saying. Hydroflax revealed himself to be a cyborg and discovered her deception, removing his own head in the process. River and the Doctor snatched the head and escaped via teleport to a location near the TARDIS. River discovered the TARDIS and decided to take it for a ride without the Doctor’s knowledge, indicating she had done it before. After a brief scuffle which trapped Hydroflax’s body in the TARDIS with them, River and the Doctor piloted the TARDIS to the Harmony and Redemption.
Aboard the ship, with Hydroflax’s body sealed in a cargo hold, River attempted to sell the diamond-studded head. Eventually, Scratch arrived to buy the diamond, but then revealed himself and every other person in the restaurant to be Hydroflax devotees. A fight ensued, during which Hydroflax’s head was ultimately vaporised by the body. To buy time by “keeping them talking”, River claimed to Hydroflax’s body that while she loved the Doctor, the Doctor didn’t love her back, and he wouldn’t be stupid or sentimental enough to come rescue her. River then realised who the Doctor was, and quickly revealed to him that a meteor storm was about to strike the ship and kill everyone and she planned her position perfectly. As the storm struck the ship, the floor broke under River and the Doctor, dropping them to a lower floor, and breaking the standoff.
The ship descended, with River and the Doctor unable to bring it under control. As they argued about who would save the ship from crashing into the planet Darillium, they realised they were seconds from crashing and fled into the TARDIS. The TARDIS shielded them from the crash, but the impact knocked out River. (The Husbands of River Song)
The rulers of the universe and the Kamishi
River was hiding in the 1920s when she was lured away to Mesopotamia to investigate a mysterious tomb. She realised someone had planted saline drones in the tomb and that kept Prim in a state of life in order to attract River’s interest. After killing Prim once and for all, River opened an invitation given to her by Bertie Potts that invited her to a party on a spaceship. (The Boundless Sea)
River discovered Bertie Potts did not die in the tomb in Mesopotamia, but couldn’t get him to reveal how he survived. While he was distracted she snuck around restricted areas of the party he invited her to and discovered the murder of Jenkins and was asked for help by Spritz, a woman pretending to be one of the robotic waitresses. With a subterfuge, she ended the manipulation program of the Rulers of the Universe, which used to condition other planets’ development. Eventually, she was approached by Mr Song, who claimed to be a future incarnation of the Doctor (I Went to a Marvellous Party) until she discovered he was a member of the Kamishi pretending thanks to information taken from her diary. (Signs) Eventually, during the early times of the Last Great Time War, the Rulers involved the Eighth Doctor to achieve their purposes. River knew she couldn’t reveal to him her identity, so — by radio communication — she dealt with him under a fake identity. Together, they scuppered the plans of the Sanukuma caste of the Kamishi, then parted their ways. (The Rulers of the Universe)
Meeting the Eleven on Syra
River summoned the Eighth Doctor to Syra to stop the Eleven. Surprised that she had recruited the wrong Doctor, she called herself “Melody Malone” and teamed up with his companion, Helen Sinclair. River used her Vortex Manipulator to call upon the Galactic Heritage for further aid against the Eleven. She left shortly after she taught Helen to summon the Doctor’s TARDIS using the fast return switch. (The Sonomancer)
The Sperovores and Golden Futures
River meets the Seventh Doctor
Once, River met the Seventh Doctor on the Saturnius. (The Unknown)
Later, she met Emmett and Lisa Burrows, as well as Rachel, their adopted daughter. (Five Twenty-Nine)
River meets the Sixth Doctor
While on Golden Futures, River met the Sixth Doctor, who was going under the alias of “Dr John Smith”. (World Enough and Time)
River faces the Sperovores with the Sixth and Seventh Doctors
With the help of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors, River managed to defeat the Sperovores. (The Eye of the Storm)
A night on Darillium
River with the Twelfth Doctor on their final date. (The Husbands of River Song)
After the crash of the Harmony and Redemption on Darillium, the Doctor gave the workman Alphonse the diamond so he could build a restaurant facing the Towers. He then travelled forward in time and made a reservation at the restaurant for four years in the future on Christmas Day. Emerging from the TARDIS, River went to see the Towers with the Doctor who gave her a sonic screwdriver as her first gift from him. While River told the Doctor that Darillium was the last night together, the Doctor refused to confirm this, just telling her that it wasn’t the end for them. River asked the Doctor how long a night on Darillium lasted and the Doctor told her it was twenty-four years. Nardole later commented that it was a hell of a twenty-four years. (The Husbands of River Song, The Return of Doctor Mysterio)
Helping the Eighth Doctor against the Doom Coalition
She saved Thomas Cromwell from being attacked by a Solver. She used a psychic cloak to pose as the nun Sister Cantica at this time, and used her gun to destroy the Solver. When she spotted that the Eighth Doctor was there she vanished. She then went to Prague Castle where Liv was and investigated the strange going ons at the forest. She realised that the metal deposits came from Syra and theorised that they came here on the outsides of The Eleven’s TARDIS. (The Eighth Piece)
River then took Helen from Rome in 2016 before Helen went to the exhibition, and got her back there as she was a much better driver than the Doctor. She took her to 17th century France to do some archaeology. She then took Helen on a trip through time to find a map to the Eighth piece, stealing pieces of art across time which lead her to the Vatican in the 1960s. She then rescued Liv from a burning building and took her to Rome. After the Doctor was affected by the Doomsday Chronometer she took him to the Clocksmith’s TARDIS and rescued him from the collapsing building. She then aggreed to help the Doctor in his mission. (The Doomsday Chronometer)
She displayed her knowledge of piloting a TARDIS when aiding the Doctor escape. She was appalled at the murder she was seeing of the survivors of the cataclasm. Then they discovered that there were Chancellery Guards murdering the survivors of the cataclism. (The Crucible of Souls)
River and Padrac
After Padrac sent the Doctor, Liv and Helen into the future inside a scape capsule, River pretended to ally herself with him and the Doom Coalition. She pretended to not know that she was with the Doctor. When she went to save Liv and River, she told Helen to tell Liv about her. She tried to escape from Gallifrey using the vortex manipulator but Caleera placed her in the Matrix. When she was in Matrix she found the Doctor and placed him in the TARDIS. (Songs of Love)
Death in the Library
River convinced the Tenth Doctor to take a bath with her after he sought her out for her expertise on Zygons. After unsuccessfully trying to get him to take off his suit, she revealed she already uploaded her intel to the TARDIS for him and left him a note saying she planned to accept an expion job from the Felman Lux Corporation. She promised to invite the Doctor if anything exciting happened. (The Day of the Doctor) In preparation for her expion, River wrote a checklist in her diary consisting of: a payment advance, a visit to the British Museum 4.0, and packed lunches with roast chicken. (The Eternity Clock)
In the 51st century, River led Strackman Lux and her team into the Library to learn what had happened there a hundred years earlier. A cryptic message had been sent: “4022 saved. No survivors.” Expecting trouble, she contacted the Doctor by psychic paper. The version of the Doctor who turned up, again in his tenth incarnation, had not yet met her. Bewildered, he agreed to help.
River still had her battered diary of her life with the Doctor. She tried to use it to find the Doctor’s place in his timeline, but realised he was a far younger version who neither knew nor trusted her. (Silence in the Library)
As the threat of the Vashta Nerada worsened, River knew she must prove she was someone he would come to trust completely. With profuse apologies, she whispered his true name into his ear. The Doctor was stunned and River had won his trust.
The Doctor planned to rescue Donna, Strackman and more than four thousand others trapped in the Library Data Core by adding his memory space to the Library computer’s. Removing the four thousand minds trapped inside the Data Core CAL would reset the computer and stop the countdown to the Library’s autodestruct after it had been activated, but also sacrifice the Doctor’s own life. River knocked the Doctor out, handcuffed him and took his place. She pleaded with him to not change their history, not a moment of what had or would come for them. She realised he had always known this was coming. The Doctor began to babble questions. River smiled, said, “Spoilers” and was killed as the autodestruct countdown was stopped.
The Doctor reasoned his future self had given River his sonic screwdriver for a purpose. Inside it was a neural relay holding her data ghost. The Doctor saved River by uploading her into the virtual world in CAL. CAL had also saved the data ghosts of her archaeological team, giving her company in the virtual world. River would take care of Donna’s two virtual children and Charlotte (the girl wired into the mainframe) in the virtual world, reading out her diary of her many adventures with the Doctor and how sometimes “everybody lives” when the Doctor came to call. (Forest of the Dead)
As an echo
After River’s death, she, Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Clara were brought into a dream-induced “conference call”. There, she learnt that the murderer Clarence DeMarco revealed to Vastra the co-ordinates of the Doctor’s tomb. The Great Intelligence, having kidnapped Vastra, Jenny and Strax, then told Clara to take the Doctor to Trenzalore, the place of the Doctor’s death, if the others wished to be saved. River kept in contact with Clara through keeping the link open, though, seemingly, only Clara was able to see her.
When Clara and the Doctor arrived at a gravestone bearing River’s name in Trenzalore, Clara again saw the echo of River, which guided her. She also explained to Clara about her death and what the Doctor did for her, and later saved the Doctor’s friends by giving in to the Great Intelligence’s demands and opening the Doctor’s tomb by saying his name.
After Clara entered the Doctor’s time stream, River tried to stop him from following her, even though she believed that he could not see her. When she went to slap him however, the Doctor caught her hand and explained that he was able to see her all along, and they shared a kiss. River requested that the Doctor say goodbye to her but he didn’t know how, so she said the only goodbye she would accept was one where he would see her later. Right after he granted her request, she revealed that she was mentally linked to Clara, and would not still exist if Clara had died. When he asked how, she said, “Spoilers!” and her last words to him in this encounter were, “Goodbye Sweetie.” River’s incorporeal form faded away. To the Paternoster Gang, the Doctor had appeared to passionately kiss thin air. (The Name of the Doctor)
Adventures with the Eleventh Doctor
The Eleventh Doctor and River had a misadventure on the Planet of the Rain Gods. (Rain Gods)
- River joined a date of her parents on the Doctor’s initiative. Amy and Rory were disappointed by the unexpected double date. (Double Date)
- River and the Doctor were repeatedly invited to attend the fish people’s annual parties. The Eleventh Doctor at one point decided to visit one of these gatherings, where they were tied up, dipped in guacamole, and hung upside down over a fire pit. (An Adventure in Brine and Plaice)
- River and the Doctor were chased by Judoons on Riftan Five. They were found because of her posts on the social network Bookface, but she defeated them by spamming their accounts with a game invitation. She showed jealousy that Leela and Polly Wright commented the Doctor’s profile. (Timeliney Wimey)
- The Doctor and the Ponds had to decide where to go for their bank holiday and their ideas were conflicting. River Song decided to leave them, making her own vacation plans as the Doctor and her parents went to Florana. (Summer Wholiday)Rendezvous with other Doctors or unknown DoctorsRiver claimed to have pictures of all the Doctor’s faces (The Time of Angels) and indeed proved to have pictures of the first twelve incarnations of the Doctor, including the War Doctor. (The Husbands of River Song)River referred from her diary she shared an adventure with the Doctor in the Bone Meadows in a time before the crash of the Byzantium. (The Time of Angels)The Doctor took River and Jim the Fish out for karaoke in the 48th century. (The Eternity Clock)
An incarnation of the Doctor took River to the Frost Fairs for her birthday. River also suggested to Rory that she encountered two versions of the Doctor during “a whole different birthday.” (A Good Man Goes to War)
River saw the golden sunset on Florana with the Doctor. (Signs)
The Twelfth Doctor recounted when he and River once had a fight that ended with him living among otters for a month. (The Caretaker)
The Tenth Doctor met River multiple times prior to her trip to The Library. (The Day of the Doctor)
River’s diary showed she had met nine of the first ten incarnations of the Doctor, but erased their memories of her with mnemosine recall-wipe vapour to avoid corrupting his timeline; this act displayed she had knowledge of what order the incarnations existed in, as she says before meeting the First Doctor, “He used to have the worse swiss-cheese memory so I knew that meeting his first incarnation wouldn’t upset too many apple carts…the man I love, wearing his very first face”. Her opinions on the Doctors were varied:
She considered the First Doctor to be boring, because he spent his time hanging out with teachers; she met him at 76 Totter’s Lane: when she heard Susan Foreman’s voice calling, “Grandfather?” she wrote, “My hand leapt to the manipulator and I got out of there in a shot. That is a conversation I am not ready for yet!” Additionally, his taste in hats made her miss the Eleventh Doctor’s fez.
- She held the most animosity toward the Second Doctor, after he offered to show her “this cool place on Telos”. She angrily wrote, “I saw right through that (and I hope he chokes on that recorder).” She decided she found him “fun, but wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him”.
The Third Doctor was one of her favourite incarnations, with her remarking his “hair like a lion, velvet and frills”, as well as his being an “amazing gourmand”, and that they had “a lot to talk about”.
- She admired the Fourth Doctor’s hair and hat, and discovered he held a passion for scarves, having a whole room of the TARDIS dedicated to his collection of at least fourteen scarves.
- She noticed the Fifth Doctor’s “sweet but strangely short-tempered” personality, as well as his obsession with the Eye of Orion, which she was misled to believe was a nightclub.
- She did not like the Sixth Doctor as much, considering his abrasive personality and appearance to be like a clown put through a woodchipper; she also believed his hair was an attempt to copy her own, resulting from her conversations with the Third Doctor. However, when they met again at Golden Futures, the two would get along very well and (from the Doctor’s perspective) begin their courtship before she wiped his memory of her once again. (World Enough and Time)
- She found the Seventh Doctor “surprisingly Scottish” who liked to think big, and wished to throw his jumper into a supernova.
River loved the very elegant and cultured style of the TARDIS console room that the Eighth Doctor used, though found his style of velvet and frills “so passé”.
- She accidentally set the Ninth Doctor off after mentioning the Time War and learned very quickly it was a bad idea to discuss it at all; she otherwise took note of his defining ears, accent, and leather jacket. (The Eternity Clock)Other events
- River claimed to have dated androids (Silence in the Library) and a Nestene duplicate. (The Big Bang) She had at least two wives. (The Husbands of River Song)
- River claimed to have escaped the Bloody Tower and the private boudoir of the Marquis de Sade. (The Sonomancer)
- River sent her mother a tube of hallucinogenic lipstick for Mother’s Day. (The Broken Man)
- At some point, River Song and Kate Stewart were photographed together. (The Day of the Doctor)
- River once encountered Zygons and taunted them by saying, “What’s up, suckers?” (The Eternity Clock)
- River indicated that she stole the TARDIS many times and returned it before the Doctor ever noticed. (The Husbands of River Song)
- River had at one point been transporting dragon eggs on the Starship Harmony and Redemption when there had been some trouble with them in the baggage hold. The staff at the Harmony and Redemption remembered this for her future visit and installed a deadlock seal. (The Husbands of River Song)Later references The Tenth Doctor remembered her death in the Library when Davros asked him how many people had died in his name. (Journey’s End)A request was made in the 51st century for Professor Song to be loaned out from Stormcage, but the Papal Mainframe denied it. Later, the Twelfth Doctor saw River’s face alongside many others after he was hit with chronon energy. (Big Bang Generation)During the Siege of Trenzalore, Tasha Lem noted how one of the Silence’s attempts to keep the Doctor from reaching Trenzalore was to engineer a psychopath to kill him. The Doctor tells Tasha he never would’ve made it to Trenzalore without River’s help over the years and realises that the Silence’s efforts to stop him from reaching Trenzalore, led him there. (The Time of the Doctor)
After their night on Darillium, the Twelfth Doctor is shown to be greatly affected by River’s death and “glues” Nardole’s head back on so he won’t be alone without a companion. Nardole later tells Grant and Lucy Fletcher about River and how upset her death has made the Doctor, but Nardole promises them that he will makes sure the Doctor is alright. (The Return of Doctor Mysterio)
River and Susan
The Twelfth Doctor kept a framed photograph of River on his desk in his study during the years he spent as a lecturer at St Luke’s University, along with a picture of his granddaughter Susan Foreman. (The Pilot)
Missy referenced the Twelfth Doctor’s “domestic bliss” on Darillium, claiming to have heard about it from the Daleks. When she asked what happened and the Doctor didn’t answer, she gave him her condolences. Later, Nardole encouraged the Doctor to save Missy by bringing him River’s diary and quoting from it. (Extremis)
During his impending regeneration, the Twelfth Doctor remembered River calling his name, alongside other recent companions. (The Doctor Falls) He later quoted her words and her use of spoilers. Their wedding ring, which the Twelfth Doctor wore, fell to the floor after he regenerated into his next incarnation, lost as the console room subsequently exploded. (Twice Upon a Time)
Four Doctors River happily Married
A Dalek continuity bomb revealed to the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors an alternate timeline where River refused to kill the Doctor at Lake Silencio and instead of choosing to save reality, the Eleventh Doctor and River lived as husband and wife, thus condemning the universe. (Four Doctors)
River received five master’s degrees from the Sorbonne, each in an alternate timeline. (The Sonomancer)
In her first incarnation as the “little girl”, Melody was shy, innocent and terrified of the “monsters” who had trapped her in the spacesuit. (The Impossible Astronaut)
Her second incarnation, “Mels”, was sassy, often in trouble and chased by police just before her regeneration. She resented the Doctor and blamed him for historical disasters, but wanted to marry him. She was quite reckless and daring, stealing vehicles to go on joyrides. Along with her rebellious behaviour, she had a dangerous curiosity that led her to fire off a gun in the Doctor’s TARDIS to test out if it had a temporal grace blocking the use of firearms, which was a bluff. Her bullet pierced the time rotor and sent the TARDIS spinning out of control with a great volume of toxic gas pouring out of the hole it made in the damaged casing. Mels also liked to use the phrase “penny in the air…and the penny drops”, when people around her were slow on the uptake to realise something that she clearly understood, then finally became aware of the truth. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
In her last incarnation, River was very strong-willed; though brainwashed and raised to kill him, she decided the Doctor was “worth it” and saved his life, giving up all her regenerations to do so. (Let’s Kill Hitler) She resisted the upgraded astronaut suit and refused to kill him, heedless of the consequences. (The Wedding of River Song)
River was flirtatious and cheeky like her mother, Amy. Like her father, Rory, she was stubborn, responsible and fiercely compassionate. She enjoyed showing off for the Doctor. She teased him and liked using the word “spoilers” whenever the subject turned to the Doctor’s future. This began when the Doctor assigned her to document their adventures in the TARDIS diary. She adopted the word from the Doctor. He, however, used the word with Donna before he met River, establishing that not only he did not learn it from her, he foreshadowed her saying it to him when he met her. (Silence in the Library, Last Night) She kept her diary from him (Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead) and hid that his death at Lake Silencio was a hoax from everyone except her parents, waiting until the time was right to confide the real fate of the Doctor, without altering the course of a fixed point in time. River visited Amy and Rory after they found out that she was their daughter. (The Wedding of River Song) As she neared Darillium and their adventures were coming to an end, River questioned the Doctor openly on her future, stating that she knew he was the kind of man who would give her a diary with the right amount of pages for her use, thus knowing when it was nearly full, their adventures were at an end. (The Husbands of River Song)
As soon as Amy and Rory knew they were her parents, she happily stopped calling them by their first names and called them Mother and Dad. She only used their given names when referring to them with a third person such as the Doctor. (Let’s Kill Hitler, The Wedding of River Song, The Angels Take Manhattan) She also learned a lot from her parents. For example, when she was younger, she would back off from the Doctor’s verbal onslaughts until Amy’s support and push taught her to not back down. (The Wedding of River Song, The Impossible Astronaut, The Angels Take Manhattan)
River seemed at ease with being kept in prison much of her life for a crime she didn’t commit and often flirted with the guards or made jokes about the facility, even once stating that she was “breaking in not out” which seemed to be a subtle taunt to the security of what was supposed to be an extremely secure prison. (Flesh and Stone, A Good Man Goes to War) She was able to escape from prison “as though the walls aren’t there” according to the Doctor. (First Night) Nevertheless, she did work towards earning a pardon, eventually succeeding when the Doctor deleted records of himself from the universe. (Flesh and Stone, The Time of Angels, The Angels Take Manhattan) She later stated she had “a significant history of escaping”. (The Husbands of River Song)
River loved flirting with people and was constantly hitting on the Doctor, although she also had a tendency to flirt with other people such as prison guards and Hitler’s soldiers. She often greeted the Doctor with the words “Hello Sweetie”. (Silence in the Library, Flesh and Stone, The Pandorica Opens, Let’s Kill Hitler, The Wedding of River Song) She was also rather vain, believing that her cleavage “could fell an ox at twenty feet”. (The Angels Take Manhattan)
River was very confident in her abilities and she was very hard to intimidate, showing no fear when faced with the Weeping Angels, the Silence or the Vashta Nerada. She was also very good at hiding her emotions, and didn’t like to show weakness. She was devastated when her parents were stolen by a Weeping Angel but unlike the Doctor she encouraged Amy to go to be with Rory and didn’t break down after the Angel transported Amy away, showing a far greater level of self-control than her husband, and watching the Weeping Angel so it could not attack them while the Doctor looked away. (The Angels Take Manhattan)
River was deeply in love with the Doctor, even though she had been raised to kill him. She teased Madame Kovarian about the mistake she made by kidnapping her since Kovarian was partially responsible for her falling in love with the Doctor in the first place. She stated at one point she didn’t fear death but rather meeting a version of the Doctor who didn’t know her at all. In this conversation, she told Rory that she lived for her adventures with the Doctor, even ones who don’t know they are romantically involved, but felt that meeting a Doctor who doesn’t know her yet would kill her. (The Impossible Astronaut) In her younger years, River was rather selfish since she was willing to sacrifice the entire universe in order to protect the Doctor. (The Wedding of River Song) However, as she matured she grew into a much more selfless person and showed a willingness to sacrifice herself, eventually giving her life to save the Tenth Doctor. (Forest of the Dead, The Time of Angels) When the Twelfth Doctor learnt of all her other marriages, he asked River, who had no idea who he was, about her marriage to him. She indicated that she just found him very useful sometimes. However, when confronted by Flemming, she revealed that she really did love the Doctor and never denied it. However, she believed he didn’t love her in return which was confirmed by a scan conducted by King Hydroflax’s body. River described loving the Doctor as like loving the stars: “you don’t expect a sunset to admire you back.” However, she revealed she was fine with this and believed the Doctor was above falling in love with people. She also believed that if she were in danger, the Doctor wasn’t stupid, sentimental or in love enough with her to be in danger with her. When River realised she just said that in front of the Doctor, she got emotional and claimed she was just buying time. (The Husbands of River Song)
River learned a hard lesson when she first met Clara Oswald. Surprised to meet the newest companion since her and her parents’ deaths, she asked if the Doctor had talked about her. She was very hurt when Clara told her the Doctor had never talked about River, nor said he had a wife at all. He had only mentioned that he had known a Professor Song. The Doctor never came to say goodbye to her or rescued her beloved diary from the Library on the day it was safe from the Vashta Nerada. She became a guide and helped Clara when the Doctor went to the Field of Trenzalore, even going as far as revealing some secrets of how she came to be. She saved Clara, the Doctor, and everyone else from the Whispermen by saying the Doctor’s real name, first muting her connection with Clara so this secret couldn’t be heard by anyone except the TARDIS. (The Name of the Doctor)
River shared the Doctor’s habit of avoiding answering a question by answering a previous question. Like her mother, she was able to follow the Eleventh Doctor’s train of thought so well that she could explain it to others. (The Time of Angels)
River had varying opinions of the Doctor’s earlier selves. She didn’t like the First, Second, and Sixth Doctors; she got along with the Third exceptionally well, and she remained somewhat neutral about the Fourth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, just voicing her shock at some of the traits they had, and her admiration of the latter’s TARDIS. She wrote on the Fifth Doctor’s short temper, as well as a note to herself to avoid setting the Ninth Doctor off about the Time War, suggesting arguments had ensued between her and these incarnations; she otherwise only elaborated on their traits. (The Eternity Clock) She had mistaken the Tenth Doctor as her husband upon meeting him. (Silence in the Library)
While a younger River liked guns and was seen to carry them often, (The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon) her older selves lacked this tendency. (The Angels Take Manhattan, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, The Husbands of River Song)
River once made fun of the Doctor for using his sonic screwdriver in battle, (Day of the Moon) but apparently revised her opinion on this as she later used her own sonic trowel against King Hydroflax’s guards and robotic body. (The Husbands of River Song)
Skills and abilities
Melody Pond was conceived in the TARDIS while it was travelling through the Time Vortex. This gave her some Time Lord DNA and because of this and the experiments of the Silence, she was able to regenerate, despite the fact that both of her parents were human. (A Good Man Goes to War) In her final incarnation, River showed that she had enough control over regeneration to be able to use it to attack Hitler’s soldiers. She was also able to use her remaining regeneration energy to bring the Doctor back to life after she poisoned him, although she had to use up all of her remaining regenerations in order to do so. (Let’s Kill Hitler) She had an extremely keen sense of smell enabling her to detect the presence of living or dead bodies (The Boundless Sea) and a respiratory bypass system, but had little experience with using it. She was also able to sense time shifts. (I Went to a Marvellous Party) River also had two hearts. (The Eye of the Storm, Songs of Love)
River was known as “the child of the TARDIS” and the time machine had taken a particular liking to her and taught her how to fly her. River was a very fast learner, becoming skilled at flying the TARDIS in a remarkably short time and she was able to control the time machine even more proficiently than the Doctor, despite the fact that the Doctor had been flying the TARDIS for centuries. (The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut, Let’s Kill Hitler) She indicated at one point she was so good at it, she stole and returned the TARDIS multiple times before the Doctor even noticed it was gone. (The Husbands of River Song)
River also seemed to be well versed in temporal theory and advanced sciences, like Jack Harkness and the Doctor himself. In addition to her ability to fix, operate, and maintain the Doctor’s TARDIS, she was proficient with her scanner (The Time of Angels, The Pandorica Opens, The Impossible Astronaut) and was able to build a timey-wimey distress beacon. (The Wedding of River Song) She was also able to read and write Old High Gallifreyan (The Time of Angels) and without benefit of the TARDIS Translation circuit she inscribed the oldest graffiti in the universe on Planet One. (The Pandorica Opens) Additionally, River spoke French. (The Boundless Sea)
In addition to piloting the TARDIS, River often used a vortex manipulator and was able to use it to get wherever she needed to be. She was able to escape from Stormcage easily, even without the Doctor coming to pick her up. (The Pandorica Opens, The Impossible Astronaut, A Good Man Goes to War, First Night, Last Night) She sometimes made impressive entrances whilst using the Vortex manipulator, such as when she made a bright flash of light appear when she teleported to Demons Run. (The Pandorica Opens, A Good Man Goes to War) She was able to modify it someway. (The Sonomancer) However, in her later life she seemed to abandon use of the vortex manipulator, preferring to steal the TARDIS and return it before the Doctor noticed it missing. She specifically stated she needed the TARDIS to reach the Harmony and Redemption before its destruction rather than using her vortex manipulator as she would’ve in the past. (The Husbands of River Song)
River Song proved able to achieve results in the academic field, since she gained a doctorate and a tenure in archaeology (Silence in the Library, Closing Time) and five master’s degrees from the Sorbonne. (The Sonomancer)
River was also incredibly strong and in her first incarnation she was able to force her way out of the spacesuit that had been holding her prisoner. Even when she was forced back inside the spacesuit in her last incarnation, she drained the energy from the weapon intended to kill the Doctor, despite saying that the spacesuit was in control. (The Impossible Astronaut, The Wedding of River Song) In her second incarnation she demonstrated her superhuman strength when she fought with Krampus’ minions. (Imaginary Enemies)
River was incredibly good at escaping. She made a habit of escaping Stormcage to the point that the guards were aware of her multiple escapes but were unsuccessful at stopping them. In one instance, upon her return, River called the guards to taunt them that she was back. (The Pandorica Opens, Day of the Moon, A Good Man Goes to War) Indeed, she only remained locked in prison as she chose to remain there to further the deception that she killed the Doctor. (The Wedding of River Song) She stated that she had “a significant history” of escaping. (The Husbands of River Song, The Sonomancer)
River was also extremely skilled with a gun, being able to shoot the Doctor’s fez which Amy threw in the air and shot a Dalek right through its eye stalk. (The Big Bang) and later shot the Doctor’s stetson clean off his head without harming him and killed a whole group of Silents in order to protect her family. She was also able to spin her gun and shoot down a surviving Silent without even looking at it, despite their demonstrated ability to erase themselves from her memory when she wasn’t looking at them, suggesting she was still able to perceive either it or the other dead Silents in the room, or used her father’s reaction to the Silent he could see behind her. (The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon) She could also wield a range of guns, from pistols and revolvers to sub-machine guns. (Let’s Kill Hitler) Despite being known for her guns, River didn’t carry one at all later in her life. (First Night, Last Night, The Angels Take Manhattan) When conning King Hydroflax, River instead used her sonic trowel as a weapon and didn’t seem to be carrying an actual weapon as a result. (The Husbands of River Song)
Behind the scenes
When River lived as Mels, she used the surname Zucker. (Monster Invasion, The Brilliant Book 2012, The Doctor: His Lives and Times)
- At age “ten”, Mels wrote that she had an imaginary friend who told her to kill people. (The Doctor: His Lives and Times)
In the production notes of Doctor Who Magazine issue 441, Steven Moffat said that River and the Doctor’s picnic at Asgard was with the Tenth Doctor. Jenny Colgan changed this to the Eleventh Doctor for her short story Picnic at Asgard with Moffat’s permission.
- In the production notes of issue 482, Moffat suggested that River had been married 428 times, one for each gender. One of these was implied to be with Bernice Summerfield, a notion supported by Paul Cornell.  In The Husbands of River Song, River mentions her “second wife”, further suggesting that she was bisexual.
- In an interview for a short video about the Eleventh Doctor’s companions, Alex Kingston said River Song has encountered many incarnations of the Doctor and he “sends her into his past, where he knows he needs her expertise”. Arthur Darvill said Kingston had been told more than anyone else about who River really is.
- The conversation at the end of The Doctor’s Wife implies River was conceived on a bunk bed. When asked about this on Twitter, Steven Moffat and Neil Gaiman independently and simultaneously acknowledged this, joking about the possibility of the ladder. They later agreed they had accidentally made this canon by agreeing on it. Steven Moffat later deleted his Twitter account and with it his portions of the conversation, though screencaptures of his side of the comments still exist online.
- To date, River has been played by six different actors (a set of twins played Baby Melody), the most to portray a single companion on-screen.
- River Song is the second Time Lord to change skin colour via regeneration on-screen, after K’anpo Rimpoche, whose second actor, Kevin Lindsay, was made up to look Asian. The actresses who played her in her Melody Pond and River Song incarnations were white. Both of Mels’ actresses were black. In Death of the Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor noted that his racial characteristics were not limited to white; he “can be anything”. Rassilon has been portrayed by white actors Richard Mathews and Timothy Dalton on-screen, while black actor Don Warrington was Rassilon’s voice actor and cover-art model in Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories. One of the incarnations that Romana tried out in between her Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward incarnations had silver skin. (Destiny of the Daleks)
- In Let’s Kill Hitler, River says she will gradually bring down the age of her body a little “just to freak people out”, referring to the fact that a younger Alex Kingston has played later versions of River.
- A mistake in The Angels Take Manhattan is that when the Doctor is reading River’s book, a line states her eyes are blue. Alex Kingston’s eye colour is green.
According to Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale, the production team had originally sought to cast actress Kate Winslet in the role of River. Russell T Davies had worked with Winslet on his 1991 BBC teen drama Dark Season.
- Gary Russell revealed in the endnote of Big Bang Generation that he intended to use River instead of Bernice Summerfield, but Steven Moffat declined permission and suggested Benny instead.
- As production on the 2012 video game The Eternity Clock game predates the War Doctor’s debut in the 2013 television story The Name of the Doctor, the entries in River’s diary involving past incarnations of the Doctor do not refer to him. Following the broadcast of The Name of the Doctor, in the 2015 television story The Husbands of River Song, it is revealed that River has met the War Doctor as well when his face is included among the photos of the Doctor she owns.
- River is the only companion in the revived series to have more than one episode with her name in the title: The Wedding of River Song and The Husbands of River Song.
- River was dubbed in Spanish by Amparo Bravo, in Italian by Chiara Colizzi, and in German by Peggy Sander. Her “Mels” incarnation was dubbed in German by Anna Grisebach.
- Sarah Dollard revealed in a scene from Thin Ice originally had the Doctor tell Bill that he had to move a piano under the bridge the last time he was at the Frost Fair as a romantic gesture for his wife, but the scene was cut. She posted the excerpt from the script to her official Tumblr account
- According the Doctor Who The Official Annual 2018, which is not accepted as a valid source for in-universe articles on this wiki, the Doctor and River had a home on Darillium during their final night; their address was “Flat 40, Singing Towers View, Darillium”.