Name: The Carrionites; specific Carrionites faced by The Doctor were known as Lillith, Doomfinger and Bloodtide
Format: Television show
Time of Origin: Technically the Howling Void outside of reality, but they attempted to attack Earth in 1597.
Appearances: “The Shakespeare Code”
Doctors: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Martha Jones
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A particularly interesting detail to note about the Carrionites – who naturally resemble ravens, although they can assume a humanoid form through effort – is the fact that they are essentially a race of witches and magic-users, relying on a magic control of words and commands in order to influence the world around them (Possibly a lexical version of the mathematical block transfer computations used by the Logopolitans (“Logopolis”)).
Aside from flight and mental manipulation, they can also use items acquired from individuals, such as hair or nails, to manipulate the bodies of others by attaching the acquired items to poppets, The Doctor comparing such a feat to DNA replication modules. However, their magic can be weakened by temporal anomalies – to the extent that a spell that would have killed humans in the present only rendered Martha Jones unconscious due to her being out of sync with the world around her -, and The Doctor’s mental barriers were so powerful that they could not determine his true name to use their magic against him.
Having been banished to the Deep Darkness by the Eternals (“Enlightenment”) when their manipulation of reality threatened the fabric of the universe, the Carrionites were eventually drawn to Earth due to Shakespeare’s grief over the death of his son, the pain of a genius such as Shakespeare creating a minor rift that three of their number – identified as Lillith, Doomfinger and Bloodtide, with Lillith as their leader and human representative – were able to use to escape their prison.
Making contact with architect Peter Streete, the Carrionites were able to dictate the design of the Globe Theatre to him, Streete giving it its distinctive fourteen sides so that it could serve as a ‘collector’ of Carrionite energy when the proper words were spoken, the fourteen sides representing the fourteen planets in their system. To this end, the Carrionites influenced Shakespeare’s attempt to write his latest play, Love’s Labours Won, so that the play’s concluding words would serve as part of a ‘spell’ that would open the door to the Howling Void and allow the rest of their race to escape.
However, the Carrionites’ plans were derailed when the Tenth Doctor and his new companion Martha Jones arrived in London just as they were about to put their plan into action, the TARDIS travellers making contact with Shakespeare after they witnessed him announcing that he would show Love’s Labours Won the following night despite The Doctor’s knowledge that it was Shakespeare’s lost play. Having witnessed Lynley, the Master of the Revels, being killed when Lillith ‘drowned’ him using a Carrionite poppet, The Doctor realised that there was more going on here than the obvious, making mental contact with Streete to learn what had happened to him before a confrontation with a Carrionite filled in the remaining blanks.
Although The Doctor and Martha asked Shakespeare to stop the play, he was unable to halt the production before the final act, the last words of the play being a ‘spell’ that could open a rift to the realm of the Carrionites and allow the rest of their race to reach Earth;
The light of Shadmoch’s
Hollow moon doth shine
Onto a point in space betwixt
Dravidian Shores Linear 5930167.02
And strikes the fulsome grove
Of rexel 4 co-radiating crystal activate
Despite the rift being opened, The Doctor and Martha were able to get back to the Globe before it could be completed – the Carrionites’ attempt to kill The Doctor using a poppet having failed as their attempt to ‘stab’ him merely temporarily stopped one heart -, The Doctor subsequently convincing Shakespeare to use his genius to write a second sonnet to seal the Carrionites away;
Close up this din of hateful decay,
Decomposition of your witches’ plot!
You thieve my brains, consider me your toy,
My doting doctor tells me I am not!
Foul Carrionite specters, cease your show,
Between the points 761290
Banished like a tinker’s cuss,
I say to thee, Expelliarmus!
(The last being the contribution of Martha Jones, inspired by Harry Potter, when Shakespeare couldn’t think of another suitable word). With this spell, the Carrionites were trapped in a crystal ball that Lillith had been using to generate the portal, The Doctor subsequently keeping the ball in the TARDIS while recommending that Shakespeare dispose of other copies of Love’s Labours Won to prevent the Carrionites coming back through any residual magic that might be in the text.