The Order of the Silence
Guest contributor Mark M examines the religious order of the Silence.
First off, the Silence is a religious order, composed mainly of the species known as the Silents as seen throughout the Series 6 story arc. When fans talk about the Silence it is usually in relevance to these creatures as opposed to the religious order, however the purpose of this article is to analyse the Silence as a religious order and speculate a bit on how it is structured.
This, I believe, are the creatures we know as the Silents. In all religions in the world, the most common entities are the congregation or worshipers; the assumption is usually these are all equal. This corresponds with what we have seen of the Silents, they have no rank structure and appear to be very numerous; controlling all of earth and who knows who many other planets (if any at all). These guys are fascinating creatures, the concept behind them is complete genius, but I can’t help but feel some of their potential has been wasted (I’ll get to that later).
A big problem with the Silents however is that they are outwitted by the Doctor and slaughtered by humanity. In fact we haven’t seen them featured at all after the events of Day of the Moon. You may wonder as to the validity of this claim given that the creatures appeared in later episodes? In The Wedding of River Song, all of reality is happening at once, including the moon landing, so the Silents haven’t given their “you should kill us all on sight” order yet, so it is perfectly reasonable for their inclusion. DISCLAIMER: Given the species ability to time travel it is impossible to tell if the lone Silent in The Impossible Astronaut and the ones from Closing Time were post Day of the Moon.
She is by far the hardest to assign a role to as throughout the episodes she displayed leadership skills and appeared to control the plan to condition River Song; this would seem to suggest that she was a member of the ministry of the religious order and given responsibility. I don’t feel as though she had enough screen time with the Silents to assess their reaction to her. In the ending scene from Closing Time they appeared to obey her, yet in The Wedding of River Song they betrayed and killed her. This would suggest one of two things, either she was their puppet and held no real power or they killed her because she had been captured.
The army in “A Good Man Goes to War”
This term includes the clerics of the church along with the Order of the Headless. Based on the events of the episode it is quite apparent that they aren’t part of the religious order known as the Silence. With the clerics it is simply another instance of the Silents using their powers to control a situation, manipulating an army to do their will. As for the Headless Monks, it is stated in the episode that they (the clerics) have allied themselves with the Headless Monks
All religions have a core belief weather that is in a god, creationism or anything else for that matter. The Silence believe that when the universe’s oldest question (the name of the Doctor) is answered, that silence will (or must) fall on the universe. the Silence thus tasked themselves with preventing the question from being answered, by eliminating all knowledge related to the answer.
This is why I think the Silence have the potential to be the good guys, by destroying the Doctor, they are saving the lives of everyone in the universe, at the cost of the Doctor and those he saves.
It is highly probable they even tried to get away without killing the Doctor, by forming the alliance to place the Doctor in the Pandorica while they destroyed his ship/his tomb: no TARDIS equals no Trenzalore.
It hasn’t even been confirmed that the Silence have a leader but I think they do. I know many fans will disagree with me, but hear me out: this is the perfect opportunity for Moffat to bring things to full-circle, if you like.
Going back to the idea of the Silence as the good guys, saving the universe at a cost, you could even say “what they did, they did in the name of peace and sanity” to save the universe and their leader takes the fall? I think you see what I am getting at.
What they could have been ?
Just a short conclusion to the article, I promised you earlier I would tell you why I think the Silence have wasted potential, personally I feel their story arc has tied them down a bit. I feel it would have been much better to show them the whole way through a series influencing everything the Doctor encountered during that series leading him into a trap, exploit the Doctor’s ability to save the day and use it as their way in, use their abilities to exile him from earth, make him a hunted man, anything is possible, if done correctly, heck they even had the potential to become one of the most iconic who villains ever.
I sincerely hope we see them again, an episode which would suit them perfectly would be a historical episode (e.g. they influence Hitler leading to the events of WW2) or a dark episode like “Hide”.
Thanks for reading my article and feel free to share any ideas you may have on the leader of the Silence, if you disagree with anything, feel free to correct me and I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts on the matter.