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All Along the Watchtower

Song: All Along the Watchtower
Artist: Bob Dylan
Fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood
Links: YouTube

Lyrics:
"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth"

"No reason to get excited," the thief he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.


Why?
I had this song on repeat as I was writing some fic, and I started hearing it as a conversation between the Doctor and Jack Harkness, with Jack as the Thief and the Doctor as the Joker. Jack works as the Thief since he was a con man at one time, and we know he stole at least one ship. The Doctor as the Joker... jester... the Doctor has always been a trickster character - "a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior" – a character who can shine a light on the problems and oddities of a culture because he works from outside of it.

But lately, the Doctor has been becoming weary. Maybe since the Time War, maybe since losing Rose, or the Master, or all his companions one after the other, but he just does not seem like a man with a firm grip on his joie de vivre, despite his adventure-seeking. He's lived a long time, he's seen a lot of senseless destruction, maybe he's even caused some of it. (There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief / ...None of them along the line know what any of it is worth)

They've both seen governments good and bad rise and fall, they've helped them and fought them (All along the watchtower, princes kept the view) and along the way they've lost friends and co-workers (While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too).

So Jack is uniquely qualified to understand these things the Doctor may be struggling with. He's also very long lived (by one way of reckoning, he may be older than the Doctor), has seen and been through a lot, but surprisingly, I think he's dealing with it in a more healthy way at this point. He's the only one who could even think of giving the Doctor advice. (There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke / But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate) He knows the Doctor will not willingly open up (So let us not talk falsely now), but he'll pursue it anyway because it's important – the Doctor regenerates, or there's another apocalypse on the way (the hour is getting late).

For me, the last stanza represents the dangers (monsters - the wildcat, the wind) that are always looming for them both, and the riders... because my brain is a little twisted, the riders approaching might be other versions of the Doctor and Jack themselves. Time travel being the wacky thing that it is.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
aeron_lanart
May. 26th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)
I've never thought of this as an obvious Whoniverse song, but you know what? You're damn right! And yes, both Jack and the Doctor are terribly appropriate for those roles.

Thanks for sharing!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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