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Headscratchers / Doctor Strange (2016)

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  • Ahem. Why the bloody hell do the warnings come after the spells!? That's a sure-fire way to cause some serious accidents. Strange nearly opens a portal to the Dark Dimension and/or summons Dormammu because he doesn't know that's what the spell does! All I can imagine is that it's a security measure meant for the exact purpose it's put to in the film; if someone's too eager for power to actually read the whole thing and just casts the spell, they get Hoist by Their Own Petard. Which of course means that someone just non-maliciously studying magic is likely to kill themselves if not make some big messes in the process of killing themselves before they figure that out. Though the curriculum at Kamar-Taj is implied to be about that lethal, given how the Ancient One strands Strange on Mount Everest because he can't quite grasp how to use his Sling Ring.note 
    • Both examples of this come out of the same book, which is one of the personal spell books of the effing Sorcerer Supreme. Presumably, by the time a student (or even a Master!) is trusted enough to read those, they know where the warnings are. Strange and Kaecilius are just too arrogant to take the time to read the whole thing. Any sorcerer who's not such a Smug Snake would have read the entire book and know about the dangers.
    • It's possible these are translations/transcriptions of previous books that were too old to be handled, so the Ancient One/SS could have been testing/handling this stuff as they wrote/re-wrote and realized that if anybody OTHER than a Sorcerer Supreme tried this they'd get messed the warnings came later to the effect "Well that was messed up, don't do this K?"
    • Think of it like those Communications tests in high school. You know, the ones that say:
      1) Read all instructions first.
      2-60) Do a bunch of random stupid stuff.
      61) Ignore instructions 2-60.
    • To be fair, no one should be trying to bend reality to their whims without reading the whole thing first. The fact Kaecilius and Strange are irresponsible enough to even try shows their huge ignorance.
    • One thing I learned about cooking is, read the whole recipe before going into the kitchen. Same principle.
    • Wong notes that there is no forbidden knowledge in Kamar-Taj, only forbidden practices; people are free to read the entire spell book as long as they don't perform any of the rituals. The mindset probably is that if you were stupid enough to perform a ritual you weren't supposed to cast in the first place without reading the warnings, you deserve whatever you had coming.
    • That sounds like a stupid mentality when that approach can break natural laws or be corrupted by a demon. They can all be sent back to the Stone age because Sorcerers are too lazy and arrogant to foolproof the rituals about it? Mordo is right to leave the place if someone blowing up the building is treated as "that idiot got it coming and so does everyone caught in the blast".
    • Another thing to consider is that even being able to attempt the spells in that book is regarded as extremely unusual. Nobody worries about people not reading the warning because people being able to decipher the spells at all is so rare.
    • Note that the book in question is from the Ancient One's personal collection, hence could be more of a teaching manual than a grimoire. When we see the Ancient One instructing Strange, she demonstrates the technique first, then tells Strange about how it's intended to be used. The warnings in her books might not be there to warn a book's reader about inherent dangers of their contents - the Ancient One already knows the down sides to all those spells - but a reminder to herself, when she consults her teaching manuals, to recount the relevant warnings as part of every post-demonstration lecture.
    • Also, practically speaking, it can be hard to understand the warnings if you don't know the spell's mechanics. Sure, there should be a summary of potential problems, but being told "don't cross your fingers during step 7 or the world will explode" kinda requires you to understand what "step 7" is.
    • Another thing to consider is that Wong is there. He’s shown to be one of the most skilled sorcerers in Kamar-Taj as its librarian. Most likely, part of his job description is to stop people from casting those spells before things get any worse, which is exactly what happened when Strange tried it in the library. (And Kaecilius ambushed and killed Wong’s predecessor, who most certainly would’ve otherwise tried to stop Kaecilius.)
    • Oh, and one more possibility: Perhaps the very beginning of the books say that the warnings come after the spells. Both Strange and Kaecilius skipped right to the middle. There might be an assumption that anyone who is seriously considering using the spells as written in the book will start reading from page 1.
    • That sounds like the sorcerers are begging for someone to break the whole place. "It's fine we have one librarian who has his own downtime and with chance no one who wants to use super cool magic will forget to read the warning first". In other movies there would have been so many mummies awaken right now. Though again, one can probably count on one hand the number of people in the world even remotely capable of using the most dangerous spells in the books (look how long it takes Kaecilius to decode the ritual).
    • Advanced spell books probably aren't written with the same mentality of a western company trying to avoid potential lawsuits; if you're capable of reading, understanding, and utilizing complex magic, it's probably assumed you already know that it's dangerous or else are too unskilled to make use of it. Kaecilius was taught about the dangers of certain magic but chose to ignore or not believe the warnings, while Strange is so gifted he can use time magic while still learning the basics of the craft.
    • So they are written with the mentality that no one will abuse magic? Assuming the person is smart enough to use the magic is also wise enough to not want to temper with time before knowing all the risks is like giving a rifle to someone who knows how to pull the trigger and reload but thinks he can shoots people's hats off in the street with it. A book that can break reality should have more protection than a told you so warning at the end.
    • Or maybe the warnings are given after the spells on purpose, to ensure that arrogant asshats like Kaecilius will botch things up if they try to steal knowledge they're not ready for. At a minimum, it'll make it easier for more-prudent practitioners to take such upstarts down; in extreme cases, they'll kill themselves through their ignorance and thus eliminate the threat of their own incompetence.
    • They should absolutely have more protection, but the OP was about where the warnings for the spells are. Warnings aren't going to do much for sorcerers like Kaecilius, who is both talented enough to use the spells and arrogant enough to disbelieve any warning he's given.
    • Another thing to consider. Western books are written to be read left to right, however some other languages are read right to left.
    • That makes no sense at all as an argument here. If it was written right to left, then the whole thing would be right to left. Reading it backward would not just make the warnings come later, it would render the whole thing an incoherent mess.
  • The warnings after the spells keeps magic from the reckless, impatient or foolish; but it just means any bad guy just has to be smart and patient enough to wield the magic. It's not a bad precaution, just a flawed one.
  • Here's a thought: Most people looking at it see that it was supposed to be a spell book of already existing knowledge. What about the idea that it was written as the writer went? "Ok, came up with this neat ritual idea, let's see how it works. Let me write this down. Ok, let's try it.... Ok that wasn't such a good idea. Don't do this, Here's the kind of bad things that might happen."
  • We never do see the beginning of that book. For all we know, similar warnings could appear at the beginning and the end. Both Strange and Kaecilius skipped ahead to the spells, so never bothered read all the way through the prologue or the epilogue.

    Hippocratic Oath 

  • Strange's remembering his Hippocratic oath is kind of delayed. Killing that man in astral projection I can understand he had to think quick and had no choice but the cape had to restrain him a bunch of times to not grab an ax and use it with clear murderous intent, he had time and something giving him another solution than murder. Being in a fight or flight mode is one thing but after five tugs of magic cape telling you to not grab a lethal weapon that feels less like instinct and more he wanted to use the ax.
    • In the heat of the battle, an ax probably looks more tempting than random piece of metal. Even for someone who doesn't like killing.
    • Going once is in the heat, twice is because you're still in shock, four times and struggling with the cape that's not heat of battle he had time to run away if he really wanted to.
    • Strange had no idea what the man-trap on the wall was. An expert sorcerer and fighter was trying to kill him, so he intended to go for the thing that he knew could save his life until the Cloak of Levitation convinced him otherwise. If he had hacked Kaecilius to death with the ax, he'd likely have had an even more visceral reaction of self-disgust.
    • OK, even I figured out from the first tug that the cape wanted him to do something with the thingy on the left wall. But I had no clue whatsoever what it was, or how to use it. Strange, in the heat of battle, had even less of a chance. Lucky him that the object sort of just self-deploys perfectly, but how could he have known what it was, what it did, or how it worked?
    • No but he knows what an ax does, kill and maim, that he persists going for it instead of running away (it took 30 seconds until Kaecilius caught up to him so it's less heat of battle and more I want to fight with an ax instead of running away or do what the cape tells me to do) his Hippocratic Oath suddenly mattering when he wanted to fend Kaecilius off with an ax is kind of silly.
    • You know what Strange valued even more than the Hippocratic oath? Not dying. He knows how an ax can help him not die. He does not know how a pile of scrap metal will. Also, when someone who is both capable and willing to kill you is temporarily slowed down for a few seconds, that does not remotely qualify as the time and place for Strange to be capable of calming down and thinking rationally. He is absolutely still in the heat of battle and full fight-or-flight mode.
    • After the third tug maybe running is better than getting an ax that clearly he can't reach, he is able to come up with a plan of sending someone in the desert via plane doors grappling to rewinding object in later scene that was even more tense but rational thought is gone when he has half a minute of a breather? Surgeon who was left on Everest to focus on opening a portal can't think in dangerous situation? He could have simply run if he didn't want to die but no apparently swinging a big ax is apparently the first instinct of someone who respects life and never used a weapon that wasn't shiny string. How about he focused on the Flight part of fight-or-flight?
      • Because, as any responsible self-defense instructor will teach you, humans do not have a "Fight or flight" instinct. Humans have a fight or freeze instinct. Strange was committed to the fight and seeking a weapon that would work. He was not freezing, which is the normal human response to mortal peril, or trying to run, which is the human response to fear (Fear is different than immediate danger. Fear requires the ability to rationally react to an impending state of danger. The fight/freeze response appears only when the danger has already materialized and cannot be escaped.)
    • Performing surgery or escaping from Everest is not the same as being thrown into a life-or-death battle with a murderer. Strange wasn't trying to run; he was trying to defend the Sanctum and himself (he didn't know where he was and didn't know if running would do any good given the opponents he was facing- as it happens, they chased him even when he did flee, AND when he was mortally wounded no less, so it likely wouldn't have saved him at all). As far as Strange is concerned, he and the Sanctum are under attack and he needs to defend himself, and all he knows about defending himself is "ax=weapon; weapon=defense". It could be that he simply wanted to threaten or at most incapacitate Kaecilius et al. with the ax rather than kill. Or, perhaps he knew even as he was going for the ax that he was about to break his Hippocratic Oath, but that doesn't mean he has to like it even if he felt forced into it at this point- in fact, he seems angrier less that he had to kill someone in this specific instance, more that he didn't know he would be in such a situation to begin with, and he had only just found out moments before the attack that defending the Earth (and thus, being in that kind of situation) was exactly what he was being trained to do. If homicidal madmen attack his hospital and he killed them in defense while a surgeon that would be one thing; what happened here was that he killed someone mere minutes after discovering that he has been training to be a soldier without his knowledge (he seemed to think he was more of a scholar-monk), and that is a bit different.
    • ^^ This, specifically the "weapon=defense" part. Strange wasn't necessarily going for the ax for the express intent of murdering Kaecilius, but since Kae seems to have a thing for his weird-warp-energy-sword-things, Strange was looking for something he could use to defend himself from that attack. Strange had clearly been getting some practical duel training, though how well that would stack up against whatever it was Kae was using is debatable, but Strange's spells hadn't been working all that well for him up to that point either. So it's grab a weapon and defend yourself time, and if he'd had to use the ax to fatally wound his opponent, he'd deal with that when the time came. Point is, he wasn't grabbing at the ax specifically with the intent of doing harm, and thus violating his oath.
    • Also, for all he knows, the ax might have some magical power to stun or paralyze an opponent rather than physically cut them to ribbons. Everything else on display in the Sanctum seems to be magical, and at least - unlike with the cup full of light - he can be reasonably hopeful that activating an ax's power won't require any procedure more elaborate than swinging it at the bad guy.
    • In addition, Strange was focused on that axe. He might not have even noticed the big elaborate metal thing on the opposite wall, and as far as he was concerned, his cape was tugging him away from the axe.
    • Also, there's the fact that the Cloak was kinda strangling him to stop him. Now, being restrained by a sentient piece of clothing is not something a person registers well when he's calm and knows it's friendly; Strange is already in fight-or-flight mode, and he's not yet friends with his Cloak. He thought this thing was on his side, but now it's stopping him from having a chance to defend himself against an opponent who clearly outclasses him! The clasps on it are right at the base of his neck, which means it pulling on him probably feels like a pair of hands inches from his throat. He's supposed to think in that situation? Nuh-uh. Brilliant surgeon he may be, but surgery generally doesn't put your life at risk. It's one thing to be empathetic and care if someone else lives or dies; it's another entirely to suddenly be confronted by your own mortality.
    • Strange was clearly willing to resort to killing if it meant saving his life, he just resented being put in the position to begin with. He followed The Ancient One to heal his hands, and wasn't clued in to the fact that he might have to dirty them by murdering cultists. His problem wasn't "I could never kill someone even if it meant saving my own life," but "Why the hell didn't you tell me violence was an inevitability, I never signed up for this, that isn't who I am."
    • All of the above is well and good, but it's probably worth pointing out that the Hippocratic Oath doesn't actually apply to situations like this and doesn't require one to be a pacifist. It's a code of ethics regarding the medical treatment of patients, the "first do no harm" bit is specifically talking about not doing harm to patients under your care. It's probably safe to say that fighting for your life against evil martial artist warlocks doesn't really fall within the realm of traditional medical care.
      • That's true as far as it goes, but a lot of medical professionals take "first do no harm" beyond the realm of just patient care. The kind of person capable of dedicating their life and career to healing their fellow human beings is not often also the kind of person capable of killing their fellow human beings without suffering some kind of psychological trauma.


  • How did Strange know that the defib shock would do any good against the guy he astrally fought? If the shock didn't kill the dude, what would've happened? Why did it kill the man but do nothing to Strange? Why was the man not just thrown through a wall, since they're astral forms?
    • Very simple: because it worked the first time. If something works once, then asking for more of something will usually make it work more. It's not rocket science.
    • He didn't know it would kill him he thought it would do like last time he was shocked and kick the guy back harder.
    • And what would that do for him in the fight? All it seemed to do the first round was disorient the man. He could just return after being thrown back.
    • Yes, disorienting someone during fight is actually a really good thing to do, why do you not want to do that? By doubling the voltage he can send him flying two floors down and have enough time to wake up in his physical body where the zealot can't do much.
    • Makes sense. But how then did it kill the guy instead of just throwing him far away?
    • Probably because Strange was grabbing him and Christine gave a shot that could have killed Strange's physical body (there was a big warning that appeared on the defib). Strange didn't know it would do that but apparently astral bodies can break from too much energy transfer. He just noticed that being defibrillated makes his astral form eject energy and thought it would knock the guy back to his body. No way the old books had a way to tell him how lethal it could be.
    • The warning just said not to touch the patient, which is just standard procedure when using a defibrillator. It's also the reason people on tv shout "Clear" when using one.
      • And what was the one thing that Stephen Strange was doing?

    Crushing Strange 

  • Also, why does Kaecilius not kill Strange/anyone he's fighting with space-warping? Can't he just draw two walls together and crush Strange in the hallway, or make them fall into spikes or form spikes by warping a wall into them? Why rely on disorientation when you could just crush them the way the Ancient One did to some of his followers at the start of the film?
    • The Ancient One clearly has much more skill with that sort of thing than Kaecilius, and that was in the Mirror Dimension (where such things are easier). There are limits to how much Kaecilius can warp things in the real world.
    • Not to mention Kaecilius had only just recently learned how to warp reality and most likely hadn't fully mastered it yet.

     Why the hand gesture? 
  • The one-handed man made it obvious the hand movements don't matter so why not just telling apprentice to put their hands in position that they are comfortable with?
    • The sorcerer with one hand was a master — and Strange clearly wasn't yet, as his difficulty maintaining the dimensional shields displayed in his fight against Kaecilius's zealots. Clearly the hand gestures do matter to some degree for those with less practice and experience — maybe a muscle memory/mental structure aided by position kind of thing.
    • Mastering something doesn't mean you can do it without something that matter, it's like teaching how to read by telling people to use their finger to focus. It's fine but if the student's hand is shaking due to nerve damage like Strange give him a new trick. In fact are we even sure this guy was amputee after learning the magic gesture?
    • Just because training wheels help a person learn to ride a bicycle, doesn't mean they are still required after you learn.
    • Yes but we are talking about someone who is actually more hindered by the training wheels than anything, when they practice they are also doing stance with their legs Pangborn couldn't have done it so either they have back up teaching in case the person is physically handicapped can't or they just wanted to be dicks to Strange.
    • Because the real lesson isn't how to make sparks. It's to overcome his previously held beliefs. The hand movements are clearly helpful or else the masters wouldn't be using them at all, and that's why they teach them. But they're not going to hand Strange a cheat sheet. And in case you completely missed their first meeting scene, or the Everest scene, being dicks to Strange is how you get results.
    • The hand gesture itself isn't all that important, in the sense of "hand posture A does X, B does Y, etc." Rather, they help focus the mind in a specific way to tap the energy of other dimensions. You don't need to get them precisely right, which is likely Strange's hang-up (he's too used to "science," in that specific movement A yields specific result B, and only A will equal B and only B can result from A), you just need to "unlearn what you have learned." Specifically, the point with the sling rings and creating portals isn't about the gestures as much as it is about forming the picture of where you want to go, and letting the energy create the bridge between here and there (and believing that it's possible to travel from here to there without a car, bus, plane, train, etc.)
    • My explanation of the scene was that the old master was channeling his energy to magically replace his hand to do the gestures. (Perhaps if you were in the astral plane, you would see an actual hand.) Strange at that point is still too hung up on his hands being physically broken and the Ancient One is trying to teach him that physical limitations are nothing once you can tap your inner magical powers.
    • It's a little like magic in The Dresden Files. The main character, a wizard in his 20s (then 30s as the books go on), explains magic early as requiring words and props like his blasting rod to help a wizard focus his energies properly. The few times he's forced to go without props or magic words, his magic tends to get out of his control or zap his brain. But later in the series, we meet wizards who are hundreds of years old, who don't need props or magic words. So to an apprentice like Strange, yes, he needs his fingers in a particular position so he can visualize the spell he's casting. But to a master, it's probably not needed, and whatever motions they do make are probably simply ingrained habit by then (if you've cast a cantrip by making the "OK" hand signal 300 times, you're going to keep doing it for the next 300 times whether you need it or not).
    • There is the body, and there is the soul. Perhaps a master can overcome a paralyzed or even removed hand because he's not making the gestures with his physical hand but with his soul hand. We, from the outside, see a man moving a handless arm. The master himself probably sees himself in his soul form (even if still inside his body), and that form can make the gestures with no problem.

     Why does Mordo's scene at the end mean anything? 
  • So Mordo is has apparently decided that there are too many sorcerers, and so he somehow removes Pangborn's... something. What? The movie clearly establishes that this magic is something that anyone can learn, all they need is the knowledge and experience. Since these aren't things that can be taken away from a person, how exactly can Mordo just disable this? Even if he was able to, Pangborn knows how to use magic, given that he was able to use it to fix his body in the first place, so what's to stop him from just doing it again as soon as Mordo's gone?
    • Maybe there's a mystical connection to magic inside a person, and Mordo removed it from him? Kind of like in the book series Skulduggery Pleasant, where sorcerers draw on magic from their True Name - if you take away the True Name, *poof*. No magic. They might explain it when Mordo returns. Or it could be some kind of "chakra" blockage, like a more extreme example of what we see in in Avatar where benders can be stopped from bending temporarily by chi blocks.
    • Probably the same way they can shield Earth from Dormammu, he puts a seal on Pangborn that blocks him from channeling through the mystic planes.
    • This is a headscratcher all right, but one that will probably be rectified with patience. We don't know how Mordo does this, why he can, or if he was capable of doing so all along...and we will find out in the sequel. Could be some Living Tribunal stuff, maybe its some kind of high-level magic, we don't know.
      • Most likely "Living Tribunal stuff". Mordo states earlier on that relics can be used to channel spells that are too powerful or complicated for a magician to handle unaided. And it makes sense that the Staff of the Living Tribunal might be able to impose new "rules" on someone, such as locking away their ability to tap dimensional energy.
    • The Ancient One defines magic explicitly as the practice of drawing energy from the dimensions, so regardless of Pangborn's protests about stealing power, the healing spell he was channeling had have to drawn energy from somewhere. However, Pangborn didn't delve further into magic — in his own words, he took his miracle and left — so he likely only had a supply of dimensional energy still lingering from his training to draw from. It's likely that Mordo used that same principle of all magic to siphon dimensional energy directly from Pangborn. Makes sense considering Mordo's new belief that magic violates the natural order; he probably wants to give it back to wherever it came from.
    • Is there some reason to assume Pangborn even survived that scene? Mordo said there are too many sorcerers. I thought it was pretty clear he meant he was going to kill Pangborn right there.
    • Pangborn's paralysis returned after the whatever-it-is Mordo did to him— you can see his hands freezing up. Thus his constantly-channeled magic healing wasn't there anymore. He was no longer a sorcerer. Mordo might still have killed him after the scene ends, but if he did, that would have just been a meaningless murder; his stated goal was already accomplished.
    • Even if Mordo just left him there, Pangborn could easily have died as a result of his attack. The poor guy is lying helpless and immobile in a basement workshop which might not be used by anyone else, and Mordo's willingness to confront Pangborn there without any attempt at stealth suggests it's well out of earshot of any potential help.
    • I was going with "sealing". He doesn't deprive Pangborn of any magic he possessed but rather made it completely unusable for him. Whatever the body does in order to channel magic has been clamped. His body is still capable of using magic but Mordo "shut off the tap", as it were.

     Only Two Pages 
  • Why do Kaecilius and his Zealots only take two pages from the book, instead of the whole book, or as many books as they can carry? Wouldn't they want all the secret knowledge they could get? They seem to be lollygagging around until the Ancient One shows up, which they should have expected. How come they don't just grab a whole bunch of the special books and GTFO?
    • Possibly the glowing sigils on the covers of the forbidden books are some kind of mystical wards, inflicting a curse upon the bearer who tries to remove the entire book, or acting as a tracker to allow the pursuit of anyone who tried to abscond with it.
    • Strange specifically calls out Kaecilius for being an idiot for not doing, yeah, it was just Kaecilius being an idiot.
    • Transportation. A big heavy book is not very easily transported and robes don't have pockets that big. It was fair enough since he needed to make a quick getaway and needed both hands free for making portals. He sure as hell wasn't going to let one of his minions hold the book. Also destroying one of the Ancient One's books was probably a spiteful gesture. Kaecilius was hardly lollygagging anyway. The AO showed up literally within seconds and they were already on the way out.
    • Maybe if he put more effort in nabbing the book than beheading the librarian in style he would have disappeared before AO showed up, or at least grab a bag. It's still a book, not a canoe; it's not very easy, but it's still easy.
    • If you go to a buffet, do you take the whole bar when you just need a plate? All Kaecilius was needing was the ritual, and he was under a time crunch.

     What Kind of Hospital Are They Running Here? 
  • So this hospital just has plenty of empty OR's lying around and nobody will notice. Also, Dr. Palmer can just drop whatever she's doing and nobody will notice (note that she's an EMERGENCY surgeon). Okay, maybe it's a slow day. A really slow day. In New York. Anyways, later on, an out-of-work doctor who hasn't practiced in months, and known to have severe nerve damage in his hands, just shows up at the hospital and is then immediately welcomed and allowed to perform surgery.
    • Well, some did notice she was treating a man who had been stabbed near the heart, that must qualify as an emergency surgery. It's not like she dropped everything just to talk to Strange; he dropped bleeding in the hospital asking for her, people aren't gonna make him wait or find someone else.
    • Except it's not remotely close to anything resembling a normal operation; normally there should at least be nurses helping, and you know, plenty of paperwork and procedure to follow. Someone peeking into the operating room seeing a lone doctor trying to do everything in her plain scrubs (not even sterile gowns!) will know something's wrong. NOBODY in a hospital will look at this situation and think "oh, it's an ER doctor, and it seems to be an emergency, everything's fine."
    • No, but they aren't gonna say "let's grab her while she is trying to stick a needle in his chest and drag Strange's dying body to the lobby for paperwork". It would take time to find nurses and treat Strange like they do the Ancient One later. Christine isn't gonna twiddle her thumbs waiting for the whole team when she already has everything at hand to stop the bleeding.
    • I'm confused. She works in the emergency wing. Is she not expected to run around frantically, assessing triage and dealing with emergencies as they come into her building? If she didn't check out for lunch and the other doctors can't call her, they probably just assume she's off saving someone's life (which she was). She has a high enough rank that Strange respects her as both a physician and a colleague, so presumably she's allowed a degree of autonomy to assess emergencies without the need for official assignments. It's not like the other staff couldn't find her if they actually bothered to look — if I recall correctly, she moved Strange to an empty OR through a crowded hallway and walked by at least one desk on the way.
    • Quite possibly it's a Sunday, so there aren't any non-emergency procedures scheduled for that day and the operating room in question is only staffed on weekdays unless the ER is seriously overloaded with trauma cases. In which case, Dr. Palmer frantically attending a stab victim would be the expected cause for it to be occupied.
    • The hospital is located in the equivalent of the place Mount Sinai Beth Israel is in our world (judging from the view from the balcony), and presumably treats mostly overdoses in the emergency department.
    • Okay, maybe this question only makes sense to people who have actually worked in the health care field. But to answer the above: No, doctors are NOT expected to run around frantically even in the ER. It may seem like chaos to a layman, but EVERYTHING is documented. Especially in the ER. Because multiple doctors and nurses may be looking at a patient within minutes of each other, all of them need to read the charts and know exactly what has been done to the patient. Moreover, a doctor in an ER is more like a consultant. Because things happen so fast, doctors will only perform critical procedures. Nurses ask them what to do, doctors only take several minutes to assess (again, this is where careful documentation comes into play), and give the orders to the nurses to carry out. So if a doctor in the ER goes missing for twenty minutes, you can bet a LOT of people will be wondering what is going on. Also, you don't just randomly take up rooms and perform surgery in regular scrubs. That's just straight up malpractice right there, especially if another emergency happened and they bring a different patient in, thinking there's a free room. Not to mention the chances of infection and complications. Also, you don't invite an out-of-work doctor with known nerve damage to his hands to perform surgery just because he happened to be nearby.

    The Hierarchy of Kamar-Taj 
  • It seems clear that throughout the film there are more masters which can serve as the new heads of Kamar-Taj and even the role of Sorcerer Supreme. Were all of them eliminated during Kaecilius's rampage? After all, only the Hong Kong Sanctum was compromised by Dormammu's incursion. And presumably with Strange probably serving as de facto master of the New York Sanctum, he cannot be the man leading everyone akin to the Ancient One, who surely had to be based in Kamar-Taj.
    • Wong will take care of Kamar-Taj and honestly they had one guy per Sanctum so chances are they were grossly understaffed even before the Ancient One died. And are they even masters? Seems like Mordo and the Ancient are the only one teaching, planning and fighting zealots to a standstill. For all we know the one handed man arrived two weeks before Strange and still works on getting his hand back.
    • There appear to be multiple masters, the Ancient One addresses Wong, Mordo, Daniel Drumm and the one-handed man as "master." Kamar-Taj seems to have maybe three dozen people in it, counting "permanent" members and trainees. Pangborn shows that many come and go, so it's not as if staying is required. The end of the film has Mordo leaving for some personal reasons, with Wong as librarian handling Kamar-Taj and Strange taking over the New York Sanctum. Presumably there's at least one other master in Hong Kong. The London sanctum was destroyed, and at least three people were in that, from what we see. Perhaps there are multiple "Branches" of leadership in Kamar-Taj? Strange is clearly not the chief of chiefs.
    • She also named Strange a master because he defended the Sanctum but that wasn't done with any real mastery.
    • That's part of the genius of the film. Dr. Strange isn't the Sorcerer Supreme. . . yet. He still has a lot of learning to do before he can earn that title (as shown by him giving up the Eye of Agamotto at the end of the film.) He's really only the Master of the New York Sanctum, there are likely others in the "Order" who outrank him even now. As a character, Dr. Strange still has a lot of growing to do before he's the all-powerful Master of Magic from the comics, and we'll get to see that growth in future films. This was indeed an origin story, but it wasn't a complete origin story, bringing Strange to the point of Sorcerer Supreme. That title will have to wait for further adventures.

    Sanctum in New York 
  • So the Masters built the three Sanctums to keep Dormammu from getting Earth, and have been protecting the planet for thousands of years. The New York Sanctum was thus built before it was colonized... when there were just some native tribes there. Wouldn't someone have noticed the existence of a building of some kind, when architecture wasn't even a thing?
    • The Sanctums are invisible or at least hard to access, given no one called the cops on the zealots for blowing up the door or just running around dressed like that. Also why singling out New York? Think those type of buildings were normal in London and Hong Kong a thousand years ago? Hong Kong wasn't even a thing either.
    • I'm calling out New York because two thousand years ago, there WERE civilizations in London and Hong Kong. Hong Kong has existed probably as long as China has, just under different names. New York is the only one where permanent settlements didn't exist.
    • That's not true, a lot of tribes in the New York area were sedentary and used longhouses which were permanent residences. Maybe it wasn't brick and mortar like the actual Sanctums, but chances are so weren't the other Sanctums at that time period. Or is it too impossible to think Iroquois could be sorcerers?
    • The first Sorcerer Supreme was the original Time Master. He may have peeked ahead and saw what places would be heavily-populated and important in the future and put the sanctums there, where they could be protected when they needed protecting the most.
    • The Sanctum probably took a different form in that time period.
    • The New York Sanctum is a Greenwich brownstone and the Hong Kong Sanctum looks like its of the architectural style that sprang up right after World War II. Best guess is that the first Sorcerer Supreme set up the three Sanctums in places with high levels of magical energy and subsequent generations made sure to maintain ownership of those spots and kept them developing with the times in order to keep the Sanctums as innocuous as possible.
    • Or, unlike some other Doctors, the sorcerers just know how to fix and maintain their chameleon circuits.
    • The important parts of the Sanctums are the locations and symbols, not the buildings - and Earth was defensible with two out of three active. One imagines that there's simply been some kind of structure with that fancy protection symbol there for thousands of years, being rebuilt and expanded whenever the need arose.
    • It doesn't take actual prophetic ability to realize that Manhattan Island was a very likely place for a big city to arise, sooner or later. Basic knowledge of geography, economics, and what makes a good harbor or river-shipping terminus would pretty well guarantee that. Agamotto may not have guessed it would be European immigrants who'd build said city, but he probably figured somebody was bound to.
    • Consider also that the New York sanctum is very clearly shown to have been wired for electricity. As was Kamar-Taj itself, in fact (and wifi too, of course). The Order doesn't look down on modernity. Pretty clear that they've been steadily maintaining and upgrading the actual structures of the sanctums to keep up with the times and assure they always appear contemporary to their surroundings. It's the location that matters, not the structure itself (as a previous trouper pointed out above), and so the structure can be changed to suit the world around it.

  • It is hinted that when Strange is still a surgeon the timeline is set around Iron Man 2 (immediately before his accident he is asked to help repair a spinal injury caused by "some kind of experimental armor", which presumably is one of the Iron Man knock-offs mentioned at the start of that movie). However, the opening scene of the film before this is Kaecilius murdering the librarian and stealing the book, before Strange has even had his accident. It must have taken Strange several months at least, if not well over a year, before he even reached Kamar-Taj, and another several months before he fights Kaecilius, by which point he has already recreated and deciphered the page Kaecilius stole. Granted, it is established that Strange is progressing unusually fast and should not be able to decipher it at all, but even so- Kaecilius took at least a year, if not more to decipher that single page, despite being a master Sorcerer and a fanatical Knight Templar with nothing better to do, while Strange was not even yet a novice...Really?
    • And yes, I know it is possible that the the opening scene is done out of order and Kaecilius stole the book after Strange had his accident (though it probably should not have been), but even so, Kaecilius should be able to decipher at least one page in that time surely. As a side note, when is the main action of this film set? We know that the Avengers have been established by this point of course, but it is unclear if it is before of after Captain America: Civil War or even Avengers: Age of Ultron.
    • I thought it referred to War machine in Captain America: Civil War, he should need treatment for his spine after a fall like that.
    • War Machine is too old, as he's in his forties or so, while the marine in question is thirty-five.
    • Avengers tower is visible in the skyline, complete with the iconic A. That places it at somewhere after The Avengers at least, possibly pre Iron man 3 and Winter Soldier though. YMMV, but my guess is that Strange has his accident in the middle of Civil War.
    • Scott Derrickson confirmed on reddit that that line was neither an Iron Man 2 or War Machine in Civil War reference, just a throwaway one. As for the film's timeline, it's probably fair to say the opening Kaecilius scene takes place just before Strange gets to Kamar-Taj. But for the greater context, Doctor Strange (at least, from the moment Strange tries out the Eye of Agamotto to the time the credits roll) appears to be set post Age of Ultron and pre Civil War. The official Marvel timeline has Civil War set in spring of 2016, while Age of Ultron and Ant-Man are set in the spring/summer of 2015. Daredevil (2015) had its second season cover the end of summer to Christmas in 2015, with Luke Cage (2016) taking place in the middle of that, in fall of 2015. The second half of Doctor Strange has light snow in New York City, implying a January or February 2016 setting. The two stingers are set months later, in line with the fall setting of Spiderman Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Magic seems to be very hard work in the MCU. Just because Kaecilius had learned a lot of the Ancient One's teachings already doesn't mean he wasn't going to need time to master the stolen pages' contents after he'd translated them. Strange may be a lightning-fast learner who plows through the curriculum like a bulldozer, but he's an exceptional case. Kaecilius doesn't have a photographic memory or a handy mentor to help him when he gets stuck, so he needed a considerable period of study, practice, and self-discipline before he felt confident he could lead his followers against the three Sanctums: sites which, had the Zealots tried and failed to attack, would likely have been reinforced by every asset and ally Kamar-Taj could conceivably beg, borrow, persuade and/or bribe into defending them.
    • Plus, it's not just him who had to learn the Dangerous Forbidden Technique in question: Kaecilius had to spend time training his Zealot followers to tap into the Dark Dimension for power as well. It's likely that many of them were novices who'd never had that much energy to draw upon before, so needed several months to get used to handling more powerful spells and shaping the Mirror Dimension. He may not have valued their actual lives much, but he certainly wanted them to be Elite Mooks, not just Mooks.
    • One of Strange's awards has a 2016 date, so perhaps the finale takes place near the end of 2016.
    • Another thing is the language: Strange's photographic memory is a great help here, and, as he puts it, he's fluent in Google Translate - a thing which, while notoriously capricious, does have a logic to its "nonsense" translations (although the basic GT doesn't have Sanskrit; just Hindi and other commonly-used modern languages). Kaecilius would have to translate the text from Ancient Sanskrit, and we don't know how fluent he or any of his minions are. Wrong translation? Whups, no spell for you. You're lucky if it just doesn't work instead of, oh, turning your body inside-out. He may have lost some zealots goofing up a syllable, and with a limited supply, he'd have to be careful.
      • When Wong asks about the Sanskrit and Strange makes the Google Translate comment, the next book Wong pulls out and adds to the pile is a textbook on classical Sanskrit. So Strange really wouldn't have needed to use Google.

    Why is the New York Sanctum so empty? 
  • When Strange was blasted into the New York Sanctum by accident, it was empty. There was no one there except Master Drumm, who doesn't even show up until Kaecilius invades the Sanctum and kills him. So why was it so empty in the first place? We assumed the London Sanctum has keepers there, who are all killed when Kaecilius blows it up, and we later saw Wong leading the rest of the keepers to guard the Hong Kong Sanctum, but what about New York? Why was only Master Drumm stationed there and no one else? If it's supposed to be the location of the seal that, if broken, could bring untold nightmares to our world (not to mention all the magical relics there that are too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands), surely it should be better guarded than one Master.
    • I thought that was when the London attack started so they tossed a lot of re-enforcement toward London, but since that failed and London is gone, there was nobody left to support NY when they moved on after blowing the place sky high. Leaving only Drumm to defend it, it's possible he believed that more support was on the way (as we see later in Hong Kong) and was planning to just hold them off, we saw how well that went.
    • Or that the standard is one Master per Sanctum (which really should be able to deal with most common threats), and the Hong Kong Sanctum only had so many defenders because they now knew that it was going to come under attack. Wong is certainly not on the Hong Kong Sanctum's normal personnel roster, yet he was there.
    • Which begs the question, how many sorcerers does Kamar-taj actually have? They seems pretty understaffed in terms of sorcerers who can actually fight and not students in training, yet the students are not exactly harmless by themselves as shown by Wong taking some of them to defend the Hong Kong Sanctum in the climax, so maybe they could spare some of the stronger ones to be stationed at the three Sanctums along with the Masters who guarded them. Maybe they used to have more members, as suggested by the sheer size of the New York and Hong Kong Sanctums (seriously, are they actually letting only one Master to guard a building that large by his own, even under normal circumstances?). The only possible explanation is like the above where all sorcerers just go to defend the London Sanctum when Kaecilius and his Zealots attack it, but they are all killed when it was destroyed, hence there's so few sorcerers left to defend the other two Sanctums.
    • Don't forget that the Zealots used to be Kamar-Taj adherents themselves. Of course the keepers are seriously understaffed: they've suffered a mass defection just recently. Indeed, The Ancient One says they followed Kaecilius "like sheep".
    • Out of all the students, we don't know how many of them signed up for security detail. Pangborn opted out and Strange would have if not for getting too involved before he could. Then out of the students that sign up for security detail, how many of them are capable of fighting enemy sorcerers whose power is amplified by The Dark Side? It's possible that Kamar-Taj doesn't have much to work with.
    • The Order as a whole seems to have been on the wan for a while now, if anecdotal evidence from the film is anything to go by. The whole reason Mordo was able to convince the Ancient One to accept Strange for training at all was because they needed more bodies to throw at the problem of Dormammu and these renegades. Seems they had few true masters, for whatever reason, and were working very hard to bring a new generation of recruits through their paces so they could contribute to the cause as quickly as possible. Maybe this decline is just a natural result of a world that doesn't put so much stock in mysticism any longer, or maybe it was a purposeful decision on the Ancient One's part (who seems to be very picky about who she admits for training).
    • In the stinger with Thor, he was surprised at finding out Earth had sorcerers. While granted he was pretty oblivious to many things about Earth in general, one would think that given his newfound interest in the planet he'd have probably found out already about things like magic users if there were very many of them, now or in the past.

    Accessing and leaving the Mirror Dimension 
  • Why can sorcerers enter the Mirror Dimension with nothing but their own magic, but need a sling ring to leave it? It seems like it should be that if you just need your own magic to get in, you just need your own magic to get out, or if you need a sling ring to leave, you need a sling ring to enter.
    • Who said you didn't need the ring to get in? The Ancient One and Strange were the only ones seen casting the spell to enter the Mirror Dimension, and we know Strange at least kept his ring, if the Ancient One ever needed it in the first place.
    • Not necessarily, the mirror dimension is more or less a trap dimension so getting in is probably harder than getting out. It's like how easy someone can drain the Dark Dimension but Dormammu can't simply enter the physical plane.
    • I remember TAO saying that you need a sling ring in the Mirror Dimension because of the things trapped there. As in, having high mobility. Also, maybe entering and leaving demands some concentration, and the sling ring is just a "shortcut" (something akin using a calculator instead of working the math) you can use if you are being chased and unable to concentrate, for example.
    • The relationship between the Mirror Dimension and the real world is asymmetrical (what happens in the real world affects the Mirror Dimension, but what happens in the Mirror Dimension doesn't affect the real world). So it's easier to shift into the Mirror Dimension than out of it.

    The New York Sanctum stands 
  • As Strange notes to Mordo, the Zealots destroyed the London Sanctum and attacked the New York Sanctum twice. There is never any mention of the New York Sanctum falling, only an assumption that Kaecilius would Rage Quit attacking the New York Sanctum and come back to it later. If any one of the three Sanctums is capable of shielding the whole planet on its own, and all 3 need to fall to beckon Dormammu in, why does the Hong Kong Sanctum's destruction instantly create the massive gateway to the Dark Dimension? Are we supposed to assume a similarly huge hole in the sky was made when the London Sanctum fell, even though that's supposed to indicate the world is already being consumed?
    • Well two Sanctums down and one deserted is probably enough for Dormammu to break in. I mean if two shields are down and no one is there to move the other there is a lot of options.
    • The BUILDING was still standing, but it took damage and couldn't generate its part of the shield. IIRC the Zealots were trying some sort of ritual that Strange disrupted after killing Drumm. That could have damaged the Sanctum's ability to shield the planet without destroying the building. Also we don't KNOW that London was destroyed like Hong Kong was, just that it 'fell', possibly they did rituals at all three points and only Hong Kong blew up; when they finalized things, their portal opened and blammo!...destroying the building.
    • Except that we explicitly see Kaecilius blow up the London Sanctum from the door, which is what threw Strange into the New York Sanctum in the first place. Further, if the New York Sanctum was already damaged enough to stop generating the barrier after the first attack, there would be no point in the Ancient One declaring Strange to be the guardian of a broken Sanctum, and no sense in Kaecilius returning to blow it up. (Unless we're assuming that the Ancient One couldn't tell the extent of the damage while Kaecilius could, and that Kaecilius only returned because he was willing to spitefully sacrifice more men just to blow up a powerless building as a statement, even with another attack to plan, both of which would just be bad writing.) And of course, the detour into the Mirror Dimension interrupted Kaecilius from doing any more damage to the Sanctum on his second visit.
    • He destroyed the place while Strange brought the Ancient One to the hospital.
    • Here's my understanding of it: Kaecilius attacks the London Sanctum and the initial BOOM knocks Strange out of the rest of the fight. While he is walking around, getting his bearings, and figuring out that he's now in New York, the battle continues in London. When Kaecilius and his two zealots then attack Strange in New York it means they're finished with London (whatever that means). Then they kill Drumm, the New York Sanctum's master, which obviously does something because they exchange lines about what happens if the master "dies in the process of defending the Sanctum". Ultimately Strange has to make a quick exit from the New York Sanctum because he was stabbed In the Back. That means Kaecilius and one of his zealots are left unsupervised. By the time Strange goes back, Kaecilius is gone. He probably dismantled the magic shield generating thing before leaving. The Ancient One probably wanted Strange to hold down the fort there (because he did an adequate job earlier and she is short-handed; see the WMG called "Why is the New York Sanctum so empty?" for more info on that) while she and Mordo and others defended the Hong Kong Sanctum. That didn't work out. When Hong Kong goes bust then all three are gone.
    • Alternate theory: The sancta work in concert to protect the globe by channeling some sort of energy between them. Any two of them will work, but one alone will not because it doesn't have anywhere to send/receive the energy from.

     Kaecilius killing the first librarian 
  • What's with the ritual-like process of the whole thing? For the rest of the movie, Kaecilius and his Zealots casually kill their enemies in quick and effective ways, even when mortally wounding The Ancient One. So why the elaborate execution for the first librarian at Kamar-Taj in the beginning of the film? Is it a reference to something in the comics?
    • Can't be certain but if this was the first act of rebellion Kaecilius made, then the killing may have been designed to be a statement to the Ancient One and a declaration of their commitment in a kind of "we can never go back now" kind of way. TAO just came back early and spoiled it. That or Dormammu required a show of commitment from them before discussing any alliance.
    • Most likely this. Given that he had the Librarian's head caught in a pot (either to reduce mess or to prevent damage to the head), it stands to reason he wanted to use the head for something. Perhaps some ritual, or just to hang it on a pike on the front gate of Kamar-Taj.
    • Perhaps there is a spell to extract knowledge from a severed head, or even to force it back to life and make it talk. The guy still needs some help to understand the pages he stole.
    • In Celtic/Norse mythology there's absolutely spells to talk with a severed head (the most prominent example being Odin's reanimation of Mimir's decapitated head done in order to preserve his knowledge). Kamar-Taj may be in Nepal, but since its sorcerers come from all over they could easily have brought their own mystic lore with them.
    • To me this seemed like sending a message. Basically an omen that Kaecilius has the pages necessary to broker the coming of Dormammu and you are only seeing the beginning of what awaits those who do not abide.
    • See that as the mystical equivalent of a telephone bill required for whoever that wants to contact Dormammu. The actual sacrifice (the brand into the forehead and the transformation of the eyes) comes later, but the act of even calling out to a transdimensional demon to look in your direction isn't free. Alternatively, it can also be that Kaecilius already established contact with Dormammu and the later demanded a show of commitment before he bestows them with power.

    Mark of the Dark Dimension 
  • Why does it suddenly choose to manifest on the Ancient One's forehead during her final battle, when it hadn't been visible the whole movie until that point? She's always channeling the power of the Dark Dimension, so there's no reason for it to fade from her face if it doesn't from Kaecilius. It's not like it happens every time she enters the Mirror Dimension, since she brought Strange there earlier with no such mark.
    • Maybe she has spells in place to mask it under normal circumstances, or it takes a certain threshold of how much energy you're using for it to manifest. It only shows when she really starts channeling the Dark Dimension to do stuff, rather than just to keep her alive, after all, and even then she seemed to have much better control over it, since it never manifested all the side-effects it did on Kaecilius.
    • That explanation makes sense, if we assume it appears when she warps space - it would be why she kept her hood up during her initial fight with Kaecilius.
  • The Ancient One clearly doesn't draw as much as Kaecilius does. That's why there's only the mark instead of the demonic eye things as well.
  • The Mark is always visible — inside the Mirror Dimension, hence why we never see her face during the movie's opening. As for why is visible on Kaecilius and his followers even in the real world, see the Ancient One's surprise that Kaecilius was able to manipulate mirror magic outside of the Mirror Dimension. His increasing devotion to Dormammu grants him greater mirror–based powers than her, at the cost of making him more and more obviously Dormammu's servant.

    Eye of Agamotto 
  • Strange picks up the Eye of Agamotto, and within minutes Wong and Mordo are calling him out on recklessly using it. So why does nobody try to take it away from him? It's reasonable that they would have forgotten by the time Wong finished giving exposition due to the attacks, but that still means between the discovery in the library and the whole walk to the portal chamber, nobody bothered to slap Strange and remove the dangerous artifact from the novice magician? Wong makes snarky comments during the exposition about Strange pilfering it while he's still wearing it for crying out loud!
    • I thought that had something to do with Mordo's previous "you need to be accepted by a relic before you can use it" speech. Yeah, Strange really shouldn't have picked up the Eye, and he shouldn't abuse its powers, but he did prove mastery over it, so he earned the right to use it fair and square, same as with the cloak.
    • Wong also knows that its an infinity stone, one that had just had its powers used, and we know how volatile those can be (especially once activated) if you aren't capable of wielding it. He may have simply been hesitant to touch it even with the protective casing around it.
    • In Infinity War, the Eye is shown to have powerful protective enchantments to keep it from being removed. It's possible that they couldn't take it without Strange's permission.
  • At first, Wong says that Agamotto, the first Sorcerer Supreme, created the Eye. Later he says it's an Infinity Stone. Presumably he would know that the Infinity Stones are as old as the universe itself; much older than Agamotto. How does one reconcile this?
    • It's possible that Agamotto found the Stone and built its current metal container.
    • The stone is not the Eye. The stone is contained in the Eye.

    Time Loop 
  • So Strange forces Dormammu to retreat from his plans for the Material Plane by trapping him and himself in a time loop. Every time Dormammu kills Strange, time restarts back to "Dormammu, I've come to bargain." Is the loop triggered by Strange's death, or is there a certain point in the future where things restart? But then, time has no meaning in the Dark Dimension, so how is there a point in the future for Strange to set the loop limit to? What if Dormammu just uses his powers to trap Strange in an unbreakable prison and just goes on with his plan, escaping the loop because he never kills Strange?
    • Dormammu doesn't understand time to find a way around, so if he tries trapping Strange, he can simply kill himself or rewind without dying to his bargain proposition. The Eye probably rewinds itself because Strange synched himself so if he dies it will restart at the moment he brought time to the Dark Dimension (when the green watch circled around his wrist), but Strange can simply reset willfully too. Dormammu has no prison since he doesn't know what he is supposed to contain, it probably only works once too since now that he took the Zealots he could learn how to leave a magic time control but that'll be for another time. Right now Dormammu got beaten since he didn't do enough research about Earth.
    • Strange probably set up the loop so that time would reset to the instant of his arrival every time he ceased to actively maintain it. That way, it'd revert automatically regardless of whether he dies, gets knocked out, is mentally dominated/paralyzed/petrified/whatever, or just lets the Eye's power lapse voluntarily. Only his conscious choice to break the cycle could interrupt it.
    • It could be that Strange experiences the loop the way we see it in the film because that's how humans perceive time: linearly in a single stream. But for Dormammu, who experiences past, present, and future simultaneously, each loop Strange goes through might mean that he has to deal with an increasing number of Stranges coming to him with the same request a the same time. Eventually, Dormammu has a thousand Stranges walking up to him at once saying that they've come to bargain and he's realized that to continue killing Strange means having another coming up to him, making the extra-dimensional being realize that he has no choice but to bargain or else he'll be dealing with an ever-increasing number of humans coming up to him saying the same damn thing for all eternity.
  • You may think the movie has a happy ending. The world is saved and the main character has learned some valuable lessons and grown up as a person, right? Well... not quite. See, throughout the movie Strange is repeatedly chastised for being selfish. Both the Ancient One and Mordo tell him his real motive is saving his own life, and whatever good he accomplishes along the way, such as saving patients or defending the NY sanctum, is basically a side effect. We see this early on when he rejects a patient because the case is too difficult and the likely failure would damage his reputation. By the end of the movie Strange has Dormammu, a being who's been destroying entire dimensions, trapped in a time loop and thereby rendered harmless. And what does Strange do? He could keep Dormammu in the loop forever, as he indeed threatens to do, but that would require sacrificing himself to an eternity of torment. So he instead sets him free in exchange for sparing Earth and Strange himself. He saves his own life at the expense of countless other worlds that Dormammu is now once again free to consume. Strange has not undergone any character development at all, he's still doing what he's always been doing, putting himself first and screw everyone else. Only the stakes have been raised and instead of individual people he's now throwing overboard entire universes.note 
    • This assumes Strange really could keep up the time loop eternally, but he set the loop so that only he would be able to break it, and is refraining from doing so only through sheer strength of will. He's still human and no human's will is infinite. Strange knows he has an advantage, (he understands Time; Dormammu does not), but he also has to assume that eventually, whether after thousands of repetitions or a million, his own need to escape the torture will become too much. Better to force Dormammu's hand while he can, rather than to aim too high and loose all. Since it still cost him untold numbers of agonizing deaths, pretty sure we're safely in 'selfless act' territory.

    DC Comics 
  • Stephen references Eminem in the movie as part of the running gag about him wondering if Wong's name is simply just Wong. The Eminem song "Rap God" has the lyric "Kneel before General Zod this planet's Krypton, no Asgard, Asgard, So you'll be Thor and I'll be Odin You rodent, I'm omnipotent". A citizen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe could interpret the line about Thor, Odin, and Asgard being a reference to the member of the Avengers. But what would they think General Zod and Krypton is referencing?
    • Eminem never wrote Rap God in the Marvel Universe
    • Or maybe DC comics exist inside the Marvel Universe. They're just comics.
    • Also, the lyrics might be considered a reference to Norse mythology, not the actual Asgardians. We know the legends of Thor, Odin, etc existed long before the actual Thor showed up, because Selvig grew up reading about them.
    • Presumably this is the fictional version of Eminem that once teamed up with the Punisher.

    No time in the Dark Dimension? 
  • Everybody keeps talking about how the Dark Dimension has no time. If that was the case, then how did the time loop trick even work? Even worse, how was Strange able to navigate the Dark Dimension and converse with Dormammu while still perceiving events in sequential order, as if there was the normal passage of time?
    • Because as Strange said he brought time to the Dark Dimension. It's the same way the Zealots bring mirror weapons from the Mirror Dimension. As for how they can perceive the time loop this is again something we were shown when the Zealots pull themselves out of the time flow during the Hong Kong battle. Dormammu is well versed in the occult to feel the magic at work but he doesn't know any time spell to counter the effect since time is something that existed in the Dark Dimension only when Strange introduced the Time Stone to it. Time is basically an Outside-Context Problem that he has no idea how to deal with.
    • It seems reasonable to say that "time" in a sense does exist in the Dark dimension as well, but only in the sense that it is possible to move through the dimension, communicate with beings in it, get power from them, etc. Other effects of time though (aging, time passing relative to other realms, being constrained to only exist in one place at a given moment and so on) are foreign to it.
      • This is what I got out of it as well. Time, at least the changing, non-static linear causality we usually call "time," must exist in the Dark Dimension in order for Strange to be able to enter it while not having existed there all along, and then later leave and not exist there any longer. To say nothing of how all these planets/dimensions that Dormammu has collected implicitly did not exist in the Dark Dimension at first and were eventually subsumed into it. This means that the Dark Dimension can change, which means there's a past, present, and future there, which means time. It's possible that "time doesn't exist there" is just Sorcery shorthand for a much more complicated situation in the Dark Dimension.
    • That's more space than time, everything in the Dark Dimension travels only by Dormammu's will (the spike coming out of the ground to kill Strange) or from a sorcerer who breaks natural laws of the dimension.
    • Presumably, just by entering the Dark Dimension, Strange already introduced a bit of time into it, along with a lot of extra-dimensional matter. Maybe a regular sorcerer would still perceive events linearly, but Dormammu has no such limitation and would be able to interact with past you and future you. What Strange did was weaponize this outsider force, using it to constrain Dormammu in something he doesn't quite understand.
    • I think it's more that visitors from Earth automatically perceive the dark dimension as having time because that's the only way they can comprehend reality. Dormammu and any actual residents perceive it very differently. Strange forced the entire dimension to conform to his view of time instead, which from Dormammu's perspective might well have been like suddenly trapping him in a box that always returns to the same shape no matter how he tries to break it.

    If Mordo wins—then what? 
  • The second stinger shows Mordo intends to severely whittle down Earth's population of sorcerers, presumably until he's the only one left. If he gets his way, then what will happen if Earth needs to defend itself against another extra-dimensional threat? Does Mordo think Dormammu is all there is? Does Mordo intend to defend Earth all by himself?
    • He intends to take out all the sorcerers and then rebuild an order of wizards (he can't suppress everyone's magic since everyone can do it) that won't play with an evil dimension lord's power like the Ancient One and the zealots. In his mind, the world is already under extra-dimensional threat in the form of sorcerers doing whatever they want with their magic, and wants to fix that by restarting the teachings of Kamar-Taj.
    • Protect the Earth by himself? What, like some sort of Sorcerer Supreme?
    • Mordo has a plan, yes, but nobody ever said that it was a good plan, and he probably Didn't Think This Through. In his rush to apply a radical solution to a perceived problem, he ignores the whole new set of problems caused by that alleged solution.
    • I think the clear answer is that we don't know yet. It was a minute-long teaser at the end of the film. For all we know Mordo's ultimate goal could be murdering magic, as was the objective of the villains in one of the comic's latest arcs.
    • Am I the only one that thought Mordo is less "acting on a plan and a strong sense of morals" and more "cracked in the head and just operating on the idea that he's going to lash out at the thing he feels hurt him"? Remember that when talking about Mordo's past it said he was previously prone to falling into rages and wanted to destroy his enemies... to me it seemed like not all of his sanity survived the revelation that his mentor was not a perfect paragon of virtue, had thus decided that sorcerers were his enemy, and he was thus going to destroy his enemy.

    No Sanctums in the South 
  • As I saw the magic of the three sanctums cover the Earth in the Northern part, so what happens if Dormammu decides to attack in South Africa or Australia since no Southern city has a Sanctum?
    • He gets repelled, The sanctums don't really need to be in hemisphere they are just three and you have to break all of them for the Earth to be vulnerable. Otherwise he could have had simply invaded by the West after New York and London were gone by that logic.
    • The Sanctums aren't just protecting the Earth from Dormammu, they're protecting Earth's universe from him. They could probably guard Earth's Southern hemisphere just as easily from Knowhere, Xandar and Morag as from New York, London and Hong Kong, provided those worlds have suitable leyline confluences.

    Magic Circles 
  • Can someone explain magic circles? What is the idea behind them? Why do they manifest, and why do they manifest only in certain spells? Kaecilius' reality bending did not manifest them, but Mordo's boots and Eye of Agamotto did. I know they appear in the comics but what is the idea behind them in the movie?
    • Splitting up this answer because otherwise it would be a wall of text. There's nothing particularly solid in movie canon (at least at the moment) but I think we can infer a lot of the "mechanics" of magic and the role of the circles from what's shown.
      • On the question of what they're for and why they appear, my best educated guess is that the magic circles- arrays, mandalas, whatever word you want to use- are something along the lines of channelling devices: something that helps to lock, anchor or guide magical energy to where it needs to go, sustaining the flow or sealing it where it is. Think Dormammu's sigil on the foreheads of those who draw power from the Dark Dimension, maybe even compare to how the triquetra appears on Mjolnir in Thor after Odin enchants it, reappearing when the enchantment is triggered: magic is either being channelled or held in place, with the help of a symbol. It would also make sense that a sorcerer might need to use something to help hold magical energy in place, since we know they need relics to hold immense amounts of power for them. You can also say that's why the green arrays from the Eye of Agamotto remain throughout the final confrontation- the magic creating the time loop is being sustained by them.
      • Sometimes the circles appear to be solidified energy or light instead. Mordo's Vaulting Boots of Valtorr pretty much create platforms under his feet with the arrays, which dissolve after he steps off them, allowing him to move through air; the Ancient One uses them in the opening fight as shields and weapons, as does Stephen a couple of times. Or, maybe the circles just change the density of the air, solidifying it around the circle to create a weapon.
      • In answer to why they don't always appear, I think there are two possibilities. One: it appears that hand movements are sometimes sufficient to perform some spells (summoning weapons like Strange's energy whip, the Zealot's space shards, transporting into the Mirror Dimension, using the sling ring). In that case, maybe some spells only require a sorcerer's focus, and it would be an unnecessary waste of energy to create an array to hold it. Or, two: since it comes from a different dimension, maybe using magic in/from the Dark Dimension doesn't require anything more than hand movements once you're channelling energy from it. Which would actually explain why the Eye of Agamotto and Stephen's magic still produces circles when he goes in to face Dormammu: he bought a foreign brand of magic in with him, breaking the rules established for magic in that dimension- just as the Zealots bought foreign magic into our dimension, breaking all the normal rules of magic here.

     The Watch from Christine 
  • Why did Christine give Doctor Strange the watch with the inscription, "Time will tell how much I love you"? According to Doctor Strange, they're not friends and they were barely even lovers—doesn't seem like their relationship was ever serious. That's the sort of quote you put on a nice gift for your husband—someone you will love more over time. It's a very poor choice of quote for a new relationship, since time may tell that you don't love them after all. It feels like a scene explaining the watch must have been deleted.
    • When Strange said that he was at the bottom of his depressive spiral with apparently no hope, he was angry, and was lashing out at her, mistaking her genuine compassion for pity. It was obvious from their interactions before, and after, that their relationship had been genuine and she really did care for him, and he for her in his own way, but his "all about me" attitude became too much and they eventually broke up but appeared to remain amicable.

     The Stinger 
  • What did I miss? In the stinger, Dr. Strange and Thor are discussing how he has brought Loki to Earth in order to find Odin. Yet, to the best of my knowledge the last time we saw that plot was in Thor: The Dark World. And it ended with Thor believing Loki dead and Loki impersonating Odin. Is this just jumping forward to some future plot or did I miss the plot advancing in a different MCU film?
    • It's a later event in Anachronic Order.
    • Think of it like the Bucky Stinger at the end of Ant-Man. It's a scene in a future movie that ties Doctor Strange with the rest of the Avengers. The plot points of Loki and Odin will make more sense when Ragnarok comes out, just like how the plot points of Bucky and "the Accords" made more sense after Civil War.

     Why does Dormammu keep his end of the deal? 
  • Is he magically bound to his oath by the Eye? Nothing in the movie suggests this, but there has to be some reason he doesn't just turn around and blast Dr. Strange once and for all the moment he ends the time loop, or go right on back to earth and tell Kaecilius what's going on.
    • As far as killing Strange, I'd say the time loop would just re-engage, and would continue to do so until Dormammu actually left.
    • He didn't want to conquer earth anymore. Strange was just THAT annoying.
    • Beings of power are typically burdened by being bound to the promises they keep. He must follow the promise give, I think Galactus has the same issue. Add to that he seemed like one with too much pride to say, "Hey servant, WTF is this guy doing? You seem stronger in this area. You handle it." He is the great being, devour of worlds and strength beyond measure. He doesn't ask for help.
    • He'll come back once he figured how Strange did it.
    • It's possibly a nod to a similar event in the comics, where Strange helped Dormammu save his dimension by repelling an invasion of Mindless Ones. Indebted, Dormammu vowed not to invade Earth, which was binding enough that he had to find send proxies and find loopholes. He eventually broke the promise outright, which left him so severely weakened that Strange was able to overpower him. The rules of magic are in constant flux in the comics, but in at least some instances magical entities are bound by their word.
    • Could be that Dormammu's timeless state means that, to him, ceasing to attack Earth's universe is effectively the same as agreeing never to do so. There is no past or future, just what he's doing now. And what he's doing now (barring some other idiot from our Time-laden reality disturbing him) is not invading Earth's cosmos.

    Underusing the time spell 
  • So, you've got the ability to warp time, right? How come going back farther and saving the Ancient One didn't come to mind?
    • The Ancient One herself couldn't see past or avoid her own death (despite her having prevented many terrible futures she had foreseen), more or less implying it was unavoidable for one reason or another. Going back in time was also established as being extremely dangerous. Doing so for any reason other than saving the planet/dimension would probably be considered too risky even for Strange.

     Disclosing Medical Information 
  • Would the therapist that was helping Dr. Strange really have been allowed to give him Pangborn's medical records? Doesn't that constitute a breach of physician-patient confidentiality?
    • Well no longer his patient, plus Strange is a doctor I guess you make it look like transferring one file to another expert to inspect it.
      • That's not how physician-patient confidentiality works. A physician is not allowed to disclose any medical information about any patient, past or present (with a few exceptions). The therapist would also not be allowed to give this information to Strange unless Pangborn himself gave informed consent.
    • As seriously as confidentiality is usually taken, that doesn't mean there are never breaches of it that end up being ignored because those involved end up being okay with it.
    • The context of the scene heavily suggests that, yes, the therapist is breaching confidentiality and knows they shouldn't be doing this, but is doing so as a favor to Strange (partially, perhaps, because they trust Strange enough to know he won't spread it any further or get them in trouble.)

     Locations of the Sanctums 
  • So, the locations of the Sanctums: New York, London, Hong Kong. What logic was behind choosing those three locations? We know the wizards who set them up most probably lived in Kamar-Taj, in Tibet, which is only remotely near one of those locations, so what significance have the other two? Are they triangulated on something? Wong also makes a point of mentioning that they were built on sites "where great cities now stand", implying that they were built before the cities (or at least before they were big cities). How did that come to be? Did having Sanctums there just give the tourism industry a boost or what? And, assuming they knew the cities would be there eventually, why would you put the front line of defense against magical threats in a big city anyway? A place where there's very likely to be a magical firefight, and you want it in the middle of a heavily populated area?
    • They were just really good place to make a sanctum for the same reason they were great place to build cities there.

     Endless food! 
  • Strange learns to use time magic by regressing and progressing a half-eaten apple's timeline. Rewind, and the chunks of apple he's already eaten are restored, presumably to no ill effect to him. Advance, and the apple is eaten further, then rots. He restores the missing pages of the Book of Cagliostro the same way, rewinding its individual timeline but without impacting Kaecilius's learning of its spells. So.... would it be possible to just go out to a farm somewhere, wait for a field to be harvested, then rewind it to restore the crops, harvest, rewind, lather, rinse, repeat, until there's no more world hunger? (Or is it one of those "wizards aren't meant to meddle" kind of deals.)
    • Seems like the kind of things that would risk reality. Besides, we may get a bit political, but the reason of world hunger is not simply a lack of enough food.
    • As implied above, altering time at all is regarded as very dangerous even when done in the most dire of emergencies. And the real world is actually capable of producing more than enough food for everyone, its actually getting the food to everyone that is the problem (for a number of reasons).
    • Also, while we see the apple on the table being restored, we've no word on the apple in Stephen's stomach. It's possible that, as the apple went back to being uneaten, Stephen went back to being hungry, and vice versa. It's only an apple, so removing it from his system likely wouldn't be noticeable to an outside observer.

     Violating the Sokovia Accords 
  • Would passively using magic to undo his paralysis put Pangborn in violation of the Sokovia Accords? He is using metahuman abilities without government permission.
    • Possibly, but no one else knows about it.
    • The Accords prevent one from using their powers to commit heroic acts without UN approval. Pangborn wasn't doing any heroics, he was just using the magic so he could be uncrippled.
    • The Accords only apply to people with superhuman abilties. In the MCU, anyone can learn magic, so its a skill rather than a power. Plenty of skills can let you do things the uninitiated would call impossible. This one just happens to be a bit more... expansive.
    • During the comic version of the Civil War arc there's a brief scene where Dr. Strange mocks the idea that he should follow the Superhuman Registration Act, and Mr. Fantastic concedes that the law would have to make exceptions or allowances for someone like Strange. I'd imagine that in the MCU the UN isn't aware enough of magic to restrict its users, nor are sorcerers interested in following mundane laws.
    • It's a long, complicated story, but here's the cliff notes version: the Masters of the Mystic Arts aren't Avengers, and Ross is only interested in Avengers. Even if Ross broadens his interests to non-Avengers, he only cares about those who help Bucky in any way, and so far the Masters haven't interacted with Bucky. The Masters aren't responsable for Sokovia's destruction, so Zemo would ensure that they are unaffected by the Accords. Finally, even if the Masters are breaking the Accords, all they would get is a lecture from Tony Stark (the ONLY Accords-related crime worthy of banishment to the Ocean Prison is helping Bucky).
    What, exactly, counts as "the non-physical"? 
  • The Masters have a very broad definition of "the physical". Loki, Hela and Thanos are Physical Gods, Ego is an Eldritch Abomination, and the Darkhold is a demon-powered Artifact of Doom. Since the Masters never stepped in to stop any of them, they all count as "the physical". Other than Dormammu, what does count as "the non-physical" (or "the metaphysical" or "the spiritual") to the Masters?
    • Presumably, they mainly focus on threats who come from other dimensions or universes. That and you're ascribing omniscience to the Masters that they don't possess. Plus, why would they care about Thanos, Hela or Ego, since, as far as they know, they haven't actually attacked the Earth. Now, the Darkhold is a good point, but considering the Ghost Rider's connection to it (and if things are similar to the comics), they may have considered it wise to stay as far away from it as possible.
      • Except the fact that they are aware that such a thing as the "Marvel Multiverse" exists demonstrates omniscience on some level. Furthermore, are you saying something doesn't count as "the physical" until it is right on Earth's doorstep? In that case, what's stopping another Celestial (or someone on the same power level) like Ego from doing what he did and attacking Earth from far away?
      • Knowing the multiverse exists is still leagues below knowing every single little tiny detail of everything that happens in every corner of the multiverse. How exactly are the Masters supposed to know that Ego was behind the attack in 2014? Hell, for all the rest of Earth knows, it wasn't even an attack, it could've just been some weird alien plant or something (which isn't entirely inaccurate...). But when you get down to it, Wong says it himself, the Avengers already protect the Earth from physical threats, so there's no need for the Masters to be involved as well. Now, as Infinity War will show, something big enough like Thanos will make them intervene in the physical world, plus Strange mentioned that Loki is basically on their watchlist of threats. But others are already handling those threats, and the mystics have bigger concerns like Dormammu to worry about, so for the most part they just keep out of their affairs.

    What's wrong with weird purple eyes? 
  • When Kaecilius is telling Dr Strange his motives for serving Dormammu, Strange shuts him down by quipping about the weird purple deformations under his eyes - but couldn't he (or the writers) think of something better? Even assuming he defaulted to his medical training and assumed it was a disease or something, it doesn't seem to be particularly dangerous or troublesome - Kaecilius and his zealots clearly aren't suffering because of it, it's clearly not going to kill them given that their whole plan is for everyone to be immortal, and even if it is a disease it might be treatable. Why is the eye thing supposed to be Obviously Evil?
    • Because it's Obviously Evil, it's not about if it looks painful it's that it's clearly not something a person with the world's best interest would look like. Surgically place horns on your head, shoot a bunch of people and only when you're restrained say it's for the greater good see how much the other guy will believe you.
      • So Strange is a bigot who judges people based on appearance and we're supposed to go along with that? It's only Obviously Evil because we know we're watching a comic book movie and it's a genre trope that, all too often, ugliness is a sign of evil. Kaecilius and his zealots just look a bit alien. You bring up Kaecilius murdering the other wizards because it's actually relevant, but Strange doesn't - if I see someone with horns and a pitchfork murdering people I'll think they're evil because they're a murderer, not because of how they look.
      • Strange is not being a bigot and he is not merely judging Kaecilious's appearance. You forget that the purple eyes are neither a naturally occuring feature for humans nor a cultural marking, which would make commenting on them uncool, but a side effect of pledging himself to an evil extra-dimensional God and utilizing very dangerous and malevolent powers. Physical changes that occur under these circumstances are fairly obvious signs of corruption, and will naturally be seen as unsettling or evil by anyone who a)is even passingly familiar with human biology and/or b) is aware that magic is a thing.
      • As an example, imagine that mastering necromancy made you look like a corpse, complete with rotting flesh and exposed bones. Anyone who looks at you is going to be justified in assuming you are involved with something nasty, because living humans should never look like that.
      • That wouldn't make necromancy wrong. Surgery leaves scars; does that make people who've had surgery sinister?
      • You are following the chain of causality wrong. The physical signs of corruption do not make the use of these magics evil and dangerous, it's the fact that the magics are evil and dangerous that creates the signs of corruption. The purple eyes are a symptom, not a cause, and like a symptom they indicate that something is very, very wrong. As for your scar analogy, that is a false equivelance; surgery scars are received because of a medical procedure needed to prevent the suffering or death of the recipient, not as a side effect of striking a deal to gain power from a devil analogue.
      • That's the out-of-universe explanation (and dodgy in itself; disfigurement isn't really a mark of evil); Strange doesn't know this. If I was in the Marvel universe and Dormammu said to me "hey, channel my powers and you can make everyone immortal" and I accepted, I wouldn't think he was evil because I developed purple dry skin around my eyes; I'd think he was evil if the Ancient One told me about how he'd conquered a whole bunch of dimensions.
      • Disfigurement is not a mark of evil in the real world because there are virtually none that result solely from evil acts from the receiver, which absolves them of any moral judgment in that regard. But in many fictional universes, namely those that involve magic or psyonics, that is very much not the case. There are a multitude of disfigurements/markings that can only be inflicted via use of evil magics or practices, and perfectly reasonable people can make accurate judgements of the individuals that are afflicted by them. Doctor Strange is a fairly Genre-savvy guy, and he recognized it for the sign of corruption that it was.
      • To be fair, Strange is new at this. Maybe once he gets more time under his belt with cosmic beings, he'll be less hasty to judge.
      • Strange is also a physician. He knows damaged or necrotic tissue when he sees it, and any marked deviation from a body's normal appearance is liable to appear pathological and/or injurious to a doctor. The fact that serving Dormammu is physically disfiguring the Zealots would constitute an obvious clinical sign that such service is not good for a person, reinforcing the notion that Dormammu himself isn't either.
    • It's not them being disfigured that's bad. It's that Dormammu/Dormammu's powers disfigured them, and any power that does that might not have your best interests in mind.
    • In the very next sentence, Strange points out that following Dormammu has already made Kaecillius a murderer. It's not that the eye thing is bad in and of itself, it's a kind of Visual Metaphor for the fact that tapping into Dormammu's power requires you to do horrible things (such as commit murder).
    • In the real world there are symbols, hair styles, and clothing people can wear to show an affinity with unsavory groups and ideologies. Strange's first exposure to Kaecilius was watching him and his cronies murder an innocent, so I don't think it's a reflection on Strange's character to comment on how the evil people fit a pretty standard idea of what evil people look like. Even if the deformation was actually unrelated to Kaecilius' association with an interdimensional demon, I hardly think that faux pas is noteworthy given the stakes of the confrontation.

     Just what is "natural law" anyway? 
  • Time manipulation and life extension are unnatural but everything else the sorcerers do is totally natural? Dangerous, yes, considering the risks of causing temporal paradoxes and drawing power from the Dark Dimension, but what's Mordo talking about with this "natural law" stuff?
    • Moreover, given that the Time Stone is pretty much the embodiment and controlling factor for Time itself, how can anything it does to Time be "unnatural"? If the Stone reversing Time is "unnatural", then the Stone making Time go forward in the usual fashion can't be any less so: they're both the Stone doing its rightful job, period.

     Potential Alternate Character Interpretation 
  • I'm not arguing Strange isn't an arrogant, abrasive, at-times less-than-kind person. However, the scene where Christine is scolding him for embarrassing another doctor, I recongise the audience is supposed to take her side but don't understand why. She realised the other doctor had declared a not-dead patient dead, he proved she was right, put the best doctor to help the patient (himself) on the job, and refused to let the doctor who'd made the mistake assist him in favour of letting her, the one who had caught the mistake, do so. In the operating room, the doctor made a snappy remark about Strange not showing off, and Strange reminded him of the mistake he (the doctor) himself had just made. It was shown from his POV that the other doctor's ticking watch was legitimately interfering with his concentration, and he gave a simple order for the doctor to cover it. His tone wasn't warm and pleasant, but it wasn't anywhere approaching nasty nor did he verbally insult the doctor during the order. If the doctor was embarrassed due to making the mistake and not being allowed to assist after his mistake was caught, whether it was Strange's intention to make him feel this way or not, Strange was well within in his rights to do everything he did and, in fact, could be argued to be acting in the best interests of the patient by doing so, and if Strange had asked another person besides the doctor to cover their watch, would this have been considered an attempt to embarrass them, too, rather than the simple fact he has advanced hearing and couldn't easily tune out that particular sound?

     So can Dormammu lie, or not? 
  • It's clear that Dormammu has lied to Kaecilius, falsely promising him that the Dark Dimension would be a paradise of everlasting life for everyone. Okay. Demons lie, and so does Dormammu. Noted. But then, Strange defeats him by… making him agree to a bargain? Which he doesn't break afterwards? So presumably he can't break his promises? Pick one, movie!
    • He wasn't lying. Kaecilius severely misinterpreted his limited knowledge, and Dormammu couldn't care less, and most likely didn't even knew - why would he bother, so long as his cultists do everything by themselves and willingly? Maybe they're actually that kinky or principled? Besides, everlasting life part was granted just as promised. As to paradise - well, someone should've read that warning on the next page before casting dangerous spells...
    • From Dormammu's perspective, becoming assimilated into him probably seems like it is paradise, especially when compared to being a fragile, ephemeral, isolated little fly-speck of consciousness like a human being.

     The Ancient One using the Dark Dimension 
  • …so why did the Ancient One draw her power for the immortality spell from the Dark Dimension, exactly? We are told that there is an infinity of universes, some worlds of darkness, others beautiful and life-giving, blah blah, something to that effect. Of all the infinity of existing universes in the multiverse, surely there's one that's pretty much "what Kaecilius thought the Dark Dimension was" — e.g. ruled by a benevolent Physical God, wanting to help the other less fortunate universes, and willing to supply power to sorcerers there? Couldn't she contact that universe?
    • Apparently there wasn't such a universe. Or she's unaware of one.
    • It was my impression that drawing power from it stopped the Ancient One from aging specifically because it was the Dark Dimension she was using, i.e. it was possible to make her body to a degree "timeless" just like the Dark Dimension is and using any dimension that has time in it would not have given her that ability. Ergo, presumably there are no "safer" timeless dimensions that one can draw such a power from, or at least none she knows of. It wasn't simply to make herself stronger that she used the Dark Dimension, it was to make herself live longer so she could protect Earth longer.
    • The Vishanti are explicitly mentioned, so benevolent deities do exist and the Sorcerer Supreme is aware of them. Evidently they don't offer eternal life.
    • Possibly dimensions which are life-sustaining are already using all their benevolent energies to keep their own resident life forms flourishing. Taking some of that energy away to keep one person on Earth immortal would rob such native organisms of the energy they require to survive at all.

     Playing music while performing surgery 
  • I get that Strange was arrogant, but wouldn't his nurses have a problem with him bopping his head and showing off even if he is the world's greatest surgeon? You think some of them would call him out on this behavior.

     Just ignore him 
  • Dormammu caves in to Strange's bargain for either keep killing him or leaving earth to never return. Why can't Dormammu just choose to ignore Strange and keep his assault on earth? Considering their power discrepancy, it's unlikely that whatever Strange could do would even register on Dormammu. At worst, it would be like doing a job with a fly constantly bothering you - annoying, but not crippling.
    • If Dormammu moved on past Strange time would just loop again and he'd be no better off. Dormammu's only option was to kill Strange, who just wouldn't die. This is best in Strange's line.
    "I can lose again... and again... and again... That makes you my prisoner."
    • Because Strange can just trap him in time again. That's the whole point of the entire climax.

     Why is Mordo so troubled? 
  • Mordo's main beef is that what he was taught (magic is sacred and there are things you don't do) is groundless and that the reality is sorcerers do as they please when the need arises, consequences be damned. However he was taught that by the Ancient One, who has flagrantly violated her own decree to live forever. If that's the case, then what even are the consequences? Who set them and are they even real? If your whole belief system is fractured from the top then why even bother practicing magic under any ruleset and trying to "take it back to its roots", as Mordo was doing in The Stinger, has no real meaning.
    • There are consequences. We see with the fate of Kaecilius and his zealots the side-effects of channeling too much Dark Dimension energy or doing it in an unsafe manner or whatever their problem was, and Mordo warns Strange about the potential consequences of misusing time magic. The Ancient One and Dr Strange break the rules because a) their circumstances require it and b) they know enough to break the rules without breaking anything else. Mordo's just too rigid to understand that you can break rules without being a bad person, and possibly the Ancient One erred by poorly explaining the reasons behind the rules.
    • "Know the rules, that you might learn to break them properly." The Ancient One and Strange subscribe to this, but for Mordo, there's no such thing as breaking rules "properly."

     Misplaced Fridge Brilliance and/or Genius Bonus entry 
  • I'm pretty certain that I read something on one of these pagesnote  that explained why Strange took issue with Thor calling him "wizard" that had to do with the origins of the word. Was it deleted for whatever reason, am I looking in the wrong place, or what?
    • I don't know what happened to it, but I do know that it was a misunderstanding of the etymology of "wizard" - it just means "one who is wise" like how "drunkard" means "one who is drunk" or "dullard" means "one who is dull.

  • It feels weird that there's a procedure that can accomplish exactly what Strange wants in Iron Man 3 and it never gets brought up. AIM was looking to partner up with Pepper and nearly killed the president after a months long terror campaign, so it seems unlikely that nobody would know about Extremis. Even if it's not something he could access with his available resources, it seems unlikely that he would be unaware that it's something medical science is capable of. Certainly, Strange wouldn't be put off by the risk.
    • Given that how unstable it was, it may have been shelved after the end of Iron Man 3.

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