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Recap / Doctor Who New Adventures Lungbarrow

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Lungbarrow is the final novel in the Doctor Who New Adventures Seventh Doctor series, and the second-to-last one in the DWNA overall. It was written by Marc Platt.

The plot involves the Doctor returning to Gallifrey and visiting his family for the first time since he stole the TARDIS and ran away, with many consequent revelations about the circumstances and reasons for his departure.

As with Platt's other NAs, particularly Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible, it drew ideas from the infamous "Cartmel Masterplan", a storyline that would supposedly have introduced the Doctor's past on Gallifrey during the abruptly-cancelled Season 27. This "Masterplan" would have presented the Doctor as the reincarnation of one of the founders of Time Lord society, bringing back the mystery of the Doctor's real identity. Numerous clues of this "Masterplan" were found throughout Season 25 and 26, but the supposed creators of the storyline themselves said it actually was nothing but a couple of fancy ideas thrown between them, and considering how infuriatingly unstable and ever-shifting the Doctor Who canon is, they shouldn't be taken as Word of God.

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Tropes

  • Belly Buttonless: Time Lords are constructed by machines and so lack navels. The Doctor is an exception.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Time Lords are all sterile and are "born" from a "Loom", a machine in their giant sentient semi-organic family Houses. Each Loom weaves Family members according to a common template, ensuring that they're related; every Family member is genetically a cousin to the others.
  • Born as an Adult: Loomed Time Lords come out of the Loom physically full-grown.
  • The Chessmaster: Most of the Time Lords are, as it's the only way to rise through the ranks of their society. Romana and Ferain are notable examples, and Glospin fancies himself one (and oh boy if he isn't). Rassilon, the first of the Time Lords, is hinted to be one, and is seen playing a game of chess containing several other games of chess inside a single board. His mentor and rival, the Other, is one too.
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  • Continuity Snarl: Time Lords are said to be born through machines called Looms, which weave the same DNA into different individuals (called 'Cousins'), and are shown to be fully matured when exiting the Looms. This is contradicted by the Revival series, which shows both Gallifreyans and Time Lords as children. Furthermore, as stated by Lungbarrow and a previous novel, Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible, the Looms were created to counter the sterility curse cast on the Time Lords by their ancient ruler, the Pythia, and all but eliminated the idea of parenthood from Gallifreyan culture, as all individuals woven by the same loom were now considered 'Cousins' due to being genetically identical. This too is contradicted by the TV series, which mentions the Doctor having a father and a mother (not to mention children and a granddaughter) and the Master having a father and a daughter. Not to mention the Doctor still having his own crib of all things.
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  • Frameup: Part of the reason for the ill feeling between the Doctor and his family is that he was framed for a serious crime committed just before he left. Chris puts his detective training to work and is able to prove that the actual culprit was one of the Doctor's cousins, who blew a regeneration to become an exact double of the Doctor, committed the crime, and then blew another regeneration to return to his previous appearance, leaving everyone unaware that he'd regenerated at all.
  • Genius Loci: Most Houses on Gallifrey, including Lungbarrow, the Doctor's family House. The ancestral homes of the different clans are sentient. One Time Lord of each house becomes the "house keeper" and literally marries and has a somewhat symbiotic relationship with the house.
  • Grand Finale: For the New Adventures, even if The Dying Days, which features the Eighth Doctor, also fits as one.
  • I Have No Son!: Quences, the Kithriarch of House Lungbarrow, is the closest thing the Doctor has to a father. Quences viewed the Doctor as his favourite member of the house. After it was predicted that the Doctor would be the most influential Time Lord since Rassilon (which was actually a pretty damn accurate prediction), Quences doted on him and had him studying at the Time Lord Academy, hoping that he would become the first member of the house to become Lord Cardinal. The Doctor obviously didn't see eye to eye with Quences and had other plans, which resulted in this trope.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: The Other's reflection on the Hand of Omega:
    Omega, despite his sacrifice, still had a hand in their affairs. It was a rather good joke he thought, but Rassilon didn't find it funny at all.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Leela and Andred's relationship. The other Time Lords find it rather embarrassing that Andred is with a 'non-Gallifreyan'. Leela and Andred, however, don't mind at all.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Lungbarrow revealed that, since a long-ago catastrophe rendered their entire race sterile, Time Lords don't have sex — they get created on looms. (Included at no extra cost: a tortured explanation of how, in that case, the Doctor can be Susan's grandfather.) This revelation was entirely ignored by the TV series.
  • Overly Long Name: All Time Lord names, with first prize going to Quencessetianobayolocaturgrathadeyyilungbarrowmas, the 422nd Kithriarch of the House of Lungbarrow.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Innocet has resolved not to cut her hair until she sees daylight again. This results in her having to walk about with 673 years' worth of hair in a colossal plait, worn wound on her back like a turtle shell.
  • The Reveal: The Doctor is probably the, or at least a, genetic reincarnation of the Other, one of the three founders of Gallifreyan society alongside Rassilon and Omega. Moreover, Susan was technically the biological granddaughter of the Other, but she recognized the Doctor as her grandfather.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Leela is the Slob among a society of Snobs.
  • Some Call Me "Tim": To make things easier for the author and the reader, the Time Lord characters are mostly referred to by an abbreviated version of their Overly Long Name; for instance, Quencessetianobayolocaturgrathadeyyilungbarrowmas is usually just called "Quences".
  • Time Travel Taboo: There are technological measures (the Backtime Buffers) preventing attempts to take a TARDIS into Gallifrey's past, which is strictly forbidden.

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