A hero is only as good as his greatest villains. Batman's Joker has come to define the Caped Crusader, challenging him more than any other foe Gotham's defender has ever faced. Spider-Man’s menacing Venom has stood as the antithesis of Spider-Man, Lex Luthor has opposed everything Superman has stood for for decades; the list goes on. Heroes are nothing without their villains.
Doctor Who is one of the greatest heroes this world has ever conjured. He goes from saving the universe in one episode to protecting a crew of an abandoned spaceship in the next. There are no limits to his abilities or intellect. But there is one group of villains, one of the monsters he’s faced from time to time that stand out above the rest. They have you questioning the streets you walk down at night, and force you to sleep with one eye open. These villains are, of course, the Weeping Angels.
The Weeping Angels are among the most vicious and ruthless monsters the Doctor has battled in his lifetime. They will rip the life from you without a moment’s hesitation, and they'll walk over your corpse to do the same to your companions. The very universe trembles at their name. The Weeping Angels' histories and cultures are shrouded in mystery, but we're here to help you fill in the blanks. Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Weeping Angels.
15 Don’t Blink
The Weeping Angels are cunning and patient creatures, with the ability to lie dormant for thousands of years waiting for prey to stumble into their trap. They are feared even by the Time Lords, who know not what they are or where they’re from.
The thing that makes these Weeping Angels so dangerous is that have the most effective defense mechanism in the entire universe: they cannot be observed. Whenever they are looked upon, these Weeping Angels cease to exist, and turn into angelic stone statues. The juxtaposition between the horror these monsters bring and the tranquil visage of angels no doubt magnifies their terrifying nature.
Simply put, a Weeping Angel can be anywhere. It can be standing watch on the parapet of your local church, or holding vigil for the departed in a cemetery. You will not know the swift sting these statues hold until it is too late. The rule of engagement against these creatures is pretty straightforward: don't blink.
14 Weeping Angels Are Quantum Locked Humanoids
For a species that has been around an unknown period of time, the Weeping Angels certainly look a lot like humans (in their stone form). Aside from wings, they share all the same physical attributes of a typical person. Nearing their prey, the Weeping Angels' true colors are revealed, with claws and a vampire-like image. However, this is only in their quantum-locked state. Since they are nearly impossible to spot, nobody has been able to document what they look like in their unlocked state. Whenever they're looked upon, the Weeping Angels will change the nature of their biological make-up on a sub-atomic level, rendering them lifeless stone so that no harm can befall them.
In order to avoid observing each other (which would turn both beings to stone), Angels cover their faces with their hands while they're moving. This, of course, is where the term ‘Weeping Angel’ is derived from. They may appear to be weeping, but in fact, they're just waiting until any gaze upon them has passed. Quantum locking is a near perfect defense mechanism; you can’t kill that which does not live.
13 They Are Predators
The Doctor has never suffered from a shortage of bad guys to do battle with across the cosmos. Daleks, Cybermen, The Silence, and The Master are among his most common enemies, all of whom have grand plans of global (and occasionally universal) domination. The Weeping Angels, however, are an entirely different breed of enemy. The Weeping Angels are predators, and as such, their actions are predicated strictly on instinct. All the harm the Weeping Angels have caused, all the evil they've unleashed, is simply instinct. Monsters must feed, after all.
These Angels are solely focused on the hunt and the kill. They will lie dormant for centuries waiting for their prey, and they have been known to float through the galaxy for millennia knowing that they'll eventually find a place to fulfill their purpose. When the Angels have located a target for consumption, they are truly a force to be reckoned with. They're silent and extremely swift, and like a pack of hyenas, they communicate to one another during the hunt to surround their prey. To avoid being observed, the Weeping Angels will manipulate the lighting of an environment to give them an easy approach for the kill. Though gifted with tremendous speed, the Weeping Angels will appear to move slower as they close in on their prey, akin to a shark circling its victim.
12 Their Origins Are Unknown
There is very little background information on the Weeping Angels, and even the Time Lords are unsure of how and when these villainous creatures came into existence. Naturally, there is much speculation and mystery surrounding the Doctor’s most terrifying foe. But when the Time Lords -- an alien civilization dedicated to the exploration and study of the universe -- don’t know anything about you, nobody does.
It is believed that the Weeping Angels may be as old as the Universe itself. Given a steady supply of ‘food’, they are as immortal and timeless as the Doctor himself. Even without a food source, the Weeping Angels can become dormant, waiting for centuries for some semblance of a meal to come wandering into their territory. Such is what happened in the events at the “Byzantium”. Weeping Angels wiped out the Aplans civilization on Alfaza Metraxis, and then lay dormant on the planet with no sustenance for over three hundred years.
In “The End Of Time”, the President of the Time Lords, Rassilon, points out two members of the council who voted against him. He states that they “…stand as monuments to their shame – like the Weeping Angels of old.” The two council members are seen standing with their hands covering their face. This imitation suggests that even the Time Lords consider their adversaries ancient beings, and introduced the Angels' calling card as a punishment.
11 The Weeping Angels Can Create Other Angels
The Weeping Angels can live for eons with enough energy to support them, and they're capable of hibernating for centuries. This has been paramount to their existence for billions of years. But like any other race of beings, they cannot survive without reproducing, and the Weeping Angels have shown signs throughout history of attempts toward expansion (i.e. “The Angels Take Manhattan”). It is theorized that they can convert normal, existing statues into living Weeping Angels, while others believe that the Angels merely control these lifeless statues bending them to their will. Nevertheless, it stands to reason that the Weeping Angels possess the means of reproduction.
There have been sightings of infant or cherub-shaped Weeping Angels that possess a childlike laughter. This laughter is distinctly different from the sounds of their adult counterparts, who we’ve heard make a haunting, screeching sound. This distinction suggests that the ‘Weeping Cherubs’ are significantly younger versions of Weeping Angels, which insinuates they possess a natural reproductive ability. The imagination no doubt runs wild given this information. How exactly does stone procreate?
10 They Live In Images
One of the more terrifying movies of the 21st century thus far is The Ring. Few will ever forget the first time they witnessed little Samara crawl forth from the glowing tube. Her jet-black hair hanging low over her face, the unnatural movements she made as she came forth from the well, and her slithering through the television screen all add up to be one of the most panic-inducing, dreadful moments in recent horror memory. And a novel idea to boot! The Weeping Angels possess powers very similar to our dear friend, Samara.
If the image of a Weeping Angel is captured on any device, like a picture or video, that image will eventually manifest itself as the Weeping Angel. We see these abilities demonstrated in “The Time Of Angels”, where a video recording of a Weeping Angel was taken from within the Byzantium. The Doctor and Amy are viewing the image, and look away, but when they return their gaze on the video screen, the Angel had moved. The image of the Weeping Angel was alive within the recording, and it had every intention of freeing itself to bring harm to The Doctor and his companions.
9 They Feed On Life
The Weeping angels are ruthless, timeless, quantum-locking villains. The Weeping Angels are more than capable of killing, having snapped the necks of certain victims who have gotten in their way. Their primary goal, however, is to feed, though they've been known to use less-than-conventional methods to do so. A Weeping Angel feeds by sending their victims back in time, and locking them in a certain ‘time-zone’.
A single touch is all that is needed for a Weeping Angel to send its victim back in time. The Angels then feed on the energy that remains after that individual’s life was lost. In “Blink”, the episode that revealed these sinister beings to the world, an Angel sends Kathy Nightingale back in time, and we witness exactly what the Weeping Angels are capable of. Their killing stroke rips people from their timeline, leaving no trace, no remains for their loved ones to mourn over, nothing. One minute you may be grabbing a cup of coffee in Central Park, and the next you will be in, say, turn of the century Manhattan. Though you may not die, the life you were intended to lead was murdered for the sustenance of a monster.
8 Some Weeping Angels Were Trapped In Earth
The Weeping Angels have existed since the dawn of the universe. Drifting among the stars throughout the cosmos, they are in a perpetual search of their next meal. It’s not surprising, then, that a few of these Angels turn up in unexpected places.
In “Fallen Angels”, three Angels were discovered by Michelangelo, trapped inside solid marble blocks he was working on. The appearance of these Angels was considered a miracle, and a secret society, the Order of the Three Angels, was created as result. It was deduced by the Fifth Doctor that these Angels were drawn toward the gravitational pull of the Earth during its formation billions of years ago, and have long lain in hibernation. Having never faced the threat of the Weeping Angels before, the Doctor’s companions were unaware of the dangers they were up against. His companions, Joel & Gabby Finch, were ‘chosen’ by the Order of the Three Angels as a sacrifice, and were sent back in time. The Doctor acted in kind, and defeated the three Weeping Angels by locking them away forever (hopefully) in the catacombs underneath the Sistine Chapel.
7 They're Steven Moffat's most terrifying creation
Steven Moffat, whether you love him or hate him, has done the world a great service. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Moffat managed to bring the beloved show back from the television abyss in 2005. The reintroduction of Doctor Who to the modern viewer caused a resurgence of monumental proportions on both sides of the pond. Just two years later, in the episode “Blink”, it was Moffat who introduced the creature from your nightmares, The Weeping Angels.
That same year, a poll was taken among the most devout of Doctor Who followers, asking which monster was scariest. The Weeping Angels blew all other options out of the water, winning with 55% of the vote. In 2012, Radio Times held a vote among the general populous that garnered over ten thousand votes, asking the same question. Again, the Weeping Angels won by a landslide as the Doctor’s greatest monster. It’s pretty unanimous that this disturbing brainchild of Moffat’s is the Doctor’s scariest enemy to date.
6 The Angels Create Feeding Farms
The Weeping Angels feed off of the energy left from a life they’ve sent to the past. It is a unique method of feeding, sure, but an inefficient one as well. As civilizations expand, so too must their infrastructures. And efficiency is the key toward expansion. Where would car manufacturing be today had Ford not developed the assembly line? Well, the Weeping Angels naturally developed a form of farming to increase their effectiveness.
We see a perfect example of this in “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Converting nearly every statue in Manhattan into Weeping Angels (including big mamma Liberty), the Weeping Angels became a dominant force, albeit one that no doubt needed a constant supply of time energy in order to survive. The Weeping Angels thusly created a farm, which allowed the Weeping Angels to continue to dominate NYC. By trapping their victims out of time and in an apartment building, the Winter Quay, the Angels converted the structure to act as a type of battery. This battery was used to store all the energy they’ve stolen from peoples’ lives, thus sustaining the Weeping Angels’ numbers. We’ve seen examples of Weeping Angels taking over planets and destroying entire civilizations, and there's little doubt that their take on farming was the means to those ends.
5 Their Greatest Strength Is Their Achilles Heel
The Weeping Angels are basically the most terrifying creatures in the Universe, you get it. But alas, there is a way to defeat them! It's no easy task, of course, but the Weeping Angels are not entirely immune to harm. Ironically enough, it is their brilliant defense mechanism that can be used against them.
Quantum locking is what keeps Weeping Angels safe. They turn to stone when observed, and no harm can befall them. However, their one weakness is written directly into their name! While in this state, they appear weeping, with their hands covering their eyes, so they cannot observe one another. The simplest way to defeat the Weeping Angels is to trick them into using their defense mechanism against themselves. If you can fool a group of Weeping Angels into looking at each other in their locked state, they will quantum-lock each other in that position until they starve to death.
The Doctor’s companion, Rory, also discovered a way to defeat a host of Weeping Angels, ones that were relying on a farm for their food supply. In the aforementioned “The Angels Take Manhattan” episode, Rory had become part of that same food supply, and had no wish to continue living. He leaped to his death to avoid that fate, but in so doing, he inadvertently created a paradox. This paradox poisoned the food supply the Weeping Angels relied upon, killing them instantly and correcting the timeline. The Weeping Angels may be powerful, monstrous beings, but they aren't unbeatable.
4 The Weeping Angels “Kill Nicely”
Daleks exterminate. Cybermen assimilate. And the Silence will zap you with some lightning bolts. Weeping Angels, on the other hand, are not known to kill. Yes, they rip people from their natural place in time and space, but, aside from a few snapped necks, the Weeping Angels generally don’t murder too many folks.
Given all possibilities, the fate Weeping Angels inflict is not an absolute evil. Even the Doctor himself claims that they are the only beings in the universe that will kill kindly. Though they steal their victims’ potential lives, the Weeping Angels allow their prey to live out the rest of their existence in a different time. It's not an ideal fate, sure, but it is relatively merciful. At the end of “The Angels Take Manhattan”, a Weeping Angel snuck up on Rory and sent him back to a time that was locked away from the Doctor’s reach. Amy, distraught from losing her husband, asked the Angel to send her to the same period so that the two could live out their days together, and the Angel obliged. We don't know too many evil villains that would allow that!
3 Weeping Angels In Class [Spoilers]
In the right scenario, a spinoff of a popular TV series can prove to be an excellent endeavor. Sometimes, the main show alone is not enough to satiate the fans' desire for more content. Doctor Who has seen its fair share of popular spinoffs over the years, with The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood becoming fan favorites in their time on the air. Honestly, who can get enough of Jack Harkness?
Class is the latest spinoff creation based within the Doctor’s universe. Since its release, Class has received positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Based in Coal Hill Academy, the spinoff focuses on six students as they struggle to find a balance between schoolwork and protecting Earth from monsters. In the season finale of Class (which aired just this month), every Whovian's favorite winged beasts made a startling appearance. The Weeping Angels reveal themselves to be the mysterious benefactors backing the Academy’s governors, and naturally, their reveal came with a corresponding death. The Weeping Angels kill the headmistress, Pooky Quesnel, for failing to carry out the school governors’ plans. It remains to be seen whether or not the creatures will play a larger role next season (or if there will even be
It remains to be seen whether or not the creatures will play a larger role next season (or if there will even be a next season), but we're certaintly hoping for both.
2 They Have Psychic Abilities
Given all we know about the Weeping Angels, it’s hard to imagine that they’re capable of more. Unfortunately for our Doctor, the Weeping Angels possess psychic powers that have been revealed to be just as devastating as their other abilities.
In “The Time Of Angels”, Amy Pond looked a Weeping Angel directly in its eyes. The Angel was able to fix itself on her visual cortex, creating an image of the Weeping Angel in her mind. Once the Weeping Angel’s possession had taken hold, it could manipulate her thoughts and influence her mind until it had become fully grown. The Weeping Angel in Amy’s mind even toyed with her, forcing her to count down the minutes to her death out loud. This possession could be counteracted for a time by simply having the host close their eyes. The effects of the possession would resume, however, the moment she would open their eyes again.
1 Weeping Angels Can Communicate Through The Dead
Weeping Angels are not known for their communication skills. They generally just show up in a time and place and unleash mayhem. Although they've shown that they are capable of sound, generating a noise audible to humans with a shrill screech, there's no way of knowing whether this them actually speaking with each other. But since the Weeping Angels hunt in packs, in a coordinated, calculated fashion, it is safe to say that they are capable of communicating with one another. Some theories posit that the Weeping Angels use telepathy to communicate with one another over vast stretches of time and space.
On one occasion, though, the Angels were able to address the Doctor in a common tongue. In “The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone”, the Weeping Angels hacked the consciousness of Cleric Bob, whom they’d killed. Stripping Bob of his cerebral cortex, the Angels manufactured the ability to communicate with the Eleventh Doctor. The Angel assured the Doctor that Bob’s death was quick, and not as painful as he believed. The Weeping Angels use the voices of their victims to further taunt the living, which only adds to their haunting nature.
Did we miss any particularly sinister fun facts that fans need to know? Let us know in the comments!