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Great Old One: Misc


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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

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Great Old One
Appearance / Type: Pre-Universe beings
Also known as: Old One
Affiliated with: None
Place of origin: Pre-Universe
Appearances: Various (see article)
Old Ones directs here. For the Elder Things, see separate article.

The Great Old Ones, sometimes known as the Old Ones, were beings from before the universe, according to the Doctor. (NA: White Darkness, All-Consuming Fire, MA: Millennial Rites)



The Great Old Ones were unimaginably ancient creatures that were preserved in Humanity's race memory as their worst nightmares. They were conceived as creatures that spread evil, chaos and destruction wherever they went. (BFA: The Roof of the World) The sensors of a TARDIS noted the body of a Great Old One appeared as a massive quantity of energy which was the equivalent of energy from twenty billion nuclear bombs. (MA: Millennial Rites) They were known to possess physical bodies which they sought to return to and had a third part of their form which existed in the outer dimensional planes which some believed was where they originated from originally. (NA: White Darkness) They were known to be one of a number of creatures that had adapted in a way that made them capable of perceiving the higher dimensions. (PDA: Tomb of Valdemar)

Quantum mnemonics was known to be the language of the Old Ones, as they represented physical laws of the Universe that preceded the current one. It was considered the Old Ones' equivalent of Block Transfer Computations and allowed them to rewrite reality on the most fundamental of levels. (MA: Millennial Rites)

It was known that the Great Old Ones were incapable of being killed in the normal dimension. They also knew of the Time Lords and considered them a threat. (NA: White Darkness)


The beings that became known as the Old Ones did not originate from this Universe but the one before it. They were originally a powerful race of beings who were the equivalent of the Time Lords in their native space. However, when the Universe ended, the Old Ones shunted themselves into a parallel dimension which collapsed seconds later into the new Universe. This allowed them to pass into the new Universe which had a different law of physics and they discovered that they had gained god-like powers which allowed them to manipulate the new Universe they now existed in. (MA: Millennial Rites)

They were worshipped as gods on Earth during the age of the Silurians who knew them as gargantuan entities that once ruled the planet and were known to a cult of the Shobogans. According to the legends, it was believed that Azathoth was the weakest of their kind. (NA: All-Consuming Fire)

Ancient carvings dating at least fifteen million years ago show that the Old Ones ruled everywhere before they died out and went into hibernation after fleeing from the predators with a touch of decay. They managed to escape from the great cosmic disaster in order to flee into the Time Vortex where they became discorporate entities thus leaving their bodies behind on Earth.

Their minds have sought to return to their bodies when the stars were correctly aligned as the tidal forces of the stellar masses in conjunction can bring about a sufficient tear in the space-time continuum which can bring about a pathway through which they can reunite with their bodies. However, as the stars were constantly expanding and contracting, they never returned to the same configuration as the time when the Old Ones went into hibernation. Thus, they required the assistance of their followers to attract the attentions of their bodies autonomic insticts and allow them to chance to compensate. As they were unable to affect the world physically, they used the influence of their powerful minds to achieve their goals. (NA: White Darkness)

At one point they attempted to enter into the higher dimensions by using the Palace of the Old Ones to power a gateway. One of their number, known as Valdemar, discovered that his kind were unprepared for the perceptions of this new reality and were being driven mad by it. This breach would have destroyed the universe had Valdemar not sacrificed himself to seal the breach. Legends would spread across the galaxy that he was a dark god that nearly destroyed the Old Ones though the truth was far different. The mystery of Valdemar and the Old Ones were later known as number six in the great mysteries of the universe. (PDA: Tomb of Valdemar)

The Pharaoh Amenhotep II discovered them at one time on Earth and attempted to harness their power for himself. However, he came to realise that they were beyond his control and lured them into a white pyramid with a structure of infinite reflections where the creature's evil were to be trapped forever. This trap succeeded and kept the world safe from their evil. (BFA: The Roof of the World)

List of Great Old Ones


Possible Great Old Ones

Behind the Scenes

The Great Old Ones originated out of the Cthulhu Mythos, a shared universe based on the writing of H. P. Lovecraft and to an extent, some of his contemporaries with which he had corresponded or made extensive revisions for. A few characters and concepts in televised Doctor Who, such as Sutekh (though based on an actual ancient Egyptian god) and the Fendahl, appear to show the influence of the Mythos. However, much of this is probably more attributable to the lasting influence of Quatermass and of the English horror writers that influenced Lovecraft himself. Not until the novels White Darkness, All-Consuming Fire and Millennial Rites did beings explicitly referred to as Great Old Ones appear in fiction set in the Doctor Who Universe.

The latter two books took known Doctor Who enemies, such as the Animus and retconned them into having links to the Mythos. The Taking of Planet 5 revealed that the Elder Things also existed in the form of fiction in the Doctor Who Universe. Though the established Cthulhu Mythos and the Doctor Who version have some differences (the idea of the Great Old Ones originating before the universe originates in Doctor Who novels, for example), stories set in the Mythos frequently contradicts itself.

External Links

  • "Cthulwho: A Brief Introduction to the Cthulhu Mythos" by Kyla Ward, which specific reference to the Mythos in the Doctor Who Universe
  • An Overview of Dr. Who Cthulhu Mythos Novels by James Ambuehl
Wikipedia has a more detailed and comprehensive article on

This article uses material from the "Great Old One" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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