ICE WARRIORS: Cultural Index


So as the choices for the last index were
tied at 50/50, I’m going to do what I normally do and do both options, one after the other,
beginning this week with the Doctor who monsters that do what they say on the tin, the Ice
Warriors! These tall, reptilian-humanoid aliens are
actually not that far flung in the intergalactic makeup of the whoniverse. Another name for
the species is in fact Martians. Yep, that’s right, they are native inhabitants of Mars,
our neighbours. However, a terrible calamity befell them and they are spread throughout
the galaxy while others cling to their desolate home world and await a time where they can
rebuild. Biologically, the Ice Warriors as we know
them are a reptilian species integrated into their suits which are both armoured and life
support systems. A quick fact for you, the sounds of hissing that they make are not natural
to the species and a result of laboured breathing assisted by their shell’s systems. This
is because they do breath an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, but need a higher concentration
of nitrogen. They are cold blooded and can enter a deep hibernation state that allows
them to survive being encased in ice for thousands of years.
Their suits incorporate a lot of tech from sonic devices to hacking tools, though these
are likely supplied on the needs of the individual. They also often include communications and
transmitters that have an extensive range. In terms of real world inspirations, the style
was inspired by Viking helms to match their warrior mind-set.
It seems that they lived in a caste system with a militaristic aristocracy depicted as
an Empire. These castes were divided into layers that an individual could rise and fall
through. With increased merit, an Ice Warrior could ascend the caste and generally inherited
is family’s position to begin with. It seems that the castes decided an individual’s
occupation and contained the echelons of the Ice Warrior’s extensive military. Leaders
of such martial castes were called the Grand Marshal, such as the Tharsyssian Caste who
was overseen by Grand Marshall Skaldak of the Nix Tharsyss. Below the leadership ranks
were the War Lords and so on in descending rank.
Alongside this system, a family belonged to a clan and placed the interest of their clan
above their own advancement, though the competitive nature of these clans fluctuated with the
time period. (This is a theme common to researching a Doctor Who race as we often see them at
different points of their history, sometimes millennia apart).
It is likely that each clan had its own head, often referred to as Lord of some description
and treated as sovereignty. The colonies of a Martian were called nests or hives and often
housed families, clans and allies to a single sovereign. A leader of a clan could also hold
a high position in the caste and often did as their systems were partially a meritocracy.
It’s possible that these two structures never actually overlapped and are from completely
different time periods but they don’t seem to contradict so this explains the references
to both castes and clans. There exists a strong honour code that is
pervasive among many warrior races but the intricacies of it are often lost to humans,
to whom the standards of the Ice Warrior may appear harsh but this was a result of their
increasingly dire circumstances as Mars diminished. A uniting motto of the species was “Harm
one of us, you harm us all.” Retaliation against a threat was expected to be rapid
and absolute. Being seen outside of their armour was a grave dishonour for an Ice Warrior
likely comparable to desertion. This code of honour is one that evolved alongside their
warrior culture. They seemed to place great religious emphasis
on the moons of Mars, often citing them as a source of blessing with phrases such as,
“By the Moons” and Skaldak being involved in silencing a “Phobos Heresy” of some
description. There were accounts of an Abbot and Scholastor caste suggesting a faith and
deep philosophy of some kind that shapes their actions.
The history of the Ice Warriors can be categorised into three chapters. These are ones I’ve
divided them into for convenience and not an official version or anything but they have
their Martian times, of their society before the fall, their “Ice Age” where the race
endured the death of their planet and the age of the Federation many years after their
recovery of Mars. Our tale begins a long time ago in a planet
right next door, The species first came into existence as genetically engineered lifeforms.
Native to the planet Mars, they were originally a sort of shelled reptile that was altered
with increased intelligence and a humanoid form to act as a slave race for the Gandorans
natives of Mars. Eventually, in a familiar sci-fi tale, the Saurian Evolutionaries, as
they were known, overthrew their oppressors completely and wiped them out, taking the
planet for their own. Their culture flourished and grew into an interstellar empire that
began to explore other worlds, including their neighbouring planets. This was all occurring
millions of years ago when Mars still supported life, liquid water and an atmosphere, during
the Pliocene epoch of Earth. It was said that they built cities that spanned the crust of
Mars and for the most part were a peaceful people. They placed a great emphasis on design
and art with form over function. Among their own they operated on a trade system where
it was customary to exchange needed goods over that of any currency.
However, their age of growth would not last as Mars began to cool and its atmosphere thin.
The cause of this is still unknown, but some suspect the involvement of Time Travellers.
The species began to retreat underground, out of the radiation that was increasing through
the lessening atmosphere and built themselves bio-mechanical suits to bolster themselves
to survive the changing climate. Natural resources began to become scarcer as water evaporated
from the surface and what remained froze. Many courses of action began to be taken to
try to first reverse the disaster, then finally to just survive it. A result of this was the
culture becoming more militaristic and aggressive out of necessity. It’s this period of time
that truly produced the Ice Warriors as infighting and hive struggles became more common.
Some travelled to Deimos where from where they observed Earth, however came to the conclusion
that it was currently unfit for habitation. Others took refuge in a vessel that would
later become the moon Phobos while more still made further exoduses to distant stars to
survive and begin anew. Around 5000 years ago, circa 3000 BCE, many
had decided to retreat into suspended animation with entire hives following their aristocracy
into an icy slumber. Other Ice Warriors too had been sent in hibernation to other worlds
to wait for a time when either Mars was habitable again, or they had located a suitable replacement.
Some of these pods were even dispatched to Earth.
It seems that not all chose this fate however, as others still stubbornly chose combat the
continuing corruption of the planet through scientific efforts.
Around the year 800 AD, a parasitic lifeform had evolved in the waters of Mars, contaminating
much of the remaining water. The Martians sacrificed the contaminated water and froze
it as a glacier in the Gustev Crater. And this seems to have been one catastrophe too
many as the remaining living Ice Warriors soon disappeared, only those who had left
Mars were able to continue with their lives, maybe with the hope of one day reawakening
their brethren. An encounter with the Doctor in 1881 led to
the reawakening of the Empress, Queen Iraxxa and her legions however, Mars, still uninhabitable
after 5000 years made for a poor home. With resignation and no small amount of negotiation,
they were convinced to send out a distress call, which was answered by the residence
of Alpha Centauri. This began the gradual process of creating
a new age for the Ice Warriors as they began to establish diplomatic and trade ties with
this new species and eventually, by the year 3375, they had become a member of the Galactic
Federation, a local multispecies government that rose to power following the collapse
of the Great Earth Empire. It did include humanity as one of its species until it seceded
and established its own Second “Great and Bountiful” Human Empire. This was once again,
a prosperous time for the Ice Warriors who although more open to diplomacy, did not forget
their heritage of hardship and often acted as the Federation’s security when needed,
sometimes overzealously. The Ice Warriors are indeed a mixed bunch
depending on what time period you visit them in so it’s easy to see why the Doctor’s
reaction meeting them is often “optimistic caution”. They were arguably at their most
dangerous around the time of their calamity, where their warrior ethos was in full swing
fuelled by desperation to survive. When awakened from their slumber, it’s often the case
that you are waking up a desperate soldier to whom the war for survival never ended so
utmost caution is needed. Especially if they find out that their planet is still uninhabitable
or worse yet, as been colonised by invaders in their sleep. I also suspect their reverence
for the planet and its moons is what drove many to stay and try to wait out the death
of Mars, rather than simply desert it though certain clans were seen attempting to terraform
other planets for their suitability as they considered Mars too far gone.
They have proven to be not unreasonable however and are open to negotiation, compassion and
mercy, after all they’re not soulless robots, but a grieved and desperate people. Fortunately
they eventually find the salvation they are looking for, in a way, through cooperation
with other species and the formation of a commonwealth superpower of planets. A united
federation if you will. Thanks for listening to this brief summary
of the Ice Warriors who although named as such, really only suited that description
at one point in their expansive history. Until the next video, thanks again for watching,
I’ve been Ric. Goodby(ice)ssss….




Comments
  1. YES!!!! I won! … Yes i know it was a tie but you know what they say. Push someone to their knees and you can stab them in the neck, get pushed down yourself and you can stab them in the gut, meet eye to eye and you can stab them in the back

  2. Please can you cover Brainiac the Planet Krypton thank you for your time please keep up the amazing work and live long and prosper

  3. Interesting video, I'm a fan of Doctor Who too.
    Works on USS Georgia proceed slowly but steadly, which is ironic considering that she's a "speed demon". I'm doing this in my free time, so it's going to take a while. The design stage has beed completed and I'm now drawing the sketches. She has a standard layout similar to the Sovereign class (i mean saucer, hull and nacelles placement), and she takes some elements of detail or layout form the following classes of ships: Refit Constitution, Excelsior, Sovereign, Polaris, Odyssey and Renown; she's not a kitbash, but you can see the connections, which actually make her more "canon". Shout out to everyone that designed those ships, love your designs.
    The Russian designer Oleg Samoilovich liked to say: "What is designing? Is it a science or art? It is both a science and an art".

  4. Alpha centray is a good boi and I geeked out so hard at seeing him, in series nine I loved that whole episode one of the best of 12s run. I always liked the ice warriors and would like to see more

  5. It should be noted that the name "Ice Warriors" is a retcon – they were called that in their first serial, but first by the character of Walter, who says rather pithily "proper ice warrior, isn't he", and then by everybody else who simply adopts his name for them. The Doctor and Jamie then continue to use this name, which spreads to Zoe, and some of the characters in The Seeds of Death. Then, in The Monster of Peladon, Alpha Centauri has the line "Your friend, the Doctor, calls them Ice Warriors."

    The first time an Ice Warrior uses the term is in The Monster of Peladon, after Azaxyr kills the chancellor. "You can see for yourself the results of defying the Ice Warriors." Still, in this instance he may just be using that term because it's what they would recognise.

    Then, in an aside between two Ice Warriors in the court room in part six (albeit in the presence of humans), Azaxyr and Sskel, Azaxyr says "I shall send more Ice Warriors."

    In Cold War (2013), they are referred to by The Doctor as "Martian reptile know as the Ice Warrior." It isn't until Empress of Mars that an Ice Warrior, Iraxxa, refers to itself with such a term without having overheard it from somebody else.

  6. The Ice Warriors appear so infrequently that I forget just how intricate their lore is. I really hope we see some grate stories from them in the near future. I say less brass (Daleks) and silver (Cybermen) and more metallic green (Ice Warriors)! Also, I wonder if the Ice Warriors ever clashed with the Silurians.

  7. I’ve been looking up the prehistory of Mars in Doctor Who and there’s loads even going back by over 10 million years. We know that the Osirians imprisoned Sutekh around seven thousand years ago (Pyramids of Mars). Also in lore there used to be a fifth planet where now there is an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The planet was put in a time loop by the Time Lord 12 million years ago to stop the Fendahl from possibly devouring all life (Image of the Fendahl). Now I know the 4th Doctor claimed the Fendahl must of projected itself through space before the fifth planet’s destruction and ‘stop of at Mars on the way’ but it’s a possible reason why the surface of Mars is lifeless. I realise does throw a spanner in the works with the Pliocene era being vibrant and alive. Sorry

  8. I thought Ssard the Ice Warrior that travelled with the Eighth Doctor in the sadly curtailed Radio Times Doctor Who comic strips was a great concept.

  9. I'd like to point out that the Ice Warriors share the similar-ish religion as the Ancient Egyptians, as both were visited by the Osirans (arguably the most OP psychic race in the history of the universe, as well as one of the first space-faring races of it, there along with Gallifreyans and half a dozen or so other now-extinct species), although the religious practices varied based on both species' cultures and mindsets, as well as the specifics of which Osirans were the main visitors of each areas. Obviously the pantheon is the biggest connector of the 2 groups, as the pantheon represents the ruling hierarchy of the Osirans, more or less, based on embellishments and degradation over time.

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