Doctor Who has to be one of my favorite television shows of all time and before they revealed who River Song was, I loved guessing who she was. And man was I wrong. She is one of the most interesting characters considering we see her life out of order compared to that of the Doctor. So I thought it would be interesting to unravel her timeline not by how it is presented in the series but by her actually lifeline. Because we first meet River Song on the last day of her life and it takes several seasons afterwards to get to her first day.
Now I’m not going to state literally every episode that River Song appears, but the key ones to her timeline.
River Song was created by the writer Steven Moffat and played by Alex Kingston. She is the daughter of Amy and Rory Pond. The Silence a religious organization that steal the baby from Amy and Rory in order to use her as a weapon against the doctor. As she was conceived in the TARDIS while it was in the Time Vortex thus giving her Time Lord DNA.
River’s real name or birth name is Melody Pond who was named after Amy Pond’s childhood friend Mels… who turns out to be Melody Pond in one of her generations. As she couldn’t be raised by her parents she decided it would be better to grow up with them. River Song comes from a recursive translation of Melody Pond via the language of the Gamma Forests. Which has no ponds but only rivers thus the change from Pond to River.
She grows up with Madame Kovarian and the Silence, though she eventually escapes from them in a space suit. But is shot and later shown in New York City regenerating though we do not see who she turns into.
Later Melody/River reappears as Mels in “Let’s Kill Hilter.” Mels is shot and regenerates into her next reincarnation which is the appearance we have come to know as River Song. She proceeds to carry out her mission from the Silence to kill the Doctor. After listening to Amy, Rory, and the Doctor finding out that she would one day become the wife of the Doctor and someone he cares very deeply for. She then chooses to resurrect the Doctor with her own regenerative energy thus losing any future regenerations.
The Doctor gives her a TARDIS-shaped/colored diary that she uses to take notes on everything. And we see throughout the series, and is used to help the Doctor in many cases. Melody now going by the name River Song, starts to study archaeology. Later receiving her doctorate in the subject. But is recaptured her and trap her in the space suit to kill the Doctor one more time. In “The Wedding of River Song” she refuses to do so at Lake Silencio thus causing an alternate reality to be created where time is frozen. The Doctor marries River and convinces her to repair the timeline by letting her know that he plans to fake his own death. River goes to prison for his murder though she manages to escape regularly to go on dates and adventures with the Doctor.
At some point, she learns how to fly the TARDIS correctly and for a time period had her very own. Though we were not shown this so I’m not sure where exactly this fits into the timeline. But the TARDIS she flew appears in “The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang” explodes causing the cracks in the universe. Thus making it fit somewhere around this point the in the timeline. The Doctor uses River’s vortex manipulator to teleport River Song out of the TARDIS thus erasing himself from history by flying the Pandorica into the exploding TARDIS to seal the cracks in the universe. River later helps Amy Pond remember the Doctor in order to bring him back at their wedding by giving Amy her now-blank diary. Where after he returns, Rory and Amy conceive River. I solely put this time point here as she just received the diary from the Doctor but had yet to fill it out.
In “The Angels of Manhattan” she is a professor of archaeology and a free woman. She was released from the Stromcage Prison after the Doctor erased all evidence of his existence. When Amy and Rory are sent permanently back in time by the Weeping Angels and forever parted with the Doctor, River arranges a way for Amy to leave the Doctor a message in the form of an epilogue in a book they have been reading written by her in the 1930s.
River does travel with the Doctor for a while, she declines to become a full-time companion of the Doctor. And goes on to have several spouses both male and female as revealed to the twelfth Doctor in “The Husbands of River Song.” River does not recognize the twelfth Doctor as she believes the eleventh doctor was his final reincarnation. They later crash-land on the planet Darilium where River reveals she knows the “Forest of the Dead” would be their last night together. He then gives her the perfect date and gifts her the sonic screwdriver that the tenth Doctor needs in order to upload her consciousness into the computer at the Library.
River Song goes to the Library in “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” where she encounters the tenth Doctor, which is the first time the Doctor ever encounters River Song. River gains the Doctor’s trust by whispering his real name in his ear and sacrifices herself to save the people who were trapped in the Library’s database. The Doctor uploads her consciousness into a computer, allowing her to live in a virtual world with the archaeological team she was with at the Library.
In “Name of the Doctor” Madame Vastra and Clara, summon the consciousness of River Song at the Library to help them find the Doctor’s Grave. River maintains the psychic link with Clara to help her throughout the discovery of the Doctor’s Tomb. She is invisible to everyone but Clara and whispers the Doctor’s name in order to open the tomb which is inside the TARDIS. After Clara enters the Doctor’s time stream in order to save him, the Doctor reveals he could see River Song all along but wanted to avoid confronting her as it would be too painful to bear. However, he kisses River before she fades away.
And that’s all we know of River Song’s timeline at this point of time. But there’s nothing saying this spunky time traveler/wife of the Doctor won’t return again. Considering we have witnessed River’s life out of order through the eyes of the Doctor rather than the eyes of River Song herself.