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It is unclear what difference if any there is between Time Lords and Gallifreyans. Typically the terms are used interchangeably, and that clouds defining traits when the Doctor is non-specific. The Doctor once implied that it was a trait of his people to see the different between time that can be altered and time that must remain a fixed point[1]. The audience inference is that such traits are what make him a Time Lord but without specificity we can't be sure that all Gallifreyans have this trait.

Definitely we can put regeneration as a trait of a Time Lord not shared by Gallifreyans. As a compare and contrast the only comparison we can make is between the Doctor as his Gallifreyan (but not Time Lord) granddaughter Susan[2].

Without specific knowledge from the Doctor it's difficult to even ascertain how much of the title Time Lord is a physiological assessment and how much of it is merely a title of notoriety. That is to say is being a Time Lord something that you are born into or is it a rank you have to achieve. We can confirm there is a portion of it that is likely genetic as the Doctor has indicated that exposure to the Time Vortex is what converted his people from Gallifreyans to Time Lords[3]. We have seen glimpses of Time Lord training[4] but the fact that there is a degree of training doesn't confirm that you need the training to be a Time Lord. Only that Time Lords were trained according to set up on rules. It's possible that abilities like being able to recognize a Time Lord no matter what their body looks like comes with training[5].

Other sources have filled in various gaps in the differences between Time Lord and Gallifreyans notably the audio dramas[6][7][8]


There's nothing in the TV show to indicate that Susan wasn't a Time Lord. The question has simply never been addressed.

See Also Edit

References Edit

  1. "The Fires of Pompeii" (Series 4)
  2. Who is Susan Foreman
  3. "A Good Man Goes to War" (Series 6)
  4. "Utopia", "The Sound of Drums", "Last of the Time Lords" have shown the Master gazing into "The Untempered Schism" as his initiation into Time Lord training
  5. River Song is able to recognize the Doctor in every incarnation and it's unclear if that's because he has trained her or if she has a picture of everyone of his incarnations (as the Doctor has becomes a rather well known figure universally speaking)
  6. Big Finish audio Omega indicates that Time Lords are Gallifreyans who have a TARDIS
  7. It's strongly hinted throughout the Virgin New Adventures that the Seventh Doctor had been grooming Ace to become a Time Lady. There's also a reference to someone deciding not to give Leela the chance to become a Time Lady. And the Doctor and Susan discuss whether Susan's biologically-human son could become a Time Lord.
  8. the Virgin New Adventures novels hint that in the far future, after the Gallifreyans have faded away, humans will take over as the Time Lords

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