The War King, formerly known as the Magistrate, was a reformed renegade Time Lord who became leader of a Gallifrey thought to be the original shortly before the War in Heaven. He was the Infinity Doctor's oldest friend.
The future War King was one of four notable renegades born due to abnormalities in the breeding-engines about 1152 years before the War in Heaven. He was born into House Dvora. (PROSE: The Book of the War) He went to the Time Lord Academy with the Infinity Doctor, becoming close friends. The two sometimes journeyed to Low Town, leading to at least one "ribald incident". (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors)
He would later tell Sabbath Dei that, as a child, he once stole a "priceless grimoire" from the "inner sanctum" of his Homeworld after one of his teachers had told him that it was impossible to steal it. He stole the book simply for the achievement, having no means of deciphering it. By the time he was "just a few hundred years old", he had become "a secret agent, with ties to the highest of political players". (AUDIO: Sabbath and the King)
At an early age, the renegade left the Homeworld for unclear reasons. He became an amoral outlaw, dedicated to his own desires above all else. (PROSE: The Book of the War) He broke every Law of the Spiral Politic, (PROSE: Judy's War) often interfering with the affairs of lesser species for his own gratification or amusement. He regularly hired or manipulated the more mercenary and megalomaniac species. At some point, this brought him into contact with Carmen Yeh, although she later forgot the encounter. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Over his criminal career, his crimes filled two whole datacoils, and he was considered the second-most wanted criminal among the Great Houses. They captured him a number of times, but despite their attempts to imprison him, he always eventually escaped. (PROSE: The Book of the War) While journeying through the timegate, the Magistrate saw a vision of the criminal period of his life which showed himself with six faces cruelly laughing as the universe turned to darkness. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) The War King claimed to have held many titles including "chief", "master", "minister", and "magistrate" before those of "President" and "King". (AUDIO: Sabbath and the King)
Lolita once reminded the War King of an incident when he'd become trapped inside her sister, only for the timeship to agree to let him go "when the Great Houses wanted [him] back". (WC: Overture to 'Sabbath and the King')
When Judy Collins was seventeen, she met "Yardley James", and he convinced her to rob a bank so he could buy yellowcake. She then became his travelling cohort on trips around the universe. By this time, he was recognised everywhere as a dangerous criminal; Collins spent three weeks in jail on Altos III just for associating with him. However, when Yardley discovered a terrible truth about the history of the universe, he returned her to Earth so he could warn his people. (PROSE: Judy's War)
After becoming War King, the renegade kept twelve white squares of a hypercube stacked neatly on his desk. The dismantled cube represented his only concession to sentimentality and his last remaining link to his unfortunate past. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
In the post-War universe
- Main article: Man with the Rosette
According to the Primer for the Spiral Politic, scholars believed that a "Rosette-wearing man" encountered by several individuals in the post-War universe was actually this individual at a point prior to his becoming "the War King". (AUDIO: Sabbath and the King) During his encounter with a post-War Eighth Doctor, this "Man with the Rosette" suggested that he wished to put the universe to rights, deeming it to be "broken". (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street) After his reign over the War-era Homeworld came to an abrupt end, the War King would later berate that he had "travelled so far" for nothing. (AUDIO: Sabbath and the King)
Return to the Homeworld
Eighty years before the War in Heaven, the future War King broke into the presidential chambers on the Homeworld and killed three guards so he could speak with the head of the Presidency. For fifteen minutes he told the President about the coming War, but this warning failed to convince the President to take any preventative action.
Five years later, the renegade surrendered himself to the Homeworld. He was sentenced to retro-annulment but first requested to address the ruling Houses in a Closed Session. Despite the President's dissent, this request was granted, and the renegade informed them about the enemy. In return, the ruling Houses granted him a pardon. He charged them with the mission of pursuing diplomatic negotiations with the enemy, while he himself would research and develop new defensive and offensive technologies to aid the Homeworld if it came to War.
When the renegade returned to the Homeworld four decades later to present his plans, he was immediately arrested by the Presidency, who had stonewalled any attempts at diplomatic negotiation in the renegade's absence. The head of the Presidency organised a public trial that resulted in the Faraway Declaration and, through the First Message from the Enemy, validation of the renegade's warnings. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
The renegade became an important and highly-trusted adviser to the new President Umbaste. (PROSE: The Book of the War) As the most senior member of the Prydonian Chapter, (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) he was given the title Magistrate of the Citadel. (PROSE: A Farewell to Arms, The Infinity Doctors, The Taking of Planet 5)
In preparation for the War, he created the Academicians for Game Logic and laid the groundwork for the House Military and the first Ships of War. (PROSE: The Book of the War) He worked with the Infinity Chambers every day. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors)
During this time, the ruling Houses tried several times to replace Umbaste and install the renegade as their new leader, but each time the renegade himself blocked the efforts, citing his chequered past. House Dvora tried to solve this by expunging his records without his permission, but they were stopped before the process completed, leading to only fragmentary records of his criminal past. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
In an abnormal state of history where the Infinity Doctor lived on Gallifrey as a diplomat, at a point both prior and posterior to his original flight from Gallifrey as the First Doctor, the Magistrate was known as the Doctor's oldest friend; though they'd had their differences in the past, Larna saw that they clearly loved each other. They were the only members of the High Council less than two thousand years old.
When Omega threatened Gallifrey with the Effect, the Magistrate was among those who journeyed to the Needle in the far future. After giving his Tissue Compression Eliminator to Larna for her safety, the Magistrate confronted the Doctor's body possessed by Omega. Omega tried to force the Magistrate to serve him, saying, "I have seen all your lives. I know what you have been and what you will be. You do not deserve an end like this." When the Magistrate resolutely refused, Omega waved his hands and vanished the Magistrate "out of harm's way". After the crisis ended, the Doctor was certain the Magistrate was not dead but merely lost. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors)
The Book of the War recorded that, at any rate, the renegade was present on Homeworld at the time of Umbaste's death six years before the War, when he accepted the presidential responsibilities and announced himself War King. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
As War King
In his acceptance speech, the War King coined the term "the enemy" before officially eschewing all titles and claims to the Presidency and promising not to address the assembled Houses until announcing their victory over the enemy.
Two years before the Cataclysm, the War King identified that Compassion would be a valuable resource in the War and dispatched multiple House agents to capture her. However, these attempts uniformly failed until, twelve years later, the War King himself negotiated a temporary alliance with Compassion: she agreed to help the Homeworld's technicians create the first 103-forms in exchange for rescue from a null-probability field.
One evening when the King was at a banquet, Compassion materialised in the room and absorbed him into her interior to question him over the death of Percival. After some torture and a lengthy conversation, they agreed to give Compassion some Pilots and a breeding-engine in exchange for her opening a "second front" against the enemy. She warned him that when "House Lucia" emerged, the true threat to the Homeworld would be revealed. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Even after his rise to power, the War King maintained a telepathic connection with his old companion Judy Collins. When she was imprisoned by the Jalaxian empire during their invasion of Earth, he repeatedly ordered her guards to release her or face being unwritten from time, and this threat was carried out several times until Judy's rescue by Enigma Tree. A hologram of the War King projected from Violet's eyes to thank Enigma, with whom he was familiar. (PROSE: Judy's War)
On Gallifrey Eight, the Lord President told Homunculette about the time when a friend of his, (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5) the Infinity Doctor, brought General Sontar to Gallifrey, and how Sontar remarked that the Citadel had once been a fortress, pointing out its thick walls, buttresses, and battlements. This had surprised the Doctor, since Sontar was clearly right, but such history was never taught on Gallifrey. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) In telling this story to Homunculette, the President condemned the Time Lords' past naiveté to the reality of the coming War, which had indeed driven Gallifrey to turn its Capitol back into a fortress and to start breeding soldiers to be efficient killers, just like the old alien general. The President then sent Homunculette to investigate the Elder Things. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)
The War King later understood the true motive of Lolita, (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities) a sentient timeship who had evolved from an old model timeship stolen by a "dangerous-looking" renegade. (PROSE: Toy Story) Lolita planned to rewrite the Spiral Politic to suit her own ends. As a last resort, the War King allied with the last members of Faction Paradox against Lolita, but his alliances failed and Lolita consumed him. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities)
Inside Lolita's interior world, the War King was trapped, alone, in an "infinite labyrinth of relative dimensions" which "shift[ed] with every step [he] [took]". However, as a former Head of the Presidency, he retained a mental link of sorts with Sabbath Dei, from the link which had earlier been established between Sabbath's mind and the Homeworld itself. He spoke to Sabbath in his dreams, teaching him about the nature of reality and the War. Though he told Sabbath that he viewed him as a successor in the post-War universe, his ultimate aim was to manage to switch his mind and Sabbath's after making them sufficiently similar, with Sabbath taking his place inside Lolita so that she would not realise he was gone. However, Sabbath anticipated his betrayal and stabbed him before severing the link between their minds, leaving the wounded King once more alone and hopeless. (AUDIO: Sabbath and the King)
Before he became the War King, Judy Collins described him as a tall, confident man with a "real beard". (PROSE: Judy's War) As the Magistrate, he was of medium height, with a sallow face and a small, pointed beard. His most remarkable physical feature were his dark, burning eyes. He wore black robes and had a belt which held a Tissue Compression Eliminator. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) During his time as a criminal he gained many scars, which he decided to keep after obtaining office.
In the second decade of the War, the War King retained a white goatee, but Carmen Yeh observed that it looked "pasted on". His hairline was thin and receding, and "parts of his anatomy" looked weathered and unused. (PROSE: The Book of the War) Later yet in the War, he had a long, wispy white beard and thin wrinkled skin. He wore traditional Gallifreyan robes, albeit black instead of their usual colour. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5) The War King told Mortega that he intentionally wore the body of an old man so as to make it obvious that he was, in fact, old, even by the standards of his people. (AUDIO: Body Politic)
Behind the scenes
- In 1999, The Taking of Planet 5 first introduced the War-time Lord President and implied that he was the Magistrate. The Book of the War later described the War King's role under Umbaste's administration as very similar to the Magistrate's in The Infinity Doctors. This link was only explicitly confirmed in A Farewell to Arms in 2018.
- In the webcast Stealing Series 9 Scripts, "What is Magistrate?" was one of the post-it notes on the wall of Steven Moffat's volcano lair beneath 221B Baker Street. This (an ostensible wink at the controversy regarding the Magistrate's true identity as the Master) represents what may be the only allusion to the Magistrate in a live-action 21st-century Doctor Who story, albeit one which, due to its fourth-wall-zig-zagging nature, this wiki does not presently acknowledge as a valid source for in-universe articles.
Identity as the Master
Both the War King and the Magistrate are clearly intended to be, but never explicitly identified as, incarnations of the Master. The man with the rosette, who was also intended to be the Master, was also described as having "a sallow face and a small, pointed black beard", the phrase traditionally used in the Target novelisations to describe Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley's Masters. The Book of the War mentions an unfolded hypercube on the War King's desk as a relic of his past, arguably hinting that the in-itself-contentious conflation of the Master with the War Chief is applicable in terms of the War King's backstory. According to Ian McIntire, a rejected entry for The Book of the War explained that the hypercube on the War King's desk was a memento of "a failed attempt to recruit 'a medic' into the War". Asked if the War King was the Master, The True History of Faction Paradox producer Alan Stevens answered: "The laws of copyright infringement prevent me from answering that question, although it may also be the War Chief". (REF: Downtime – The Lost Years of Doctor Who) "Master" and "Chief" were later mentioned as two former titles of the War King in Sabbath and the King.
In 2022, Gary Russell, as part of an online discussion with Jacob Keith, joked that the mysterious incarnation of the Master who was executed at the beginning of the TV Movie (actually played by the Canadian actor Gordon Tipple) was "the awful Maryland version, the 'Jacob Keith' Master". In reply, Keith noted that, as he had voiced the War King in an official context, this statement would, if taken seriously as "canon", be direct evidence that the War King was not only the Master, but the same Master as the Gordon Tipple incarnation seen in Doctor Who (also conflated with the pseudo-Rathbone Master of First Frontier). Russell clarified that he was indeed simply joking, and that he did not want it to become "fact" in "five years' time" that he had "said something stupid".