The Carrionites were first seen in The Shakespeare Code (Series 3 : Episode 2) as a group of humanoid beings that used the power of words as their weapon. The Carrionites evolved at the dawn of the universe in their 14 planet star system. Here, they developed their word-based science and inflicted doom on planets far away. At some point during the Carrionites history, they entered a war with the Hervoken, a war that threatened the structure of the universe prompting the Eternals to intervene. The Eternals banished the Carrionites to the Deep Darkness. However, through the use of the word smith, William Shakespeare, three Carrionites were able to escape, Bloodtide, Doomfinger and Lilith. These three Carrionites attempted to rescue their fellows from the Deep Darkness using the power of Shakespeare’s words and the Globe theatre.

An aged Carrionite

The Carrionites could communicate with each other from a distance, dematerialise and rematerialise at will, fly and the limited ability to learn someone’s name. The Carrionites influenced the design of the Globe theatre to be based on the planets from their solar system, causing the Globe to be built with 14 sides. In 1599, they used the theatre, along with words from Shakespeare’s new play, Love’s Labour’s Won, to release the rest of the Carrionites from the Deep Darkness.

The three Carrionites that escaped the Deep Darkness

It is during the attempted release of the Carrionites that we see their true form as a giant skeletal raven or crow. The energy required to assume a human form was so great that the form usually had wrinkled skin, sharp canine teeth and large clawed hands. The Carrionites could also control another person through the use of their technology (referred to as witchcraft by some), using poppets or puppets as DNA replication models. This allowed them to cause damage to a person from a distance, including drowning a man while he was on dry land. This form of attack required a tissue sample from the person involved, usually hairs.

Carrionites in their true form

The portal to the Deep Darkness was closed by William Shakespeare and Martha Jones by creating new words that would send the Carrionites back. Martha Jones completed the new commands with the word “Expelliarmus” from the Harry Potter novels, foiling the Carrionites plans. The three Carrionites that had previously escaped the Deep Darkness were trapped inside a crystal ball, which the Doctor took to keep in the TARDIS.