Who are the Ice Warriors on Doctor Who?

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who talking to an Ice Warrior
The Doctor trying to reason with an Ice Warrior

Tonight’s episode of Doctor Who sees the return of the Ice Warriors. But who are they and where do they come from?

The Ice Warriors first appeared on Doctor Who back in 1967 in an six-part story called The Ice Warriors.

The Warriors would face off against Patrick Trougton’s second Doctor Who on two occasions — the first in The Ice Warriors and then again in The Seeds Of Death.

Overall these aliens have tackled the Doctor on four occasions, the most recent being the 2013 episode Cold War in which Matt Smith’s Doctor took a single Warrior on while on board a Russian Submarine during the cold war.

The Doctor first encountered this race when he visited a future earth, which was undergoing a second ice age.

In that first story the Doctor and his companions visited a scientific base where the lead scientist was using an ioniser device to prevent the progress of an ice glacier.

Inside one of these glaciers, which is thawing, is a giant humanoid creature which one of the scientists refers to as an Ice Warrior.

When it is revived he identifies himself as Varga, captain of a Martian spacecraft that landed on Earth centuries ago and is still in the glacier.

Varga sets about freeing his comrades and formulating a plan to conquer the Earth — Mars itself is now dead.

During their various appearances on Doctor Who, we have learned that the Ice Warriors have a very strong sense of honour.

In the Third Doctor story The Curse of Peladon the Third Doctor saved the life of the Ice Lord Izlyr, and he felt obligated to help the Doctor escape.

Ice Warriors hate lying, but have been known to do so when necessary.

The Ice Warriors believe that a victim of murder won’t rest until their murderer has atoned for their crime.

When challenged to a ritual blood duel, Ice Warriors would spin in their opponents face.

They consider terrorism an anathema. Their motto is “Attack one of us, attack all of us”.

In their last appearance, in the episode Cold War, we learned that Ice Warriors consider it a dishonour to remove their armour publicly and will only do so under extreme circumstances.

Even before becoming the warrior race that we all know and love, they were seldom seen without their armour or some smaller type of protective shell.

Their strict code of honour came from earlier Martians, in a time from before their planet began to die.

When their planet started to die out they once more became a race of warriors.

At that time they only hunted for food and avoided physically fighting with one another. In fact, the word “warrior” didn’t exist in that era.

Due to their belief in honour the used a system where you would always get something in return if you gave something away.

Ice Warriors live in clans and have castes, with members becoming more prominent on the basis of skil and merit.

In the new episode of Doctor Who, titled Empress Of Mars, the Doctor, Nardole and Bill will encounter a female Ice Warrior.

This episode will represent the fifth television appearance of the Ice Warriors and their second appearance in the modern era.

Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America and at 7.15pm on BBC One in the UK.

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