very very basically, dr nyarlathotep is the idea that the Doctor (and Time Lords in general) does not really have a humanoid body, but is actually an eldritch monster (basically a being that makes no physical sense) with lots and lots of eyes and too many tenticles and at least three extra dimensions on top of the normal ones. specifically, one called nyarlathotep, who is an Old One from HP Lovecraft’s cthulhu mythos.
nyarlathotep is (so far as I know given I haven’t really read much cthulhu-related stuff yet) a monsterous being a bit like cthulhu (once again, this is an ‘I think’) who likes causing mischef and mayhem as opposed to death and destruction like most Old Ones. coincidentally, he also likes to disguise himself as a human and visit Earth. sound like any renegade Prydonian Time Lords you can think of? no, the Other one (pun completely intended).
(so far as I can find, it was started by tumblr user patrexes, and a lot of people who are in the dr nyarlathotep subfandom are also classic/eu whovians (I’m just sitting here awkwardly with too many headcanons and biding my time until I can watch it…). so a lot of it is actually based on classic/eu evidence that the Time Lords are not actually that humanoid, and there’s quite a bit of quoting things and the occasional chapter joke. it also ties into the cartmel thingymajig, which says that the Doctor is actually also a Time Lord called the Other, who was one of the founders of Gallifreyan society, didn’t like Rassilon, jumped into a Prydon Loom/the Matrix/wherever - someone’ll probably correct me on that later - and eventually got reincarnated in a different body with a few extra bits of mind as the Doctor. which is why he’s so renegade-y. and also why he’s an Old One rather than just your standard Eldritch Monster.)
(oops that got really long sorry the first paragraph contains all the info you’ll likely be interested in and also I’m v. new to the dr nyarlathortep thing and still don’t really know Classic Who or hp lovecraft very well at all so there’s probably a LOAD of mistakes and inaccuracies)
Hi! I’m gonna butt in with some links as well, and a bit of history. The Cartmel Masterplan tie-in is actually what started this whole thing. As parallelgallifrey said, the Cartmel Masterplan (which is a plot arc created by Cartmel during Seven’s run on the tv show and finished in Lungbarrow after the tv show got cancelled) says that the Doctor is the reincarnated version of one of modern Gallifrey’s Founders, who is known only as the Other. All of the other founders have names. This has led to speculation that the Other may not have been gallifreyan. See, Gallifreyan culture is kind of xenophobic. It actually makes perfect sense that they would neglect to remember an alien Founder’s name and refer to them as ‘the Other’. We also know that the Cthulu mythos is real in the whoniverse (the Great Intelligence has been stated as one of the Old Ones, for a new who example). Coupled with Nyarlathotep’s thematic similarity with the Doctor, tumblr user patrexes suggested that perhaps the Other was actually Nyarlathotep. Which makes the Doctor a reincarnated Nyarlathotep.
The reason why you’ll also find a lot of stuff about Gallifreyans in general being super-alien and/or eldritch beings, as well as more general alien!Doctor stuff, is just because the people in the Dr Nyarlathotep fandom tend to like that sort of thing. So it’s sort of become a place for everyone who likes alien interpretations of the Doctor and Gallifreyans to hang out and throw headcanons and art at each other c:
There will be light.