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File:The God Complex 3160.jpg

  Bring me death! Bring me glory! My master, my lord, I'm here! Bring me death!

Interior: the Overlook Hotel. A policewoman, Lucy, cautiously walks along the hotel's red carpet hallways. Seeing a specific door, she turns and opens it. A gorilla steps out from the suite's bathroom and stares back at her. There are other nightmares: shadows, creatures, a clown sitting on a bed with a balloon. Flashes of something go through her head along with the words "praise him". A smile crosses her face, and she closes the door. Taking out a worn notepad, she starts to anxiously write down how she is the last one left, but it doesn't matter now because she will be released soon. Her writing turns automatic, as she becomes stuck on the words "praise him, praise him..."

The TARDIS lands in a hotel hallway. Amy and Rory immediately complain about landing in a hotel, but the Doctor recognizes that it is an alien structure designed meticulously to look like a Earth hotel of the 1980s. They walk down towards the lobby, finding that the windows and doors are bricked up. Suddenly, they are set on by three people ready to attack them: Rita, a Indian medical worker, Howie, a lanky nerd and conspiracy blogger, and Gibbus, an alien from a highly cowardly, pacifist species. After calming the situation down, the Doctor learn they, plus a fourth man, are the last of their group that are left. Rita shows quick analytical thinking and a generally clever mind, and the Doctor instantly picks her as his new companion (and jokingly tells Amy she's fired now). The Doctor offers to take them away with his TARDIS but it is suddenly gone from where they had left it. Howie explains that the hotel's layout can change in an instant, and escape is impossible.

The three take the TARDIS crew to a fourth person: Joe, a gambler. They have him tied up in the hotel's dining room, where every other chair is occupied by wooden ventriloquist dummies. Joe is stammering on, "praise him, praise him", which Rita notes is what happened to all the others. She also explains that there is a minotaur-like creature that roams the hallways, attacking and killing those that have been "taken" like Joe. The Doctor insists on exploring the hotel, and the group joins him, with Joe (his mouth duct-taped shut) wheeled along with the group.

They find numerous pictures of the dead, human and alien alike, mounted on the lobby walls, with captions describing the greatest fear of each person. Amy finds sheets of Lucy's notebook in a hallway, and the Doctor realizes that whatever is killing the guests, does so by luring the person to open a specific door to witness their worst fear. At that moment, it is able to occupy the person's mind and turn them into a state like Joe's. He warns everyone to not open a single door unless instructed.

Of course, Howie is drawn to one, where he is shamed by a group of beautiful young women for being a stuttering conspiracy nerd. The Doctor quickly closes it, hoping that it is not too late. Joe starts to utter "praise him", luring the beast near. Rory briefly catches glimpse of a door labeled as a fire exit, but it disappears when he turns back to look at it. The Doctor instructs everyone into specific doors not containing anyone's fears, but Joe is left outside, and killed by the beast.

The group returns Joe's body to the dining room. The Doctor talks with Rita and Gibbus, learning that each were pulled from their worlds and brought here. Rita was a regular girl from Earth. Gibbus' species finds happiness in meek and nervous slavery, and he can't wait to go back home again for and quietly await the next random alien invasion of his planet.

As they determine their next plan, the Doctor becomes aware that Howie has started to utter "Praise him". The group uses Howie's voice over the intercom to lure the beast into the hotel's beauty parlor and trap him there temporary. While trapped, the Doctor finds the creature wishes to die, and realizes the hotel is really a prison for the creature. Howie manages to escape, but the beast instinctively breaks out of the parlor and kills him.

The group splits off to try to find more answers about the hotel. The Doctor tells them that the monster must feed on fear. Since Rory has no fear left in his life, the monster obviously doesn't want him. The answer, the Doctor tells everyone, is to focus on faith instead of fear.

Unfortunately alone, Amy opens up a door that calls to her. The Doctor happens to open another door (to Room 11) that has called to him, and glumly recognizes what is waiting for him. We never get to see it, and he puts a "do not disturb" sign on the door.

After everyone's regrouped, the Doctor chats with Rita in the stairwell, reassuring her that everyone will be fine. She comments that she knows things will be fine -- after all, this is obviously Jahannam, Muslim Hell. And she's lived a good life, so she knows that Allah will judge her fairly and she can deal with whatever she encounters. The fact that she's now stuck in a shifting hotel with a couple of aliens is filed under "existential problems to worry about later". The Doctor promises to get her out and show her the stars. Rita asks the Doctor why he feels the need to be responsible for everyone, commenting that he has quite the God complex. The Doctor seems to take this to heart, but is distracted when he notices a CCTV camera nearby. He rushes off to find the room where all of the cameras lead, while Rita remains, staring into the camera wistfully. "Praise him," she says.

When the Doctor finds the security booth, he begins scouring the screens for signs of the Minotaur, but sees only Rita finding her door again and walking in. It has her father in it, mocking her for average grades. The Doctor calls Rita's room on the phone, begging her to let him find her and save her. She refuses, telling him that the hotel's shifting rooms would keep them miles apart. As the Minotaur approaches, the Doctor's pleas for Rita to save herself go unanswered. Rita hangs up and begs the Doctor to look away while she dies, in order to give her some final dignity. The Doctor sonics the screen off as Rita bravely faces her death.

The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and Gibbus return to the hotel's bar. The Doctor comes to realize that the beast is not feeding off of fear at all. It's feeding off the strong faith of each of its victims. Joe, the gambler, was savvy to luck; Howie was a conspiracy theorist that stuck to his convictions, and Rita was a devoted Muslim. He tries to rationalize why the others haven't been affected: Gibbus, being from the most cowardly race in the universe, naturally worshipped his conquerors, but would be too timid to hold any convictions of his own. Rory just has no faith to speak of. The Doctor suffers of bit of a Heroic BSOD when he realises that he's been encouraging the gang to focus on their faith, and that he's now caused their deaths. He's interrupted, though, when he hears that Amy is now uttering "praise him". Her faith in the Doctor is what brought them to the hotel in the first place and what is being challenged right now.

The four race to the door that Amy opened previously, followed by the beast. Inside is young Amelia Pond, waiting in her coat with with her suitcase to join her Raggedy Doctor on the night she met him. As Rory and Gibbus try to hold the beast back, the Doctor, speaking to both Amys, insists he's not a hero. He took her along because he was vain and lonely. He ruins lives and lies to everyone. He invites along for a ride, knowing that his life is full of war, death and loss. Because he's not a God, and not a Devil -- just "a mad man with a box". And it's time for her, "Amy Williams", to just go home. Amy's faith is broken, and the beast lets out a savage roar, falling to the floor. The Doctor races outside, finding the beast dying.

As they watch, the hotel starts to dissolve around them, revealing it to be a digital simulation within a large ship. The Doctor talks to the beast, a relative of the Nimon, in its own language. The beast tells him that for such an ancient creature, who caused so much destruction and has the blood of a billion galaxies on his conscience, death would be a mercy. The Doctor agrees. The beast curtly tells him that it wasn't talking about itself; it meant the Doctor.

After the beast passes away, the Doctor recognizes the ship as an automated prison ship, plucking people with strong faith out of time and space as food for the beast. Nearby sits the TARDIS, and as they climb aboard, Gibbus asks for a lift back to his home planet.

Some time later, the TARDIS arrives in England, outside a townhouse. The Doctor presents the house, and a new car, to Amy and Rory as a gift, but Amy suspects that something is up. As Rory checks out the house, the Doctor tells Amy that they must stop travelling with him, as only death and destruction come to those that accompany them. The Doctor makes for a quick goodbye and disappears back into his TARDIS before Amy can protest.


  • Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male: Mild example, but when Rory wakes up after getting knocked to the floor his first thought was that Amy hit him. It's mentioned that she has at least once in the past when he made a complaint about the Doctor.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Minotaur feeds because it must, and wishes it didn't. The Doctor pities it as it dies and it pities the Doctor. Because he won't die.
  • Alpha Bitch: Howie's worst fear is a room party full of them.
  • And I Must Scream: Whoever put the Minotaur in the ship has a lot to answer for, because he put the Minotaur there. The victims are also a crime.
  • Anti-Villain: The Minotaur doesn't want to kill anyone, it's compelled to.
  • Asshole Victim: The Minotaur.
    • Though this is only initially. After so many years of torture, you can't consider it a villain anymore and agree that it's better to let the poor thing die.
  • Ax Crazy: Inverted. The people under the Minotaur's influence are obviously insane, and incredibly peaceful and agreeable. The danger comes from the fact that they call the Minotaur, not them.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Amy finds a handwritten account of one of the Minotaur's former victims.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Gibbis often veers into this.

 Gibbis: All I want is to go home and be conquered and oppressed, is that too much to ask?!

 Amy: That's not a question I thought I'd be asking this morning…

  • Break Her Heart to Save Her / Broken Pedestal: The Doctor deliberately talks Amy into losing her faith in him, presenting himself not as an invincible hero incapable of wrong, but as a vain fool who did not consider the danger he was putting her in.
  • British Stuffiness: Rita jokes about it, saying that the British deal with trauma by drinking tea and tutting.
  • Call Back: A Minotaur given power faith in it, a power that is stripped when belief is stripped? Bit familiar? It's a call back to Two's tenure! Two and Zoe dealt with a Minotaur way back in The Mind Robber.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Basically what the Doctor's 'god complex' is - he can and must save everyone, always. Rita calls him out on it, asking him why he thinks it's his duty to save them all.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Howard decides that they're in a facility in Norway built by the CIA for when the world is destroyed. Rory congratulates him on coming up with something that makes even less sense that what's actually happening.

 Rory: Amazing.

Howie: It's all there on the internet.

Rory: No, it's amazing you've come up with a theory even more insane than what's actually happening.

    • Rory has no fear. No faith. Rory is a 2000 year old ... Rory. Where others see their worst fears, Rory sees fire exits.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cool Car: Rory's dream car, a red E-Type Jag.
  • Creator Cameo: One of the producers of the show is on the wall as someone who has been consumed.
  • Death Seeker: The Minotaur.
    • This is also what the Minotaur turns its targets into being once he converts their faith.
  • Deconstruction: Once again, this series portrays the Doctor's modus operandi in a negative light. Then there's Gibbis, who starts out as Plucky Comic Relief with his Hat of DirtyCowardice, until he starts offering up others to save his own skin.
  • Demonic Dummy: The ventriloquist dummies.
  • Dirty Coward: Gibbis, who comes from a race of these. At first, it's Played for Laughs; then it directly gets somebody killed.
  • Door Roulette: Most iconic in the opening, but a continued theme throughout the episode.
  • The Door Slams You: Happens in the episode. Not surprisingly, to Rory.
  • Double Meaning Title: The "God Complex" describes not only the Doctor's and Minotaur's need to be adored, but also the hotel itself: a prison to contain a deity.
  • Emotion Eater: The obvious idea that the Minotaur feeds on fear is subverted. It presents its victims' fear, causing them to use faith to strengthen themselves, at which point the Minotaur converts that to faith in itself, and drains it from the victim.
  • Failsafe Failure: The whole reason anyone can escape in the first place is because the prison is broken. Instead of adjusting itself to match its victims, it's stuck in the form of the hotel. It also can't purge anyone that gets trapped, so their fears build up in the rooms, meaningless to the new victims.
  • Fandom Nod: Steven Moffat's page says "He feeds on fear." The Doctor, when describing the Minotaur, says "It feeds on fear."
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Evidently the purpose of the Minotaur's prison. All it wants is release from its torment, so the prison ensures that will never happen.
  • Food Chain of Evil: Victims of the Minotaur include previous Doctor Who enemies, such as a Judoon, a Sontaran, a Silurian and a Hoix.
  • Foreshadowing: "Amy, with regret, you're fired."
    • Rory immediately begins to fear for Rita's health when she makes friends with the Doctor.
  • FridgeTear Jerker: At the end, Amy asks the Doctor what he believes in. He doesn't answer her, but once you think about it, it was implied in "The Satan Pit" and clearly confirmed in "Closing Time" that the one thing he still believes in after having basically Seen It All are his companions - which makes him leaving Amy behind all the more heartwrenching...
  • Freudian Slip: Rory refers to his time in the TARDIS in the past tense. The Doctor notices.
  • The Gambling Addict: Implied for Joe via a horseshoe tie pin and die cufflinks.
  • Genre Blindness: The Doctor still hasn't learned that offering companionship in the middle of an episode is basically signing the person's death warrant.
  • Genre Savvy: This marks the first time in the new series the Doctor has sent companions home without some kind of horrible accident happening.

 Rory (on Rita): Whenever someone gets close to the Doctor, I feel the need to inform their next of kin.

  • A God Am I: The Minotaur needs to be believed as this to get his "meals". And Rita accuses the Doctor of having a "God Complex". The Minotaur himself doesn't believe this, though.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The Minotaur feeds on the belief of people who worship it. Any belief will do in a pinch, though.
  • Got the Call on Speed Dial: When the Doctor drops off Amy and Rory. Amy isn't quite willing to give it all up. Rory... knows the price of companionship. Even Amy understands, though she doesn't like it.
  • Gym Class Hell: briefly appears as one of the left-over fears.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Doesn't actually happen, but Gibbis seems wistful at thought of being saved by slavers.
  • Hell Hotel: It's actually a prison. One of the prisoners does actually believe it to be Hell, at first.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Gibbis's species' national anthem is entitled "Glory to (Insert Name Here)."
  • Henpecked Husband: Rory's first response after getting unexpectedly knocked down: "Something hit me… was it Amy?"
    • He also complains of being hit by a shoe when he spoke ill of the Doctor in front of her.
      • She had to bend down and unlace it first!
    • Averted at the end of the episode. Rory goes over a number of reasons why Amy won't want to accept the Doctor's gift of the Cool Car… then decides he can live with it. He really wants the car.
  • Heroic BSOD: After Rita's death, the Doctor destroys the bar.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: David Walliams as Gibbis.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Minotaur just wants to die, but it can't because the prison ship is programmed to supply it with food and its own instincts are too powerful for it to starve itself.
  • I Die Free: The Fair Cop in the cold open may be hoping for this. Her notes/narration state that they're being dictated in between periods of worship, that when she's not dictating "Praise him" and variants, that she's lucid. Unfortunately, she absolutely can't die free. You die a slave.
  • Idiot Ball: Why would you open any of the doors after you learn that you're in a Hell Hotel?
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm X really just a mad man with a box.
  • Internal Homage: The plot is similar to the Eighth Doctor's adventure on Big Finish Doctor Who.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Here comes a candle to light you to bed. Here comes a chopper to chop off your head. Chop… chop… chop… chop!
    • Double points for being an actual nursery rhyme. Note to foreigners: British nursery rhymes are deeply disturbing.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: The Doctor leaves Amy and Rory behind on Earth because he fears for their lives, as they are likely to die or to have a Fate Worse Than Death like some of his other companions.
  • Karma Houdini: Gibbis never gets any comeuppance for freeing Howie and lying about it.
  • Kill'Em All: Apart from the Doctor and his companions (of course!) Gibbis is the only other character to survive the story.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Every time I see the Doctor getting chummy with someone, I get the overwhelming urge to notify their next of kin."
  • A Load of Bull: The Minotaur-like monster running about.
  • Left the Background Music On: The annoying hotel music. Fortunately, the Doctor turns it off. Unfortunately, it comes back on.
  • Madness Mantra: "Praise him!"
  • Malevolent Architecture: The hotel can shift its dimensions to hide the TARDIS, separate the people trapped in it and create rooms tailored to people's fears. Justified, as it is actually an alien holodeck.
  • Meaningful Name: The room numbers on the hotel doors. The Doctor's door is 11; Amy's is 7 (her age when she first met the Doctor). The room where they try to trap the creature is called The Pasiphae Spa; Pasiphae was the mother of the Minotaur.
  • Meaningful Rename: After calling him "Rory Pond," and calling the couple "The Ponds," the Doctor finally calls her "Amy Williams." He's finally letting go of the little girl he accidentally abandoned and truly wants her to move on with her life. It seems significant that while talking to her during that scene he (and she?) see her as her 7-year-old self.

 The Doctor: It's time to stop waiting.

  • Mind Rape: The Minotaur's modus operandi.
  • Monster Clown: Subverted. The clown represents someone's coulrophobia, but since that someone is long dead, all it does is sit on a bed and look sad.
    • Until one remembers that coulrophobia is not uncommon. That sad clown lies in wait for... you.
  • Mood Whiplash: In-universe example. People who've been "changed" by the hotel go from abject fear to absolute worship of the Minotaur. Their mental state is shown by close-ups of them screaming and laughing in rapid succession.
    • After witnessing Rita's death on the CCTV, the Doctor, Amy and Rory turn to another screen to see Gibbis snacking on the goldfish from the spa.
  • Nerd Glasses: Howie Spragg. They're even old fashioned.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The core plot element, how each of the taken's faith is broken by being exposed to their worst fears that are generally otherwise mundane and non-threatening to anyone else. Doesn't help that some overlap with real fears (such as clowns)
  • Noodle Incident: This apparently isn't the first time the Doctor has been threatened with a cello.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The opening sequence shows a woman, Lucy Hayward, opening door after door in the hotel, and finding various nightmares, including a creepy clown. She's then drawn to one particular door - her door - and opens it to reveal… an empty room. Then the gorilla comes out the bathroom.
    • Used again later when the Doctor finds his room: we hear the cloister bell ringing, and can assume that a person is in there, but that's all.
    • We never learn what's in the Doctor's room, or in Amy's room. The room with young Amelia Pond is never clarified. There are implications, of course, but we're talking about Steven Moffat.
    • The Minotaur itself.
  • Not So Different: The Minotaur and the Doctor, to the point that it becomes Anvilicious.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor:

 Rita: You are a medical doctor, aren't you? You don't have a degree in cheese or something?

  • One Steve Limit: In the script read-through (shown on Doctor Who Confidential) the policewoman in the opening sequence is named Lucy Miller. By the time of the actual episode, she has been renamed as Lucy Hayward, presumably to avoid confusion with Lucie Miller.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: What happens to planets over time, cutting off the Minotaur's source of "food": faith.
  • Planet of Hats: Gibbis comes from the race of Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys.
  • Psychological Torment Zone
  • Resistance Is Futile: Gibbis' old school motto was "Resistance is exhausting."
  • Shadow Archetype: The Minotaur and the Doctor are played as being very similar: traveling the universe in a vessel with strange dimensions, and which is stuck in its current guise, drawing people to themselves at random and compelling those people to have faith in them. Both ultimately destroy those trapped with them, not because they want to but out of a sort of compulsion. Many of the things the Minotaur says (voiced by the Doctor) can apply to either of them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Speaking Klingon is mentioned, and our heroes are trapped on a holodeck.
    • The setup of the episode as a whole is clearly based on the Minotaur of Crete from Greek Mythology: A bull/man monster trapped in an inescapable labyrinth, with victims periodically chucked in for it to feed on.
    • A constantly-shifting structure with a minotaur in it?
    • The room housing the Doctor's greatest fear is number 11, referencing the fact that this is the Eleventh Doctor.
    • Gibbis says he was planting trees on the sides of the streets so that alien invaders could march in the shade, similar to a joke about the French planting trees along the Champs-Elysée for the incoming Germans.
      • Hitler had the trees along the Unter Den Linden cut down so he could get a better view of his troops marching up and down.
    • The hotel itself is very reminiscent of the Overlook in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining; it's worth noting that everybody keeps comparing the décor to that of a "hotel from the 1980s."
    • The clown may be a reference to Pennywise from IT, though admittedly, fear of clowns is not particularly uncommon.
      • A monster that feeds on the fear of its victims could also be a reference. Subverted in that the Doctor eventually realizes that's NOT what's happening.
    • Why was Lucy's gorilla using the bathroom when she entered her room? Very likely a nod to Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, who once remarked that while alien planets might be scary, nothing would be scarier than coming home and finding a Yeti on your toilet in Tooting Bec.
      • It could also be nod to the Old Lady scene from The Shining.
    • "So what have we got? People being snatched from their lives and dropped into an endless shifting maze […] with bad dreams in the bedrooms." Maybe the hotel's in Canada?
      • Immediately after saying that line, the Doctor tosses a Rubik's Cube in the air and catches it.
      • Later, he finds a pair of glasses with one lens shattered and a small piece missing.
    • The Ironic Nursery Rhyme is the same one used in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Also The Wicker Man.
    • A tiny one. The Doctor is trying to catch Howie's attention while he's being mind-controlled. He taps on the table four times.
    • When the Beast possesses people, you see brief flashes of them laughing, similar to a scene in Firefly episode Objects in Space where bounty hunter Jubal Early is being tormented by memories from his past.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: Subverted with Dirty Coward Gibbis surviving.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The cheesy muzak being piped into the hotel corridors.
  • Spot of Tea: Another sign of Rita's intelligence and potential as a Companion is that she knows where to find the tea in a hotel.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "...I'm not talking about myself..."
  • Title Drop: "That's quite a god complex you have there." Both the Doctor and the Minotaur have a god complex: the Minotaur requires worship to eat, and the Doctor has a need to save everyone and be idolized by his companions.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Several. Anyone who's been overwhelmed by the Minotaur. And Gibbis.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: While everyone else keeps seeing their fears made manifest, Rory just sees exits. The Doctor guesses that after all his travels with in the TARDIS (plus the two thousand years or so he spent by himself as the Lone Centurion), Rory doesn't fear anything, so he has nothing for the Minotaur to feed on.
    • This is later revealed to be not quite true as the creature feeds not on fear, but on faith with the fear merely being a catalyst for them to draw on their faith in whatever they believe will save them and Rory is unsuitable to its needs because he is neither religious nor superstitious and, unlike Amy, does not have an abiding faith that The Doctor will always save the day.
      • Rory does have faith, mostly in Amy, but after his 2000 years as the Lone Centurion there is no longer any fear left in him to exploit in order to subvert that faith. Even the fear of losing Amy has no power because he's already faced and defeated it.
    • Anyone who has faith is too spicy. Once that faith is subverted, they're tasty morsels.
  • Tortured Abomination: The Minotaur.
  • The Un-Reveal: We don't see what's in the Doctor's room.
  • Vertigo Effect: Straight and played with.
    • Several dolly zooms shorten or lengthen hallways. Because scary.
    • An extreme variant, repeated multiple times, is the Vertigo stairwell. A shot down the middle of a stairwell iconically showed up in that film and is part of this episode's Mind Screw.
  • Voiceover Letter: Played with. When the Doctor starts reading Lucy's notes, her voice comes in, but his never fades away; both voices are audible, reading the same words with different inflections.
  • "Well Done, Daughter" Gal: Rita's greatest fear is her father's rejection of her, manifesting as disappointment in a "B" in maths.
  • Wham! Episode: Bet you weren't expecting Rory and Amy to part ways with the Doctor two episodes before the series ends.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode
  • What Happened to the Mouse? The "Do Not Disturb" sign the Doctor hung on his own room is never explained.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Done to the Doctor by himself.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The crazy worshiper who won't shut up. They tape his mouth shut.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: The maze brings people's fears into physical form. They include clowns, a gang of Alpha Bitches, ventriloquist's dummies, gorillas, P.E. teachers, paternal rejection, and Weeping Angels. Amy's is being abandoned by the Doctor, and while we don't see whom the Doctor fears, it's evidently tied to the Cloister Bell.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: The Doctor does this in order to save Amy from the monster — he tells her he's not worth believing in, and that he's done more harm than good to her. He was a bit nicer about it than he was to Ace.
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