Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Best of Me: Rose Tyler

As the first companion of the revived series, a lot was riding on the character of Rose Tyler. First of all, let me make it clear that this is not criticism of Billie Piper. I rarely criticise actors, in fact, especially if I have only seen them in one role. Also, she was not my first companion--that honor goes to Amy Pond--but with those confessions out of the way, down to business.

Rose Tyler is meant to be an "everygirl," nineteen years old, stuck in a shop and living in a Council Estate (the British version of public housing) with her widowed mum. Then one night, she is confronted by shop window dummies when a man in a leather jacket grabs her hand and says "Run!"

With the Ninth Doctor, I don't think she was chosen by any paticular merit--but then again, most of the classic ones weren't. They just happened to be in the right place, or they snuck aboard, or (with Ian and Barbara) were captured. As for why he lets her stay, I think that's because it feels right. Even when the Time Lords exiled him to Earth, he had others to hang out with, mostly young women, but sometimes men (Ian, Ben, Jamie, Adric, Turlough). With someone runnning around, asking questions, sometimes being clever and sometimes needing to be rescued, it felt like old times again. He wasn't alone anymore, he could pretend that the Time War never happened. Not to mention that his guilt over the destruction of Gallifrey probably warped his self-image into a monster. In one of my drabbles, "More Complicated," Nine holds on to Rose's heroic image of him because he doesn't fully believe it himself. And in Parting of the Ways, he's so determined to save her because it's something he can do, after all his failures in the Time War.
After the regeneration, there's a slight change in her attitude towards him. Even when the initial suspicians are assaged, she seems a bit more clingy with him, and her response to Sarah Jane in School Reunion implies unresolved issues (Not just because I love Sarah Jane either.) But the real 'breaker' in my mind comes when she's not even there. The Tenth Doctor's reactions to Martha in season three--even Donna in season four to a certian extent--is through a self-pitying lense of "whoa is me, I miss Rose," even making explicate comparisions between Rose and Martha. But her return in season four just....well, it ruined the end of Doomsday, not to mention gave her a very unsatisfactory solution. For everyone who loved the Metacrisis, an equal number would not be satisfied with Rose having anything other than the original. Her appearance on the Doctor's farewell tour was fine in my opinion, even sweet, but it worked because it was before her adventures started, not after a seemingly permenant fairwell.
If I were to base my assessment of Rose on seasons 1-2, I'd be fine with her. But with her continued reappearance, my opinion declined. I hope she doesn't appear in the anniversery special, or I'll really be fed up with her.
As for her romance with the Doctor--his reaction to her departure kind of soured me on that ship, but I'm not a strong shipper anyway. Her belief that she was the only girl in his life was egotistical as well, even her initial reaction to Martha on the subwave network.
I have a fanfic simmering about her and the metacrisis in Pete's World, with the title "Everything You Ever Wanted" and a Narnia quote as the summery "All get what they want. They do not always like it." I haven't gotten far enough to figure out if they'll still end up together, but I think both need to figure out if they're willing to give up all of time and space for each other.

Fanfic Recommendations:
Choices of Gods
Much like An Evening With the TARDIS, this fic is an imaginative exploration of what it might have felt like for Rose to become the Bad Wolf.
An Evening with the TARDIS
The TARDIS speaks to Rose while she has the Vortex in her head during "Parting of the Ways." Written before "The Doctor's Wife," it still has Idris's voice down pat, and an absolutely beautiful perspective on the TARDIS itself.
Find Me
An absolutely beautiful piece in which Rose contacts Sarah Jane during all her universe-jumping. The author might have read my mind regarding Rose and her obsession over the Doctor...and Sarah Jane challenges Rose's views without being harsh. (This one will be on my Sarah Jane list too).
Guardians of the Universe
An AU in which Rose Tyler is a gamepiece used by the White and Black Guardians from the Fourth Doctor's Key to Time series. While the resulting intensity of alien invasions involving Rose (several rewritten from Sarah Jane Adventures) could seem Mary-Sueish, it also gives her more experiance with aliens and greater maturity. It also has a higher proportion of classic companion involvement, including Sarah Jane Smith, Ian and Barbara, and some others.
I Wanted
Reflections by the Ninth and Tenth Doctors about how Rose affected his life. Interesting in focusing on her affect on him, not her feelings about him.
An AU with Rose born in the 19th century and living to the present day. With only four chapters up currently, it's hard to tell exactly where it's going, but it seems interesting so far.
The Temptation of Rose Tyler
This one hasn't been updated since last September, but the two chapters that do exist are great. The Trickster, recurring enemy on the Sarah Jane Adventures, offers Rose a ride back to the Doctor's universe.
Other People's Pets
Okay, I wasn't going to include humor or parody on here, but this one is just too brilliant to ignore. What if Rose kept the Dalek instead of Adam in season one? You'd have the goopy, hilarious, and slighly paranoid adventures in this story.

Fics I’ve written:
Divided Hearts
Four poems written about the Doctor and Rose's relationship. I actually wrote the last one first and then went back and did the other three.
Dreams in Which I’m Dying
It's actually more about the Metacrisis and his more human view of death, but it does involve Rose.
Grammar-inspired drabble about Rose between seasons two and four.
A poem-song for the Christmas Invasion


  1. This was well said, but I have to disagree with you. Rose and Amy are a tie for my favorite companions, second is Donna, then Martha (I don't know why in that order) Rose had remained my favorite up until Amy arrived, then I couldn't decide. :)

    1. We'll have to agree to disagree, then, but I appreciate the civil comment. As for my favorites--I've seen all of 4-11, plus some of 1-3, so it would take me much longer to list them all. I will say my favorite is the only character to appear in both classic and NuWho--Sarah Jane Smith.

  2. This has next to nothing to do with Rose - I just wanted to tell you that you should watch The Ruby in the Smoke.

    1. What is Ruby in the Smoke, my dear?

    2. You could have Googled it, but no, I have to do all the work... ;)
      It's a Victorian mystery based on a book by Philip Pullman (but you can largely ignore his worldview unless you read the second and third book). Billie Piper plays the main character, but the main draw is that Matt Smith is the most adorable Cockney character you ever will see. I believe the movie is a source of a lot of 11/Rose fanvids, but don't worry, the two characters are nothing like that. You'll be safe. :) The plot itself has a few pacing problems, but overall I just think you'd enjoy it.

    3. Oh, and I think Lance from "The Runaway Bride" and Hayley Atwell from Captain America showed up. You may know some of the actors as well, since Britain freely shares all twenty they have.

    4. Ah. Well, I'll add it to my list. Now that I'm home for the summer, my TV time is much less.