(Shirin Dubbin is one of my fav fantasy writers. She infuses intelligence into her stories in the way I like best – a sudden, unexpected comment that recalls stored knowledge or an insight that sparks a new idea. One such comment on Facebook sparked a discussion of The Doctor’s companions.
Sure enough, Shirin provided a wonderful analysis of the (first) five companions of the New Iteration. With Shirin’s permission, I quote her below.)
… I see what you’re saying about Amy as an Audience POV character and certainly Young Amy (the girl who waited) is all those things. However, positing Adult Amy as a true partner doesn’t ring true for me. Nor does defining Martha and Donna in the context of Rose. All companions are defined by what they mean to the Doctor and how they transform him. Here’s how I’d break down the New Who Companions:
Rose: She was a true traveling companion—in the classic sense. They were co-adventures, living full throttle. With Rose the Doctor enjoyed every moment of being alive because he finally understood what it meant to savor life. And above all they had a kind of love together that broke him when they had to part so permanently.
Martha: After the separation from Rose the Doctor became reckless. Martha Jones saved his life. He’d been saving everybody else for eons and finally someone came along who saved him, who was willing to sacrifice everything for him. She went back in time and became a servant for him, even though he left her alone and defenseless because he’d become another man. She walked the earth, telling his story and turning him into a legend in order to save him for the Master. Once again she did this alone and in his absence. And on top of all that he adored her because she had the wits to match with his. She was a true partner and his savior in many ways. “Smith and Jones”
Donna: After Martha saved his life, and he was no longer hell bent on dying, Donna Noble saved his soul. She became his true friend, without the entanglements he couldn’t deal with Martha. As his best mate she told him the truth, when he was amazing as well as when he was being a git. Donna brought out the best in him. She held him accountable and she reawakened the hero inside him. Donna was truly his soulmate, the other half of him, and his partner. “The Doctor Donna”
Amy: Is a fan. Sure. She gave birth to the love of his life. Sure. But unlike the companions above she contributed nothing to who he is. She did not leave him a better man. Yes, she’s his friend and I’ll concede her greatest contribution was in helping to give him a sense of family. Also the adventure was high. But more than anything else what Amy did was need saving, perpetually. Oh, and the universe needed saving from her. It seems any association with Amy Pond ends in disaster for all involved. I kept thinking the Doctor, River, and Rory deserved better. On top of it all she was self righteous and woefully self centered to boot. I don’t see her as a true partner or even a very good friend.
Dang, I didn’t know I had deconstructed the companions that much until I wrote it all down… But you know how much I love storytelling