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31 May 2010 @ 01:40 pm
various TV things  
--I should really, really know by now that I oughtn't to watch specials on Pompeii. They always put me out of sorts and make me want to cry, except for the times that I actually do cry. But I always watch, anyway.

--I also watched a special about gladiators, because PBS was apparently doing some kind of two-for-one Ancient Rome thing. The odd bit about this special was that all the dialogue was in Latin, with no captions, and then there was some sort of explanatory voiceover in English, by either the gladiator the special was following, Verus, or the narrator. It seems that these sort of programs have been increasingly keen to have people speaking in Latin, the last several years (though this is the first one I've seen that didn't have captions). I get distracted by the linguistic conventions of historical television and film (see icon), so of course I wonder what that's about.

And a few random Doctor Who thoughts:
a) The thing about the ending of "Cold Blood" that breaks my heart, on the Doctor's side (you know, beyond the why Rory why? part, and Amy's tears, and, er, everything else), is that it's his fault for taking time to examine the crack in time instead of actually getting Amy and Rory aboard the TARDIS. And it's both his curiosity that causes that horrible mistake (because when something doesn't seem right, he has to poke it with a stick--or, you know, his hand wrapped in a bandanna), and also his arrogance: "The Angels laughed when I didn’t know, Prisoner Zero knows, everybody knows except me." He can't bear not to know something that others know, can't bear to be laughed at--and Rory dies because of it.

b) I keep trying to figure out my affection for Amy, and I can't do it. Usually it's the characters whom I know the best that I wind up loving the best. And Amy isn't like that. I'd imagine that she must be an exciting character to write fanfic about, in a way: so much backstory to fill in, so many ways to think about how her childhood shaped her. But since I have only written one accidental piece of fic (well, two if you count that time I tried to write a meeting between Viola and Celia, which was kind of a wash), this isn't the way I think about Amy. And yet, she makes sense to me. I've been seeing a fair number of posts about how Amy isn't sympathetic, how she's totally unlikeable and selfish, etc. (How she doesn't deserve Rory, how she's not awed enough by getting to travel with the Doctor, how Karen Gillan can't act...) Some of these objections don't really have any bearing on this discussion, actually; I love watching Karen Gillan react to things, and why shouldn't Amy feel entitled to travel with the Doctor? He invited her, after all.

But I keep coming back to the fact that I feel like I just get Amy. That's not to say that I think I'm like her, because I don't, at all. And maybe it's just that I love lonely little girls in stories, and the brave, shuttered-off young women they grow up to be, but while I want the writers to tell me a lot more about Amy, because I love character exploration, I still think she makes sense. Of course she's going to be independent and act like she doesn't need the Doctor (even aside from my confusion as to why or whether any companion should act as though she needs the Doctor; though some do, that's not a given, to me); Amy Pond has spent her life so far not needing anyone. That mad, childish scene between little Amelia and the Doctor, when he's rejecting foods with the slightly terrifying energy of a child who can do whatever he wants, also tells us that Amelia knows how to fend for herself. The fact that she doesn't tell Rory that she loves him (again!) seems absolutely of a piece with the way she flinches from strong emotion (that bit in "Vampires" when she punches Rory lightly when he's upset, all "don't be mad," that's so awkward and so telling: she doesn't know how to do this), calls Rory an idiot, makes cracks about his being clingy when they're in a tight spot: that's her armor--don't let them get too close, that's how they hurt you, that's when they leave. Unless you leave first, of course: there's a little bit of the self-destructive in Amy, always running toward danger, toward screams, and I can't help wondering how much she's testing Rory, by running away, by kissing the Doctor--what's the thing I can do that he won't forgive?--even while on a conscious level, she's taking the chance at adventure that she never got as a little girl.

And so all of that has been tumbling around in my head, and it's crystallizing around something that Moffat said in the Confidential for "Amy's Choice": that Amy is trying so hard to prove that she's not a victim that she might end up becoming one. And there it is--flash of light, dropping penny, etc. That's Amy.

But she's also a child, and I mean that in some of the best ways as well as in some of the not-so-good--like being impatient, and bored by museums. (She hasn't totally grown up yet, though she thinks, in "The Eleventh Hour," that she has. There are moments with her--peculiar, given how she runs from marriage and how she now lives inside a spaceship--when I get the odd feeling that she's playing house. The reality of Rory, of her feelings for him and what it means to have him in her life, never seems to strike her until she loses him.) One of the things I love about "The Beast Below" is that it's about childhood knowledge, childhood certainty, not childhood wonder, and Amy has to think like a child to make the leap of faith that she makes there. And there's a way in which she allows Eleven to be the Doctor she tells us about--that old, that kind, and the very last of your kind--because she believes so much in him, without ever needing to make a fuss about it. In that last scene of that episode, the look that flickers across the Doctor's face is troubled, and I wonder (especially after "Amy's Choice") whether some of that troubled expression is for himself: 'You can't have known that the whale was like that,' he says, but maybe he's also saying, 'You can't know that I'm like that,' too. But she does--even if it's her belief that makes that partly possible.

She believes in him, but doesn't trust him: Amy's not big on trusting people, especially ones who keep leaving her behind. I feel like that scene in "Flesh and Stone" tells us most of what we need to know about Amy--and why it's so horrible for her to be cut off without sight, having to depend on people who then leave her, completely and utterly, so much so that they don't even exist anymore. So much of this season is about faith, and trust, and the things you take for granted, and I'm both excited and terrified to see where it winds up.
the love song of j. aimee prufrocke: dw | amelia pond is a fairytale namefaeriemaiden on June 1st, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
I don't often have coherent or sensible or any things at all to say in response, but I love love love your post-episode musings; they add a great deal to my own enjoyment of the show, because you know how to look for and find those layers of meaning and symbolism and parallel. ♥
tempestsarekind: a sort of fairytaletempestsarekind on June 1st, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you--that's so nice of you to say! I really, really appreciate it (and it's lovely to know that someone is getting some enjoyment out of my random ramblings!); it means a lot.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on June 1st, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Ditto, on your musings, which makes one look twice. Amy -- I think my affection for Amy comes from my affection for Amelia. That was just a wonderful segment, and beautifully told story--it had the elements of the best of fairy tales.

But she's also a child, and I mean that in some of the best ways as well as in some of the not-so-good--like being impatient, and bored by museums. Use to take children to museums -- have to know more than Van Gogh painted this the day he cut off his ear. Of course, my students were young art students looking for ways to make their art significant.
tempestsarekind: amelia pond (ready for adventure)tempestsarekind on June 1st, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think my affection for Amy comes from my affection for Amelia.

Oh, this too, absolutely. I loved the beginning of "The Eleventh Hour"--and when Amelia ran upstairs and pulled out that suitcase, it broke my heart, because I knew she was going to be disappointed. It definitely provides the background for Amy to be resentful and jaded in "The Eleventh Hour," and I think it affects the way I read her character throughout--that little girl trying not to let herself be disappointed by anyone else.

Well, I liked museums as a kid, because my mother took my cousin and me to most of the local ones at least once every summer: it was just a thing we did. But I could also imagine a certain kind of child being bored by them, and Amy strikes me as "like a child" in that sense.