Title: The Stuff of Legend -- The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler
Author: butterfly and oh_she_knows
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: The (10th) Doctor/Rose Tyler
Spoilers: Spoilers through Season/Series Three of the New Doctor Who, still airing in the U.S.
Thanks: To my fellow OSK members for all of their assistance and enthusiasm.
The Stuff of Legend -- The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler
"The Doctor and Rose love each other. I think it's that simple."
Euros Lyn, director of eight episodes of Doctor Who
What is love? It's a question that has been asked over and over in the course of history -- why are people drawn to each other, what makes separate souls pledge to journey together as long as they are able, just how is that spark of something more defined?
Doctor Who started back in England in 1963, in black and white, with an alien called the Doctor who had the ability to regenerate into a new body whenever the old actor got tired of the role, his granddaughter Susan, and the two human companions who had stumbled into their TARDIS -- that stands for 'Time and Relative Dimension in Space', and it's a time/space ship that looks like a Police Public Call Box (blue box that the policemen detained people in and that had a free phone on the outside so that ordinary people could call for them) and is bigger on the inside than the outside (if that sounds intriguing, there's an overview of the show through the ninth Doctor here, on the crack_van). To sum up -- time passed, actors got tired, the show was cancelled for fourteen-ish years and, now, forty-odd years later, the Doctor looks like Christopher Eccleston and he meets a girl named Rose. There's something of a love story there, which has been covered before on this community.
At the end of the Doctor and Rose's first season together, he kisses her to save her life, sacrificing his own in the process -- he triggers a regeneration and we end up with the Tenth Doctor, as portrayed by David Tennant.
When one person in a relationship literally changes their body, face, and external personality, is love something that remains? The answer that the tenth Doctor gives us is a resounding 'yes' -- his love for Rose Tyler is as persistent as his curiosity, cleverness, arrogance, and quicksilver mood changes. Her love for him proves just as true, as she embraces even this most alien quality of his.
To know a relationship, first it's necessary to know the people in it, so, before we get to the text and subtext of the show, here's a quick introduction to our two leads.
The Tenth Doctor -- Adventurer, Daredevil, Madman
"He wants to be happy, wants to take the chance on love, but he's still the Doctor and it's difficult for him to let go of centuries' worth of restrictions and denials, even though he knows that it would be worth it with Rose."
sundaydriver, OSK member
Two hearts. Nine hundred plus years old. A body temperature that's a bit lower than our human norm. Knows five billion languages and has a ship that can travel in time and space. The Doctor is an alien, no doubt about that. He hails from a place called Gallifrey, a planet that was destroyed in a great Time War, a war that was ended not by the powerful Time Lord race that the Doctor belongs to but by the intervention and love of a young human woman named Rose.
The tenth Doctor is the Doctor that is created by that last ending of the Time War, when he changes from being a soldier to being the last survivor. He's still the same man and yet... he's entirely new.
"The tenth Doctor really is the same man who gaped at Rose in The Unquiet Dead, took her hand in Father's Day, and watched her rip open the time vortex for him in The Parting of the Ways. The face and personality may be different, but he's very much the Doctor."
mrv3000, OSK member
Rose Tyler -- Valiant Child
"Humanity is the scrappy, often frustrating but always adorable child of the universe. Rose embodies that. She also embodies the almost limitless potential of humanity. She just kept growing and changing to meet whatever challenges the Doctor and the Universe threw at her. Rose might despair but she doesn't give up...she never submits for long, she just keeps working on things."
rabid1st, OSK member
Rose Tyler is one-hundred percent human or... well, she starts out that way. There is, on occasion, a bit of awe in the Doctor when he looks at Rose, and well there should be -- because she loved him, she risked her life and opened the heart of the TARDIS, releasing the Time Vortex into herself. For a brief span of time, she held more power and knowledge than the Doctor himself, and she used it to end the Time War and save the lives of two men that she cared about.
For two years, Rose got to live a dream -- she broke out of her mundane life to travel among the stars and through time. More than that, during her first year, she slowly fell in love with the man who was showing her the universe, and she got to spend most of that second year simply enjoying the love that they shared. Even after they part, she's left in a parallel universe where her parents are reunited (her father died in her own reality) and she can do important, world-shaping work.
She's compassionate, brave, perceptive, and determined, while retaining enough faults (carelessness with her ex-boyfriend, a heedless desire to know her father, recklessness in the face of danger) that she never felt too perfect, but even that description can't quite sum up why I love her so much.
"All this rambling is basically because she had some kind of ineffable, loveable quality about her that I can't quite pin down. When Rose smiles, the whole room just lights up and can't help but smile with her - especially the Doctor, wink wink - and, even though she's now left, she's still a massive presence in the show. The Doctor can't forget her, and neither can we."
hippiebanana132 -- OSK member
The Doctor and Rose -- Partners in Time
The Tenth Doctor and Rose pick up where she left off with the Ninth. They have fourteen episodes (and one short special) together, but every episode is full of them connecting emotionally and of the text and subtext of their relationship, starting from the very beginning, when Rose is confronted with the notion that the man she'd gotten to know and care for (the man she'd been willing to go back into a war for) was gone and a completely different-looking man was in his place.
"Regarding the CIN [Children in Need] special, what I love most is that the Doctor doesn't fully understand why Rose isn't grasping that he's the same person. To him, Rose is still the hand he needs to hold, the person who sacrificed everything to save him, and thus her fear and confusion hurts him. All his focus, in that special, is on trying to convince her that he's still the same Doctor, (just with a different face), and thus preventing her from giving up on him and wanting to leave. It's just very bittersweet and telling of how the Doctor feels about Rose."
sundaydriver, OSK member
"[In] The Christmas Invasion, every moment he's awake is a shippy moment. He wakes up because of her. And then the subtle things in that sequence. As he's in pain and his brain is collapsing, he pushes Jackie out of the way so he can touch Rose. She grounds him... He only has eyes for her from the moment he steps inside Jackie's."
New Earth and Tooth and Claw are what I always think of as the 'honeymoon' episodes. The Doctor and Rose just went through two huge things -- Rose coming back to save the Doctor in Parting of the Ways and then the Doctor's regeneration. For the Doctor, he's just had someone completely accept this very alien part of himself. He's in love with Rose Tyler and the one-two punch of her coming back and her accepting his regeneration gives him so much happiness that he can't contain it. As for Rose, she's realized just how much she loves the Doctor. Enough to risk her life in what she thought would be a hopeless battle.
And the audience gets to see that Rose loves the Doctor for who and what he is -- both the talkative and humanish parts of him and the more alien bits.
There's a giddiness in most of the Doctor/Rose interaction in these two episodes -- from the bubbly joy of "I love this. Traveling with you, I love it." "Me, too." to the laughter and giggles of "She's a werewolf!" joking about Princess Anne, the Doctor and Rose are just so happy to be with each other that nothing else matters quite as much.
They're both intensely protective of the other -- so much so that when a hostile entity named Cassandra takes over Rose's body, the Doctor refuses to consider anything but getting Rose back to herself, and when Cassandra's mind jumps to the Doctor's body, Rose feels just the same. Cassandra has to force herself to jump into a plague-ridden human labrat simply because neither of them will stand to have her in the other one's body.
We also get to see in these episodes the start of one of the themes for the season -- how alike the Doctor and Rose are becoming. There's more focus on how Rose becomes more Doctor-ish, but the way that the Doctor treats Cassandra at the end speaks to a compassion that he didn't feel for her last time they met. He gives her one last gift before she dies and he didn't have to -- he chose to and it was kind. We can also see that Rose shares in the Doctor's awe and wonder for the things that they see ("Werewolf." "I know!").
"I love the Doctor and Rose's relationship in [Tooth and Claw] because they start to fall in love with each other again, as Rose begins to trust the new bloke, and I love the way that Russell pushes that so that they're almost enjoying themselves too much."
David Tennant, 'The Doctor' (tenth)
After the giddy, giddy joy of NE and T&C, we have a set of episodes where jealousy, questioning, and uncertainty come into play. For the Doctor, there's only one person he's jealous of, the one person that he never needed to be jealous of in the first place, because Rose never picked him first: Rose's ex-boyfriend Mickey and the more normal, secure life that he represents. For Rose, she has to deal with a past companion named Sarah Jane (he's loved people before) and the famous Reinette (he'll love people again), uncrowned Queen of France. Rose questions whether or not the pain at least one of them will be feeling at the end is worth it and the Doctor has to verbalize that he thinks he already knows how much losing Rose will hurt.
From School Reunion:
Rose: "How many of us have there been, traveling with you?"
Doctor: "Does it matter?"
Rose: "Yeah, it does, if I'm just the latest in a long line."
Doctor: "As opposed to what?"
Rose: "I thought you and me were... but obviously I got it wrong. I've been to the year five billion, right, but this... this is really seeing the future. You just leave us behind. Is that what you're going to do to me?"
Doctor: "No. Not to you."
Rose: "But Sarah Jane... you were that close to her once, and now... you never even mention her. Why not?"
Doctor: "I don't age. I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone you-"
Rose: "What, Doctor?"
Doctor: "You can spend the rest of your life with me. But I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. That's the curse of the Time Lords."
Then we settle in the second half of the season, which is a long run of episodes about the Doctor and Rose reaffirming their connection and Rose proving herself to be the Doctor's equal in every way.
"From The Idiot's Lantern onwards, it is The Doctor and Rose, these two best friends traveling together, and what they mean to each other."
Russell T Davies, executive producer of Doctor Who
In The Idiot's Lantern, we see the full extent of the Doctor's rage when Rose has been violated by the Wire -- the Wire is a villain that he never bothers to give a first chance to, let alone a second. The instant that Rose has been damaged, everything becomes very, very simple, as he puts it.
In The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, Rose and the Doctor get separated and each become the inspirational leader of their respective unit. This story also features them being called a 'couple' with Rose not disputing the title, an adorable mortgage conversation, the Doctor labeling the pair of them 'the stuff of legend', Rose kissing the Doctor on the helmet (and he closes his eyes), and a hug of glee that never ends. Mostly, this story is about their complete and utter faith in each other.
From The Satan Pit:
Doctor: "So that's the trap. Or the test or the final judgement, I don't know. But if I kill you, I kill her. But that implies, in this big grand scheme of gods and devils, that she's just a victim. Well, I've seen a lot of this universe. I've seen fake gods and bad gods and demi-gods and would-be gods -- out of all that -- out of that whole pantheon -- if I believe in one thing... just one thing... I believe in her!"
There's Fear Her, which is the bright light before the storm waiting for them. There's the sheer adorability factor of the Doctor being jealous of a cat, pointing out his manly hairy hand to Rose (and mentioning that he's been experimenting with back-combing), and Rose bringing him a cake with edible ball bearings. It is, quite possibly, the most adorable episode of the show ever. And, of course, there's the Doctor carrying the torch that Rose has just put an alien in -- "It's more than a flame now, Bob. It's more than heat and light. It's hope. And it's courage. And it's love." Together, they do that.
Mostly, we get a whole lot of Rose and the Doctor acting like partners and being adorable together, in all of these episodes.
We know from the beginning of Army of Ghosts that we're going to lose Rose -- we open with her standing on a beach, telling us that she's going to tell the story of 'how she died'. We know from the start that this is the episode where he loses her.
A species called the Daleks started a tear between two universes with their Void Ship, and then humans (with some outside help) tore it wide open. The breach has to be sealed. The Doctor tries to choose Rose's safety above all else. Rose makes the same choice she made back in The Parting of the Ways in first season, to be with him and damn whether or not she's safe.
And then he loses her. Rose Tyler very nearly gets sucked into the Void (into Hell), saved only by grace and luck and her 'father' taking her into a parallel world.
"Having experienced this crazy supernatural stuff, it’s just heartbreaking, the thought of not having the chance to do that again with the man that she loves."
Billie Piper, 'Rose Tyler'
If Rose's love was tested and proven true when she came back, the Doctor's is shown a little later, when he burns up a sun to say good-bye to her. He had to see her again, one last time. Had to know that she was safe, despite knowing that he won't get to hug Rose or touch her hand when he says good-bye. Rose gets to tell the Doctor that she loves him, but he gets robbed of the chance to say it back when they run out of time and that last breach closes, trapping them in separate universes.
You took me in
You stole my heart
I cannot roam no more
because love, it stays within you
it does not wash up on a shore
A fighting man forgets each cut
each knock, each bruise, each fall
But a fighting man cannot forget
why his love don't roam no more
Oh, reel in me, my precious girl
come on, take me home
'cause my body's tired of travelling
and my heart don't wish to roam
Love Don't Roam
by Murray Gold, Doctor Who's composer
All throughout season three, the show uses the new companion (Martha Jones) as a comparison point -- it shows us the difference between a 'normal' companion and Rose.
And the Doctor himself makes things very clear in their first episode together, Smith and Jones:
Martha: "Is there a crew? Like a navigator and stuff? Where is everyone?"
Doctor: "Just me."
Martha: "All on your own?"
Doctor: "Well, sometimes I have guests. I mean... some friends, travelling alongside. I had - There was recently a friend of mine. Rose, her name was, Rose. And... we were together."
With Rose, the Doctor wasn't ready for a companion. He kept dodging her and she kept trying to figure out what was going on. With Martha, the Doctor was testing her from the start, seeing if she'd make a good companion. With Rose, their very first trip ends up exploring the nature of his grief -- he takes Rose to her planet, dying, lets her experience that with all the emotions that come with it, and then tells her that his planet is dead. He just tells Martha who he is, that he's a Time Lord -- with Rose, he makes her understand. With Martha, he lies about being the last of his kind, with Rose, he tells the truth.
The deliberate contrasts don't end there, of course. In The Shakespeare Code, the Doctor doesn't even notice that Martha isn't in period-appropriate clothing (a far cry from saying "You'll start a riot, Barbarella." and "You look beautiful... considering," to Rose). We have a scene where the Doctor and Martha have to share a bed for the night and Martha finds herself totally distracted by the fact that she's in the same bed as a guy she thinks is completely hot, but he's still thinking of the woman he lost. "Rose'd know," the Doctor says about the answer to the episode's problem.
Even as early as World War Three, Rose saying, "That's my mum," makes the Doctor redouble his concentration on figuring out the problem, while he tells Martha that she shouldn't dare try warning her family (in The Sound of the Drums). Martha gets the same treatment most people get -- the Doctor only notices their emotional states if they're jumping and shouting in his face, while with Rose, he always noticed when she was upset, even if she didn't say anything.
Every time that the show or Martha or anything compares the two, the Doctor's emotional reaction is telling -- he isn't interested in Martha like that. Oh, he likes her and respects and appreciates her, but that spark of romantic interest that he had in Rose from the very beginning is completely absent.
"The saddest line for me is the one in 'Evolution of the Daleks' when Martha says the Doctor isn't seeing her, he's only remembering. He's missing Rose so much that he can't move on, and Martha has to struggle with all these feelings she has for someone who doesn't even see her. Sad for both of them, really."
goldy_dollar, OSK member
Just in case by the middle of the season we'd forgotten the way he feels about Rose, we have his dream journal that he writes in while he's temporarily turned himself human and doesn't remember who he really is, where she's called 'perfect Rose'. And we have a callback to the Children in Need special in a scene at the end with Joan (his love interest of the episode), and where he was so gentle and soft with Rose, he's much, much colder here. Even while trying to convince Joan to come with him, he shows none of the tenderness that he showed with Rose. And, of course, while with Rose he couldn't change back to who he was before, with Joan, he won't.
From Children in Need:
Rose: "Can you change back?"
Doctor: "Do you want me to?"
Rose: "Can you?"
And Family of Blood:
Joan: "Could you change back?"
Joan: "Will you?"
Then, of course, we have Utopia. I mentioned above that Rose saved two lives when she came back in The Parting of the Ways. In this episode, the other man she saved, Captain Jack Harkness, is reunited with the Doctor for an adventure. Naturally enough, the talk turns to Rose -- it's Jack mentioning Rose that breaks their wariness with each other in the beginning (and the Doctor gets to share with Jack that she isn't dead, but with her mother in a parallel universe) and then Jack asks the big question. He came back to life in The Parting of the Ways and since then, he hasn't been able to stay dead. He's over a hundred years old and has died several times, but he always comes back.
Jack: "The last thing I remember, back when I was mortal, I was facing three Daleks. Death by extermination. Then I came back to life. What happened?"
Jack: "I thought you'd sent her back home."
Doctor: "She came back. Opened the heart of the TARDIS and absorbed the Time Vortex itself."
Jack: "What does that mean, exactly?"
Doctor: "No one's ever meant to have that power. If a Time Lord did that, he'd become a god... a vengeful god. But she was human. Everything she did was so human. She brought you back to life. But she couldn't control it -- she brought you back forever. That's something, I suppose. The final act of the Time War was life."
Jack: "Do you think she could change me back?"
Doctor: "I took the power out of her but... she's gone, Jack. She's not just living on a parallel world. She's trapped there. The walls have closed."
Jack: "I'm sorry."
The Doctor says, "Busy life. Moving on," about leaving Jack behind (echoing what he says at the end of Family of Blood when Martha saying that maybe she could convince Joan to come along. "Time we moved on."). Mostly, when he parts with a companion, he gets on with his life. With Rose, moving on was harder than expected.
In a season where we only see her face in one brief flashback in Utopia, Rose is still the emotional heart of the show, just as she was in S1 and S2.
"That the Doctor would grieve to this extent, be so radically changed, is completely unprecedented in this series as a whole. A good comparison would be the way the Doctor reacted to the Master dying. He weeps, yes. He is devastated. And he was so willing, prior to the death to give up his way of life to simply care for the last member of his species. However, when next we see him, he hasn't piled on any additional moping to his Rose grief. The latest loss was another blow but not, apparently, as life-altering as the loss of Rose."
rabid1st, OSK member
Rose might be gone, but this is still their love story.
Why We Ship
"Between the two of them together they complement each other and discover each other. And are in love with each other, absolutely, unashamedly, unreservedly."
Russell T Davies, executive producer of Doctor Who
"My first viewing of Doctor Who was the episode Rose, with the ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler -- I fell for Rose almost instantaneously. She was clever, brave, determined, and funny. Watching the first season, it was so clear why the Doctor fell for her, too. Before I watched the Christmas special that was the tenth Doctor's debut performance, I was very concerned that I wouldn't enjoy the characters and the relationship the same way. I was delighted when they ended up having even more chemistry and intimacy -- the moment that sold me on the tenth Doctor and Rose is at the very end of 'The Christmas Invasion'. He's pointing out a star to her (their next destination) and he watches her so closely, and it isn't until she smiles that he does the same. At that moment, I was convinced that his love for her hadn't been burnt away by the regeneration and that he still loved her just as much."
butterfly, OSK member
"I fell in love with Ten/Rose when I finally - finally - saw Ten's dark and vulnerable side. I saw that even when there was nothing else left for him, he still believed he had Rose and that made me fall for their relationship all over again. Now I find it impossible to choose Nine/Rose or Ten/Rose - they both have things about their relationships that I crave in my mind."
avoria, OSK member
"The Doctor and Rose love each other. How could they not?"
Julie Gardner, executive producer for Doctor Who and Head of Drama for BBC Wales
"I fell in love with them more each time. Their chemistry just felt so natural and real. I totally believed in their connection and feelings for each other. I didn't have to be told. They just were."
misssara11, OSK member
"The pivotal moment in my mind... the moment where I became a true Doctor/Rose shipper... was the Doctor and Rose, standing outside in the falling ash. Their whole dialogue starting from the start of the scene to the end was just lovely. And the one moment that always makes my heart skip a beat is when the Doctor is pointing out the next "flight path," and Rose hesitantly follows with her own raised hand... and the Doctor just suddenly looks over at her with this expression. It only lasts for a moment or two before Rose looks back at him and smiles. Sometimes I think that expression was amazement, awe, wonder, joy... but for me, that's when I realized that yes, the Doctor LOVES Rose."
swankkat, OSK member
"As far as Ten/Rose...I put off watching season two for a while because I was mourning Nine and I didn't think I'd enjoy the show without him. Then, I finally watched TCI and decided, while I still missed Nine, I could give the new guy a chance. David was very charismatic and really drew me in, and all of the Ten/Rose interactions were gold. I loved the scene where he goes to see Rose right after he dresses himself, and it's like he's waiting for her reaction. Then, when she smiles her approval, he positively beams at her; he just seems so pleased with himself. And of course, when they stand together under the falling ash, I love how Rose says 'I thought you wouldn't want me anymore.' Not want me to come, but want me. And the way the Doctor looks at her in this scene shows how completely smitten he is."
marble_rose, OSK member
"I’m definitely a Doctor/Rose shipper—it’s hard for me to see Nine/Rose and Ten/Rose as separate relationships. In fact, “The Christmas Invasion” didn’t just make me a shipper—it made me see 'Doctor Who' as a romance."
mls03j, OSK member
"What I love most about the relationship between the Doctor, (Nine or Ten), and Rose is that it had an organic progression that started with a post-Time War alien who's been damaged, taking the hand of a bored, "longing for something different" shopgirl and then continued with both of them finding that sense of completeness and peace within each other. For whatever reason, they clicked and they found that they enjoyed being with each other and travelling with each other and being there for each other. By the time of Ten, they have this natural rhythm and love for each other that's lovely to watch. They were happy and better together than apart. Nine was all about the healing and pining, while Ten was all about being content and the overt expressions of caring. The Doctor and Rose just make sense, from Rose through to Doomsday, (or whenever they will be reunited. *holding out hope*). It made me happy and hopeful to watch this relationship develop on my screen and I'm so proud to be a fan of the pairing."
sundaydriver, OSK member
Places To Go
oh_she_knows -- the sponsor of this manifesto, OSK is 'a safe, comfortable place to be as shippy as one wants!'
the_spdn -- a thrice-weekly Doctor/Rose newsletter.
quite_right_too -- a place to post fanfic recs for Doctor/Rose.
time_and_chips -- the original D&R community on LJ (being shippy is not required).
Doctor Who Communities:
doctorwho -- the big general DW community.
who_daily -- a daily newsletter for general DW fandom.
dwfiction -- a more general Who fanfic community.
dwfanvids -- DW fanvid community.
dwicons -- DW icon community.
dwcanon_fodder -- where no question is too silly to answer, as long as it's about DW canon.
Teaspoon and an Open Mind -- Central DW fic archive. Many Doctor/Rose stories.
Summer Lovin' -- the first annual Doctor/Rose ficathon.
There's a thriving Doctor Who vidding community. Of particular note for D/R vids are humansrsuperior (vids located here) and jagwriter78 (vids here).