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Why I Wrote "The Right Place For Love"

I knew that some people would be curious about why I felt the need to write my own ending for the Ponds, so I thought I'd offer a little bit of commentary for the curious.

This past summer, shortly after the first airing of "A Good Man Goes to War", my friend Liz, one of the two friends who initially got me into Doctor Who, was driving me home from our night out playing billiards. We somehow got to talking about DW, as usual, and the conversation somehow turned to how we wanted to see Amy and Rory leave.

My theory was always that I wanted there to be a role reversal. I felt that would be the ultimate proof of how Amy and Rory's time in the TARDIS had changed them since their beginnings. The Doctor told Amy in "The Eleventh Hour" that he would soon "fix" her growing up, and so much of Amy's characterization hinges on the damage the Doctor did to her in her early childhood, which stuck her with that sort of Peter Pan mindset. She ran away from her wedding because she didn't want to grow up; she let the Doctor call her Amelia Pond because it was the name she went by in childhood. Rory was the one who wanted to be an adult and do the adult thing and get married; Amy didn't want that at first. So my role reversal idea for her was that she would finally make the decision to grow up and start a life of her own, one that doesn't revolve around the Doctor,  like her younger years and years as a companion did. Her new life would revolve around building a happy future with a loving husband. Her new life would revolve around growing up and leaving her childhood behind, and her childhood is the Doctor.

As many of you know by now, I'm a Rory fan until the very end, and I still think that he's underutilized in canon. I wrote many different pieces for him in order to reconcile gaps in my headcanon--i'm the hero of this story and She's Not There being the biggest ones. Those pieces mainly focused on The Doctor and Rory's relationship in particular, which I'm fascinated by. So imagine my surprise when I actually got an episode that validated a ridiculous amount of my headcanon for those two. "The Girl Who Waited" has become one of my favorite episodes, period, because of the character study element and because of the emotions involved. Good God, I started crying at "I care that we didn't grow old together." and just didn't stop. I had to run and get my ice cream halfway through the episode. I've gone into my love for the Amy/Rory portions of the episode before, but two of the Doctor and Rory's exchanges in particular just broke me apart: "Then I do not want to travel with you!" and "This isn't fair. You're turning me into you!"

There was so much resentment there and so much pain. It was what I'd always imagined Rory had in his head, it was why I wrote hero, but I never once expected to see it played out on screen, and so beautifully, too. Especially when you take into account the "Doomsday" parallels (which I'm not entirely enthused with, simply because the Doctor and Rose and Amy and Rory are fascinating couples in their own right with completely different dynamics that just shouldn't be compared, IMO), it was heartbreaking to see Rory have to make a choice like the kid the Doctor has to make practically every day.

Despite my nigh constant fixation on Rory's internal Doctor-centric inferiority complex, I have an intense love for their relationship, and I think that despite what the Doctor did to damage Rory--blinding Amy to his love; turning him into a warrior; endangering his wife and child--Rory also recognizes the good side of traveling with the Doctor. I like to think that those same similarities, the similarities Rory resents and the Doctor loathes himself for, are what bind them together so tightly. And I wanted to explore that by giving Rory the biggest role reversal of all. I wanted to take his resentment for the Doctor and Amy's Doctor fixation and turn it on its head. I wanted him to want to stay.

The first image I got in my head was of Rory watching Amy leave the TARDIS even after he'd declared he would stay. The second was the heartbreaking thought of him hugging the Doctor and crying when he said the words, "I really thought she'd stay." I knew I had to write it eventually, but never thought of really and truly doing it until Liz begged me to that night in the car. I filed it away for future reference and my friends who heard about it were all thrilled with the idea. It never came to fruition until today, but I am glad that I wrote it at all.

This isn't to say I don't adore the ending they got in "The God Complex," which I absolutely and truly do--it was far more heartbreaking than I ever would have imagined. I'd always thought of their ending in terms of Amy and Rory being the ones who chose to leave. I never thought that the Doctor would develop to the point that he would recognize the damage he did to them in the past and the damage he could still do in the future and actually not give them a choice in whether to stay or go. "The God Complex" is another episode that had me in tears. It's that one small line from the Doctor that always does it: "I stole your childhood and now I've led you by the hand to your death. But the worst thing is, I knew. I knew this would happen. This is what always happens."

I've always been uncomfortable with how badly the Doctor damaged Amy by "stealing her childhood," so hearing him acknowledge that in his own words broke my heart and simultaneously made it easier for me to accept the Doctor and Amy's relationship, which I'd always been intensely uncomfortable with due to the abandonment issues he left her with. That line about "leading you by the hand to your death" wrecked me. I was glad that the Doctor had finally grown up enough, in a way, to recognize that it was time for Amy to build her own life, one that wasn't contingent on him anymore. A lot of people had issues with the "Amy Williams" line, calling it anti-feminist, but I didn't feel that way. Like I said above, I think Amy only kept the name "Pond" as her surname because it was what the Doctor always called her, not because of any particular attachment to her maiden name. I think that after she got married, it was the last way she could hang on to her childhood, and going off to start a life with Rory was her finally deciding to grow up and stop waiting for the Doctor. And the Doctor realizing that he's ruined the lives of and hurt so many of his other companions, and that by leaving Amy and Rory, he could save them, was heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. (I have an entirely separate meta post about that here, should you be so inclined to read it.)

My own ending was just a bit of fancy, about what a role reversal would have been like for the Ponds, and because I'm still mad the Doctor never said an actual goodbye to Rory. That said, though, I wrote "The Right Place For Love" because of the many emotions "The Girl Who Waited" and "The God Complex" gave me, and I'm glad to have at least reconciled some of them with this piece.

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