While perusing a list of the Doctor’s Companions I decided to start my next series of posts on those I believe hold ideals and strengths, plus exhibit behavior I can admire. Those Companions, who explore the complexity of navigating different world views, beliefs and morality based on the foundation of ideals, composed by our beloved Doctor.
I’m going to start with the Nu Who and travel backwards, much like the subject of this post does in her adventures. Really she’s wibbly wobbly all over the time stream.
The first time we as a fandom meet River Song you know at once she’s different. This is a woman that faces off with the Doctor as an equal. There are no clumsy colt legs of acclimation, no wide eyed wonder regarding the Doctor and his adventures.
River, who’s portrayed in her forties, is an Action Hero! She’s confident in her abilities, intelligence and sexuality. This isn’t the end of her list of attributes, this is only the beginning. If I were to list all of them, this post would be way too long. I will settle for what in my opinion, makes her special to me.
The first quality that made River stand out is her extreme intelligence. The adaptability and cunning that stems from this formidable resource make her readily able to continue coming to the Doctor’s rescue, or kill him, depending on what needs to be accomplished.
The second quality, which caused supreme admiration, is her strength. Everything she has to endure from her first meeting with the tenth Doctor to her final interaction during this past season, there’s no way someone without superior courage could have survived let alone succeeded.
Not only does River have the strength to be joyfully ruthless when necessary, she also has the strength to love. The strength of her love for the Doctor is what enables her to face and overcome the obstacles in her path.
Now you can argue, the love of a man leading to greatness? Isn’t that stereotypical of how women are portrayed and doesn’t that lead us wibbly wobbly to the very issues we are her to discuss and prevent? Perhaps, I don’t believe River allows herself to be used this way. She’s not pining for a prince to rescue her and provide a picket fence. River rescues others, sets wrongs right, plans and executes her own conspiracies. She knows that in the end she will not actually “BE” with the Doctor. River does what she does for herself, because she wants to do it.
This inner strength led her to be able to resist brainwashing and alien technology. She created an alternative reality just by her force of will (and a little Time Lord DNA). River Song also had the strength to sacrifice this reality, as most are aware letting go of something is often harder than getting it.
River portrays qualities and dynamics I can utilize daily. She helps me self assess when I’m facing hardship; she shows me I can still be a beautiful, intelligent woman and embrace my feelings without being weak. I can rescue the prince and build my own white picket fence, then have the strength to knock it down if it’s needed.
River Song showed me that if I needed too I could be a better TARDIS pilot than the Doctor himself, and I thank her for it.