"Rory is the Master" Deconstruction

So someone has asked me about my take on the Rory/Master idea.

Firstly, I’m going to chuck the “Master” bit and treat this as if Rory is actually just any villainous character in secret (the Master/Omega/the Rani/Scaroth/Tobias Vaughn/Possessed!Kamelion/Valeyard!K-9/Mary Whitehouse).

There’s really only one reason needed to discount this hypothesis from the outset:

  • They are about to leave the show.

Fans in general have come to love Amy and Rory as companions. Not universally so, but the general idea was that you would fall in love with them. At this point, the only way Rory is going to turn out to be the Master is halfway through the final episode in which he appears.

To turn Rory into a villain in the final moments of us seeing his character is going to cheapen - and in fact destroy - any previous affection we would have held for his character and his relationships with Amy and Rory.

If you know anything at all about narrative - which I’m going to have trouble believing if you think Rory turning out to be the Master in his final appearance would be a good thing - you’ll know that the correct place to put a tragic betrayal is not at the end of a story, but rather at the end of the second act.

This is ably demonstrated by the fact that the revelation that Darth Vader is Luke’s father comes at the climax of The Empire Strikes Back, which is of course the second act in the original trilogy. This is a betrayal in the sense that it subverts the audience’s understanding of their relationship, but is also a literal betrayal in that it reveals Obi-Wan Kenobi was lying to Luke all along.

The reason one does not place a surprise tragic twist betrayal at the end of a character’s time on the show is because, in order to genuinely get to grips with that development, a protagonist needs time to interact with the character. After discovering that Vader was his father, Luke had an entire film to process that information until he resolved his internal conflict in their final confrontation.

In order for the Rory/Master revelation to come remotely close to working, Rory would need to turn out to be the Master and then stay on the show.

This would, however, still not work, because Rory’s character is entirely a facet of Amy’s personality. As Amy’s Choice establishes, the Doctor is symbolically Amy’s sense of adventure, fun, freedom, and danger; Rory, on the other hand, is Amy’s adult side, her sense of realism, her desire for substance and not just style, her everyday - human - aspirations.

Beside the rather obvious fact that the elegance of that narrative - which spans all of Series 5 and the bulk of Series 6 - would be utterly destroyed by such a revelation, it also demonstrates that Rory is not in and of himself a character. He is a passive outgrowth of Amy’s own. Yes, he takes on some degree of individuality and responsibility, but at the end of the day, whether or not he travels with the Doctor is entirely dependent on whether or not Amy chooses to do so.

All right, yes. There are some gaps or strangenesses in Rory’s narrative. The following entirely reasonable explanations for this are:

  • Poor writing that does not give agency to a character
  • The tendency, with 50 years’ worth of TV, books, films, comics, audios, and analysis in existence, to be able to find “evidence” for any tenuous mythological connection one cares to make
  • There is an entirely different twist in store for Rory that has nothing to do with him being the Master

My point is not that one’s list of minor continuity details is insufficient to demonstrate that Rory is the Master - though it is. (As if this is a franchise that cares about getting continuity right.)

No. My point is that the rules of good narrative, which always, always trumps continuity, have already ruled out the possibility that Rory is the Master. Shaky as my opinion of Steven Moffat’s showrunning is at the moment, I don’t think he’s capable of something that contrived.

  1. amnesia-inator reblogged this from kvural and added:
    Saw a couple “Rory is the Master”-theory posts in the DW tag so I figured I might as well have this on my blog. I am not...
  2. astro-lass reblogged this from kvural
  3. thecoffeenebula said: Mary Whitehouse is the vilest villain to ever exist.
  4. kvural posted this
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