Rory Williams is nobody’s idea of a born hero. Lanky, unsure and with a hangdog expression fixed to his face, it’s no wonder Amy Pond made a beeline for the charming, charismatic Doctor – right?
But hang on a minute. There’s far more to Rory than that.
If nothing else, his love for Amy makes him a very special person indeed. He knows he can never compete with the Doctor, but – beyond some initial sparring in The Vampires of Venice and Amy’s Choice – he doesn’t begrudge the Time Lord’s relationship with her.
When she’s taken by The Silence and calls out to the Doctor to save her, a lesser man might sulk and leave her to her fate. Not Rory. It only strengthens his resolve – if it’s the Doctor Amy needs, Rory will bring him to her.
This gentle soul’s feelings for Amy define his life. His dream, as revealed in Amy’s Choice, is a simple one: all he wants is to settle down with his fiancée and have a family. The biggest ambition he allows himself is to leave nursing to become a doctor – merely trading one caring profession for another.
You might think that sounds dull, but I’d argue: what’s wrong with a simple dream? (Especially when it has fire behind it - the compassionate nurse later turns warrior to protect his family at Demons Run.)
As Rory himself says to Amy: “We have to grow up eventually.” Though he struggles to comprehend her thirst for adventure, he knows as well as she does that, at heart, she needs his grounding influence. So he’s along for the ride – however much she hurts him (and she does) with her dismissiveness along the way.
As a traveller in the Tardis, Rory probably speaks for the audience far more than past companions have. Sure, we all like to think we’d spring into action just like the Doctor. But in truth, if we joined an eccentric alien on a journey through time and space, we’d probably be more Rory than Rose.
He’s nonplussed by what he encounters and reluctant to get involved, dismissing his terrifying experiences in The Vampires of Venice with the succinct observation, “This whole thing is mental.”
By the end of the episode, though, he’s the one who informs the Doctor, “We’re not leaving you!” The man who berated the Time Lord for his dangerous influence on people has himself succumbed to it. But it’s no hot-headed impulse. Rory’s loyalty to the Doctor, once given, is steadfast – he actually lays down his life to save the last of the Time Lords in Cold Blood.
Decent, kind, honest and true, Rory might just be the most noble companion the 2005 rebooted Tardis has seen. Amy Pond is lucky to have him – and so are we.