Compare and contrast:
The Tenth Doctor gives up Rose, with whom he is in love and has an unstated mutual romantic relationship, so that she will be happy.
The Eleventh Doctor, who is married to River Song, begs Amy to give up her husband to stay with him.
What caused the difference in the level of self-sacrifice the Doctor was willing to engage in from one incarnation to the next?
The priority of the writers is different. The showrunners approach the Doctor in different ways, and they have different ideas about what is important for the character and the show.
The Tenth Doctor was written as a person who understood consequences and dealt with them all the time. He dealt with the sacrifices he made, but mostly, the sacrifices people made for him or on his behalf. He learned that there is always a cost for his actions, and I think he tried to act in ways that did the least amount of damage.
Ten and TenToo became distinct individuals at the moment of the metacrysis, and everything TenToo experiences from that point on will be unique to him. So, Rose gets her Doctor, but the Doctor doesn’t get Rose. While we’re sad that Ten loses Rose, we don’t begrudge her her happiness. This scene isn’t written in a way that victimizes the Doctor or makes Rose look selfish. More importantly, the Doctor’s decisions will cost him and no one else; he made the choice that caused the least amount of harm.
Eleven, on the other hand, is written as a person who doesn’t understand consequences — because, he never has to face any — and who makes decisions without factoring in their ripple effect on the lives of his companions and other people he meets. Where Ten tried to leave as little a footprint as possible, Eleven never seems to consider the trail he leaves behind him; and even when he does, his tracks are always wiped clean.
Eleven is the center of the universe. His needs and desires trump everything else. We are supposed to be sad that Amy and Rory lived long, happy lives together because, they did so away from the Doctor. This scene almost blames Amy for choosing Rory — her husband — over the Doctor. This scene attempts to make a victim out of the Doctor, when nothing is being done to him. He has earned the right to be sad, but his behavior here implies that he is more important to Amy than Rory and that he deserves what he wants more than Amy and Rory deserve what they want.
In other words: Ten is man who has learned from his mistakes enough to know that acting on his own whims and desires is less important and potentially more harmful than acting for the greater good. He can make personal sacrifices because, he understands the consequences of being selfish. Eleven is a man who always gets what he wants and always “wins.” His decision to act in service of himself has never led to a permanent negative consequence, so he is completely unable to separate his wants and desires from the greater good, even when what he wants conflicts with what is right.
*I hope I worded that correctly.
Very interesting and thoughtful analysis. Thank you. Now, I wonder… Ten and Eleven are the same person. Ten cared about how the consequences of his actions affected other people, and he made huge sacrifices for the sake of the people he loved. Your analysis suggests that Eleven does not care about the consequences for other people any more. We know the real reason for the difference in philosophy; one scenario was written by Russell Davies and one was written by Steven Moffat. However, if we accept the idea that Eleven, the Man Who Regrets, has lived his life running away consequences, is it possible that the tragic events for the Man Who Regrets made him decide to just screw the idea of putting other people first anymore?
I think what it really comes down to is how Davies and Moffat see the Doctor. Davie seems to view the Doctor as a very human like character, in that he is flawed, yet caring. We can relate to him. To Moffat, on the other hand, the Doctor is God. He is all powerful (thought not quite all knowing) and should be able to get away with whatever he feels like.
Ten didn’t “make a sacrifice for someone he loved”, he actively took a choice away from Rose. He loved her so, so much, and yet he (FOR THE SECOND TIME) refused to allow her to make her own decision. If TenToo was so dangerous, he should have been kept where he would be safe– with the Doctor. Rose should have been allowed to go home if she wanted, to travel with him if she wanted. Ten took the choice away from her the first time and she learned astrophysics and risked destroying two universes to find him again. Maybe that’s a good clue not to leave her again! It’s not like Eleven grabbed Amy’s arm and tried to force her to stay. He liked Rory but Amy was his best friend, his family, and he was (selfishly) begging her to stay with him. People are selfish, big deal, she gave him up for Rory anyway. (And we’re NOT supposed to be sad that Amy and Rory were happy together, you testicle. We’re sad that the Doctor directly contributed to the ‘death’ of his only two friends.)
I have no idea where this idea that “Eleven doesn’t understand consequences” comes from. His ENTIRE ERA is all about him facing the consequences of his actions. Did you not watch “The Pandorica Opens”? He had to realize that because of his actions, everything in the universe wanted him gone. His entire “I’m growing too big” and destroying information about himself was because he understood that his actions had consequences and he was attracting too much attention. And Ten doesn’t understand consequences, obvious enough from “The Christmas Invasion”/the series 3 finale/”The End of Time” (I’m too lazy to write it all out again, so here’s my post on it).
And lastly, I will never stop laughing at this idea that Eleven is a “god” and Ten is “human”. Yeah, Ten is the most “human” of the Doctors, and Moffat famously said that the Doctor is a god trying to be human. Because the Doctor kind of is a god, at least compared to human beings. BUT. Ten had the biggest Messiah Complex I’ve seen this side of Dr. Wilson, and he was an OBVIOUS AND FREQUENT JESUS FIGURE. Did you also skip when he became actual Jesus in “The Last of the Time Lords”? What about when he literally fought Satan in “The Satan Pit”? Him being a Jesus figure isn’t necessarily an issue (so is Luke Skywalker, and I fucking love Star Wars), but don’t EVER pretend that those parallels weren’t meant to be there.
Davies presents the Doctor as a Messiah, someone “better” than average but also not, part-human and part-something else. He saves people, saves lives, and ultimately sacrifices himself to save the world. Moffat presents the Doctor as someone with too much power and no real ability to handle it, someone who wants to help but is too able to destroy worlds. He’s flawed, very flawed. He fucks up. He’s kind of a dick. He’s brilliant but arrogant, he thinks he knows what’s best, and that bites him in the ass. He needs to be kept in check. He’s dangerous. He’s not someone to look up to, really.
Jesus Christ. I wish Moffat haters would understand that just because a character does something, just because a protagonist does something, that does not automatically mean the author is condoning it.
I WAS SO HOPING THAT WAS THE REACTION GIF AND IT WAS, PERFECT
I am beginning to understand the reasoning behind the game ‘Shatner.’
I will always reblog Shatner overacting.