01/06/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Kitsume Books. 248 page indexed small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.387 (UK), $15.00 (US), 11.05 euros. ISBN: 978-0-9819495-8-1.
check out website: www.kitsunebooks.com
'The Mythological Dimensions Of Doctor Who' is a series of ten essays by different writers examining a certain Time Lord and more specifically the Davies Companions, the latter using the valkyrie template. There is some coverage of all the regenerations but the focus is more in the past five years prior to the latest regeneration.
An analysis of 'Doctor Who' where there is an argument from the start about what is canon is bound to create disarray or a discussion point amongst you Who fans out there. Whether its films like 'Star Wars' or 'Doctor Who', licensing spin-offs is a fact of life but unless the source material takes it into account and it doesn't have a re-set button because changes aren't allowed then it shouldn't be considered a canon cos it can't change anything and the source material tends to ignore it. Hell, even George Lucas has been quoted as saying that the spin-offs back-history and future have nothing to do with his vision of the 'Star Wars' series and he should know.
Comparisons are given by two writers to Batman and even 'Lord Of The Rings', let alone Joseph Campbell, which was really George Lucas' biggest influence incidentally and I've never come across an interview with any long-term Who scriptwriter as a major influence on how they wrote for the series. What all lead characters from these sources do share in common is that they are archetypes. They are not the only archetypes, just the ones these writers are most familiar with. It's a shame that 'Star Wars' wasn't properly added to the mix for comparison but looking at the ages of the writers, probably weren't born when the first one came out let alone be there for the Who start in 1963. Gods, I'm showing my age.
Writer Melissa Beattie points out that eleven of the Doctor's companions would, because of their backgrounds, constitute as being a military class and yet doesn't add that this number is only about a third of the overall companions he's travelled with. If anything, the observation should have looked far more deeply and realise that the Doctor tends to select companions from across a wide sampling of humanity and Leela and Jamie McCrimmon aside, hail from the relative present to the future who would have some acceptance of the technology involved with mostly a high sense of morality.
Comparing all the recent lady companions to a valkyrie template is the oddest comparison, mostly because you could do the same to any strong female characters from any other source and get similar results. If you have adventurous women then you're bound to have areas of similarity and Odin's valkyries are an early archetype that has little to compare to in any of the other early mythologies. That aside, there is some interesting observations of the characters themselves/
I do think the book would have been helped had there been some contrary comment chapters to express different viewpoints. The fact that I'm giving the contrary argument myself will probably mean most of you will find areas to argue over which is a lot better than a passive book that you read and move on. Having books that that you mull over and argue the points over is actually very healthy. Look at my comments above.
If anything, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and I'm sure this book will only be the start of such analysis in the paper world of the current 'Doctor Who' seasons. Whether it is right or not, only you can decide.
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