It’s easy to stay focused on the big stuff here at GFR, and some of the most fun I’ve had since taking over as managing editor have been days like today, with the first Star Trek Into Darkness teaser, or when the shocking news of Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise first broke. But honestly, some of the things I love writing about the most are the weird little stories like this one. Take a look at the painting below. It’s called “Consolation,” painted by Raphael Soyer back in 1959. Do the two people in the painting remind you of anybody?
That’s totally Amy Pond and Rory, am I right? Or, more plausibly, it’s just one of those wonderful little coincidences that make life so much fun. After all, there’s no way Soyer could have painted Amy and Rory some four years before Doctor Who even began, much less five decades before Amy and Rory were first introduced as the Doctor’s companions. The very thought is just silly.
Except…well, if you’re not already caught up with Doctor Who, now would be a good time to click away. Spoilers, sweetie!
So here’s the weird thing. “The Angels Take Manhattan,” the last episode of Who before the upcoming Christmas special, was the big send-off for Amy and Rory. If you recall, they were left stranded in New York City in the 1930s, trapped beyond the reach of the Doctor thanks to a bit of wibbley-wobbely, timey-wimey stuff that doesn’t bear repeating. And based on the letter Rory sent his father in the tear-jerking unfilmed scene from “The Power of Three,” it seems that the Doctor’s lost companions lived out a long and fulfilling life in the New York of the past.
And as the folks at Tor.com point out, it seems entirely possible that Amy and Rory would have crossed paths with Soyer, whose art first began showing in America around the same time the couple were dropped into the ‘30s. I’ll let Tor’s “Stubby the Rocket” take us from there…
It seems likely that Amy would have been attracted to bohemian folks in her new life, so this isn’t much of a stretch to imagine. Can’t you just see the Rory and Amy one weekend, getting a babysitter for their boy so they can spend a night out, then heading to a smoky bar (er…post-Prohibition) with a bunch of creative folks and having a roaring good time?
Now to the painting: “Consolation” has a melancholy to it, as the title would suggest. Why would Sawyer have chosen to paint the Williams’ (by now in their late 50s) this way? It turns out that the year before, Soyer’s teacher and good friend, artist Guy Pène du Bois, died. If they were in the same circle of friends, perhaps Amy and Rory were also mourning his passing, and Soyer chose to paint this as a sort of eulogy to their friend. Et, voila. We have a beautiful painting of the Doctor’s companions in their later years!
Maybe the Eleventh Doctor and River went to see it in a museum one day, sat down in front of it holding hands and shedding a tear or two. The lovely Mrs. and Mr. Williams.
It’s a lovely hypothetical footnote to add to the end of the Ponds’ story, and an intriguing intersection between art — quite literally — and real life. After all, that’s all it can be, because Doctor Who is just a story. It’s just make-believe, right?