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three of the best words in the universe: arranged marriage au
Amy took the name Amy Williams by the time of Season Seven, or at least officially- she signs her divorce papers Amelia Williams, and of course she’s buried under that name. It’s a point that bugged me when I first saw it, bugged me quite a lot- especially since Rory has always been implied to take his wife’s last name. Heck, there’s even this interview with Arthur Darvill from SFX in 2011-
What would it say on Rory’s gravestone?
Rory Pond, bumbling hero.
So what we actually got on the grave is disappointing for those of us who really liked that here was a man taking his wife’s name. (In fact, Steven Moffat even specifically said in an interview, Rory has taken his wife’s name- why change that, why?)
Now, within the context of the show, I’ve got to work out why Amy ended up a Williams instead. Because in A Good Man Goes To War, it’s pretty obvious she hasn’t taken the name- she clearly states Melody is going to be a Pond and not a Williams. Sure, she might have just preferred the way the name sounded, but that sounds like a outright rejection of traditional naming conventions to me.
Perhaps her terrible experiences on Demon’s Run were what actually made her want to change her name: bad things happen to Pond girls but they may not happen to Williams girls. Or perhaps when she realised how many bad people were keen on acquiring Amy Pond, she changed it- Amy Williams, bearing a much more common name, would be harder to find.
There’s an awful lot of headcanon you can make to fill in the gap: perhaps Amy changed her name due to pressure from her elderly relatives (many women have been there); perhaps she even fell out with her parents and changed her name to spite them (Pond, after all, is not just her name, it was most likely originally her father’s). She might even have changed it because there was another woman called Pond in the modelling industry- I guess there could be any number of plausible reasons.
Anyway, there would be things to consider after being sent back in time by the Angel, too. Had Amy wished to shake things up considerably in whatever time period she landed in (and can you picture her doing anything else?) she may have been careful to refer to herself as ‘Williams’ from then because she knew there was no famous figure called Amy Pond- her younger self, growing up in Leadworth, would have noticed.
I suppose somewhere around here we’ve got to consider what Amy thinks of her own name- as a little girl, she was Amelia Pond -“like a name in a fairytale”. After becoming disillusioned by the Doctor, she started to call herself Amy Pond, a rejection of the Doctor’s fairytale world. Her name is sort of tied to the Doctor, always has been. And you know, I think Amy’s name on the gravestone is meant to be the ultimate, final rejection of the Doctor’s world (a world that took away her baby, don’t forget). She no longer wishes to ‘come along, Pond’.
Or I think that’s what we’re meant to take from it, anyway- Amy changed her name because Amelia Pond is the Doctor’s companion and Amelia Williams is not. I’d still have much, much rather both Amy and Rory were buried under the name Pond, but I guess I can appreciate what Moffat was trying to do- demonstrate that Amy no longer wished to be a character in a fairytale. After all, bad things tend to happen to them. And I like to think no more bad things ever happened to Amelia Williams.
Yeah, this was my interpretation. Amy uses names to construct her identity, so of course she’d choose a new name to signify her break from the Doctor and of course it’d be Williams, because she broke from him for Rory’s sake. Out of universe it still makes me feel a little oogy because Moffat, but in-story it makes sense to me.
i would buy that if only time we saw the name listed as “amelia williams” was on her headstone. the “pond life” webisodes presumably happen relatively soon after “demon’s run” (since the divorce is provoked partly because amy can’t have kids) and at that point she’s already williams. they continue to travel with the doctor on and off for 10 years (as amy said in “the power of three”) so being a williams who travels with the doctor isn’t much different from being a pond. i assumed that moffat thought nothing of having amy legally take williams and use pond professionally, even though that’s totally not at all what we wanted when they talk about the ponds.
i take the “amy williams” thing very personally since i still have not seen a husband take his wife’s name in mainstream fiction, and that makes me sad. my partner took my name (which means our joint writing name uses the last name i grew up with) but it frustrates me that the assumption is that it was his name first.