Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Doctor Who Ashildr

Go To

Ashildr/The Knightmare/Lady Me/Mayor Me (Twelfth Doctor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ashildr.jpg
Played by: Maisie Williams (2015)

"I call myself 'Me'. All the other names I chose died with whoever knew me. 'Me' is who I am now. No one's mother, daughter, wife. My own companion — singular, unattached, alone."
Advertisement:

A central character in the Series 9 Story Arc, Ashildr was a brave young Viking girl whose village was attacked by the Mire (aliens) in the 9th century. The Doctor saved her village at the accidental cost of her life. In his grief, he rashly defied the fates by using Mire medical technology to resurrect her — which turned out to make her "functionally immortal" (basically really hard to kill). Realizing the danger of this, he takes a "professional interest" in her, following her progress as centuries on The Slow Path pass. Unfortunately, while the Mire tech repairs her body, her mind is the same as any other human, leading to an infinite lifespan with a finite memory. Thus her personality evolves significantly over the Doctor's actual encounters with her: In the 17th century she's "Lady Me", a noblewoman moonlighting as a highwayman called "The Knightmare" and resenting the Doctor for trapping her in life and just moving on. But thanks in part to his compassion and concern, Lady Me subsequently decides to seek out others who have encountered the Doctor and help them after he's moved on. By 2015, she's become "Mayor Me", the woman in charge of a "trap street" — a hidden street in London inhabited by aliens in disguise. When she makes a deal with the Time Lords to capture him in exchange for protection of the street, the plot goes horrifically awry, resulting in Clara Oswald's death. Now the man who saved her and believed in her inherent goodness may hold a grudge against her for the rest of eternity due to the death of the woman he loved.

Advertisement:

  • The Ace: Self-described as such in "The Woman Who Lived".
    "Ten thousand hours is all it takes to master any skill. One hundred thousand hours and you're the best there's ever been. I don't have to be invincible. I'm superb."
  • Action Girl: She was pretty badass as a normal Viking girl, willing to declare war. Eight centuries later, she's a gun-toting highwaywoman who fought at Agincourt. A few more centuries, and she effectively runs the trap street inhabited by aliens in "Face the Raven".
  • The Ageless: Although she can still be killed by violent action, she doesn't age and her immune system adapts quickly. This woman caught the Black Plague and got better!
  • Anti-Villain: Uses rather unscrupulous methods to lure the Doctor into the trap street, but she's doing it solely to protect the residents and doesn't mean for anyone to get hurt, much less killed. Her remorse at what happens to Clara is undisguised.
  • Advertisement:
  • Artistic License – History/Aluminium Christmas Trees: Ashildr was unlikely, if ever, to have been a Viking name. Aeschild in Old English was an actual Anglo-Saxon name, and Asheldham in Essex was named for an actual Ashildr, whose identity remains unknown. If this was Vikings, this would almost certainly have fell into Critical Research Failure territory.
  • Been There, Shaped History: She says she helped end the Hundred Years War.
  • Break the Haughty: Her immortality has given her a very smug and confident personality until Clara dies because of a Batman Gambit gone horribly wrong and the Doctor warns her that he better not see her again. Ever. And for the first time since she's became immortal, she's properly scared out of her mind.
  • Broken Bird: Oh yes. With over 1,000 years of trauma, she's broken more than any human should ever be. When she breaks the Doctor in "Face the Raven" over what happens to Clara, she risks living the rest of eternity in fear of the wrath of the man who saved her life and believed in her the most.
  • Burn the Witch!: She saved a village from scarlet fever, so the locals thought she was a witch and tried to drown her, a more common type of execution for suspected witches.
  • Came Back Wrong: It doesn't happen immediately, but she loses her original personality as the centuries pass due to her limited memory and all the trials she goes through. She was virtuous as Ashildr, but becomes morally dubious as Me.
  • The Chains of Commanding: She's a very harsh leader of the "Trap Street", but she has to be. Otherwise all of the different alien species would be at each other's throats.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: In the 1600s she's known as "Lady Me", respected noblewoman, and as "The Knightmare", the most feared highwayman in England. Her reason for robbing and stealing? The adventure.
  • Create Your Own Villain: By the time of "The Woman Who Lived", she's become bitter towards the Doctor for making her immortal and then just moving on and refusing to make her a companion. They reconcile by the end... and then she invokes this trope by inadvertently having a hand in the death of Clara and turning him against her. For bonus points, where he was still willing to help her and did his best to understand her situation once he realized the pain she was in, she doesn't do anything to try and make up for what she did to him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gives the Doctor this treatment in "Hell Bent" when he tries to play the Just Friends card with regards to Clara — despite his actions screaming otherwise.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": She grows to disregard her birth name and embraces the name of "Me".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Has to wait literally until the end of the universe for it to happen, but finally gets her wish to travel time and space in the Series 9 finale. Oddly, this overlaps with Karma Houdini (see below).
  • Easily Forgiven: By Clara at least, as when last seen they have become travelling companions. Forgiveness was a theme in Series 9, after all. While the Doctor never forgives her onscreen, he doesn't keep her from following him into the second stolen TARDIS in "Hell Bent" when he could easily have left her behind to the fate of Dying Alone at the end of the universe.
  • Evil Wears Black: In "Face the Raven" she wears only black, including black tattoos from a contract with her supernatural executioner. While she is not evil in this episode, she is definitely an antagonist and uses a sinister power.
  • Faking the Dead: She did this on at least two occasions, one to escape her execution by drowning at the hands of villagers who thought she was a witch, and once to end her stint as a medieval queen, as she thought it was boring.
  • Foil: Not only to the Doctor, as noted below, but also to many of his companions, especially those created by Steven Moffat:
    • Her similarity to Jack Harkness is noted by the Doctor by the end of "The Woman Who Lived".
    • She has a dark side to her that means she and the Doctor would be a terrible influence on each other. This is the same reason that the Doctor and River Song don't travel together regularly.
      River: One psychopath per TARDIS.
    • Like Amy, she spent her entire life (her long, long life) hoping the Doctor would come back for her. Unlike Amy, he refuses to take her with him.
    • Like Rory, she lives through a lot of human history. While Rory is kept sane by his love for Amy and remembers what happened to him, keeping it locked away in his mind, Ashildr ends up losing everyone she loves and forgetting them. She becomes cold and distant due to this.
    • She suffered a great loss and briefly became cruel and reckless in response, just like Clara did after Danny's death in "Dark Water". Of course, immortality means "briefly" has a very different scale in Ashildr's case.
  • The Fog of Ages: An infinite life but a normal human memory. She deals with it by recording her memories in journals. She still can't remember her home village, presumably because she started her record keeping after she had already forgotten them. Turns out that she even learned to Exploit it; if she ever has something she for some reason or another doesn't want to remember, she either neglects to write it down or rips out the page from her journal and then waits for the memory to slip.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: She starts as a brave innocent in "The Girl Who Died". By the time of "The Woman Who Lived" she is callous, robbing people for kicks and willing to kill to escape the planet. She is brought back to empathy by the Doctor, and decides she'll take The Slow Path to look after those he leaves behind. Alas, while she has noble intentions as Mayor Me, she's willing to go to extreme measures to protect the trap street — executing anyone who steps out of line no matter how noble their intentions and betraying the Doctor to the Time Lords (resulting in horrific torture for him), which also inadvertently paves the way for Clara's death. In the end, however, she is Easily Forgiven by the semi-resurrected Clara and becomes her companion.
  • Heel Realization: During the climax of "The Woman Who Lived", seeing the terrified villagers running for their lives from the attacking starships helps Ashildr realize how callous and detached she'd become.
    Ashildr: I care. My God, I actually care.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She died saving her village. Then the Doctor brought her back. The rest is, quite literally, history.
  • It Gets Easier: By the time the Doctor reunites with her in the mid-17th century she's killed so many people it no longer bothers her. It can also be said to refer to her general attitude towards immortality.
  • Karma Houdini: She is forgiven by Clara over causing Clara's own death, and receives no punishment of any sort because Clara forbids the Doctor from punishing her. And in the end, Clara allows her to become a companion for a trip back to Gallifrey the long way 'round. Still, she did live in fear of meeting a raging Doctor for trillions of years.
  • Last of Her Kind: By the time the end of the universe comes around she's the last of the immortals. Also the last human, depending on where Orson Pink was at that moment. Before that, it's probably fair to call her the last Viking by the time The Present Day rolls around.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Though she has many bad things to say about immortality, she never considers dying. In fact, after living up to trillions of years, up until the end of the universe, she's ready for untold years of more adventures. Probably helps that she's subject to The Fog of Ages. She never has to live with the burdens of multiple lifetimes, and if she ever wants to forget anything entirely, she just doesn't write it down.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: She lost her children to the Black Plague, so she refused to have any more.
  • Never My Fault: Claims that she is not responsible for what happened to Clara in "Hell Bent" — granted, she uses that statement to also absolve the Doctor of his guilt over that, and Clara has no problem forgiving her in any case.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Something caused her so much pain that she ripped out the journal pages about it. Note that she kept the ones about her children's deaths. Given which pages are missing, it was likely everything else about their birth and lives.
    • We never learn how she came to be mayor of the trap street, meet the quantum shade, or what incident occurred that resulted in her agreeing to the scheme to trap the Doctor in order to protect her residents.
  • No Sympathy: It's a downplayed case. When they meet one more time in "Hell Bent", she not only fails to apologize to the Doctor for betraying him and all the misery that came after, but like Ohila and the Time Lords does not understand why he doesn't just get over Clara's death. Like them, her immortality and detachment means she cannot fully comprehend how deeply he cares for her, although she has a better understanding of it than they. Unlike them, she tries to absolve the Doctor of any guilt over Clara's death by reassuring him that it wasn't his fault, even saying that Clara died for "who she loved", which of course directly referred to the Doctor.
  • Not So Different: From the Doctor — both are immortal Renaissance Man types, doomed to lose everyone they love, and prone to suffering detachment from beauty and kindness without the aid of mortals — with the last point the reason why he refuses to take her with him in the TARDIS. The events of "Face the Raven" bring the "sliver of ice in his heart" forward when it comes to self-interest. Also, both of them are storytellers in different ways — she an imaginative weaver of heroic adventures (this fades to The Fog of Ages), he "a bloke in a box, telling stories" who created the identity of the Doctor for himself — which is one reason he became so fond of her to the point of saving her life via extreme measures. Both also give up their original names at some point, and felt/were out of place in their original societies. In "Hell Bent", each argues that the other could qualify as the Hybrid of the Gallifreyan prophecy, though it was later confirmed to be the Doctor and Clara. In the end, she gets to be a companion to Clara.
  • Older Than They Look: In her first appearance, she looks her age. In subsequent appearances, she's hundreds, thousands, and even billions of years older.
  • Really 700 Years Old: She was born in the 9th century and is approximately 800 years old by 1651. By 2015, she's passed the millennium mark. She eventually lives up to the end of the universe and beyond.
  • Renaissance Woman: A good enough soldier to help fight the Hundred Years War, enough medical knowledge to cure scarlet fever, and numerous other skills besides. It's justified, as Ashildr has had a lot of time to master many skills.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Played With. She was a queen in medieval times, but apparently it was mostly "paperwork and backgammon". Eventually she got so bored she faked her own death!
  • The Slow Path: She survives from the ninth century A.D. up into the 21st century A.D. this way. She even lived until the end of the universe this way.
  • The Sociopath: For a long time she was desensitized to the world, seeing no value in human life and even claiming that she had forgotten what sorrow feels like. The Doctor helps her realize that she does still care about human life in "The Woman Who Lived".
  • The Storyteller: Was this in the beginning, and the Doctor (who felt an affinity with her, being "a bloke in a box, telling stories" himself) used her imaginative gifts to help him defeat the Mire by hooking her up in one of their helmets and creating illusions to scare and embarrass them.
  • Time Abyss: She eventually becomes billions of years old and witnessing the end of the universe, having outlived all the other immortals.
  • Trapped in Villainy: In "Face the Raven", she's forced to deliver the Doctor to the Time Lords in order to keep her alien community safe from harm.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: In the alien refugee community in the Trap Street; she calls herself "mayor" but there's no indication that she was elected. Like "doctor", it's a name she tries to live up to.
  • We Used to Be Friends: "Friends" is stretching it, but she and the Doctor were relatively friendly until she pulls a Batman Gambit that results in Clara's death. Naturally the Doctor is furious with her after this and tells her in no uncertain terms to make sure they never meet again. They do, but while he doesn't take Revenge upon her he is apparently unwilling to reconcile over her past actions, which is telling because Twelve is one of the more forgiving Doctors when it comes to those who wrong others.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Chews the Doctor out twice — first for "trapping" her in immortality in "The Woman Who Lived", and second for becoming The Unfettered and risking the universe just to save Clara in "Hell Bent". While he is shaken and heartsbroken by the first speech, the second has no effect on him because she has No Sympathy for the suffering he's gone through — which she was partially, albeit indirectly, responsible for, after all.
    • The Doctor gives her this treatment during her Knightmare days, even threatening to become her enemy if she follows through with killing a man. Needless to say, in "Face the Raven" he's not happy with her behaviour as the trap street's mayor and hanging judge, and then she betrays him to an unknown party, and then she isn't able to save Clara from an unjust execution...
  • Wild Card: She's an unpredictable immortal with very loose morals. The Doctor takes a "professional interest" in her partially because he was responsible for said immortality and thus feels responsible for what she becomes.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: She hates her immortal state because it has led to boredom and loneliness, but she gets used to it over time.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report