Seventh Doctor - Personality

Personality

The Seventh Doctor has the most profound change in attitude of any of the Time Lords, beginning as someone bumbling (to the extent of putting himself in danger but not at the cost of his overall great intelligence and benevolent intentions) and progressing into a driven, dark gamemaster whose plans to defeat his adversaries, both old and new, would play out across space and time. He generally displayed an affable, curious, knowledgeable, easygoing, excitable and charming air. However, as he began to choose his battles and keep a tighter grip on his secrets - from his plans to his very identity - he also presented more serious, contemplative, secretive, wistful and manipulative sides with undercurrents of mischief and authority, constantly giving the impression that there was more to him than met the eye.

As something of a showman, the Doctor would sometimes act like a buffoon, usually preferring to manipulate events from behind the scenes; much like his second incarnation, he was prepared to play the fool in order to trick his foes into underestimating him, inevitably leading to their defeat at his hands. He was an adept physical performer and deployed a repertoire of magic tricks, illusions and escape artistry to this effect as part of his plans. Although his more obvious whimsical tendencies disappeared over time (particularly his spoons-playing), he maintained a fondness for idiosyncratic speeches that occasionally referred to literature, ordinary places and even food and drink amidst the weightier concerns on his mind. He was empathetic to his friends (and even his enemies, such as Helen A) and somewhat melancholic at times (such as during Mel's departure and before his decision to eradicate the Daleks) but now placed greater burdens upon himself in the name of protecting the universe. This may have led him to shroud his true intentions in mystery and the use of sleight of hand as befit his fondness for performance, in effect, subverting his more lighthearted qualities to complement and enhance his heroic and darker ones.

Given the Seventh Doctor's appearance and stature, he was surprisingly capable of both directly and indirectly taking control of situations involving strangers, using his greater intelligence to assess and direct events. Concerned with the bigger picture, he would sometimes overlook the finer details and his planning (both prepared and improvised) would sometimes have fatal results and consequences. When he acted to end threats, it was usually a ruthless, destructive and final manoeuvre. He was also not above hiding the truth from his friends and allies and using them in order to complete his schemes and gambits.

His tendency to reveal only select information to his companion Ace – as well as anyone else around them – was utilised both in her education and in their adventures, as if he were the only one who should know all the answers and others should come to their own conclusions. At two points he even abused Ace's trust in him, once to develop her as a person and again to keep her alive (on both occasions, freeing her from the evil influences that had haunted her during her life), while on one of these adventures, he showed great difficulty in admitting his foreknowledge of the situation's severity to her when she finally confronted him. In spite of his immense fondness for her, and her for him, he often frustrated her with his secretive nature as his alien behaviour, the great importance of his objectives (especially his focus on obliterating enemies from his past) and his strong desire to both educate and protect her would lead him to keep even her in the dark and would even subordinate her feelings towards him in order to succeed in their battles. Fortunately, their close, almost familial bond was likely what helped Ace in moving past the feelings of betrayal she sometimes felt towards the Doctor, particularly as he genuinely had her best interests at heart. In fact, while he appeared to be an unassuming figure, fond of performing magic tricks and displaying notable showmanship, the Seventh Doctor was actually quite powerful and calculating, for he would use his friends and foes alike as pawns in his elaborate chess game against "evil". As Ace herself put it, he was "well devious."

In direct contrast to his third incarnation, this Doctor was absolutely opposed to violence of any sort (as demonstrated in stories such as Battlefield, where he stops a battle merely by ordering the warriors to desist) and he was totally against the use of firearms (to the extent of 'talking down' a soldier ordered to execute him in The Happiness Patrol by emphasising the easiness of the kill versus the enormity of ending a life), although he also proved capable of rendering a man unconscious with a touch (Battlefield, Survival). In keeping with his established habits, he would use gadgetry of his own invention when the situation called for it, but never as his final gambit. Instead, he almost always managed to talk his enemies into submission, often into suicide – perhaps most memorably in Remembrance of the Daleks, where he taunts the seemingly last Dalek in existence until it self-destructs, or in Ghost Light, where he defeats the malevolent Light by ramming home the folly of trying to prevent evolution (he employs variations of this 'talk to death' tactic in Dragonfire, Silver Nemesis and The Curse of Fenric, although primarily to manipulate opponents to guarantee the outcome in his favour).

It is nevertheless oddly fitting that he, at times the darkest Doctor of all, should not directly use physical force to implement his actions, even though he seemed to have the universe's weight on his shoulders more often than any other Doctor. Towards the end of the series, producer John Nathan Turner had planned to reveal that the Doctor had been God throughout, and had been travelling around the universe trying to amend his mistakes. However, possibly as a result of the show's cancellation in 1989, this was never established.

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