What Ever Happened To… Romana?
Guest contributor Gustaff wonders what happened to Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar.
Romana: Where are we going?
The Doctor: Are you talking philosophically or geographically?
The Doctor: Then we’re going to lunch.
The Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar, or Romana if you’re like me and can’t write the name without copy and paste, was a companion of the Fourth Doctor. She is one of the all-time favorite companions of the Classic Series and another character that fans would love to see return as, because of her Time Lady status, she still has a multitude of regenerations left.
During the E-Space saga, Romana showed reluctance in returning to Gallifrey as she’d become accustomed, even enjoying travelling the universe with the Doctor. We last see her opting to stay in E-Space at the Warrior’s Gate rather than returning to N-Space. The Doctor handed her K-9 and wished her the best of luck.
The novels Goth Opera and Blood Harvest list Romana returning to N-Space and becoming part of the High Council.
Big Finish supports her status in the High Council and promoted her to Madam President. Though, shortly after her reign as president started, Romana was kidnapped and remained a prisoner of the Daleks for twenty years before escaping and helping the Sixth Doctor defeat them.
The Gallifrey audio series depicts Romana resuming her Presidency and becoming involved in a number of Gallifrey’s political situations. It was also during this time that she formed a close friendship with the Doctor’s brother Irving Braxiatel and former companion Leela.
After a number of years as President, Romana eventually lost her presidency to the Time Lord Matthias after a struggle with the Pandora entity. Soon after, Gallifrey became overrun by zombies from the Dogma Virus, so Romana and Leela initiated a plan to explore new Gallifreys in alternate universes to find one to live on. In one of these Gallifreys, Romana took her evil counterpart’s place as Madam President.
A contradicting account, namely the novel The Shadows of Avalon, explores the idea that Romana didn’t travel to alternative universes and instead regenerated again into a more ruthless Time Lady whose battle with the Enemy led to the destruction of Gallifrey. According to this account, Romana’s third incarnation looked worryingly like the Doctor’s mother. Can anyone say ‘Grandfather Paradox’?
The novel Tomb of Valdemar suggests that Romana eventually regenerated again into a fourth form.
Romana’s fate during the Time War with the Daleks is unclear. As there is a number of contradicting theories, there is no practical way to establish where she was during this incident or if she survived it. However, the Doctor, through dialogue in the comic The Forgotten reveals that “Things went well for Romana…until the Time War.” This suggests that either she was deposed by Rassilon or killed in the war and replaced by him.
SO WHICH IS THE REAL ROMANA?
Tricky answer that really depends on what you accept as canon. The accounts vary greatly and the events of the Time War are still pretty much a mystery. Romana’s presence onscreen hasn’t been alluded to either.
THIS AUTHOR’S TAKE
I accept Big Finish promoting Romana to Madam President. The Apocalypse Element, Neverland, Zagreus, Shada and the Gallifrey audio series all happened in my opinion and I accept them as canon. Looking at Romana’s fate in the Time War – tricky one as I haven’t heard the new Gallifrey series, I don’t know if she made it back to our reality, but given The Forgotten’s vague mention of her, I’ll go with the account that she eventually returned and resumed her Presidency before Rassilon deposed her during the Time War and that she eventually died when the war ended.
What do you think happened to her? There are more than enough theories listed above, so feel free to have a ball. Thank you for reading.