can i just say: there's something lovely about the idea of a tardis key.
for most of the show, it was necessary to have one. the tardis needed to be locked like an ordinary police box, and if locked, it was incredibly difficult to get into.
(unless you steal the whole-ass lock, which the sensorites totally did. we like to pretend that it can't happen again.)
anyway: this meant that companions needed to receive keys to the tardis in case of emergencies. thus, the key-giving ceremony began to crop up, and it's very, very soft.
part of the significance of this is that it represents vulnerability. the tardis is an extremely powerful bit of kit and it's the doctor's only home. she's their wife, even, in a roundabout way. plus, the tardis can technically be summoned with the key alone, so you can imagine how important this thing is. in the wrong hands, it can do a lot of damage on many levels.
and here's the real kicker: technically, the key isn't completely necessary anymore, and i really like this. it gives the tardis a new sense of agency. rather than being a pure machine - something to lock and unlock, something without a voice - she opens up to people when she chooses to. the key remains a rite of passage for companions, and it's still an important symbol of vulnerability, but now the tardis gets to make the choice as well.
i have so many feelings about this. i just love my small alien and their enormous sentient dimension wife.
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