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meta: The Memory of Snow: The Snowmen.

For me this was just a totally fantastic Christmas special. I don't have an awful lot to say about the actual plot involving the Great Intelligence, but there's a whole heap of stuff going on around the concepts of mirroring, memory, above/below, who Clara is and there's some links into the Pond era. 

Everything about Clara tells us that she is someone very very special. There's the obvious plot about her identity; the fact that she has already effectively died and been reborn from the Doctor's POV of her timeline, when he is the one who usually has that power. That she is the same woman present twice - and now we know, three times - across time and space. There are other things that tell us she is very special though. 

When we first meet her as Oswin in Asylum of the Daleks, she is the one who erases the Dalek's memory of the Doctor. Now, that is a huge huge thing to happen. Ever since the start of the revival, he has been laden with the emotional legacy of the Time War. In her actions, she symbolically erased that past, freeing him of it. I'm sure we'll see the Daleks again, but for now he is free of them, and symbolically free of his Time War guilt. 

Let's look at the meanings of her name, now we know for sure it is Clara Oswin Oswald:

Clara - clear, bright, famous
Oswin - God's friend
Oswald - God's rule/ God's power.

It's been discussed a lot since AOTD that the fact that her name mean's God's friend is very appropriate for a new companion, with the Doctor so often being a Christ like figure. But her surname also suggests to us that she may have a God's power as well, and she is certainly like the Doctor in many ways.

Clara - an unusual and somewhat dated name in the UK -  not only means bright and famous, but is also the name of the little girl in the ballet version of The Nutcracker. To summarise the tale briefly, the Nutcracker is set at Christmas and the little girl, Clara is given a nutcracker in the form of a soldier as one of her Christmas presents. That night, as she sleeps, her toys come to life, including the Nutcracker. She finds herself in the middle of a battle between the Mouse King and an army of Gingerbread men, and her actions enable the Nutcracker to win, at which he is transformed into a prince. She is transported to a magical land, where she is crowned as a queen. However ultimately she wakes up to find that it was all a dream. Why am I telling you this? It's because Clara is truly such an unusual name in the modern UK that I can't help but think it's a reference. Bearing in mind she is the same girl as Oswin -  in Asylum it turned out that Oswin's experience of being trapped in the ship was all a dream, just like the Clara of the Nutcracker. We can also parallel the Doctor to the Nutcracker soldier, as in fairytale terms he occupies the figures of both warrior and fairytale price, whisking his companions away. Clara brings the Doctor back to life again in this episode, just as the Clara of the Nutcracker dreams the soldier alive. 

With Clara, there is a lot of mirroring, juxtaposition of opposites and reversal going on. First of all, the colours of red and blue are used continually throughout Moffat's tenure. These colours are used here show us the two sides of Clara: in red she is the cheeky barmaid with her flowing hair and her cockney accent. In blue she is the refined governess, with her posh accent and her hair up. Her role is one of juxtaposition of opposites (another one of Moff's key themes) since these two jobs would have been seen as mutually exclusive in Victorian England. She is an actress, able to take on more than one role. 


Both those colours are also in the background as she kisses him .In Moffat era Who, kissing usually has a great significance and occurs at key moments. In series 6 kissing was very much linked to beginnings/endings, death/life and death/love. It was very much linked to River which will become relevant as I discuss the next bit....

Clara tells her own myths to the children she looks after, painting herself as a fairytale figure. These tales mirror her to the Doctor: she is born behind a clock face far above the ground - this is our Above  - and has an acute sense of time, like him. She has the power to create life, like a goddess. She is an inventor. She dislikes being alone, like the Doctor. Her story about the fish paints her as a creature of water; water representing mirrors and also the Below. This thing about the fish links her back into the Doctor's comment as Sherlock Holmes: do you have a goldfish named Colin. (Fish are also something that comes up again and again in Moffat's Who.)

Clara: All my stories are true
DigbyLike how you were born behind the clock face of Big Ben?
Clara: Accounting for my acute sense of time.
Francesca: And you invented fish.
Clara: Because I dislike swimming alone.

So in this bit of dialogue alone, we have Clara as a creature of Time and of mirroring, unifying Above and Below in both those concepts. 

This scene is also strongly reminiscent of the final scene of The Forest of the Dead, where River Song is telling the children the fairytale of her and the Doctor's own adventures while they are tucked up in bed. River was a mirror of the Doctor, is strongly associated with water, and was born out of Time - just as is indicated in Clara's fairytale of herself. The Doctor also witnessed Clara/Owsin die before meeting her again, just as he did with River. There are some really huge parallels here. When you consider who River really was/what she became to him, this tells me that Clara must be someone very very important too. 


Then, there's the fact that Clara totally turns the Doctor's expectations upside down (also something River has traditionally done). In both Asylum and this ep, she proves herself as exceptionally clever. She is not many steps behind the Doctor at all. The sequence where they run thruogh the house, which ultimately ends up with them escaping up the stairs and into the Tardis shows a lot of this:

She reverses their roles, grabbing his hand and tugging him along as they run through the house. 

Doctor: Woah! No, no! I do the hand grabbing! That's my job! It's always me!

Up on the rooftop, she is so clever that she is more than a match for him. Their dialogue is quick and snappy, she has an answer for everything he throws at her. He challenges her to solve the problem of their escape, telling her to work it out for herself...and she does. Then she becomes very Mary Poppins like in the shot below. She's our governess clutching her umbrella as she clears the roof. She ascends up into the sky, with the handle of the umbrella having provided the means of her ascent (just like Mary Poppins umbrella which allows her to fly). She has become a magical being. In this episode. She is the Mary Poppins to the Doctor's Mad Hatter.

hen they finally get up there, before they enter the Tardis, the Doctor challenges Clara to define herself as one thing or the other. 

DoctorGoverness or barmaid. Which is it?

Like I said earlier, these would have been seen as mutually exclusive jobs in Victorian England - in many ways they would have been seen as opposites. In Moffat's Who the theme of the juxtaposition of opposites, or the idea of two poles being connected, broken and then unified is a regular one. Being two opposite things but one at the same time is the realm of the trickster and those initiated into his court. Unification of opposing energies is the job of the Doctor and his companions who help him. In a mythic sense, this is his final challenge to her before being initiated into his magical world and becoming his companion. He asks her to define herself as one or the other, and she refuses and then is able to cross the threshold

Once in the Tardis she confounds his expectations yet again. She turns the usual companion response to seeing the Tardis interior completely inside out, she mirrors it in a reversal of the traditional phrase.

Clara: It's smaller on the outside!

Then, rather than asking about what it does, how it works, anything the Doctor would normally expect; she asks about something earthly and mundane: a kitchen.

Ultimately in this episode, Clara both dies in order to save the world, and provides the Doctor with the reason to travel again. She melts both the snow of the snowmen and the GI as well as melting the snow of the Doctor's hearts. 

Back when I wrote loads of meta about season 7A I speculated a lot about some of the imagery that kept coming up. The eggs. The lightbulbs. The theme of Christmas  The fact that Oswin dies to save everyone at the end of Asylum. All this led me to say that Oswin/Clara was being linked to some sort of self resurrecting saviour God/dess figure. It's happened again here: she dies and it's her death that proves everybody else's salvation, both thruogh this once instance and through motivating him to travel again.

Engage speculation mode: 
There's an interesting moment that I picked up on, and I wonder if there's a bit of foreshadowing there. While the Doctor is trapped in the room with the whole family at Latimer's house, there's a moment where after looking at himself in the glass of a cabinet (discussed above as in instance of self-mirroring) he turns away and begins walking towards Clara saying this, glancing from her to around the others,  as he talks about the ice-woman: 
To live here the snow needs to evolve and she's the blueprint.

He then looks directly at Clara and says:
She's what they need to become.

I'm bearing in mind the vast amount of foreshadowing of River's arc that we saw in A Christmas Carol, and that as Clara's (second) intro as a new companion there may also be heavy foreshadowing here. So maybe these words are significant and the reason that the same girl appears in a few places across time is that she is some sort of blueprint or protoype of an experiment. 

There's also the words of the GI as it is occupying Simeon's body. Words which make me think back to the links between Clara and the Nutcracker I talked about at the beginning of this section, where Clara dreams the Nutcracker alive. 

Great Intelligence: Now the dream outlives the dreamer and can never die.

I have no idea what all this means, it just strikes me as significant. 


Mirror and Memory
Both mirroring and memory are two of Moffat's pet themes, and have been threaded throughout his tenure as showrunner. They are the two key themes in this episode too. I'm looking at mirror and memory here in terms of their use as a mythic theme.

We have often seen water presented as as nature's mirror. We see in in The God Complex, with the wall of water that stands between the Doctor and the Minotaur who is his mirror. We see it on the shores of Silencio as all the Doctor has done is mirrored back to him in the form of River. We see it in both Amy's and River's names, both of whom are at one time or another mirrors of the Doctor. Here the link between water (snow/ice) and mirrors is made explicit in the dialogue and the plot.

Doctor: You're caught in the telepathic field, they're mirroring you!

DoctorIt has the ability to mimic and mirror what it finds

Doctor: The snow mirrors, that's all it does. It's mirroring something else now, something so strong, it's drowning out everything else. 

Symbolically the Doctor is telling us that the mirror itself isn't a bad thing - the snow itself wasn't bad, just the way that it was made use of. He's telling us, by the end, that how the mirror acts is on our own thoughts and desires, that we react to what we find in it just as the Great Intelligence did.

However, that's not all this snow does, here snow can also both feed on memories and remember in its own right in order to learn and evolve. 

DoctorSnow that can remember

Simeon: Ice remembers too.

Vastra: Memory snow. Snow that learns.

There are a number of ways to read this whole idea of mirror and memory. They way I'm reading it is this: so much of New Who, and especially the Moffat era focuses on the concept of the Shadow Self; this is the idea that there are dark bits of ourself that we stashed away in the subconscious because we don't want to own them. So very very often in the show, the monsters reflect a character's shadow aspect back to them. Sometimes our characters journey through a looking glass or down into an underworld in order to confront this shadow. In this ep, the shadow self doesn't just mirror back our worst aspects to ourselves. It remembers. It's a lesson for life, as all the best myth is. If the shadow is not faced in the mirror and not dealt with, it holds the memories of the dark things that have been pushed into it, it takes on a life of its own and can symbolically freeze a person's life. 

Tucked into this idea is the lesson that the Doctor learning. His companions are his mirrors; he looks at the Universe as reflected through them. Without them, he ceases to travel. Instead all there is in the mirror now is the shadow of himself, which broods and feeds on his memories, turning himself into the grumpy old man who is no longer willing to save humanity. He becomes this one dark aspect of his shadow, frozen by it. What it takes here to break him out of it is this: a companion-mirror in the form of Clara who reflects back to him all the best aspects of his personality because she embodies them herself, and a memory of a girl who baked soufflés, brought back by Clara's words which are in and of themselves about remembering. . 

(Slight tangent here, but people who have read my stuff regularly will know that I love to make connections between the show and God/Goddess myths. There's a Roman/Brythonic Goddess called Coventina who was a goddess of (amongst many other things) water. Her name can be interpreted as "the memory of snow" and this had become a favoured epithet amongst neo-pagans. The point is that water is how snow remembers itself, it is what snow once was, and frozen in the form of ice crystals is that potential and memory.)

With the physical mirrors we have in this episode, they happen at important points. For the Doctor as he realises he has put on his bowtie once again (this will be discussed in more detail below on the section about the Doctor). 


We see another mirror timed perfectly with this little bit of dialogue. The Doctor walks across the room and says these words just as he looks at himself in the glass of a cabinet:

Doctor: The ultimate fusion of snow and humanity.

This is what he has become, mirrored back to himself. His urge to help and to heal is still there  but the risk of pain is too great. He hurts and has emotions caused by loss, just as a human would. His very human desire for companionship is still inherently there but overridden by fear of pain. He has become frozen, snowlike. He has made himself static and almost unreachable. He has tried to turn himself into ice. Speaking of which.....

Walter Simeon is a mirror of the Doctor.  First of all he is a Doctor himself. He wears a top-hat like the Doctor, and his feelings are effectively frozen in the same way the Doctor's are when we first encounter him in this episode. I always like looking at names in the show, to see if there is any meaning there. Walter means "Ruler of the army" which is appropriate for the man who is raising an army of snowmen, and whose ultimate aim is to raise an army of ice-people. Simeon means "he who as heard" or "he who listens to God" - this is also appropriate for the man who listens to the voice of a disembodied being who is not of this world. 

In the last moments of the Doctor's battle with Simeon/the Great Intelligence (GI), we see him almost changed into an ice person himself, as Simeon attempts to freeze him. 

This frozen life could have been his fate were it not for the presence of Clara, her emotions/her tears. This is what defeats evil and frees the Doctor from Simeon's grasp of ice, and what frees his own heart from the same. In Who so often life and death are all bound up together - appropriate for the tale of a man who dies and resurrects repeatedly. Here it is the fact of Clara's death that leads him on to the next stage in his adventures; that gives him new life. 


The Tardis and the Doctor
Ah, the new design. I love it. It's so very different to the Pond era Tardis, which was warmly coloured and expansive, fitting for the energetic new Doctor with his openness and lust for adventure. Here the Tardis mirrors the Doctor himself. She is battered on the outside, rough around the edges, reflecting his current lack of care for the external things in life. He cares as little for the Tardis exterior as he does for the world below. Internally she is a cool blue colour reflecting the changes in the Doctor in becoming less warm towards the world and others, out of necessity to protect himself from pain. She is smaller, reflecting how the Doctor's world has shrunk since he left the Ponds. Most of all, she is a throwback to the classic era Tardi interiors.

The staircase is very interesting, since it is clearly actually part of the Tardis herself. I wonder if this staircase would have existed  were it not for her. To me this seems like the Tardis's attempt to get the Doctor to connect with the earth, she provides him with the means to actually journey down there.

There is a familiar symbol adorning the walls - the eye in the colours of red and blue. Again, a symbol threaded through Moffat's tenure. 

It's the name Pond that finally motivates the Doctor to get involved. Vastra says to Clara: above all, explain why he should help you. This was the one word that could have brought him back to himself. For so long, the Ponds were his reason to keep on moving, keep on going and saving people and planets, and the memory of them is the reason why he should help people again. This os the light memory that counters the dark memory of loss and can break the spell of winter on his heart. Not because he lost her, but because he loved her. *sniffle*

When we first see him enter the battle against the monsters, he is acting as Mr Punch in the Punch and Judy show the children have. Punch is based on the French character of Pulcinella who was a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry. He represents the Trickster archetype, or the Lord of Misrule: the spirit of chaos who subverts expectations and turns things upside down. This is an archetype the Doctor has long manifested, usually when he is happy and active in life around him. So his entry back onto the stage of interacting with the world around him is represented by a literal stepping onto the Punch and Judy stage in the form of the trickster.

Shortly after this, he tells Clara that he won't be around to save them the next time they call, but just as he does so he catches sight of himself in the mirror, and sees that he's wearing his bowtie. So his actions in saying he won't help anymore are reflected back at him in the reality of him wearing the bowtie. The wearing of the bowtie represents both the Doctor as trickster and the Doctor as the one who helps and saves. The glass shows him the truth, he sees himself - literally through the looking glass -  as he is supposed to be.


Above and below
The idea of Above and Below are something that also come up a lot in Moffat era Who. He usually approaches it in one of two ways. Sometimes we get the idea of Upperworld, Middleworld and Underworld presented thruogh the eps (see: the Library eps, Asylum, the Pandorica and Big Bang). Or we get a straightforward Above and Below (see: Closing Time, Night Terrors), as we do here. It's not always as literal it is here, where it is made very explicit that the Doctor lives above and the Earth below. It's not the first time we've seen a ladder or a lift as the connecting factor between two realms either. Ladders, stairs and lifts are the means of transit from one realm to another, they are a threshold and a doorway that one steps across in order to move from one place to another.

We also often see this theme of Above/Below linked to the idea of the World Tree in Moffat era Who - a cosmology which envisages the whole universe in the form of a tree, where one can travel between the realms by travelling along the branches of the tree. So it's really appropriate that our first image of the ladder to the sky should sit neatly between two trees.

The thing about the Above, is that in cosmology, it is usually seen as the realm of the Divine. So so often, the Doctor is presented as a Christ or God-like figure. He's sitting up there on his cloud and is a God who has lost his way. He's not doing what he's supposed to do, what we expect him to do, he's not doing what a god like figure does any more.  Clara climbs a literal ladder and staircase to the sky. In a reversal of what he should be doing; reaching out to the Earth - she reaches out to him.

The spiral staircase looks like a strip of DNA. Back when season 7A was airing , there was speculation that Clara may be the Doctor's granddaughter, or some type of blood relative There were things that seemed to point to it, imagery and themes. I would have read this image as upholding that, however I'm going to have to ditch that idea altogether, because of the kissing and the flirting. 


The Question
We're moving into the territory of the anniversary now, and I wonder if we are also moving into the territory of tackling the issues of the Question. It's certainly referenced a lot of times in this episode. 

Clara: Who are you?

Doctor: Clara who?
Clara: Doctor who?
Doctor: Oooh, dangerous question.

When Clara says she is looking for the Doctor, Jenny asks it again
Jenny: Doctor who?

Bearing this in mind - the current issue of the question was introduced in the context of the Silence and the Academy of the Question; it was bound so strongly into Amy and River's character arcs, and there are links back to Amy and River in this episode. Some links to River I've already mentioned further up, but there is also this: 

Doctor Simeon: This pond is yours Captain Latimer; but what is growing inside it - when it's ready - is ours. 

Doctor: A body frozen in a Pond. Snow gets a good long look at a human being. Like a full body scan; everything they need to evolve. A pond. Good point Clara

These could be words that apply to Amy and River/Melody. Simeon's words could be the Silence's words to the Doctor instead of Captain Latimer. Amy is the woman who was effectively frozen inside the white coffin like box on demon's run - her body and awareness frozen by the Silence. The Silence considered what was growing inside Amy - inside the Pond - as theirs. This thing - Melody - would become everything they felt they needed to evolve their cause. 

It's also worth mentioning that in The Eleventh Hour the duckpond was key in ultimately understanding the nature of the the cracks, just as it is key here in understanding the nature of Simeon's plans. 

And finally...
There's some meta moments where we are taken outside the show and a nod is given to the writers. 
Doctor (talking of Strax): He gave his life for a friend of mine once
Clara: Then how come he's alive?
Doctor: Another friend of mine brought him back .
In both cases we could read the "friend" as Moffat. He died in the service of Moffat's script in AGMGTW. The statement that a friend of the Doctor's brought him back is never explained, but again we can read it as Moffat bringing him back. 
The Doctor being Sherlock was also tremendous fun, considering that Sherlock is the Moff's other show. It felt in some ways that Moff was teasing the fans about their desire for Benedict to appear in Who, or Matt to appear in Sherlock; or else teasing fans about the crossover fanfics that are written. It's easy to bring Sherlock into Who, but having the Doctor actually pretend to be Sherlock - and to be terribly bad at his initial deductions was a very meta hoot. 

Lastly...the repetition a number of times of "Winter is coming"...not accidental, surely?

Thanks for reading :)


( 53 comments — speak to me, sweetie )
Dec. 27th, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
All good stuff. :)

Don't have anything to add, but my main thought now is that Clara is a Gallifreyan egg, seeded throughout time and space.

OK, one other thing:

Walter Simeon is a mirror of the Doctor.
Richard E. Grant also played the 10th Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death, and voiced the Ninth Doctor in an animated adventure (long before the show returned). So he's a mirror several times over. :)

(I have been exceptionally lazy this Christmas. Might just point people over here for meta as you seem to have written down most of what's in my head, plus more.)
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Oooh, a Gallifreyan egg. I like it a lot. Yeah, it's a shame about her not being his daughter (because surely Moff wouln't take it down that road..would he?) But the thing with the stairs being like a DNA strip sits with that. What I wonder now is whether he will meets a modern Clara who travels with him, that was we will have had past Clara, future Clara and present-clara who occupies and stabilises the space inbetween, mythically, and who will help him unravel the puzzle.

Didn't know that about Richard E Grant!

Glad you enjoyed sweetie :)
Dec. 27th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
Missing you!

Just getting started on my meta, running late with all the family activities going on, just skimmed your stuff, like what I squee!

A few points...

"Now the dream outlives the dreamer..." = "What if we had ideas that could think for themselves? What if one day our dreams no longer needed us? When these things occur and are held to be true, the time will be upon us."

re: Winter is coming... zombies crossing the snow, versus the snowbound zombies of Asylum?

Dec. 27th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
"Now the dream outlives the dreamer..." = "What if we had ideas that could think for themselves? What if one day our dreams no longer needed us? When these things occur and are held to be true, the time will be upon us."
That was the other thing I meant to comment on - I was going to hunt down that quote, and forgot! Time of Angels. I very, very much hope this will be a feature. (Ooooh, thought. If Clara Oswin Oswald is indeed a Gallifreyan egg, could she be a 'dream' that has become self-aware/sentient? Clara Who?)
(no subject) - lonewytch - Dec. 27th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elisi - Dec. 27th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - lonewytch - Dec. 27th, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 27th, 2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
One other thing that seems to have slipped by you: The Doctor is 'betrayed' by his right hand twice in this episode.
Once, when he is outside signalling to Clara. He tries to tell her no, but his hand, acting on it's own volition, says yes.
Later, when it is in the Punch puppet, it turns around and kisses him.

Not sure what this means, or if it's just a coincidence. But it's interesting to think about... the Doctor not being able to trust his whole self. That parts of him are acting on their own agenda. That the right hand, the metaphorical symbol of most trusted companion, is acting in ways that are not what he wants...
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Oooh, nice catch! I did pick up on the bit where he is signalling to her, and I linked it in my mind to the bit where he sends her away in the carriage driven by Strax, and just before she goes he presses his hand to the glass as if in denial or regret. But I totally missed the Punch bit.

Yeah, it's an interesting idea you suggest, and i wonder if we'll see it play out in the latter half of the series. The use of hands as a motif came up over and over in series 6 too.
(no subject) - amy8benson - Jan. 5th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 27th, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
Nice post. Friends and I have been thinking along similar lines.

Note that "Latimer" as a surname was used in Human Nature as the name of the psychic little boy.
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked. Ah, yeah of course, thought I'd heard it in Who before but couldn't place where!!
Dec. 27th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Brilliant analysis!
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much i'm glad you liked it :D
Dec. 27th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Brilliantly detailed observations as always. I'm left wondering if Clara will ever actually board the TARDIS to travel, or if she will actually keep dying and popping up elsewhere.

Two references to S5 that confused me:
-"The Eleventh Hour the duckpond was key in ultimately understanding the nature of the the cracks." Because the cracks were taking pieces out of reality (like Amy's parents) and ruining reality's continuity/logic ("why do you call it a duckpond if there aren't any ducks")?

-"...vast amount of foreshadowing of River's arc that we saw in A Christmas Carol." Say what? I must've missed that completely...
Dec. 27th, 2012 05:36 pm (UTC)
-"...vast amount of foreshadowing of River's arc that we saw in A Christmas Carol." Say what? I must've missed that completely...
I wrote down the basics once. lonewytch has more indepth stuff delving into over- and underworld etc.
(no subject) - stars_inthe_sky - Dec. 28th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lonewytch - Dec. 27th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Dec. 27th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Love this bit of meta!
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it. I can never analyse on the first viewing, i just go along for the ride. Then on the second viewing i'm there scribbling madly with a notepad! My brain implosion usually occurs post-meta!
Dec. 27th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
This was brilliant. You brought me near tears with how awesome and exact and perfect this is. Thank you, bb!! *Is proud*

Mmmmm...as for this: Great Intelligence: Now the dream outlives the dreamer and can never die.

What if there comes a time when our dreams no longer need us? This will be the time of Angels.

The angels are so very heavy and prevelant on the Moff's Who. Kind killers. Bringers of destruction. Also parallel with goodness and light. Angel means two different things in Moff's Who. But that quote haunts me. And Moffat is not adverse to making everything seem seperate, even as he parallels the hell out of it!

Dec. 27th, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
Plus, the Doctor is an Angel... Time of Angels. Doctor Who. The Doctor as fairy tale, brought to life/Clara inventing stories about her origin.

Edited at 2012-12-27 08:46 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - lonewytch - Dec. 27th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Dec. 27th, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
WOW ... thank you for this indepth/thorough analysis.

I will eat one of Jethro's (Colin Morgan) beanie hats if it turns out that Clara is NOT River Song.
Dec. 27th, 2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
I would LOVE it so much if she turned out to be River, who had somehow escaped the Library. There are a lot of parallels between her and Oswin, certain similarities of character.
Dec. 27th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
The Great Intelligence turned up in the Underground in 1967 [remember the tin], during Patrick Troughton's era and was [as hazy memory serves] working/manipulating the Yeti and causing humungous deadly webs throughout the railway system.

['Web of Death']
Dec. 27th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
I'm not familiar with classic Who that much, but i had heard that the Great Intelligence was a foe from the old series. I wonder if we will see it again this season - it's an interesting one, for sure, a disembodied consciousness that gains form through mirroring. Thanks for reading. :)
Dec. 27th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
So amazing! You make all the points, as usual. *flails*
I'd be absolutely convinced Clara was meant to be a relative if it wasn't for the flirting... *insert theory about her being Twelve/Thirteen/Romana/The Master*
Dec. 29th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you sweetie! Glad you enjoyed it.

Yeah, she is so so similar to him, i think there is something going on related to the Timelords. Elisi has a theory that she's a Gallifreyan time egg that's become self aware (in the comments further up). All the egg imagery in 7a and the comment about the dream becoming self aware could relate to this. I hope it's something like this...there's so many possibilities of what she could be....

Moff's going to tease it out for as long as possible, no doubt! *excited*
(no subject) - honeynoir - Dec. 29th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 28th, 2012 04:55 am (UTC)
Love your meta as always. Glad you liked the special, as I've seen a lot of lukewarm reaction to it, but I really enjoyed this one. Related to
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Love your meta as always. Glad you liked the special, as I've seen a lot of lukewarm reaction to it, but I really enjoyed this one. Related to <lj-user="xenaclone">'s comment, I read a commentary that pointed out how strange it was that The Doctor couldn't clearly remember the GI when he's usually so astute. Silence?
Dec. 29th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad you enjoyed! Yeah, i really really loved the special. It's a good point about him not really remembering the GI....Moffat has aged the Doctor a lot during his tenure as showrunner, and he's approaching the end of the standard number of regenerations...i wonder if this forgetfulness is him starting to show his age ? But you make a good point, he has has exposure to the Silence and we know how they can muddle your memories - especially if they are far back.

I hope we do see the Silence again actually, i'd like to see that thread continued leading up to the Fall of the Eleventh and Trenzalore.
Dec. 28th, 2012 10:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for the analysis! Really interesting! I enjoyed this ep a lot and am really liking Clara and looking forward to seeing more of her.

I've seen most fans write off 'winter is coming' as a humorous nod to 'game of thrones', but it's interesting to consider it might be something else.

The memory worm was something that struck me that might make an appearance again in a less humorous situation. It could be quite scary, if played differently. I think the Doctor may have been hoping to scare Clara away with it, if not actually use it on her, the way it played out. But of course she was having none of that. I imagine it'd be handy if they want to bring past Doctors in for the 50th special and have them not remember it afterward.
Dec. 29th, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, and I'm glad you found it interesting. I really love Clara, I think she's got a fantastic energy with 11, she's certainly more than a match for him!

I love that it's a nod to Game of Thrones, but i wonder if it could be prophetic in some way. There's the fact that they're fighting and army of snowmen and a parallel to the White Walkers of Game of Thrones, which someone mentioned further up. But I wonder if some sort of metaphorical winter is coming for 11 in the anniversary year.

Yeah, the mind worm could be scary. It's like retcon in Torchwood in a lot of ways, lol! Yeah, i do wonde rif, like you said, it could be used in the anniversary specials in some way.
Dec. 28th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
I don't have anything to add, just letting you know I loved reading this. :)
Dec. 29th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it :D
Dec. 29th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
I am wowed by your insightful, evocative, essay (or meme:)...it's wonderful and great writing (I'm going to check out your fanfiction!). I want friends outside of Live Journal to read this. Can I share?
Dec. 29th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for such an utterly lovely comment! It's fantastic to login and see a comment like this, it really makes my day. Yes, please feel free to share all you want! I'm pleased it makes you want to check out my fanfic. :D I also have essays like this on a number of other eps, just in case you're interested. They are at the top of my masterlist: http://lonewytch.livejournal.com/4421.html
Dec. 30th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
Another super meta! You put into words what I'm vaguely thinking.

Count me as another who is convinced that Clara is River. I think River is attempting to escape from the Library with the help of CAL (CALara?) There seem to be such similarities between the two characters.

BTW Lis Sladen's middle name was Clara.
Jan. 4th, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

It's a good theory...i would be pleased if that were the case as River is my fave character. There are huge similarities. Maybe Cal is trying to manifest her in the outside world, using the imprint of someone else who nearly died - ie a vacant body on the point of death. But can't stabilise her, as the body of whoever Clara is, and River are both "dead."

I'm loving a lot of the different theories going round atm and can see how many of them could be true. I wonder what the Lord Troll Moff is gonna pull out of the bag though!!!
Dec. 31st, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Moffat might have just tipped his entire hand, at least regarding the Clara mystery, with that line about dreams outliving their dreamers. I'm 95% certain that's what she is. Not only does it fit nicely with Moffat's preoccupation with the persistence of memory, we've already seen her do it once: in Asylum, human-Oswin is long dead, consumed by the Dalek transformation, but dream-Oswin lives on, is fully human, and is ultimately the one in control. No wait, twice: barmaid-Clara dreams up Miss Montague, and even after she's dead, it's Miss Montague and the family's mourning for her that manage to melt the snow.

Ideas above her station. The junior entertainment manager turned genius hacker. The Dalek dreaming of being human. The barmaid turned governess. Both are true, but the one she really believes in is the one that gets things done, and what Clara believes herself to be is always more than what her outward situation would suggest. She's smaller on the outside. And the dreams within have a funny knack of coming true by sheer force of belief.

One of the companion's jobs is almost always to stay true to herself. To provide an anchor for the Doctor with his thousand (okay, dozen) faces. Amy did that by remembering, cutting through all the alterations to memory and reality to grab onto what she knew she'd experienced. Perhaps it's Clara's job to do that by forgetting whatever her present inglorious circumstances have limited her to being, and imposing her dreams on reality.

What is Clara? Almost certainly an ordinary human girl, and almost certainly something more. Quite possibly she is a dead human girl whose dream of Something More lives on.

Very probably she will be the one to disentangle the Doctor from all the circumstances and history that have grown up around him, and force him to confront who he really thinks he is, because that's the important thing, not all the burdens of guilt and reputation weighing him down. (Cf. A Town Called Mercy, where the kind of person you think you ought to be dictates what moral choices you should make far more than what you've already done.) Hell, she's already started doing it: she made the Daleks forget him. Forget him.

Oof, this is turning into an essay. I should really stick it in its own post. But you've set the gears in my head turning like mad.
Jan. 4th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for such a fab comment!

Yeah, it's another great theory about her being a sort of dream come to life. There's the stuff about the nutcracker and the link to the name Clara, plus absolutely everything you said. It's a good point that in each case she dreams a life "better" than the one she has in reality - and she's so powerful that she manages to create that life for herself. Moff's been interested in this for a while...see the quote from The Time of Angels..."What if we had ideas that could think for themselves? What if one day our dreams no longer needed us? When these things occur and are held to be true, the time will be upon us"

The question for me though, like you, is - what is she that she can create such dreams? Take the Nutcracker - while I don't think Moffat is modelling Clara's story on it, mythically its themes are similar. Clara is an ordinary little girl, but she dreams a magical world where - after various challenges - she is ultimately crowned as its ruler along with the Prince. She wakes from the dream but evidence of it is still there (her crown) and she chooses to go back to sleep. in the book the Nutcracker is based on, the girl (Marie) wakes from her dream to find that reality reflects it in some ways - and she ultimately returns to the magical land at the very end. So in both cases there's this idea of dreaming a world alive, waking up from it into reality, but then returning again to the dream forever. I wonder if we'll see that same arc playing out here. It's Clara's "awakening" to herself that will surely provide the series finale.

Very probably she will be the one to disentangle the Doctor from all the circumstances and history that have grown up around him
Good point...and see what she does in her very first episode. She effectively wipes away the legacy of the Time War by making the Daleks forget. There's that baggage gone.

Adding you, hope that's okay :)
Dec. 31st, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
Okay, I have a theory about Clara. (I also posted some massive meta here on LJ, please check it out!)

The key to understanding Clara is to understand the central flaw of her character, which just happens to be the point of the entire show. As we saw in Asylum, Clara (as Oswin) is perfect in every way save one -- she is self-deceptive. She does not know who she is, not until the Doctor comes and holds a mirror up to who she is, and shows her her monstrosity.

This is repeated in Snowmen. Clara and the Ice Governess fall and die together; Clara's mirror image is the Ice Governess, a negative representation of Clara herself.

Both times that Clara dies, she implores the Doctor to run, reminding him that he's a clever boy, and that he must Remember.

Clara does not believe in ghosts. She *is* a ghost. And and as a companion who can die *for real* over and over again, she is an idealized version of who the Doctor wants in a Companion. At the beginning of Asylum, the Doctor meets a woman who is "cold," who is a trap. Unfortunately, I think this is also true of Clara. She is a trap, a trick to ensnare the Doctor in answering the Question. And she doesn't even know it, because she doesn't know who she is.
Jan. 4th, 2013 05:25 pm (UTC)
Read your meta and loved it.

This had actually crossed my mind...that she was something with which to ensnare him, it's a good point that she is an idealized Companion, this accounts for her genius, the way she both matches him and challenges him. She's drawing him on to Trenzalore...fits with Moff's overall arc - she's the puzzle that he can't resist. The kiss as well...kisses are so important. In the last series they were firsts, lasts, deaths, resurrections, and the healing of the poles. What can we draw out from the fact that she kissed him (and with curtains in the background, drawn aside like the Holy of Holies is open)

However, check out this post by the commentor above as i think you will find it interesting in terms of theories :

She suggests that it's very likely the original Clara is in fact dead, and some type of Intelligence is using her imprint, using her personality which is dreaming itself alive again due to that. This fits with your theory. However, she has some other very interesting ideas, and one point she makes is what happens if a Timelord dies while they are fobwatched? I think that's really a very very interesting train of thought.
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