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Perchance to dream (disjointed thoughts on Clara Oswald)

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Perchance to dream (disjointed thoughts on Clara Oswald)

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So. Doctor Who. I haven't written anything on here about this season so far, which is unusual. Partly this was because my brain and entire being was consumed by Hamilton for much of the early part of the season, leaving no room for meta, and partly it's because this season has been slightly...I don't know. Calmer? Less overt? I don't know. Something. But anyway, little meta thoughts have been percolating away at the back of my mind, but I haven't felt the overwhelming need to write anything until now.

But now.

This entire season has been simply glorious. With the exception of Sleep No More, (which was, in my opinion, an abject failure of an episode) and possibly The Zygon Invasion (which had good intentions made hard to stomach by an awkward execution) it's been dazzling. But these last two episodes have surpassed everything that came before. I don't really want to talk about either episode in detail, because everything I could possibly say about the quality of the writing, the acting, the stories, the everything has already been said by much cleverer and more articulate people than me. But. Clara-my-Clara, I can't let you go without saying something. So here are some disjointed thoughts:

BIRDS - If I hadn't been so tense watching the last episode, I would have laughed out loud the moment the word 'BIRD' appeared scratched in the sand. Because I've been talking and thinking about Clara and Birds for a long time - ever since I saw this post in fact. Last week I made a graphic, which [personal profile] elisi put into her latest wonderful meta post (here) showing how Clara has always been associated with wings - she wears not one but two different bird necklaces, across at least three different episodes. She wears earrings in the shape of wings. She wears a winged broach. Her mother's surname is 'Ravenwood'. She is first seen (as Oswin) accompanied by the music from the opera Carmen - 'love is a rebellious bird' - the Doctor flippantly refers to her as a 'bird' in The Snowmen, she is Missy's 'canary' in The Witch's Familiar, and finally she is killed by a quantum being in the shape of a raven. Possibly even over and above birds, Clara is associated with air. Much in the same way that the Ponds were constantly associated with water. Clara is a being of the air - she is, of course, 'Soufflé Girl'. 'Soufflé' comes from the French verb 'souffler' meaning 'to blow' or 'to breathe'. Appropriate, given that she 'blew into this world on a leaf' and leaves it in a breath of smoke. How long can you hold your breath?

Finally, of course, she is associated with Dreams. Clara ended up inside more dreamworlds than I would have thought possible - as Oswin, in the Zygon pod, in dreams within dreams in Last Christmas. Even, kind of, when she ends up inside the data cloud in The Bells of St John. (Clouds - that's another thing she's strongly associated with). Clara inhabits dreamworlds constantly, but she always maintains her sense of self. Her humanity, her essential Clara-ness. I am not a Dalek. And this allows her to do the other thing, the thing the Doctor talks about - Clara Oswald gets inside your head. And she doesn't leave. Like any good teacher, really. We see this literally in action in Heaven Sent, when Clara (teacher Clara!) is in the Doctor's mind palace. (Can't remember what the Doctor called it in the ep, but come on it was a mind palace. Your Sherlock is showing, Moff. <3) Clara gets in your head and she doesn't leave. She is a message-bringer, a constant reminder to the Doctor to be his best self. She is thought and memory - Huginn and Muninn, like the two ravens of Norse mythology. She is an idea. She represents endless possibilities and endless futures, like her leaf. She is almost a meme - look at all her echoes showing up everywhere. Physical manifestations of this idea. She will always save him. (Every miner needs a canary) Clara is tenacious and persistent and doesn't let go - just like that bird, chip-chip-chipping away at the mountain in the Grimm fairytale. It's all connected - birds, air, dreams, memes, ideas. Hope. Clara, like the messenger dove in the story of Noah, brought hope back to the Doctor time and again - after he lost his Ponds, she gave him a reason to keep going. She restored Gallifrey to him. She learned to trust him again, after he changed his face and his whole way of being, when he wasn't even sure he trusted himself to be a 'good man' any more. So much of Clara's story is wrapped up in grief - the Doctor's and her own - but in Heaven Sent we have a version of Clara nestling in the Doctor's mind, giving him a reason to keep going. Hope is the thing with feathers.

Clara may have died, but her story isn't over yet. She does not believe in ghosts, but she has given up her soul, and that *means* something in Doctor Who. She is going to end up somewhere, some (dream)world where she can be herself and be magnificent. Whether it's on Gallifrey (perhaps in the Matrix) or as a part of the Tardis or something else, she is not going to disappear forever. Clara is a bird, a dream, she is outside Time. She is an idea. You can't kill an idea. Let me be brave.

Speaking of death - oh, Doctor. This last episode was one of the most incredible hours of television I've seen. I can't even begin to articulate everything I loved about it, and everything it made me think and feel. Its cleverness and its simplicity and its utter, skin-crawling horror, and the Doctor's face and oh my heart. So I will just put one thought out here for now: this is The Doctor Who Died. We know that Eleven learned from his Glorious Ponds, the Boy and the Girl Who Waited, and ultimately, on Trenzalore, he became The Doctor Who Waited. Here, we have Twelve mirroring the Impossible Girl, his Woman Twice Dead. Except it's not just twice dead - for either of them - it's billions of lives born and killed and born again. (Thinking about this, I realised you can also apply this to Ten, who named Donna 'the most important woman in all of creation', and then mistakenly came to believe that he, the Timelord Victorious, was the most important man in all of creation...) It's not just the Companions who grow to mirror the Doctor, the reverse is also true.

I don't know where this is all going. Gallifrey is back, which is everything I wanted and hoped for. The 'hybrid' is almost certainly not the Doctor, whatever he believes. My theory is still that it's Clara, or if it's not her then it's something that the Doctor brings about, Greek Tragedy style, by his own paradoxical attempts to flee from it. (Greek Tragedy aside - 'hybrid' comes from the same Greek root as 'hubris', which originally referred to the act of mortals arrogantly putting themselves on equal footing with the gods. Make of that what you will. Why can't I be like you?) I don't know where this is going. I can't even really make sense of this meta, which is probably the least coherent thing I've ever written.

Why is it not next week yet.
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