… But we never saw eight regenerate. And we know that Jon Hurt came between eight and nine! So Hurt is actually the ninth doctor.
So really, after that it goes
NINE - JON HURT
TEN - CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTONE
ELEVEN - DAVID TENNANT
TWELVE - MATT SMITH
But he regenerated an extra time when he was Tennant, so by then, they had already broken the rule.
That is why, before regenerating, he said goodbye to all his friends. He left them all in a good place.
He thought he was going to die then, that was the end. And then he said “I don’t want to go…”
Because he thought he wouldn’t regenerate again.
Then he did.
In regenerating him that time, they broke the sci-fi rule that he can only regenerate 12 times.
And so Matt Smith was an anomaly.
He shouldn’t have existed, he should have died after Ten.
But in killing him, we never would have found out about the Jon Hurt doctor, and we would have never known.
But maybe, the extra regeneration in Journey’s End didn’t count, and it only counts for each Doctor.
In which case, they have still broken the rule, because actually now, Capaldi will be the 13th Doctor.
Do you think maybe Clara was so shocked by 11's turning into 12 because in addition to her naively thinking he wouldn't change, she never met all the doctors chronologically? She thought he was supposed to look younger each time, so for all we know she thinks 4 regenerated into 9 into 5; all she knows is 11 is, well, 11th. when he refers to his "Number 10" she could've been picturing 6 for all we know. Just my two cents!!
Hmmm, was that ever really made clear though that she didn’t realize the chronological order? We see the various clips of her meeting the Doctors throughout time (incidentally one of my favorite scenes in the entire show, to be honest, just because of how cool it looks and respectfully done it was), but I’m not sure that it’s conclusive proof that she didn’t know what order the incarnations were.
If anything, she starts with the First Doctor, which makes me think that she did meet them in order.
Though if she did meet them chronologically, then generally speaking, the Doctor has tended to get a bit younger with each regeneration up until Twelve (Five and the War Doctor being the obvious major outliers there, for polar reasons), or at least look generally younger with most of his succeeding regenerations.
(For example, Patrick Troughton was only two years older than Sylvester McCoy at the debuts of their Doctors, but at least to me, he came across as much older in looks and attitude.)
So either way, I think your opinion definitely has some truth to it!
I think that Clara might have mostly just naively wished/hoped/assumed that the Doctor would stay physically youthful and handsome because it’s what she wanted, and maybe also assumed it partly on the assumption that the Doctor was generally aging downward in appearance with every regeneration.
For those who are confused, the reason that Twelve/Capaldi can’t remember how to fly the TARDIS is simply that regeneration has a lot of side-effects, like unconsciousness, erratic behavior, aftershocks…and amnesia.
It happened to Five, Seven and Eight after regenerating. Eight didn’t even know he was the Doctor.
Trust me, Twelve is just fine, he’s just suffering from a bit of memory loss. He’ll be back to his knowledgeable self soon enough, just give him some time.