Maybe Clara’s reality has nothing to do with her material incarnations, and everything to do with her impossibility…. The only thing consistent between Clara’s existences is that wherever she is, hope exists.In essence, what Clara is, in all of her incarnations, is hope.
…the most important leaf in human history…. a whole future that never happened, an infinity; all of her mum’s days that never came. For Clara, these days have and will come; in her multiple incarnations, she is an infinity of lives, and what she is for all of those days is hope.
The real Clara (in all of her incarnations) is defined by one trait above all others, and, in philosophy terms, we call this her essence. As long as that essence remains, Clara remains. The essence is the “real” Clara, and it’s indicated by what Clara does. Clara refuses to walk away. She refused to walk away from the children in London, she refused to walk away from the Doctor when he was already spent on Akhaten, and she refused to walk away when his timeline was being torn apart by the Great Intelligence. When Clara refuses to walk away, what we understand is this: there’s still hope. Walking away is the action of someone who has given up hope, and this is precisely what Clara does not do.
Remember in “The Snowman” when the Doctor went and hid up there among the clouds. He’d given up his wanderings through space and time, and he’d given up protecting the humans…. Who gave him hope? It was Clara. She found an invisible ladder in a park and climbed to the stars to track down someone who might not even exist…. It was Clara who brought the Doctor down from the clouds, and she was able to do this because she is hope.
She tells the Doctor to run, and keep running toward the future, toward the past, towards everything that can be or might be, and she’s willing to give up her “real” self to do this time and time again. What’s really being sacrificed in that moment when she steps into the Doctor’s time-stream? Everyone including the Doctor tells her not to do it. Everybody gives her every reason to fear doing it. But she does it anyway. The thing she is sacrificing isn’t her life, but the fear of attempting the impossible task of saving the Doctor when the Great Intelligence has already won.
This is what hope does: it tells us that in the darkest of nights at the fall of Trenzalore there’s still something to believe in, there;s still something that urges us up to the steps to face those pesky Daleks, it gives us the power to regenerate and take our lives in a new path…. Clara isn’t just a symbol of hope, but hope itself. All other definitions fail, and all we’re left with is a sense of impossible, instantiating itself throughout time.
I love this article very much! Clara Oswald is hope. This constantly running motif was also hinted in The Day of the Doctor (”You will have hope”, 11th Doctor to Time Lords), was suggested again and again throughout series 8, and was brought up by Missy in The Witch’s Familiar, “The Doctor without hope.” And, in Hell Bent, Clara’s open-ended exit also demonstrated hope. Her impacts on the Doctor remains. After the diner scene, the Doctor now knows her face and the way she talks and laughs. Clara Oswald is somewhere among the stars, safe, alive, heading to adventures and taking fully control of her life and death. The Doctor is the Doctor again. To be a Doctor is to remember her. And they may run into each other again some day.
“Until that day, it is beholden on me to be the man Marian wanted.” (Robin Hood, Robot of Sherwood)
Wait a minute… If the Tardis is infinite and the “bigger on the inside” is leaking out at Trenzalore then does that mean that the Tardis will engulf the entire universe? Or has it already? And we’re all just living in a small portion of the universe in the Tardis?