kaffyr: (Clara under pressure)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Under Pressure

(I wish I could write like [personal profile] elisi ; I wish I could think like [personal profile] promethia_tenk . If I could, perhaps I could have come up with something about Season 8 of Doctor Who that was better than this, or at least more organized. I've been thinking hard about this season ever since it started, but those thoughts never quite coalesced the way I wanted them to. They'd start - I'd get bits of imagery, or flashes of understanding - and then they'd dissipate. 

The only thing I could do, in the end, was put those flashes and images into some sort of broken-tiled picture. I can't speak to themes and motifs; I can only speak of how I felt, and about what, and who. And I found, a little to my surprise, that I care a great deal about Clara, that indeed I found her the most compelling part of this season, with the new Doctor running only slightly behind her. I was ambushed by my affection for her, which happened with Amy as well. Why should I be so surprised, I wonder? Perhaps that's something for another day.

In the meantime there is this: unedited, unbalanced technically and probably thematically, not to mention emotionally.)

*********************************************

Glass breaks. Mirrors shatter.

People make mistakes.

People lie. People lie even when they are good, even when they don’t mean to.  Perhaps they do it because they are good and they have done something that makes them ashamed of themselves, makes them hate themselves. They do it to avoid hurting themselves. They do it, too, to avoid hurting people they love.  They do it to avoid responsibility. They do it because it’s easier than the truth. They do it because they want the lie to be the truth. They do it for good reasons and bad. They are still good people.

But lies break us. Even when they are done for good reasons, they are inherently wrong.

This is not a matter of morals or ethics, although those considerations are important. 

It’s a matter of physics.

A lie is a rejection of reality. It’s a bald refusal to accept what is happening in front of you, behind you, around you, inside you. It is saying to the universe, “You have presented me with this, and  I am turning my back on it.”

The universe does not take lightly to being insulted that way. You cannot break the laws of physics without being broken in turn.

Don’t whisper about multiple truths. Don’t talk about truth being subjective. You know what we’re talking about here. This is not Rashomon.

This is knowing something and choosing to say that you don’t know it. This is deliberately turning away from the truth you know.

This is a mistake, the kind that people make, that they excel at.

People lie. They cloud the glass, they turn the mirror to the wall. And each time they do it, they reject reality. Each time they try to create a false reality, they throw themselves hard on the walls of the real world. And it’s not the real world that suffers.

Each lie, each impact, creates hairline cracks in ourselves. The cracks spread, and we become fragile as glass.

The people we love, the ones we’ve lied to — and all for love of them — they break too, a little at a time. Because lies are destructive. We use lies as weapons … why on earth do we not see that the weapons we use can hurt the ones we’re trying to save?

Because we make mistakes. We are built of mistakes.

And so, with every lie discovered, even with the ones that are undiscovered, we damage the ones we love. The cracks spread and they feel their hearts  become hollow and light, like glass that is under pressure.

And when it becomes too hard to keep the cracks from spreading, they can shatter.

And the liars, too, become shattered glass, bits of broken mirror.

Glass breaks, mirrors shatter. The glass is still smooth and clear, right up to the dagger point that can draw blood. The mirror shards still reflect the world, just a little. They are mistakes and lies, and they show the truth about broken people.

**************************************

Clara is shattered glass.

That’s no surprise to us. We saw her leap into time to save the Doctor, and we saw what it did to her. Spread across time and space, losing herself, and watching as she became so many different people.
Imagine yourself as Clara — an ordinary, bright, adventurous girl with a sense of duty, learning, and kids — twisted and shredded by time and the vortex. She’d had no idea what was going to happen before she smiled and did the deed.
 
When she felt herself split apart, when bits and pieces of her fell away and forgot that they had been her, did she start to panic, to wish she hadn’t done it, to fight uselessly as she tumbled, trying to retain her sense of self? Even good soldiers panic, and sometimes they try to run from the battle, and if Clara panicked and wished herself out of the battle, it would not be surprising. Nor would it be wrong. But she might, like many soldiers in such a situation, have become ashamed of herself for trying to run.
In the end, she didn’t run.

 She gave herself freely to save the Doctor. And she saved him. And he found her, and he put her back together, and they both told each other everything was better.

They lied.

**************************************

Clara Oswald fought in the Time War as certainly as the Doctor did — what else were her two fights on Trenzalore to save the life of the Savior of Gallifrey, what else could you call her role as all three Doctors stood, hands poised above The Moment?

She returned from war with stress fractures imperfectly hidden, broken pieces glued back together in haphazard fashion. Even if she didn’t remember every fragment of herself, even if she consciously forgot what happened to her, the damage was there. And gluing pieces back together doesn’t make the shattered mirror whole.

She came home from the war with a walloping case of post traumatic stress syndrome that she proceeded to lie about. What else could she do? Who could she talk to about what she’d been through, especially when she only saw and remembered bits and fragments of the ordeal, partial and imperfect images? There aren’t too many counselors left in the universe who can guide Time War veterans back to stability.

Hence, Clara.

The story gets worse, of course. When she was on Trenzalore that final time, trying once more to save her Doctor, she looked through a crack in reality (and reality should never have cracks) and asked something on the other side to save him. She asked reality to cheat on his behalf. And what is a cheat, but a lie of a certain type?

She made a mistake, out of love.

Some might say this Doctor never should have existed. He should have grown old and died in Christmas — he had, indeed, come to an understanding about that, almost an acceptance. But the regular cycle was broken, and he was born unbalanced, because of Clara’s love.

Clara the broken, the recovered, the never quite repaired, tried to glue him back together, and convinced the Time Lords to do it on her behalf. And when he was given the gift of rebirth, he chose to make himself over in her image.

That was a mistake.

This Doctor makes them. He’s all about mistakes. He always was, but now? He is built of mistakes.

Every day of his twelfth incarnation, he has lied about how he felt. Even more than his predecessors. This Doctor lies because he does not want a connection with his previous selves. He does not want the heartache caused by family, he doesn’t want to want those things, and he doesn’t want to want the Earth, his only home now.

But he is the same man, the only Time Lord left who fought in the war. And if Clara has a walloping case of PTSD,  you know how bad the Doctor’s is.

But he lied, too.

He was fine. He was alright. Just like any soldier coming back from something unimaginable and refusing to acknowledge the damage. He refused to call himself a soldier, raged when people called him an officer, became insufferable about soldiers, beyond anything he had been in his youth. It didn’t matter. He was a Time War veteran still, caught by it again and again, every time he thought he’d put it behind him. Trenzalore was as much a Time War battle as the fall of Arcadia. One more battle, one more scar, one more crack imperfectly patched.

Hence, the Doctor.

**********************

Clara lost the Doctor she had tried to save. No lectures from Vastra, no searches she made of his face, no changes she made in herself, could hide that from her. And she — bright, loving, stubborn, control freak — hated that she had to work so hard to see her Doctor. She did it, but she hated herself for not getting it right the first time. She hated herself for not trusting him, not realizing that trust is always at a premium for PTSD survivors.

Still, she followed him.

In fact, she tried to make herself over in his image, not realizing he had made himself in her image.

And the Doctor? He lied, and insulted her, and did everything he could to drive her away. And then he yanked her back to his side.

Two soldiers, lying about their wounds; lying to each other, damaging themselves and each other with the lies, but clinging together because only the other one might understand. Soldiers stick together, even when they say they aren’t soldiers.

Two injured people mirrored each other, became imperfect mirrors of each other, seeing parts of each other clearly and completely missing the point of each other. They lied to each other, and broke each other that little bit more every time they did it.  The cycle is horrible, like addiction, and they both knew it.

Clara wanted to be like other people, but she couldn’t really stand being that way when she actually did live day after normal day. She longed for something else.

The Doctor wanted to be the Doctor, but he hadn’t figured it out this time around, because everything was new this time; the time he had was won through cheating, which is a lie of sorts, and he was mirroring his creator for lack of better guidance.

This would not end well.

************************

But there was another soldier, from another war, with stress fractures of his own.

Was it so surprising that Clara was drawn to him? Unlike the other soldier in her life, this one knew how to work on being normal. He didn’t want to be an adventurer, he wanted to be a teacher. He dug wells, he taught maths, and that’s the way he wanted it.  He had his own secrets, and his own heartbreaks, but maybe he was learning how to face up to them. Perhaps he could help her learn to do the same.

Was it so surprising that the Doctor was afraid of him? Danny Pink saw through all the anti-military rhetoric. He immediately knew who and what he was dealing with, and he called the officer, the aristo, on his lies. He fell in love with the Doctor’s addiction, and she, despite everything, was falling in love with Danny Pink.

He was a quiet man who made only a few requests of the woman he loved; sometimes he was heavy-handed when he did so. Even good, quiet men make mistakes. But they weren’t bad requests.

He wanted her to tell him the truth. He wanted her to stop lying. He couldn’t even fathom why she was lying, but he didn’t walk away because there was something in Clara that called to him.

(And let’s not forget that love and friendship are awkward, spiky things, often proceeding in fits and starts. He was willing to navigate the shoals of a spiky, awkward thing to reach Clara.)

Poor Danny. He was a good man, and he was a strong man, and he was an ordinary man who had made mistakes that he cried over, and he did his best to understand things that really require the mind of an adventurer to understand. He was no adventurer. He was a nurturer, and he wanted to bring that out in the woman he was coming to love, despite the stupidity of falling for someone who lied. Perhaps he understood why she lied, without understanding the things she lied about; soldiers recognize each other even on unconscious levels.

Poor Danny indeed. In the end, he was a hero without the chance to escape the hero’s fate. He was killed by two soldiers of Gallifrey.

Mind you, perhaps he chose to die for one of them. Or perhaps he chose to die for the world. That difference may have meant the world to him, as he became an aristo, an officer, and called all the Cybermen everywhere to follow him into death.

It would have made no sense to Clara, even though she’d once done something very like that. Damaged Clara, not quite the Doctor,  no longer just a bright, adventurous woman with a love of learning and a love of children. Broken and imperfectly stitched together, all she might have seen was her own failure to save someone she loved.

Quite like the Doctor, really.

*****************************************************

Glass breaks, mirrors shatter. Good people lie and break themselves and the ones they love.

And yet, they love.

And perhaps that is the one thing to remember, like the tiny fairy in Pandora’s nearly empty box.

Broken people love, and perhaps love harder for knowing that they need something to hold themselves together. Soldiers put out their hands for help, and other soldiers try to reach back.

It’s not nearly enough, but it’s a start.

-30-

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 05:54 am (UTC)
owlboy: (DW - 12 Clara HUGS)
From: [personal profile] owlboy
This is gorgeously written.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 06:50 am (UTC)
owlboy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] owlboy
You can articulate the essence of the characters and their emotional perspectives, which always give me a window into them I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 01:36 pm (UTC)
masakochan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] masakochan
This was amazing to read, and thank you for writing it.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (twelve)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Oh <3

Personally, I wish I could write and think like you. This is beautiful. As ever.

I'll fully admit to not having a handle on this season yet. It's been a difficult and ambiguous season (excellent, but difficult), and I have been waiting and waiting for the episode that would pull all the shards together. This was not that episode. But the emotional continuity, as you so poetically show here, has been the solid undercurrent of the whole thing.

I especially like how you tie Clara's past acts of almost unbelievable (and seemingly too easy) heroism in the finales and specials to her downwards spiral here. It somehow had not quite occurred to me that what we were seeing now was the cost of her Impossible ability to rise to the occasion again and again. And isn't that the Doctor's condition in a nutshell? He rises to the occasion again and again. And he pays the price.

I certainly have a rewatch in my near future, and I will be reading this again as I do so. Thank you <3

Date: Sunday, 23 November 2014 09:18 am (UTC)
kerravonsen: TARDIS, clouds: Dream (tardis-dream)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
Bravo.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
ext_24165: (Default)
From: [identity profile] clocketpatch.livejournal.com
This might be a broken-tile picture, but it is as beautiful as stained glass.

A lie is a rejection of reality. It’s a bald refusal to accept what is happening in front of you, behind you, around you, inside you. It is saying to the universe, “You have presented me with this, and I am turning my back on it.”

The universe does not take lightly to being insulted that way. You cannot break the laws of physics without being broken in turn.


I feel like this is going to stick with me for a long, long time.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
Thank you for reading, and for your extremely kind words. They are high praise, and I appreciate them.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 07:43 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hmm, interesting… but I don’t quite see things that way.
Back in the Name of the Doctor, the Great Intelligence tried to eliminate the Doctor from time and space, and we saw the results of that – it started to fall apart. The implication there is that without the Doctor, it can’t exist. I see him as the universe’s immune system, working to get rid of the infections that would destroy it if left untreated.
Which brings us to this question – how does the Doctor fulfil his function? Well, by being himself, which is to say by being flawed. He’s a liar, he’s capricious, he’s unreliable, he hates authority… and these flaws serve him very well in fighting the evils of the universe. He travels randomly across time and space, encountering evil and defeating it, often by lying; he hates authority and the military, and the threats he encounters are often militaristic.
The downside of this is that, of course, these traits are still flaws. Flaws that the cosmos uses to protect itself from the cancers that would destroy it, but flaws for all that. So the Doctor will leave damage behind him. I don’t think the universe cares much about this, or the lies he tells – if he didn’t tell them, or display all of his other personality defects, there wouldn’t be a universe at all. The Doctor may suffer from this, his companions and other people may suffer, but given that the alternative is universal destruction, one could call this a small price to pay. So no, Clara didn’t make a mistake in saving the Doctor and creating Twelve. She enabled time and space to go on existing.
Mind you, I don't think the Doctor realises that he's the universe's immune system; and he cares much more about the damage done in saving it than the cosmos itself does. To slightly misquote Twelve, he cares so that the universe doesn't have to.

This, of course, is just my way of looking at things. It makes sense to me at least.

Diona the Lurker

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
I really like your thoughts here. We're coming at the season, and our look at the Doctor, from different angles, and it's fun to compare and contrast. You see the Doctor as part of a larger creation - the entire Cosmos - and that's truly elegant, to snatch a word from another poster used elsewhere.

Perhaps the two views can intersect in some ways; I look at the personal and you look at the universal. While I can't see the Doctor as the sole savior of the universe - I think he might be an important one, but not the sole one - I can definitely see the universe deciding that he was necessary, and preferring a damaged Doctor to none at all.

The Doctor may suffer from this, his companions and other people may suffer, but given that the alternative is universal destruction, one could call this a small price to pay.

There's the intersect. I'm talking about the damage, and you are seeing what could arguably be viewed as the bigger picture.

Thanks for commenting; I really appreciated the thought that went into this, and the fact that it made me think as well!

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 08:07 am (UTC)
ext_3690: Ianto Jones says, "Won't somebody please think of the children?!?" (adric)
From: [identity profile] robling-t.livejournal.com
They'd start - I'd get bits of imagery, or flashes of understanding - and then they'd dissipate.

I think part of the problem with this season is that the showrunning seems to have been having the same problem...

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
the showrunning seems to have been having the same problem...

I said to [livejournal.com profile] promethia_tenk over on Dreamwidth that Moffat and his team often create lace when they write their stories and story arcs.

Sometimes that's great, especially for those of us who want to look through the patterns in the lace, what some would call the holes, and fill in with story, or see past those holes to the story that's hiding in plain sight.

At other times, unfortunately, the lace simply can't hold the weight of the premises, and rips in two, three or nine.

Mind you, I'm an extremely cheap date when it comes to Moffat and Who. I will accept damn near anything.

Except frakkin Kill the Moon. That was horrendous.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 08:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lost-spook.livejournal.com
Ahh, so much of this is really interesting! And, actually, this way of writing it is so much easier for me to read than if it were tightened up into something more dense and structured, like an essay, so, I'm sorry you didn't have the time to do what you wanted, but very happy for me. ;-)

I especially liked this, about Clara in the timestream (a thing which fascinates me, too):

When she felt herself split apart, when bits and pieces of her fell away and forgot that they had been her, did she start to panic, to wish she hadn’t done it, to fight uselessly as she tumbled, trying to retain her sense of self? Even good soldiers panic, and sometimes they try to run from the battle, and if Clara panicked and wished herself out of the battle, it would not be surprising. Nor would it be wrong. But she might, like many soldiers in such a situation, have become ashamed of herself for trying to run.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so glad it worked for you! And what the timestream could have done to the essential Clara has been something in the back of my head for a while now. I was so grateful to the writing and meta gods when that, and PTSD, and broken mirrors, all connected together for me.

Thanks for the comment!

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] green-maia.livejournal.com
Oh, kaffyr. This is beautiful.

It’s a matter of physics.

A lie is a rejection of reality. It’s a bald refusal to accept what is happening in front of you, behind you, around you, inside you. It is saying to the universe, “You have presented me with this, and I am turning my back on it.”

The universe does not take lightly to being insulted that way. You cannot break the laws of physics without being broken in turn.


Yes.



*Hugs you*

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
Thank you for reading, and I'm glad that it resonated with you!

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wendymr.livejournal.com
This is beautifully written, and very plausible. With this depth of understanding, of character development, of logic, I wish you had been writing this last series! I do believe that this works as an interpretation; I just wish I could believe that Moffat has this level of insight and intention, and that, if he did, he could have made at least some of this explicit so that I wouldn't have needed your lovely essay to make some sense out of the mess and inconsistencies on my screen.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
I'm glad you found this interesting, and possibly helpful and thanks for your very kind words. I understand your concerns with how Moffat and his team put the season together, and I even share some of them, although I've come to an accommodation with many of his weaknesses because I love so many of his strengths.

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 12:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unfeathered.livejournal.com
What she said. :-)

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
Thanks; I'm glad you enjoyed reading my meanderings, and I'm especially glad if they helped you enjoy this season.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liadtbunny.livejournal.com
Very elegant. I think I half agree, the other half of me says something different.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
Thanks; I don't often get called elegant - if you saw me you'd understand. Heh.

the other half of me says something different.

That's the fun of dissecting the show we love - there are so many interpretations, so many things to discuss. I'd love to hear the other things you're thinking about the series!

Date: Thursday, 13 November 2014 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liadtbunny.livejournal.com
I found this series rather depressing on the whole, but I am optimistic. Clara and the Dr may be broken, but I don't think the damage is irreparable. Glass can be reheated and made into something whole, it's not the same of course, but it's not the end. Meeting the Master again helped the Dr realise he wasn't a bad man and if Clara is pregnant hopefully that'll help her.

And the Dr and Clara are still heroic - all the perfect normal people aren't saving the world every Saturday are they?

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
. Glass can be reheated and made into something whole, it's not the same of course, but it's not the end.

I meant to tell you earlier how much this image stuck with me; your perception is really lovely!

Date: Sunday, 16 November 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liadtbunny.livejournal.com
Thank you! My brain must have been having a good day;p

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
ext_7384: (Twelve and Clara)
From: [identity profile] elisi.livejournal.com
You don't just write meta, you write lyrical meta, and this was beautiful. It also made me think of one of my favourite quotes ever, by the Queen of meta, [livejournal.com profile] the_royal_anna:

I love it beyond reason when two characters are drawn inexorably to each other, the riveting chemistry that drives a story even when everything around it is standing still. But my other love story is this one: that when you're broken, sometimes the only thing you have that isn't broken are the relationships that keep hold of you even when you can’t keep hold of them.

I hadn't thought of Clara and the Doctor in this light, but it explains so very much. Thank you.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
I am thankful for your words - I wish my language could say things more cleanly and in a more disciplined manner, but I only see some of the patterns after someone else points them out. I feel the arcs better than I think them, if you see what I mean.

If anything I wrote helped you see Clara and the Doctor more clearly, I'm very happy.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:12 pm (UTC)
ext_7384: (Girl Doctor)
From: [identity profile] elisi.livejournal.com
I feel the arcs better than I think them, if you see what I mean.
Oh totally. I am beyond lucky to have Promethia to throw ideas back and forth with - two brains really are better than one.

If anything I wrote helped you see Clara and the Doctor more clearly, I'm very happy.
They are a giant mirror ball and this was a very important piece. Thank you.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
I shall look forward to what you write, very much.

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
This is beautiful. This is perfect.

Clara, reforged in a War that was not her own, but very much a part of her. The Doctor born again out of a horror he could not remember, then a quest he could not forget.

Both of them broken across the lines of Gallifrey - they are the cracks in the skin of the universe.

Thank you for this.

Thank you.

*HUGS*

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, my dear! As I've told other people, I'm not good at setting forth the really neat academic things that go into so many gorgeous and intellectually stimulating metas, but I hope what I do has a corner as well.

Both of them broken across the lines of Gallifrey - they are the cracks in the skin of the universe.

Oh, that's beautiful, a wonderful way to put it. Thank you for writing this!

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Do it better than I ever could. Then again, my best meta-attempts are fictions, lol!! I let my Musie romp and I get the equivelant of mental diamond. Tis rhinestone on the page, but I do my bestest, lol!!

*Blushes* High praise, sweetie. You'll make my head swell. *smiles*

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
You deserve the praise.

*hugs*

Date: Wednesday, 12 November 2014 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purplefringe.livejournal.com
Oh, this was beautiful. I've read it through several times, and it reads like poetry! Lovely, meta poetry.

Each lie, each impact, creates hairline cracks in ourselves. The cracks spread, and we become fragile as glass.

I love the idea of Clara as glass, not least because it's something we've seen since the beginning. Remember that hilariously badly photoshopped promo image of her and Eleven on the scooter, sliding down the shattering Shard? (Ha, Clara's first encounter with the Doctor from her POV culminates in a Shard of glass.) We are constantly seeing her reflected in different kinds of glass (in the oven door in Asylum, in mirrors, in the laptop screen, in the screen by the door intercom in BoSJ, etc) and we have always commented on those reflections. All that meta about the importance of 'looking' and 'being seen' in Clara's era as well - there is something to be said about one-way glass, tinted glass and stained glass, but I haven't worked out what it is yet.

And as for the idea of her being shattered glass - again, we saw that in Asylum when she blows her planet up, and then much more literally in The Snowmen, when there's all that emphasis on the ice cracking, on the Doctor and Clara looking at each other through windows (happens several times) and particularly the Ice Nanny exploding into smithereens. People have written v brilliant and convincing meta arguing that the Ice Nanny is a symbol for Amy, but I think she works much better as a foreshadowing of Clara's arc, much as A Christmas Carol foreshadowed much of the S6 arc. (right, [livejournal.com profile] elisi?)

ETA: other things this makes me think about, which I haven't been able to develop into fully-fledged ideas yet, are the link between shattered mirrors and the Snow Queen fairy tale (explicitly referenced in Hide - 'there's a sliver of ice in his heart') and also the link (in the English speaking countries anyway) between broken mirrors and bad luck.

Also, my favourite, favourite Leonard Cohen lyric, from the song Anthem: 'There is a crack, a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in.'
Edited Date: Wednesday, 12 November 2014 01:18 pm (UTC)

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
My apologies for not having responded to your lovely comment sooner. My week has been spectacularly devoid of spoons, but I knew I wanted to tell you that all your thoughts amazed and enriched my appreciation for the season. You saw so much more than I did!

I particularly loved the facts that you spotted a "Clara on the Shard" connection, and the Snow Queen references, not to mention that Leonard Cohen lyric, which fits the Whoniverse so well!

(And you did make me feel a little better about having turned to thoughts of glass and mirrors; I was, perhaps, more observant than I thought I was. Heh.)

People thought of the ice nanny as a reference to Amy? Really?

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purplefringe.livejournal.com
I don't think I saw any more than you did - I think we both saw things that the other person hadn't spotted! Your post certainly made me think a LOT - the connection with the Shard, and the Snow Queen and all the other things only occurred to me because of your post! I still haven't been able to shape any of those thoughts further (my brain is mostly in vidding-mode rather than meta-mode at the moment) but when I rewatch this season as I inevitably will before Christmas, I will have all this in mind…

People were linking the Ice Nanny to Amy because she was a frozen Pond, and also because, as the previous governess, was Clara's forerunner…there was some good meta, but I can't for the life of me remember where I read it. It just goes to show that anything can represent anything if you argue it well enough! ;-) But yes she was obviously intended as a Clara mirror, though the shattering thing only becomes obvious after The Name Of The Doctor.

I hope you have more spoons soon! <3

Date: Sunday, 16 November 2014 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
People were linking the Ice Nanny to Amy because she was a frozen Pond, and also because, as the previous governess, was Clara's forerunner

Oh, right! I remember that conversation happening, and I'm a little surprised that I didn't immediately remember it. It was an intriguing idea, although I'm not sure I agreed. Still ... the way this show makes ideas explode and grow is part of the reason I love it.

Date: Wednesday, 12 November 2014 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eaweek.livejournal.com
Lovely meta!

I thoroughly enjoyed this season, and the final two episodes, especially Death in Heaven, pretty much exceeded all expectations. I feel like Clara developed so far from her Impossible Girl origins that she felt like a completely different character, and Jenna Coleman knocked it out of the proverbial ballpark pretty much every time she was on screen.

Capaldi has been amazing as well, and his older, gruffer version of the Doctor perfectly suits the darker and more somber tone of so much of this season. It was the ideal season (and the right Doctor, much more so than Matt Smith's would have been) in which to bring back the Master, the Doctor's dark mirror. The final scene in the cafe, of Clara and the Doctor lying to each other to spare each other their own pain, WOW that was emotionally so powerful and resonant and bittersweet. Amazing stuff, and all the more gut-wrenching for its restraint.

One of the things that made the finale so wonderful is how every emotional beat was fully earned, having been set up from the start of the season (and before it). There was nothing gimmicky, no "gotcha!" stunts, nothing that came out of left field. I think this season might actually have had the strongest arc of the new series, certainly the strongest arc of Moff's Who--maybe even stronger than the Pandorica plot, which was excellent.

If I have one quibble, it's that I don't think Danny (and his relationship with Clara) was developed thoroughly enough for his fate in DiH to resonate on a gut level. With Clara, I felt her pain right down to my bone marrow. Danny, not so much. It felt more like an intellectual exercise than a deep, emotionally wrenching thing. Which isn't bad, it just made it a bit harder to care about him. His decision to return to life the kid he'd accidentally shot to death was so perfect, though. If this is the last we see of the character, he certainly was written out on a note of selfless, true heroism.

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoyed my thoughts!

I feel like Clara developed so far from her Impossible Girl origins that she felt like a completely different character,

I definitely agree with this; and I think that's why Clara was often the high point of this season for me. I found it to be a very variable season; some episodes I really, really liked, and others I disliked, largely because they felt badly built to me.

I do admire Capaldi, and I want to love his Doctor; I hope the joy that he occasionally let shine through this season gets more of a chance next season. When he smiles, it's quite glorious, and, no matter how dark any Dr. Who season may get, it's important for the showrunner and his team not to forget that joy lies at the Dr.'s heart just as much as the storm.

Date: Saturday, 15 November 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Oh, this is stunning, and such perfect insight. ♥ I understand feeling the need for such a disclaimer, but truly I didn't feel it was needed—so you didn't write essay-meta, but you wrote lyrical meta, your analysis woven into vibrant prose, like I'd never seen it done before. It is all the more impactful and effective, and I really was fascinated by the result. ♥

Your outlook on Clara and the Doctor's relationship feels just spot-on, it makes so much sense. The lying, what it truly meant and what consequences it could have; the war trauma, on each side; the reasons they lied, the concealing their hurt; the Doctor being born from a lie, from Clara's desperate request, and growing from that; the mirroring, how they were each caught in their own patterns, yet patterns that came from the other, and they painfully rebounded and influenced each other, pushed and pulled through the cycle of addiction… It's all spot-on and so thought-provoking. And Danny in the middle of it all, a soldier of a different kind, a soldier who acknowledged he had been one, even if he no longer wanted to be. A soldier who wanted to soothe Clara's scars and make her see there were other things, better things. It's even more powerful and emotional with your sharp and deep insight. And the beautiful, vibrant way you phrased all of it, the awareness of humanity with its psychology and its flaws! I'm just in awe. Some sentences made me sit back and reread them over and over, they were so beautiful and universally true.

Broken people love, and perhaps love harder for knowing that they need something to hold themselves together.
This especially. God, so much.

Thank you so much for sharing this ♥ It is stunning and makes me love them all all the more.

Date: Sunday, 16 November 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaffyr.livejournal.com
I'm so glad you liked this, and got something out of it! I love the show so much that it makes me happy when something I say or write can show another side to the characters or the setting, or what-have you.

. And Danny in the middle of it all, a soldier of a different kind, a soldier who acknowledged he had been one, even if he no longer wanted to be.

Yes, this is what made his inclusion in the season necessary. He was the closest thing to an unbroken mirror that this season had, larger because he accepted things within himself and about himself. The others broke themselves because they refused to accept what they were, or at least refused to accept parts of themselves.

Date: Monday, 17 November 2014 09:48 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
He was the closest thing to an unbroken mirror that this season had, larger because he accepted things within himself and about himself. The others broke themselves because they refused to accept what they were, or at least refused to accept parts of themselves.
*nods* Yes… the image really completely works. :)

Date: Monday, 17 November 2014 09:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Hey, better be logged in. Sorry ;)

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