Having been awake for way too many hours in a row and having watched the Doctor Who episodes Asylum of the Daleks, The Snowmen, Silence in the Library,& Forest of the Dead in a mini marathon, I had an odd idea
I've seen speculation as to the identity of Clara Oswin Oswald, including the idea that she is River Song, somehow saved and regenerated after the library. I have a slightly different theory.
Is it possible that Clara is not River after the library, but the library itself? Or some hybrid of the library and River, a merging of the two personalities after River was saved?
The young girl who is the heart of the library’s computer, CAL, is first encountered by the Doctor as a disembodied consciousness, encased in a robotic shell, inside a locked room—remarkably similar to the circumstances in which the Doctor first encounters Oswin, as a human brain in a Dalek shell, locked in the center of the asylum. The library is held within CAL’s mind, just like the escape pod Oswin is in is all in her mind.
CAL has the access to the total of mankind’s knowledge and literature, but will never have the chance to grow up. She can read the great romances of the ages, but will never be able to fall in love. She can see pictures and read descriptions of the most wondrous places in the universe, but will never be able to leave the confines of her own mind. With all of that knowledge available, not to mention the consciousness of River Song, is it that far-fetched to imagine that CAL might create an avatar, or 12, to go out into the universe and explore? A series of remote surrogates sent to different times and places to learn the things that books cannot teach, some of which happen to coincide with appearances of the Doctor. Which can be explained if you assume River is serving as an advisor—she is, after a child of the TARDIS. Why wouldn’t she be drawn to the same times and places that TARDIS chooses for the Doctor?
Yes, Clara appears to be a few years older than CAL, but if the idea is to blend in then your avatar needs to be old enough to convincingly be one their own in the world. Clara doesn’t appear to completely fit in Victorian London and she has been compared to Mary Poppins, which makes sense if your only guide to the time was movies and the works of Charles Dickens, working as a governess and barmaid might be seen as the only options for a young girl on her own.
So, in The Snowmen, when the Doctor reminds Clara that he told her to stay in the library, is she saying she didn’t listen a few minutes ago, or years earlier
Something else to note: The episode in which River first appeared, written by Steven Moffatt, is titled Silence in the Library. While it would be easy to dismiss the title as a reference to libraries traditionally quiet or the fact that there was no one in the library, considering Steven Moffat’s penchant for playing long games with his plots, I’m not sure I’m willing to write this off as coincidence. Were there Silence in the library? And if so, isn’t it possible that events occurred that neither the Doctor nor Donna remembered? Events that the audience didn’t see? With what we know now of River’s timeline and the role the Silence play, is it possible that the events in the library were part of a greater plan?
Of course, this is all just a theory. If anyone wants to write the story where Clara is child that Rory Williams had with Jack Harkness…you know, after that time Jack visited the Pandorica at the museum and Rory decided that he was lonely and it wasn’t really cheating if it was another man…