... ... Is it April yet? No? ... ... How 'bout now? Damnit.
What you just read is the play-by-play brain of a Whovian as we all sludge through time the slow way and in the right order, waiting for the last half of Series 7 and the 50th-anniversary celebrations. This is torture under any circumstances, but right now it's maddening because we're dealing with one of the greatest mysteries of the rebooted series. Namely, who or what is Clara Oswin Oswald?
She was a member of a doomed spaceship that crash-landed into the Dalek asylum, only to be transformed into a Dalek herself. Despite her ordeal, she found the strength and intelligence to fight back and even aided The Doctor in escaping the planet. It's presumed she died when the Daleks themselves blew up the asylum.
Then, during the Victorian era in England, she appeared again in the guise of a barmaid and a governess. It wasn't revealed until the very end that the 19th-century Clara was in fact connected to Oswin at all until she repeated her final words to The Doctor before she died, the same words she left him with in the asylum.
"Run, you clever boy...and remember."
Previews for the upcoming season show her in yet another setting, probably modern-day England. Now we have to wait at least three months to find out how this all ties together, but in the meantime fans are feverishly trying to deduce the answer. Listed in order of awesomeness (not probability) are the best they've come up with.
10. Oswin is a regenerated River Song. Probably the most standard theory is that Oswin has some sort of connection to River, even possibly being another incarnation of the half-Time Lady. Problems with this include the fact we know River used up all her regeneration energy to restore The Doctor in "Let's Kill Hitler" and the Daleks are unlikely to have transformed a Time Lord into one of them. Then again, these were insane Daleks, so there's that.
9. Oswin is an aspect of the Great Intelligence. Having been intimately connected with The Great Intelligence in "The Snowmen," Oswin may have become able to astral project as it does and transfer her essence to future bodies in order to survive.
8. Oswin is some kind of divinely appointed companion. Speculation on this draws mostly from the meaning of both Oswin and Oswald, which mean "Friend of God." Clara means "Bright," another word for clever. "The Snowmen" makes direct reference to the universe owing The Doctor, very close to being a God himself, something. Maybe the universe finally delivered.
7. At some point in the future, Oswin looks into the heart of the TARDIS to become a Bad Wolf-type entity. Just as Rose did in "The Parting of Ways," Oswin will later absorb the Time Vortex to stop a tremendous force, and leave clues to her future for herself scattered across space and time. Except instead of graffiti she leaves copies of herself to guide The Doctor.
6. Oswin is the heart of the TARDIS. Her sudden and brazen kissing of The Doctor as Clara, as well as her remarking that the TARDIS is smaller on the outside rather than bigger on the inside, could be clues to this. It's sort of unlikely, though, knowing what we do of the way the TARDIS works. She could be the heart of another TARDIS.
5. Oswin is actually the computerized little girl CAL from "Silence in the Library." Both are brunettes, and CAL would have enough information about The Doctor and River Song (spending her afterlife caring for CAL in the Library's files) to know to coax The Doctor with mention of the Ponds. Possibly she is using projection into flesh-like bodies to leave her digitized safehouse.
4. Oswin is in some way Donna Noble. Somewhere locked away in Donna is the power of a Time Lord waiting to be freed. Since the Meta-Tenth Doctor that is her counterpart can't regenerate, the implication is that Donna herself might now be able to. Or perhaps her subconscious mind is using Time Lord powers to lead The Doctor through time to a specific event. On the name note, Donna Temple-Noble can translate as "Lady Time Lord" just as Clara Oswin Oswald can translate to "Clever Friend of God."
3. Oswin is the new Master of Fiction from the Second Doctor serial "The Mind Robber." Trapped in a world of fiction being forced to create, Oswin is using her appearances as a recurring character to call The Doctor for help in fictional stories. She mentions being an entertainment manager in the asylum, and the birthday on her tombstone is the same as the television show itself, November 23. Considering that Neil Gaiman, the king of fiction in fiction, is coming back to write next season, this isn't outside the realm of possibility.
2. Oswin is the Key to Time. Possibly the best moments of the Fourth Doctor's run were in his quest to assemble the Key of Time. Ultimately he sends it through time in six pieces to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. What if Oswin is herself the six different pieces given human form like Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Doctor is reassembling them without knowing it every time he meets her.
1. Oswin is the Twelfth Doctor leading himself to his own creation. Extremely unlikely, but a what-if? Is the world ready for a female Doctor, and if so, could they have possibly picked a better one?