How does Clara Oswin Oswald die twice?

We know that in all of time a person can die only once, and we see Clara die in 2 episodes of Season 7 (Assylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen)?

My question is how is this possible?

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    I suspect it's far too early to tell. This is a good question, but it's also clearly the central mystery of the series, and I doubt there'll be enough information to answer correctly before the final episode. – Tynam Apr 7 '13 at 11:16
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    Well, that question is really what the arc of the current season of Dr Who is all about. Doubtless all will be revealed soon. Until then, it's all just speculation. – Christi Apr 7 '13 at 11:45
  • If we count a certain occurrence in The Bells of Saint John, then Clara has now died three times. Clearly, there is Something Going On with her, and we'll just have to watch the rest of the season to figure out what. – Martha Apr 7 '13 at 15:11
  • Techincally it's not a paradox as the Claras are unrelated. It's more like the same anomaly occuring over and over again, but as far as we know it neither causes or needs itself to occur. – user1129682 Apr 7 '13 at 20:41
  • @Tynam is right. The season 7.5 seems to be leading up to this mystery. So far, we know that she's died atleast 2 times, and a possible 3rd (if you include the s07e10 episode where her roasted remains roam the Tardis. How she "reincarnates" is yet to be determined. – SashaZd Apr 29 '13 at 14:56

The Doctor's Name episode finally addresses this. I suppose I'll just summarize:


Throughout the events of the episode, the Great Intelligence, a somewhat recurring villain, finds the Doctor's personal time stream, which is basically his entire life.

Anyone who enters the time stream would die, but thousands of copies will be sent through the Doctor's life. The Great Intelligence seeks to do so, and command all of his copies to kill the Doctor in every possible moment, turning his entire life into a burning hell, thus finally getting revenge (the Great Intelligence doesn't mind dying as long as the Doctor suffers).

Clara saves the Doctor by following the Great Intelligence through the time stream. Thousands of copies of Clara are spread throughout his life, all with the purpose of protecting the Doctor. Supposedly, the Clara at the Dalek Asylum and the one of victorian London are two of these copies that somehow end up helping the Doctor.

tl;dr - they're clones.


They are separate characters, played by the same actress, although sharing the same name. A third character (again, with the same actress and character name) has

recently become the Doctor's latest companion. There is at least on hint that she may be the same Clara who died in the Dalek episode - she gave herself the nickname 'Oswin', which that Clara used - but that may well be another weird coincidence.

Why these (biologically-unrelated) characters share a name, personality, and so on is an ongoing mystery of the show.

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    I don't think it's yet possible to tell whether the three Oswalds which we have seen thus far are separate characters or not. There is a strong implication that they are in fact all the same person and that Something Odd Is Going On. – Christi Apr 7 '13 at 13:44
  • But Clara herself said that 1) there was no Oswin in her name and 2) she was not the same person as the Victorian one. So, it's not her. Mystery solved. – Mr Lister Apr 7 '13 at 17:08
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    @MrLister As evilsoup mentions in this answer, by the end of the episode, there was "Oswin" in her name, and not being aware of the Victorian Clara does not mean there is no relationship at all. – Beofett Apr 7 '13 at 18:18

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