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At the end of The Big Bang, as the Doctor is about to step into the time crack, he sits next to little Amelia's bed and reflects on the times they had together. He does this in a very ultimate and final way, as if this is his true death.

And yet, five minutes later, we see (older) Amy stand up at her wedding and remember the Doctor, and it is revealed that this is his plan all along! In this case, why is he apparently "dying" before this?

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I think the answer is just that it was a long shot plan he was hoping might work, but at the end after putting young Amelia to sleep he was having a lot of doubts, saying "silly me" to have thought he could "hang on" this way...from the transcript:

DOCTOR: It's funny. I thought if you could hear me, I could hang on somehow. Silly me. Silly old Doctor. When you wake up, you'll have a mum and dad, and you won't even remember me. Well, you'll remember me a little. I'll be a story in your head. But that's okay. We're all stories in the end.

Then at Amy's wedding when she remembered him fully and he did come back, he said he was surprised:

AMY: Okay, Doctor. Did I surprise you this time?

(The Doctor appears in top hat and tails.)

DOCTOR: Er, yeah. Completely astonished. Never expected that. How lucky I happened to be wearing this old thing. Hello, everyone. I'm Amy's imaginary friend. But I came anyway.

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    I think "How lucky I happened to be wearing this old thing" is meant to be sarcastic. Just as much as both previous sentences. To me, total confidence to the point of obnoxiousness is a trademark of Smith's Doctor. I'm pretty sure he's doubted his plan for something like half a second. – Nigralbus Feb 16 '15 at 16:21
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    @Nigralbus I agree. Actually I thought, with whispering all the stories to her, he wanted to make sure, that she would remember him - and so ensure that he would come back. – Einer Feb 17 '15 at 8:57

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