Sooo. Been rewatching Rings of Akkaten and I just have to SHARE THE FEELS.
The River parallels were pretty much obvious from the first airing (see here
for reference). The song is over, Merry vs. Melody (when Merry ends up not sacrificing herself, the Doctor tells her "There's always a way." ALWAYS A WAY OUUUUUT ♥ too bad there's nowhere to jump from), the power of stories and knowledge etc etc.
But KNOWING that the Doctor is always seeing River… That "The song is over" moment was all the more powerful for it. THE CHORISTER'S BRACELET IS EERILY SIMILAR TO A VORTEX MANIPULATOR, SERIOUSLY. HOW DID I EVER MISS THIS.
But mostly, mostly:DOCTOR: You remind me of someone.
DOCTOR: Someone who died.
CLARA: Well, whoever she was, I'm not her, okay? If you want me to travel with you, that's fine. But as me. I'm not a bargain basement stand-in for someone else. I'm not going to compete with a ghost.
There were snowmen!Clara and Oswin, of course, and also the whole new companion thing, the fact that the Doctor had to heal from the loss of the Ponds—but now that we know that he lost River too… could it get any clearer? Except if Clara went "oh, was that a former girlfriend?", I can't see how. And it's BRILLIANT, because Clara is Clara and River is River, and they are both huge in his life, and shippers wars suck and they're both awesome and I'm happy. And yes, I know that probably sounded rambly and a bit incoherent. That's me in enthusiasm.
That was my merry moment of the day. (…easy pun, I had to…)