Hello! My name is Syed Arham, and I’m a massive fan of the FNAF series despite being an absolute coward when it comes to confronting the horror genre. The story and the characters keep me coming back to FNAF, though, which I don’t really find in other horror mediums.
I’ve tried my fair share of horror movies and video games. Most of them struck me as very hollow on the inside – they focus on delivering a horrifying experience, regardless of whether or not the story gets resolved satisfactorily. FNAF, on the other hand, albeit not perfect, is one of the best attempts I’ve seen towards reconciling terrifying gameplay and an engaging story.
Even though Michael Afton is my favorite character from the game, many of the side characters are not that far off, particularly the ones that aren’t shown but most certainly exist. One such character is Clara Afton, the wife of William Afton and the mother of Chris, Elizabeth, and Michael Afton. Despite being an integral part of the Afton household, Scott has never explicitly talked about her, which drew my interest in the character even more.
Apart from her animatronic form known as Ballora, Clara Afton is a relatively lesser-known character in the FNAF series. Very little is known about her life as a human, and there is much speculation surrounding her death, though it must have happened at some point before possessing the animatronic. I find it a little disappointing that Scott did not drop hints regarding her in the video games, especially when she is a bit more established in the novels.
Clara Afton was William Afton’s wife, which alone speaks volumes about her life experiences. She bore the man three children (Michael, Chris, and Elizabeth) and most likely led a relatively happy life in the early days of her marriage. The happiness, I reckon, must’ve become even more pronounced when her family business, Fazbear Entertainment, started taking the country by storm.
Unfortunately, her days of financial stability were short-lived as the tragedies brought about by her husband flipped her life completely upside down. She’s one of the most tragic characters in the FNAF universe. I’ll be going over her involvement in the games and piecing together all I know about her life into one semi-coherent narrative.
Her only human depiction is symbolic. Fans theorize that Clara Afton is Clara from The Immortal and The Restless TV Show screened in Sister’s location. Not only does Clara and Vlad’s relationship plausibly reflect the troublesome dynamic William and his wife shared, but Vlad also wears purple. His being an immortal vampire signifies William’s constant cheating of death through reincarnation.
If we’re using Clara from the show as Clara Afton’s only human trace, we can note that she is blonde, which I had already inferred from Elizabeth Afton being blonde too.
Apart from that, she is a rather beautiful woman with fair skin, black eyes, and a round nose. She is often seen wearing a tight dark green shirt with a noticeable scoop neckline, dark gray pants that don’t go beyond the shins, and comfortable green flats as footwear.
On the other hand, Ballora is an animatronic inspired by ballerinas, as evident from her well-known fifth ballet position pose. As a humanoid, her body resembles that of a mature woman with a curved, hourglass figure distinguished with rosy cheeks and matching lipstick.
Her outfit, too, fits the ballerina theme, most notably with a blue leotard and purple tutu that stand out by being decorated with golden orbs.
The detail that I find most interesting about Clara’s animatronic appearance is her eyes. While her eyes are usually closed, as seen from the close-up cutscene on night 4 of Sister Location, her jumpscare and endoskeleton revealed her eyes to be small and very human-like. This is particularly noteworthy as I’ve noticed many animatronics simply have empty sockets with illuminating pupils – perhaps this explains where Ennard got its human-like eyes from.
Clara was a very simple woman. She was content with leading an unsophisticated life. Starting out her marriage by opening a small business with her husband, it was clear that she was at ease with her circumstances and wanted to enjoy every moment with her three children. Furthermore, even when Fazbear Entertainment started to climb the ladder of success, I’ve seen no evidence suggesting any kind of extravagance from her end, especially judging from the Afton household depicted in FNAF 4.
Unfortunately, I can not imagine her to have stayed the same after the tragedies involving Fazbear Entertainment transpired. After losing Elizabeth at Circus Baby Pizza World and Chris in the Bite of ’83 (in whose perpetration Michael was involved), I can not begin to fathom how these deaths must’ve broken the mother on the inside. She had lost her precious children and, after separating from her husband, lived out the rest of her days with instability and heartache.
Then, of course, came her reincarnation as Ballora, whose personality was completely upside down. Emotionless and apathetic, Ballora was known for being the most dangerous out of the four Funtime animatronics. Seductive and deadly, her means of killing involved isolating and luring victims through audio sounds and convincing misdirection.
For me, though, the most intriguing part of her personality is her lack of purpose and how she showed no desire to escape with the others by playing pretend and getting scooped. She is quite frankly empty, a shell with no ambitions acting out of the instinct of protecting itself.
Role in the Games
With the only symbolic trace of her human existence in the games explained, this section will mainly explore her role in the games as the terrifying yet soft-spoken Ballora.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location
Clara was first introduced in Sister Location as one of the Funtime animatronics, thus being an important antagonist in the game. Aside from Circus Baby, I’d say she saw the most level of involvement with the protagonist, from checking up on her at the start of every night to wandering in her den known as Ballora Gallery.
Clara is introduced right off the bat on night one, though you may not have noticed her – in fact, there is a poster of Ballora on the right side of the elevator you take down at the start of every night. Of course, it did get me curious to see her in action, partially because the game took the liberty to confirm her to be the universe’s first female animatronic.
Regardless, upon making your way to the Primary Control Module, the tutorial instructs you to do your first task of the night, i.e., to check on Clara and Funtime Foxy. Clara is on the left, where the Ballora Party Room is situated. Upon flashing the light, you’ll discover that she’s absent from the Party Room, at which point HandUnit will instruct you to deliver a controlled shock to wake her up.
Night 2, as has always been the case, is where things get exciting. In every FNAF game, the first night is just a tutorial, and night 2 is where the challenge begins! After HandUnit comes back online as a result of troubleshooting the power problem, he instructs you to make your way to the Breaker Room through Ballora Gallery. While he implores you to get it over with as soon as possible, Circus Baby advises against it and warns you against making haste in Ballora Gallery.
Upon entering Ballora Gallery through the Primary Control Module, you’ll find yourself crawling on the floor with a flashlight shining on the floor right in front of you. Hearing Clara’s music, you’ll have to make your way to the other end of the room while being quiet enough so that she doesn’t detect you. That, of course, I learned the hard way as I sprinted across the room on my first playthrough – don’t judge!
As you reach the end of the room, Clara will pass by you while spinning as a ballerina – here particularly, you must stop moving and let her pass, or she’ll jumpscare you. Trust me, Clara’s jumpscares are quite scary as her faceplates literally open up, and she screams at you with her endoskeletal face… oh, and let’s not forget the super high-pitched screaming sounds in Sister Location.
Clara is not as rampant in night 3 – the night itself is relatively short and rather uneventful. Clara is only seen during the first task of the night (i.e., checking up on Ballora and Funtime Foxy), where she is seen dismantled with her parts held up by Minireenas. I found the sight to be quite disturbing, especially when HandUnit suspiciously added that “everything is fine as it should be.”
Night 4 is especially painful for Clara, as after being kidnapped by Funtime Foxy the night before, you now wake up in a spring lock suit. Circus Baby is with you, and she doesn’t spare a second to fill you in on what happened, how Foxy tried to kill you but couldn’t because she saved you. Later we all got to know that it was just a setup, and the Funtime animatronics were merely pretending. I genuinely found myself unconsciously appreciating Baby for her “heroic” efforts.
Regardless, Baby reveals that you are in the Scooping room, where you are about to witness Clara get scooped. As it turns out, scooping is the process of forcefully laying bare an animatronic’s endoskeleton so that it may be subject to maintenance and upgrade. In this case, though, Clara was getting scooped due to some kind of fault that the establishment’s two technicians wished to investigate the following day.
The Scooper is activated, and it lets out three alarm sounds before brutally tearing open Clara, to the point of having her eyes stick out. As creepy as she may look right now, she will continue for the rest of the night as you keep the spring locks intact, waiting for someone to find you on the cameras and get you out of there.
On the final night, the remains of the Ballora animatronic suit are seen inside the Scooping room as it is revealed that she has already been scooped. But where did her internal endoskeleton go? That’s where Ennard makes its appearance to show that it is the amalgamation of all the Funtime animatronics who sought to escape the facility. Of course, when I think about it, it’s easier to escape as one entity rather than four – big brain move Circus Baby.
Freddy Fazbear Pizzeria Simulator
Pizzeria Simulator sheds light upon the events following Michael Afton getting scooped and possessed by Ennard. As such, it turns out that after the collapse of the Michael Afton’s body, Ennard fled to the sewers, and the amalgamation had internal conflicts. Circus Baby, being the mastermind controlling Funtime Freddy, Funtime Foxy, and Ballora/Clara, was expelled from the union.
What remained of Circus Baby became known as Scrap Baby and what remained of Ennard became known as Molten Freddy. From that point onwards, Clara existed as part of Molten Freddy, who is now lured into the pizzeria and locked up inside its maze-like basement. Here, Henry Emily initiates his final plan where all the rouge animatronics are set ablaze, and thus, Clara finally departs to the afterlife.
Ultimate Custom Night
It came as no surprise to me when I saw Clara in Ultimate Custom Night – why wouldn’t she be featured in it, am I right? Her mechanics, though, were quite different from what I saw in Sister Location, though I reckon it must’ve been due to the implementation constraints. Regardless, Ballora can approach from the left or right hallway, giving out a distinct musical audio cue indicating where she is coming from.
A little heads up for when she starts approaching is that your entire camera feed dies, which is something you should not start freaking out over as I did in my first run. You must remain calm and listen for where she is coming from before closing the door to deny her entry – if successful, you’ll hear a thud sound indicating that she has left. Otherwise, you know what’s going to happen, and don’t even get me started on her new jumpscare…
Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery
Clara is one of the bosses in Special Delivery, although she was introduced later down the line after the game’s launch. You can bet I was hyped to see her come back with new model animations and, of course, a new jumpscare! Her boss fight, as such, was fairly challenging, and it personally took me eight attempts to beat her with no prior knowledge of her mechanics – it was a completely blind run.
One of the first things I noticed about the boss battle was that instead of a shock button, the encounter featured the Noise meter mechanic – that already had me sweating. It indicated that the battle would be more focused on staying alive while not making too much sound to aggravate the animatronic, compelling it to kill me. However, it took me a few deaths to realize that too much movement was also not her cup of tea. Thus, eventually, I came up with the strategy to beat her.
Holding out in this boss battle means doing several things at once. First, you must avoid the static noisy parts of the screen by slowly panning away – staying in it will make too much noise, and looking away quickly will trigger Ballora. You must keep doing this while looking for Minireenas on the ground, which itself won’t be easy as Minireenas will come to block your view.
Once you’ve collected all three Minireenas, Clara will come out of hiding and charge toward you; at this point, you must instantly look right at her, causing her to break down and suffer defeat.
Early Married Life
Clara got married to William Afton, the engineer, and started the Afton household with him, bearing three children: Michael, Elizabeth, and Chris. She was not a greedy woman and was content with leading a simple life, fully supporting her husband’s endeavors when he and Henry opened up Fazbear Entertainment.
As such, the company opened up its first family diner, Fredbear’s Family Diner, which featured two of the most unique mascots ever seen. These were Springbonnie and Fredbear.
The restaurant did not take long to blow up as children gravitated from every corner of town to play with the spring-lock animatronics. The place soon became every child’s go-to for birthday parties, and I’m sure Clara must’ve had her own children’s birthday parties here as well. With financial stability achieved, Clara could easily dedicate herself to her motherly responsibilities and raise her children in the wholesome confines of the family business.
Losing Her Children
Fazbear Entertainment grew bigger and bigger as it expanded to other parts of America. With the Afton household’s growing prosperity, something I believe Clara viewed as more of a blessing than a necessity due to her simplistic nature, an unfortunate chain of tragedies was just around the corner. She did not know, but her husband had an evil side and, while it remained contained in the early years of her marriage, was about to ruin the entire household.
It first started with the death of her daughter, Elizabeth Afton. The tragedy took place at Circus Baby Pizza World, where Circus Baby, William and Henry’s newest, state-of-the-art animatronic made her debut.
She was unique because instead of having a human controlling the spring-lock suit, there was an artificial intelligence endoskeleton responsible for entertaining the children. The only caveat was that William programmed a secret killing algorithm into her that even Henry was unaware of.
Circus Baby Pizza World took the city by storm as Circus Baby’s popularity skyrocketed amongst the children demographic. All kinds of children would come to play with her every day, and of course, I bet Elizabeth Afton was no exception, especially because I believe the animatronic was modeled after her.
Yet on one unfortunate day, Elizabeth found herself alone with Circus Baby, who pulled her into oblivion with her Scooper under the instructions of William’s killer algorithm.
I think William most likely forbade Elizabeth from playing with Circus Baby without a proper reason. Of course, he couldn’t tell her that Circus Baby was programmed to kill children and thus assumed that Elizabeth would be content with his strictness. I can easily imagine her being infuriated by it, as suggested by her monologues in Sister Location – she must’ve snuck out alone to play with Circus Baby, only to meet her tragic demise.
Bite of ’83
The Bite of ’83 is an infamous incident in the FNAF timeline where Chris Afton met his demise. Initially fond of animatronics, Chris was forcefully instilled with the fear of them by none other than his father, William Afton.
I suspect William to have resorted to such extreme measures to protect his offspring from his own child-murdering inventions. In other words, he wanted to rob Chris of his love for animatronics so that a repeat of Elizabeth’s doesn’t happen.
However, William had merely jumped from one extreme to another, not understanding the mind of an innocent child. As such, although Chris did develop a legitimate phobia for animatronics, it was the very disorder that led to his death. I firmly believe that had Chris not feared the animatronics, Michael would have never come up with the scheme of forcing him into Fredbear’s mouth, let alone bullying him into having his birthday party in the restaurant.
Reincarnation as Ballora
Losing two of her children at such a young age, with her only remaining child being involved with one of their deaths, must’ve broken Clara from the inside. I find it impossible to imagine a mother having to go through such a series of tragedies only to come out unscathed. The first outcome was that Clara separated from her husband, who was not only a leading suspect in the Missing Children’s incident but also the inventor of those bloodstained animatronics.
Even after separating, though, I reckon the emotional instability still persisted, leading to a severely dangerous dip in her mental health.
From here, the details of Clara’s death are not confirmed, though two main theories exist. One, of course, states that William Afton killed her, which is not that surprising considering he is a cold-blooded murderer. However, William is known to be a child killer, which is why I think he may not have killed Clara unless for a genuinely good reason.
This leads me to the second theory, which is what I personally believe in. The theory simply states that Clara committed suicide, a more plausible conclusion, in my opinion, that accounts for her mental instability and William Afton’s child-killing character. Regardless, after her death, it is strongly theorized that she came to possess Ballora and open a new chapter of her life as an animatronic.
Circus Baby Entertainment and Rentals
Ballora, invented by William Afton, was inducted into Circus Baby Entertainment and Rentals as one of the four Funtime animatronics next to Circus Baby, Funtime Freddy, and Funtime Foxy. Here, Clara lived out her days as rented entertainment – essentially, families could rent out the Funtime animatronics for their own birthday parties, a scheme unknown to Fazbear Entertainment.
Things soon became complicated as the remaining Funtime animatronics sought to escape the facility. If I were to give it a timestamp, this must’ve been sometime after William Afton’s first death, leading to the facility’s rundown. Ballora was not as ambitious as the others and did not “play pretend” as part of their plan to amalgamate into a single endoskeleton known as Ennard.
Circus Baby, on the other hand, exerted her control to ensure it happened. This genuinely makes me question whether it was just Circus Baby who wanted to escape and whether she was forcing the others to go along with it. There may be some truth to this, as internal conflict between Circus Baby and the remaining three Funtime animatronics arose later.
Ennard to Molten Freddy
Circus Baby’s plan ultimately overlooked many future considerations that soon came to bite her, something that I believe Clara already knew. It could reinforce my theory that she wasn’t in favor of escaping the facility, simply because it wasn’t possible to survive in the outside world. After taking over Michael Afton’s body, Ennard was eventually forced to eject itself from the body due to excessive decomposition that was making it stand out in public.
With their plan to escape in shambles, inner strife began to stir up amongst the Funtime animatronics. Circus Baby, the mastermind, was on one end, and the remaining three animatronics wanted Baby to take responsibility on the other end.
Personally, if I were to guess who was leading the trio, it must’ve been Clara due to her overarching intelligence. As such, Circus Baby was ejected from Ennard and what remained of the amalgamation became known as Molten Freddy, most likely spearheaded by Clara.
Clara, fortunately, met her demise with the other animatronics in the execution of Henry’s final plan. After opening a new Fazbear restaurant purely for the sake of luring in rouge animatronics (mainly L.E.F.T.Y, Scrap Baby, Molten Freddy, and Scraptrap), Henry hired Michael Afton for the salvaging process.
Every night, after his manager shift came to an end, Michael would head out to the back alley to salvage any animatronics. If an animatronic met the “Paragraph Four” criteria, they would be deemed rouge and locked up in an underground maze-like basement, awaiting death.
Once all the four animatronics were imprisoned, Henry set the building aflame, not only killing himself but also freeing the souls contained inside the animatronics. Thus, Clara was set free from the prison of his ex-husband’s making, hoping to reunite with her children in the beyond.
Question: How did Michael Afton live?
Answer: While it isn’t explicitly stated how Michael Afton came back to life, a strong theory suggests why. Initially, I thought Elizabeth had something to do with it, considering how her whispers of “You won’t die” in the cutscene seemed to have caused him to regain consciousness.
However, there is a more logical explanation – according to Sister Location’s blueprints, the Scooper has a remnant injector. This injector infused the remnant inside Michael’s body, binding his soul to it.
Question: What was the Scooping Room Incident?
Answer: After building up considerable trust towards Circus Baby, Michael Afton was lured into the Scooping room. While no reason was given, Circus Baby only highlighted the situation’s urgency. As such, when Michael Afton made his way into the room, he was locked in from behind.
Ennard made its appearance, expressing how it wants to leave the facility but can’t do so, looking like an endoskeleton. Thus, its objective was to rip out Michael’s inside and control his body from within, which was achieved through the Scooper.
Question: Who is the voice actor for Clara Afton?
Answer: Michella Moss is the voice actor for Clara Afton and Ballora in both Sister Location and Ultimate Custom Night. Apart from that, I was quite surprised to know that she also voice acted Roxanne Wolf from Security Breach – I knew her voice sounded familiar!
Clara Afton FNAF: Conclusion
Clara Afton is one of the most tragic characters in the entirety of the FNAF series. Even though she is not explicitly mentioned, everyone knows for a fact that she existed – someone had to bear William’s biological children. Other than that, fans also generally know Clara for being the one who possessed Ballora, one of the funtime animatronics.
On the other hand, I view her differently because many of us fail to account for the fact that she was the mother of the Afton household. She must’ve loved each child dearly, something that must’ve broken her down when she lost them. Clara represents a simple woman who once lived a happy life before everything turned upside down.