Disclaimer the first: I am not a historian. I’ve read a modest number of Victorian novels. If you think I’ve gotten something a little wrong, or a lot wrong, please let me know.
Disclaimer the second: Generally speaking, I am not a stickler for historical accuracy. I am completely in favor of writers changing whatever details they need to change if it makes the story work, so long as those changes aren’t horribly problematic. This is not horribly problematic. But it irked me.
Disclaimer the third: I don’t think you are a bad person or ignorant or whatever other negative thing if you didn’t notice this or give a shit.
That being said, I wanted to say a few things about governesses in Victorian England and why the way Moffat portrayed the profession in The Snowmen bothered me.
So, I was talking with a friend about how Moffat-era companions never seem to just be people, it isn’t even that they grow to be important like the RTD-era ones did, they start out all ~mysterious~, and the question, “Who is [name]?” is always asked—their identity itself is in some way secret and important.
Amy Pond was “the girl who didn’t make sense.” Her life was “impossible.” She had the power to bring things into existence purely by remembering them—something unique to her which has never actually been explained.
“Who is River Song?” has been the buzzword of River’s whole arc. She’s a woman of mystery, with a backstory so convoluted it still doesn’t make any goddamn sense. She’s important because she’s Amy and Rory’s child, because she’s the Doctor’s wife, because she’s the child of the TARDIS, because of all these unique intrinsic things about her—who she IS, not who she grows to become.
And now Clara Oswin Oswald is again a mystery to the Doctor from the getgo, not an ordinary person who becomes remarkable, or even remarkable to begin with under her own power, but a conundrum of a girl who dies and reappears across time and space. And I made the offhand comment that Clara was yet another of Moffat’s special snowflakes.
And then it hit me.
Clara is a literal special snowflake.
As in she is made out of snow.
Snow that remembers. Special snow.
And then I laughed forever. Because I can imagine it happening.