Walter Simeon’s life changed forever during one snowy day in 1842. As usual he was playing on his own, watched over by his fretting mother who remarked, ‘He never talks to anyone... He’s so alone.’ But moments after she walked away, something incredible happened. Walter spoke to the snowman he was building and heard it reply. A sonorous voice concurred with his own thoughts. Don’t talk to them, the voice told him, they’re silly. Hadn’t he always said that? But still, the experience shook him… He began to run until the voice continued. ‘You don’t need anyone else!’ Walter paused… Whether he realised it or not, his life had just become colder…
Doctor Simeon appeared to be the Great Intelligence’s most important human servant and his devotion was absolute. ‘I serve you in this,’ he once declared, ‘As in everything else.’ Certainly, this misplaced loyalty was extraordinary and he was prepared to kill for the Intelligence, ruthlessly letting his army of deadly snowmen loose on unarmed workers. His dedication was all the more remarkable insofar as the on-going plan entailed ‘the last winter of humankind’. But Simeon’s childhood disregard for other people had mutated into something more sinister and extreme, leaving him hell-bent on the destruction of his fellow man.
I think winter is coming… Such a winter as this world has never known!Doctor Simeon
Simeon was a cool customer in more ways than one. He appeared to show no fear when challenged by an intelligent ‘lizard woman’ and treated Vastra and Jenny’s threats with scorn. He suspected the Doctor was a foe worthy of respect but never once backed down, convinced until the end that the Great Intelligence would overcome all opposition
But the Time Lord deduced that Walter’s snowman in 1842 hadn’t truly spoken to him. ‘Snow doesn’t talk…’ he observed. ‘It just reflects back everything we think and feel and fear. You poured your darkest dreams into a snowman and look – look what it became…’ The Great Intelligence in its 1892 form!
The Doctor was able to erase Simeon’s memory and thought this would defeat the Intelligence. ‘No parasite without a host!’ But the force had become too powerful and in its own words, ‘Now, the dream outlives the dreamer and can never die!’ With Simeon’s adult life ‘erased’, the Intelligence was able to inhabit his physicality, using his body as a grotesque puppet to attack the Doctor. But when the snow mirrored tears, the effect was dramatic and Simeon’s body collapsed. A shocked Vastra looked at his lifeless form and murmured, ‘He’s dead!’