Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Genius and the Wonder of Things

Contain spoilers for Sherlock The Reichenbach Fall, and possibly spoilers for Doctor Who series 6 finale The Wedding of River Song.
Not without grounds, the second series finale of Sherlock has been accused of echoing the finale of series 6 of Doctor Who. The comparison between Sherlock Holmes and The Doctor, is one that has crossed this fan's, and I’m sure many others’, minds long before they shared a televisional creator. It is not surprising to find crossovers amongst fandom as well as within the Doctor Who canon or other, past and present. It is particularly easy to find similarities between the current Doctor and Sherlock even before reaching either’s finale. I, and I know many others, think Matt Smith would have made a brilliant Sherlock just as Benedict Cumberbach, an excellent Time Lord. I have even suggested in The Terrible Zodin group discussion, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock as the Doctor’s companion, although I fear for my heart should that ever happen.

In the final analysis, however, the great detective has preceded the Time Lord. So, and I am being annoyingly petty here, if accusation must fly, it is the Doctor Who finale that echoes the books of Sherlock Holmes and not the other way around. As someone who loved both finales very much and thinks echoes are fun to play with, this doesn’t really bother me. I enjoy the similarities as much as I enjoy the differences, and they are quite dramatically different ways, but that’s another kind of article.

The Reichenbach Fall is an interpretation/adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story The Final Problem; one of the most difficult stories, in my opinion, to transfer into screen. Not a lot actually happens in the story and what does happen is quite vague. All we have to go by is Watson's account, but most of the story happened before he came in to it and, of course, he misses the most crucial event of the story. 


The background story of The Final Problem is as big as the story itself and its impact on the story in hindsight was and still is as big as the story's ending. Famously this was meant to be Sherlock Holmes’ last story; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle intended to let go of his hero and move on to a different kind of writing. Furthermore, what many seem to wave off, forget, or not know is that Doyle has changed quite a lot from when first wrote of Sherlock Holmes. His world view has changed and turned radically different to that of the hero he created. Nevertheless, Doyle not only brought Sherlock back from the dead, but remained true to his character and never forced his own views upon him. Writing, for me, is so hard even when I am trying to write views, thoughts and stories I wish to broadcast, I can not imagine how difficult it must be for a writer to maintain and fuel a character so different, yet bigger than its author. It requires the kind of discipline I could only aspire to, and the kind Sherlock Holmes had.

Consequently, The Final Problem became a more complex story than that of the battle between Sherlock and Moriarty or good vs. evil; it is the story of a struggle between a conflicted storyteller and the hero that he can’t let go of. That, I think, is the driving force behind Sherlock’s series finale The Reichenbach Fall.

The idea that Sherlock might be delusional and insane is not new in the Holmes universe. Shortly after the episode aired a friend pointed out The Seven Per-Cent Solution to me, a novel by Nicholas Meyer, which was made into a film directed by Herbert Ross. Further conversations with another fellow Holmes enthusiast has revealed an earlier film, based on a play by James Goldman, called They Might be Giants. After watching the first film and reading about the second, I am quite positive that at least one if not both have been a point of reference in The Reichenbach Fall episode, and thus continue the general affinity of the series to incorporate everything Sherlock Holmes; books and beyond.  

However, The Seven Per-Cent Solution, which I expected to have a slightly more interesting use for its potentially clever title, turned out to be, at least the film has I haven't read the book, merely a tabloid- like take on Sherlock’s drug problems and the root of all his other characteristic. The Reichenbach Fall uses the uncertainty of Sherlock’s sanity as a much more exciting device in the storytelling of a storytelling (oh dear, what have I got myself into).

Sherlock, the man and his reputation, like Matt Hill wrote in his review of The Reichenbach Fall, rises and falls metaphorically as well as physically in the course of the episode. His transformation from working alongside the law to running away from it, not only plays with the common perception of Holmes as morally ambiguous, but also raises the question, and I am trying very hard and clearly failing to stop myself adding “hidden in plain sight” here, who is the real Sherlock Holmes? Is he the hero or the villain he was build up to be by different kinds of storytellers?

Adding fuel to the fire of speculations, the future of the series was unclear and no official statement has been made until immediately after the last episode. The choice of The Final Problem to be the story of the series finale could have easily meant the death of Sherlock on TV. This vibe around the series with the added flavour of the Grimm’s fairytale and all that is attached to them, has contributed wonderfully to the feeling that The Reichenbach Fall has created of a constant battle between the authors and their hero.
 
Unlike Matt Hill, I don’t think the question of whether Sherlock really died would have been a good question to end the series with. An announcement of a third series would have destroyed any effect that kind of ending may have had. I could, and have already, come up with at least two theories to how Sherlock faked his death in the episode (Sherlock would have had eight) and who really is buried in his grave, but other than a nice brain exercise I don’t think this question is the most interesting of the episode. I am sure it would be explained within the first ten minutes of Sherlock and Watson's reunion, maybe even before. The question I ask myself, and the one which present the most challenge for the storytellers is, where do we go from here? A question, I am sure, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle faced more than once, and every serial storyteller of any medium should constantly ask.

I can not complete this review without mentioning the fantastic Watson, superbly played by Martin Freeman. The Reichenbach Fall’s Watson denotes the feeling amongst Sherlock Holmes fans: “Don’t be dead” he asks, just like the fans pleaded with Conan Doyle. What is more, and I don’t think he knows that, but in his end speech Freeman's Watson described my Sherlock, the one I described in a lengthier and less tear jerkery way. It is almost like Watson tells the public, you didn't really know Sherlock. 


Watson’s tragedy, both in the original story and in The Reichenbach Fall, is that his existence depends on that of Sherlock. Without Sherlock what is Watson? It is incredible to me just how brilliantly Freeman captures the essence of Watson; always the loyal soldier never even a flinch of doubt in his best friend, ready to put down the pen which will stop his tale as well as Sherlock’s. It was Watson who made me cry in the book and Watson who made me cry on TV with his uncharacteristically emotionality. In the books, and more subtly in the series as well, it is Watson rather than Sherlock, in my view, that lacks an emotional side and it is when his emotion suddenly show that the book, and the series really pinched my heart.     

For now, I will say goodbye to Sherlock's grip on my heart and mind, or at least to its public display. For this is the joy of readers and viewers, unlike the writers, we don’t have to let go.   


          

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Rules Are Wrong!

This is a review of The Hounds of Baskerville and as such contain spoilers. 

Oh Gatiss you! You clever, clever devil you!
I love Mark Gatiss. I love watching him on telly, I love his preoccupation with horror, I find him very eloquent, intelligent and interesting and I have been meaning to read his books, of which I heard nothing but raves, for a while now. But I have to admit I had my doubts about his scriptwriting abilities. His Doctor Who episodes, The Lazarus Experiment and Night Terrors didn’t impress me very much and his Sherlock episode from the previous series was only OK, but not brilliant. The introduction of Moriarty in the end of that episode was disappointing for many and has affected the overall enjoyment of the episode. 

The Sherlock Holmes story; The Hound of the Baskervilles, is a precious story for many, even for non Holmes aficionados. Personally it's not my top favourite, but I do like it a lot. Surprisingly, it is the most famous story of the Sherlock Holmeses and been adapted to death. I never liked any of the onscreen adaptation I have seen of this story and gave up watching them very quickly.

Therefore it wouldn't come as a surprise that I was a bit anxious before watching The Hounds of Baskerville. I feared that after the wonderful start to the series, my disappointment would be too much to handle. The good thing about being a sceptics is that it is great to be proven wrong.

The response to The Hounds of Baskerville in the Sherlock sphere didn't seem to be as enthusiastic as mine, and a lot of people, dedicated Holmes fans as well as casual viewers, didn’t like this episode as much as the first. I don’t know why, but I will try to get over it.

Before anything else, I want to take a moment and admire the oh so dramatic style and character of this episode: the scenery, the camera work, the atmosphere the pace of it and the excellent suspense, which kept me at the edge of my seat even though I predicted the outcome, well, having read the book I knew the outcome, but it's not a difficult one to figure out even in the book, everything in the episode was so different to previous episodes, and it stood out in its excellent off beat exception, much like the original story.
Moment over. 

While A Scandal in Belgravia was pouring down with Sherlock Holmes references that stretched beyond the books and celebrated a Sherlock Holmes culture, The Hounds of Baskerville went in a different direction. While it had its little throws towards other stories, The Hounds of Baskerville was a lot more contain and focused on its original story with the wonderfully clever solution taken from The Devil's Foot story.

Whether it was the subtle change to the title, the choice to change Henry’s last name from Baskerville to Knight, possibly making him a paranoid version of Don Quixote that contradicts Sherlock’s rationalism and logic, very fittingly played by Russell Tovey, the mixing and changing the characters names and who's who from the book, or the several plays on words (hound, H.O.U.N.D, dog, dogging, which in Conan Doyle's time actually meant following) and use of location, everything served the broad feel of the episode which brilliantly captured the mood of the book.  

Sherlock is famous for being master of disguise and Watson have said in A Study in Scarlet that he would have made a brilliant actor. This talent of Sherlock often becomes a comedy aspect in some adaptations (Guy Richie I'm looking at you) and is quite difficult to adapt to the screen nowadays without the audience figuring it out.  Sherlock's talent of deception is particularly important to the story of The Hound of the Baskervilles and in my view is masterfully used in Gatiss' version of it

Of course Sherlock knows how Watson take his coffee! His sulking, as if he will be offended if Watson refused this peace offering coffee, is the little touch which makes both Sherlock and Cumberbatch the fantastic actors they are, not only does he know how Watson drinks his coffee, he knows how to make him drink it the way he wants him to drink it. 

In a conversation I had with a friend about the episode, she claimed that she wasn't scared of the dog and so didn't understand why Sherlock would be so afraid and dramatically affected. I didn't think Sherlock was ever scared beyond the split second when he saw the hound for the first time. A split second in which, for the first time ever, I saw the image of Sherlock Holmes exactly how I visualised him the first time I read The Hound of the Baskervilles. I can't explain what it was exactly, but everything in that frame, from the facial expression which is a combination of fear and determination, right down to his posture, was my Sherlock, the way he was in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Everything that happened after that moment, in my opinion, was an act to convince Watson of his genuine fear and plant the image of the hound in his head. The end scene where Sherlock doesn’t understand why the owners of the dog didn’t have the heart to kill the dog, and asked Watson whether it was a sentiment, convinced me that he never really doubted himself, and was never really scared.

In Gatiss' version, Sherlock turns Watson, quite literally, to a lab rat, which is not that different from what Holmes does in the original story, in which Holmes' manipulation and deception is particularly cruel towards Watson. Both the story and the episode showcase their friendship and Watson's loyalty and admiration for Holmes. It is also a testimony to Watson's own unique character that he not only allows Holmes to manipulate him in such a way and forgives him, and not for the first or last time either in the stories at least, but perhaps he admires him even more. 

Maybe my theory is wrong, or maybe because Sherlock Holmes is my hero I just can't accept his self doubts, but to me, Sherlock's elaborated deception ties in very neatly with the story and the overall nature of The Hound of the Baskervilles.  

My only two complaints about The Hounds of Baskerville are with regards to the mind palace scene and the dog itself. Though I enjoy the Minority Report-esque of it, and can never resist a virtuosic Cumberbatch with the face of a dog or Elvis, I felt it was an empty show offy moment, which was wonky and unnecessary. The dog, I think, should have remained unseen, it would have had a stronger impact this way.

However, the dramatic suspense and atmosphere, the Watson of this episode, for Martin Freeman is truly brilliant here, the skilful scriptwriting, but above all my The Hound of the Baskervilles Sherlock moment make me declare The Hounds of Baskerville the best onscreen adaptation to The Hounds of the Baskerville story I have ever seen. Thank you Mr. Gatiss, my faith in you as a scriptwriter is now restored.     
      





Monday, 16 January 2012

Definitely the New Sexy!

This article contain spoilers for Sherlock episode A Scandal in Belgravia and the film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. 

What a glorious start to the year! The much awaited new series of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s Sherlock burst onto the screen with an excellent opening to the second series, and continued with intelligent, exciting and unique episodic adaptation of Sherlock Holmes into fantastic television, one I can write and talk about for a very long time, and I will for the next few days; starting with my review of the first episode: A Scandal in Belgravia.

A friend mentioned to me once that Steven Moffat said in an interview, about Doctor Who that either everything is cannon or nothing is. This approach to something with as big an industry as the one surrounding Doctor Who, manifests itself quite cleverly in his creative control of the series, which sometimes challenges and sometimes embraces, but never indifferent to everything Doctor Who.  

From the first episode of the first series, one of the most wonderful things about Sherlock that caught my attention, was the mouth watering mishmash Moffat and Gatiss made of several stories and the vast iconography and culture around Sherlock Holmes, which creates a unique hybrid of Sherlock Holmes the literary figure, Sherlock Holmes the public persona and  and whole new Sherlock emerges.

Like I wrote in my my previous post about Sherlock Holmes the character, in all the adaptations I have seen, and admittedly I haven’t seen them all, on films and TV, regardless to my personal preference, I haven’t found my Sherlock Holmes, the one I have had in my head since I was a young girl. Sherlock is no different, and with all my love to Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays him beautifully, the character, as it was for me in the Conan Doyle books remains elusive.

However, though I can't imagine Benedict Cumberbatch when I read Sherlock Holmes, I can definitely imagine a little bit of Holmes when I watch Sherlock. Cumberbatch, on the one hand is far too good looking to how I see Sherlock Holmes. Far be it from me to complain of Cumberbatch dominating my TV, on the contrary, the more the better, but, like I explained previously, I don’t see Sherlock quite as handsome as I see Cumberbatch. On the other hand, his Sherlock puts his fingertips together and up into his face when he thinks. This is a very accurate Sherlock pose, and one which Cumberbatch, in a course of one episode, is in more frequently than any other adaptation I came across. I can’t explain the tingling sensation I get from this seemingly ridiculously minor detail, so easily forgotten, being used as extensively as it is by Cumberbatch on Sherlock; so much so that it has assimilated into his body language. Other adaptation simply marked this gesture more as a crowd pleaser than a Sherlock Holmes nature. Silly I know, but I can't help it. 


Sherlock offers great drama, thrilling action, trendy maverick detective that fits with all others of our days, fashionable bromance with gay sub-textuality and excellent actors who are more than just eye candy, even if you're not a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, but most importantly Sherlock, in this series more than the previous one, opens a window to the world of Sherlock Holmes.

If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, and you don’t even have to be an obsessive one, than Sherlock becomes a different kind of experience and, in the case of this fan, creates waves of almost childish pleasure that combines the joy of spotting beloved references with the elation at this consolidation of Sherlocks from books and beyond, into an intelligent and insightful interpretation of everything Sherlock Holmes. Indeed like Moffat said; everything is cannon and nothing is.

I liked the first series very much, but compared with the one that just ended, it was a lot more cautious, which make sense in a first series, and while there was the mixing and matching of different stories and creating new ones, it seems creators Moffat and Gatiss were careful not to step too much outside the familiar book references. This is why, for me, the first series was good but the second series, right from the first episode, was brilliant.

A Scandal in Belgravia opened with a flood of references first from other Sherlock stories, but very quickly started pointing to other Sherlock Holmes' outside the books and eventually turned into the wonderful homage to one of my own favourite Sherlock Holmes films by Billy Wilder: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, which is an independent Sherlock Holmes film which only uses one original story as a point of reference rather than adaptation, and has its own new Sherlock Holmes story and outlook.

The original story: A Scandal in Bohemia is not even, in my opinion, one of the best Sherlock Holmes stories, and if it wasn’t for the fact that it was the story of The Woman who beat Holmes, and so taught him and the readers of the 19th centaury a naïve lesson about feminism, I doubt it would have been so memorable. Irene Adler, as I previously wrote, has become, because of that, a lot bigger than she really was in the books, and her character adaptations, as well as the discourse about her, gained independent life, outside the books. The original story was quite small part of the A Scandal in Belgravia episode, and the homage to the Billy Wilder film, which started with small hints, developed to become the heart of this first episode.

The suggestion that the deer-stalker hat was something which was forced on Sherlock by his fans, rather than his choice of accessories, was something that the Billy Wilder’s Sherlock has suggested as well, and has more than some truth to it; in the books Holmes doesn’t actually wear the deer-stalker hat very often, only when he goes out of London into the countryside and not always then. In the early illustrations of Sherlock Holmes there is no sign of the deer-stalker hat. The Deer- Stalker hat moment in A Scandal in Belgravia was the first hint to Wilder's film and like in the film a wonderful address to the fans.  

The first time Irene Adler meets Sherlock in the episode, she welcomes him naked. Gabriel Valladon, the mysterious woman who shows up on Holmes doorstep with no memory in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, enters Sherlock’s room naked, thinking he is her husband. In hindsight of the film’s conclusion, her nakedness suddenly becomes a weapon just as it was intended in the TV episode. While Moffat and Gatiss’ Holmes is baffled by the nudity and it disables his deduction abilities, Wilder’s Holmes uses Gabriel’s nudity and state of mind to get information. Both women's bodies turned out to carry the information Sherlock needed, which happens to be a code that unlocks a secret: Gabriel had the stamp of her locker number smudged on her hand and Irene’s safe combination is her measurements.  





Both A Scandal in Belgravia and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, refer to the original Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of Bruce- Partington Plans, though Sherlock referred more directly to this story on the last episode of series one: The Great Game. Both the film and the episode elaborate and expand the the story of the actual plans. I personally found the idea of the flight of the dead in A Scandal in Belgravia, as wonderfully bonkers as the idea of the Loch Ness monster being a submarine operated by midgets with canaries in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

But perhaps the most obvious connection between A Scandal in Belgravia and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is of course The Woman. Both women, though have different names, are THE women who confused Sherlock Holmes and exposed his vulnerability, even if only for a moment. I adore The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, but I can’t pretend that it didn’t hurt me to see Sherlock Holmes so defeated and hurt as he was in that film, and I admit that letting Sherlock come out on top in more ways than one in A Scandal in Belgravia, in contrast to the film, has made me happy. I appropriated Gatiss and Moffat's mercy as if, like me they couldn't bare to see their hero so defeated. It turned the dramatic "Auf Wiedersehen" of Billy Wilder to the more optimistic Goodbye Mr. Holmes, and I can’t help it, the romantic within me loved it.   

Sunday, 8 January 2012

My Sherlock

"'The division seems rather unfair' I remarked. 'You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?' 'For me,' said Sherlock Holmes, 'There still remains the cocaine-bottle.' and he stretched his long white hand for it."  Sign of Four

 
Sherlock Holmes was always a popular guy, but recently, probably mainly due to the wonderful television series and perhaps thanks to the recent films, there seems to be a fresh wave of a Sherlock revival. I have decided to ride this wave and accordingly accommodate my immense love for the man and his stories. I will definitely write about the new series of Sherlock, and may even dedicate a post to each episode, but I wanted to open this indulging of my Sherlock Holmes passion, with my own point of view about the great detective, and explain why I feel that MY Sherlock is different to his adaptations to the different sizes of the screen, or at least the ones I have seen.

Before I begin I feel I should explain that this is not a complaint, criticism or any kind of disapproval towards any Sherlock Holmes’ on films or TV, many of which I love with almost as much passion as I love the detective himself. The discrepancy of my understanding of Sherlock with the rest of the world, and by world I mean those who adapted him to films and TV, doesn’t mean that some of his adaptations aren’t wonderful.

Sherlock Holmes was my superhero when I was a child. One who puts all the superheroes with super powers to shame. Sherlock solved mysteries and brought justice to the world and London using mainly the power of his mind. He had talents and skills that wowed me more than any ability to fly, move earth or shoot cobwebs from your sleeves. Sherlock’s powers were, and still are, accessible, possible and inspiring, which made them the most super of all powers.

I read Sherlock Holmes as a young child, in Hebrew, and he and his stories were so precious to me that for a very long time I refused to watch any kind of adaptation of his stories or character to films and television. It was a time in my life when adapting books to films was a crime, and adapting Sherlock Holmes was an unforgivable sin. I had a very solid image of my Sherlock an I wasn’t ready for anybody else's view of him. With time, I learned to live with Sherlock Holmes' visual adaptations and even love some of them, but I could never shake a niggling feeling of disappointment I always had at the representation of Sherlock’s character, which was never anything like I imagined. 

I decided to go back and read all his books again, this time in language they were written in. I still haven’t finished them all, but though I have notice a few differences, my main feeling that no one, and by no one I mean his adaptors, understands my Sherlock, remained. 

It is hard for me to tell whether it was because of the Hebrew translation I read, which was meant for youth, or because of my own young and naïve subjectivity, but I was quite taken aback, when I started reading the books in English, by just how detailed and vivid is the description of his drugs habits are in those first books. However, I still feel that in the composite of the stories, the drugs play a relatively minor role in the building of Sherlock’s character. Maybe I am still the naïve girl that can’t accept that her superhero has vices, or maybe my attitude towards drug use is more casual and less alarmed than most, either way, I think that in the adaptations, the ones that chose to refer to it, and in the general Sherlock Holmes discourse, the issue of the drugs has become, like many other things, a bigger deal than it ever was in the books. 

One favourite subtexts, and occasionally simply text, that comes out on many of the adaptations is, of course, the homoerotic or gay implications of the relationship between Holmes and Watson. It’s as if male friendship must have sexual agenda nowadays or it will be considered old fashioned, archaic and in extreme cases even homophobic. It is a new kind of wrong in my opinion when men can’t admire, respect and even love each other without it having to have some kind of sexual hidden or unhidden elements in it. This kind of pressure doesn't seem to be so strong with us womenfolk.

As much as it may disappoint some readers and may come across, once again, as naïve I strongly believe that the story of Watson and Holmes’ relationship, much like the story of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, has no gay aspect to it. It is simply a story of true friendship love, and as someone who has made a female friend or two, towards whom I feel deep love and connection which are not sexual, yet lasted longer than all other kinds of relationship, the story of friendship is often one I can relate to more than any love story, and it is rarer. This doesn't stop me from enjoying sexual tension between whoever the latest studs, chosen to play Holmes and Watson.

Perhaps the biggest difference in my perception of Sherlock, and the thing that bothers me most about his adaptations, is the portrayal of his personality. Though I think Watson sometimes, but not always, shares the view of the world, and by world I again mean the adapters of Sherlock to the screen, about his difficult nature, I, and I’d like to believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, see things slightly different. 

Anyone who read Sherlock Holmes books knows that his character is constructed over the compound of the fifty six short stories and the four novels. Reading one story, or even one novel, will give you only partial understanding of Holmes’ character and it probably won’t be a very interesting one. It is also common knowledge that the Sherlock Holmes that emerges from the stories is of course the subjective portrayal of him by Doctor John H. Watson.

It is true that characters, of any book, often look different on screen than they did in our imagination when we read them, but Sherlock’s character has had so many screen versions and, according to latest TV Holmes Benedict Camberbatch, is the one character that has been played by the most amount of actors, and yet, I can’t help wonder how is it that my Sherlock is so different from all screen Sherlocks I've seen.

To begin with none of the onscreen Sherlocks look, physically, the way I imagined him. They all, even the great Jeremy Brett, who is definitely the closest in looks, look either far too healthy or much too handsome then my Sherlock. Brett was getting a bit more ill looking as the series progressed, but that was, for me, too little too late. Sherlock Holmes was never a handsome man in my head, and I fell in love with his intellect and charisma over sixty stories and not at first sight, or first read. None of the onscreen Sherlocks, even the quirky looking ones (Tom Baker I'm looking at you), looked like they starved themselves, lost sleep or became ill over a complex problem.

Now that we got the vices, the physicality and the gay issue out of the way, I can address the side of Sherlock Holmes that is most different in my head. With the exception of the Young Sherlock Holmes, most if not all Sherlock Holmes adaptors think his emotional and social skills are not quite as developed as his intellectual ones. Even Young Sherlock Holmes, which definitely presents a less cold Sherlock, simply builds the background which, at least according to the filmmakers, explains his emotional withdrawal. 

Though Watson is suppose to be a bit older, Sherlock always came across to me not just as older, but more mature and calm than Watson. What I see as emotional maturity in Sherlock, interprets, in most adaptations, as emotional inability and coldness. His lack of interest in love is often interpreted as lack of understanding of it, and that he never had any meaningful relationship other than his friendship with Watson seems to mean, to most people, that he is emotionally crippled. 

Irene Adler, aka The Woman, is commonly perceived as Holmes’ only love interest, and tragically an unrequited one. Many see her as “the one that got away” and in some adaptations a crucial shaper of Holmes’ personality and an enhancer to his preferred social isolation. While I don’t think Sherlock was ever in love with Irene Adler, and that she is one of those things that became a lot bigger than her story, I hardly think Sherlock Holmes is as emotionally crippled and as arrogant, rude and offensive as he is often portrayed in his adaptations. Since I don’t think he is emotionally cold, I definitely don’t think he was shaped by some kind of dramatic tragedy from the past.

The world, and you should know what I mean by now when I say world, consider only love for other people, and a need to couple and procreate, as a valid and healthy emotion, and when a person, Sherlock, has no such ambitions or chooses to live a different life, it must mean that there is something emotionally wrong with him and more importantly that he is unhappy.

Nothing can be further from the truth in my opinion. My Sherlock Holmes is an epitome of a balanced personality emotionally and otherwise. I found him very emotional and passionate and even got infected by his emotional passion, only it was not, most of the times, directed at people.  How can he be considered cold when his need to solve crimes and bring justice affects so extremely? Unlike most superheroes, Sherlock has more than just a strong moral core and a sense of duty, I believe Sherlock genuinely and passionately care about justice and his battle against it comes from real horror of evil and refusal to stand by and let it happen. Which is why I also don’t share the view that he is walking a thin a line between good and evil. His logical nature and his ability to reason does not make him, in my view, as capable of crime as he is of solving it. My Sherlock could not have been in any other side, but that of justice, truth and good.

I always got the feeling that even though he admired Moriarty's intellect, he was, at the same time, very scared of him and quite horrified by his evilness. Sherlock always seemed happy, even to Watson, at the thought of bringing peace to himself as well as to the world, by getting rid of Moriarty, and retiring. I never thought Sherlock was worried about the lack of intellectual stimulation and boredom that may be the result of Moriarty’s death.

Sherlock was never quite as rude, offensive, borderline sociopath and sarcastic as many of the adaptations seem to think he was. He could be upfront and blunt, and many people often confuse that with rudeness, but really Sherlock was always following social conducts with patience, at least he was in my books. In A Case of Identity, for example, Sherlock was not only tactful and diplomatic, but rather gallant and sensitive in handling the solution of the problem without causing Miss Sutherland what, in those days, would have been great embarrassment for her, and even in our days, would cause her a bigger heartbreak than the one she faced thinking her fiancé simply jilted her. 

Sherlock understands and respects social conducts more than world gives him credit, and often he is more sensitive to people than Watson or anyone else, and manages to get people to talk him like they wouldn’t talk the police or anyone else.

Many Sherlocks of the screen seem to be quite dismissive, antagonising and patronising toward the police and everyone around him. Detective Lestrade is the one who captured most people’s attention for some reason. Once again I see quite the opposite. Sherlock often turns to the police for help. He lets them take credit for solving cases he did, but more importantly he encourages them to open their minds and to improve they’re methods. With the exception of one detective, who quickly changed his ways once he realised Sherlock wasn’t a threat to his career, I always felt that he and the police and Sherlock had an understanding and worked together, not against each other. Sherlock was always pleasantly impressed and extremely happy when a detective’s report was particularly and thoroughly detailed, or when steps were taken to ensure a crime scene would remain as it was found. I never thought his praises to the police work, or to Watson's attempts were sarcastic. As someone who advocates the science of observation and deduction as he does, and lead a passionate campaign to make it a regular standard of police work, I don’t see that he could be anything but truly excited and happy to see his methods being applied, even if they are not as good as he at it, usually because others are new and untrained in his methods. Just as Sherlock’s character develops through the string of stories, so does the police work and attitude change and grow from story to story and both Sherlock and I as a reader, got happy and excited to see those changes and encourage them.

My Sherlock values and appreciate the people around him who help, often those who no one else gives a damn about, The Baker Street Boys, the servants and general commonwealth, but most of all Sherlock values, above all, his friendship with Watson.

As a young girl I didn’t really understand why Sherlock loves Watson so much. He doesn’t really do much to help bring the solutions, if he does anything at all, and in many of the cases he doesn’t even join Holmes in the most exciting adventures, but rather hear them from him after the act. My childish opinion of Watson didn’t really matter, and it was clear to me even then, that Watson is as necessary for Sherlock as he, I now know, is for the stories, and Sherlock often tells him, and not in a sarcastic way, just how invaluable he is to him. I must point out at this point that I am not a fan of those Holmes adaptations that portray Watson as a complete idiot. I don't think he was and I don't think Sherlock or Doyle ever thought he was. Martin Freeman, without much competition, is one of my favourite onscreen Watson if not THE favourite, and he captures him brilliantly. 

I had a discussion with a friend, also a great fan, who claimed, with reasonable rationalization, that faking your death without telling your best friend about it is a bit manic. I can see how it would be considered manic, selfish and cruel even, but I never did. Leaving aside the fact that Holmes’ resurrection is loaded anyway, since it wasn’t what Conan Doyle had originally planed for him, and I always felt that the resurrected Sherlock was slightly more bitter than before, even in The Hounds of Baskervilles, which was set pre fake death, more because of Doyle’s own resentment towards the hero he couldn’t let go of, than a real Sherlock portrayal, I think that Sherlock’s choice to fake his death and leave Watson in the dark about it, was a bigger sacrifice for him than it ever was to Watson. How painful and difficult must it was for Holmes to give up his only friend, who still had a wife to go back to, so he can protect him, and let him get on with his life without feeling obligated towards him, because Watson’s sense of commitment to Holmes has made his life somewhat erratic and would have put him in danger. This was pure altruism on Sherlock’s part. Knowing the one person who mattered to him is safe, and all else he cares about can be achieved without having to risk him anymore. Yes, it is difficult today to look at such an act without doubting the motives and free of sarcasm.

Phew, I feel a lot better, now that I shared my Sherlock with the world, and by world I mean the blogsphere. Now I can, in good conscious, continue to write about all other Sherlocks that will come my way.