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The Sherlock Archetype

Art in the Blood Forums General Discussion St. James’s Hall The Sherlock Archetype

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    • #421
      Le Chat NoirLe Chat Noir
      Moderator

      So I saw this , and I think I disagree wholeheartedly with the overall conclusions about Holmes’ personality.

      Cook writes, “And yet, we love it when Sherlock is cruel. Or at least we are entertained by his cruelty, his arrogance, his casual disregard for society, for authority, for, really, anything that doesn’t come from his own brain.”

      Maybe I’ve got my rose-colored glasses on, but I can’t recall a time in the canon where I would call Holmes straight-up cruel. I’m not talking about BBC Sherlock here: Don’t quote me any of that “high functioning sociopath” business. I’m talking canon Holmes, that which should be the make up of an archetype. I can see arrogance and casual disregard for social norms/social hierarchy. But cruelty? To whom is he cruel? He’s a bit of an asshat in “”The Adventure of the Dying Detective” (because, seriously, give Watson a break for goodness’ sake!), but even that’s not cruel — he has a relatively good reason for being a lying fool. Please hit me with your best shot(s) here!

    • #440
      ScarletSherlockScarletSherlock
      Moderator

      I 100% agree. What about the “chivalrous opponent” quote? Or when Watson gets shot and it’s ” I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain”? He might have been a bit acerbic and anti-establishment but I don’t recall him ever being outright cruel, especially to Watson. That’s an adaptation thing. And even Rathbone’s Holmes, who snaps at Lestrade & Watson for looking at him funny (not really), is sweet to little kids and quite kind to his female clients. Holmes knew how to play a room, so to speak, in general.

      • #444
        Le Chat NoirLe Chat Noir
        Moderator

        Well, I’d slap a fool who looked a me funny. :mrgreen:

        I agree — Canon Holmes is too smart to let his assholery (if he even had any) to get in the way of solving a crime. He’s a mad player.

        I wonder if we can trace this back to an adaptation thing. Rathbone was snippy with Lestrade and Watson? Brett was a bit huffy and a little eye-rolly, but again, he never slammed dunked anyone and then kicked them in the teeth (metaphorically, of course). Are there pastiches or fan fiction from ages ago that made him seem like a jerk? He’s not really a jerk in the Mary Russell books, is he?

        RDJ is a little more of as ass, though. He’s doing the whole, “Don’t go off with Mary, Watson. Stay here with me! I’ll even take a bath!” But he’s not … well, he did do something to the little dog. But he didn’t kill it or anything. OH, he did kill a dog in the canon. But that was euthanasia, so it’s not cruel.

        Did he just become a super dickhead in recent days, for God’s sake? Am I looking at you, 2010?

    • #446
      ScarletSherlockScarletSherlock
      Moderator

      Rathbone was pretty short with both Watson and Lestrade, but they were both quite stupid (Watson was much better in the radio plays). Even so, there are moments of great warmth. When Lestrade first sees Holmes after believing he’s dead he practically cries, then gets mad at Watson for not telling him (even though Watson didn’t know). There’s a very touching scene when they think he’s dead and Watson asks Lestrade if he would like to have any of Holmes’ belongings. Lestrade pretends he’s not upset but takes one of Holmes’s pipes. Rathbone laughs often, and he is outwardly affectionate with both Watson and Mrs. Hudson – and a few of his clients.

      And of course there is the greatest scene ever in a Holmes film:

      Russell’s Holmes is a bit of a stodgy old guy but then she’s a stodgy old woman in a 22 year old’s body.

      • #451
        Le Chat NoirLe Chat Noir
        Moderator

        Um, what in the what-what did I just watch? Why is Holmes singing, what the hell is he wearing, is he okay?

        So, we’re agreed then: Canon!Holmes does not display cruelty to our recollections. Rathbone!, Brett! and Russell!Holmeses are jerky to certain points, but again, not expressly cruel people.

        I maintain that RDJ!Holmes is offending all of London by not bathing regularly. That is, in fact, cruel. You may disagree (on both issues).

        I absolutely will not and cannot accept or tolerate that one or two iterations of the character creates and informs an archetype. That’s just … that’s not the way it works. I would say that those iterations are influenced by a wholly separate archetype, the Asshole Genius. Surely TV Tropes has a history on this? I can’t trace it back off the top of my head right now.

    • #452
      ScarletSherlockScarletSherlock
      Moderator

      Oh god I am not even jumping into that cesspool on TV Tropes, but I’m sure you’re right.

      hehe the Rathbone scene is from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; he’s in disguise & trying to get a murderer to out himself at a party.

      I need to rewatch RDJ. Maybe we can make that the first film club? hehe.

      • #476
        Le Chat NoirLe Chat Noir
        Moderator

        I’d be hip to a RDJ rewatch, definitely. That would be a great first movie for The Great Film Watch of 2015.”

        • #477
          ScarletSherlockScarletSherlock
          Moderator

          aww yeah. What’s a good night? I’m not even free until Easter Weekend. :/

    • #474
      CionaudhaCionaudha
      Participant

      Not to be a cruel ass, but I can think of one instance when Holmes was a cruel ass. In Charles Augustus Milverton he proposed marriage to Milverton’s maid– and was accepted. Jerk!

      • #478
        ScarletSherlockScarletSherlock
        Moderator

        OH CRAP YES, man, poor Aggie. And Holmes is just like “whatevs.” Wasn’t he sneaking into her room at night? I’d say that’s more than just Victorian wooing. Dick move, Holmes. Dick move.

    • #475
      Le Chat NoirLe Chat Noir
      Moderator

      SS, I jumped into TV Tropes and found a whole mess o’ nothing. I’m back to square one on my search for Asshole Genius.

      Cion, you are so spanking right! That was a total dick move. You don’t go courting and wooing knowing full well you’re not going to buy the cow (if you get the milk for free? Was he getting some milk? Maybe Watson was too much a gentlemen to comment on his milk collection).

      Okay, I stand corrected. But he did do that in the service of the greater good — I’m not sure how good said maid felt about his jerkish move, but Milverton’s blackmail-ees felt pretty good about it, I bet. So it was kind of a “I’m Gonna Be A Jerk But Girl, It’s Seriously For a Good Cause, Hate the Game, Not the Playa” strategy. I’m not ready to condemn him as an Asshole Genius yet.

      But yeah, that was definitely an instance of cruel asshattery.

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