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An analysis of selected lines of Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia".
(Does anybody else start singing "La Vie Boheme" every time they see the title of this one?)
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# as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.
Closet case. (You know, for obvious legal reasons.)


# And yet there was but one woman to him
Yea-uh.

Kay, so obviously I'm in the "OMG HOLMES WATSON TRUE LOVE" camp, but the entire intro is basically "Hey, guyse? The reason he doesn't love any wimmins except for Irene is that he can't. Not because he's an invert and being sodded by me on a regular basis. No siree, he's just a thinking machine, no matter how much my other writings show that he really cares for me to possibly the detriment of his goal (see 3GAR and Watson being shot)."


# As I passed the well-remembered door, which must always be associated in my mind with my wooing, and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet, I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again, and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers.
Awww.


# “My dear Holmes,” said I, “this is too much. You would certainly have been burned, had you lived a few centuries ago
Or now, if you weren't so helpful to the police. This brought my mind again (as does everything) to the gay, this time how it was criminalized (probably because I've recently gotten my hands on an awesome book about 18-19-early 20th century homosexuality and it's awesome--it doesn't much dwell on the prosecution, leaving a multitude of other books to do that, but has good sections on the daily life of those not being convicted, which is really neat). And it was sad.


# a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope
First? That's where I'm carrying my stethoscope from now on. Second? I read it for a moment as secreted (as in to secrete) rather than secret-ed, and went "Oh, Victorian doctors are evidently way awesomer than everyone if they can secrete their own medical supplies." (I just woke up too, shutup.)


# "By the way, since you are interested in these little problems, and since you are good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences, you may be interested in this."
IL so much how it's implied that Watson hasn't been around in a while (though evidently keeping decent enough tabs on him to know that he's been "alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition"--phrased so that I took it as current knowledge rather than couching it in supposition based on years of association) and yet Holmes just draws him back in like nothing's happened.


# A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs.
Hahaha, this is pretty much true.


# I am lost without my Boswell.
I love this phrase so hard. Because seriously, who would be lost without their biographer? Sure, IRL Boswell and his biographee Johnson were friends, but Boswell went around town and whored it up (Wikipedia says he caught venereal diseases no less than 17 times, Jesus. How did he still have a nose, much less a brain?) and went back to school and left for ages at a time all the time, and Johnson had bunches more close friends than just Boswell (unlike Holmes, we most clearly may take it--though, sidenote, Johnson wrote a play titled "Irene", LOLOL). Holmes and Watson are so different.

By his choice of the word 'lost' (and Holmes is nothing if not precise in his diction), we--truly, Watson--whether one takes it in the physical or metaphorical sense, are forced to picture something of a regressed state and inherent confusion. It is this latter which would be utterly horrifying to a man who prides himself on understanding and reason; indeed, I would venture based on his character that there is naught more fearsome to Holmes than uncertainty (save maybe Watson's death. See 3GAR again). In six little words, he reveals that Watson means so much more to him than someone who just "chronicle[s] one or two of my more trifling experiences"; there is almost an emotional dependency suggesting that Watson is necessary for his optimal functioning, as further evidenced by how readily he pulls Watson back into this case.

Meta over. Back to the LOLGAY.


# I rose to go, but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair. “It is both, or none,” said he. “You may say before this gentleman anything which you may say to me.”
This reminds me of RDJ's SH. *grabby hands* "DON'T LEAVE ME!!"


# “I was aware of it,” said Holmes drily.
"Because I'm the smartest prettyprettyprincess in the room. Trufax. Can't get anything past me. *preens*"


# “You are right,” he cried; “I am the King. Why should I attempt to conceal it?”
I remarked on this while watching the Granada version of this story, because I found it interesting that Watson sprung up from his chair when it was revealed that Count von Whatshisface was really Wilhelm Whatshisface Somebody von SomethingorOther, Grand Duke of Clom-Felspoon, and hereditary King of Bohemia even though Holmes remained where he was. Would his role as the proper one in their relationship win out and he'd be all polite and stand up, or (especially when he hasn't been hanging with his bf in a while) would he just follow Holmes' lead and stay seated? The illustration on the page I'm rereading this on seems to indicate that Watson doesn't stand, nor does the dialogue (though it doesn't say he remains seated either). I prefer this, I think--Sherlock keeps smacking this king down like nothing ("Oh, I knew that. And that. I'm awesome.") and he's so in control of the entire situation that if Watson were to stand up for the king in the room, it'd be Holmes. Or, you know, get down on his knees. That too. The king is totally (erm, is there a word for emasculated but of your royalhood? Figuratively stripped of his crown, let's say, or:) pwned by Sherlock and it's obvious, the least in how his entire purpose there is coming to SH for help, so I vote no standing.


# [Irene will give the King's new gf the picture] Rather than I should marry another woman, there are no lengths to which she would not go–none.
This is one of those bits that really makes me feel like Conan Doyle, for all the awesome that Irene is, doesn't really have a grip on a strong female character. We don't ever get a good motivation for Irene holding on to the picture--movie!Irene, who IMO is slightly more kickass than Doyle manages to capture, would have just held on to it for political capital in case she got pinched for theft or something. Kingy here thinks she's just jealous? Doubtful; I mean, come on--they're obviously not even together anymore, and he's clearly with the other chick, so just spiteful then? Possibly, but I prefer the more devious motive--would you really subject yourself to having your house ransacked multiple times, etc., etc., just for spite? (Shall return to this at the end.)


# Putting his hands into his pockets, he stretched out his legs in front of the fire and laughed heartily for some minutes. “Well, really!” he cried, and then he choked and laughed again until he was obliged to lie back, limp and helpless, in the chair.
This is just such a funny image (though I can't quite wrap my mind around RDJ doing it, Brett would pull it off to have your sides splitting), and really gives credence to the theory that MAZA is a fake--"Holmes seldom laughed, but he got as near it as his old friend Watson could remember." Umm, no, pretty sure the man was about to die of the LOLzing right here. I'd hope Watson doesn't have that shitty of a memory.


# By the way, Doctor, I shall want your cooperation.”
“I shall be delighted.”
“You don’t mind breaking the law?”
“Not in the least.”
“Nor running a chance of arrest?”
“Not in a good cause.”
“Oh, the cause is excellent!”
“Then I am your man.”
“I was sure that I might rely on you.”

FAVORITE. Possibly favorite bit of all the Doyle canon, just for its combination of affection and friendship and banter. I will die of squee if they work this into the next RDJude installment somehow--it fits well, because even though they've done such things often enough before, now that he's working with Holmes again post-marriage, the circumstances have changed somewhat and both parties are a little unsure whether they stand on the same ground or not. This = the answer. Most certainly, he is still Holmes' man.


# raise the cry of fire
Holmes likes this trick quite a bit. Can't come up with the other one off the top of my head (I haven't read it, but rather watched the Granada version), but he uses the same trick to smoke a guy out of his hiding place where he's been holed up, pretending to be dead. He calls for "a rousing chorus of 'fire'!" and then is all disapproving and "I think we can do better than that, gentlemen," when he's dissatisfied with their rousingness, and I think I laughed through the entire rest of the scene.


# It was a quarter past six when we left Baker Street, and it still wanted ten minutes to the hour when we found ourselves in Serpentine Avenue.
I have nothing insightful nor gay to say here (IKR, me!). I just really like this turn of phrase. Note to self to steal it.


# Irene Adler, as I will still call her
Rather than Irene Norton, I guess he's saying? Could totally take this as Watson presupposing that which Irene reveals to us in the 2009 film--she's "Irene Adler again", for she bores of her men quickly and has little patience for that which she is not taken by (the latter much like Holmes, the former quite clearly not so much).


# After all, I thought, we are not injuring her. We are but preventing her from injuring another.
Aww, look at Watson rationalize crime for his boyfriend. The preceding "blackest treachery" line is quite revealing as well--I could go all fancy meta on it, but let's just say LOL at how it translates to:
sherlock holmes,RDJude,macros.


All I have to say about the housebreaking part:
sherlockholmes,macros,boys


# Now it was clear to me that our lady of to-day had nothing in the house more precious to her than what we are in quest of.
ORLY? I like to think that Irene has tons more awesome stuff. She just went for that because she knew that if she ran out suddenly, it'd be the item most likely to be looted in the smoke-filled room in her absence.


# There were several people on the pavement at the time, but the greeting appeared to come from a slim youth in an ulster who had hurried by.
Yea-uh, crossdressing. Irene is hard core.


Okay, so I come back to the issue regarding Irene and her motives for the whole photograph dealio. I know Holmesian scholars have probably delved into this far more in depth than a girl who's only read a few of the stories could possibly hope to do, but as a woman I think I've got at least some standing on that point alone. I do *really* like how Holmes still never expounds on what her motives might be, because he doesn't know. She's that cool.

But to analyze it for myself. Just to examine the facts on their face, it seems to imply that she's married now, and therefore doesn't care about ruining the King because she's got her own man and is therefore no longer jealous. What? By that logic, the entire time Norton had been courting her (and we don't know how long it's been, but presumably a little while), she has a love interest and thus would have had no reason to be jealous if she was really into the new guy. It takes Norton actually putting a ring on it for her to magically unjealousify? Doubtful. I think it's more likely that with all the strange "OMG we must be married now!" and them running off to the continent, she had a bigger plan and no longer wanted to have to dance around people trying to steal the photograph back when she had more beneficial dealings in store. I'd love to know what she had cooked up on the other side of the Channel--possibly setting up to nab the Maharaja's diamond? Methinks yes.


Yay, that is all. Irene rocks my socks really hard, so I have major love for her!fic (especially when she's being awesomesauce and devious and possibly shagging Mary, since we all know the boys are off together anyway). In the Mary fic I've been occasionally jotting away at, she's to play a very integral part (as I'm planning to enact all of the aforementioned awesomesauceness bits) if I ever get it closer to done--been busy tapping out a finished RDJude and another incomplete Holmes/Watson since I last played with that one. If there are any thoughts regarding any of the above, I'd love to hear them!

Date: 2010-01-25 01:47 am (UTC)
ext_22444: Aisha Tyler and Milla Jovovich. No wonder there's steam. (Holmes Irene the Woman)
From: [identity profile] geonncannon.livejournal.com
Hey, I just read this last night! Right after watching the movie myself. :D

All excellent points! I will only add one or two things: One, the motive. Yes. Irene's plans/plots make absolutely no sense as written. There needs to be a sequel where she has an awesome scheme cooked up. Maybe she's in on it with the King's new fiance!

Two: Irene Adler cross-dresses. Yep. Uh huh.

Three: On Sanctuary, Helen Magnus knows the real James Watson. The real James Watson was the basis for Sherlock Holmes, but he didn't want the publicity, so he had Conan Doyle create Holmes as a cover. Ergo, in my mind: Helen Magnus = Irene Adler.

I will be writing a fic about 1890s London with Helen and Watson in pursuit of an abnormal, and Conan Doyle tagging along. It'll be epic. I can't wait. :D

Date: 2010-01-25 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crashcart9.livejournal.com
Maybe she's in on it with the King's new fiance!

Oh, very probably the case. Irene Adler is like a Victorian England Carmen Sandiego, I think--a trail of crime and self-servingness and lovers on every continent.

Ergo, in my mind: Helen Magnus = Irene Adler.

Ooh. I remember seeing part of the episode in which they introduce Watson and thinking that it was a neat idea--that would be very fun. A devious Magnus on a romp through 1890s London could easily fill the role of "The Woman" in Holmesless!Watson's eyes.

Date: 2010-01-25 04:01 pm (UTC)
ext_22444: Aisha Tyler and Milla Jovovich. No wonder there's steam. (Holmes Irene the Woman)
From: [identity profile] geonncannon.livejournal.com
So much possibilities for fic! Shame ACD sucked at writing strong women. Can you imagine if Irene Adler was recurring instead of Moriarty? Ahh, possibilities. :D

BTW, if you want some next-to-canon slash for Holmes and Watson, check out "The Adventure of the Dying Detective."

Date: 2010-01-25 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crashcart9.livejournal.com
Hee, that's the first one of the stories I ever read. I love the Granada version of everything, but I just DL'd the Jeremy Brett "DYIN" today, and (though I'm only about 15 minutes into it as we speak) it's proving to be just as awesome--the plot and dialogue is all enhanced by the background knowledge that they've completely omitted the wife in the Granada series!

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