April 8th, 2017

(no subject)

I read "The Musgrave Ritual" today (link), and there's a lot to love. The frame story of Holmes being a slob and using the tale to get out of the housework is one of the most endearing things I've ever read, and it's so full of nice little character details. Fascinating that some of the things we BBC fans associate with Holmes, like cigarettes in the Persian slippers and mail nailed down to the hearth by a dagger, are actually Watson's doings.

And any time anyone implies Watsonis a bit of a dunderhead, I think I'm going to refer them to this master-class in sassy witticism: I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an arm-chair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges, and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it. Brilliant!

Then there's the case itself. I think what I love most about it is, it's not about Holmes being some rational god, it's just him being a geek and working out a basic physics problem. I mean, it's still got all those elements we like (romance, intrigue, fiery women running off into the blue (GREE, I'm looking at you here), but at the end of the day it's still Holmes in his infancy, "young, scrappy, and hungry" as the phrase goes, and every inch exulting in his art.

As a BBC fan, I was struck by that phrase, "the final court of appeals," which Holmes uses to describe his status when he had the reputation to let him do the consulting detective thing full-time (as opposed to the eary days of this fic). I do think the show got it wrong, that this wasn't some other identity that made the personal stuff matter less, it was the freedom to be who he really was, to rely fully on the trade that was custom-made for him (literally). Because this story s anythin but heroic, and anything but abnegating the personal, the importance of those little grace-notes of who we really are. But it was interesting to see it in its original context, definitey.

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