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[personal profile] inarduisfidelis
You know when you plan on doing this fab fandom project for a week and then that ends up the week that you actually have a social life?
Anyway, here are some thoughts on Watson, Holmes, and Russell. Discuss.


So a Mary Sue is supposedly a self-insert, and most of the criticism of Mary Russell is that she is one, and therefore by definition an unlikeable character.

And it puzzles me because yes, she is pretty much a younger female version of Sherlock Holmes, but she is also an independent woman of her age, she is far from perfect (has a traumatic past, for example), and I happen to think she's a well-written character.

So the Mary Sue thing, I suppose, depends by and large on how exactly you define "Mary Sue", but the fact is that Sherlock Holmes needs an audience. To tell a Holmes story, you need someone to walk alongside him, someone to whom he explains things, because if he were on his own he wouldn't bother.

One of the reasons I love BBC's Sherlock so much is their interpretation of John Watson as a competent man. And in this version and to an extent in the Guy Ritchie film, I see Holmes and Watson as equal partners. And that's the dynamic that I thrive off, that these adaptations thrive off. I think it's a combination of showing Watson's competence and exposing Holmes' flaws mercilessly—in the show, for instance, when he is being amoral, or when his junkie past is alluded to; in the film, when Watson rattles off the list of Holmes' flaws in the prison.

There are many more examples but I think that is a dynamic that I really enjoy, and I find the same dynamic in the Holmes/Russell pair; in their banter, in the way that Russell challenges Holmes, in the way that he feels protective of her but has to realise that she is an independent person and that he can't manipulate her the way he can manipulate other people.

So why exactly are people, especially women, so bothered when you make that person who walks alongside Sherlock Holmes and sees the battlefield female rather than male? Would they care as much if it was someone other than Watson, but male? Would they judge him as harshly?

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November 2012

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