John Watson, James Sholto, and The Blanched Soldier
I haven’t been able to find any metas written about this, but TSOT was so long ago that perhaps parts of this have been discussed already. I read The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes recently, and since S4 appears to be all about the Case-book stories, it seems appropriate to write something on this one now.
This story wasn’t at all what I expected it to be, even knowing Sherlock inside and out.
The Blanched Soldier is one of only two Sherlock Holmes stories that Holmes narrates himself:
“Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark that if I burden myself with a companion in my various little inquiries it is not done out of sentiment or caprice, but it is that Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own to which in his modesty he has given small attention amid his exaggerated estimates of my own performances. A confederate who foresees your conclusions and course of action is always dangerous, but one to whom each development comes as a perpetual surprise, and to whom the future is always a closed book, is indeed an ideal helpmate.“
But of course, the bulk of this story is not about Holmes and Watson at all; it’s about two soldiers with a very close relationship.
“We formed a friendship–the sort of friendship which can only be made when one lives the same life and shares the same joys and sorrows.“
… 91-year old spoilers and more under the cut.