My only regret with becoming a Johnlock shipper in the ACD Sherlock Holmes/Granada fandom is that I’ve been in it for all of two months and it may have ruined me for almost all other romance. My expectations are just too high now.
Romance is my favorite genre, but it can be so hard to be satisfied when you want your romance to be interesting. Sometimes you just get two characters and the most interesting thing about them is that they’re going to end up together. You see it all the time, especially in mainstream het romance. Sometimes the setup is literally just: “Boy meets girl.” And we’re supposed to stay invested in it. Like, why should I care about these characters as people? Who are they outside their attraction to each other and why should I root for them to be together instead of apart?
And then you get Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This isn’t boy meets boy.
This is neurotypical, bisexual medical man with postwar scarring and PTSD meets manic-depressive, neurodivergent, gay (and possibly graysexual) genius with a drug addiction. Not only is that one of the most interesting setups for romance I have ever encountered - - and I’m not even including the cases here - - but it is just… the most heartwarming and beautiful thing. Ever.
Because if you order your ACD canon on a bed of Granada, my shallow labels don’t even begin to do these characters justice. They don’t cover Holmes’ playfulness and his heroic heart, or Watson’s boyish laugh and his sometimes embarrassing levels of sincerity. Not to mention the never-ending warmth in their eyes whenever they look at each other. And that’s not even the half of it. Any one quirk of their characters that other stories would reduce them to for the angst or excitement just builds these two into round, whole people, who almost feel alive. And they make each other better.
The hilarious part is that the adventures of Sherlock Holmes aren’t even a romance by definition. They’re mysteries and tales of social intrigue - - and yet, the romance is undoubtedly there, so long as you’re keeping your eyes open for it. In Granada, you’re plopped right into the middle of the love story. We get both the adventure of the cases and the domesticity of Baker Street. Between the wild disguises and crazy locales and daring chases, we get a warm room, a meal from Mrs. Hudson, and the easy physical intimacy of two people who live together and love each other deeply.
These characters are so multifaceted and their lives are incredible - - and yet, in a way, it’s to be expected. The extraordinary is everyday for Holmes and Watson because every day is extraordinary. Maybe that’s a bit cheesy, but it’s also terribly interesting.
Which is to say, I’m new, I’m hooked, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be quite as satisfied by anything else. Maybe most other love stories just need 130 years to catch up.