victorian fan

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE - John Watson's affair with Sherlock's sister and the application of a Victorian literary trope...

Not only is it now canon John DID cheat on Mary, but we also have learnt that the woman with whom he had the affair was none other than Sherlock’s sister.

My reaction? Fucking genius move by Moffat and Gatiss! And completely fucking frustrating too!!!

I read a Masters in Victorian Studies and had the great fortune to be taught by Dr Holly Furneaux. She introduced me to a trope which was common when Arthur Conan Doyle first brought Mr Holmes to life, and which appears again in this latest incarnation of the Great Detective.

Why is it fucking genius to bring this trope into the modern-day Sherlock? Although it is not referencing anything in the original stories (at least so far as the relationship between Holmes and Watson is concerned) it is yet another example of a device entirely appropriate to the original Victorian text being perfectly realised in 2017.

Why is it fucking frustrating? Although I am not one of them, I know the are so many fans who are desperately wanting and hoping to see johnlock realised on the screen - to have that validation and representation, instead of feeling they are being queerbaited by a show they love.

Making use of this trope is too damn clever. It’s unnecessary. And it smacks of writers showing off how smart and witty they are. The woman on the bus could have been a complete random serving the purpose of showing John is human but with no link to Sherlock. She could still have been Sherlock’s sister trying to worm her way in, but with John having none of it… Instead, John has an affair with his best friend’s sister.

If the introduction of this trope is deliberate (and how can it be anything but) then the subtext is that John loves Sherlock romantically and/or desires him sexually.

If that is the subtext, then just make it the text already!!! This is 2017 for God’s sake. You don’t need to employ sibling substitution to code for homoerotic desire anymore. Heteronormativity no longer needs to be affirmed or enforced.

I learnt all about this when studying under Dr Furneaux (particularly in relation to Dickens’ work).

In her article, ‘Charles Dickens’ Families of Choice: Elective Affinities, Sibling Substitution, and Homoerotic Desire’ [Nineteenth Century Literature - September 2007]
Dr Furneaux suggests that in Victorian times a male might transfer his love for another male onto a female sibling.

Dr Furneaux writes:

“In his repeated delineation of a male character’s compulsive shift of attention from a close male friend to his (most often) physically similar sister, Dickens leans on – and then proceeds to expose the homoerotic possibilities within – two central Victorian beliefs about siblinghood.

“Domestic ideologies of siblinghood allowed both fictional men and their historical counterparts to create a homoerotically motivated family of choice through betrothal to the suggestively similar sister of their closest male friend.

“Dickens pioneered an influential model for covert, but highly corporeal, homoerotic articulation which was thereafter eagerly employed by his contemporaries, including Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and later in more overt representations of homosexuality by writers such as E. M. Forster and Evelyn Waugh.”

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I swear I’ll draw something else. I SWEAR.

A random Ripley appears! I hope she is in fact the one with Cabal’s Ruin right now. And speaking of that cloak… I like thinking that it looks like a void in space. I mean, in a world just BRIMMING with magic, a magic devouring cloak would be a weird black hole. An out of place device that drinks the natural world around it. Also, I mean, let’s just give Percy something that’s blacker than black so we can just role with this Victorian goth kid persona.

And then some Vex and Percy because this slow burn is how I wish to die.

Fan Bing Bing absolutely killing it and looking like an immaculate goddess at the Met Gala, meanwhile nearly everyone else entirely missed the theme memo.