Monday, October 15, 2018

Doxxing the king.

There have always been depths to John H. Watson that none save Sherlock Holmes have ever come close to plumbing. His military service and its effects on his life are one we glimpse early. But equally mysterious, and even more in front of our faces is his authorial life.

As biographer to Sherlock Holmes, Watson was constantly making choices. How to tell the tale, what details to reveal, and what, exactly, would make it to the pages of The Strand Magazine. How did he make those choices? How did his personal feelings enter into the matter? Why was he so open about Mary Morstan, yet so tight-lipped about Mary Morstan Watson? Many questions abound.

Such as the way Watson is very shy about referring to the royal family or other highly placed individuals in the British government, but when it comes to the King of Bohemia, he just cuts loose. One could assume it was Mycroft Holmes's watchful gaze that kept him in line with the British side of things. But Watson seems so happy at making the King of Bohemia look large and silly that one has to wonder if other factors didn't come into play.

My mind always has to come back to "the late Irene Adler" when revisiting the tale of "A Scandal in Bohemia." Only a few short years before, she was "this young person," and now . . . she's dead?

At some point, the King of Bohemia sends Sherlock Holmes a gold snuffbox with a great big amethyst in its lid, even though Holmes refused an emerald ring in favor of the souvenir of a photograph of Irene. (It should be noted that he was already holding on to a thousand pounds of the King's money.) But that snuffbox that just shows up later . . . it's a little weird, like the King decided to send Holmes a little extra, almost like something else had occurred.

If Watson hadn't portrayed the King as such a doofus, one might be tempted to think evil thoughts like the villainous sovereign going, "You want a souvenir of Miss Irene Adler so badly, here's a snuffbox with her cremains in it!" Though they probably didn't say "cremains" back then. Too dark, though?

One is very tempted to think that the King has something to do with "the late" prefixed to Irene Adler's name, and perhaps Watson, unable to prove anything, was just telling the tale to see if anyone else could make connections that might bring justice somehow.

Like so many other afterwords of Holmes cases, we shall never know exactly what came after. Who went down with what ship. Who might have stabbed who. But things are definitely very suspicious when it comes to the late Irene Adler.

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