And then Holmes was like, “Calm your tits, fanboy.”

thatjessjohnson:

Oh, it’s absolutely vain! Ego to spare! The way I read it - which may not be correct or even particularly well founded - Watson’s admiration for the other fictional detectives seems like a sort of balancing act, however. It’s curious, at least with passages like this, to speculate which character’s perspective Doyle’s coming from. It seems like he’s always got the plausible deniability of, “Oh ho ho, but Watson said…” Clever little loophole, you long-dead scamp.

Rereading these is reminding me of what an unreliable narrator I feel Watson can be. I love that. I love the layers of subjectivity going on with the Holmes stories, whether it’s intentional or not. (By the way, “I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories”…? Favorite line in the whole novel.) If it’s mostly from Watson’s perspective, I always get the feeling that there’s more to be told. He changes details - because Doyle doesn’t bother with continuity - Holmes complains about his portrayal of the facts. When Watson thinks Holmes is cruel, he paints him as cruel. When he thinks Holmes is heroic, he’s admiring. I can’t help but get way too meta on the text with this sort of thing. There’s this feeling of a tug of war between reality and fiction in those moments and I eat that up with a ladle.

Oh absolutely! The subjectivity is brilliant. I think it makes Watson a much more real character, and makes the whole canon more believable. I like the faults. And I like that Conan Doyle is so present in the stories, that his own choices, tastes, and feelings towards his characters are very alive. That he really is Watson and Holmes, and at the same time is completely not. (Eloquently put, Kate.) You can feel a struggle there. (Tensions between creator and creation, and the relationship between stories and the real world… Ladies and Gentlemen, we have found my two favourite things.) In short: fetch me that ladle. I’ve got some lapping up to do.

And yes, the incomplete feeling is also brilliant. I love the space within the canon, all the room that is left over to be filled by others. I like the imagination it incites. Bring on the pastiches and adaptations! It also increases the reality of the stories, because we never do get the whole picture: we get one character’s view of some of what happens. It’s remarkably limited, which in a sort of funny backwards way, makes it remarkably open.