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[personal profile] bbakerb
Because it amazes me how very faithful Moffat and Gatiss have been. Below are some excerpts from the very beginning of A Study In Scarlet. I might have mentioned this in my last post (?) but Gatiss said that the corpse/riding crop action was canon, and so I had a look and SO IT IS - below - the first speaker is Stamford:

"He appears to have a passion for definite and exact knowledge."

"Very right too."

"Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape."

"Beating the subjects!"

"Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death; I saw him at it with my own eyes."

And now, John's state when he meets Sherlock Holmes, i.e. the PTSD is basically canon too:

"If I am to lodge with any one, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement: I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence..."


"Let me see—what are my other shortcomings. I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It's just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together."

I laughed at this cross-examination. "I keep a bull pup," I said, "and I object to rows because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I'm well, but those are the principal ones at present."

WHEN I'M WELL. (Bear in mind though that canon Watson had enteric fever as well as being shot. but then also he says he was "leading a comfortless, meaningless existence", oh poor sad Watson/John)

but anyway i.e. the particular faults he lists are directly to do with his illness. (I think this supports the theory that the bull pup is not literally a dog.)

tl;dr going to the Sherlock screening last week gave me a NEW APPRECIATION for a) A Study In Scarlet, which when I first read it had struck me as almost unreconcilable with the later stories, b) the artfulness of Moffat & Gatiss.

Date: 2011-01-11 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm actually glad to see this, because I found myself wondering earlier, re: the 2009 film, where are they getting this dog from? I couldn't find any reference to a dog in any of the canon stories, although I haven't read all of them yet, so I didn't rule out the possibility. Web-searches turned up nothing on Gladstone in ACD canon. Is it all literally drawn from interpretation of this one line from Watson that is probably just a figure of speech?

Date: 2011-01-11 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh I ALSO! HAD! that confusion! re: Gladstone - and at the time I hadn't read all the stories so I assumed it was in something I hadn't read. And then I read ASIS and thought, hang on, how's a desperately wounded man acquire a puppy, how on earth does he look after it and why does he never mention it again in any of the other stories?

so I turned to google - and a 'bull pup' also meant a squat, heavy, snub-nosed gun, i.e. Watson could have been referring to his gun. And then also - 'keeping a bull pup' was Anglo-Indian slang for having a short temper. Since the conversation is about each other's vices, the short temper explanation seems to make sense. It fits with Watson's general emotional state upon returning to England - though canon Watson doesn't exactly seem short-tempered hmmm

- but John in ASIP has a fairly short temper - 'Damn my leg!' to Mrs Hudson - which makes me think Moffat and Gatiss are going with bull pup = quick temper.

The thing is that there is a real dog in ASIS, a desperately sick one in the next door house that Holmes gives the cabbie's pills to at the end. I think this must have over time got conflated with the bull pup reference. It's like Watson's supposed gambling - that's not exactly explicit in the stories. There's a reference, in one story, to Watson's bank book being locked in a drawer that Holmes has the key to - and that got developed (I think by Baring-Gould?) into the idea that Holmes locks up Watson's money to prevent him from gambling.

LONG COMMENT IS LONG but I find it FASCINATING the way that certain interpretations have become semi-canon over the many many years.

here's a short essay on the 'keep a bull pup' line.

Date: 2011-01-11 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
O ho! All my (read: one) questions answered!

Date: 2011-01-11 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YEAH I remember watching ASIP for the first time and flipping out every time they had a canon reference like "OH GOD STAMFORD" "OH GOD THEY KEPT IN HIS PTSD" "OH GOD THEY KEPT IN HIS ALCOHOLIC BROTHER'S WATCH" and I remember then actually questioning if Sherlock's hideous wink when he leaves the room was from canon, too, and I had just forgotten about it somehow hahaha

I like the idea of Watson having a secret dog and just NEVER mentioning it after this one line. And Holmes would be walking around the 221b rooms after living together for 8 months and he'd suddenly trip over some mysterious dog he's never seen before

Date: 2011-01-11 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like the idea of Watson having a secret dog and just NEVER mentioning it after this one line.


"Good grief, Watson, what's this dog doing here?"

"It's my bull pup, obviously. It's lived here for eight months with us."

"I've never seen it before."

"I did mention it."

"You were talking about having a quick temper!"


(and then he should shoot something so the gun explanation is covered too)

lol what sorry

the thing about the bits I quoted is that when I reread them it was like - I remembered it but had forgotten it? and so kept on thinking 'ah so THAT was what it meant!' - esp with the PTSD because of COURSE ACD is talking about the same thing, we just call it something different these days.

Date: 2011-01-11 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One day Holmes wakes up to this on his head:

Date: 2011-01-11 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
that is so cute

the baby has this expression of 'hmm something is wrong here AM NOT QUITE SURE WHAT', the dog is like 'goddammit can't a fellow get some rest around here'

have i just watched this seven times in a row


Date: 2011-01-11 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I only knew about the PTSD because I had read great fics about it- otherwise I woulda just passed over it and been like "Watson doesn't have any feelings, pffft"

Date: 2011-01-11 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When I first read the holmes stories I think my basic feeling was HOW JOLLY THESE VICTORIANS ARE, I wasn't exactly reading very DEEPLY

I pretty much thought canon Watson was being jolly and stoic and self-deprecating, not ACTUALLY miserable, just droll

Date: 2011-01-11 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But what is the bull pup a metaphor for? I DON'T GET IT. *PUZZLED FACE*

Also, awww PTSD!Watson. My over-indentifactory love, it is pure.

Date: 2011-01-11 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
PTSD!Watson <3 <3 <3

I remember newspapers treating the PTSD like it was just another aspect of the modernisation - like the sub-plot of How John Watson Got His Groove Back had been invented for the show - it made me ridiculously happy when I realised that HJWGHGB was CANON, BABY!


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