Weekly Forum 2015: #11

This week’s Forum asks you to compare the personality, qualities and attitudes of the original literary Dr Watson and the personalities, qualities and attitudes of the various present day screen and TV Dr Watsons. How are they different from the Victorian original, or are they?

4 Replies to “Weekly Forum 2015: #11”

  1. To kick off the topic, I’d like to mention that one of the most striking differences between Canonical Watson and the Watson portrayed by Gatiss and Moffat in the modern BBC series is the portrayal of PTSD.

    While Watson of the Canon does his best to downplay the effect the war had on him, there are moments where he can’t help but express his concern with his old physical injuries. However, he survived a notably brutal incident, which can have a deep impact on a man’s psyche, whether he would want to recognize that fact or not.

    In the modern world, we’ve given that sort of deep impact the general label “PTSD” in order to recognize when someone is affected by it and we have taken more time to bring that unseen hardship to light. So in this day and age, it does make sense that not only is the BBC Watson struggling with the impact of his time in Afghanistan, but his friendship with Sherlock Holmes and their resulting adventures together are shown as his means of living with it and overcoming some of the worst aspects of it, such as depression and his limp in the first episode.

    I thought that was an interesting difference between the two Watsons.

  2. Hi Airy/Carla: You have a good point: the modern interpretation gives us more information about all sides of his personality. Many times I wished that the ‘original’ Watson was not quite such a gentleman–when he alludes to his temper, and his passions (like when he’s hiding at Milverton’s), I’ve often wondered about the sides of him that we don’t get to know. He is so reticent in talking about himself that I find it a loss in a way. I would have liked to have known more about all the facets of his personality. As for the video versions of Watson, I think the most-Watson-like persona would be a cross between the Jude Law representation and the Edward Hardwicke representation: a perfect mix between the Victorian gentleman and a man of the empire. As far as video representations, perhaps Watson is, in all actuality, most like Luke Skywalker.

    1. Hi Margie! I agree. As much as Sherlock Holmes can be mysterious at times, it is Watson who lets very little of his own life be known to his readers. I wish Holmes could have been a bit more descriptive of his friend in couple of times that he wrote of his adventures.

      I can agree with your assessment of most-Watson-like being a mix between Jude Law and Edward Hardwicke. Can you elaborate more in how Watson is most like Luke Skywalker? I’m intrigued by that idea.

  3. My Star Wars knowledge is woefully meager. I was thinking mostly of Episode IV (movie one): he was a man who thought he knew his place in the world, and wasn’t exactly happy with it. Suddenly, through an almost chance meeting, he begins a new life– an exciting, challenging life that changes his place in the word, indeed opens up a new world with physical, moral and psychological challenges; he finds a wise teacher, and levels of friendship that he could not have imagined before.

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