I am busy grading and coding data, so of course I spent the morning writing meta. Originally posted to [my Tumblr
Reading Mycroft meta has just given me an awful, awful thought. One of the hallmarks of so much fiction about boys becoming men is how they struggle with loss and through it move toward independence.
Even though BBC Sherlock is not about a boy becoming a man, Lestrade’s early words (Sherlock Holmes is a great man, and I think one day—if we’re very very lucky—he might even be a good one) coupled with the creators’ claim that this is not a detective story but rather a story about a detective suggests that we are watching a story about the formation and maturation of a character (Sherlock Holmes), in which the people, cases and challenges he faces are what help him grow into his full self. One of these people/challenges is his relationship with his older, smarter, more powerful brother, Mycroft.
It’s easy to sneer at and be annoyed by Mycroft’s overbearing and controlling nature throughout the show, and the Sherlock series has featured both the ominous and ridiculous sides of ‘The British Government’. But series 3 has further highlighted just how tied together the two Holmes brothers are, with the older having a history of looking out for, rescuing, and overshadowing the younger. stephisanerd points out a great deal of this in her meta on Sherlock and Mycroft (go read it if you haven’t yet). And Mycroft’s own words to Sherlock in HLV (Your loss would break my heart), reveal such a depth of caring behind all of Mycroft’s annoying and underappreciated (by Sherlock) controlling and protective behavior.
However, sometimes when we coddle someone too much, we prevent them from growing and maturing in their full potential. I have just said that Sherlock is not a story about a boy becoming a man, but in some ways the almost willful immaturity of Sherlock suggests that this is exactly what this show is about.
And now for the awful, awful thought.
I have been rooting for Sherlock to break free of old habits and patterns, and I see his relationship with others and the formation of friendships as a way to achieve this (e.g. John replacing Mycroft as Sherlock’s inner voice in his Mind Palace; Sherlock listening to and taking social cues from Molly).
But another way to achieve independence is through overcoming the loss of a protector or guardian figure who has always been there (think Harry Potter after the death of Dumbledore in book 6 of the HP series). And it just occurred to me that in my exuberance to figure out Mary and what will happen to her, that I am forgetting about Mycroft and what series 4 and 5 might hold for him.
How will Sherlock cope if the east wind comes and takes Mycroft?