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As I’ve said, it’s interesting to compare Holmes as he is portrayed in different media. Most versions (that I’ve encountered, anyway) seem to capture the confident, aloof, intellectual Holmes. Opinion seems more divided on the morose, introspective, troubled Holmes; he remarks to Watson in one of these stories that he is his only friend. He seems almost bipolar: at times sitting catatonic, curled in his armchair or hiding under his hat, deep in thought; at others, filled with what Watson (as the narrator) describes as the thrill of the chase, he is full of vim and vigour, eyes bright and tail bushy. Er… if he had a tail.
Robert Downey Jr. turns him into a superhero. I haven’t had a chance to see Benedict Cumberbatch, but he allegedly gives a fairly accurate modernised portrayal. Basil the Great Mouse Detective focuses on the manic phase.
Hugh Laurie (as House, MD) seems to capture the dichotomy, with the added twist of misanthropy. He certainly captures the feeling that Holmes understands people and knows how to get them to react the way he wants, but because/in spite of this he can’t really relate to them on a personal level.
Woah, heavy note to finish on: Sherlock Holmes is a psychopath.
Well, no, not really. He’s more like Dumbledore: a manipulative so-and-so, but uses his powers for good, and does actually care about people. He just believes he knows better than everyone else, and that they won’t do the right thing if he – oh, I don’t know – told them what was going on.