Over the past few months, I have been introduced to two uniquely amazing characters from two completely different shows. I felt I should introduce them to you and give you my thoughts on them.
The first is:
BBC’s Sherlock Holmes.
I know you all already know I love him. I really do. But why? Well, let’s take a look. When you first see him, he’s beating a corpse with a riding crop as an experiment, to see how long it takes the bruises to form. He’s asked to coffee by the girl who works in the mortuary, and responds with a brusque “Black, two sugars, thank you. I’ll be upstairs.” When his brand-new flatmate, John Watson, moves in with him, he had no idea what he was getting into. If the person who referred him to Sherlock had said “Oh, yes, he’s an extremely eccentric sociopath with a penchant for gruesome experiments, playing his violin at all hours, is involved with criminals and has Asperger’s,” he probably would have turned around with an abrupt “No, thank you.” But if that had happened, then the two unlikely heroes would not have been thrown together. They would not have uncovered dark plots. Sherlock would not have brought John out of his depressed shell, and John would not have lent some humanity to Sherlock’s genius personality.
Sherlock is oddly endearing. He is almost clueless when it comes to relating to people on a polite, personal level, as influenced by his relationship with the aforementioned mortuary girl, Molly Hooper. Molly has been crushing on Sherlock for who-knows-how long, and he is completely oblivious – until Christmas. Sherlock spies a nicely wrapped gift and goes on an entire spiel about how Molly must have found a new boyfriend because she took pains to dress up and look nice and wrap the present so well and then… he sees the name on the tag. And it’s his. And he actually apologizes. He means it. For possibly the first time in his life. I ship Molly/Sherlock, by the way, and don’t judge me. Ahem. Moving on.
He also cares deeply for their housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson. The sweet old lady is something of a mother figure to him – albeit a mother figure who has absolutely no say in what he does. He throws a man out the window for laying a hand on Mrs. Hudson and is adamant that she cannot leave Baker Street – “England would fall!” And he even yells at his brother Mycroft for telling Mrs. Hudson to shut up – even if, afterwards, he adds in a nicer tone “Though do, in fact, shut up.” No one is allowed to speak forcefully to Mrs. Hudson except him – and he will protect her with everything he has.
Sherlock comes across as rude and abrasive much of the time, but the thing that lets him off is he doesn’t mean to. He has a genius personality, an IQ higher than anybody else’s, sees the world differently, and has Asperger’s to top it off. He understands the world completely and perfectly – but he has no idea of the way human hearts work. At least, he doesn’t at first. But then John comes in, and then Irene, and then Molly, and… well, that’s another story.
Once, while facing off with Moriarty, the evil mastermind tells him “I will burn the heart out of you.”
Sherlock responds “I have been reliably informed that I don’t have one.”
Moriarty looks at him with a knowing look in his eyes and replies, “Now, we both know that’s not quite true.”
And indeed, it isn’t.
The second character I want to talk about is:
Once Upon a Time’s Rumpletstiltskin
When we first meet Rumple, he is behind bars, locked in the dungeon of Snow White and Prince Charming. My first reaction was “Whoa, weird. He could be pretty cool.”
An apt prediction, I found as the story unfolded. For the first several episodes, you think he’s only a scheming impish being with magical powers and a penchant for bargaining with unsuspecting victims. Ah, why must we be so narrow-minded? As it turns out, this citizen of the fairy-tale world wasn’t always like this. In fact, once he was a normal man – with a son, no less. And in an effort to keep his son from being drafted and sent to die, he seeks help from someone with dark powers.
This is never, ever, a good idea.
Instead of fixing everything, Rumplestiltskin gains the dark one’s powers himself, and in turn becomes something entirely different. A scheming, tricksy creature out for himself and himself only, or so we think. In the real world, he is known as the pawnbroker Mr. Gold; the one person the citizens of Storybrooke fear more than the mayor, Regina.
He seems to know everything that’s going on. And all he has to do is say ‘please’ and Regina has to do whatever he says… basically. Back in the fairy-tale world, he continues to exchange favor for favor, spin straw into gold, and create potions to make people forget bad memories. He’s a completely black-hearted creature.
And then Belle shows up.
Rumple agrees to help save a town from destruction, in exchange for Belle. She will work as a servant in his castle – for the rest of her life. And Belle, who has always dreamt of being the heroine and doing something grand, agrees. Months pass; and Belle finally asks him why he wanted her to come to his castle.
“The place was filthy,” he says, doing his best not to look directly at her.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s it,” says Belle, smiling. “I think you were lonely.”
Rumple, of course, refuses to admit to this claim. Outrageous, naturally! But his attitude begins to soften toward Belle. My favorite scene happens –
And his reaction to catching her, though not shown, is priceless as he puts her down with haste and holds his hands away from himself like “Ew, ew, ew, what on earth did I just do? It wasn’t so bad, but… but…lawks!” Belle chips a teacup, and he shows unusual lenience by responding to her worry, “It’s just a cup.” And we see this cup in Mr. Gold’s possession later on – as his one most treasured object.
When Mr. Gold is sitting in jail during one scene in Skin Deep (the best episode EVER) Regina the mayor (also the evil queen) walks up to him and promises she’ll give him his chipped cup… in return for his name.
“Gold,” he responds blandly.
She narrows her eyes. “Your real name.”
There is a tense moment of silence. “Rumplestiltskin,” he says.
And I’ll have you know, I grabbed my sister’s arm so hard I probably cut off her circulation as I squealed “He remembers! Holy cow, he remembers! I KNEW IT!!!”
I can hardly wait to see what happens with Rumple – and Sherlock. As their stories unfold I’ll be there to watch, with wide eyes and white-knuckled fingers, because they are just that awesome.
Any characters you feel this way about? Tell me about them; I’d love to hear!