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September 2, 2012 5:04 pm  #1


Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

As requested, a discussion thread about Scandal In Bohemia. Once everyone has finished reading it, we can compare notes here. 


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September 2, 2012 7:15 pm  #2


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Before we discuss the story as such and the connections between the story and ASiB I'd like to mention some other elements that were included in some episodes. It seems to have been quite an important source for Moftiss, not without reason because it's a great story. Here are some things that struck me while reading. I'm sure there are more:

- "Wedlock suits you", he remarked. "I thin, Watson, that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you." "Seven", I answered. "Indeed, I should have thought a little more."
This is alluded to in TGG when Sherlock talks to Molly about how domestic bliss suits her.

- The famous "You see, but you do not observe."

- "I am lost without my Boswell" becomes "Id' be lost without my blogger" in TGG.

- Regarding some theories on TRF: "You, of course, saw that everyone in the street was an accomplice. They were all engaged for the evening." This fits the idea that all the people on the pavement in front of St. Bart's and the cyclist might have been involved in faking Sherlock's death.


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"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 2, 2012 7:45 pm  #3


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Boswell was also a notorious womaniser. Coincidence?


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September 2, 2012 7:54 pm  #4


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Knowing Moftiss probably not. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 7, 2012 6:58 pm  #5


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Somewhat late, but better late than never, right?
Okay, where to start...
First of all, SCAN is a short story, so as opposed to Study in Scarlet, it offers hardly enough "substance" for a full episode of BBC "Sherlock". I knew this before I started reading, but was nonetheless still a little surprise at just how little the two stories have in common.

I am not talking about things like changing Irene Adler from an international opera singer into a high-class dominatrix, which are simply meant to indicate the same level of scandal to a 21st Century audience. I am referring to two changes - first of all, the original Irene Adler was not interested in playing games with Sherlock Holmes, she was not interested in him at all. She tricked him entirely for her own protection. Admittedly, her dressing up as a man and following Sherlock back to Baker street shows a side of her that is closer to the modern Irene, but nonetheless I feel that she is a completely different person.
Secondly, the outcome of the story. Througout the BBC series, Moftiss go out of their way to show us that Sherlock Holmes is not a super hero, that he has flaws and weaknesses. Why, then, did they change the story of Irene Adler in such a way that he wins the game in the end and even rescues her from some unknown baddies? I would have much preferred an ending similar to SCAN, with Sherlock just a tiny bit in awe of "the woman" and her skills of deception.

Otherwise, I see little to compare, as the storylines are quite different, and as I said before, SCAN is quite a short and fairly simple story.

One thing that had me wondering though was the made up King of Bohemia. Did the readers of the late 1900s enjoy such bits of complete fiction in otherwise scientifically precise stories? I guess they couldn't have put the actual name of the King of Bohemia (Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria, in case anyone cares) into the story, but they could have simply left it to our imagination, like in the BBC show. Also, the reference to Bohemia being a German speaking country...that would have seemed to me a bit of a dangerous statement during that time? But I guess this is not the place for such a discussion, I'll just end up being reprimanded by the non-Europeans here again... 


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"There is no such word as 'impossible' in my dictionary. In fact, everything between 'herring' and 'marmalade' seems to be missing." Dirk Gently

Finally, I have made it to Cipher Expert :-))))) (8.8.2012)
 

September 7, 2012 8:38 pm  #6


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

I think the use of SCAN is typical for the method of Moftiss which consists in taking elements from the canon and transforming them into something else. Of course Irene is very different from the person in the story but the crucial thing is that she's the only woman who manages to impress and beat Sherlock. Which she does in SiB although it might be interpreted as a final defeat that she has to be saved by Sherlock.
I must admit I was really happy to discover the similarities: the compromising photo, Sherlock dressing as a clergyman, the trick with the fire, the photo he keeps as a souvenir which turns into the cell phone in the series.
And there is one quote which may also be applied to TRF: "So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head."


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 7, 2012 9:05 pm  #7


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

SusiGo wrote:

And there is one quote which may also be applied to TRF: "So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head."

That is a very nice quote,very fitting indeed.

And you are right, the little quotes taken straight from the original story into the TV show are such fun to notice, especially when the context is completely different. Like the one you pointed out about John having put on weight since getting married. I almost laughed out loud sitting on the train when I read that!

Overall, I did like SCAN quite a lot, I guess my post came across a little negative. It's just that the things I noticed that I didn't understand or couldn't quite fathom are more interesting for me to discuss with you here.


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"There is no such word as 'impossible' in my dictionary. In fact, everything between 'herring' and 'marmalade' seems to be missing." Dirk Gently

Finally, I have made it to Cipher Expert :-))))) (8.8.2012)
 

September 8, 2012 3:08 pm  #8


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

About Bohemia: Maybe ACD wasn't correctly informed. As far as I know the German speakers were a strong minority whereas the majority would have spoken Czech at the time. But you're right, it's funny that ACD chose to give Bohemia a fictitious king. He could have invented a country like some other authors did.


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 10, 2012 6:30 pm  #9


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

hypergreenfrog wrote:

Througout the BBC series, Moftiss go out of their way to show us that Sherlock Holmes is not a super hero, that he has flaws and weaknesses. Why, then, did they change the story of Irene Adler in such a way that he wins the game in the end and even rescues her from some unknown baddies? I would have much preferred an ending similar to SCAN, with Sherlock just a tiny bit in awe of "the woman" and her skills of deception.

To me, this is one of the major flaws of Scandal in Belgravia, and you're definitely not the first person to bring this up.

BBC Sherlock basically outwitted Irene in the end (and saved her ass), so she was no longer "the woman who beat him"...kind of defeated the whole point of the story and quite a big departure from the canon ending.


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September 10, 2012 9:18 pm  #10


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Agreed. I enjoyed the episode a lot but I do feel that Irene could have been written more as The Woman who outwitted Sherlock. In some ways perhaps it would have been better if the whole 'rescuing her' bit had been left out, leaving it up in the air as to whether she as really dead or alive at the end. Perhaps they could have done a small scene with her sitting at a cafe somewhere or something like that. With more thought I do feel the rescue scene is a bit silly and changes their dynamics. Also the fact that Sherlock broke the code on her phone. All very clever but doesn't really make her into The Woman except as a possible love interest.




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October 7, 2012 4:59 pm  #11


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Benedict's view that Sherlock's attraction to Irene is clear in the Canon...I don't get that at all.


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November 5, 2012 8:21 pm  #12


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

besleybean wrote:

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Benedict's view that Sherlock's attraction to Irene is clear in the Canon...I don't get that at all.

I'd say attracted to her intelligence but not much else, and certainly not attracted enough to enter into any kind of physical, romantic or emotional attachment with her.


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August 12, 2013 11:45 am  #13


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

I think the whole point of Scandal in Bohemia is that Holmes, who is a misogonyst either way, doesn't even consider that the "American Adventuress with questionable reputation" might be the wronged party, or actually smart enough to see through his little disguise. In the end, it's not just Irene Adlers intelligence and ability for disguise which impresses her, it's her integrity. And what all adaptations seems to overlook is that she married someone else, and since she had her pick, she most likely choose the young dashing lawyer because she honestly loved him and belived that he would do everything for her.
This is my main beef with what the show did...it would have been great if it turned out that after all, she wasn't the criminal she seemed to be (I certainly never got "innocent who stumbled over the wrong information from her"), but had a more noble motivation for what she did.
And yes, the whole point of the story is that she beat Sherlock Holmes. Why is that so difficult to put on screen? It is one of ACD best stories for exactly this reason.

Last edited by Swanpride (August 12, 2013 11:45 am)

 

January 13, 2014 12:37 am  #14


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Swanpride wrote:

I think the whole point of Scandal in Bohemia is that Holmes, who is a misogonyst either way, doesn't even consider that the "American Adventuress with questionable reputation" might be the wronged party, or actually smart enough to see through his little disguise. In the end, it's not just Irene Adlers intelligence and ability for disguise which impresses her, it's her integrity. And what all adaptations seems to overlook is that she married someone else, and since she had her pick, she most likely choose the young dashing lawyer because she honestly loved him and belived that he would do everything for her.
This is my main beef with what the show did...it would have been great if it turned out that after all, she wasn't the criminal she seemed to be (I certainly never got "innocent who stumbled over the wrong information from her"), but had a more noble motivation for what she did.
And yes, the whole point of the story is that she beat Sherlock Holmes. Why is that so difficult to put on screen? It is one of ACD best stories for exactly this reason.

I hope it's still ok to comment on this "old" thread. I have been obsessing a bit over Irene ever since I saw clips of BBC-SCAN.

I am glad that everyone here is commenting on the changes made to Irene. This is a perfect example of places where, although some changes are certainly necessary due to the modern setting, they changed things they didn't need to change.

1) The subject of the blackmail would have to be different. In canon, Irene is able to blackmail her former lover over their PAST relationship...which MAY not even have been very sexual. Nowadays sex is really only blackmail material if it involves breaking a marriage vow, and even then, it doesn't necessarily "ruin" somebody. Bill Clinton, anybody? Embarrassed, yes. Ruined, no. He made his accusers look worse than he did, in the long run.

2) I was frankly surprised that Irene was seen to have such "power" over this King and potential to "ruin" him. I mean, yes, it's Victorian England, but I would have assumed that kings and princes were "allowed," even then, to have affairs before marriage and perhaps on the side once married, and that the queens and princesses would be conditioned to accept their husbands having concubines, or whatever, or, to at least, if upset about it, blame the woman involved. I would have thought a woman would be afraid to expose such an affair for fear of disgracing herself.

3) I am glad other people picked up that, in canon, Irene is NOT the villain. I see the King as persecuting her...he admits to having her abducted. I think it's implied he is not above having her "rubbed out."

4) I am not at all sure that Holmes does not come to realize it is the King who is in the wrong. "From what I have seen of the lady she seems to be on a very different level indeed..." (one of his best lines) I'm not sure that Doyle intended us to see her as the bad guy, or that even contemporary readers wouldn't have liked her better than the king.

5) I think some of the KIng's lines could imply he's still a bit, well, turned on by her. He seems excited by her clever feats. I almost wonder if he's HOPING she will succeed in sabotaging his engagement to the proper (boring?) princess.Or if he wants the photograph to discredit her in the eyes of Norton and perhaps others.

6) How you interpret Irene may depend on how you define the word "adventuress." She's an actress / singer - at a time when stage performers had terrible reputations.

 In the Indian in the Cupboard books, by Lynn Reid Banks, the modern protagonist (1980s or so) reads the diary of an ancestor was a stage performer in the Victorian/Edwardian era. Her father tells her he'd rather see her dead than on the stage; her sister and brother-in-law limit her contact with their daughter; her (out of wedlock) son is ashamed of her, and she gets the reputation among later generations as "wicked." She says that she's basically poor and an outcast her whole life, but that she's proud of having gone on the stage nonetheless. She is, however, terribly jealous of her sister, with tragic results. Now, most modern female readers would rather be her than the happily-married sister.

I do not, however, get the impression of Irene being an outcast in society to that degree. The King is embarrassed by having been involved with her, but he does have admiration for her, and she apparently has many other admirers. His not being able to marry her seems to be more about class differences than her personal virtue. I don't think the word "adventuress" sounds THAT perjorative. 
The Indian in the Cupboard actress does say, "Actors were not respectable, but they were much talked about." And it wasn't all that long afterword that Hollywood became glamorous, at least in the U.S.

3) Irene seems to be supporting herself by acting (and perhaps getting some money out of her lovers), dresses up as a man to gain freedom, and outwits both her lovers and Sherlock Holmes...pretty empowered for the era. On the other hand, she gets married to a simple solicitor, which to me feels like she's "settling down." And she seems to see her relationship with the King as "silly me, I fell for the wrong guy." I don't believe she ever had any real intention of blackmailing him...she did refuse an offer of money for the papers. I picture her at some point saying she was going to tell his future wife about them as a way of protesting the hypocrisy and concern with appearances, "You'll both be better off if she knows; spouses should be honest with each other."

The fleeing to America feels to me like she fears the King, though. And she may not see herself as victorious, if she felt she had to leave the country.

Note how there's hardly any real interaction between her and Holmes, and because she leaves the country, it's unlikely they'll ever see each other again...between the Guy Richie movies and BBC, that's been forgotten, as has everything about canon Irene. You can, however, imagine her and Holmes working together under other circumstances.

Yes, they needed to change WHAT she blackmailed people about, or what kind of information she was collecting, because the affair probably would be scandalous enough today. And if "adventuress" was kind of a euphemism for a woman who had affairs for money, I can see giving the BBC-Irene a dubious occupation. But there's no basis in canon for what I see as a lot of sexual tension between her and Sherlock and this Harlequinn-romance game of "She tries to seduce him, but she has an agenda, but she really falls for him..but he's faking his interest...but then he really falls."

I don't like seeing Sherlock more interested in anyone than in John!http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/lol.png


And where did the terrorists come from? Or the idea that she's working with Moriarty?

But maybe she could have been an actress, still? Who had an affair with a politician (during marriage) who Sherlock would come to see as the wronged party?


4) On the one hand, I agree that she's a weaker character than the original, both in that she falls for Sherlock (though she does succeed in distracting him and outwitting him several times, and he ALMOST loses), and in that she ultimately has to be saved.

And I like the idea that she should have turned out NOT to be the bad guy. I am still wondering if it will happen...if she will turn out to have been a "double" agent all along. They could also have had her working in the media (Rupert Murdoch team, anyone?) and sincerely believing that it served a public good to expose people's wrongdoing. Or someone like Linda Tripp?

At the same time, I'm not a big fan of the media motif that women wield power through sex, or that being highly sexual is the ultimate empowerment. A couple of Agatha Christie books have female murder victims who are a bit like Irene, in that they have reputations as femme fatales...beauty...affairs...supposedly "corrupting" men...but they are shown to have been EXPLOITED BY the men they had affairs with. 

So, although, I don't especially like damsels in distress, I kind of like the idea that getting too into men gets a woman into distress, instead of giving her power. Irene's sexuality was HER weakness, and her downfall, not her source of power to bring about men's downfalls. She would have been stronger if she hadn't been into men (Sherlock and Moriarity, in different ways).

5) HOW did Sherlock save Irene, in BBC...he got to Pakistan and infiltrated the sect without anyone he associates with in London even knowing he was gone? Seems more like Superman than Sherlock Holmes. The way he is suddenly shown there makes it seem supernatural. I was reminded of John's "one more miracle," comment, at the grave...this is an example of something Sherlock previously did that was a miracle.

That said, I can see his MOTIVES for saving her: he wants her to owe him, since she could potentially use her abilities to do him a favor. He might see it as a victory to be able to hold over her head that she's only alive because of him.

And given that she didn't win out over Sherlock ultimately, the suggestion that he's "into her" makes less sense. I don't believe Holmes was in love with Irene in canon (note how Watson spends the night during the casehttp://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png
) but I could more easily believe in Sherlock Holmes being fascinated with the Irene of canon, than with the Irene of BBC.

And do you notice how he admires Irene, but he thinks Milverton is the scum of the Earth? And that story implies he thinks blackmailing in general is one of the worst evils.

Last edited by SherlocklivesinOH (January 13, 2014 12:42 am)

 

January 13, 2014 12:46 am  #15


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Holmes certainly has stereotypical ideas about women...but do you notice that he hardly ever turns any women over to Scotland Yard, (even when they're involved in the crimes), and will sometimes cover up a crime to protect a woman (like ABBE)?

Last edited by SherlocklivesinOH (January 17, 2014 2:54 am)

 

January 13, 2014 2:16 am  #16


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Actually, in SCAN in canon it seems like Holmes and Irene both make some blunders. Holmes in not paying better attention when someone says "Goodnight Mr. Holmes," and perhaps more significantly, in taking off without the photograph the first time he visits Irene's place. (I would almost like to believe that he was "taking a dive," i.e., trying not to win.)

And Irene's potential blunder: if we assume she originally had some intention of sending the King's fiance the photograph, she told him exactly when and how, and having that information made it easier for Holmes. However, as I said, I don't take the King's word that she ever had the real intention of sending the photograph, as he claimed.

Note how Holmes hoped that Irene loved her new husband, because it would solve the King's problem. If he had feelings for her, he wouldn't see her being in love with someone else in a positive light. On the other hand, the King doesn't seem to want to believe Irene loves her new husband. It's like even though he can't officially marry her, he still wants her for himself.

 

January 17, 2014 1:55 am  #17


Re: Book Club 2nd Sept (SCAN)

Obviously the presention of women in canon is limited by the times, but I don't think that Doyle necessarily portrayed women as immoral, terrible, or whatever. There are actually very few truly wicked women (and there are some pretty terrible men). In fact, I would say that a LOT of the women are portrayed as either smarter than or morally superior to the men around them, or both:

Irene vs the King

Grace Dunbar vs Neal Gibson

Violet Smith vs her employers

Hattie Doran was probably at least smarter than Lord St. Simon.

And Holmes is often sympathetic to women and refrains from exposing their crimes.

I think the worst thing Holmes does, in terms of sexism is not telling Miss Sutherland the truth at the end of IDEN. Maybe he's right and she wouldn't take it well, but he should have at least tried to tell her, for her own protection. 

That seems like a sellout of a client's interests. On the other hand, I would LIKE to think he kind of purposely blew the case in SCAN.

 

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