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Mycroft Holmes

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48 minutes ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

... as long as Wikipedia needs update, Mycroft would have his purpose.

And now we know what he does evenings and weekends.  :D

44 minutes ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

... in another thread when he said he wants to change his status to Site Administrator, he was not bluffing???

Good heavens!!!

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6 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Just noticed that on my phone, the visible portion of the URL is "herlockforum.com."  Thanks for letting us use your forum, Herlock!

No problem. My generosity knows no bounds.😃

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7 hours ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

He is the only character to refer to Sherlock exclusively by his first name.

 

Yes . .  he's earned the right by dint of knowing Sherlock before Sherlock had self-awareness and was still soiling his nappies.  Elder sibs have sooo much good blackmail material.  I'd say that Mycroft is furthermore the only person Sherlock allows to exclusively use his first name, though M. would use it regardless of permission denied.  It's called eminent domain, and Big M. is supremely eminent in all things.  He is the only person alive (apart from the Woman on one or two occasions) that makes Sherlock Holmes experience a twinge of insecurity at encountering a superior ratiocination capability.  

Besides, it'd be weird to refer to one's own brother as "Holmes".  Filial affection aside, the use of 'Sherlock' alleviates the confusion when both Holmeses are in the room.  :)

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3 hours ago, Hikari said:

... it'd be weird to refer to one's own brother as "Holmes".

True, which I assume is the main reason why even canon Mycroft calls him Sherlock.

Though I do know a Mr. Smith who routinely calls his sister "Smitty."

 

(Note to those unfamiliar with that nickname: it's commonly applied to people -- though generally men -- whose surname is Smith.)

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17 hours ago, Hikari said:

Elder sibs have sooo much good blackmail material. 

True, but younger sibs do too. It's called "I'll tell Mom." Any time one of my older sibs threatened me, I threatened right back. We got along famously. :D 

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3 hours ago, Arcadia said:

"I'll tell Mom."

Brat!  :P

 

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:tongue:

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16 hours ago, Arcadia said:

True, but younger sibs do too. It's called "I'll tell Mom." Any time one of my older sibs threatened me, I threatened right back. We got along famously. :D 

That's true. That's why our youngest brother was our public enemy. Imagine saving your pocket money and finally got something delicious from mom and pop's store, and here came the troublemaker starting to load his crying face because we wouldn't share as much as he wanted..

Most of the time we hid from him or climbed to somewhere he couldn't reach. XD

 

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On 8/15/2018 at 8:17 AM, Carol the Dabbler said:

Brat!  :P

 

Ah, yes . .the classic 'Narc' strategy.  That flows both ways, I find.  In the case of me and Mycroft, I find that eldests usually have superior (and long-lasting) memories for details and also excel at record-keeping.

Sherlock:  I have a list.  Mycroft has a file.

********

You bet he does.  Cross-referenced, too.  :)

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18 hours ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

That's true. That's why our youngest brother was our public enemy. Imagine saving your pocket money and finally got something delicious from mom and pop's store, and here came the troublemaker starting to load his crying face because we wouldn't share as much as he wanted..

Most of the time we hid from him or climbed to somewhere he couldn't reach. XD

 

Oh yes, I can remember a time when I ran crying to Mom (or Dad) about my siblings hiding in a tree. They learned not to. :D 

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I honestly loved the fact that he seems to be a fan of noir detective movies. The dynamic of that film couple reminded me heavily of Sherlock and The Woman. I can not help but laugh at the thought that he secretly felt immense satisfaction at sending Sherlock to Irene's place. 😂 Before the whole Bond air scandal of course. 

Also, Anthea. Always wandered if Mycroft was above the whole "boss and the secretary" thing. The thought must have slipped his mind. 

 

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Was thinking about Mycroft today, as you do...

do we think Mycroft's career choice was influenced by his family situation?

I mean I realise it's a convenient plot choice, to have  one of your main characters virtually 'running the government'.

But do you think Mycroft aimed high, to always be able to have an input on his sister and possibly on Sherlock, too?

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6 hours ago, besleybean said:

do we think Mycroft's career choice was influenced by his family situation?

I mean I realise it's a convenient plot choice, to have  one of your main characters virtually 'running the government'.

But do you think Mycroft aimed high, to always be able to have an input on his sister and possibly on Sherlock, too?

The in-universe explanation that many fans give for Doyle's Mycroft's career choice is that he was "obviously" the second son.  Apparently the eldest son in those days was expected to take over the family affairs, the second son was expected to go into government, and any excess sons would then go into some profession.  (This is where the idea of a third Holmes brother comes from.)

As for "our" Mycroft, that's a very good question.  On the one hand, the choice seems to fit his fuss-budget personality to a T.  But as you say, that choice may well have been prompted (or at least seconded) by his responsibility for Eurus.  I'm not sure he'd have had any indication yet that Sherlock would choose a problematic career.

 

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I think he was recruited by Uncle Rudy. Poor kid never had a chance to consider any other career.

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:facepalm:   Of course!  How foolish of me to overlook the obvious!

 

 

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Let that be a lesson to you! (A lesson about what, I don't know...)

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According to preeminent Sherlock scholar, William S. Baring-Gould,  Mycroft's standing as the firstborn son is inherent in his singular name.  The Holmeses were descended from 'landed squires' (Mr. B-G favors Yorkshire).  "Croft" is a Northern name (Northumbria-Scotland, particularly) for 'homestead'/cottage/family house.  "My + Croft' seems to designate that Big Myc was born the heir of the family.  However, the Holmeses appear to have become 'genteel poor' having lost the family croft, lands and wealth.  Holmes pere (Siger?) had a great wanderlust, and raised his family on the move throughout Europe all through the boys' childhoods.  A bohemian, continental and adventurous upbringing, fertile fuel for a future consulting detective and a future super spy--an international outlook and exposure to many foreign languages and customs, at which both Holmes boys excel.  Mycroft has a comprehensive world view thanks to this singular childhood, but discovered that he much prefers a predictable, comfortable routine.  Having had more than enough of being forced to be constantly on the move like a rolling stone as a child, as an adult, Big Myc proposes to move as little as possible.  Sherlock's restless energy continues into adulthood.  He likes his domesticity at Baker Street, but has to break it up with frequent adventures away from home.  Mycroft would never sleep rough.  He'd have great difficulty getting up from the ground.

With no family estates to inherit, and with a natural aptitude for government service and intrigue, M found his niche in Her Majesty's secret service.

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And Baring-Gould got that whole childhood thing from a few brief comments in the original stories?  I don't know whether to think that his deductive skills are amazing, or that he's good at simply making things up!  I'll agree it sounds plausible, though.

 

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On 11/25/2020 at 12:29 AM, Carol the Dabbler said:

And Baring-Gould got that whole childhood thing from a few brief comments in the original stories?  I don't know whether to think that his deductive skills are amazing, or that he's good at simply making things up!  I'll agree it sounds plausible, though.

 

The Gypsy childhood was Baring-Gould's own invention, to explain why the sons of 'landed squires' and descended from French artists on the maternal side have come to have the adult professions they do.  If their ancestors had an estate equivalent to Downton Abbey, where is it?  If Sherlock is an aristocrat, why does he have to share digs on Baker Street?  Conan-Doyle provided almost no background information on his signature detective because he just wasn't that interested to.  Holmes was a moneymaker , and the case at hand is what most people wanted to read.  But the little breadcrumbs Sir Arthur strew here and there have proved irresistible for Sherlockians to weave a life narrative from, and Mr. B-G is 'the' preeminent Sherlockian.  He's their Moses.  😛

 

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2 hours ago, Hikari said:

The Gypsy childhood was Baring-Gould's own invention, to explain why the sons of 'landed squires' and descended from French artists on the maternal side have come to have the adult professions they do.

I'd say it's plausible -- but so is the theory that there's an older brother tending to the old home place.  I'm tempted to say that the latter is the simpler explanation, and thus (by Occam's razor) probably the correct one.  But is it really simpler?  There's simply too little data.

Oh, and what if the parents made up those stories about landed squires and French artists?  The "real" explanation could be extremely mundane.

 

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20 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

There's simply too little data.

Agreed there.  That is the fault of Sir Arthur.  He really just couldn't be buggered with deep analysis of backstory.  He has Holmes dismiss three entire years with "I was at Llasa."  He could be quite fanciful on occasion, such as when Sherlock Holmes stands at a window and philosophizes over a rose--but most of the time he was too keen to get to the action to be bothered about personal details.

 

20 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Oh, and what if the parents made up those stories about landed squires and French artists?  The "real" explanation could be extremely mundane.

 

The most mundane explanation is that Sir Arthur just threw those bits in in a flash of momentary inspiration, but didn't develop them any further because landed squires and French impressionist painters were completely out of the purview of a doctor who grew up in grinding poverty as the son of an alcoholic.  Doyle, Sr. did seem to have a bit of artistic ability.  Not very good, but he did try.

Sherlock Holmes never mentions his parents at all.  There is only the reference to the landed squires and his maternal great grandmother being a sister of Vernet.  Obviously the readers, then and now, are keen to know what accounts for the Holmes' boys' singular talents.  What kind of nature/nurture environment conspired to produce such extraordinary children?  The parents themselves must have been pretty special, too.  There may be one savant produced in an otherwise ordinary family--but two?  Not likely at all.   I think Conan Doyle avoided references to Holmes' parentage and childhood because those were very painful subjects for him personally, of which he did not care to be reminded.  He preferred to have the Great Detective sprung forth fully realized like Venus from the head of Zeus . . no awkward childhood failures or family dramas.  It was left to writers who came after to fill in some of the copious blanks of Sherlock's past--the whole thing is nearly a blank slate.  So many writers have gotten a lot of entertaining mileage out of imagining childhood/university or otherwise off-canon exploits for Sherl.   I don't think it would have occurred to Sir Arthur to imagine a scenario in which Mother and Father Holmes had intentionally misled the boys about their background.  What is more likely:  Sherlock Holmes made it up, as a lark, and to appease Watson with a few crumbs to put in his scribblings.  I guess it depends on one's interpretation of SH's character.  We know he is fully capable of assuming disguises and telling tales in pursuit of a case.  It's entirely possible then that he continued such embroidery into his personal life with Watson, just for amusement, or to throw his friend off the scent.  Watson hero-worships his friend and his stories are intended to be laudatory about the methods of his exceptional friend.  Watson is far more likely to be impressed by a flatmate who is the scion of aristocrats and artists than one who, say, had an alcoholic father who deserted the family, leaving his mother to scrape by taking in washing and running a boarding house in Clapham.  Dr. Watson is a Romantic, and SH, a born actor, plays to his audience.

That's my interpretation.  I think the truth is that Conan Doyle just threw in some random bits and pieces and moved on.  He didn't care about Sherlock Holmes an iota as much as his readers do.  He'd no doubt be gobsmacked at the worldwide industry in Sherlock Holmes that remains vital nearly 100 years since his death, or that entire doctoral theses have been written about "Sherlock Holmes: His Origins in the French Impressionist Movement".

True fundamentalists take every single word on every single page as Holy Writ.  If Sherlock Holmes said it or did it or said he did it, it must be true . . .even if there are no corroborating details at all.

 

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5 hours ago, Hikari said:

The most mundane explanation is that Sir Arthur just threw those bits in in a flash of momentary inspiration,

I don't doubt that's true -- the real-world explanation seems to be mostly that he would throw in a few details as needed, so that Holmes could say or do something that he needed to say or do in order to move the story along -- and consequences be damned.

The in-universe explanation offers a far wider range of possibilities (partly because they can rarely be either confirmed or denied), so I can easily understand why there's been so much activity in that area.

6 hours ago, Hikari said:

 I don't think it would have occurred to Sir Arthur to imagine a scenario in which Mother and Father Holmes had intentionally misled the boys about their background.  What is more likely:  Sherlock Holmes made it up, as a lark, and to appease Watson with a few crumbs to put in his scribblings.

I like that idea.  After all, he admittedly allowed Watson to believe he was dead for several years.  And if he's the introvert that many people take him to be, then he might easily be annoyed by Watson's public revelations.

 

 

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On 11/25/2020 at 1:35 AM, besleybean said:

Well Mycroft will inherit his parents' home.

Why? Wouldn't all of the siblings inherit, unless the parents left a will saying otherwise? That's how it works where I live, at any rate.

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