I admit that with the Sherlock Series 3 premiere just a few days away, I’m sort of going on a Sherlock binge, so forgive me for my latest post being an ode to Sherlock fans. 🙂
I’ve only become a recent fan after being wowed by Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in Star Trek: Into Darkness and Martin Freeman’s work in The Hobbit, and since I’m prone to watch BBC television anyways (thank you, Dr. Who and Robin Hood), it was only natural I’d become “Sherlocked” after watching the first episode. Two days and a boat load of popcorn later after viewing A Study in Pink, I had both series’ finished and have been patiently waiting for Series 3 ever since.
But one of the things I love about the Sherlock show (besides the amazing acting) is the character of Sherlock himself. Yes, he’s quirky, brilliant, and quick, and that makes him stand out as a character, but what enamored me the most with him is the growth he goes through as the series progresses.
When we first see Sherlock in A Study in Pink, he’s a bit of a loner. He doesn’t have many friends. He isn’t on the best of terms with his brother. His ability to relate to people is questioned by everyone around him. He’s almost seen as this cold-hearted, un-compassionate genius who loves nothing but solving cases. The guy left poor Watson in the middle of a street, for crying out loud. But by the time we see him in Reichenbach Fall, we see a different Sherlock than what we saw in the beginning. We see him teary and risking everything for the sake of the few friends he has. As the series progressed between episodes, we saw Sherlock slowly transform from a cold piece of brilliance to someone who really does have a heart buried beneath the intelligence. Grant it, he’s still not as sentimental as Watson, and probably never will be, but if there’s anything we’ve learned at the end of Reichenbach, we’ve learned Sherlock really does care. (He just may not know how to show it properly.) In essence, his character developed over time. He grew in his interactions with others.
Character growth, or development, is essential to story. As an audience, we want to see that the hero (or even villain) has grown and learned his/her lesson or has become a better person in the end. A character who hasn’t experienced growth simply remains the same and may leave the reader or viewer unfulfilled with the story.