In my reading, TJLCers!
If you didn’t know, one of Moffat’s favorite movies (and books) is The Princess Bride:
I’d recommend reading The Princess Bride. It’s a wonderful book; it’s about storytelling. It’s supposedly him adapting a story his father used to tell him, for his son — by cutting all the dull bits out, and any kissing, and getting rid of it all.
I think it’s both a wonderful book —and a film, which is a double whammy.
— Steven Moffat (x)
Consider this as a summary of The Princess Bride (which has some of its own parallels with ACD canon):
The audience for the story is a kid who explicitly says he doesn’t want to hear a kissing story; he thinks they’re gross. His grandfather sells him the story by making it sound like an adventure story. As the adventure story goes on, the kid starts shipping Westley and Buttercup and caring a lot about their relationship.
Westley returns from the dead in a disguise and pisses off Buttercup, his true love. She forgives him rather quickly, however. Unfortunately she is engaged to someone else she doesn’t truly love because she thought Westley was dead for years; she says the engagement all happened too quickly. Westley rescues her from a kidnapping plot and fire but then has to return her to her fiance, who turns out to not be in love with her at all, but rather is a murderous psychopath who is lying to her as part of an elaborate plot. Buttercup is unaware for a while, however, because her fiance seems so nice. Buttercup has nightmares because she’s in love with Westley but thinks she must marry her fiance. She makes a last-ditch effort to break things off with her fiance and get with Westley. Meanwhile her fiance kills Westley, who comes back via a “miracle” wherein someone asks him what he wants to live for: he awakens gasping “true love.”
At this point the kid REALLY wants Buttercup and Westley to be together, and for Buttercup’s fiance to be killed because he’s so awful: he killed Westley, and has been lying to Buttercup.
Westley manages to outsmart Buttercup’s fiance with the help of some friends. Westley and Buttercup literally ride off into the sunset and, according to the grandfather, the kiss is more passionate and pure than every other kiss ever. By the end of the story the kid is heavily invested in their relationship and wants to hear the kissing part, going so far as to become agitated when his grandfather tries to skip it.
Now reread that, but replace Westley with “Sherlock” and Buttercup with “John.” And substitute “John Watson is definitely in danger” for “true love” as the trigger that brings Sherlock back to life — which, of course, according to TJLCers isn’t much of a substitution at all.
Meanwhile the audience, who would have not willingly watched a romance they perceive to be gross, is taken in by the adventure story facade and gradually comes to root for Johnlock. By the end, they care more that John and Sherlock end up happy together than they care about any particular adventure in the story. Softly, softly, isn’t it?
Also fun: the entire cabbie confrontation in ASiP is an homage to The Princess Bride. Westley engages in a battle of wits with a man over which of two glasses of wine are poisoned: the man has to pick which of the two he’ll drink, and then they’ll both drink their glasses to prove who is smarter. He does this by working through whether it’s a double bluff, a triple bluff, etc.