Well, we all remember the gorgeous Rachel McAdams as the American adventuress and thief, Irene Adler. We also remember the raucous Irene Adler, the dominatrix, portrayed by Lara Pulver. And after much hesitation, we think of Natalie Dormor’s Irene Adler, the Irene Adler who was also the evil Jamie Moriarty.
What do all these addling Adlers have in common? Their love interest – Sherlock Holmes
But how many of us remember the actual Irene Adler, the retired opera singer, married to Mr.Norton, had a romantic affair with the King of Bohemia, and considered Sherlock Holmes her ‘antagonist’? Not many.
What went wrong with this respectful lady? Probably that she was the only female to have outwitted him does not make her Sherlock’s crush. As a matter of fact, Holmes regarded Irene as his equal and was quite resentful of that fact. Not even Moriarty could equal that.
So when did the ‘Irene-and-Sherlock-have-a-mutual-crush-on-each-other’ cliche start? Probably in 1969, by William Stuart Baring-Gould, who wrote Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street. He claimed that Nero Wolfe, America’s famous armchair detective, was the son of Sherlock and Irene. Maybe this might have led to all the ‘Sherlene’ ideas.
Whatever. I am very sorry for the poor Irene Adler. Why do people confuse this honorable woman into a seductress? The original Irene was happily married, and walked out of Holmes’s life as soon as her business with him was over. It is impossible that mystery, intrigue and elusiveness could surround such a woman.
Though all the other Irenes are good too, nothing beats Arthur Conan Doyle’s Irene Adler. And a few people think so too.