autumn-crocus asked you:I really love your blog! :) Do you think it could be said that Mycroft’s umbrella represents his protection over Sherlock and his country in some way? As in the way he clutches at it and is barely seen without it could mean that without this ‘paternal’ role, he would be kind of lost and stripped bare? I’ve always felt that for all his apparent coldness, Mycroft seemed to be genuinely caring towards his surrounding. (sorry if I made any mistake, english is not my first language) x
Hello my dear! Now there is a question I’ve not had before!
Like Mycroft’s ring, diet and sibling feud, the origin story of that ubiquitous umbrella is, most likely, something that will always be left to headcanon/fanon.
It’s true that we rarely see Mycroft without his umbrella - in terms of his personal wardrobe, it adds to his flamboyant, dandified manner of dress. In times gone by, a man such as Mycroft might have carried a cane, something that would be entirely anachronistic in a modern setting, so an umbrella it is. Also, an umbrella is a sensible item for a British gentleman to constantly carry - I’m sure you’ve heard the rumours; it rains a lot in this fair country of ours, and the weather is exceedingly unpredictable.
On this subject, Mark Gatiss had this to say:
It originally came from wanting to create a good silhouette in the first scene in ‘Pink’ where Mycroft and John meet. I wasn’t trying to invoke John Steed but there’s something very Establishment about it- and that’s what Mycroft is. The Dark Government and the Old School Tie. I think it’s his comfort blanket. He may even sleep with it. The umbrella comes from a wonderful old shop in New Oxford St. They still advertise ‘dagger canes’ and ‘sword sticks’ but, to their great regret, are no longer allowed to stock them!
Comfort blanket, you say? Oh Mark! There’s probably something to that, though. He carries that umbrella like it is an extension of himself. He leans on it, plays with it, gestures with it, thumps it against the ground to emphasise a point. He keeps it close at hand, and it certainly seems to provide him with a certain security. Just look at the way he switches his attention from John to his umbrella when describing his “difficult” relationship with his brother to John in Study in Pink.
But, as Gatiss intimates with his comments on swordsticks, there may be more to it than that. Warning - I’m wandering into headcanon territory here. There may or may not be a concealed weapon inside it - but, canonically, Sherlock Holmes had some skill in single-stick fighting, which, if the opportunity were to arise, I could certainly see Mycroft partaking in. He holds it very defensively at times - particularly in the scene when John confronts him during Reichenbach, where Mycroft keeps it close and upright at all times. He had had it in his left hand as he entered the room but, when he sees John, he transferred it back into his dominant right hand before he sits down, almost as if he were half-expecting John to attack him, in light what he was forced into “confessing” to. Given what little we know of Mycroft’s background or training, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turned out to be weaponised or, if not, that Mycroft was capable of inflicting terrible damage with the stick of the umbrella alone.
I think, like his suits, it is something he adopted when he entered into his ‘minor position’ in the British government and is, therefore, linked to his role as an overseer and protector. As Mark Gatiss says, it is very establishment. But, from the way he carries it - keeping it close at hand, almost consistently by his side - I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were something more to it than that.
And…I’m not certain I answered your question so much as rambled for a bit there!