Do you know the deal with Mycroft’s wedding ring?
Mark Gatiss has addressed the ring a couple of times on his Twitter. (There is some dispute as to whether it’s a wedding band or just a ring.) Namely to clarify that it is not his own wedding band (after speculation that it was a continuity error and he just forget to take it off) and that it comes from the props department. (He also mentioned that on one of the commentaries). Mark has also said definitively on Twitter that Mycroft is not married and noted that the ring is on the right hand, not the left (as one would wear a wedding band in the UK/US).
So what does it mean? Mark has played coy, but I’m positive he knows. It’s a deliberate prop (they would’ve had to get the right size for Mark’s finger) and one that has been clearly shown several times. Here is it in Reichenbach:
Sherlock is a show where the props, costumes and set design are imbued with clues about character and plot development, and I doubt Mycroft’s ring is an exception, even if it’s just an actor-ly tool that helps Mark with Mycroft’s backstory.
According to this article, a ring worn on the right hand can signal widowhood (the most common reason I know of), a family heirloom (like if you wanted to wear a parent’s wedding ring but aren’t married yourself) or it can signal that you’re gay and in a committed relationship. This article expands on that latter point, claiming that some gay couples have preferred the right ring finger to symbolize their lack of legal status (though now that the U.K. has civil partnerships and several American states have gay marriage, this is falling by the wayside).
ibelieveinmycroft has noted that Anthea appears to be wearing a similar ring on her right hand, so maybe it’s a secret spy bonding thing? Steven Moffat has said it conceals a laser (“probably”).
My headcanon about the ring comes from kirstenlouise’s lovely fanfic Ducks All in a Row, wherein an eight year old Sherlock swipes a ring from their mother and decides that it would be very sensible to propose marriage to his brother (“There were no other suitors for either of them and none as well suited to one another as each other.”) After Mycroft explains that marriage doesn’t work that way, Sherlock asks him if he’ll wear the ring anyway:
“You will wear it, won’t you?”
“Oh, I suppose,” he sighed. He rolled his eyes with a dramatic flourish. “If I must.”
Sherlock swatted him. “Mycroft.”
“Of course I’ll wear it. I’d be mad not to.” The moment he smiled and held out his hand, Sherlock forgot all about his vile teasing. “Right hand, I think. Would you care to do the honors?”
When it was done, Mycroft kissed his forehead.
“You mustn’t ever take it off or lose it,” Sherlock said as he settled back into the familiar comfort of Mycroft’s arms. He stifled a yawn. “That way, you’ll always have something to remember me by.”
“As if I could forget you.”
It’s an absolutely charming and vividly written story (as all of hers are) so I’m going with it. Any way you want to look at it, though, it’s another intriguing bit of mystery about Mycroft. (I’ve made this ask rebloggable, in case anyone has further info.)
WOW!!! A Mycroft’s ring speculation post!! I LOVE these!
I was just talking about tis topic with a friend some days ago, and here are our hypotheses (based on what little the writers, and particularly Gatiss, have said till now, as well as on our own nerdiocy):
- Mycroft was much attached to his mother: it’s her wedding ring, that he got adapted and wears to his right hand.
- Mycroft’s ring is a family memento of some sort: it contains an inscription of the family motto and it is usually worn by the head of the Holmes family (which now is Mycroft).
- Mycroft is a widower and therefore that was an actual wedding ring.
- Mycroft is a member of some secret society such as Freemasons or the like, and the ring is a symbol of his affiliation.
- British secret service is composed by idiots who like to show to the world that they work for the secret service, and therefore Mycroft’s (as well as Anthea’s) ring is a symbol of their affiliation to the Secret Service.
- Mycroft’s ring was given to him as a present, out of gratitute for his help in some particularly important and delicate business, by Her Majesty herself (canonical precedent: Sherlock Holmes received a ring from some european monarch), and therefore he wears it as a memento and as a sign of commitment to his work.
- Mycroft’s ring is the One Ring which rules over all the other magical rings: Mycroft is therefore, currently, the Lord of the Rings.