In the Real World magazine, there was a favorite video of mine, namely Idea Chanel's Does Fiction Exist. The perception of realness in a literary character is a rather odd thing to think about. Who is real in a literary world and what makes that person real. In the video above, we hear the discussion placed pretty well with the idea of an original character (being placed in the public conscienceless as real being the real character, while there being a counter argument where the countless spin offs, fan art and such makes the argument pretty shaky. All this being framed by the loveable young adult book, Harry Potter. Is there a Harry or isn't there?
The whole idea is explained far better in the video above, so I would suggest that for your perusal. The main question I have is this, what if the false idols of the "real" take over what is suppose to be the original object, the original character. In other words, Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes is the most adapted piece in the English language, having fan fiction written about it, movies, spin offs, and especially the television shows. Knowing all this, can you tell me if you actually remember what Sherlock was in those books. Sure, some people read the book and learned the character, but unlike Harry Potter the copies and fan fiction seems to have overtaken the original. The entity that we all see as "the real" isn't the book anymore, but either a stereotypical foxhat wearing man or Benedict Cumberbatch. Thus, the object of the real is rather diminished. Yes, the series itself on the BBC is a good series and tries its darnedest to keep to the lore, but we can see the reimagining, we can see it in Elementary, and we can see it in the fan fictions that turn Watson and Sherlock into lesbian lovers. All share elements of the original of course but it isn't the original and it never will be. It can't be real!
However, to me, that makes the fiction itself, a lot more real to me, simply because these things focus on the original. No matter what you discuss or talk about in the fictions, in order to be called that, you need elements of the original. They can veer crazily off, but a Sherlock Holmes anything has to have the characters themselves. The thing that we all adored about Sherlock, thus the "real" original becomes more important in the eyes of the people. I believe its the elements that make the character in the public conscious real, not the fact that the character can change a lot, and become whatever you want. Whenever someone is named Sherlock Holmes, he will be Sherlock Holmes.