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I do not know if you have read other Sherlock Holmes stories and you are asking how his characteristics in this story are different from the other ones or what. But I will try to answer.
The only characteristic I can see that is new is he extent of his reverence and respect for Irene Adler. The story begins and ends with this. Watson says Holmes is not in love, but I think he is at least in love with her intellect.
At the end of the story, Watson says that Holmes used to make fun of women but that he has not heard Holmes do it lately. To me, this shows how much he admires Adler. I think this is probably the answer you are looking for.
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