30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite character backstory or secret
The Crawfords’ backstory is never shown in any of the adaptations, since it’s only described/related in narrative in the book (I use “since” loosely, as they have no problem inventing things wholesale in MP adaptations), so I dug around for a period painting that could represent it. There’s this whole sad backstory about how the young Mrs Grant loved her little half-siblings, Henry and Mary, but she was older and married shortly before their mother died; Crawford Sr was apparently dead already, and the bb Crawfords were shipped off to Admiral Crawford and Mrs Crawford to be raised within a deeply toxic household and psychologically damaged into adulthood.
I really love how it’s handled (even though I … I mean, I like Fanny in general, but I think her response and Edmund’s to Mary’s pretty mild disrespect is really awful). It’s never saccharine or even especially simplistic, it’s not an excuse, but it can’t really be dismissed either; it’s just there, hovering in the background of Henry and Mary’s relationships with each other, Fanny, Edmund, even Mrs Grant.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite moment from the films
I had to think about it for a moment, not being a fan of the films, but it’s probably this - the 1995 Persuasion, when Wentworth gets his sister to take Anne home, and helps Anne into the carriage. It’s touching and a very real sort of kindness and a mark that he still cares and Anne is overwhelmed and Sophy is perfect and it’s just a perfect moment.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite quote from the films
A lot of people hated this scene, but it’s pretty much the only invented scene in an Austen adaptation that I’ve ever liked (except the entirety of Clueless, but I excluded the modern AUs for this one). Honestly, I more than like it - I love their flickers of self-awareness here, and I think it’s totally canon that they have them and then ignore them, which is exactly what’s happening. I can see canon Mary and Henry having a conversation pretty much like that. They did have conversations that weren’t far removed from this, tbh. And I just love them going from their solemn woobie faces to amoral camaraderie in about a quarter second. So yeah, ngl, I love this scene and this line particularly.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite casting cameo from the films
Of her two sisters, Mrs Price very much more resembled Lady Bertram than Mrs Norris. She was a manager by necessity, without any of Mrs Norris’ inclination for it, or any of her activity. Her disposition was naturally easy and indolent, like Lady Bertram’s; and a situation of similar affluence and do-nothing-ness would have been much more suited to her capacity, than the exertions and self-denials of the one which her imprudent marriage had placed her in. She might have made just as good a woman of consequence as Lady Bertram, but Mrs Norris would have been a more respectable mother of nine children, on a small income.
Lindsay Duncan playing Mrs Price, as well as Lady Bertram. I’m not sure if this counts as a cameo, exactly, but I’m counting it anyway.
Both sisters are vapid, selfish, and basically pretty good-natured women (especially by comparison to the eldest sister, Mrs Norris), but whereas Lady Bertram is pampered and lazy, Mrs Price is fretful and prematurely aged by her circumstances, not her temperament. While this otherwise-terrible adaptation never turns the quote above into explicit dialogue, thankfully, the casting essentially translates Austen’s exposition into the language of film. One of the few quirks of the adaptation that I really liked.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite family relationship
[Henry] loves me, consults me, confides in me, and will talk to me by the hour together
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite supporting character
I love Georgiana Darcy beyond all reason. Not Georgiana the adorkable shipper, or the bubbly teenager, or the charming waif. Those are likable enough in themselves (if…rather odd interpretations of canon), but my irrational adoration is for the excruciatingly shy, awkward, highly-strung, hero-worshipping Georgiana of the book, who likes Elizabeth because Darcy likes her and he could never be wrong about anything rather than because Elizabeth is just that amazing.
I love that she’s this highly-strung teenage girl who can barely speak in monosyllables and then is reduced to total silence when Caroline vaguely alludes to the regiment that Wickham is a member of (not Wickham himself, in the book). She’s pretty but not as pretty as her brother, she almost - but not quite - looks up to him as a father, her respect for him almost - but not quite - overwhelms her affection for him; she’s awed enough to blindly accept his every opinion as gospel, but not so much to prevent her sending a four-page letter. Honestly, I love pretty much everything about her canon relationship with Darcy(especially since it’s not controlling in canon).
And I also love how she’s this total refutation of the idea that ‘good girls’ are immune from sexual predation, because despite fandom trying to argue that there must be something about her that made her susceptible, there isn’t. The whole point of Georgiana, I think, is to be the anti-Lydia - exactly the same age, described in similar terms (tall, curvy, attractive but not gorgeous), but meek, obedient, nervous, affectionate, quiet, awkward, accomplished, rich. It doesn’t matter that she’s a ‘good girl’ and an aristocratic heiress; she was as vulnerable as Lydia, and she’s still traumatized a year later.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite male casting decision
Hugh Laurie as Mr Palmer in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility. Long before House was a glimmer in anyone’s brain, he perfectly captured the snide douchery of the character as well as his fundamental humanity, making him hilarious as an only-sane-guy asshole and quietly touching as a decent human being. He fit perfectly within the production, too, for all that it was flawed and he … wasn’t.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite female casting decision
There are actually a lot of great ones, and in the end, I was torn between Hayley Atwell’s Mary Crawford and Elizabeth Garvie’s Elizabeth Bennet. I chose Hayley Atwell, though, because she appears in a truly execrable production, where she has any number of godawful lines and script directions, yet still manages to perfectly capture the spirit of the character and matches the description of her.
30 Days of Jane Austen || Favourite Jane Austen-related photo
“Selections from my Austen collection,” a photograph by Tumblr user anghraine.
Seriously, though, it just makes me happy whenever I run across this picture (even if it is missing my annotated/Norton critical editions and my shelf of
meta Austen literary criticism). Most of my goals in life have failed! My goal of owning every introduction to Pride and Prejudice that crosses my path has not!
“What sort of a girl is Miss Darcy?”
He shook his head. “I wish I could call her amiable. It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy.”
Pride and Prejudice, Ch. 16 [Elizabeth Bennet and George Wickham]
30 Days of Jane Austen || Moment that made you mad while reading
Honestly, there are a lot of options for this one, and it was down to this vs. Mrs Norris. Wickham won out by sheer grossness.