Last night, like so many Jane Austen fans across the country, I tuned in to watch Masterpiece’s mini-series version of Death Comes to Pemberley.
Ok, I did a little more than “tune in.”
Yes. Yes, that is me watching the show, following the live tweet stream,
and texting my sister about it all at the same time.
I need 2 more hands and maybe a Go Pro to capture the real magic of this moment.
Lizzie Bennett is now married and mistress of Pemberley. She and Darcy have one son. And the day before they are to throw a grand ball, Lizzie’s compulsive little sister, Lydia, shows up screaming bloody murder. A search party finds the body of one former militia man, Denny, DEAD in the woods. And the leading suspect? None other than Derbyshire’s King cad, George Wickham.
Much to their disappointment, Lizzie and Darcy now find themselves pulled back into the reckless life of Wickham.
It’s murder and mayhem with a dash of Mr. Darcy!
Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy and Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth Darcy
The Twitter feed following the first episode was alive with comparisons of P.D. James’s book and Jane Austen’s. Everything from the cast to the costumes was scrutinized, and for the most part applauded. I did laugh out loud when for a brief minute, the hashtag #FreeWickham started trending.
Five Reasons to Watch Death Comes to Pemberley
1) Reunite With All Your Favorite Characters
They’re all back. Lizzie. Mr. Darcy. Lizzie’s parents. Jane.
2) Reunite With All Your LEAST Favorite Characters
Lydia is a big part of this murder mystery, as it is her husband, the sleazy George Wickham who is suspected of committing the crime. Twitter fans raved over Jenna Coleman’s portrayal of the selfish, whiney Lydia. She is still selfish beyond compare. And Wickham is still deceitful and anything but a gentleman. But, is he a murderer?
3) Return to Pemberley
The set of Pemberley and the rooms inside were well constructed to match that of the previous books and films we’ve come to adore. An English manor set in the countryside full of the finest china and most beautiful sunrooms. The costumes are exquisite. Darcy is still strapping as ever. Lizzie is handsome in egg shell blue gowns. Even Wickham, in his redcoat regimentals, has the ladies of Twitter still swooning – it helps that he’s played by Matthew Goode.
4) Experience the Gothic Version of Pride and Prejudice
The cinematography of the show is quite stunning. From wide open green spaces to haunted woods with scraggly trees, to mist covered mansions, and ghost stories! P.D. James’s version of Pemberley seems to be taking a nod from the Bronte sisters’ love for gothic literature. Or from Ms. Austen herself, with her earlier work, Northanger Abbey.
5) Find out MORE about the Lizzie and Darcy love story!
Yes, there’s a happily ever after, but that isn’t the end of the tale. Both Lizzie and Mr. Darcy still struggle with their pride and prejudice. And there are secrets Darcy hasn’t yet told. Can Lizzie reconcile the damage her family has once again caused their social standing? So many new questions!
The second, and final, episode of Death Comes to Pemberley is set to air on November 2nd, 8pm CST. Join in to witness how Wickham’s trial for murder goes. If he’s found guilty, he will hang.
Did you tune in this week?
As writers we want our main character to be likeable. But we also want them to be real. That means they have to have flaws.
Have you ever read a book where the main character didn’t have any flaws?
I recently finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen as part of my To Be Read Pile Challenge. It’s a goal of mine to finish reading all of Jane Austen’s works because I
want to live in a Jane Austen movie admire her work’s critique on social classism and gender inequality.
With that said, I’m just gonna set this here for a minute…
(I have a whole Pinterest board for this.)
Mansfield Park has never been one of my favorite Austen storylines, although some critics argue it’s her greatest work. The novel tells the story of Fanny Price, a gentle-hearted, kind girl who goes to live with her wealthy aunt, uncle and cousins. She is obedient, grateful, and never says an ill word about anyone even though she is often mistreated by her aunt, uncle, female cousins, and neighbors.
And let’s face it, she falls in love with her cousin, Edmund. I know that’s how things were done back then, but ew.
You know else does that? Karen from Mean Girls.
The happily ever after in the book depends on all the other characters screwing up in order to fulfill Fanny’s dream – marrying her cousin, Edmund.
I did enjoy the novel. And, I really liked re-watching two of the film versions to see where they adapted the storyline. But I don’t know if I ever really liked Fanny. She’s too good.
One could argue that Fanny’s flaw is being too nice. While other characters do point that out, there is no change in Fanny’s character. She remains constant in her loyalty to family, service for others, and everyone else achieving happiness over herself.
I would argue that’s the reason the 1999 film adaptation was quite liberal with their side stories including slavery and an extra-marital affair, which though it could be insinuated happened in Jane Austen’s novel, it is never said outright. In the movie, Fanny (played by Frances O’Conner) is a cheeky little thing and also hopes to become a published authoress. None of her quips, nor challenging statements to her uncle, or the notion of writing her own novels are in the book.
So I ask again, can an audience bond with a character that is too likeable?
What examples can you think of?
Have you read a book with an overly likeable character? How did you feel about them?