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Spartan Girl

Worst Book Love Interests

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1 hour ago, Camille said:

And Bart raped her too, and is implied to have also done so to her mother--when Cathy calls him a rapist he dismissively tells her, "My wife often says the same thing. But she enjoys it, just like you did."

I don't remember that, but it has been well over a decade since I've read any of these books. I'm not saying you're wrong, Bart being yet another rapist wouldn't surprise me. VC Andrews books are hardly a model of consent and emotionally healthy relationships. I do recall that Christopher and Julian both definitely raped her and Paul was a huge creep with that waiting-until-she's-legal business. I still think Bart was the best of Cathy's love interests. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say he was the least terrible?

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1 hour ago, Melgaypet said:

still think Bart was the best of Cathy's love interests. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say he was the least terrible?

Yes, I think that's much better.

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8 hours ago, Camille said:

And Bart raped her too, and is implied to have also done so to her mother--when Cathy calls him a rapist he dismissively tells her, "My wife often says the same thing. But she enjoys it, just like you did."

 

7 hours ago, Melgaypet said:

I don't remember that, but it has been well over a decade since I've read any of these books. I'm not saying you're wrong, Bart being yet another rapist wouldn't surprise me. VC Andrews books are hardly a model of consent and emotionally healthy relationships. I do recall that Christopher and Julian both definitely raped her and Paul was a huge creep with that waiting-until-she's-legal business. I still think Bart was the best of Cathy's love interests. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say he was the least terrible?

 

6 hours ago, Camille said:

Yes, I think that's much better.

Yeah, that's more accurate. He did rape her too. And that remark too most likely Corrine. Cathy threatened to call the cops but he told her they'd never believe her.  And yet he was  still the least terrible.

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Right, and then there's Paul who is a much older authority figure.

I didn't remember Julian raping Cathy, but I remember him molesting Carrie, so...

It is VC Andrews, after all!

I think despite everything, I'd actually have to go with Christopher as the least terrible of Cathy's love interests. When he rapes her, he's a child too at the time. Bart, Julian, Paul are all full-grown adults when they do their raping and molesting, and they all had normal lives, not the very twisted childhood that Christopher and Cathy had. I'm not excusing Christopher, but if you lock up a growing boy and girl and essentially put them into the position of parents to their younger siblings while in the midst of experiencing puberty, something's going to go sideways. Chris was a damaged child and it culminated in him raping his sister. And like Cathy and Carrie, he never really recovered from their childhood. But where did Bart, Julian and Paul's shittiness come from? As far as I can tell, they're just shits even though they had far better lives.

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On October 31, 2016 at 9:47 PM, Athena said:

Having not read biographies or being a Bronteologist, but I'm inclined to think for Emily and Charlotte, Heathcliff and Rochester were suppose to be good love interests. I think Emily had overly romanticized and naive view of men and romance. I hated everyone in Wuthering Heights though. I'm a bit more mixed on Rochester in Jane Eyre, but I don't think he's suppose to be bad either. He does lose Jane and he loses a sense for lying and being a bigamist. He "wins" her back. 

I would like to respectfully disagree re Charlotte's Rochester. There's been some discussion that Charlotte was forced to add a happy ending if she wanted to see the book published. 

There is a significant difference in the quality of writing in book's finale from the rest of the book. 

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On ‎10‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 9:58 PM, Black Knight said:

Right, and then there's Paul who is a much older authority figure.

I didn't remember Julian raping Cathy, but I remember him molesting Carrie, so...

It is VC Andrews, after all!

I think despite everything, I'd actually have to go with Christopher as the least terrible of Cathy's love interests. When he rapes her, he's a child too at the time. Bart, Julian, Paul are all full-grown adults when they do their raping and molesting, and they all had normal lives, not the very twisted childhood that Christopher and Cathy had. I'm not excusing Christopher, but if you lock up a growing boy and girl and essentially put them into the position of parents to their younger siblings while in the midst of experiencing puberty, something's going to go sideways. Chris was a damaged child and it culminated in him raping his sister. And like Cathy and Carrie, he never really recovered from their childhood. But where did Bart, Julian and Paul's shittiness come from? As far as I can tell, they're just shits even though they had far better lives.

 I go back and forth on that because of Christopher's being in love his mother which started before the attic. Was he just creepy before the attic or did being locked in for over three years do that? Is it the Foxworth family trait for boys to be creepy about their mothers that Christopher was lucky enough to inherit (like Malcolm and Bart)? What he learned or was considered normal behavior when your being raised by Christopher Sr and Corrine? Those two were hardly ones who understood boundaries and normal relationships. I don't know if Christopher Sr noticed but Corrine did or she wouldn't have always used it to keep Christopher on her side. To talk to him when Cathy got mad in the attic. Or in the very early seen in the attic calming him down by holding her teenage son to her breasts. Or its entirely possible Corrine thought that was normal given her relationship with her father and later with her half-uncle.   

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I'm re-reading Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin, and I had forgotten about one of the worst love interests, in any book, ever: Dex Thaler. 

Cheats on his fiance with her best friend for months, but is somehow the big prize to be won, in the book.  Bland, boring, cowardly, liar who gets away with it because he cheated for luurrve.  Basically, everything I hate in a male love interest.  Dear god, why am I doing this to myself? :P

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Just a sidenote that the last page or so of comments make me really glad I've never ever read anything by VC Andrews. ALL the girls my age read those books back in the mid to late 80s. (I was reading North and South.) All of the hushed whispers about the brother and sister sleeping together made it an absolute miss for me. My brother is two years older than I and so many of my friends had crushes on him. I was always mystified as to why so the idea of a brother and sister actually going there? Ick. No. NOPE.

I think I've read too many romance novels over the years to remember who what and when... especially the bodice rippers where you're just going 'it's not really love, is it? It's just fighting with their clothes off and on. Mm-kay, next?'

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It is tough to single out who is the worst among the three - Bella, Edward, and Jacob from The Twilight series. I guess it is safe to say they make a horrible love triangle where I couldn't really root for any of them.  

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7 hours ago, thomasdown92 said:

It is tough to single out who is the worst among the three - Bella, Edward, and Jacob from The Twilight series. I guess it is safe to say they make a horrible love triangle where I couldn't really root for any of them.  

I couldn't either. All three were horrible, plus it was clear Bella was always going to chose Edward and I never could figure out why everyone wanted Bella? Yes, they kept saying how great she was but never actually showed it. She seemed to hate everyone and everything and thought she was better then everyone. Plus she had no real personality. Hobbies, dreams, anything. To be fair I'm not sure Edward and Jacob had much personality either beyond Edward being a vampire stalking controlling boyfriend and Jacob being the werewolf who wouldn't let it go that he wasn't going to be picked. 

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On 1/21/2019 at 3:44 AM, thomasdown92 said:

It is tough to single out who is the worst among the three - Bella, Edward, and Jacob from The Twilight series. I guess it is safe to say they make a horrible love triangle where I couldn't really root for any of them.  

Yes. And I've never even read the books*, but I know enough about them to just say Yes.

*Cultural osmosis, I guess. Which is worse.

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My two most hated book love interests:

Derek Hawke from Jennifer's Wilde's Marietta Trilogy. Even by bodice ripper standards he is such a cold and abusive piece of shit. Thankfully the author is fully aware of how horrible he is and the heroine eventually leaves him for someone else.

Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster. I can tolerate troubled bad boy characters in fiction if they're compelling, but Travis is just a violent and misogynistic loser. Actually the whole book is such a misogynistic trainwreck that I was left wondering if the author had a single female friend in real life. Seriously, 99% of the girls in the book are referred to as skank bitches, sluts or STD-ridden imbeciles by our delightful hero. The heroine is of course Not Like Those Other Skanks because she's pure and virginal and therefore worthy of Travis. The only good thing about this awful book and romance is the 1 star reviews on Goodreads (which were more entertaining than the actual story.)

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Jenny Trout is doing chapter recaps of Beautiful Disaster, although she's been a bit thrown off her schedule recently. The author, Jamie McGuire, has some serious issues with misogyny - Trout also recapped her Appolonia a while back, and it was just horrifying. The "heroine" hates all other women there too and comes up with the vilest insult I've ever read for one of them. (No, I'm not going to type it here.)

Apparently McGuire also thought it would be a great idea to write Beautiful Disaster again from Travis's POV, and another site (I forget the link) started doing recaps of it. I tried the first chapter recap and simply couldn't take it - Travis is even more utterly toxic in his POV.

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57 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

How about Guinevere from King Arthur legend?  She was really horrible in The Once and Future King.

She was very bland in Lancelot by Giles Kristian, which I recently read. Told, obviously, from the famous knight's point of view, and she's his love interest before she's Arthur's. But she apparently had no qualms about moving on from her supposed love, to marry the handsome and charming warlord. But for some reason, Kristian chose to give her the defence of thinking Arthur was dead, for her taking up with Lancelot again. It was all a bit rushed and disappointing.

I can't remember how she's depicted in Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles, but I don't think I liked her particularly in that series either. And in the older, Medieval Arthurian tales, she's usually some degree of 'sinning woman who brings down the kingdom'.

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The Guinevere I like best is in Nancy McKenzie's duology The Child Queen/The High Queen, which were later combined into one novel, Queen of Camelot (the only difference from the duology is that McKenzie is able to cut out the recap stuff near the start of High Queen, which is nice). While it gets a little tiring reading most all the other characters constantly going on about how she's the most incredible woman ever, she is sympathetic and behaves honorably.

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6 hours ago, Black Knight said:

Apparently McGuire also thought it would be a great idea to write Beautiful Disaster again from Travis's POV, and another site (I forget the link) started doing recaps of it. I tried the first chapter recap and simply couldn't take it - Travis is even more utterly toxic in his POV.

The sequel Walking Disaster was unintentionally funny because it was such an obvious cut-and-paste job of Beautiful Disaster (there's even a part where Travis refers to himself in third person because McGuire forgot to edit a sentence.) There's also a ridiculous epilogue where Travis is now working for the FBI (yes, really) and has two horrible children who regularly beat the crap out of the other kids at school.

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6 hours ago, Black Knight said:

Trout also recapped her Appolonia a while back, and it was just horrifying. The "heroine" hates all other women there too and comes up with the vilest insult I've ever read for one of them. (No, I'm not going to type it here.)

I know exactly which one you mean, I just read Jenny Trout's whole recap of that terrible, terrible book. I love Jenny's recaps. And yeah, that was probably the worst insult I have ever heard one female call another. And we were meant to be rooting for the one who said it. WTF? The scary thing is, a woman wrote that book. YIKES! 

As horrible as misogyny is from men, I find it so much worse coming from another woman. If we treat/talk about each other this way it just makes guys feel justified in doing it too. 

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Nick and Amy from Gone Girl are one twisted pair...but I think Andie the mistress counts as a horrible love interest too. I know many tend to see her as a "victim" that got sucked into their warped orbit, but I don't think that's the case. Aside from maybe Go and Boney NOBODY in that book was innocent. And while Nick was an asshole for sleeping with his student. Andie was an active and willing participant in the affair. She knew Nick was married and hooked up with him anyway. Despite her constantly claiming how guilty she feels when Amy vanishes, her main concern seems to be that Nick doesn't dump her. And it's only when he does that she outs their affair to the media. 

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42 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

Nick and Amy from Gone Girl are one twisted pair...but I think Andie the mistress counts as a horrible love interest too. I know many tend to see her as a "victim" that got sucked into their warped orbit, but I don't think that's the case. Aside from maybe Go and Boney NOBODY in that book was innocent. And while Nick was an asshole for sleeping with his student. Andie was an active and willing participant in the affair. She knew Nick was married and hooked up with him anyway. Despite her constantly claiming how guilty she feels when Amy vanishes, her main concern seems to be that Nick doesn't dump her. And it's only when he does that she outs their affair to the media. 

Agreed. Maybe I should sympathize with Andie, but she did knowingly and willingly carry on a yearlong affair with a married man (bear in mind, this is before we learn who Amy really is and what she's really like), so that makes it pretty difficult.

I gotta say, Gillian Flynn can write complex characters like nobody's business.

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On February 20, 2019 at 12:02 PM, Wiendish Fitch said:

Agreed. Maybe I should sympathize with Andie, but she did knowingly and willingly carry on a yearlong affair with a married man (bear in mind, this is before we learn who Amy really is and what she's really like), so that makes it pretty difficult.

I gotta say, Gillian Flynn can write complex characters like nobody's business.

She sure can.

Although I don't think Andie was that complex.  Even if she was younger than Nick, how old do you have to be to know the difference between right and wrong?  She was a grown woman who made her own choices and had no qualms about being with a married guy even when he was accused of killing his wife -- as long as he kept fucking her.  So I kind of shared Amy's distaste when she witnessed Andie's press conference and playing the victim while viewers just lapped it up.  

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My Rochester hating people!!!  OMG.   I loathe him.  "Reader, I married him."  And I'm all, "Okay, but he locked the last one in the attic so don't be too uppity."   I'm not a huge fan of (I know sacrilege here)  Darcy, either.  But I don't fear for Lizzie Bennett's safety.   

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4 hours ago, bybrandy said:

My Rochester hating people!!!  OMG.   I loathe him.  "Reader, I married him."  And I'm all, "Okay, but he locked the last one in the attic so don't be too uppity."    

LOL! Agreed. 

Yeah, I'd love to see how thrilled and smug Jane would be if she ever has a nightmarish bout of PMS one day, or postpartum depression, and Rochester decides to continue the cycle.

Rochester makes me sick. I just know he'd be one of those husbands in the 1950s who gets his wife electroshock or a lobotomy if she becomes too difficult. Hell, he'd fit right in in Stepford, Connecticut. 

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Is it just me, or is Dobbin from Vanity Fair just another Nice Guy instead of the long-suffering hero everyone thinks he is? I mean, I guess we were supposed to like him because he was better than George, but for him get upset because Amelia doesn't return his love, and when she finally does he's still salty about it even after they married...geez. I'm sorry but Colonel Brandon this guy ain't.

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22 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

Is it just me, or is Dobbin from Vanity Fair just another Nice Guy instead of the long-suffering hero everyone thinks he is? I mean, I guess we were supposed to like him because he was better than George, but for him get upset because Amelia doesn't return his love, and when she finally does he's still salty about it even after they married...geez. I'm sorry but Colonel Brandon this guy ain't.

A fair observation, Spartan Girl. I don't think we're meant to find anyone (and I do mean anyone) admirable in Vanity Fair, even Dobbin. Becky's a sociopath, Amelia's an idiot, George is a pompous ass, Miss Crawley is a hypocrite, Jos is a cowardly buffoon... no one comes out smelling like a rose.

I need to re-read Vanity Fair sometime, it's a glorious book.

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I don't know if he counts as a love interest, but Call in Jacob Have I Loved. Even as a platonic friend, Call kind of sucks: he's dull, a lousy conversationalist, and tone deaf to a fault. Our protagonist Louise lives in this crappy small town during WW2, so her options are pitifully limited where men are concerned. I know it was an emotional gut punch to Louise when Call

Spoiler

marries her twin Caroline, but all I could think was, "Dry your eyes, honey, you can do so much better!" And considering how utterly loathsome Caroline is, I think the two of them deserve each other.

At least things work out for Louise in the end.

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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@Wiendish Fitch that reminds me a lot of the love triangle in Troy by Adele Geras. Recap: Aprodite is bored with the Trojan war, so she makes two sisters, Xanthe and Marpessa, fall for the same guy, Alastor. Marpessa, to her credit, doesn't want to do anything with Aladtor because she doesn't want to hurt Xanthe, but thanks to Aphrodite, Alastor falls in love (or lust) with her and they wind up having sex. Marpessa begs Alastor not to tell Xanthe because it would break her heart...but because Alastor is a stupid pretty boy who only thinks with what's between his legs, he tells Xanthe he's in love with a girl who "sets him on fire" though he doesn't telll her it's her sister.

JFC how insensitive can you be to brag about your new girlfriend to another girl that you know has a crush on you?! But then, like Vanity Fair, nobody in Troy comes off looking that good.

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3 minutes ago, catlover79 said:

George Wickham...enough said.

Holy shit, Wickham was horrible. A gold-digging, back-stabbing child predator (both Georgiana and Lydia were 15 or 16, even in Austen's time that was too young to be married). As awful as Lydia was, I wouldn't wish marriage to Wickham on her or anyone.

In my head canon, Wickham dies prematurely, Lydia mourns but moves on, and grows up (finally), and no real harm has come to her.

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6 minutes ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

A gold-digging, back-stabbing child predator (both Georgiana and Lydia were 15 or 16, even in Austen's time that was too young to be married).

Not to mention that he had one of the worst qualities of all (and that pretty much every sexual predator has) - he was totally two-faced.

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9 hours ago, catlover79 said:

George Wickham...enough said.

9 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

Holy shit, Wickham was horrible. A gold-digging, back-stabbing child predator (both Georgiana and Lydia were 15 or 16, even in Austen's time that was too young to be married). As awful as Lydia was, I wouldn't wish marriage to Wickham on her or anyone.

In my head canon, Wickham dies prematurely, Lydia mourns but moves on, and grows up (finally), and no real harm has come to her.

9 hours ago, catlover79 said:

Not to mention that he had one of the worst qualities of all (and that pretty much every sexual predator has) - he was totally two-faced.

Oh, God yes! He's horrible. No woman deserves him. I always do wish we got a scene when Lydia realizes how horrible he is. She completely believes he loves her and all that stuff. It never once occurs to her that he's lying which sadly is just as common now days as it was then. I know times were different and Lydia didn't want to leave him. But the idea that her punishment for her behavior is being stuck with Wickham? Yeah, she behaved horrible but what woman deserves to be stuck with him? If her parents had done any parenting it wouldn't have happened and she didn't know his true character.

I like that Wickham dying and Lydia maturing and realizing what an ass he is and moves on. What a horrible man. Plus its easy to see a long list of men lining up to kill him for ruining their sisters and/or all the debts he left them. 

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Yeah, I can imagine a lot of men (especially fathers) lining up to even the score with Wickham. Jane Austen had cads in her other books, like Willoughby and Churchill - but Wickham was just pure evil.

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On 6/14/2019 at 6:01 PM, Wiendish Fitch said:

I don't think we're meant to find anyone (and I do mean anyone) admirable in Vanity Fair, even Dobbin.

The subtitle of the book is "A Novel Without a Hero," after all.

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Ethne in The Four Feathers. Instead of standing by Harry and supporting his decision to leave the army, she calls him a coward and dumps him. And then later hooks up with his best friend out of pity that he's now blind. Tell me, why are we supposed to root for her and Harry to reunite at the end?

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Nelson in Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway series.  He keeps getting presented as a good man, despite the ongoing relationship with Ruth, and despite the way he treats pretty much every woman in the book as valuable only when they can help him solve his cases, instead of the sexist asshole he actually is.

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On 6/17/2019 at 9:24 PM, Wiendish Fitch said:

Holy shit, Wickham was horrible. A gold-digging, back-stabbing child predator (both Georgiana and Lydia were 15 or 16, even in Austen's time that was too young to be married). As awful as Lydia was, I wouldn't wish marriage to Wickham on her or anyone.

Yeah, Wickham is just really, really nasty. Particularly the way he specifically targets young, vulnerable teenage girls. In fact, IMO what's actually a very quiet, but poignant note in the characterization of Darcy is his attitude towards Wickham's behaviour and towards the young girls he targets. Georgiana is his sister, of course, so he is protective, but the way she adores him also makes clear that he didn't blame her and didn't shame her for nearly eloping with Wickham. He put the blame squarely on Wickham, where it belongs.

And one of my fave little details in all of Austen ever, probably, is how he deals with Lydia. It's just a few sentences, but the Gardiners mention that he first tried to persuade Lydia to leave Wickham and to go back to her family. Only when she absolutely insisted that she wanted to stay did he bring the marriage about. It would have been in Darcy's best interest to get them quietly married to hush the whole thing up, but his first action was to try to get Lydia away from Wickham,

It marks him as a decent man, without being loud or ostentatious about it, neither in the writing nor in the way the character in the text goes about it. It's also an attitude that puts the welfare of young girls like Lydia or Georgiana above societal pressures and expectations that were prevalent at the time.

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14 minutes ago, katha said:

Yeah, Wickham is just really, really nasty. Particularly the way he specifically targets young, vulnerable teenage girls. In fact, IMO what's actually a very quiet, but poignant note in the characterization of Darcy is his attitude towards Wickham's behaviour and towards the young girls he targets. Georgiana is his sister, of course, so he is protective, but the way she adores him also makes clear that he didn't blame her and didn't shame her for nearly eloping with Wickham. He put the blame squarely on Wickham, where it belongs.

And one of my fave little details in all of Austen ever, probably, is how he deals with Lydia. It's just a few sentences, but the Gardiners mention that he first tried to persuade Lydia to leave Wickham and to go back to her family. Only when she absolutely insisted that she wanted to stay did he bring the marriage about. It would have been in Darcy's best interest to get them quietly married to hush the whole thing up, but his first action was to try to get Lydia away from Wickham,

It marks him as a decent man, without being loud or ostentatious about it, neither in the writing nor in the way the character in the text goes about it. It's also an attitude that puts the welfare of young girls like Lydia or Georgiana above societal pressures and expectations that were prevalent at the time.

Wow, I never thought of it that way. Even today, most men would have blamed the girls and lectured them, never once considering who's really at fault.

I loved how in the 2005 version of P&P, in Darcy's letter to Lizzy, he sadly writes about how he couldn't even begin to talk about "the depth of Georgiana's despair". You could tell that he was hurt that his sister was hurt, and by his friend, no less. For all we know, Darcy blamed himself, and it probably took him a long time to get past that.

I honestly thought I couldn't love Darcy more. Thank you for that, katha. :)

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50 minutes ago, katha said:

Yeah, Wickham is just really, really nasty. Particularly the way he specifically targets young, vulnerable teenage girls. In fact, IMO what's actually a very quiet, but poignant note in the characterization of Darcy is his attitude towards Wickham's behaviour and towards the young girls he targets. Georgiana is his sister, of course, so he is protective, but the way she adores him also makes clear that he didn't blame her and didn't shame her for nearly eloping with Wickham. He put the blame squarely on Wickham, where it belongs.

And one of my fave little details in all of Austen ever, probably, is how he deals with Lydia. It's just a few sentences, but the Gardiners mention that he first tried to persuade Lydia to leave Wickham and to go back to her family. Only when she absolutely insisted that she wanted to stay did he bring the marriage about. It would have been in Darcy's best interest to get them quietly married to hush the whole thing up, but his first action was to try to get Lydia away from Wickham,

It marks him as a decent man, without being loud or ostentatious about it, neither in the writing nor in the way the character in the text goes about it. It's also an attitude that puts the welfare of young girls like Lydia or Georgiana above societal pressures and expectations that were prevalent at the time.

That's a beautiful post, and I agree with every word. Thank you. ☺

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I don't know how old Wickham is supposed to be (mid 20s?), but the age difference would not have been that big of a deal and Mrs Bennett was certainly thrilled that her 15yo daughter was married.  Wickham's sins were wooing a girl above his class (and drooling over her fortune) and then defying societal sensibilities by eloping with another girl without her parents' consent (for which he paid the price of being stuck with a silly wife).  In Sense and Sensibility Col. Brandon is 35 and Marianne is 19, which is still kind of icky based on today's standards, but it was totally normal in the 19th c.

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15 hours ago, Haleth said:

I don't know how old Wickham is supposed to be (mid 20s?), but the age difference would not have been that big of a deal and Mrs Bennett was certainly thrilled that her 15yo daughter was married. ...  In Sense and Sensibility Col. Brandon is 35 and Marianne is 19, which is still kind of icky based on today's standards, but it was totally normal in the 19th c.

In the upper classes, women might marry a little later, but among other classes, especially in rural areas, getting married around age 15 was pretty common. My great grandmother was married at 15 and had her first child at 16. She grew up on a farm and in a setting where girls were taught domestic skills and had farming chores in preparation for that kind of responsibility by their mid teens. Reading about that sort of thing may seem odd given current sensibilities, but in novels set in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example, it would be normal for girls to be married that young, although less common among the upper class. In those cases, though, the expectation was that daughters, no matter what their age, married the man their fathers told them to marry. 

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A part of P&P that has always left me scratching my head is towards the end when Mr. Bennet says that WICKHAM is his favorite son-in-law. After all that slimy creep had done? Well, no one ever said that Mr. Bennet had exceptional people skills. 😳

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On ‎07‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 9:04 AM, Haleth said:

I don't know how old Wickham is supposed to be (mid 20s?), but the age difference would not have been that big of a deal and Mrs Bennett was certainly thrilled that her 15yo daughter was married.  Wickham's sins were wooing a girl above his class (and drooling over her fortune) and then defying societal sensibilities by eloping with another girl without her parents' consent (for which he paid the price of being stuck with a silly wife).  In Sense and Sensibility Col. Brandon is 35 and Marianne is 19, which is still kind of icky based on today's standards, but it was totally normal in the 19th c.

A) I don't think 35 and 19 is necessarily icky at all.

B) Wickham's sins were worse than stated here.  He convinced more than one girl to elope with him, even though he knew at least one's family would not approve at all, and he was what society would've considered a wastrel who consorted with prostitutes, spent all the money he'd been given and then ran up debts he couldn't pay.  Lydia was not much of a catch, but she could've done much better than him.

Mrs. Bennet was not much more sensible than Lydia, so her opinion of Wickham, or anyone else, counts for little, imo.

4 hours ago, catlover79 said:

A part of P&P that has always left me scratching my head is towards the end when Mr. Bennet says that WICKHAM is his favorite son-in-law. After all that slimy creep had done? Well, no one ever said that Mr. Bennet had exceptional people skills. 😳

Perhaps he was being sarcastic?  One can only hope.

Edited by proserpina65
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21 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

A) I don't think 35 and 19 is necessarily icky at all.

Well, it doesn't meet the "half your age plus seven"rule now, but it was not at all uncommon in the 19th century for 30ish year old men to marry women in their late teens.  In fact, it would be less common for a 19 year old woman to marry a man close to her in age.

Edited by HazelEyes4325
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On 7/16/2019 at 7:45 AM, catlover79 said:

A part of P&P that has always left me scratching my head is towards the end when Mr. Bennet says that WICKHAM is his favorite son-in-law. After all that slimy creep had done? Well, no one ever said that Mr. Bennet had exceptional people skills. 😳

He was definitely being sarcastic.

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I definitely agree that JA didn't have today's standards concerning age differences, Marianne and Brandon and Knightley and Emma come to mind. But yeah, IMO she also knew how to sketch predatory behavior and how to differentiate that. Wickham targets 15-year-olds both times (we don't know if those were his only targets, they're the only targets relevant for the story), beyond that he's a conman and a liar the way he behaves in Meryton (and he has such a practiced air about him, the way he goes spinning his tales, I'm sure he's done that a lot of times as well). Darcy also clearly outlines the emotional damage his sister suffered in the aftermath of Wickham. So I'd argue that Austen clearly frames him as someone very unsavory and creepy, perhaps with a harsher judgement than was usual for her time.

Willoughby is also portrayed in those terms. It's not only that he's after money and is abandoning girls when they don't fit his plans: It's the way he manipulates them and preys on their vulnerabilities beforehand. It doesn't matter that he genuinely loves Marianne, that just makes him a more complex character. Not less of a villain. Henry Crawford also has hints of this, at least in the way he tries to coerce and manipulate Fanny Price. Since he's a grey character, at some point he steps away from that behaviour to some degree and comes to care for her in a slightly less selfish vein along the way.

But I'd argue that these are all scenarios where JA frames the men as to some degree deliberately preying on younger women. Willoughby is the worst, of course.

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Can I get OT for a minute regarding manners in Austen's time?  Why were Willowby and Knightley called Willowby and Knightley and not Mr Willowby and Mr Knightley?  We have Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, why are they different?  Why was Edward Edward and not Ferrers or Mr Ferrers?  And did we ever learn what Willowby's first name was?

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I always liked that Willoughby got the ultimate comeuppance when he learned from his aunt that if he had behaved honorably with Marianne instead of panicking and running off to woo a wealthy woman, his aunt wouldn't have cut him off and he would have ended up with love and money.

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On 8/3/2019 at 8:42 AM, Haleth said:

Can I get OT for a minute regarding manners in Austen's time?  Why were Willowby and Knightley called Willowby and Knightley and not Mr Willowby and Mr Knightley?  We have Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, why are they different?  Why was Edward Edward and not Ferrers or Mr Ferrers?  And did we ever learn what Willowby's first name was?

Mr Knightley wasn't different. The only time I recall his being referred to as Knightley is when Mrs Elton does it and Emma is explicitly appalled by her familiarity.

Using the Mr is more deferential. It tends to depend on how well-acquainted the characters are and whether one is a higher class than the other. Willoughby is actually referred to as Mr Willoughby a lot in the book, especially when the Dashwoods are just getting to know him. They are more familiar with Edward Ferrars. I think the use of his first name may also be doing a bit of narrative service in order to make the reveal of Lucy Steele's marriage easier to follow.

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James in Philippa Gregory's new book Tidelands, a Nice Guy who is a douche with a capital bag.

He refuses to marry Alinor unless she gets rid of 

their child because he doesn't want anyone to know they had sex before they could get married, then he totally sells her out to be tried as a witch.
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I feel like either a weirdo or a right jerk complaining about kid characters in a YA novel, but I really hate Juli and Bryce's "relationship" in Flipped. As individuals they're pretty irritating (Juli is a cloying, wannabe Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Bryce is a vacuous bore), but the fact that I'm supposed to root for their young love rankles me to no end. We're meant to think it's cute that Juli hounds and practically stalks Bryce starting from early childhood to middle school. Hey, writers? For the record, if it isn't cute/acceptable/charming when boys do it, it's not cute/acceptable/charming when girls do it, either, so can you do us all a solid and keep this in mind?

Moving along, as the title suggests, the roles are "flipped", as Juli loses interest in Bryce, but then Bryce starts to like Juli (yeah, 'cause that's the ideal recipe for a healthy relationship dynamic). Just before this happens, Bryce's grandfather lectures him on Juli's special specialness, and how Bryce should like her (those aren't his exact words, but it's definitely the gist). Okay, back the hell off, old man! Juli has been a pain in Bryce's ass for years, and regardless of how wonderful a person she may be, Bryce is under no obligation to like her. People like who they like, and they can't help it. You can't make yourself like someone, and you wouldn't want to!

"Giving someone a chance" shouldn't be synonymous with denying your feelings, overlooking someone's consistently crappy behavior, or ignoring your better judgment. 

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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