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Monday, August 25, 2014

Rewriting the Romances: Danya's Perfect Austen Pairing

Earlier in Austen in August, Danya shared the lessons she's learned from reading Jane Austen novels; today, she's going to put her learnin' to good use by trying to match up the characters as they should have been paired*...
Click through to see who she thinks would hit it off, and weigh in with your matches in the comments!

*And yes, we know. They're all perf as is. But it sure is fun to fantasize about new permutations, now isn't it? And if you agree, you'll definitely want to make sure to pop in for the next Janeite Conversation post... ;)

Most of the time, Austen gets her couples pretty much perfect for each other. But sometimes it's fun to think about what would happen if certain characters from one book met up with others from another Austen novel. I've seen posts like this in the past, and thought I'd try my hand at it.

Here are some couples who just might, in some respects, be better suited to each other than Austen's originals...

1.) Elizabeth Bennet from P&P and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey

I know, I know, blasphemy! Lizzie doesn't belong with anyone but Darcy, right? Well, maybe so, but just imagine if Lizzie had run into Henry Tilney at the Netherfield Ball. He's witty, clever, and loves to make fun of society's rules. So does she. They would have a ball (haha) standing around pointing out all the ridiculous things everyone else was doing. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to dance with her, unlike a certain other standoffish gentleman.

Not to mention, I've always wondered if Catherine Morland (sweet as she is) is really up to Mr. Tilney's speed mentally. He's just so sharp, and I think some of his jokes probably go straight over her head. Lizzie would get them, no problem.

2.) Charlotte Lucas from P&P and Edward Ferrars from S&S

Because let's face facts: Charlotte Lucas deserves way better than Mr. Collins. Edward Ferrars is the kind of honourable, principled guy who, if he fell in love with Charlotte, would not bow to his family's pressures to marry someone higher in station. And hey, she's as practical as Elinor is, so she'd be perfect as a parson's wife. (I do like Elinor and Edward together, but Charlotte should not be saddled with Mr. Collins.)

Just to seal the deal, Edward has a tendency to get engaged in haste, and seeing as Charlotte is the ripe old age of 27, I'm sure she'd jump at the chance immediately.

3.) Elinor Dashwood from S&S and George Knightley from Emma

Well, I had to find someone else for Elinor, right?! Maybe this pairing doesn't make sense at first glance, but I think they'd actually have a fair bit in common. They both have outwardly polite manners that cloak a very subtle sense of humour. Neither of them delights in crowded places, so they'd probably prefer to steer clear of balls and hole up at Mr. Knightley's estate instead. They're intelligent, rational individuals, and for once poor Elinor wouldn't have to worry about making ends meet, because Mr. Knightley is loaded. It's true that Elinor doesn't really have the "open temper" Mr. Knightley has in mind for his wife, but hey, we can't have everything.

4.) Anne Eliot from Persuasion and Colonel Fitzwilliam from P&P

Colonel Fitzwilliam is the second son of an earl, so he needs to marry well. Anne comes from a distinguished family, so she fits the bill (so long as she can keep the news of their diminishing finances from leaking out). He likes to talk of books and music; she plays piano and enjoys discussing both poetry and prose. Chances are this could be the sort of slow-burn romance that sneaks up on you as friendship turns into something more.

Not to mention, I'm not the biggest fan of Captain Wentworth. Sure, he wrote an über-romantic letter, but apart from that he treated Anne pretty badly. I think she could do better.

5.) Louisa Musgrove from Persuasion and Colonel Brandon from S&S

This pairing is more to ensure Louisa Musgrove's continued survival than anything else. I mean, can you imagine what would have happened if she'd jumped off the seawall and cracked her head open when only Benwick was around? He'd have no clue what to do! The end result would be Louisa Musgrove's funeral, complete with an angst-ridden poem written and recited by Benwick. She needs someone pragmatic to steady her, and Colonel Brandon is very reliable.

Plus, Louisa has that same sort of lively spirit that Colonel Brandon admires in Marianne, and she's musical (she plays the harp) so there might very well be some sparks of attraction.

6.) Augusta Elton from Emma and William Collins from P&P

For the sheer perverse pleasure of seeing them grate on each other's nerves constantly. Mrs. Elton would be all, "My friends say I have quite the eye for interior design, and I have no use for shelves in a closet" and Mr. Collins would be all, "But my most esteemed patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh told me quite definitely..." and they would just rile each other up non-stop.

(Of course, the likelihood of them getting married is pretty much nil, but it's fun to imagine!)

So, what do you think — agree/disagree with my matches? What sorts of matches would you make if you were to pair up Austen characters?

~ Danya
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  1. Um. Please write all of these pairings for us. Please.

  2. I don't see Lizzy and Henry being happy long term. I think they'd be good as friends though, they'd have a laugh but she wants to grow and I think she'd be stifled by his circumstances and confined society, I also think that they enjoy being the laugher more than the 'laughee'. He would be sad to have so little scope to laugh and so would she. I can't see Charlotte and Edward together either, we all know he's rash and led astray by a pretty face and I don't think she'd capture his affections quickly enough for him not to back off from such an imprudent match in good time. I really don't agree with Louisa and Colonel Brandon, I'd want to get him a better wife than in the book, not a more tiresome one!

    Moving on to the other matches, I can see Anne and Col Fitz working out if she was richer, though I like her with Wentworth, who I think is a good man despite his sulkiness. Elinor & Knightley also could work well, though I wonder if she might be missing a spark of liveliness that he obviously likes. And as for your last match, Mrs Elton and Mr Collins, yes, yes yes yes yes, I love it, merely for the schadenfraude of having two such tiresome people making each other miserable.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of these matches! Hm, not sure I'd agree with Edward being rash (at least not in the present, though admittedly when he was younger his engagement to Lucy was definitely a rash decision) but I see your point about Louisa and Colonel Brandon. She would certainly be getting the better end of the deal! Although I do think Austen's match of Louisa with Captain Benwick never made a great deal of sense either, lol.

      And yes, I included that last match purely so those two could irritate each other to pieces :D

  3. I like this idea and will have to think about it further later. But for now, I think Bingley and one of the Musgroves would be fun. Tom Bertram and Jane Bennet after he recovers from his illness with her help. I would definitely love to see Charlotte do better than Collins, but I can't imagine with whom. Col. Brandon maybe? What about Henry Tilney and Fanny, is that too far out? Haha! Darcy and Emma might be interesting. Georgiana in a few years to an older slightly wiser Henry Crawford? Okay, I really need to stop.

    1. I agree, you can keep these matches coming! :D I can see how Bingley might work with one of the Musgrove girls. I'm a little wary of Tilney and Fanny, because I think Fanny might bore him to tears... but perhaps he could liven her up? :)

    2. Jane and Tom. Jane and Tom! I love this.
      I wouldn't trust Henry Crawford with any of the younger set of Austen's females, frankly. Except maybe Lydia Bennet, if she calmed down as well. They could swap stories about how crazy they were in their youth. ;)

    3. Haha, I don't know, I fear the combination of Henry Crawford and Lydia Bennet would be too much for society to handle. I suspect they'd be caught in scandals left and right! :D

  4. These are very interesting pairings! Made my world spin a bit wonky on its axis though. Why does Col. Brandon get all the YOUNG girls?!? I know, I know, let's rock his world a little, but do they always have to be just out of diapers to do it? Maybe he would find more in common in temperament and understanding with, say, an Anne Elliot?
    PS Wentworth was scorned and pined for his love for EIGHT years! He deserves to be a little grumpy. :)

    1. That's one of the things that's always bothered me - Wickham was predatory, going after young girls (both 15/16-ish territory), though he is arguably quite a bit younger (mid-20s) than Brandon (35), who is enamored of Marianne at the age of 16, but yet Brandon is presented as the perfect gentleman. I know intent plays a huge part in this, and that 16 or so wasn't considered an improper age to marry (even someone much older) at that time, but it's still feels REALLY off...

    2. To me, that's where the sterility/non-sexual nature of Brandon's actions pay off. It seems less a passionate love match (as I could imagine Lizzy and Darcy's to be) and more of a nurturing friendship that slowly grows and matures. The age gap is still an age gap, granted, but if we assume there's no sexual contact for a few years....that makes it less icky, right?

    3. I don't see him waiting that long. It is icky, but there we go!

    4. Just thought I'd point out that technically, Marianne does not marry Colonel Brandon until she is 19. "Instead of falling a sacrifice to an irresistible passion, as once she had fondly flattered herself with expecting,—instead of remaining even for ever with her mother, and finding her only pleasures in retirement and study, as afterwards in her more calm and sober judgment she had determined on,—she found herself at nineteen, submitting to new attachments, entering on new duties, placed in a new home, a wife, the mistress of a family, and the patroness of a village." Not sure that changes things too much, mind you, but there you have it.

      Also, there's a similar sort of situation with Mr. Knightley and Emma. He's 16 years older than she is, and actually tells her at the end that he's been in love with her since she was "thirteen at least." Which always kinda creeped me out...

    5. Yep, the Knightley/Emma age difference (and earliness of it) always squicked me a bit, too, but even more than that, the sibling relationship that they seemed to have.
      I think what bothers me most about the Col. Brandon thing, though, is that I feel like Marianne is a stand-in for the woman he loved but couldn't have; the one she reminds him of. She's even at the same age as that original love, so it's like he's using Marianne to play out a frozen moment in time. It's just always kinda bothered me.

    6. Yeah, that's a good point. We never get to see inside Col. Brandon's head, but you have to wonder how much of his interest in Marianne was a sort of nostalgic attempt to cling to this past love of his, and vicariously live out the life he wished he'd had with her through his life with Marianne instead. (If that makes sense...)

  5. Oh my gosh YES. Lizzy Bennett and Henry Tilney....I would adore that pairing!
    I've always thought Charlotte Lucas and Edmund would work well together, as they're both so mild. I'd reserve Ferrars for Emma, though she'd probably run all over him. ;)

    1. Yay, someone else who thinks Lizzy and Henry would make a good match! And I can totally see Charlotte and Edmund together...neither of them would really cause a fuss or be demanding. But oh no, poor Edward...don't leave him to the likes of Emma! Only Mr. Knightley can exert some influence on her ;P


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