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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Surprisingly Lovable characters

hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

Last week on Top Ten Tuesday, we talked about the most personally-irritating characters in all of Austen, so today I thought we'd do the opposite and show some love to the characters that maybe get overlooked a bit in the lovefests (or those that maybe not everyone loves...). So while everyone else in Top Ten Tuesdayland takes a look at the books they want to read but don't yet own, we'll be talking about my favorite surprisingly lovable Austen characters!
Kicking it off . . .

1 & 2: Mr & Mrs. Gardiner. These aren't minor characters either, nor are they meant to be annoying, so there's nothing really 'surprising' in my loving them. But they stand out to me as some of the most genuinely good characters in Austen — there for their nieces, ready to further their agendas and help where and how they may; they seem to exude love and good sense, and are a much needed respite from family drama.

3:Mrs Reynolds. I mean, she's like THE ORIGINAL sassy housekeeper. She keeps everyone in line, and I'm pretty sure Darcy is basically afraid of her, but in that perfect, she's-more-a-mother-than-my-mother way.

4 & 5: Admiral & Mrs Croft. Not the most minor of characters, but certainly not the stars of the show, these two were the unifying force of Persuasion, I think. They both often acted as the impetus for throwing Anne & Wentworth together, or making them come to terms with how they really felt, they also provide us with the perfect example of the future A&W can have together: they're a sea-faring couple who are willing to brave whatever conditions they must to be together, and they're devoted to each other. There's a reason I chose the Admiral as a 'marry' pick in KMK . . .

6: Pug. Mrs. Bertram — indolent, can't-be-bothered, pug-obsessed Mrs. Bertram — kinda drives me out of my mind (just DO something, lady!), but honestly, all of the mentions of "Pug" crack me up. I feel like Austen knew this person — she was the Regency version of Paris Hilton carrying around a revolving lineup of teacup pups in designer handbags . . . Austen knew this person, and wanted to shake this person, I can feel it. Instead, she gave her to us in all her lazy glory, and thus we have: Pug. Now if only Julia would stop teasing him so...

7 & 8: Mary & Henry Crawford. I'm supposed to pretend I don't like these two, apparently. WHATEVER, INTERNET, I'm never not liking the Crawfords, so suck it.

9: Margaret Dashwood. I suppose Margaret is nominally more of a main character — she is a Dashwood daughter, after all — but being so much younger and under the age of being wooed, she doesn't really command her fair share of the story. But she's a little bit of a firecracker when she does make an appearance, and this impression is aided by the Emma Thompson film version, in which Meg is the perfect little tree-climbing, under-table-hiding, wanna-be pirate around.

10: The Morlands. This might be cheating to list an entirely family as my last pick, but I think of them as a unit, and what a perfectly homey unit they are. I am always struck with the first paragraph of Northanger Abbey, in which we are given a picture of the Morlands at home:
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard—and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings—and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on—lived to have six children more—to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any.[...] She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. [...]she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
I picture them all, very Rockwell-esque, all rosy cheeks and bright eyes, laughing and playing and generally being a happy, healthy family.

And there you have it! Those are some of the (potentially) surprising stand outs in my mind when it comes to Austen side characters and those one is not "supposed" to love.
Let me know some of yours in the comments, and tell me of all of the awesome side characters and quasi-villains I forgot!

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  1. Oh, I'm a big fan of Admiral and Mrs. Croft. I'd definitely up for being great friends with them.

  2. The CROFTS!!!!!!!! They need their own CBS sitcom. Srsly.

    Man, you are getting a lot of Crawford flack. I had NO IDEA you were so pro-Crawford! It definitely makes me wonder if I need to-reread with new eyes cuz you seem a sensible woman of considerable smarts. Hmmmmm. (It is the one Austen novel I've never re-read....)

    Oooh, we should do a post on second time around Austen. Like, I remember reading S&S as a kid and as an adult and had totally diff ideas about what was what the second time around.

    1. I'm not gonna lie, he bit it in the end, running off with Maria like an idiot. I want a retelling from his perspective, though, do we have one of those? Because I feel like there's a good case to be made for him just being really hurt, and sort of "drowning his sorrows"... But yeah, though I totally see why people are anti-Crawford, I was hoping it'd be him in the end. I've been meaning for the last couple of years to make a vlog talking about the Crawfords, specifically, but haven't managed to.

      And YES, I am making a note of that second time Austen idea, because the last few years, I've been amazed to realize how much my opinions on some things/characters have changed since I first read them as a teen...

  3. I enjoyed your list and didn't find any of those there really surprising (yes, yes, even Mary & Henry Crawford). Hmmm, who would I put...I like Sir William Lucas for all his cluelessness b/c he's basically a kind person, Anne Elliot's friend, Mrs. Smith was her friend even though she did have to use her a bit, Sir John Middleton from S&S since he's another kind and generous soul, Fanny's brother William Price b/c he turned out well inspite of his parents and he's good to his sister, Mrs. Weston from Emma b/c she was a true friend and a lovely lady and from Northanger Abbey I would pick the family friends (name eludes at the moment) that take Catherine to Bath. There's my list. Fun giving it some thought.

    1. Oh man, William Price! Yes, he's definitely on this list. Funny how so many of my favorite side characters are from my least favorite book...
      I don't love Mrs Smith, though I think I did when I was younger, and then started to find something was just off about her. Do love Sir Lucas, though. He just always means well. I almost put Sir John on the list for the same reason, but others won out. And Mrs Weston would have been on the list, but she seemed like too much of a main character. I do love her, though.
      And the Allens are who you're thinking of. =)

  4. Mr. Bennet. I lovedy love Mr. Bennet. And I agree completely with the Morlands!

  5. I have to agree with most of these picks! (Henry and Mary Crawford aside... :P) I think I'd also put Henry Tilney's sister Eleanor on there. She's a good friend to Catherine, and has her own romantic angst (though it ends well) and you have to sympathize with her predicament.


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