Monday, April 21, 2014

Top Ten (secondary) Characters Who I Enjoy in Austen Novels

I can't get around it! I either have to be writing about Austen or Tolkien. ;) This week Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesdays theme is "Top Ten Characters Who..."
So everyone knows the main characters from Jane Austen's novels but it's the side characters that in some ways really make the stories. Some of them are unique in that they are excessively annoying (Mrs. Norriss) or stupid but therefore humorous (Mr. Collins) or there are those that are genuinely great people (Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner). So here are my top secondary characters from Austen novels. :)

1. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner (Pride and Prejudice)... Some of my favorite characters in all of Austen's novels and my favorite secondary characters in terms of people I'd want to be like. 

2. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) .. I have always loved Mr. Bennett. He isn't a great father at all but he is such a hilariously sardonic character that I can't help but like. :) Mrs. Bennettt is just wow! I would hate for her to be my mother and I think Jane and Elizabeth turned out amazingly despite her and I am always impressed with the amount of respect they still treat her with is a good judge of their character. 

3. Mr. Collins (Pride and Prejudice)... Probably my favorite annoying secondary character because he isn't annoying enough that he makes me mad (that would be Mrs. Norriss). What he says, how he acts, everything about him just cracks me up. One of Austen's best secondary characters for sure. 

4. Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Pride and Prejudice)... Proud, domineering and rude but in the process sometimes humorous for it. I love the portrayal of her in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.

5. Miss Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)... She thinks she's so clever and that by always agreeing and complimenting Mr. Darcy she's endearing herself to him. Little does she understand. Her attempts make me laugh and one of my favorite parts from Pride and Prejudice is this exchange between Mr. Darcy and Miss Bingley.
``I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one night, after they had been dining at Neverfield, "She a beauty! -- I should as soon call her mother a wit." But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time.''
``Yes,'' replied Darcy, who could contain himself no longer, ``but that was only when I first knew her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.''

6. Mr. Woodhouse (Emma)... The first hyperchondriac. ;) Frustrating and lovable all in one. :)
7. Mrs. Elton (Emma)... Another amazing side character that is excessively annoying and just to the point that she makes me mad. In Peter Leithart's book Miniatures and Morals he says that Mrs. Elton is the foil for Emma. In a lot of ways Mrs. Elton and Emma are very similar in how they try to control people's lives and if it wasn't for Mrs. Elton being as bad as she is you wouldn't like Emma nearly as much.
8. Miss Bates (Emma)... A very complicated character that you really have to learn along with Emma to love. I think all of us have a Miss Bates in our lives in one form or another that we have to learn to respect and love anyways.
9. Mrs. Allen and Mr. Allen (Northanger Abbey)... Mrs. Allen especially makes me laugh. She cares for little more than fashion and because Mr. Tilney happens to know about muslin he is immediately in her good books and quite the gentlemen.
10. Mrs. Norriss (Mansfield Park)... Probably my least favorite character in all of Austen. That, though, is why she is such a great secondary character. Her hypocrisy, her cruelty, everything about her just frustrates me to no end and I'm so glad when she gets sent off at the end by Lord Bertram. :)

So those are my favorite secondary characters of Austen. Half of them came from Pride and Prejudice but is because it is the best partially because it has such great secondary characters. :)

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20 comments:

  1. OMG yes I love Jane Austen. First book I read from her was Pride and Prejudice! I bought Emma, but haven't finished it. Loved Mr. & Mrs. Bennet! I also want to say that I love your taste in Austen books! My friends never appreciate old classical literature from the 1800s because they think it's too "hard and deep." But I don't think it's that bad :)

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    1. Thank you. :) In my opinion modern day young people don't appreciate "hard and deep" because they don't want to put the effort into it. People are getting lazy with their reading. :(

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  2. All great choices! I also enjoy Mary Elliot Musgrove in Persuasion. She's annoying, but endearing at the same time. I really loved Sophie Thompson's portrayal of the character in the 1995 film (she also played an endearing Miss Bates in the 1996 Emma).
    I don't remember the characters of Mr. & Mrs. Palmer making much of an impression in the book of Sense & Sensibility, but Hugh Laurie & Imelda Staunton were a scream in the 1995 film!

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    1. I very much agree! I don't know how I forgot Mary Musgrove! She is another of my favorite secondary Austen characters. I almost did Mr. and Mrs. Palmer but then decided against it as it was really in the movie that I most enjoyed them and, as you said, they don't make as much of an impression in the book.

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  3. what a great list! I love all things Austen (and Tolkien) too. I also love the title of your blog. I'm adding you to my feed. Thanks so much for stopping by today. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

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  4. Oooh, what a great list! I love Pride and Prejudice and pretty much every character you mentioned, each in their own way. I listened to an audio book of Northanger Abbey recently while on a long car trip, and I was laughing out loud at Mrs Allen's dialogue. I'd read it ages ago, but at the time I didn't catch how witty it is. Mrs Elton is wonderful too, and that's an insightful analysis of her relationship to Emma.

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    1. Thank you. :) They are some great characters. :)

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  5. These are awesome picks, nice one! I love your specific Jane Austen theme, and love even more that most of these are from Pride & Prejudice, I love that book so much! Thanks for dropping by on my list! :)

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    1. Thank you! It's my favorite book. :)

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  6. Mrs. Norriss is a shockingly bad character. If I remember correctly, Austen reveals her character from the beginning as meddling. Austen has the reader understand her character earlier than Lord Bertram. I think he knows something of her limitations, but is clueless about her lack of Christian character. Of course he begins to get an inkling once he returns from his journey abroad to his business interests, but the damage to the eldest Miss Bertram is already done.

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    1. Couldn't agree with your comments more. :) She is the worst character in Austen in my opinion.

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  7. Oh this is fantastic! I adore Mr. and Mrs. Bennet - my homeschool group just did a production of P&P, and my sister played Mrs. Bennet. Both she and the guy who played Mr. Bennet are superb actors, and, nothing against our great Elizabeth, I think they totally stole the show. Their relationship is just fantastic and funny. :-) We also had a great Caroline Bingley, whom I just HATE. Oh and Mr. Collins is always hilarious.

    And Mrs. Norris! That lady irks me to no end.

    If I could make an addition to your list, I would add a few from Sense & Sensibility, as I see that book is severely underrepresented in this post - particularly Mrs. Dashwood on the likable side (pretty decent, as Austen parents go), and Fanny Dashwood on the annoying side.

    Great list!

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    1. At the time I couldn't think of any from Sense and Sensibility but even not long after I posted the list I remembered Fanny Dashwood and I wish I had included her. Mrs. Dashwood I'm so-so on. She's better than most as far as Austen parents go but still there's I find left to be desired. There's so many great side characters in Austen it's hard to narrow it down to ten. :)

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  8. I love that list. You have probably found the worst characters in all of Jane Austen's novels here. And I agree about Mrs. Norris, she is just awful. No wonder, J.K. Rowling named that terrible cat after her.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, too.

    Marianne from Let's Read

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    1. I never thought about the connection between the Harry Potter Mrs. Norriss and Jane Austen's Mrs. Norriss but now it really makes sense!

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  9. I absolutely love Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner! I always secretly hoped that Lizzie and Darcy would become like them in their later years, only a lot richer. I always despised General Tilney although I loved how Austen wrote him as this Gothic tyrant of a father. Love your post :)

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    1. I'm sure that Lizzie and Darcy become just like them... though of course a lot richer (ten thousand!). :)
      General Tilney is another great secondary character. He is worked really into the story. :)
      Thank you!

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  10. Great list! Mrs. Norris is pretty much up there as my least favourite Austen character (though every time I read S&S, I am reminded of how much I dislike Lucy Steele as well). The Allens from NA and the Gardiners from P&P are are great characters, I enjoy their scenes :) And poor Mr. Woodhouse, lol!

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    1. I forgot about Lucy Steele! I despise her too!

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