August 23, 2016

Northanger Abbey

Well, ladies, I have just this month completed what could be my favorite Jane Austen novel, and watched yet another wonderful Jane Austen movie. Within a space of two or three days I have read and watched Northanger Abbey. And I have something to say on the matter.

Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey (2007)  #film #Jane_Austen #read #book:

The book itself is a marvel. I never thought I could read Jane Austen so fast, and with so much focus! Sure, a few sentences are oddly structured, but the majority were fun, spirited, and as always, extremely intuitive in human nature. I love the way Jane Austen goes about comparing Catherine Morland's life to a heroine's. 
       "No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine."
Can't you just imagine Jane Austen writing that with a twinkle in her eye? After that first line, Austen goes on to spin a tale about a girl (who is seventeen, by the way!) who goes on a trip to Bath with some rich, kind ,but rather dull neighbors. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, there's no initial tension between Catherine and the hero of the story; she and Henry Tilney hit it off right away. With the help of limited communication and horrible, terrible friends, Catherine and Henry's romance takes a while to grow, but eventually Catherine is invited to stay at the Tilney residence: Northanger Abbey. 

Northanger Abbey- I really like Catherine Morland's powder-blue, navy-inspired overcoat.:

Catherine is in awe of Northanger Abbey. She has read dozens of dime-novels of terrible crime and mystery, and the Abbey seems the perfect place to discover some real-life horror. On the first night of her visit, Catherine searches all the nooks and crannies of a giant cabinet in her room, only to discover that the mysterious-looking parchments crumpled in a corner are only old laundry receipts. 
This does not satisfy Catherine's curiosity for long. She soon finds herself investigating a much more serious mystery; one that involves the death of Henry Tilney's mother. One assumption leads to another, and when Catherine's sleuthing goes too far, she is discovered by Henry himself.

This creates a temporary wedge in Catherine and Henry's relationship, of course, but Henry's nobility (in the truest sense of the word) soon puts Catherine a bit more at ease. But then something happens that convinces Catherine that all romance has been lost. While Henry is away, she is suddenly sent away from Northanger Abbey in the middle of the night by an infuriated General Tilney, Henry's father. She returns home in disgrace, convinced that what she has done has ended her relationship with Henry forever.
Dear reader, this is happily not the case! When Henry discovers what his father has done, he immediately goes to Catherine's home, and..well...

they live happily ever after!

The book is practically perfect (although the Thorpes are awful people to have to read about!), and the movie is nearly perfect as well. There are some scenes where it shows Catherine's imagination running wild, which I thought rather unnecessary. And, as all movies do, it doesn't follow the book exactly. But it isn't too far off. I'm willing to overlook it, because the movie shows me the beautiful costumes, the shopping and dancing in Bath, the sparkling ballrooms, the sparkling conversations, Catherine's cure hairstyle, Henry Tilney's smirk...the list goes on and on! 

Basically, I love this romance. I'm still a little in love with Henry Tilney, and I think Catherine and I could be great friends (especially if I steered her to more suitable novels!). They were simply made for each other. 
Now I must give one more lovely picture, and then we may be rational again. ;)

J.J. Feild may be a bit cheesy, but he's also the perfect slightly goofy sweetheart.:

Have you seen or read Northanger Abbey?
Have you ever been to Bath, where this story takes place? Do you want to go? (aka do you want to plan a group trip so we can all see it together? ;) )

August 22, 2016

A Downton Abbey Tag

Hello fellow Downtown Downton Abbeyites! (I thought I'd just make you cringe a little there) ;) Naomi's Downton Abbey week has been off to a great start, and so that I won't miss all the fun (like Edith), I'm going to do her tag!
But wait!
Ruth from Amongst Spring Blossoms tagged me with a DA tag last month, and I still haven't done it! So I'll do that one first:
1. Who is your favorite couple from Downton Abbey?
Why, the one everyone loves, of course; Mary and Mathew.

2. Do you know without looking it up who is the director of this series?
Yup, Jullian Fellows. Thought that he was a she for the longest time, until I saw a picture! 

3. Who is your favorite character?
I really like Rose, especially when she isn't trying to get back at her parents. I love how she develops throughout the seasons!
She's dancing with the prince!!
5. What is your favorite Dowager Countess quote?

6. Which of the children do you like most?
Well, between Mary, Sybil and Edith, I like Sybil the best, with pre-Mathew-mortem Mary at a close second. Of the little wee ones, I like George the most. 

7. When did you feel sadder, when Sybil died, or Mathew?
WAIT MATHEW DIES?!? JK, I already knew that. (Sorry, it's probably not nice to joke about something so awful. RIP, Mathew.) I think I cared more about the effects of Mathew's death than Sybil's, but I did cry more when Sybil died. I think it's a draw.

8. Which character would you want to be in more? 
Mathew. I'd save his life, and have everyone live happily ever after. 

9. Which character would you rather not have in this series?
Hmm, considering how much I like this show, I sure do dislike a lot of characters! I'd really like if Miss Bunting weren't in the series, or that other annoying maid who liked Tom. And I really wish Isobel weren't so annoying too!

Just look at that smug face!

10. What was the nicest moment in Downton Abbey?
I don't have a specific moment; I just like it most when there's a wedding (that actually gets completed (looking at you, Stralland)) or a wonderful kiss (when it isn't improper). 

Now for Naomi's tag:

1. Who introduced you to Downton Abbey?
It was just on public television, and it soon got incorporated into the already established Sunday pizza night at my house!

2. What season do you enjoy the most?
Probably Season 2, but I like the first three seasons the most, in general.

Ah, Season 1. When everyone was still alive, and wearing purple. 

3. Who wore the prettiest wedding dress?
I like Lady Rose's dress the best, but Mary's veil deserves an honorable mention.

4. What plot twist/scene came most unexpectedly to you? (Or do you pre-read all the spoilers?)
No, I don't read the spoilers! Since Downton Abbey came out when I was 10 (crazy, I know!), it's hard to remember what really shocked me then versus the more recent re-watching. Perhaps Sybil's sudden turn for the worse after she had her baby? Sometime's it was people's reactions to things that I couldn't understand, like Mathew's weird honor complex with Lavinia and inheritance money...c'mon, Mathew! I soon learned to expect the unexpected, and that nobody can be happy for an entire episode without something bad happening to them. 

5. If you could save one character from dying, who would you save?
In Emma's words, MathewSybil. ;) It really is an impossible question! But I'll say again, I felt that Mathew's death changed the entire series more than Sybil's. I'm going to make a rash statement now, that some of you may throw rotten tomatoes at me for: I would rather have Downton Abbey end as a series with Mary and Mathew holding their baby than have it go on to have Mathew die. There. I will now dodge the rotten tomatoes. 

6. Who is your favorite Downton Abbey footman?
Oh, probably William. Alfred could easily have been, if only he'd just court Daisy instead of that silly Ivy person.

7.  What typo annoys you more? "Downtown Abbey", or "Downton Abby"? 
"Downtown Abbey", for sure. For one, "Abby" is simply an accidental omission, whereas "Downtown" appears a purposeful, or at least ignorant, addition. 

8. Which character do you think developed the best throughout the seasons?
Probably Rose. But I have to rewatch the last seasons again to make sure. :)

9. Favorite Downton couple?
Again, I really need to rewatch (and in some cases, re-rewatch) the series, but for now I'll stick with Mary and Mathew. In second place is Anna and Mr. Bates. 

10. Which of Granny Grantham's one-liners is your favorite?

Oh, good, I'll pick another one!
I wouldn't normally appreciate this sentiment, but it's directed at Mrs. Crawley, so...

11. How do you react when you meet another DA-lover?
This, sadly, has happened but once in non-internet life (plus I kind of just assume everyone in this blogging circle likes DA already). Anyway, my non-internet friend started watching recently, so we have fun talking about the characters. I also say "just you wait and see" a lot! :)

12. Do you think the show should go on and on, or do you think it should have ended earlier?
It's good that the series stopped at 6 seasons. The 20's aren't my favorite decade, and I fear the 30's are worse. (I'm a lot like Carson when it comes to keeping tradition!) Besides, the series skips time faster than the actors age, so it would have started to become very unrealistic in that sense. I also stand by my statement from question 5.

13. Which room in Downton Abbey is your favorite?
I love both the Dowager house and Mrs. Crawley's house. I like the paint on the walls, and all the natural light. 

14. If you could be part of the story, would you rather be a person upstairs or downstairs?
I'd want to be upstairs, so I could (in some ways) have more freedom, be able to shop more, go dancing, and wear beautiful dresses. :)

15. Who would you rather spend an afternoon with, Mrs. Patmore or Mrs. Crawley?
At first I was thinking Mrs. Crawley, but I think I would get nervous and shy with her. I'd rather get a few cooking lessons with Mrs. Patmore!

16. Do you have any Downton Abbey inside jokes with anyone?
Sadly, no. I'd suggest we all make one now, but forcing an inside joke kind of defeats the purpose. :/

17. Describe the show in one word.

18. On a scale of 1-10. how much of a fan do you consider yourself?
Probably a 7, maybe even a 6.5! Compared to what I've read from other bloggers, I think I get more frustrated and annoyed with lots, if not most of the characters by the final season. I think I'm a little bitter yet over how they kill people off, and I've perceived a definite pandering to American sentiments in the later seasons; it became more soap-opera-ish.
But don't worry; I still love the show! Seeing the fashions and the beautiful sets are my favorite parts.

19. Do you sometimes forget who is who?
Yup. I was 10 when this came out, and watched it as faithfully as I could when the episodes aired on Sunday nights. But of course, I've missed parts of, or entire episodes over the 6 years, so my memory is quite patchy!

My face when I can't remember who a character is!
20. Finally, who is your favorite character, and why do you love them?
  • Lady Rose, for her spunk, and how lovely she turns out in the end
  • Lady Violet, also for her spunk, her traditional ways, and her (mostly) common sense
  • Lady Sybil, although she wasn't perfect (going to political meetings etc.), she really was sweet. Was. *sniff* :(

Well, if you made it to the bottom of this incredibly long, double-tag post, I thoroughly congratulate and thank you! Thanks again, Naomi and Ruth, for writing such fun tags!

August 14, 2016

A Desperate Attempt at Diversion While I Prepare a Real Post

This summer of blogging has not quite turned out into what it was going to be, but between two and a half jobs, the search for another job, an anciently slow computer, and a desperate search for any scholarships I could apply to, I haven' t been left with much time or patience to blog. But, as always, I am determined to keep on trying. I'm preparing a Northanger Abbey post for this week, and by September I will have my school computer! Then the posts will fly out, I'm sure. ;)
  But anyway, I thought I'd leave a little something to entertain you with:

How that argument really went down:
In preparation for Downton Abbey week! :)
And with that, I'm off to the 19th century job for a few hours. :)

August 2, 2016

Jane Austen Tag

Happy August, everyone! Rachel has kindly tagged me with some Austenite questions. So here we go:
1. Do you love Jane Austen? Why or why not?
No, I really can't stand the woman. As Mark Twain once said, "Jane is entirely impossible."

Just Kidding! (Hopefully that sarcasm wasn't too far extended.) I love Jane Austen! She is witty and wrote great stories. But really, Mark Twain said some nasty stuff about Austen, which you can gasp over here.

2. What is your favorite Jane Austen movie? 


It's got to be Pride and Prejudice 1995. But I also love Northanger Abbey 2007(mostly because of Mr. Tilney), Emma 2009, and Sense and Sensibility 1995. 

3. Would you rather have Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley? 

I shall conquer this... I shall:

Hmmm...both are gentlemen (eventually!), both are smart, and if I'm not mistaken, both have a reasonably large fortune. Mr. Knightley seems to have the most common sense, but Mr. Darcy just has...something else! (Nobility? Class? Mystique? More Masculinity?) I'm going to have to go with Mr. Darcy, especially since I have a hard time separating the picture of the movies from the books. (And no, I'm not a Colin Firth drooler. But he was incredibly good as Mr. Darcy.) I also have a literary crush on Mr. Tilney, in case anyone was curious. He has such an understanding of muslin! ;)

4. Have you read any of Jane Austen's books? Which ones?


 I think I've started all of the main ones besides Mansfield Park, which is bad of me, I know. I read Pride and Prejudice once upon a time, and have listened to Emma on audiobook. And believe it or not, this question reminded me that I really should try Austen again. I read Northanger Abbey and Lady Susan in about 3 days! 

5. Do you know when Jane Austen's birthday is without looking?
December 23?, 17__?? Ok, lemme check....December 15, 1775. Meh, guess I didn't really! :P

6. Who is your favorite character from Pride and Prejudice?


Why, Mr. Collins of course! He's so endearing! (I really have to stop with this sarcasm thing!) 
It's probably Elizabeth, because she is sharp and witty and motivated. But Jane is a close second, because she is so sweet and considerate, I'd have a hard time not liking her! 

7. Would you rather have Kate Winslet as Marianne, or Charity Wakefield?
Um, either one, I suppose? I'm really terrible with actresses. They both looked like they could fit in. 

8. How many Jane Austen movies have you seen? Which?
Pride and Prejudice '95, Sense and Sensibility '95. and possibly the new one? I can't remember. Emma '09, and at least one other I can't recall, Emma Approved (which is awesome, btw!), Northanger Abbey '07, and the newer Persuasion. And most recently, Love and Friendship! 
Oh, and technically Austenland, and Becoming Jane as well, thought they aren't based off her books. 
So approximately 11! I might have forgotten one or two. 

9. Who is your favorite character from Emma? 

Emma 2009 Harriet Smith visiting the poor:
Sshhh! Don't listen to her, Harriet!
I actually really like Harriet. I wish I could push Emma aside and help Harriet find her own will and wits! She would have happily married Mr. Martin. Harriet is just so nice!

10. Would you rather have Lydia and Kitty as sisters, or Marianne and Margaret? 
M&M, hands down. Marianne might be a hopeless romantic, but at least they both have some sense! 

Have I used this picture before? Sometimes I have a memory like Dory!
11. Which Jane Austen movie isn't your favorite? 
Hmm, I'm not sure. Persuasion gets a bad rap a lot; I suppose it isn't really in the competition for favorite Austen movie.

12. Do you have a favorite Jane Austen quote? Which?
I don't know if there's a better one, but here's what came right away:

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore every body, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest. My Fanny indeed at this very time, I have the satisfaction of knowing, must have been happy in spite of every thing. She must have been a happy creature in spite of all that she felt or thought she felt, for the distress of those around her... - Ch. 17, Mansfield Park #janeausten: