Ginty, of course I see as facebook (and similar) obsessed, on her phone all the time.
Lawrie perhaps following actors/actresses she admires on Twitter?
Ann competant and a surprisingly enthusiastic user of social media.
Karen, having left University before the web, found it hard to get back into academic work, as she lacked the necessary on-line research skills.
Anthony Merrick becomes an early adopter of all things web-based, one of the first MPs to tweet reguarly, and Chairing parliamentary committees about social media. Some are surprised at this, but he explains that his theological position does not make him a Luddite. He is also an anti-pornography campaigner, much to Helena's emabarrassment.
Patrick held out until not having an email address made functionning in the adult world very difficult, but has never read one of Anthony Merrick MP's tweets on principle.
At school ...
Jan didn't join the class of 19xx leavers facebook page set up by Val ...
The consquences of sexting are immediate expulsion, but it takes a while for the staff to believe that such a thing could happen, let alone at Kingscote. That is as far as I care to go down that street - but others may be braver!
Just because she's so fond of Nicola and feels she's defending her against an unjust accusation of being unfair in not relinquishing the role of SB to Lawrie? Or because Miranda has put her on the spot and she has to say yes or no to a direct question? Or does she actually think Lawrie is a bit of an idiot? If so, why? Because Lawrie is a performer, when Esther suffers agonies at the mere prospect of doing anything of that nature (apart from netball...), or because Lawrie whines and strops so much when she doesn't get her way, and unlike Esther, makes no effort to hide her incapacities ('I can't light gas. It bangs at me')?
I was reading End of Term recently, and got thinking about whether AF's account of who precisely can tell Niccola and Lawrie apart stands up to scrutiny (aside entirely from the implausibility of their mother not being able to find the merest freckle, mole or scar to distinguish the unconscious Lawrie from Nicola in The Marlows and the Traitor.) There are lots of indications, not surprisingly, that members of staff and other Kingscote girls who don't know them that well can't tell them apart throughout the series. What interested me more in End of Term was the extent to which their siblings and close friends and classmates can or can't distinguish them.
When Lawrie and Nicola switch for the netball match after Lawrie bruises her leg, they sleep in one another's beds, and Ginty and Ann don't spot the ruse in the morning when Lawrie (as Nicola) pretends to be ill, though Nick at least seems to have a moment of tension when she's afraid Ann will realise - but both twins seem to be able to presume that neither of their sisters will see through the switch, or presumably they would have known in advance it would never have worked. Nick walks in to the gym, and Miranda, her best friend, likewise thinks she's Lawrie until she's told otherwise. Yet when they go in to breakfast Tim knows immediately Nick isn't Lawrie, and we're told she 'had never had the least difficulty in telling them apart'. From Nicola remembering what Peter once told her about how Lawrie always hitched at her stockings and Nick put her hands in her pockets, presumably he can tell them apart too (despite seeing an awful lot less of them than their sisters)? It's unclear whether Jan Scott has guessed before Lois guesses 'Lawrie' is really Nick, while watching her play brilliantly in the netball match, but it emerges that the outcast Marie Dobson has guessed, based simply on the way in which Nick bumped into her and apologised in the gym doorway earlier that day.
Is it plausible that siblings who share a room with the twins would be taken in by an identical twin switch, basing their interpretation of who was who entirely on situation stuff like who was in which bed/wearing which games kit etc? Is Ann just too honest and straightforward to suspect, and Ginty too self-absorbed, and we are to assume that the redoubtable Rowan would have seen through it in a millisecond, even if all concerned were wearing identical school uniform?
Are there ever any indications that any of the other Marlows can't tell the twins apart? Why has Tim never had any difficulty telling them apart, yet observant, intelligent Miranda is fooled initially, when Marie Dobson isn't? (Just that Tim has known both twins since the start of their schooldays, and is Lawrie's best friend, while Miranda only becomes Nick's close friend at the start of End of Term? Or has Marie's outcast status sharpened her powers of observation when it comes to pranks she's being left out of? She's sharp and sly enough to check Nicola's hat name tag to confirm her suspicions.) Esther is a new girl at the start of End of Term, and very diffident, but there is never the slightest reference to her checking that she's talking to Nick, rather than Lawrie, in the way that, say, Jess Geddes does when they find the hawk carving in the Minster.
Anyway, just wondered what anyone else's thoughts were. Is it plausible that even siblings' recognition of identical twins might depend heavily on context (that is Nick's bed, therefore the person in it is Nick)..?
How to pronounce 'Lawrence' - or 'Laurence'? I've always figured the first syllable to be a short 'o' sound, so the name with either spelling rhymes with 'Florence'.
Which means that the short form, Lawrie/Laurie would be pronounced 'lorry'.
Others claim that the first syllable actually has the 'aw' sound, or even if it doesn't, that 'Lawrie' is actually said as 'law-ree', and the only other traditional short form is 'Larry'. Surely these people are mad and wrong?!
Turned out that though we all liked 'Lawrence', no-one could stand the idea that the baby in question would get called 'lorry'/Laws/Larry/law-ree/Loz.
He's been named Rowan instead. :)
In ‘End of Term’, we are shown that Lawrie assumes that nobody today could actually believe in the Bible any more than Greek mythology. On the other hand she makes bargains with her own imaginary controller of fate. Surely the sort of person who not only doesn’t believe, but can’t actually believe anyone else could either would be totally rational in all other respects and immune to superstition or supernatural belief of any kind. I picture an infant Richard Dawkins. Has anyone ever come across someone who combines Lawrie’s instinctive disbelief in the religion she’s been brought up in with her own equally irrational view of the universe?
When I was reading the David Eddings series The Belgariad and associated other books, it mentioned that when you have twins, one will be more dominant over the other. One sign of which is that the less dominant twin will tend to speak about 'we' and 'us' and think of themselves as part of a set more than as an individual.
I'm not sure how much credence to give this idea, considering it was in a work of fiction. Particularly as I'm thinking about the idea in relation to another set of fictional twins. *grin* However, I've read elsewhere about the idea of dominance in twins.
In the Marlow series who do you see as the 'dominant' twin, if there is such a thing? Who tries to assert their individuality more?
My opinion (which is open to swaying by a good argument) is that Lawrie is more focussed on twinhood as her identity than Nicola. On the one hand she wants to be a famous actress and do her own thing, but she also seems to want to drag Nicola along with her. Yet then she doesn't like Nicola being in the limelight. She tends to be manipulative and whinge when she doesn't get her own way.
However, isn't it Lawrie who instigates the twin-swaps to further her own ends, which seems to show that she has some dominance over Nicola? (Actually I don't recall to well the finer details of those occasions.)
Yet it was Lawrie who tried to cut her own hair to match Nicola's new [accidental] haircut. Also, Lawrie seems to need more support from her bosom pal, to bolster her sense of self.
Has anyone else any thoughts on this, or heard other theories about the twins and their personalities?
I actually first started looking two or three years ago for a fan-written sequel to "Run Away Home" and found nada, ny-et, nothing. Everyone I knew seemed to think it odd I liked these 'silly boarding school stories', especially as the author couldn't even set them in one time period! However, I loved them, even though there were many things that were dissimilar to my own boarding experience. I suppose in some ways, I wish that was how school had been for me.
I've always wondered what Nicola went on to do. Did she eventually take Latin and Greek so she could read Homer in the original? Did she end up sailing around the world and, if so, what did she do after that - write a book about it? I'm definitely a romantic and hope that Nicola and Patrick eventually got together.
One thing I'd love to discuss is the relationship between Lawrie and Nicola, and their different personalities.
Could some kind soul please enlighten me as to why Lawrie, in response to Nick waking her on New Year's day in Run Away Home, says 'Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits'? To which Nicola responds 'Oh, rabbits, yes, I'd forgotten', after which we're told 'But was too late. She'd spoken.'
Is this somehow connected to bringing good luck in the New Year? (You say 'rabbits' before saying anything else? You invoke the talismanic power of the New Year Bunny?) Although at breakfast Lawrie is perturbed at having forgotten to see in the New Year the night before, and has to be consoled by Giles saying that having eaten twelve mince pies will balance out the bad luck - which I'd never come across before either. Clearly my New Years are very culturally impoverished.
ETA: Thanks, everyone. This was completely unfamiliar to me, and my new-found knowledge has made me resolve never to share a bed with any of you on the first of the month.
Also, what would L and N have been like at this earlier school? They seem so utterly new to school matters, rivalries, work, games and relationships outside the family when they get to Kingscote. Are we to imagine them having very much regarded day school (or anywhere not Kingscote, where the rest of the family is doing so terribly well) as second best, and therefore not worth bothering much about? Or were they simply so frequently ill that they were never at school for more than five minutes consecutively? I have to say I've always had some difficulty swallowing the Delicate Twins thing, as they always seem to robustly well, especially Nicola...
Or is it just meant to have been an example of her amazing acting ability, and even AF didn't actually know how the lines might be said?
I have been thinking for a while that the Marlow stories would make a great early Sunday evening family television series. When you think about it, they combine the teenage school highs and lows of The OC (bullies/ school teams/ boyfriends) with the kind of drama reserved for Eastenders (step families/ runways/ child abduction..). It also has some kind of glamour, as the main protagonists are of a class that most people are not.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realised that the stories would have to be set in the present day, in order to gain enough interest from viewers, and also the backing from a production firm. This started me thinking about how to update some of the storylines, which are often a product of the time they were written in. The telephone saga in The Attic Term, would be an interesting one, although in my mind, I would have Ann owning the ‘family’ mobile, on which calls home are made. Ginty ends up using the office phone due to the queues and lack of privacy on the payphones near the common room. Some schools are strict about mobiles and insist that the housemistress keeps them until after classes are over, and I could see Kingscote doing this, and Ann obviously obeying.
Another issue would be the make-believe in Peter’s Room, which I cannot see teenagers in 2006 doing. An interesting way round this, would be to have ‘Gondal’ as a new online computer game, which they start playing whilst hold up in Peter’s Shippen, and gradually become addicted to – apart from Nicola, who would much rather be herself out doing something! There was some research done about these kind of online ‘quest’ games, where quite ordinary people in real life, are ‘kings’ of these online worlds. This plot would not only allow the story to develop as it does in Peter’s Room, but also look at the effect of kids spending too much time on computers..
The Thuggery Affair I would love to turn into Chavs, but this is probably rather un-PC!! And the Marlows and the Traitor would have to be drug smuggling as I don’t want to touch 21st century terrorism..
Talking to my sister, another AF fan, about this, we got onto the characters. She says that Nicola is unlike any modern day teenage girl. What 12/13/14 year old is mad about the Navy and into cricket? If there was someone like that at school, they would be really picked on by the ‘trendy gang’ .But I don’t know – I think Nicola as she is in the books would work, and I would still have her dropping her new penknife out of the train (do modern trains have windows that open, though?). She is also safe from the ‘trendies’ in that she a Marlow, and is actually part of the Main Clique with Tim, Miranda and Lawrie. I would, however, have Lawrie and Tim as being quite skinny-jeaned/ Top Shop cool, whereas Miranda would be in Seven jeans and a Chloe top. Nick would be more jeans and tatty converse boots (previously Rowan’s). If any of you live in London, the Top Shop, H&M and Zara on Kensington High Street on a Saturday are full of upper middle class teenage girls in all their glory…. Just to give you an idea of what Kingscote girls would be like in 2006…
Anyways, just wanted to share these thoughts, and wondered what you all think. Would it work? Is it worth me writing a proposition and sending it to the BBC??!
Apols for long post...
Giles - lots, of course. Borne by a meek and long-suffering wife?
Kay - not sure. Maybe two, by a later marriage.
Rowan - I haven't decided whether Rowan will settle down in a same-sex partnership, in which case I don't think she will bother with children, or whether she will marry, initially decline children, but then suddenly decide in her mid-thirties that her biological clock is ticking and ultimately end up with two sons.
Ann - Ann will marry mid-twenties and - ironically and unfairly - have great difficulty conceiving. They will adopt two children before she finally produces a daughter.
Ginty - boy and girl? Followed by divorce?
Peter - don't know. Perhaps he will surprise everyone by becoming the real pater familias?
Nick - I reckon four boys, and would quite like them to be by Robert Anquetil.
Lawrie - after a succession of affairs with her leading men (and because she likes to shock and likes the attention probably a couple of leading ladies too), Lawrie will settle down with a somewhat older and very dashing film star, will initially reject the idea of children, but aged 37 will suddenly decide she wants one and immediately and without difficulty produce a daughter, which will really rub Ann's nose in it.
What does everyone else think?
Anyway, I've always wondered what the various Marlow siblings were like as children, and a comment in the thread below about prequels made me think about it even more. I find the twins different in Autumn Term than pretty much everywhere else, somehow very much younger (Nick jumping out of the train, etc). And I'd be curious about how much all the others changed as they grew up, too. It would be easiest to write a prequel with them all much as they are now - Ann being very good, Rowan still supremely confident, Kay very academic, but I think that would be losing something. Was Rowan as insecure as Nick sometimes is about her capabilities? Was Ann always so at peace with helping everyone, or did she sometimes resent it more as a child? Was Karen ever silly? How did Ginty's bomb shelter experience change her? Was she always pretty, and did she notice as a child, or is some of her shallowness later on a result of that? What was Lawrie like before she realised she was supremely good at acting? (and indeed, was that actually known before the play in Autumn Term? It seemed like it was really sort of discovered then - was Nick always seen as the one who was best at everything before then?) Did Peter hide his fears just as well as a child? (I guess we get some clues in Falconer's Lure, that Patrick at least knew some of them. Come to that, we also hear a little about Nick as a child in that one too, wanting to trail after the boys), and a million other similar questions... So, what do you think all the characters were like as children??
1. In Cricket Term, Miss Kempe suggests that Lawrie read Fellowship of the Ring to give her a better idea of the sort of creatures Ariel is. On which creatures do you think she wanted Lawrie to model her performance? Surely not the hobbits, who are of the rustic, earthy persuasion. But who, then? The Black Riders fit the "almost immortal but less than human" bill, but they're also menacing and creepy, which Ariel isn't (not from my dimly remembered reading of him, anyway). The ethereal, melodious elves, perhaps? (I also wonder about AF's take on LOTR, writing that into Cricket Term. Did she read much fantasy?)
2. In Ready-Made Family, Peter refers to Edwin several times as "your old man". Are there parts of the Anglophone world where "your old man" is used for "your husband", or is Peter using it in a more literal sense, because to him Edwin is so old? In Australia, "your old man" is, as far as I know, only ever used to mean "your father".
Practically everything Girlsownish that I read was written either before I was born or when I was very young and is therefore dated in some way. I was wondering if the reason people are bothered by the datedness of TTA is because it is comparatively recent - does this make it less acceptable than a school story full of 20s slang, or Georgette Heyer's Regency buckspeak?
Tell me what you think.
My questions are (because I've just begun what looks to be hellish workday, full of politicking and collegial back-stabbing, and I fancy some Marlovian amusement on the side):
How do the rankings work in the middle of Nicola's list - who is next to Ann as second-last? Ginty? Does Lawrie figure as a kind of twinnish second-self or would she get her own independent liking ranking?
Also, f we imagine the other Marlows to have their own Family Liking Lists, how do they rank each other? (If Ann were to allow herself for a moment to be uncharitable enough to deviate from 'But of course I love them all the same - they are my family', who would she like most? Karen, who seems to be least unpleasant to her?) What does Giles really think of the Marlovian Lower Deck? Are we to assume Peter hero-worships Giles, or does his slightly-taken-aback reaction to no longer being the only male on the scene in Run Away Home indicate seething sibling-Naval rivalry?