[identity profile] bookroom.livejournal.com
Hi all, am new here, but can't see that this has been discussed before.

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)..?
[identity profile] tobimkcb.livejournal.com

I've often wondered whether or what Rowan gets paid for her toil on the farm. When she first takes over, Mr Tranter is still Farm Manager and she doesn't really have a defined role. Captain Marlow is still the boss (when Karen wants Mrs Tranter to move out of the farmhouse in RAH, Rowan reminds her that it is only their father who can give the Tranters notice) so I hope he's set up some kind of salary for her, though if the impecunious Pam is reduced to selling the Last Ditch (in Peter's Room) to pay for Chocbar and just over a term later they can't afford the school fees for all 4 girls at Kingscote, I wonder what their finances are like. Maybe Rowan just gets pocket money, which is another reason her social life is so poor.
ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (Missee Lee)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
Prompted by [livejournal.com profile] forester48's query about Patrick's O-levels, I picked up Attic Term the other day and inevitably re-read it. And noticed some bits and pieces about Patrick and Ginty's relationship that hadn't fully come through to me before. I'd seen Patrick as attracted by her looks, and them bonding over the role-playing in Peter's Room, and obviously sharing a passion for and skill at riding, but had not really thought of them as similar in character. But then I reread the scene when Patrick is arguing with his father about why he doesn't need to stay at school for A-levels:

'having any number of more or less outlandish notions vaguely in mind: as for instance, that he might join an expedition to the Himalayas or a dig at one of the local archaeological sites or become the Queen's Falconer or unearth incontrovertible conclusive proof that the two princes were alive and well and living in the Tower when Richard Third was killed at Bosworth...'

This struck me as remarkably like Ginty's imaginings, such as the Mother Teresa fantasy when she's staying in the san. And I also noticed how very sulky both of them can be with the adults, and what teenagers they are, and remembered how one bonds with other teenagers over the total awfulness of the grown-ups. I read Attic Term first as a student, I think, and felt rather guiltily at one with Ginty as she thought 'when she was suddenly famous and interviewed on T.V. she would say There's one thing I can never forgive my mother--' and embarrassed for her over the way she speaks to Mrs Marlow on the phone from the Merricks'. But this time it occurred to me that the text doesn't suggest Patrick reacts badly to her rudeness to her mother at all (though one can feel Mr Merrick silently judging). Patrick's attempts not to be introduced to Mrs Harman at the concert had a similar feel to me, and though I admit that he has had an exceptionally stressful day, it's suggested that this mainly means he doesn't have the stubbornness to stick to his refusal.

Also I had always thought of the moment when he realised that 'If it had been Nick, he wouldn't have needed to ring off...' as conclusive in the end of his feelings for Ginty, especially as it's followed shortly afterwards by the Kissing Of Claudie. I still think it's crucial, but in fact the letter saying he is 'yours devotedly' - addressed to both Ginty and Rosina - is written after that. (Protesting too much? Attempting to open up a new dimension to their relationship after his recent exposure to the joys of the flesh?) Anyway, it's Ginty's decision to go to Monica's that seems to be the final disaster. Of course this is her chameleon qualities working against her, because if Patrick had known about Monica as her best friend from the beginning, he might have accepted that decision. Instead it just looks like running away. Which of course it is, even though it's also the right thing to do.

Probably these are not new observations, but I thought I'd toss it out and ask what other people make of Patrick and Ginty.
[identity profile] carmine-rose.livejournal.com
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the fair/unfair treatment of the Marlow young by their parents. I'm thinking specifically the treatment of Nicola by her parents/mother in Cricket Term. Is there anyway this could have been handled better? Should it actually have been Nicola who was going to have to leave? Should they have told her or dropped it on her in the summer holidays? Should they have removed all the girls, or perhaps just both twins?

For that matter, should Lawrie have been given the Prosser? (I know this wasn't her parents' decision, I'm just interested whether people think it was a good judgement call on the part of the staff.)

In a similar vein, what about the horse business in Peter's Room? Was it fair that their mother bought Ginty a horse for her birthday, and said no-one else was to ride it? Was it reasonable to buy herself one before ensuring the children all had equal access to a horse for hunting? In effect, she created a situation where one daughter was the only one in the family who was unable to go hunting (without hiring a horse), which seems harsh to me. But then, I'm from a small family where such unequality with gifts never happened - is this normal for a large family? Was Lawrie's reaction reasonable, or did other readers take it as just one more example of her throwing whiny tantrums?

These two occasions seemed to me to best illustrate Mrs. Marlow's failings as a mother (and also perhaps where the children got their selfishness) - I wondered if anyone else felt the same.

Can anyone else think of any other examples of this kind of thing? Or of fairer treatment?

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