Austen vs. embarrassment

One of the things that I love about Austen is the sudden jumps in drama. People go from “oh no thank you sir, I couldn’t possibly-” and angst-laden handclasps, to scandalous affairs or, in this case, complete annihilation. Seriously. Austen does not hang about when it comes to social embarrassment. If you are an Austen character, and an acquaintance involves themselves in an affair, Austen does not think the appropriate reaction is a little embarrassment on their behalf, or even secluding yourself from society for a time; no, if you are embarrassed in Austen’s books, the only option for you is complete destruction.

Take the case of Mrs. Rushworth in Mansfield Park. She- (spoiler alert) has an affair (you can honestly see that coming, Mr. Crawford is like a Wickham-doppleganger) and, when Fanny finds out, she doesn’t think “oh that’s embarrassing for her family, but we’ll get over it” or try to think of what should be done, no no, those are far too ridiculous measures; no, in Austen’s eyes, the only reasonable course of action is annihilation for the embarrasser and the embarassees (yeah I know that’s not a word):

“Sir Thomas’s parental solicitude, and high sense of honour and decorum, Edmund’s upright principles, unsuspicious temper, and genuine strength of feeling, made her think it scarcely possible for them to support life and reason under such disgrace; and it appeared to her, that as far as this world alone was concerned, the greatest blessing to every one of kindred with Mrs Rushworth would be instant annihilation.”

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Beauty and the Beast review(ish)

So unless you’ve been deep underground for the past couple weeks you’ll know that Beauty and the Beast just came out. It was amazing. Now I don’t know how the whole spoiler thing works with this, because you must already know what happens in the original movie, (it’s kinda in the title) and this sticks pretty close to the original. I had some doubts about how well this would turn out and now I feel like a fool, like a fool, because it really was great.

Now let me just start by saying I love Belle. I do. But I can also see why the other town people might not have been her biggest fans. Let’s just begin with the beginning. So, in the originals:

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Look how happy everybody is. It’s a new day, they’re ready to start things off with a bang, even the guy in the stocks is happy- and then in comes Belle. Proceeding to bitch about everybody’s day, and in song form to boot. Not even just “you poor simple people”; she’s literally woken up and composed a song about how pathetic their lives are. Can you blame them for not liking her? Admittedly, they perhaps shouldn’t have taken it so far as “call you insane and lock you up with your father to get you out of our hair”, but you can see why they might be a little disgruntled. Nobody’s happy in the mornings, and to have a certain somebody flouncing past and bitching about you in song form, and then to finish it off with a big number about how they don’t want to turn out like you, is perhaps not the best way to start your day off.

And THEN, the iconic baker scene:

This poor guy. Despite it being all Disney-ed up, you can tell the baker is perhaps not the most well-off guy in the world, and who knows how early he has to get up to make those bread roll things just so somebody can flounce past going “just the same as yesterday….” Poor dude. And in the new one:

SAME DEAL. No please, no thankyou, just “I’m gonna take this bread roll, but I’m also gonna bitch about it.”
I’m sorry, I know this is becoming a bit of a Belle-rant, but that is a sensitive subject for me, could you tell?
Moving on: Emma Watson made for a fantastic Belle. From all the interviews and promos she’s been doing for this movie, you can tell she really engages with the character, and it shows. She’d mentioned loving this movie as a kid and there’s several moments in it where you can tell she just thinks it’s pure magic.
I have to admit, I’d only seen Dan Stevens in Downton Abbey before, and I kinda thought he’d be a bit too “oh I’m so incredibly sorry, but I’ll burst into tears if the tea things don’t appear directly”, and bit too soft to play a beast. But no, wrong again, he was amazing too. I had no idea he could sing so well, bringing me on to another point: Disney has the best songs. I just can’t wait to be king, I’ll make a man out of you, Prince ALIII, fabulous he, ALI ABABWAAAAAA- you know the ones. I’d kind of forgotten how good the Beauty and the Beast ones are, especially the mob song. Which leads me on again to Luke Evans- how they made him look so Gaston-y I have no idea:
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but he was fantastic for the role, and he could sing too, as you can tell:

I love that song.
Ewan McGregor was giving real Moulin-Rouge-y vibes, impressive since he was a candlestick for most of it, and Ian Mckellan is always amazing. I’d heard something ages ago about how he didn’t really like acting with loads of CGI- I don’t know if it’s true or not but he seemed very happy to be a clock.
Emma Thompson can do no wrong. They could have just stuck a tea cozy on her head and asked her to do the “I’m a little teapot” dance and she would have made it work.
I loved Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette:
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I liked, too, how they managed to change the movie without changing it. If that makes sense. This was far more dark than the original, and the end was sort of devastating.

Beast was well and truly English, yet he ruled a big French palace. And Lumiere and Plumette were French, yet Gaston didn’t understand it. I was kinda confused until I remembered I needed to have a little perspective; if I’m not going to question the giant enchanted castle complete with Beast-man-with-horns, then I can’t question accents.

I’d been hearing a lot of negative stuff about this before I went to see it, about how Emma Watson wasn’t a singer, and how people didn’t like the yellow dress, and all sorts of stuff like that, so I’m just going to address that here. Firstly, we all knew Emma Watson wasn’t a singer, she’s never gone about declaring herself the best singer ever, and I thought she actually sounded quite good. There was obviously a difference between herself and the experienced singers but in this movie they were clearly prioritising the right people for the right roles over how well they could sing, and she sounded like Belle, both singing and speaking, which is probably the most important thing. Secondly, I LIKED THE DRESS. There, I said it. It is clearly very hard to pull of a pouffy flouncy dress especially in yellow, and again she did it beautifully. Plus, imagine how pissy people might have got if they hadn’t stuck to the original dress. All her other outfits were similar to the originals, and if they’d changed this it would have been saying a lot. Plus, remember this dilemma:

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And be grateful that the Beauty and the Beast people at least knew what they were going with.
To sum up- I could kind of tell how much I loved this movie when I got home and was looking it up, and realised I’d almost forgotten about the original version.

There were some new songs in this movie, all of which worked without question, I challenge any of you to disagree, so I’ll leave you with the one I’m currently obsessed with:

 

To-do-reading list

So it’s coming to the end of my third year of Uni, and instead of freaking myself out because I’m still not sure how to answer people who insist on asking me what job I want to do (please don’t scare people about to graduate like that) instead I’m looking on the positive side & making a list of the books I’m going to read when I have the time. I always have a list of “for fun” books that I can relax with after my “for work” books, although actually this term they’ve kind of overlapped, which is quite nice. Anyways, here it be:

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I’m so excited about this one. It’s got amazing reviews, and although the first lines of its Amazon blurb is the not-very reassuring: ‘It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread’
I haven’t seen a book with such an ambitious premise in ages, and that’s saying something as I normally adore every book I come across. It’s basically about a massive, pure escapism virtual reality game, within which are easter eggs leading to a massive cash prize. With the blurb ending ‘Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed’, it sounds like a mix of sci-fi, detective and adventure, so basically AWESOME. Plus, apparently it’s going to be a movie next year, and since I always tell myself that I am able to remember the books I want to read before they’re movies, and never do, this one is GOING ON THE LIST.

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Couldn’t be more different, but since I’m quickly becoming Jane-Austen-obsessed, I’m loving anything related to it. Plus, I really like that it’s 200 years later and people are still finding so much to do with her material. I don’t know if there’s anything else out there from Lydia’s perspective, but I’ve never seen anything else, so I’m really excited about this one too. About all of them really. All books. All the time. Always. Anyway, the Amazon blurb: ‘Lydia is the youngest Bennet sister and she’s sick of country life – instead of sewing and reading, she longs for adventure. When a red-coated garrison arrives in Merryton, Lydia’s life turns upside down. As she falls for dashing Wickham, she’s swept into a whirlwind social circle and deposited in a seaside town, Brighton. Sea-bathing, promenades and scandal await – and a pair of intriguing siblings. Can Lydia find out what she really wants – and can she get it?’
Aimed at different age range, different audience, different interests, but it’s still going on the list!

TttttHHHHHhhhiiiIIIsss
I cannot wait to read this one. This has been on my list for AGES, and I know, you should never judge a book by its cover, but I did, and it’s beautiful. Seriously:

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it shines and everything. (By the way, does anyone else spell “beautiful” the Bruce Almighty way? B-E-A-U-tiful!) Anyway. Continuing. The Amazon blurb: ‘Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty – stories you love, and that we all think we know . . . but what about the secrets hidden within them? Why would a prince fall in love with a woman in a coffin? Why would a queen try so hard to poison her step-daughter? And what is a fairy Godmother’s real motivation? Turn the page, and discover these classic fairy stories, told the way they always should have been . . .’ No more important reason for this one other than that I’m a sucker for fairytales. I love ’em. Pretty cover, fairytales, magic, check check check. ON THE LIST. Moving on:

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AAAAAAAAGHHHH
I had it in my head that he’d insisted he wasn’t doing another book; even if that was true I wouldn’t even be mad that he lied because OH MY GOD
The ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy blew my mind and they’re long overdue for a re-read, and now I have an extra reason because 19th October yaaaaaay
The Amazon blurb offers nothing more than ‘Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent new novel, set ten years before Northern Lights and featuring his much-loved character, Lyra Belacqua’ so all secrecy, hush hush and so on, but it could literally just be Lyra watching paint dry and I’d read it happily.

Anyways, that is my list of books that I cannot wait to read, hope you enjoy and if anyone has any suggestions then please share!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode to the Slow-weaving Walkers

An Ode to the Slow Walking Students
Who Make Me Late Every Week

Apologies in advance for the pettiness, sorry not sorry

I think you do it on purpose,
because you know I have somewhere to be,
you amble along so slowly,
and there’s no room on the path for me

I can’t overtake you all together,
because you don’t just stick to one side,
and if it’s a choice between timekeeping and death
I’d rather get there alive

if you must swerve in every direction,
leave room for someone to get through,
because it’s either get trapped behind you,
or get trampled by all of your group

So yes I think you do it on purpose,
because you know I have somewhere to be,
It’s fine to insist on slowness,
but why must you also weave

essay problems

I had a feeling today was going to be a long day of essay writing, especially when I had to stop and ask ‘what’s the scholarly word for bitch’.

Pride & Prejudice quotes

Running on with the Jane Austen theme (if you couldn’t already tell, I’m a bit obsessed at the moment) and I just have to share this quote:

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Which I love; not because of the circumstances around it, of her father deciding to allow Lydia to go to Brighton where she winds up causing a *shock horror* scandal by running off with Wickham (sorry if that was a spoiler, but you’ve had about 200 years and almost as many Colin Firth-esque revamps to find that out)- I love this quote because of the wider meaning. It’s one of those books that no matter how long ago it was written, it’s still so relevant to people today- namely, by reminding the world that worrying over things does no good. That’s one of those things that you know in the back of your mind but don’t really realise you know it, til you come something like this and it just reminds you if you’ve got a worry, or something that’s beyond your control, that worrying can help in no way, but can actually make it worse. This message comes across in a lot of books and movies, and in paticular it reminds me of:

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Now, not to alarm anybody or awe you with my skills, but I am *ahem* a first-class worrier, and I’m gonna try to remember this quote in the future:

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