#1: The characters would not do as she wanted. Author: Maeve, Location: RomaniaPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 9:09 am
The characters would not do as she wanted. They insisted on going their own sweet way, and the story was developing on quite other lines than she had intended.
From Head Girl.
Are Grizel and Margot the two characters who got away from EBD, who simply wouldn't reform and become true CS girls? It seems quite bold of her to have them go astray at all, Grizel, the sympathetic, needy first pupil (whatever Joey's claims to that title!) and Margot, not just a member of one of the clans, but one of the triplets and daughter of Joey, the heroine of the series. How did Grizel manage to go astray even way into adulthood (think of how unattractively she is always portrayed as a teacher), and how did Margot manage to behave worse than Thelka and Joyce combined? Was EBD really going out on a limb here, or were the characters rebelling against her?
#2: Author: Róisín, Location: IrelandPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 9:40 am I really like Grizel, and yes I think she got away from EBD in terms of control, but I think that EBD enjoyed that. Grizel is (IMO) the best characterisation in the series - the most complicated and messy of personalities - and the great thing is we get to see her grow up! We get to see her at the start and at the end of all her trials. So, while I think that EBD really didn't know how to control her (possibly because it was a bit close to the bone for her?) she did love her and enjoy writing about her.
#3: Author: RoseCloke, Location: Camping in my housemate's room. Don't ask.Posted: Tue May 08, 2007 9:48 am Maybe Margot was developed like that to highlight aspets of Joey's character? I can't remember which of the books it is (but I have a feeling it's Shocks - definitely when they're on the Island), but at the beginning the Abbess and Miss Dene are having a conversation about Joey and her multitudes. One of them says that Joey is blind when it comes to her children, the other refutes it, stating that Joey has her head screwed on and wouldn't allow any of her children license to misbehave. The former then says that she's not quite sure. The conversation then changes.
I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say (can anyone help me clarify this?), but I think it's along the lines that Margot is perhaps one of Joey's flaws - she indulged her because she was so scared that her daughter would die (she even admits in later books that she did so), and then has to reap the consequences.
I admit, re-reading what I've written that it looks a little harsh on Joey, but reading the conversation did make me wonder. Having said that I think there are elements of truth in what Maeve says. It's hard to disentangle Joey's writing experiences from what we assume about EBD's... surely a character must have run away from her at some point, and these two seem to be prime candidates.
#4: Author: Rosalin, Location: SwanseaPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 10:19 am I've thought that about Grizel. EBD seems to have found that she's turned into a not particularly nice woman and can't quite redeem her. There are several incidents where most other characters would have seen the error of their ways and turned into a Chalet School girl at last but it never quite works with Grizel and a couple of books later she needs redeeming again.
Once EBD finds she really can't get Grizel as she wants her she tries other things, first sending her away and then marrying a doctor, but even that honour doesn't completely work.
Margot I'm not so sure about. I think EBD was a bit blind to her faults in the same way as Jo's. I know that all the triplets have their faults picked over and I think Con gets a raw deal in this respect but the fact that they were Jo's triplets makes them different to ordinary mortals and I feel that EBD didn't notice just how bad Margot was. Personally I'd have expelled her at least twice. The whole called to be a nun thing seems to be enough to prove her redemption (in a CS not religious sense!) but I never felt that it was written well enough for me to be convinced and I don't ever feel she becomes a true CS girl. Although she's probably a lot more interesting because of that.
#5: Author: Maeve, Location: RomaniaPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 11:56 am Like Róisín, I quite like Grizel. Even when she's being a sarcastic music teacher, because it's not her fault! And she's angelic compared to Herr Laubach with his nasty temper. So despite the fact that I always get the impression that EBD was disappointed with her (because Joey, the heads, etc., always speak about her so ruefully), Grizel really does get away from EBD and manages to be one of the most interesting characters throughout the series, one whom I am glad to see pop up in any book.
Margot, though -- she's a puzzle to me. Maybe she suffered from being written about so much in the last third of the series when so many of the characters were wooden and not so well thought out. I know Joey spoiled her because of her delicacy, but the Robin was spoiled in the same way and didn't suffer from it. Maybe, as Rosalin says, EBD was blind to her faults, not because she was so besotted with her, but because (not being terribly organized) she simply didn't remember how bad she had made her -- maybe EBD herself didn't realise how many times Margot came near to expulsion
#6: Author: Caroline, Location: ManchesterPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 12:13 pm I suspect EBD just got stuck in a rut with Margot, and every time she needed someone to be bad / naughty to move the action on or bring about the reformation of someone else (e.g. Prunella, e.g. Emmy), she just thought "Oh, Margot could do that", without ever stopping to think about how many times she had used Margot in similar situations in the past.
Her story line always slightly reminds me of Season Six Buffy (yes, really!), where Buffy recovers (psychologically) from her death / resurrection about a dozen times and vows to move on with her life, and on every ocassion has a prompt relapse in the next episode and returns to wallow in depression and misery. It became very obvious that the writers had got stuck in a loop, and couldn't quite let go of the bad / miserable Buffy vibe and let her be happy. I suspect EBD felt rather the same about Margot and her "devil".
#7: Author: RoseCloke, Location: Camping in my housemate's room. Don't ask.Posted: Tue May 08, 2007 12:19 pm It was the concept of her 'devil' which befuddled me as well. I can imagine it was a good way of explaining her behaviour when she was younger, but she was still scapegoating her behaviour onto her 'devil' when she was in her teens. Although I suppose she got punished every time she played up, but it still seemed a little escapist to me
#8: Author: Loryat, Posted: Tue May 08, 2007 2:33 pm I kind of get the impression (maybe because I want to lol) that when Margot refers to her 'devil' in later years it's out of habit, and a way of saying in shorthand 'all my various problems'.
I agree with Caroline about Margot. EBD reforms her a bunch of times but whenever she needs a bad/shocking incident to liven things up, she plumps for poor Margot. Conversely, we're constantly told that she can be lovely when she's not being bad, but with the trips EBD got into a bit of a groove and if one of them was needed to 'help out' someone else it was always Len who did it. The only really inklings we get of how nice Margot can be is when she looks after Ruey in Ruey. Similarly, Len can apparently be a bit mischievous, but IIRC we never see it, it's only 'told'.
Grizel, well, my theory about Grizel is that EBD was very fond of her but at the same time wanted to show how damaged she was by her upbringing. She lets her shine in most of Head Girl, but after that it's mostly down hill for the poor thing.
Because the CS was such a long running series, EBD tended to use the same characters in numerous books, which is of course one of the things we love about the CS. But at the same time she tends to write about the same characters doing the same things over and over again, instead of bringing in new 'bad girls'. It helps us familiarise ourselves with the series, but means that she relies on a handful of girls for a lot of the nastiness in the school.