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AIBU?

Has anyone ever read Malory towers?

558 replies

Orangejelly1 · 02/10/2022 00:04

I used to love the books as a child! I read them cover to cover so many times and my favourite character was Darrell. I recently found my old collection and re read parts of them just for old times sake and I was actually really disappointed to see, as an adult, how awful some of the popular characters were. I know it was a product of its time and a different era, but Darrell, Alicia and some of the most popular girls would be called nasty bullies nowadays. I also felt so sorry for Gwen, which surprised me because as a child rearing the books she was my least favourite character.

just wondered if anyone else re read the books and thought this too!

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KimberleyClark · 10/10/2022 00:20

St Clare's was supposed to be a stark, no-nonsense place where the kids even had to do their own mending (ouch, harsh) and the 'dormitories take six or eight girls and aren't nearly as nicely furnished as the maids' bedrooms are at home', in the assessment of stuck-up twin Pat O'Sullivan. Oh you little snob!

Also at St Clare’s the first formers had to do jobs for the sixth formers. This wasn’t the case at Malory Towers.

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CaptainThe95thRifles · 10/10/2022 00:47

Flapjacker48 · 03/10/2022 14:44

@MurderAtTheBeautyPageant "R" mysteries up to Rubadub are good - tails off a bit for the last two I always thought.

Interesting in the photo annual book about her life ("the story of my life") that EB released in 1952 there is a complete list of her work to date and the Barney mysteries are the only books she thinks are more for older children/teenagers.

Another interesting (!) fact is that "Rilloby Fair Mystery" is one of the earliest examples of changes to a a EB books in later editions - the Lynton's cat's name was changed to Sardine from Snoek after the first edition as the memory of Snoek (A fish that was eaten in WW2 years was fading)

As a child, I was absolutely captivated by the Rat-a-Tat Mystery. I loved the snowy setting and the scene where Snubby wears the bearskin rug.

Actually, I think it appeals just as much as an adult too 😀

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Rummikub · 10/10/2022 01:19

I loved the rat a tat mystery I’m going to have to reread these.

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Flapjacker48 · 10/10/2022 01:19

@CaptainThe95thRifles Is it "Rat-a-tat" that the police arrive in helicopter due to the snow? My abiding memory of that one is the cook/housekeeper going on about oil-lamps/candles and the fire risk!

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Zonder · 10/10/2022 06:57

I loved those mystery books. I think I read nothing but Enid Blyton for a couple of years!

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MargaretThursday · 10/10/2022 07:29

@Flapjacker48
Yes it is.
One of my favourites too. I longed to be snowed 9n like that.

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RedHelenB · 10/10/2022 07:47

gatehouseoffleet · 03/10/2022 17:00

I also liked the Trebizon books. It was also interesting how the kids went off for adventures in the Malcolm Saville Lone Pine books and they were so young. Can you imagine 16 year olds being that grown up these days? And in the Adventurous Four Andy was 14 and allowed to take the kids off for a sailing trip - in wartime, as it turned out!

You could work and leave school aged 14/15, so they would be considered grown up.

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Arbesque · 10/10/2022 07:57

gaymeanshappy · 09/10/2022 18:32

That is true. What are the main differences between MT and St Cs' would we say?

I can't put my finger on it.

I always think St Clara's is a bit more snobby than Malory Towers. I imagine a lot of the girls would have done the season, careers wouldn't really have featured etc

In Malory Towers the girls seemed to be more upper middle than upper class. Most of them expected to have a job of some kind, and Gwendoline's desire to go to Finishing School was resisted by her Father and seen as ridiculous by the girls.

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Needmorelego · 10/10/2022 08:07

@Arbesque the first St Clare's was published in 1941 during the war - but no mention of the war - so it's almost like it's set in the 1930s days (ie doing 'the season' as you said) but post war when Malory Towers was published that life style didn't really return so that's why they're slightly different.
Maybe?

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AsAnyFuleKno · 10/10/2022 08:11

and maybe an Arabella?

Arabella was from the Naughtiest Girl series (Whyteleafe School).

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MrsFionaCharming · 10/10/2022 09:27

AsAnyFuleKno · 09/10/2022 23:29

MarieVanArkle That would explain why the locations are so vivid in MT. Transplanting bits of Dorset to Cornwall was a brilliant idea.

It was so posh that their friends needed evening gowns. Echoes of The Chalet School.

I bought a book recently of ‘Agatha Christie’s Devon’, which has all the places that inspired her writing. I would love an Enid Blyton version so I could go and visit all these places.

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KimberleyClark · 10/10/2022 10:06

AsAnyFuleKno · 10/10/2022 08:11

and maybe an Arabella?

Arabella was from the Naughtiest Girl series (Whyteleafe School).

Yes, Arabella was a rich girl who got into trouble for not putting all her dosh in the communal money box.

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Arbesque · 10/10/2022 10:09

St Clares obviously isn't as remote as Malory Towers. The girls seem to be allowed to go out in pairs to the cinema and the teashop.

In Malory Towers the girls seem to be mostly confined to school grounds. When they do sneak out it seems to be dangerous- Mary Lou being blown over a cliff, Mavis having to walk miles and collapsing at the side of the road etc

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ReneBumsWombats · 10/10/2022 10:09

RedHelenB · 10/10/2022 07:47

You could work and leave school aged 14/15, so they would be considered grown up.

And yet at Malory Towers, 15-year-old Zerelda was told she was acting too adult with her victory rolls and makeup and she should just enjoy being a schoolgirl. Matron put her hair in two plaits.

Ah, you gotta love it!

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Arbesque · 10/10/2022 10:11

ReneBumsWombats · 10/10/2022 10:09

And yet at Malory Towers, 15-year-old Zerelda was told she was acting too adult with her victory rolls and makeup and she should just enjoy being a schoolgirl. Matron put her hair in two plaits.

Ah, you gotta love it!

I think it was a class thing. Poorer girls were out working at 14 and married with babies by 17 or 18. Meanwhile their richer contemporaries were still considered to be children.

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KimberleyClark · 10/10/2022 10:13

In Malory Towers the girls seem to be mostly confined to school grounds. When they do sneak out it seems to be dangerous- Mary Lou being blown over a cliff, Mavis having to walk miles and collapsing at the side of the road etc

And the sea was dangerous. The girls were forbidden to swim in it except if they went to another cove further along the coast.

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AsAnyFuleKno · 10/10/2022 12:26

Arbesque · 10/10/2022 10:11

I think it was a class thing. Poorer girls were out working at 14 and married with babies by 17 or 18. Meanwhile their richer contemporaries were still considered to be children.

Yes. If you've read 'A Problem for the Chalet School' this is explained very well, where someone (Joey?) is talking about why Joan Baker wears make-up and wears clothes that are (by the standards of the Chalet School) too old for her.

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Arbesque · 10/10/2022 12:45

Yes I felt sorry for poor Joan. One minute she's practically grown-up with permed hair and a boyfriend, the next she's sitting with the Maynard triplets playing paper games on a Saturday night and being told off for wearing make up.

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CaptainThe95thRifles · 10/10/2022 12:48

Flapjacker48 · 10/10/2022 01:19

@CaptainThe95thRifles Is it "Rat-a-tat" that the police arrive in helicopter due to the snow? My abiding memory of that one is the cook/housekeeper going on about oil-lamps/candles and the fire risk!

Yes - I suspect this is why I am instantly excited at the sight of an oil lamp even as an adult!

I loved the "snowed in" theme - of Rat-a-tat, and Five go adventuring again, and the general winter sports themes of Five get into a fix. And, to digress slightly, Ransom's Winter Holiday too. I always wanted to go "tobogganing" which sounds so much more exciting than simply sledging!

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KimberleyClark · 10/10/2022 12:49

I think Alison O’Sullivan had a perm before she even went to St Clare’s!

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AsAnyFuleKno · 10/10/2022 12:57

On the theme of differences between MT and SC - one is that MT has more character development arcs than span the whole series. In SC there is a formula per book - troubled girl arrives, learns lesson, settles down to be responsible member of the school/is never heard of again. Angela and Alison are exceptions to this, but even by the end of the last book, they haven't really 'learned their lesson'. Claudine is the only character who is shown across the two books she's in to have a developing awareness (learning the 'English sense of honour).

In MT you also have the troubled girl (usually two) per book who settles down by the end of her first book, but the core characters do have arcs spanning the series - Alicia gradually learns to be less harsh; Darrell gradually learns to control her temper; Mary Lou goes from being frightened of her own shadow to be able to take the lead role in a play. Even Gwen is shown developing some self-awareness with the arrival of Maureen in the fifth form, though it takes her father's serious illness in the last book to finally shock her into sense.

By the end of MT all the core characters have developed across the six books, whereas in SC, the core characters don't really move on from the lessons they learned in their first book; or fail to learn very much at all.

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fairycakes1234 · 10/10/2022 13:02

Arbesque · 10/10/2022 12:45

Yes I felt sorry for poor Joan. One minute she's practically grown-up with permed hair and a boyfriend, the next she's sitting with the Maynard triplets playing paper games on a Saturday night and being told off for wearing make up.

@Arbesque that's hilarious😂

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fairycakes1234 · 10/10/2022 13:13

ReneBumsWombats · 03/10/2022 15:10

one thing that stuck with me as a child was some teacher was ridiculing one of the characters so she got a poem from some poetry book and pretended it was her own and of course the teacher scoffed at it and didn't recognize the famous poet (so famous i cant remember who it was) and the teacher was left degraded and humiliated and i actually even remember as a kid feeling that was a pretty nasty thing to do to the teacher!

Anne-Marie with Miss Willcox in St Clare's. Poem was Despondency by Matthew Arnold. And Miss Willcox deserved it! She was totally unprofessional and overtly bullied Anne-Marie in front of the whole class, more than once, largely because she was pissed off that her second book of poems got rejected.

@ReneBumsWombats thanks for that, you have a great memory😃

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Pugdogmom · 10/10/2022 13:57

I liked the follow up MT books actually. Trims the series off nicely actually, and some " old " girls come back and you learn what happened to them. You see the return of Gwendoline.
The St Clare's ones weren't so good, but Kitty at St Clare's was hilarious 😆. Stand alone book, as none of the characters made it into 4th form.
I actually think I liked the St Clare's series better. It was funnier, and the awful midnight feast with the frying of sausages was pretty funny.
They were pretty nasty to the teachers though as well as each other. Poor Miss Kennedy, and they were pretty awful to Mamzelle in the second book too.

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Flapjacker48 · 10/10/2022 19:44

For anyone interested in Enid Blyton's life I really recommend:

1.) Her Biography by Barbara Storey

2.) A book by EB's daughter, Imogen Smallwood "A childhood at green hedges"

3.) Short biography by her literary agent George Greenfield.

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