Monday, October 4, 2010

Jane Austen's Heroes

I tend to read a lot of regency novels, and some of my all time favorites are those written by Jane Austen. There is a reason she is the godmother of romance! I also love when these novels are made into movies and her heroes can come to life. I am a big fan of Masterpiece Classics and even mark my calendar so that I remember when they are playing each show. Just a few years ago, their focus was entirely on Jane Austen. Well, I was in heaven that season. Although the BBC is not the only one that can make a great British classic, Hollywood has been known to do it right occasionally too.

In fact, but the BBC and Hollywood did fabulous jobs on their versions of Pride and Prejudice. The BBC adaption has Colin Firth play Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle play Elizabeth Bennet and in the newer, shorter Hollywood adaption the leads are by Matthew MacFadyen and Kiera Knightly. I must admit, I loved Mr. Darcy when I first read the book years ago and that has not changed. Both Firth and MacFadyen did wonderful jobs portraying the proud, private hero. The Mr. Darcy character is interesting though, he is the quiet man, the one that seems to be unshakable, and he is. That is until Elizabeth points out his flaws and while he feels he has been “laboring under a misapprehension,” he doesn’t stop loving her. Trivia: Did you know the book/film Bridget Jones’s Diary was an updated version of the Pride and Prejudice and Colin Firth played Mark Darcy, aka Mr. Darcy, again?

Another of my favorite Jane Austen heroes is Mr. Knightley from Emma. Again, there are many versions of this film as well but one of my favorites stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma and Jermey Northam as Mr. Knightley. This is a unique tale of falling in love with one’s best friend; a man that has known her before she walk or talk. He is older than her and does chastise her because at times she is young and foolish, after all she believes herself to be a great matchmaker when she knows nothing of relationships herself. While he does chastise her, it is obvious that he does it because he loves her and wants her to be the best she can be and well, who won’t want a man that sees the best in us.

Lastly, one of my other favorite Jane Austen heroes is Mr. Edward Ferris from Sense and Sensibility. There was a great version from the nineties with Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood and Hugh Grant as Mr. Ferris. In this story, it isn’t that the hero is too proud or a family friend, but instead they fall for each other immediately. However, Mr. Ferris promised to someone else, but Elinor finds out later from someone else. Alas, everything does work out in the end.

Jane Austen is a staple for me and a great example that everyone should follow. She could write great heroes whether they were brooding and proud, or trustworthy and steadfast, or charming and unsure. She was great at capturing their attributes as well as their flaws and whether you read her books or watch the movies; her stories capture the imagination and draw her readers in.


  1. Kasey,

    Great post! I LOVE Jane Austen's works, I believe Mansfield Park is one of hers too, which I adore! The movie was amazing. But I truly LOVE the new Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley. If any of you attended the workshop at RWA about how to heat up your stories with Kira Sinclair and (another author I cannot remember right now, sorry) you were privledged to see a beautiful clip of Kiera and MacFayden arguing in the rain.

    There were also other clips of movies with certain degrees of heat, all were very interesting.

    I think a rewatch or reread is called for!

    Oh, have any of you ever seen Bride and Prejudice? It is the bollywood version of ours and it is amazing!


  2. Hi Trish! I have seen versions of Mansfield Park and well, I like it better than the book and that does not happen often. I was so made at Fanny through most of the book. I had a long talk with one of my professor's about it and he told me that people either love or hate that book. Well, you know what category I fell in! I do like all her other ones though, but Fanny just did nothing at all and it pissed me off.

    Another of hers is Northanger Abbey, which is a fun book because it is a gothic novel. There is a BBC version of the movie that is pretty good.
    I have Bride and Prejudice on my Netflix list, maybe I should bump it up a bit. :)

  3. Sorry, I was mad at Fanny not made. But I did like the film vesions better, probably because they actually made Fanny do something!

  4. Pride and Prejudice was one of the first romance novels that really and truly made me FEEL. By the end of that book, I was sooo in love with Mr. Darcy and wanted a strong, gentleman of my own. Good choice of subject.

  5. Yes, I love 'Pride and Prejudice' and Mr. Darcy's quiet yet strong persona. Colin Firth did an excellent protrayal of Mr. Darcy too. Jane Austin is definitely a must read author and her stories resonate strong emotions within me. Wonderful post, Kasey! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on one of the great romance authors.

  6. I love the Knightley/MacFayden version too. Oh, the scene in the rain............
    Great post, Kasey!

  7. Great post, Kasey! Up until a few years ago, I wasn't a huge historical romance fan. Because I wrote contemporary, I tended to read the kind of books I liked to write about. But then I got interested in them a lot more and discovered some amazing authors. I love history and I find that coupled with the authors ability to use language differently than in contemporary was amazing. I still have my contemporary favorites, but I now have quite a roster of historicals now!

  8. I have seen so many of her books made into movies that when I'm scanning through the t.v. channels and come across one, I gasp...and my husband groans, "Oh, not again!" I read P&P, and Emma DECADES ago and only once. I love Mr. Darcy...I don't care which one, either. And yes, I can certainly see him in the character in Bridgit Jones' Diary, now that you say that, Kasey. Wonderful post!

  9. Wonderful post Kasey! I love Jane Austin! I have the Colin Firth/Kiera Knightly versions of P/P on DVD and watch them when I'm in the mood for a little romance.

    I grin with personal satisfaction when Elizabeth stuffs it to Mr. Darcy for the first time, hold my breath when they argue in the rain thinking each time I watch they will actually kiss and sigh when he's walking through the field to meet her at the end.


  10. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite rereads and rewatches. If I see any Jane Austen movies on TV, I have to watch it too! She is one of my all time favorites!