It's quite pathetic, really, that I've been a fan of Jane Austen for pretty much exactly four years now (well, my indoctrination was four years ago, haha), P&P has been my favorite story ever since I saw the 1995 adaptation (which was the second story I was introduced to), and I only just finished reading it all the way through for the second time.
Sometimes I think I am more of a bookworm in theory than in practice....
Anyways. I enjoyed it a great deal, of course; it did take me a while to get "into" it, but I suppose that is because I really am soooo familiar with the story. But there is always something fresh to learn or be reminded of, and that's always fun. Plus I found that when I actually read more at a time I could more easily get involved.
For a long time I've been holding out on deciding between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley--I'd read Emma twice, and P&P only once, I would say; well, I no longer have that excuse. Buuut... I still can't decide. It is true that my respect for Mr. Darcy was refreshed upon rereading P&P, and for the last half or so of the story I could 'feel' it all from his point of view actually better than Elizabeth's. (Well, I guess I might have donei t on purpose. :P) My admiration for Mr. Darcy, though, is just different from that of Mr. Knightley. The love stories are so different, too, and both so compelling in their own ways.
Also, it is hard to take into consideration that what one should be comparing is the heroes from the books, movies completely excluded. Because frankly, I think for a lot of people who adore Mr. Knightley, Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal has something to do with his popularity. Don't get me wrong--I don't think it's just because of the movie that he's such a great hero, because I happen to think the representation was perfect. JLM just got Mr. Knightley to a T. The adaptation understood him... they took what was in the book and expanded on it without taking away from or adding to it.
And you know what? I can't say that for Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy. At all. (And don't even speak to me about Matthew MacFadyen's. He was a nice guy, and I have to say I kind of liked him... but NOT as Mr. Darcy. He is not Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, and therefore not mine.) I have a high respect for Colin Firth's portrayal--it has been my old friend these three years and a half at least. (I mean, hello, I'm a co-founder of The P&P95Forever Club!) But I don't think the actor really understood the character; the portrayal only showed some aspects of his character and we can only see half as much as we can in the book (while some things, such as the un-smiling-ness, actually gives us the wrong impression). There is really so much more to Mr. Darcy, peoples. If you've forgotten, go read the book again. Live the story from his point of view. His character is a little hard to decipher, and we don't have exactly an abundance to go on... but that makes it so interesting!
In short, I do hope that someday, somebody like BBC will make another full-fledged adaptation of P&P in which Mr. Darcy's portrayal will do as much for his reputation, as JLM's did for Mr. Knightley's. Also, it would be fun to see actors who are actually the right ages. :D
Anyways. If I can actually make myself do it, I intend to write a post all about The Real Mr. Darcy (which may have a great deal of what-Colin-Firth-did-not-get thrown in). I will talk about such things as how he smiles more than in any of the movies, and that he actually has a sense of humor. How he is gentlemanly and considerate, and how we must remember that since most everything is from Elizabeth's point of view, besides the few hints Jane Austen chooses to give us, the unprejudiced eye might have understood him better and thought well of him towards the beginning, too.
And hey, if you would be interested in reading such a post... do let me know. It might encourage me to put my shoulder to the wheel. :P Also if you express an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Darcy, that might encourage me in a different way. Heh, heh, heh.
Something I noticed this time 'round that I failed to last time, is Jane Austen's amusing way of spelling (and capitalizing) things differently when she feels like it. In some editions you probably won't be able to see this, because they'll be 'correcting' things right and left. But it was Phillips the first couple times, Philips after that, until towards the end where it changed back to Phillips again. Sometimes it said "De Bourgh", other times it said "de Bourgh." At first I thought that it might just be a capital D when it said "Miss De Bourgh", but later on it had it the other way. And there were some other, commonplace words too... I used to think that when it said "choose" it had been corrected/updated, and when it said "chuse" it was Jane Austen's original; but this time I noticed that Jane did it both ways. There were a couple other words, too, that were spelled differently; sometimes even on the same page.
Just another one of Jane Austen's intricacies. ;)
However, I will have you know that Lizzy is always Lizzy, and is never, ever Lizzie. Also Bennet. One T. (Don't look at me like that. If I am a wild Beast who is always reminding people of the correct way to spell Austenian words, I cannot help it. It is not my own fault. :P)
And now, as I have run out of things to say and have rambled on for quite long enough anyways, I shall end with a list of quotes I scribbled down, which I did not scribble down the last time I read it.
"Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how."
"Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous."
"From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it for some time, but now I am convinced." -Mr. Bennet
"To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love."
"Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at! That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have many such acquaintance. I dearly love a laugh." -Elizabeth
"Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can." -Elizabeth
"It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter, with ease, cannot write ill." -Miss Bingley
"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!" -Miss Bingley
"Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures. They would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female minds. But I confess they would have no charms for me. I should infinitely prefer a book." -Mary
"A scheme of which every part promises delight, can never be successful; and general disappointment is only warded off by the defence of some little peculiar vexation." -Elizabeth