No, my dears. I don't believe in doing that. Changing drastically, that is. Yes, I am a fan of Mr. Darcy. He ties for top spot in my list of favorite heroes. So why do I dislike the Darcy fandom? Wouldn't I enjoy fellow admirers of Mr. Darcy?
Indeed, I do love finding people who agree with me. But so many who have similar opinions as I do on Jane Austen subjects hold Mr. Knightley to be their definite top-favorite Jane Austen Hero. Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with that; I quite understand it. Mr. Knightley is very admirable. Yet, I honestly think that many people flock to Mr. Knightley while ignoring Mr. Darcy because he is... ha, too mainstream. Mr. Knightley seems like a real character, the perfect gentleman, but Mr. Darcy is... a Janeite stereotype.
Mr. Darcy, in short, has been changed-- how we think of him has been changed-- by The Fandom. I'm currently reading Among the Janeites, and some bits in remind me of this thing that has always disgusted me... the notoriety that Mr. Darcy has become. The people who basically started all this are the Wet Shirt fans.
Let me make one thing clear to you. Colin Firth is NOT Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth is an actor. If you're a fan of Mr. Darcy because he's played by Colin Firth, or if your admiration for Mr. Darcy is increased because of the actor... you're not a true fan in my book.
And then there are the people who think that Matthew MacFadyen was the perfect Mr. Darcy, and... y'know what, I'm not even going to go there.
(I was thinking about inserting this picture here, but I simply couldn't bring myself to do it. No. It shall not appear on my blog. :P)
It's gotten so that I feel I can't even be part of the Darcy fandom. I don't want to be associated with the nonsense. In fact, I hereby proclaim myself to be an Independent & Separated Darcy Fan. I'm not part of Their Group. I like Mr. Darcy for the way that Jane Austen actually wrote him.
But the way it makes me feel is almost like, when people ask me who my favorite hero is, I SHOULD say Mr. Knightley instead of Mr. Darcy so that they won't brand me as part of that Darcy Fandom, or so they won't think I'm unoriginal and can't actually think for myself, merely choosing whatever is the most popular.
And that isn't fair.
|From Lost in Austen. (ugh.)|
It would be a lovely thing if the head of every Janeite in the world could suddenly be wiped of any image they have of Mr. Darcy that was picked up from anywhere but the book itself, and we could begin fresh. Now, I think that Colin Firth is the best film Mr. Darcy to date. But that's because he's the closest portrayal to the book. I wish people would stop taking any representation to be the beginning and end of the characters themselves. There is so much more to Mr. Darcy, and it's even harder to see his point of view in the movies than it is in the book, where, except for a few hints at the beginning, we don't really know what he was thinking until the end when he and Lizzy have their long, heart-to-heart discussions. But reading the book you just get a better feel of his character, and there are little things that you might miss if you don't look out for them. Such as the fact that he has a sense of humor. (But all THAT is the subject for another post. One, in fact, that's half-written in my drafts somewhere and has been for a long time. Cough.)
And then if the same thing could be done for Mr. Knightley, and everyone could actually compare Jane Austen's real characters... well, it would be so much easier to separate fact from fiction. (Fact being the book and movies being the fiction, you know. Uhh... separate fiction from further fictionalized fiction? :P) I, for one, would love to be able to do that, because it's awfully hard to NOT be influenced by the facial expressions and new-in-the-script quips of Mr. Knightley-as-portrayed-by-the-2009-miniseries. ;)
Are you ready for a secret? I think Jonny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley is a better representation of the character than Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy was. I think some things were actually added a bit, even though it wasn't inaccurate to Mr. Knightley at all. And I wish for a similar representation of Mr. Darcy. (That's a more realistic wish than the brain-wiping, I suppose.)
One that could refresh people's ideas and remind them of how the book goes, as well as bringing out some of Mr. Darcy's qualities that none of the adaptations have captured.
With no wet shirts involved.
P.S. This is my 200th post. ;)