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First Term at Malory Towers

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First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Rob Houghton » 06 Dec 2017, 00:43

Split from another topic.

I've almost finished 'First Term At Malory Towers'. Its ages (about 17 years!) since I read the Malory Towers books for the first time...so I really enjoyed it. I would go on to read Second Form...but I only have it in a paperback or a Dean version...and I'm slowly collecting them in dust wrappers, as I find the reading experience so much more pleasurable.

As I only have First Term, Upper Fourth and In the Fifth with dust wrappers, I guess I'm in for a long wait! :lol:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Yak » 06 Dec 2017, 00:46

Oooh, go on and read it anyway ... you can always reread it when you have the dust wrappers versions :) I'd love someone to talk about them with. What did you think of First Term after 17 years?
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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Rob Houghton » 06 Dec 2017, 00:50

I really enjoyed First term - and as I'm not that familiar with the 'girls school' books (because I probably wouldn't have read 'girls books' as a child and anyway didn't know they existed!) it was like reading a new book. I thought the characters were particularly well drawn - especially Darrell, who is a really likeable character, because she has so many faults along with her strengths. I'm sure she was based quite heavily on Enid herself.

One thing I do remember from reading the books before is that there's quite a lot of snobbishness in the books between the girls - they all think they are pretty 'cool' to put it in a modern language, lol - I think they all need 'their corners rubbing off' as Enid would have put it! :-D
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Yak » 06 Dec 2017, 02:25

I had mixed feelings about Darrell and still do, though I will not post spoilers. But I was not impressed with her conduct towards either Mary Lou or Sally in the first book. Granted, she was very young - twelve - and nobody is perfect at that age. But I did not like the fact that she thought that Alicia and Betty were so marvellous.
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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Rob Houghton » 06 Dec 2017, 12:37

I didn't either really...but then again, as you say, we aren't perfect at twelve (or ever, lol!) and I think Enid often gets the reactions of the children just right. We might not wish for Darrell to be so mean or so selfish or to behave as she sometimes does...but it is exactly how children behave. They want to be accepted into a peer group, and find other 'less able' children a bit pathetic. At least, that's how it was at my secondary school in the 1980's, so I should think those ideas were even more prevalent in the 1940's. :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Stephen » 06 Dec 2017, 15:06

I remember the first time I read First Term at Malory Towers. This was some time after having already been introduced to the Adventure, Famous Five, Barney, Find Outers and Secret Seven series, and hadn't even realised Enid wrote about something as mundane as school! It was only because my sister had the series that I decided to give it a go.

Anyway, despite it being set in a boarding school for girls, I did identify with Darrell, at least at the start. Slightly scared of the new place, but genuinely taking on board all the encouragement the teachers gave, and believing I had the ability to do well. Also, Alicia seemed like a fun friend to have, and I would have hoped that some of her brash confidence would have rubbed off on me.

However, Darrell soon became rather condescending towards Mary-Lou who I more strongly identified with. Timid, prefers to keep herself to herself, but genuinely keen not to upset people, and all in all quite a lovely person.

Also, how come Gwen became such an unpleasant person? Could it be that no-one gave her a chance? If I had had all the luxuries of home, only to be going away to boarding school for the first time at the age of 12, I'd probably be crying my eyes out too. The last thing I'd want is for my new classmates to be mocking me for doing so!
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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Wolfgang » 06 Dec 2017, 17:59

!!!!! Spoiler !!!!!!

I think Gwen was very selfish, and Enid described that she absolutely had no sense of the harm she's doing. Framing someone and only to be sorry that the real was find out, deceiving her own parents, just to point out the things that come into my mind immediately...
Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Rob Houghton » 06 Dec 2017, 18:17

Although I agree that Darrell could have behaved better, and Gwendoline could have been treated better (and then she may have behaved better) it wouldn't have been such a great series if everyone had acted how we'd have liked them to from the very beginning! I know that's an obvious thing to say, really, but 'bad' traits do make the characters more interesting - and a lot more human.

My secondary school in the 1980's was populated by dreamers, timid characters, bossy characters, characters who were good at every lesson, others that messed around in every lesson, some who changed, some who didn't. From my experience, most kids of Darrell's age just want to fit in - and if that includes being mean to 'lesser' beings, then so be it! That's how good Enid was at weighing up a child's psyche, in my opinion. :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Yak » 06 Dec 2017, 20:51

Agreed Rob :) Though Alicia did seem to have her knife into Gwen right from the very beginning.. when they were on the train even! Maybe her assessment was right though, given the way that Gwen went on to behave.
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Re: First Term at Malory Towers

Postby Darrell71 » 20 Dec 2017, 09:53

I think Enid wrote Darrell in a very believable way. She wanted to fit in and be liked, and Alicia and Betty did fit in, and were well liked, so it's clear that she would idolize them and try to be a part of their group. They were like the cool kids, or popular squad, at school, and Darrell obviously though she could belong there, and that Mary Lou and Sally simply weren't cut out for that sort of thing, so she looked down upon them, I guess. Good? No. Believable? Accurate? Realistic? Yes.
If she had been really nice to everyone, seen Alicia's flaws from the start, worked hard and gotten good grades from the start, etc, then she would have been too perfect for a 12 year old trying to find her way in the world and be more than just her parents daughter. Because that's how I always look at MT, when you go there, you're beginning the process of growing up. You're making new friends and establishing your own identity as a person. So, Darrell was bound to be flawed.
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