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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Meakin

Ep 10: Bridgerton Gossip (S1, S2 and the books)

Esteemed members of the Ton, Welcome to the tenth episode of the What the Austen? podcast! I'm your host Izzy, and I am joined by my friend and fellow Janeite Martha from @marthabethanreads. In anticipation for the new season which airs next month, in this episode we will be discussing Bridgerton! We will specifically focus on Season 1 of the the Netflix series which is based on Julia Quinns book The Dunk and I (Book 1 in the Bridgerton series), but we will also discuss the other books in the series and our expectations for Season 2. If you watched season 1 last year and want to join the discussion, or if you want to join us in getting excited for the new season which comes out next month! tune in. NOTE: BIG SPOILER ALTERS FOR BOTH THE BOOKS AND SEASON 1. Julia Quinns Bridgerton: The Duke and I: Bridgerton Family, Book 1 Book | Audiobook (Audible)

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Episode Transcript

Izzy 0:18

Welcome Janites episode 10 of the What the Austen podcast. I'm joined by Martha from @marthabethanreads. Hi, Martha, I'm so glad to have you with me today. Martha is a bookstagramer who I met on over on Instagram, through my page and she started the hashtag make your shelves inclusive. And she is also the host of Regency readers, which is a book club. Martha is honestly one of the biggest readers that I know, she gets through so many books a month. It's so impressive. So yeah, and I also love your little dance parties on your stories, but, I'll pass it over to you and let you say a little bit more about your page.

Martha 0:53

Yes. Hello. So, I love running my bookstagram. It's so fun. I started it in March, literally a couple of weeks before lockdown. I'd been kind of like stalking bookstagrams for a while and like following bookstagramers, but then I was like, oh, you know what, I'm going to go for it. I think it would be really fun. It'll be a great way to meet people. So I did, so I kind of was there slightly before lockdown and then it locked down. So many people made bookstagrams cause people had more time and were reading more and it was so fun and I've met so many amazing friends on there and I just love it. And then my make your shells inclusive. I started after George Floyd's killing and all of the conversations that were happening about race, and I realised that I wasn't making a conscious effort to read inclusively and diversity, and I really wanted to change that. So I started posting and recommending books and then did a couple of reader thens that people could do with different prompts for different ideas, like very much a book by a black author and things like that. Just to kind of tick, not tick books as such, because that's not the purpose. The point is to kind of think more about what you're reading and be a bit more conscious with reading other people's stories and other people's perspectives. I've done a couple read-a-thon since then. And then I was running a book club, which I'm going to try and relaunch, which is really low key. It's not like you have to be a proper member for the, make your shelves inclusive book club. I kind of get people to vote on a book and then invite people to the buddy read if they're interested. So yeah, it's kind of casual.

Izzy 2:33

I love that. No, absolutely. And to be honest with you, like I've had so many great recommendations from you, like seeing your posts and your stories from your, from the hashtag. So I definitely recommend following Martha to keep up to date with that. And again, it's just great, like you said, you know, it's, it's good to, to be more inclusive of your reading because I think sometimes it needs to be a conscious effort because you don't realise that actually maybe what's on the shelf is maybe dominated by white authors. Maybe your own shelf is and you don't even realise. So I think it's really great that you started that hashtag - So how did you get into Austen originally?

Martha 3:08

So I go into Austen through my mum and Colin Firth. So my mum is a massive Colin Firth fan. She always says that if he turned up tomorrow and said, will you marry me? She she'd leave and she'd be gone. So she got me to watch the 1995 pride and prejudice when I was eight and I have vague memories of watching it. And I remember being like, oh, Wickham, he's so nice. And then being like, oh god, what just happened? Because I hadn't read the books or anything? And obviously my mom was like, I'm not saying anything. So it started from that. And I just, I fell in love. I just loved it. I just think that adaptation is that's my favorite as well and we had it on video.

Izzy 3:55

Yeah. We had it on video as well. The massive box set with the videos in - It was split into two. Wasn't it?

Martha 4:03

Yeah. So yeah, so basically through my mum, she loves Austen. She likes reading. She's not as much of a reader as me. But she does enjoy reading and she was always really encouraging for me to read. Um, so yeah, Colin Firth.

Izzy 4:19

Honestly, the amount of guests I've asked how they got into Austen, it's always my mum and like, it's so true. Thank God for mums drawing us into that 95 adaptation. Thank goodness. But yeah, I did have that video set as well. That's so funny. I couldn't believe how big it was. I actually think my mom's still got it. Like the one that we had.

Martha 4:38

Yeah. We probably still do it as well at home somewhere. Yeah. And then I think, I think my grandma got me the book that year and I mean, at eight years old, I could not get through pride and prejudice. I was quite a strong reader, but it was newer for me in terms of like reading classics. So I think I probably first read it when I was like 10 or 11 and then I watched all the adaptations. And just, yeah, I just love it. I'm also very, very lucky. I live in Hampshire. So Jane Austen's house is like 40 minutes up the road and I go like once or twice a year. And I started going with my family and when I was younger and now I like drag everyone there.

Izzy 5:17

Oh my gosh. I love that. That's actually amazing. Well recently I've moved back down south, so I am closer to Jane Austen's house. I used to live closer to Mr Darcy's house. Both of them, in both adaptations, but now I've moved closer to Jane's house. I have visited before, but I'm glad that I'm going to be closer so I can go a bit more regular. That would be nice, but considering you grew up there. That is incredible. Oh my gosh.

Martha 5:44

Yeah. So I always wanted to go as a kid and then, we'd never been there and then we were visiting family and we drove past it on the way my mum was like, on the way back, we'll go. And then we used to go all the time. So, um, we went once on Jane's birthday and it was free entry that day and they had carols in the entrance hall and it was so lovely. So that was really fun. That was with my mom.

Izzy 6:14

That sounds amazing. I actually love that. I'd love to take my mum, hopefully she'll come and visit and then we can, we can both go. But yeah, that's great. So today's episode, we're going to be discussing Bridgerton. Last year Netflix released season one of the show, which is based on Julia Quinn's eight part romance series of the same name. It was hugely popular. And so, um, they've actually announced that they're going to do season two, which will be coming out this year. So yeah, we don't have a release date as of recording this episode, but I'm sure it will be soon. They've said it's definitely going to be 2022. So it's some point in that time. I'm sure. But if you've not read the first book or you've not seen the Netflix series yet, I'd recommend watching or reading that before you listened to this episode, there are going to be a lot of spoilers and we're not really going to do a summary as such, cause there's so many subplots and plots in Bridgerton I think it just takes the whole episode just to do a summary. So yeah, I really recommend catching up on it before you listen to this episode and then yeah, come and join us then and we can go through it. So, Martha I'd love to hear about, you know, what your first thoughts of Bridgerton. Did you read the books before the series came out or did you get into it because you watched the first season?

Martha 7:34

No. So someone I follow on Instagram, one of my, one of my booktagram friends, Olive from @Olivelovesbooks was reading the series and was really excited when they said that the show was coming and I was like, oh, I really want to read the books. Like I'm quite a big romance reader. I think on Bookstagram, I'm known for reading a lot of romance and a lot of classics, two very different types of it's true. They love classic romances like Austen. And I love period dramas. So I was really, really excited and I watched the season very quickly and was like, I immediately need to read the books. So I downloaded the first one on my Kindle. And then just started reading them from there and conveniently finished the eighth one last week. I've been reading them since last December. Well, yeah. So since December, 2020, I've been like kind of spreading them out. There's such comfort reads. I was like waiting for the perfect time to read the next one.

Izzy 8:34

Yeah, absolutely. And I think the show itself is such a comfort watch. I wasn't sure when I first saw the trailer, I was thinking, oh gosh, this is going to be like a super mainstream version of Austen. Am I going to hate it? But honestly, as soon as I watched the first episode, I was absolutely hooked. I was like, oh my gosh, I love it so much. I did make the mistake of watching like one or two episodes, then go into my mom and going, oh my gosh, you've got to watch this show and then got like three or four episodes in and see all the sex and being like, I can't believe I recommended this to my mother. Oh my God.

Martha 9:08

My mum was like, we're both watching it. Which episode are you on? I was living at home then, I moved in the summer. But I was living at home then and I did not watch it with them. I very much watched it alone.

Izzy 9:22

I've heard horror stories of people watching it with their parents. I'm glad I wasn't in that boat. My mum would be like like which episode you're on? Like, whats happened? But I'm like, I don't even want to discuss what's happened anymore.

Martha 9:35

Oh no. I just, I really, really enjoyed the show and I think for me, it was quite exciting for people to get, to watch something Regency and seeing that it's not all stuffy because I think sometimes there's these preconceptions about Austen and Regency and it's very much not Austen, but that kind of era, and then kind of added the glamour and like the fun elements.

Izzy 10:00

It was really interesting to see so many people get into Regency and we're all here, like, hello, we been here for ages, but welcome to the community.

Martha 10:08

Yeah, definitely. And I think that people have this idea about classics. That they're really hard. And I'm not saying that they're not, I've read some classics that have taken me a long time, but I enjoy them and I get a lot out of them. But I think sometimes people that find Austen boring don't get her, but she's so funny and she's so rude and she's actually quite mean, and some of her letters are hilarious. The things she writes about people like no wonder Cassandra had to burn some. I'm like, oh my God, a dread to think what was in the burnt letters. And I think that it kind of captured the fun of the era that you don't always see.

Izzy 10:47

Yeah. What I really loved about it is I think in the same way that Austen makes fun of her own characters Bridgerton makes fun of itself in so many ways, I feel like it laughs about how ridiculous the marriage market is and the costumes are so extreme. It's almost like a caricature of itself. And I just think that's brilliant. Like I feel like that captures Regency England. And like you said, Jane Austen's style. It's not all serious.

Martha 11:13

And I really liked that about it. And I think also like the show is not Austen fan fiction or anything like that because actually they're not Gentry, they're very much Lords and ladies and Dukes and duchesses that Austen wouldn't really have experienced much of. So I quite liked it. I was like another layer to the era that I've not read as much about, even if it is obviously fictional.

Izzy 11:36

No, I totally agree. I literally thought the same as well. And also, even though we do get, some moments of being in London through Austen's work, Bridgestone is completely set in London, well, mostly is completely set in London, which is amazing because, usually like what we've been introduced to is like bath and the countryside, but it's amazing to see what it was like, well, obviously it is fictional, but it's amazing to see things from like, what would be like in London, like all the parties. And like you said, them having more money because a lot of, like all of the heroines and storylines in Jane Austen come from a place of 'surely these aren't really rich people'. They may be Gentry, but they're not on this level of Lords and ladies, like you were saying, and the people in Bridgerton have a lot of money and a lot of power. And I think it just opens a new door up. I think something that was maybe like controversial, is that it isn't historically accurate for me personally. I don't mind that, I loved the magic of it that it isn't like, I feel like it's got the essence of Regency England, but it's a hundred percent isn't meant to be historically accurate. It's just got that sense of the era.

Martha 12:48

I don't think it professes to be, like from reading the book, she's not writing as if this is accurate historical fiction of Regency is a romance series set in Regency England. There is elements that will be of the time and then she's added a lot of things to make it fun and entertaining. And I really liked that, but I do enjoy historical fiction as a genre, but I'm not always like everything I read has to be completely accurate to the time and I think with the show they made it so modern. Like they kind of really brought like, I love period dramas anyway, but for some people there's kind of a preconception of them where it's like, oh, they're really boring and stuffy and nothing happens. So they kind of brought period dramas to the wider public and made it really fun.

Izzy 13:36

Right. Absolutely. Like one of a really good example is that is the music, the fact that they took kind of modern music and it was just in like a classical genre, which I thought was amazing. Like I absolutely loved that. And like you said, that draws more people in having things like that, making sure that the costumes are much more visually stimulating and the scenery, like all of it is bright and colourful. And there's just like, I mean, I love it honestly. And I think by not professing to be accurate historically that's then opened the door for other things such as race and diversity. And there's a lot of sex in the show, and that doesn't bother me in Bridgerton at all. Like I think it's absolutely meant to be there, it's basically what the majority of the plot is based around. But it does bother me when they put it in Austen. They like, kind of like shoehorn it into an Austen adaptations and I'm just like, that doesn't really fit because Austen, stuff's more about the, the stolen glances, the letters that changed someone's perception of somebody else or the conversations in private, that kind of thing. I think the way that they write it, you're right, makes it so appealing to a modern audience.

Martha 14:51

Yeah. I definitely agree. And I agree with the whole, like it being the right place for sex in Regency because it's a romance series, that's what it's about. It's about people falling in love. And I was thinking earlier how different it is with the way they fall in love. Like I was trying to think if I could compare any of the couples to any of the Austen couples and how they get together, but it's really hard to, because a lot of the time it's not in all of the books, but in quite a few of the books, it's very much, oh, this has happened and you're going to be ruined if you don't marry. So you're going to have a quick wedding, and obviously you've either already fallen in love or you're going to fall in love, whereas you don't really see that in Austen, but I think that, I mean, I'm not a Regency expert, historically, but I think that the upper class is had a lot more going on with those sorts of things then kind of Jane Austen's because if she was ruined, she didn't have a dowery in the same way. She wouldn't have been married and her characters like you see what happens to Colonel Brandon, the woman that he loves, who gets ruined. And then again, what happens to, Eliza his ward.

Izzy 16:06

Eliza. Yeah. It's so bad. Yeah. For her.

Martha 16:12

Yeah, they can't like rush a wedding through and then have them like happily married. So I think that's the big difference. I think class comes into a lot.

Izzy 16:21

Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. A hundred percent because there's a place for sex. There's also a place to celebrate the kind of female pleasure in that as well. I think Bridgerton does that really well. And I think Outlander does that really well as well. And I think that's super important and again, that speaking to him as an audience, because I doubt that was a conversation probably too much of the time. So I think that's done really well. What I would say there was a lot of controversy and I believe that there should be controversy around this and that's the rape scene, the nonconsensual unprotected sex between Simon and Daphne.

Martha 17:05

So I had been pre-warned about that and was intrigued to see how they did it in the show. I'm reading the book, it's worse in the book. So the first book was my least favourite up until that point, I was like, oh my God, this is going to be a five-star read. I'm loving it. And then that happened. And I just felt really, really uncomfortable. So I always say to people like, if you read the first book and you don't like it, but you liked it until then read the others because they're not like that at all. There's none of that. And the female pleasure thing is in every book, you kind of see the women like coming into their own and kind of realizing these things. And I really liked that about Bridgerton. It's not all about the men. And yeah, I think that's a really important part of it and like the message it gives out. But yeah, I didn't, I really struggled with that scene in the book it really made me uncomfortable.

Izzy 17:58

Yeah. And I really struggled with the, with the show, how it kind of just brushes over it. Like that's not really wrong. Like it made out as if that was on par with him lyings about like, the fact that he didn't like, he couldn't have children as opposed to not wanting children, but I just thought the way that they may have handled that wasn't right. Because I was like, that was actually really shocking because even if he just didn't want children, that's still okay. That's still his choice at the end of the day. Um, so I was a little bit like, Hmm. That kind of threw me slightly. And I know there was a lot of controversy around that.

Martha 18:39

Yeah, I was quite surprised having read it in the book that they even kept in for the show. I'm not saying that they should water it down, but you could have still had the same arguments and drama and them separating without that scene. You could have just had that. She finds out and goes mad and he he runs off. I just don't, I don't know if it was necessary to include it, but then I guess, otherwise you're kind of painting over what happens in the book and people would then have an even bigger shock when they read the books. So I don't know. I mean, it's hard, isn't it to know whether to include things that were in the source text.

Izzy 19:15

Yeah. So true. And then it's hard to know how you do address that without completely overshadowing the rest of the storyline as well. So agreed. Is it definitely a difficult one. So yeah, I think something else, which is both been celebrated and sometimes criticised for not going far enough is the diversity in the show. And I think there are definitely some incredible black actors in Britain and some wonderful, powerful female characters, like lady Danbury and the queen, for instance, which is really great to see. I think they would definitely missing including a black, young, elegant, feminine kind of female character, more like Daphne. So I think season two is going to rectify this from the trailer. It does look that way. But I did see a lot of outreach for them to take diversity further and I think they really should. There are some really great videos both by the world according to China and the feminine fancy, which I really recommend watching because they highlight this and they say, you know, where is my representation as a young, strong, feminine black woman. So, yeah, I'll leave links to both of those videos below because I definitely recommend checking those outs. Martha, your thoughts on this?

Martha 20:31

I do. I think I agree with you. I think they could go further. But it's not in the books. So I really liked, they've made that an addition and I quite like that. It's not just that there's like black actors they have conversations about it. But lady Dan Bree and Simon have a conversation, um, in the series where she's like, we have to do even more than everyone else. Like we have to be better than everyone else because people judge us. Um, and I really liked that they didn't just cost people. They kind of made a statement. I agree. It could have gone a lot further, but I think it's nice to kind of have that in there. And I think also it is historically accurate, like in, Sanditon, which obviously is Austens unfinished novel, which makes me sad. I would love to see how, how it panned but one of the characters in that is an heiress from the west Indies. So it's nice to see that representation, even if they could do more and hopefully season two, their will be more, fingers crossed.

Izzy 21:39

Um, do you want to get into a bit of character analysis and comparison? Do you have a favourite character in the series?

• 21:46 - 21:47

Yes, Penelope and lady Danbury are my two favourites. And the saddest thing about getting to the later books is that you don't often see some of the earlier characters they get mentioned and they sometimes pop up. But what I do love romance series that feature on different characters that you've met and then you kind of learn more about them. But Penelope is my favourite character. And I love when she pops up in the books and in the season, I think she's great. She's so subversive as well. Like there she is. She's so quiet. Um, her sisters mock her for her way and her mom puts her in horrendous dresses. And then the whole time she's the puppeteer she's playing or she's playing everyone and she's just got all the power and I just think she's great.

Izzy 22:37

I know I absolutely love that myself as well. And I'm just so glad that she does kind of have one on one everyone. Cause like you said she is just kind of pushed to the sidelines all the time by a lot of the other characters and also I feel bad for her because obviously she's got feelings for Colin and he just sees her as a friend.

Martha 23:01

I see those two as like a reverse Emma and Knightly. Wow. That's like the best comparison I could come up with with Austen characters. I feel like she's the Knightly and he's the Emma and he's very much like happy, like doing his own thing. And then Penelope is like, I love you.

Izzy 23:25

That's actually such a good comparison. Oh yeah. An interesting character to talk about would be, um, the queen, they focus on her like despite the fact that they're like, the King's going mad and what have you, he's very much in the background and it is the queen is kind of the powerhouse if a couple, she's like holding altogether and I think she's just a really great character.

Martha 23:49

I hope that they bring her back in the other seasons and we see more of her because I did find her really interesting. And it's like, she kind of sets off Daphne's story in the first episode where they go and get presented at court and she is like, named like diamond of the first water. So she's a really like central character for that. And then obviously they get invited there. And I think that it's hinted quite a lot that Danbury is like, well you see that Lady Danbury is actually quite close with the queen. She has that sort of power and control. So it's nice to see kind of both those characters, especially cause they're both black actresses. It's nice to see them in like positions of power. Yeah.

Izzy 24:31

And also that friendship them supporting one another.

Martha 24:35

Yeah. Yeah. They're really supportive. And I really liked that.

Izzy 24:39

Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree. Do you know what Lady Danburys story is? Does that come out later? Because obviously we just see her in the position of being kind of like this fairy godmother to Simon and supporting him through life. But I was just curious, like what is her story and how did she get into her possession?

Martha 24:58

I don't remember learning like loads about her, but she's in a lot of the books I think because she's a fan favourite and I think she's such a great character. So she has a really strong friendship with Penelope, in Penelope's book which is the fourth one romancing Mr. Bridgerton. And I loved that and then they both put up together and other books, so hyacinth, which is the youngest sibling. Who again, you don't see tons of in the show, but she's there as a child. Her book is about a romance with, Garath St.Claire who is like Danbury's grandson. So she's in that one so much. And Hyacinth have such a great relationship? And they're both like really strong and really funny. And like lady Danbury's quite old at this point and she goes and reads to her. And it's just brilliant. So I just love when she pops up in the books. Cause she's just a great character.

Izzy 25:54

Yeah, she definitely is. She's a really good character in the show. And again, somebody who really helps to push the plot forwards. Um, so those people will always see super handy for sure. You need those people.

Martha 26:08

She doesn't stand for any nonsense, like she knows what she wants and she will go for it. And I like when her and Violet like pair up to try to try and match, make people is so entertaining to watch.

Izzy 26:20

Yeah, I totally the agree that say for, and I love how she's always like saying to Simon, she's like, you need to get your act together because like this woman's not going to be waiting around for you. You need to sort yourself out. And if you're not going to let her marry the prince, I'm glad she didn't marry the prince. But I think some people were disappointed that she did end up with Simon, which is interesting to be honest with. I think I did see, similarities between, Simon and Daphne and Elizabeth and Darcy. Like I feel like they really made Simon that kind of, I don't think he's necessarily comes across as proud, but he's definitely like quiet and he knows that he is obviously he's got like status and title and everything. And he's got a lot of confidence which obviously has come with time. Cause there's when he was younger, he didn't have the confidence. But also that they're meeting when Daphne and Simon meet and it's kind of like confrontational and she's like, what's your name? And like, he, she genuinely doesn't know in that kind of a little bit rude to each other. That also reminds me of, um, when Elizabeth meets, Darcy and he's obviously pretty, pretty rude. And then he says the thing about not wanting to dance with her. Um, so yeah. I don't get a good first impression and Simon doesn't either. And then I think what's really interesting is I was when I was like, thinking about all the male characters in the bridges in books, apart from, I don't think Gregory as much, which is the youngest brother. So you don't really see him in the season. Like he's the one that's like arguing with that little sister they're like throwing peas at each other at the dinner table. Um, but the books go on quite fast. So he like, you get to his story in the books. But like all of the men are rogues. Like they've all slept with loads of women and they're not ready to settle down and you definitely don't get that vibe from Austen's heroes, but you definitely get that vibe from the villains. Henry Crawford would definitely be out there sleeping around. I mean he does in the book anywhere in Mansfield park, but she doesn't, I'm not, I would highly doubt that someone like Mr. Darcy wouldn't have slept with anyone before Elizabeth, but Austen doesn't hint at that because it's just not, it's not how it's done.

Izzy 28:38

No, exactly. And I think she feels her hair is on such high pedestals. Whereas in Bridget said they very much flawed, like the male characters all full, like he said, most of them are rakes. They're all put on a pedestal and sleeping with people in. I kind of liked that about this, that they all go around it. I quite enjoyed the fact that we get to see, um, Simon's past and how we kind of gets to be in the person that he is. I think that's super interesting. Because we don't get that a lot with Austen heroes either. We don't really see how they progressed into the people that they are today. But he was so right. They are more like the villains in Austen because he received.

Martha 29:25

And they come across that way and quite a lot of the books. So it wasn't like, oh God, stay away from you. And Benedict actually in book three, he liked his, his love interest. It's like a Cinderella type story. And she's a legitimate and he like has an affair with her the whole way through it. And he's like, oh, I can't marry you. And you're like, oh, this is not cool.

Izzy 29:51

Oh my gosh, No.

Martha 29:55

It works out well. It's a romance novel there's always a happy ending, but at the time I was like, hello. Um, Willoughby

Izzy 30:02

Oh, that's so funny. Oh my goodness is so bad though. Say, do you like, um, and I find similar between kind of Daphne and Elizabeth, one, the fact that she punches Nigel, I'm sorry, but that has been the best scenes ever when he like makes advances on her in the garden and she just punches in one, honestly, love that scene. And um, but I think she is quite strong-willed, I'd say maybe one of the differences is even though definitely was smart for live and Elizabeth, once a month, I feel like Elizabeth is isn't that bothered. Like it's not, I don't think it's like on her mind really. Like she just make comments, like she says, she jokes about it. Like, I don't think she's, she doesn't look at it in a serious sense in which is why she obviously falls out with Charlotte because she can't understand why Charlotte would make a practical choice for marriage. Um, whereas Daphne, like she has sleepless nights about Mary and like it's very much like she needs the soul. Tate's her biggest worry in life. Um, she even says that sounds, um, outright in. She says like, you can't understand what it's like from my position. Like this is what I've been bred for.

Martha 31:11

I think that in that sense, she's probably more like Jane as in not Jane Austen, but Jane Bennett like Elizabeth, the second youngest Elizabeth kind of in that sense, more like Eloise where she's like, well, it's not my time. I've got the old desks. My sister is the oldest. She has to like marry for the family. And Lizzie's very much, she won't do what she doesn't want to do and doesn't need the same. She wouldn't marry someone that she didn't care about. But I think as the oldest, she has a lot more pressure than her younger sisters. And you definitely see that. So actually Elouise in the books. Um, she marries a lot later and it's, she kind of wants Penelope gets married. She's like, oh, I'm left on the shelf. Must do something about this. And then she starts her romantic story and she, I think she is about 27. So she's kind of like, I don't want to compare her to Charlotte, but she kind of quite happy being herself until everyone else around her is coupled up. And then she's like, oh, this is a bit boring. Now I'm going to go find love. So I quite liked that because you saw a slightly older, older bride. Yeah.

Izzy 32:24

As well. Yeah. That's a really good point. I think you're right. Like Eloise does really shallow characteristics of Lizabeth that's for sure. But yeah, I think you, I think you're right as well. I think Jane and Daphne Charlotte courageous is although definitely is a little bit more outspoken than Jane is.

Izzy 33:48

Oh yeah. An interesting character to talk about would be, um, Ms. Maria Thompson.

Martha 33:54 - 33:56

Yeah. So she's an addition.

Izzy 33:56 - 33:58

So she's not in the books?

Martha 33:58

So I'm not sure if so in Eloise's book, the guy that she liked goes to me, um, who she's been writing to for like his name, sir, Phillip, um, his wife has died and her name is marina and she's like a distant cousin of the Bridgertons’s. So I don't know if they kind of, and the plan is, so the plan that the marina suffers with her mental health and she suffers with depression, and stuff more gets revealed throughout the book, but she was due to marry, Phillip's brother and he died at war, which is kind of Marina's plot that you find out later on. So I think they kind of co-opted that and put it in there, but I'm not sure how they're going to use it if they get to Eloise's story in the show. So she's not completely fictional, but they kind of moved her timeline around.

Izzy 34:55

And kind of slightly changed his story line as well because she, she plays quite a big role in what whistled down announces because obviously we're sedans, Penelope, and, marina Thompson is trying to seduce Collin so that he has sex with her so that they can have to marry in so that she can kind of hide this pregnancy from a man who's gone off to war, et cetera. I really didn't like, honestly, I was just, I do know, cause I liked Collin or because I just didn't like deception of it, but it just really bothered me.

Martha 35:31

The thing about Penelope as well, she’s so good to marina when she comes and it's so obvious that Penelope is love with Collin. Anyone could see it and marina just uses that to learn about Collin and then try and seduce him. And it just made me really sad because Penelope is, she's just lovely. I know she's obviously we find out when the end that she's lady whistled down, which in the books you don't learn till her book in book four. So I'm really intrigued to see if they get to her story and how they do it. Cause the reveal was been tough. But it's not been revealed to everyone. It's just been reviewed, revealed to us as the audience. So there's still a lot of mystery around that for the rest of the characters, which is really cool. And I'm interested to see how that plays out. But yeah, I struggled with marina initially. I liked her and then when she started manipulating Penelope, I was like, nah, she's my girl. I'm not having this.

• 36:23 - 36:56

Bright. Right. Especially that scene where, she she's like talking about, Collin to Penelope and Penelope is like, I need to go to sleep now because she doesn't want to hear it. And she just doesn't stop in. Like you said, even though she finds out, she's like, oh, well, if I have to be the one to kind of nip this childish fantasy in the bud, then I'm happy to do that. And I just think it's so sad because she was such a good friend to her it’s just such a stab in the back. It's not like Penelope has just been looking on it, calling from a distance and they don't even know each other. And it's just like, she's got a crush on him. They're actually really good friends and they know each other and they've grown up together. And so it's actually such a big betrayal because of that, that she uses their friendship to then, and then betrays her by still going for Collin, regardless of knowing her feelings.

Martha 37:13

Yeah. I find it so sad. I feel, I say feel for Penelope because she just gets underestimated and pushed to the side the whole way through the season. I think that's partly why they did the reveal in season one to kind of give her a bit of power back. So the audience know, actually she's not complete like her friends and her family might underestimate her, but we shouldn't as an audience, we need to know that she's got power and she's going to use it.

Izzy 37:43

Yeah. I love that. And I also am so grateful that it was because then she was able to kind of sabotage the whole plan that the running off to Gretna green and she was able to stop that. Which was good. I think, I mean the Farrington's, they do have a pretty rough, like I knew they're not the nicest like, Mrs. Fetherington she isn't the nicest, like she's very calculated and very is very obsessed with what people think called her and that family enough and it's pretty jealous of the bridge tins. But I do feel bad for them because they really do get it tough. You know, obviously Mr. Farrington, he has the gambling issue and basically uses all of that money inclusion that has stolen his diaries. So that basically broke. And then, then he's obviously killed for it as well because he goes in like doubles in the wrong stuff with the wrong people. And next thing you know, he's dead. So they have it pretty rough. I do feel full to, and they're all kind of surrounded by a lot of scandal and it feels like the British ones seem to always avoid scandal like that, always close to it. And then they just like, they managed to get away from it. So I can understand why law, the families hate them.

Martha 39:04

Yeah. I think that, I don't know. I don't know if it's because they're the main characters and that's kind of how she wanted to write them, but I think it's partly because they're so friendly. Everyone likes, even if they get jealous with them, there's nothing not to like, like they're eight very charming siblings with a very lovely mother. Obviously he's like, Lord Bridget. And he's quite high up in the court. And I think that just they're friendly. And I think that Violet makes an effort, but she's not, she's not silly. She knows how to pull strings and to get people to do what she wants quite often in the books. She's like, oh, well you have to have your bands read but and wait a certain amount of time for the wedding, but I know the Archbishop, so you can get married next week. So she she's got friends in high places and she knows how to play the game.

Izzy 39:55

Yeah. I really loved that scene where she, when she's trying to get rid of Nigel, so he can't marry Daphne and she goes to the queen and then she gets that plan to kind of spread gossip about him having an illegitimate child amongst all the maids and everything. And she spreads that across like the whole of London so that it, the whistle Dom writes. And then obviously he has to, he has to leave. I just think that was genius. I love that.

Martha 40:22

She is clever. Like she knows how court works and how the community works in the time and she's, she's gonna play it for hers and her children's advantages, but she's never mean like she wouldn't do it to anyone that doesn't deserve it. And she's just looking out for them. Like she doesn't victimise anyone. That's genuinely a nice character. Like Nigel is horrible so she can get rid of him.

Izzy 40:44

Is it not funny that there's always like some creepy guy he tries to propose and it's like obsessed. Like literally Nigel is literally Mr. Collins. Like he just does not get the picture. The answer's no Nigel. No. And he just keeps going. Honestly. How many times does that guy get beat up? Because he's literally will not stop.

Martha 40:59

I know. And it's all because like scares off everyone else. Do you know what? I cannot wait for season two because this is going to be Anthony's redemption arch because he's so horrible with season one. I don't dislike him, but he's like responsible. He's such a mess. That's the best description because he's just a mess. And in season two and in season two, in book two, you kind of find out more why he's a mess. Like she has a lot of trauma around his dad dying. So they go into that a lot. And you kind of see him like, learn about who he is and who he wants to be. And he kind of steps up. And then in the rest of the books, he's like, Lord Bridget, like controlling all his siblings they're are like, oh, I'm today.

Izzy 41:47

It’s so funny. Yeah. I'm hoping that it's kinda, he kinda got me. He was so mopey. Like if he didn't get to sleep with what was hitting Serena or what was her name? I forgot what her name is now. Yeah.

Martha 42:06


Izzy 42:07

Sienna. So if he didn't get to sleep with Sienna the next day, he'd be such a douchebag, honestly, into the wall. I'm like, just go to sleep for Sienna. So then you start being douchebag to everybody else because honestly, dream of the, well, I did find it quite funny. They went, all the men were kind of coming around to see Daphne and he'd like turn up early or he'd just like, make comments. Cause he'd seen them like at the club prior. I did find it quite funny. But at the same time, can you imagine how annoying that would be? He's honestly awful. So bad. No wonder. She ended up with one of his friends. That was the only man. He wasn't like blockade so.

Martha 42:45

Well, but the reason he didn't block Simon is cause he thought Simon would never marry. And then they ended up being forced to marry. Cause Anthony caught them in a compromising position, which happens in quite a few of the books. She's quite like a nice way to get them paired up, which I find quite funny. I think it's like, oh, yay. Look what happens now? What I really like about this season is it well like about these books is they do have the romance tropes and I love a trope in romance. Like that's partly why romance is popular. Like they have obvious tropes that are done really well. So with Daphne and Simon you kind of have fake dating and enemies to lovers because they pretend to be engaged, to make Daphne seem interesting and.

Izzy 43:26

Friends to lovers, which is another one as well.

Martha 43:29

You get so many great things and it's nice to kind of see, I mean, Austen used them, but they weren't really tropes and she kind of pioneered some of those things. Obviously those are things that would have happened in real life, but Austen kind of pioneered and I think Austen is a big fan of friends to lovers. You see a lot of those in her books like you have, well, I hate to say it, but like Fanny and Edmund, like they were friends first and so were Emma and Knightley and Jane and Bingley. So it's nice like that. You do have that because definitely. So I would do them become friends and do you have a great friendship? And you have it in quite a lot of the other books like Colin and Penelope is just my favourite.

Izzy 44:13

Yeah, no, exactly. And I think as well, it's a good way to have that in. Um, because obviously in like Regency England causing could have gone really fast if your sole purpose was just to Murray. So it's really nice if they have friendships. Cause it means we get to actually go on a longer journey with them, because realistically like people can have really short courtships and they can just be like salty getting married or they can have arranged marriages. So I think the friendship side of it's a really good way for us to get to know the couple better.

Martha 44:47

Yeah, definitely. And I think that like, Catherine and Tilney, are a good example? Because the whole way through, she doesn't think he has any interest in her at all. She just thinks that he's a kind person. And then he takes an interest because she's friends with his sister, but the whole time he's like, oh actually, I think that from like the dance in Bath, he's, he's got an interest. He's just not really sure what to do with it.

Izzy 45:12

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I taste the agree I love and.

Martha 45:16

I think he's great.

Izzy 45:17

He's so sarcastic, isn't it?

Martha 45:20

And he's so funny and he just like takes the mic out of his sister and Katherine all the time.

Izzy 45:28

He's Austen. Like I feel like he's, Austen’s narrative in a character. So like is genuinely her. It's her voice.

Martha 45:35

He's great. I really, really like him. And there's not really like a villain in that one as such in terms, But Catherine knows that from the time she meets him, whereas in some of the others, they get duped, Catherine is like, you're weird. And you talk a lot of crap.

Izzy 45:54

True. You know, that's actually why I love covering. Cause she's late. She just calls like a status page. She's just like, you'll win. You'll nice. I'm going to stick with the ice people. Although she just kind of get duped by Isabella, because she thinks Isabelle is the friend. And then it obviously turns out Isabella is a fortune hunter and also sleeping around with people.

Martha 46:13

That's of like the reverse, isn't it in that one where the person that dupes are is, is not a romantic interest. It's a friendship. And it kind of teaches her about my activity and who you can trust.

Izzy 46:24

Yeah, absolutely. I think in many ways that's worse. Isn't it like, like we were saying about marina and um, Penelope, I think sometimes the betrayal of a friend is, is worse than the betrayal of the lava. Like in a story like when you're watching it, I think it hurts more because you're just like, oh, like, you know, I mean, it wasn't something that was necessarily ever like with some of the lovers, there's no saying that will necessarily work out whatever friendship you think it's going to last and that person, someone that you can trust. Yeah.

Martha 46:54

Penelope is really hurt by that betrayal because the rest of her family are horrible to marina and she makes an effort from when marina wrong. He's like trying to make her feel welcome and then we're in it just throws it back in her face.

Izzy 47:08

Yeah. I know. I think a really cool dynamic though, which is interesting is between marina and um, Mrs. Featherington. Like even though I didn't really, like, either of them. I really appreciate, I really, um, found interested how like calculated they both were and how they could understand each other because they were both willing to do whatever it took to survive - And I thought that was interesting.

Martha 47:31

We have quite a lot in common that you wouldn't really expect when marina first comes on the scene. You just think that she's going to be an extra character and Mrs. Feather in of not going to be very nice to her and you can see why she's not that keen to have her there because she's got three of her own daughters to try and marry off. They're not very wealthy, the dowries aren't going to be great. And they've not got the same status as some of the other characters part of their in is being friends with the Bridgertons. So they don't really need another person to be like competing almost against her siblings. But it's also not her siblings, her children, but it's also a bit weird that they kind of they're all out at the same time.

Izzy 48:10

Yes. And also this is all before they realise they literally have no money. Like they're basically living on nothing, but they didn't know it because he doesn't tell them like Mr. Featherington, doesn't say to them, but you're right. Like at least with like the bridges family, obviously it's mostly of a lot of the brothers are our book. It's kinda different with men anyway, but Daphne's like the only out female. And so, yeah, they, the sole focus can be on Daphne and it is like, that's the Eloise makes that point all the time. She's like, well, mother's attention is constantly on you. And that is the case. Like all of the effort goes into Daphne finds in a March. Whereas like you said, the covering turns, oh my gosh, can you imagine like having the Duffy situation 30 times over and then full cause you've got a relative coming to stay with you. Yeah.

Martha 48:58

Who, who you don't really want and then she's not very grateful. And then you find out that not only is she stuck with you, she's also pregnant so she could shame your entire family. And obviously modern days that judgment, obviously I don't agree with at all, but for the era, it very much could have ruined them all that you were ruined by association. If you, one of your friends might offer someone, look at what happens with Lydia. Lydia runs off to Bridgertons and the chances are that the rest of the Bennet's ruined. I mean, Mr. Darcy saves the day and manages to semi hush it up. But people still know, but lady Catherine debug knows and says other shades of Pemberley to be this polluted? So even though for a modern, modern audience, we might watch it and be that last bit harsh. Like she's just broke them. But she, for the era that has big ramifications and she could ruin the prospects of three other women.

Izzy 49:57

I know, I know it's so true. And that's what I mean, even though the Featherington’s all likeable apart from Penelope it's, I do feel bad for them. Cause I just think that dealt such a bad card all the time, all about call it. That's really ironic considering that the father gambles, but, but do you know what I mean? It's like one thing after another, after another that's all of them. And then he dies in the end, literally in the last episode and the last literally it's like right at the end, isn't it? I am interested and you always really sad as well. I actually would have liked to know more about one of the sisters. So when the sisters actually felt like a love interest, it was really funny. Cause they were really weird and really similar. And they were like talking about cheese. That was really funny.

Martha 50:40

Yeah. I think that you kind of see them in Penelope his book. I feel like I may have imagined this, but I felt like one of them marries Nigel.

Izzy 50:49

What? Oh my God.

Martha 50:51

I feel like that happens. I kind of see them as like the ugly step-sisters from like the Disney Cinderella, the live action one where, well kind of the live action where they've got that sort of vibe of the ugly clothes. And then I don't know if you ever watched the second Cinderella where it's like three short stories. Yeah. And you see like, is it Anastasia falls in love of the baker? Yeah. I just think that that kind of gives me the vibe of, of like Penelope is two sisters.

Izzy 51:22

That's so true. Yeah. Literally. And like Anastasia where she's like, obviously she isn't that horrible when she's like on her own. That's a bit like the sister that starts being courted by the guy who likes cheese. Oh my gosh. It actually kills me when he was like, Ooh, that dresses like the same colour as the cheese that we had at Lynch from your mom. I was like, she's like, oh my God know what? That's so funny. I'll tell you one of my favourite scenes, anyone that prep in for the duel and Anthony, like grabs Benedict and pulls him into the office and then they grab Colin and pull him. And they're just like, and they'll obviously discussing how to sort things out and whose going to be the second and all of that. I actually loved that, that scene between the three of them.

Martha 52:03

I love the dynamics between the three of them. I think they're great. Um, and whenever you see that pop up in the books for me, it was like a highlight. So in book five, I think all of them and maybe Gregory as well, the younger brother turn up where Eloise's and like start like threatening her love interest. It's so entertaining. It was like my favourite bit of the entire book, they all just rock up and they're like, right, we're not having this. Like you're going to do this, blah, blah, blah. And I just think that their dynamic is so funny because Anthony's kind of like a dad to all of them. Cause he's older, especially for the younger two. Um, because obviously their father passed away. He's like the dad, so he's got that kind of dynamic, but with Collin and Benedict because they're closer in age. He can't really tell them anything. They just kind of do whatever they want.

Izzy 52:55

And then there's also Benedict’s and Eloise. That's a really nice stable in friendship as well. And I think they, they have an understanding of one another because they both feel trapped by society. So I liked that the scenes between them while they're like on the swings and I liked talking about it, I think that's a really good sibling friendship as well. Yeah.

Martha 53:21

I really like both of those characters, like I really like Eloise and I love her friendship with Penelope they're very different and they have very different ideas, but they don't really seem to judge each other. So it's quite different to like, for example, like Charlotte and Lizzie and pride and prejudice, because even though they are friends that you see, you kind of imagine there for Lizzie had a better option. She wouldn't be friends with Charlotte. And that sounds really harsh, but they're in quite a small, small town. They have like limited people around and they are very different in mindset. And even though she goes to visit her, she says, doesn't she, that she knows that after like Charlotte's married their friendship, won't be the same because I think it is partly from fruit convenience, but you can see that Penelope and Eloise, like they are different, but that doesn't matter.

Izzy 54:07

And this genuine friendship then no, I totally agree. That's so true.

Martha 54:12

What I like about the first book is you do see some of married life, whereas nearly all of Austen's books and with the marriage, and then you don't really see anything after that. And I'm really excited because I just bought book nine, which isn't a proper story. It's like second epilogues to all of the books. So you'd like to see them further on. So I've, I've already read the, Duffy and Simon one, cause it was on the end of my Kindle edition and it's like them later on with their family and it's really lovely. And apparently there's a bonus story about Vida, their mob, who I just think is great.

Martha 54:47

She's like Mrs. Bennet, but not as annoying.

Izzy 54:51

And without the nerves.

Martha 54:53

Yeah. And she also, she's not pushing them to get married for any other reason. Then she, she was so happy with her husband and she wants them to be that happy. And I just think that's adorable.

Izzy 55:03

Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree. But yeah, I also agree like it is interesting. I actually had this conversation because when I rewatched Bridgerton recently, I actually got my boyfriend to watch it with me. And I got into watch the first episode. I thought he's not going to stick with this. And then he was like, this is great. Yeah. Let's keep watching. I was like, oh my gosh, this is proof Bridgerton is mainstream, he can still make this. And then I heard him on the phone to work and I swear, he said, let's make case. I was like, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, he's converted. Butt yes. So I think it is great that we get to see further down the line because I think all Austen fans, what breaks our heart the most is we just, we can't have more like, that's it. Well, if we, what we've got is what we've got. And obviously there is, um, like a Jane Austen fan fiction, et cetera. But, the reality is we'd all crave to hear. Well, Austen would have written for the characters further on, that's probably the great thing about Britain as well, because they've done a whole season on the first book. You can get into things in so much depth. Like that's why I was saying we couldn't even do a summary because how much happens in that first season? How would I even summarise that? But yeah. I mean, I'm happy to wrap things up there. I mean, how many, we've got a lot of seasons to come, so we'll probably get back for each one. So Yeah. So my, I really can't wait. I think it's going to be really good. Well, where can people find you?

Martha 56:35

Oh, so, um, I'm on Instagram @Marthabethanreads. I also have a blog, it has the same name, but I've been very bad at writing on it for awhile, but there is some Austen articles on there. So if anyone is interested, I've got some like backdated ones that I've wrote a little while ago. So that's like my two main platforms, but mostly Instagram.

Izzy 56:54

I love that. That's great. Thanks everybody for tuning in and we'll see you in the next episode.

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