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Episode 50: Villain off 2023 | Lady Catherine v Mrs Norris (Pride & Prejudice v Mansfield Park)

Who will wear this years crown of the ultimate Jane Austen villain - Lady Catherine or Mrs Norris? This thrilling milestone 50th episode of the podcast takes a deep dive into the complex characters of these two formidable women from Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park respectively. We dissect their social statuses, character traits, and their intriguing overlaps, giving you a nuanced understanding of Austen's villainesses.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh, with her aristocratic air and grandiose house, manipulates and intimidates with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Her controlling nature, especially towards Mr Collins and Elizabeth Bennet, reveals a side of her that reeks of arrogance and conceit. On the flip side, Mrs Norris, a character equally captivating in her villainy, uses her position to control and exploit the vulnerable Fanny Price. Her obsession with money, power, and control, coupled with her complete lack of value for love, paints a chilling picture of a true antagonist.

As we wrap up this episode, we bring these two characters head to head, comparing and contrasting their motivations and actions. Lady Catherine fiercely protects her family's wealth and status, while Mrs Norris is driven by selfish machinations. We analyze their villainous energy, and with your votes, we'll decide who deserves the title of the ultimate Austen villain. So, brace yourself for an epic face-off, and join us in celebrating our 50th episode of exploring the world of Austen.



Hi, j-knights, and welcome back to the what the Austin podcast and welcome to episode 50. I'm so excited because I get a bus sprout certificate. So if anyone listened to mine and Kaylee's reflection episode, I think last year I was saying that I was kind of cut off from certificates because you only get them for certain, like milestones. But 50 episodes is a milestone, so I'm absolutely charmed.


Oh, my gosh congratulations. I didn't realize that you're at 50. That's a lot of episodes.


That is a lot of episodes, so if this is the first episode you're listening to, you've got a lot of content you can catch up on. For sure, this is the third Villanoff as well, so happy third year of the Villanoff.


I'm so excited to get into it.


I am so excited too. I missed last time's Villanoff, so I am super, super excited for this one and congrats on 50. I can't believe it's been 50. That is insane. And, yeah, immensely proud of where the podcast has been and where it's going. I mean, yeah, look at this.


I know it's so weird as well as L, you were episode number one and Kaylee you were episode number two, and obviously you've been on loads more, but yeah, it's just cool to reach 50 together yeah.


I was literally just thinking that. It just seemed almost I know it seems almost not that long ago, since we were doing episode one, but here we are on episode 50. I can't believe it. Yeah, it's crazy. It's so lovely to see you both as well and celebrate it together.


I can't believe it was two years ago that the three of us were doing the last Villanoff. It doesn't. It doesn't feel that long.


I know it's so mental and also it's October and I love spooky seasons, so I'm always looking forward to these episodes. Villanoff and then I always do the I don't really know what to call it the Catherine Moorland reading list challenge with Martha, where we read one of Catherine Moorland's books, which are usually like so long, they're like 600 or 800 page books, so that's a track, but we love it and that episode's already out, guys, if you haven't heard it. So me and Martha read the Monk, so that was the last episode that was out. That was another spooky season episode, so go ahead and check that out if you haven't already. It was a crazy book but it was fun to discuss with Martha, so I hope you enjoyed that episode as well, and there will be cheat sheets and other content connected to that. Just to you know. If you're never going to read the book, at least you can have the podcast episode and some cheat sheets and you can get to know Northanger Abbey better through what Catherine Moorland we searched. I kind of I kind of love that.


I love that too. I still can't believe you read the entirety of the Mysteries of Udolfo. That was such a commitment, yeah that was my favorite episode. That was so great.


I have never read it. I feel like I need to, because obviously it's just such a yeah, it's like iconic in the book, isn't it? And yeah, I definitely have a look at that book. Good for you for getting some.


I thought Mysteries of Udolfo was weird, but the monk was. That was next level, that was even weirder, like me and Martha were just. Yeah, it took us on a different level, for sure, but anyway. But today's episode is Villanoff and we have two new villains in the hot seat. Today we're going to be covering Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice and Mrs Norris from Mansfield Park. So, yeah, this is two different ones. So first year we did Willoughby and Wickham. Second year we did Caroline Bingley and Isabella Thorpe. Oh my gosh. So I love this because these are slightly different. Again, you know older women in these texts, you know they've got different, different villain energy. So I'm excited to do this today. Alice, you focused on Lady Catherine, kaylee you focused on Mrs Norris, but we'll bridge it and we're going to vote and we're going to see who is the worst based off their actions in the plot, their character traits and just all around villainous. So I'm looking forward to it, guys, me too.


Both of these characters have very big personalities, and I think it's going to be so much fun to talk about some of the overlap that I see with them, but then also definite differences too.


I agree, I think it's a really good pairing just in terms of, yeah, their sort of statuses, their characters and you know the different novels.


Should we kick things off with Lady Catherine and bring Mrs Norris in and see? I mean, if there's cross comparison throughout, we can just do that. But shall we do it starting off with Lady Catherine's like descriptors, all that kind of thing?


I thought I'd start off with a little bit of background about Lady Catherine. So in terms of who she is as a person, she's from a very wealthy aristocratic family and kind of those different clues in the book, which means that we can find out that she's actually the daughter of an Earl. Her husband was rich but he wasn't actually from sort of aristocracy, which is interesting and you can kind of tell this. I found this out but in a little bit of research. I don't know if this is true or not, but from what I could see is this is we can see this because so Lady Catherine uses, she continues to use, the title of Lady Catherine. She's not Lady De Beurre or she's or she's Lady Catherine De Beurre. So it's like the fact that she's kept the whole Lady Catherine title means that she's still using her sort of family name because she's from that. That title and that heritage of that makes sense. So she kind of married slightly down outside her social circle, which again is really interesting. When we come on to to later things, we first hear of her through Mr Collins in I think it's chapter 13. He mentioned her in the letter he sends to Mr Bennett when he's coming to visit the Bennett family and the letter talks a lot about her. So she told him to come down. You know she'd advise him to marry soon as he could. We sort of see already from the letter she's very involved in Mr Collins's life. He's obviously a willing recipient. But you know, in the letter he talks about, you know that she pays him a visit to his humble personage where she had perfectly approved all the alterations he was making and even about to suggest some herself, some shelves in the closet upstairs, absolutely iconic iconic scene. A happy thought indeed. So there's all these little things already that we're starting to see, that she's interfering with.


Lady Catherine is so involved in everybody's life in the parish. Is that not a student that stood out to me so much I was. I kind of like this, laura. She's like these are my people. I'm going to like look after them, yeah this was something that I found out.


I mean later on in the book. There was a quote actually, which I saved it. So she talks again like later on when, I think, lizzie goes to Huntsford to visit and there's this amazing quote where you can just imagine her like storming into the village to go sort everyone out, and it's like she's sallied forth into the village to settle their differences, silence their complaints and scold them into harmony and plenty.


I think it's like she's kind of drifting into like a patriarchal power and I kind of feel that, kaylee, I don't know about you, but I'm like I love that.


Yeah, I love all of this context that you're giving that that I didn't know, and I love that she kept her her last name. She's kind of this amazing feminist in a way that I didn't really think about and yeah, yeah, that's actually on the surface.


I'm like on the surface she's actually pretty cool, like she's. You know, she's got this massive house. She's just kind of taking it on, taking on sort of like looking after everyone in the village, telling everyone what to do. She's being involved in those like small things which she wouldn't normally think that someone, maybe of her social standing, would get involved in. But she's kind of a little bit of a like a girl boss. Maybe it's just in the sort of execution of it all which is not the best in terms of, yeah, why she might become to see is like later on. We sort of see her as a bit of a villain in the story, even if she is a bit badass in that aspect.


And one more thing that I wanted to add that did always strike me about her was I could never understand, but loved it that her estate wasn't entailed away from the female line, and so that was one thing that always struck me as unusual, because so much of the narrative was around the Venice estate being entailed away, and I know you talked about this a bit in another episode too.


I love her statement on that as well, where it actually comes up in conversation and she's like I've never understood why this is even a thing. She's like my estate wasn't entailed away and I love that she says that in Mr Collins's presence, because for Mr Collins that's something that gives him so much status, so much power that he's going to inherit the Venice estate and obviously that's the reason that like pushes him to go and try and marry one of the Venice sisters and everything. So I kind of love that she says that in his presence because she doesn't care. She's literally just like well, I think that's stupid. I think women should get in. She's obviously a big advocate for, like, female education. We see that with her being like you have no governess and everything so well, I mean, I'm sure we'll get on to that more in a bit, elle, but yeah, it's really interesting that even from the offset we only hear about her in volume one from Mr Collins, and I don't know if you'll chat about the Mr Wickham one as well, but it's just interesting that we get all this from just hearing about her.


Yeah, it's really interesting it's there's definitely like two sides to her. Like we're saying, there's a really really cool sort yeah, feminist side to her. And then obviously there's the other side to her where she comes across as maybe like too arrogant and too involved in people's business and maybe not doing it from a good kind place and maybe she's doing it because she wants to be more controlling or manipulative. And it is actually Mr Wickham who discloses to Elizabeth the connection to Mr Darcy, because this isn't actually apparent in the left, that we just hear about. This, really, you know, wealthy lady who's got such a massive influence on Mr Collins's life, but it's actually Wickham who discloses the connection to Mr Darcy and he paints her in quitea, yeah, a not very good picture. So you've got Mr Collins who is maybe over the top in his compliments Adoration, adoration and just general and a factual obsession, maybe, I don't know. And then you've got Mr Wickham who is found a listener in Elizabeth, who yeah someone to kind of have a little bit of a moan about the Darcy family and with that he talks about Lady Catherine and her daughter and, yeah, and introduces her to her in that light. So we've got two very different pictures of her, but both are not very good. Reliable sources.


Is it not masterful how Jane Austin introduces these characters to us. We get this letter about Lady Catherine totally like random person we've never heard of before, and then it just starts to unravel. We hear from Mr Wickham and this link to Mr Darcy, and nothing that Austin does is like unintentional, like everything hasa reason and I just live up.


It's completely deliberate and at the time it's interesting because we don't realize what a like a big part she's going to play in the narrative and later on.


I was just thinking how brilliant it is that we we don't meet her off the bat but we hear about her from Wickham, which I forgot and then from Mr Collins, so your idea of her is built up so much and then when you actually do meet her and you know, hear her condescension. I always love when that language, I think it adds kind of this comedic element with how abrasive she is. So I think you're right that Austin did that on purpose and I think it's really effective.


I mean we get hints from Mr Collins that although he's very grateful to her I think it is it could be seen as quite controlling, like he says in the letter, that she made not the smallest objection to his joining in the society of the neighborhood, nor to his leaving his parish occasionally for a week or two to visit his relations. She had even condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, provided he chose a discretion. But that could be seen as hints as to maybe her being quite controlling in his, his life, because there's so many things which she seems to have an opinion on, so maybe she's constantly telling him to do these things.


Yeah, what is it that Lizzie says she couldn't bestow a kindness on? A more like willing subject, like grateful subject yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Lizzie sort of says you know, I suspect his gratitude actually misleads him that in spite of her being his patroness, she is arrogant and a conceited woman.


Lizzie's so judgy. Can we just like bring that she actually is so judgy? Let's be clear. It's a strong word, isn't it?


It's strong yeah yeah, because obviously from me looking into that letter out with hindsight, the fact that we know that maybe later on she could be seen as a very arrogant and controlling woman, but at this point we don't know anything about her, so it's quite a lot to suddenly just suspect that.


It is interesting it is. It was pretty telling to me that during Mr Collins' proposal he's like I should have mentioned my first reason that I want to marry you is because of Lady Catherine de Verne.


But the next time we obviously come across her then is later on in the book. They get the invite to come to Verne's things. So, yeah, they go to the house to have food, to have dinner and to meet the you know, lady Catherine, and it's really funny that sort of walking up and Mr Collins is, you know, reassuring Elizabeth, being like you know. Do you know, make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and her daughter, and it's like such, like a backhanded compliment or a backhanded way of saying like you look nice, you look fine. It's just like, oh, don't worry about it, you don't have to dress like them because they're way above you something.


I love. Honestly there's some like absolutely killer comment. She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved, love it.


Yeah, I mean, that already speaks volumes about her character, doesn't it?


so already.


We know that she's very set in sort of yeah, social, social rank and it's just hilarious that it's just full of so many good with Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice whenever she's involved. I feel like there's just so many good burns like the whole way through.


I love the one I know we're gonna get into like what happens once they go round. But I love the one where they're sat at the dinner table and she gets like excited about the fact that if they don't know what the dish is like, if it's a novelty to them, that makes her really happy because she's like oh yeah, I'm introducing you to new things, because I'm so wealthy and amazing.


Yeah, I think I literally put something about that later on which I'll get into, but obviously just whilst we're talking about the house and they're going up to it. I mean the descriptions of Lady Catherine's house. I think they're very telling with Jane Austen, the way, the way like where she situates characters, names that she calls houses, what they look like and how much she describes them and things like that. And we're told the description of Lady Catherine's house through the eyes of Mr Cullin, which you know he's very pompous. He shows off and he talks constantly about the money, the numbers of things. And whilst the house is not important to the narrative, it, the way it's compared to Pemberley, for instance, which is the other grand house in Pride and Prejudice, is different. So Rosin's is described as a handsome modern building situated on rising ground. So already you've got this impression of it sort of looking down on everyone. It's just there, prompt and like a hill with nothing else around it, pretty much looking down on everyone. It's a modern house and the sort. So that means it was probably built like the middle of the 18th century, then potentially by, maybe like a famous architect at the time, such as, you know, robert Adam, those kind of people, and but the fact that it's a modern house and built by someone at the time, that means it's very showy. It's all for show. It's been built pretty recently with recent money. It's not an ancestral home. In comparison to Pemberley, this house is described as handsome. It is well proportioned, it's standing well on rising ground and it's backed by trees and hills. There's a stream. The banks are not formal or falsely adorned. It says in the book a completely different picture painted compared to the chimney piece which was 800 pounds. The average chimney piece was 300 pounds that era apparently. So all these little things which are a different, it's in a planar style. The library has books collected from generations of the family. So this is Pemberley again, the gallery, you know, the long picture gallery, so that kind of speaks, potentially the house having Elizabethan or Jack of B in the sort of heritage in that respect. So there is a history attached to it. It's been there for a while. It's got that ancestral feel, it's got that more homey feel and for me, like I said with houses, when it comes to Jane Austen, that speaks a lot about the character. So you've got, you know, lady Catherine living in this house, which is all for show. It doesn't come across as particularly homely at all. And you've got Pemberley in comparison, which is, you know, beautiful and done in a really modest but tasteful way that's the most tasteful way that still shows off the wealth, but in in a good way. I love that and it's funny because there's a quote which Lizzie says really towards the end of the book. When I think, when Lady Catherine comes to have a go at her at the end and she sort of thinks to herself, how can I ever have thought her, how can I ever think her like her nephew?


yeah, I think that's really interesting as well to consider. Obviously, at the time there was a new money, old money dynamic that was starting to build. We see that with Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley.


I think that's such a good point about the old money that's more understated versus new money, and I just kept thinking, oh my gosh, rosing is Lady Catherine personified just her sort of in a showy way, condescending to people standing over them, being very out there.


Yeah, it's a really interesting way to to think about things. And, like you said, izzy, about the, the dinner, the fact I think she was showing off at the dinner and found it, you know, amazing. I think they actually described the dinner as being exceedingly handsome, which is excessive isn't exceedingly meaning it's it's almost too too much and she's like loving the fact, like you say, that no one knows what neither dishes are. She can sort of sit there and be like, yeah.


Yeah, lady Catherine seemed gratified by the excessive admiration and gave most gracious smiles, specifically when any dish on the table was proved a novelty to them. I just love that. That's fun. Just her through and through, isn't it?


Absolutely like. She loves even giving opinions on topics where she has no knowledge like. One of my favorite parts is when she's criticizing Elizabeth's piano playing. She's like, had I ever learned, I should have been a true proficient.


It's like love the hypothetical, that's great yeah that is honestly, yeah, it's one of my favorite moments as well, as this evening, I think. Where they're visiting they talk a lot about the education she basically questions Lizzy loads on her family and her education. You know where she's from, how she brought up, and then you know she talks to her about. You know she said we didn't have a governess and she's like you know, no governess. How is that even possible? If I had known your mother, I should have advised her most um strenuously to engage on. And it's really interesting again, like you say later on, when um Darcy and Colonel Fitzphilm arrives and they go and you know they're playing on the piano and Elizabeth is playing and she's um, she's, yeah, telling her off for not practicing enough, and they're talking about music and she's demanding to know what they're all talking about. You know she's like what is it you are talking on?


and she's like let's have my say in our conversation.


Yes, I must have my say honestly, she's so good. Can I say that Lady Catherine in the 1995 adaptation I think, is my Lady Catherine she's just amazing in that one. She is absolutely iconic. Um, so she discovers the talking of music. Um, then pray, speak aloud. It is, of course, subjects my delight. If I had ever learned, I should have been a great proficient, and so would Anne if her health had allowed her to apply. And then she says oh, I've told miss Bennett several times she will never play really well unless she practices more. I have often told her to come to Rosings every day and play on the piano forte in mrs Jenkinson's room, which is the governess. She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house it's so rude. It's like you think she's going to say oh yeah, come and play on the piano here, but it's like no, in mrs Jenkinson's room and go over there. But what's I find the most interesting about this is the fact that Lady Catherine doesn't actually play. She has no musical ability, neither does her daughter, and she sits there telling everyone that they need to do this, that and the other. You should be practicing more and you need to make sure that you can play better. And it also reminds me of a conversation that mr Darcy has with Caroline Bingley about the whole. What is an accomplished woman? You know they've got to play and sing and do all this and it's. I find it really interesting that Lady Catherine doesn't, and I couldn't really find out why. I don't think I've really looked into it enough, but I don't know if you both had any thoughts on that at all either.


I think this is the same with the education as well, because even though she haunts on about education, it's not actually perfectly clear how well educated she actually is. We can assume that she had private education. I think part of the conversation is the societal conversation of the time, where people were debating whether or not private education was superior and a lot of people being against, like boarding schools and women having an education, which is really interesting because Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra actually went to a boarding school in Redden. So for Jane Austen, obviously female education, even though that was really encouraged by her father at the time. It was a real like debate with people and I love that. That Lady Catherine talks about this stuff but we never actually hear like but she's accomplished in that. Is she really well educated? We're not 100% sure, but you assume. So she can't play the piano. We don't hear of anything else that she's like particularly really well versed in. So it's interesting that she's got all these assumptions of an accomplished lady but yet we don't see any evidence that she herself is one.


Totally. The audacity to give all of this criticism and advice when you don't have any thing to back it up yourself is absurd. And also I loved that point where you mentioned that Mr Darcy talks about all of the criteria for an accomplished woman and then his very wealthy relative doesn't have anything to back it up and is extremely socially inappropriate. So I just think that's such great justice for Lizzie because he's talking so much about how embarrassing her relatives are when she, in a lot of ways, is a very embarrassing moment 100%.


That is such a good point, especially when we talked earlier about the whole social thing. Is it because they're obviously more well off and they're higher up in the social standing? They get away with it more, whereas you look at someone like Mrs Bennett Okay, she's married to a gentleman, but because she behaves like she does, she doesn't get away with the eccentricity as Lady Catherine does.


Yes, yeah. And again, on the education, I'm just thinking about it. We do see a governance situation for Anne, but what do we see of Anne? Anne never says anything. She sits there. She's really sickly. She obviously isn't living her best life, is she and Lady Catherine's whole aim for her? She can't play the piano. Lady Catherine's whole aim of her is to marry Mr Darcy, so she has a private education and yet we see no evidence of that in itself as being successful.


Right and then remember how much flack the gardeners got. Everyone was looking down on the gardeners because of their connections and then they ended up being so wonderful and normal and respected by Mr Darcy. So there's so many things that are happening here with the embarrassing relatives that I don't know. I just think it's genius of Jane Austen.


Yeah, that's so good. I've never really thought about that so much in that respect. So that's yeah, love that point, kaylee, that you've brought up and really, really dug into that, because I never even thought about that properly until we sort of started to delve into Lady Catherine a bit more. So that's really cool. Also, the other interesting thing I've just noticed a quote on here that Lady Catherine mentions is she says when my niece, georgiana, went to Ramsgate last summer, I made a point of her having two men's servants to go with her, because she's talking about them traveling properly when they go home. That I found really interesting. Is that the way you think it's going to happen? Yes, we all knew what happened at Ramsgate. I've not noticed that before. So she knew she'd gone and she thought she'd properly attended to Georgiana. So this is Mr Darcy's sister who went to Ramsgate and this is Mr Wickham obviously tried to elope and run off, and all of this is kind of yeah, comes out. So it's really interesting, which I find it really funny because she's like oh yeah, I was able to make sure that she was attended properly and nothing bad happened. And then we were like well, we all know what actually went down and you haven't got a clue. So you're sat here saying, oh, I'll do this and you need to do this and I'll make sure you're attended properly and you need to act in this way. And when actually she's not realized that her 16 year old niece nearly eloped and was absolutely ruined.


Yeah, this is like a little bit of a side track, but it kind of links onto my Lydia Bennett episode that I did not so long ago. I don't think there was any way. I mean, even now there is no way to truly protect a woman in society, let's be clear. Because Georgiana has two guardians, Darcy and Fitzwilliam. She obviously has Lady Catherine looking after it and someone like Wickham can still come in and still try and ruin her life and I just think it's. There's just no and it was the same, for obviously the same thing happened for Lydia and Lydia unfortunately didn't have the same connections to have so many people looking out for her, but she was under the protection of another family and it's still happened. I know that's a side track, guys, but I just think it's just really interesting how unsafe women were then and still are now. Let's be clear.


Yeah, definitely 100%. And I think what's interesting when we so, we'll go into this section toward the end, which is like Lady Catherine's other big scene. So it's just after Elizabeth's sister Jane has now engaged to Mr Bingley happily, and Lady Catherine is on the grapevine that Mr Darcy may have already or is wanting to propose to Elizabeth. And just very quickly linking back to this whole thing where she was supervising Georgiana going to Ramsgate, the fact that she also, I think, within this sort of argument and monologue she has a go at and has a stab at Lizzie saying I know all about your sister Lydia's scandal and everything which happened there. And it's just crazy, isn't it? Because she's so you know she's there happy to throw it out to Elizabeth, but actually her own niece was so close to that sort of happening to her.


But the same man In.


Ramsgate, the same man which she supposedly had control over and was, you know, saying it was okay. So I thought that was quite an interesting parallel too. So yeah, this is a great scene when Lady Catherine turns up to the Bennett's house, but it's great the exchanges that happen. She's sort of like, well, that lady, I suppose, is your mother when she sees Elizabeth's mother and things like that, and that, I suppose, is your sister. So Elizabeth and Lady Catherine go into the garden and that's when we get that phrase, when Elizabeth's like you know, how could I ever think her like her nephew? Because she's come to the house, she's been so rude and abrupt and things like that. And she sort of says to Elizabeth you know, you ought to know, I'm not to be trifled with, I'm, you know, you do know why I'm here. And she's like I don't know why you're here, sort of thing. And she starts to talk to Elizabeth about how much of the match between her and Mr Darcy is just completely outrageous. She starts off like I say you know, you ought to know that I'm not to be trifled with. My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, which I found was interesting, because Elizabeth Bennett is also described often as being frank and very, you know, kind of witty and what have you. But it's two completely contrasting characters and not delivered. Again, as I say, with Lady Catherine, I think it's the execution of these things On the surface, on paper, she seems really cool and very strong and independent, but the way she delivers it in her intentions for me is why she's just not a good person the way she does it. It doesn't come from a good place. So she talks about the report of an alarming nature reaching her. She knows it must be a scandalous fault. So she's talking about the engagement and she says you know, your arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and his family. She goes no, miss Bennett, do you know who I am? It's just ridiculous the amount of things she says. There's just this whole page I've written in my notes the copy I've got. It's on page 400, but I've just put. Page 400 is fab Like. It has just got all these amazing, amazing lines of being, like you know, honored decor, imprudence, nate interest forbid it. So she's talking about all these different things. She's the classic guy as well, obstinate headstrong girl I am ashamed of you.


I am ashamed of you. Do you know?


who I am. Do you know who I am? And then the best quote for me is in the 1995 adaptation. She sort of stands on the step and at the end she sort of goes heaven's an earth. What are you thinking? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted? And she's sort of waving around.


She's all sticking the air. The mad lady am I supposed to say that's it.


And then she goes. You know I'm feeling selfish girl. And then the best thing for me is obviously, you know Elizabeth retaliating. They get back to the house and she goes to get you know into the carriage and Elizabeth's going into the house and she it's just so funny she just goes. I said no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased. I think it's just such the biggest like Regency Byrne to be like, yeah, I said no compliments to your mother, like that's it, we're done.


I knew you were going to say your favorite quote.


It is just such is that one. I don't know why, I just love it. Oh my gosh.


I was waiting, I was like bracing myself for you to say oh, that's just come in Pemberley to be thus polluted, that's polluted.


This whole scene's just absolutely genius. It is incredible. I think I might start saying to people like if they get on my nerves, I might just be like going up to them and just be like oh, I said no. Compliments to your mother.


Compliments to your mother. Start signing. You could start signing off emails like that at work instead of being like kind of regards. It's like I said no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention.


Oh, I see her. Something else that comes up in this like section with Lady Catherine that honestly sticks with me as well is that the whole monologue she goes on about Anne and how her and Mr Darcy were like planned, like their union was planned when they were in cradles and like that's so creepy. I remember I had a conversation once with like someone when I was younger. I had really strong feelings for this guy and I really liked him and she was like old friends with him and she said something really similar to him. He gave me full Lady Catherine vibes. She was literally just like oh yeah, well, you know, like we know each other forever, basically like your union's been planned since the cradle and I'm like I'm not being funny, but what is? this Are we courting in Tudor England? Like what are you on?


I don't know, I can't see that we were so creepy. Actually, I don't know. No contact.


Yeah, I mean that is essentially in a nutshell. I say in a nutshell, it's been about 40 minutes, a little bit of a whistle-stop tour on Lady Catherine and her key scenes, her best quotes and just sort of. For me, like I say, why she is a villain in Austin Center is because, like you know I said earlier, I think on the surface she looks like she could be a really great character. She's got all the makings of someone who could be really influential in a good way in someone's life and you know she wants to take it upon herself to help people. But is she really helping people? It's not coming from a good place. For me, a lot of it comes from trying to control, trying to meddle and trying to have her say on things which don't necessarily need her say. And she could use her status, use her power and use this need to want to get involved in people's lives in a much more positive and healthy and just wholesome way and be there to support her family, to be there to support. You know Mr Collins also in a better way. I think she manipulates him and because of the character he is, she takes advantage of that. You know she messes around with the fact, you know, mr Darcy, and I think the way she talks about him when she goes to speak to Elizabeth, it's like you know he needs to do this, he needs to do that. She doesn't even call him by his name and it's almost like they're talking about this little boy who's, you know, got no say on his life, when he has got a very, you know, very huge standing in terms of his social status and who he is as a character, and I think her intentions are not there. She doesn't execute her actions well and for me that's why she is a villain.


Yes, yeah, you're blowing my mind with the some of the details that I feel like I've overlooked in the past, like the fact that she knew about Georgiana and Wickham, and it's confirmed, and because when I've thought about Lady Catherine I thought before okay, well, you always know what you're getting with her. She's super, she's super controlling and medals, but she does it openly and sure, she manipulates Mr Collins, but you see her doing that in front of everyone, like it's very obvious, whereas others are sneakier and more behind the scenes. But I think there were a bunch of different parts that you mentioned that made me think that Lady Catherine is actually much more calculated and manipulative than I was giving her credit for.


I don't think she knew about the Georgiana situation, though, because I feel like Barcy says that the only you can confirm this through Fitzwilliam, like he was the only other person to know, but I think what's funny is Lady Catherine says this not realizing that the same things happened under her nose.


Yes, I think that's what it was. I don't think she knew what happened, but it's the fact. She sits there boasting about the fact that when Georgiana went away, it was done so well and correctly and that's what she believes, and it's just like, oh, you don't know half of it, you don't know actually what went on. And it's embarrassing, maybe in hindsight, if you just sit there and say all that when there are people who know about what happened around this gate and so, yeah, so it's embarrassing and it makes her look ridiculous in a way, because she thinks she's in control but she's not. So there's that part of it and I think she is more intentionally calculating and she wants to be more intentionally calculating, Like you say. We give her credit for. So.


My devil's advocate thing with her being like obviously needing to have her fingers in every single pie is she says a quote at one point where she says I believe nobody feels the loss of friends so much as I do. So my devil's advocate thing that I'll put out there is maybe she's actually really lonely, like her daughter doesn't say anything. She lives in this big house, she's got the guffiness, but the fact that she has people like the Collins is around all the time, the fact that she does get so heavily involved into her own parish even though really she doesn't necessarily have to, I'd say maybe she's like bored and lonely in, like she just wants to find ways to spend her time.


One thing that I appreciate about Lady Catherine more is, I do think, even though she is controlling and meddlesome and interferes in people's lives in an inappropriate way, I do think, even if it's serving the purpose of making her feel better about herself, I do think she does try to step in and help people right, like she does offer to have her man attend Lizzie on the trip back. She does say that Lizzie can practice the piano at her home, like she is doing it. I mean it's so absurd she does.


I know what you mean. She does try, but for me they've always got like a slight thing to it, Like when she offers the piano it's like, oh, you can, but you've got to go sit in that part of the house. Oh, I can take you home in my carriage, but I've actually only got room for one of you. She says I can only attend one of you, but if it and she said, if it cools down, then maybe we could have both of you because you're not very big, so it's okay.


I think she says something along those lines, yeah, and even her like repairing certain things, like is it that she's doing nice things for the parish or is it that for her appearances are so important that she has to have her parish up kept all the time? Everything has to be fought through by her, and also she wants to be in a position where everybody brags and boasts about everything that she's done for the parish, or she put shelves in my closet, you know.


Happy thought, indeed Happy thought indeed, and the way of sorting things out. She, you know, she bulldozes in and goes and starts to bully people into submission, which is what she tries to do with Elizabeth. She doesn't get it. It's what she tries to do with the people in her parish, but I mean silver lining. She's obviously got a really nice, lovely parish that is kept all nice and quiet and tidy. Yeah for sure.


So just before we move on to the next topic, then I just want to say a little bit about our sponsor, house of Bennett. If, like me, you love taking a break from your modern life to escape into Jane Austen's world of handwritten letters, romantic rendezvous and long walks in the countryside, you will love the House of Bennett shop. House of Bennett offers stickers, pins, jewellery, totes, shirts and so much more All themes around your favorite classic literature and period dramas, including Jane Eyre and of Green Gables, little Women and, of course, the works of Jane Austen. Head over to HouseofBennettcom. That's H-A-U-S-O-F-B-E-N-N-E-T dot C-O-M, and use my code WhatTheDiscount for 15% off at the checkout. So once again, that's HouseofBennettcom and use my code WhatTheDiscount for 15% off. I think it'd be good to move on to Mrs Norris, because I think something. Yes, I think Lady Catherine meets her match with Elizabeth. Not sure Mrs Norris meets her match with Fanny in terms of ways that she's able to stand up for herself in comparison. So, kaylee, over to you.


Oh my gosh. So Mrs Norris, I think the first thing to say about her that's really important is to think about her birth order. So she's the eldest of the three ward sisters and I think before I never really noticed or put too much attention to the fact that she's older than Lady Bertram, but I think that's extremely important and explains a lot of her meddling and controlling and resentful nature. So basically, mrs Norris ends up marrying a reverend and which is respectable, but she is very fixated on. She's very fixated on money and wealth and it's highly insinuated that Lady Bertram marries above her status, right Like she's really lucky to marry Sir Tom Bertram and live at Mansfield Park. And so it's just very interesting to see how Jane Austen opens the novel with explaining that Lady Bertram was the one who won out. Mrs Norris married okay. And then there's that quotation that says even though they were all equal attractiveness levels, there aren't as many well-off, wealthy men as there are pretty girls who deserve them. But you can tell very much. Lady Bertram got the gold and then Mrs Norris is settling and then ends up living with her husband on the estate and then the third daughter, the youngest, marries this naval lieutenant and while Lady Bertram goes. Oh well, yeah, okay, let's just never talk to her again. Let's cut her off because he's considered lower standing. Mrs Norris really is out to get the younger sister. She writes her a really angry letter cutting her off, saying what a disgrace everything is to the family. So it's very early on established that she cares a lot about wealth and that the youngest sister is a disgrace.


Yes, I love it that was one thing I picked up too, yeah, when I was kind of just briefly looking at the fact I had sort of forgotten that she was the oldest sister as well, and so it's interesting then that maybe she feels that maybe she should have been the one to have done that and had that responsibility. Obviously it's given to, for example, Pride and Prejudice. Jane sort of got that responsibility, See. I don't know whether that does cause resentment, but yeah, I go for it, is it?


That just made me think as well. You know, jane, had the tables been different, had Bingley never been on the scene, jane would have had to marry Mr Collins. She would have been in a very similar situation as Mrs Norris. And also, do you not think this whole thing is why Mrs Norris is like so obsessed with Mariah? Like Mariah is like her redemption. She's like I will make sure that Mariah marries Mr Rushworth, the wealthiest man, because I'm gonna fix my error that I wasn't able to do this through Mariah. Like she just lives vicariously through her Absolutely.


That's such a good point. She lives vicariously through her. And then everything is about Mr Rushworth being this incredible catch because he's so wealthy and we've talked before on different podcast episodes about how he is the wealthiest Austin man. He's wealthier than Mr Darcy and Mrs Norris isn't able to see how stupid he is and how actually they're not a good fit because she's so laser focused on that. And when you said that, izzy, too, they mentioned how Mariah is lacking in a lot of the really important moral qualities that Fanny has and Mrs Norris just doesn't value that or see that. So Mariah is her gem.


Also something that's really grim about Mrs Norris as well is she holds no value to love, Like she's so against her younger sister for marrying for love and obviously writes a horrible letter and then again it's all just money focused, money focused, and obviously that creates this like the difference between her and Fanny, because Fanny's very love focused. But yeah, just a bit gross, isn't it All the money and status focused that Mrs Norris has? Don't like it.


Yes, and also just sort of preserving her image and saying things about herself that are completely hypocritical. You know, like I, just at the beginning, she puts on this such a facade and I get so angry at her right away because basically the youngest sister reaches out and says I'm overwhelmed, I have so many kids that really need help. And Thomas Bertram is hesitant to take a kid. He's like we really need to think about this because we wanna make sure that we give this kid a good quality of life. And then Mrs Norris goes oh, I feel so bad, we need to do more for our sister. And the fact that she convinces him to take Fanny in and says I'll go get her myself. All you know, I don't have my own children, so I will do most of the rearing. I just want a little bit of your help. And then flip flops is just unbelievable to me. I remember thinking right away I got kind of like the spades senses. I was like something is off about this lady.


Oh, my God, yeah, Do you know what? Like when I was reading that this time, what really creeped me out is I was like I think she sees Fanny as like the replacement for her, because at the moment she's at the bottom of the pecking order and she's like I need someone below me. So let's take Fanny in, she's perfect.


That's super interesting. That's a really good point, yeah, because I think probably she might be looked upon as sort of the person that everyone looks charitably upon.


That is such a good point. I think I was so distracted by the youngest sister who lives with the naval lieutenant being at the bottom of the totem pole that I forgot that within Mansfield you're right that Mrs Norris is she's the least wealthy, she's the one who's receiving more charity, so it's Fanny becomes the scapegoat which makes so much sense. Yeah, I just wanted to share a few quotes here that show how much she manipulates and gaslights Thomas Bertram and misleads. She's wanted to offer promises and then there's no follow through and burdens other people. So she initially says if you are not against it, I will write to my poor sister tomorrow and make the proposal to get Fanny and as soon as the matters are settled I will engage to get the child to Mansfield. You shall have no trouble about it. My own trouble, you know, I never regard. She also like, totally makes herself a victim. And then you know, a paragraph or two later, Mrs Norris had not the least intention of being at any expense whatever in her maintenance. Nobody knew better how to dictate liberality to others, but her love of money was equal to her love of directing, and she knew quite well how to save her own as to spend that of her friends. I just thought that was such a good summary of her character.


She's still inauthentic and just so money obsessed, so superficial. Oh, it makes my skin crawl thinking about somebody like that. Just awful.


It's just amusing me watching your facial reaction is as Kaylee's reading out these quotes.


Oh my God, this people exist. Happy Halloween. I've been waiting for speaking ever since, terrified. Yeah, if he's worse nightmare the inauthentic. This is not right.


That was so amazing, that was so amazing. So I was like remember, I was like nice lady senses that feeling. And then, as you were describing the feeling, I was like Halloween, spooky, that was amazing, oh my God. So yeah. So then Lady Bertram says where shall the child come to first sister, to you or to us? And then Sir Tom is heard with some surprise that it would be totally out of Mrs Norris's power to take any share in the personal charge of her, and she convinces him to. Oh, I could never do that. And then has a million different excuses that are true, very strong intro to her hypocrisy. And then, as the book goes on, fanny arrives and Fanny, very understandably, is upset. She's sad to miss her family, she doesn't feel comfortable. And Mrs Norris where I think she's a villain is I think she demonstrates a lot of sociopathy, like she cannot seem to empathize with anyone's emotions. Of course Fanny is going to be upset and scared and need to adjust, but Mrs Norris chastises her and vilifies her right away.


Is this the thing where she says I hope Fanny will be sensible of her uncommon good fortune, or something like that? And it's like what? How about you become sensible of your uncommon good fortune, Mrs Norris? How true is she? Oh my god, Is she like five?


She's like a little child. She is so harsh I didn't even know where to start with which comments to pull. So Fanny's tired and sad and as soon as she leaves the room Mrs Norris goes. This is not a promising beginning. I thought she would have behaved better. I wish there may not be a little sulkingess of temper. I just thought she was so critical of this little girl who just moved.


You say it's horrible, isn't it? Because it's like the first time as well that I think in Austin's work where someone's being really horrible to a child.


Yeah, it feels so Victorian. So bruntail dickens.


It's very much a dynamic that, even though Mrs Norris was the one who wanted to bring Fanny into the family right away, fanny is treated like a second class citizen Constantly. I think where it reminds me of Cinderella is constantly. Mrs Norris goes out to the Rushworths to a lot of different places and nobody has a problem with Fanny coming, but she always says Fanny, stay behind, fanny, I have all these chores for you to do. Even though Lady Bertram is constantly lounging around with her pug, the one time that Fanny has a headache and is lying on the couch she starts chastising her in a very, very mean way and calls her lethargic. She pretty much every moment she gets, she's either criticizing Fanny or isolating her from everyone else and reminding her of her inferior status.


Yes, it's very extreme, considering Mrs Norris herself is nobody special in this household, let's be clear, because she's pretty much scrounging off the Bertram's anyway. She lives in a house that they've given her I think it's called a White House or something and she's basically with them 24-7. She has no children of her own. Her husband has died, so she can't have that many expenses in life, but her general, like just her goal and her motive in life is to just make Fanny's life miserable.


I think it's so sad because the polarity between the two of them Fanny being so soft and kind, a little bit both styles sometimes and then Mrs Norris being this just outspoken in the worst kind of way, cruel, negative person it's almost like she's punishing her for some reason, for almost the fact that she's poor and it's not her fault and, like I say, it's that thing of like she's trying to exert her authority and trying not to be the lowest in the pecking order by then punishing this other poor person.


It's like she's projecting all of her own insecurities in the worst kind of way.


It means so cruel about it Right and there's nothing that really prompts it Like we can't even, you know, with Lady Catherine. She's so mean to Elizabeth when and then are the shades of Pemberley to be the most polluted scene, but she's upset right Cause she had this dream of Anne and Darcy getting together right, so there's something there that's a catalyst for that. Whereas Mrs Norris is just out of the blue, fanny will walk into her room and she'll start criticizing her appearance sending her out to do all these chores. So anyway, yeah, so she's not kind to her. That's the dynamic. And then the original agreement is that eventually she's gonna take charge of Fanny. And so when Fanny's 15 and her husband, mrs Norris's husband, passes away, she moves to a smaller house. And that's the time where they're thinking, okay, she's gonna take Fanny. Now here's the quote Mrs Norris, on quitting the, personage removed first to the park and afterwards to a small house of Sir Thomas's in the village and consoled herself for the loss of her husband by considering that she could do very well without him and for her reduction of income by the evident necessity of stricter economy. So she's fine with him gone, and then it's an excuse that she has to economize so she can't take on Fanny.


Oh, my God she's just the worst. Oh my God, that's just awful thing to say. I can't.


And then actually Fanny's reaction when she finds out she might live with Mrs Norris is really interesting too, because Edmund's trying to convince her it'll be a great idea. And she's just like Edmund, I can't agree with you on that one. And yeah, so luckily-.


Oh my God, what does Edmund say? That's sensible. Honestly, the guy grates on me. I can't.


So, oh my gosh, here it is Okay. She is of a temper. So this is Edmund talking about Mrs Norris to Fanny. She's of a temper to do a great deal for anybody she really interests herself about. And then Fanny. I always thought Fanny was a pushover, and she is at times. But here she goes. Fanny, sigh, I cannot see things as you do. If I could suppose my aunt to really care for me, it would be delightful to feel myself as a consequence to anybody.


How many times does Fanny say the truth to Edmund? Edmund's? Just his head is in the clouds. But also what is he on about? Because he's the one person who literally has arguments with Mrs Norris the most. He's really rude to her, like I know she's horrible and, like you know, probably deserves it, but he's really goes at her sometimes.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Is he the one that stands up for her a lot when Mrs Norris is trustizing her and everything else? Really odd. He annoys me, like you.


I know that's what I remember too, because I think there are more parts where Edmund is really horrified by how Mrs Norris treats her. Like she makes a big deal about Fanny it's not appropriate for Fanny to have a horse and she's very much trying to neglect Fanny's needs and then Edmund will get upset and stand up for her.


Yeah, what's really disturbing to me about Mrs Norris as well is the fact that she does this in public. She is not afraid to do this because she does it in front of the Crawlfords as well, because there's one time where Mary's actually disturbed with the way that Mrs Norris treats Fanny and she says like, oh, Fanny, come over here. Les was not worried about those people, Like you know, tries to comfort her and talk to her about something else, because she can see how visibly distressed Fanny is from Mrs Norris's actions and like her words and how cruel she is. And I think there's one thing being like a cruel person and doing it secretly because you know that actually what you're doing is really horrible. But is she so oblivious that what she's doing is so cruel and so wrong that she does it in front of strangers, essentially in friends and people who don't live in the household?


I know, and it's like are you oblivious, or is this a weird power trip to make someone else look terrible so that you feel more important?


Yeah, yeah, I wonder if it is that Kayleigh, actually in the fact that she's trying to make someone feel worse so that she feels better about herself, like you said earlier, is about putting her insecurities on someone else and it just like makes it all the more worse that she supposedly brought in Fanny out of the goodness of her heart, but she's brought her in just to be again. The intention is not there, like I guess, lady Catherine, she's trying to show that she's being charitable, but actually I don't think that the real intention or the heart was there behind it, because it's just horrible and I like the fact you brought the whole thing as well, because I was looking through that literally just before we came on the recording because she's so horrible about the horse that Fanny is not allowed to have a horse and she has to sit at home whilst her cousins go out riding their horses and she's gonna sit there and be like oh, I'll sit here and watch everyone else having fun.


Yeah, which is really exciting because Fanny really enjoys riding as well.


Whenever I think back to the fact that Mrs Norris was the one who initiated Fanny coming. I always think what is going on Because, again, nobody else has a problem as Fanny grows up and they really get to know her with having her around. But Mrs Norris is always the one who keeps her back and, for example, she was invited to a dinner and she ended up. Fanny ended up being able to go and Mrs Norris. There were so many mean quotations, but this is the one that really got me. Mrs Norris says to Fanny I do beseech and entreat you not to be putting yourself forward and talking and giving your opinion as if you were one of your cousins. That will never do, believe me. Remember, wherever you are, you must be the lowest and last. She literally says that to her.


That is awful, that is actually awful. I mean saying it so blatantly as well. Yeah, that's horrific, isn't it?


As the plot moves forward, every interaction with Mrs Norris and Fanny is negative, but what ends up happening is it's very clear that, like you said, izzy, mrs Norris' favorite is Mariah and so she's setting up Mariah with Mr Rushworth and she thinks she's doing such a great job playing matchmaker and it's sort of understood that those two are going to be together. And then, as we know, there's a lot of drama that occurs with that, where Mariah and Mr Rushworth are not a good fit, and a lot of this has to do with Sir Thomas and his oldest son, tom, leaving for Antigua. And while they're in Antigua the infamous play happens. And while Sir Thomas is gone, mrs Norris is supposed to be kind of holding down the fort, with the young being the moral guide, because Lady Bertram doesn't care about anything except her pug Very mad.


Do you like how I'm summarizing this? That's like also a good Halloween couple's costume and I'm going to have, like the pug and Mrs Bertram, that's Lady.


Bertram, I would be.


I could dress Hoggy off as a pug and I'll go as Lady Bertram, as the pug, and then go as Lady Bertram oh my gosh that would be incredible.


The omashii is so concerned about her pug. It's in the story. It's so ridiculous.


I feel like I'm laughing at this, with her slitching me and Hoggy Like I'm literally just like this is my child, so, but then I don't have a children, so it's not so neglectful as it is for Lady Bertram.


I feel like you would like your children too, where Lady Bertram is like oh my pug, and then kind of forgets if Fanny exists. But yeah, so Mrs Norris is the one who says that she very much, says that the play is a great idea and shames Fanny a lot for hesitating to do the play. In chapter 15, she really snubs Fanny again. When Fanny says I'm uncomfortable with this, I don't think it's moral, I don't think Sir Thomas would approve. She says I'm quite ashamed of you, fanny, to make such a difficulty of obliging your cousins in a trifle of this sort, so kind as they are to you, take the part with a good grace and let us hear no more of the matter. I entree and then Edmund defends her and she goes. I'm not gonna urge her, replied Mrs Norris sharply, but I shall think her a very obstinate, ungrateful girl if she does not do what her aunts and cousins wish her. Very ungrateful indeed, considering who and what she is. I had to do that. You had to walk, because she's so mean, but also because we're comparing her to Lady Catherine. It sounded like obstinate, headstrong girl. I'm ashamed of her. Yeah, kind of the same vibe there, yes, but directed at such different people and for such different reasons.


Fanny hasn't done anything to bring that kind of criticism, whereas Elizabeth is headstrong, and she does say her piece. Is that what she says, who or what she is?




Disgusting. Oh my God. This is convincing me to do some sort of defense of Fanny, because I'm not always the biggest fan of Fanny, but now I'm feeling just horrific seeing her from this perspective.


I actually quite like Fanny. I'm just gonna put it out there. I know she's not a really strong independent character maybe Elizabeth but I think there's something to be said sometimes. I think she's dealing with a very difficult situation, especially when we have someone like Mrs Norris like constantly saying all these horrible things which I mean could be like put down as almost like emotional abuse. You know what I mean. The things that she's saying to her is awful and it's interesting in comparison, like, say, to Lady Catherine. They're very fixated on sort of class and ranking and people being in that place and things like that, but it's just really interesting. I just think Mrs Norris is so much more vile with it, and especially when she doesn't have, obviously, Lady Catherine's status as well.


Is it like a significant difference in terms of how you treat people? I think this sounds really bad, because it shouldn't matter your status to how you treat people. You should treat everybody well. But in terms of like perceiving it worse, is it worse because Mrs Norris is actually herself not high status, so it's literally just like I don't know how do you do it?


Because when that final scene with Elizabeth and Lady Catherine, when she's throwing all these insults, like they're horrible as well, like they are, you know, she's calling her a horrible, selfish girl. She barely even knows her and she's throwing all these insults out. So I mean she's pretty vile as well. But I don't know what it is like you say about Mrs Norris, where I do think she's worse, like they're both similar because of the casting and they like people in their place and that's. You know they're really quick to sort of throw insults out and manipulate people and tell people what to do. But Mrs Norris does it. I think the fact that she just goes in on fanning on this one person and she really like bullies her and she probably bullies her and makes her like the object of kind of yeah, her own insecurities and throwing all these things on. I think Lady Catherine just sort of does it to everyone. I don't know. It's just the fact that it's this targeted abuse, I think, for me which really really gets to me.


So, but obviously Lady Catherine targets Elizabeth as well. Is it because Elizabeth is able to stand up for herself, or is Fanny Karns or Fanny doesn't? Is that what makes it so much worse? Because it's so uncomfortable to see somebody being braided when they don't say anything back, or this is awful? I've just got to live with this Whereas we don't feel so bad for Elizabeth because she turns around and she's literally just like I'm not being funny, but if your nephew wants to marry me, he wants to marry me. That's just the thing I love about it.


Or maybe it's because I guess she brought Fanny in in the first place. It was her doing Well. I guess Lady Catherine didn't have an influence on Elizabeth's decisions and what she was doing and where she was going, whereas the fact that she brought her in and was supposed to be charitable to her and then sort of turned it around and made it awful I don't know whether that's part of it as well.


Yeah, yeah, I've saw so many different thoughts about this because I think it's. I think it's a fair point that I think Lady Catherine would treat any woman the way that she treats Elizabeth because she's so invested in Ann Marying Darcy. So I think there's that's the reason it comes out so meanly and harshly and it's not excusable. But she does have a reason where I think, no matter what Fanny did, mrs Norris treats her specifically and her alone this way. She scapegoats her, whereas I think Lady Catherine treats everyone pretty badly. But I do think I think it is a really good point, though, that Elizabeth can take Lady Catherine, just like you said, is she can stand up for herself, and so we're like all right, you got her, it's not so bad, elizabeth, we know you're going to be okay, whereas Fanny doesn't stand up for herself, so maybe the bullying does feel that much more intense because and there's no one to protect Fanny either, whereas Elizabeth has got a really strong family behind her and her sisters as well, and her father, and she's got that family network.


But actually I think Fanny is pretty much alone. I mean, yeah, she has Edmund sticking up for her resort.


Occasionally, when he's not invested in Mary.


Exactly, yeah, and he's pretty bad at it and like, yeah, it's just not great. So she is alone and that's what. And I think that's also sort of made worse by the fact that she does get upset by the lot, that she can't see her brother, and it's such a big thing when she sees him too, isn't it? And that sort of really highlighted the fact that she doesn't have a network around us. Maybe that's it as well. Like you say, we know Elizabeth has got support.




She's going to have to stand up, but Fanny has no support, so she's really vulnerable, like really vulnerable.


I know that we're going in on Mrs Norris now. But also that makes me hate Edmund all the more. Because why not give her support, that backing, to be like no, fanny, you stick up for yourself. Because how much easier is it for Elizabeth to turn around to Lady Catherine and be like I am not going to make any promises, I'm not going to marry Nethy because I secretly want to, because she knows that Darcy's in love with her right. Having that backing, having that reassurance, that validation that you can say like I know he would choose me beyond. And she says like, even if his whole family liked me, it still would make no difference to my decision, I would still marry him because I want to. And I think that's so much easier than when you've got somebody, when you know that person also feels the same way. Because saying that when he, if you didn't, if she's just like I don't know he might be opposed to me, I might say yes, I might say no, like you wouldn't be so invested in it, you wouldn't have that gumption to be like, no, I'm not, I'm not promising anything.


Agreed. I think it just made me think as well that point we made earlier about backing Emma. You know, when they tell Emma off, mr Knighty tells Emma off for being horrible to Miss Bates Again it's because she's in a really vulnerable position. She's really poor, she's vulnerable. It's not okay to make fun of someone who who hasn't got the backing and the standing behind them. It's a similar thing, I think, then, with Fanny. She is also in that similar position where she doesn't have anything to support her family, wealth, friends, anything. And this is Norris is doing exactly what Mr Knighty was telling Emma off for doing, which is, you know, being horrible to someone just because of their status, and it's her duty to actually help that person, not not make fun of them.


That's so true. And when you say that you know Fanny is in a more vulnerable position where she doesn't have as much family support as, say, elizabeth, I think about when William actually does come and visit and then they arrange that trip together and Mrs Norris is such a pill about it and she starts getting very resentful that Sir, sir Thomas, is going to give William some money for the travels. And when she sees that, that's when she offers to remember, she thinks about going with them, and it's only when it's concerning money. So she, she doesn't care at all about Fanny connecting with, with her family at all. If anything, it's an imposition. But then as soon as money is involved, she, she's suddenly interested.


Yeah, it's so great. She just feels so. This is Norris, I think, thinks sees herself as this victim. She's so downtrodden I couldn't marry for love. Also, I couldn't marry for money. And then all these people have, like you know, family connections that are wonderful. I don't have that. It's like she lives in such a place of lack that it's like if anybody has even the smallest amount of happiness, she has to crush it because she can't bear to see that happen, unless it's going to benefit her, which is whole thing with Mariah as well. It's not about Mariah, it's that she's thinking well, if Mariah marries, mr Rushworth and I'm, you know, bestest buds with Mariah then I can go and live with them and I'll have even more money than I did living with the barter homes.


So it's always her. She's just such a schemer right, she's scheme so much, and actually she also. I think she'll do anything. I think she has a pathological need for attention where she's calling the shots, she's telling the story. She do you remember and I actually think this is one of the creepiest parts in chapter four, when Sir Thomas and Tom are leaving for Antigua, she starts having these fantasies that they're going to die and that she's going to be the one to tell everyone oh my gosh, oh my God.


No, now you're saying that that does. I haven't reread it, probably for a while. I was thinking through earlier, but like that I do. Yeah, I remember something like that happening like that is weird, it's so it's so seopathic.


Oh my gosh, okay, I'm gonna. I like had kind of forgotten about that part of it. Quotes of this I'm so disturbed, oh my gosh, I totally need evidence now. And again there are some ellipses in this. I didn't want to put too much, but I pulled out the most, you know, just some important chunks. So Mrs Norris had been indulging in very dreadful fears and trying to make Edmund participate in them, and she depended on being the first person made acquainted with any fatal catastrophe. She had already arranged the manner of breaking it to all the others when Sir Thomas's assurances of their both being alive and well made it necessary to lay by her agitation and affectionate preparatory speeches for a while. So she's I mean she they keep coming back to the fact that she's, she's planning oh my gosh, it's going to be so dramatic and dreadful when they die, and here's how I'll tell everyone. And then she's disappointed that she can't be the one to share the big news, and she didn't even care what kind of news it is.


You've got to be psychographic. Also, what really stood out to me there as well is that she was like she was disappointed that Edmund didn't want to share in the anxiety. She was like why aren't you like sharing in these anxieties? I want you to feel terrible and awful, to be worried about this, because when I break the news, I want to be impactful.


I want you to feel the pain.


I need to feel my pain, or why aren't you as sociopathic as me Like?


it's so true. She just wants everyone to be miserable. And then she also is disappointed too, when Sir Thomas comes back, and she isn't the one to announce it, she has some kind of even just going to say she's disappointed when Sir Thomas comes back.


He's alive.


I'm like very glad we talked about this because that was, that is, the obsessive neurotic fantasies about them dying and her telling everyone when. Number one creep factor Wow.


That is so true. I'm just blown away. I'm laughing, but laughing because of disbelief and also because, again, of Izzy's facial reactions. It's just awful, like you say. It's just I can't.


I can't cope. I know it's a lot.


I don't even know where we are with the Well, I mean something else, though I'm just going to throw this out here. I mean, I don't think there's any redeeming Mrs Norris at this point. I just think it's really interesting as well how it represents like these two kind of like more matriarchal figures in this position. These are women that could hold a certain amount of power. I know Mrs Norris doesn't have this, so the stages in the wealth that she perceives herself above Fanny and so does, in a sense, have power over Fanny, as Lady Catherine has power over all the people in her parish and everything. But the way that they use that power is so different. Like I know Lady Catherine, it doesn't always come across with the best intentions because she's always got like a bit of a backhanded comment on it, but she does want to help, she wants to provide, she speaks her truth about her thoughts on like women's education and women distinguishing themselves and having talents and skills. Like she is a bit of a feminist at the end of the day. Let's be clear Very early wave feminism.


Okay, yeah, she's not delved into it too much, but she's very conservative and you know no feminist, but no, yeah, we wouldn't want shelves in the closet.


I mean, come on, mrs Norris, didn't do any of that Really, mrs Norris is biggest doubtful is that she doesn't put shelves in anyone's closet. Let's make a look.


No no redeeming qualities here Apple.


So happy with how many times shelves in the closet has come up. It makes me so happy.


If we're talking about Lady Catherine, yeah, it's going to come up.


You need all these happy thoughts when we're talking about Mrs Norris.


She is I know, I know, I agree with. I so agree with you, though, where Lady Catherine is annoying and controlling about it. But I think she makes promises to help people and then she follows through on them, whereas, oh my gosh, mrs Norris goes out of her way to make promises to people and then she has. She ends up in not following through but then inconveniencing other people and using their resources, their time, their energy, but then somehow still takes credit for the gesture, even though she's not putting herself out at all.


Yeah, I think nobody actually knows what angry motives are. She's saying one thing, but really what she's thinking is something entirely different. I mean, think about how dark it got when she thought that they were going to die when they were on the trip. I mean, all of her thoughts are clearly that dark. The fact that her husband died is she wasn't so. She wasn't sad at all. She's really psychotic. Let's be clear.


You know I was going to say that is just such a good point you made about the whole following through on the promises, Like even though Lady Catherine did say all this stuff, she would follow through on it if she was interfering in something. That's so interesting. Like you say that Mrs Norris says that she's going to do all this stuff and meddle in everything, but she twists it and she does it all with her advantage and she doesn't follow through. That's so interesting.


Yeah, and Lady Catherine is such a woman of action as well. She's got a problem with Elizabeth. She's rocking up and she's sorting that situation out. There's an issue with the cottage down the road. She's going to sort it. There's a closet with no shelves. She will sort that. But, like Mrs Norris, what does she actually do? The only thing I can see her do it is being horrible to Fanny. What else does she do? She does a bit of matchmaking with Mr Rushworth, but Mariah doesn't even want to be with Mr Rushworth, and that's all still for her own motive. What does she? She does no selfless act at all.


Not at all, and she in the gaslighting. that happens with her too like she'll she truly convinces Sir Thomas that oh no, no, I was never going to take Fanny on Like she will convince people that she, she didn't make those promises and I just think that's really wrong. And I do think Lady Catherine, like when she says, okay, my man will attend you as you're going back, as Lizzie's going back, I think she would fall the third on that and she would have different gestures to help, Whereas Mrs Norris is level of manipulation and is really she's very, very selfish.


Yeah, I think Lady Catherine is through through a woman's woman, Like I feel like even the thing with Darcy it's not about Darcy, that's about her daughter, 100%. That's why she doesn't really mention Darcy, but it's literally just like no, this was something I had planned for my daughter. You are messing up my plans.


She's standing up for herself and her daughter and, like you say, actually being a woman's woman. But who? Who's Mrs Norris benefiting?


Mrs Norris is Mrs Norris's woman. You just miss his noise.


Yeah, there is no one else involved in her agenda.


That's so true, and actually that makes me think about the fact that there are even though Lady Catherine is really obnoxious, there are times where I have compassion for her. Like I do think, even though it's very creepy, they're planning their wedding when they're in their cribs.


I could imagine if you get attached to an idea where it's oh, my best friend's son is going to marry my daughter, and if you get attached to something like that and then- and also, like with the historical context of that time and I was probably quite a natural thing to do and the whole fact that then she would be provided for with, like you know, a good and wealthy well, I don't know they've got wealth, but he's a good social standing, like man you know about to protect her and like, after all of that you know she wants to make sure her daughter's going to be well looked after Generational wealth is you know?


I mean that's they want to keep it in the family, don't?


they. In the family, exactly I mean it's weird, but they don't want to keep it in the family.


I mean it is creepy when you put it in a modern, when you put it in a modern context. It's weird. It's literally like what are you doing? Because then you're just taking feeling out of it, which is the same issue that Mrs Norris has. You know, when you, when you look at relationships and marriage, everything, when you take feeling completely out of it, it's all about money and status and position, then it's, it's disturbing, particularly for us as a modern audience. But obviously there was people of the time, as we know, that also found it disturbing, because not everybody's avoiding feeling.


So yeah, that's so. It's so true, because I was thinking about, you know, the one time Mrs Norris is quieter and doesn't have something to say is when she finds out that Henry proposed to Fanny. And then she's very upset and you find out the only the reason she's upset is that she wanted Henry to propose to Julia and it was a slight to Julia. And she really dehumanizes Fanny and what Fanny might be going through in that moment. Like Fanny is bad, anyone with wealth is good, whereas I feel like it's very human that you know, lady, the fact that Lady Catherine's daughter, anne, is so sick, like there is humanness in that. I bet she has a lot of disappointment that her daughter can't do all the thing, the normal things, that other women can do and won't have the same opportunities to marry well.


Who else will Anne be marrying? At the end of the day, that was probably her last hope is that she would be able to marry Darcy.


I want to hear your thoughts about the fact that Mrs Norris leaves with Mariah.


Yes, ooh, yes, let's talk about this because that also can I just say I love it that nobody's sad that she leaves, like there's actually quotes in the book or a sentence with no one was sad that Mrs Norris left. I was like that's so funny.


That's why it's supposed to be a party, hooray.


Yes, and she chooses to go to be with Mariah even though Mariah is, you know, being shamed and is probably going to end up divorced, because Mr Rushworth could definitely afford to do that in that time. It's difficult, but I'd say, of all the people, he would be able to do that at bad times. Yeah, and she chooses to go with Mariah. So is her feelings for Mariah, is her love for Mariah, is her niece, genuine?


Yeah, is there actually some kind of affection there? I say, Mrs Norris, I don't know. Yeah, this is really really interesting.


Yeah, she's mega upset that Mariah's cut off like she thinks Mariah deserves a second chance. Mariah is pretty much screwed up the match that she made and she still wants to be with Mariah. That's not selfish.


Yeah, is it not guilt coming out? I don't know no.


See, I'd say she wouldn't have guilt.


But I'm like I'm not sure, Without knowing it, I don't know, but obviously we've got to. We're kind of obviously projecting our emotions onto her. I wonder what the purpose or what the intention was behind Jane Austen writing.


I just had a thought. Maybe it's been here. How are you saying that? She's like obsessed with being around people who are miserable? Maybe she was like I need to be with Mariah because she's like miserable and it's like disturbing, whereas like Fanny and Edmund are going to get married, everyone's going to be happy. She's like I can't live in happiness. Nice things happening here. I need to go. I have to go and I have to dwell in Mariah's suffering. I have to feel her suffering. If I can make a suffer more.


Yeah, I'm just like, I'm really. Yeah, I don't. I just that part really didn't make sense to me because I'm like she is character wise, she would not do something Like. That does seem like a selfless act, right, Like to follow Mariah, and does she have guilt because she pushed Mr Rushworth on her so much that she actually care for her? Do you think that she can't stand that Fanny and Edmund would be together and then Fanny would be in the same, or even better, social standing? Is it more that she less about caring about Mariah and more about not being able to withstand Fanny rising up?


Still picking her best option. And what's her best option? She just want to live with Fanny or Fary, marie, edmund, or does she want to live with Mariah?


Yeah, maybe she's avoiding the fact. Actually, once Fanny becomes like into her by marrying Edmund she suddenly got much better social position. She could quite easily maybe get rid of Mrs Norris. So before she can turn around and start like having her get getting her own back, I don't know, she leaves the situation and maybe it's because Mariah is the only person who's giving her attention as well and being thankful for like oh you're, you give me so much for as funny. Never gave her any thanks, but I don't know why she would anyway, because she was awful, but I don't know. Maybe it's that sort of twisted me that you say for attention, make sure you can cope with Fanny then actually becoming an established part of the Bertrand family.


Yes, status wise, she Fanny would then be above Mrs Norris. Yeah, I don't think Fanny would be malicious. I think Fanny's quite a forgiving person. No, she wouldn't, but I think Edmund would if she said anything to Fanny from that point. I didn't think she would be able to help herself.


Yeah, and because Mrs Norris is so awful, she probably thinks other people are capable of being awful as well, even if they're not.


Yeah, she's projecting how she would react. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that sounds right. I think she didn't want to be around Fanny and Edmund. Mariah is going to give her the most attention and make her feel important, and then maybe there's a very small shred of her that actually cares for Mariah a little bit. But then when I think about the sociopathic part where she wanted them to die for attention, I'm like, yeah, Terrifying, absolutely terrifying.


You know what my final thoughts on it are. I think Lady Catherine does have some bad, badish qualities. Did the due maker bit villainy? However, I feel like Mrs Norris is a really great villain and a really important character, like I feel like like Montsville Park is such a great book in terms of morals, like it's really great. But I feel like Fanny and Mrs Norris don't you think they're like the bracket for that, like precepts, like Fanny's one end of the spectrum, mrs Norris is the other. I don't think the text could survive without Mrs Norris, like it couldn't survive without Fanny. Like, if I may be right, it will survive without Fanny, but that's another conversation. But like the two of them need that, like they need that, like that opposition right, whereas Pride and Prejudice could probably survive without Lady Catherine. So I feel like Mrs Norris is the worst villain, more because she's so significant to us, liking Fanny, fanny, you know Fanny's journey, like Fanny's development. If it was like a coming of age book, mrs Norris would be so significant to that that I might. I feel like she's the worst villain because she's so significant, because she's such a polar opposite to the heroine.


That is such a good point. I never thought of Mrs Norris as a main character, but she is. You can't have Mansfield Park without her, whereas theoretically you could have Pride and Prejudice without Lady Catherine. Yeah, I think that's a very good point and I think, yeah, I think Mrs Norris is the worst and the worst of the two in so many ways because she is hypocritical, she doesn't show empathy, she promises things, doesn't follow through. But what I will say is I do think Lady Catherine rises to her level somewhat in that fight with Elizabeth, where she, she says, are those shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted. She, even even if it's coming from a place of being sad for her own daughter, what she says to Elizabeth is really mean spirited and unacceptable. So.


I think you've both definitely nailed it on, hit the nail on the head there, in terms of yeah, I think that the fact of the plot I think couldn't exist without Mrs Norris in Mansfield Park, like it does maybe in Pride and Prejudice. She's not a main character. Mrs Norris is throughout the book. Lady Catherine comes up when she's needed to sort of drive it forward and also just because she is, I think, an amazing character like I think she's actually quite a funny character, like people are going to celebrate her today for those one-liners, but things that she comes out with they're horrible. But I think there's more of that comedic element to it sometimes, whereas Mrs Norris, like you say, is just horrific and bad and does not think of anything other than herself and really wants to hurt Fanny. I think she really purposely wants to, like say, bully her and hurt her and let you say, the similarities are that, yes, I think they've both got a bit of obsession, a bit a lot of obsession with money, status. They both say really horrible things. They're quicker to judge people, to tell people what they should do, to manipulate people. All of those things are pretty similar. But, as I say, I think Mrs Norris is definitely the worst out of the two because of the way she she targets Fanny, the things she says. Again, both of them have maybe not the best intention, but I think, like you say with Lady Catherine, there are some quite like cool elements to her in the fact. Like you say, she does come across a little bit like an early feminist, standing up for herself and making sure she, she does what she wants, but she is making sure that her actions are done. She is a woman of purpose and action, like you said. Is he with Mrs Norris? She is just yeah.


I think, there's any.


She's just evil, she's just awful, and you know she's got yeah no redeeming character right. She's just no redeeming qualities. I think, in what she does and I think for me Mrs Norris is the worst out of the two. I mean she genuinely scared is earlier in the sense of it. I'm telling you.


I'm like, wow, halloween is here. It's in the form of Mrs Norris. She's in the room. I don't think I can go back out in society, just in case I bump into somebody like that.


Oh my gosh, that's so true about the like. Like Mrs Norris is like watching a horror film. Where is Lady Catherine? You know, sometimes you roll your eyes, but it is more comedic relief, like she's so absurd. You just laugh at things that she says and you're not, you're not. So it's not cringe, it's not like a haunted house that you can never get out of.


You're not scared of it, like when Elizabeth first walks into the room. Like Sir William, lucas and Mariah, they're like shocked and frightened they're like terrified. They're like, oh my gosh, it's Lady Catherine, whereas Elizabeth's like does not have that effect on me. It's fine, I'm just she's like this is actually kind of funny this whole thing. I'm just gonna roll.


Yeah, it is almost like a facade, isn't it? With Lady Catherine, almost, it is very much an act. But I think with Mrs Norris, that is her genuine character. It's like a deep root of the fact that she's really horrible and not nice for all her past traumas onto someone else. I think is what maybe a therapist would say.


Who knows, yeah, ask Kaylee Kaylee was that. How would you diagnose her?


How would you diagnose her? Oh my gosh.


Kaylee's like how would you take her as a client.


She definitely has narcissistic tendencies and she's definitely sociopathic. I could diagnose her with a lot of different things, but she's got something going on.


She's got something going on for sure she's gonna give me nightmares. I didn't watch the news because the news upsets me, so Mrs Norris is disturbing me on so many levels. Now we're on pattern.


Isn't Jane Austen supposed to give us light relief and all of this I'd be like come on guys, come on for a fun Friday night. Yeah, this is yeah.


We're like Mrs Norris, terrifying. Well, I'm shocked into silence. Mrs Norris is the winner of Villanoff 2023. Everybody, I think eventually we should do like, go back and be like all the way. We'll start pairing the winners off. It will get worn yeah, we'll get worn True villain. And I guess we'll see who we do next to guys. Who knows you know? If you've got any suggestions, please leave them below. If you have any thoughts on Lady Catherine, mrs Norris, if you disagree with us in any way, let us know. On Spotify, there's actually a Q&A section so you can add any thoughts and ideas on there. I do check that out. And also, obviously, on Instagram, dm us and put some posts on this so you can share on there as well. But, yeah, we'd love to hear from you, but that's everything from us today. Alice, do you want to let everyone know where they can find you?


Thank you, that was so much fun. I know it was a horror show for you, but also it was super fun just to dissect those characters. So thank you both for having on and discussing. It was a really, really great conversation and I'd love to hear people's thoughts on it too. So if you want to get in touch with me or look at my page I am at historian underscore Ellis Edewellis on Instagram, so I post a lot on there about Jane Austen, obviously, but also lots of kind of historical content, because I am sort of a historian of my trade also.


Elle is a historian. Say it loud, say it proud.


Also, she's showing I am a historian yeah, it's that what imposter syndrome is now, isn't it? But yeah, so please do find me on there. It'd be great to have you and talk more about Jane Austen's villains. I love it, kaylee.


Yeah, I just wanted to say too, this was so fun to get the three of us back together. And, ellis, I love when you bring the historical context in. There's so many new things that I learn when you do that and I love that so much. So, yeah, I can't wait till our next one. What was the question? Oh, where to find me? So I am on Instagram, at half underscore, agni, half underscore, and yeah, you can find me there and love to hear all your thoughts from the podcast.


You love it. And obviously, elle and Kaylee have been on loads of other episodes, which I will tag down below so you can find all of those, including the first villain off, which was all three others, the second one, that was just me and Kaylee. But, yeah, you'll be able to find all of that below. And yeah, that's everything from me. If you want to find me, I'm on Instagram at what the Austin, where I share all updates on the podcast and also other posts as well. And if you want to join the book club, you'll have to join the Patreon. So, yeah, we have a Patreon book club and at the moment we are still on Pride and Prejudice, but we will be wrapping that up soon. So if you want to join us for the next book, then, yeah, make sure that you're signing up for that, because we're having a lot of fun and it's a really great group. So, yeah, we'd love to have you over there. That's everything from us today and we will see you in another episode.

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