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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Meakin

Ep 7: Villain off Wickham v Willoughby

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Welcome to the seventh episode of the What the Austen? podcast! I'm your host Izzy, and I am joined by my friends and fellow Janeites Caily Bridgeland and Ellis Naylor. Both Caily and El have been on the show before and we thought it would be fun to do an Halloween episode called: Villain Off. This year we have the conniving Wickham v the treacherous Willoughby. The question is who's the bigger villain? we will be looking at their crimes in detail before we crown our Biggest Villain of October 2021.



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Episode Transcript

Izzy 0:18 Hi, Janeites and welcome to episode seven of the What The Austin podcast. I have some returning guests today. I'm joined by Ellis, from @Historian_Ellis and Caily from @half_agony_half_hope. So welcome back guys.


Caily 0:30 Thanks so much for having us back, Izzy.


Ellis 0:30 Hey, I'm so excited to be discussing with you guys. Especially some of Austen's more villainous characters. I think it's going to be a lot of fun so, I can't wait.


Izzy

0:41

Absolutely, I'm so excited. This month it's Villain off. As a bit of an October special. We thought that we would do villain off, which is basically taking two villains to see which one is worse. So this month it is Wickham and Willoughby. So, Ellis, you have Wickham and Caily, you have Willoughby, right?


Ellis

1:03

Yeah, yeah, that's right. Should I introduce Wickham? He's probably one of the more well known villains, isn't he - So he is pride and prejudices villain. He's basically a character that comes into the novel fairly early on. So he basically meets the Bennet sisters and they all sort of form a bit of a friendship, he's part of the regimen that is stationed in their local town, he comes across to everyone as charming, fun, he easily forges a lot of friendships, makes good impressions on the Bennet sisters. We noticed early on though that he's got a little bit of beef with Mr. Darcy and so that's sort of something that we find out more about throughout the book, um, he turns out to be money mad. He's greedy, he gambles, he's also got this ability, like Elizabeth, to read people that are in terms of, she sort of prides herself on being able to read characters and things like that. And he does the same, but what he does differently is that he uses that to the advantage and is

basically, able to manipulate people, he manipulates Elizabeth due to finding out early on, her initial dislike of Mr. Darcy. So he sort of jumps on that and he's able to use that to forward his cause basically. And then, spoiler alert, he basically ends up running off with one of her sisters towards the end of the book, which we will jump on to later.


Izzy

2:35

Yeah, absolutely, he's bad guy, we don't like Wickham, watch out for the men and red. That's what I say. So, yeah, shall we just like pick apart Wickham, things that we dislike about him and we can probably work through the book, but I think probably the main thing is when we first meet him, although he comes across charming, he's kind of also, he's a bit suspicious. Like all this stuff he says about Darcy, do you not thing, who would say that to like a stranger, like tell them their backstory. I don't know about you guys, but I find that is a bit suspicious anyway.


Ellis

3:12

Yeah. Yeah. That's pretty, pretty sus. I mean theres basically a whole chapter that is pretty much a conversation between him and Lizzie, where he kind of cornered her in a way at this party, doesn't he and sort of says, you know, these are all the things that went on between us. And like I say, uses that initial dislike of Lizzie, of miss Darcy that she has to sort of jump on that and sort of forward her, get her mind sort of going a bit more. And she uses that as her evidence basically to put Darcy down. Cause he's obviously trying to what we find out later, he's had dealings with him, which he's obviously trying to cover up because if those were found out, then people would realise he is a wrongen, basically. I mean, for me, even the name Wickham, let's be honest it kind of sounds like wicked, so I'm thinking he's a bad one.


Caily

4:09

Yeah. The first time I am suspicious of him is before he talks about all of his woes and how he's been wronged by Mr. Darcy, he checks with Elizabeth. He goes, are you well acquainted with Mr. Darcy? And when he finds out, no, that's when he relays this story. And also, the big red flag with Wickham from the beginning is when he says, oh, of course I'll go to the Netherfield ball, if Mr. Darcy doesn't want to see me, he can leave. But then Wickham doesn't show up for the Netherfield ball.


Izzy

4:45

That kills me.


Caily

4:49

It's like dude, keep your story straight, come on.


Izzy

4:54

That's so true. That literally just sums Wickham up though, he's like, oh well, he's the one that needs to leave, not me. And then it's literally just like he leaves. It's like, yeah, that's pretty much you Wickham, that's someone you would do.


Ellis

5:09

I don't know how he gets away with that. Cause like for us, we're like that is such a massive red flag, but then he tells his friend, is Denny maybe perhaps? And he tells Elizabeth like, oh yeah, he would have come if it had not been for not wanting to meet a certain someone.


Izzy

5:25

The presence of associate gentleman.


Ellis

5:28

And I'm just like, after you say, after saying that he was going to go and then decides not to, after sort of saying, I'm going to just go and then he does the complete opposite.


Izzy

5:39

And then I think as well you mentioned, even though a lot of people are really drawn in, like Mrs. Bennet and most of the Bennett sisters are really drawn in, apart from Jane, who's already got her eye on somebody else. Um, but I think earlier you were saying Mr. Bennett is really not drawn in by him kind of suspects that he's maybe not upstanding.


Caily

6:01

Yes. That's one of my favourite things about Mr. Bennett, actually. I mean, I think he's hilarious throughout the book, but I think he and Ellis, you were saying, Mrs. Gardner, those are the only two that really are suspicious of Wickham from the beginning. Mr. Bennett is so sarcastic about Mr. Wickham. I remember when Mr. Wickham comes to visit their house, he is just super sarcastic. He goes to Lizzie, when's your turn to come, here are Officer's enough and Maritain to disappoint all the young ladies in the country, let Wickham be your man. He's a pleasant fellow. And would Jilt you creditably. So I think Mr. Bennett just doesn't believe Wickham's stories. And I think especially in the 1995 version he rolls his eyes at Lizzie, like, are you seriously considering this person? I don't believe his BS.


Ellis

7:02

Yeah, definitely. I think he probably, he welcomes his niceness anyway, he sort of happy to have this, you know, friendly guy in his house or, you know, friends with his daughters, but he can see through and knows that is will probably a bit too good to be true.



Izzy

7:21

He loves the drama, Mr. Bennett does, I swear.


Ellis

7:22

it's like later, when he lets Lydia go to Brighton and he's sort of like, to Lizzie, let her go have a fun, she needs to go disgrace herself some way or another, then she'll be like happy. But anyway, back to everyone being taken in with him, there's a quote as well, where, Lizzie is sort of thinking about him and, and, you know, Austen writes like whatever he said was said well, whatever he did was done gracefully, Elizabeth, went away with a head full of him. She could think of nothing but of Mr. Wickham. And I think he's one of those guys that could really get into your head basically, and and because he was good looking and charming, it's just instant sort of crush, isn't it in a way it's just, you see this guy, you haven't really seen any good looking guys. You just sort of, you know living at home with your sisters, this nice guy comes along and you can sort of see why she would be taking in with him and what have you. But, do you notice that, like you said, Mr. Bennett notices that and then like I was saying before her aunt, Mrs. Gardner also notices it later on, because is this, you were saying it was after. Mr. Wickham, he leaves the town, doesn't he to pursue this lady called Ms. King, who has a bit of a fortune behind her, so already, his characteristics in that way are coming out. And she has a conversation with Elizabeth at the end of chapter 25, beginning of 26. And she warned Lizzie about her regard. She questions her and says, you know, make sure you don't, don't fall for him too much. Just be careful where you're going. And this is something I think, as a reader you should really tap into, because I think Mrs. Gardener takes on that role as sort of a substitute mother to Lizzie as we obviously know that her relationship with her own mother, isn't great, you know, Mrs. Bennett, as hilarious as she is, can come across as quite hysterical. She's not really close to her eldest daughters in particular. She sort of sees more of herself in her youngest ones. Not something that is something that recurs basically in order in all the novels. And so I think, yeah, as a reader, that's something you should definitely take note of you know, Jane Austen, does it time and time again, I think the relationship with her mother wasn't great I'd say these characters that come into the books that sort of take on the role of substitute mother, just like Jane Austens, sister Cassandra was kind of like substitute mother for her and a special relationship with her. So these characters are definitely worth listening to, and it, again, it's one of those big red flags about Wickham. So you've had another, another flag about him.


Izzy

10:08

Yeah, I definitely think, especially as well, the Ms. King situation is a big red flag. I think it's maybe later on in the book, I think it's when Lizzie's re-reflecting on the Ms. King situation and she says 'his attentions to Ms. King were now the consequences of views solely and hatefully mercenary, and the mediocracy of her fortune proved no longer the moderation of his wishes, but the eagerness to grasp at anything'. And I think when they first see Wickham with Ms. King, they just think, that's just normal, you know, men will, will chase a fortune if they don't have one themselves. And they kind of brush it off a little bit, I think. But then later when she finds out kind of obviously, I mean, spoiler, he tries to run off with Georgiana and then it comes out that he isn't a great guy. They look back on it and think we, the, the evidence was there, we just couldn't see it.


Ellis

10:58

Yeah, definitely. So should we talk about when everything is sort of revealed. So after all that we obviously have later on the proposal that Darcy makes to Lizzie, which she rejects on a lot of different accounts, one of which is, the character Mr. Wickham, which she says that Mr. Darcy has done very wrong by him and he is suffering because of his actions. Darcy's obviously really annoyed at that. And we see, obviously, the letter, which comes afterwards that he explains his actions, and Mr. Wickham, as part of that, and in this letter is revealed his character basically in terms of, back when he was living under the care of Mr. Darcy's father. So, he was living on the estate, he was treated really well by the family. When Mr. Darcy's father died, I think he left him a living didn't he, he could go be in like a parish or something, and there's some money given to him as well.


Izzy

12:07 - 12:08

Clergyman, oh my God. Can you imagine Wickham as a clergyman?


Ellis

12:10

Let's just take a moment to appreciate that. So yeah, he was offered to be a clergyman, which obviously didn't go down well with him. So came to Darcy? Didn't he and said, can I just have the money instead?


Izzy

12:26

To go and learn how to be a lawyer or something? Yeah. Go into the law.


Caily

12:33

Because he had gambled everything away and then expected much more money to go into the law and then was upset when Darcy said no.


Izzy

12:45

Oh my God, what actually blows my mind is, can you imagine being that entitled? This isn't even a relative of his, this is genuinely just the son of a man who used to treat you well, because your dad worked for him. Like, what? You just like, can I have some more money? Cause, I didn't use the last lot very well.


Ellis

13:03

Yeah. Which precisely again, is something that shows into his character. Like he's just completely ungrateful for this help, that a lot of people would have been grateful for at this time, especially if his future was really uncertain. So he asks for more money,he doesn't get the money, goes away. And then,Darcy's sister is younger than him, quite a bit younger than him. And he sort of like a father figure to her. Um, she goes off, she has a governess which turns out, she is sort of linked to Mr. Wickham because he ends up coming down to visit her. I think they're in ramsgate at one point and he basically makes us fall in love with him again, I mean, manipulative behaviour. She thinks she's was with him. She's only 16 as well. And we all know why he wants to marry her. And that's again for the money that she comes with. And luckily Darcy finds out before anything bad was going to happen but I think they were probably gonna run away together.


Izzy

14:11

Okay. So we have a quote from Darcy's letter, which kind of highlights all of this.


Caily

14:18

'Mr. Wickham's chief object was unquestionably, my sister's fortune, which is 30,000 pounds, but I cannot help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me was a strong inducement.'


• 14:31 - 15:02

Oh my gosh does that not just sum it up, like, seriously, it's not bad enough that he's running off with his sister for his money, it's going to ruin her life. Cause he's a horrible person, but he's like, he goes to the extra effort of choosing her specifically to rub Darcy up the wrong way. It is so twisted - This is why I hate Wickham, because he is totally shameless. All the people you could pick. You're not just a fortune hunter. He's like a calculated fortune hunter. Like two birds with one stone. I'll take her money and I'll upset a brother and like ruin his life as well.


Caily

15:10

And that, that I think is a huge argument as to why people think that Wickham is the worst villain, just because he's so sociopathic almost, he does, he's calculated, he chooses Georgiana to get back at Darcy. But on the flip side of that, he never shows any kind of embarrassment flirting with Lizzie. Then going after Ms. King, then coming back, being in society, all smiles, he never showed any embarrassment or shame after seducing Lydia and then coming back and just smiling at the family and visiting with the father. There's just a lot of sociopathic behaviour.


Izzy

15:53

it's like he's almost Incapable of feeling.


Ellis

15:55

Yeah, I think, like you're saying, I think the strongest argument for Wickham, is that there is no remorse. Is there, there is just calculating behaviour in terms of, he's done so much of it now, it just doesn't even affect him anymore. That's just his way of life. And he doesn't really care. I always find it really harsh how so we see later on at the end of the book, Lydia goes off to Brighton with the regimen. And they obviously ended up getting the news that she's run off with him, which is really awful and they're not married, so it's really a big deal. And they're having to go off and find them now and make them marry. And again, he's obviously manipulated this young girl into marrying him, well, running away with him. Turns out, I think he was running away from his debts anyway in Brighton. So he was running away from that. I sort of read into that.


Izzy

16:45

Yeah, not just his depts, like the fact that he'd been meddling with other people's daughters. I mean, when did he even have the time to do this, I'm sorry, he was out with Lizzie all the time. When was he possibly getting all these depts and, you know, getting it on with other people? I'm like, what?


Ellis

17:02

It's awful. Isn't it? He's just so chaotic. And then I was thinking, how awful is it though? Because he's chosen the daughter, the youngest daughter of a family who don't really have much of an income. I was just reading about Lucy Worsley who wrote Jane Austin at home and you know, she's talking about incomes in there and Mr. Bennet's income was about 2000 a year, which was just sort of enough to be on that Gentry scale just enough to have, you know, what it was, but not enough obviously to give his daughters a dowery.


Izzy

17:36

Specifically if you have no sons.


Ellis

17:39

Exactly. So, you know, he's choosing the youngest daughter of a family that don't really have much of an income and he knows the devastation that it's going to cause because he's obviously from a family that wasn't actually well off. So why is he doing it to another family, he doesn't even know that it isn't a guarantee that they can give him any money or help his situation out and he's going to end up having a lifetime of having to probably having to scrimp and save because putting through a family that he'd befriended among that he knew didn't have much money like himself and making them suffer. And I think that is really awful.


Izzy

18:16

Yeah. It's so bizarre. Like, I don't even know what his motive was there, sleeping with Lydia? I mean, is that enough to cause that much chaos, it just seems bizarre to me that he was literally not hardly going to get anything from it. And I think what's really sad because, even though Lydia's not anyone's favourite character, is it the end of the book it says with such a husband, her misery was considered certain.


Ellis

18:43

I had that quote as well, but I also had this one, it says, at the end when Elizabeth is sort of thinking about it and there's this quote and it goes Wickham's affection for Lydia was just what Elizabeth had expected to find it. Not equal to Lydia's for him there. Elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love rather than by his. And she would have wondered why without violently caring for her, he chose to elope with her at all. I think that's everyone's question.


Izzy

19:12

Why of all the people, at least with Georgiana, there was like the money and then the added bonus that he be able to get back at Darcy, but I don't know what he gains from Lydia. Does he hate Elizabeth for calling them out? I don't know?


Caily

19:28

Yeah, I think again, it just shows how little conscience he has. I just don't think he really thought about it. He's an opportunist and he was probably was attracted to her, felt like sleeping with her and didn't think the rest of it through. And I think it's very clear, he was not going to marry her until Mr. Darcy forced him to. But yeah, the idea that there's just no shame for any of his actions.


Izzy

19:56

The only thing that I could think is he, if he was to know that Darcy wanted to be with Elizabeth and then he tries to sabotage that by obviously putting her family in disgrace.


Ellis

20:08

Yeah. I did think that, but obviously there's not very much evidence for it, obviously he does know by this point that Darcy is entangled with the Bennett family a little bit. And I don't know if he knew how much he would come running to help, but it's something that's definitely crossed my mind.


Izzy

20:29

Or maybe, so he could just cover up his lies. He's told so many lies now the only way to maybe earn forgiveness in a sense would be to marry Lydia because then they'd have no choice, but to still accept him or at least be with Lydia or whatever. Like, do you know what I mean? Trying to force himself into the situation. Like they couldn't really reject him at that point, if they wanted to maintain a presents in society.


Ellis

20:53

Yeah. It's hard, isn't it? Because there was no guarantee of marriage when he ran off with her and he clearly didn't like her and never wanted to marry. And I find it very funny how Mrs. Bennett is like distraught at one point and thinking what we're all thinking and saying what a horrible person he is. And then like you have that scene where I think was in the film 2005 or something where she finds out that they've married and she literally just sits up in bed and she's already excited and starts running around, it's just a complete transformation I think on it's own. I just think how funny it is, how she goes from one to the other. And obviously that idea of marriage is the thing that is key to making sure you're not ruined.


Izzy

21:42

I kind of love the scene where Mrs. Bennett is like, Lydia needs to come back to marry because she doesn't know where the best warehouses are for dresses.


Ellis

21:54

And they're all like, look, you won't be able to get wedding dress shopping with her.


Izzy

21:59

Yeah. Like this is a massive scandal. Like seriously, this is not a normal wedding.


Caily

22:05

You know what else I was thinking when you were talking about Wickham's motivation is I guess the question is, did Wickham ever truly care for Elizabeth on a deep level? And what I think is, no, I just don't think he has the ability, I think he's sociopathic. He doesn't have the capacity to feel, but I think if he had the choice of anyone, he would have chosen Elizabeth and it never said this in the book explicitly, but in the 1995 version, he's walking with Elizabeth and he says to her, you know, I just want you to know that if circumstances were different, I wouldn't have gone with Mrs. King, I would have gone with you. I'm paraphrasing, but I always wondered did Wickham go off with Lydia because Lydia was the closest thing, the closest person that he could have to Elizabeth. Right. He couldn't have Elizabeth. So did he deflect and go off with her sister?


Ellis

23:03

Maybe. Did he realise that Elizabeth was maybe too good for him?


Izzy

23:10

Is there a redeeming quality there, did he maybe not go for Elizabeth because he thought she could do better.


Ellis 23:16

No because by saying that he knows he's a baddon, he knows Elizabeth was too good for him. Bu maybe there was something there where he knew that if he wanted elizabeth that he would basically ruin her life and he can't do that. So maybe that was like a weird, twisted, good quality. Or maybe we're just imagining that, but it's something to think about. I was also talking to a friend last night as well about sort of other interpretations of Wickham. And then I don't know if you guys have read or seen death comes to Pemberley by PD James. Obviously that one focuses very heavily on Wickham and his backstory. It does slightly make you feel sorry for him a little bit in the TV adaptation, but Darcy is obviously called in again, to help him. And although he is the baddie, he didn't actually commit the murder, which is what he's basically accused of. But it is revealed at the end that he got a girl pregnant, whilst he is married to Lydia, I think. So they've sort of taken it a step farther and almost done like a Willoughby on him being that, you know and obviously thought that his character, you know, James obviously thought that his character was so bad that that's what he would have done, like after they were married. And there's all this chaos that ensues around it. And I thought it was quite interesting the way that she sort of focused on his story, not in terms of like coming up with a narrative sort of post pride and prejudice, which a lot of people obviously like to think about and imagine.


Izzy

24:45

Right. He's a complex character. I mean, I'd love to reread pride and prejudice with fresh eyes and like, see if I was fooled by him like read it. And then the shock of him being a liar and him actually being the villain, I think would be like, I can't remember because I read it when I was so young. I can't remember what it was like to read it and be like, oh my gosh, what? Like, this is crazy.


Ellis

25:07

Yeah. I know. I always thought when I read it as well, I sort of knew in the back of my head, he was the bad one anyway, cause obviously there's always going to be a bad one, but, um, I think it would be really interesting. Like I know there's been versions of sort of, I've read a book that was called Mr. Darcy's diary. And I think you got Mr. Knightly's diary and it tells the story from that perspective. It will be quite cool, I don't know if there is one like Mr. Wickham's diary, but that would be quite interesting to, to read and see from his point of view. I know recently there's been a sort of like a theatre production thing being done by, the guy who played Mr. Wickham in the 1995, one he's doing like a one man performance where he does his monologue of him being older. I think it's like the Eve of his 60th birthday. And he's like, sort of, I'd love to go see it. Cause I've only obviously seen like snippets of it on the trailer. But I think it's really interesting that again, they've taken that character he's reflecting on his life. And I think he's sort of saying, you know, he's not the villain and he's probably trying to justify his actions or sort of say why he did certain things and how, for Mr. Darcy, it was easy to do what he did because he's rich and he sort of can do what he wants. Whereas for him, he had to be clever. He's had to be sly. He's had to sort of work his way up in the world. And I think that was sort of, um, really interesting, but I love how it is. I can't remember the actor's name, but I love how it's him from the BBC while, and he played Mr. Waco sort of coming back again and doing it. I think that's really cool. Cause he, he knows that character pretty well.


Izzy

26:33

Yeah, that's true. I I've seen that advertised as well, I'd love to see it. I've got a quote here that says, and this is about, Wickham and Darcy. It says one has all the goodness and the other, all the appearance of it. And I think that's so key. I think the thing about Wickham is at the start Darcy's obviously, it's easy to dislike Darcy at the start when you don't know Darcy's Darcy because you're like this guy is super rude and he hurts Elizabeth. And then in comparison you have Wickham who's comes across like he's a good friend to Elizabeth, he wants to go to all the parties and meet Elizabeth's family and all that kind of thing and is really interested that surface level attraction, as opposed to with Darcy, obviously it's deeper. And in the end, he's the one that's really there for her.


Caily

27:17

Oh my gosh, going off of that, that reminds me of my other favourite Mr. Bennett quote, he sees that superficial quality in Wickham that draws everyone in. And so after Lydia and Wickham visit and, and leave, this is what he says. He goes, Mr. Wickham is as fine a fellow, said, Mr. Bennett, as soon as they were out of the house, as I ever saw, he Simpers and smirks and makes love to us all. I'm, prodigiously proud of him. I defy even sir, William Lucas could produce a more valuable son in law. So I think that is such a roast because Mr. Bennett thinks that Mr. Collins is the biggest idiot alive and you can tell, he thinks Mr. Wickham's worse.


Ellis

28:02

Yeah. Which is so true because even Mr. collins, we all sort of make fun of him as being annoying and weird. But he's funny, you know, he's harmless in terms of like his intentions are honorable, I guess, even though he's weird. In terms of being a villain, Mr. Bennett, somebody who identified the difference in that.


Izzy

28:25

Yeah. A hundred percent. Do you have any other of the points, Ellis, on, Wickham that you want to bring up?


Ellis

28:32

I think I pretty much covered most of what I want to say. I mean, I think once we get into Willoughby, like later on toward the end we can do a little bit of a contrasting. Um, but yeah, I think definitely let's move on to to Willoughby if we're ready?


Izzy

28:52

Yeah. Let's do it. I'm happy to do that. Caily take it away.


Caily

28:56

So John Willoughby is from sense and sensibility. And I guess when we first meet him, two sisters, Eleanor and Maryanne, their mother and Mrs Dashwood and their younger sister, Margaret all are forced to move from their home Norland because their father dies. And the dying request to his son is that they're provided for. And the son is quickly talked out of providing for them by his wife. And so they all are forced to downsize. So they moved to this very small home, Barton cottage and Willoughby, is a neighbour, he lives at Allenham with his aunt, Mrs. Smith's home. And the first time that he enters the story, we see this in Marianne and her sister, Margaret are out climbing Hills and it's raining. And he comes into the story as this hero because Marianne falls down the hill and sprains her ankle. And he comes swooping in, he's this handsome man, he carries her all the way back to the cottage and the rest is history. It was a pain Maryanne and Mr. Willoughby. So right away, they both are presented as having very similar dispositions. They're both super passionate. They're into literature, they're into music. And he becomes very attached to Maryanne and attached to the whole family. And through many chapters, he very quickly becomes like a brother and son in law. And everyone's suspect that Marianne and Willoughby are engaged because of the way that they act with each other, particularly in public, they only talk to each other. They only dance with each other and everyone starts making comments that they're engaged. And there, there are several ways, we'll get into it, but he, he definitely leads Maryanne on. He begs for a lock of her hair. He takes her to his house and they're alone unchaperoned. He tries to give her a horse. There are all kinds of things that happen where everyone just assumes they're engaged, including her older sister, Eleanor, who has really good judgment and Mrs. Jennings, all of these people expect for them to be engaged. And all of a sudden out of what seems to be out of the blue, we think that he's about to propose to Marianne or that they're going to announce their engagement. And all of a sudden Eleanor and Mrs Dashwood come home and find Maryanne crying. And he suddenly says, oh, I have to leave Allenham. Also I'm never coming back and that's a big paraphrase, but that's basically what happens. And so then they're all very confused and they have no idea what to do. They assume he's coming back and Marianne is completely distraught. And so then they end up going visiting Mrs. Jennings. And they're in the same place as Willoughby and Marianne writes to him, tries to meet up with him. He visits their house. We find out later he visits their house to call on them. When he knows they're not home to check off the box that he tried to visit, but then makes no contact. Then they run into him at a ball and he's with this Ms. Gray and Maryanne sees him and goes, Willoughby, good god, what's the matter? Why, why haven't you responded to any of my letters? How are you? He snubbed Marianne. She nearly fainted. And I love this edition, It's not actually in the book, but in one of the adaptations, she basically faints into Colonel Brandon's arms and he helps get her home. But Marianne is completely distraught. And he marries this woman Ms. Gray, and nobody understands what happens because it had been so clear that he and Marianne were a match. And then all of a sudden he's engaged to someone else. So what we find out is that before he even met Maryanne, he got Colonel Brandon's ward, uh, Eliza Williams. He got this girl who was 15 years old, pregnant, and then didn't leave his address, promised he'd come back, ran off. And this girl, we talk about how the Bennet sisters didn't have very much money and were in a vulnerable position. But if you think about how the vulnerability of their position compared to this woman, Eliza Williams, she was the daughter of Colonel Brandon's first love this woman that he wanted to marry. There were supposed to run off together and elope, but then this, this girl becomes engaged in married to his brother. The brother treats her horribly. He divorces her and then she ends up sleeping with this man out of wedlock. And then her daughter Eliza arrives. So this, this girl alive is already in an extremely vulnerable position. She has no status in society. And the fact that will, if he gets her pregnant, when she's 15 years old and does nothing about it and goes off and has this flirtation with Marianne is pretty horrifying. So basically the reason that he left Maryanne was that, uh, his aunt Mrs. Smith found out that, that he got this girl pregnant. And so he realized I'm not going to get the money that I thought it was that I thought it was promised. And so he ends up being a gold Digger. And he, in the book, it says that he is certain that if he, if he pursues, this woman Ms Gray, that he has access to her money, which makes me think that he had already had this attachment flirtation with Ms. Gray. So she was also an option. So anyway, summary is he, well, we can talk about whether or not we think he actually cared for Marianne, but he, whether or not he did, he chose money and financial stability and security over being with Maryanne. And the way that he expressed that was, it was pretty horrifying. He wrote her a letter, he wrote her a letter saying all kinds of things, but denying that there was any kind of romantic attachment and he had no idea what he could have done to offend her. And he was sorry. He had apparently offended her at the ball. Just a lot of, um, horrible leading on and mixed, mixed messages.


Izzy

36:05

And he sends her hair back. Like, what would you even do with that? Like I don't want my hair back, what am I going to do with a strand of hair that has been cut from my head.


Ellis

36:14

That's so sad because that was such a big deal. Or like back then, if you give someone a lock of your hair, it's like, you know, true love.


Izzy

36:23

Yeah. But he gives back all of the letters as well. Like he really does. Although, although, although we can discuss that it's actually Ms. Gray that writes it. Well, she doesn't write it. She writes and he rewrites out so that it's in his handwriting. But I mean, that just kind of freaks you out and really shows that the woman is calculated. So maybe they're kind of made for each other in the end.


Ellis

36:46

Yeah. That's horrible. Cause obviously she even knows that they've had some sort of relationship if you can call it that. But, um, yeah, we found out that she was literally like standing over him, making him do it or something and then send it all back. So those things that he obviously said in the letter, it was just horrible because obviously Marianne didn't even know that it wasn't his writing, but he's obviously been forced to do that and he's not stood up and not even apologized for his behavior. And he says, in the letter and obviously again, like I say, it's Ms. Gray, but he says, I don't know, paraphrasing here again, but I don't know what I've done to basically make you think that my intentions were that. And if I've sort of acted like that, I'll be more careful in the future, not to basically be like that again. And everyone's like, what?

Caily

37:34

Uh, which is just so horrifying because the amount that he did lead her on is just unbelievable. I mean, he, in the letter, it says, oh, I'm returning the lock of hair that you bestowed, like basically that you gave to me. Whereas if you go back to the scene, he was sitting, Margaret is the one who noticed what was happening. When he asked for the lock of hair, he was begging Maryanne for the lock of hair. Actually this is what Margaret said. They were whispering and talking together as fast as could be. And he seemed to be begging something of her and presently, he took up her scissors and cut off a long lock of her hair and kissed it and put it into his back pocket. That behavior for that time was so suggestive of a serious romantic attachment. And I mean, the way he led her on was to the point where Ms. Jennings, after he and Marianne, when the picnic got cancelled, they snuck off to see his house. Then Allenham Mrs. Jennings found out and she goes, I hope you like your new house, miss Maryanne, and talks about visiting her there. Um, I also think a really important scene is when he, it was super insensitive of him. He doesn't realize that the Dashwood's can't financially provide for a horse, but he just tried to give Maryanne this horse, queen Mab and then Marianne has to refuse it, Eleanore convinces her to, and then he, he says, well, queen Mab will be waiting for you when you can.


Izzy

39:17

Yeah. I'm going to keep it at my house. Ready for you. Which just shows that he was intending for Marianne to move in with him and to be with him, honestly, back on the lock of hair though, can you imagine how many locks of hair Wickham has? Like a wig?


Caily

39:40

Yeah, no. I just found the horse passage, but Marianne, the horse is still yours, though you can not use it now. I'll still keep it only until you can claim it. When you leave Barton to form your own establishment in a more lasting home queen Mab shall receive you.


Izzy

39:57

I wonder if he send to send the horse to Brandon's house.


Ellis

40:04

As your wedding present.


Ellis

40:10

Yeah, I think it's so sad. I think with this story, I think it's more just like a sadness rather than all out hatred like we have. So we can, you know, because I think what people and what readers hold on to is this idea that he did love her. And he sort of got caught up in this thing that spiraled out of control. And he got sucked into a way of life that obviously came back to bite him later on, you know? So that moment of being in just pleasure of just sort of being careless has cost him his own happiness as well. And I think he probably realizes that later on when he comes back and he speaks to Eleanor in that the Marianne basically upstairs dying and, um, yeah.


Izzy

41:02

Yeah. It reflects on everything and goes basically saying before there, will it be basically like this Easter similar to Frank Churchill, let's just the Frank Churchill doesn't make as many mistakes as well. A B I think is the key, but in terms of being kind of like a rich, uh, he was young attractive and is basically just living his life. I just think he, he doesn't understand responsibility. Do you know what I mean? Like he's never had too. And so he goes through life and makes these mistakes.


Ellis

41:28

Yeah. And also I'm not saying this as well to excuse behavior, but obviously in the context of that time, like there were a lot of men sort of that age with that wealth sort of going around and, you know, they had mistresses, they did that sort of things for fun. They went and found women and it was sort of accepted in terms of the fact that a lot of guys did it, but it obviously wasn't actually, even Jane Austen was able to sort of be like, you know, this is completely horrifying and unacceptable or get this girl, this poor girl pregnant and leave her there, stranded with this child. And not even like provide any sort of, you know, living or future for the child. Um, even if you didn't want to take care of it, you could have at least done something for them. The poor poor child basically.


Izzy

42:21

Really stops us around the face with that one as well. Cause it's like, he's obviously started projecting Marianne and then next thing you know, it was like, Brendon's like, well, if it was something else to add to the pile, he also impregnated my word and we're just like, wow, oh my God.


Ellis

42:36

Just keep adding into the pot and keep stirring.


Caily

42:43

I think we have to think about like, I agree. I think he did really care for Marianne. And when we, when we think about Wickham being sociopathic, he never really hurt Lizzie, Lizzie and pride and prejudice is never really permanently damaged by what he did. Whereas Wickham did lead Marianne on so much that he really hurt her. So is it worse to have to be like, will it be where you have the capacity to feel something that's real, but then you still act in such a way to, to hurt the person you love.


Ellis

43:22

I think that's the thing. And also we have like sort of Moran almost in disbelief and she's slightly, I know in the film she tries to defend him, quite a lot. And I don't know. I mean, I was sort of thinking about that in terms of the way we see Wickham and Willoughby and how bad they are. And it's like, you know, do we feel, you know, do we hate on Wickham more in general because we sort of find out about his actions before he runs away with Lydia. So we're aware of what happened. We get the letter, we know pretty early on that he's a bad guy where he's with Willoughby. We don't know the full extent of his character until towards the end of the book. Well, at least after he's had sort of his flirtation with Marianne and in a way you're sort of weirdly rooting for that luck story to be a success because you can see there is something that, and so yeah, like Marianne do we sometimes sort of defend that because we've seen that there was feeding and a love story and perhaps the intention of love and marriage, but, you know, we know now it was a escape and we only found out about sort of the Eliza thing and his character further after we've had that moment where we all sort of fell for him a little bit, whereas we never really had that with Wickham. Me sort of suspicious of him the whole time. So I'm thinking, does that emotion play into the character in terms of perhaps will be, is worse of a villain in terms of actions, but we can sort of more hard in terms of the way he goes down his story. And there's not as many emotions flying about that.


Izzy

45:04

Yeah. I think in the sense of that as well in terms of like emotions, but I think this, this is maybe why sometimes it's easier to think Wickham's worse as well is because, um, we don't have an emotional connection to Eliza. Do you know what I mean? So it's like, we just feel that strongly about it. I mean that maybe this is just personal, but finding out about it, it's just about hearing about some like random person there's only just being brought into the picture and it's like, yeah, that's a terrible story. But we have an emotional connection to Marianne's whatever happens to Marianne, we actually feel, and he just break hot and that's terrible. But what he does to Elize is a hell of a lot worse, but we don't have that same emotional reaction to it. If you know what I mean, it just adds to the pot of this is worst and Marianne. We don't think of it as, oh my gosh, Eliza, that was terrible for her. We think, well, this is it. Now that's the final nail in the coffin. And he can't be with Marianne now.


Ellis 45:59

So do we try and sort of brush it under the carpet and in a bit, because like I say, we've had this whole scene play out with him and Marianne and like you say, we've got their emotions going where with Wickham, I feel like, like I said, it's just so easier to sort of hate on him and see that he's a bad guy, because everything he does is manipulative and with the intention of either money you know, he, he's a cold character in that respect. Um, so I think that's my sort of take on it a little bit.


Caily

46:30

Yeah. I agree with you. I think it's difficult to fully hate, will it be because we're so drawn in by him and her rooting for him and Marianne at the beginning, whereas Wickham, like you said, there's, there's a suspicion there the whole time and he never hurts our beloved to heroine Lizzie. Um, but one thing, reading it back though, that makes me question, will it be, is I at the beginning? Part of the reason I rooted for Willoughby and Marianne is I thought they were exactly the same. Marianne says he must, her ideal man must enter all my feelings, the same books, the same music must term us both. And I thought they did have the same interests, but there's such an interesting passage where you find out that will it be, is just kind of trying to please her. He doesn't actually start out having the same interests. So it says there's taste with strikingly a lake, the books, the same passages were idolized by each, or if any difference appeared any objection arose. It lasted no longer than till the force of her arguments and the brightness of her eyes could be displayed. The acquiesced to all her decisions caught all her enthusiasm and long before his visit concluded, they conversed with the familiarity of a long established acquaintance. And then here's another, her favorite authors were brought forward in dwelt upon with so rapturous the delay that any young man of five and 20 must have been insensible indeed not to become an immediate convert, however, disregarded before. So I think what's interesting. There is, I loved Willoughby initially because I thought he was so open and he actually was the same as Marianne, but he's kind of a master manipulator too. He, he saw what she loved and then just melded to it.


Izzy

48:24

Right. We bring that up quite a bit. And in the episode on Colonel Brendan don't, we that's episode two, if anyone wants to go and have a listen, but there's actually a quote that says that he basically designed himself perfectly to fit Marianne like desires. And that is a bit dodgy because how long does that last? Like how long can you sustain that?


Ellis

48:43

Yeah, exactly. So again, it's that fakeness coming through and I mean, he does, I think he does say later on when he talks to Atlanta, at some point, obviously he admits to that and he says like at first it was just sort of a better fun. And he was just trying to conform to what she liked as well. But then he did sort of realize actually he got too far deep into it and was just like, actually I, this is turning into something more than just messing about basically. And I do really like her and I can see that obviously she really, really likes me because, you know, like Marianne says, she always wears her heart on her sleeve.Yes, I think that is kind of sad.


Caily

49:25

Yeah. That is something to his credit. You're right. And the, when he comes to visit Eleanor and is drunk and his expressing remorse, he says, yeah, at the beginning, I just wanted her to be interested in me. I didn't have any intention of seriously pursuing her, but just like you said, he admitted to falling for her. And so I think that's why some people really are on his side because even though he made mistakes, he acknowledges them and admitted that he cared for Marianne and he should some kind of remorse, whereas Wickham never took any responsibility for what he did never demonstrated any kind of remorse. And so I think that's why a lot of people at the end do have some kind of sympathy for, Willoughby.


Ellis

50:17

Yeah, I mean, effectively as readers, we're all Marianne only we were all taken in by him and then left to deal with the consequences because it is really good at drawing you in. And like we say, you know, wanting to root for, Willoughby, and it's so hard because he is a really complex character as well in terms of sort of what is real and what isn't real with him. And just generally getting sucked into quite a really difficult situation where he realized actually his actions had a massive impact.


Izzy

50:55

Yeah. And Jefferson, oh, I totally agree. I think another thing about is that he's got such hatred of Brandon. Like again, we do discuss this in the second essay, but I think the fact that he like dislikes apprenticing, which is so open about it, which is a little bit, little quick considering Eliza later on, I feel like that speaks to his character as well. Like he dislikes somebody who is actually genuinely a good person. And like if that kind of personality repels you so much, what does that say about you?


Caily

51:32

Yes, he's so mean-spirited about Brandon and I always wondered about that. I thought Colonel Brandon has not done anything to deserve that treatment. He literally says, Brandon is just the kind of man whom everyone speaks well of and nobody cares about whom all are delighted to see. And nobody remembers to talk to. So kind of a way of bonding with Maryann is by just saying really horrible things about people, particularly Brandon.


Ellis

52:02

Yeah. And that's obviously some sort of jealousy coming through as well, which again is one of our red flags. And he always made is quite jealous of Colonel Brandon because obviously he has, he did find some favour with Marianne a little bit at the start. I mean, not loads, and obviously there is, is the backstory with his ward and everything else. So he's obviously trying to distance himself from Colonel Brandon as much as possible.


Izzy

52:29

Honestly, this is complete side note, but crying, when you just said red flag, it literally just came to mind. I'm like, Wickham's literally a red flag. Like he walks around, looking like a red flag.


Ellis

52:38

Literally his uniform, his outfit, his costume, he's just walking across the screen like a red flag


Izzy

52:48

I mean, why could we not see it? Like, it's so obvious.


Ellis

53:25

He's actually in front of us wearing red, his name and his outfit, just sums him up, really, Which is hilarious. I love that. Also another side note, you were talking about Mrs. Jennings earlier, and she is absolutely hilarious. I mean, she's really annoying, but also she's probably one of the funny characters and that she sort of says what she thinks and obviously she does, partake a lot in what was going on. And it's just funny how other people like the, their relationship as well with Marianne and will it be, and, you know, they were all sort of taken in and for it. And then as soon as he did that, they were completely switched and saying, how much of a bad guy he was and how much they knew he was always a bad guy.


Izzy

53:56

Yeah. Everyone says that after the fog, I say what's interesting though, is Eleanore was always, maybe slightly suspicious of him. And also I think what's interesting is she picks up on the fact that he doesn't bring out the best of Marianne. Like he just bring out the worst. Like she's always been like, Maryann, that's really not appropriate. Or, um, like you can't behave that way. And in Marianne is, becomes more and more of her last qualities, I think when she's with Willoughby. And I think that again shows that they're not meant to be together because when she's with Brandon, he brings out the good qualities in her.



Ellis

54:16

That's something I've really noticed, watching the film recently as well, it actually sort of begun to cringe me out a little bit. Cause I was thinking that you say it didn't bring out the best qualities and Marianne as a character when she was with him, when they're like charging on the village and his, with his horses and carriage or whatever. And it's just, you sort of do cringe slightly for them because you know what people are thinking and you know, like you're saying, perhaps he's not, he wasn't actually the best person for her, despite them thinking that they were so similar, like you were saying, Katie, like that was actually quite false. It wasn't true. And you sort of think later down the line when they were married, I wonder how sustainable it would have been. And in my head I could probably see him being unfaithful and things like that.


Izzy

54:57

Yeah, a hundred percent,.


Caily

55:00

I think they were extremely self-absorbed individually. And then when they were brought together, it was like, there was just this bubble of self absorption. They wouldn't even talk to anyone else. And I could see them in the future just imploding, they both were very high-spirited, but I just think that that base level of selfishness is really cringy. Just like you said.


Izzy

55:29

Yeah. I think with time as well, Marianne actually grows into quite a respectable person and I didn't think Willoughby be, would have been able to shake his materialistic desires. And so I think that would have destroyed them as well. Like I don't think she actually could have coped because I didn't think he would have changed most worries. I think she would have changed as she grew up. So I don't think she could have coped with him longterm.


Ellis

55:55

Yeah, I think so too. I think there's just so many, you know, so much emotion, so much passion involved with them and it was so intense their relationship as well that they, you sort of think when it all come to blows maybe later on, because it was just really intense when they were together. Weren't they? I don't know how great that would have been for a long-term marriage, obviously when she marries Brandon, I think he's got a way where he's able to encourage those passions and those pursuits and, encourage her in a positive way that WIlloughby perhaps wasn't able to.



Izzy

56:26

Yeah. And considering I'm going to play mediator, I'm going to play devil's advocate as well and say, is there something to be said about the fact that will it be, is so honest? Like in the end he does say I'm too materialistic. I never could have done without the money. It was always going to be important to me. And saying the truth of it to start with, I was literally just messing around with Marianne. Then I grew to have feelings for her. Like, does Willoughby's honesty make him better? Like the fact that he's truthful about it? I don't know.



Ellis

57:00

I think maybe as a reader, you sort of liked that because you can sort of justify the way you felt for him as well, reading the book and you think, okay, it's fine. Cause he comes back later and realizes too that he messed up. So we can sort of appreciate that a bit. And like you say, he does come back and admit those faults and we don't have that with Wickham.


Caily

57:27

I agree. I appreciate that he shows remorse and that he's honest when he comes and talks with Eleanor, that being said, the fact that he did love Marianne and he could look her in the eye at the ball, actually, he didn't even look her in the eye. He looked at Eleanor the whole time and shun her. And then I know it wasn't his, it was his future wife's words. But the fact that he could write that letter to her is pretty unforgivable. It's interesting. The more I reread it, the more I don't forget will it be.


Izzy

58:04

Right? And it's like honesty after the fact as well. It's not like he, went to Marianne was like, look, it's not, we can't be together because I need somebody with more money. Like he didn't say too, he wasn't honest with Marianne and be like, I need somebody else. I'm sorry. You, so I'm going to go Mary and Ms. Gray. It was like, I've married Ms. Gray. And I can now be honest because I'm already secured.


Caily

58:27

Yeah, it was after the fact honesty and no courage in the moment to do right by her and be forthright. Just the fact that he, I think the cringy moment, even more than the letter is, is when he just leaves the family with no explanation. And, Mrs Dashwood is like, oh, that'll take you a couple of days. We'll see you back here soon. And then he just goes, oh, I don't think I'll be able to come back within the 12 months period.



Ellis

59:05

Yeah. I agree with you. I feel like the more I've read it now, the more I come to dislike his story. And like we say, we have managed to pull out a lot of redeeming qualities for him. And obviously his story is very different to Wickham's, but, um, you can on rereading it, you can just see how awful it sort of all played out. Really. When not you say Steven, where he is or the two scenes, when one where he just leaves them. Like you say that it's just so awkward. Um, and then the other when in the ballroom just completely breaks my heart.



Izzy

59:40

I think what's super sad as well is had he been honest with Marianne, I think she would have let him go. Like, if you turn around to him was like, I'm sorry, but I need more money because that's just how society works or whatever. I think she loved him enough to turn around and be like, yeah, I understand. I'll let you go. he would've been heartbroken but I think she would have done that.


Ellis

1:00:02

Yeah. Or even said, like we've said, you know, when he admits his qualities, well his faults and says, you know, I am materialistic I'm this is the person I am. Maybe if he'd have sort of realised that sooner. And just being able to say to her, actually, you know what, we're not going to be compatible and marriage Like. I'm going to do, like, I'm going to love you more by not marrying you, if that makes sense. Rather than my new and actually explaining that, but he's quite selfish and how he does that.


Caily

1:00:35

I think you're both completely right about that. I think Marianne might've fought him on it initially, but I think what was so devastating to Marianne is the idea that he never loved her or just all of a sudden stopped loving her and I think the closure she needed was just assurance that, that he did love her in the way that she loved him.


Izzy

1:01:01

Yeah. Agreed for sure. I'm also finding, I think, as I grow older and I think about it more and I think how would I feel if Willoughby was in my life? That makes me think actually, he's a real bad guy, because sometimes I think about it and because he doesn't end up in Marianne, I can kind of brush it off and be like, oh, maybe he wasn't so bad, but how he ended up with Marianne, I think we all would have been like, this guy is horrific.


Ellis

1:01:29

That is so true. And you think about, like you say, as like growing older in terms of what would an ideal partner look like for us now? You know, the idea of will it be, sounds exciting? Like it was to Marianne, he sounds like that dream guy, like you say, appearing, it was, the rain was pouring and saving her.


Izzy

1:01:48

I love the slow motion version in the film where he whips his hat off and he's like ta da.


Ellis

1:01:53

Yeah. And then like in the film, where he's like, oh, permission to feel your ankle and stuff, but see the most outrageous thing, because obviously I'm showing your ankle and now this guy just appeared feeling the bone, I just find it hilarious and her face she's like, um, so yeah, there's guys turned up and just completely turned into a heroin and yeah, he is sort of the, the hero of, you know, romantic stories. So it appears, um, but then like, which is quite a recurring theme, you know, in pride and prejudice. And in this one is this idea of first impressions, which obviously was what point of prejudice was originally called. And I'm thinking, you know, on the surface, the people who look friendly and good and nice and not always what they appear to be and you know, today what you want from like a partner. Someone are you going to spend the rest of your life with is someone who is, you know, is real with you, who encourages you in a good way and is not sort of this like constant source of bringing out the worst out of you, like you were saying.


Izzy

1:03:00

And someone who doesn't impregnate other women.


Ellis

1:03:06

Someone that doesn't gamble or play around with all the town's daughters. But, yeah, I think, I think that's probably the lesson of the story, isn't it? I think that's the moral of what she's perhaps trying to say. And also that both involved with money. So I feel like Jane Austin trying to tell us like, don't live your life, just trying to chase fortunes and money because it's going to hurt people over money.


Izzy

1:03:35

Love over money, that's what i wrote my dissertation on. She preaches it.


Caily

1:03:41

I love that connection you made with first impressions, which like you said, that was originally called pride and prejudice. But yeah, the fact that you're kind of drawn in by this superficial reality and the person that could seem right for you is just not. Yeah, well, I really liked that connection, Ellis.


Ellis

1:04:06

Good summary then. So first impressions. Future dating advice to anyone? Just don't go with your first impression.


Izzy

1:04:14

And avoid men in red.


Ellis

1:04:15

Yes, avoid men in red and people who come and find you during the storm. It might look cool at the time when they're saving you but you gotta find out about them first.


Izzy

1:04:25

Don't let them touch your ankles until you know their backstory.


Ellis

1:04:26

No ankle touching.


Caily

1:04:37

Tangent. But something about that scene made me think of the fact that did you know that Willoughby in real life is married to Eleanor. Emma Thompson is married to him.


Ellis

1:04:50

Greg wise?


Caily

1:04:53

They are, they are married real life.


Ellis

1:04:56

How did I not know that? I love Emma Thompson. I love everyone in that film. How did I not know that?


Izzy

1:05:02

That's hilarious. Cause I was literally thinking, well, at least Willoughby, doesn't run off with a sister, but he does technically.


Caily

1:05:17

Hopefully this isn't wrong. I read that he saw a Sykik that said, you're going to meet your future wife very soon. And then he's on the set of sense and sensibility and he dated Kate Winslet for a little bit, but then ended up marrying Emma Thompson. And they're still happy together.


Ellis

1:05:34

That's like some sort of weird sense and sensibility spinoff. Poor Hugh grant.


Caily

1:05:51

I think he did fine for himself.


Izzy

1:05:53

Yeah, still do all right for himself. Britain's bachelor.


Ellis

1:06:08

Okay. I think we definitely need to do a episode discussing the Farris family cause they are quite something or even Edward on his own, even though he's not like, obviously he's not a villain, but you do have his own struggles in the book in terms of what happens with him and Lucy Steele, who is another villain.


Izzy

1:06:22

Oh my gosh. She's going to be on a future villain off, I'm telling you.


Ellis

1:06:26

Do her and Caroline Bingley or something.


Izzy

1:06:30

what a shout - So just as we're like wrapping up, we did put like questions out on Instagram about who people thought were worse. We might be fun to just go through some of the, the answers of what people were saying. So for Wickham and there was a lot of, he's a pathological liar, can't accept responsibility for his actions. Willoughby, manipulative, opportunistic. We've got the fact that Willoughby impregnates a girl, Yeah. That's pretty bad, then abandons her. He's obsessed with luxuries. Again, the thing about him sleeping with Eliza, people saying Willoughby is really selfish and that Marianne made a good escape and I think he is quite selfish. Oh this is a good one, so, Willougby, what he does, leaves like scars and trauma that lasts forever. And that's really what we were saying before. Like the emotional side of Willoughby maybe makes him worse because it's actually has a lasting effect. Like Marianne's never the same again. I mean she does nearly die, but she, she has changed.


Caily

1:08:03

Yeah. A lot of the response that I got of people who thought that Willoughby was worse was that at the end of the day he inflicted more damage. And then others said, well, Wickham would have inflicted as much if he had ended up with Georgiana, that would have been a huge problem. If he had run off and not married, Lydia and Darcy hadn't intervened, there would have been, an equal damage inflicted. But yeah, when one person who I was messaging with said the fact that Wickham was kind of sociopathic the whole time, whereas will it be had the capacity to feel and then still hurt Marianne that much means he's worse.


Izzy

1:08:49

Oh, interesting. I've got a comment here that says if Wickham did what he did in 2021, it could easily be undone, but what Willoughby did, couldn't, that's actually really interesting. That's so true. Like if you bought it into a modern perspective, like what Willoughby did, that'd be it. Whereas for Wickham, I mean, there's a hell of a lot of Wickhams out there in 2021 still living thier life. But yeah, most of them are to do with Eliza I think for Willoughby, and some people are just like scoundrel but I think that's both of them of. I think most people actually dislike Willoughby the most, and I think it's because he draws you in and then you find out all this horrible stuff about him and then he breaks Marianne's heart. And then he tries to come back and ask for forgiveness. But it's like, you're a bad person. And at least with Wickham just like, just cuts them off. And then that's there and it's not you. I mean, he doesn't leave too much destruction behind. Like he's not actually managed to do that much damage. He's always called mostly by Darcy. This is somebody who's always like cleaning up his mess. Nobody's cleaning up Willoughbys mess, It's just a mess.


Ellis

1:09:59

That's true, but if Darcy didn't clean up the mess that would have really affected the Bennet sisters. But like you say, his is more clean cut. I mean, it's easier to say, oh yeah, Wickham was the baddie. And then actually like, that's sort of what I came into this thinking. It's easier just to say that he is the worst one, because in a way you don't want to deal with the emotions of, Willoughbys story, do you, and then actually going deeper into it, you do realize that the, the scars that Willoughby leaves are a lot worse. I mean, obviously like you say, they could have been worse with weekend if he wasn't able to be sorted out by Darcy. Um, so, but Willoughby didn't have any able to do that for him.


Izzy

1:10:45

No. Okay. Shall we go on Caily? Give me any final thoughts. Do it, Caily do it.


Caily

1:10:51

I mean, it was echoing what you were both saying, but I was just wondering, do you think Wickham would have gone to the extent that Willoughby did in expressing love for Lydia and leading her on to the extent that that Willoughby did with, with Marianne? I think Wickham draws people in, but cuts it off to a certain extent. Like he did draw Lizzie in, but not to the point of really wounding her emotionally. Whereas Willoughby just took it all the way and just said all of these things, but making these promises to her that he would be with her. So it, yeah, it does feel like the scars that will be inflicted were so much worse.


• 18:34 - 19:06

It's so much deeper. Willoughby always takes it all the way? Like he must have done the same to Eliza because I mean, she obviously sleeps with him. So he calls you just like thrown her a smile. I wouldn't have said, like, I feel like he must've really shown us some affection. Do you know what I mean? Like, I feel like Lydia is the type of person that yeah. Wickham probably could have just thrown her a smile and she would liked jumped at him, but Willoughby is a bit more twisted in that. Like he, he has to make people fall in love with him. It's I think he even says that about Marianne. Like he wants you to just fall in love with him. Like he's not enough for someone just to like him. They have to love him and he'll go that far.


Caily

1:12:15

Exactly. Yeah. Just a lot of, a lot more emotional gaslighting.


Izzy

1:12:20

Okay. Shall we vote on it? What do you think Caily? Whose worse. Willoughby or Wickham?


Caily

1:12:25

This is so weird because actually coming into this podcast, I have always argued that Wickham is worse because I hate how sociopathic he is, but after talking it through, I think that Willoughby his worst.


Izzy

1:12:42

El go for it.


Ellis

1:12:43

That's so funny. This is really hard because like you, I thought quite similarly to that in terms of it's easier and more clear cut to say that Wickham's bad. But I think again, after talking it through, I would say taking in Willoughbys whole story, what happens is worse in terms of the standard of then, and also now as well. But yeah, it's really hard. So I think, I probably say Willoughby now, but it's really hard not to try and defend that little love story they had. And I think that's what a lot of people might struggle with because with Wickham we don't have to deal with any of that messiness. You can just be like, yeah, he's a bad guy. So in terms of like a person, in terms of them being calculated, I think Wickham obviously is that guy. But yeah, I think Willoughby probably inflicts the most damage, definitely.


Izzy

1:13:20

And like both of you, I came in thinking Wickham, but I think you've convinced me, I think, Willoughby is worse. Like I think the emotional damage is so much more severe from Willoughby. Like I said, someone's always cleaning up Wickham's mess and that hardly got anything to do with him, but the fact is that saves us the emotional damage than what we experienced with Marianne and Eliza and all of the other people that Willoughby, seems to reflect himself upon. So the villain off winner is Willoughby


Ellis

1:14:23

We shouldn't really be cheering but...


Caily

1:14:30

Do you both think if you've met both of them at a party, who do you think you'd be more drawn in by?


Izzy

1:14:39

Willoughby


Ellis

1:14:42

Yeah, I think it would have to be really, I mean.


Izzy

1:14:50

Well, you say that, but literally when I was in high school, this guy turned up and honestly, as soon as he turned up, he said a couple of lines and all the girls were really drawn in by him and literally straight away, I literally turned around to my friend and was like that guy's Wickham. And she was like, who's Wickham. I was like, oh, I forgot you don't read Jane Austen. But I was like, he's Wickham


Ellis

1:15:05

Well, maybe not fit them because like we've seen before we were already like suspicious of Wickham anyway. So he was sort of, so we met both of them. I think like if I say it will probably be Willoughby and go for because working is so calculating, you can sort of see through that already.


Izzy

1:15:23

Exactly. Exactly.


Caily

1:15:26

I agree. Although part of me is now like, well, if we come appears more the bad boy, would I be more attracted to that?


Izzy

1:15:40

Oh my gosh. That was great guys. So where can people find you Caily? Do you wanna go first?


Caily

1:15:43

Sure. I am @half_agony_half_hope, from persuasion.


Ellis

1:15:56

That's one of my favourite Austen quotes. I'm on Instagram as well, and I'm @historian_ellis


Izzy

1:16:07

I'll tack you below. But like I said, El was on for episode 1, which we covered, lasting love and persuasion. Um, so we talked about Anne and Wentworth. That was a good episode. And then me and Caily did episode 2, which was all about Colonel Brandon. Talking about all the great things about Colonel Brandon. So yeah, you should head over to both of those episodes. Oh, Caily's been on again for August, Awkward Austen August, that's a funny one.


Caily

1:16:36

Awkward Austen characters. That was pretty.


Izzy

1:16:38

Yeah. If you want to, if you want a bit of a laugh, go to that one, but yeah, that's everything from us. So thanks for coming on guys.


Caily

1:16:46

Thank you much for having us. This is a blast. Yeah.


Ellis

1:16:50

Thank you.



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