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Mr Darcy - 'an unlikely sex symbol' ?

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message 1: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/t/vid...

I am sure some of you have come across this news item already but I thought I would post it anyway. it is a fun video featuring a few clips of an interview with Colin Firth.

I found two phrases used by the reporter particularly interesting...
He describes Mr Darcy as 'an unlikely sex symbol' and also 'the thinking woman's heart throb'

Now, I agree with the latter and I think it is a wonderful way to phrase it, however I am not sure about the former and the use of the word 'unlikely' - Jane Austen fandom is huge and Mr Darcy is universally loved. I understand he is a different sort of sex symbol to what might be considered a sex symbol today however I do not think the word 'unlikely' is quite right - most people who read/watch pride and prejudice fall for Mr Darcy! Perhaps 'different' or 'unique' would be a more appropriate word?

Any thoughts?


message 2: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (caroheartsbooks) | 272 comments ehhhhhh don't like the word. lol. although I heard more of that for matthew macfayden then colin firth


message 3: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Wrong word. Definitely the wrong word!


message 4: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments For me that's kinda typical of the media, they don't understand fandoms and always want to ridicule them a little bit.

I'm a female Trekkie as well and there is still a pervading belief that only men attend sci-fi conventions and watch the programs, despite all evidence to the contrary.

The Jane Austen convention was actually treated quite well, but the article was about women swooning over Mr Darcy, suggesting to me that they didn't see the men in attendance.

I couldn't help but laugh when he said, from Lawrence Olivier to Colin Firth, and that guy who was in the Keira Knightly version... of course the best one didn't even get a mention ;)


message 5: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
It's true! He did focus on Mr Darcy - which is silly, as you say, because the men aren't there to swoon over him! Neither do some of the woman - people so often don't understand the fandom and just think Janeite's are... (For want of a better word) weird...

Yes I know! Poor Matthew Macfadyen! 'The guy from the Keira Knightley version indeed! Tut tut tut...


message 6: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I thought of you by the way when Rintoul wasn't mentioned!


message 7: by Louise Sparrow (last edited Nov 19, 2013 04:18PM) (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments I'm afraid that's how I tended to think of Matthew Macfadyen though, before I joined this forum because he didn't leave an impression on me.

David Rintoul will probably always be my idea of Mr Darcy but Lawrence Olivier did a pretty job of being a 'sexy' Darcy.

You know, thinking about it I don't really apply sexy to Darcy, he's better than sexy... if you see what I mean. When people call someone sexy they are generally just talking about their body, and manners and intelligence are optional.


message 8: by Aerykah (last edited Nov 19, 2013 04:30PM) (new)

Aerykah | 48 comments Louise wrote: "You know, thinking about it I don't really apply sexy to Darcy, he's better than sexy..."

I can't tell you how much I agree with this statement!

As for the "unlikely sex symbol" comment... I don't particularly care for it. And not just because of the "unlikely" part... I personally don't care to refer to Mr. Darcy as a "sex symbol". Just sayin.


message 9: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I couldn't agree more! He is a handsome man no doubt but he has intelligent conversation and good manners. The complete package. He is not like... (as a modern example) a male model, or a football player etc. (I know that is mean, as there will be some exceptions to those examples, but stereotypically I am talking about!)

I also agree with you Aery, I don't much care for the phrase either. But as I said, I do like the description of a thinking woman's heart throb - the thinking woman part is correct as Pride and Prejudice is a classic book read by intelligent people.


message 10: by Aerykah (new)

Aerykah | 48 comments Yeah, I can agree with the "thinking woman's heart throb" part... ;)


message 11: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments "Unlikely sex symbol" means one did not expect this person to be a sex symbol, right? If so, I never considered Darcy as a sex symbol: neither from the book or either of the film adaptation.


message 12: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (caroheartsbooks) | 272 comments yes so true

the director of the 2005 version said he wanted the focus to be more on Keira knightly then the handsomeness of Darcy. or fandom of Darcy or such. I think the media still portrays p and p too much as girls obsessed with a hot guy....untrue..


message 13: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
That is completely true. People who are not Jane Austen fans themselves always assume the love of Pride and Prejudice is for the brooding handsome Darcy full stop. No thought to the character, wit, style of writing , nothing!
As the results of my survey are showing, the main appeal of Austen/pride and prejudice is NOT the heroes/Darcy!


message 14: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments hmm, I see many say Pride and Prejudice is about a stubborn girl falling for a man of property.

I partially agree, that it is what the novel leans on. Poorer girls falling for bad boys or guys with money.


message 15: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
But that is NOT why Lizzy agrees to marry him! If she had wanted him for his money and wealth she would have accepted him the first time! The importance of Pemberley is not her seeing how truly rich Mr Darcy is and thinking 'maybe I should marry this guy after all' but meeting him at Pemberley shows Lizzy how her reproofs have been attended to and his real character is shown. And besides, when she sees him at Pemberley and the events which follow convince her she will never see him again!


message 16: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments I never said she married him for his property but it did helped her ease into accepting him.


message 17: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
.... I can't agree but ok ;)


message 18: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (caroheartsbooks) | 272 comments ehh i dont think Darcy being rich had anything to do both lizzie accepting him. she almost hated him for being Rich and stuck up


message 19: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I'm with you Caro!


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 66 comments Well, Lizzie does concede that Mr. Darcy's property had an effect on her. When Jane asks her when she fell in love with him, Lizzie says:

"It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley."

They laugh over this, but there is some truth in it.


message 21: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Great explanation Parintia! I agree with what you say.

That quote is an example of Lizzy's wit. Shortly after that it says how Jane asked her to be serious and then she explained seriously how she had come to love him.


message 22: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Proverbial "man card" very true! Ahaha


message 23: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I think wealth wouldn't have mattered. As you say, it doesn't bother her with Wickham. And she certainly is not mercenary and is not all about the material matters in the world. If he was really that poor it would have been harder to meet yes. If he was poorer than he really is and more on Lizzy's level then the could easily have met.

I think about him not being quite so handsome that again, it would not have prevents her loving him eventually, but maybe it would have taken a little longer ? I mean, she always acknowledged he was handsome. But I think it wouldn't have mattered that much once she came to know his character.


message 24: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachelkisley) Soph wrote: "http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/t/vid...

I am sure some of you have come across this news item already but I thought I would post it anyway. it is a fun vid..."


I think the phrase is wrong on a couple of accounts. Firstly, Mr Darcy in the book is not initially meant to be... for want of a better word... swoon-worthy (actually, I quite like that term now I've coined it) however in the films Darcy is obviously very attractive from the off. But the second reason it is wrong is for "sex-symbol" - I don't think Austen ever intended her male characters to be sex-symbols, but more he whole package, intelligent, kind-hearted, interesting and humorous. I think when Lizzie sees Pemberley it is not that she is seeing Darcy's wealth but that she sees his personality expressed through the aesthetics of his home, through the art he has chosen to adorn it etc. I can't actually view the video, so forgive me if I have gone off track, I just went with the title of the discussion.


message 25: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I agree Rachel - (not off topic btw!) her heroes are the whole package - Darcy is very intelligent. It was always acknowledged that Darcy was a handsome man as he was deactivated as much when he first comes on the scene - but then it quickly turns to dislike for his pride.

I agree with your comments about the house as well - not his wealth!


message 26: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
She gives minimal descriptions of everything - people and places. She only gives the information needed for the story.

I usually see Colin Firth when reading the original - strange because my first Austen was the 2005 film. Then I read the book and then watched the mini series. But I think because a lot if the sparring is missing from 2005 - it captures the teasing spirit in the 1995. So that's why I think I see Firth.

When reading fan fiction and things like What if variations I don't normally see Colin Firth - I normally manage to conjure up my own image of Darcy - I think this is because i haven't seen it on screen and so I see it coming to life in my head and so I imagine my own Darcy (the Darcy I always imagine for fan fiction is always the same!)


message 27: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments I can't stand Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, he just gives me that mehh vibes. I like him in other movies such as Bridget Jones but not in Pride and Prejudice. Sigh


message 28: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments I picture David Rintoul when I read the original, if I picture Colin Firth while reading a fanfic it's not a good sign! :p


message 29: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Oh Louise and Marren!!

(Did you see my reply to your 1940's adaptation review? ;) )


message 30: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments I did! I will reply as soon as I get the chance :)


message 31: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments *Do the monkey face for Soph* :D, haha.


message 32: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Just checking - I'm all ready for one of our debates ;)

*crosses arms and huffs loudly before turning on my heel to storm off in disgust at such unladylike behaviour to go and watch the pride and prejudice mini series!* (at least I would if it were not 1:40 am here...) ;)


message 33: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 262 comments What happened about trying to get a group adaptation watch together? We could argue in real time :p


message 34: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
Now that is a good idea - can't imagine how we would decide which one to watch ;)
The main difficulty would be the timing with all the time differences ;)


message 35: by Sophie, Your Lovely Moderator (new)

Sophie | 2624 comments Mod
I would of course do a poll - I will start a thread for this right now!


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 66 comments We don't know much about their looks, but Darcy is tall - certainly taller than Bingley. Elizabeth has a pleasing form and dark eyes. Lydia (in the book) is the tallest of the Bennet sisters. Charlotte Lucas is plain; Mr. Collins is tall and rather heavy.

And certainly money does matter. Mrs. Gardiner warns Elizabeth away from Mr. Wickham because there is no money and such an imprudent match would make her parents unhappy - and Elizabeth, albeit reluctantly, accepts the advice. That's one reason she resents Darcy - she believes he is responsible for Wickham's penury, who otherwise would have made a suitable husband.


message 37: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments Soph wrote: "Just checking - I'm all ready for one of our debates ;)

*crosses arms and huffs loudly before turning on my heel to storm off in disgust at such unladylike behaviour to go and watch the pride and..."


LOL, hehe oh dear.


message 38: by Marren (new)

Marren | 764 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "We don't know much about their looks, but Darcy is tall - certainly taller than Bingley. Elizabeth has a pleasing form and dark eyes. Lydia (in the book) is the tallest of the Bennet sisters. Ch..."

I agree with your reasoning


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