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The Golden Lion of Granpere
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Archived Group Reads 2018 > Golden Lion: Week 2: Ch. 5-9

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message 1: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Ch 5-9
•What circumstances have complicated the separation of George and Marie?
•Whom do you feel is most at fault for the unhappiness of the young people?
• In what ways does Trollope show us both the best and worst in each character’s personality? How does this make the story more plausible?


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments In re-reading my notes for this section, my subjective reaction is that we need to bring all the characters together in one room and force them to admit to the truth of their feelings and then the conflicts would be solved! Marie, George and Michel and to a lesser extent Madame Voss are all guilty of being less than honest with each other. Trollope takes us inside the minds of each of the characters so that the reader knows the internal conflicts at work, which their behavior may or may not reveal. They are all "at the mercy" of Victorian expectations of duty, of behavior. But sneaking in to complicate matters is their love for one another and how, or if, they can manipulate expectations for their own benefit. The narrator tells us if Michel knew of Marie and George's real feelings, he would have supported them. Marie loves her uncle so she is looking for a way to be obedient and dutiful, vacillating between marrying Adrian or not, complicated when George confronts her with what he sees as a betrayal of her vow to him.
None of the characters are either good or bad, but all are dealing with these inner conflicts specific to their role in the household and the wider society.


message 3: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
There is definitely a lack of communication creating much of the conflict! But I like the way you call them on manipulating expectations to their own perceived benefit. :)

Later, I think we see that some of the characters are somewhat dishonest with themselves as they try to justify certain behaviors and positions. It’s also interesting to see how the pressures of family, society, and church come into play. I agree that Trollope has done a nice job of showing us the frailties in each character that take them beyond “good” or “bad” in their choices. It makes what are essentially stock characters much more interesting.


Sawako | 4 comments Linda wrote: "...we need to bring all the characters together in one room and force them to admit to the truth of their feelings and then the conflicts would be solved! ..."

I agree with you.


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Renee wrote: " I agree that Trollope has done a nice job of showing us the frailties in each character that take them beyond “good” or “bad” in their choices. It makes what are essentially stock characters much more interesting. "

It is good reading your comments, as I found the opposite that they felt like cut out characters rather than real people, the narrator tells us a lot about them, but I don't feel entwined with the complixities of their lives in the way that I do with Hardy or Eliot or the Bronte sisters. I was viewing it as a sketch of a story rather than a richly coloured painting. For example, we're told George and Marie are in love, but we don't really see why they are in love, what passion binds them together, makes them keep true to their vows after a year apart? Why is George so obedient to his father that he doesn't even inquire about what is going on with the woman he's in love with in that time? The only thing we're told is Marie is the prettiest girl in the area, and when Marie thinks about Adrian compared to George she thinks George is handsome like a man should be.

I'm really interested what themes and depths people find in this novel, as I am failing at the moment! How does it fit into Trollope's body of work and the things he explores in his other novels? I've read all the Palliser novels and one of the Barchester ones but cannot remember them well enough to compare. I think there were some interesting female characters in his other works.


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments Clari wrote: "Renee wrote: " I agree that Trollope has done a nice job of showing us the frailties in each character that take them beyond “good” or “bad” in their choices. It makes what are essentially stock ch..."

This is only a minor work and doesn’t have the complexity of the Palliser or Barchester series or many of his other stand alone novels. Aside from having been prompted by his travels, Trollope doesn’t state why he wrote Golden Lion. I see it as exploring similar themes- duty, obedience, role of women, social norms- we find in his other novels, but you’re right that the characters lack the depth we find in those and the plot is much simpler. In the Pallisers, which I’m reading now, Glencora and Madame Max are two of my favorite characters. Both strong women whom Trollope can develop as more multi-faceted by virtue of their appearance in several novels.

If I were judging Trollope by only this novel, I wouldn’t think so much of him. Reading Golden Lion in the context of his other novels makes it enjoyable for me as a literary exercise of sorts. Probably not what most people were hoping it get out of it!


Nina Clare | 135 comments Clari wrote: example, we're told George and Marie are in love, but we don't really see why they are in love, what passion binds them together, makes them keep true to their vows after a year apart? Why is George so obedient to his father that he doesn't even inquire about what is going on with the woman he's in love with in that time?

I was thinking the same thing. I'm really enjoying this as a light read, but I'm not convinced by the romance between George and Marie - Trollope hasn't shown any real scenes that portray their relationship.
I did have a 'oh no! ' moment when Marie agreed to marry Urmand, now I'm keen to find out if the marriage goes ahead or not.


Laurene | 158 comments Linda wrote: "In re-reading my notes for this section, my subjective reaction is that we need to bring all the characters together in one room and force them to admit to the truth of their feelings and then the ..."

I also agree -- Let's get them together for an honest conversation. But then the novel would be finished and we would have the answer to the main question -- Who will Marie marry -- Adrian or George?


Laurene | 158 comments Since I have never read Trollope before, I was hoping his other novels were more complex then the Golden Lion. I am just going to enjoy this novel as a light read.


message 10: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
This is definitely Trollope-light, Laurene. You can’t really assess him as a writer based on this.


Theresa (theresas) | 9 comments Marie seems to see George as a "manly man," decisive and perhaps rather macho. To me, Adrian is described as smaller in stature, and pleasant in conversation, but seems somewhat foppish with his fine manner of dress. Marie's love may be based on physical attraction, but probably also on the familiarity of her long friendship with George. Both men seem to care for Marie for her prettiness. I agree with all that Trollope hasn't developed our knowledge of their characters as deeply as in other books. I have read all six Barchester novels, and we really know so much more about our characters thoughts and feelings in them. But this is a pleasant read so far, even so.


message 12: by Trev (new) - rated it 3 stars

Trev | 216 comments Theresa wrote: "Marie seems to see George as a "manly man," decisive and perhaps rather macho. To me, Adrian is described as smaller in stature, and pleasant in conversation, but seems somewhat foppish with his fi..."

I too have read a number of Trollope novels. I consider this as more of a short story format.
Although one dimensional regarding plot, I think the characters have been defined to a certain extent. Marie is more than just a pretty face, she practically runs the inn, quite an achievement for such a young girl. Her reliability in administering to the guests and managing the other inn workers has to be admired. Michel knows that the inn will not be as well managed when Marie leaves and marries Adrian.
George has shown himself to be someone who has the intelligence and ability to build a successful business whereas Adrian, although successful in continuing his business, has inherited his wealth and seems more interested in himself than those around him.


message 13: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
A nice summation of the characters, Trev.


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Trev wrote: "Although one dimensional regarding plot, I think the characters have been defined to a certain extent. Marie is more than just a pretty face, she practically runs the inn, quite an achievement for such a young girl. ."

I think this is something we're told again though rather than experience for ourselves, as you say maybe because it is such a short novel. The whole thing of her being at the meals is focused on whether she'll sit down next to Adrian or not.
Personally the nearest I came to responding to them as 3d characters was anger and frustration when the aunt doesn't actually talk to her niece herself but relies on what her husband has told her, no girl power in this inn :)

I am interested how it'll turn out though, I am guessing that she won't marry Adrian, who seems slightly less bothered by her than George is!


message 15: by Linda (new)

Linda | 115 comments As I think more about this novel, the more it seems apparent that the complexity of it lies in Trollope’s use of multiple points of view, that is that he makes the reader aware of the thoughts and inner conflicts of all the main characters. We do not simply view the story through the lens of only Marie or only Michel. The reader then has a more informed understanding of the action or lack of action on the part of the characters. For example, since we know Marie’s inner turmoil as to whether she should accept Adrian’s proposal because of her love and sense of duty to her uncle combined with her feelings of abandonment by George, we understand why she does not definitively say no when asked by Michel to consider Adrian, but also why it leads her to further almost tortured conflict. At the same time, we also know that Michel has conflicting feelings about pushing Marie towards accepting Adrian. In his other novels, Trollope is very much concerned with the psychology of his characters and I think that plays out here as well. Perhaps it is not who or if Marie finally marries that really matters, but how the characters change throughout the story in order to reach the conclusion?


Rosemarie | 199 comments I agree with the comments about the lack of communication, and I wonder if the main reason is the dominating personality of Michel Voss, a man of action with little subtlety.


message 17: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
He’s a very strong character. I think the novel could easily have been about him, his sense of responsibility, inability to communicate, pride. But romance sells, of course.


Laurene | 158 comments Trev wrote: "Theresa wrote: "Marie seems to see George as a "manly man," decisive and perhaps rather macho. To me, Adrian is described as smaller in stature, and pleasant in conversation, but seems somewhat fop..."

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Laurene | 158 comments Linda wrote: "As I think more about this novel, the more it seems apparent that the complexity of it lies in Trollope’s use of multiple points of view, that is that he makes the reader aware of the thoughts and ..."

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Laurene | 158 comments I agree with Linda -- "who Marie finally marries" is what really matters. It's the perfect triangle, (Marie, George and Adrian), and the obstacles that get in their way -- then lastly how George and Marie overcome them. By the way, I love Uncle Michel -- he wants the best for his Marie!


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