Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nana Nana Nana Nana Nana Nana Nana Nana PERCY!

I found this gem while skimming "The Great Comic Book Heroes".

Extra special Leaguette points* to the best contrast between Sir Percy's debasing idiot-fop to certain other "secret identities".

*Leaguette points are non-salable, non-transferable, and will do you no good whatsoever toward the purchase of prizes, games, toys, and other items we do not have in a store.  Limit two per awesome comment. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I agree completely

I've been going through the 'You know you're obsessed when.....' page on Blakeney Manor and sink me, it's been rather amusing.  My instant reaction is"Oh yes, of course!" to almost all of them and to almost all the rest: "What a good idea!  I should do that!"

Here are some that I just couldn't resist putting here.

4. ...you've made an SP webpage.
Does a blog count?

5. ...you've read all the books at least twice and have whole chapters memorized and recite them on

I'd recite them on demand, but no one ever demands it. :(

7. ...you take weeks and weeks of your spare time to write an SP fanfiction.

13. ...you research encyclopedias and internet webpages to understand what exactly happened in the French Revolution.
Of course.

14. ...your "nom de plume" is a character from any SP thing.
Only I can't decide which one.  I do periodically change my screensaver to go with the wives of the members of the League.  It has Yvonne de Kernogan right now.

15. ...you try to perfect every movement of Anthony Andrews/Percy from the 1982 movie, including dancing and swordfights, but are never quite as perfect as he is.
Unfortunately not.

27. ...your family knows who Sir Percy, Margot, Chauvelin and every other main person from ANY thing that has to do with TSP is and dives for cover when you say, "They seek him here..." 
My poor family.

33. ...you watch a movie and instead of thinking how well the leading actor plays his part, you wonder if he would make a good Sir Percy.
Done, with actors AND real people.

34. ...you spend more time thinking about how many people you've turned into Pimpernelites than you do figuring out how much money you have. 
Let me see: my younger sister, my friend Sjanie, my friend Allison, a randon person at a conference.  Let's not talk abou the money.

50. ...you research the French Revolution in history books for references to the daring exploits of the Scarlet Pimpernel and are surprised and indignant at finding no mention of him.
Guilty.  But one of the books did! I was so delighted.  The fact that they said he didn't exist is too ridiculous to be listened to.

54. ...you name all of your pets, (or mostly) with names from the Scarlet Pimpernel.
My dogs: Sir Andrew Ffoulkes and Lord Anthony Dewhurst. 

58. ...you are shocked and furious when your gifted teacher fails to know the correct dates of the French Revolution; you then hop in to give a little lecture.
I HAVE done this to history books and my French book.

61. ...the instant conversation lulls, you pipe up with "Sink me, have you ever seen that stunning movie The Scarlet Pimpernel?" When they reply with "Never heard of it" you take out your calendar and set a date when you can get together and watch it with them, just so you have a reason to see it again, and elaborate on the finer details of the plot.
"What have you been doing?"  "Oh, I've read this great book." Yup.

65. ...you hear someone disparagingly referred to as a fop and take an instant liking to that person.  Too true.

68. ...every time you read a fan fiction, you cringe any time something conflicts with Orczy (since you have every detail memorized), forgetting the meaning of fanfiction.
Naturally.  Fan fiction is supposed to be written by FANS, who WILL have every detail memorized.

79. ...when reading in history books about the unsuccessful attempts to rescue the royal family your first reaction is "of course it didn't work, Sir Percy didn't come up with the idea!"
Rathah.  Or, "Why didn't Sir Percy think of doing that?

83. ...even though your parents wont let you take French, you get a kick out of shortening "Spanish" in your planner to "SP"
Salt and Pepper.  Thus, SP.

105. ...Scarlet Pimperenel characters find their way into your dreams.
Guilty.  Characters from most of my favorite books do.

93. ...on hearing the phrase "national anthem" you immediately jump up and start singing Le Marsailles!
Allons enfants de la patrie, la jour de gloire et arrive...  Yes.  Only I don't know the tune.

110. ...you start wondering why your P.E. class doesn't offer dueling as one of its activities. 
Well, why not?

114. ...when confronted with a locked door, you immediately say, "Open in the name of the Republic!" 
Guess what I will be saying for the next week...

121. ...you thoroughly hate--and feel sorry for--Chauvelin...at the same time. 
Of course!

124. ...you can successfully communicate with your friends for hours about any topic using only lines from the movies.
Rathah.  Only most of my friends haven't watched it, which is a real pity.

149. ...you scour the jewelry section of every store you go to until you find a ring with a small star-shaped red flower on it, you promptly buy it and wear it everywhere. 
Please?  My birthday is only in six months.  Won't you get me an early birthday present?

152. ...you hum the films tune in your head all day for 10 years. 
I haven't had it in my head for ten years, but ten years from now...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

"Ah?" quoth Sir Percy airily.  "The inevitable has always been such a good friend to me."
~The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, chapter 25

I'll admit, I picked up this book with mixed feelings.  Reading another adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel is always fun... but this novel happens to be the last in the series.  (I haven't yet read all the books in the series, because I haven't yet been able to lay hands on all of them in print format.  And don't worry, I'm not going to turn this into a litany enumerating the many reasons why everyone should read paper books and e-books should be boycotted.)  It's the last in the series, peeps.  The LAST of Percy's adventures.  The LAST of those death-defying, daring, dangerous, delightfully delicious escapades. The LAST of those suspenseful, hold-your-breath, oh-my-word-is-he-going-to-make-it-out-okay plot twists. The LAST time we see Percy and Marguerite together, being adorable as only they can be...

Now that I've thoroughly saddened you all and provoked a few tears, let's get on with the review.  Happy faces, please-- this is a happy book! Percy doesn't die! Yay! (Whoops.  Probably should have put a spoiler alert on that one. Because, you know, you didn't KNOW that he wasn't going to die... and then I ruined that for you.  Bummer.  I'm really soary.)

So it's 1794.  The Revolution is practically over (and puh-leese let's not turn this into a French history lesson, because I'm a bit hazy on all that, having not studied it in quite a while, and I just nodded and went, "that's nice" at the history parts in this book) but there are still people in trouble in France, and it's the job of Guess Who to get them out of the country. (Say hello to Sir Percy, everyone.  YAY PERCY.)

Unfortunately, it takes Percy several chapters to actually show up in the story, as usual. (Baroness, the suspense kills me every time---couldn't you produce him on the first page just once?  ONCE?) The story actually begins with several other characters: namely, Regine de Serval (a young woman who's had more than her fair share of hard times), Bertrand Moncrif (Regine's overly-impassioned sweetheart who wants nothing more than to see Robespierre kicked out of power), Theresia Cabarrus (a Spanish woman betrothed to Tallien, one of Robespierre's advisors--and she was a real person, by the way) and Citizen Rateau (a wheezing, asthmatic coal-digger who possesses a great deal of brawn and very little brain).

I'll warn you-- when Percy does eventually make his appearance, he's in disguise, and it takes an exceedingly clever and brilliant reader to discern who he is when he appears (I figured it out, but of course that is immaterial...).  Anyways, Bertrand publicly denounces Robespierre at a Fraternal Supper, despite Regine's remonstrances (this is where we all mimic Hortense in Bleak House and say, "you STUPID man!") and afterwards realizes just how much danger he's put himself into.  He flees to the house of Theresia Cabarrus, who has been a friend to him (and whom he pretty much worships, despite the fact that he's practically engaged to Regine--BOO, Bertrand) and who agrees to hide him temporarily from Robespierre.  But in the course of the evening, Bertrand is mysteriously spirited away from Theresia's apartments by none other than...

(all together, now)


*scary music*

Meanwhile, Robespierre is trying to convince Theresia to help him trap the elusive Pimpernel--no one has yet succeeded in this undertaking, not even that dude who goes by the name of Armand Chauvelin (yeppers, his real name is Armand.  Really creative, Baroness.  You ARE aware that there are other French names out there, right?  Like Paul?  Wait, is Paul a French name?  Never mind.)  This part (chapter 10, in case you were wondering) is delightful to read, because it makes fun of Chauvelin, and who doesn't want to make fun of Chauvelin?  "A man of no account," he is called, and rightly so, for time and time again he has failed to capture that accursed Englishman.

I won't spoil any more of the story for you, but I will say that Theresia caves and agrees to help find the Scarlet Pimpernel--and what follows is yet another testimony to Percy's incredible fortitude, bravery, cleverness and sheer hilarity.  Bookmark chapter 25 and reread it over and over again, m'dears, because it's the best of the best as far as Percy-wit goes.  Sink me.

"Which would have been a pity, my dear M. Chambertin," Blakeney rejoined gravely. "I should not like you to forget me.  Believe me, I have enjoyed life so much these past two years, I would not give up those pleasures even for that of seeing you and your friends have a bath or wear tidy buckles on your boots."

"You will have cause to indulge in those pleasures within the next few days, Sir Percy," Chauvelin rejoined drily.  

"What?" Sir Percy exclaimed.  "The Committee of Public Safety going to have a bath? Or the Revolutionary Tribunal?  Which?"
~chapter 25

And it all ends up happy, of course.  Since I already spoiled that for you, I may as well say it again.  There are sad things that happen, tragic things in fact, and one thing that is hinted at near the end that made me rather sad (eep, but I might just get the entire League of Leaguettes down on me for saying that), but it does end up happy.  Oh, and might I add that there's a good deal of Percy's-self-sacrificial-stuff manifesting itself in this book?  I'm dying to talk more about that, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet, so I'll restrain myself, because I'm not supposed to ruin the story for you.  I'm supposed to write you a review--that's what I'm here for! Think you that I have sought your agreeable company for the mere pleasure of gazing at your amiable countenance?

.... Um, no offense.  That last bit was a Percy-to-Chauvelin quote, you know.  I just couldn't resist.

Friday, May 18, 2012

We See Them Here, We See Them There...Part Two

Ian McKellan and Anthony Andrews in TSP1982

And welcome back to another episode of We See Them Here, We See Them There! Nice, no?


As we all know, Ian McKellan and Anthony Andrews played Chauvelin and Sir Percy Blakeney respectively in the 1982 film. (Hurrah!)

 In the sixties (sorry for not having the exact date :-P) Ian McKellan played the title role in a version of David Copperfield that to my knowledge is not available for viewing (I think there might have been a stage version as well...). He later played a deliciously disgusting cameo as Mr. Creakle in the 1999 adaptation of the same story. (Is it just me or is it enormously hard to imagine Ian as David?!)

In 1974, Anthony Andrews magnificently portrayed James Steerforth in yet another adaptation of David Copperfield (a spot on job, in my very humble opinion - and that's saying a lot considering Steerforth is probably my favorite character in the story). He would later play a Very Mean and Grim (but with, I must admit, fantastic hair) Mr. Murdstone in the 2000 adaptation.

I always crack up when Mr. Creakle in the 1999 version tells David that "I knew your father"...I always add, "Yes...in another life he beat me in a duel." Hehe.    

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wodehouse and Orczy

From Miss Dashwoods "Sink Me!"

                “And with the graceful gesture of an accomplished dandy, Sir Percy flicked off a grain of a dust from his immaculate Mechlin ruffles.”  (-I Will Repay)

“Sir Percy Blakeney- a prisoner since seventeen days in close, solitary confinement, half-starved, deprived of rest, and of that mental and physical activity which had been the very essence of life to him hitherto- might be outwardly but a shadow of his former brilliant self, but nevertheless he was still that same elegant English gentleman, that prince of dandies whom Chauvelin had first met eighteen months ago at the most courtly Court in Europe.  His clothes, despite constant wear and the want of attention from a scrupulous valet, still betrayed the perfection of London tailoring; he had put them on with meticulous care, they were free from the slightest particle of dust, and the flimy folds of priceless Mechlin still half-veiled the delicate whiteness of his shapely hands.”  (-El Dorado)

“I remember reading in one of those historical novels once about a chap -a buck he would have been, no doubt, or a macaroni or some such bird as that- who, when people said the wrong thing, merely laughed down from lazy eyelids and flicked a speak of dust from the irreproachable Mechlin lace at his wrists.  This was practically what I did now.  At least, I straightened my tie and smiled one of those inscrutable smiles of mine.  I then withdrew and went out for a saunter in the garden.”  (-Right Ho, Jeeves)

“I know you did, Jeeves,”  I said, laughing down from lazy eyelids and nicking a speck of dust from the irreproachable Mechlin lace at my wrists."  (-Right Ho, Jeeves)

"Psmith flicked a speck of dust from his coat sleeve."  (Mike and Psmith)

What more is there to say?