Frivolity,  Jane Austen

The Jane Austen Dating Game, pt. 2

Last week we tried to marry off poor Colonel Brandon, who clearly deserves a good wife. (If you missed that discussion, you can still take part if you click here.)

This week — Elinor Dashwood!

(And for those of you who are wondering, yes — I do have a little problem with Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.”) 🙂

So. Elinor Dashwood. Who should she marry? Who will make her truly happy? YOU decide!

How about Colonel Brandon? He’s intelligent, sensitive, and well bred. Plus, he has more money than Edward! Were Elinor and Brandon fated to fall in love? Was Jane Austen blind to their true destinies? (I will admit, the first time I ever read S&S, I thought Elinor and Colonel Brandon would get together. I felt they had a real connection! They certainly seemed to have better conversations than Elinor and Edward, or Marianne and anybody! Was Jane Austen mistaken? Or did she perhaps know the truth, but have to hide it in clues due to some secret cabal that would murder anyone who — um, okay, wrong book.)

Does Elinor Dashwood secretly have a thing for that rascal Willoughby? The cad is certainly more manly than the easily-manipulated Edward. (And Emma Thompson fell for Greg Wise, which must mean something!) But would he just break her heart? And is he too young, too immature for her anyway? Or would she steady him, while he brought some spontaneity into her life? (Am I sounding like Oprah yet?)

As long as we’re giving her young cads, how about the youngest and newest on the block? Blond Wickham here is certainly nice to look at. Would Elinor have a great time reforming him? Of course, he’s very very young. But Elinor’s only nineteen herself, right?

While we’re on the subject of blonds, how about Sharpe? (I know, I know, bizarre choice. I just like the picture. Nice picture. Yummy Sharpe. Umm….what was I saying?) If Elinor could reform Willoughby, could she reform Sharpe? He’s a different sort of womanizer…less calculated, more impulsive. Would the class thing keep them apart? (Okay, yes, he’s a ridiculous suggestion, but he looks so nice in his uniform!)

How would Elinor and Captain Wentworth do together? She’s good, I suspect, at supporting male egos — and he’s got one that needs to be supported. He’s better off than Edward (but then, who isn’t???), and has friendlier relatives. So if Anne Elliot weren’t around, would Wentworth be Elinor’s true love, and vice versa?

Or how about Mr. Darcy? Sure, he’s perfect for Elizabeth Bennet, but if she didn’t have him, how would he do for Elinor Dashwood? Would her stodginess and his stodginess breed until they were dull and insufferable? Or would her gentle ways and his good breeding create a peaceful, beautiful home? (And don’t forget that money! I do want to give Elinor a lot of money. She deserves it.)

Wait, I already did Mr. Darcy, right? Well, I know some of you like Colin Firth (and some of you really like Colin Firth) and some of you like Matthew McFadyen (and some of you really like Matthew McFadyen) so I figured I’d put both pictures here to keep the fighting down to a minimum!

So, would anyone else do better for Elinor? Mr. Tilney? (Too flippant?) Edmund Bertram? (Too serious?) Edward Ferrars? (Too wimpy? Too poor?) Mr. Knightley?

Mr. Knightley! Oh, I can’t pass up an excuse to put Mr. Knightley’s picture up here. My Jeremy is so handsome! Besides, Mr. Knightley may be the perfect match for Elinor. Mature, well-bred, and very very rich. 🙂

So — who gets your vote? Who do you think Elinor Dashwood should marry?

MY LADY GAMESTER — Holt Medallion Finalist!

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Megan Frampton
16 years ago

Now, Cara; do you have a problem with the film adaptation, where Emma Thompson was way, way too old for the part, or is the problem with the actual book? I think you mean the book, but I just want clarification.

I have no opinion as to whom Elinor should end up–I haven’t seen the movie or read the book in far, far too long.

16 years ago

I would have to say it was a toss up between Capt.(?) Wentworth and Mr. Knightly, only because I happen to think both are delicious actors. Aw, who am I kidding?! I just think they are both delicious!*G*

This makes me want to read the book again. A sacrifice I am more than willing to make!

Cara King
16 years ago

Actually, Megan, I love the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson movie. My problems are with the book. 🙂 For me, it’s definitely Austen’s weakest book.

One of the problems for me is a showing/telling problem: we’re told lots of Marianne’s good qualities, but we only see her making Elinor’s life very difficult. We’re told Edward has many virtues, but we see him being weak, caving in to pressure, etc.

Now, I know this to a certain extent is just how Austen works: in Emma as well, we’re shown a lot of Emma’s faults, but told most of her virtues. (Though here we do see some, such as the way she takes care of her father.)

Anyway, Edward is so persuadable! He wanted a profession, but never did anything about it. He behaved in a bad way with Elinor given his circumstances, but because he didn’t mean anything by it, it’s supposed to be all right! 🙂

In the film, though, Emma Thompson clearly worked to make Edward more active, and more sympathetic. And it worked, for me. (But I’d still like to see Elinor get together with Brandon! Think about all that repressed passion breaking loose!) 🙂


Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

This is funny–a long time ago, when I first read the book, I also thought Elinor was going to end up with Brandon, and was disappointed when I was proved wrong. 🙂 I’m not sure who she should be with–Knightley, maybe?

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

One could see Edward as honorable. He believed he had made a commitment and believed he must honor it, even while he fell in love with Elinor.
I wasn’t thrilled with the Hugh Grant Edward, and I’m not taken with mild-mannered, dutiful heroes (see my Warner blog on dark heroes – )
but I thought Elinor needed a mild, quiet man. He suited her!

Cara King
16 years ago

I guess the way I see it, Diane, he had no business courting Elinor the way he did! Okay, I know he didn’t “think” he was courting her — he thought he was just being friendly — but everyone else in the house was certain he was going to offer for her. Which makes me think he’s either (1) criminally careless, or (2) too stupid to live. 🙂

And what’s this whole “getting engaged without meaning to” thing, anyway? Lame. Not what I’m looking for in a man — or what I intend for Elinor, either!

(Though I welcome those who will enjoy proving me wrong!)


16 years ago

Late to the party, Cara, but here goes. In the book, Elinor definitely had a bit of a thing for Willoughby. That was why Willoughby was so dangerous. He was a cad and he had this powerful charisma that no woman–even a woman of sense like Elinor—could resist. I always thought Austen’s Edward was a bit of a simp too. And I too thought Col. Brandon would be a good match for her. But I think part of Austen’s point was that we don’t always fall in love with the people we are best suited to. Her novels are filled with unequal marriages, like Mr. and Mrs. Palmer in S&S.

Which leads me to Elinor’s perfect match. I always fantatsized that something would happen to kill off the awful Mrs. Palmer and that Elinor could marry him. They seemed perfectly suited. After being married to such a silly woman, Mr. Palmer could not help but adore Elinor! And he would make darn sure that their neighbor Willoughby kept his caddish charming self away from Elinor, perhaps turning on the charm himself to keep her all to himself.

Cara King
16 years ago

Ooh, I like the way you think, Mandacoll! Then she would get Hugh Laurie. As a fan of the TV show “House,” I can tell you that Hugh Laurie can be very dishy! (Something I never would have believed in his “Blackadder” and “Fry & Laurie” days — or even his “Jeeves and Wooster” days!)

And of course, Elinor has such interesting conversation she would get Mr. Palmer to put down that newspaper. 🙂


Janet Mullany
16 years ago

It’s obvious to me that Elinor has a thing for clergymen…mmm, a man in a cassock is just so…hot. So, why not marry her off to Mr. Collins? I think their mutual earnestness would mesh well, and anyone who could put up with the blathering Miss Steele could put up with Lady C de B.

The alternative is the deliciously wicked Henry Crawford, to bring a bit of fun into her life, which I think she richly deserves after dealing with Marianne’s whininess, and acting as Col. Brandon’s go-between.


16 years ago

Janet wrote:

“A man in a cassock is just so…hot!”

On behalf of many of my male relatives, I thank you.

As for Elinor, it is clear who her perfect match is: namely, King Henry V. He’s valiant, rich, capable of extremely impressive impromptu oratory, and conquered France.

But alas, in the long run, I fear it could never work.


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