Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Colonel Brandon would beat Mr. Darcy in a street fight.

Mr. Darcy is overrated.  There. I said it. His “I love you against my better judgment” attitude, when you think about it, is insulting. Yet somehow, when you ask women, “Which of Austen’s gentlemen is your favorite”, I would bet money that Darcy is the name that comes up.

Darn that Colin Firth.

For my money, Colonel Brandon is the hero I would like to ride off into the literary sunset with. Yet most people see him as the consolation prize Marianne Dashwood settles for in Sense and Sensibility.

I blame Alan Rickman. 

While Alan Rickman is fabulous as Snape, he is no Colin Firth. He’s no Colonel Brandon either. 

Colonel Brandon is supposed to be 35. Rickman was 49 when he played Brandon in the 1995 Emma Thompson vehicle. I would say my suspicions of why he is played so old, but it's impolite to mention a woman's age.

Jane Austen calls Brandon old ironically. She also says that his looks are pleasing, and that he is well-mannered and friendly.

He is called silent and grave, which I admit isn't squee inducing. But as you read, you find he’s silent, because he is worried. He’s grave because he is still carrying his first heartbreak.

He’s in pain… How cute is that?

He finds hope, and a path to happiness, when he falls in love with Marianne, but then he is rejected and finds himself the constant audience of Willoughby and Marianne’s obnoxious unmannerly show of love.

I've been there. It's obnoxious.

When he discovers Willoughby is worse than a jerk face loser he thinks he is, they duel, and Colonel Brandon is triumphant. His reward… Oh yay…now he gets to watch Marianne mope after Willoughby.

How sad, right? Can you imagine what it would be like to watch the person you love, wish that you were someone that you hate? Yet Colonel Brandon is kind, gentle, and forgiving. His heartbreak from his first love gives him understanding and sympathy for Marianne that none of the other characters can show.

Hmmm. Dreamy.

Because Sense and Sensibility belongs to Elinor, her love interest, Edward “ I’m engaged to a shallow mean girl, but I love you better, but I'm not going to do anything about it because my Mommy wouldn’t like it” Ferras becomes the main hero. But I would love to see a version of Sense and Sensibility where Colonel Brandon gets his due. 

And I think I know how to do it.

It’s simple. Cast Andrew-Lee Potts as Colonel Brandon.

Dreamy, right?

Andrew is most well known for playing Connor in Primeval ( shown on BBC America), or Hatter in the newest adaption of Alice and Wonderland ( shown on Syfy). So if you aren’t a sci fi dork, which I admit I am, you probably don’t know who he is. Don’t hold that against him.

I will say unequivocally, that no one can play the wounded lover better than Andrew-Lee Potts. No one.

What makes this English actor so affective, is not only his good looks, (Although he is adorable), it’s that he is enormously likable. When he loves a girl, he really loves her. It’s sweet and dorky and wonderful... as all the best love stories are.

So then, when he gets the girl, you get to watch this likable character get what he really wants. It’s a triumph. It’s dreamy.


Sorry… I got lost in my imagination for a little bit.

My bad.

So… Andrew. If you ever google your name and find yourself reading this, I have two things to say to you.

First… Hi.  Hello. How are you? I’m a big fan of your work.

And second… Please find a way to play Colonel Brandon in a movie the way you play Colonel Brandon in my head. (You are really good at it. Just so you know.) It could be your Colin Firth career-making role. Millions of Jane Austen fans, myself included, will thank you. 

You would even be doing Colonel Brandon a favor. Because honestly…Mr. Darcy who?


  1. Hmmm, I just might have to do a post defending my Darcy.

    I've never read Sense and Sensibility, but Colonel Brandon does sound pretty awesome. But no one beats Mr. Darcy.

    Off to highlight my copy of Pride and Prejudice.

  2. Having just watched the BBC version of P&P - twice * blush * I do like Darcy.

    But, I think you have a point, Sheena. Brandon is like the nice guy in so many YA books who the girl dumps for the bad boy. You know, the 'choice,' but not really cause you know the girl'd never go for him. I always feel sorry for that guy. (and no, Twilight's answer to that did not work - ick ick ick!)

    My personal fav of Austen's is Persuasion. Love the tension of the past relationship and cultural propriety and all.

    You all have read Autenland by Shannon Hale, haven't you??

  3. Austenland is one of my favorites. My copy of it is so highlighted and waterlogged I think I might have to ask for another one for Christmas.

    For the record, I do like Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Quite a lot. I just take issue to a couple of things, which I won't go into here.

    But thanks for commenting!

  4. No question that casting Alan Rickman vs. Colin Firth tips the scales in Darcy's favor.

    Oh, dear, now I have to admit never having read more than a few pages of Jane Austen, either. I just know we'll find some common reading ground soon enough :)

    Your post is making me want to pull out my free Kindle version and give it another shot...

  5. Susan, you make a good point about the nice guy heroes. I actually love all kinds of heroes, the rakes, the bad boys, the nice guys, the hopeless best friends. They are all awesome if done right and paired with the right girl.

    And Sheena, I definitely approve of your casting choice. :)

    And Sarah, you're not alone. The only Jane Austen book I've read is Pride and Prejudice. I definitely have more reading to do.

    Great post, Sheena.


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