Sunday, May 8, 2011
DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM, MOTHERHOOD (and Richard Armitage)
The story behind Darcy and Fitzwilliam began years ago when I first saw Laurence Olivier as Fitzwilliam Darcy. This man was chic. The character was a stylish alpha male without being a bully, sophisticated without losing a sense of humor. He was arrogant at first then humbled before a master of the cutting word – his Elizabeth. Why is it all women love to see a haughty man made weak at the knees with love? Who am I kidding?
My adoration for Darcy had begun.
Then there was Colin Firth in 1995 in all his beautiful Firthiness - exquisite smile, gorgeous hair, just enough masculinity to dazzle with a touch of vulnerability to make him loveable. He was a more aggressive Darcy, more in your face (hubba hubba). And love him we did. Most fervently.
But…it was not until the 2005 movie that I could no longer hold back my true Darcy feelings. It was Matthew Macfadyen, in all his Macfadyness that pushed me over the brink. He is a very big man that somehow comes across as elegant. He brought shyness to Darcy (never saw that coming) and a reason for his reticence to dance with Lizzy at the Assembly was suddenly more than mere snobbishness. When he batted his lashes at the end, muttering, “I l-l-love you – most ardently,” a few hundred thousand hearts were added to the Darcy heap. Mine among them.
I kept zeroing in on one scene, however, in the movie. The scene at Aunt Catherine’s when she grills and grills Lizzy about her mother, her sisters, her accomplishments, or lack thereof. Darcy is clearly mortified – his eyes glance at his Aunt’s face. She must appear to him to be a modified form of Mrs. Bennet, with better style sense.
He then glances at his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Fitzwilliam glances at him.
That was the birthplace of my book - a shared look by two young men, one uncomfortable and one snickering, one bemused and another embarrassed by an older cranky relative. My mind whirled with the associations, their secret look told me more than even the director had intended. They had a history with this old bat, as we all have a history with our crazy aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers. I identified completely.
I began to write.
Darcy and Fitzwilliam is mine. I know I owe Jane Austen a great deal but in the end, this book is my baby, my one and only child, the object that will exist in the world after I have left. It carries my name and my husband's name and my expression of love for that man (my husband, not Darcy) is bold and plain for all to see in my dedication.
This is my mother's day.
Posted by Karen V. Wasylowski at 11:40 AM