Monday, February 16, 2009

We seek him here, we seek him there...

Unexpectedly hungover on Valentine's Day due to unexpected drinking with a classmate on Friday the 13th, I thought reading the book she lent me was appropriate.

Having seen several film versions, the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel is all too familiar: mysterious Englishman rescues French aristocrats from the guillotine during the Reign of Terror. I didn't know the books were a series, so the movies I've seen must combine several plotlines. Otherwise, the Jane Seymour version (which I've seen the most, and really love) was pretty faithful to most of the book.

The part it wasn't faithful to was actually a relief. Something about having the "cleverest woman in Europe" "humbled" by walking miles, being captured and gagged by French spies, and sitting helpless in a useless attempt to try and save the man she loves (he's so clever, he doesn't need her help) from the harm she put him in in the first place just didn't sit well with me. I know, I know, it was written as a play in 1905 and takes place in 1792, not exactly eras strong on female autonomy and empowerment. (There's a lot of over-the-top, overly romantic pining and swooning going on, too.) Also, I guessed the "trick" of the daring escape at the end of the book, which is very different from the movies. That detracted a bit from the excitement of it all.

Other than that, it was a good adventure story.

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