Remember when you HAD to read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in high school? I’m guessing a number of you have re-read several times as an adult because you actually WANTED to. Whatever the case, it’s probably been awhile since read it or seen one of the numerous big or small screen adaptations. So, courtesy of PBS and Masterpiece, here’s a quick Cliff Notes Pride and Prejudice refresher course before we return to the land of Jane Austen and tonight’s premiere of Death Comes to Pemberley on PBS.
The Bennets: In Three Words
Jane: Generous, beautiful, serene
Elizabeth: Spirited, intelligent, witty
Mary: Bookish, plain, overlooked
Kitty: Flirty, idle, sidekick
Lydia: Impulsive, vain, spoiled
Mrs. Bennet: Superficial, gossipy, melodramatic
Mr. Bennet: Sarcastic, weary, apathetic
The Fitzwilliams: A Rundown
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Our prideful and prickly hero, the sexy Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, was given his mother’s surname (Lady Anne Darcy, née Fitzwilliam) according to the custom of the time among prominent families. He’s big brother to Georgiana, antagonist turned admirer of Elizabeth, and master of Pemberley.
Colonel Fitzwilliam: Darcy’s cousin and co-guardian of Georgiana, as the younger son of an Earl, is unable to marry freely and is obligated to unite with a woman in possession of a significant fortune. His father is brother to Darcy’s mother Lady Anne and Lady Catherine de Bourgh; hence his surname.
As the charming, handsome son of the elder Mr. Darcy’s steward, Wickham grew up as a brother to Darcy and with the support of Mr. Darcy, who even provided him with a gentleman’s education, intending for him to enter the clergy. But not long after both fathers had died, he abandoned the goal and asked Darcy for more money on the pretext of studying law. Wickham then squandered the large sum given him by Darcy, indulging his idle and dissolute ways. Cut off from more money and convinced that Darcy had cheated him out of an inheritance, he intended to seduce Georgiana Darcy and secure her fortune
Wickham nearly seduced the kind-hearted and naïve Georgiana Darcy when she was only 15, with the help of her dodgy then-governess, Mrs. Younge. Darcy learned of her plans to elope in time to bring her back from the edge of ruin.
Wickham & Lydia: A Match Made in Brighton
Two people couldn’t deserve each other more than Lydia Bennet and George Wickham. The caddish Wickham seduced flirtatious, impulsive Lydia in Brighton and they ran off together, as he fled his considerable gambling debts. Then, in exchange for payment of those debts, he opportunistically agreed to marry her.
Now that you’re all caught up and can match wits with any Austenite you may encounter today, don’t miss Elizabeth and Darcy’s hard-earned, albiet brief, (oops!, sorry, spoiler alert) happiness at Pemberley and Lydia and Wickham’s persona non grata status there; Wickham’s latest scandal-inducing imbroglio; Lydia and Mrs. Bennet’s dueling histrionics; Georgiana’s prospective suitors; Mr. Bennet’s attempt to find a library to disappear into, and…murder!
The two-part Death Comes to Pemberley series, airs tonight and Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! series and stars Matthew Rhys (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Americans), Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House, South Riding, Bletchley Circle), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) and Matthew Goode (Match Point, A Single Man, The Good Wife).