Inspired by several topics of conversation on the Enid Blyton Society Forums, “Fatty vs Julian”, I want to examine this comparison and why I believe it’s wrong to make it.
As a staunch fan of Julian Kirrin and not a fan of the ‘great’ Frederick Algernon Trotterville a.k.a Fatty, you might suspect that I will be biased towards Julian, but I will try not to be.
Now I hear you asking “Why can’t we compare Julian and Fatty?” To me the answer is quite simple in its way; they are too different.
When these comparisons come about, especially on the Enid Blyton Society Forums, Julian comes off rather worse. His character does not appear to be as popular as Fatty. For example in polls on the Enid Blyton Society Forums people were asked to select their favourite out of the two characters in 2006 and 2007.
In 2006, 90 votes were cast on the question “Who do you prefer? Julian or Fatty?”: Fatty won this poll with 57 votes (63%) leaving Julian trailing behind with 33 votes (37%).
A similar poll appeared in 2007, with just 21 votes cast, Fatty received 13 votes (62%) and Julian just 8 votes (38%).
From these two polls it would seem the die has been cast: Fatty is more popular than Julian (at least on the Enid Blyton Society Forums as it yet to be tested on another sample of people to check its validity). These statistics can give you a frame work to test the hypothesis that Fatty is more popular than Julian, but outside of Blyton forums, the story may be different. A reason why this might be is that in other circles, Enid Blyton is known more for her Famous Five than the Five Find-Outers which leads me to the point that universally, Julian may be considered the more popular character.
However, this isn’t the reason for this blog (unfortunately I don’t have the time or the resources to collect a representative sample of quantitative data on the more popular Enid Blyton male protagonist – anyway, there would be other characters to consider).
If you consider the popularity of these two characters within the Enid Blyton Society, the preference is clear BUT – and it is a big but in my mind – can you really, honestly and truly compare these two characters?
Some of the comments regarding these polls describe Fatty as one of a kind, a master of disguise, and a genius. Fatty naturally assumes the role of leader in the Five Find Outers, not because he is older than the other boys in the Five Find Outers (that would be Larry!) but because, as Fiona puts it:
“Fatty was deemed so clever and brilliant he was made leader.”
Whereas Julian assumed leadership of the Famous Five because he was the oldest member of the five and wouldn’t be one to take orders from his younger brother Dick. (In either series a female leader would never be considered.)
Fatty’s rare and somewhat unbelievable talents in disguise, ventriloquism, and as a linguist certainly put him miles apart from almost every Blyton character, not to mention Julian. Even with his brilliance, Fatty is not without fault. He can be boastful and arrogant which usually doesn’t provoke a reaction greater than teasing from the rest of the Find-Outers.
So where does that leave us in regards to Julian? Julian Kirrin has always been a favourite character of mine: admittedly not so much through the books but the 1996/7 TV series at first, but later on I grew to love his character more and more.
Julian Kirrin is the kind of boy I had always wished I knew: caring, in charge, forthright. Fatty always reminded me of the show off boys at school. Julian is and tends to be my dream boy.
Anyway, back to facts. As already mentioned, Julian assumes leadership of the Famous Five because of his age and maturity, not because of any fantastical talents. However Julian proves to be an outstanding leader: admittedly he gets it wrong sometimes (Five go down to the Sea) but he leads the Five with common sense and a sense of duty. Well someone has to put George in her place!
Let me ask you this: How would Fatty fair against George Kirrin? I’d like to see him try!
I know that part of the problem with Julian as a character is that he is “of his time”. Nowadays those traits that make him appeal to the old fashioned girl inside of me are no longer desirable. No woman in the 21st Century really wants a man who would tell her what to do. Julian is part of a class of men who are slowly dying out. People in a relationship today expect that workloads around the house should be shared equally, and not that the woman was supposed to play house!
Another part of Julian’s personality that puts him at odds with people is that he can be quite pompous on occasion (Five on a Hike Together is a prime example!). George does try to push these boundaries on occasion by asserting her favourite phrase ‘as good as a boy’ (Five go off to Camp is a good example). Underneath all the pomp and circumstance, Julian means well and is charged with a great responsibility in looking after everyone, and I do like a man in authority. *fans self* 😉
The point I seem to be failing to make is that it is hard to compare the two characters and get a conclusive answer as to who is the better character. Many will disagree with me, I’m sure.
I do think that Fatty needs to be in a category of his own because of he is one of a kind and too different to Julian who is compared to him unfavourably which is not fair.
In my mind, characters that you could compare Julian to more fairly would be Larry Daykin (the original leader of the Five Find-Outers), Philip Mannering and Jack Trent from the Adventure series, and Barney from the Barney Mysteries. These characters would probably be a better comparison to Julian Kirrin, than constantly comparing him to Frederick Algernon Trotterville.
With that said, the question “Should we ever compare Julian Kirrin and Frederick Algernon Trotterville?” still needs to be answered. My answer?
My answer is that these two shouldn’t really be compared but when they are, the statistics available to me show that Julian often loses unfairly. Instead, Fatty should have his own category because none of Blyton’s other characters would be able to match him. However, Julian has contemporaries amongst her other characters, which would make the comparison fairer for him.
One last word: Fatty may have a category all to himself, but I’d take steady, masterful Julian over the boastful and arrogant Frederick any day.
I bet if you asked Mr Goon which of these two lads he liked,he would prefer Julian. Julian unlike Fatty is more respectful of Policemen and does not plant false clues or play practical jokes.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Well, I would say Mr Goon was clearly not a person of good character so you cannot entirely call against fattty for this reason. He left no stone unturned in playing nasty tricks on fatty as well like leaving him locked in a cupboard or falsely forming a case against buster who could have been shot etc.
Don’t know how I missed this excellent post. But have really enjoyed reading it,thanks.
jolly good post! as with avinash, i too do not agree with planting false clues. and of the two characters, i would prefer julian, though i do like fatty as well. and i would like to see how the sparks fly when fatty is dealing with george!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Fatty is a superguy Julian is very simple and not very interesting. Fatty is brave, genius,intelligent and he is the one who makes me read the Five Find-Outers. I agree that Fatty is a little nasty and is the biggest rival of Mr Goon aka Clear Orf
Fatty wins without a doubt because julian is like a freaking boy scout sometimes and has a very uninteresting character and i really enjoy the rivalry between goon and fatty and most youngsters CAN relate to fatty more than julian
When I grew up in Germany I had several friends who read EB. The Famous Five was the most popular of her series and so was the Adventure series, but nobody ever mentioned the FFO & Dog. That’s why I didn’t discover it, before I was in my twenties. But by then the damage was done :). EB’s books were more interesting for me when it was about adventures, treasure hunts and secret passages let alone castles versus mysteries to be figured out in a sleepy little town at the Thames River. I think the FFO & Dog series makes for a nice read, but not nearly as exciting as the FF, Adventure or R series. The four characters in the Adventure series and the five characters in the FF series are described in a much more throrough way as the kids in the FFO & Dog with the exception of Fatty and Bets. The others are rather one-dimensional. But maybe that’s just me. I guess everybody expects something else from EB as the FFO & Dog overall seem to be more popular on EBS than the FF, Adventure series or R series.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I prefer Fatty to Julian simply because he comes across as the more interesting character.On paper , Fatty has it all -money, brains & a masterful personality . This could make for a very annoying character but Blyton balances it with all his individual quirks (such as his weight & bossy habits). He is also a young James Bond type with lots of gizmos & disguises . Fatty probably would be a fun person to actually speak to in real life ! Julian is too pompous & perfect (and thus boring) to leave any real impact on the reader. Must say here that Julian probably would make for better husband material ! Ha Ha Ha!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Well Nitasha, I totally disagree with you. Instead, Fatty was too pompous, arrogant and boastful. Julian was actually never pompous (even if he seemed to at times, he actually never meant to). He only always tried to protect his cousins. And about being him perfect or boring, well, he was much more active and playful than Fatty and at the same time, he was mature too. Fatty was a bit boring at times (though playful) and he was a bit immature (though he could be mature at times). Also, the characters from The Famous Five involved more in the story than the characters from The Five Find-Outers (except Bets and Fatty). I think I would prefer Julian to Fatty as he was way to better in maturity, gentleness, kindness and activeness than Fatty. Also, I think Julian was better than Fatty at skills too (skills not only involves detection, but swimming and sport skills, in which, Julian was way too better than Fatty).
LikeLiked by 2 people
You are probably right ,but I still feel Fatty would make for an interesting adult and would have outgrown the superior behavior. After all he is able to laugh at himself when the rest of them make fun of him ! Fatty appears to be the most interesting character in the series while it would undoubtedly be George in the FF books. I liked Dick more in the FF books , mainly from the one in which he shows empathy to Jo (forgot the name).
Well, you really have a point that Fatty is able to laugh at himself when the rest of them make fun of him, which when happens to Julian, is a little less friendly. But, I still think that Julian clearly defeats Fatty in bravery, fearless, forgiveness, friendliness, strength, playfulness, caring, activeness, responsibility, gentleness, maturity, common sense, manners and quick – thinking. Whereas, Fatty defeats Julian in studies studies, detecting and spy, detective and amazing tricks (like disguising, ventriloquism and escaping through a locked room.) These are the reasons, why I still think that Julian is more wonderful, interesting and intelligent than Fatty.
Julian has been written as a boy who never ever gets it wrong while Fatty is more tongue-in-cheek and not to be taken seriously. Fatty evolves better as a character from the first book (when he meets the other children) to the way he is depicted in later novels. There is a lot of fun about Fatty : weight problems, quirks and all. Julian is meant to be representative of the ideal English boy for that point of time (stiff upper lip and all that) . Julian is respected and obeyed because he’s the oldest in the FF series ; Fatty is admired due to his personality and intelligence and that’s why he is the one the others look up to though Larry is the actual head. I am so sorry to say this, but I find Julian (and Jack of the SS) too pompous and without any flaws to make for a really interesting character.
Great to see a fairly recent post. I’m in agreement with you on the character preference. I love Fatty and find his ‘vices’ make him far more interesting and multi dimensional than many Blyton characters. Personally, the FF books have little appeal for me. I can’t stand George and Julian is, as someone commented, like a particularly sanctimonious boy’s scout. I like Dick, and Anne’s quite sweet, but the most interesting character in the series is, without doubt, Timmy the dog.
Ohhh yes ,it’s Fatty’s quirks which lift him (and the books) from being a perfectly monotonous male character . I also like the way he always stands up for Bets and makes it a point to include her in everything . The way I see it , the FF series are mainly about George and her oddities whereas the Findouter series are all about Fatty. The FF books can survive to a large extent without Julian , but can you imagine the Findouters without Fatty or Buster ? Yes , I liked Anne too especially the book in which she finally rises like a tiger and blasts Winifred (forgot the name of the book) . I too always wanted a dog like Timmy , and I was perfectly willing to compromise with Scamper .
Fatty and Julian are entirely two different kind of persons. They both have certain common qualities like courage, leadership and honesty , still Fatty is definately the brighter of the two and a far more interesting person. True, he is boastful at times, but at the same time he is very kind and fair minded. Compared to Fatty, Julian comes out almost colourless and only being the eldest gives him an edge over the others whilst Fattys inherent talents place him in a different notch altogether. Dick can replace Julian without much loss to the story but if there was no Fatty, there would be no Find Outers at all.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Avan, I think you forgot about “Five Run Away Together”. The way Julian opposes the Stick family is not colourless at all.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sorry, but did you said ‘Julian comes out colorless’? To be honest, I personally think that Julian is far more strong, responsible, fair, respectful, caring, skilled, gentle, playful and active than Fatty. He might not be the ‘great Fatty’, he might not be as good at detective as Fatty, but he defeats Fatty clearly in quick – thinking, maturity and common sense. I also like Fatty. He is one of my favorite characters, but he gets defeated when compared to Julian and Jack from The Secret Series (for me).
I would like to see if Julian could actually replace Fatty. See if he could deceive Clear Orf better than Fatty
Julian’s just as clever as Fatty (in my humble opinion) but I can’t see him parading around as a host of red-headed boys or crotchety old men.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Both cannot be compared, as Famous Five and Five Find Outers cannot be compared.
The former is about children who have adventures, go on hikes, camping away by themselves and encounter dangerous situations. The latter is about children, at vacation, at home, solving mysteries and catching criminals by piecing together clues.
Julian is primarily shown as a thoughtful and responsible boy, which Fatty also is. Fatty is ingenious at piecing together puzzles of a crime, whereas even Julian is intelligent and acts quickly in any situation. Both are shown with their different respective outstanding characteristics, simply because they lead very different lives.
PS – I love Julian and Famous 5, it’s highly irreplaceable (especially in Today’s world). But, personally I am more into crimes and thefts, So i love the 5FindOuters more, especially Fatty and his ingenious insights 🙂
I like Julian. He is mature, dependable and good. Both have these qualities in equal measure but there is some spark in Fatty, (cannot find the right word for it ) that sets him apart. . That makes him more interesting and therein lies the rub.
The last Comment was by me, Avan N. Cooverji. I did not mean it to be anonymous, must have misprinted. Sorry.