First Term at Malory Towers – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 8

I’m intending for this to be the last part to this series, though I’ve realised there are five chapters of the book to go so I will have to see how that pans out.

Earlier posts are here: parts one, two, three, four, five and six.


Only two changes in this chapter, now we seem to be past all the slapping/scolding/shaking.

Gwendoline is described as double-faced by Sally originally, which is changed to the more common two-faced. I’m not sure I’ve heard or read double-faced before but I think it’s fairly clear what it means especially in the context.

In the same piece of dialogue Sally also says that Gwendoline doesn’t care tuppence about anyone but herself. This is altered to doesn’t care a penny. I can’t say I’m aware that caring or not caring tuppenceworth is a particularly common phrase but there are sayings like just my tuppenceworth which essentially means a small contribution to something, usually an opinion to a debate or conversation.

It seems silly to make tuppence into a penny then, as tuppence is still being used in conversation. It would be another opportunity for a child reader to ask learn historical currency if nothing else.


There’s a bit of inconsistency in this chapter regarding whether it’s bathing or swimming. Bathe is changed to swim on two occasions, and Mary-Lou’s bathing-things become her swimming costume. However, the first-formers go down to the pool in their bathing costumes and beach-gowns in both editions. I’d say beach-gown was even more outdated than bathing any-things.

As usual queer is replaced with something else, though this time it also gets very added in front of it which is new. Every other time it has been a straight change from queer to strange, odd or weird etc.

And lastly for this chapter they still haven’t figured out that hie and hi are not the same.

The original hardback has an illustration of Mary-Lou rushing into the pool to save Darrell, but there are no illustrations in the paperback.


Little of note is changed here. Another reference to hard slaps is altered to scolding and crest-fallen becomes crestfallen.


Next to nothing is altered in this chapter either. Just  a few hyphens are removed. Out-door shoes become outdoor shoes and pitch-darkness becomes pitch darkness.

Both Stanley Lloyd and Jenny Chapple depict Mary-Lou’s midnight search for evidence against Gwendoline, though in different chapters. Lloyd shows her looking in the cupboard in the locker room in chapter 22, while Chapple depicts her coming down the stairs in chapter 21.

Both versions of Mary-Lou look rather similar in their pyjamas, don’t they?


And the final chapter hasn’t got much to write about either. One last queer becomes funny, half-shyly ends up as half shyly, and in the silliest example yet, hie becomes hi again.

Hi, Mary-Lou! Good-bye! Utter nonsense!

I think that’s only four genuinely new changes, as I won’t count the hyphens being removed otherwise I’d be here all night. That makes a grand (and possibly not very accurate) total of 78 changes. That means we failed to reach the hundred changes I mused over in the last post, though I’m not sure whether to be glad or disappointed in that.

I’ve listed each and every alteration in my excel chart so I actually know there are 133 alterations there (though again, that’s not wholly accurate as I’ve only listed the first one or two times a hyphen is removed from a particular pair of words) but it is similar to the way I listed the Famous Five changes and Five on a Treasure Island only had 117 changes. That means First Term at Malory Towers holds the dubious honour of being the most edited title so far.

Most of the changes, if not all, seem unnecessary to me. There was nothing that a modern child should have been truly bamboozled by, and I didn’t see anything so offensive it had to be cut.

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2 Responses to First Term at Malory Towers – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 8

  1. Sumana says:

    Thank you so much for compiling this!

    I re-read the Malory Towers series this week and have been hankering for some conversation about the books, so reading your posts has been fascinating.

    As I was revisiting the books, I felt that there was something off about my newer editions, though it’s been so long since I read my old copy of First Term that I didn’t realise just how many changes had taken place. While I agree with most of the stylistic choices, I’m disappointed that so much of the content was altered — though I understand that the publishers don’t want to advocate violence, especially when the (intended) readers are young and impressionable.

    The money thing really threw me off. It probably would have made more sense to keep the money the same as it was then since the modern equivalents don’t really work.

    But yeah — once again, thanks for the posts; they’ve been a joy to read.


    • fiona says:

      Thank you, Sumana. I’m glad you found the posts of interest. It’s amazing how often I’ve glanced at a new(ish) copy of a Blyton book and know instinctively that it has been messed with, but have been unable to put my finger on exactly what has changed.


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