1. I didn’t own the full series as a child, but I’m not sure exactly what I did have. Fifth Form I had bought from the library for 20p, and Second Form I bought an Armada paperback somewhere eventually. I think most of the times I read Malory Towers it was books borrowed from the library.
2. My favourite was always Second Form, perhaps because I read it less often and therefore there was more anticipation of that thrilling finale with Mary-Lou and Daphne on the cliffs.
3. I always pronounced Alicia wrongly in my head as a child and have to correct myself now. It could either be Ah-leesh-ah or Ah-lissy-ah but I thought it was literally the name Alice, followed by an ‘ah’ sound. It was a friend who kindly corrected me one day.
4. I’ve always thought the brown and orange Malory Towers uniform sounded quite ugly, and wonder how Darrell could have liked it so much.
5. Despite loving the books I never had the desire to go to boarding school, sharing a dormitory with five other girls you might hate? No thanks. However, the rocky swimming-pool I would have loved, as I love sea-swimming and swimming in general.
6. I (shock, horror!) often prefer Jenny Chapple’s illustrations to the originals by Stanley Lloyd. Lloyd’s are more detailed and more skilled, but they are so grey and dreary-looking. Jenny Chapple’s are perhaps a touch ‘wibbly-lined’ but they have more character and despite being done some twenty years later for the Armada paperbacks, they are quite in-keeping with the time they are set.
7. I sometimes have cried at both the end of the series and at the end of the pantomime in the fifth book.
8. I have never read the continuation books by Pamela Cox, though I would like to. I have them for my Kindle already, so some day I will read and review them.
9. I always picture Deirdre the first-former in the last book as a tiny version of Deirdre from Coronation St. That hair, those glasses, just the size and age of a petite 11 year old. I think back then that was the only other Deirdre I’d heard of, so that’s how she looked to me.
10. I was struggling to come up with a tenth so I am going to put a totally random thing here, yes, more random than tiny Deirdre Barlow/Rashid. I read a 1980’s Methuen edition of Upper Fourth many times, and the cover always made me think the girls were going out at night in very ‘American’ clothes – it’s actually their pyjamas!
So that is my hodge-podge of Malory Towers facts. What would yours be?
Just one shocking fact. I never read Malory Towers as a child. I read The Naughtiest Girl, and some of St Claire’s, but MT is only a recent thing.
Truly shocking, Jill! (Even though I never read any St Clare’s as a child myself…)
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I read all these umpteen times as a kid. I love the idea of Deirdre being a miniature Deirdre Barlow! I pronounced Alicia as Al-iss-ee-A, but it usually seems to be pronounced Aleesha now.
As an adult I still can’t quite shake the mental image of a little Dierdre Barlow in a Malory Towers uniform, crazy how the mind works sometimes!
I read the books many times when I was a child.
i used to pronounce Alicia Alice-a
I loved the Malory Towers series but one thing about Blyton’s attitude really bothers me – the idea that you’re a coward or weak if you’re scared of things. This is theme that she seemed to enjoy using throughout her canon. Now, I have overcome and had to face up a lot of stuff in my life, yet I am utterly petrified of thunderstorms. I do not believe that this makes me a weak person, I have tried my utmost to face up to this fear but nothing I have tried has work. I realise that it’s the sort of attitude prevalent from the time Blyton comes from but reading as a child it always made me feel a bit upset and small. Not very helpful in trying to overcome my phobia.
I have to agree with you. It didn’t bother me when I read her books as a kid as I loved animals and I was hardly afraid of things. I took on her attitude and actually started sneering at classmates who were frightened of small creatures like mouse and cockroaches. I learnt from Blyton that’s it’s not good to be blonde, gentle or pretty, or wear pretty things because that made you silly.
When I reread the books as an adult, I was horrified. And ashamed. How many friends did I scold because they were afraid of spiders or something. Or the many times I chose boring looking clothes in favour of pretty ones that my mum had suggested. 😅😅
I’m more careful about presenting Enid Blyton books to my nieces and I’m very sure to remind them that it’s ok to be afraid of things, or to be gentle or to love pretty frilly frocks. It does make anyone weak to be gentle or to be afraid, and we shouldn’t be quick to judge people who are different from us.
While I agree about mocking children for their fears, I don’t think that Blyton says it’s not good to like pretty things or being pretty, but it’s not good to focus on that to the exclusion of everything else. For example if you insist on always wearing the pretty dress you will miss out on all the benefits of playing in the garden because you’re too worried about grass stains. The children she singles out for criticism on that front are girls who a) judge their own worth on how they look and talk b) judge others the same way and c) are so preoccupied with style that they aren’t making the most of their time at school to learn other skills.
I have to agree with you on the uniform! It sounded hideous to me back when I was a child and still do now. Why dark brown? Why not the universally loved navy blue? I find the uniform in the TV series adaptation even more frightful. They look like maids’ uniforms.
And yes, I used to cry whenever I reread the the Sixth Form at Malory Towers because I knew there was to be no more 😩