So far I have introduced Miss Grayling and the role she plays at Malory Towers, looked at some failures, experiments and girls who almost messed up their schooling. Now I’m going to have a look at the girls who can call themselves Malory Towers’ successes.
Well, you can’t write a post about Malory Towers’ successes without mentioning the heroine of the series, can you!
Darrell isn’t consistently a success, however. She has quite a lot of ups and downs. In her first year she slaps Gwendoline for ducking Mary-Lou and has a blazing row with Sally that culminates with Darrell pushing her over. She is always contrite moments after these outbursts and knows it is something she has to work on, and she learns to control her temper over her years at Malory Towers. Although she improves it is a slow and steady process, and she is not rewarded with the position of head of form until her fourth year. She then manages to lose it part way through the year by shaking June Johns in a temper.
After that Darrell does still become games captain in the fifth form – as well as penning the entire script for a pantomime – and is even head girl in the sixth form.
In her final year she takes the new girls to Miss Grayling in order to hear her inspiring speech again (quoted here) and after, Miss Grayling speaks to her. She adds something to her speech though;
Six years ago I said those words to Darrell. She is one who has got a great deal out of her time here – and there is no one who has given more back than Darrell has.
The after the awed new girls leave she speaks to Darrell in private.
You are one of our successes, Darrell. One of our biggest successes. Sally is another, and so is Mary-Lou.
She adds that there is only one true failure, Gwendoline Mary (who I discussed at length before) and asks Darrell to try to influence Gwen to heal the rift with her father. Although Darrell is ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavour she does do what she can to help Gwen when she leaves Malory Towers unexpectedly.
After Malory Towers she plans to head to St Andrews University (and if you read some of our fan fiction you can see what she gets up to there).
Below; Darrell comes out at the end of the pantomime.
Sally spends most of her first year being secretive and sullen, but we discover that she is feeling pushed aside by a new sibling. After she mends her relationship with her mother and becomes best friends with Darrell she settles into being steady and dependable – so much so that she is head of the second form the next year.
She is excellent at tennis and swimming, and becomes head of games in her sixth year. She spends her time in the upper school working very hard in supporting the younger girls to excel at sports. As above she is called one of Malory Towers biggest successes by Miss Grayling, and she heads to St Andrews with Darrell when she leaves.
Below; Sally is pushed over by Darrell
Irene is lovable and all the girls are fond of her, finding her forgetfulness very amusing. She is a genius at both maths and music, but it is music that dominates her time at Malory Towers. She is always humming ditties and tapping rhythms, sometimes getting herself into trouble for doing so. She writes all the music for the fifth years’ pantomime and leaves Malory Towers to pursue a career in music at Guildhall.
Below; Irene almost takes out Belinda’s eye with a hairbrush
Belinda is similar to Irene in the gifted but hopeless category. She, like Irene is a popular girl though her passion is art. She is marvellous at drawing and painting. She designs and paints all the scenery for the fifth form pantomime and after Malory Towers she attends a school of art.
Below; Belinda adds a scowl to her sketchbook
Throughout her time at Malory Towers Mary-Lou is described as timid and quiet. She is, however, also fiercely loyal and a good friend. She is kind-hearted and never has a bad word to say about anyone. Mary-Lou goes on to train as a children’s nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital after she leaves school.
Below; in a moment of bravery Mary-Lou investigates who the real culprit is
Although we don’t see Felicity completing her time at Malory Towers (at least not in the canonical Blyton books which to me are the only ones which count!) I feel she was destined to be a success.
She follows in Darrell’s footsteps in intelligence and sporting prowess but she doesn’t have her sister’s temper, which makes life easier for her. She can be a little too easily led at times, and follows June a bit too long, but she realises that sensible Susan is a better friend than devil-may-care June and settles down.
Darrell has thoroughly impressed upon her the importance of doing well at Malory Towers and carrying on the tradition she has set, and so I’m sure Felicity does very well.
There are, of course, other girls who are well-liked and leave on good terms. Clarissa and Bill open a riding school, Janet trains as a dress designer and so on. Most of the girls who almost messed it up end up successful – Mavis leaves to train as a singer and Amanda stays on to coach younger girls before attempting to continue her Olympic career for example. There must also be hundreds of girls from other forms and other towers who do well, but Blyton naturally chose to focus on a select number of them.