Malory Towers

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The old book covers compared to the new ones.

Malory Towers is a series of six novels by British children's author Enid Blyton, featuring the fictional Cornish seaside boarding school of the same name. Though the originals were written from 1946 to 1951, the series Outlived Its Creator - in 2009 six more books were added to the series by author Pamela Cox, who has also made additions to Blyton's series St. Clare's.

The series follows the heroine, Darrell Rivers, from her first year at Malory Towers to when she leaves. Other characters include Sally Hope, Darrell's level-headed best friend; Felicity Rivers, Darrell's younger sister; Gwendoline Mary Lacey, the form's spoilt martyr; Alicia Johns, who is sharp tongued, competitive and intelligent; Mary-Lou, small and timid, but very kind hearted; Irene, scatterbrained music and maths genius; Belinda, scatterbrained artistic genius; Jean, shrewd and straightforward, and Wilhelmina (Bill), completely horse-mad.

The characters are very similar to those in the St. Clare's series.

The series is believed to be semi-autobiographical, and the name "Darrell Rivers" is clearly drawn from Blyton's second husband's name, Kenneth Darrell Waters. It is also widely supposed that Blyton based the creation on the famous Scottish boarding school St Leonards School in St Andrews, which is, of course, the heroine’s University destination.

A lot of information on the series can be found here.

Tropes used in Malory Towers include:
  • All's Well That Ends Well: The end of every book, pretty much.
  • Always Identical Twins: Averted - Connie and Ruth are fraternal twins, with Connie being physically larger, stronger and plumper than her twin with straight hair, wheras Ruth is smaller and skinnier with wavy hair.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Bridget to Moira.
  • Apron Matron: Their school's plump, strict but fair, motherly matron.
  • Back to School: The start of every book.
  • Beautiful All Along: Clarissa, once she takes off her glasses and gets her braces removed is revealed to be strikingly beautiful instead of just "plain" as she was considered before.
  • Blatant Lies: All of Gwen's boasting is seen as this by all other characters, except her mother, her governess and whichever gullible new kid is following her round this term.
  • Boarding School: The titular school.
  • Book Dumb
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Alicia, and Belinda at first.
  • British Accents: Including Joan's Scottish and the twins' "pleasant Irish lilt".
  • British Weather
  • Catch Your Death of Cold:
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Not Catholic, no, but near-constantly uniformed since they live at the school.
  • Character Focus: Generally, the first few chapters have quite a bit of this for each new girl to allow the reader to get to know them all.
  • Chaste Teens: Enforced, as it's a traditional fifties/sixties British single-sex Boarding School.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper
  • Clear Their Name: Happens several times, e.g. when Ellen is wrongly accused of stealing in Second Form at Malory Towers.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: In this first few books, this is Sally's flaw.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder
  • Coming of Age Story: Speaking about the whole series, yes.
  • Conspicuous Consumption
  • Corporal Punishment: Edited out in more recent versions. Alicia reminding her annoying cousin of how she was "spanked with a hairbrush" over the summer is changed to her reminding her she was "scolded.
  • Costume Porn: Some of the outfits made for the school play are stated to count as a combination of this and Gorgeous Period Dress made by a talented schoolgirl seamstress aided by legions of lower-formers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alicia ever so much.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Whoever designed the new covers for the books did do a pretty good job of making the characters look more modern and identifiable, but this was partly because they outright contradicted information about uniform etc stated in the books, dressing the girls in black blazers, white shirts and orange ties when the uniform is supposed to be an (admittedly horrifically ugly, though in-universe characters consider it attractive) brown and orange ensemble - brown tunic, brown hat with an orange band,
  • Divide and Conquer: When rivalries over who is whose best friend get to a head.
  • Don't Split Us Up: The twins Connie and Ruth, at least at first. However, when it is discovered that Connie is cheating with all her classes by copying Ruth, she is kept behind a year and Ruth discovers she actually likes not always being in her shadow.
  • Dreadful Musician
  • Dumb Blonde: Gwendoline MaryLacey and Maureen
  • Dysfunctional Family: Quite a sad one actually. Gwendoline's mother is an ignorant airhead who, together with her old governess, spoils Gwendoline completely while her father tries to stop this (which results in much tears and screaming) and is often disappointed by his daughter's actions. In turn Gwendoline acts offended and coldly towards him. She seems to have a moment of My God, What Have I Done? near the end when her father nearly diesthough.
  • Establishing Character Moment
  • Extreme Doormat: Catherine and Ruth. Mary-Lou initially, but she got better.
  • Fat Girl: Gwendoline and Maureen. May also count as Hollywood Pudgy due to differing standards back then (everyone was skinny in the wake of rationing!), or maybe it's just hilariously inaccurate drawing from whoever illustrated the Dragon books.
  • Food Porn: If written descriptions of dinners and midnight feasts count.
  • French Maid: Mary-Lou's speaks excellent French because her family employed one in the holidays.
  • Funny Foreigner: Their French mistress.
  • Giftedly Bad
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sometimes the girls can get rather...possessive over each other.

Darrell...didn't like to see the faithful Mary-Lou sitting so long with somebody else. Why, Mary-Lou had tagged along behind Darrell and Sally for terms and terms! Surely she wasn't going to make that awful Daphne her friend.

Mary-Lou thought Daphne was lovely. She couldn't help gazing and gazing at her. She would never, never like her as much as she liked Darrell and Sally, of course, but she couldn't help warming to her prettiness and nice manners.