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.
- 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.
- Green-Eyed Redhead: Clarissa
- Green Eyes: Clarissa, and its status as a rare colour is portrayed quite realistically.
- Guilt by Coincidence
- Hair of Gold: Gwendoline and Daphne. Later Maureen.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Both the Mam'zelles and Darrell before she learns to control it.
- Huge Schoolgirl: Amanda.
- I Am Not My Father: Gwendoline for her mother after she repents and realises how weak she always was.
- I Have Brothers: Bill, the tomboy of the cast, has seven. Alicia has three.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Throughout the series Mary-Lou is shown to be friendly, loyal and honest and even overcomes her extreme shyness and her fears when she thinks that others need her help.
- Institutional Bullying: Instead of actually punishing them themselves, teachers often tell responsible members of a form that they should "do something" about Student X, commonly sending them to Coventry.
- Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
- Make Way for the Princess: The "snob" of the novel usually attempts this, often without success.
- New Transfer Student: The school gets a few new ones every year. Once because their school burnt down.
- New Year, Same Class: Averted - although the core cast of characters stays the same, some girls go up a form early or stay behind due to bad results.
- Nuclear Family: Most in the series - this was The Fifties, after all - including the protagonist's.
- One-Gender School: The titualar Malory Towers, like most schools that show up in Enid Blyton books, is one of these.
- Parental Favouritism: Darrel's best friend Sally was very scared of this in the first bookwhen her parents had a baby, and believed her parents sent her away to boarding school to get rid of her. Thankfully, her suspicions proved unfounded.
- Penny Among Diamonds
- Playing Sick: Gwendoline tries this in Upper Fourth at Malory Towers, faking a serious heart condition to get out of difficult end-of-term exams. She succesfully fools her mother, her governess and Mam'zelle and is sent home, but is eventually found out and sent back to school to take exams she didn't bother to study for.
- Pool Scene: In Upper Fourth at Malory Towers the girls have a midnight picnic by the pool.
- Popular Is Dumb: Averted - most popular students are shown as good people, with only one stated to be unintelligent.
- Raised by Grandparents
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Pretty much every teacher.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Betty and Alicia, Darrell and Sally, Mary-Lou and Daphne, Bill and Clarissa (who double up as Tomboy and Girly Girl). This was quite common in the fifties, although with quotes like this you have to wonder...
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.
- Rule of Pool: Students reluctant to swim are frequently pushed in, especially Gwendoline.
- Scholarship Student: Ellen.
- Schoolgirl Series
- School Nurse: The Matron also fills this role.
- School Play: The girls write and produce their own pantomime in In The Fifth At Malory Towers.
- School Swimsuit
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: Pretty much enforced, as the girls live at their school.
- Spoiled Brat: Gwendoline, and a huge one at that.
- Stern Teacher
- Sticky Fingers: Daphne, and (mistakenly) Ellen.
- Take My Hand: Twice! Firstly, in Second Form at Malory Towers Mary-Lou falls off a cliff and needs to be rescued like this, and then in Last Term at Malory Towers overconfident swimmer Amanda nearly drowns and we hear this during her rescue.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Alicia is this, sometimes bordering on Jerkass.
- Teacher's Pet: Various. Daphne manages it very successfully by turning on the charm with Mam'zelle Dupont.
- Teen Genius: Irene at music and maths (if nothing else), Belinda at art and Mavis at singing.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Clarissa.
- The Quiet One: Mary-Lou
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Bill and Clarissa, although Clarissa's not that girly she does have long hair and is generally beautiful.
- Tomboyish Name: Bill. It's short for Wilhelmina, but almost nobody calls her that. Unusual in that she never faces criticism for her boyish ways or people trying to make her change.
- True Colours
- Weather Report Narration: Fairly frequent at the start of chapters.
- Writing Lines: Happens quite often. Occasionally, if the punishment was deemed undeserved by the other girls they help do it together.