Secondary Character Saturday Alan Rickman: Colonel Brandon


[Courtesy Fan Pop]

[Click on the image for animated Alan; Image Courtesy Fan Pop]

Who: Colonel Brandon

 

From: Sense and Sensibility

 

Title page from the first edition of Jane Aust...

 

By: Jane Austen 

 

Published: 1811

 

Pros: Kind, considerate, thoughtful, decent, patient, gentle, faithful, honorable, sensitive, generous, caring… and , oh, yeah, RICH.

 

Although reserved and not passionate, he has a very good heart and helps out those in distress. His charitable behavior toward Eliza Williams and Edward Ferrars makes him the unnoticed knight in shining armor. [Book Rags.com]

 

Cons: Unromantic (on the surface at least), dull, remote, joyless, grave.  He appears stern and dour. especially when compared to Willoughby.

 

English: "when Colonel Brandon appeared i...

English: “when Colonel Brandon appeared it was too great a shock to be borne with calmness” – Marianne, expecting Willoughby, leaves after Colonel Brandon appears. Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. London: George Allen, 1899. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Most Shining Moment: Traveling from Cleveland to Barton Cottage overnight to fetch Mrs. Dashwood to Marianne’s sick-bed.

 

Not a moment was lost in delay of any kind. The horses arrived, even before they were expected, and Colonel Brandon only pressing her hand with a look of solemnity, and a few words spoken too low to reach her ear, hurried into the carriage. It was then about twelve o’clock, and she returned to her sister’s apartment to wait for the arrival of the apothecary, and to watch by her the rest of the night. [Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 43]

 

Least Shining Moment: [I love Brandon, don’t get me wrong. I don’t know that there is a bigger Brandon fan out there than yours truly. BUT … ]  Marianne (rightly) thinks Brandon too old for her. His attraction to her is largely based on a decades old attraction to another woman, Eliza Williams*, to whom he was separated from when he was shipped off to the Army. Essentially he is in love with a ghost from his past.   I know we live a different times but… crushing on some one who is nearly 20 years your junior because they remind you of lost love is a bit creepy, isn’t it? .

Brandon and Marianne (Kate Winslett) in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

Brandon and Marianne (Kate Winslet) in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

It is as good for him as it is for Marianne that it takes them the entire novel to get together. He’s a very patient man. And in the time it takes for her to realize that he is actually a wonderful guy, he has learned to appreciate her for who she really is (and not just as a substitute for his long-lost Eliza.) I think at the end of the novel Brandon really does love Marianne for herself. Perhaps that is the sweetest journey of all in the book.

 

He has clearly already had his heart-broken, and the romantic Marianne believes that everyone is fated to only love once; she prefers the young, handsome, and spontaneous Willoughby, who eventually jilts her. Proving that patience is a virtue, Brandon remains on the perimeter until Marianne gets over being jilted. Brandon’s character and temperament conform to Austen’s and Elinor’s idea of sense rather than sensibility. [Book Rags.com]

 

Alan Rickman played as Colonel Brandon in the 1995 movie directed by Ang Lee, from a screenplay by Emma Thompson. It was “the first cinematic Jane Austen adaptation in 50 years” [IMDb Sense and Sensibility] I love the movie. Like most Austen adaptions it swings wildly away from the book at times, but, still, Ahhhhh… it is a delight. And Rickman’s pitch perfect Brandon is certainly a big part of why I’m so fond of the film. He’s soooo somber, and the poor guy never seems to get his timing right. He’s always walking in just as  Marianne is expecting the more pleasant company of Willoughby.

As Marianne languishes in the other room, Brandon begs for a commission from Elinore. She suggests he fetch her mother, Mrs. Dashwood to Cleveland. [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

As Marianne languishes in the other room, Brandon begs for a commission from Elinore. She suggests he fetch her mother, Mrs. Dashwood to Cleveland. [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

The comparison between the two men (sensible Brandon and sensual Willoughby) is a secondary theme  in the book (it echos the dichotomy of the sisters’ relationship) but  the movie gives it a wonderful treatment with almost identical scenes of the male character carrying Marianne to safety through the rain. Willoughby does so almost effortlessly towards the beginning of the movie. He puts her down on her mother’s couch as if she is light as a feather. The episode hardly cost him any effort and Marianne is instantly besotted with him.  For Brandon it is a different story. He falls to his knees when he makes to the main hall at Cleveland. He’s spent every ounce of his energy in the task of finding and rescuing Marianne.  But, as she is lifted out of his arms, she is too ill to notice, much less thank him. … SIGH… for those of us who like a tablespoon of  unrequited love in our fiction it is a lovely scene.

 

 

 

Brandon reads to a recovering Marianne (in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility) [Image Courtesy Fan Pop]

Brandon reads to a recovering Marianne (in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility) [Image Courtesy Fan Pop]

*BTW: The Brandon and Eliza back story would make such a lovely historically based novel. Some one get on that please.

 

 

 

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About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

7 responses to “Secondary Character Saturday Alan Rickman: Colonel Brandon

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