someone who hates meanonymous (umm this is way bigger and more maudlin that what you asked for; see the Read More)
I wish we could have seen more interaction between Caroline and the characters who drive her actions. I mean, I had to use cast pictures for this because the source material gives me so little to work with, but whatever. I could whine about not enough Caroline for a really long time, and no one wants to see that. This isn’t her story anyway.
So someone requested basically the bottom right corner of this GIFset (“you and he would be disastrous”, juxtaposed with happy makeouts)
The thing is, I started making it, and, as usual thought way too much about the significance of these arcs in relation to Caroline.
Yes, Caroline is probably crushin’ on Darcy, although she’s never explicitly confirmed it. Lizzie said so a couple of times, and I talk about why it makes sense that LBD!Caroline, unlike Caroline Bingley, probably does have genuine feelings for him in this post.
But it isn’t that simple. Romantic jealousy alone as motive makes her coming after Lizzie seem idiotic, insane, or both. She has no claim on Darcy. None. I know Catherine de Bourgh is apparently #teamcaroline (vlog 54), but that’s kind of meaningless to Darcy in our cultural context.
I just don’t see Caroline losing out on Darcy as the only relevant part of her story. She loses more than one person she cares about.
It’s relatively rare, at least here in the U.S., for grown siblings to spend a lot of time together. I mean, that’s sort of a sweeping statement, but in my experience- especially when I compare people raised here to my relatives internationally- it’s rare. Caroline and Bing are unique that way, which suggests an especially close sibling relationship. The moments Caroline talks about protecting her family are oddly genuine (vlogs 64, 95).
I believe her when she says that stuff. I think she tries to watch out for Bing. He’s the kind of sweet and trusting guy who’s likely to get into scrapes, and he probably benefits from having shrewd, cynical people like Darcy and Caroline around. Don’t get me wrong; Caroline is completely overbearing about it, but I do think her heart’s in the right place.
A lot of people shrug at Darcy’s extreme protectiveness of Gigi- when Gigi, multiple times, asserts she doesn’t need or want it- because we know he has compelling personal justifications. I feel the same way about Caroline’s treatment of Bing. She acts the way she does out of a misguided instinct to protect him. It isn’t right, exactly, but it matters when you evaluate her character.
Now, about her ‘friendship’ with Lizzie…
It’s hard to fake an entire relationship. Seriously. Every relationship- friend, family, romantic partner- is about give-and-take. You can’t just lie your ass off all the time; you can’t maintain a facade forever, so you share pieces of yourself. Things you think are unimportant, or meaningless, but real things, nonetheless. You let people in, and you let your real self slip out.
Not to mention, unless you’re a complete sociopath, you can’t just manufacture feelings. Even friendly feelings. I mean, you can in the short-term. But not that credibly, for that long (they literally lived under the same roof for a month), without kind of believing them. Just a little.
I just find it really hard to believe that Caroline’s friendship with Lizzie was a complete sham. Caroline doesn’t seem like an especially friendly person in general (visits new town; spends all her time hanging out in a corner with Darcy). She’s tweeted twice about looking for stuff to do when the guys aren’t around. She clearly doesn’t have a lot of people to hang out with, so maybe Lizzie was…special.
So yeah, Darcy/Caroline doesn’t happen. But she loses more than that romantic possibility, and I think it’s a disservice to her character to merely read her as the scorned not-even-rival. She was friends with Darcy, too. She and her brother were close. And maybe her friendship with Lizzie wasn’t entirely a lie.
To me, the saddest part of Caroline’s entire arc is that she’s the one who systematically tears apart the relationships that matter to her.
She chooses to blow off Lizzie (and Jane). They’re collateral damage in her desire to protect Bing and Darcy. She can’t really go back to being friends with these women now.
She’s partly to blame for that indiscretion/ Bing leaving. Despite all of that, Bing ends up with Jane. He upends his entire life for this woman he knew for a few months- without consulting Caroline. For obvious reasons.
She’s the catalyst for Dizzie- puts that final nail in the coffin of the Caroline/Darcy nonstarter. Like, Darcy actually cites Lizzie’s conversation with Caroline as his reason to hope (vlog #98). I mean, Caroline is probably slamming her head against a really hard surface right now.
All of this pain she’s likely going through? She kind of had it coming.
And because I am clearly a strange person, I don’t hate her for any of that stuff. It makes me feel ten times worse for her. I’ve been that person who ruins things that actually really matter to me, and I sympathize. LBD made me love this character (one I barely thought about in P&P), and then watch her humiliate herself and destroy a lot of the things that are important to her.
Writers are such sadists.