briony tallis

Unlikable Women: Briony Tallis — owl machine

Unlikable women: short list; Elle Driver **Having never read the book the movie Atonement is based on, I can only talk about the movie version of the character. **I only have jumbled thoughts about her as well, so, proceed at your own risk. **spoilers for Atonement I don’t really think Briony is an unlikable woman, […]

Unlikable Women: Briony Tallis — owl machine

Here’s a fascinating post about Briony Tallis, who continues to be one of my favourite fictional characters ever written. (Even if the man who wrote her ended up, sigh, being a disappointment.)

I love me some unlikeable women.

Happy International Women’s Day!

To celebrate the occasion, here’s some of my favourite ladies from fiction!


Row 1: Amy Pond (Doctor Who), Sephy Hadley (Noughts and Crosses), Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU), Rose Tico (Star Wars), Elsa (Frozen/Disney), Melissa Chartres (The Last Man on Earth)

Row 2: Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth), Quinn Ergon (Final Space), The Thirteenth Doctor (Doctor Who), Princess Bubblegum (Adventure Time), Jane Foster (Thor/MCU), Amy Santiago (Brooklyn 99)

Row 3: Brook Soso (Orange is the New Black), Nebula (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU), Erica Dundee (The Last Man on Earth), Kitty Winter (Sherlock Holmes), Rose Tyler (Doctor Who), Briony Tallis (Atonement)

Row 4: Meredith Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU), Missandei (Game of Thrones), Rey (Star Wars), Donna Noble (Doctor Who), Carol Pilbasian (The Last Man on Earth), Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame/Disney)

Row 5: Sansa Stark (Game of Thrones), Ash Graven (Final Space), Tiana (The Princess and the Frog/Disney), Sophia Burset (Orange is the New Black), Misty (Pokemon), Clara Oswald (Doctor Who)

Row 6: Bill Potts (Doctor Who), Mary Brown (Paddington), Mako Mori (Pacific Rim), Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man), Jackie Tyler (Doctor Who), Ursula Ditkovich (Spider-Man)

Row 7: Yaz Khan (Doctor Who), Mary Jane Watson (Spider-Man), Marceline (Adventure Time), Michelle (10 Cloverfield Lane,), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow/MCU), Mantis (Guardians of the Galaxy (MCU)

Row 8: Eponine Thenardier (Les Miserables), Mabel Pines (Gravity Falls), Sandra Kaluiokalani (Superstore), Padme Amidala (Star Wars), Martha Jones (Doctor Who), Jasmine (Aladdin/Disney)

Row 9: Beru Whitesun (Star Wars), Nakia (Black Panther/MCU), Diana (Wonder Woman), Chummy Browne (Call the Midwife), Rosa Diaz (Brooklyn 99), Leia Organa (Star Wars)

sarah531:

Fictional characters who shaped my life (not in any order): Briony Tallis

I think people are scared of Briony, y’know. She failed to grasp the notion that other people were as real as her, that was her big mistake, and we’ve all been there. She thought she was doing right, or at least not doing wrong, but she messed up badly and we’ve all been there. She lived in a society where a man can rape a teenage girl and suffer no negative repercussions at all, and…

…we’ve all been there.

Anyway. James McAvoy thinks she’s rotting in hell, which causes me to wonder where exactly Paul Marshall is in that case. And also to wonder what Luc Cornet would have thought of that, because Briony was a good nurse and she lied to him when he was dying, the good comforting kind of lie. Briony went on to marry another Frenchman, actually, her marriage didn’t make it into the movie but got one sentence (one sentence!) in the book. I wonder how much her husband knew. I bet he loved her anyway. I hope he did.

Briony’s telling of Robbie and Cecilia’s story was also the good comforting kind of lie, and one that casts her (or did she cast herself?) as the architect of their destruction – but it wasn’t all her fault. Most of it is Paul Marshall’s fault, although he seems to get a pass for reasons Benedict Cumberbatch himself would be very disappointed in. Briony accused the wrong man, yes, but Cecilia and Robbie themselves came close to doing the same (“I suppose we owe an apology to Able Seaman Hardman”) and she was a child, thirteen years old, not even old enough to understand what she saw in the library.

Briony could have been anyone; could have been me. One fuzzy memory, one fear, one moment of ego and it’s all over. She was so busy being the hero of her own story she forgot she was also the supporting character of someone else’s. Scary, isn’t it?

She’s eventually punished in what must be the worst way imaginable for her: she’s a writer, a storyteller, but the dementia she’s been diagnosed with will cause her to lose all her stories- all her memories will fade away, and slowly. She was punished disproportionate to her crime, I think. She had a massive god complex- that was what caused her to try and give the characters Cecilia and Robbie a happy ending, while she could do nothing for the real people- but she tried to atone for it. To people like Luc and Fiona (do you know, I actually ship Briony/Fiona a little) she was a good person. And she never forgave herself for what she did, not even in her retelling of events, where she could have twisted the truth and didn’t.

She was arrogant and selfish and in many ways she wasn’t brave, but I don’t think she’s in hell. Or she’d better bloody not be.

Fictional characters who shaped my life (not in any order): Briony Tallis

I think people are scared of Briony, y’know. She failed to grasp the notion that other people were as real as her, that was her big mistake, and we’ve all been there. She thought she was doing right, or at least not doing wrong, but she messed up badly and we’ve all been there. She lived in a society where a man can rape a teenage girl and suffer no negative repercussions at all, and…

…we’ve all been there.

Anyway. James McAvoy thinks she’s rotting in hell, which causes me to wonder where exactly Paul Marshall is in that case. And also to wonder what Luc Cornet would have thought of that, because Briony was a good nurse and she lied to him when he was dying, the good comforting kind of lie. Briony went on to marry another Frenchman, actually, her marriage didn’t make it into the movie but got one sentence (one sentence!) in the book. I wonder how much her husband knew. I bet he loved her anyway. I hope he did.

Briony’s telling of Robbie and Cecilia’s story was also the good comforting kind of lie, and one that casts her (or did she cast herself?) as the architect of their destruction – but it wasn’t all her fault. Most of it is Paul Marshall’s fault, although he seems to get a pass for reasons Benedict Cumberbatch himself would be very disappointed in. Briony accused the wrong man, yes, but Cecilia and Robbie themselves came close to doing the same (“I suppose we owe an apology to Able Seaman Hardman”) and she was a child, thirteen years old, not even old enough to understand what she saw in the library.

Briony could have been anyone; could have been me. One fuzzy memory, one fear, one moment of ego and it’s all over. She was so busy being the hero of her own story she forgot she was also the supporting character of someone else’s. Scary, isn’t it?

She’s eventually punished in what must be the worst way imaginable for her: she’s a writer, a storyteller, but the dementia she’s been diagnosed with will cause her to lose all her stories- all her memories will fade away, and slowly. She was punished disproportionate to her crime, I think. She had a massive god complex- that was what caused her to try and give the characters Cecilia and Robbie a happy ending, while she could do nothing for the real people- but she tried to atone for it. To people like Luc and Fiona (do you know, I actually ship Briony/Fiona a little) she was a good person. And she never forgave herself for what she did, not even in her retelling of events, where she could have twisted the truth and didn’t.

She was arrogant and selfish and in many ways she wasn’t brave, but I don’t think she’s in hell. Or she’d better bloody not be.

underappreciated characters meme  > A character you love who is unfairly blamed for things going wrong

Briony Tallis – the teenage girl who’s considered the villain of her story and one of the vilest bitches in all literature. Her crime? Geniunely, if perhaps for complicated motives, thinking she was sending a rapist to prison.

(The actual rapist gets off scot-free, both in the book and amongst its readers.)

Briony

Briony Tallis was always my favourite character in Atonement, both book and movie. Most people I watch the movie with don’t understand why, and don’t have any sympathy for her in the slightest.

I always had sympathy for her. She was cold and arrogant and selfish, but I always related to her. When I was in high school I had this really amazing English teacher. She went off on tangents a lot and one day she was talking about some man she used to know, and then stopped and said “I should have married him.” She was married already, and I thought once, nasty thoughts like this pop into my head all the time, OCD and all that, what if I saw her with her husband one day and said to him, “She wishes she’d married someone else!”

Obviously I never did it. Plus it’s probably not even me thinking, it’s the OCD. But still. That’s why I could never not sympathise with Briony.