Literature / Parade's End
is the omnibus
name for a historical tetrology by Ford Maddox Ford about life before, during and after World War I
. The novels revolve around "the last Tory", Christopher Tietjens, a statistician from a wealthy, upper-class family who serves in the British Army, and his disastrous marriage.
The books in the series are:
- Some Do Not... (1924)
- No More Parades (1925)
- A Man Could Stand Up— (1926)
- Last Post (1928)
It was adapted by Tom Stoppard
as a BBC2
miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch
as Tietjens, Rebecca Hall as his wife Sylvia, and Adelaide Clemens as Valentine.
Contains Examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The Mini Series misses out the last book (set following the war).
- Actor Allusion: Christopher telling General Campion, "I am in command" is very similar to a line between the same actors in radio comedy Cabin Pressure, although this may be a coincidence.
- Betty and Veronica: Valentine and Sylvia. While personality-wise they're certainly Betty and Veronica respectively, the fact that Christopher is married to Sylvia makes Valentine the "dangerous" choice.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sylvia is this to General Campion by the end. Although Sylvia is this to pretty much everyone in general.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the book. Christopher and Valentine are able to finally live together in peace and Sylvia has a change of heart, but Mark passes away at the very end. The TV series is a more straightforward happy ending.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: And how!
- The Edwardian Era
- Fiery Redhead: Sylvia.
- General Failure: The British military command is seen as this by Christopher and, to some extent, Campion.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: YMMV as to which relationships "Good" and "Bad" apply to.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Christopher and Valentine, in contrast with cynical and selfish Fiery Redhead Sylvia.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Christopher and Valentine.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Sylvia uses this successfully on every male she wants to, except it doesn't work on Christopher. There's some suggestion that she loves him partly because of this, although it's also a major frustration.
- Karma Houdini: In the miniseries, not so much the book: Although Sylvia doesn't end up with Christopher as she originally wanted, she doesn't wind up any worse off at the end, despite her bad behavior - the miniseries leaves it hanging whether Campion will accept her marriage proposal, although in the script he does deny her.
- Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Christopher's employer expects him to fudge the numbers to help their political allies. Christopher's not happy about it.
- Love at First Sight: Valentine and Christopher both declare that they fell in love "from the first moment."
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Leads to Sylvia and Christopher's Shotgun Wedding.
- Manly Tears
- Meaningful Name: Valentine, Christopher's true love.
- Modern Major General: most of the army officers except for Christopher. Especially Captain McKechnie.
- Moment Killer: When Christopher is in Sylvia's hotel room in Rouen and Potty tries to barge in.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Christopher and McKechnie with their sonnet competition.
- Only Sane Man: Christopher can come across as this, given the hypocrisy of just about every other character.
- Rage Breaking Point: Christopher puts up with Sylvia's cheating and verbal abuse for years until she has the Groby tree cut down, via Mrs. de Bray Pape in the book.
- Rags to Riches: McMaster is very conscious of the difference between his own background and his friend Christopher's upper class privilege.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Christopher suffers memory lapses after a head injury in the war.
- Shotgun Wedding
- Spirited Young Lady: Valentine.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Christopher is considered an extreme example even by other Edwardians. The scene where he learns of his mother's death is a masterclass.
- The Hero: Christopher, unlike other war novels, the story focuses more Christopher's moral and psychological growth not really on the war even through he's part of it.
- Tragic Hero: Christopher. Mercifully averted in the end.
- Unfortunate Names: Potty. It seems even worse to a modern audience, but even in the period in which the book was set, "potty" meant crazy or insignificant; the adjective is used this way in the book in several places.
- Unrequited Tragic Maiden: Valentine is in love with Christopher, but he refuses to go against his morals and cheat on his wife with her until near the end.
- Upper-Class Twit: Potty Perowne.
- The Vicar: Reverend Duchemin comes across as the Dirty variety with his ranting about corsets and organs.
- War Is Hell: Ford wrote the novel after his own experiences in World War I and he doesn't pull any punches, nor does the miniseries.
- Who's Your Daddy?: The paternity of Sylvia's child is unclear.
- World War One
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Inverted when Sylvia's boyfriend, Potty, is scared that Christopher will beat him up, and Sylvia tells Potty he needn't worry because "[Christopher] would not do anything to a girl like you."