Literature: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.Exactly What It Says on the Tin
. Really. Seth Grahame-Smith took the original text of Pride and Prejudice
, and spiced it up a little with Shaolin Kung Fu
, and the "unmentionables
," or zombies
. However, the basic story is remarkably unchanged. A recommended read for anyone who likes Regency romance or zombie mayhem. Or both.
A movie version is currently in the works.
A prequel is now released, Dawn of the Dreadfuls
. Also has a Spiritual Successor
, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
(and by now a whole new genre of Literary Mash-Ups
, as well). Grahame-Smith is also the writer of the parodic survival guide How to Survive a Horror Movie
and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Finally, the sequel Dreadfully Ever After
wraps up the whole story.
Has been known to show up on the "classic literature" shelves at Target.
Provides Examples Of:
- Action Girl - All the Bennets.
- Ascended Extra: Both Mary and Kitty in Dreadfully Ever After have larger roles then in the two previous books
- Adaptation Expansion - In a way. Zombies provide the impetus for a number of otherwise unexplained events in the original story, such as the presence of the militia regiment in Hertfordshire.
- Affectionate Parody - This book is infinitely more amusing if you actually read the original book.
- Apologetic Attacker - Jane Bennet.
- Attack Pattern Alpha - "Girls! Pentagram of Death!"
- Badass Normal - Mr. Bennet.
- Battle Couple - Elizabeth and Mr Darcy
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: In Dawn of the Dreadfuls Lt. Tindale swears that he will never let himself become a zombie. True to his word, when the battle becomes hopeless, he takes a last look at the window where the Bennet girls are watching and shoots himself in the head.
- In Dreadfully Ever After it is mentioned that Lady Catherine has a specific sword that she keeps to commit harakiri with in the case that she ever contract the "strange plague". In the same book, Darcy intends to use that sword on himself after he is infected and realizes that no one can stop him becoming a monster. However, that isn't how it ends.
- Big Bad: Lady Cathrine for Dreadfully Ever After if not the entire series.
- Blood Knight: Elizabeth becomes one of these.
- Body Horror - Yikes, Charlotte. And pretty much any scene involving a zombie. Period.
- The Caretaker - Lydia makes a surprisingly cheerful caretaker to Wickham post "eloping", once Mr. Darcy renders him quadriplegic.
- Crapsack World
- The Dandy: In Dreadfully Ever After, we have Bunny Mac Farquhar, a quintessential dandy, along with all of his friends.
- The Dead Have Eyes - Some do, some don't, but all zombies can hear and find their victims.
- Demoted to Extra: Jane only appears briefly in Dreadfully Ever After and Lydia is only mentioned
- Dirty Coward: In Dawn of the Dreadfuls Master Hawksworth frequently makes excuses to avoid fighting, and the one time he does join a battle he panics, steals another soldier's horse, and rides for his life, abandoning a hundred soldiers to be eaten by the zombie horde.
- We do find out in Dreadfully Ever After, however, that he got his due and spent the next few years trying to atone for his disgrace.
- The Ditz: Mrs. Bennet
- Double Entendre: See GCPTR below.
- Double Standard: Kitty recalls her father reminding her during a battle to appear dignified because, even though she is a deadly warrior who can claim more kills than an entire company of soldiers, she will always have more to prove.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Everything's Deader with Zombies
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Failure Is the Only Option - The antidote doesn't work.
- Follow the Leader - Quite a few other authors have attempted this sort of thing since, including "Mr. Darcy, Vampire."
- Fun Personified: Bunny Mac Farquhar. He is described time and again as a fool, constantly indulging in practical jokes, gambling, races, parties, etc. But he's actually one of the most open, happy, guileless characters in the series; all he really wants is to have fun.
- "He tried to put on a serious expression, but, lacking practice, failed miserably."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In-universe. Darcy and a silly girl have a discussion about how little she knows about balls. She, of course, is talking about a dance, and Elizabeth seems to be the only one who realizes that Darcy is "flirting with impropriety".
- Have a Gay Old Time - Lampshaded.
- Honor Before Reason - The girls often forgo carrying weapons or combat attire to uphold propriety, which means they frequently run into danger or "enemies" unarmed. Elizabeth at one point ties her dress with a modesty string so she can do hand stands without the skirt falling.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue - Elizabeth swiftly decapitates Lydia to shut her the hell up. Or not.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja
- Inverse Ninja Law - Averted. Elizabeth kills three ninjas one on one. Blindfolded. The third and most skilled she kills by catching and returning his own shuriken.
- Karma Houdini - In the original Pride and Prejudice, Wickham is something of a karma houdini. He gambles, contracts massive debts, and gets them payed off by almost marrying Georgiana and having Darcy hush it up, and later on actually marrying Lydia after eloping to keep it quiet (though marrying Lydia may be the far worst punishment). In this book, it's subverted. He's crippled for life and left to the care of Lydia, who herself has no concept of the fate in store for her.
- Katanas Are Just Better - Other weapons are used, and boot knives are more ladylike, but you can't beat a katana. Even if you trained in a Shaolin temple in China.
- Kill It with Fire - The burning grounds. Also done several times with small incendiaries by Elizabeth and Mr. Bennett.
- Kill Us Both: In Dawn of the Dreadfuls an infected Dr. Keckilpenny and a zombie.
- Lady of War - The Bennet girls, again. Lady Catherine, literally.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: The Bennet girls come across a zombie mother and infant (which they have never seen before and are deeply disturbed by) and find themselves unable to kill them. Afterward they swear never to talk about it.
- Mercy Kill - Elizabeth considers doing this for Charlotte before she starts turning, but decides against it.
- My Card: Appears several times. In Dreadfully Ever After Bunny actually uses his pet rabbit as a calling card once.
- Nice Guy: Charles Bingley
- Ninja Pirate Zombie... Romance?
- Not a Zombie - No one seems to notice Charlotte is slowly becoming a zombie until the last act of the book.
- Elizabeth knew - and kept helping Charlotte try to act proper - but not until she was told about it and then sworn to keep quiet.
- Lady Catherine definitely knew about it. The only reason she kept inviting over the Collins so often was so Charlotte could be fed antidote in her tea.
- Not So Stoic: Several characters have their moments, most noticeably Elizabeth as she is both the main viewpoint character and because she spends so much time maintaining a stoic appearance.
- Not Using the Z Word - Played with. Zombies are sometimes referred to as "zombies", but if a character is being proper, they call them "unmentionables" or similar.
- One Side of the Story: Several times, most notably from Elizabeth during Darcy's disastrous first proposal to her.
- The Plague
- Plot Hole: Many in Dawn of the Dreadfuls, as it was written by a different author. Errors include the girls' entire training, and more minor things such as the age at which Lydia slew her first zombie.
- Recycled In Space: Pride and Prejudice AND ZOMBIES! (We told you.)
- Rule of Cool
- Shrinking Violet: Georgiana Darcy is like this around strangers. Jane in Dawn of the Dreadfuls, to the extent that "Jane blushed and looked away" becomes something of a narrative catchphrase for her.
- Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: This series falls somewhere between a 3 and 4. It is set in patriarchal regency England, but women are by no means disregarded or not considered important or useful people. And of course, there are female warriors like the Bennets and Lady Catherine who smash the contemporary gender stereotypes to bits. Unmarried female warriors are begrudgingly accepted by society, but for a married woman to carry a sword would be an affront not only to her husband, but to "all English manhood". Most the gender inequality shows up in people mistakenly underestimating or pigeonholing the Bennets.
- Spear Counterpart: While not the same character, of course, Bunny is almost identical to Kitty in personality, (only, you know, a guy) which is part of why she is initially so attracted to him.
- The Stoic: Nezu, through and through. Invoked frequently with the Bennets, most often by Elizabeth or her father. This was part of their Shaolin training.
- Tearjerker: Elizabeth discovers a little boy zombie chained up in a bedroom and thinks it's some kind of sick joke until she realizes that his mother still loves him and keeps him around because he's all she has left. The scene is so pathetic that Elizabeth spares the boy and leaves the place in tears.
- Toilet Humour
- Training from Hell: The Bennett girls, again.
- Undead Child: Quite a few. Once the Bennett girls even see a zombie baby carried by a zombie mother.
- Unusual Euphemism: "most English parts," meaning a man's... oh, you know.
- Also the "unmentionables", "dreadfuls", or "the sorry stricken". Never the "z" word, watch your language!
- The Vicar: Mr. Cummings in Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Typically stiff and uptight, and gets so panicked in one scene with a zombie that he reads the wedding ceremony from his prayer book instead of last rights.
- The Virus
- War Is Hell: Especially if the opposing army is made up of the undead who eat your troops rather than just killing them.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Spoofed to hell and back in the book's discussion guide:
Some scholars believe that the zombies were a last-minute addition to the novel, requested by the publishers in a shameless attempt to boost sales. Others argue that the hordes of the living dead are integral to Jane Austen's plot and social commentary. What do you think? Can you imagine what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem
- World of Badass
- Zombie Apocalypse: Averted. Zombies are somewhere between a nuisance and an enemy army in terms of threat. Also, they appear to be confined to England.
The setting is functionally a Cosy Catastrophe played for laughs. Other than always traveling in well armed groups at all times to survive random zombie attacks (especially after winter), the characters all live comfortable lives for Brittish middle/upper classes. It should be mentioned though that in the backstory, zombies have completely overtaken Manchester and in the present repeatedly break down the gate of London Sector Six East. England has survived and made gains against them, but they are still a great enough threat that two can take out an entire kitchen staff.
- Zombie Gait: Some show more of this than others, depending on how long they have been (un)dead.
- Zombie Infectee: Charlotte Lucas.