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Literature / Lorna Doone

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Written by R. D. Blackmore in 1869, Lorna Doone is the tale of John Ridds, an English freeholder in The West Country who falls in love with Lorna Doone, a woman from the family who killed his father. John is torn between his love for Lorna and desire for revenge on her family. Regarded as a classic of British Victorian literature, it has been adapted into no less than seven films and television series, the most recent of which was released in 2000 and featured future Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen and a young James McAvoy.


The book provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A Minor Kidroduction
  • Bandit Clan: The Doones.
  • Charles II: The book is set during the later years of his reign (1672-1685), and the brief reign of his brother James II (1685-1688); the rebellion of Charles' illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth against James, in which Tom Faggus gets caught up, is an important plot point, and John is knighted by King James. The legendary bawdiness of the Restoration period is rather subverted in the book (which, being written in the Victorian era, would have soft-pedaled it anyway); the main setting is among the quiet, church-going farmers of the Exmoor area.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • First Girl Wins
  • Gentleman Thief: Tom Faggus, a cousin of the Ridds' who eventually falls in love with and marries John's sister Annie.
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  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Numerous jokes are made throughout the book about John's huge size, including several gently teasing remarks by Lorna herself.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Chapter titles fall into this, leading to the Spoiler Title below.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Not (usually) deliberate on John's part (though sometimes he may protest too much), but many people who interact with him take him to be a very simple and dull fellow, interested only in wrestling and farming.
  • Only Sane Man: John comes off as this when he comments on the complicated political and legal maneuvering both in London and concerning the Doones.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The 'glass' necklace, which is in fact a very valuable diamond necklace which had originally belonged to Lorna's mother.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The Doones. One of the chief reasons they're able to maintain their reign of terror over Exmoor for so long is their connections with (and influence over) the local aristocracy, judiciary and government officials.
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  • Secondary Character Title
  • Shipper on Deck: John's mother, regarding him and Sally until he tells her the truth about his love for Lorna. His uncle regarding John and Ruth Huckaback. His sister, regarding John and Lorna.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Both John and Lorna, though John admits that, if he'd never known Lorna, he could have married Ruth Huckaback.
  • Spoiler Title: The chapter called "Blood on the Altar" gives a pretty good indication that something bad is going to happen at John and Lorna's wedding.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: For at least two thirds of the book.
  • Take That!: The book is absolutely crammed with cracks and slighting references about lawyers and the legal profession. Hilarious in Hindsight, and also qualifies as Self-Deprecation, because the author, R. D. Blackmore, was himself a lawyer (though unable to practice due to his epilepsy).
  • The Highwayman: Tom Faggus.
  • The West Country: Nearly the entire book, except for a segment in London about two-thirds of the way through, takes place in the counties of Somerset and Devon.
  • Uptown Girl: When we first meet her, Lorna is introduced as a relation of the aristocratic, if criminal, Doone clan. It turns out that she's the daughter of a young Scottish nobleman who was set upon and killed, along with his wife, by the Doones, who kidnapped the infant Lorna and raised her as one of their own. After she escapes the Doones with John's help, she's located by a rich relative, who brings her to London. John visits her there and foils an attempted robbery on said relative, which results in his knighting by King James II.
  • Wedding Smashers: John and Lorna's wedding is interrupted by Carver Doone shooting Lorna.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Averted!
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: If John had just shot Carver, Carver wouldn't have shot and very nearly killed Lorna at her wedding to John.
  • You Killed My Father: The incident that sets the whole plot of the book in motion. John's father is murdered while resisting a robbery led by Carver Doone, and while John is on his way back to the family homestead from public school after learning of the tragedy, he sees Lorna (as a child) for the first time.


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