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Literature / Northanger Abbey

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No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.
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The definitive Gothic parody, Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first completed novel, which she originally entitled "Susan"; it developed further the satiric vein found in her juvenilia, such as Love and Freindship. However, circumstances prevented the novel from being published until after her death in 1817.

The fourth of ten children, and eldest daughter, 17-year-old Catherine Morland is a Tomboy grown into a major Gothic Novel fangirl. She's become so involved in reading that she fancies herself as the heroine of such a work as The Mysteries of Udolpho. One day, she is invited to come along with the childless Allens for a trip to the spring resort of Bath. There, she meets two families, the Thorpes and the Tilneys. The Thorpes' eldest son, the egocentric twit John, tries to woo her. However, Catherine fancies the Tilneys' second son, the gentleman Henry. Henry's father, General Tilney, invites Catherine to the Tilneys' estate, the eponymous Northanger Abbey. There, Catherine's expectations of the world clash with bitter reality.

Countering the Adaptation Overdosed tendency of Austen's other works, this has to be the least adapted of all her works. It was twice adapted into Made for TV Movies, once by The BBC in 1986 and once by ITV in 2007. The PBS series Wishbone also used it as the basis of an episode, with the eponymous dog in the role of Henry. Marvel Illustrated released a Comic-Book Adaptation starting November 2011, script by Nancy Butler, pencils and inks by Janet Lee, and covers by Julian Totino Tedesco. It was also the second book given a modern day Setting Update by The Austen Project, written by Val McDermid.

The novel provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: General Tilney might be seen as emotionally abusive. His behavior to his children goes from overbearing to terrorizing, and it's clear that Eleanor fears him. Catherine even wonders why his children are always so sedate when he's present.
  • Adults Are Useless: Mrs. Allen fails to do her job when it comes to advising Catherine on etiquette. She fails at it so completely, in fact, that Catherine finally complains that she's being left dangerously to her own devices. Mr. Allen is somewhat more useful in that he takes some pains to find out if Henry Tilney is a respectable young man after Catherine is introduced to him.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Gothic Romances.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Mrs. Morland is unaware of this, and does not warn her daughter against the peril.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Gothic romance novel fangirl Catherine gets to spend some weeks in a Gothic abbey. The trope is ultimately subverted, when Catherine is proven to be Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • Aside Glance: While the book can't accomplish a true one, being a book, this is the purpose of Henry and Eleanor's pause and shared glance when Catherine casually mentions that their father doesn't care about his children marrying into money at all.
  • Author Filibuster: Austen screeches the plot to a halt early on to rant about how novels are undeservedly thought of as low art and how their authors should stop taking potshots at their own art by portraying their heroines as too smart and virtuous to ever read such a thing as a novel.
  • Big Bad: John Thorpe, who is the main source of Catherine's problems and does his best to drive a wedge between her and Henry Tilney - even after he disappears from the novel.
  • Big Fancy House: Northanger Abbey from the title. Catherine is disappointed, as it is too fancy and too comfortable for her taste. She would have preferred something of a haunted house.
  • Black-and-White Morality: This is Catherine's firm belief at the opening of the novel. In the end, you could argue that the novel encourages to consider things as The Good, the Bad, and the Evil with a lot of A Lighter Shade of Grey and Classical Anti-Hero (Catherine, despite being moral, being this).
  • Building of Adventure: Catherine expects the abbey to be full of spiderwebs, hidden rooms, and dark Gothic secrets, and is rather disappointed when it turns out to be just an elegant building with every modern comfort.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Deliberately invoked by the Lemony Narrator to deliberately narrowly avert an Ass Pull! It's thoroughly lampshaded by the narrator, who says she knows it's "against the rules" to introduce a character like this at the eleventh hour and therefore points to the laundry list as sufficient foreshadowing.
  • Clock King: General Tilney. And then he'll yell at you for rushing.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After Isabella and James are officially engaged, John Thorpe makes a pass at Catherine by saying that they will go to the wedding and try the truth of the old song "Going To One Wedding Brings On Another".
    Catherine: But I never sing.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Catherine has all these suspicions about the Tilneys and the abbey, all of them based on nothing except conventions of Gothic novels, and jumping to wild conclusions based on tiny discrepancies in what she thinks someone's behaviour should be. For this, she earns the title of Idiot Hero, because although she tends to be smart if naïve in other matters, here she drops down right into deep stupidity. She gets better, though.
  • Coordinated Clothes:
    • Isabella Thorpe, a reputed beauty, tries to invoke the trope by suggesting her newest, bestest friend Catherine that they should be dressed exactly like each other because men often do take notice of that. She probably wants to invoke the beautiful twins image and attract attention. The innocent Catherine doesn't follow.
    • Isabella's younger and less attractive sisters Maria and Anne try to imitate Isabella's style and they dress like her. According to the narrator, it kind of works, but their rude brother John thinks his younger sisters are laughable and quirky.
  • Dances and Balls: Catherine attends a number of these when she visits Bath, and meets Henry Tilney at one. At first Catherine finds the balls of Bath torturous, because she doesn't know anybody and therefore can't dance or talk to anyone. A master of ceremonies explicitly introduces strangers in town, such as Miss Morland, and is responsible for her introduction to Henry Tilney as a young man of very good character.
  • Death by Childbirth: Since this was a Dead Horse Trope even in Austen's day, she explicitly points out in the first paragraph that this did not happen to Mrs. Morland. In fact, she went on to raise ten children (Catherine is the fourth) and is still happily alive when the book ends.
  • Deus ex Machina: General Tilney refused to let Catherine wed Henry only because he did not want Henry to marry a poor girl. But when his daughter Eleanor marries a nobleman, it makes him happy enough to consent to his son's marrying whomever he wants (although it also doesn't hurt when he finds out that Catherine's not as poor as he thought). By the way, remember the laundry list? That was said rich man's.
  • Doorstop Baby: No family in Catherine's neighborhood raised a boy found on their doorstep. No wonder she had to leave home to have adventures.
  • Double Entendre:
    General Tilney (who has been aggressively pushing Catherine and Henry together throughout the entire novel, as he believes she is an heiress, on the morning of his departure from Northanger): I trust you will be able to entertain our guest properly while I am gone, Henry?
  • Double Standard: In an inversion from the usual. When Catherine is upset at Captain Tilney's flirting with Isabella, whom he knows to be engaged, Henry and Eleanor point out that Isabella is actively courting his attentions.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: After Catherine hears from her friend Eleanor that she's being thrown out of their house unceremoniously, she sits down breathless and speechless. It was a major breach of the Sacred Hospitality.
  • Drives Like Crazy: John Thorpe. The scene where he invites Catherine for a ride in his carriage is actually rather terrifying, especially since he refuses to listen to her insistent pleas to stop and let her get out. It's hard to tell how crazily he's actually driving, since Catherine's sensibilities for such things are probably pretty low, but Henry Tilney is much more sensible.
  • False Friend: The Thorpe siblings for the Morland siblings. John Thorpe is a dishonest braggart; Catherine pegs him as one instantly but James sees no fault in him until much later. Isabella is just as bad, using Catherine as a convenient source of entertainment and pursing James only because she believes him rich.
  • First-Name Basis: Isabella and Catherine reach this very quickly, which is unusual for the time period and is an indication of just how quickly they jumped into their deep friendship.
  • Gaslighting: John and Isabella Thorpe both accuse Catherine of having promised everything from a dance to a ride to an engagement of marriage, and when she protests, they try to convince her that she has a terrible memory.
  • Generation Xerox : Notably averted as Catherine has to do a lot of effort to see, between a very realistic painting of their mother on the one hand and Henry and Eleanor on the other, any resemblance. The same, in mind, happens with their father: Henry Tilney is kind, generous, satirical and open, while his father is mean, mercenary, ridiculous for the narrator, and mysterious.
  • Gold Digger: The Thorpes, who take the Morlands for being very rich and do everything they can to attach to them. (The Morlands, while comfortable in finances, are hardly Darcy and Pemberley.)
  • Good Parents: Catherine's parents, Mr and Mrs Morland, are loving, reasonable and responsible people who value happiness of all their children. Mr Morland agrees to James' engagement to Isabella Thorpe; a girl he loves but who has no dowry. James and Catherine think that their father is both supportive and fair and gives them as much as he can, considering his large family, while the Thorpes think Mr Morland is being mean and should give them more. Mrs Morland is very good, practical and kind, though she fails to see that Catherine is actually lovesick when she returns home from the Abbey. She's also very nice to Henry when she does not hold his father's rudeness to Catherine against him.
  • Hate Sink: John Thorpe is James Morland’s friend and a boorish Gold Digger who seeks to marry Catherine Morland, mistakenly believing her to be a rich heiress. Desiring to have Catherine all to himself, Thorpe makes repeated attempts to sabotage her attempts to make friends with the Tilney family, making shameless lies to force her to spend time with him. Thorpe also lies to General Tilney about Catherine’s wealth to get him to drive up his own prospects. When this backfires with the General pushing Catherine towards his son Henry, Thorpe slanders Catherine to General Tilney by projecting his own situation onto Catherine’s family, prompting him to throw Catherine, who is staying with the Tilneys at this point, out of the house in the dead of night. A shameless liar who talks of nothing but carriages and horses and speaks with crude language, John Thorpe is the closest thing to a Big Bad in this novel.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • Catherine "remembered that her eldest brother had lately formed an intimacy with a young man of his own college". At the time this would be a strong, deep bond known as a romantic friendship. Friend couples hugged, kissed, just slept together,note  wrote passionate letters, and pledged their devotion with rings, locks of hair and keepsakes. There were even church ceremonies to solemnize their platonic union.
    • Henry Tilney refers to himself as a "queer man".
    • Mrs. Allen uses the word "fag" to describe a long, tiring voyage.
    • The definition of "quiz" is different than the modern; to quiz something was to mock it, and a quiz (or quizzer, occasionally) was someone who made an easy target for such sport.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Isabella Thorpe tends to passionately declare her convictions and then contradict them with her actions just moments later. Near the start, she complains loudly about two men who are supposedly watching her, and then she drags Catherine to chase after them when they leave the room.
  • Identical Grandson: Catherine expects this of Henry's mother's portrait.
  • I Do Not Speak Nonverbal: Mrs. Allen explicitly doesn't pick up Catherine's nonverbal hints that Catherine wants a specific answer about whether or not to go with her brother and the Thorpes on a day trip.
  • I Gave My Word: Henry proposes marriage to Catherine and then tells her his father forbade it. She's glad, saying that if she learned first of the objection, she would have been honor bound to turn Henry down. But now that she accepted him, she's bound to keep her promise.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Mrs. Allen and Catherine are close companions, even though Mrs. Allen is old enough to be Catherine's mother (judging by her being Mrs. Thorpe's old schoolmate).
  • Irony: After the incident with the late Mrs. Tilney's old rooms, Catherine resolves to leave her suspicions of Gothically despicable behavior in novels rather than expecting to see it in reality. A short time later, General Tilney takes actions worthy of a Gothic villain by flinging her out of her house to an unprotected journey of seventy miles, forcing his daughter to deliver the order, and forbidding his son from marrying her due to her lack of wealth.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery:
    • Subverted with Isabella and her younger sisters. Isabella is the beauty of the family and she gets imitated, but not irritated. She might even be pleased that she's a star.
    • Played straight when one girl tries to copy Isabella's look and wears a turban like Isabella does. In Isabella's opinion, Charlotte does not pull it off, as turbans only suit her own fair face.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Everywhere. The narrator never misses an opportunity to point out Catherine's failures to take advantage of a potentially dramatic situation and is constantly playing up her everyday, ordinary encounters as though they were the terrifying events of a Gothic novel.
    • The BBC Radio adaptation adds more; at the beginning of the second episode, Mrs Allen recounts the events of the first to her husband, who replies "Thank you, my dear, for that clear account of Catherine's adventures to date."
  • Lemony Narrator: Austen's most prominent use of the trope. Not only does she wink at every point where Catherine's wishes for Gothic drama stubbornly remain a comedy of manners, she also has some pointed comments on everyday life in the Regency... such as how a woman who knows something had better conceal it as best as she can. She also dispels any overly-romantic notions, notes how the reader can probably tell what will happen based on how many pages they are left, and pokes fun at moralists who think that novels lead their young readers into dangerous notions.
  • Lighter and Softer: Austen's shortest book, with a much more overtly comedic tone than her others. Unlike her others, there is no actual threat to the main characters' reputation or financial future, and even the unhappiness arising from misplaced affections is implied to produce nothing worse than a valuable life lesson.
  • Love Triangle: Two of them, with each person in one a sibling of someone in the other — John Thorpe/Catherine Morland/Henry Tilney, and James Morland/Isabella Thorpe/Frederick Tilney. Yes, this makes things awkward.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings:
    • There are 10 Morland siblings.
    • There's also six Thorpes, three sons and three daughters. There's John, Edward, and William (the latter two don't appear) and Isabella, Maria, and Anne.
  • Mating Dance: Dancing is a metaphor for marriage, according to Henry Tilney.
  • Meaningful Rename: Lampshaded and Subverted as Catherine's younger sister Sally changes her name to... Sarah, for what young lady of common gentility will reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can?
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Inverted during Catherine's stay with the Tilneys. While on a pleasant walk, Eleanor and Henry start talking about the path in terms of painting it, making Catherine feel that her own, less complicated enjoyment is inferior.
  • Missing Mom: Mrs. Tilney died when Eleanor was a teenage girl at school.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: General Tilney. Thankfully, Henry catches on to Catherine's suspicions long before she would have said anything out loud.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: A major part of the Aesop for Catherine. General Tilney is a highly unpleasant man and difficult for his wife and children to live with, but that doesn't mean he was unaffected by her death. Captain Tilney is a careless flirt, but Henry and Eleanor still love him as their brother and his misbehavior accidentally saves James Morland from a bad marriage.
  • The Oath-Breaker:
    • Catherine is upset when her brother and the the Thorpes contrive to make her break an outing with the Tilneys and is tormented by having broken her word on false information. She rushes to apologize to them at the first opportunity.
    • Isabella's jilting her fiancé is treated with all the gravity with which the era would regard it.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: Catherine finds some old papers, and imagines their terrifying contents just as the lights go out. When she gets some light and reads them, she finds a laundry list. Which actually becomes important later.
  • Parental Marriage Veto:
    • Isabella fears this from James's parents. She actually seems disappointed when Catherine assures her that Mr. and Mrs. Morland wouldn't do such a thing—likely because this implies that the Morlands' financial situation isn't that much in excess of the Thorpes.
    • General Tilney does veto Henry's engagement to Catherine.
  • Parental Substitute: Mr. Allen is a much more effective chaperone for Catherine than his wife. He checks to make sure that Mr. Tilney is a respectable young man and advises Catherine on avoiding an accidental impropriety with Thorpe (and also warns her against trying to correct her brother or Isabella, knowing that they would just get angry and not listen to her).
  • Parents as People: Mr. and Mrs. Morland love their many children, but their greatest compliment to their daughter is to say that she is "almost pretty today." (It actually doesn't bother Catherine at all because she's always been an Outdoorsy Gal who's only recently learned to care about being pretty.) They also read James' letter of heartbreak and betrayal about Isabella and conclude that it's probably good for him to have it happen at a young age because he'll recover and know better. Similarly, while they're angry at General Tilney they feel that Catherine's long journey was a good learning experience to manage herself, and can't figure out that her low spirits are from more than her ill-treatment until Henry turns up and proposes to her.
  • Pimped-Out Car: John Thorpe's "curricle-hung" gig is the Regency equivalent. Verges on Rice Burner; a curricle should be pulled by two horses, but his gig only has one, and Thorpe's boasts about its performance aren't borne out.
  • The Place: Northanger Abbey from the title is a place.
  • "Rear Window" Investigation: Catherine snoops around the Abbey when she suspects General Tilney of killing his wife.
  • Red-Flag Recreation Material: Implied. Co-antagonist John Thorpe, who generally dismisses the novels Catherine loves as fluff, only professes to liking two: Tom Jones and The Monk. Both novels are much more sexual and scandalous in nature than Catherine's current read, The Mysteries of Udolpho note , and center around a virtuous character's downfall due to sex, giving away Thorpe's less-than-innocent intentions for Catherine. Since Catherine hasn't read those novels, however, the intent is lost on her.
  • Relative Error: Averted, and the narrator is amused. When Catherine sees Henry with an attractive young woman, she immediately (and correctly) assumes it's his sister, because he already mentioned having a sister. The narrator points out that she missed a great opportunity for a dramatic fainting fit there. It is played straight in the 2007 miniseries, in which she mistakes Eleanor for Henry's fiancée, which makes their laughing while Henry looks at her while whispering in Eleanor's ear seemingly more cruel.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Catherine's mistrust of General Tilney. Is he a murderer? No. But he is an untrustworthy Jerkass who emotionally abuses his children and kicks a teenage girl out of his house all on her own with no care as to how she'll get home, for no crime other than being the subject of his false assumptions.
  • Romantic False Lead:
    • Isabella Thorpe for James Morland. She's pretty and superficially charming, but she only pursued him because she thought the Morlands were rich and immediately starts making eyes at a wealthier prospect once she realizes her mistake.
    • John Thorpe for Catherine. He's not much of one, though; Catherine perceives him as a Jerkass from day one and is never truly interested in him in the first place, only doing things with him because he is James's friend and Isabella's brother.
  • Sacred Hospitality: General Tilney violates this rule when he learns that the Morlands aren't as rich as he thought, prompting him to eject Catherine from Northanger Abbey with a transparent excuse and sending her home in a public coach with no attending servant. (This would still be rude today, but back then was truly heinous because he was chucking her out unprotected—although the roads at that time were much safer, highwaymen and other dangers hadn't left the public imagination.) His violation of Sacred Hospitality is how the reader fully sees his true colours. His children Henry and Eleanor are distressed by his treatment of Catherine.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Inverted. Near the end, Eleanor has to inform Catherine of the General's decision to (more or less) kick her out of the house. Catherine does not shoot the messenger. She actually pities her because she knows it's hard for her.
  • Shout-Out: The text is peppered with references to the literature of the day. There are numerous direct references to famous Gothic novels, such as Catherine and Isabella reading through The Mysteries of Udolpho together. The narrator also juxtaposes Catherine's actions against the behavior that certain heroines in similar situations displayed, which are not always direct allusions but would be recognizable to novel enthusiasts of the day (or modern readers with a broad knowledge of Gothic literature).
  • Spoiled by the Format: invoked "The anxiety, which ... must be the portion of Henry and Catherine ... can hardly extend, I fear, to the bosom of my readers, who will see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them, that we are all hastening together to perfect felicity." (Subverted in editions that include Lady Susan and the unfinished novels; in these, the end of Northanger Abbey occurs when only halfway through the book.)
  • Spoof Aesop: Only by Henry proposing to Catherine against his father's wishes is a happy ending possible—novels in general were criticized for "encouraging" this kind of filial disobedience. The second page quote discusses the trope.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Invoked after a novel full of Catherine being incredibly taken with Henry. The narrator takes a moment to explain his side of things in the leadup to the happy ending and notes that his passion was born largely from the fact that a pretty girl was into him. He probably wouldn't have paid her much attention after their dances were it not for her incredibly obvious crush.
  • Suddenly Suitable Suitor: The deus ex machina ending. Eleanor is able to marry her love because he unexpectedly inherited money and aristocratic title. This also makes Catherine able to marry Henry because the General's good spirits dispel his initial rage.
  • Tears of Remorse: Catherine cries after Henry disillusions her about his mother's death.
  • Troll: On the approach to the abbey, Henry spins a typical Gothic romance story about what Catherine will find there, clearly just teasing her about her obsession with them. She later tells herself that she wouldn't have made nearly as big a deal about the cabinet in her room if it didn't play perfectly into his story.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: Eleanor's lover wasn't rich enough to marry her, though this isn't mentioned until the end. However, it's possible that he was able to marry and have fairly comfortable income, only his income wasn't good enough for Eleanor's gold-digging father. The young man unexpectedly inherits title and fortune.
  • While You Were in Diapers: Henry teasingly boasts to Catherine that he's surely read a lot more novels than she has. Really though, by the end of the book, Henry is 26 and Catherine is 18.
    Henry: I have had years the start of you. I had entered on my studies at Oxford, while you were a good little girl working your sampler at home!note 
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The result of Catherine seeing the world of a Regency Romance through Gothic Literature Eyes.

Tropes appearing in adaptations:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Catherine is described as "almost pretty" and Tilney as "if not quite handsome ... very near it." In the 2007 ITV adaptation they are played by Felicity Jones and J.J. Feild, respectively.
    Henry: Nothing would give me greater pleasure, sir. *smirks at Catherine*
  • Awkwardly-Placed Bathtub: In the ITV version: when Catherine is in her bath, she drifts into fantasy and her bathroom becomes a symbolically fertile woodland grove. Then Henry stops by to admire the view, so to speak. This scene is cut from some DVD versions.
  • Book Ends: The 1986 BBC adaptation opens and closes with Catherine hearing her little sister calling for her.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In ITV's TV version, John Thorpe first appears at the assembly where Catherine meets Henry, staring at Catherine as she and Henry dance. He also shows up as a dastardly villain in one of her dreams, pursuing Catherine and Henry on a rainy night and dueling Henry. By the same token, Isabella Thorpe appears talking with John in the tea room in a scene cut from the DVD version.
  • Dream Sequence / Fantasy Sequence: Catherine has several of these in the ITV version. They go in this order:
    • Catherine being given to someone.
    • Catherine and the Allens getting ambushed on the way to Bath and Mr. Allen fights the ruffians with his crutches before getting stabbed in the back.
    • Catherine and Henry fleeing from John Thorpe and Henry dueling Thorpe.
    • Catherine in a bathtub in the woods and Henry stopping by (not included in some versions).
    • Catherine finding James locked in a dungeon and Isabella being tortured on a rack by Captain Tilney.
  • '80s Hair: Isabella's hairdo in the 1986 version is a colossal mass of curls.
  • Ethereal White Dress: In the ITV version's daydreams, Catherine is often seen wearing a long white dress.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: John Thorpe in the ITV version has the deepest voice in the cast and is the most reprehensible person in the cast.
  • Faint in Shock: In the ITV version, Mrs. Allen faints when her husband is stabbed in the back during Catherine's Dream Sequence on the ride to Bath.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: In the ITV adaptation, JJ Feild's Henry looms over Felicity Jones' Catherine.
  • Imagine Spot: In the BBC adaptation, Catherine has two before the opening credits, involving being in I Have You Now, My Pretty situations with ruffians who strangely resemble people she will meet in Bath. The second one reoccurs when Catherine is at the Abbey, with Henry riding in on a white horse to rescue her from the villains.
  • Lady in Red: In the ITV version, Isabella is seen walking with Captain Tilney, wearing a red dress. They enter a room and when she's seen again, she's shown curled up in bedsheets, implying she had sex with Captain Tilney.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: During Catherine's walk with the Tilneys in the ITV version, Eleanor suddenly has to tie her shoe, leaving Catherine and Henry to talk alone for a few moments. Then flipped a few seconds later, when Eleanor's paramour rides up and they walk off to let her talk to him in private.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The young man Eleanor is in love with is named Edward in the ITV version.
  • Obviously Evil: John Thorpe in the ITV version, with his scarred features, deep voice, and generally creepy demeanor before Catherine meets him properly (he's watching her as she dances with Henry).
  • Parental Marriage Veto: In the ITV version, aside from the General putting his foot down on Catherine and Henry, Henry mentions that the General has refused to sanction Eleanor's marriage to Edward, the young man she loves, because Edward is only a second son. When Catherine asks what would he do if the girl he falls in love with does not come with a fortune attached, Henry replies that "it would be a stern test of my character."
  • Perpetual Frowner: General Tilney in the ITV version. The only time he smiles is when Catherine accepts his invitation to come to Northanger Abbey, and it comes off as a Psychotic Smirk.
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: There's a lovely splash of mud on Catherine's face and Henry tries to clean it... Shown during the montage in the Abbey after General has left and the trio of young people enjoy their time together.
  • Romantic Rain: In ITV's TV movie, during Catherine's visit to the Abbey, Catherine and Henry go horse riding to see Henry's parsonage. When they reach it, it's about to start raining. Catherine suggests they race back to the Abbey. It's quite a rainy and muddy ride and at the Abbey, Henry cleans and caresses Catherine's face.
  • Stalker with a Crush: John Thorpe in the ITV version. He first appears (though not named) while staring at Catherine while she and Henry dance.
    Catherine: Do you know that gentleman?
    Henry: Not at all.
    Catherine: I wonder why he keeps looking at us.
    Henry: I imagine he likes what he sees.
    Catherine: What? Do you mean me?
    Henry: Why not?
  • Sword Fight: In the ITV version, one of Catherine's dreams features a duel between Henry Tilney and a dastardly ruffian resembling a creepy young man at the dance the previous evening. The young man is later introduced as John Thorpe. This serves as foreshadowing of the young men's vying for Catherine's affections (more aggressively on Thorpe's part).
  • Women Are Wiser: In the ITV version, Henry mentions that he felt slighted by Catherine seemingly breaking his promise to walk with him and Eleanor, only for Eleanor to point out that Catherine was clearly in distress when they saw her (Catherine is begging John Thorpe to stop his gig).

I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience.
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