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Literature / The Famous Five

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The Famous Five is the name of a series of children's novels written by British author Enid Blyton. The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942.

The novels feature the adventures of a group of five children (well, four children and a Team Pet) — Julian, Dick, Anne, George, and the dog Timmy. Blyton created several similar groups for her detective series, including The Secret Seven, The Adventurous Four (not to be confused with The Adventure Series) and Five Find-Outers, but the Famous Five is the best-known and most popular of these.

Blyton only intended to write about 6 to 8 books in the series but, owing to their high sales and immense commercial success, she went on to write 21 full-length Famous Five novels. By the end of 1953, more than 6 million copies of these books had been printed and sold. Today, more than two million copies of the books are sold each year, making them one of the biggest-selling series for children ever written. Over a hundred million books have been sold, and nearly all of the original novels have subsequently been adapted for television (the first TV series in the late 1970s adapted all but three of them, missing out two due to rights issues and another because it was impractical to film on the available schedule, and a later mid-90s series managed a full house). A stage musical combining the first two books toured in the UK in 1997, known as ''Famous Five Smuggler's Gold", starring Alison Hughes and Jon Lee.


    Novels in this series 
  • Five on a Treasure Island (1942). Takes place during the Summer holidays.
  • Five Go Adventuring Again (1943). Takes place during the Christmas holidays.
  • Five Run Away Together (1944). Takes place during the Summer holidays.
  • Five Go to Smuggler's Top (1945). Takes place during the Easter holidays.
  • Five Go Off in a Caravan (1946). Takes place during the Summer holidays.
  • Five on Kirrin Island Again (1947). Takes place during the Easter holidays, initially written to be the conclusion to the series.
  • Five Go Off to Camp (1948). Camping vacation. The time of the year is left vague.
  • Five Get Into Trouble (1949). Takes place during the Easter holidays.
  • Five Fall Into Adventure (1950). Takes place in September.
  • Five On a Hike Together (1951). Takes place during the October mid-term break.
  • Five Have a Wonderful Time (1952). Takes place during the Easter holidays.
  • Five Go Down to the Sea (1953). Takes place during the Summer holidays.
  • Five Go to Mystery Moor (1954). Takes place during the Easter holidays.
  • Five Have Plenty of Fun (1955). Takes place during the Summer holidays.
  • Five on a Secret Trail (1956). Camping vacation. The time of the year is left vague.
  • Five Go to Billycock Hill (1957). Takes place late in May.
  • Five Get Into a Fix (1958). Takes place during the Christmas holidays.
  • Five on Finniston Farm (1960). Takes place during the Summer holidays.
  • Five Go to Demon's Rocks (1961). Takes place during the Easter holidays.
  • Five Have a Mystery to Solve (1962). Takes place during the Easter holidays.
  • Five Are Together Again (1963). Takes place during the Easter holidays.

Such was the series' popularity in France that after Blyton's death Claude Voilier, who had translated the original books into French, wrote a series of 24 more officially-licensed Five books, all but six of which were also translated into English. Two original books apparently written by the series' German translator also exist, but they were recalled almost immediately due to not being properly licensed.

This series includes examples of

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Uncle Quentin, though more bad-tempered than most examples. In Five On Kirrin Island Again this manifests itself as Forgetting To Eatuntil his wife tells him to throw away some cans of soup which have spoiled, at which point, of course, he promptly eats it.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Julian. He's only 11-13 (yes, really), but has all the aplomb of an eighteen year-old, using his wit to impress the police and run circles around criminals.
  • Adventure Towns: The children seemingly cannot go anywhere without having a new adventure, even if they try to avoid it.
    "Adventures are definitely off this time. If anything comes up, we'll pooh-pooh it and walk off."
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  • Amateur Sleuth: Times five. Well, four.
  • Arch-Enemy: In Five Go Adventuring Again, the extremely headstrong George has an utter loathing for their tutor Mr Roland, mostly because the tutor does not like dogs. She comes very close to alienating herself from the rest of the family as well, even threatening (and meaning it) to run away. However, in a gesture of Everyone Has Standards, when Mr Roland gives her a Christmas present of a book about dogs, she thanks him stiffly, having "made up her mind not to spoil Christmas Day by being difficult".
    Dick: I daresay he can't help disliking Tim. After all, there was a famous man called Lord Roberts who couldn't bear cats.
    George: Well, cats are different. If someone doesn't like dogs, especially a dog like our Timmy, there really must be something wrong with him.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In Five on a Hike Together, the queer lake Gloomy Water remains as still as glass, even in the wind. However, George suspects that it might obey the laws of physics in that sound travels easily over water, warning Tim not to bark.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: In Five run away Together, the little girl Jennifer Mary Armstrong is kidnapped in this way, by a man throwing a shawl over her head.
  • Barefoot Captives: In Five go to Smuggler's Top, Uncle Quentin is barefoot because he is kidnapped while in bed. After he escapes, he has to walk through the town barefoot and in pyjamas.
  • Berserk Button: Most evident in George's hair trigger in the Famous Five books whenever someone is mean to her pet dog Timmy, or worse dares to call her a girl.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Anne is a Proper Lady but every once in a while, well you know how the Trope goes. In one book, she purposely tries to be a "tiger". Also Dick at times.
  • Big Eaters: The Famous Five never fail to finish off their tea sandwiches for lunch.
  • Big Fancy House: These feature in Five get into Trouble, Five fall into Adventure, and Five have plenty of Fun, inhabited by wealthy villains. In Five go to Smuggler's Top, the Five stay in a big fancy house, which is full of secret passages.
  • Blindfolded Trip: In Five Have a Wonderful Time, Terry-Kane mentions being blindfolded when he is kidnapped.
  • Boarding School: The characters all attend one, and George is improbably allowed to keep Timmy at hers.
  • Book Snap: In Five Go Adventuring Again, Mr Roland the tutor does this after a revelation of a serious incident during the children's lessons.
    Mr Roland shut the books on the table with a snap. "We can't do any more lessons this morning," he said.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens many times to the Kid Detectives, especially George and Dick.
  • Bowdlerise: "Modernized" by Hodder in 2010 to changed the slang (e.g. swotter to bookworm) and bring in more gender equality. Other changes (in the 1980s) were:
    • "Kit bag" to "rucksack".
    • "Shilling" to "five pence".
    • "Shorts" to "jeans".
    • "Spanking" to "telling off".
    • "Scholarship exams" to "important exams".
  • Boyish Short Hair: George.
  • Busman's Holiday: The children have a tutor in Five Go Adventuring Again during Christmas break. Justified because Julian and Dick were sick with the flu twice during the term and missed lots of schoolwork.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: In Five Go Adventuring Again, Timmy is under the table, unknown to Mr Roland; and when the class is at its very quietest, Timmy makes noises. To hide this, George clatters her feet on the floor, Julian coughs and knocks over a book, and Dick speaks to Mr Roland.
    Mr Roland: Why all this sudden noise? Stop tapping the floor with your feet, Georgina.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Anne. Julian tells her "Anne, the only way to stop you giving away secrets is to sew up your mouth, like Brer Rabbit wanted to do to Mister Dog." Even when she isn't about to tell a secret, her brothers suspect her of meaning to.
  • The Chick:
    • Anne, oh so much.
    • Also Marybelle in Five Go to Smuggler's Top. Even Anne teases her for being so shy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Five Go Adventuring Again, the Five are to have a tutor. When they are wondering what he will be like, George's main concern is whether he will like Timmy. Needless to say, the tutor does not like dogs; and even though he tries to make friends with Timmy, Timmy will have none of it.
  • Christmas Episode: Five Go Adventuring Again and Five Get Into a Fix are the only two books that take place during Christmas holidays.
  • Comic-Book Time: 21 adventures all occurring during the holidays of boarding school.
  • Constantly Curious: George and Dick, to a lesser degree Julian. Not Anne, as she would much rather 'stay out of adventures'.
  • Crappy Holidays: Subverted in Five Go Adventuring Again. The children think that they will have horrible holidays because they have a tutor. They have another adventure instead.
  • Creepy Monotone: Block in Five Go To Smuggler's Top, who speaks in a monotone. He is allegedly deaf, and has an expressionless face, which as Anne says, might have been a wax mask.
  • Circus Episode: Several books feature a circus, especially Five go off in a Caravan and Five are together again. Five have a Wonderful Time features the "Fair-folk", a lower-key circus.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Five frequently wander into nests of thieves and rogues, and just happen to be there when the criminals are doing their dirty work. However, one of the biggest coincidences (lampshaded by the Five, see below) is in Five Have a Wonderful Time: when they are looking through field-glasses ("binoculars" to us), they look at a castle window, and they just happen to see the face of somebody held prisoner inside.
    Julian: It was a chance of one in a thousand that we saw his face there.
    Dick: In a million.
  • Cool Gate: The iconic mechanical gates in Five Get Into Trouble, leading into the high-walled estate of Owl's Dene, a mysterious villain hideout, which was in a lonely spot in a wood, almost completely isolated from the outside world.
    The gates had been shut and locked by some kind of special machinery, and nobody and nothing could open them apart from that special machinery.
    "There's no telephone here, no gas, no water laid on, nothing. Only secrets and signs and comings and goings and threats of..."
  • Covert Distress Code:
    • A standard covert distress call is for George to sign her name 'Georgina' (something that she hates doing) whenever the bad guys inexplicably ask the captured children to send a note to the non-captured ones, to alert them that something is wrong. This is not agreed in advance, but George does it anyway, and it works.
    • In Five On Kirrin Island Again, Uncle Quentin signals from Kirrin Island to Kirrin Cottage (under threat of being visited every day by his wife) that he is all right, by flashing with a mirror six times in the daytime, and shining a lantern at night.
    • Twice, when George is kidnapped, she manages to write a one or two-word message for the others to find (against very high odds), in both cases of something she overheard.
    "She's written 'Red Tower' ever so many times, and the R's and the T's are just like hers." (See "Meaningful Name" below.)
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In the penultimate book, Five Have A Mystery To Solve, the otherwise timid and helpless Anne gets a much-needed injection of spirit and assertiveness — much of it thanks to her finally meeting someone who annoys her so much she just snaps. She loses her temper several times during the book and with the aid of Timmy actually ends up chasing away the bad guys with her spectacular display of anger. Her brothers joke that she's "turning into a tiger," something that she discovers she actually kind of likes being told.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: In Five on Kirrin Island Again, in which Dick has several moments of OOC Is Serious Business, he treads jolly hard on Timmy's tail to make him yelp, so that George will stop "blabbing like a girl" to somebody Dick believes is an enemy. Needless to say, George is then absolutely livid.
    "Oh you beast, Dick! How could you hurt Timmy?"
  • Cut Phone Lines: This happens in Five Fall into Adventure, when George is kidnapped, and the kidnappers are watching Kirrin Cottage to make sure nobody leaves the house to tell the police.
  • Curtain Camouflage: This happens twice in Five Go To Smuggler's Top:
    • Dick and Julian hide behind curtains when they are trying to find out who is signalling from a tower.
    • Block hides behind a curtain when he is trying to catch Timmy in the house. However, his shoes give him away, and the children ambush him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dick occasionally.
  • Debt Detester: In the very first book, George refuses to accept an ice cream from Julian, because she has no pocket money with which she can return the favour. He has to work very hard to persuade her to take it, which she does eventually.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: In Five Go To Smuggler's Top, Mr Lenoir mutters about doling this out when one of the children knocks on his study door and runs away. He follows through when he discovers George hiding in his study.
    "Bed and bread and water for them!"
  • Deserted Island: George's island. There are only rabbits there.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The Gipsy child Jo who appears in three of the books is barefoot for most of Five Fall into Adventure.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": George hates being a girl so much, that she will not answer to her real name, Georgina. In Five Go Adventuring Again, their tutor Mr Roland refuses to respect this.
    Mr Roland looked under the table. "The brute snapped at my ankles. He has made a hole in my trousers. Take him out, Georgina."
    Georgina said nothing. She sat as though she had not heard.
    "She won't answer if you call her Georgina," Julian reminded him.
    "She'll answer me whatever I call her," said Mr Roland, in a low and angry voice.
  • The Determinator: George. If there's something she wants - don't get in the way. Just don't.
  • The Door Slams You: In Five Go To Smuggler's Top, the Five's friend Sooty tries to peep through a keyhole to find out who is in a tower room. As he does so, the person suddenly comes out, and Sooty has to hide behind the door in a niche.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Julian talks about the incident in Five Go Adventuring Again when a fellow student's mouse escaped and scared a matron at the school.
  • Eerily Out-of-Place Object:
    • In Five Run Away Together, the little black trunk hidden in the ship wrecked off Kirrin Island; and even more so the contents. Inside, the Five were expecting to find smuggled goods, but instead they find a child's clothes and dolls.
    • In Five Have a Wonderful Time, the Five look through binoculars, and happen to spot a face in the window of a distant castle. When they visit the castle, the tower where they saw the face appears to be completely inaccessible.
    • In Five Fall into Adventure, a helicopter looks very out of place in the courtyard of the villains' hideout.
  • Everyone Has Standards: George is normally extremely fierce, stubborn and rebellious, letting nobody stand in her way. However, at the beginning of Five Run Away Together, her mother is ill, and she quietly puts up with the sour cook Mrs Stick and her vile son Edgar, so that her mother will not be left without help.
    Julian: I shan't stand much of him! I'm surprised you haven't stamped on his face, bitten his ears off, and done a few other things. You used to be so fierce!
    George: Well, I still am really. But I know that if I complain, Mrs Stick will leave, and then mother will be left alone. So I hold myself in, and hope that Timmy does so too.
  • Evil Cripple: Subverted in Five Go to Smuggler's Top, the villain's henchman Block feigns deafness to avoid suspicion and eavesdrop on the secrets of the Lenoir family.
  • The Every Man: Dick. By far the most normal of the group.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Anne. The five would have starved to death long ago, if not for her.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: In Five On A Hike Together, very loud bells are suddenly heard on a dark wet night, on a moor. Only the day after do they find out the reason for this: a convict had escaped from the local prison.
    So that was why the bells had made such a clamour and a clangour. Anne shivered.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Choleric: George
    • Sanguine: Julian
    • Phlegmatic: Dick
    • Melancholic: Anne
  • Food Porn: Famous for the lavish descriptions of the gang's (many) meals.
  • Free-Range Children: A staple of Blyton's world.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The human members of the Five make up this. Timmy tips it in favour of males.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In Five Get into Trouble, Richard wriggles out of his coat to escape from the villain Mr Perton.
  • Going in Circles: The Five get lost in many places, but notably in a wood in Five Fall Into Adventure.
    Julian: We seemed to walk for miles through this horrible wood.
    Jo: You did. You went round in an enormous circle, and were almost back where you started.
  • Go to Your Room!: Various characters are sent to their rooms as punishment, most often George.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: George, she gets better but still, you do not want to piss her off. She inherits it from her father, Quentin.
    It was always best to leave George severely alone when she was in one of her tempers.
  • Hate at First Sight: In Five have a Wonderful Time, the Five are caravanning alongside the "fair-folk" (a small travelling circus), who dislike the Five on sight, and are openly hostile to them. This escalates until Jo turns up, who happens to be the niece of one of the fair-folk, and vouches for the Five. The fair-folk change their tune and become friendly, but Julian has had enough, and swears that they will leave tomorrow "unless something unexpected happens to make us stay. And it won't.'' And, of course, it does.
    "I suppose it's a case of us-folk and you-folk. There's too much of that sort of thing nowadays."
  • Have a Gay Old Time: George's mother is called Fanny. More recent adaptations change her to Frances.
    • The boarding school that the girls go to is called "Gaylands School". Back then of course, "gay" meant happy.
    • "Five Go Off To Camp" has a character called "Cecil Dearlove" who is portrayed as a long haired sissy.
    • Let's not mention how many places, things and people —even poor George the first time her cousins met her— just look "queer" in every adventure. George is a queer girl, for not wanting her mother to go with her. Tim is behaving queerly, so it's a good thing Mr Roland hasn't come to teach him. That's the queerest thing Dick ever saw.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Sort of - one of the heroes is a dog, and the other four love him.
  • Heroic Dog: Timmy
  • Hive Mind: In Five Go to Smuggler's Top, Timmy somehow senses from afar that George is in danger, and rushes to her rescue.
    His ears did not tell him, nor did his nose. But his heart told him. George was in danger!
  • Homeschooled Kids: George in the first book. Later she goes to boarding school.
  • Hot-Blooded: George.
    • In the first book, she uses an axe to smash up the villains' motor boat, to prevent them from escaping from Kirrin Island. Even the policeman comments "Fierce lady isn't she, that Miss Georgina? Done the job pretty well". Nowadays the police would probably nick her for vandalism - much easier than going after the bad guys.
    • In the final book, she single-handedly (well, Timmy helped) pushes two hardened criminals off a cliff....for trespassing on her island.
  • Identical Stranger: Jo the Gypsy girl is a dead ringer for George.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Five Go To Somewhere Or Do Something (parodied with the Comic Strip's Five Go Mad In Dorset).
  • Ill Girl: Downplayed in Five Go Adventuring Again when the children's mother has scarlet fever. Five Run Away Together has George's mother becoming very ill, eventually having to go to hospital, eventually prompting the Five to leave for Kirrin Island to get away from the temporary horrible cook and her equally horrible family.
  • Institutional Apparel: In Five Get into Trouble, an escaped prisoner is seen disposing of his prison outfit down a well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Uncle Quentin's hot temper makes him something of a jerk at times, but it couldn't be plainer that he loves his family. George is also one for the same reasons.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: All of them.
  • Kid Detective: Yep.
  • Kid Hero: Obviously.
  • Lighthouse Point: In Five Go to Demon's Rocks, the Five stay in a disused lighthouse.
  • Lightswitch Surprise:
    • In Five Go Adventuring Again, George switches on the study light to reveal her tutor Mr. Roland on the floor with Timmy standing over him. When she asks him why he was using a torch instead of putting on the light, he says he couldn't find the switch, which is on the wrong side of the door.
    • In Five Run Away Together, Julian sneaks into the kitchen at night, and switches on the light to reveal Mr. Stick, the cook's husband, sleeping on the sofa. To avoid waking him, Julian switches off the light, and tries to find what he wants in the dark. The trope is then repeated when Julian accidentally wakes Mr. Stick, who switches the light on to reveal Julian.
    • In Five Go To Smuggler's Top, Sooty is creeping about in Uncle Quentin's bedroom trying to avoid waking him, when suddenly he realises somebody else is in the bedroom as well, kidnapping Uncle Quentin. He switches on his torch to reveal Mr. Barling, and yells out the name in surprise. He is then kidnapped himself.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: In Five On a Hike Together, the Five receive a message: "Two-Trees, Gloomy Water, Saucy Jane, and Maggie knows", along with a hand-drawn map. At first, none of these make any sense, but when they realise that Two-Trees is a place, the rest becomes clearer when they arrive there, and the clues lead them to hidden loot.
  • Little Miss Badass: George: Of the five, she swims the best, climbs the best, fights the best...and she's a girl.
  • Luminescent Blush:
    • In Five Go Adventuring Again, Anne goes very red as she remembers a secret George had told her, when Uncle Quentin is interrogating the children about missing papers. Her redness is not unnoticed by their tutor, Mr Roland.
    • In Five On A Hike Together:
      "You're not afraid of anyone," said Dick, "you're the bravest girl I ever knew. Aha! That's made old George blush like a girl! Let me warm my hands, George!"
      And Dick held his hands up in front of George's scarlet face, pretending to warm them at her fiery blush.
  • Made of Indestructium: In the first book Five On a Treasure Island, the Five find a locked wooden box in a wrecked ship (which was on the bottom of the sea for many years, and thrown up to the surface in a storm). When they manage to open it, they find the box is tin-lined, and the vital map inside is quite dry. But how do they open the box? After trying many tools, they hurl it out of the attic window to the ground.
    At once the french window opened, and their Uncle Quentin burst out like a bullet from a gun.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • In Five Fall into Adventure, the name of the Big Bad is Red Tower, known mostly as Red.
    "Red Tower is not a place! Red Tower is a man. His name's Tower, and he's got red hair, flaming red - so he's called Red Tower.
    • In Five Go to Demon's Rocks, the local policeman is called Sharp. Dick comments that it's a good name for a policeman.
  • Men Don't Cry: And neither do boys, according to George, who desperately wants to be a boy. Julian and Dick are never seen crying. Anne cries frequently; George occasionally succumbs, but mostly resists fiercely.
    "Boys do cry sometimes," said Anne, looking at Dick, who had been a bit of a cry-baby three or four years back. Dick nudged her, and she said no more.
    "Well, I've never seen one cry," said George. "It's so babyish."
  • Mouthy Kid: George again. Julian counters this, by being unbelievably polite and pompous.
  • Moving the Goalposts: In Five Go Adventuring Again, Timmy is made to live outside in the winter because of George's bad behaviour towards their tutor, Mr Roland. When George puts on an act of behaving especially well for a day, Mr Roland still insists that Timmy stays outside, until George behaves for a week. George is furious, and lampshades that Mr Roland will move the goalposts again.
    Dick: They said a week. Can't you try for a week?
    George: No. At the end of the week, Mr Roland will say I must try for another week. He's got a real dislike for poor Tim. And for me, too. I'm not surprised at that, because I know that when I try to be horrid, I really am horrid. But he shouldn't hate poor Timmy.
  • Nice Guy: Dick, he cracks the jokes and looks after his little sister. Julian is intended to be one, but comes off more bossy and arrogant.
  • Nobody Poops: Even though the characters are often in the wild for a long time, or in captive situations for hours or even days, often underground, nothing is said about their bodily waste. Five Fall into Adventure mentions "Timmy going for his last walk" of the day, but this appears to be only for exercise; not the reason anybody would take their dog for a "last walk" each day.
  • No Name Given / Only One Name: Averted with Toddy Woodgate, Timmy's actor (not voice actor, actor) in the series. Like most dogs with surnames, he takes his handler's.
  • Nonindicative Name: The titles often have nothing to do with the plot, or are generic enough to fit any of the books. For example, the plot of Five Have a Wonderful Time involves the recent disappearance of prominent scientists and Five Have Plenty of Fun involves protecting a girl from a gang of kidnappers.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Famous Five.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted in the first few books, as they start the series at around 9-11, and end up 12-14. Played straight for the rest of the series, as they apparently stop ageing. This is an artefact of Blyton’s original plan to only write six to eight books in the series which could have plausibly taken place in that period of time, whereas the eventual twenty one books could not conceivably do so, leading to Comic-Book Time being instigated for the rest of the series.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: There are times when the boys decide not to tell Anne something. In Five Fall Into Adventure, when they are lost in a wood:
    "We might go deeper and deeper and deeper," said Anne, with a sudden gulp of fear.
    "If we do, we shall come out on the other side," said Dick. "It's not an endless wood."
    "Let's go straight through, then," said Anne.
    The boys didn't tell her that you couldn't really go straight through a wood.
  • Old, Dark House: This could apply to several houses in the series, including Smuggler's Top, but most of all the villains' hideout Owl's Dene in Five Get into Trouble from The Famous Five: a lonely old house on a hill, with no telephone, gas, running water or electricity, surrounded by a prison-like high wall with mechanical gates, and contains a secret room for hiding wanted criminals.
  • Omni Disciplinary Scientist: Uncle Quentin, although it's more an Informed Attribute. He's also something of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer as well.
  • One of the Boys: George. She'll be insulted if she's anything else.
  • Only Sane Man: Dick. Although Julian seems to think its him. (See The Quiet One below).
  • One Steve Limit: An aversion triggers the plot in one book where the adventure starts after a guy with a message for villain Dirty Dick finds Dick from the Five instead, and Dick, unaware of the former’s existence, accepts the message.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Dick can fall into this.
  • Plucky Girl: George. Anne to a lesser degree, as she's too busy being a wimp most of the time.
  • Police Are Useless: Because when it's a group of five teenagers and a dog that are finding all the clues and solving all the crimes, you know the police in the world of Blyton can't handle even the simplest of problems. Usually the police they meet are polite and helpful, except in Five On a Hike Together, where they meet one who is very rude and disbelieving.
    "Oh, you've seen the escaped prisoner too? You wouldn't believe how many people have seen him. 'Cording to them he's been in every part of the moor at the same time. Clever fellow he must be to split himself up like that."
  • Power Source: The experiments Uncle Quentin is doing in Five on Kirrin Island Again turn out to be developing a new clean power source to replace fossil fuels. In 1947. We don't get to hear details, except that it requires the apparatus to be surrounded by water, hence why he's testing it on an island.
  • Private Tutor: Mr. Roland in the book Five Go Adventuring Again.
  • Punk in the Trunk: In Five Get into Trouble, Richard hides in the boot of the villains' black Bentley, to escape from Owl's Dene.
  • Quicksand Sucks:
    • In Five Go to Smuggler's Top, mist-covered marshes feature prominently; and Timmy accidentally falls into the marsh, and has to be rescued.
    • In Five on a Hike Together, the villains Maggie and Dirty Dick end up thigh-deep in marshes while trying to pursue the Five.
  • The Quiet One: Dick. In any situation, you can bet George is yelling, Julian is lecturing, Anne is crying and Dick is stuck in the middle.
  • Rebellious Spirit: George.
  • Running Gag:
    • George being called Georgina and/or a girl; also her never wanting to be parted from Timmy.
    • The five of them deciding not to have an adventure this holidays.
  • Sad Clown: In Five Go Off In A Caravan, one of the scariest villains in the series is Tiger Dan (known as such because of his rages), whose day job is chief clown in a circus. Cue this dialogue between Anne and Julian:
    Anne: I simply can't imagine Tiger Dan as a clown. Clowns are always so merry and gay and jolly.
    Julian: That's just acting. If you look at photographs of clowns when they're being ordinary men, they've got quite sad faces.
    Anne: Well, Tiger Dan hasn't got a sad face. He's got an ugly, cruel, savage, fierce one (looking fierce herself).
  • Secret Underground Passage: Stock trope, bordering on Artistic License – Geology on occasion. The tunnels in Five Go To Smugglers' Top are sufficiently extensive to be a full-fledged Tunnel Network.
  • Shared Family Quirks: George has a frown and a hot temper exactly like her father's.
  • Sixth Ranger: While the series is called "Famous Five", the books often feature new kids joining them for an adventure or two. The first and better remembered is Jo the "ragamuffin" girl.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Uh, well, yeah.
  • Snowed-In: George lampshades it by saying that it happens often at Kirrin in the winter.
  • Sleeping Dummy: This happens twice.
    • In Five Go to Smuggler's Top, Block hides a dummy in his bed when he wants to sneak out. Several times one of the children peeps into his room, and there he is, apparently.
      "He's in bed! I could see the shape of his body, and the dark patch of his head. Are there two Blocks then?"
    • In Five Get into Trouble, Julian hides a rolled-up blanket in his bed, so that he can sneak around the house when the villains are asleep.
  • Sneakers of Sneaking: In Five Fall into Adventure, Dick wears rubber shoes which make no noise, when stalking an enemy. Jo is also noted for stealth by being barefoot.
  • So Much for Stealth: In Five On A Treasure Island, the Five plot to trap the villainous men in a cave with a big wooden door, by bolting them in. Dick creeps up behind them, waiting for them to go in; and when they do, he slams the door, making a crash which echoes round the dungeon; and the men burst the door open.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: A minor example: in Five Go Off in a Caravan, the Five cut their holiday short because they receive a telegram from home telling them to "come home at once" because the exciting happenings they wrote to tell their parents about "seem dangerous". This meant that they had had little time to actually enjoy their holiday, after the adventure! They do not question this at all, and simply head home. Unquestioningly obeying their parents' orders like this seems rather out of character, although this was one of the earlier books in the series. It would also discourage them from contacting their family while on holiday at all.
  • Team Dad: Julian. And proud of it.
  • Team Pet: Timmy the Dog (who is the fifth member).
  • Timmy in a Well: In the first book this happens very literally when Timmy the dog chases a rabbit and falls down an old well. In this case, though, it's the children who rescue the dog, rather than vice-versa! Timmy also gets deep down a rabbit hole in Five on a Hike Together.
    Poor Anne was pulled out by her legs, and poor Timmy came too, pulled by his.
  • Tomboyish Baseball Cap: In Five Have Plenty of Fun, the Five have to disguise the very girly girl Berta as a boy, who has her hair cut short, and they buy her a cap, which suits her boyish look perfectly. Alas for George, the ultimate girl who wants to be a boy; when she tries it on, it does not sit well on her curly hair, and makes her look ridiculous.
  • Tomboyish Name: Georgina always calls herself George. This is used as an Out-of-Character Alert in one book.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: George and Anne respectively.
    • George is a tomboy. She has short curly hair styled in a typical haircut for boys. She dresses like a boy, typically in "jeans and jersey". She insists on everyone calling her by the masculine form of her name, a decision respected by her parents and teachers. She is athletic, the best of the group at swimming, handling boats and driving caravans. She is often mistaken for a boy and takes great pleasure in it. She rarely cries, going by the mantra "boys don't cry". She is "brave" and "fierce". Her mother insists on her performing domestic chores but George has no taste for it.
    • Anne is not given an actual description but is often described as traditionally feminine in both looks and behavior. She scares easily and at times seeks protection next to her older brothers (Julian, Dick) and cousin (George). She cries often and feels no evident shame about it. She enjoys domestic chores and activities, "playing house" as George observes. She likes to keep "everything very clean" and actually volunteers to clean up. Her brother Julian even describes her as "a good little house-wife". In her first appearance she proclaims "I like pretty frocks - and I love my dolls", activities scorned by George. She is the one picking flowers while the others are searching for arrow-heads. She is not athletic and is noted as the worst swimmer among them.
  • Treasure Map: In the first Famous Five book.
  • "Ugly American" Stereotype: The Hennings from Five on Finniston Farm are an exceptionally obnoxious variety.
  • Unfortunate Names: While Dick is somewhat unfortunate but understandable, one-time villain Dirty Dick is a little harder to take seriously.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: George.
    "I think it's being a coward if you don't tell the truth - and I'm not a coward."
  • Window Watcher: It happens a lot, by the Five, and their enemies.
    • In Five Go To Smuggler's Top, George happens to see Mr Barling through a window. She thinks he is talking to Block, who is allegedly completely deaf, but she sees him listening to Mr Barling, and answering him.
    • In Five Get into Trouble, the Five peer in through the windows of Owl's Dene, when they are casing the joint to sneak in.
    • In Five Fall Into Adventure, Anne is terrified by a "Face at the Window" in her bedroom, belonging to somebody who climbs up to spy on them.
      Julian didn't tell Anne that he had examined the ivy outside, and found clear traces of the night-climber.
    • In Five Have a Wonderful Time, George plays a trick on Anne, telling her there is a face looking in at their caravan window. There is indeed a face there:
      A big, long, dark brown face looked in, and Anne shrieked. Then she laughed.
      "You beast, George, it's only Alfredo's horse! Oh, you did give me a fright. I've a good mind to pull you out of your bunk on to the floor."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In Five Go Adventuring Again the children can't go home for Christmas because their mother is sick and there's quarantine.


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