Fitzwilliam Darcy

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Character
Name: Fitzwilliam Darcy
Occupation: estate owner
Title/Rank: proud to be Mister
Location: Pemberley, London
Status: alive in the hearts of fans worldwide
Relationships: brother of Georgiana Darcy, nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, cousin of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Anne de Bourgh, eventual husband of Elizabeth Bennet, undeserving friend of Charles Bingley, enemy of George Wickham
Fandom: Pride and Prejudice
Other:
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Fitzwilliam Darcy is the male lead in the Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice, and one of the archetypes of the Tall, Dark[1] & Handsome Romantic Hero.

In Canon

Representing the 'pride' aspect of the title, Darcy snubs the heroine on first meeting, falls in love with her Fine Eyes, condemns her sister to spinsterhood by lying to his best friend, makes one of the worst proposals in the history of literature, explains himself by appearing in a wet shirt in a letter[2] and turns out to be Tragically Misunderstood all along.

Relatively little is known about Darcy from the novel. He's tall, handsome, about 28, serious, reserved, bookish, enjoys music, attends church, and is of good character. He has an income of £10,000 a year, making him one of the wealthier men in England, a house in London, and an estate – Pemberley, with its park 10 miles around – near the fictional village of Lambton in Derbyshire. He's the joint guardian of his much younger sister, Georgiana, with his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam.

He's been played over the years by Laurence Olivier, Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, among others.

In Fanon

Darcy is sometimes portrayed as a typical Byronic hero, owing more to the Brontës than to Austen. Tree counters that At no point does Darcy brood. In fact, he smiles quite a lot. He is not at all Brontëan.[3]

As Elizabeth never addresses him by his forename & Colonel Fitzwilliam is a popular minor character, much fanfiction abbreviates 'Fitzwilliam' to 'William' or even 'Will' or 'Wills'; his male intimates often call him 'Darce'.

Fandom

Darcy was popular long before the 1995 BBC adaptation but Firth's smouldering performance made him a phenomenon. One fan explains:

So, why is there such a collection of fan fiction on the internet today that is based on a book by Jane Austen? The answer is simple. In 1995, the BBC aired its famous production of Pride and Prejudice.

They cast Colin Firth as the brooding, smouldering, and sexy Mr. Darcy. They took a little poetic liscense and added a scene where he dives into a pond. Immediately after, he happens upon Elizabet Bennet again for the first time in months and his shirt is wet. She gets flustered at the sight of him (I would say she got wet at the sight of him, but that's just crass! ;) ), as did fangirls around the world, and the rest, as they say is history. ...

I'd say that it is resonable to assume that most of the P&P fic out there was largely inspired by this BBC production, commonly referred to as P&P2. (imacartwright; written in 2004, before the film with Macfadyen as Darcy)[4]

Fannish Opinion

Fanon!Darcy is typically described as brooding, aristocratic, wooden, proud, shy, passionate, unsmiling, decisive, sexy. All these descriptions are shamefully reductionist and most are unsupported or in direct defiance of the text. ...

The truth is that Darcy is a Pastry, but nearly everyone thinks he’s a Muffin.

Darcy, of course, is a classic Pastry, from the sharp scheming mind to the insouciant, oddly endearing snark, not to mention that sort of intellectual arrogance, the unwavering belief in his own judgment, whatever the circumstances (Cunning Plans FTW!). This is my bone to pick with Firth’s, Macfadyen’s, and fanon’s Darcy. They’ve turned a dyed-in-the-wool Pastry into an Angst Muffin.(Anghraine)[5]

Fanfiction & Pairings

Darcy is a major character in most P&P fanfiction. The canonical Darcy/Elizabeth dwarfs all other pairings, and until recently was virtually the only pairing written at all seriously. Stories that break up Elizabeth & Darcy are very rare but not entirely unheard of. The most common het partners for Darcy are Anne de Bourgh followed by Caroline Bingley, though they tend to die in childbirth freeing him for Elizabeth. There are a few well-known stories that pair him with Jane or Kitty Bennet.

Among the handful of m/m slash stories on the net, the most popular pairings are probably with Charles Bingley (buddysex) followed by George Wickham (hatesex), but there's also at least one example with Colonel Fitzwilliam, genderswitched-Elizabeth, and even William Collins. They're often, but not always, crackfic.

Non-explicit Darcy/Elizabeth stories are common but truly gen works are relatively rare. Humour and stories that show Darcy's viewpoint on his search for Lydia are probably the most common, but gen stories sometimes explore his relationship with Georgiana, Wickham, Colonel Fitzwilliam or his parents.

Meta

Discussion of Darcy's character often centres around possible explanations for his initial rudeness, for example, that he is shy[6] or even has Asperger's.[7] The extent of his character transformation during the course of the novel is a related topic. Despite his usual fanfiction portrayal as a sex god, whether or not he is a virgin on marriage is another common topic. There's a lot of discussion of the merits of the Darcys of the various adaptations, as well as the character in bookverse vs adaptions-verse.

Example Fanworks

Fanfiction

Gen

Darcy/Elizabeth

Other Het Pairings

Slash

Fanart

Vids

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Meta

References & Notes

  1. Some fans contend canonical Darcy is not actually dark
  2. The sole canonical source for his Christian name
  3. het_reccers: Shipper Manifesto: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) (accessed 5 May 2015)
  4. crack_van: Pride and Prejudice: An Overview (accessed 6 February 2014)
  5. anghraine: Snack Food and Austen (aka, Why Darcy Is Not A Muffin) (accessed 5 May 2015)
  6. elizabeth-hoot: The Ubiquitous Shy Question (repost) & comments (accessed 5 May 2015)
  7. elizabeth-hoot: A rant. (accessed 5 May 2015)