It's my opinion that the internet is lacking in all things Anne of Green Gables, and especially excluding the popular Kevin Sullivan adaptations of the 1980s. So imagine my delight when, on browsing the internet I came across not just one excellent blog post, but an entire series from "Miss Dashwood" at Yet Another Period Drama Blog. This wonderful blogger hosted Anne of Green Gables Week, which, sadly, I missed seeing go out live by just a few days. (On the plus side, it meant that there were a lot of posts to catch up on, from both "Miss Dashwood" and her friends who got on board.)
One of the posts asked questions about bloggers' experiences and thoughts about Anne, and I always like an excuse to talk about her, even if I don't actually need one. So here are my answers to Miss Dashwood's questions:
1. How many of the Anne books have you read, and how many of the films have you seen?
I've read all the books (excluding The Blythes Are Quoted) more often than I can count. Of the Sullivan films, I've seen Anne of Green Gables many times and The Sequel once. I've also watched the 1970s BBC adaptation of Anne of Avonlea a few times and the 1930s film starring the actress who changed her name to Anne Shirley.
2. If someone yanked your hair and called you carrots, what would you do to him?
Well, I'd have to crack my slate over his head. I'd have no choice. However, my hair is not very carrotty, so I would be a bit baffled by it, and I wouldn't really be cross.
3. What would you do if Josie Pye dared you to walk the ridgepole of a roof?
I'd keep both feet on firm ground and let her dare away! (Probably mutter some sort of excuse and scurry away as fast as I can.)
4. If you had the opportunity to play any AGG (I'm abbreviating from now on because I am a lazy typist) character in an AGG play, which role would you choose?
Anne, no question about it. Though it would probably be around Anne's House of Dreams as I'm a bit older now. And, hey, that book hasn't been adapted yet, so I can hope.
5. If you were marooned on a desert island, which AGG character would you want to have as a companion? (Anne, Gilbert and Diana are not options. Let's keep this thing interesting. Not that they're not interesting.... oh, yay, now the disclaimer to this question is longer than the question itself. Lovely lovely lovely.)
Walter Blythe. If he were stranded on a desert island with me, he couldn't go and fight in the war. And with him around, I wouldn't have to worry about having no books, because he could entertain me with his poetry and stories.
6. If there was going to be a new adaptation of the Anne books and you could have any part in making the movie, what would you choose to do? (screenwriting, acting, casting, costume-making are a few possibilities)
I'd write a screenplay for Rilla of Ingleside. I've actually started doing that (written a first draft of about three scenes.) Because it introduces the Blythe children as young adults, rather than continuing Anne's story, it would work as a stand-alone; you don't need to know too much about what came before, and there's no point in starting from the beginning, because I think the original Kevin Sullivan adaptation would be almost impossible to improve on.
7. What are, in your opinion, the funniest AGG book/movie scenes? (choose one from the books and one from the movies)
I can't just choose one! A funniest incident is Anne falling through the Copps' duck-house roof and having to stay there under an umbrella until Sarah comes home. (Avonlea) Or Rilla's rigid bringing-up of baby Jims by the book. (Rilla) And of course Gilbert Blythe at Redmond, cheerfully walking around town all day in a pinafore and bonnet as an initiation into a fraternity. (Island.) Oh, and there's the part when Ken comes to court Rilla and is regaled with every embarrassing memory Susan can think of. That's without mentioning any of the more famous incidents involving hair dye, slates, raspberry cordial or Tennyson poetry (Elaine and Lancelot, not The Lady of Shalott, by the way!)
Most of the best bits of the adaptations come straight from the text, but there is a wonderful addition to the script of the first Sullivan film: "I suppose it was rather a romantic way to perish... for a mouse."
8. What are, in your opinion, the saddest AGG book/movie scenes? (choose one of each again)
When I first read Rilla as an adult, I sat up reading all night, crying my eyes out pretty much non-stop, actually making myself ill. I'd studied World War 1 in school, and I couldn't bear that it must affect my beloved Anne. But the bit that never fails to get me is Walter's last letter from the front.
I think the saddest thing exclusive to the adaptations was when I realised that all my favourite scenes from Anne of Avonlea and much of Anne of the Island were not going to make it onto the screen. In all seriousness, though, Matthew's death, though the obvious answer, always makes me tear up.
9. Which AGG character would you most like to spend an afternoon with? (again, Anne and Gilbert and Diana are not options for this one--think secondary characters)
Susan Baker. She takes everything so seriously, but she makes me laugh no end.
10. What is your definition of a kindred spirit?
Someone who you can be yourself around, without having to pretend to be anything or anyone you're not. A person who accepts you as you are, warts and all.
Links to my reviews of the Anne books and films: