Meet the Girls of Malory Towers
Article by Laura Canning (February 2, 2005)
So who does go to Malory Towers? There are heroines, old hands, new girls and baddies...
Darrell Rivers is very probably named after Blyton's second husband Darrell Waters, Darrell is the heroine of the series. As is typical in school stories, the first book starts with her as a new girl in the first form and the last book shows her in sixth form and head girl. Darrell is an engaging character with a terrible temper, which she struggles throughout the six books to control. She is a calm and dignified head girl in the sixth book, but let's hope she doesn't become too staid at college.
Sally Hope is Darrell's best friend, joining Malory Towers in the same term as Darrell. Like Darrell, Sally too has a fault, and with her it is jealousy. She denies having a baby sister because she thinks her parents sent her to school to make way for the baby (and yes, it is a tad insensitive for parents to send an only child to boarding school the minute a new baby is born, non?). Sally is steadfast and responsible, and does a good job calming Darrell down when need be. She is head girl of the second form.
Alicia Johns is not a typical Blyton schoolgirl, Alicia can be harsh and malicious. She is especially jealous when Sally and then Darrell are made head girl of the second and upper fourth respectively. She is responsible for most of the tricks played on the hapless Mam'zelle, and is outspoken and popular despite her faults. She fails the School Cert. due to measles, resits it in the fifth, and goes on to college with Darrell, Sally and Betty.
Betty is Alicia's best friend from West Tower. She is the only girl from another tower to appear regularly in the books, helping Alicia to goad Darrell in Second Form, and taking the role of co-producer of the Christmas pantomime in In the Fifth.
Mary-Lou is the youngest girl in the school when the series starts, and quite possibly the wettest too. She hero-worships Darrell after Darrell rescues her in the pool, and finally finds some courage when she jumps into the pool to save Darrell from 'drowning'. Becomes friends with Daphne in Second Form, and is rescued by her from a watery grave. Mary-Lou is still quite timid in the fifth book, but overcomes stage fright to play Cinderella in the pantomime. In the last book, she is leaving Malory Towers to become a nurse.
Gwendoline Mary Lacey is the blonde baddie. Gwen's unsuitability for boarding school life is shown right away by her having to brush her hair one hundred times before bed, and falling foul of Miss Potts for not wearing plaits. Gwen is vain and shallow, attaching herself to any new girl she thinks is glamorous or rich. She has to leave the sixth form early when her father falls seriously ill.
Irene is the resident musical genius. Irene is equally gifted at maths and music, but will go to the wrong classroom and sit there all lesson wondering why no-one turns up. She is present throughout all the six books and is very popular, but never really has a story to herself. Goes on to music school after Malory Towers.
Belinda Morris is Irene's best friend, who joins the school in the second book. A talented artist who is instantly popular among the girls for her ability to draw malicious sketches of the teachers for the girls to use as bookmarks. She stalks Gwen all through fifth form for additions to her 'Scowl Collection'.
Daphne arrives in the second form and is latched on to by Gwen due to her supposed wealth. She becomes friends with Mary-Lou too, despite only using her at first to get help with her work. Daphne is exposed as a thief at the end of Second Form, and must ask the girls whether or not she can stay at Malory Towers. She is quite a minor character throughout the rest of the series.
Bill arrives in the third form having never been to school before, and at first finds it very difficult to settle in. She misses her seven brothers' horses and not being able to go riding alone. Gets into a lot of trouble in her first term by constantly disobeying Miss Peters and going to see her horse Thunder when she is forbidden to do so. Becomes friends with Clarissa Carter in the fourth book, and sets up a riding school with her after they leave school.
Mavis is the only character who arrives 'offstage'. We are told in Third Year that Mavis arrived the term before and quickly made herself unpopular by her vanity about her voice. Mavis wants to become an opera singer, but ruins her voice when she sneaks out to a talent contest and gets caught in the rain on the way home. She is forbidden to sing for at least a year, and becomes much more likeable. Her voice has recovered for her to sing in the fifth form pantomime.
Clarissa Carter—the 'Honourable' Clarissa—arrives in the fourth book, and spends most of it trying to escape Gwen's clutches. She is quiet and unassertive for most of her first term, but settles in when she bonds with Bill over their love of horses. She and Bill set up a riding school after they leave Malory Towers.
Connie and Ruth are twins, the new girls in Upper Fourth. The girls like Ruth better, although Connie hardly lets her twin get a word in. Ruth is more academic than Connie, and is likely to pass School Cert. while Connie will probably fail. Connie asks Ruth to fail on purpose so they can both stay down in the fourth form, and Ruth almost loses it under the pressure. She is helped by Darrell and goes up into the fifth without Connie, who stays down in the fourth and becomes friends with Moira's sister Bridget.
Moira is joint head girl in In the Fifth and co-producer of the pantomime. Moira was left down when her form went up into the sixth, and is quite domineering over the new fifth formers. She rubs everyone the wrong way with her handling of pantomime rehearsals, and becomes unpopular enough to receive poisonous letters from June. Redeems herself by pleading June's case with Miss Grayling.
Catherine is the fifth form doormat. Sickly sweet and refusing to say a bad word about anyone, Catherine would try the patience of the saint she is apparently emulating. The girls start to call her Saint Catherine, and Belinda draws an especially nice picture of Catherine as a martyr.
Maureen, a new girl in the fifth form, is at Malory Towers because her old school had to close down. She is Gwen#2, and the girls push them together. Is very sickening about her wonderful last school until Mam'zelle mistakenly calls it 'Measley Manor'.
Jean—or Scottish Jean—is moved up into a higher form early on in the series, and we only see her in the first two books. Sally in Second Form enlists her to try and befriend Ellen.
Ellen joins Malory Towers by way of a scholarship in Second Form, but quickly starts to worry that her work is not up to standard. After being accused of stealing, she decides to cheat in the exams by looking at the paper beforehand. Darrell catches her and the worry makes her ill. She moves up to a higher form after she recovers.
Zerelda Brass is the flamboyant American who is at the school for one term in Darrell's third year. Thinks Malory Towers is 'wunnerful' but still wants to be in the movies. Alas, Zerelda cannot act and is quickly told so by the drama mistress. She settles down to school life and reveals a talent for making others laugh.
Amanda arrives in Darrell's last term because her famous sports school has burnt down. She quickly annoys the girls by criticising the sports at Malory Towers and saying that the girls cannot even recognise potential when they see it. To prove her point, she starts to coach June, but the two personalities clash and June calls off the coaching. Amanda spends the term convincing herself she can swim in the sea despite the strong current; when she does so she is seriously injured and has to be rescued by boat. She is unable to enter the Olympics as planned.
Jo Jones is a spoilt rich girl in Felicity and Susan's form in Last Term. When Matron confiscates her five pounds, Jo sneaks into Matron's office to get it back. She accidentally takes nine pounds but reasons she will soon give it back. She is expelled after running away from school with a first former.
Deirdre is a weak first former who runs away with Jo in Last Term. She does not get into trouble as Miss Grayling recognises she was under Jo's influence.
Katherine is the head girl of the first form in First Term and a typically straightforward character. Orders Darrell out of the pool after the slapping incident, and calls a form meeting to discuss the matter.
Emily is a very quiet member of the form in First Term whose main interest is sewing. She goes to tea at half term with Darrell and her parents.
Suzanne is Mam'zelle's niece who joins the school in Last Term. Innocently uses all the strange words taught to her by Alicia, and encourages the second form to come to the sixth form classroom and play tricks on Mam'zelle.
Felicity Rivers, Darrell's younger sister, comes to Malory Towers in Upper Fourth. Like Darrell, she makes a shaky start with her friendships, but by the end of her first term has made friends with Susan. Plays in the school team in her second year and scores the winning goal (of course!). Also responsible, with Susan and June, of almost giving Mam'zelle a nervous breakdown by repeatedly playing tricks on her.
June Johns, Alicia's younger cousin, has all Alicia's faults and none of her better nature. Is responsible for Darrell losing her head girlship in Upper Fourth and sends poison pen letters to Moira in In the Fifth, almost being expelled. New girl Amanda coaches June for the sports team in Last Term, until June loses patience and storms off. She redeems herself by rescuing Amanda from the sea, and promises Alicia she will try her best to carry on the family name.
Susan is Felicity's friend in the first and second forms.
Molly is Games Captain in Darrell's third year when Darrell is doing her utmost to get onto the school lacrosse team. Disliked by Zerelda as fat and undignified, who is naturally missing the point...
Bridget is Moira's younger sister, in the fourth form when Moira is in the fifth. The sisters dislike each other and have a huge row in the fifth book. Bridget is friends with Connie.
Eileen and Winnie are friends of Betty from West Tower who come to the midnight feast in Upper Fourth.