Every Mrs. Weston Ranked and Rated
“[Emma’s] mother had died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses, and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection.
“Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse’s family, less as a governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularly of Emma. Between them it was more the intimacy of sisters. Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, the mildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint; and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor’s judgement, but directed chiefly by her own.” –Emma, Chapter 1
Number 5: 1996 (Miramax)
Portrayed by: Greta Scacchi
Age at time of filming: 32
Every one of the actresses who’ve played Mrs. Weston have done an excellent job, and, really she’s a hard character to mess up, so she’s usually also written very well; which makes this exercise frustratingly difficult.
Douglas McGrath’s 1996 interpretation, portrayed by Greta Scacchi, finds herself in the bottom spot, largely because (again, 1996 being a soft-take), while this version does a great job of showing what close friends Emma and Miss Taylor were, it really fails to convey her failings as a governess in any meaningful way… or any way whatsoever. In fact it sort of basks in Emma and Mrs. Weston’s friendship, with them playfully tag-teaming a game of “Let’s Tease Mr. Knightley”. Not only that, but given how childishly Emma is written in this version, you get to see how this Anne Taylor might have handled her as a child, and to be honest she’s a little too good of a guide. You can’t quite believe that “her mildness of temper” ever prevented her from “imposing restraint” in Emma. It kind of negates half of the point of her in regards to how she informed (or failed to) Emma’s character.
Rating: 3/5 Inadvisable Wedding Cakes
Number 4: 1972
Portrayed by: Ellen Dryden
Age at time of filming: 34
There’s not a whole lot that’s good about the BBC’s 1972 mini-series of Emma, but Ellen Dryden as Mrs. Weston is one of them. While her performance falls in line with the generally on-cue style acting of the adaptation as a whole, she’s such a likeable presence that I was very willing to forgive it. She was a pleasant surprise; a Helga Hufflepuff-like figure with a cheery smile (and some really fab dresses), she even gets a few digs in at Frank, much like Mrs. Weston of the book. (really disappointed they left out the silversmith quip though.)
The only problem (aside from the on-cue acting) is, much like 1996, Denis Constanduros’s screenplay fails to adequately convey her short-comings as an authority figure, which are so important to understanding Emma’s character arc. She finds herself sitting just above Greta Scacchi, perhaps because she stood out so much and exceeded my expectations.
Rating: 3/5 Inadvisable Wedding Cakes
Number 3: 1996/97 (ITV)
Portrayed by: Samantha Bond
Age at time of filming: 30
We’re entering into the big leagues now, with Samantha Bond, the youngest Mrs. Weston on record. Here is a Mrs. Weston who looks just perfect gabbing with Emma. While, like with 4 and 5, this adaptation runs a little soft on Mrs. Weston in text, Samantha Bond’s youth and performance both make her bond with Emma make a lot of sense, while also helping the viewer understand how having a best friend for an authority figure got Emma where she is.
That and Samantha Bond is just great, and we love her.
Rating: 4/5 Inadvisable Wedding Cakes
Number 2: 2020
Portrayed by: Gemma Whelan
Age at time of filming: 38
What can I say? Gemma Whelan was maybe a shade older than I’d expect for Mrs. Weston but she’s just so damn delightful. The Westons are some of the few characters that, in my opinion, the 2020 version gets absolutely bang on. Not only is Gemma Whelan a treasure in the role, but the screenplay does right by the character. The opening scene doesn’t just show you the bond between Emma and Miss Taylor, it’s a touching, lovingly shot scene that makes you feel it too.
Really the only drawback to this interpretation is that there’s so little time in the two hours allotted to let her stretch her legs.
Rating: 4 ½ /5 Inadvisable Wedding Cakes
Number 1: 2009
Portrayed by: Johdi May
Age at time of filming: 34
Once again surprising no one (I do hope this doesn’t become a running joke in this series, but I’m not optimistic), my number one interpretation of Mrs. Weston is 2009, portrayed by Johdi May. Once again, y’all know I love Johdi May, but no, that is not the only reason 2009 sits at the top of this list.
In fact, the biggest reason she’s my number one is to do with the writing. This is the only case in which the adaptation has the time and insight to show all of the aspects of Mrs. Weston’s character that make her an instrumental part of Emma’s story. I’ve already gushed about this in my review of this adaptation, but I just love how well-rounded this interpretation is. Not only do they not gloss over Mrs. Weston’s short-comings, they actual show you, in the first episode exactly what her dynamic with Emma was like when she was supposed to be an authority figure (and how she let Emma’s failings slide.)
Rating: 5/5 Inadvisable Wedding Cakes
If you liked this, check out my rankings of Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Weston
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Constellations Ch. 3
Prev. Chapter - First
[2500 words guys. 2500 words of just getting him to school. Also the only one about to be more miserable than Draco....is Wes. I wonder what new rumors and conspiracy theories will spring up from this new information :^) ]
"Man, when was the last time we walked to school together?” Tucker asked as he came jogging across his lawn. Danny gave him a grin.
Draco shot him a look, "You don't usually walk to school?"
"Did you want to take the school bus?"
Draco winced, recalling the one and only time he had ridden the Night Bus. If muggle buses were even half as bad as that….well, he could appreciate Danny forcing him to walk instead.
“Wait!” Tucker skidded to a stop, “Is that your long lost wizard twin?"
Said long lost wizard twin made a distressed noise as he grabbed Danny's shoulder, "You told him about magic?!" He hissed.
"Uh, yeah?" He said, looking completely unconcerned about breaking one of the most important wizarding laws ever. “I tell my friends everything - stop making that face at me!"
Draco didn't let up his sneer, "Did it ever occur to you what would happen if my parents found out?!"
"That's why I never mentioned it."
Draco made another distressed noise, "You are the reason my hair is going white. Mother and Father are never to find out about this."
Tucker kept a few steps back, eyes narrowed dangerously. "You aren't about to explode my tech are you? I heard what Danny went through."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Are all muggles this concerned about their 'techology'? What use does it even provide?"
"Oh no." Danny muttered.
Tucker gaped at Draco, "What use-"
He was suddenly in Draco's personal bubble, and Draco had to swallow down the urge to shove his wand in his throat. As it was, he couldn't stop the hiss coming from between his teeth.
“I will show you the true wonders of technology you poor depraved soul.” Tucker whispered.
“Danny make him stop.”
His absolute traitor of a twin brother just laughed at them and raced ahead. Tucker gave him a maniacal grin and pulled no less than four different electronics. “I will teach you everything I know!”
“Danny!” Draco screeched as he raced after him. “Don’t leave me with him!”
"I will have you using a cell phone by the end of the week! You can't hide from me!"
The three of them raced down the street till they came to Sam's house, who gave them an unimpressed look when they stumbled to stop.
"This is what it takes to get you to go jogging?"
Danny gave her a big grin while Tucker wheezed next to him. Draco took a moment to catch his breath and examine Danny’s other friend.
Sam just looked over him, an unimpressed look on her face, before asking Danny “You’re actually going to take him to school?”
Sam grinned darkly, "You are about to throw a rich snob into a small town public school for the first time in his life. There is no way in hell I am going to miss this."
Danny looked like he was having second thoughts and Draco elbowed him. He was already out in public in muggle clothing and his hair a disaster, no reason to turn back now.
"Your name means almost nothing here." Sam stated. "The Fentons are the town joke, and Danny resides at the bottom of the teen social ladder. The kind of special treatment you're used to in magic land, you won't get here."
Draco grit his teeth, "I am already aware of that, thank you."
She looked at him for a few moments, "Not yet you aren't."
She linked arms with Tucker and pulled him towards the school, effectively ending the debate Draco was about to start with her. Danny sighed, "Yeah, yeah I should have expected this. C'mon, I gotta talk to Lancer and Ishiyama about you shadowing me for the rest of the week."
“What exactly am I supposed to do at a muggle school?” Draco asked.
Danny just shrugged, “Same as us I guess. A lot of nothing. Though I guess it’s one way to learn about non magical people in a safe environment.”
“You threatened to throw me in a dumpster.”
“I told you someone else would throw you in the dumpster. It’s not so bad actually.”
Draco made a disgusted noise.
"Oh look, we're at school!" Danny scrunched his nose, "Ugh, never thought I'd sound so thrilled about that. Anyways, we need to stop at the principal's office and see if it's okay for you to shadow me for the rest of the year. It's only like, for two weeks and we're not doing any actual work so it should be fine. But we still have to get permission."
As Danny talked, he dragged Draco towards a brick building that seemed to have various holes in the wall. Draco wrinkled his nose, expecting something run down and mediocre as it was a muggle public school. But the holes did not endear him to the structural integrity of the building.
There were a bunch of students already loitering outside the school, and heads and whispers followed the pair as Danny pulled him up the stairs and through the doors.
Draco was rather used to the attention that came from being a Malfoy, both good and bad. But this attention seemed so much more….unsettling in the wake of his brother. Maybe it was the cruel smirk on a girl's face as she leaned to whisper in the ear of her blonde friend. Or the way a couple of broad shouldered boys elbowed each other and snickered.
They wouldn't be doing this if they knew he was a Malfoy.
'But you're not a Malfoy right now, are you?' Said an annoying voice in his head that sounded vaguely like Manson.
He told the annoying voice to stuff it.
"Hi Principal Ishiyama!" Danny grinned as he poked his head in the door.
The principal sighed wearily, already reaching for a pen, "Detention again Mr. Fenton? School hasn't even started for today, this might be a record."
Draco shot him a look and Danny flushed, "Uh, no. Not this time. I actually had a question."
She raised an eyebrow, "A nice change of pace. Very well, what's on your mind?"
Danny walked into the office with Draco following him. Looking around, Draco noticed that the office had none of Dumbledore's odd extravagance of his own office. There were filing cabinets and bookshelves filled with binders and books. She had a few muggle objects on her desk along with sentimental photos. There were two comfortable looking chairs in front of her desk and a plant in the windowsill. It was all very...normal.
He was expecting something more rundown and poor. Especially considering how the outside looked.
"Who is this?"
"This is my twin brother, Draco."
Principal Ishiyama blanched, "There are more of you?"
"I cannot believe I am going to get kicked out and I haven't even been allowed in yet." Draco muttered.
Danny stepped on his foot. "From my bio family. We recently found each other last summer and we've been getting to know each other. I was wondering if it would be okay for him to shadow me for the rest of the year? He kinda came earlier than we were expecting and he usually goes to boarding school in Scotland and I didn't want to leave him at home all day cause….you know."
Principal Ishiyama winced, "Yes I'm well aware. I suppose it would be fine. Your parents know where he is?"
"I called them before leaving. You can double check-"
"No no no, that's fine!" Principal Ishiyama interrupted. "I just need him to sign some safety waivers, and make sure you show him all the proper protocols. Does he have health insurance?"
"What is 'insurance'?"
"Yes!" Danny said loudly, stepping on Draco’s foot again. "Don't worry about being sued, we're taking care of him."
Draco shot him an incredulous look as the principal pulled some papers out of her folder and handed them over.
"Normally I'd have the parents sign it in person, but I suppose you can bring it back tomorrow. No need to call them in right now, I heard they're working."
Danny grinned, "Yeah, somewhere by the docks. But I mean it wouldn't take long for them to get here with Dad driving-"
"We don't need more property damage at the moment, Mr. Fenton. Just get the papers back to me in the morning." She waved them out of the office. "And do try to keep up this streak of arriving on time."
"I'll do my best Principal Ishiyama." Danny said as he dragged Draco back out of the office.
"I have questions." Draco stated.
"I might have answers."
"What is insurance? And why would I need it for my health? And safety protocols?"
Danny stared at him. "Dude, I told you about the ghosts. I spent all year writing to you about different attacks. You should be aware of the ghosts by now."
"I didn't think you were serious about that. Ghosts aren't dangerous."
"Oh Ancients my brother is a dingus." Danny groaned into his hands. "Look, you won't believe me until you see for yourself-"
"SO! Just….whenever the ghost alarm goes off do whatever everyone else is doing. Actually, never mind, I'll have Sam watch you."
"I don't need to be watched-"
"Are you being purposefully antagonistic right now?"
"Ooooh, Danny’s using big words now." Sam drawled, "Everything all set up?"
Tucker threw his arm over Draco’s shoulders, ignoring the way he was trying to squirm away, "Okay so this is a cell phone."
Danny held up the papers, "Just got to sign some waivers. We're gonna be twin peas in a pod for the rest of school."
"Oh joy. Now there's two Fentons for Dash to bully."
"I feel bad for anyone who tries to bully Drake."
Draco glared at Tucker. "Remove your arm before I remove it for you."
Tucker hastily pulled his arm back, "And this is a PDA, her name is Marie the 3rd. And this-"
Sam smirked, "I'll be sure to record all future interactions. Come on, we gotta get to homeroom."
Draco walked next to Danny, looking thoroughly annoyed with Tucker's impromptu technology lesson.
Mr. Lancer raised an eyebrow when he saw the tag-a-long to Danny’s usual trio. "Mr. Fenton?"
"This is my brother Draco, he's shadowing me for the rest of school."
"The Crucible!" He exclaimed, dropping his pen, "There's more of you?"
Sam cackled next to him.
Draco sighed wearily. "Are all your professors going to have the same reaction? I'm beginning to regret this."
"Ah, my apologies Mr. Fenton, and….Mr. Fenton."
"It's Malfoy, actually. I'm not a Fenton."
"Mom and Dad say otherwise."
Mr. Lancer looked distressed, "Please take your seats, both of you."
Danny grinned and pulled Draco, who was getting rather annoyed with being dragged everywhere, to some desks in the back of the room.
Draco made a face as he sat down, not enjoying the cheap plastic….everything the classroom seemed to be made of. He was used to the sturdy, solid wood desks from Hogwarts. Or the ornate, carefully crafted desks from home with protective runes etched in decorative patterns to keep the desk from breaking.
Draco's face twisted in a grimace, "Are these desks….sweating?" The entire thing squeaked as he shifted to put his hands in his lap.
Sam snorted, "Pretty much. Hot and humid weather, mixed with cheap (recycled mind you)* wood and sketchy air conditioners equals sweating desks. You get used to it."
"Merlin, help me."
While Draco sat there pitying himself and the idea of sitting at sweating desks for the next two weeks, the rest of the class slowly trickled in, causing the noise level to rise as everyone around started whispering about the new kid sitting with Fenton.
Paulina discreetly checked out the new kid sitting behind her in her compact mirror. "This is a horrible time for a new student to join school. I don't have any time to win him over with my amazing personality and leave him trailing after me in the vain hope of catching my attention."
She reapplied her lip gloss before snapping the mirror shut.
Star hummed in agreement, "Yeah, but do you really want him to? I mean he's cute but he looks pretty friendly with Freaky Fenton."
"Yeah, but Manson looks like she's taking pleasure in his suffering in lieu of knocking his lights out. Anyone that could get under her skin is good in my books."
"Doesn't she usually look like that though?"
Kwan leaned across the aisle, "Hey, does anyone else think new guy and Fenton look kinda alike?"
"Kwan what fuck." Dash scoffed, "They look nothing alike! Fentonoski looks as geeky as normal and new guy looks like a prep school reject."
The tardy bell rang. Which, didn't really matter to the students as they were all in there and didn't affect the noise level at all. Mr. Lancer standing up to call roll did shut them up for the moment though. Partly because he tended to give extra homework to students messing around during class, but mostly because they wanted to know who the new guy was sitting and chatting next to Danny Fenton of all people.
Whispers started back up again, and Mr. Lancer sighed, but continued on. They weren't hindering roll call and sometimes it was just easier to let them get it out of their systems before class actually started.
"Here." Wes growled, eyes on the new kid sitting next to Fenton.
"Please face the front instead of staring at your classmates two rows behind you Mr. Weston."
Snickers erupted around the classroom and Danny winked at a flushed Wes, who saw it just before he turned, leaving Wes fuming in his seat. He didn't know who the new guy was sitting next to Fenton, but it was clearly Fenton once again trying to make his life miserable. He just had to figure out how.
Mr. Lancer sighed. "As you may have noticed, we have a new face here with us. Mr. Draco Malfoy will be shadowing Mr. Fenton for the remainder of the school year."
"Okay, but why?" Mikey asked.
"Draco is Danny’s long lost twin brother from England he met last summer." Sam drawled.
There was a snapping noise and heads whipped around to see Wes clutching a broken pen and looking like he was about to cry in frustration. "There is another one of you?" He said in horror. Blue ink dripped from the broken pen in his hand.
Mr. Lancer pinched the bridge of his nose, "Mr. Weston please go to the bathroom and clean yourself up."
Wes stiffly got out of his desk and ghosted (heh) out of the classroom, still clutching the broken pen in a death grip.
Draco closed his eyes, already completely done with muggle school. "If that continues to be the reaction to me being your brother, I think I will take my chances with your parents."
Star turned in her seat to give him a pitying look, "Oh you really haven't been in Amity that long, have you?"
*(Virco school desk chairs, which I had through most of school, do in fact seem to sweat when the weather gets all wonky. And they are made from recycled, fortified wood. Look up a picture and tell me if you had these same desks, I wanna see who else experienced sweating desks in public school :P. Tag list below the cut.)
Also Draco is wearing a white button up and black slacks because he is still a snob and refuses to wear casual cloths.
Tag list, as requested in the notes: @ladylynse (okay you didn't ask to get tagged but this all started because of you and your anons so....)
@burningprincesssuit @raisa3ibex @random-shit-writing @home-of-renn @who-needs-braincells @connisk
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