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|Genre||Children's literature, bildungsroman|
|No. of books||6 (in the original series)|
Malory Towers is a series of six novels by English children's author Enid Blyton. The series is based on a girls' boarding school that Blyton's daughter attended, Benenden School, which relocated during the war to the Cornish seaside. The series follows the protagonist, Darrell Rivers, on her adventures and experiences in boarding school. Darrell Rivers' name was inspired by that of Blyton's second husband, Kenneth Darrell Waters.
In 2009, six more books were added to the series by author Pamela Cox. Events in these take place after Darrell has left the school and focus on her younger sister, Felicity Rivers.
Darrell Rivers begins her first year at Malory Towers, a castle-like clifftop boarding school in Cornwall. Determined to do well and make friends, her first term is turbulent. Her temper causes problems, her efforts at playing the fool backfire, and the first book ends with Darrell becoming best friends with Sally Hope.
Darrell's career from this point is smoother, and she eventually covers herself in the personal, scholastic and sporting glory that was originally expected of her. She is head of the fourth form, games captain of the fifth, and head girl in her final year as well as being a successful lacrosse and tennis player. When she is in the fourth form, her younger sister, Felicity, joins her as a first former at the school. From then up until "Last Term at Malory Towers", we also focus on Felicity and the rest of her form, especially June, the troublesome cousin of Darrell's friend Alicia. In all of the books, Darrell plays a pivotal role, though she is not always successful in her endeavours and indeed is temporarily stripped of her fourth-form captaincy (when she is caught shaking June who was threatening to reveal the secret of a midnight feast held by the fourth formers out of personal spite), though she gets it back again by resolving a particularly complicated case of sibling rivalry. She is on friendly terms with most of her classmates and even makes her peace with vain, selfish class outcast Gwendoline Lacey when a personal tragedy strikes her.
At the end of her school life, Darrell is bound for the University of St Andrews with Sally, Alicia, and her friend Betty. She puts her younger sister Felicity in charge of upholding the standard that she and her classmates set.
The second series of six books follows Felicity from the third year to her final term. Sally's younger sister, Daffy, eventually joins the school as well. The final book of the new series, Goodbye Malory Towers, sees the return of the original cast for a school reunion, and the addition of Gwendoline Lacey to the teaching staff.
- Darrell Rivers is the main character of the first six books. She is hot-tempered and this causes her many problems, but she learns to control it as she goes up the school, and she is also a very responsible, hard-working girl. She is very popular with her form, as is her best friend Sally Hope. When she gets into the upper school she becomes head-girl of the fourth form, games captain in the fifth and finally, in sixth form, Head Girl of the school. As she gets older at Malory Towers she begins to realise her talent for writing and goes on to be a writer. She is very well known in the school and was looked up to by all the smaller children in her time as Head Girl.
- Gwendoline Lacey was a silly, spoilt and selfish girl, always thinking that she was good and most likeable, even though she did many underhanded and wrong things. Alicia especially liked to pick on her, making Gwen (Gwendoline's nickname) both afraid of and angry towards her. Her attitude only changed when her father fell very sick during her last term, and she was told that he would die. Realising that she had to stop being so fussy about things, she starts to wonder about her dreadful future. She had wished to go to a Swiss finishing school, but when her father became so ill, she realised he would not be able to afford it, and she would have to get a secretarial job.
- Alicia Johns was the form joker. There was no end to the tricks she played on the poor teachers. Although she was very popular because of her pranks and jokes, she was also very sharp-tongued and scornful of those less talented or healthy than her. She had a very quick brain and if she really worked hard at something then it would be amazing however, she was far too busy playing the fool. Her years at Malory Towers did soften her, and she became less sharp-tongued and hard. She was never given any role of responsibility because she was far too fond of playing the fool.
- Sally Hope was Darrell's best friend. Although at first she was very odd and quiet because of troubles at home, she soon blossomed into a calm, responsible young lady. The troubles at home were all because Sally was jealous of her younger sister, Daffy, for taking all her parents' attention. Poor Sally was so upset that she thought her parents sent her away to Malory Tower because they didn't want her. The issue was resolved when Sally fell ill and her parents left the baby at home and came all the way down to Cornwall, which was where the school was, to see Sally. Convinced that her parents did love her, she turned into a much nicer and happier girl and soon Sally and Darrell became best friends. Jealousy had always been an issue with Sally and she tried hard to get rid of it while she was at Malory Towers. In second form she became head girl and then in the sixth became games captain.
- Betty was Alicia's best friend from a different tower and she was very similar to Alicia. For this reason Miss Grayling (the head mistress) would not let Betty move into Alicia's tower.
- Mary-Lou was "a timid little thing" who was even scared of her own shadow when she first came. However, she did get better. She was initially Gwen's 'best friend' but Gwen was only using her really. Later, she made a threesome with Darrell and Sally before she finally found a friend of her own, Daphne, who appeared in the second form.
- Daphne was a silly, pretty girl who joined in the second form. She initially made friends with Gwendoline, before becoming a better person and befriending Mary-Lou.
- Felicity Rivers was Darrell's younger sister who joins the first form when Darrell is in the fourth. She is the main character of Pamela Cox's sequel series.
- June Johns was Alicia's cousin who was in Felicity's form. Like her cousin, she was extremely mischievous and troublesome, but not quite as good-hearted, and she ended up hurting many other girls' feelings. But she was also sensible and quiet a kind person. When she became a games captain, the little kids adored her!
- Susan Blake was Felicity's best friend. She was very sensible and responsible but had a good sense of humour and therefore very popular among her form.
- Miss Potts was the first form mistress and head of North Tower. She was very strict and always had an eye on mischief-makers such as Alicia and June.
- Mam'zelle Dupont was one of the two French mistresses. She was very silly and was afraid of many things, meaning that she was the victim of most of the girls' tricks and pranks, although she had a very hot temper. Because of her general jolliness and good-humour she was popular with the girls.
- Mam'zelle Rougier was the other of the two french mistresses. She was stern as Mam'zelle Dupont was strict and didn't care for jokes or tricks. Not many students dare to misbehave in her class as she hands out harsh punishments.
- Miss Grayling was the headmistress. She was very sensible and strict, but also kind and gentle. Every girl in the school was in awe of her.
The school has four towers that are four storeys high. The kitchen, dining hall and common rooms are on the ground floor, dormitories are on the first and second floors, teachers' rooms and storage are on the top floor.
The school forms a square with a courtyard in the middle. The sides of the school are three storeys high. Between the west and the north towers there are the classrooms. Between the north and east towers are the 'san' and the headmistress's rooms. Between the east and south towers are the entrance, gym, assembly hall, labs and art room. Between the south and west tower are the mistress's rooms.
The school also has a rose garden, stables, tennis courts, sports pitches and an outside, natural swimming pool.
The six official books of the series are:
- First Term at Malory Towers (1946)
- Second Form at Malory Towers (1947)
- Third Year at Malory Towers (1948)
- Upper Fourth at Malory Towers (1949)
- In the Fifth at Malory Towers (1950)
- Last Term at Malory Towers (1951)
Pamela Cox wrote six sequels of the series in 2009 which focus on the adventures of Felicity Rivers, June Johns and Susan Blake:
- New Term at Malory Towers (2009)
- Summer Term at Malory Towers (2009)
- Winter Term at Malory Towers (2009)
- Fun and Games at Malory Towers (2009)
- Secrets at Malory Towers (2009)
- Goodbye Malory Towers (2009)
The German version, published in the 1960s and 1970s underwent substantial changes to catch up with time (e.g. turntables instead of gramophones), to better resemble German grammar schools (playing handball instead of lacrosse). Furthermore, there were changes to character names - for instance, Darrell was re-named Dolly. From 1977 to 1997, twelve sequel books were published, telling Dolly's further life which always stays close to the school: after studying at a partner university, she works as a house mistress, marries one of the teachers, and has a child of her own. The story ends in the 18th book with old Miss Grayling's dignified retirement - and Dolly as her successor.
A stage production written and directed by Emma Rice and her company Wise Children has been touring theatres in 2019. It is a co-production with York Theatre Royal, in association with the Bristol Old Vic.
In 2019, it was announced that a television adaptation was being produced for British children's channel CBBC, in association with Canada's Family Channel. It was developed by Rachel Flowerday, who had previously worked on the television series Father Brown, and Sasha Hails. It specifically included a cast with members of BAME communities and actors with facial disfigurements. It premiered on 23 March 2020. Season 1 has 13 half-hour episodes about Darell's first year at Malory Towers. Two more seasons of 13 episodes have been commissioned, to be shot in 2021.
- "Malory Towers by Wise Children: dates and details announced | WhatsOnStage". www.whatsonstage.com.
- "Enid Blyton's Malory Towers coming to TV". 2 July 2019 – via www.rte.ie. Cite journal requires
- "TWENTY SIX MORE EPISODES OF HIT SERIES MALORY TOWERS GREENLIT". WildBrain. Retrieved 18 September 2021.