Good Knightley

Limb, prepare yourself, because I'm about to go out on you right now. 

Assumptions are ahead, in other words. I'll guess that pretty much everyone who stops by Wilfair HQ likes "Emma" and if "Emma" is liked then Mr. Knightley is really liked, too.

Guess? Know. What would I do without my Austen aficionados 'round here? I love them. I am one.


So there've been a few on-screen Knightleys. Who is yours? My #1 choice is Jeremy Northam from the 1996 film. I like his whole performance, and his twinkle, too. Call it the Element X, but twinkle is essential in pulling off a zazzy leading man performance. (Ergh, a twinkle-less, dead-serious, frowny-of-mouth leading man is complete No Funsville. Smile, guy! You're in love!)

Mr. Northam's twinkle twinkles throughout the movie, but the little moment I like best is in the piano forte scene, after Emma returns to her seat and the crowd is enjoying Miss Fairfax's playing. Emma's eyes slide over and she catches Mr. Knightley looking at her, amused. He's not watching Miss Fairfax at all.

Sold! To one happy viewer named Alysia. I'll gladly pocket that moment, thankyouverymuch.

I know, I know, I know, I know, I love the tiniest of moments in books and films. But tiny moments are 99% of existence, so they should be quality, if possible. Secret: When I write the Wilfair stories, I keep a saddlebag full of tiny moments and I chuck 'em at the computer screen by the handful, confetti-style.

And now, Mr. Knightley, please tiny-moment the heck out of this day, if you would:


Amanda W said...

You know, Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel (to be fair, it's the only one aside from Pride and Prejudice that I've read more than once, so maybe I should read them all again just to be sure). And while I'd have to watch the other versions just to be sure, I'm inclined to agree with your analysys of Jeremy Northam. (although I do have a bit of a soft spot for Paul Rudd as the Clueless version of Knightly. LOVE that movie).

Erika said...

Emma! I love Austen novels!

So, Emma is not my favorite Austen heroine but I simply adore Mr. Knightley. (I also adore talking Austen so YAY!!!) I have only seen three versions of him, Paul Rudd in Clueless, Jeremy Northam in 1996, and Jonny Lee Miller in 2009. I saw on IMDB that Mark Strong played him and I really want to see that! I think I like Jeremy Northam overall but I love, love, love, all of the handholding in the 2009 version with Jonny Lee Miller. I am a sucker for the hand holding in these movies, from Mr. Darcy and the carriage moment to Mr. Knightley grabbing Emma’s hand behind her back. I love it! I think Mr. Knightley definitely has one of the more iconic and used quotes for Jane Austen, “If I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more.”

Wilfair Book said...

Amanda: Paul Rudd! Yes. I never forget about his role in "Clueless" but he never pops first to mind.

"Emma" and "P&P" are my big go-to books for re-reads. Oookay, and "S&S," too. I love those sisters so much.

Erika: So basically that's my morning now, scrolling through that Tumblr. ;) YES, the hand-holding bit in the Jonny Lee Miller version. It's just completely perfectly done, is all.

And that cup. I don't need more cups in my cupboard but I might have to pursue that one.

Erika said...

I know all about not needing more cups in my cupboard. Whilst cleaning out the garage a few weeks back I unearthed 7 different mugs, this is not counting the mugs in storage and in the cupboard already.

Mugs, apparently I hoard you.

And books.

I'm ok with this.

do dah said...

that just means y'all have faster access to the world's basement.

Erika said...

Best. Response. Ever.

Caitlin said...

I am very, very torn on which is my favorite Mr. Knightley, Jeremy Northam or Jonny Lee Miller. I love them both, and I think they both do an excellent job of portraying the rather unique relationship and deep history between Emma and Mr. Knightley. (I haven't seen the Mark Strong version, either.)

Another sparkly Northam moment I love is when he and Emma are doing archery and Mr. Knightley gives her that sly side-eye and says "Try not to kill my dogs." But my very favorite moment from that movie is at the ball, when Emma basically asks Mr. Knightley to dance, and they have that whole "not brother and sister" exchange, then she walks away and he gets that LOOK and says "no, indeed we are not." I swoon.

I, too, love in the 2009 version when Mr. Knightley takes Emma's hand behind her back. That's my favorite moment in that version.

I haven't seen Clueless in years, so clearly it is time for me to revisit that. I do adore Paul Rudd.

Caitlin #2 said...

Emma is the only Austen novel I've read that I don't enjoy re-reading, oddly enough, even though I love the movie adaptations. When I want a re-read, I go for P&P or Persuasion.

But movie!Knightley in all his incarnations (though I have also not seen Mark Strong) is just great. I'm terrible at picking favorites, so I won't pick a fav actor, but I do have favorite tiny moments for each of them. Paul Rudd - "You look like Pippi Longstocking" "You look like Forrest Gump" [they both proceed to remove the offending items]. Jeremy Northam - "Try not to kill my dogs." JLM - "What does it matter where I live if my heart is in the right place?" Swoon City XD

And on the topic of tiny moments, I am a connoisseur. I'm the person who gets annoyed when I'm watching a movie with someone and they miss the MEANINGFUL GLANCE or the RAISED EYEBROW or the SMOLDER because they were making a snide comment or turning to take a drink or hiding from the awkward. My boyfriend is terrible about this and I tease him mercilessly for it. Because really, isn't that why we're here in the first place?

And the tiny moments are the reason I love the Wilfair series, because they're so lovely and painful and perfect :)

Wilfair Book said...

do dah: LOVE.

Erika: Love your response to do dah!

Caitlin: The archery scene! Gurgle. Hell yes. The dogs line is so perfectly delivered, with so much flirtatious subtext, I want to just high five The Northam right then and there. Through the screen. I do.

The brother-sister exchange is my favorite verbal bit of the movie!

Caitlin #2: Ohhhh, "Persuasion." We could use some more affection in that direction 'round Wilfair HQ.

Nodding with approval over all of those Knightly moments/lines. That last one is indeed Swoon City.

Yay, the Sisterhood of Tiny Momentdom! YES. This can be totally why a book or film works or doesn't work for me, even if the bones happen to be pretty strong. Nuance and unsaid things and veiled things tell the true story.

The story is only ever half the story, in short.

I seriously have thought about starting another blog just devoted to Tiny Moments in all things. But. Time. I love that this here blog and the books that serve as its wheels take up my hours. (Hi, and work and life and offline fun, too.)

Thanks for commenting, Caitlin #2! Welcome!

Caitlin #2 said...

Any time you need Persuasion love or a sister of tiny momentdom, I'm your woman :)

"I'm half agony, half hope..." Wentworth, you're killing me!

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