Hello, Sanditon

I have never written here before about the obsession I’ve had over The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; I only discovered it sometime early this year, but I got quite into the whole thing. I followed and read and double-checked everyone’s Twitter accounts, stayed up nights to watch (the videos would go up at 1am on my side of the world).

Welcome to Sanditon title screenOn May 13, the new series, Welcome to Sanditon, by the same makers of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is airing its first webisode; there is a teaser out already, starring Gigi Darcy, who is going to the resort town as an observer for Pemberley Digital’s Domino beta test.

Based on Jane Austen’s Sanditon, the web series takes the setting of that book and expands it–and as well it might, as it’s Austen’s last unfinished novel; she only wrote eleven chapters. I haven’t read it before, so when I heard about the new web series, I resolved to read it before the series started. Lifeā„¢ got in the way and I forgot about it for a while, until over the last weekend when tweets started coming up about it (I’m still following @GGDarcy, of course).

So I was up pretty much all night–no kidding, it was 6am when I finally turned off the lights. When I started reading the ebook (from here, it is public domain), I knew it was unfinished, but didn’t know where Austen had left off. I did wonder when the book had gone a bit longer than anticipated, but I was enjoying it, so I didn’t mind.

After finishing, I looked up and discovered just how early Austen had left off–sadly, just as the stage was set for a very interesting summer. The guests had all arrived, the last of which is the Parkers’ intriguing brother. For the latter it’s just a hello-how-do-you-do bit; not much in the way of characterization.

That continuation I read was fairly well done, however; a bit long in the end, but the “continuation by another author” bit explained to me just why I came across so many familiar passages in the book, not the least among them this quote:

“Indeed, I am very sorry to be right in this instance. I would much rather have been merry than wise.”
– Emma

“But now, once again, there seemed only time to enjoy his company; and for a brief period, [she] chose to be happy rather than wise.”
– Sanditon

And here I was thinking how very telling it is that Austen seemed to have a theme going on about “being merry than wise”. ;)

Gigi's on her wayI’m definitely looking forward to see what Bernie Su and Hank Green do with Welcome to Sanditon; there’s a lot of potential here since the story is largely untold (you can even be one of the Sanditon townspeople by roleplaying along! See @SanditonSeries/townspeople). It seems fairly clear to me that Gigi is playing the part of Charlotte in the book (she has at least twice mentioned going there as an observer); but whether they follow the general storyline of this continuation or branch off after the arrival of the guests, is anyone’s guess.

Further reading: ‘Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ spin-off ‘Welcome to Sanditon’ invites audience to roleplay along, includes possible official Sanditon-related Twitter accounts (as yet unlinked to the official Twitter account), and of course take a quick look at the teaser video. :)