Sunskriti’s Animal Character Exploration: Timmy from the Famous Five


Timmy as drawn by Eileen Soper in Five go to Mystery Moor.

Timmy as drawn by Eileen Soper in “Five go to Mystery Moor”.

This month’s blog post  is about Timmy, who is quite possibly Blyton’s most famous animal character. I found writing about Timmy harder than any of the other animals I’ve blogged about, so please excuse the length of this post.

Timmy is a very lovable and loved character, no doubt, he’s a very intelligent dog – man’s (or woman’s rather) real companion.

But, to me,Timmy seems artificial somehow. I know a lot of detective dogs etc are really intelligent, but somehow Timmy just seems to be obviously made-up. Other dogs in Enid’s books are very realistic and not at all fake. That isn’t the case with Timmy, making him one of my least-favourite dogs in Blyton’s books.

Timmy meeting Jo the Gypsy girl for the first time in Five Fall into Adventure. Drawn by Eileen Soper

Timmy meeting Jo the Gypsy girl for the first time in “Five Fall into Adventure”. Drawn by Eileen Soper

In Five Fall Into Adventure, where they first meet Jo the gypsy girl, Timmy gets drugged by her. He sleeps heavily through the night and is unable to prevent a burglary at Kirrin Cottage. The next morning he is said to look very sheepish – a look he has when he knows he’s done something he shouldn’t and is feeling ashamed. We get a similar look at his feelings when he has been hit on the head in Five Go to Mystery Moor, when he just wants to lie down and rest his aching head but he soldiers on knowing that his beloved George is in need of rescuing.

Timmy can be fierce at times, and bite all right, but I think only nips are mentioned, as George usually tells him not to hurt the enemy too badly unless they try to escape. Facing the terror that is Timmy, of course they give up! Such a ferocious dog would have come in handy, I’m sure, and the Five’s troubles would have lessened with a single bite.

Timmy being fierce and protecting Julian and George in Five on a Treasure Island. Drawn by Eileen Soper.

Timmy fiercely protecting Julian and George in “Five on a Treasure Island”. Drawn by Eileen Soper.

Well, to me, Timmy is a lovable dog, if not so real. He’s ideal in adventures, though a bit more biting would’ve worked. And though he is so exceptionally intelligent, doesn’t he have the sense NOT to squash his mistress into a pancake at night!! He seems quite dumb to me in some aspects like these.

So that’s about all I can say on Timmy, but let me tell you, I have a feeling  that he totally loves his life with George, his mistress!!

All images from the Cave of Books.
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3 Responses to Sunskriti’s Animal Character Exploration: Timmy from the Famous Five

  1. Francis says:

    Lovely Blog, Sunskriti. I have been in love with Timmy for 54 years now and would love to share him with George (and you!),
    Francis

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  2. Michael says:

         Although I just read this some time later (linked from a recent article), I *have* to come to Timmy’s defence here!
         Less real than other Blyton dogs? Not sure about that.
         Actually, I think first of all we have to grant a certain degree of unreality about many things in Enid Blyton: the adventures, the way children can defeat criminals, the intelligence of animals – and maybe other things too.
         Possibly Timmy is a bit more extraordinary than a dog like Scamper or Buster or Loony – but not problematically so, to my mind. To me, he is loads more interesting than those other dogs – clearly more intelligent, and plays a much more important role in at least some of the adventures.
         If the other dogs are a bit less contrived and a bit more real, I think they pay a penalty for that by being a bit more ordinary, less interesting, and less important to the adventures. In stories of this type, if a dog or other animal is to be included, I think it is a *major* positive if they play a real role rather than just passively accompany the children. (In another post on this site, I referred to Scamper as little more than “an amiable hanger-on”.) And it’s a significant flaw if the dog or other animal really plays no active role at all other than simply being present.
         I have no problem at all with the issue mentioned above that, despite his intelligence, he apparently doesn’t have the sense not to squash his mistress at night. Well, to me, that just makes him all the more a real dog – he has shortcomings after all!
         So if it came to a vote for the best or most interesting dog (or animal, more broadly) in Enid Blyton books, I firmly support Timmy.

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  3. Timothy is a fine dog no doubt, but my heart belongs to Buster.

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