We’re back to the twins of Enid Blyton, and this week I’m going to look into one of the iconic sets of twins that she wrote about. Another feature of the Famous Five stories, Harry and Guy Lawdler probably represent a more traditional brother/brother relationship (I am assuming and basing this on my stereotypical knowledge because I neither have a brother or am a boy!)
Over this series of posts we have looked at the Philpot twins, or the Harries as they’re more commonly known and seen how they strived to be as ‘two peas in a pod’ as possible, and then looked at Connie and Ruth Batten from the Malory Towers books and how the relationship between them was bordering on dangerous. Now with only two pairs of twins left to look at, Harry and Guy present us with a new side of things. The only boy/boy twins I have come across in my (admittedly-narrow) readings of Blyton, their relationship is far from perfect.
For those of you who have ever read Five on a Secret Trail will know that we’re introduced to the Lawdlers in a very strange way, because for the first two thirds to three quarters of the book we are lead to believe that Guy is the only one.
The twins are not seen together at all until the mystery really is hotting up and in many a way Guy is the most well known of the two because he seems friendlier and the Five take to him much easier than Harry. However, the problem with Harry is that he neither introduces himself, for his mistake and then gets too readily annoyed when first the girls and then the boys mistake him for his brother Guy.
This makes the fact plain that the twins are completely identical and there is nothing (at least nothing that is mentioned) to indicate that they have anything to tell them apart. The Harries , apart from being non-fraternal twins are described as being totally alike, apart from the scar on the back of Harry’s hand which helps the five identify them. The Lawdlers are not mentioned to have anything like this until right at the end of the book when Guy has a sprained ankle which is strapped up tightly and George makes this point by saying, “I don’t know how I shall be able to tell one from t’other when Guy’s bad foot is better.” (pg 170, Five on a Secret Trail, 2000).
Having got that all sorted, and the fact that the twins are very much identical down to a ‘t’, now its time to look at the dynamic they have with each other, and with the Five during the adventure.
Anyone who has read Five on a Secret Trail will know how the drama of the twins plays out, but the fact that the twins do pretend that the other doesn’t exist seems to me (the only child) to be a factor of a relationship with a sibling.
Harry explains why they pretended the other doesn’t exist when the Five discover him after Guy’s disappearance. Harry says, “…we each pretended that the other didn’t even exist…we’re like that. We love each other the best in the world, and we hate each other worst – when we quarrel. We’re simply horrible then!”
From the outside perspective this seems very similar to lot of sibling relationships I’ve witnessed, especially when I was growing up about the way they antagonise each other to the point where they would refuse to speak to each other. Something similar happens to Ruth and Connie in The Upper Fourth at Malory Towers where Ruth starts to despise her sister and Darrell remarks that, “It’s because you’re twins, I expect, Connie should have been your elder sister, then it wouldn’t have mattered! You could have loved each other like ordinary sisters do…” I think I have seen it written down somewhere that being a twin means that there is a different kind of sibling bond, like your bond is stronger or different in some way.
Also, its interesting to note that this kind of behaviour where the twins are falling out just isn’t considered in Blyton’s world. There is this overlying feeling that all families are supposed to get on, and the siblings aren’t supposed to argue. I mean even within the Famous Five, Julian and Dick’s spats are brushed under the rug fairly quickly. In the Secret Seven there is a bit more discord between Jack and Susie which is considered abnormal, this theme seems to suggest that the characters who don’t get on with their siblings have an underlying problem.
In the case of the Lawdlers there doesn’t seem to be much, apart from their tempers. The boys are always seemingly left along quite a lot as their father is a famous archaeologist, so perhaps the boys are lacking the parental intervention to make them “nice” and “normal” like the perfect family unit Blyton tries to create for her readers. If I were a student of psychology I might liken that to having her own family unit broken apart when she was a young girl, but I digress and literature doesn’t always follow true life.
Anyway, the Lawdlers have a big bust up, which results in them not being in the same place at the same time as they pretend the other doesn’t exist. Naturally this makes it hard for the Five, and makes their treatment of Harry as the ‘crazy’ one rather unfair. I get the feeling, although it is never stated, that Harry maybe the younger twin, because Guy seems a lot more in control and less sulky. Of course the interaction with the Five might make him seem more mature, because he is benefiting from their friendship.
It’s hard to really get a firm hold on the Lawdler twins because they spend so little time in the book together. When Guy is kidnapped Harry becomes so distraught at the loss of his twin that he would move the world to get him back, which shows how deeply he really cares for his brother. This is demonstrated clearly when Harry and the Five find Guy in the secret passage. Harry throws himself at his dazed brother, hugs him tightly and starts trying to make amends.
…Before he could say a word more, Harry was beside him, his arms around him, his voice choking.
‘Guy! Oh Guy! I’ve been a beast. I wouldn’t be friends! What happened to you? Are you really all right? Oh Guy, we are friends again, aren’t we?’
In the end the twins end up talking and being friends again, at least I suppose they do because they don’t pay a major part in the rest of the book.
As it stands the Lawdlers are probably the most underestimated twins in the Famous Five, possibly the whole Blyton franchise. The Harries have their notariety because of their unlikeliness of being identical, Isabel and Pat O’Sullivan have the joy of being the main characters in the St Clare’s series and Ruth and Connie have quite a big story line with a possibly worrying outcome. Guy and Harry seem to get overlooked because of their disinterest in each other, and that they don’t even really act like twins for most of the book, more like brothers and even then like strangers.
At the end of the day the Lawdlers feel more like real people because of their flaws, and feel more like proper siblings. I mean, even Julian, Dick and Anne can’t even manage to be totally perfect all the time, so that means that everyone else is allowed a little normality now and again, right?