A completely un-confusing guide to names in Blyton’s books


Enid Blyton must have come up with thousands of characters in her years of writing. Some of them are instantly memorable from their name alone.

Zerelda? That can only be Zerelda Brass, the American girl from Third Year at Malory Towers. 

Melisande? Clearly that’s Melisande Longfield from the Six Cousins books.

Anne? Well, I’m probably talking about Anne Kirrin, though there might well be one or two extremely minor characters also with the common name of Anne.

But what if I said Sally?

You might think  that’s obvious, Sally Hope from Malory Towers. But equally I might be talking about Sally Wilson, leader of the Put-Em-Rights. Or I may even have meant Sally the Poodle, who belongs to Berta Wright from Five Have Plenty of Fun.

So to curtail any confusion, here is a list of anyone you might get muddled over.


JACKS, JOS, JAKES AND MORE

Jack has to the the most common name in Enid Blyton’s books – for major characters anyway.

Jack is a main character in three major series no less.

There is red-haired and freckled Jack Trent in the Adventure Series, Jack-no-surname who is a member of the Secret Seven, who is not to be confused with Jack-previously-no-surname but now Jack Arnold from the Secret Series. Jack Longfield is also a main character in the Six Cousins books, and there’s a Jack in the Happy House Children series. And while we are being catagorically un-confused, we’ve also got a Scottish Jack, Jock Robbins who appears in Five Go Off to Camp.

After the Jacks, we have the Jakes. Jakes are not main characters, but they are all villains. There is Jake-with-the-eyepatch from The Island of Adventure who is entirely different from Jake-the-Gypsy from Five Fall Into Adventure, and neither have anything to do with another Jake from the Famous Five, Jake-the-main-villain from Five on Treasure Island.

Also appearing with the Jake-the-gypsy is one of our Jos. This one is Ragamuffin Jo, presumably short for Josephine but also known as Jo the Gypsy girl. We also have Josephine ‘Jo’ Jones, a first-former from Malory Towers, not to be confused with a boy called Jo who is in the Faraway Tree Series. Neither should you confuse any of those Jos with Jo-Jo, the servant and criminal from The Island of Adventure.


THE WELSH

Blyton wrote quite a few Welsh characters into her books, but she used the same names quite a few times for them!

There’s another ragamuffin in the aptly named Ragmuffin Mystery, the last book of the Barney Mysteries. This time the ragamuffin’s name is Dai, which also happens to be the name of a dog in Five Get into a Fix.

Two other names are also repeated between those two titles, Morgan, Jones and Llewellyn. Five Get Into a Fix features Morgan Jones, the owner of Dai (the dog), and there’s Morgan the Cripple, uncle of Dai (the boy) in The Ragamuffin Mystery. Then there’s Llewellyn Jones also from The Ragamuffin Mystery and Llewellyn Thomas in Five Get Into a Fix.

Just in case that wasn’t clear, there’s a chart below.

And of course we’ve already had Jo Jones (not Welsh) above, and there’s also another Thomas family in Five Go to Billycock Hill.


GRANDADS

All purveyors of historical stories there are three grandads you might muddle up. Yan’s Old Grandad is a shepherd in Five Go Down to the Sea, and shouldn’t be confused with Hugh Dourley, also known as Old Grandad, from The Ring O Bell’s Mystery. Also old but called Great-Grandad, the eldest member of the Philpot family appears in Five on Finniston Farm.


Next time: I clear up confusion around Harrys, Henrys, people who sound like they are in the Famous Five but are not and more.

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5 Responses to A completely un-confusing guide to names in Blyton’s books

  1. mrbooks15 says:

    There was also Dafydd in the Ragamuffin- the boy with the goose- no other Davids that I can think of though

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  2. mrbooks15 says:

    And Sadie- from St Clare’s – that’s another that pops to mind immediately.

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  3. fiona says:

    Funny you should say that, I did have Daffyd and David (the shepherd’s brother from The Mountain of Adventure) in a previous draft of this post. I deleted them thinking it wasn’t the same name but maybe I should have left them!

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  4. jillslawit says:

    I remember once wondering why there was more than one different Jack as a main character, and being thoroughly confused, although Jack is a common name. And also, why is it that old grandads were pictured with beards. Did they all have them back then? Mine never did. How times have changed. My own father is a great-grandad, he is neither bearded, ancient looking nor frail. He even has a gold hoop in his ear. Would that have made him Gypsy Grandad in Blyton World?

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    • fiona says:

      I suppose a grandad in the 1940s could have been born as early as the 1860s and I think beards were a lot more common the further back you go, because of a) fashions and b) it being a lot harder to get a good shave! Also there’s nothing that says ‘hey I’m really old’ like a beard to your knees, it’s very Albus Dumbledore. Neither of my grandads had beards, neither of them had gold hoops either though. If your grandad was a Blyton character I would definitely have called him Old-Gypsy-Grandad 🙂

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