An Understanding: The Impact of Story

In November 2012, I found a webseries called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, with Lizzie as a 24 year old grad student. I happened to tune in for the first episode to feature Darcy (the proposal scene in the book) and was so impressed that I kept watching…and fell in love.

One year ago today, a video called An Understanding went up. It’s a really touching scene between Lizzie and her youngest sister Lydia, showing depth into the character of Lydia and the strain that separated the sisters. (If you follow the book, they adapted Lydia and made some different choices, but grew her into a fully fleshed character, while remaining faithful to her book counterpart. Someone I loved and cared for, rather than misunderstood and pitied) In this part of the story, Lydia is dealing with profound hurt and the way she talks about it connected with me instantly. I’m trying to avoid spoilers in my description, so bear with some of the vague description.

I remember, I was sitting in the quiet computer lab that day, just finishing up my homework and eager to watch the video before grabbing lunch with friends. Halfway through my eyes filled up with tears and at the end, I couldn’t push them away anymore. Initially I had been excited because at eight minutes, it was one of the longest videos to date. But those eight minutes were filled with some of the best acting and storytelling I’ve seen. The last lines of Lizzie and Lydia connect with me, through the heart and emotion given. Rachel Kiley wrote most of the Lydia arc and I have to give credit, her writing made Lydia beautiful. She wrote An Understanding and it definitely showcases her talent.

I’ve only been able to watch this episode a few times since it aired. One time, I made the mistake of watching it when I was early to an event and I wept in the hallway of a church (those last lines y’all, they do me in). Ultimately, I love what it shows me about the value of love, that there is no mistake too large for love to not hold us.

Mary Kate Wiles, the actress who plays Lydia wrote up a reflection about that day which you can read here.


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