Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: Isobel Gurney

Isobel Gurney is an upper fifth pupil at Manor House in Pendragon Manor. She is one of the main characters in The Moochers and makes a brief appearance in The Moochers Abroad. It is also likely that she featured in the lost manuscript of Moochers and Prefects. She is sixteen years old and described as slight and fair in appearance and speaks in a quiet voice. When Fiona and Katherine (the Moochers) first arrive at Pendragon, it is Isobel who shows them around the school and shares a room with them, and the three girls quickly become friends. Katherine and Fiona take a liking to this shy girl and take her under their wing. Isobel is keen on history, and she is also a talented hockey goalie but is not given the chance to play in goal by bossy Head Girl and hockey captain Betty Hill. Betty makes Isobel play as a winger and is scornful of her, describing her as so bad that a “third-former with her legs tied together” could beat her. Isobel is constantly in awe of Betty, but Katherine thinks that Betty treats her “like a beast” and is determined to improve her new friend’s status at the school. Fiona and Katherine help Isobel to train and are surprised that despite her small stature she turns out to be brilliant in goal. When a flu epidemic breaks out and sidelines the house's goalie, they suggest Isobel’s name. In desperation, Betty gives her a try and everyone is amazed at how talented she is. Isobel goes on to help Manor win the House Cup for the first time in years in a dramatic victory over the Dragons. She also comes second in the Hope Burdon historical essay with her piece on the Industrial Revolution and ultimately helps Manor to win the coveted House Shield. She is also present at the finding of the legendary Pendragon Hoard treasure trove. In one term, Isobel goes from being a humble shy girl to a major player at Pendragon Manor. However, her character remains unchanged and she continues to be very considerate and anxious not to hurt or offend people. Isobel is called Bella by the Moochers. Little is said about her life outside of Pendragon except that she has three brothers who are keen hockey players and study at Sanford, and that training with them made her such a good goalie.