Saturday, March 21, 2015

Note on HotGL: Angela's Name

The two heroines of House of the Glimmering Light are, first of all, Angela Winter and, in a slightly secondary role, Noël Sinclair. However, when the girls introduce themselves, the following curious dialogue about their names takes place:

"Noël Semple," said the girl. "What's yours?"
"Angela Winter."
"Between us," murmured Noël, we sound like a Christmas carol-."
Angela giggled. "As a matter of fact, my name isn't really Angela at all, it's Elizabeth, but once when I was small I got involved in a pageant as one of those Non Angli, sed Angeli experts - you know - and my Aunt Fanny must have been feeling sentimental, for she said I was such a living example of it that she insisted on calling me Angela ever after. So she says, but she never liked the name Elizabeth."

This is puzzling. Why all this apparently unnecessary fuss over Angela's name? I've tried to think of some possible reasons:

1. Jane Shaw is saying in a roundabout way that she's not too keen on the name Elizabeth. This theory crumbled at once. Amanda's Spies, The Crew of the Belinda and The Matchmakers all have sympathetic characters named Elizabeth. There is also Elizabeth Rogers, the budding actress and classmate of Susan's at St. Ronan's, and Dizzy from Anything Can Happen and Nothing Happened After All;

2. This passage sets up Angela's "angelic" nature and appearance, which will help her in the undercover work she is going to become involved in;

3. It's a way of emphasizing the close bond between Angela and her aunt, which will be important later on in the story.

I think the latter two reasons are quite possible, but maybe there is something else at play here.