from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Doc. 6.61.82 Edit
Gwendolyn Antonia ‘ Fashie’ Dahl (born 28 March 1984) is a Paradisian Olympic gymnast, prima ballerina, and teen idol well-known for her steady romantic association with Lord Jonathan Christopher Cavaliere III.
Within the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm, she is the principal character in the The Love of Gwendolyn Dahl story arc and is mentioned in episodes within the Paradise Two domain, notably in Janine, of Paradise.
The following is characterisation data for the benefit of contributors and readers. 'Public' information can be found on this character's Dahl, 'Wikipedia' page ‘Wikipedia’ page
Basic information Edit
- Full name: Gwendolyn Antonia Dahl
- Nationality: Paradisian citizen, belonger
- Birthdate: 28 March 1984 (Aries)
- Birthplace: Mercy Hospital, Hurricane Hole, Eden I.
- Parents: John Dahl; Ruth Dahl
- Residence: St Alice, Eden Island
- Height: 149 cm [4 ft 11 in]
- Weight: 46.5 kg [102.5 lb]
- Hair: light blonde, wavy, long
- Eyes: blue
- Figure: slight; young-adolescent
- Ethnicity: Norwegian, English, Dutch, Austrian
- Religion: Anglican
- Occupation: athlete, ballerina
- Sport: artistic gymnastics
- School: Hurricane Hole High School, 1995-1999; Paradise Intersport Academy, 1999-2000; O-levels 2000.
- ‘Gwinnie’ (family; she hates it)
- ‘Gwendigoo’, ‘Goo’, ‘Goo-goo’ (Heather Tewce; some close friends)
- ‘Gwendie’ (schoolmates and coaches)
- ‘Fashie’ (boyfriend, by which name she becomes famous)
Development of the character Edit
According to the author, the character of Gwendolyn is a direct homage to that of Taiga Aisaka in the manga/anime series Toradora. Gwendolyn's childlike physical stature, her fierce loyalty to those she loves, her predisposition towards bursts of energy and even anger (tsundere personality), background of personal unhappiness behind a facade of confidence and accomplishment, and lush, long hair are all in common with Taiga. She is also a deliberate echo of the character of Jeanne Banfield, who by the time of LOGD has become Lady Paradise and is also the mother of the boy with whom Gwendolyn falls in love, leading to often-ironic comparisons. Gwendolyn's Nordic heritage is meant in homage to a rapidly-disappearing European standard of cultural and aesthetic beauty. Neither tall nor voluptuous, she outwardly resembles a doll, child, or one to be cherished and protected, even as she possesses the strength of character, sense of noble purpose, and indomitable will that would serve a princess or queen well.
Though indubitably strong, remarkably capable as both a gymnast and a ballerina, Gwendolyn shows few outward signs of physical strength nor even much muscle tone. Her chest and upper arms are not overly sinewy and her legs are slender, not stocky, and proportionately long, lending her a scaled-down willowy look. Doing giant swings on the uneven bars, she is so lightweight and flexible that her body sways round each rotation like a feather blowing back by the wind. Her gymnastics and ballet form is immaculate, according to her coaches a model for the other dancers and team members.
Gwendolyn has a very small waist, taut, high bottom and the breasts of a much younger girl, which in Serendipity are mentioned to have bloomed only to the size of half a cricket ball (whilst being not quite hemispherical). Lord Jonathan remarks that she has 'Marie Antoinette breasts', referring to the legend that a standard stemmed champagne glass was shaped from the French queen's body. He also says that she has the figure of an angel or of a princess, perfectly shaped to wear sleek, strapless gowns and cocktail dresses. In fact he admits often that he is not necessarily attracted to full-busted girls and considers the look of a ballerina, of which Gwendolyn represents a paragon, to be his ideal of beauty. For a long time Gwendolyn remains unconvinced, adamant that he is being only polite to her.
Her hair is long, silky and wavy, of a pristine Nordic blonde not unlike that of Jonathan's mother, Lady Paradise, when she was of the same age. In Day Date, on their first morning at the beach, Gwendolyn apologises for constantly pushing it out of her face and suggests she should have it cut; but Lord Jonathan immediately asks her to not consider it and at once Gwendolyn is persuaded to keep it long to please him. For ballet and gymnastics she wraps it up in a bun or plump ponytail; but any time it is held or brushed back, one strand from above her right eye always seems to fall back down. Most of the time Gwendolyn is engaged in conversation or anything other casual activity, she is taking pains to keep the bit of hair out of her face, a nuance that Jonathan finds appealingly girllish.
Grooming and wardrobe Edit
Blessed with a placid, angelic complexion, Gwendolyn's small, heart-shaped face scarcely wants any makeup. At the start of The Love of Gwendolyn Dahl, her mother has forbidden her makeup, considering that a 12-year-old should not strive to be too mature too soon; and so Gwendolyn's only experience with proper making-up has been for ballet recitals and for gymnastics, neither of which reflects how a young lady should look for a date. It is only when Jonathan buys her some, thinking she would like it, that she experiments-- successfully-- with enhancing her already pretty looks.
She may be immaturely modest with regard to her own self-image, however. Though she is clearly very beautiful, she does not think of herself as anything that might draw anyone's attention. On their first morning at the beach, Gwendolyn peels off her camisole and takes to the sun and the water in only the bottom of a small swimsuit. Jonathan is impressed, not as much with her modest figure as with what he perceives as attractive aplomb; and thereafter she is nearly always without a shirt or swimsuit top when sunning, swimming, or surfing.
She tends to eschew heeled shoes, both because of ballet training and because she is, when Jonathan first meets her, only 12. Later she learns to wear higher shoes, even those of 75-100 millimetres, and typically succeeds in looking only elegantly pretty. Nearly nothing she ever does or wears can make her look less than a lady invulnerable or indifferent to reproach.
As a gymnast Edit
See also Gwendolyn Dahl, gymnastics training Edit
Gwendolyn's indefatigable workout and performance ethic, based in the zen teachings of Hurricane Hole's assistant coach, is one of straightforward acceptance of truths and facts and of eliminating extraneous mental 'noise'. She is known to face each challenge singlemindedly, often with a frowning expression of grave concentration, and to deny the impossibility of anything she is assigned to do. According to her teammates she is the least likely to weep, even in pain, after a fall or other failure. She has a moderate tendency towards anger, directed at only herself, when she perceives she is failing or just not doing her best, that can sometimes hinder further attempts. Most of her coaches and teammates know to handle her at such times, typically giving her space, or extra time in the period, but sometimes even removing her to some safer apparatus, such as the sprung surface used for floor exercises. Gwendolyn has never failed to maintain a professional, sportsmanlike deportment during competition, however, and is known as the pride of all her teammates and coaches for performing well under pressure.
As to favourites she gravitates towards balance beam, considering it the most elegant of girls' events, though she excels in all four. She is noted for extraordinary athletic ability on floor and on the beam, known to cavalierly add extra saltoes, twists and roundoffs, despite the risks to her safety or score, simply because she enjoys performing the manoeuvres. At the Earl's Cup final in January 1997, the coaches request that she remember a back salto in changing bars, a move she has done successfully only in practice. Not only does she perform the move perfectly but she also adds a tucked back salto in her dismount, already a laid-out double back salto, saying later that she simply thought she had 'too much air'. The unexpected but flawlessly-performed combination secures the team's win in the championship and earns Gwendolyn the event's individual high cumulative score.
Her vaults are typically very fast, very high, and very precise, though she considers vault her least-favourite event. During her 2nd-form year she improves greatly in uneven bars, increasing in speed and in the complexity of elements even as her characteristic exactitude improves her form into the bargain. Her floor-exercise routines are well-choreographed, often with the assistance of her ballet instructors, exceptionally adept technically, and uncommonly graceful; and she is often considered the most pleasant to watch in the apparatus.
She her best friend and teammate Heather Tewce, both blonde, slight and slender, are sometimes confused by judges seeing both girls, in similar leotards, during competition.
By the start of their third-form year Gwendolyn, Simone Coe, and Heather, all petite, deceptively-strong 13-year-olds, are consistently challenging or outscoring their older Hurricane Hole teammates, earning them the group nickname of The Fantastic Faeries. Gwendolyn is known as the Flying Faery due to her very high, perfectly-poised extensions in giant swings and in dismounts.
As a ballerina Edit
Gwendolyn applies the same sort of intensity to her ballet training, endearing her to teachers who delight in challenging her further. As graceful as she is on gymnastics apparatus, she is athletic and fearless in dance, easily taking on advanced manoeuvres that vex older dancers. Her Arabian leaps and jetes are stunning in height, form and extension; she has a personal record of having maintained form and speed through 61 pirouettes nonstop.
Though she takes to pointe training eagerly, and with no meagre aptitude, she is much more at-home in slippers and is as delicate in form moves as she is boundlessly energetic in strength ones. In nearly every performance she insists on adding some gymnastics elements such as a salto, handspring or roundoff, once only for the curtain call, which earned her chastisement, though also impression, from the director.
Still only 12, she joins the teenaged cast of The Nutcracker, first as one of the Coffee dancers and then in a late substitution for the female Trepak lead, a role in which her athletic ability and exquisite form wow the audience and numerous local critics. All her subsequent dancing roles are as featured dancer, leading to her first full-fledged prima ballerina role, in November 2000, in a Royal Paradise Ballet Company production of Tchaikovsky's Snow White.
Subsequent to her engagement to Jonathan in June 2001, she is invited to dance with the English National Ballet Company, predicating her (temporary) relocation to England with her fiance.
Appearances in ballet productions Edit
- December 1996 - Trepak, The Nutcracker; Eden Island Young Players
- March 1997 - Hermia, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Eden Island Young Players
- March 1998 - Bathilde, Giselle; Eden Island Young Players
- December 1998 - lead, Match Girl, Royal Paradise Ballet
- November 2000 - lead, Snow White; Royal Paradise Ballet
- April 2001 - Odette/Odile, Swan Lake; Royal Paradise Ballet
Family life Edit
Gwendolyn labours under strained relationships amongst her family, an influence she knows is negative but which, till meeting Jonathan, she considers herself powerless to escape. Her father tends to be benign but aloof, taking a keener interest in her only after he discovers the real identity of her new boyfriend. Her mother is both cynical and overbearing, on one hand an incessant critic and on the other applying constant pressure on Gwendolyn to meet increasing expectations. Gwendolyn responds by excelling in dance, at piano, in choir, and at gymnastics, as well as achieving upper 90s in her schoolwork. She is advanced to 2nd-form literature and art classes during 1st form and to 3rd-form literature, history and graphic-design classes during 2nd; but her mother does not recognise the gravity of this rare opportunity and remains as demanding as ever despite the substantial increase in difficulty Gwendolyn must then face.
History of incest and abuse Edit
On the very afternoon they meet, Gwendolyn confesses to Jonathan that she has been sexually used or abused by her brothers, Geoffrey and Gerald, and cousin for about four years. Her cousin, Alonso ‘Lon’ Dahl, initiated the abuse when Gwendolyn was only 7 or 8 by constantly fondling, squeezing and tickling her and, when she was 10, insisting upon sexual intercourse. Till then she has long rationalised this treatment, convincing herself that, as the boys have told her, it is merely what brothers may do with their sisters, though she knows many girls with brothers to whom this has not happened. Lon has long claimed to be in love with her; but his attention has never been affectionate and by mid-1996 Gwendolyn has come to believe that she will never have a normal and healthy romance with any boy.
Lord Jonathan's reaction Edit
See also Serendipity, episode in The Love of Gwendolyn Dahl Edit
Though he insists that in his eyes she is still very much a lady, Jonathan is shocked and taken aback by the revellation and attempts to convince her of the immorality of what has happened. However Gwendolyn, both feeling indebted to him for treating her with such respect and eager to score a conquest of her own, unbeknownst to her brothers and cousin, seduces him in one of Camelot estate’s guest apartments. In yielding helplessly Lord Jonathan; already besotted with her, decides to consider her his new girlfriend, which surprises and flatters her; and the two begin a mutually respectful, rewarding dating relationship.
Once Gwendolyn’s dating status becomes known to her family, the Dahls’ relationships become strained. Gwendolyn moves her room to the small garret bedroom and fits a lock on the door at the bottom of the steps; her brothers, now deprived of her sexual favours, continue to belittle and subjugate her. Her mother, to whom Lon is a favourite, alternately criticises and mocks her. Lon Dahl makes several jealous, near-violent attempts to master Gwendolyn, to no avail. Empowered by a sense of dignity and self-respect that has come as part of her responsibility in being Lord Jonathan’s girlfriend, Gwendolyn demonstrates fierce ethics and physical resistance, both of which have always been a part of her character.
Fortuitous benefits Edit
As a part of his campaign to make her his own concubine, Lon bought for her half a dozen pairs of very dainty, close-fitting, low-rise cotton knickers, a pair of which she is wearing when Jonathan finds her stranded on the beach. They were probably bought at Simply Sexy in Hurricane Hole. Gwendolyn has become so accustomed to the style that she continues to wear them (and to buy similar new ones) after she has done with Lon for ever.
Lon also has been able to get her a subscription to birth-control pills, which he made her start using just after her 12th birthday in March 1996, even though she would not naturally reach menarche before July or August. It is not revealed how he was able to do this without Gwendolyn's consent to a clinic examination nor her having reached the age of 13. She continues with the pills after being done with Lon and her brothers, enabling her to seduce Jonathan the afternoon they meet.
Gwendolyn is known for a serious, studious demeanour, being an excellent student, but amongst true friends and especially when in company with her boyfriend she is cheerful, almost childishly gay, affectionate, and amusing. She possesses a wry sense of humour that is disarming and even a little offputting-- she will jest with people only shortly after having met them, even with Jonathan, whom she properly should show respect by virtue of his title. However she harbours a deep-seated sense of insecurity and, when on her guard, tends to ask 'Do I disappoint you?' or 'Do I offend you?' or even 'Do I disgust you?', most likely because of her past history of subjugation to her bullyish brothers and cousin (whom Heather calls 'brutes').
She is unfailingly polite, poised and gracious in all circumstances, and in a ball gown or cocktail dress, despite her short stature and childlike figure, has the distinct look of someone older, more elegant, and of a higher social class than that to which she was born. Jonathan identifies very early on that she seems to have all the attributes of a future countess, which hints at his yet-unsaid intentions. In November 1996 he takes Gwendolyn to an embassy gala in Governor's Harbour where his father is speaking and Gwendolyn encounters her 17-year-old estranged first cousin who is having an affair with her boss. The situation serves to remind Gwendolyn that, no matter a girl's appearance or circumstances, there are some things that ought to be beneath the best people.
Jonathan, however, seems to bring out the very best in Gwendolyn. Buoyed by his sincere regard for her and his constant compliments, she redoubles efforts to excel at gymnastics, dance and schoolwork and slowly develops confidence in her predisposition to be pleasant, pleasing, optimistic and ambitious about her career. When she returns home from a weekend at Camelot, during which she and Lord Jonathan confess love to each other, she even stands up to her cynical mother, initiating a long, productive phase in which she is trusted with her own decisions and ethical values.
The two admit ‘love’ to each other in the morning after the first night they spend together, in August 1996, at Camelot.
Friendships and relationships with other characters Edit
Gwendolyn's best friend is Heather ‘Tuppy’ Tewce, whom she met when they were both 4.
Other friends and classmates include Jadienne Grainger, Dinah Eaker, Simone Coe and The Hon. Scotia Allan. She apparently does not know, or is not aware of, Tiffany Place, a HHHS classmate who appears in the Janine, of Paradise arc.
After beginning to date Lord Jonathan, she becomes personally acquainted with his sister, Lady Kimberley Cavaliere. Being of similar age, similar figure and size, and similar gymnastic and dance ability, the two become and remain close friends.
Romantic aptitude Edit
In August 1996, unbeknownst to either of their families, Jonathan takes a surfers' retreat cottage in Dorset and presents it to Gwendolyn as a romantic getaway of her own. The two begin spending every free afternoon and weekend at the cottage, surfing or hiking and making love, frequently spending the night. Gwendolyn takes to 'playing house' intuitively, preparing and serving tea, dinner and breakfast, doing washing and cleaning, and keeping an increasingly large proportion of her personal wardrobe there.
In enjoying the unparallelled privilege of dating one of the most desirable teenaged boys in the Western world, Gwendolyn is convinced that she is far beneath him in experience, desirability, intelligence and, of course, age. She endeavours unceasingly to discern his needs in romance, lovemaking and even culinary tastes and worries she will somehow weary or disappoint him. Holding hands on the street she is prone to gazing up at him in unabashed adoration; across a tea or dinner table she maintains eye contact either as though he is her heart's favourite sight or as though afraid he will vanish if she should glance aside.
In bed Edit
In bed, Gwendolyn is boundlessly affectionate, permitting absolutely anything; but, as Jonathan is a perfect gentleman who respects and admires her greatly, he will not request anything odious nor even uncomfortable of her, which only worries her that she may be only boring him. She derives a certain modest pride in being so physically compact, as she fancies herself easy to lift up, swing about, carry on the shoulders, or toss onto the bed.
Gwendolyn seems to prefer the 'missionary position', as she and Jonathan are able to look each other in the eyes, something they both enjoy doing. He is never rough with her and sometimes she feels almost frustrated; delays caused by his tender patience typically intensify her orgasms. Evidently she is able to achieve orgasm virtually every time she and Jonathan make love, something she has only done sporadically before. She admits she would have no idea how to fake a climax if she had to; and so all of her reactions appear genuine and entirely pleasant.
She has an adorable habit of curling up half on top of him after they have made love, one leg and arm over his body and her head on his shoulder with her nose in his neck and her crutch pressing into his hip. Though it flatters and even arouses him, he asks her about it and she refers to it as the 'snuggle reflex'. Subsequently, nearly every time they spend a night together, even on very hot nights, she will fall asleep in that position.
Gwendolyn enjoys making love in the morning and will usually assume a position on top of Jonathan, sometimes even before he is fully alert.
She adopts a playful banter of referring to herself as 'small and cosy' and to Jonathan as 'big and strong', teasing him with further innuendo and double-entendre, at which she seems remarkably articulate.
Appearances in stories Edit
Gwendolyn appears almost exclusively in the LOGD arc. However in achieving some notoriety, first as Lord Jonathan's girlfriend and later, by degrees, as even more, she becomes a household name to nearly everyone in Paradisian society, meriting mention in coincident arcs.
In the Janine of Paradise story arc, during February 2001, Janine's friend Anne Bond receives tickets to the Paradise ballet as a birthday gift; the tickets are to see Gwendolyn Dahl performing both swan roles in The Black Swan, which Anne claims as a favourite. Janine remarks that, as they all expect that Lord Jonathan and Gwendolyn shall shortly become engaged, this may be one's last chance to see 'Fashie' Dahl dance professionally in the territory (which it very nearly is).
The engagement, having taken place, is mentioned in Janine, and the Ariadne. Narrator Janine actually suggests that the inspirational effect the event has on all romantically-minded girls of the territory is at least partly responsible for the important decision she makes in the course of the story.
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