Is This 'Gilmore Girls' Revival Photo's Mention Of 'Jane Eyre' A Hint About Rory's Romantic Endgame?
There’s something lurking in the recent pictures of the Gilmore Girls revival cast. Hidden behind the perfectly perfect image of Rory Gilmore standing at the head of a class full of Chilton’s finest, there is might just be a significant clue as to who Rory ends up with in the revival. When Entertainment Weekly released the first images from the Gilmore Girls revival, it’s stuck out to my like a sore thumb: There, on the chalkboard, were some very telling notes about the novel Jane Eyre. And the more I looked at those notes — and the more I pulled from my memory of the novel by Charlotte Brontë — I started to make a connection between Rory Gilmore and Jane Eyre that may reveal a lot about which of her exes she chooses in the revival.
Listen, Amy Sherman-Palladino is a smart lady, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Gilmore Girls revival uses literary allusions to great works like Jane Eyre to carry the plot and add depth to the storyline. It’s especially easy to do for a character like Rory, who is rarely seen without a book in her hand. But making a comparison between her character and the character of a major literary work also starts to make a lot of sense when you consider just how much Rory and Jane have in common. Like this: They both just happen to be two female protagonists who are introduced to a life of wealth and privilege after growing up without it.
Hmm, interesting. But there’s more…
There’s also the fact that Jane Eyre is a bildungsroman (which is really just English teacher speak for a coming-of-age story), which, hello, so is Gilmore Girls. And then there’s the not-so-coincidental coincidence that both the novel and the show follow the life of a main protagonist as she comes into womanhood and is tested both spiritually and morally. Throw in the painfully similar themes, including classicism, love versus autonomy, and feminism, and you have a comparison that can’t be denied.
OK, so now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it. Because, even though Gilmore Girls doesn’t take nearly as dark a turn as Jane Eyre does in the end (seriously, Charlotte, what were you thinking?), I think that a literary allusion is absolutely in order for the Gilmore Girls revival. And if Amy Sherman-Palladino is making a comparison between Rory and Jane, then the really big question is, who in the revival is her Mr. Rochester?
A little background on Rochester: He’s the guy in Jane Eyre who understands Jane the most. They’re sort of intellectual equals. He offers her a home when she has none and is the first person to really show her love. But it’s not a happily-ever-after situation. Rochester is seriously flawed, has a mean temper, and — oops! — also has an ex-wife that he keeps locked up in the attic.
Anyway. Back to Rory, because this is where it gets tricky. I could honestly see all three of her ex-boyfriends being her Rochester.
Take Dean, for example. He’s her first love like Rochester is Jane’s. He’s the first person who loves her unconditionally and treats her incredibly well. He offers her stability and a constant sense of love, but clearly these two have their issues. Rory was rarely intellectually challenged by Dean, even though she felt supported and loved by him the entire time they were together. Aaaand there was also that time Dean slept with Rory while he was married to Lindsay. For the sake of this argument, that’s awfully Rochester-y of him, so that might be the one time cheating on his wife has ever worked in Dean’s favor.
But Rory’s Rochester could also be Jess. They’re intellectual equals, after all, and he has the brooding looks and temper of Rochester. He’s seriously flawed, has a hard time expressing his love, and messes up repeatedly when it comes to caring for Rory when he has her. Sounds like a Byronic hero if I’ve ever seen one.
But there’s also the possibility that Rochester could be Logan. When it comes to matters of class, it’s Logan who introduces Rory to a world of privilege, unlike anything she has seen before. With his connections in journalism, his membership in the Life and Death Brigade, and his ability to drop millions of dollars on an investment, he’s got that rich man-trapped-in-a-tower thing down pat.
So here’s what I’m really thinking the potential comparison to Jane Eyre stands to reveal to us about the Gilmore Girls revival: If the literary connection is being made, I’m thinking that all three of these ex-boyfriends are Rory’s Rochester. Put together, they add up perfectly to the qualities this character. But here’s also what I’m thinking: I’m thinking that this means that Rory chooses none of them. Sure, Jane marries Rochester at the end of Jane Eyre, but these are modern times, people, and I think, through the revival, Rory will come to realize that none of these men are the best for her. As she wrestles with her own autonomy, I think she’ll come to the end and make a different decision than Jane did. I think she’ll come to the end and know, finally, that being alone and happy is so much better than being with someone who isn’t right.
Of course, this is hardly the ending that many fans want, but it is the one that does justice to Rory and Lorelai’s independence throughout every single episode of Gilmore Girls. It’s way more fitting than some sappy love story and, honestly, way more appropriate for the world in which we live today.
Image: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (5)