Study Guide

Felicity Worthington in A Great and Terrible Beauty

By Libba Bray

Felicity Worthington

Little Miss Bossy

Felicity isn't what we'd call a sweetheart—if anything, she's the opposite. And this girl can be majorly cruel, manipulative, demanding, and cold. But Gemma needs a friend, and beggars can't always be choosers, so though Felicity doesn't offer her a warm welcome, Gemma takes her up on her offer to join her social group. After Gemma steals wine at Felicity's insistence, the mean girl just keeps on bullying when it comes time to drink. As she says to Ann:

"It's not a request. Drink or you're out of the club. You can make your way back to Spence by yourself." (13.20)

Felicity sure is bossy. And while it's easy for us to sit here and comment about how nasty she can be, the thing is that treating people this way generally works out for Felicity. After all, she got Gemma to steal the wine for her, and Ann does as she's told when Felicity threatens to leave her behind if she doesn't drink. In other words, it might be unpleasant to see Felicity in bully-mode, but she's also pretty darn good at what she does.

Little Miss Control Freak

Another lovely trait Felicity has is that she wants all the power she can get her hands on. Willing to go to great lengths to gain control, Felicity eventually tries to sell her soul to an evil spirit in exchange for magical power. Take a look at her one true wish:

Felicity's grip on the candle is strong, her voice determined. "I wish to be too powerful to ignore." (13.146)

Her grip and her voice let us know that this is a moment packed with conviction for Felicity—there is nothing uncertain about her as she says what she wants most. And while she's got a firm grip on herself here—and a pretty firm grip on her friends too—Felicity just wants more. And while there's definitely something pretty unsavory about this, it also takes a whole lot of confidence to think of herself as worthy of so much power, which is only more impressive when we remember that girls in the 19th century are expected to be passive and obedient.

Little Miss Charming

Felicity isn't just an ice queen, though, and she can be oh-so charming when she wants something from someone (just don't say no or her fangs will come out). There is power in Felicity's ability to woo people, which Gemma picks up on since Gemma herself is anything but charming.

Think about how quickly Felicity goes from hating Gemma to loving her when Gemma catches Felicity with Ithal by the shore. Though Gemma uses this moment to her own benefit later on, it's Felicity who transforms Gemma into a new BFF in less time than it takes her to push Felicity into the water (10.38). Felicity charms the pants off Gemma repeatedly in this book, and even though our heroine can see through Felicity's ways, she still takes the bait nearly every time—it just feels so good to be loved, even if it isn't totally true (be sure to read up on Gemma elsewhere in this section for more about this).

Felicity meets her match in Gemma's mother, though, and while she attempts to charm her way into gaining permission to use the magic of the Runes of the Oracle, Gemma recounts the interaction to us in a way that suggests Felicity's charms don't stand a chance against her mama:

"We'd be careful," Pippa adds.

"Yes, terrible careful," Felicity chimes in, trying to charm Mother as if she were one of our impressionable teachers. (24.133)

Gemma's mother is clearly savvier than the average Spence instructor, and Gemma's no match for her. So while Felicity's charm might seem like a power to Gemma at times, here we see that it is not nearly as powerful as magic—otherwise it would have worked on Gemma's mom.

Little Miss CEO

One thing Felicity excels at is coming up with popular ideas and then convincing others to join her. Here's a list of some of the moments when she does just this. Can you think of some more?

  • She gathers her clique to lock Gemma in the chapel. 
  • She set up a private sanctuary with scarves in the great hall. 
  • She has the idea to create a new Order with her friends (a.k.a. minions).

Of course, when it comes to the Order, Felicity fails to realize that she's starting an organization that Gemma will come to lead instead of her—but even then, she remains a force to be reckoned with.

Little Miss Wild Thing

This upper class white chick is not one to beat around the bush. If she has something on her mind, she says it, and if she has an idea, she goes for it with all she has, no matter the consequences. For instance, when the humidity is high and the girls are all sweltering in their corsets and petticoats, Felicity asks someone from her group to volunteer to unlace her. When Pippa is shocked and says they shouldn't do this, Felicity says:

"Why not? There's no one to see us. And I want to breathe freely for a bit. Here, Gemma—give us a hand." (15.106)

That Kartik ends up seeing the girls, much to Pippa's horror, only reinforces what a risqué move this is—which reminds us that we are in the 19th century, when girls are expected to keep themselves covered at pretty much all times. Yup—Felicity's definitely got a wild streak.