How Well Do You Recall "The Thorn Birds"?

R. White

Image: ABC

About This Quiz

The Cleary family weathers the turmoil of the ranch at Drogheda and the passions of impossible love in early 20th century Australia. Father Ralph de Bricassart ( Richard Chamberlain) finds himself entangled in this family's drama and his devotion to the church is tested.

What kind of ranch is Drogheda?

Drogheda is a ranch in New South Wales owned by Mary Carson. She is a wealthy woman who can't decide whether to leave her wealth to the Church or to her brother, Paddy.

What offense landed Father Ralph de Bricassart in rural New South Wales?

New South Wales was something of a punishment for him. Later on, Dane chooses to to go there as a priest.

Who says to Ralph, "I am after your soul, unless it's already been taken"?

Mary Carson wants Ralph for herself and realizes his attentions are focused on Meggie Cleary. She wants to make life difficult for him.

With which son does Paddy Cleary often have conflicts?

Frank is not Paddy's biological son. The conflicts drive Frank to leave Drogheda.

What does Ralph tell Frank his goal is?

Ralph's ambition is what drives him. This is his tragic flaw that recurs throughout the story.

What does Fiona Cleary tell Frank he needs?

Fiona wants to see her son get settled. She sees his restlessness and is concerned.

Who tells Father Ralph he would look good in red?

The "red" is symbolic of a cardinal's robes. She believes he has ambitions to move up in the Church.

What does Frank discover about himself at the local fair?

Frank wins money in an organized fight. He sees a way to make a name for himself and a way out of Drogheda.

Why does young Meggie stop going to school?

Mary Carson grows jealous of Meggie and her time with Ralph. By ending the tuition, Meggie must go back to Drogheda, away from Ralph.

What drives Frank to leave Drogheda?

Paddy is angry with Frank for fighting at the fair for money. It escalates to where Paddy comments on Franks illegitimacy.

Ralph claims he is free from "____________________."

This is ironic because he never truly gives up everything for God in his religious pursuits.

What happens immediately following Mary Carson's 75th birthday celebration?

Mary hints that she is not long for this world on retiring for the evening. She is found dead in her bed the next morning.

Mary Carson's new will leaves a majority of her wealth to whom?

She changed her will just before she died and made Ralph the executor.

Why is Frank in a Melbourne prison?

He killed a man in a bar brawl. Meggie goes to the jail to visit him.

How does Paddy die?

The fire at Drogheda gets out of hand and the Clearys worry when Paddy does not return home. He isn't found until the next day.

How does Stuart die?

Within minutes of finding the body of his father, Stuart is killed by a wild boar. His brothers find him shortly thereafter.

Why does Fiona tell Ralph she doesn't care about Meggie?

Fiona thinks her daughter will make the same mistakes she did and cannot bear to witness it.

What promise does Ralph ask of Fiona?

Meggie overhears Ralph's request and is hurt by it. Ralph makes the request to protect himself too.

Who is the sheep shearer who aims to win Meggie's heart?

Luke is part of a traveling group of shearers. He seems sincerely interested in Meggie.

What does the bishop tell Ralph he must study to become a church diplomat?

As the bishop travels with Ralph, he schools him in what he needs to do to be a candidate for promotion within the Church.

What is the significance of the flower Ralph keeps pressed in his bible?

Meggie and Ralph have a private moment in the rose garden after the fire. She pricks her finger on the rose.

What event coincides with Meggie's marriage to Luke O'Neil?

Everything is parallel. Even as Meggie is getting her ring in her ceremony, Ralph is getting his "church" ring in his ceremony.

Where does Luke get work after the wedding?

Luke and Meggie must leave Drogheda for Luke's job. She is hesitant to tell Ralph of her marriage.

What item does Meggie take with her from Drogheda after her wedding?

Even after getting married, her heart is with Ralph. She cannot let go of him completely.

Who are the Muellers?

Meggie is surprised Luke does not set her up in a home of her own. However, she becomes lifelong friends with the Muellers.

Ralph tells Meggie, "My punishment is_______________________________________.

Ralph cannot make a clear choice on where his heart lies.

What profession is Justine interested in?

Justine seems to have a talent for acting. She practices lines with her brother, Dane.

What is Vittorio's nickname for Meggie?

Vittorio presses Ralph for an explanation of the rose Ralph keeps in his bible. Ever after he refers to Meggie as "The Rose."

Who immediately guesses that Dane is Ralph's son?

Fiona knows just after Dane's birth and comments on it to Meggie who is surprised her mother knows.

How does Dane die?

Dane attempts to save someone. Justine feels guilty because she told him to go swim while she entertained.

Who tells Meggie of Dane's death?

Meggie does not believe her at first. Fiona feels genuinely loving toward Meggie because she sympathizes.

What advice does Meggie give her daughter when she leaves a final time from Drogheda?

Meggie passes on sage advice to her daughter.

Where is Ralph when he dies?

It's an appropriate ending to his life.

In his final conversation with Meggie, Ralph marvels at what?

Meggie has a big heart filled with love.

What is the final topic of discussion between Meggie and Ralph before he dies?

There could not be another more appropriate ending.

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