Here’s what Connell and Marianne are up to in the sequel to Normal People

Spoiler alert: They’re not back together.

by Roisin Lanigan
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20 May 2020, 10:38am

Ever since BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Normal People, aired earlier this month, the world and Kourtney Kardashian have been crying out for a sequel. The series -- and the novel upon which it’s based -- ends on an uncertain and bittersweet note. After reuniting at last, star crossed lovers Connell and Marianne bid each other a sad but heartfelt farewell as Chain God Connell Waldron heads off to NYC to take up a place on the first ever MFA he applied for (nice for some, eh?). The audience, and the couple themselves, are unsure of whether they’ll end up together, even though they’re clearly still deeply in love. It’s a whole big thing.

Anyway, sadly for stans already penning frantic fan-fiction tomes wherein Marianne and Connell live in Sligo with a nice little cottage, two kids and a dog, it seems that things aren’t quite meant to be later down the line. In the short story At The Clinic, the pair meet up at a dentist appointment, still dealing with typically Sally Rooney levels of complication in their own lives. Marianne has just split with an awful boyfriend, Connell has just broken up with a girl called Lauren who recently moved to Manchester and cheated on him while drunk. He, characteristically, is not very arsed about the whole thing.

But there are hints that the two are inevitably meant to be together, in spite of all the drama of everyday life (wisdom teeth, total lack of communication, other boyfriends and girlfriends, the list goes on). Marianne’s recent split came down to a dream she had where she was getting married to Connell, and Connell still has a deep, dubiously toxic connection to Marianne in spite of their mutual annoyances. “The workings of Marianne’s mind become transparent to him in brief flashes like this before they recede again,” one line reads. But things are inevitably never simple. “Well, don’t worry," Marianne says later in the story. “I know we’re both single now, but I’m not going to ask you to be my boyfriend.” Infuriatingly Connell replies, “weirdly enough, I wasn’t worrying about that.” God, I hate them.

While the short follow up was originally published in literary journal The White Review all the way back in 2016, it was shared on their website this month, just in time for a new wave of fans desperate to find out what those horny Irish teens are up to now. Is Connell still wearing his chain at age 23 though? That’s what we want to know. Read it here and find out!

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sally rooney
normal people