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"My boy must not be fussed over? On the contrary, he must be cherished, exalted!"
—George to Elizabeth about Valentine

Valentine George Warleggan (1794 - 1820[2]) was the younger son of Elizabeth Warleggan. Valentine's biological father was Ross Poldark, rather than George Warleggan, but he was accepted and raised as George's son.



Valentine at age one, 1795

Valentine was born at Trenwith in 1794. His mother slept with her former fiancé, Ross Poldark, a few weeks before her marriage to George Warleggan. Elizabeth had hoped that the child would be George's.

Elizabeth had claimed that Valentine's due date would be later, nine months following her marriage to George. But she worried that if Valentine was born earlier, then George would know the truth.

Elizabeth knew that she was probably bigger than she should be throughout her pregnancy, and that the child's due date was nearer than she hoped it would be. In order to hide the truth, she claimed to have "suddenly fallen down the stairs" and went into labour. Valentine was then born.

Early life

The only people who knew Valentine may not be George's son were Elizabeth, Agatha, Ross and Demelza Poldark. George fortunately thought that Valentine looked very similar to him, and bought into the idea that Elizabeth had fallen by accident, but other people accepted that Valentine looked very unlike George, and even Geoffrey Charles pointed it out.

In many ways, Valentine looked very similar to Ross and even he accepted that Valentine was probably his child. But Ross was very estranged from the Warleggans and had no dealings with them or want of knowing Valentine. They avoided each other and even though Elizabeth cared for Valentine, she was cold and distant toward him at the beginning. Valentine lived at Warleggan House with the family, but later moved back to Trenwith.

Agatha Poldark would later get into an argument with George, and she told him that Ross was Valentine's true father. George was very upset, and began to change the way he acted toward Valentine. But in the next few years, Elizabeth appealed to him and he became convinced again that Valentine was a true Warleggan and both George and Elizabeth's attitude towards Valentine changed for the better.

George's coldness

"Papa, may I sit beside you? May I?"
—Valentine trying to get George's attention.

Valentine was running through Trenwith House and found Elizabeth who was talking with Ross, whom he had never met. Elizabeth was worried in the beginning, and attempted to tell Valentine to go back to the nanny, but Ross introduced himself. The encounter was short, but Ross acted proud of Valentine and happy to know him.

Valentine accompanied George, Elizabeth and Geoffrey Charles on a holiday. George purchased for him a wooden horse which Valentine loved. A month or so later, Valentine's brother went into the room to join George, Elizabeth and Valentine, and he took one look at Valentine and commented that he had never noticed how much Valentine looked like Ross, leaving Elizabeth gobsmacked and George now knowing that Agatha was indeed telling the truth.

From then on, George became angry and very upset with Elizabeth and began to act very cold towards Valentine. George ignored Valentine, shouted at him, told him to go away and even called him "the child" instead of "Valentine". Elizabeth saw her third pregnancy as a way to convince George that Valentine was his child by inducing her labour earlier so she could say she cannot carry to full-term. Her marriage was failing, they argued and she was begging George to look at her and accept Valentine.

Loss of Elizabeth

"Went away, yes. And Papa told me he'd bring her back." [...] "He did! He promised me. He will bring her back!"
—George and Valentine's grief for Elizabeth.

Elizabeth took a potion that was supposed to induce labour. During her labour, she began spasming but had a healthy daughter, Ursula. George was besotted and apologised to Elizabeth, promising he now accepted Valentine was his child too and he would treat him better. Later that evening, Elizabeth passed away. Valentine was raised by George on his own.[3]

Valentine later accompanied George and Ursula to Elizabeth's grave. George neglected Valentine in grief for Elizabeth and he became very rebellious and wilful in loneliness. Less than a year later, he was forced to go and live in Truro when George no longer wanted to live in Trenwith, but when they were leaving, he hid upstairs and George had to fetch him down.[4]

In their Truro house, Ross and Geoffrey Charles spoke to George about funding for Geoffrey Charles military career but was denied. Ross saw Valentine when he was leaving and Ross smiled at him. Later, Valentine found a picture of Elizabeth and showed a grief-stricken George. George was very unhappy and told Valentine to take it away.[4]

Valentine was taken by Bessie the next day to Elizabeth's grave. Demelza Poldark and Caroline Enys saw him by her grave but thought he was on his own. Demelza spoke him and offered to take him home to George, but Valentine shouted he wouldn't go and ran towards Bessie when she called for him. He later wanted to say goodnight to George when he was having dinner, but he ignored him until he heard Elizabeth's voice asking him if he was going to say goodnight to his son. George agreed and spoke to Valentine.[4]

George was elsewhere for business for a few days, and told Valentine that he was going to find Elizabeth and bring her home. Valentine appeared to feel isolated back and jealous of the attention Bessie was giving Ursula. He asked her when George would be back, but she doesn't answer and caused Valentine throw a toy at the floor in anger.[5]

Bessie later took Valentine and Ursula to the beach, but he managed to escape and was found by Drake and Morwenna Carne. She was concerned he told her that he escaped Bessie, and she asked what George would think. He told her George was looking for Elizabeth to bring her home. She was confused and kindly told Valentine that was impossible, but Bessie called for him and he left. George later got home and Valentine ran up to him. He told Valentine that he had brought Elizabeth back, but George was seeing a hallucination of her, leaving Valentine confused.[5]

Later life

Notes and sources

  1. See this image
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bella Poldark by Winston Graham
  3. Poldark, Season 4, Episode 8
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Poldark, Season 5, Episode 1
  5. 5.0 5.1 Poldark, Season 5, Episode 2