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The Jewel In The Crown

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I'm not a Susan fan. If I were friends with any of the younger women, I would have liked to hang out with Daphne and Sarah. Regarding the older women, I think it would be a blast to hang out with Lady Chatterjee.

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Poor poor Susan.  It would be interesting to see just what Susan was like many years later.   If she was just the same, worse or if after everything she was better...at least mentally. 

 

I can't remember if I posted this originally.  Heh, probably not since I just figured out it on my recent relisten but BBC Radio 4 did productions of all the Chronicles of Barsetshire books by Anthony Trollope.  And, both Tim Piggot Smith and Nicholas Farrell were in it.  They weren't in the same episodes though but still - Ronald and Teddy together again.  At least in Barsetshire. 

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I remembered not too long ago that I saw TPS on Broadway in the big 1999 revival of The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey.  He played Larry, the anarchist, but was directed very oddly -- he was often placed way upstage, with his back to the audience, and said many of his lines over his shoulder.  Odd, because it's a major part, and I wondered if the director (and Spacey) was trying to minimize the character. 

 

Jessica Lange played Mary Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night in London recently with Charles Dance as James Tyrone Sr. The production is coming to NYC, unfortunately without Dance.  Happily, he's being replaced by Gabriel Byrne, who's no slouch when it comes to O'Neill, as anyone who saw him opposite Cherry Jones in Moon for the Misbegotten can attest.

 

I never liked Susan until the big scene with Guy near the end of the show.  Whiny, spoiled, nervous, sickly, and with a voice that could cut glass.  But then she gets this big monologue that's like a gift to any actress, and Wendy Long runs away with it.  I gained a new respect for Susan: she totally misinterprets Ronald and the life he leads, yet she's smart enough to be suspicious about his death, and still not really strong enough to act on her suspicions and find out what really happened.  And all things considered, she behaved pretty well on the train in the last ep.  It's one of the great things about the show -- just when you think you know someone, the show throws you curve balls.

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Incidents at a Wedding (Episode 4) was on two weeks ago:
Susan's curtsey in her wedding dress before the Nawab served as an elegant apology for the Nawab initially being excluded from the club and for her mother Mildred's drunk and boorish thank you to the Nawab.

 

The count seems quite pragmatic, telling the Nawab that his initial exclusion from the club will offset the stone being thrown at the Nawab's car in which Merrick and Teddy were riding.  "There hasn't been a stone in 10 years".  I think it was the Nawab who said that, but whoever said that, I liked it.  It was also nice to recognize the Nawab from The Man Who Would Be King since, so far, I've recognized so few of the actors and actresses.

 

The count also picked-up that Merrick is gay, or at least bi (I don't know what the 1940s British euphemism would be).

 

I do kind of wonder what Pandit Baba is up to.  The incidents with Merrick are escalating, but having a stone thrown at Merrick is no guarantee that he would be killed or even injured.  Is Pandit trying to drive Merrick nuts, or trying to ruin Merrick's name first before having him killed?

 

The Regimental Silver (Episode 5) was on last week:
I think this may have been the first episode in which reams of new characters weren't introduced.

 

Teddy didn't last long.

 

At least Sarah and her mother Mildred sort of see eye-to-eye on something, disliking Merrick, though for entirely different reasons (Sarah doesn't like Merrick because she doesn't like him as an individual; Mildred doesn't like him because of his social class).  I think it was also in this episode that Mildred snubbed Barbie Batchelor by not displaying Barbie's wedding gift to Susan/Teddy on the table with all of the other wedding gifts.

 

Given everything he's gone through, Hari is remarkably resilient.  Interesting that magistrate interviewing him at the prison told the clerk not to write down that Merrick put his hand between Hari's legs when Merrick interrogated him.

 

Still waiting for Tywin Lannister to show up.

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Ordeal By Fire, Episode 6, was on last night.

 

Flashback scene in which Merrick tells Sarah how Teddie died, ultimately because Teddie is a romantic about the Raj.  Neither Merrick nor Sarah are.  In some sense, Merrick and Sarah what the Raj is; they disagree about whether that's a good thing.  There's a hint in Merrick's admission that, for a brief moment, he wanted to believe in something, he's an example of a cynic being a failed romantic (perhaps there is in Sarah too, when she told someone -- Aunt Fenny? -- that she had never been in love).

 

Once again, in his weird way, Merrick comes as off as being less patronizing towards Indians than Teddie because Merrick can acknowledge that they could decide to say screw the Raj, "I am your mother and father", etc.

 

Aunt Fenny teased Sarah about the interest Aunt Fenny mistakenly thought Sarah had in Merrick.  Sarah threw Aunt Fenny's snobbery back in her face, sarcastically remarking that Sarah couldn't possibly be interested in below her class.  Despite being a busybody snob in previous episodes, Aunt Fenny was rather reasonable her response, remarking that such differences didn't mean quite as much as before and that what mattered was whether Sarah loved him (perhaps another romantic).

 

Barbie asked Sarah about someone that Aunt Mabel mentioned in her sleep. Not sure if that signifies anything.

 

Touching in a way that Susan asked Merrick via Sarah to stand as godfather to Susan and Teddie's child.  Terrible judgment on Susan's part, but she does seem kind and decent, albeit taking the Raj for granted.

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I've heard people say that Geraldine James looks noticeably heavier in her indoor scenes than her outdoor scenes because most of the indoor scenes were shot in England after they all came back from India.  Anyone else notice this?

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I've heard people say that Geraldine James looks noticeably heavier in her indoor scenes than her outdoor scenes because most of the indoor scenes were shot in England after they all came back from India.  Anyone else notice this?

 

I heard that the director/producers had a rough time because everyone gained/lost weight between the scenes shot in India and the scenes shot in England. But I didn't notice the change in their weights. It did seem to me, however, that Geraldine James' hair was longer in some scenes than in others.

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Daughters of the Regiment was on last night and, overall, it was the dullest episode of the series to date.  For the most part, it came off as an overwrought soap opera.

 

Sarah attended a party with Jimmy Clark in "Cal" at the house of some rich Indian friends of his.  Jimmy was a bit of a creeper.  His idea of game is to have the hostess take Sarah to freshen up, then get naked in the adjancent bedroom and lock the door to the hallway.  His conversations with Sarah was the kind of stilted fake sounding dialogue that you hear in movies and television, but never in real life.  His constant need to classify people and his talk about slaps and screws became tiresome, fast.  Nevertheless, he got his screw with Sarah.  That really made me wonder about Sarah.  It was also a shame because I was hoping they'd spend more time in the main room where the musicians were playing.

 

Aunt (Step-Mother) Mabel died.  Mabel had told Barbie that Mabel wanted to be buried with her husband in Ranpur.  Barbie relayed this to Mildred, but Mildred, being a bitch, refused, told Barbie that she had the soul of a parlor maid; that India had been very bad for Barbie, by giving Barbie jumped up ideas, such as referring to Mildred as Mildred; and told Barbie to get out of the cottage ASAP.  There was also some indication that Mildred is getting her "screws" not just from the bottle but from Captain SomeoneOrOther.

 

So we're supposed to be sympathetic with Barbie, but she does come across as a bit of a nutter, as the English would say.  It's admirable that Barbie wants to honor her friend's wishes, but sneaking into the morgue to view Mabel's dead body and then concluding Mabel's soul isn't at rest because of the way the attendants held Mabel's body was a bit much.  Perhaps Barbie's belief that Mabel's soul isn't at rest is meant to indicate a crisis of faith on Barbie's part, sparked by Edwina Crane's suicide (because if Barbie really believed, she'd know that Jesus would take care of Mabel).  Still, you can't help but wonder if Barbie spent a little too much time in the sun without a topee.

 

There were only only a couple of interesting scenes, both of them involving elderly English women of the Raj.

 

Barbie asked Mabel who Gillian Waller was and explained the Mabel sometimes cried out the name in her sleep.  Mabel said that Gillian Waller wasn't a person, but Jallianwala Bagh, a.k.a the Amritsar Massacre.  Mabel mentioned that 26,000 pounds had been raised for the general who ordered the massacre, but Mabel gave a 100 pounds to a relief fund for the victims.

 

On the way back from "Cal", Sarah shared a sleeping carriage with two elderly women (I forget the names).  They work Sarah up before her stop, and one of them hired a porter on Sarah's behalf, explaining that after all her years in India, she knew how to spot an honest porter.  They also ordered dinner from the food vendors at the station and chatted about ordering items from Fortnum & Mason and similar stores over the years.  It was the nice, old lady face of British imperialism and an interesting slice of life.  Probably all the more interesting for not going on too long.

 

But aside from those two scenes, I could have done without the rest of the episode.

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Article about Tim Pigott-Smith from the NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/theater/tim-pigott-smith-plays-the-man-who-would-be-a-monarch.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cu_20151014&nl=theater&nlid=47283955&ref=headline&_r=0  Jewel shout out in article

 

Mr. Pigott-Smith remains best known for a role he played in 1984, as the villainous police superintendent on an oft-rebroadcast public television mini-series, “The Jewel in the Crown.”

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The Day of the Scorpion, Episode 8, was on last night.

 

Count Bronowky and Sarah chatted in the Nawab's rail car while she waited for her train to Pankot.  The manner in which he recounts events reminds me of a private detective in an murder mystery.  I don't mean that in a bad way, just that sometimes he seems like he's Agatha Christie's lost detective.

 

Sarah told the Count about Merrick's attempt to save Teddie, the loss of Merrick's arm, etc.  The Count seemed to think this would make it politically possible for the British to release Hari Kumar and friends since Merrick's heroics would shield him and the Britsh from further investigation into the affair.

 

It turns out the Count, Ahmed Kasim and Captain (Rowan?) were on the way to pick-up Ahmed's father, Mohammed Ali Kasim, an important member of the Congress party who was being released from prison.  The father was outraged to find out his other son, Sayed, joined the INA, but agreed to remain quiet about it.  Ahmed convinced his father it would be politicaly damaging to say that publicly because anti-British feeling is so high.

 

Sarah told Barbie a story about how when she and Susan were children, an Indian boy put a scorpion in a circle of flame to demonstrate it would sting itself if it were surrounded and had no way out.  At the end of the episode, Susan re-enacted the story with her baby as the scorpion.  Fortunately, the baby was saved by the baby's India nanny.  These days, I think we'd say Susan was suffering from postpartum depression.

 

Barbie was kicked out of Rose cottage and found that there are rumors she's a lesbian.  As her friend/landlady put it, there were suggestions at the club that Barbie shouldn't be around two beautiful young women like Susan and Sarah.

 

Merrick's in a hospital undergoing some kind of physical rehab.  He's attended by a soldier who acts as kind of physical therpist, and who had been noted for bravery while fighting in the field.  There's some suggestion that the attendant is gay, and that Merrick is actually discussing himself when he asks if the attendant is a hero or a pansy.

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The Towers of Silence, Episode 9, was on last night.

 

I take it this isn't the episode people think about when they rave about Jewel in the Crown.  Jesus H YouKnowWhat, it was boring.  The best part of the episode was watching the vultures fly around at the end.

 

I suppose this makes me a JitC heretic, but just because Mildred and her lover Captain Coley treat her like shit doesn't make Barbie Batchelor particularly interesting.  Not interesting enough to take up almost an entire episode after taking up such large chunks of other episodes.  And I'm $%! tired of hearing about the the $%! spoons!

 

And here's a thought Barbie.  If you want Susan to have the $%! spoons, wait till Susan's better and then give her the $%! spoons again.

 

About the only interesting thing we learned about Barbie is that sometimes, in her own way, she can be just as selfish as anyone else.  She could have killed or seriously injured the 3 men taking her and her crate down the steep muddy roads in that rickshaw.  A couple of days ago she was willing to throw most of the stuff in the crate out.  When Merrick of all people points out it's too heavy for the men to take her and the crate together in the rickshaw, she just poo poos him and says giving the men the work to carry down this death trap is charitable.

 

Given the vast amount of time her character gets, I guess Barbie is some kind of metaphor for the British in India, but at this point, I'm not sure what it is, and I don't really care.  Nor am I particularly moved that Barbie is no longer speaking and sometimes goes by Edwina, her self-immolating friend.  Nor do I feel particularly sympathetic when she writes a note to the nun attending her that says "Bugger the Pope" (not that the then Pope was all that and a bag of chips).

 

I've got Barbie fatigue.

 

Other highlights

 

Sarah is knocked up thanks to Jimmy "Not Quite Date Rapist" Clark.

 

Mildred blames Aunt Fenny for Sarah's pregnancy since Sarah was staying with Fenny at the time and Fenny introduced Sarah to Jimmy.  Consequently, Mildred expects Fenny to arrange for Sarah's abortion.

 

Barbie walked in to Captain Coley's bungalow uninvited -- not the first time Barbie's walked in somewhere without permission -- and saw Mildred & Captain Coley.  I don't think they saw her, but the Captain figured it out later when he found Barbie's scarf or jacket or something. 

 

In any case, Barbie completely freaked out after seeing Mildred & Captain Coley in flagrante.  I don't know why.  Mildred & the Captain were in standard missionary position from the looks of it.

 

Barbie asked Merrick about Edwina Crane's last letter / suicide note.  Merrick said there was enough in it to sustain a finding that Edwina was of unsound mind.  However Merrick said there was one thing in the note that was very sane "There is no god".  "There is no god, not even on the road from Dibrapur".  Barbie didn't take this well, in part because she just obtained a position in a children's school in Dibrapur.

 

Susan's in the hospital for observation and psychiatric treatment, but she's let out from time to time to attend parties.

 

Aunt Fenny refers to Captain Samuels, Susan's psychiatrist, as a Jew about a million times.

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Barbie walked in to Captain Coley's bungalow uninvited -- not the first time Barbie's walked in somewhere without permission -- and saw Mildred & Captain Coley.

 

 

I know!!! She didn't even knock or ring the damn bell.  What the hell is wrong with her.

 

I've got Barbie fatigue.

 

 

A litte bit of her goes a long way.

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An Evening at the Maharanee's, Episode 10, was on last night.

 

Now that the series is 2/3 over, I'm starting to wonder if there is any particular point to it other than slice of life.

 

This episode went by quickly and was far easier to watch than the last, but much of it could have taken place anywhere: talk about current events, a supper with family and friends, a party, etc.  Perhaps to signal that, big band (modern) music is playing at the Maharanee's party in Bombay rather than the local musicians playing local music at the party a few episodes ago in "Cal".  Every British person appears to be just passing through.  Perhaps that's the point, but I'm not getting a sense of why the British came, why they stayed and why they'll be leaving other than, in the second case at least, inertia.  I'm definitely not getting a sense of India's "Jewelness" to Britain.

 

Anyway, Sgt. Guy Perron (Charles Dance) finally shows-up.  For some reason he declined the opportunity to be an officer even though he went to Oxbridge after attending Chillingborough (natch). Not that officers are all that, but at least there may be less BS to put-up with from other junior officers.  Presumably it's meant to be shorthand for how he's "different" and thus similar to Sarah Layton. I would have thought studying Urdu and appreciating Indian art would have been sufficient on that score.

 

Colonel Layton also makes his first appearance after returning from a German POW camp.  Oddly enough, Mrs. Layton, a.k.a Mildred, is MIA in this episode.  Of course, the Colonel attended Chillingborough as well, along with everyone else in the known universe, including Harry Coomer / Hari Kumar, but excluding, of course, the newly promoted Major Merrick.

 

Merrick tells Guy not to talk to Sarah or Colonel Layton about either Hari Kumar or a havildar (native sergeant?) in Colonel Layton's unit, whom Merrick was interrogating at the start of the episode with a silent assist from Guy.  Sarah is much more cordial towards Merrick than before even though she's mentioned to someone previously    -- Barbie?  the Count?  -- that she doesn't like him and was stiffer with him on prior occasions.  Perhaps it's sympathy for his wounds, or she's being extra polite now that her father is back.  Perhaps her relative cordiality is also why Merrick doesn't want to bring-up the business of Hari Kumar or the havildar.

 

The Maharanee's party is after the interrogation, and the party guests include Merrick, Guy, Sarah, the Count, Ahmed Kassim, various transvestites and random others.  Technically Guy is spying but I don't think either he or his temporary superior, Captain Purvis, expect to learn anything.  The party ended early when the ex-Maharanee kicked everyone out after being revolted by the bottle of whiskey that Guy gave her on behalf of a Captain Purvis.  At least Sarah didn't end-up pregnant after this party.

 

Later, after Guy saves Purvis from killing himself, Guy Sarah, Merrick and Colonel Layton end up having a light supper in the Laytons' rooms.  While Sarah and Guy are alone, Sarah says either that Indian independence will either be a fast transition, or it should be a fast transition.  Then Merrick drops Guy off at Guy's building.

 

At some point in the episode, Merrick suggested he might have Guy re-assigned to work for Merrick, about which Guy seemed less than thrilled.

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Traveling Companions, Episode 11, was on last night.

 

With only 3 episodes left, I'm struggling to figure out why I'm supposed to think highly of Sarah, or if I am at all.  It feels as if Sarah is supposed to be one of the "good guys", but what's good about her is largely the absence of bad qualities or the presence of ordinary ones.  Sarah isn't a spiteful, adulterous drunk, like her mother Mildred, nor a sadistic bigot like Merrick.  She's polite, whether or not she likes the person.  She went to see Merrick in the hospital, but after being prompted to by her sister Susan.  It's not that  I think poorly of Sarah, just sort of mixed or neutral..

 

Sarah seems to have some sense of the unfairness of the Raj, but doesn't do anything about it, and continues to enjoy the privileges of her social position.  When asked by her father why she doesn't like Merrick, Sarah ultimately frames her objection in terms of Merrick social class.  Her father had to point out to her that men from Merrick's background have to strive harder.  That makes we wonder just how reflective and self-aware Sarah is.  It also makes me wonder if her acceptance of Lady Manner's illegitimate grandchild Parvati  (Daphne's daughter) is less human decency and more a sense of Parvati being one of "them".

 

Sarah's also far too intense even when she's having an ordinary conversation about trivial matters.  Sometime I think she could benefit from a sedative.

 

In this episode, the Americans have bombed Hiroshima, but the the news about it takes second place to that other weapon of mass destruction, Ronald Merrick.  Everyone is talking about Merrick, but like the weather, no one seems to do anything about him (other than promote him to Lieutenant Colonel, or Half-Colonel as Nigel Rowan would say):

  • Nigel Rowan and Guy Perron chat about Merrick
  • Colonel Layton and Sarah Layton do too, and then
  • Sarah Layton and Nigel Rowan have their own talk.

 

Guy and Sarah don't like Merrick, but they don't do a particularly good job explaining why. Like Sarah, Guy falls back on some variation of Merrick's social class.

 

Guy could have just said something like Merrick's a self-important pompous ass; that the Havildar may have been guilty of some minor collaboration as a POW, but Merrick didn't have to, in effect, hound the Havildar to suicide.  Instead, Guy characterizes Merrick as a social climber who doesn't realize that British India is less and less important to Merrick's social superiors.

 

Guy also appears largely uninterested to the allegation that Hari Kumar raped Daphne Manner.  At least, Guy appears sufficiently unskeptical that Nigel felt the need to tell Guy that there are two sides to that story.  On the plus side, it means Guy doesn't necessarily exonerate someone based on Chillingborough.  On the negative side, it doesn't appear as if Guy's objections to Merrick at that point were based on the Manners affair.  That in turn suggests there's some bit of classism going on.

 

Sarah and her father Colonel Layton start talking about Merrick because, thanks to Aunt Fenny, Sarah's father thinks Sarah likes Merrick.  Sarah disabuses him of that notion.  Sarah is shocked to find out from her father that Merrick wants to marry Susan (which is why her father wanted to know about Sarah's feelings for Merrick).  Sarah objects strenuously, but there's little she can do.  Later, when talking to Nigel, she asks if there's anything in Merrick's file that can be used to break-up the prospective engagement.  Apparently not.

 

Nigel's in town to talk to Mohammed Ali Kasim ("MAK"), one of the most senior Muslim leaders who hasn't switched from the Congress Party to the Muslim League, about upcoming elections.

 

In other news

"Sophie" Dixon, the male orderly/nurse/physical therapist who had treated Merrick in past episodes, shows up again.  He was quite hostile to Guy.  I'm not sure if

  • Sophie hates Guy because Sophie hates Merrick, and thus hates Guy by association
  • Sophie has a crush on Guy ("Me Tarzan, you Jane")
  • Sophie  sees things like the NCO mess as a toff free zone and resents the idea of a public school sergeant intruding in it (while I don't know if Sophie knows about Guy's background, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some chatter about it).

 

Merrick isn't the only one who was promoted.  Sarah was promoted from corporal to sergeant.  I have no idea why since I have no idea what Sarah does in the army other than occasionally wear a uniform.

 

Barbie Batchelor died about the time Hiroshima was bombed.  She left Sarah the shawl with the butterflies caught in the web.

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I don't know -- I was mostly struck by the different attitudes of the 3 generations of Brits depicted and their relationship to India and Indians (and each other) ... the first generation -- including Daphne Manners, Barbie and Lady Manners -- seemed to love India, at least some Indians and to be there "for the duration" as a positive force -- as teachers, nurses-- or just in service within the expat community, like Merrick. The next generation (the war wives) seem to have become less busily useful and purposeful and long both for their husband's return and England -- India is "duty" but without mission or affection for the place or the people. The young ones seemed even less engaged, like tourists.  Merrick was able to rise in status dramatically over the years by virtue of his hard work and brutality 

I'm not sure that's what the miniseries or the books or the author intended ... I just found I liked the older generation and felt they liked and cared about India personally in a way that was lost to the second and third generation shown. This too may be a fairy tale -- I don't know what Indians thought or if they noticed any change in British attitudes over time --  checked Wikipedia -- the raj extended from 1858 to 1947. Gandhi returned from abroad and the cause of home rule rose in opposition in 1915 ... Although it's not acknowledged, just mentioned in passing, Merrick career success was a result of his "success" and job performance (which we know obliquely was brutal) ... 

 

I think It's possible that Merrick embodies Britain's  colonial paranoia and "need" to control and exert (racist) domination / supremacy over India -- leading of course to disaster and -- via his double-life -- his murder... I'm not sure.

I also noted everyone's utter inabilty or unwillingness to "deal" with Merrick's known brutality and bad acts -- While Daphne has no confusion about rejecting of Merrick (she sees what he is)... by the end, he has become a "member of the family" despite being deeply mistrusted, feared and even loathed ... but no one really is willing to admit what they know they know... only "delusional" Susan is clueless to the taint of suspicion on Merrick. 

Edited by SusanSunflower

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"Sophie" Dixon probably thinks that Guy is Merricks creature and there to grass on the enlisted men. Nobody with any common sense would trust anyone closely associated with Merrick.

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Daphne struck me as someone who wanted to "start life over" in India. Her parents and brother were dead. And she really didn't have any close family "at home". I think even if she hadn't met Hari, she would have stayed on after Independence. I think she loved India for the sake of India, not for the sake of the Raj. Initially, Sarah and Susan struck me as the same. both had lived in India until they were sent home for school, then returned to India. But I think Sarah loves and cares for India and its people so much that when she sees the effect of the British rule on India, it's a devastating blow. Sort of like, if British rule was so great, then why was Hari---who was raised and educated as an Englishman---be treated in such an unsavory way. And how could they (the British) allow someone like Merrick gain power and influence like he did. .

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I thought of Sarah that way -- as a "good British colonial" -- until there was shift as she accepted that she could do nothing or was not willing to do what she might wrt justice for Hari Kumar ... I was so shocked when we saw Hari, so many years later ... I think I thought he was dead or disappeared ... (I'm fuzzy on both the story and what I thought -- when I saw him I wanted justice for and then seeing nothing come of his having survived, just poverty -- despite his superior education and intelligence ... from wiki:

 

In this novel he [Hari Kumar] has been released, but is perhaps the greatest victim of the imperial process. He is too English for the Indians and too Indian for the English. At the end of the novel Guy Perron goes to visit Kumar, but finds him away from home and reflects that it would be an unkindness to remind him of his past.

as I recall that "delicacy" by Perron made me heartsick ... he never knew that he was not utterly forgotten. 

Edited by SusanSunflower

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At the end of the novel Guy Perron goes to visit Kumar, but finds him away from home and reflects that it would be an unkindness to remind him of his past.

But he left his card so he did leave a reminder.  In the last shot of Hari, you can see Guy's card along with Daphne's picture. 

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I just found I liked the older generation and felt they liked and cared about India personally in a way that was lost to the second and third generation shown. This too may be a fairy tale -- I don't know what Indians thought or if they noticed any change in British attitudes over time --  checked Wikipedia -- the raj extended from 1858 to 1947.

 

 

One thing I took away from the PBS documentary series Story of India was that there were 2 types of English people who went out to India.  In the 1700s, the politicians and military men were highly educated aristocrats (though not always rich; the two don't always go hand-in-hand) who loved Indian culture and history.  They were High Church Anglicans who thought all religions equally good, provided one didn't get too excited about any one of them.  But post-Waterloo (1815), the English who went to India tended to be middle class in their socio-economic status and Evangelical in their religion.  They thought the Indians, Hindi or Muslim, had to be converted to Christianity and the English way of doing things. These sort of English definitely rubbed the Indians the wrong way, it seems, leading to all kinds of misunderstandings.  Jimmy Clark gets at this, I think, in the scene with Sarah when he refers to "all those blue-eyed Bible-thumpers who came out to India because they couldn't stand the commercial pace back home."

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But he left his card so he did leave a reminder.  In the last shot of Hari, you can see Guy's card along with Daphne's picture.

There is so much bitterness and tragedy in this series so I'll remember the rare sweet moments vividly. And that was definitely a much needed sweet moment. It feels good to know that Hari knew that Guy remembered him.

 

One moment I always loved was Guy's final encounter with "Miss Kyber Pass" - I loved that.

 

Also, for me it really helped having read "Staying On". Knowing the fates of some of my favorite characters after the end of the series felt good.

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One thing I took away from the PBS documentary series Story of India was that there were 2 types of English people who went out to India.  In the 1700s, the politicians and military men were highly educated aristocrats (though not always rich; the two don't always go hand-in-hand) who loved Indian culture and history.  They were High Church Anglicans who thought all religions equally good, provided one didn't get too excited about any one of them.  But post-Waterloo (1815), the English who went to India tended to be middle class in their socio-economic status and Evangelical in their religion.  They thought the Indians, Hindi or Muslim, had to be converted to Christianity and the English way of doing things. These sort of English definitely rubbed the Indians the wrong way, it seems, leading to all kinds of misunderstandings.  Jimmy Clark gets at this, I think, in the scene with Sarah when he refers to "all those blue-eyed Bible-thumpers who came out to India because they couldn't stand the commercial pace back home."

I haven't watched Story of India, but that reminds of several articles written by the historian William Dalrymple, such as one in the Guardian titled One sure way for Britain to get ahead - stop airbrushing our colonial history

 

There is a great deal of Indian blood in modern British veins, and many families – my own among them – have suppressed histories of Indian great-grandparents; it is not just Prince William who has a deliberately forgotten strain of Indian blood.

 

 

and later on,

 

...it shows there are fashions in racism, as there are in everything else. The rise of the Victorian evangelicals in the 1830s slowly killed off the intermingling of Indian and British ideas, religions and ways of life.

The wills written by dying East India Company servants show that, as the British reached hyper-power status in India, the practice of marrying or cohabiting with Indian bibis quickly began to decline. From turning up in one in three wills between 1780 and 1785, Indian women are present in only one in four between 1805 and 1810. By 1830, it is one in six. By the middle of the century, they have all but disappeared. Anglo-Indian society went from a deeply multicultural world to one of virtual apartheid in as little as two generations.

 

 

Not that the East India Company was all that and a bag of chips. Also by Dalrymple in the Guardian, The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

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The Moghul Room, Episode 12, was on last night
 
Although Mohammed Ali Kassim (MAK)'s son Sayed is still under arrest for joining the INA, "Government" arranges for the father to visit.  Since Japan has surrendered, I don't know why the British bother to continue to detain members of the INA.  Sayed wants his father to join the Muslim League, saying the Congress Party is a Hindu party and they'll just replace the British Raj with a Hindu Raj.  MAK wants to stick with Congress and re-iterates this when speaking to his other son Ahmed.  Ahmed claims his indifferent but when MAK's train pulls away, Ahmed says "wanted and expected" after MAK asked Ahmed if he wanted or expected his father to stay with Congress.
 
This is the first time in about forever in which there are Indian characters talking with one another about what they care about, or don't, and what future they envision for themselves and India.  It's almost as if these scenes are from a different show and, on the whole, they're more interesting than the rest of the episode.
 
Sophie Dixon makes his peace with Guy after realizing that Guy isn't Merrick's creature and Guy won't go ratting out other soldiers because they're gay.  Sophie tells Guy that Merrick blackmailed the army psychiatrist's clerk (Pinker) to get access to Mrs. Bingham's file (Merrick set-up a sting on Pinker involving an Indian boy).  I'm not really sure why Merrick wants to see Susan's file.  Is Merrick using the information in that file to force Susan to marry him?  It's not as if it's a secret that Susan was (and perhaps still is) Dr. Samuel's patient.  Or is Merrick just trying to reassure himself that Susan's not a nutter?
 
Speaking of files, Rowan shows Guy the Hari Kumar file.  I don't know why since I don't know why Guy needs to read that as part of his work.  It comes off as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges because Rowan, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together.  Perhaps there's supposed to be a parallel since, as far as I can tell, Guy has as much business reading Kumar's file as Merrick has reading Susan's.
 
Guy got himself demobilized, presumably due to strings pulled by his aunt.  He's going back to England to study India because where better to study a country than somewhere on the other side of the world?  Guy's particular specialty is 1830 to the Mutiny, which seems to be cutting it mighty finely.
 
Before leaving, Guy and Sarah have tea and then walk around the Moghul Room.  The Moghul Room now sits unused, the furniture covered and appears to be a symbol of the end of the Raj, the changing of the times, blah blah blah blah. And Guy and Sarah make out.
 
Only two more episodes left.
 
Edited
It comes off as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges because Merrick, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together
 
To change it to
 It comes off as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges because Rowan, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together

 

Thanks proserpina65!

Edited by Constantinople

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I'm not really sure why Merrick wants to see Susan's file.  Is Merrick using the information in that file to force Susan to marry him?  It's not as if it's a secret that Susan was (and perhaps still is) Dr. Samuel's patient.  Or is Merrick just trying to reassure himself that Susan's not a nutter?

 

It's a lot easier to manipulate someone if you have inside information regarding their fragile psyche.

It comes off as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges becasue Merrick, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together.

 

Merrick did not attend Chillingborough.  He's of a lower social class than Guy, Hari, and Rowan, and has obviously been treated as such, one of the reasons why he has that tremendous chip on his shoulder.

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It comes off as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges becasue Merrick, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together.

Merrick did not attend Chillingborough.  He's of a lower social class than Guy, Hari, and Rowan, and has obviously been treated as such, one of the reasons why he has that tremendous chip on his shoulder.

Thanks. I meant to say "It comes of as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges because Rowan, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together".

I was in a bit of a rush and it appears as if I didn't proof my work adequately.

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I think Rowan showed Guy the Hari Kumar file because Guy wanted to know how his school mate - who he remembered as a typical public school boy and mostly interested in cricket - came to be thrown into prison in India for rape and "political" reasons.  Guy obviously suspected certain things but the file would have confirmed these suspicions. Also quite obviously Guy had Merrick's number because Merrick tried to isolate Guy and bring him under his thumb. Luckily for Guy the Guy Perrons of this world are much less easy to victimize than the Hari Kumars. 

 

Guy would have known by then that Merrick was a bundle of class resentment and envy, coupled with his repressed homo -sexuality and a sadistic streak and an obsession with men who had been students at a particular public school. That Merrick was sexually attracted to Hari made things even worse for Hari. 

 

As someone who read both the books and watched the TV series I think the TV series does a good job making all of this clear - helped greatly by the superb performance by the actor playing Merrick throughout.

 

The acting is terrific by everybody.  I hadn't actually watched the TV series in many years until re-watching recently but I never forgot Daphne and Hari, Merrick, Guy, Sarah, Susan, etc.. And I never forgot how these characters made me feel.

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I think Rowan showed Guy the Hari Kumar file because Guy wanted to know how his school mate - who he remembered as a typical public school boy and mostly interested in cricket - came to be thrown into prison in India for rape and "political" reasons.  Guy obviously suspected certain things but the file would have confirmed these suspicions. Also quite obviously Guy had Merrick's number because Merrick tried to isolate Guy and bring him under his thumb. Luckily for Guy the Guy Perrons of this world are much less easy to victimize than the Hari Kumars. 

 

Guy would have known by then that Merrick was a bundle of class resentment and envy, coupled with his repressed homo -sexuality and a sadistic streak and an obsession with men who had been students at a particular public school. That Merrick was sexually attracted to Hari made things even worse for Hari.

I agree about Guy's motivation for reading Hari's file, but that doesn't justify it. Rowan shouldn't have given the file to Guy and Guy shouldn't have read it. It's not the grossest abuse of power, but it's still an abuse of power, and one predicated on class privilege that runs so deeply in Rowan and Guy they don't even question it. And these two are supposed to be some of the "good" guys.

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The file just relates to a government investigation and the only reason it's "confidential" is that it's embarrassing to the Raj and potentially inflammatory of anti-British feeling because if it got out it would expose abuses by Merrick, a government official.  Earlier you said Guy had no more business reading this file than Merrick had reading Susan's psychiatric file, but I disagree.  Susan's file contains personal information about her revealed and obtained under circumstances where she had a right and expectation of confidentiality. Medical ethics prohibits its disclosure.  Merrick wants her confidential information so he can use it to manipulate her. Neither Merrick nor Hari should have any expectation of privacy about the investigation into the rape, Merrick's treatment of the arrestees (who were the wrong guys), his targeting of Hari for his own warped personal reasons, and the cynical misuse of the Defence of India laws to keep them incarcerated without trial. I don't see Rowan's revealing evidence of this kind of corruption to Guy, or Guy's reading of the file disclosing the corruption, as an abuse of power at all. 

Edited by Kitla
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Merrick has no right to access Susan's file.

 

Guy has no right to access Hari's file.

 

Guy only given access because he went to the same school as Rowan.

 

Neiher Guy nor Rowan can argue that the file shouldn't be confidential since by their actions they agree it should be.  Neither Guy nor Rowan have any intention of making contents of the file public, and Guy burned the file at Rowan's direction.  Nor have either Rowan or Guy indicated they intend to do anything about what is revealed in the file.

 

In my opinion, having one set of rules for Chillingborough, and one set for everyone else, is an abuse of power.

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Merrick has no right to access Susan's file.

 

Guy has no right to access Hari's file.

 

Guy only given access because he went to the same school as Rowan.

 

Neiher Guy nor Rowan can argue that the file shouldn't be confidential since by their actions they agree it should be.  Neither Guy nor Rowan have any intention of making contents of the file public, and Guy burned the file at Rowan's direction.  Nor have either Rowan or Guy indicated they intend to do anything about what is revealed in the file.

 

In my opinion, having one set of rules for Chillingborough, and one set for everyone else, is an abuse of power.

I disagree with all your points.  Kitla has put very well as to why I disagree.

 

The one abusing his power throughout is Ronald Merrick, not Guy Perron or Nigel Rowan. Rowan is a decent man whose job requires him to navigate some pretty tricky political waters and make some unpalatable choices to keep the peace. The world is not a black or white place and the India of the time period wasn't either. Merrick at this point basically only still has his job and is not  disgraced and prosecuted because of those hard choices and tricky political waters.  As for Guy -  what real power does he have in this narrative?  Besides the power any white man of the upper classes always has  by being born. And I certainly won't blame him for that. Or for wanting to understand why what happened to Hari happened to him.  

 

Putting this under spoiler tags as you haven't seen the final episodes as far as I know. I always found a certain ironic almost justice in the fact that 

as Merrick's crimes towards Hari were swept under the carpet and covered up for political reasons, finally Merrricks murder is also swept under the carpet and never investigated and prosecuted for political reasons. I rather like this dark irony.

Edited by magdalene
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The fact that Nigel had Hari's file indicates the Raj wanted it all to go away and wanted the file to be lost when the government transfer took place. 

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Thanks. I meant to say "It comes of as Guy is curious about Merrick and Rowan obliges because Rowan, Guy & Hari attended Chillingborough together".

I was in a bit of a rush and it appears as if I didn't proof my work adequately.

I figured that might be the case.  I've done that plenty of times myself.  :-)

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I think Nigel showed Guy the file so the truth wouldn't be buried.  People needed to know what happened. 

 

Sareed Jaffrey who played The Nawab of Mirat has passed away -  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34829751

 

And I also think Nigel showed it to Guy because Guy was disgusted with Merrick and knew something was amiss with Merrick's portrayal of Hari as a rapist and radical.

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Pandora's Box, Episode 13, was on last night.  The penultimate episode, though I don't recall that having the significance it does today as when the Jewel in the Crown first aired.

 

It's 1947 and Guy's back in India to report on the upcoming independence of India and Pakistan for the New English Something Or Other.

 

Merrick's dead, supposedly due to a riding accident, but those in the know -- Rowan, Perron, Sarah and I forget who else -- know Merrick was murdered.  No viable suspects, but the motive appears to be revenge for Merrick's torture of Hari Kumar and his friends (I did miss a bit of the episode when the Count was chatting with Guy, so perhaps this was fleshed out a little more).

 

So now Susan's a widow twice over.  I guess we won't find out if third time's a charm.

 

Susan said Merrick was a good man with a reputation for fairness.  Not sure if that's Susan turning a blind eye, being a little crazy, or if there's some truth to it and Merrick managed to act decently for the past couple of years.  He was hired to reorganize or reform Mirat's police force (or someone's police force).  I'm not sure why, since apparently enough people still remember what happened in Mayapor back in 1942 even if the files have been burned.

 

Susan also mentioned that as part of his duties, Merrick dressed-up as an Indian and went spying in the middle of the night.  Can't help but wonder if "spying" means cruising.  If so, it's a pity he died right about the time Mountbatten showed-up as Viceroy.

 

Pandora's Box may not be quite the right metaphor given that, unlike Pandora, the British contributed to the contents of the box, created the box and weren't quite so innocent about the circumstances in which the box was opened.

 

But I suppose the point is the you now what is about to hit the fan.  There's already been trouble with the Muslim fishermen being unable to fish in the lake in Mirat due to local disturbances, though by the end of the episode they were fishing again.

 

Might be the last we see of the Nawab and the Count.  Uncle Arthur died and Mildred's already back in England.

 

It looks as if Hari Kumar is writing for the local paper under the name Philoktetes and showing an interest in the school that just opened.  Perhaps out of nostalgia for Chillingborough, perhaps out of a desire to teach, or perhaps both.  Don't know if Hari knows about Merrick's death.

 

And speaking of "The Jewel in the Crown", Susan's young son Edward now has the print that Barbie gave to Merrick, though Edward doesn't know that his step-father is dead.

 

One episode left.  Not sure if they'll air it next week on Thansgiving or the the week after.

Edited by Constantinople

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The next handle I'll use on a forum will be StrangeNunsavory.

 

Poor Susan was bonkers that she couldn't see Ronnie for the manipulative sadist he was. As someone wrote up thread, it's unsettling what would have happened if Merrick lived and  move Sue and Edward to the tribal northern area of India after Independence.

 

I didn't notice it until the third time I rewatched it, but Guy's shirt when he visits Hari has creases on it that look like they just took it out of the package......

 

It's too bad they didn't get a blond James Bond until Daniel Craig because the young Charles Dance would have been smouldering HOT as 007.

Edited by Milz
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So now Susan's a widow twice over.  I guess we won't find out if third time's a charm.

If I remember correctly, we find out in Staying On that her third marriage was a happy one - I think she married a doctor.

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Yes, I read "Staying On"  not too long and Susan 

gets a happy life after her return to England and a good marriage to a doctor. Sarah and Guy also get happy endings. With each other,

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A Division of Spoils, the 14th and final episode was on last night.

 

The Count, in his Agatha Christie detective like way, recounted to Guy how Merrick was murdered. Apparently Pandit Baba sent young men to seek work at Merrick's house as honeytraps.  Eventually it worked and Merrick ended up on his back with an axe in his chest and the word Bibighar written on his mirror.  The Count covered this up.  Tensions were already running high with Independence looming and the Count felt a murder investigation of a sahib would be the spark that led to an explosion.  So Merrick's death, like Merrick's torture of Hari Kumar and his friends, was covered up.

 

As viewers, I suspect were supposed to believe that Merrick got what he deserved.  Yet, thanks to AMC's tradition of playing The Godfather on Thanksgiving, I can't help but think of the following quote:

 

Bonasera: I ask you for justice.
Don Corleone: That is not justice. Your daughter is alive.

 

In any case, Merrick is dead.  The Count speculated that Merrick may have wished for death because an affair with a native man shattered Merrick's sense of racial superiority.  It's unclear how the Count knows this, but the Count is a shrewd man and though Merrick may have had no spies, presumably the count has sources of information.

 

Unfortunately, the Count's sources of intelligence fail what will befall the train leaving Mirat for Pankot (or is it Ranpur) on which Ahmed Kasim, Guy, Sarah, Susan, Susan's son Edward and their ayah, Aunt Fenny and a Major & Mrs. Peabody are traveling.  The train is attacked by Hindu nationalists and all of the Muslims on the train are killed, including Ahmed.  The attackers even called out Kasim several times.  Ahmed has the ayah hide underneath the seats so she can't be seen, then sacrifices himself to spare any further trouble to the rest of his party.  Lawrence Oates springs to mind.

 

Officials deal with the aftermath, and Guy and Sarah try to provide what little help they can, when the train arrives at the next station.  Guy decides to return to Mirat.  Susan wants to, but feels she should say with her family.

 

About a week later, before leaving India, Guy tracks down where Hari leaves.  Hari is out when Guy arrives so Guy leaves his card.  The series ends with Hari at his desk, writing, with a photo of Daphne Manners on his desk.

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On the whole, I enjoyed The Jewel in the Crown, I'm sad that it's over and I look forward to watching it again. I suspect it will click more. I already have more appreciation for Daphne and Hari at the end of the series than I did when it first started.

I enjoyed almost all of the characters, even the sadistic or obnoxious ones, and the actors who played them consistently hit the mark. The Jewel in the Crown was remarkably well cast and I find it hard to imagine who else could have played the characters. This is true of the main characters and even the minor characters. Though "minor" in this case just signifies screen time, not importance.

I haven't read the books, but I understand they often overlap one another chronologically. I think it was a good idea for the events in the TV series to be shown in chronological order. Of course, there were exceptions when characters were talking about past events, such as when Merrick told Sarah how Teddie died or when the Count explained to Guy how Merrick died.

But, there's always a but, there were some things I found a little disappointing.

For a series that was ostensibly about the end of the Raj, it is remarkable how little the characters discussed the prospect of independence; how independence would affect them; what they thought of Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, etc; the prospect of partition and how it should be handled; what hopes and fears they have for India and Pakistan after independence; how WWII affected things, if at all, etc. I can't say I have any first hand knowledge on the matter, but a friend of mine from Pakistan told me that his parents told him that they, and everyone they knew, talked about these matters all of the time back in the day. Granted, my friend's parents weren't British colonialists, but it seems hard to believe the British discussed it so infrequently. It's surprising that the story jumps over the 2 years from the end of WWII to independence.

In addition, very little time was spent on Indian characters. I wish I knew more about Hari thought about the prospect of independence, his daughter Parvati, if he learned about Merrick's fate or if Hari was planning on pursuing any kind of action against him, if he ever learned Hindi, etc. After Hari found out that Daphne died, he dropped out of the series until the end. There were a few scenes between MAK and his sons, but more would have been appreciated with MAK given that he was the only character in the series who was a political party leader. Everything involving the Nawab's decision to join the Indian state, and why it mattered, was told second hand and at breakneck speed. I don't recall anything about Lady Chatterjee's thoughts on these matters other than, perhaps, a brief remark that she admired Gandhi.

I don't mean to sound "politically correct", only that a huge part of the story seems to have been left untold. Of course, the end of the Raj could cover dozens of stories and it's up to the writer to decide about what and about whom to write. Still, IMO, Mildred's infidelity and Jimmy Clark's philosophy of life added very little if anything. Perhaps less time spent on various parties and Barbie's spoons and a little more on current events and other people.

Some items also appeared rushed or dropped. Ahmed and Sarah may have loved each other without being in love, but I really didn't get a sense of that from the show. Just that they were "ordinary" friends, at least as ordinary as they could be under the circumstances. Parvati, Lady Manners and Lady Chatterjee may as well have been abducted by Ancient Aliens.

Conversely, too much time was spent on Barbie Batchelor. At least too much time was spent on her given how interesting her character was, which is to say, not at all, IMO. I mentioned this before, but Barbie isn't interesting merely becuase Mildred treated Barbie horribly. Even before her accident riding in the overloaded rickshaw, which was entirely predictable given the conditions (see Ronald Merrick), Barbie was a little nuts. She was also an unimaginative, stubborn, nosy busybody who should have left well enough alone once she gave her opinion. To see her over and over again was too much. One of the reasons I'm holding off reading the books is that I'm concerned how much of the story will be from her perspective. Less is more is a bit of a cliche, but in Barbie's case it's true.

 

Perhaps though, I'll change my opinion on these matters after I watch the series for a second time.

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I enjoyed almost all of the characters, even the sadistic or obnoxious ones, and the actors who played them consistently hit the mark. The Jewel in the Crown was remarkably well cast and I find it hard to imagine who else could have played the characters. This is true of the main characters and even the minor characters. Though "minor" in this case just signifies screen time, not importance.

 

Very true.

 

Regarding the Indian perspective, all I can say is read the books. The books fill in the cracks that the series leaves in. Just be aware that the first book Jewel in the Crown is written by an unnamed journalist who is interviewing people about the rape 20 years later. And he is traveling to and from different cities/towns to interview these people. If you don't have that perspective, the book will seem very disorganized because Lady Chatterjee is giving her recollection in one chapter, then someone else is giving it  in the next, then letters from Lady Manners is the next chapter, and so forth. I have a suspicion that the unnamed journalist knows Guy (or is Guy).

 

Anyhow, it also gives insight on the racial and class prejudice of the era. Lady Chatterjee is a Rajput princess who's late husband was given an knighthood by King George V. Her class status is high. Yet, she isn't allowed in the White Only ward of the hospital. Hari's friend Collin, walks right past Hari without recognizing him. Barbie is a missionary and the military wives sneer at her. The military wives even sneer at Lady Manners, whose late husband was the Governor -General of Mayapore and hobknobbed with all the British and Indian elites. The racism and classism are there but it doesn't go out of its way to jump down your throat and stomp your liver like it did in Indian Summers.

 

Regarding Sarah and Ahmed, I think they loved each other like brother and sister. I've no doubt there were attracted to each other initially, but as they got to know each other, I think they realized that a romantic relationship would be detrimental to each other (like Hari and Daphne) and they just didn't love each other like that.

Edited by Milz
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Her class status is high. Yet, she isn't allowed in the White Only ward of the hospital.

 

 

I remember noticing right away that Lilly is always hosting big parties at her house, full of English people, but when they had parties she was never there.  It was like the rule was English people could go to her house, but she couldn't go to their houses.

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I remember noticing right away that Lilly is always hosting big parties at her house, full of English people, but when they had parties she was never there.  It was like the rule was English people could go to her house, but she couldn't go to their houses.

 

She went to parties. When Hari and Daphne listen to records together, Lady C. is at a dinner party.

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In Jewel casting news, Charles Dance is in the new Ghostbusters movie and Tim P-S was in the first episode of the new season of Lewis (shown in the US last night).

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I was delighted (yet dismayed at the outcome of the character) to see Janet Henfrey  (Mrs Bale from As Time Goes By) as Edwina Crane.

What I love about re-watching these programs is seeing so many now "famous" actors as youngsters is always a treat... try watching the original Twilight Zone and "spot the star" -- truly surprising how many well known and long-employed actors appear in those episodes!

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