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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

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Charlotte Riley is married to oft-costar and Bane Tom Hardy, for what that's worth. She's a good actor; I consider her value-added when I spot her in a cast list. And Marsan can do no wrong in my book.

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I was really excited for this show until I saw an interview with one of the producers in which he said something along the lines of "We're worried that Americans will think that magic is what ended the Napoleonic Wars!" And look, I'm still going to watch it because I enjoyed the book and I'm interested in seeing how it'll translate to the screen. But that "Americans gotta be so dumb" stance doesn't make me particularly interested in seeking out any other work by this team once the series ends.

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Ehhh. I'll give the producers a pass on that one. Most Americans don't realize that the Napoleanic Wars were going on at the same time as The War of 1812.

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I was JUST looking for a forum on this. I think it's pretty great and that's speaking as a superfan of the book. Already BBC made an artsy mess out of another favorite book, The Crimson Petal and the White, so I shuddered at the thought of Mr. Norell. But I think it's very well done so far. Terrific casting and some genuinely eerie moments.

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In early 19th-century England, a Mr. Segundus is dismayed to join his local Learned Society Of York Magicians only to discover that no one there is actually interested -- as he is -- in performing magic spells or enchantments.

If he calls them a bunch of "wanna blessed bes" in an English accent, I am so in.

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@Lemur. Most European's have never even heard of the war of 1812.<br /><br />This show is about two self centered/cocky, over-privileged blokes and the less privileged people they inadvertantly screw over. It's great!<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

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I really loved

the outfit the fairy was wearing when he first appeared. At first glance, it was an expensive gentleman's suit just like what the humans where wearing. But after a few seconds it became apparent that the edges were cut into curves in imitation of a spray of leaves..

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I don't watch The Good Wife, but Marc Warren was kind of terrifying in Hogfather.

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I'm trying to tag this as a show I follow and it doesn't seem to show up there.  What am I doing wrong?

 

I don't think you can follow a single thread. If you want a full forum for the show, please request one in "New Show Forum Requests"!

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I was really excited for this show until I saw an interview with one of the producers in which he said something along the lines of "We're worried that Americans will think that magic is what ended the Napoleonic Wars!" And look, I'm still going to watch it because I enjoyed the book and I'm interested in seeing how it'll translate to the screen. But that "Americans gotta be so dumb" stance doesn't make me particularly interested in seeking out any other work by this team once the series ends.

 

If Americans leave realizing that the Napoleonic wars were a thing, then that itself is a victory.

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I thought it was excellent! Great cast and interesting story and characters. Never heard of the book so the show stands on its own for me. I'm really looking forward to the next episode!

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Quite liked the first installment.  Quirky, funny, with a hint of menace and mayhem to come.  Just my sort of thing.

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Quite liked it, knowing nothing other than it is an adaptation of a fat book that I bought for a friend once. Sort of reminded me of Neil Gaiman having a glass of magical hock with Jane Austin?

Interesting.

Was the implication that J Strange could see N whenever Mr. N was near a mirror?

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Fun!  Even though I missed the first 15 minutes and half way through my cable decided to take a nap.  Sigh.  I'd read the book some time ago and vaguely remember the story.  Yes, the comparison to Neil Gaiman is a good one.

 

Mr Norrell is adorable with his terrible wig and his crusty personality.  Eddie Marsan was the best thing about Ray Donovan, so it's delightful to see him in this.  And Thoros of Myr as Vinculus was a treat too.

 

Hope this is On Demand so I can catch up on the parts I missed.

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I was highly entertained up until the point that the David Bowie dude showed up to bring that dead woman back to life.  Then I thought, well, if it's just for one episode, I can deal with this guy.  Sadly, I think that magical David Bowie is going to keep showing up, blech.  Not interested in that part of the story, but I'm enjoying everything else.

 

What I would have been interested in is watching Mr. Norrell as a sort of very reluctant mentor to Segundas and Honeyfoot.  From the sounds of it, though, not just anyone can do magic, so I'll settle for friendship or something that keeps them all interacting with each other.  Norrell, Childermass, Honeyfoot, and Segundas for the win! 

 

This show was surprisingly funny.  I loved Segundas little speech to the York Society of Magicians where he praised their "extensive library of magical books" *camera pans to four books on the shelf.*  Ha!  

 

Most of the casting is spot on, and I immediately took a liking to several characters, but I wasn't so sure about Jonathan.  I think that I'll like him since he had some fantastic lines ("I drink very little.  Scarcely more than a bottle a day.").  I had to watch the whole bit with the two common men attempting to "accost" each other just so I could laugh at Jonathan poking that Vinculus guy with his large stick.  "You do not make it sound very appealing.  Choose someone else."

 

I'm a bit confused.  When Jonathan did the spell to view what his enemy was doing at that very moment, was the person on the other side of the mirror Mr. Norrell?   

Edited by SonofaBiscuit
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Quite dense.  In a good way.


I'm a bit confused.  When Jonathan did the spell to view what his enemy was doing at that very moment, was the person on the other side of the mirror Mr. Norrell?   

It didn't look like him to me in the least.

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Episode Synopsis:

 

Mr Norrell travels to London from Yorkshire to offer the government his services as a magician. Sir Walter Pole though refuses to align himself with such a disrespectable art as magic. After Sir Walter's sickly fiancée passes away, Mr Norrell makes a dangerous pact with a mysterious Gentleman to restore her to life. Jonathan Strange discovers that he also has magical powers.

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omg omg omg, there is a jonathan strange tv show? I barely remember the books except I remember that I loved them. So wow! 

 

A quick search tells me this is so. So I'm very excited!

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Very dense, in the good sense of that word.  I really enjoyed this a ton.  The pacing maybe could have used a tiny bit of tweaking, but the material was strong enough for me to overcome that.

 

Gets pretty dark too.  Not in any kind of bloody way, but with a more general spooky/creepy factor that's  maybe a bit more haunting. You can tell this is headed even darker too.

 

The fact that this entire fictional world is stingy with its magic helps the show ease into showing that.  I'm sure it helped the bottom line of the FX budget too, but it also works for the story that with one exception we only see subtle magics rather than the in your face kind.

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omg omg omg, there is a jonathan strange tv show? I barely remember the books except I remember that I loved them. So wow! 

 

A quick search tells me this is so. So I'm very excited!

 

You should watch.  I thought that the first episode was very entertaining, and I enjoyed most of the cast (never read the books).  The first episode is available on BBC America's website here for those who don't have the channel.

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While the premise intrigued me (I played an FRPG with a similar premise), I lost interest rather quickly because it dragged on and on without anything interesting happening.

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I liked the first episode too! Having read the book, I was surprised, but ultimately delighted, that they gave the characters different personalities than in the book. Secundus was not such a flibbertegibbit in the book - he was almost a comic character in the first episode, and in the book, he is much more low-key. And the street magician is somewhat bland in the book, but the director is letting this actor carry on and make him much more interesting. I am looking forward to the next installment, and pulled the book off my shelf to follow along.

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It didn't look like him to me in the least.

I though it was Norrel.

Not sure what I think yet but will be back to watch more.

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I was highly entertained up until the point that the David Bowie dude showed up to bring that dead woman back to life.  Then I thought, well, if it's just for one episode, I can deal with this guy.  Sadly, I think that magical David Bowie is going to keep showing up, blech.  Not interested in that part of the story, but I'm enjoying everything else.

I had the same feeling. I watched 3 episodes and they lost me with the 

faeries storyline.

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Oh, damn.  I just looked on wikipedia, and apparently the fairies feature heavily in this series of books.  This is a major problem as I'm already over the one played by Marc Warren in the first episode.  Such a disappointment, as I had an immediate negative reaction to that whole storyline, and it looks as though it's not going away any time soon.  Hopefully I will find enough to enjoy otherwise and can overlook the fairy stuff, or maybe fairy Marc Warren will be replaced by some other fairy after the first season (I hope?).  Really, the problem could very well be the actor, as I haven't found him very enjoyable in anything I've seen him in (The Good Wife and The Musketeers). 

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Yes the fairies are important to the story.

What is it that you dislike about it? Just the the Gentleman (Mark Warren's character) or the idea of fairies in general?

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Yes the fairies are important to the story.

What is it that you dislike about it? Just the the Gentleman (Mark Warren's character) or the idea of fairies in general?

 

Ya know, I don't even really know.  It could be the fact that I just finished watching The Musketeers a while ago, and Marc Warren's character definitely overstayed his welcome there, but I'm not sure.  I'm fine with fairies and mystical elements and all that, but I guess I would have preferred it if The Gentleman never showed up, and Mr. Norrell was the one to perform the resurrection spell without any assistance (actually, I would have preferred that the dead stayed dead, and magic was not a means of bringing people back to life).  I think that I'm probably reacting to the casting, as I would have liked to see someone with tons of charisma in this role, but I guess this is what I'm gonna get.  I'll keep watching, though, since I pretty much loved everything else, and perhaps it will get better.

Edited by SonofaBiscuit

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I think why it bothers me is:

 

When I first started watching, I was thinking it was interesting that they are treating magic like a real historical thing that got lost at some point. Magicians stopped practicing magic and just became scholars, but now these two are going to bring it back. For me the faery stuff makes it too otherworldly and, for lack of a better word, unrealistic.

 

Does that make sense?

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As a non-book reader, I can't honestly say whether or not I actually liked episode one, but I was intrigued.  So, unlike many of BBC America's recent offerings, I fully intend to keep watching.

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Just started reading the book, but decided to watch the show anyway, even though it will spoil the plot.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble with hearing/understanding the dialog, particularly with Vinculus.  I could only understand one word in ten of his speeches.  I got the part about there being two magicians left in England, but then he spoke something about failing or failure. Also, despite the fact that there are supposedly only the two magicians, Vinculus apparently has some sort of magical ability himself that enables him to identify them by sight.

 

Loved the fact that the Magician's Guild got around their lack of magic by pretending that it was really more of a trade and nothing that a real gentleman would be involved with.

 

Mr Norrell is adorable with his terrible wig and his crusty personality.

 

I agree--that wig, and his pinched little face.  Didn't the Elf or whatever he was, lift up the wig?    I'm having a hard time picturing Norrell and Strange having anything to do with each other--their personalities are so different.

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I see what you mean I think. You're interested in magic in a real world context not in a fantasy world?

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Yokosmom, I had a hard time understanding/hearing some of the dialogue too, especially that character. I watch a lot of British tv so I was surprised to be having such a difficult time. But I also think that maybe the sound quality isn't the best.

 

I'm in. I like the time period & looks to be interesting. I like both of the main characters.

 

What is the name of Norrell's assistant? I missed out on a lot of the names. Is he also a magician, but hiding that fact? And what is he up to? He strikes me as being very suspicious. Why is he trying to get Norrell to be more outgoing & public?

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Some people in the episode thread are complaining about not hearing some stuff from the episode. I thought I'd post the prophecy there for those who didn't catch it. But I'm not sure if it's the same in the show as the books because I too had problems hearing it on the show. I'm thinking this is what he'd say:

Two magicians shall appear in England.

The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me;

The first shall be governed by thieves and murderers;

The second shall conspire at his own destruction;

The first shall bury his heart in a dark wood beneath the snow, yet still feel its ache;

The second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy’s hand.

The first shall pass his life alone; he shall be his own gaoler;

The second shall tread lonely roads, the storm above his head, seeking a dark tower upon a high hillside

Edited by Holmbo
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So far I am loving this.  Just the right amount of humor and seriousness.  Looking forward to watching this as I wait for Doctor Who to get started again.  

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I LOVED the book this was based on, so I was thrilled to finally get the first episode watched. I loved it, and I cant wait to watch more now. 

 

If you have not read the book, I would recommend reading it when the show is finished, so you can experience this all unspoiled, and then experience the book. The book is long and dense, but a great read, and totally worth the effort.

 

There are so many book scenes I`m excited for....

 

This seems to have just the right combination of lurking menace, mixed with a comedy of manners, mixed wit fantasy and history. I am really excited to see where this goes next. 

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I stopped reading the book about a third of the way in (I cannot skip footnotes but did not vibe with the author's sense of humor about them) and tried episode One hoping for a better entry point into the story but I still find the two main characters a little off-putting (though Norrell is much more charming in this version) so I'm on the fence.

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Do you think that is what was said in the show? In that case I will post it in the episode thread.

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This show was surprisingly funny.  I loved Segundas little speech to the York Society of Magicians where he praised their "extensive library of magical books" *camera pans to four books on the shelf.*  Ha!  

 

Most of the casting is spot on, and I immediately took a liking to several characters, but I wasn't so sure about Jonathan.  I think that I'll like him since he had some fantastic lines ("I drink very little.  Scarcely more than a bottle a day.").  I had to watch the whole bit with the two common men attempting to "accost" each other just so I could laugh at Jonathan poking that Vinculus guy with his large stick.  "You do not make it sound very appealing.  Choose someone else."

I loved the bits of humor here, and both magicians are appealing to me in different ways, so I'm looking forward to getting to the 2nd ep. I'd also only vaguely heard of the book (books?) and will look it up next time I get to the library.

I also seem to have a fascination for Childermass, who among other things has a lanky young Donald Sutherlandness about him. /shallow

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I loved it! Great cinematography, music, characters, acting, and story. I enjoy humor and mystery in stories. Throw in magic and it's just delightful!

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For those who had trouble understanding Vinculus here is what he said to Norrell outside the party;

“Two magicians shall appear in England…

The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me;

The first shall be governed by thieves and murderers; the second shall conspire at his own destruction;

The first shall bury his heart in a dark wood beneath the snow, yet still feel its ache;

The second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy’s hand…

Both will fail

And the nameless slave shall be a king in a strange land.

I will return. His words, not mine. I will return…“

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So does the student become the master? (rhetorical question)

There does seem to be a Mozart-Salieri thing going on, doesn't there?

I don't know which look of dismay I preferred: The Gentleman's when he was heard by Strange or Norrell's when Strange righted the ship.

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