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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

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Mr. Norrell doesn't know how to react to Jonathan. Jonathan has an innate talent for magic, while his is learned. I think that doesn't sit well with Norrell and that tickles me. Loved the Sandhorses! The cinematography still awes. The Fae is creepy but oddly attractive...

Edited by Rhetorica

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The sand horses were fantastic!

 

What a dark show.  Love it. 

 

I feel so sorry for Lady Pole.  But now that The Gentleman has Arabella in his sights, he might ease up on the partying and let Lady Pole rest a bit before she loses her mind completely.

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What is up with those 2 guys who were listening at the door? And then that whole thing about the newspaper between which I'm guessing indicated that there was an estate sale for a large group of magic books. I haven't caught their names as I'm still having some sound issues.

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Loving this show so much :D 

 

I love that we get to see a different side of 18th century England shown rather than the super sloppy that often shown nowadays.

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Finally got to see this, and I'm intrigued.

 

I had a hell of a time understanding most the dialogue, unfortunately. I would agree it's due more to a really poor sound mix than to the accents - I'm no stranger to British tv, and the dialogue sounded generally mushy to me. I think I heard maybe about 40% of what was spoken, so I have only the faintest clue of the particulars of what's going on. (I've never read the book, so I'm flying blind here).

 

It's great to see Eddie Marsan as a lead - I'm used to seeing him as a supporting character actor, and I thought he did a good job here. Though I kept wishing his character would buy a better wig.

 

And in all honesty, I think this might be the perfect role for Marc Warren's unique brand of creepiness. No snark intended. I found him abusively creepy on Good Wife, and pathetically creepy on Musketeers, but here his creepiness hit just the right notes. (I'm sure he is a nice guy in RL, but I've never seen him play one outside of his one appearance on Doctor Who).

 

Not sure I'm all the way in, but I'll give episode 2 a shot.

Edited by Maelstrom
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What is up with those 2 guys who were listening at the door? And then that whole thing about the newspaper between which I'm guessing indicated that there was an estate sale for a large group of magic books. I haven't caught their names as I'm still having some sound issues.

Drawlight (the guy with the big mouth) and his flunky (didn't catch his name) obviously didn't like Strange and Norrell getting chummy. They set Norrell up by scaring him into thinking that Strange might get his hands on some of those magic books at the estate sale, so that Norrell would change his mind and approve of Strange leaving the country. 

 

I'm not sure why Drawlight doesn't want the two magicians becoming friendly, as he could use the fame of both to his advantage as he was doing for Norrell alone before Strange arrived on the scene. I'm also not sure how he knew that the knowledge of Roxborough's death and the impending estate sale would come in handy. 

 

 

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.

 

Norrell just looked annoyed; the look on the Gentleman's face made me literally laugh out loud. It's funny that even he wasn't aware of how naturally powerful Strange is.

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What is up with those 2 guys who were listening at the door? And then that whole thing about the newspaper between which I'm guessing indicated that there was an estate sale for a large group of magic books. I haven't caught their names as I'm still having some sound issues.

Yes, what withanaich said!  Drawlight and Lascelles, a nasty pair, made a pact (in the book at least) that they would work together to keep others out of Norrell's inner circle so they'd be top dogs.   I don't remember Mrs. Strange attending the auction in the book, but maybe I missed it.

Edited by Oxy
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What a quirky, original and entertaining little gem of a show. It's kind of slow moving but I like that I really don't see where they are going with it. I thought the first one was good, this one was better. I think I'm in for the duration.

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Why is it that whenever I see the Green Faerie, I think, "Hey, Bill Hader!!"

I can see that too, but whenever I see Marc Warren I always think Dougie from The Vice or Mr. Teatime from Hogfather.  His eyes are so distinctive. 

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Thank you, withanaich and oxy, for answering my question.

 

New question: which one is the Gentleman?

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The Gentleman is the evil fairy who assisted Norrell in reviving Mrs. Pole, taking her finger and forcing her to dance all night at Lost Hope.  He also managed to entangle Stephen Black, Pole's butler, in the revels, via the extra bell in the pantry that according to the book, mysteriously appeared after new bells were installed.  In the book he's referred to as the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair.  He does not appreciate being summoned by mere humans.  When Strange was trying a spell to summon a fairy, the Gentleman was in the room, but managed to remain invisible to Strange -- except for his voice, and he was quite surprised that Strange was a powerful enough magician to hear, if not see, him.  

 

By the way, if I hadn't read the book, I think I might find a lot of this confusing too.  The book has helped me fill in the blanks.

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By the way, if I hadn't read the book, I think I might find a lot of this confusing too.  The book has helped me fill in the blanks.

 

I read the book four or five years ago and remember really liking it, but apparently 95% of the story has completely fallen out of my head because I've spent most of the show thinking either, "Oh, yeah, I forgot about that!" or "Wait, who was that?" I only seem to remember the major characters.

 

I'm glad you remember it better than I do, because I've needed a refresher, too.

Edited by Lindsey
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I haven't read the book but have requested it from the library. Can I ask if you are going to speak about the book, you post in the Book vs Series thread? It's marked SPOILERS and this thread is not.

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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…“

 

So, based on Vinculus's little prophecy, I'm thinking that Jonathan is the first magician, and Mr. Norrell is the second.  I'm betting that Arabella is not long for this world ("the first shall bury his heart in a dark wood..."), and I'm wondering if Norrell's forty magic books that he sent along with Jonathan (or maybe even his entire library at his home) are going to end up in the enemy soldier's hands ("the second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy's hands").  And I'd say that Stephen is the nameless slave that is a king in a strange land.  These are guesses, so NO BOOK SPOILERS, please.

 

Well, it looks like Mr. Norrell was the one in the "show me what my enemy is up to" spell that Jonathan cast last episode.  That doesn't surprise me, as Jonathan wants to practice magic right now, and Norrell has a carefully constructed TEN YEAR plan.  

 

Those evil bastard fairies, ringing bells at all hours, and forcing people to dance against their will!  Yeah, still enjoying everything but that portion of the story.

 

ETA (rather than post again):

 

I'm a non-bookreader, so definitely no spoilers, but I had the opposite reaction.  I thought that Norrell is the first magician and Strange is the second because Strange seems to be fascinated by faeries and learning more about the Raven King while Norrell obviously fears any discussion of these topics (probably based on his experience with reviving Lady Pole).  Agree that Stephen is probably the nameless slave after being shown with a crown in the mirror.

 

 

Yeah, the first two lines definitely do fit better with Norrell as the first magician and Jonathan as the second (and it makes more sense that way because Norrell was literally the first magician chronologically).  So then I wonder what Jonathan's dearest possession is (I would say Arabella, but "possession" is an odd word choice), and I'm confused about the business of Norrell burying his heart but still feeling it ache.  I hope the show doesn't just forget about this prophecy and leave us hanging!

Edited by SonofaBiscuit

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Did Vinculus give a slightly different prophesy to Strange?  If anybody has the transcript for what he said to Strange, it would be great to see it.  Or maybe I'm misremembering and he said the same thing he said to Norrell?

 

Non-bookreader here and feeling a bit confused after the first episode.  But I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing as long as answers start to unfold in later episodes.

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So, based on Vinculus's little prophecy, I'm thinking that Jonathan is the first magician, and Mr. Norrell is the second.  I'm betting that Arabella is not long for this world ("the first shall bury his heart in a dark wood..."), and I'm wondering if Norrell's forty magic books that he sent along with Jonathan (or maybe even his entire library at his home) are going to end up in the enemy soldier's hands ("the second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy's hands").  And I'd say that Stephen is the nameless slave that is a king in a strange land.  These are guesses, so NO BOOK SPOILERS, please.

 

 

I'm a non-bookreader, so definitely no spoilers, but I had the opposite reaction.  I thought that Norrell is the first magician and Strange is the second because Strange seems to be fascinated by faeries and learning more about the Raven King while Norrell obviously fears any discussion of these topics (probably based on his experience with reviving Lady Pole).  Agree that Stephen is probably the nameless slave after being shown with a crown in the mirror.

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Thanks, Oxy. I read a recap of the book in Wiki, but once 2 plot points were revealed I stopped reading. I didn't want to be spoiled. Now I'm sorry I already know those 2 plot points. But it did help me understand better what's going on and your explaination is even more helpfu. So thanks.

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I love watching this after reading the book. The sand horses and the ballroom at Lost Hope look exactly like I pictures them (although I saw Lost Hope as a bit bigger, it had just the right kind of decay and gothic creepiness). 

 

Poor Lady Pole. 

 

I want to say more...damn you spoilers! 

Edited by tennisgurl
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Childermass is sooooooooo sexy.  I had to laugh out loud when I found out that the actor playing him is Enzo Cilenti, who was the slave trader in Game of Thrones that I barely noticed.

 

And I'm loving Paul Kaye as Vinculus!  He's one of my favorite actors because he is consistently excellent.

 

I hope, hope, hope this show continues to be good!

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dramachick: Childermas is the ___ to Mr. Norell, right? I Don't know what to call him. Assistant? Fixer? Familiar?

But he is the one who said "saddlebags" when JS was proposing taking 40 books with him.

Zero Paul Kaye this week, so that was disappointing.

This show is doing a very nice tightrope walk balancing whimsy and creepy. The acting seems stronger than last week, maybe because I know the characters better.

I'm not expecting it to be brilliant, but so far it is very good. Very good indeed.

Can JS cast the See Your Enemy spell again, or is it a one time deal? Will he see the Blue Fairy again?

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I think that Childermass can be described as Mr Norrell's man of business.  And he is most alluring.

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I want to say more...damn you spoilers!

You could post it in the book to series topic. Book talk is allowed there :)

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You're welcome, Kat 165!   It's tough for me to separate the show from the b--k (shouldn't say that word here maybe!) so I need to be careful what I say, and I do try.

 

I think it's all right for me to say that I agree with some other posters on Childermass -- he's much my favorite character and the actor playing the part is very well-cast.

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Childermass is sooooooooo sexy. I had to laugh out loud when I found out that the actor playing him is Enzo Cilenti, who was the slave trader in Game of Thrones that I barely noticed.

Wow I would never have realized that.

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Yes, what withanaich said!  Drawlight and Lascelles, a nasty pair, made a pact (in the book at least) that they would work together to keep others out of Norrell's inner circle so they'd be top dogs.   I don't remember Mrs. Strange attending the auction in the book, but maybe I missed it.

I think Arabella and the auction was covered in one of the footnotes in the book.  I feel like I should say "footnotes" but they were actually indeed footnotes...

 

I loved seeing the sand horses.  I literally started clapping.

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I am SO enjoying this.  This is one of my favorite books, I've read it multiple times.  I was prepared to be disappointed but so far it's really well done.  I love seeing the imagery and having it not be hokey - the water ships, the sand horses.

 

Not so sure I'm going to enjoy the undead Italian soldiers so much though.

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I've seen six episodes already. BBC is much ahead BBC America in their airing. So it makes it difficult for me to discuss here because I don't want to spoil anything.

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Another member of the Childermass Fan Club here! *waves hand* That said, there wasn't enough Childermass in this ep-- though I was amused by his expression as he watched the two sycophants manipulate Norrell into letting Strange leave. 

 

Norrell smiling with delight when he first saw Strange perform magic was so nice when compared to his usual pinched expressions. It's too bad their relationship starts to sour due to his own pettiness. Then again, after how callous Norrell was to Lady Pole, I can't say I'm that sympathetic to him.

 

"Arabella is not a 3 yr old, Jonathan." Hee. I'm liking Arabella more and more. Her suspicion of Mr. Norrell is totally warranted. Now that Creepy Green Suit Faerie is following her around, I worried he's the enemy mentioned in Vinculus's prophecy.

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I've seen six episodes already. BBC is much ahead BBC America in their airing. So it makes it difficult for me to discuss here because I don't want to spoil anything.

 

This is a spoiler thread so you can say anything here.  I'm still kinda on the fence about this show (I'm not familiar with the books), so I would actually appreciate getting a sense of where this is going.  Like others, I wasn't especially glad to see Mark Warren (after his stint on The Musketeers), so I'm curious just how much of the story revolves around his character.  

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This is a spoiler thread so you can say anything here.

Wynterwolf, you may hear some things in this forum that you may really wish you hadn't if you stick with the show.

The Gentleman is important to the story.

Edited by Haleth

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Wynterwolf, you may hear some things in this forum that you may really wish you hadn't if you stick with the show.

The Gentleman is important to the story.

 

No worries Haleth!  I am the sort that genuinely enjoys reading the end of the book before I start.  ;-)  As for The Gentleman, I assumed as much, especially after he brought the girl back.  I guess I will have to see if I can purge Rochefort from my mind as I'm watching.  

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 Like others, I wasn't especially glad to see Mark Warren (after his stint on The Musketeers), so I'm curious just how much of the story revolves around his character.  

Marc Warren was much better in Hustle, which, like Leverage, was about con artists and grifters, so the role called for a range of acting skills. I'd actually been looking forward to his role in Musketeers and was shocked at how obviously mustache-twirlingly evil it was, when I knew he could've pulled off a more subtle character that you could actually believe someone would fall for; I can only assume the director wanted it that way.

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Marc Warren was much better in Hustle, which, like Leverage, was about con artists and grifters, 

 

Yes!! I had really like him in Hustle too, so I'd also had more hopes for Rochefort.   I will hope for more subtlety here, but I have to say that I felt more of the sadistic Rochefort than the morally ambiguous Danny from the first ep.  Fairies can often go either way, either enigmatic or sadistic, so what direction would you say they lean towards here?  Or are they something else altogether?.     .  

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Not so sure I'm going to enjoy the undead Italian soldiers so much though.

If spoilers are allowed I'll say that I thought the undead Italian soildiers was done excellent. Creepy, tragic and humorous in a mix.

I watched the sixth episode most recently and crazy Strange is amazing. No lord Byron though.

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Wow, that was excruciatingly boring. I really wanted to like this show because I've heard good stuff about the book (wasn't sure I'd like it though which is why I never read it), but holy shit, I couldn't even finish the pilot. I've only stomached about 40 minutes.

 

My biggest issue was characterization. Mr Norrell wasn't an interesting lead. At all. I just don't understand why I should care about this guy. He's totally unmemorable! There was nothing compelling about him at all. Mr Strange was at least younger, somewhat more dynamic and had a bit more personality, but there was so little of him and he was so far removed from the main story (focused on the dull Norrell) that it didn't matter much.

 

Pacing was another issue. I admit, I have a thing for good plotting and fast pace, but still. So little stuff happened in those 40 minutes.

 

I guess the Raven King stuff and the mention of fairies were the only interesting things (well, and I kinda liked Norrell's butler, he, at least, managed to seem more expressive and had a memorable look), but it wasn't nearly enough to continue watching.

 

Pass.

Edited by FurryFury

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Jonathan Strange comes across troubling, ancient magic as he fights the Napoleonic armies. Elsewhere, Mr. Norrell battles to keep his secrets hidden.

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Finally found time to watch this episode.  Wish I knew some magic so I could get my RL work done faster.  Anyway - - 

 

Really love this series.  Quirky, funny, dark, and scary!  Now I want to read the book, and I've already got 5 sitting on my "to-read" shelf.  

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After the first episode, I declared that while Mr. Norrell was clearly unlikable, he was not necessarily a villain. I am ready to amend that opinion. When Childermass has doubts, you should pause and consider. Ah well, reap what you sow and all that.

On the other hand Wellington was highly entertaining in his dickishness. He wants what he wants and he wants it right now. Merlin.

 

Line that was straight out of a Bond movie:

Strange: "Mr Norrell is occupied, I am Strange."

Wellington: "Indeed."

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Too bad Childermass jumped in the way.  Norrell is a nasty piece of work.

 

I'm very afraid for Arabella now that she's rejected the Gentleman!

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Good depictions of the difficulty of magic when Strange was trying to move the forest and the trees did not oblige. He seemed to use the Raven King's magic as a last resort but are there no consequences? Norrell appears to be in over his head. What will they do without the books? Surely they can bring Childermass back. Is he really gone so soon?

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I actually liked Norrell in earlier episodes.  Now, he seems despicable. What was the point of telling Lady Pole how long she was to live under these awful conditions?  To make her more compliant?  

 

Anyway, the series continues to impress.  Very well done -- performances, directing, special effects, everything.

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I am really enjoying reading how

non-bookreaders are all "Team Childermass!  Yay!"

Edited by Haleth
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I seem to ha e forgotten the entire book except that I enjoyed seeing faerie a as dangerous and depressing since they are, in folk songs. Very much in!

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Damn.....I am crushing on another English actor!! I will readily admit that I adore his beautiful shaggy locks, his accent and his devilish smirk but I am not completely shallow because it is always the acting that seals the deal for me because I am enjoying and appreciating his deft hand at portraying Jonathan Strange. The rest of the cast is great but Bertie C just stands out for me.

The series is progressing nicely and I look forward to the next episode. I love being in the dark and not knowing what will happen but I am anxious about Childermass now. Hope the shooting gets the pompous and egotistical Norrell to do something with Strange about The Gentleman.

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I hope Norrell ends up in debtors prison.  I really do.  Asshole needs a comeuppance, big time.

 

And now poor Lady Pole is probably going to get executed or sent to a crazy house.  Happy, Norrell?  Happy, you little piece of shit!?

 

Also, I wished Jonathan gave Wellington a magical kick in the balls, especially after what happened to Jeremy.

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