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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

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Jonathan: May I borrow your daughter for a couple of hours? She is exactly the right size and shape.

Greysteel: Do you wish to be shot?

Drawlight: No.

Greysteel: Then behave differently.

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Ugh, watching Jonathan drink that creepy dead mouse crazy drink grossed me out so much, but props to him for finding a way to make himself temporarily crazy so that he could finally see the Gentleman. Did Flora and her father never notice that the crazy aunt just disappeared?

 

I wouldn't have trusted Drawlight to act as a go between, but I guess Jonathan didn't have a lot of options at that point. I'm glad that Flora stayed a platonic friend. I kept thinking that she was going to fall in love with Jonathan. Hilarious that her big mistake was getting involved with Lord Byron.

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Awwwww, I don't know what was more bittersweet - seeing Jonathan's singleminded determination to rescue Arabella finally pay off or when Mr. Norrell told Jonathan that he wouldn't leave him alone. I'm so glad that Jonathan and Norrell finally came came back together and worked together.

 

And thank goodness that someone finally killed Percy Weasley. Good lord, that guy was a total dick. Drawlight was an ass but at least he tried to do the right thing in the end (even if it was mostly out of fear due to Jonathan's threats). I was hoping that Drawlight would kick Percy Weasley in the nuts, steal his horse, and finish his errands.

 

Nice to see that Lady Pole and Arabella finally escaped Lost Hope (and that Flora and her father were so welcoming to Arabella when she popped out of their mirror in Venice). I still want to know what happened to Stephen, Norrell, and Jonathan. Are they just chilling on the other side of the mirrors? At least Jonathan was able to tell Arabella that he is around and not in pain. And where did the Raven King guy go? Heh, Mr. EB referred to him as Snape. And why did he change what was written on Vinculus?

 

I enjoyed this series, partly because Mr. EB kept giving his Harry Potter-esque interpretation of everything (when Jonathan started making himself go crazy in the previous episode, he said, "Sirius Black is going to end up in Azkaban"). I have had the book sitting in pile of things I need to read so I may unearth it and read it when I'm on vacation next month.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I'm absolutely loving the series, but one question for you fellow book-readers:  Doesn't Lady Pole only attempt to murder Norrell AFTER Arabella "dies" and is taken by the Gentleman?

 

For her to do it earlier here to me removed a lot of the pathos from it. I mean, I still understand why -- the poor woman's in hell and no one will listen to her or believe her -- but I found it much more moving in the book (which I've read multiple times) that she was doing so out of not only anger for herself, but for her friend.

 

I love the casting. The adaptation is excellent and really moves along, and Norrell's glum little scrunchy face is perfect, as is Jonathan's devilish twinkle. I also like the love and teasing you can sense between Jonathan and Arabella, which -- just as in the book -- seems so jolly and understated, yet the more it goes on, the more we see how much deep feeling there is between them.

 

One thing I wanted to add -- I'm really happy with the Gentleman so far -- I'm not always a fan of the actor's but he's fine here so far. I also think Lady Pole is terrific even if I (like others) haven't liked her in other roles previously. I like the marriage between the Poles much better than in the book, where it seemed so dreadfully arranged (and Lord Pole was much much older). Here, he's older, but he obviously adores her, and she seemed to feel the same until the Thistledown Gentleman intruded to claim his reward.

 

I especially loved the depiction of the way Wellington and the army come around to Strange's side -- it's just so much like the book, but condensed perfectly in just a few scenes. It was so much like my imagination, with the soldiers slowly becoming fans of Strange -- and Wellington eventually liking him as a helpful team member and useful tool. Wellington's a fabulous character -- such a snob, but I kind of love him anyway.

 

Much like I imagined, too, is the strange aura of Lost-Hope. It's such a horrible idea -- paying a penance so that there is no rest in sleep. Everyone attending there looks so exhausted and, well, hopeless. I especially love the way everyone looks sort of beautiful and damned, and you get these vague disturbing glimpses of people who have something wrong with their faces, yet we can't quite see what. As well as the nightmare in which poor Stephen is caught up. So far the show is perfectly bringing to life Stephen's courteous attempts to navigate the terrible situation, as well as the Gentleman's truly genuine desire to help him (however twisted and arrogant he himself may be) but of course, every "blessing" from the Gentleman is just one added curse to the pile in the nightmare.

 

I also found Lady Pole's tapestries truly haunting (the rose over the mouth is a wonderful image of the enchantment she is under, and she is visibly bound as well). The glimpses of the fiendish participants in Lost-Hope, and the rain of bodies off to the right, are both really creepy.

 

I hate that we U.S. viewers have to wait three weeks to see the end! Dammit! But I loved seeing the Rain-Ships, the magical road, and most of all, the Sand-Horses. Just beautiful and understated work.

 

PS -- I had this book in hardcover, and it was a BRICK. So I was so delighted to get it on Kindle and zoom through, and never have to carry around a 5-pound book anymore in the rereads. Although the footnotes aspect is much more awkward in eBook format.

Edited by paramitch
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Paramitch, what model Kindle are you using?  Because I read it on a Kindle Fire and the footnotes were easy to access.  Click on the footnote number and it takes you to the footnote.  Click on the number on the footnote page and you go back to the main text.  At least on the Fire you do.  My other Kindle reader is an old, non-touch type and I doubt it would work there.

 

I do agree that some of the book events are "out of order" at least in the filmed version.  Because when Childermass was shot, I was thinking -- wait a minute, shouldn't Arabella already be dead?  Since Norell casually mentions it when he's berating Childermass afterward.

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Is there a limit to fairy magic? I saw the Gentleman do a lot of pretty powerful stuff but I thought there were also instances where he had Stephen do things for him so I thought maybe there were certain things he couldn't do himself.

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Shite!  Childermass had better not be dead!  

 

For some reason, I had the impression that Strange and Norrell were the only two magicians in England, but Childermass clearly seems capable of some magic, and then there was the lady in the street practicing magic.  And possibly Segundas??  Speaking of Segundas, I'm not sure why Norrell seems to think that he has authority over all other magicians (Childermass told Segundas that he must wind up his school of magic because Norrell would find out and shut it down, basically).

 

Norrell is probably going to be very upset about his books being blown up.  Poor guy who died while lugging those things around.

 

I don't understand why Jonathan doesn't use his magic for practical things like giving that soldier some new boots.  But we're gonna do things like move a forest?  Huh?

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Why are these people not communicating? Arabella and Jonathan should have at least mentioned the letters not being delivered while he was gone. And Norrell needs to tell Jonathan the truth about the Gentleman. But then we would have no story, I guess. I feel a tad bad for Norrell. He seemed melancholy when Jonathan said they needed to go their separate ways. So now Lady Pole can, at least, have normal daytime hours. Drawlight's gone? It looked bad last week for Childermass. I'm glad he's back. But did he help usher the Raven King in through his cards, as Vinculus predicted?

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I really enjoyed this episode. Loved the mirror travel stuff, especially Strange disappearing from the billiards game and also appearing in that woman's study & confronting Drawlight.

 

EB, yes, I liked that part too when the British officers thanked Strange for the lovely evening. So funny.

 

I'm most curious as to why Segundus & Honeyfoot wanted Mrs. Pole enough to pretend to be some sort of sanitarium. What are they up to? They never should have released her from her bindings.

 

Mr. EB is hilarious. I was thinking pretty much the same thing. When we first see King George I expected him to turn and say, "oh Harry.." and give Strange some pithy warning about using dark magic.

 

That was great that Percy (I don't know his name either) turned Drawlight debts in.

 

Yes, Norrell should tell Strange about the Fairy King and bringing Mrs. Pole back. Norrell is so odd. Sometimes I loathe the man and other times, when he was trying to compromise with Strange after the article was published I felt so sorry for him. When he said how lonely it would be. It was kind of sad.

 

As interesting as the world beyond the mirror is doesn't Strange notice how evil it seems? I don't find it particularly inviting.

I really like the bed Segundus and Honeyfoot offered Mrs. Pole.

 

Good post, EB, I'm noting the same things. Only you express them so much better.

 

The last scene of that tree carcus turning into a Mrs. Strange look-a-like was so creepy. Almost as creepy as this same actress's portrayal in the 2 DCI Banks eps I've seen her in.

 

Who is the Raven King? Have we seen him?

 

I would have liked a followup to the letters, too, Rhetorica, but I'm wondering if it wasn't addressed due to time issues. The series is only 7 eps. They seem to skip a lot of stuff that could be elaborated on more.

Edited by kat165
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Ha, and how awkward was it when Jonathan and Arabella started fighting in front of the two British officers? You know they were dying to escape.

That was such a married couple fight. Of course Jonathan would throw the, "You told me to get a job" at her. I was surprised when she backed her ultimatum as soon as he said he wouldn't agree to it. But she knows her man, he can't let it go now. I love this couple, so of course things are about to get dark.

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I agree about the marriage of the Poole's seeming nicer in the show. In the book the one thing that stuck with me about Walter Poole was the description of him wanting to speak to his fiance but never seeming to find the time for it. In the show the first impression is quiet different. I thought I recalled him being older in the book but I didn't know if it was actually stated or just my impression.

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I really enjoyed that episode. Poor Jonathan and Arabella. They came so close to escaping. Not that I am convinced that Jonathan could have stayed a theoretical magician. I felt so bad for Arabella, but Jonathan had to go back to the war, I don't think that he had much choice. I liked how Jonathan and the military officers became friends and stayed friends after they returned to England. Their awkward reaction to Jonathan and Arabella fighting in front of them made me laugh. He will need their support with what is coming. Unfortunately, I think the faerie will take this opportunity to switch Arabella with her magical clone.

 

Segundus and Honeyfoot are hilarious together. I was surprised that they were going to care for Lady Pole. I cracked up when Honeyfoot said that he was glad that he did not have to shoot the gun as he could only find walnuts. I am glad that Lady Pole saw they would do anything to protect her. She cannot go wrong trusting them.

 

It is interesting that both Segundus and Childermass sensed the magic around them. I think that by using magic Jonathan and Norrell are breaking down the barrier between the two worlds. Childermass is definitely suspicious of Norrell and might be turning on him.

 

I almost felt sorry for Norrell last night, but I cannot forgive him for abandoning Lady Pole and not trying to help her. He did not know that by bringing her back to life that the faerie would mentally torture her and drive her mad, but he could tell Jonathan the truth and together they could work to help save her, especially since Jonathan is growing more powerful and is able enter the Raven King's world.

Edited by SimoneS
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Gosh, it's hard to post in the episode threads if you've read the b--k!  However, I will be careful to reference only the show.  Segundas and Honeyfoot aren't pretending to run a madhouse -- they really are.  It was Childermass's idea and it was referenced in the show when he said something about, I think, "taking care of" Lady Poole at the end of the scene where Norell is berating him.  I was puzzled as to why they were so confrontational with him, but I guess it was because they didn't want to upset her anymore.  

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Segundus and Honeyfoot are hilarious together. I was surprised that they were going to care for Lady Pole. I cracked up when Honeyfoot said that he was glad that he did not have to shoot the gun as he could only find walnuts. I am glad that Lady Pole saw they would do anything to protect her. She cannot go wrong trusting them.

 

That was a wonderful scene and my affection for this show grew a zillion times.  This has rapidly become one of my favorites of all time.  Truly enjoying it all.

 

No need for Harry Potter references, in my mind this exceeds that series.

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I am loving this series as well. I read the book and really enjoyed it, but had a hard time imagining some of the more surreal scenes and keeping track of all the players.  Watching it helps me make more sense of it.

 

If I ever need help navigating the waters of Crazy Town, I'd love to have Segundus and Honeyfoot take care of me.  

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About halfway through the episode the picture quality shifted from the 'film' look to the 'video tape' look. It happened last week as well. Not that the one was necessarily better than the other but the abrupt shift was a distraction. Don't know if this was just me or was this a thing in the original airing or an artifact of either BBC America or DISH network?

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 How is Segundus able to detect the magic around Steven and Lady Pole?

 

I think he is magic-sensitive, or with an underlying magical talent. Previously, he 'intruded' on Strange's summoning spell of the ghostly Lady Absalom.

Who is the Raven King? Have we seen him?

The king's portrait looked like it could be Strange, or Childermass. With Strange's obsession of the Raven King, it could be that he is slowly coming to be 'reborn' in him. When Childermass was being operated on, though, he entered the Raven King's world, and a raven exited his body when the bullet was removed. And he has been shown as sensitive/capable of magic, too.
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 It looked bad last week for Childermass. I'm glad he's back. But did he help usher the Raven King in through his cards, as Vinculus predicted?

It's possible.  IIRC, his blood dripped on the tarot cards, particularly on "The Hanged Man".  Perhaps that had some magical effect.

 

Another great episode.  I am enjoying this series immensely.

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Yeah I get that with pronunciation. To me it just looked like two els should be Norrell. Also, the BBC America announcer has been pronouncing it that way!

My take on it is that Mr. Norrell pronounces it 'Norrull', not 'Norr-elle' and therefore, within the context of the show, that is the correct pronunciation.

 

The Neapolitan zombies were creepy, and yet ultimately sad, in that all they wanted was to go home to their families.

Ronan Vibert was a terrific Wellington, and yes, he reminds one very much of a younger Alan Rickman.  The comparison was made in nearly every review of The Buccaneers when it ran in the US.

Still hating Marc Warren as the Gentleman.  Not sure if it's the character or the actor, although I've hated MW in everything I've ever seen him in, so probably the latter.  So that's been taking away from part of the story for me.  But otherwise the acting has been excellent.  I'm even warming up to Arabella a bit; her very sincere concern for Lady Pole has helped a lot.

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jaigurudeva, I hadn't even considered that re: the raven flying out of Childermass's chest. Good supposition. I love the idea of this. Childermass is a fascinating character & I'd like to learn more about him. I was so glad & surprised that survived the shooting.

 

Miles2go, I also like what you said about the blood and the tarot cards. If he is the Raven King in some way, why are his powers so subdued? And mysterious to us. And what is his interest in Norrell all about?

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I gave in and finished the series tonight (I was going to wait it out on BBCAmerica), it was really good, great special effects, casting etc. I love stuff like this, I am a huge Potter fan but it was nice have a magical story line that concentrated on adults.

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I love that strange nd Wellington styaed buds. I loved the very British very 18th century way he announced who he was to the guys from Nottingham.

Indid think lost hope looked awful and wondered why jonathan thought it was great....

ETA: he called himself norRELL this episode! I guess it's a sign of pretension.

I did feel a teensy bit sorry for hm. But all he has to do was humble himself a bit more and tell jonathan the truth.

Edited by lucindabelle
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What is the name of the gingery guy who cowrote Norrell's book? Mr. EB has been calling him Percy (as in Weasley).

His name is Lascelles. I don't think we ever get his first name though so you can always decide it's Percy Lascelles :)

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Yes, Norrell should tell Strange about the Fairy King and bringing Mrs. Pole back. Norrell is so odd. Sometimes I loathe the man and other times, when he was trying to compromise with Strange after the article was published I felt so sorry for him. When he said how lonely it would be. It was kind of sad.

Norrell can't tell anyone about the Gentleman because then he'd have to admit that he practiced old magic, which he's been crusading against. And the only reason Norrell was trying to keep Strange with him was not because he's lonely, or because he likes the guy, but because Strange will now be competing against Norrell rather than working with him. As everyone keeps pointing out, there can only be one magician in England, and Norrell is determined to be that magician. With Strange now on his own, Norrell's position is in jeopardy.

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I am loving this series more every episode.  The strange thing about that?  I read...and didn't like...the book.  Although the book had potential, I think it go bogged down with all the footnotes.  I also didn't enjoy that it was pastiche...it just seemed the author was trying way too hard.  But the show...is wonderful!  The actors are doing a great job, and there have been lots of fun moments, such as the Strange Fight in front of the officers and their reaction.  I also enjoyed the billiards scene from start to finish. 

 

Norrell insists that there can only be one magician in England, but i don't really understand why he is so stubborn about that. Stange's efforts during the war clearly illustrated that there is room for more.  That is Norrell's biggest failing though:  ego.  It doesn't allow him to confide in Jonathan about The Gentleman for example. 

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And the only reason Norrell was trying to keep Strange with him was not because he's lonely, or because he likes the guy, but because Strange will now be competing against Norrell rather than working with him.

It's both, actually.  Or at least, the book makes it clear that Norrell does consider Strange to be his only friend (not that Norrell knows how to be a friend, does he?)

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And the only reason Norrell was trying to keep Strange with him was not because he's lonely, or because he likes the guy, but because Strange will now be competing against Norrell rather than working with him.

I thought that Mr. N liked JS working for him, as an apprentice in "Norellian" magic.

This episode moved super fast. It was packed with some great moments. I'm glad Childermas didn't need to get resurected or be some sort of thrall to the Creepyfairy.

What was it that he called the thing that Stephen pulled from the bog hole? I kept hearing "Mossyoak" which is a camouflage pattern for hunters, so I'm sure I have it wrong.

I'm loving how they are showing people who are products of the Enlightenment struggle to even discuss the dark, chaotic world just beyond the mirror.

A- episode, the best so far imo.

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Percy Lascelles it is then!

I feel like this adaption is showing some signs of being... hairist, towards gingers. Because in the book Jonathan has red hair and the show has brown washed him, to instead make Lascelle a ginger.

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I thought that Mr. N liked JS working for him, as an apprentice in "Norellian" magic.

It can be both. He can like having another magician, peer or apprentice, for all the reasons already stated, but he's also a control freak. I think he's genuine in his belief that the "other" magic will bring ruin to England, that it's dangerous, that he knows it was probably a bad move doing what he did with Mrs. Pole. Problem is, instead of trying to convince Strange to have the (probably reasonable) fear that he does of messing with fairies, he keeps on with the "respectable" vs "not respectable" bullshit. He's being too polite. Strange reads this controlling attitude as just that, controlling, when Norrell should be trying harder to convince him that it's tremendously dangerous if he actually intended to stop him. In this episode he nearly almost touched on it but was basically saying "we don't understand enough for this to be a good idea" so Strange was all "so we should be trying to understand more" and Norrell had no good reply to the effect of "actually I know more than I've been telling you and enough to know this is a super dicey proposition". His ego's in the way that he sort of keeps dancing around it and just saying "I know better, believe me, and let's never speak of this again." Obviously, he can't fully explain to Strange his recent experiences; even if he wanted to he'd be prevented by the same magic that gibberished Lady Pole's trying to tell. However, I don't think he'd be stopped from just plain saying fairy magic is dangerous and providing other explanation, since Norrell seemed to damn well know that before he did it.

I mean, that's the plot. There'd be no show otherwise. Of course it's about what they don't say. And they both have ego: one basically running with "No don't cuz I said so" and the other running with "I seem to be really good at this thing I don't know much about; If I can do it, it must be ok".

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And the only reason Norrell was trying to keep Strange with him was not because he's lonely, or because he likes the guy, but because Strange will now be competing against Norrell rather than working with him. As everyone keeps pointing out, there can only be one magician in England, and Norrell is determined to be that magician.

 

Norrell insists that there can only be one magician in England, but i don't really understand why he is so stubborn about that. Stange's efforts during the war clearly illustrated that there is room for more.

 

 

Yes, I don't really understand why Norrell insists that there can be only one magician in England or why he automatically believes that Strange will be competing against him.  Why can't Norrell just practice his "Norrellian" magic and let Strange do his own thing?  Is it really just about ego and control?  He did seem to be relenting a bit when he tried that last ditch compromise to let Strange be considered an equal and have access to his entire library, so it can't just be about ego, can it?

 

 

The king's portrait looked like it could be Strange, or Childermass.

 

It totally looked like Childermass as the Raven King to me.  And now I am much more intrigued by this character.  He seems to have some kind of magical abilities.  And I think he was the one who insisted that Norrell come to (and stay in) London when Norrell was ready to hightail it back to Yorkshire.

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Oh, it was like watching a car crash in slow motion. You saw exactly what was happening, but could do nothing but shout useless epithets. You have to give it to Ms. Clarke, a good villain should be hated and I truly hate the Gentleman.

I don't hate Norrell because I don't know how much he's actually looking out for English Magic and how much he's looking out for Gilbert Norrell.

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I really wish childermass would take jonathan up on his offer.

Jonathan scried and didn't see her in e UK at all. Why did he then go out looking for her? Why couldn't he sense the "wife" wasn't real?

Also, gross I know, but why did they not noticed he wasn't decaying in a solid week?

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The Fairy King told Arabella that her husband traded her for a piece of wood (which was the Arabella imposter/Moss Oak), but what did Jonathan actually do that  allowed FK to take his wife? I don't remember and/or am unsure. Doesn't Jonathan have to strike some sort of bargain with FK in order for FK to get what he wants? I don't recall/understand how it was so easy for him to bring Arabella to the dance.

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It's interesting to see the contrast between Steven, who has resigned himself to his fate, and Lady Pole, who is still actively resisting.

 

 

Steven has been told he will be a king someday, so I suppose he figures he will eventually get something out of the situation, whereas Lady Pole has nothing to look forward to.  Thank goodness she has found some allies in Segundus and Honeyfoot.

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The Fairy King told Arabella that her husband traded her for a piece of wood (which was the Arabella imposter/Moss Oak), but what did Jonathan actually do that allowed FK to take his wife? I don't remember and/or am unsure. Doesn't Jonathan have to strike some sort of bargain with FK in order for FK to get what he wants? I don't recall/understand how it was so easy for him to bring Arabella to the dance.

When the Moss Oak was taken to his house, she asked Jonathan if she was his wife and did he forsake previous wives. He said yes thinking he was comforting her but that was the oath. The Gentleman said Jonathan would do this unknowingly.

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Well, Jonathan knows about Mr. Norrell's treachery.  Let the magical smackdown begin.

 

And all the things Lady Pole has been saying are starting to make sense.  Good thing Norrell didn't have all the magic books.

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Well, I continue to love this show! Poor Jonathan, losing Belle like that. As Belle did not die, is there hope for her to return?

I'm very intrigued by Lady Pole's fairy tales.

I do wish we had a person from previously.tv 'recapping' the episodes, as I find they always give deeper insights.

Edited by cardigirl
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Another beautifully filmed episode. The scenes at Waterloo were intense. I assumed the Moss Oak would just trade places with Arabelle, not replace her. Segundus just might be the Master Magician. He has the gift, the books to study, and Honeyfoot for his assistant. Women seem to be used at the whims of men. I hope they rally and overcome!

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When the Moss Oak was taken to his house, she asked Jonathan if she was his wife and did he forsake previous wives. He said yes thinking he was comforting her but that was the oath. The Gentleman said Jonathan would do this unknowingly.

 

Thank you! I can't believe I didn't put that together. It was driving me crazy what the fairy meant. Can't call him the Gentleman since he is no gentleman. Ugh I hate him. Not love to hate, just hate hate. He's the most annoying form of villain, I just can't with him. I LOVE everyone else though. I enjoy hating Mr. Norrell because I also do feel a small amount of sympathy for him, until I remember that he pretty much brought all this on himself by being an arrogant prick. But he's such a sad little man.

 

I love the contrast of the two, Norrell and Strange, the cautious, well read man who knows the dangers of using certain magic, and the daring, careless young man who dives head first into dangerous magic because he wasn't afforded the knowledge the first one has. And there is yet another reason to hate Norrell. By hording magic/magic books, he has forced Strange to take risks he mightn't have taken had he known.

 

But the thing the show is doing well (and the books, since the show is based on them) is that Norrell isn't keeping this stuff secret just because it furthers the plot. I feel like I understand him enough to realize he is hording magic for reasons. In the wrong hands it is clearly very dangers, and he's got enough arrogance to think he knows better than anyone and is the only one who can be trusted with such knowledge. It's also got to be quite a rush being the only magician. He got swept up in Lacelles and Drawlights excitement and, unfortunately, put too much of his own life in their hands. He's really a fascinating, if infuriating little man.

 

My heart breaks for Lady Pole. Above all characters I truly want her to come out of this, even if through a second death, because even that would be better than the fate she has now.

 

That is my long winded way of saying I am loving this show.

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I wasn't sure I would like this show at first, but each new episode draws me in further.  This last installment was brilliant.  The photography, the characters, the story, all are absolute perfection.  I love Jonathan Strange and Childermass.  Mr Norrell is hard to like, but I guess that means the actor is doing a good job.  I can't wait to see what happens to Arabella.  And Lady Pole.  I'm hoping the Gentleman comes to a very bad end. 

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