Previously on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Norrell and Strange both made deals with the Gentleman, and neither one really worked out. Lady Pole is being tortured, Belle is a prisoner, and Stephen is…both. To try and fix the damage, Jonathan dangerously opens England up to the other side, allowing ancient magic to flood on in.
‘The mirrors of England are broken.’
‘I have had my fill of you gentleman taking what you want of me.’
‘They are the spell the Raven King has spun, and that is all they have ever been.’
Ooh, this chapter doesn’t even get a name. That’s how we know it’s serious. That, and the fact that we open with Pole walking into the House of Commons in slow motion. He takes his seat. The place is in an uproar, but everyone quiets down long enough for Pole to speak. He has a bunch of reports of the disruptive new magic taking root all over the country. They somehow know Jonathan’s behind this, and they also hear rumors that Jonathan’s going to leave Venice, along with his black tornado.
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Other Side of the Rain”
Previously on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Gentleman took a fancy to Belle and tricked Jonathan into thinking she was dead so the Gentleman could keep her in Lost Hope as a dance partner for all eternity. Jonathan, naturally, didn’t take his beloved wife’s death well and set out to resurrect her, even at the cost of his own sanity. He also wrote a book, which Norrell was not at all ok with.
‘There are some that say the Raven King is not a man but an idea, and not one magician but several.’
‘I want you to bring my wife back from the dead. Please.’
Jonathan is now a wanted man. There’s a reward and everything. Also, his book has been published, which surprises me because I thought the government was quashing that. I guess that’s the sort of thing that’s really hard to justify.
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Black Tower”
Previously on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Jonathan found a way to the fairy land, but Belle objected to him returning and finally managed to talk him around to agreeing to give up practical magic and focus on writing a book instead. And then he got dragged back to war again. Lascelles published a book on Norrell that Jonathan trashed, so now the two magicians are on the outs. Lady Pole was taken to the countryside to be tended by Segundus and Honeyfoot.
‘The war is over. What do you think they’ll do with us now?’
‘Gentlemen, do not meddle in such things. You have no idea where it will end, and you’re not fit to do it.’
Let’s start with some action. Specifically, the battle of Waterloo, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this Thursday. The camera sweeps over the scene of the battle, men rushing at each other through the smoke and artillery fire. Jonathan is in a stableyard, calling down some rain, by the look of it, to put out the fire in the building behind him. He then goes over to a well and brings up a whirlpool that takes care of the fire, uses his metal bowl to shield himself from some bullets, and helps to magically reinforce a wall with some creepy vines that pick up and toss French troops around like dolls. He’s pretty good at this battlefield magic. As he runs back across the stableyard, a shell explodes nearby, sending him flying, and then the French manage to get through the gate. A British officer is killed, and the slaughter begins. Jonathan, dazed, tries to gather himself as a Frenchman rushes around wielding an axe. The man spots him and comes over, ready to deliver a killing blow, and Jonathan screams and digs his hand into the mud, and you know that when Jonathan digs his hands into the earth, things get awesome. Sure enough, a massive hand emerges, catching and squeezing the Frenchman to death (‘Could a magician kill someone by magic?’ ‘A magician might, but a gentleman never could.’)
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Arabella”
Previously on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Jonathan employed some old magic while on the Continent while back at home the Gentleman took a liking to Arabella. Norrell got a bit paranoid about the possibility of Jonathan finding out the reason for Lady Pole’s madness, and Lady P got so desperate she tried to shoot Norrell, accidentally catching Childermass instead.
All magicians lie. That one more than most.
‘You have no idea where these paths lead.’
‘No, and that’s the glorious, wondrous thing of it!’
Childermass and Lady Pole are both brought into Norrell’s house. He is laid out on a kitchen table to be attended by a surgeon while she’s strapped down to a bed upstairs. Pole is summoned and comes running as his wife is given something to knock her out. Pity they can’t spare some of that for the guy who’s having kitchen table surgery downstairs. Norrell, meanwhile, whines about how this will damage the cause of English magic. Shut up, Norrell, you selfish bastard. Lascelles suggests they hush this up and claim Norrell was shot at by a French spy, and Lady Pole’s name will be kept out of this entirely.
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: All The Mirrors of the World”
Previously on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Jonathan realized he’s a naturally gifted magician, but since Norrell owns all the magical books in England, it seems, he went ahead and apprenticed with him. He did so well he got sent to Portugal to help with the war against Napoleon. Back in London, Lady Pole is swiftly cracking up thanks to sleep deprivation, and Stephen Black, the butler, isn’t far behind.
‘I am Strange.’
‘She doesn’t see…’
Lady P wakes, gets an idea, goes to her closet, grabs a dress, and starts ripping it apart.
Arabella writes Jonathan a letter, stops to sniff one of his jackets, and leaves the house. Childermass watches from across the street, and when the maid hands Arabella’s letter to a delivery boy, Childermass intercepts him and the letter is handed over.
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Education of a Magician”
Previously on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Mr Norrell travelled to London to resurrect magic in England and make it respectable again. He managed to win over the secretary of state for war by bringing the man’s dead fiancée back to life, but he had to bargain with a fairy in order to do it. Jonathan Strange, meanwhile, was told by a conjurer, Vinculus, that he was destined to be a magician.
We begin at the Port of Brest in Northern France. It’s pouring rain and the soldiers on watch look kind of miserable. In the distance, someone spots ships coming in and the alarm is raised. Everyone races to battle stations and wonder why the ships weren’t seen sooner. The man in charge can’t believe how many there are and thinks there’s something a little funny here. Another officer agrees that they look strange, these ships, so the admiral is rowed out to them. There are no men manning these ships, and the admiral and his second wonder if these are ghost ships, or ships made of glass (they are quite shiny). The second reaches towards one ship and realizes they’re made of water. Just an illusion to…accomplish what, exactly? Distract the French from the actual invasion? It’s never made clear.
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
A young man pours some water into a brass basin while two maids secretly spy on him. He breaks some a pipe into the bowl and murmurs something over the bowl, but nothing happens. He seems disappointed. The pipe is added to a pile of similar, broken ones. He leaves, breezing past the servants, and heads out into the city of York.
This is Mr Segundus, and he’s come to York to meet with The Society of Learned Magicians, which gets together regularly to read dull papers about the history of magic. They’re ‘gentleman magicians’, and the term is similar to ‘gentleman farmer’ in that they do none of the practical work associated with their title. Segundus sits down with them and talks about how much he’s studied magic. He wonders why practical magic is no longer done in England, especially now that the Napoleonic wars are raging and England could really use some magic on the battlefield. The leader of the group informs him that magicians study magic, they don’t create it. After all, you wouldn’t expect a botanist to create a new flower, right (uh, yeah, I would, actually) or an astronomer to create a star (I’d expect an astronomer to discover one, since creating one him or herself is impossible). Clearly, this man’s an idiot. But the others all agree with him. Well, all but one man.
Continue reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Friends of English Magic”