Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Arabella

8346083-low_res-jonathan-strange-mr-norrellPreviously 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.’)

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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Education of a Magician

bertie-carvel_3323292bPreviously 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.

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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Programme Name: Strange & Norrell - TX: n/a - Episode: Ep2 (No. 2) - Picture Shows:  Jonathan Strange (BERTIE CARVEL) - (C) JSMN Ltd - Photographer: Matt Squire

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.

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