Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

JS&MN ep 7, "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"

Fun fact: according to the writer of the show, who was interviewed for the same podcast I was, the BBC offered the show up to 8 episodes. They chose to go up from their original proposal of 6, only to 7.

Fucking the timelines made me entirely fail to understand why Childermass tore off looking for Vinculus. What conceivable thing could he have thought he needed him for?

I also don't understand why Mr Segundus, who knew that Stephen was under the same enchantment as Lady Pole, would stand by and let Stephen be fucking LOCKED UP for serving the gentleman—well, I do know, the show needed an example of racism and it let all the actual ones that showed real racism go by the wayside so invented a nonsensical one at the last minute.

I need to rewatch even more than usual because I was so what??!! about everything, because I don't think it entirely ruined Stephen, but it did not fail to escape me that (a) Strange & Norrell intended to compel the summoned King to kill the gentleman (b) Strange & Norrell gave him all of English magic instead of asking the elements to acclaim him as King, which the elements did because (admittedly, this is my inference, looking back at the chapter) his innate nobility of character made it plausible (c) the gentleman was immediately threatening Norrell rather than Lady Pole when Stephen decided he had to kill him (d) Strange & Norrell actually knew what had happened instead of remaining in ignorance of their, well, ignorance (about the nameless-slave mixup) and the extent they were instruments rather than actors and (e) we don't see the changes the new King wrought in Lost-Hope but end on his violence (and really poorly done dark!Galadriel voice, too).

Also random shooting of Stephen for suspense, and random wizard-fu in the form of big fiery faces in the library, and terrible face-melting effects for the Black Tower being a life-force drain—really, everything is already dramatic enough, you don't need that and that was time you could've used to explain. And the life-force thing introduced more problems than it solved--just establish that it's set for 100 years because that's a very audience-understandable thing about curses, and then you don't have to handwave why it's still there when the gentleman dies and where it took them (are we supposed to think it was the Raven King? It didn't seem to be anything they were doing. And Norrell said in Faerie that it was the product of the gentleman's bargains with England and therefore didn't reach into Faerie, so where did they go?)

(wait, if the bargains with England don't reach into Faerie, why can Stephen command the stones and tree?)

It was also a very weird place to end, with Childermass saying they'd gone beyond the rain, very anti-climactic. I'd much rather have done the order in the book; we could have ended on Arabella vowing to find him.

(Hah! I thought it was Childermass doing the opening narration.)

Other things as they whirl through my overheated brain:

The Raven King was a massive disappointment. Really, just terrible, both in-show and in terms of the book.

Oh, there's the nearly-romantic framing of the relationship between our title characters. I'd been thinking there'd been relatively little of what I would think of as slash-fodder to this point, which is not the case in the book.

See, I don't insist on perfect fidelity; eliminating the Champion of the whatever-whatever as Lascelles' fate, and indeed the King's Roads on the landscape, is fine. Making him hollow and shattering him suffices.

Norrell's wig was funny.

. . . fuck, I don't even know. There were some good things, but I suspect on the whole it will settle out as a massive case of missing the point.

Look for a Tor.com post with hopefully more coherence, and definitely screencaps and thematic organization, possibly next week.

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Tags: tv: jonathan strange & mr norrell

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