June 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell “All The Mirrors Of The World”

Episode Four.

So, it seems when the Gentleman with Thistle-Down Hair touches you in some way, you have a strong magical aura around you even if you don’t do magic yourself.

That’s pretty much how Childermas sensed Lady Pole coming.

Childermas will live, by the by, after Lady Pole shot him.  She was aiming for Norrell.  Childermas got some visions of a land with ravens in it.  That seems ominous.  As for Norrell, is he grateful for Childermas’s protection?  Not really.  Oh, he’s glad he’s not dead and all, but he wasn’t pleased his servant was using magic in the street.  It’s not respectable.

Lady Pole seems insane, so she’s sent off to be cared for by Segundas, who also senses magic around her and Stephen Black, and Honeyfoot.  Those two guys are consistently blocked from doing magic by Norrell, so they’re hardly his biggest fans, and Lady Pole comes around to that eventually since she really hates Norrell.

So, I suppose we should ask:  is Norrell the bad guy here?  I mean, setting the Gentleman aside, since the fairy is obviously the villain of the piece.  What do we make of Norrell?  He’s screwed things up bringing Lady Pole back to life.  The thing is, Norrell isn’t much for socializing and he’s used to hording his books and whatnot, but he never seems to be a bad man.  He has a particular view of how magic is supposed to work and he wants to make it “respectful” and “modern”.  Jonathan is keen on doing magic like it was done in the Raven King’s days, and it’s easy to see why Norrell would be reluctant to go that route.  He did it once and it got the Gentleman running around causing trouble.

Like in this episode where the two magicians are called in to try and cure George III of his insanity.  Norrell says it can’t be done with magic and leaves. Jonathan keeps coming back, particularly after he admires an old picture of the Raven King (hey, is that the Gentleman standing behind the Raven King?).  Jonathan doesn’t quite succeed.  The king seems to rouse from his fugue state and starts talking to someone neither Jonathan nor the audience can see but sure sounds like a certain King of the Land of Lost Hope.  Which king might that be?  You know, the Gentleman with the Thistle-Down Hair. Then the English king just ups and vanishes into a mirror and it takes Strange some desperate spellcasting to bring the monarch back before Stephen on a lonely country road is magically compelled to decapitate the old man.  It seems the Gentleman believes that killing George III would make Stephen King of Britain.

But we can see the rift forming between the two magicians.  Norrell wants to keep things quiet.  Strange wants to bring back the old ways, particularly after he steps through a mirror to a raven-filled land beyond.  That freaks Arabella out.  Strange, being a considerate husband, agrees to just become a theoretical magician and simply write a book on magic, which pleases her, and then he gets drafted to go back to the army since the battle of Waterloo is about to happen.

Norrell, meanwhile, never quite read Strange the riot act as Norrell’s one friend/backer wanted.  And that was only because Strange wrote a bad book review for that guy’s work on the return of English magic.  And that’s why Norrell probably isn’t a bad guy.  He wanted to do things more or less amicably.

But there’s a fairy causing problems.  Nothing is going to be more or less amicable again.