March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell”

Final Episode

You know, when I read this book this mini-series was based on, I don’t remember the ending being this action-packed.  I could be wrong.  But if I am not, well, I know why they did it and I approve as it fits for the TV screen.

I also remember the Raven King speaking, and when he briefly appears here, he doesn’t say a dang thing.  He’s mostly just a creepy-looking guy with a lot of long, black hair.


File photo: the Raven King.

However, the whole thing comes down to whether or not Norrell and Strange can work together long enough to either summon the Raven King for help or defeat the Gentleman with the Thistle-Down Hair and save Lady Pole and Arabella.  And they do and don’t succeed.

See, the Raven King can’t be summoned since, well, no one knows his name.  He has a few names, and the two magicians use the lands and fruits from around Norrell’s house to summon the one man they knew as a king.  The lands, that is, not the magicians.  And the Raven King appears briefly before taking off.  Where does he go?  He revives the dead Vinculus and then rewrites his own book on Vinculus’ flesh.  Childermas almost saw it.  He was too busy being frozen.

But there’s a problem in that the well-meaning Segundus and Honeyfoot wake up Lady Pole too early.  She was supposed to lead Arabella out of Lost Hope.  And that just brings the Gentleman down on the whole house, sparing only Stephen Black.  But at least Lady Pole got to tell the Gentleman off first.  She even criticized his hair as looking like thistle-down.  Not bad, Lady Pole, not bad.

Funny thing:  Stephen was born a slave and doesn’t know his actual name.  The Raven King was also called the Nameless Slave.  Strange and Norrell’s next act was to offer the whole of English magic in the form of Norrell’s entire library to the Nameless Slave.  Guess who got it.

And say, a prophecy says Stephen will kill a king and take his throne.  Say, the Gentleman is also known as the King of Lost Hope.

Yeah, that was pretty damn cool.  Strange and Norrell manage to get to Lost Hope, guide Arabella out to Venice, and then…well, they do get back to Norrell’s library.  But then they can’t leave.  And they’re still surrounded by darkness.  And then the whole house disappears with them in it.

Will they ever return?  Well, Jonathan manages to get a message to Arabella promising to return as soon as he figures out how.  Childermas and Vinculus of all people will be leading a revival of English magic.  And that’s where things end.  Two missing magicians and a butler is now a king of a fairy kingdom.  Author Susanna Clarke is supposedly working on a sequel novel that will follow Childermas and Vinculus, magicians who aren’t gentlemen.  That could be interesting if it ever appears.  As for this version, let’s say nine out of ten detached pinkies.

Well, it’s time for me to announce a new series.  What will go next?  Well, let’s stick with British television on Netflix, and on Tuesdays starting next week, I’ll be covering the creepy technology of Black Mirror.

That should make for an interesting change of pace.