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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Discussion in 'Fandom Discussion' started by Nessa, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. Nessa

    Nessa Player

    Posts:
    353
    Have I said how much I love this book yet? because I do. xD But no, I've been going through a re-read with @Piper, and I just really want to get into some discussion with some people. I know there are some others hanging around who're either in the process of reading the book, or who've seen the Mini-Series, and I'd love to talk to y'all about it, and squee over favorite characters, and awesome aspects of the world-building, and the footnotes, and just flail about English Magic in general (Maybe even convince some others to join this awesome fandom by showing them how amazing this story is ;) ) So yeah, juuust gonna tag: @Librus, @Bunny, @*L* aaand anyone else who wants to join in!^^

    So yeah, basically, who are your favorite characters? Least favorite characters? anyone you'd particularly like to see in Pandora? What do you like best about the story? Any particular feats of magic or incidents that stand out to you? If you've seen the Mini-Series what are your opinions on that? And really just your thoughts or opinions on anything else

    As for myself...wow, there is so much that I love about this book that I'm not sure where to begin. I love the snarky narrator and the dry sense of humor that's threaded throughout the whole book, I love it's atmosphere and it's genteel regency setting that gradually grows darker and more Gothic and wonderfully creepy the longer the book goes and the deeper into the world of magic and Faerie that you enter.

    The Gentleman has to be one of my favorite villians, so far removed from a human perspective, and so cheerfully sadistic, but never truely evil, because his way of viewing the world is so utterly inhuman that he thinks he's actually helping Stephen and Lady Pole. He's such a narcissist and he's so utterly self absorbed, and he's just utterly made of black humor, and I love it!

    As for my actual favorite characters though...ohh, that's a tough choice xD There are to many of them! Strange and Arabella are definitely up at the top of the list, though. Jonathan is amazing and snarky and his entire character arc is fascinating to watch, especially during the later half of the book, seeing what length's he'll go through both for the sake of his magical studies, and even more importantly, for Arabella's sake. He's such a nerd, and he can be a bit easily distracted but he just throws himself into his magic, and he's awesome. Arabella is great too, she has such a strength to her, and while she's in the Gentleman's captivity I love that she's still able to hold on to the hope that she'll find a way back out of Faerie and that Jonathan will help her. She's kind hearted, and has a wit to match Jonathan's and well...I just love her and Jonathan's relationship <3 they're so sweet together. Childermass is fantastic too! I love his snark, I love his tarot cards that he so painstakingly hand copied for himself, I love his relationship to Norrell and how loyal and trusted a servant he is to him, while still retaining a will of his own, his own way of doing things, and a tendancy to argue back against Norrell when he feels he needs to. Oh and Honeyfoot and Sugundus are just so amazing. They're such...good people? They're really sweet and kind and good natured and they're just...Hufflepuffs, but in like, the best way.

    Oh yes, and then, of coarse there is The Raven King himself. I mean, obviously I love him, I play him, after all! He doesn't appear for very long in the story himself (though when he does show up, damn, does he ever end up steeling the whole book) but his presence is very much felt throught the whole book. He's just this mysterious, powerful, ancient figure. Someone who could banish winter from his realm, and keep the Black Plauge from hitting his realm too hard, someone who could steal the moon from the sky and make it travel through all of England's waterways. There's such an ambiguity to his character, and you're never quite sure what's going on in his mind and he's a force of nature as much as a man. But that's the thing too, John Uskglass is a man. There's such a duality to his character. I mean, on the one hand you have this Near God of a figure, shrouded in mystery and darkness and shadows, a wild, creepy very fae figure. The sort of man who is capable of such feats as I have just described, the Ruler of Northern England, and a realm in Faery, and the Bitter Lands, on the far side of Hell. The sort of man who will conquer half of a realm as recompense for his father's death, and who will raise from the dead the son of the man who betrayed him in order to torture and interrogate him. But on the other hand, you have the sort of man who did not go on to conquer the rest of England, because he felt that wold be unjust. He is someone who orchestrated events so that all of England would be able to practice magic. A quiet, soft-spoken figure, a man who was described as being rather handsome, but isn't actually so physically imposing. Two of the stories that stand out most to me about the Raven King involve him thanking and blessing a humble farmer and the farmer's entire family with good fortune after they gave him aid on his journies, and the Raven King leading home a young girl who had gotten herself lost and who had wandered her way into his his house in Newcastle. More than just that, however, I am fascinated by the character arc he is hinted at having, starting from the young arrogant King in Faerie, unfamiliar with the human world and too full-of-himself to even bother learning to read, and then growing into the (mostly) benevolent King who's return to England is longed for 400 years after his disappearance.

    I have so much more to say, and I could honestly go on forever about this book ( I haven't even started talking about the rest of the Aurates yet. Ralph Stokesey has no chill, and Catherine of Winchester was just awesome. ) but I think I've rambled on for long enough for now. But yes! come! discuss things with me!^^
     
    #1 Nessa, Jun 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
    Linnie, *L* and Bunny like this.
  2. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I have such a formed impression of this book, I was worried I wouldn't have a lot to say. But, apparently, I do. Thanks, for tagging me in this discussion!

    This is one of those books, that's just about the reading experience, you know? Like one of those quiet moments in a film. It's about the intimacy between whoever and whatever the silence allows. As for my favorite character? I have none. All the characters are important. All the characters have personality. I adore Jonathan, of course. His sarcasm and wit. The fact that he couldn't decided what to do with himself after his father died, until he decided to become a magician. STORY OF MY LIFE! But, I suspect that his mentor-Mr. Norell, is not much liked by readers. Don't ask why. It's just a feeling. He's quiet, a little bit of a hypocrite, and pretty possessive. I'm kind of a sentimental, control freak myself. So, I've connected with him more than any of the other characters. But, he's also wise, lonely, and has a great respect for books. He's awfully set in his ways. So much so, it doesn't come off as him being merely stubborn. It's more than that. Mr. Norell is true to his opinions, (most of them anyway), that they're actually worth something. Which is more than I can say of most people these days. As for Arabella, I've got a hunch.

    Speaking of Fairies. I'm always picky when it comes to their mythology. The Fairies of Ireland, are my favorite. Unfortunately, they're usually written just the same as humans. But, this book-this book does it right. The Gentleman is a prime example. He has our best interests at heart, even if he can be a little neglectful and lose interest. His charity is out of control, as it is for most benevolent Fairies. But, he's also malevolent. I suspect-as I do of most of his race, that he won't ever understand the full extent of our own. The impression is mutual. I've come to see the Gentleman as some excited pet owner, who goes a little over-bored. Despite the great amount of attention he gives his newest "companion", he somehow manages to make them feel worse. And, I finally got to John's part! Though, I'm afraid I can't say much about him. Nessa undoubtedly has him pegged. Somehow, he's managed only being mentioned throughout the entire book, before making his grand entrance at the last quarter, while making you feel that he's been there the whole way through.

    Overall, this might be the longest leisurely read I've ever experienced. It's comical, it's mysterious, and it's easily one of my favorite books of all time. Of which, there were four. I've even given it a name: Jonathan. Mostly, because, the title's a mouthful. And, I'm hoping, that when they write my biography, my endearment for it will be mentioned in the narrative... Okay, I'm joking! But, seriously guys. This book is special. The style is accurate, for a novel of the era it is set in. The characters. Gosh, the characters! They have flaws, but as I said before, it's so much more than that! I love how some are simple, and others-larger than life. The magic itself is done in a way that is new. But, without trying to convince the reader that it's the best thing since magic was created. It's written wholesomely. I can't describe it any other way. The silver dishes to see in. The statues coming to life to testify the death of a young girl many years in the past. It's just... I can't even word it properly. But, yeah, I love this book. The moment I laid eyes on it, not a single thought crossed my mind before I decided to have it. It contains many things I enjoy reading about, when done right: Faerie, Fairies, 1800 literature by an author of the 2010's, and well-rounded characters.
     
    #2 Bunny, Jun 6, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2017
    Linnie likes this.
  3. Linnie

    Linnie Player

    Posts:
    122
    Gender:
    female
    Occupation:
    studying
    Location:
    somewhere you probably don't know
    The only thing that is not perfect about JSMN is the fact that is not long enough. Like some random comment that I have read, I expect it to never end and at page 800, it almost didn't.

    About the Raven King, I think what Neil Gaiman said was true, "I loved crabbed Norrell and, less feckless than he seems, Strange, and John Uskglass the Raven King, who is not in the title of the book unless he hides behind the ampersand, but who hovers there anyhow."

    About my favorite characters, I don't feel exactly touched by any character because this is a very humorous book and I am too busy laughing at them to actually feeling for them.That is why I don't feel very much for ships. The Raven King therefore became very much a favorite character because there was a shroud over him that made me want to know more about him. And I also like Honeyfoot because he is so mysterious. He shows up so many times throughout the book and we don't even know his first name. XD.

    I only watched the first two and the last epiosdes of JSMN. And I like all the actors, especially the ones who did Norrell, Strange and Childermass. However, BBC Raven KIng disappointed me.