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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

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What was the point of telling Lady Pole how long she was to live under these awful conditions?

 

I think (and I'm not sure, but....) that he thought if he told her how long she'd live, she'd realize that raving, thrashing, and scheming wasn't going to help matters. That she'd find a way to cope for the long run. I think he imagines he's being kind.

 

Seeing Ronan Vibert here after his quick turn on Penny Dreadful made me think he brings the dialects of hell with him! I did laugh when he drily commented on the speed with which the corpses learned the language.

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Returned from war, Jonathan Strange joins Mr Norrell to try to cure England's mad king, George III, but is frustrated at Norrell's refusal to discuss the magic and legends of old times. Meanwhile, unbeknown to the magicians, the Gentleman embarks on a scheme to capture Arabella and destroy Jonathan Strange. Jonathan begins to develop an increasing fascination with the magic of the Raven King and it creates a wedge between him and Norrell, who is determined to stop him resurrecting the dark powers of ancient times.

 

Promo:

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I LOVED the book this was based on, so I was thrilled to finally get the first episode watched. I loved it, and I cant wait to watch more now. 

 

If you have not read the book, I would recommend reading it when the show is finished, so you can experience this all unspoiled, and then experience the book. The book is long and dense, but a great read, and totally worth the effort.

 

There are so many book scenes I`m excited for....

 

This seems to have just the right combination of lurking menace, mixed with a comedy of manners, mixed wit fantasy and history. I am really excited to see where this goes next. 

Thanks for the recommendation. I have had this book sitting in my pile of books to be read so when the show was announced, I considered unearthing the book so I could read it beforehand but I just never got around to it. I tend to enjoy the book/tv show (or movie) combination better if I watch first and read afterward because then it's usually expanding the universe (whereas if I read first and watch second, I am disappointed by what was left out or changed).

 

I liked the first episode (although I did find parts of it literally dark which I found annoying as I am still trying to learn everyone's faces and names), so I'm in.

 

I like that this is about magic and grownups (no offense meant to Harry Potter, which I loved). I love how the one guy keeps pronouncing it differently than Norrell himself does.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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So, some big veering from the book this time. It was still well done, I thought, but kept thinking - that didn't happen did it? Maybe I need to read the book again. You know, just for research.

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NOOooo! Not Childermass! Norrell better find a way to save him. At least the bullet didn't hit Childermass in the face. 

 

Gah, as if putting Childermass in danger wasn't enough, Norell intercepting the letters between Jonathan and Arabella was low. Does he not understand the concept of spying? You're supposed to read the letter and then send it on so that no one suspects anything is wrong-- not throw them carelessly in your drawer! Ugh! What a little snot! How is he so immune to Childermass's disapproving glare?

 

It's sad to see Jonathan lose some of his twinkle after what he went through in the war. That shot of him riding away from the burning windmill was lovely. I'm not sure if Jonathan performing his zombie spell in a windmill or if the windmill on fire was symbolic of anything, but it was picturesque.

 

And whether true or not, the scene the Creepy Faerie showed Stephen of his mother on the slave ship was horrific and heartbreaking.

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I am really enjoying reading how

non-bookreaders are all "Team Childermass! Yay!"

And Norrell is his antagonist it seems :)

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Right now, I feel a bit weird writing much in the episode thread, I feel like anything I say will give something away! I just keep saying that I like the adaptation, even if they are changing things. They are hitting most of the big points though, so I cant complain. 

 

They did keep in one of my favorite lines, when the Duke of Wellington comments on how fast the dead soldiers learned the language of the dead, with the side note that he approved of people doing things efficiently. 

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Ita... I read all of grr Martin after the first season of game of thrones and as a result found the next couple of seasons rather boring,

Fortunately by now i've forgotten all of it and on top of that the show has now progressed beyond the books so it's back to being suspenseful!

Tempting as it is to reread jonathan strange, since I've forgotten everything except one detail of the end, something that happens in episode three, and the general seediness of fairyland, I will wait. That way when I reread I can picture the excellent actors, and not lose my curiosity about the series. I mean, I'd forgotten so much I didn't even know the relationships of the two titl characters to one another!

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I too hate Norrell now.

Anybody else always pronounce nor-RELL like the pretentious guy? It seemed the way it was spelled suggested that. I didn't hate him for using the fairy, because he was tricked, but stealing letters, stealing the tapestry and isolating lady pole? Low!!!!

I'm glad his books are blown up. Cretin.

I like jonathan more and more. Loved the scene of him reading the men's letters. The one soldiers comments that love wasn't as useful as boots was a direct parallel to lady poles about love and the balls not being shortened one minute by it. She actually has dark circles under her eyesl I wonder why she shot norrell? It is true that his magic invited the gentleman in.

I love Wellington and his soldierly approach. Hilarious. And once he decides strange is useful love his proprietary ness, they're distracting my magician. Spot on.

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Re Drawlight's pronunciation of Norrell:  spelling and pronunciation in English surnames/place names are only loosely connected!  The tendency to Frenchify names by placing stress on the second syllable is simply snobbish (French displaced Latin as the, well, lingua franca of the educated and wealthy after the conquest, and British English, by contrast with French, emphasises the first syllable as a rule);  Drawlight is nothing if not a snob.

 

Lady Pole tried to kill Norrell because she knows of the deal he made with The Gentleman, a deal which has landed her in the purgatory of Lost Hope.

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Segundus:      Childermass!  What happened to your face?

Childermass:  Someone mistook it for an apple.

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Mr. EB can't stop seeing all the Harry Potter similarities (for example, when Segundus was talking about opening a magic school, Mr. EB said, "Hogwarts?").

 

I love that Strange really is an eager student who is not trying to undermine his mentor, but his natural instinct for magic just keeps showing itself. I loved when he created those sand horses. I just wish the friendship between Norrell and Strange had lasted longer.

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Has this series been shown at an earlier time?  In the UK?

It premiered in the UK in May I think that the 7th and final episode aired yesterday.

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Yeah I get that with pronunciation. To me it just looked like two els should be Norrell. Also, the BBC America announcer has been pronouncing it that way!

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Does anyone else think that Bertie Carvel looks just like Paul Rudd?  To the point of being a little distracting?  Only in this.  Looking at pictures of him online, I didn't think so, but perhaps it's the hair...

Edited by Crisopera

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Yeah I get that with pronunciation. To me it just looked like two els should be Norrell.

 

 

And yet no one pronounces Colin Farell's name as Farelle.

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That's true but they do pronounce james clavell that way. And here in nj Caldwell is definitely well, not wool, though the accent is in first syllable.

Maybe it's a double r thing. It's two ls that confuse me. Colin of course is irish and irish names are different again. Saoirse, for example. It's using a different system.

Isn't thwre a Martell in game of thrones?

In any case, begs the question of the BBC announcer, is that meant to be ironic? He's not pronouncing it with a foppish flourish, jsut saying it, as if he were saying Adele or marcel or something.

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Isn't thwre a Martell in game of thrones?

 

Yes, and a Tyrell family whose name is pronounced both TEAR-ull and tie-RELL in the show.

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NOOooo! Not Childermass! Norrell better find a way to save him. At least the bullet didn't hit Childermass in the face.

I had been thinking, as the episode started, that the Creepy Wormtongued Puck was essentially holding most of the cards in his dealings with the human world. He needs some sort of permission, invitation, or deal to "cross over" into the regular world and get what he wants, but he has a lot of glamours at his disposal (invisibility, seduction) and he knows the rules of magic while the humans usually don't seem to know what is up.

 

With Childermass being shot, I think that JS&MN is setting him up to be resurrected by Mr. Strange (he has the power to do it as demonstrated with the Neapolitan soldiers), but since Resurrected Childermass would have been to "the other side", and since he already had some magical abilities himself (the water-glass trick), Childermass might be a very useful ally of Strange and Norrell against Creepy Wormtongued Puck.

 

I felt really bad for the resurrected soldiers. Couldn't someone have found a priest (who happened to be fluent in Italian? Or use the translator?) to hear their confession before they were killed again? Seems sort of heartless to send them back to hell without being absolved of their sins.

Edited by WhiteStumbler
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With Childermass being shot, I think that JS&MN is setting him up to be resurrected by Mr. Strange (he has the power to do it as demonstrated with the Neapolitan soldiers), but since Resurrected Childermass would have been to "the other side", and since he already had some magical abilities himself (the water-glass trick), Childermass might be a very useful ally of Strange and Norrell against Creepy Wormtongued Puck.

 

Creepy Wormtongued Puck!  I love it.  Reading the book, but am perennially behind the show by a few chapters, so the shooting of Childermass was quite a surprise.  If not for the experience with Lady Poole, I would think that Norrell would be the one to resurrect Childermass--he really hates to be inconvenienced by much of anything and Childermass took care of so many day to day things.  However, I don't think that he would try such a spell again after the Lady Poole disaster.  I'm not sure that Strange would have any reason to resurrect Childermass either (and he seemed somewhat shaken by his experience with the dead soldiers), so I assume that if Childermass does indeed die, he will stay that way.

 

Question--I missed part of the episode and wasn't following everything--was it Creepy Wormtongued Puck who tipped Childermass off about the approach of Lady Poole?   The scene can be read several ways:

Childermass, using his own magical abilities and no one else's, picked up on the approach of Lady Poole and saved Norrell's life

Childermass, is given a hint by the Faerie, so that Norrell, whom he wishes to use, will be saved

Childermass is given a hint by the Faerie, with the full intention of getting Childermass killed and out of the way.

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Yes that's right, you remind me, somebody-- was it Childermass?-- said something about "magic is being used" just before that happened.

 

Confused.

I would

definitely reread the book except I'm not sure I'd have the willpower to stop before the show! And I've learned the hard way that having just read a book kills the story on TV. If it's a book I know well, like Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, than I'm watching for different things, of course.

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I took Childermass to have detected the magic himself.

Yes, there was the creaking "magic is afoot!" sound, Childermass said something about "magic is being used" (as lucindabelle said), he grabbed a waterglass and a green spark appeared within it, and he used the water as some sort of divining rod / scrying glass for magic, before he settled on the unfortunate Ms. Pole in her assassin's role.

 

Yokosmom: A disturbing Option 4 occurs to me -- Childermass is given a hint by the Faerie, with the full intention of getting Childermass killed, so that the Faerie can use Childermass in some capacity after death.

Edited by WhiteStumbler
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I had serious reservations about the casting of Lady Pole before the series started, mostly because the only other thing I knew Alice Englert from was Beautiful Creatures which I couldn't even finish watching (the terrible "South Carolina" accents alone... yikes). I'm really enjoying her performance here though. Englert is doing a good job underpinning the manic rants with Lady Pole's desperate frustration. It's heartbreaking to watch.

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And yet no one pronounces Colin Farell's name as Farelle.

Ha, I am going to mentally pronounce it as Farelle every time I see his name in print now!

 

I wished Jonathan gave Wellington a magical kick in the balls

I'd settle for a regular non-magical kick in the balls. I did crack up when Jonathan tried to explain why Merlin was not an appropriate nickname for him though. I'd be fine with Jonathan giving Norrell a kick in the balls too (magical or otherwise). I appreciate that ever since Norrell realized the negative repercussions off bringing Lady Pole back to life, he has refused to deal with the Raven King (aside from calling him to ask him to fix things), but now he is just being a dick. And boo for shutting down Hogwarts before it even opened!

 

I'm very afraid for Arabella now that she's rejected the Gentleman!

Me too, but I loved the very Olde Tyme British way that she rejected him by saying he should not talk to her again without her husband being present. I'm going to try that rebuff the next time some dude hits on me at a bar.

 

I felt bad for Jonathan when he first arrived in Lisbon and everyone at the camp was snubbing him. Later, I thought gee, all he had to do to earn everyone's respect was raise some zombies! But seriously, he obviously felt so horrible that he couldn't unzombify them after they got the information Wellington needed. I don't know the zombie rules on this show, but wouldn't burning them inside the windmill just end up destroying the windmill and ultimately freeing the zombies to roam the countryside? I'm glad that Jonathan finally got to go home. It looked like the Italian zombies were the last straw for him. I don't think he would have lasted much longer out in the field.

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Yokosmom: A disturbing Option 4 occurs to me -- Childermass is given a hint by the Faerie, with the full intention of getting Childermass killed, so that the Faerie can use Childermass in some capacity after death.

 

Wow, WhiteStumbler, I never thought of that one. However, the Faerie has no problem in manipulating people who are alive, such as Stephen, so killing off Childermass might be unnecessary.

 

I appreciate that ever since Norrell realized the negative repercussions off bringing Lady Pole back to life, he has refused to deal with the Raven King (aside from calling him to ask him to fix things), but now he is just being a dick.

 

Is that a part of the episode that I missed? (Must watch whole episode On Demand soon).  Has the show said that the Faerie is the actual Raven King?

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Strange returns home a hero after helping to win the Battle of Waterloo, and resolves to write a book on ancient magic - to Norrell's horror. Strange's hopes for the future are shattered by a tragedy in his life, and following a confrontation with Norrell, he flees the country, determined to learn the truth about the fairy world - even if doing so costs him his sanity.

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Strange is determined to learn the secrets of fairy magic so he can restore Arabella. Believing madness is the key to accessing the fairy world, he seeks a way to drive himself insane. However, the Gentleman does not take kindly to the intrusion into his realm, and unleashes a terrible curse to stop him. Norrell's determination to maintain control of all magic in England costs him dearly when the government turns against him, and Vinculus offers Stephen a means to escape from the Gentleman's clutches.

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England is plunged into chaos as ancient magical forces are unleashed. Norrell flees to the safety of his library, but is pursued by Strange who intends to free Arabella before the Gentleman's curse consumes him. Childermass tries to find a way to save Lady Pole, as Stephen is drawn deeper into the sinister world of the Fairy kingdom.

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Hey guys! Don't worry about spoiler tags in here. There is one in the header so anyone should "buyer beware"! Feel free to talk about the whole series and it's adaptation in this thread. :)

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Yeah I get that with pronunciation. To me it just looked like two els should be Norrell.

    

And yet no one pronounces Colin Farell's name as Farelle.

That's true but they do pronounce james clavell that way. And here in nj Caldwell is definitely well, not wool, though the accent is in first syllable.

Maybe it's a double r thing. It's two ls that confuse me. Colin of course is irish and irish names are different again. Saoirse, for example. It's using a different system.

I pronounce it "Nor ELL" because that suits the rhythm of the title better (at least to my ear).  "NOR ul" does seem more English, though.

 

I covet Lady Pole's embroidery.  I'd make it myself but it would take too long (I did make a little badge of the Raven King's symbol, though, just for fun).

 

I'm really liking this show.  The variations from the book make sense so far, and the atmosphere is effective.

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I covet Lady Pole's embroidery.  I'd make it myself but it would take too long (I did make a little badge of the Raven King's symbol, though, just for fun).

ooh pics please!! 

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Ha, Mr. EB could not stop with the Harry Potter comparisons in this episode. When they initially showed King George, Mr. EB said, "Dumbledore?"

 

I totally loved that Jonathan used the mirror to not only travel to the creepy abandoned magical land but also to find Drawlight once he figured out that he was using Jonathan's name to take money from people. When Arabella initially brought up some woman saying she was getting magical lessons, I thought I had accidentally skipped an episode or missed a scene, but nope, just Drawlight being a sneaky liar. I love the idea that not only is there another land accessible through mirrors but that this land allows travel between places via the different mirrors. I wonder how many mirrors Jonathan peeked through before he found Drawlight.

 

What is the name of the gingery guy who cowrote Norrell's book? Mr. EB has been calling him Percy (as in Weasley). I had to laugh when he used Drawlight's debts to have him arrested. Norrell yelling at Childermass for having the audacity to be asleep for DAYS (you know, because he saved Norrell from a bullet) was hilarious. Ha, and how awkward was it when Jonathan and Arabella started fighting in front of the two British officers? You know they were dying to escape. I loved when one of them excused them by saying, "Well, thank you for a lovely evening." Such proper British manners!

 

I understand Norrell not wanting to use fairy magic or involve the Raven King or the Gentleman because he saw the consequences of bringing back Lady Pole, but things would be so much easier if he would just tell Jonathan WHY he's opposed to it all. Instead by just saying no without any concrete explanation, he is enforcing Jonathan's belief that he is being a boring scaredy cat fuddy duddy. I can't blame Jonathan for being excited about discovering this long forgotten land and wanting to learn more about it. Norrell is coming off as a bossy parent by saying no in the "because I said so" vein.

 

The schism between Jonathan and Norrell makes me sad for precisely the reason that Norrell stated: they are the only two magicians so they understand each other in a way that no one else can. I know that's not enough to overcome a major disagreement, but I feel like they could have learned so much from each other and really benefited from having a relationship with each other.

 

How is Segundus able to detect the magic around Steven and Lady Pole? I'm glad that his willingness to protect her has made her trust him and Honeyfoot a little bit. Even though the outside of Hogwarts still looks pretty run down, at least her room looks nice, unlike the conditions of most other mental institutions at that time.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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So happy for this miniseries(?) to be on in the summer!  It would have been lost if shown during the fall onslaught of shows.  After this episode I find myself looking forward to the next more and more.

 

I don't quite hate Mr. Norrell yet, because he resisted (at first) trying to bring Lady Pole back to life and thought he had made a deal for only half of her life.  Somehow that translates to 75 years?  I'll have to rewatch, cause I'm fuzzy on how that came about.  But he is now desperate for someway out of this and he's frozen because he sees no good options. I guess I have some small amount of empathy, but dude is gonna have to do something good soon, or I will come to hate him.

 

Loved Wellington, and Jonathan with the soldiers.  That was unexpected. I think the acting in this is top notch!  Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan are revelations!

Edited by cardigirl
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I don't quite hate Mr. Norrell yet, because he resisted (at first) trying to bring Lady Pole back to life and thought he had made a deal for only half of her life.  Somehow that translates to 75 years?  I'll have to rewatch, cause I'm fuzzy on how that came about.  But he is now desperate for someway out of this and he's frozen because he sees no good options. I guess I have some small amount of empathy, but dude is gonna have to do something good soon, or I will come to hate him.

I think he was told that she had 75 years left to live if resurrected and thought that she would gets the first 37 years for herself and the remainder for the Fae. Personally, I still have no idea why he thought that would be the way it would work. But, even if he knew, why would that automatically be worse for her than being a corpse?

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Mr. Norrell is a very petty sort of man, and very arrogant. To me, while the stuff with Lady Pole is probably the most damning, the most irritating part of him is his insistence that he should have control over all English magic, and that he always knows best. Like buying that book Arabella wanted last week. When he has pretty much ever magic book around. Or trying to shut down the magic school. Its just a big series of dick moves. 

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I'm really enjoying this, and the thing with the sand horses was really cool.  But I'm finding Jonathan's wife bitchy, and I dislike Marc Warren as an actor, so I really wish they'd cast someone else so that I could appreciate that part of the story more.

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This was the episode where I felt like the show really started picking up momentum (which is not to say that it was too slow in the previous episodes, but this was the one where shit started hitting the fan left and right).

 

Poor Jonathan was being run ragged during Waterloo so I was glad when it was finally over and he could go home.

 

Thank goodness that Segundus and Honeyfoot are finally starting to decipher Lady Pole's ramblings. If only they had listened to her when she said to send a message to Jonathan. I was surprised that Arabella answered the door herself when Steven came for her. Don't they have servants to do that kind of thing for them?

 

It's interesting to see the contrast between Steven, who has resigned himself to his fate, and Lady Pole, who is still actively resisting.

 

Loved that one of Jonathan's army buddies came to rescue him from prison! Heh, and funny to see Drawlight in one of the adjacent cells.

 

Norell's ginger friend (aka Percy Weasley) is such a pill. Nice to see that Childermass isn't letting him shut him down with Norrell. I was surprised that he sought out Jonathan so quickly though.

 

I'm curious as to how magic works in this world. Are they saying that anyone can learn magic? Or is it more like Harry Potter where you have to have an aptitude for it? So far we know that Mr. Norrell, Jonathan, and Childermass can do magic and that Segundus can sense it (even without using the magic detecting trick that Childermass used in the previous episode). Is magic something that just needs to be studied and practiced? Or are there people who could never manage it no matter how much effort they put into it? If anyone can do magic if given access to spells or proper instruction, I can see why Norrell is so paranoid about having any other magicians in England since he doesn't want to give up his position of power.

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This is a place for the non-book readers (or people who have read the books but forgotten the details) to ask specific questions which the book readers can answer.

 

Book readers, when replying please quote the original question and then put the answer under spoiler tags. For example:

 

What is Norrell's first name?

Mr (no period)

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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How does magic work in this world? Can anyone learn magic? Or is it more like Harry Potter where you have to have an aptitude/genetic link for it? So far we know that Mr. Norrell, Jonathan, and Childermass can do magic and that Segundus can sense it (even without using the magic detecting trick that Childermass used in the previous episode). Is magic something that just needs to be studied and practiced? Or are there people who could never manage it no matter how much effort they put into it?

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I think that the reasons for Norrell's paranoia are threefold:  his sense of his own unique importance; concern that the use of magic will be unregulated and therefore dangerous; jealousy of his membership and leadership of an exclusive clique devoted to arcane magic.

 

I loved the scene between Strange and Childermass.  Strange sensing Childermass's presence, and his emergence from the greenery. Strange addressing him as "magician" and the demonstration of Childermass's essential disinterestedness in his saying that he'd stick with the loser in order to maintain two voices in English magic.

 

There was something rather moving about the way that Childermass said, of the illustrations of the King's Roads, "They are very beautiful".  He's one of those people so disquieting to the establishment, a man of not much education who is clearly cleverer than the lot of them put together.

Edited by MrsE
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How does magic work in this world? Can anyone learn magic?

 

 

I don't recall the author saying one way or the other if anyone can do it, but the fact that Mr Norrell tries so hard to keep books out of others' hands implies that many people can learn magic.

Edited by Haleth

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I agree that I don't think it's ever explained in the book. I remember Jonathan saying that the magic depended a lot on the strength of character of the magician.

My assumption is that it is an ability which some people possess in a variety of degree.

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From episode 1, the debate in Parliament:

Walter: The honorable gentleman is well known for his excellent impromptu speeches, and it is good to know that the time he spends preparing them is not wasted.

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