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The Miniaturist

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See what happens when a teen bride's new husband gives her an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet that is a miniature replica of their home—and seems to predict and unravel the future with unsettling precision.

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This was creepy and weird.  So Nella was married off to a husband who needs a wife for appearances, and now she gets to be terrorized by dollhouse furniture, not to mention the creepy people in that house?  Poor kid.

Who gives their bride a dollhouse? 

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That ending was a real shocker and I had to laugh because I don't know where the author is going with that (I thought that Johannes had some physical issue that he was hiding, LOL.) I am going to stick with it I think because there was enough intrigue to draw me in. 

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I read this book when it first came out, returned it to the library, gave myself a good shake,  and promptly forgot everything.  Now I remember why.

 The Vermeer-style lighting is beautiful, but the house is so dark and somber. Petronella is not the talented miniaturist I was hoping to follow, but a  young woman (played in the slack-jawed acting style of Scarlet Johansson) who seems to sleep walk through her days in tortuous corsets. I kept hoping she would spend more time with the doll house, moving people and things around as she learned more about the household -- the miniaturist is telling Ella things through her gifts, but Ella seems so slow to catch on. I love doll houses and would appreciate longer camera shots when we're inside.

 The overall tone was just  depressing and sordid.

6 hours ago, gingerella said:

I only saw the last few minutes but that wasn’t creepy and not how I like to spend my Sunday night...

We've come a long way from "Upstairs Downstairs" haven't we?

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I figured Johannes was either 1) gay, 2) lacking, or 3) shagging his sister (doubtful) or the woman in the blue cloak (more likely). No surprise there!

I like the creepiness and want to see where it goes. I want to see the miniaturist! I want to know why the sister seems to be a Puritan (?) yet has all sorts of occult trappings and love letters in her room. That was her room, right, where the fur-lined dress/cloak was? That's a bit sensual for someone so buttoned up. Intriguing!

Apparently the dollhouse is a real thing and the inspiration for the novel. They were all the rage among the rich of the time.

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Oh thanks for the dollhouse, it's righter and prettier than I thought it was in the film.  The library I grew up with was in what had once been West Virginia's old state capitol -- very gothic with domed ceilings.  The children's room was the staircase and contained a huge antique Victorian dollhouse that I could have stared at for days.

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5 hours ago, Ms Lark said:

I figured Johannes was either 1) gay, 2) lacking, or 3) shagging his sister (doubtful) or the woman in the blue cloak (more likely). No surprise there!

I like the creepiness and want to see where it goes. I want to see the miniaturist! I want to know why the sister seems to be a Puritan (?) yet has all sorts of occult trappings and love letters in her room. That was her room, right, where the fur-lined dress/cloak was? That's a bit sensual for someone so buttoned up. Intriguing!

Apparently the dollhouse is a real thing and the inspiration for the novel. They were all the rage among the rich of the time.

If you ever find yourself at Windsor Castle, there is a huge dollhouse that belonged to Queen Mary...it's a bit strange how big and elaborate they can be.

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6 hours ago, Ms Lark said:

I figured Johannes was either 1) gay, 2) lacking, or 3) shagging his sister (doubtful) or the woman in the blue cloak (more likely). No surprise there!

When he wouldn't touch her, I assumed he was gay.  Then it seemed like people were making allusions to something going on between him and his sister, so I waffled between the two options until the end. 

The blue cloak woman is a mystery, almost supernatural and definitely creepy.  Could she be the Miniaturist?

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I like the beautiful sets and the gorgeous costumes and the implication that the dollhouse and the miniatures are sinister and enchanted.  That poor girl.  Johannes should have never led her to  believe they would have a real marriage.  He should have made clear they would have a platonic marriage. 

I understand why he needs her as a beard he would be executed if he was revealed.  I am waiting for his religious fanatic sister to turn him in to the church.

I am concerned because people I know who have read the book told me it was a frustrating read with no real pay-off.

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22 minutes ago, treeofdreams said:

I missed the ending - what was the reveal?

That Johannes and the man that delivered the first package from the Miniaturist are lovers.

Edited by chitowngirl
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Yes, and it wasn't the reveal that he was homosexual that was shocking, but that the scene she walked in on was much more graphic than usual.  Johannes was nude and it was clearly implied that he was receiving oral sex from his lover.   Scenes like that put the viewer in an awkward position where we feel puritanical or anti-gay if we don't like it,  when it may just be more than we want to see from any two characters. 

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23 minutes ago, JudyObscure said:

Yes, and it wasn't the reveal that he was homosexual that was shocking, but that the scene she walked in on was much more graphic than usual.  Johannes was nude and it was clearly implied that he was receiving oral sex from his lover.   Scenes like that put the viewer in an awkward position where we feel puritanical or anti-gay if we don't like it,  when it may just be more than we want to see from any two characters. 

yes that was exactly it---the explicitness of the scene, although after The Man in the Orange Shirt I guess that I shouldn't be 2 shocked that PBS bought this too, I belong to a facebook group of fans of British drama and a few pearl clutchers there were complaining, Anyway PBS has divided the bbc 2 parter into 3 parts but I hunted down part 2 and watched it, I will say no more about it and will come back after the whole thing is finished in the states with my opinion.

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22 hours ago, LiveenLetLive said:

That ending was a real shocker and I had to laugh because I don't know where the author is going with that (I thought that Johannes had some physical issue that he was hiding, LOL.) I am going to stick with it I think because there was enough intrigue to draw me in. 

I must admit, I thought that the "secret" was going to be that Johannes and his sister were lovers. 

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I used to seriously dislike Romola Garai as an actor. She used to have a bunch of amateurish, drama-school acting tics that drove me nuts.  But she's been at it a while now (and has done tons of stage work, which undoubtedly develops one's chops), and has definitely improved. I now find I like the intensity she brings to roles and the lack of showiness she's honed. 

When I was a tourist in the Netherlands, one of the things that tour guides mentioned was the habit of houses having big picture windows that didn't have drapes. Because passers-by were expected to look in and admire your Fine Dutch Furnishings. In fact, when I was on a walking tour of Hoorn, we passed this fairly normal building as its occupant arrived home. He was completely at ease with us gawping inside, even inviting us in for a quick look! Can you even imagine inviting a gaggle of tourists ad hoc into your living room?!? Anyway, I was tickled to see this theme featured in the show here, when Marin insists that the bride is meant to be on view to passers-by, and that curtains must never be drawn during the day, lest people think they 'have something to hide.'

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This should have been called "Vermeer's 'Gaslight.'" Alex Hassel (Johannes) is an acquaintance of mine, and, really, I'm watching this just for him. The cinematography is lovely, but the plot is awfully eye-rolly.

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On ‎09‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 3:10 AM, LiveenLetLive said:

That ending was a real shocker and I had to laugh because I don't know where the author is going with that (I thought that Johannes had some physical issue that he was hiding, LOL.) I am going to stick with it I think because there was enough intrigue to draw me in. 

I figured he was gay from the moment he first starting putting off sleeping with Nella.

21 hours ago, magdalene said:

I like the beautiful sets and the gorgeous costumes and the implication that the dollhouse and the miniatures are sinister and enchanted.  That poor girl.  Johannes should have never led her to  believe they would have a real marriage.  He should have made clear they would have a platonic marriage. 

I understand why he needs her as a beard he would be executed if he was revealed.  I am waiting for his religious fanatic sister to turn him in to the church.

I am concerned because people I know who have read the book told me it was a frustrating read with no real pay-off.

I'm wondering if the sister's piety isn't for show, to keep the church at bay.

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5 hours ago, attica said:

When I was a tourist in the Netherlands, one of the things that tour guides mentioned was the habit of houses having big picture windows that didn't have drapes. Because passers-by were expected to look in and admire your Fine Dutch Furnishings. In fact, when I was on a walking tour of Hoorn, we passed this fairly normal building as its occupant arrived home. He was completely at ease with us gawping inside, even inviting us in for a quick look! Can you even imagine inviting a gaggle of tourists ad hoc into your living room?!?

Most of the Americans I know rarely even invite their relatives into their living rooms and it's considered a huge breach of etiquette to knock on the door without calling first.  I like the sound of  the openness of the Netherlands.

 

23 hours ago, chitowngirl said:

I “Like” PBS on Facebook and there is a lot of pearl clutching at the reveal of the secret.

 It really bothers me  that PBS forces people to join Facebook if we want to have any say in their programing.   They could easily set up their own forum.

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8 hours ago, AllAboutMBTV said:

This should have been called "Vermeer's 'Gaslight.'" Alex Hassel (Johannes) is an acquaintance of mine, and, really, I'm watching this just for him. The cinematography is lovely, but the plot is awfully eye-rolly.

Alex is quite the dish (as people used to say, LOL) The more I think about the plot and how completely a-historical (a certain declamatory speech for example) it is the angrier I get, LOL, I am itching to say a few things but must restrain myself for now.

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I thought this was trying too hard to be spooky, when it's not a spooky story. (I know nothing of the source material, though.) The dollhouse stuff was creepily intriguing. I was guessing crazier things for The Secret.

I want to know more about what's up with the sister (why isn't she married?), but I have a feeling we're not going to get much more info. I hope I'm wrong!

It might be just me, but I didn't like how characters were all up in each others' personal space at times. But I realize that was probably a deliberate directing/acting choice.

So this is a 3-parter, not a 2-parter?

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11 hours ago, LiveenLetLive said:

Alex is quite the dish (as people used to say, LOL) The more I think about the plot and how completely a-historical (a certain declamatory speech for example) it is the angrier I get, LOL, I am itching to say a few things but must restrain myself for now.

Yeah, I'm going to have to look him up and see what else he's been in.  Preferably something without the 17th century styling, though.

6 hours ago, Trini said:

It might be just me, but I didn't like how characters were all up in each others' personal space at times

Personal space is a relatively recent concept, and in Europe, less important than it is in the US.

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3 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

Personal space is a relatively recent concept, and in Europe, less important than it is in the US.

Well, that's not the issue I had. There were scenes were a characters were already having a conversation but then one moves like 6 inches from the other's face just to say one thing. Like, not necessary, dude!

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1 hour ago, Trini said:

Well, that's not the issue I had. There were scenes were a characters were already having a conversation but then one moves like 6 inches from the other's face just to say one thing. Like, not necessary, dude!

Oh, okay.  That makes sense.  Thanks for the explanation.  (Not that you had to justify your opinion to me, just glad to understand.)

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I really agree with Judy Obscure's upthread post.  In fact, PBS  DID have their own forum on their website many, many moons ago.  I enjoyed reading it.  I  distinctly remember people chiming in on not liking the belching, vomiting and other human bodily functions displayed in To the Ends of the Earth sometime 2003 or 4-ish.  

 

Quote

It really bothers me  that PBS forces people to join Facebook if we want to have any say in their programming.   They could easily set up their own forum.

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On 9/10/2018 at 10:15 PM, TVForever said:

I must admit, I thought that the "secret" was going to be that Johannes and his sister were lovers. 

That would have been just as obvious as having Johannes be gay, LOL, I was shocked by the ending twist only because I'll admit that I was waiting for an actual romance and was thinking that having him be gay was just such a modern meme, especially after the kissing scene which seemed to be getting relatively steamy between the 2 until Nella tried to touch him or whatever, not to mention the fact that probably most young women of a certain class prior to the 20thc would have been innocent of sexuality with Mother's being reluctant to even explain the "mechanics." For example, Effie Gray who married English critic and writer John Ruskin in the mid 19thc knew that something was wrong in the marriage but had NO idea that her marriage remained unconsummated after several years of marriage, and the writer Edith Wharton begged her mother to explain what was meant to happen on her wedding night but ended up not knowing a thing until after she married as her mother refused to discuss it with her. Nella's forwardness with Johannes did not seem realistic to me but I haven't read the book and maybe it was explained better in it?

Edited by LiveenLetLive
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hmm. i like this.

i thought the book was written beautifully and actually i imagined the scenes as i was reading, to look more detailed and colorful and well, imaginative then they portray here. but a book you love will always have that affect. 

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Poor Peebo!  Although he is freed, can he survive being outdoors in Amsterdam?  And poor Rezeki!  Although I do think he is symbolic of Nella, who was an innocent until after she joined the household.

I haven't read the book.  Some of the subject matter is...disturbing, but still interesting as the story unfolds.  Are we supposed to think Marin is pregnant?  And who is the father?  Or does she have an illness (tumor, perhaps) that gives her the appearance and some pregnancy symptoms?  Didn't that happen in Victoria with one of the court ladies?

Looking forward to Episode 3.

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Although I did watch the final BBC episode (which can be found online, there were only 2 parts when it aired,Masterpiece has divided into 3) I missed the whole Rezeki thing and don't know if I can face it! I am a dog lover.  zoey all your questions will be answered next week. Of course that is when The Miniaturist switches into melodramatic, somewhat pretentious, Anachronistic overdrive IMO.  

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11 minutes ago, zoey1996 said:

Are we supposed to think Marin is pregnant?  And who is the father?  Or does she have an illness (tumor, perhaps) that gives her the appearance and some pregnancy symptoms?

Well, I think Marin may be pregnant by Franz, her old BF. Or it could truly be a tumor or an hysterical pregnancy. Doubt it is her brother's child, for obvious reasons. My theory is (and I haven't read the book) Nella will fake a pregnancy, Marin will disguise hers, and the child would also be a cover for Johannes (unless it's Otto's, in which case, all bets are off). I'm really looking forward to the next and final episode when, hopefully, all is revealed!

Edited by Ms Lark
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The series needs to make up its mind as to what it is.  Is it a historical horror story?  The growth of a teen bride?  A comment on 18th century Amsterdam and its morals? The only thing this show isn't about is the miniaturist.

I lost all sympathy for Johann when he went back to the English boy after he had killed the dog, and so brutally.  Also, knowing the penalty for being gay, how stupid is he to do it against a wall in his warehouse when anyone like Franz could walk in and see him?

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3 hours ago, statsgirl said:

The series needs to make up its mind as to what it is.  Is it a historical horror story?  The growth of a teen bride?  A comment on 18th century Amsterdam and its morals? The only thing this show isn't about is the miniaturist.

I lost all sympathy for Johann when he went back to the English boy after he had killed the dog, and so brutally.  Also, knowing the penalty for being gay, how stupid is he to do it against a wall in his warehouse when anyone like Franz could walk in and see him?

The author, 31 year Jesse Barton threw everything against the wall including a "I am what I am" undercurrent that seems very modern to me, she added a soupcon of mystery and padded the story with boring historical minutia and it worked, there was a bidding war on the book-->reviews on Amazon are mixed and for many of the reasons we have discussed,  The questions in your first line sums the issues up in a nutshell, I missed last night and thus missed the dog murder for which I am glad.

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Why is Johannes so careless and indiscreet??  I think he has doomed himself.  

Why is this show called The Miniaturist when the miniaturist had maybe one minute air time?

That poor dog. Shudders.

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:(  We lost the bird AND the dog?! ...AND Otto?

I wish we had more answers about the miniaturist, but this is only 3 parts, so the wait isn't terrible.

So Marin has a secret lover too?? And why didn't she marry? They started to get into it, then stopped.

Doesn't Johannes have business partners or associates? He's really going to leave them to care of all his business? In any case, looking forward to see how this concludes.

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Ok I just watched most of PBS episode 2 (zoomed past the dog) and I feel that I can finally say this--it is highly unlikely that IRL a gay man like Johannes would not go through the motions to at least father an heir, James 1 of England has basically been accepted as being primarily homosexual with open male favorites and love letters between him and one of his most passionate inamorata remain and these leave little question of a physical relationship between them, nevertheless, he was able to father several children with his wife because it was his duty to do so, and I doubt that a man like Johannes wouldn't go through the motions in 17thc Holland to at least provide himself with a son (preferably) to inherit his business--the ridiculous modernity of his speech on the subject to 18 year old Nella and her overly mature and knowing replies would certainly not be out of place now, but Barton stuck this into historical fiction that doesn't include time travel (no I don't watch Outlander but I am aware of the time travelling theme), hahaha.  I won't go further now, but next week's conclusion drives me nuts for several reasons. LOL---yes, I know I should just be a-historical and "enjoy" this damn thing without questioning the plot!

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On 9/16/2018 at 11:24 PM, Ms Lark said:

Well, I think Marin may be pregnant by Franz, her old BF.

I'm going with Otto. Hence her 'suggestion' that he leave.

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20 minutes ago, attica said:

I'm going with Otto. Hence her 'suggestion' that he leave.

I think you're right.  They do exchange a lot of significant looks, I thought.  She was hell bent on getting him gone.

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On ‎09‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 9:12 PM, Trini said:

So Marin has a secret lover too?? And why didn't she marry? They started to get into it, then stopped

When she was younger, she wanted to marry the man who eventually became Agnes' husband, but Johannes wouldn't allow it because what's-his-face had a bad reputation.  That's why Agnes hates Marin (because her husband is still in love with Marin) and why the husband hates Johannes.

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I got all that. I meant when Marin and Johannes were arguing. Yeah, she was still in love with the other guy, but there must have been other suitable suitors, since she's from a wealthy family. I feel there must be another reason - maybe to protect/look after Johannes, but they haven't stated that outright.

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Well now that the last part has aired, what in the hell? I read this drama described online as a"romance," huh? between whom? Johannes and Nella? clearly not, although the last part suggested an almost romantic closeness between the pair....Blech I just ended up confused, as Nella stuck loyally with Johannes their growing closeness seemed like a love story except of course it never could be because Nella didn't have the right equipment--it just came off as both confused and maddeningly anachronistic, that very modern speech Johannes gave, I mean oh please, ultimately the "message" was grrrl power comes to Delft or wherever it was set, LOL--what rubbish IMO. In this group I belong to on facebook on English drama someone commented that there are many "happy" marriages that are sexless...although possible & clearly such situations occur, LOL, is it really likely that a young woman who has never had any experience with a man (especially since Nella clearly showed interest in having a husband in the fullest sense--that aggressive kiss she gave him) really be interested in such an arrangement? clearly Ms Barton was trying desperately to sell her girl power theme and came up with this twaddle.

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I am not sure the conclusion was worth the time I spent watching this drama. I kept saying - this is it?  The supernatural miniaturist angle never lived up to my expectations either.

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So, Otto and Marin. I knew when they wouldn't show the baby that it was Otto's. That was my second choice. Poor Cornelia. Clearly she loved Otto, too. Well, they have a baby to raise now. How will that be explained?

Too many holes. What happened to Jack? They found Johannes not guilty of attacking/beating him. Is he going overboard with a millstone, too, or is he off to his next wealthy patron? Why did Franz throw down his hat?

At least Nella got her parrot back. What was up with the secret room in (now) her house? How did the Miniaturist move in there? Can a naive teenager really run a house and a business? Marin had the brains for it, not so sure about Nella.

Not a total waste. Learned about Dutch dollhouses as status symbols of the era and it was total eye candy as far as production values go. Scenery, costumes, lighting, and cinematography were really lovely. Probably will get Emmy noms for those.

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So.  Marin didn't marry the man she loved because she didn't want to give up control of the "household".  Really, Marin, those two servants and all that huge, dark, nightmarish furniture?  We're not talking Downton Abbey, bossing around the people at the sugar house couldn't have been that fabulous, either. 

Johannes couldn't be even a tiny bit discreet like all the homosexual men of his time, the "confirmed bachelors" who had gentleman friends in for 'cards," several nights a week.  No, he simply has to have sex up against the wall in the street and in public warehouses.  Then he makes a speech in court  contemporary words about how he simply can't deny who he is, so that they're pretty much forced to uphold the law and drown him.  He did a rotten thing to Nella, basically saying that she had to live a life without sex or romantic love so that he could have those things.  I had no sympathy for him.  I know a  platonic couple who have had a long happy marriage, but they both went into the situation with their eyes wide open, neither person wanted a sexual relationship with anyone.  Johannes just expected people to sacrifice themselves for him. 

Marin and Otto, just out of the blue with no foreshadowing?

I don't have any opinion about Nella because I could only understand about one quarter of what she said.  I hope never to see the actress or her poor tortured breasts again.

This was not a masterpiece in any sense of the word but a heavy handed  public service announcement with really great production values.

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The secret room was in the miniaturist's own house/shop.

 

and all i could think was—would they really waste a good millstone like that? How many gay guys are at the bottom of that little breakwater? They'd start being a hazard to navigation eventually....

 

i'm with magdalene; the ending was ‘meh.’

 

also, what was Franz saying about burning the dollhouse? Had he gotten his wife one, too? And how did she get the doll of Nella?

Edited by janeta
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That was....awful.  I never read the book, so I had no expectations.  Well, that's a lie...I did expect to see a Masterpiece-worthy period drama. 

Other than the set design and the costumes, this 3 hour dreck was just a waste of time as far as story telling.  The set up was promising, but then we got no pay off about the damn "Miniaturist".  Just a wave of the hand, sad-ass explanation of her precognition skills- "Oh, I am no witch!  I am just an excellent observer of the obvious!  Well, nice knowing you, I'm off to Brussels! Byeeee!"

And talk about anachronistic & revisionist story telling!  What the actual Hell?  As others said, there is NO WAY Joannes or Nella would have spoken/behaved in the same way as in the story.  Yes, homosexuality as existed since the dawn of time, but in such repressive, Puritanical religious reformation times, a man charged as a sodomite would not have; 1) made a "I am who I am! And it is YOU who are the sinners for judging me!" speech, & 2) an understanding, sympathetic teen bride who's only view of the world has been seen through the Reformation lens.  Not that I am glad the poor men (and women??) accused were put to death for being gay, but I was a little relieved that they actually went through with drowning Joannes.  My eyes were rolling hard enough without having it end with Joannes' passionate speech changing the courts' mind & setting him free.  

Serious historical question: If government & religion were basically one & the same, and the religious/civic leaders decided sugar (and other fun things) were the Devil's tool to lead people away from Godliness, how were bakeries still operating?  Sure, they could make bread, but the shop in this story was still cranking out cookies & pastries (even after being raided).  The bakers were even helping sell the sugar loaves.  So, were they allowed to sell/bake goodies or not?  Or was it just a small group of alt-right fanatics occasionally raiding the shops, and then it was biz as usual the next week?

Thankfully, Poldark returns next week!  Masterpiece redemption!

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So we get back to the Miniaturist, the most interesting part of the storyline and her explanation is basically "I just guessed everything."  What a disappointment.  Much like this entire series...what exactly was the point of it?  I regret wasting my time with it.

Agreed about Johannes speech...no way in hell would he have done that back in those times and then acted SHOCKED when he was still sentenced to death. 

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