I very much enjoyed watching this mini-series when it came out, and the book accompanying it. Recently I have read the uncondensed book, which shows much more the spirituality of Ridd, a godly & conscientious church warden who thought the Puritans too stressed out by the evil world around written in 1869 as if written over 100 years earlier, Blackmore did but speak as victorious Anglicanism then believed.
There is a lot of sociological interest in this story, not least corruptive power in high places. The story has several main ironies, such as the infamous upper class Doones first causing an enmity (the murder of John Ridd snr.), then sparing through oversight his young son (John Ridd jnr.) who would one day bring them down, and taking in a sadly captured relative to marry her off, only to have her happily stolen away and married off to their most potent enemy.
The story covers the maturing into love & wisdom of John Ridd jnr., and how his boyhood vision of captured Lorna never leaves him even after many years of wonderful marriage going into his old age: their young commitment to each other, opposed on both sides, is of great beauty.
John's great strength & size is also harnessed by his good nature to being a good productive farmer, and a useful man of the community in dealing with the dreadful Doones. He also shows independent reflection, not to be rushed into decisions by others, but weighing up the rights & wrongs. Lorna is befriended by him in an almost friendless life, and bit by bit comes to love him. She commits her whole self to him in her books he deserves it. Later, discovering her title to be the extremely rich Lady Dougal (not directly a Doone, to her relief), she is willing to throw up wealth & fame as long as she is John's wife, her saviour & lord.
Another irony: with John she adopts her evil & then deceased suitor's son & heir.
As a mini-series this story is well told. Sadly, John Sommerville doesn't fit the sheer size & strength of Blackmore's Ridd, though beauty Emily Richard was an appropriate size in comparison, unlike the 2000 version. A Chewbacca would have been too hairy!
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