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Chapter Seven: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell 

With magic long since lost to England, two men are destined to bring it back; the reclusive Mr Norrell and daring novice Jonathan Strange. So begins a dangerous battle between two great minds.

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Storyline

Magic has now returned to England - as has Jonathan, who goes straight to Mr Norrell, requesting his help in breaking the Gentleman's curse. He also sends Sir Walter Pole a letter explaining how his wife was enchanted, with Stephen's help, allowing John Segundus to bring her back to normal life though without Arabella. Meanwhile Norrell and Jonathan summon the Raven King though it is a visit to the Lost Hope ballroom in the fairy kingdom and the intervention of an unexpected ally that brings about the demise of the Gentleman, releasing Arabella, but also determining the fates of the two magicians - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Fantasy | History

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28 June 2015 (UK)  »

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Goofs

Sir Walter Pole resigns as a government minister and a member of the House of Commons. It is not possible for an MP to resign his or her seat. They must instead request appointment to an office of profit under the Crown, usually either Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham or Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. See more »

Quotes

Jonathan Strange: [Norrell is reluctant to surrender his books of magic to summon the Raven King] We will both soon be dead. There will be no leisure for reading.
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User Reviews

 
A Rushed But Moving Conclusion
7 July 2015 | by (Middle Earth) – See all my reviews

The previous episode did a terrific job establishing Strange as a potential villain. He abandoned all sense of propriety and hygiene, stumbled about Italy trying to go mad, did go mad after eating a rotten mouse, and perfected an evil villain laugh, promising his nemesis Mr. Norrell: "I am coming." In the finale, an emotional prelude by Sir Walter Pole brings Strange's fury crashing back and underlines the hopelessness of the situation.

Miraculously, Christopher Drawlight manages to deliver one of Strange's messages before being brutally murdered by his former pal, Henry Lascelles. Lascelles then joins Mr. Norrell, who has retreated to Hurtfell Abbey and gotten lost in his own library.

Technically, that last bit isn't his fault, because Strange has turned the Abbey into an enchanted maze where he plans to face his former tutor. The confrontation will find Mr. Norrell alone, for Childermass, discovering Lascelles' treachery, confronts him and is subsequently thrown out on his ear. Joab-like, Childermass delivers a harsh rebuke: "You've made the wrong choice, sir, as usual," before departing with a final warning to Lascelles: "You are in the North now. Our laws were made by the Raven King...And he's coming back."

Also coming back is Jonathan Strange, and you've got admit, the man knows how to make an entrance. Descending amidst a flurry of ravens and a huge black tornado, it seems Mr. Norrell may, for the first time ever, be right to be afraid. And yet no! For when Jonathan appears, ragged and wild eyed and vengeful, he offers nothing but exhausted forgiveness. The shock and grace of it, coming from the only person Norrell loves (and yet the one whom he has harmed the most) is the stroke which finally spurs him to heroism.

It also elicits a flood of sentimental confessions from both men: Strange's tome is the best book of magic ever, Norrell is a great magician, Strange is a better magician, it's been an honor working with Norrell...there are so many man-bonding moments that they begin to grow a little stale. But Marsan and Carvel pack so much talent, emotion, and even humor into their tense shared screen-time that it's hard to mind.

Overdoing it does become more of a problem as the episode progresses. Both of the marginalized, voiceless characters blatantly reference their freedom, in scenes which are obviously designed for cheers from a modern audience, but which feel a bit unsubtle (hey! look! themes!). I'm more than willing to cut the show-runners some slack - after all, their restraint so far has bordered on the superhuman - but the adoption of the Hollywood tendency to intensify and extend a finale (I'm looking at you Peter Jackson) is disappointing.

When the Raven King appears, he's almost lost in the sound and fury. Physically, he looks like a cross between Durza in that 2006 Eragon movie and a lost member of Black Sabbath. His brief cameo, facing the two magicians then whisking off to write a new prophecy and reanimate Vinculus.

We get no time to digest this because Strange and Norrell are back at work, feeling that their first attempt failed. For Take 2, they plan to use the Raven King's other moniker, "the nameless slave." The spell will channel all of English magic into this one person.

As it happens, the conditions they set apply far more to Stephen Black (shocker!), who's currently cooling his heels in the madhouse cellar. Thanks to Childermass's pickpocketing skills, Sir Walter now knows the truth, but Stephen is still unable to fight the Gentleman's silencing enchantment. Sir Walter immediately throws his butler under the bus, or in this case, into the cellar. All of this means that Stephen's warning comes too late: Segundus reattaches Lady Pole's missing finger and releases her from Lost-Hope before she can help Jonathan Strange rescue his wife.

In the meantime, Strange and Norrell have assembled the magic and successfully made Sir Walter Pole's butler the greatest magician in England. Another confrontation results in the death of both Lascelles and Stephen's earthly self - but then the dynamic duo discover their new king is still living in Faerie. Seeing that their original intent has failed, they try and make the best of the situation by spiriting themselves to Lost-Hope and instructing Stephen Black on his new abilities. At the same time, Strange frees Arabella with True Love's Kiss and sends her home before Stephen Black lays down the law and kills the Gentleman.

There are tons of loose-ends to tie up, but the episode gamely attempts it in the final ten minutes. Lady Pole rejects Sir Walter and goes abroad. Stephen Black (a fact implied but not demonstrated) becomes King of Lost-Hope. Arabella Strange is safe, but both of our titular characters are lost in the chasm, presumably forever. Childermass and Vinculus (a match made in heaven) establish the new, wild, democratic form of magic in Yorkshire.

And...finis.

Phew. That was a wild ride, but it was a good one. The finale invented too many hoops for its heroes to jump through, and shifted the focus from a semi-deific intervention to human ingenuity, yet there's still just tons of quality here. Both Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel throw themselves into towering performances, running the gamut from terror to hatred to reconciliation to humor and exhilaration...they do everything. The first half of the episode is pretty much perfect television. And while I have my quibbles about the second half, it's a solid, if rushed, conclusion to the best fantasy adaptation we've seen since The Lord of the Rings. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm totally up for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Ride Again.

Originally posted here: http://goo.gl/iF8ycv


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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