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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Chapters 17 – 22

November 2, 2014

Chapter 17: The unaccountable appearance of twenty-five guineas

Twelve Dancing Princesses by Kinuko Craft

Twelve Dancing Princesses by Kinuko Craft

As I’ve said before, the level to which people just accept strangeness puzzles me. Mrs Brandy isn’t remarking on the fact that the twenty-five guineas are glowing. She’s just trying to sort out where they came from.
Yay! More of Stephen Black.
I think it must be the recent Marvel announcement, but I’m seeing Stephen Black in the guineas’ light as T’Challa.
Lady Pole is ill with aches and icy skin. Stephen Black is ill with aches and pains. It’s very Twelve Dancing Princesses.
The segment where Stephen collides with the stout man seems eerily topical. The man only sees that Stephen is black and immediately fears for his valuables and reacts violently. And Stephen has been afraid of a moment like this all his life.
Stephen is saved from the stout man when the man becomes a tree and Piccadilly turns into a magical wood. Did this happen because Stephen was in danger or just because it was a certain time of night?

Chapter 18: Sir Water consults gentlemen in several professions

Lady Pole’s hatred of dancing now reminds me of the scene in “Hocus Pocus” where the Sanderson sisters have cursed the adults at the party to dance until they die.
Mr Baillie infuriates me. There have been reports lately (and I can’t find the correct sitations right now) that women are often dismissed, disregarded, or misdiagnosed by doctors. Women’s heart disease is routinely under-diagnosed, partly because women’s heart attack symptoms are different, more like flu symptoms. Mr Baillie’s insistence that Lady Pole is having a temper tantrum rather than suffering from something feels consistent with this sort of benign medical disregard.
Poor Sir Walter, who does not like magic and yet is surrounded by it.
And Norrell finally starts to figure out how the man with the thistledown hair twisted the bargain.
“What is the fat of one young woman compared to the success of English magic?” Thanks Norrell, it had been a while since you reminded me you were an unfeeling bastard. Glad that’s cleared up now.
Poor Lady Pole, her fate seems very dark right now.

Chapter 19: The Peep-O’Day-Boys

And poor Stephen Black! To have what sounds very like a massive depression and yet still to have to drag yourself up and to work and to wait on people. The brotherhood of melancholia that is forming between Stephen and the cook is almost touching, but there’s something twisted about the cook being so “quick to welcome Stephen.”
The thistledown man’s description of London certainly has lots of confinement; griffins and lions in cages, saints in ivory caskets and jeweled coffins. They’re trapped just like Stephen and Lady Pole. Norrell bargained away Lady Pole, (regardless of whether he had any authority to or not, but somehow the thistledown man has also ensnared Stephen Black.
The thistledown man seems to genuinely care for Stephen Black, but I cannot trust him.
The dark memory sounds like a slave ship. Was Stephen there once or is the thistledown man making him remember something an ancestor experienced?
Is the thistledown man angry at Lord Pole because Norrell accounts him so important?

Chapter 20: The unlikely milliner

I like the idea of Norrell trying to glorify himself and being told to train other magicians so that he is no longer the lonely figure standing up for English magic.
“Nothing could be less to his taste than the creation of other magicians.”  Well, how does he expect to cause a rennisance of English magic if he is the only one allowed to handle it?
It entertains me that Childermass likes Vinculus. They seem contrary in complimentary ways.

Chapter 21: The Cards of Marseilles

hermitThe footnote about King George and the princesses was great.

Norrell has paid great prices for books. He has also ruined men to take their books.
What hold does Norrell have over Childermass? It seems like such a man would not stay in the employee of Mr Norrell simply out of need for a job.
So, the cards of Marseilles (after some wikipedia-ing) are tarot cards. Good to know. I suppose the narrator does not include a footnote since this would be common knowledge to her readers. Granted, turning the page would have told me that too.
Norrell is like a child denied a sweet. He wants that book just because he is told he cannot have it.
Vinculus was, “a great deal more married than most people.” – that’s a brilliant line.

Chapter 22: The Knight of Wands

Jonathan Strange is now on the scene. It’s about time!
Long nose, ironic expression, and red tinged hair… did they order him specially for me?
“Sometimes it seemed as if she had fallen in love with him for the sole purpose of quarreling with him.” I’ve met those couples.
Enter the Knight of Wands.
What do the blue tattoos on Vinculus’s neck mean?
Strange has bought Norrell’s spells from Vinculus. Oh what a tangled web we weave…
Jonathan Strange has decided to become a magician to impress a young lady. Well, people have done stranger things for love. I ended up majoring in Russian because of a certain attractive young man.
Apparently, Mr Norrell is Mr Strange’s enemy. Which fits what we have learned of Mr Norrell’s character.


And here we come to the end of Volume I. I don’t really like anyone except Stephen Black and Mr Segundus so far. Mr Norrell is horrid. Lady Pole isn’t really a fully fleshed character at the moment. Lord Pole is mostly sweet, but slightly problematic. And Mr Strange is very odd. So, we shall see what there is to see in Volume II next week.



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