This week, I started watching the BBC miniseries adaptation of Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I started the book shortly after it came out but never finished it – it was a little too historical and Jane Austen-y for my taste.
Which is to say: I love movies based on Austen’s books, but never much cared for the books themselves.
So, three cheers for the BBC on this one – I’m planning to read the book now that I know it’s interesting.
When I talked about the story to one of the only friends I have who’s as much of a fantasy nerd as I am, he mentioned that you need a ton of background knowledge on “old, old, Olde English” magic to even know what’s going on.
That part isn’t really a problem – not least because had I gone for a PhD, it would have been in fairy tales and folklore.
*WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS*
The Gentleman in particular piques my interest, because it’s always so satisfying to see what Faery was like before Hollywood…Hollywood-ed all over it.
And when Mr. Norrell agreed to trade half of Lady Pole’s life in return for her resurrection, my immediate instinct was to scream at the screen, filling the gap over which Mr. Norrell was so stupidly dangling: WHICH HALF?!?!
Norrell assumed the second half. The Gentleman took the sleeping half.
Still half. Fully in accordance with the agreement. Utterly devastating for Lady Pole.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to bargain with fairies.
- Seriously, don’t.
- Don’t make assumptions. If you must bargain with the Folk, nail down the specifics. Because the first thing you learn about fairies, if you have any sense at all, is that any bargain they make is ALWAYS to their benefit, and if you don’t get down to the very minutest points of the agreement, you’re going to be screwed.
- But really. Just don’t.