Tag Archives: jonathan strange and mr norrell

The Strange Affair of Fairy-Kind

Every morning I bet you wake up and think, “Today I will contemplate the Napoleonic Wars and the many ways they could have been won or lost.” Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. Even I, a History Major, admit I never gave old Bonaparte more than a passing glance when I was poring over history books. So I wouldn’t blame you if you retorted, “Heck, I’ve never given over three seconds thought to the old dude” and move on with your day.

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The Raven King



One could write an endless series of essays on the depths, nuances and meanings found in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, a literary sensation and miniseries centered around the return of magic into an alternate England during the Napoleonic conflict. The story is a hodge-podge of Dickens-esque characters (all quirks, memorable names, and at times preposterous behaviors), fantastical historical switch-ups (one of the reasons Napoleon failed to invade England was the use of magical sea barriers), satire on the level of Jane Austen, and the richness of old faerie lore, tossed about with a decidedly sarcastic air. One could write about the title characters and their duality, being one another but inverted; the faults of one are the strengths of the other, for example (one a cautious man, the other arrogant and rash). Or one could discuss the many influences and sources of inspiration Susanna Clarke drew upon when creating this magnificent world full of many figures. Continue reading

A Strange, Surreal World



Imagine a fantastical world of magic, wonder, and even a little intrigue, a world where a select few can change the events of history with a single spell or fight evil with a snap of a finger. Coming from several centuries of magical history, two individuals trained in this fantastical study become rivals and unravel the deepest, darkest secrets about the science and study of magic. This may sound like a new Harry Potter book but alas, that series ended with seven novels. Imagine if Jane Austen had written the Harry Potter series and you’ll be in for a real treat. Continue reading