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JS&MN - Chapter 9-12

From chapters "Lady Pole" to "The Spirit of English Magic urges Mr Norrell to the Aid of Britannia".

The reanimation of Miss Wintertowne causes a sensation and both Miss Wintertowne and Mr Norrell become instant celebrities. However, the actual aim of Mr Norrell--to assist in the war--is somewhat hampered because none of the governmental officials have had any occasion to even think about using magic at all, magicians being so rare. The resurrection of other people is suggested--like Nelson--but then the issue of having a body to come back to (Nelson and Pitt have both been buried for...awhile) comes to mind and they drop it.

The cut to the French ships in the port of Brest, where they have been blockaded by an astonishing number of ships of the line, is the first indication that Norrell's magic might be working. Using the rain--which has the double effect of being something to make the illusion out of and a way to keep the ships in harbour--Norrell creates the illusion of a massive blockade, anywhere the French ships are. Eventually they figure it out, because the wind changes and the ships don't do anything, and then they start falling apart, but the damage has already been done. While the French ships have been penned in their harbours the English and their allies have sailed wherever they pleased.

Like the resurrection, this catapults Norrell into further heights of fame; Drawlight and Lascelles help him with all the social events and people who come over to his house. Norrell finally agrees to write something to promote and educate people about magic with Mr Murray, as most people still regard magic as show and dazzle and not the more studious activity Norrell believes. Nevertheless, the actual writing part isn't done much by Norrell; he nitpicks his ghost writer's work instead.


I think I've read altogether too many badly done Victorian-ish pastiches (or altogether too many novels set then) because I cackled a lot during these chapters. Also, so many of the lines are so great (here concerning the immediate fallout of Miss Wintertowne's resurrection and the subsequent immense public interest):
It is impossible to say how many dinners Drawlight was invited to sit down to that day--and it is fortunate that he was never at any time much of an eater or he might have done some lasting damage to his digestion.

To me there's something wonderful that Norrell makes the illusions out of rain and then the captain and his men sail around and through these huge ships made entirely out shimmery rain. I'd love to see this done as an illustration, maybe.

Norrell's hesitation in bringing back Pitt & Nelson seem to be rooted in a different fear than what he says to the Ministers (i.e. the decomposed body part is just an easily understandable reason to not resurrect them.) I think he's afraid of bargaining with the fairies, since he can't raise the men himself.

Next week will be chapters 13-16.

Also for the record, there is really interesting discussion happening on both the dreamwidth and livejournal posts--feel free to pop over and/or comment on both, if you like; anonymous commenting is always on, and OpenID works too.

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/154380.html.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2014 05:31 am (UTC)
Sorry I'm so late!

One of my favourite moments in this section was when one of the politicians suggested that Mr Norrell should cast a spell to make a region of ordinary people want to join the army, and Norrell was all, "WHAT A GREAT IDEA!" It amused me that the ethics of the situation were considered irrelevant - but there was a hint that Pole, as go-between, had some consideration for them himself.

I was a bit put out that one chapter ended with no one knowing what to do with Norrell, and then, the next chapter, he was performing a vast amount of magic that required close coordination with the Admiralty. I feel as though that was a 180* turn we didn't get to see. But I agree with you that the ships being made of rain is a beautiful image.
Apr. 20th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC)
Hahaha yes--he's not someone who would make a very good politician; he doesn't think much outside himself I don't think. He was mostly concerned about the fact the magic wouldn't work and how difficult it'd be.

Hm, I think it made the appearance of magic more dramatic. Like you think he's just going to fail at first, but he manages to pull off a major coup. Actually, it's kind of a parallel to the thing in York Cathedral; Norrell doesn't show up, and it's up to the people there to figure out it was orchestrated by Norrell. He's very hands-off, it seems.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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