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  1. #1

    Default North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    This thread is for fans of North and South, the novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell which was recently adapted for television by the BBC.
    Feel free to discuss any aspect of the novel and the television show and of course, thunk for your favourite actors here...

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  2. #2
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Thornton: thunk, thunk, thunk, kills Darcy dead.

    Opinions of the difference between book's end and series' end? Read a few scathing reviews of the series on the BBC website saying how disappointed they were about the ending being changed but they forget the book wasn't finished. I don't think Gaskell really meant to finish on the note of "That woman!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    I read somewhere... Wikipedia, I think, that Dickens was the editor of the periodical that serialized North and South and he put a bit of pressure on Gaskell to finish the story quickly. So I'm rather inclined to think that she might have done more with it.

    My husband came in while I was watching the ending and thought that it was surprising that a man and woman would be having such an intimate moment in a public place in those times. I noticed the same comments on the N & S review pages and in the audio commentary for Episode 4 the producer and director makes reference to it as well.
    I suppose there is a very strong contemporary feel to the ending... but my take on it is that here we have two people who have had very strong feelings towards one another and have suppressed them to a large extent for quite some time. Now that they've found one another again, there is no holding back. They have been thwarted at every turn and they've stubbornly held onto their pride only to see heartache and disappointment. I don't know that it's a case of love conquers all but it's certainly a case of the truth setting them free.
    I'm not sure if a contemporary audience like ours wouldn't find the original ending a tad sentimental. While it sounds good on the written page to read that Margaret and John find themselves locked in an embrace not to dissimilar to the one that took place at the riot, visually I think it would have been awkward I think.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  4. #4

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Personally though I think the ending has as much metaphorical significance as it does narrativewise. It isn't just about closure but also about meeting each other half way and bridging the gap that has long separated them. They have each made the step and the kiss becomes the consumation of that metaphorical as well as literal journey.
    Besides after putting themselve and each other on this harrowing road, it's a relief not just for them but also for the audience that they finally come to this end.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

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    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    It might have been the same thing on Wiki (such a useful tool is Wiki) that Dickens never much liked Gaskell's writing. I don't recall seeing that anywhere else but I'll zip through the books on her that I have from the library.

    I like the ending in the series, essentially because of the visual compromise of north and south meeting in the middle. On nearly every other occasion it's Thornton going to Margaret; he's the one who's compromised rather than her.

    I found a music vid last night. I'm at work and don't have the link but it's via the multimedia page on richard-armitage.com.

  6. #6

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shep'sSocks
    It might have been the same thing on Wiki (such a useful tool is Wiki) that Dickens never much liked Gaskell's writing. I don't recall seeing that anywhere else but I'll zip through the books on her that I have from the library
    It wouldn't really surprise me if it were true... Gaskell has a much more sentimental, florid style... while Dickens is more witty and succinct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shep'sSocks
    I like the ending in the series, essentially because of the visual compromise of north and south meeting in the middle. On nearly every other occasion it's Thornton going to Margaret; he's the one who's compromised rather than her.
    Yup... I think he's done more than his fair share of compromising... I think everyone in Milton knows how he feels So the ball was on her court.

    There's another element to the dynamic of the story that I appreciated and that was the whole situation of pigeonholing people. Margaret called it "romanticisng the south"... I call it stereotyping ... It is a recurring idea... For instance, just because a man is a manufacturer it doesn't mean he isn't interested in book learning or to broaden his horizons. And here's a novel idea... just because he's a tough-minded capitalist it doesn't mean he has no compassion or concern for his workers. The wonderful thing about him is that he defies definition... he is surprising but not capricious... and I think that is what captures Margaret's fancy at the end.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  7. #7
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    It wouldn't really surprise me if it were true... Gaskell has a much more sentimental, florid style... while Dickens is more witty and succinct.
    We discussed differences in style today in class. Gaskell is an observer in North and South. She doesn't really editorialise. We make up our own minds about Thornton and Margaret. You can hear Dickens voice in everything he writes.

    Yup... I think he's done more than his fair share of compromising... I think everyone in Milton knows how he feels So the ball was on her court.
    I watched the last episode tonight with the audio commentary on and in the last scene with Higgins and Thornton it's queried whether Higgins is aware of Thornton/Margaret and it's given away by his twinkle. Brendan Coyle twinkles very well.

    There's another element to the dynamic of the story that I appreciated and that was the whole situation of pigeonholing people. Margaret called it "romanticisng the south"... I call it stereotyping ... It is a recurring idea... For instance, just because a man is a manufacturer it doesn't mean he isn't interested in book learning or to broaden his horizons. And here's a novel idea... just because he's a tough-minded capitalist it doesn't mean he has no compassion or concern for his workers. The wonderful thing about him is that he defies definition... he is surprising but not capricious... and I think that is what captures Margaret's fancy at the end.
    We watched Out of Gas on Thursday arvo and we talked about the difference between archetypes and stereotypes, and Thornton is the anti-hero archetype but doesn't fall into stereotypical cliche where the other mill owners we meet do.

  8. #8

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    I notice that a number of members visit thread (or is it just you SS?) but it's just the two of us posting...

    Maybe we need to post some pics in here...

    Anymore fans of North and South in Gateworld? What do you love about the show? Come and post...


    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  9. #9
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Nope, I've visited the amount of times I've posted.

    That's a nice pic! Hmmm. Sig pic.

  10. #10

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    I should also say that I love the Higgins/Thornton dynamic in episode 4... one of my most favourite bits of that episode... the way they're sounding each other out and connecting. Very nice...
    I've been listening to the audio commentary... not the most chatty one I've come across... you can actually watch the entire episode without missing too much of the dialogue But I liked what they said about Higgins giving Thornton a parting gift when he told him about Frederick... I think it's pretty obvious that Higgins knew about Thornton burning a candle for Margaret... probably got the inside story from Mary.

    It took me a while to work out who the actor playing Frederick is, incidentally... Rupert Evans... he was in Hellboy... I must get my hands on Sons and Lovers...

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  11. #11
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Just rearranging what you wrote a bit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Easter Lily
    I should also say that I love the Higgins/Thornton dynamic in episode 4... one of my most favourite bits of that episode... the way they're sounding each other out and connecting. Very nice...
    Interesting that Higgins is the one who makes the approaches to Thornton, really. They're not that different. I get the impression by the time the mill closes that Thornton probably has lunch in there every day. Loved it when Higgins first invites him in and everyone falls silent. Heh. But notice how the second time, after Mr Hale dies, that people just ignore him? Used to him by then. And I loved Higgins wanting to help and saying, "Master, come in and have something to eat." Very comforting. And getting up the petition (called a round robin in the novel). Thornton was very clearly touched by that.

    But I liked what they said about Higgins giving Thornton a parting gift when he told him about Frederick... I think it's pretty obvious that Higgins knew about Thornton burning a candle for Margaret... probably got the inside story from Mary.
    Yes, I think Higgins knew from when Thornton came to see him at his house and he said, "Then you might have been a bit more civil" or something like that. He looked highly amused.

    I've been listening to the audio commentary... not the most chatty one I've come across... you can actually watch the entire episode without missing too much of the dialogue
    No, it's not as detailed as the SG-1 commentaries. I watched The Abyss one and I wanted Chris Judge to stop talking. I liked that they commented on Thornton visiting Higgins and the impression they wanted RA to give: a combination of not knowing the real conditions of the workers houses and that he'd got away from this himself.

    It took me a while to work out who the actor playing Frederick is, incidentally... Rupert Evans... he was in Hellboy... I must get my hands on Sons and Lovers...
    Haven't seen Hellboy. And I'm not fond of DHL. Very self-indulgent writer (and hypocritical considering what he said about James Joyce!). I do like his poem 'Self Pity', though.

  12. #12

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Well... don't hold it against me... I do like the way Lawrence writes... and he is a really fun poet actually. He takes himself a lot less seriously in his poetry IMO.

    It's a shame that they had to shorten the proposal scene... the extended scene actually makes so much more sense.
    My colleague was saying to me yesterday that she thought that Margaret annoyed her and she referred specfically to the proposal scene... that she seemed incapable of refusing decently. I have wondered why Margaret was so harsh in her rejection of Thornton. At the dinner party she was giving him long looks and for a few seconds, it even looked like she was flirting with him. And then she throws him over rather ungraciously... OK... she doesn't exactly throw him over... but you know what I mean... She was giving him a whole lot of mixed messages...

    I suppose she is both attracted to and repulsed by him.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

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    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Some people like Lawrence's books. Eh, I don't but I won't hold it against you.

    I think, to some extent, she was startled. Also that she realised what she'd done the previous day and was embarrassed but yes, absolutely mixed messages. She's very attracted to him and even likes him but can't let go of her anti-northern bigotry. He's not of the same social strata as she is; he's not a gentleman. She says as much. Then she kind of realizes how awful she sounds and tries to make excuses for it.

  14. #14

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    She did sound awful... but all was forgiven when she looked all nervous and school girlish at the end...

    You're not a member of Armitage Army, are you? Sounds mad... and probably a little too fan girlish for me... but it's cute...

    I've been listening to the radio interviews on Richard Armitage online this morning while Gateworld was offline... Overall, he comes across as being very down to earth... unassuming and sensible... probably a terrible thing to say about an actor... But I burst out laughing at the part where he was talking about acting as a monkey except that he's 6"2 and he wrecked a tree doing it...

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  15. #15
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    "I understand you completely." I just wanted to cuddle the poor man. I've just watched it, actually.

    Have started watching the audio commentary for the first episode (doesn't that sound quite idiotic "watching the audio commentary"). Liked the bit where they said that they could see him grow into Thornton as soon as he walked across the mill yard for the first time. Interesting that they deliberately made Thornton so ambiguous, particularly in the dinner scene with the other mill owners. And I was wrong (yes, true!), it's Thornton who's getting his supply from the US. The others look out for bargains but he prefers a steady supply through Liverpool, which means, of course, that he's importing from America. Tsk.

    I'm not a member, no. Have considered joining but it bothers me a little that their archives are public. Too easy for spammers. I understand they're writing some fanfic, though, which might be interesting. Hope it's not too awful.

    I've watched the interview on the DVD and he does sound very sensible. Reminds of JF in his sensibleness, really. Acting as a monkey. Hmmmm....

  16. #16

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    You know... I thought the same thing... about RA and JF being very similar in interviews... but I credited it to my being very bias about both men...

    I read a couple of sequels... found the links through IMDB...
    Both very short... and felt inspired to do my own... but haven't got much time at the moment... But I've got a few ideas, probably need to do some research first.
    I'm not into fanfics as a whole though I like a lot of the FireflyFans.net ones... it keeps me going while I'm waiting for Serenity to make it's appearance... I'm a Mal/Inara sap I must admit...

    I'm really impressed that Richard does a lot of research getting into character; shows a lot of dedication to his art.
    Last edited by Easter Lily; May 21st, 2005 at 02:07 AM. Reason: Firefly Fans and other missing words...

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

  17. #17
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Heh, in that case I'm biased, too.

    I've been reading some fanfic C19. You have to register. A lot of it is AU modern imaginings. I skipped those. I'd be interested in reading one set at the beginnings or just prior to the American Civil War because that's when the English cotton industry went bust.

    I read a lot of Atlantis fanfic. Never read any Firefly stuff.

    I'm impressed by the whole thing research-wise, like how everytime they needed to cover something up, they stuck an advertising poster over it. I liked the way Richard said that he'd always go back to the book.

  18. #18
    Lieutenant Colonel Blue Banrigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    I lurk.

    I watched the series, bought the DVD, ordered the book (I'll be getting it in about 3 weeks). So I can't really comment on how different it is from the book, but I am curious to how different the ending is.

    But I don't know what to add to the discussion other than how fine Thornton looks and sounds. Damn he is hot and I loved the cinematography, how the colour grade changes throughout the series.

  19. #19
    Major Shep'sSocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Blue! Was wondering where you were. Welcome, welcome.

    There's no train station scene. Thornton visits Margaret in London.

    He's so very fine. And hot. Let's talk about that some...

    The photography is very good, but one doesn't expect bad photography from the BBC. I like the opening. It's very clever.

  20. #20

    Default Re: North and South (Novel and BBC Adaptation)

    Hey Blue... good to see you on this thread... For a while there, it was just a dialogue

    I lurk.
    I'm sure you're not the only one... the viewing count is a lot higher than the post count...

    I found a copy of the book online after watching Episode 2 because I had to get to the denouement... The next day I went out, compared prices and got a copy from JB Hifi... I forgot to try KMart unfortunately...

    I don't know why but Richard Armitage made a much stronger impression on me as John Thornton than Colin Firth did as Darcy... Perhaps it's better not to know a book too well when watching these adaptations.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

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