Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: Book vs. BBC

Intended for people who know the story, but not overly spoilery if you don’t.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell became one of my favourite books as I was reading it. By bookworm standards I am an exceptionally slow reader, and Jonathan Strange is exceptionally large. It took me quite a while to read it which turned it into a bit of a retreat into a dark, stormy, magical place. It just feels like something to read in the fall, when the air is crisp and it gets dark early. It reminds me of something Hermione would have read at Hogwarts regarding the history of magic in England, especially with all of the footnotes. Some span for pages.

Rather than try (and fail) to re-read the whole book this season, I decided to give the mini-series a try. I remember the trailers for it and I was quite pleased, given what I had imagined while reading the book. I had always imagined Jonathan to be more of a Tom Hiddleston but after watching the whole series I think Bertie Carvel was perfect.

Eddie Marsan’s Norrell almost hit home. He could have done with some more grump and misanthropy. 8.5/10

I didn’t really agree with the characterization of the faerie with thistle-down hair. I think he should have been more playful and mischievous but he was portrayed as very menacing and malicious.

I actually always pictured him with a bouffant and a mole, but perhaps that’s a little too French.

I was also confused by Childermass. I don’t remember him being so creepy in the book. I’m not sure it was necessary, but it worked so sure.

For the most part, I liked what they decided to keep and discard. Jonathan’s relationship with Flora Greysteel would have muddled the rest of the story and would have detracted from Jonathan and Arabella’s love story. By the way — Jonathan and Arabella are goals af. They just love each other so much omg. The only change that I didn’t quite like was that the BBC version had Jonathan save Arabella from Lost Hope but in the book she found her own way out. I’m a big fan of ladies who save themselves. I can see why they made the change, though, it ties the story together quite well.

As much as I loved seeing all the characters come to life, I think Lady Pole (Alice Englert) stole the whole show. She was sharp and clever, and mad and desperate.

Her refusal to stay married to the man she was sold to was an epic addition that I don’t remember happening in the book. She doesn’t let you forget that she was bargained to a man who, albeit was not particularly unkind, she did not love. It was a stark comparison to Jonathan and Arabella whose relationship was warm and loving even when they fought. A+ performance and characterization.

I really enjoyed watching the mini-series and I’m glad they made it 7 episodes, rather than try to squeeze this huge story into a movie. The characters got to shine and it told the biggest parts of the story. If you have not watched the mini-series, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And if you have not read the book, there’s so much to discover and enjoy!

The YouTube Tag

After ignoring my channel for a little bit I finally got around to doing the YouTube tag video. So if you’ve ever wondered about why I do YouTube or how I make my videos, I answer some of that here! Also I treated myself to a face mask because why not? Something to put on the next Sunday Self-Love post! My face felt really smooth and soft after I took that mask off. 10/10 very enjoyable!

Doctor Who Exploding TARDIS Painting

About a month ago, I finally got around to painting Kim’s birthday present. She asked me for a painting and I thought she’d like her own oil painted exploding TARDIS. It took about 2 hours to paint. My camera kept shutting off during the process and I was covered in oil paint. It was an ordeal. I don’t usually opt for oil paints because I don’t like how difficult it is to built on top of a colour without it blending. Plus it just takes forever to dry! I let this sit for about 4 weeks before delivering it to Kim. Now it sits here on her wall.

I think it needs a regal gold frame

I think it needs a regal gold frame

Top 3 Kids Games for Adults

I don’t like violence in video games. It usually makes me anxious and panicky, so I tend to gravitate towards kids games. The violence is more cartoony than gory, and something about it makes me feel like I’m playing a game rather than acting out a sci-fi thriller or steampunk adventure. (Don’t get me wrong, those are fun too! In doses.) It’s usually really difficult to find games that walk the line between “made for kids” and “enjoyable for adults.” Here’s a few that I really enjoyed playing:

The Puppeteer

In this kabuki play styled game, you’re a wooden puppet playing across a stage. And you’re in need of your head! Your puppet heads are your lives, and they each have powers. If you have the right head at the right spot in the game, you can use the power to gain access to bonus levels! You wield a pair of magic golden scissors and you use the scissors to cut through materials to move forward in the game. Plus you get a companion who is a playable Player 2 if you want to play with a buddy!

This game was fun, challenging, and genuinely beautiful. The levels and animation were playful and colourful, each world having its own theme. I’ve beaten the game but I still go back to play levels with low scores because it’s great to kick back with.

Little Big Planet

I swear, I am a grown up. The LBP franchise is big with kids and families, but I’ve played it in a group of fellow grown ups and we all have a great time. I will say this game is more fun when you play with 2+ players. Even my brother whose tastes run more towards Call of Duty and Need for Speed enjoyed creating his sackboy and making him run around with a dinosaur head on. There is no lack of whimsy! And in the third game, as you can see above, you get more characters to play with! (And yes, they all get costume options. My OddSock was usually an elephant). Each character has their own style of moving, so they all get their own style of puzzles and obstacles in the levels. My fav is Toggle, who can switch between a big or bitty body.

Like Puppeteer, this is a game you can re-play to find goodies you’ve missed!

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

I’m going to get one thing out in the open about this game. If you thought Donald was useless in Kingdom Hearts, you have not yet met Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. This game is definitely better played with a Player 2 because Oswald’s autopilot is an idiot. Aside from that, though, this game is a fun adventure to get the wholesome Disney town back in shape from being in shambles. I definitely beat the game but I’m not sure I beat it correctly because it was still in shambles when I was finished. I’ve played other Mickey Mouse games and they were mind-numbingly boring. The Epic Mickey games are challenging enough to keep me entertained. Though I will say the game takes very little time to run through!

Everyday Cosplay — Nancy Wheeler

My obsession with Stranger Things is completely healthy, I assure you. Nancy quickly became my favourite female character on the show (sorry, Barb!). She’s a young woman who takes charge, whether it’s acing all her classes, hunting a monster, or owning her sexuality. I love how independent she is especially since she’s sweet as sugar.

One of my favourite Nancy outfits is from Chapter 5, when she goes searching for the creature with Jonathan. It’s layered up fall coziness: practical, warm, easy to move in, fully prepared to kick butt! Also cute as hell.

Nancy Wheeler (Chapter 5)

Abercrombie Fitch navy shirt
$23 CAD – abercrombie.com

Uniqlo cable knit sweater
$44 CAD – uniqlo.com

WearAll flight jacket
$75 CAD – wearall.com

Maison Scotch high waisted jeans
$78 CAD – brandoutlet.borderfree.com

Brown boots
$52 CAD – etsy.com

Accessorize fingerless glove
$13 CAD – accessorize.com

Favourite Thanksgiving Episodes #5FF

Canadian Thanksgiving happened over a month ago, but with American media leading the television schedule networks are churning out their Thanksgiving episodes right about now. I love seasonal specials on TV! Usually Halloween and Christmas are my favourite TV specials but Thanksgiving gets a few great hits too. Surprise: they’re all comedies!

Slapsgiving (How I Met Your Mother)

HIMYM gave us a great many running jokes but my favourite, by far, is the Slap Bet. For anyone who hasn’t watched, a slap bet is exactly how it sounds: two people make a bet and the winner gets to slap the loser in the face. The two appoint a Slap Bet Commissioner who will make difficult and objective decisions. The result of the bet was that Marshall (Jason Segel) gets to slap Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) 5 times, at any point in time. Watching Marshall use his slaps when Barney is being a prick is incredibly satisfying but the Slapsgiving episode is my favourite because it comes with an original musical number: “You Just Got Slapped”.

Thanksgiving (New Girl)

There was never a part of me that thought defrosting a turkey in the dryer would be effective but now I know to never try it. In this first season Thanksgiving episode, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) invites a fellow teacher and her crush Paul (Justin Long) to Thanksgiving dinner because his grandma just died. I have a soft spot for episodes where the character tries to adult really hard and fails at everything and the night is a mess. That’s what happened in this episode. 100% mess. Paul’s dead grandma isn’t the only corpse in the episode.

Thanksgiving (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Jake (Andy Samberg) tries everything he can to get out of the Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the overachieving dorky Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero). Santiago is only hosting the party to impress Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) and deliver a heartfelt speech in front of the whole squad. Her Thanksgiving goes awry when Captain Holt has to leave and also her food is inedible exacerbating Terry’s hunger rampage. When the dust settles around this disaster of a Thanksgiving, Jake learns a lesson about who he considers family and drops a total humblebrag about the show’s diversity:

I’d just like to say I am happy to be here with my family. My super weird family with two black dads, and two Latina daughters, and two white sons, and … Gina. And I don’t know what you (Scully) are. Some strange giant baby? To the Nine-Nine!

The Black Friday Trilogy (South Park)

I’m cheating slightly with this because 1. there are three episodes, and 2. they have more to do with the aftermath of Thanksgiving that is Black Friday in America. As someone who spent 6 years working mall retail (including when Canada adopted Black Friday sales), I feel the dread and drama around this one day of aggressive shopping. The plot centers around the boys figuring out which gaming console to buy — a PS4 or an XBox One — and it takes on a Game of Thrones theme. Kenny becomes Lady McCormick and later, Princess Kenny, the champion of PlayStation. This epic saga is hilarious and will satisfy all of your scorn towards Black Friday consumerism.

The One Where Ross Got High (Friends)

An absolute classic. Mr. and Mrs. Geller come to the apartment for Thanksgiving dinner and Chandler (as Monica’s secret serious boyfriend) has trouble winning them over. He learns that it’s because Ross blamed him when his parents caught him smoking weed in college. Meanwhile, Rachel tries to make a dessert trifle but 2 pages of the cookbook stick together and she creates something that’s half a trifle and half a shepherd’s pie. Eventually everyone’s secrets are out on the table and we get this amazing scene of lightning round confessions:

I hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving next week has a wonderful time with friends and family! Try not to have any sitcom-like disasters.