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!


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

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 –

Uniqlo cable knit sweater
$44 CAD –

WearAll flight jacket
$75 CAD –

Maison Scotch high waisted jeans
$78 CAD –

Brown boots
$52 CAD –

Accessorize fingerless glove
$13 CAD –

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.

Good Grief! A Peanuts Review

Despite growing up within an hour’s drive from Disneyland, I was always more of a Knott’s Berry Farm kind of kid. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang have been with me for as long as I can remember. I used to have a brown teddy bear named Charlie Brown because I was a very clever kid. I’ve read the comic strips and watched all the movies, and the new 3D animated feature is no exception.

The beautiful thing about Charlie Brown (and I think why I still love Peanuts as an adult) is that he is an absolute failure. But no matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away, good ol’ Chuck keeps going in for the kick. The movie stays true to the Peanuts spirit in this way; it embodies perseverance and the value of learning through failure.

Before watching the film I watched this video of 107 Facts about the Peanuts. I already knew a lot of the information but the video also included some facts about Schulz and the production of The Peanuts Movie.

What I found particularly interesting was the animators’ goal to make the movement in the film feel as close to comics and 2D animation as possible. I didn’t appreciate just how comic-like the film was until I saw it in full. Yes, the movements are quite jagged and stiff with static backgrounds, but they also added a lot of little accents to make it really feel like old school Charlie Brown.

No matter what your favourite Peanuts gag is, you’ll probably see it on the big screen along with all the neighborhood kids. Very little of the film was “new.” There were a lot of familiar recurring scenes and gags, making this a great movie if you have a case of nostalgia for the little beagle and his bald human, or if you want to introduce some little ones to the gang.

I do have one criticism for the creators of this movie and that is: how dare you give Kristen Chenoweth a role that barely makes noise!

Everyday Cosplay — Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

In true Nikita style, I am jumping on a bandwagon hella late and made a Polyvore account. I played around with the features to put together this everyday cosplay set inspired by Rey’s costume design in the new Star Wars film.

Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Picking up on the flowing materials and dirty fabric I chose to go with a grey wrap top with front ties, paired with green high-waisted capri trousers tucked into some sturdy combat boots. We’ve seen some promo pictures of Rey wearing her goggles so I thought a wide pair of sunglasses would work nicely, plus an added light scarf to mask your identity cover your head from rain. The brown fingerless gloves mimic her gloves above and give the outfit a bit more of an edge. A leather belted satchel is Rey’s bag of choice keeping her hands free to be a motherfucking badass.

White top
$56 CAD –

Topshop high-waisted pants
$76 CAD –

Report mid-calf boots
$170 CAD –

Oliver Peoples sunglasses
$165 CAD –

Lauren Ralph Lauren glove
$73 CAD –

Old Navy infinity scarve
$20 CAD –


Sadly I didn’t have the sense to look for items that are actually affordable. You can definitely look for similar items to create your own Everyday Rey! Then throw your hair in a weird top knot and go save the galaxy.