So here we are, ready to discuss Volume II, everyone?
So much to discuss that I didn’t exactly know where to stop or start, which is why I ended up keeping this post short. I hope you will feel free to discuss more in-depth in the comments.
I still cannot like Mr Norrell. But I do very much like Jonathan Strange, even though his interest in faerie-magic make me wonder if I’m supposed to like him. In other books about faerie (not that I have read that many, I admit!), there’s always something dangerous, dark, and unknown about their magic, and I think the book evokes the same feelings here. And I didn’t much enjoy Strange’s neglect of his wife. But then he does come out with these wonderful sentiments that warm me towards him:
“Upon the contrary, Mrs Bullworth, a system of morality which punishes the woman and leaves no share of blame to the man seems to me quite detestable. But beyond that I will not go. I will not hurt innocent people.”
One can wonder about that last line. It seems Strange is full of good intentions, but surely his dedication to the English side of the war goes rather far at times, and sometimes I wish he would have drawn lines as to what he would and would not do to help the war effort a little more firmly.
In this volume of the book, the tale turns decidedly darker. I think perhaps, in the first part the tale focuses more of the magic of magic, the hopeful sentiments associated with it, while this part is much more about the ambiguous and the fine line between white and dark magic? I don’t know how any of you felt, but the episode during the Spanish war (I’m trying not to spoil for those who haven’t read it yet – and I’m sure you know what I refer to if you have read it) was decidedly spooky, and the last pages of this volume even more so. Oh, Arabella,
Jasmine, having read part I, pointed out in her comment on the post discussing part I that she likes Stephen Black most as a character, and then continues:
I really like Stephan Black, not as a person, but because of the potential I see in his character, could he be the one the prophesy speaks of? the unknown king?…can’t remember the exact words of the prophesy spoken by Vinculus….
I admit, I cannot remember the exact wording of the prophesy either, but reading her comment I had the feeling that she might just be right.. Having read part II, I’m even more convinced that she is.
How did you feel about Volume II of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell? What stood out to you most in terms of characters, writing, or plot? Are you looking forward to Volume III?
I admit, I am both anticipating and dreading Volume III. I have a feeling it is going to become darker and more ambiguous still, but I also really want to know what happens next.
[For the sign-up post, see here. This post also includes a list of tentative participants and a reading schedule. For the discussion post about part I, see here. You are still very welcome to join in whatever way you want! Have you posted your thoughts on part II? Leave me a comment with the link and I will link up to your thoughts]