Melanie's Musings
February 16, 2012

If You Need A Reason to Watch North and South…

Sandy from Pirate Penguin’s Reads is here to share how/why she got hooked North and South.  She’s the gal who let me know the mini-series existed!  You should listen to her- I did.

Before I had watched BBC adaption of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South, I was only interested in watching and reading anything that had to do with Jane Austen. I may be wrong since I’m not on an expert on literature or television but it seems to me that Miss Austen is one of the more popular choices for British entertainment (after that I imagine comes Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre—which I also love). So when a friend of mine—who originally got me into Jane Austen—told me that she had found something that was even BETTER than Pride & Prejudice, I was surprised because what’s better than Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? I’ve watched both versions with Colin Firth and Matthew Whatshisface countless times so I was very smitten with the story and the characters. (And Mr. Darcy<3)

So it took a while for me to try North & South and I was skeptical that it’d change my feelings about Mr. Darcy Jane Austen. But then I watched North & South and ohmygoodness, it was like I stumbled upon a rare treasure. The movie was incredible in all aspects imaginable: the scenery, the acting, the dialogue, the plot twists. Everything was exquisite! I had found my new favorite movie—and Mr. Darcy was kicked off his pedestal.

There are numerous reasons why I tell people to watch North & South. The main reason for me is the love story between Margaret and Thornton—they both come from different societal backgrounds and they circle each other suspiciously at first; they don’t instantly fall in love, and there are plenty of miscommunications throughout the story that had me clutching my head going, WHY WHY WHY. But aside from their swoon-worthy romance, the movie offers a glimpse into the historical period where the Industrial Revolution is gaining momentum in England (and not everyone is pleased about it). North & South also has a more in-depth social commentary about the industrial workers vs. the masters who run the factories. Margaret inadvertently becomes entangled within all the political turmoil so that adds an extra edge of suspense to the story.

There is also a very important scandal involving Margaret’s family that pops up midway into the movie which complicates things even further with Thornton (the drama! Sigh). But what I love most of all (aside from Mr. Thornton) are the relationships between the characters. They all felt very human, and not at all forced; the one that caught my attention the most was between Mr. Thornton and his mother. Mrs. Thornton is an incredibly tough woman and comes off as almost unfeeling but whenever her son is near, her face visibly softens; and when Margaret hurts Mr. Thornton, Mrs. Thornton’s anger for her son’s pain is palpable. What I want to say is that North & South offers exactly what I look for in a novel or movie: a story with substance as well as meaning. The romance is heart-melting for sure, but the story isn’t always cheerful nor is it frivolous…and it has the best ending I’ve ever watched. That kiss at the train station? Omg.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:54 am - Comments (7)
Categories: themed week

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  • February 16th 2012

    Not a fan of these programmes but the BBC does do a good job, a shame then that so many of these dramas may be axed due to cutbacks.


  • February 16th 2012
    Sandy said:

    I just realized that I never fixed Matthew Macfayden’s name…I put Whathisface as a place holder because I forgot at the time, lol!

    Anyway, thanks for letting me be a part of your celebration Melanie! Hopefully more people will watch North & South because Margaret & Thornton’s story is too good to miss out on!


  • February 16th 2012

    Oh, I was like you! I couldn’t get what was so awesome about North and South, and I kind of confused it with the other one which I saw when I was kid.

    But I feel in love with this series so much


  • February 16th 2012

    I, too, thought I’d never find anything more swoon-worthy than P&P (and of course Darcy) but oh, how N&S sent it all toppling!
    I’ve become quite evangelical about trying to get others to give it a chance–the novel, too, which had me utterly spellbound.
    And as a bonus, I am finding out that there are so many other people who love this story like I do! I can hardly believe I missed out on it all this time.
    It’s so fun to dish with others about how incredible this story is! :)


  • February 16th 2012
    janicu said:

    Well said! If it weren’t so good at creating substantial characters, I don’t think we’d be as invested in that final kiss.


  • February 19th 2012

    I didn’t think it was possible a more swoon worthy guy but my gosh, Mr. Thornton is soooo swoon worthy! I’ve watched the entire show in one day and now I am addicted!


  • February 20th 2012
    Chachic said:

    Yes! I agree. I love how well-developed the characters are in this mini-series. Like Janice said, we’re invested in the characters and that’s why the ending meant so much to us viewers. I keep recommending North and South to my friends as well!