Melanie's Musings
May 23, 2012

North and South Redux

While I was collecting North and South links I realized I never wrote about why I loved North and South.  Talk about oversight.  It’s something I really wanted to share though, so…

 

In a word, change.

Margaret’s, to be exact.  That’s what I love most.

More than the sumptuous love story.

Than the eye-opening strike.

Even more than John Thornton. (I know, I know.)

I liked Margaret from the beginning.  Despite her flaws, she has loyalty towards her family and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, even though her ideas are sometimes misled.

“Margaret was not a ready lover, but where she loved she loved passionately, and with no small degree of jealousy. ”

She starts off in the north completely clueless, making one social faux pas after another.  She doesn’t understand the north, neither does she like it.  But there she is.

And while she tries to make the best of it most of the time, she doesn’t particularly approve.

“I wish I could tell you how lonely I am. How cold and harsh it is here. Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness. I think God has forsaken this place. I believe I have seen hell and it’s white, it’s snow-white.”

By the end of the book, she’s changed.

Margaret goes from appearing  proud and shunning the new society to wanting to better it and aid in advancement.

The idea that a young woman could go from misunderstanding and pompous to embracing an entirely new lifestyle far from all she’s ever known gives me hope.

That you don’t have to be who you always were.  It’s possible to change, get better.  Be informed. Let go of old prejudices, and don’t believe things only because that’s what you’ve always been told.

Hope of change, above all else, is what draws me to North and South.

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Posted by Melanie at 9:27 am - Comments (6)
Categories: themed week
February 24, 2012

From a North and South Fangirl

Angie from Angieville is here to share what she loves about North and South. If you haven’t read her North and South or Things Angie Can’t Get Out of Her Head, you must!

When Melanie first invited me to write a guest post on North & South, my initial reaction was a gasp at how lax I’ve become. It has been fully more than a year since my last Richard Armitage North & South-related post. And I call myself a fan . . . It then occurred to me that if I don’t post about it soon, They might ask me to hand in my fangirl card. Which, of course, I would refuse to do. And then an embarrassing and protracted chase would ensue, and really, who has time for that? So Melanie actually saved my bacon by extending the invitation to take part in this most excellent of shindigs. And here I happily am. Deciding what specifically to post on was a little more difficult. Other than, well, these:

I’m sorry, where were we?

Oh, right! But when it came down to it, what makes North & South so special–downright breathtaking–for me is the study in contrast that makes up its core. Light, dark, and every shade of grey in between are contained in this beautiful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel. Thornton’s closed-off sternness versus Margaret’s wide-open curiosity. The icy-cold manufacturing model of Milton versus the sun-drenched wistful warmth of Helstone. The privileged, pristine conditions in the fancy parlors of the masters versus the miserable, meager conditions of the hovels of the workers. Even Margaret’s haunting observation upon making Milton’s (and Thornton’s) acquaintance:

Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness. I think God has forsaken this place. I believe I have seen hell, and it’s white. It’s snow-white.

To every character, every situation, every moment there are two sides. And it is the viewer’s pleasure to experience all of these facets (and to learn to love each one of them at least a little) over the course of this nearly four-hour saga. The truth is the darkness gets to be oppressive in parts. Like winter at Mistlethwaite Manor for Mary Lennox, the grim and gritty reality of the majority of this miniseries wears you down, making you long for the faint hint of a smile, a glimmer of hope, something. And just when you’re sure it will never come right–BAM! The most beautiful ending ever unfurls, quietly, leisurely, and to utterly devastating effect. It’s sheer brilliance. All of that longing. All of that pain. All of the darkness, loss, pent-up emotion, and wasted time bring you to this moment. And the merest beseeching look in the eyes, a hand reaching out, a held breath, or a certain reflection in the glass is enough to send you over the edge. It’s unmatched. I’m so glad discerning people pointed me in the right direction. I’m not sure how many times exactly I’ve watched it so far, but I can tell you now–it’s nowhere near as many as I’m going to over the rest of my life.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:24 am - Comments (22)
Categories: themed week
February 23, 2012

Margaret Hale’s Hairstyle: A Tutorial

Margaret Hale is one of my favorite heroines. She’s strong, poised, and beautiful. One of the things that struck my most about her in the movie of North and South was her hair. I loved the soft, feminine look it created. I’ve tried to come up with my own version of the hair do, and I think I’ve almost accomplished it.

For those of you who also like Margaret’s style, I’m going to show you what I’ve come up with. Something to add a bit of Margaret Hale to your day-to-day life. I wanted something simple, secure, and easy to accomplish. You’ll need to forgive the horrible pictures. This was my first tutorial and I took all of the pictures myself, whilst juggling strands of hair, combs, and bobby pins. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out quite like it normally does, but with a little patience and both hands I’m sure you’ll be able to get it to look exactly how you want it!

First of all, comb out your hair. If you have curly hair like me, you’ll want to try and detangle it without taking out too much of the curl. The added texture makes the style look better. Mine’s a bit damp in the pictures but I don’t suggest that.

Now, part your hair down the middle and comb out the part from the crown of your head back.
Take a small piece of hair near your part line and split it into two pieces. What you want to do, is create a twist, incorporating as much hair as you can. The way I do this, without any elastics, I find it helps to alternate between a plain twist and and a rope braid.
Start out pulling the piece of hair closest to your face over the second piece of hair, repeat. Grab more hair into that front piece and do it again all the while pulling the hair up and towards the back of your head. Keep incorporating hair and twist one piece around the next. If (or when) it starts looking too much like a braid just twist it loosely all together as one piece still incorporating hair. It will make more sense as you go.
This is more or less what it should look like. Once you get done with one side of your head twist several times and clip. Repeat the process on the other side.
After twisting the other side, undo the clip from the other bunch of hair and pull both upward- high at the back of your head. Each piece should be roughly a third of your hair. Pull what is left over your shoulder and get a handle on it. Then braid the pieces upward. Make sure the braid is loose but neat to about midway.
When you can’t braid upward anymore, pull lightly around you shoulder and continue braiding more tightly toward the end.
Secure with an elastic and pull the braid up. Twist once and wrap into a bun. Tuck the ends under and pin. Try to get the last (tighter) piece of the braid wrapped on top. I didn’t quite succeed this time.
Mine is a bit mussed from worrying with it too much, but this is a bit of the idea.
Lastly, just pull the baby hairs away from your hair line and touch them up with a bit of gel and the curling iron. And you’re done! For a bit more height in front (mine wouldn’t do it in its damp state) place your fingers about three inches from your part on each side and push them together, loosening the hair.
Just play around with it until you are happy with the results! I hope this has inspired you to attempt Margaret’s hairstyle yourself.

 TIPS:

Don’t use too many bobby pins in the bun!  It will just make it more likely to fall out.
If the twist doesn’t turn out exactly like you want, twist it with your finger a bit playing with it until you like it. Then loosen a pin and insert it upward into the twist to secure it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arya from Sea of Pages wrote today’s guest post.

I’m inspired! Where’s my curling iron?
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Posted by Melanie at 8:57 am - Comments (6)
Categories: themed week