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.