Off late I have been watching quite a lot of British dramas. Maybe it is the post effect of watching Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones, but its certainly a spell I am enjoying every bit of. In my quest for a fantasy British drama I stumbled upon Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – a BBC One mini-series production. It is an adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s popular book which has been identifies as a fantasy novel set in an alternative history in the Napoleanic wars. The drama opens in a war torn Great Britain where magic was shunned and magicians looked at with suspicion. The drama begins on a slow note with the introduction of a gentleman from Yorkshire, Mr. Norrell who has taught himself magic spells by studying ancient books and nurses a strong desire to keep the knowledge of everything magical to himself, buying off books of the magic subject in the kingdom. Half knowledge is dangerous thing and he meets his fate when he summons a faerie without respecting the proper rules. The story progresses as he takes up a political role in the country’s effort in the war against Napolean and how he meets his future student and nemesis Jonathan Strange as they fight the Raven King and his old magic.
Though I am yet to read the book which promises to be a thriller, the drama had me captivated with its tight story-line, rich scenes, compelling characters and dramatic climaxes. As I reached the end of this seven episode series I mostly rued the end of an entertaining series. Thinking about it I was drawn by the passion and commitment of the protagonists to pursue their interests even in turbulent times. As a human living in the twenty first century with access to internet and technology, I have stopped reaching out to books, libraries, or dictionary for my queries. Google seems to be the help at hand. This attitude of dependency fills me with dread. Of all the points the drama depicted, the part about the importance of books and the expanse of knowledge they hold which has the power to influence thousands of minds of a generation or the next one – affected me deeply. The books are here to stay and I on my part try to reconnect with them.