Favorite line from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, thus far:
“Well, I suppose one ought not to employ a magician and then complain that he does not behave like other people,” said Wellington.
Doesn’t hurt, I suppose, that it’s Stephen Fry’s Wellington I’m seeing in my head.
I’m enjoying the book a great deal: it is, in its own gentle way, precisely the antidote I needed for Stone, even if it’s coming from an unexpected quarter. (I like wondering what Aubrey and Maturin are up to, in this alternate history.) —But (as with any upstairs Britfic, or Merchant & Ivory production) I’m spoiling the fun a little with those nagging issues of class: how delightfully easy it is to study magic, when one doesn’t have to worry about meals or a mortgage or a day job! (But that’s just envy talking. Don’t mind it.) I’m reminded of sprezzatura in evening clothes, and how keeping one’s head when all about you etc. is much easier when you have a certain amount of power, over the situation that’s lopping heads, or at least yourself; it’s therefore a sign of power, and that’s why coolth’s so cool—and maybe, just maybe, why I’m finding Mr Norrell the more sympathetic. (Thus far.)
Which leads me to Scott McCloud, ruminating on the difference between rage, and calm, and how they apply to power fantasies. And I suppose I could dig into the differences between power over and power with—but I’ve just straddled the Pond, by golly. And there’s work elsewhere to be done.
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