I temporarily rise from the tomb of finals to tell you that…

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is going to be a miniseries.

From Tor.com:

One of the most popular fantasy novels of the last decade is set to become a six-part miniseries for the BBC. Susanna Clarke’s excellent historical fantasy epic—Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell—will be adapted for television by Peter Harness and directed by Sherlock and Doctor Who alum Toby Haynes. For fans of historical fantasy, and alternate universes, the Napoleonic Wars, and awesome magic, this is excellent news. No word yet on when the series is set to air.

I shrieked when I saw this. And then flailed and squeaked. I love this book so much and if it can be put together well, it will be great. It’s dark, humorous, has some utterly amazing scenes and characters and the world is so huge and well-crafted with so many awesome facets and features… and yeah, I probably should stop there.

Anyhow, here’s my impromptu casting for the two main characters.

David Tennant for Jonathan Strange.

Setting aside that everyone sees the Doctor when they see him- I think Tennant could nail this role. Strange is sarcastic, charming, has something of a short attention span until he picks up magic, is very stubborn, and has a charisma that endears him (for a while) to even the finicky Mr Norrell. And when he gets angry, he’s positively a force of nature. With the right direction, Tennant can pull off cold and furious anger like no one else. Yes, his hair’s not quite red, but there’s hair dye for that.

For Mr Norrell:

This one is trickier, since Norrell has a lot of sides to him that would be somewhat spoilerish to outline here, but suffice to say they will take a skilled actor to portray and balance them all. If it weren’t for the problem of height (Norrell is supposed to be a tiny pinched-looking man), I’d really like Hugh Laurie for the role.

(As far as just looks go, I do think Toby Jones is more how Norrell is supposed to look, but I don’t really know enough about his acting)

As for the rest of the rather large cast (Childermass, Arabella, Drawlight, Lascelles, the Raven King, Honeyfoot and Segundus, Walter and Lady Pole, Stephen Black, the Gentleman with Thistle-Down Hair, etc, etc), there are plenty of possibilities. And it’s always possible this could turn out to be a flop show, or be cancelled, or fall victim to chance in myriad other ways. But I really hope it comes through. With the right actors, this could be nothing short of glorious.

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11 thoughts on “I temporarily rise from the tomb of finals to tell you that…

  1. Eeeesh, finals eh? Good luck, I hope they go okay! Judging by what I’ve seen on your blog I’m sure you’ll do great. 🙂

    Unfortunately I can’t really sequel at this news because I’ve never read the book, but I’m glad you’re looking forward to it. Although I have to admit, I’m really not a fan of Tennant. :/

    • Yeah… I don’t know how they’re going to go. One is complete and just has to be revised and printed, but I don’t know how the others are going to go. A final project and a paper due in a two-day span. We’ll see what happens.

      It’s a really long book, but it is so very very good. It has pretty much all the things I love in a fantasy and it’s really well-written- the setting and the prose is so much fun to process.
      I’m indifferent to Tennant as an actor for the most part (though I do enjoy his looks greatly) but for this particular role, he would be really good. There’s kind of a sharpness and abrasiveness to this character that I think Tennant can capture really well, assuming he doesn’t slide into scenery chewing.

      Out of curiosity, why are you not a Tennant fan?

      • Hmmm…I like long books, I may have to research it and then if I like the sound of it put it on my wishlist.

        Err….I’m not really sure to be honest, there’s just something about him I really don’t like. I’ve seen him in several things and in interviews and I don’t know…it’s just a kind of feeling.

        • If you liked Neil Gaiman’s writing style, you might enjoy this one, though this book is like a very strange melding of Gaiman’s kind of topic and Jane Austen’s kind of writing. I would say definitely check it out 🙂 But then again, I’m biased, since I love that book so much.

          I’ve never seen any of his interviews… I just know him from Doctor Who and odd plays he’s done. I have no clue what he’s like as a person (and for all I know he might not have very much range as an actor) but for this particular part- I feel like he would be a really good choice.

    • Get thee to a library 😀 They’re characters in an absolutely amazing book. But then again it is a book blending magic and history… don’t know if that’s your thing or not. It didn’t seem like mixed genres agreed with you last time 😉

      Ahaha, yeah. I needed a way to scream about finals and found an outlet with something happy. I’ll take it any time.

      Hugh Laurie deserves all appreciation and respect. If I got a tenth his talent tomorrow, I’d consider that the mental equivalent of winning the lottery.

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