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Part 2: Trudy’s Pet Peeves

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This is the second day when I’m fortunate enough to welcome North & South continuation writer Trudy Brasure, author of A Heart for Milton and In Consequence.

You can check out Trudy’s previous post here.InConsequenceSmall

I hope you all did your homework from yesterday and have thoroughly researched the answers to the quiz questions!

You can also get your hands on Trudy’s latest book In Consequence which is a corker, so check out the giveaway info :)

and now, here are ….

Trudy’s PET PEEVES regarding North and South

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(John withers away insipid comments with one penetrating stare…)

Mind you, I’m aware that my passion for my favorite book/film can get rather geeky and intense. But I’ve spent the last four years thinking about and discussing Gaskell’s story and characters. Forgive me.

#1  The constant comparison of Gaskell to Austen and North and South to Pride and Prejudice. Must every story with a failed proposal set in the horse and buggy days hearken us back to Austen’s patented plot? Couldn’t we look at Gaskell’s merits as a writer based on her own style and subject material? Austen and Gaskell aren’t even from the same era for crying out loud! Bronte and Dickens seem more likely comparisons for the passion and social issues dealt with in North and South. I know this annoying occurrence will never cease in my lifetime but …Grrr!

#2  The half-knowledge behind the oft-repeated fact that Gaskell was rushed to finish her ending.  Yes, Dickens forced her to hurry her story’s conclusion during the serial publication of N&S in his magazine. It’s a tasty tidbit of history that sticks in the mind. Poor Gaskell – that mean ol’ Dickens! However, what many don’t realize or remember is that Gaskell went back to add two whole chapters and embellish other sections of North and South before it was published as a book. She left that end scene alone. Hmm…. ( psst! I loved the ending in the book! for more about Gaskell’s ending see my post at WestofMilton here:  LINK)

#3  That PBS/Masterpiece missed airing North and South in the US.  Will we ever know the mystery behind this omission? I’ve heard a few theories, but I’ll never get over this disservice to the American public. If PBS is meant to bring fine art to the masses, they certainly missed sharing one of the BBC’s finest period dramas…. and the best kiss scene ever recorded on film.

#4  Interpretations of John and Margaret based solely on the first half of the book/story.  I have to wonder if some people really saw/read the whole thing. Granted that the first half is all spitfire and clashing, but the second half in which each learns to deeply consider the other’s perspective is beautifully, if more subtly, drawn. I can’t fathom that Gaskell intended her characters to stay the same throughout the arc of the story. So pardon me if I disagree wholeheartedly with those that believe that Margaret and John would be forever clashing on ideology and social morality. Where’s the proof of that in the unfolding events, actions, and words of the second half?

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Does this look a girl who still holds grievances about the Master’s character and business practices?

#5  The lousy introduction to the book in the Penguin edition. This almost ruined my appetite for reading the book the first time around. With a heavy emphasis on sexual symbolism and the power struggle between male and female positions, this analysis of Gaskell’s work sapped most of the deeper meaning out of the story and highlighted the dry, intellectual wrestlings that academics feed upon. I’d like to have it out with Patricia Ingham, Ph. D. on a few of the aspects concerning John and Margaret’s relationship that I feel she interpreted completely wrong.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of In Consequence!  The winner will be announced next Thursday.

Now’s the perfect chance to chat with me, ask me something, or (gasp!) disagree with my interpretation of the story and characters.  I’d love to hear from you.

  

Quiz Answers:

1.) Margaret is 18 in the opening scene of the book.

2.) The Lennox family is from Scotland.

3.) Anna Beresford married  General Shaw.                                 ns4-063 damn! missed that one!

4.) Adam Bell.

5.) Bessy

6.) Helstone is not too far from Southampton. It’s mentioned that Mr. Hale walked there once from the vicarage.

7.) George Leonards (from Southampton) had a job as a railway porter at the time of the incident.

8.) Maria and Richard Hale.

9.) False. It’s not possible to draw an accurate calendar of the events as they are indicated in the book. The Thornton dinner is on the 21st of July, yet Gaskell has Margaret going to Marlborough Mills for the water mattress three days later under “an August sun.” Frederick also arrives much too early on the scene after Margaret has written for him. (Where was the Dickens’ editing hand here I wonder. lol.)

10.) Aunt Shaw had a lap dog named Tiny.

11.) Frederick married Delores Barbour.

12.) Hannah reads from the Bible every night to the household. She tries to read from Matthew Henry’s Commentaries as she awaits John’s return from the proposal.

13.) Hannah remembers “a little daughter – dead in infancy.”

14.) False. The Great Exhibition is never mentioned in Gaskell’s work.

15.) True. In the book, Mr. Thornton learns that Margaret has a brother from Mr. Bell.

16.) True. Higgins calls Thornton a bulldog in the book as well.

17.) Thornton saw Helstone on his return from Le Havre.

18.) True.  John attends both Mrs. and Mr. Hale’s funerals without Margaret knowing he has done so.

19.) Mr. Colthurst is a the vaunted guest at the dinner party in London.

20.) d. It has been two years of struggle and heartache since John first declared his love the day after the riot and that private meeting sans Henry in Aunt Shaw’s back drawing room.

How’d you do? Thanks for joining in the fun!

The Book Giveaway is now finished!

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Part 1: Trudy’s post + N&S Quiz + Book Giveaway

Dear Readers,

81uiI+fCcwL._SL1500_      Today I have such a treat for you I can hardly contain my glee!

Fellow Richard Armitage/North & South connoisseur and author extraordinaire Trudy Brasure has accepted my invitation to share with us her take on Gaskell’s masterpiece and she’ll be spoiling us today and Friday, so make sure you stop by.InConsequenceSmall

Most of you are familiar with Trudy’s writing as she has long been considered one of the most notable fanfiction turned published authors with an uncanny ability to capture our Mr Thornton and make us fall for him hard all over again.

I leave you in the capable hands of my guest blogger and one of my most favorite N&S continuation authors (not to mention a thoroughly lovely person…):

Trudy Brasure

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Five things you probably didn’t know about me:

1. I had a great childhood. As one of nine children, I was surrounded mostly by brothers. Boys? Yeah, we got ‘em. I faked my first crush in school to fit in with the crowd. Heck, I didn’t find boys that mysterious or enchanting in those pubescent years.

2. My obsession before I discovered John Thornton/Armitage was … um… Abraham Lincoln. What can I say? I love a good, brooding man in a top hat.

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3.  My first plane ride was from Toronto to Paris – alone, at age 17 – to stay for a month with the family of the exchange student our family had hosted the summer before. Unforgettable adventure for a small town girl from Pennsylvania.

4. I’m the organist/pianist on Sundays at the church I attend. All those years of piano lessons were not wasted!

5. I’ve never been to England! I know, I know…. it’s really quite presumptuous of me to write stories set in a place I’ve never been. Thank goodness for my British editor. I’ve been close, though! My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Ireland and Scotland.

Get your pencils (or quills) ready for QUIZ TIME!
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(John has studied hard for this.)

Think you know North and South? I’ve seen a few fun quizzes posted here and there. But they were too easy.  Try this mean baby if you’ve read the book.   Hey, if you’ve read my stories you might be able to answer a handful of these.  Level: Wicked

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post for the answers!

1. How old is Margaret at the time of Edith’s wedding?

2. Where is the Lennox family from?

3. What military rank did Aunt Shaw’s late husband hold?

4. What is Mr. Bell’s first name?

5. Is it Bessy or Bessie?

6. What is the port town nearest Helstone?

7. How did Leonards happen to be at the station to discover Fred?

8. What are Mr. and Mrs. Hale’s first names?

9. True/False:  Gaskell was a master of precision in writing the sequence of events.

10. What pet did Aunt Shaw have?

11. What is the name of Frederick’s intended (and later, wife)?

12. Name one of the books that Hannah Thornton reads from.

13. What personal tragedy did Hannah silently recall during her visit with the dying Mrs. Hale?

14. True/False: The Great Exhibition is mentioned in a conversation between Thornton and Mr. Hale.

15. True/False:  Thornton discovers that Margaret has a brother from Mr. Bell.

16. True/False: Higgins calls Thornton a bulldog.

17. Mr. Thornton made a point of visiting Helstone while returning from a business trip to what venue?

18. True/False: Mr. Thornton attends the funeral of both Margaret’s mother and father.

19. What is the name of the member of parliament who comes to dinner at Aunt Shaw’s house in the penultimate chapter?

20 . How much time passed between Thornton’s post-riot declaration of love and the final scene in London in which Margaret offers her fortune to Thornton?  (a.) six months  (b.) a year  (c.) 18 months  (d.) two years

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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If you loved the angst and repressed passion Richard portrayed as John Thornton in North and South, you’ll love my new story! In Consequence puts a twist in the story at the time of the riot which spins the developing story of love and attraction in a whole new direction.  Available for free at C19 and Wattpad, In Consequence is also for sale as a Kindle book at Amazon. It will soon be available in print and as a Nook, ibook, etc. as well.

Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of In Consequence - paperback or Kindle. (worldwide) The winner will be announced next Thursday, February 6th.

Share what you love most about N&S, ask me a question, or talk to me about my story or Gaskell’s.  There’s nothing I enjoy better than engaging in discussion about North and South!  

Coming up tomorrow: Trudy’s pet peeves regarding all things North and South as well as the answers to the quiz!

The Book Giveaway is now finished!

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RA Flash Fan Event: The Armitage Fairytale

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This post is part of the RA Flash Fan Event and is inspired by the phrase:

I Saw Something Fine…

I think I’ve mentioned how I came to catch Armitage fever in the summer of 2011, but if you haven’t heard this one before, gather round and let me weave my tale…

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…there was a girl with a head full of dreams.

She lived East of Wurstia and West of the Great Red Empire, in a land called Middle Europa.

She loved nothing more than to immerse herself in tales of far away lands and dashing young princes and would spend the entire summer months traveling to places and times captured on the pages of old parchments without moving an inch.

Her dear friend Maximilianus knew of this love and in the cold months of 2011 gifted her a set of magic discs that were filled with tales of passion, but the girl was much occupied with learning to fill her head with hocus pocus.

The magic discs lay forgotten and abandoned, gathering dust and being nibbled on by mice until the frost thawed and spring turned to summer.

As the flowers blossomed and bees busied themselves gathering nectar, the girl once again turned her attention to the special present her dashing friend had gifted her.

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This time though, without further hesitation, she inserted the discs into the special box that housed a plethora of mini people and places, and was filled with unfamiliar sights and sounds.

The stories from books and parchments came alive before her very eyes!

A brand new world, one alien to our heroin, filled her senses with delight.

No longer was she in her little cottage in the countryside, nor was it summer and the birds chirped no more.

She had been transported to a gloomy world where constant snow resided.

At first glance everything was wrong- happiness had been replaced by misery and grief, where trees blossomed, stood monstrous buildings that released smoke as if dragons resided at their very core.

Worst of all dashing prince was not charming at all!

He was harsh, brutal and violent!

But appearances may be deceiving and it took a while for the girl to understand that each frog needs a tender kiss to release the prince from the evil spell.

Before she knew it, the girl started falling deeper into the rabbit hole.

She kept drawing strength and delight from the images the discs provided, her heartbeat quickened and the air around her felt hot.

A strange sensation brew in her belly, a fever had taken hold.

With each retelling of the story she wished to know more about the prince, to learn who he was, which kingdom he resided in and what chivalrous acts he had committed.

The deeper she fell, the more people she met who were on a similar journey, although each and every one of them started out from a different place.

She began creating her own magic parchments, visible to those from lands near and far away, in which she described the heroic adventures the prince had been on (or would likely embark on), and were filled with representations of the prince’s beauty.

And although the prince was far away, battling dragons and defending fair maidens, the tale of his wonder continued, whispered around camp fires in far off lands and transcribed in books.

Time passed, more magic discs capturing the delights of the prince found their way to the girl from Middle Europa,and her adoration continued to grow.

And she lived happily ever after…

Well, almost because…

How do you pick up a thread of your old life?

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How do you go on when, in your heart, you begin to understand there is no going back?

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There are some things that time cannot mend.

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Some delights that go too deep…

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that have taken a hold…

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Because I have seen something fine and I can never go back…

Christmas hangover, the crackers are pulled, the wrapping is torn…

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Xmas this year, for us it was a corker, but then I presume it’s always good to put things into perspective and remind yourself about what is important.

Christmas Eve was made even better with the brilliant presents under the tree.

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And for the record, there was no Richard Armitage with a name tag signed For AgzyM on it and he better not have appeared under some other fan’s tree or I’ll scream bloody murder ;)

Believe me, the tree was big enough to accommodate a Richard slid under it (he’d have to be careful not to crease the red ribbon around his neck though) and I even decided to crank up the heater so he wouldn’t be chilly laying on the floor.

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Nevertheless, I think Santa’s on to me which was made evident when I tore open the RA/Hobbit/dwarf box.

I got a wonderful collection of Armitage related goodies I’d like to share with you (the pictures NOT the presents to mitts off ladies!).

Firstly, as you may know my Magzy is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle nerd enthusiast.

I had once stated that I’d actually give puzzling a try if I ever got jigsawed Thorin and I knew I had to keep my word when I opened two Hobbit-related puzzles (cracker not included, just a misguided and failed attempt to be more artsy…).

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I’ve already completed the 500 piece Elf one and can only huff over how much bloody hair that sassy Thranduil has and how hard that part of the puzzle was.

I’ll be doing the other 1000 piece one tomorrow so look out Thorin and gang, AgzyM will be taking you part and putting you back together again!

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Apart from the jigsaw puzzles, I also finally got my hands on The Hobbit: AUJ DVD.

I haven’t checked out all the footage yet, but is it just me or do we have to change the disc in the middle of the movie?

Strange…

I also got a dose of Anime Thorin, a figure that fascinates many but just freaks Magzy out.

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He stands proudly defending my bookcase, accompanied by my other Thorin figure which I got from my BFF Max last year in London.

Is it just me or is there CLEARLY a Lego Thorin missing from my Majestic Dwarf collection?

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I’ll have to rectify that soon…

Anyway, the boys know what I value most in my home and stand guard!

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Speaking of books, I also received an item that I had been pining for meaning a paper copy of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

I think I’ve mentioned it a few times that I’m very much an ebook convert and my Kindle is my prized possession, but there’s something wonderful about flipping pages, delighting in the smell of a new book.

The last piece in the Hobbit box is a bit of a head-scratcher.

May I present to you the Barrels out of Bond kit:

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I must admit that I saw on Serv’s blog (can’t find the post), this set of figures of barrelled dwarves that you paint, I thought it’d be a great idea, impulse-bought it and forwarded the info to Magzy.

I thought I’d take my time and casually paint the figures as a long-term summer project.

This is how they looked on the picture that first caught my imagination:

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This is what I got which on opening the box, made me say: The fuck is this???

(Anime Thorin serves to show you the size of the kit)

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Clearly I should have focused more on the description because the figures are tiny.

Actually, they are so tiny I’ve had to ever so lovingly point to where the they actually are in the pictures.

There’s just no way that I’ll do anything more than dip the whole figure in paint and call it a day…

I have a feeling I’ll be selling these off very soon.

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Apart from my Hobbit box I also got a ton of other goodies including a pink iPhone 5c and that’s where my nightmare before after Christmas began.

iTunes hates me.

In fact it’s more iHateYouAgzy.

My relationship with iShit is so sado-masochistic I really do wonder why I bother until I take the phone into my hand, start caressing it and whispering: My Precious!

It turns out that an error had occurred in my archived file and I lost all the data from my old phone, but luckily a nice iMan managed to at least save my contacts although the rest is gone and I can’t seem to save anything on the iShitCloud.

iWanttoMakeYourLifeDifficult is still working incorrectly but I feel I need to let it go for today, admit that technology had kicked my arse and prepare for battle tomorrow.

Anyway, how was your Christams?

Dish about what you found in your stocking/under the Christmas tree :)

On John Thornton moving into my bedroom…

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Friday was a very busy day for me as I was feeling crafty.

I was planting herbs in lovely and ridiculously expensive French rustic pots and preparing for a new Thorin project that I won’t utter a peep about just yet.

I’m also on a high of adding artwork to my walls, I’ve always favoured a minimalistic approach to décor, but I figured it’s time for a wee change.

I’m not going to bore you with all the stuff I’ve made, but I wanted to share one I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

There just aren’t enough sexy British men in cravats in my bedroom, so I decided to remedy that.

Here’s the result:

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(BTW, not my bedroom, Thornton’s temporarily housed in Magzy’s living room till I can get my dad over with a nail and hammer)

I took the beautiful image that can be found here, but stuck it on a background.

I chose a page from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but wanted to have it hand-written.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a Jane Austin font that can be downloaded for free (me likey!).

 

Originally, I had intended on going a bit artsy with the image, I considered making the silhouette float above the writing background (as in sticking it on foam), maybe age the image so it looks like old parchment etc, but in the end the simplicity really worked.

I mentioned “men in cravats” and ultimately I would like to add a similar image of Mr Darcy.

My two favourite boys stuck on one wall aiding me in getting a good night’s sleep full of delicious dream.

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The problem is I can’t find a good Darcy silhouette that would rival the beautiful Thornton one.

Have you come across any good ones?

If so, let me know in comments and my bedroom wall will be eternally grateful, not to mention seeing my boys first thing in the morning will surely add a spring to my step.

Finding Comfort in Beauty

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Just a quick one today :)

I have so many other posts, some inspired by that mega conversation we had a few days ago, all floating around in my head, in need of constructing and scheduling.

They are coming, along with a mini tutorial and a post/message I want to dedicate to an online friend who’s struggling.

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This post was inspired by an exchange I had with Morrighansmuse regarding what we watch when we need to find some beauty to counterbalance the blues or some drama you may inevitably be dragged into.

Morrighan mentioned that Thorin was her go-to, and I can see why he would be, although I hope she might elaborates on the topic more in future.

Yesterday I needed to catch my equilibrium and take my mind off things, so I started with a few documentaries, but they didn’t engage me.

Then I thought surely The Forsyte Saga would do the trick, but I just couldn’t focus fully and Damian Lewis’ Soames deserves my full attention ;)

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I found myself reaching for an oldie but goody.

Out came my trusted North and South DVD.

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Isn’t there a limited to the amount of times you can watch it and be mesmerized by Mr Thornton?

How can I still find little details that captivate me.

I don’t know how you do it but, Mr Thornton, you make any bad day so much better :)

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So, what is your go-to viewing when things just aren’t going your way and you need a pick-me-up?

What lightens your mood when the dark clouds above your head don’t want to dissipate?

Talking about things that are an immediate boost in happy feels, anyone up for one of these?

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I’ve tried to find the author of this beauty, but to no avail.

Whoever you are, you’ve created something that most RA fans desperately want and producers/companies don’t want to supply us with.

Update: Just found out it was Jonia who visualised my dream!

Please check out the whole post as she’s come up with many other wonderful suggestions!

John Thornton and Soames Forsyte. The Women They Love.

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As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve become enthralled with The Forsyte Saga and I’ve threatened to continue subjecting my dear readers to more scattered thoughts on the plot and characters, so here it goes…

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Today I will be focusing on the, in my opinion, central relationship in the series, meaning that of Soames Forsyte and Irene Heron.

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I’ll be doing so by comparing them to another favourite pairing of mine, Margaret Hale and John Thornton from North and South.

Let me start by stating my opinion and them I’ll spend the rest of the post trying to claw my way back up from the hole my statement has created.

The difference between the outcome of the Forsyte relationship and the Margaret+Thornton one is determined not by the amorous men, but by the women they loved.

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If we compare Soames and Thornton, they actually have a lot in common

Both are respected members of Victorian society, successful, admired and come from tight-knit families.

They are viewed as authorities, but deep inside they have issues of low-self esteem, though the origins are different.

Despite their cool exteriors, under those well-cut expensive clothes beats a heart full of passion and they both fall for women who society would deem beneath them as both Irene and Margaret are plain old skint.

What’s even more interesting is that both gentlemen develop feelings for, and woo, women who simply don’t like them.

Despite knowing that their affections are not reciprocated, but encouraged by others (Irene’s step-mother, Hannah Thornton), against their better judgment, they both propose marriage.

This is where the seemingly correlated stories depart.

I argue that it is Irene and Margaret who determine the outcome of their respective plots by the decisions they make at this crucial juncture.

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Irene Heron is under the guardianship of her pragmatic step-mother and they are living on a tiny income generated from her deceased father’s estate.

Mrs Heron is desperate to get rid of her beautiful step-daughter as she has plans to re-marry and feels that Irene attracts too much attention from men.

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When Soames Forsyte appears, a wealthy bachelor from a prominent family who is clearly enthralled by Irene, Heron’s widow bullies Irene into accepting the man who is so very different from what she envisioned her true love to be.

It’s this crucial decision to marry a man she doesn’t even like that sets the stage for all the following events.

In her last act of independence, or maybe in an act of sheer desperation, Irene forces Soames to promise that he will let her go if their marriage is not a success.

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Although Soames seems like a man who keeps his word, she would soon learn that her husband is nicknamed The Man of Property for a reason and that he would never allow that which he possesses to be taken away from him.
Therefore, Irene is trapped in an unhappy marriage to a man who, although passionately in love with her, makes her skin crawl.

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When John and Margaret find themselves at the point where marriage seems like the most logical option, and Miss Hale’s reputation hangs in the balance, instead of taking the easy way out, she acts on her pride and stubborn nature to decline his offer.

Of course Margaret is in slightly different circumstances than Irene as she has the support of her family and her financial situation does not force her to accept the marriage proposal from a wealthy bachelor.

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Let’s for a moment, as some N&S fanfiction authors have before, imagine how the story would progress had Margaret accepted Thornton.

She would be tied to a man that she, of her own admission, didn’t like and felt was beneath her, someone who was in trade and would treat her as a commodity to acquire.
By moving to Marlborough Mills she’d lose her independence and would be forced to become a member of a tight-knit family who thought very little of her.

Forced into such circumstances, the natural growth of affection that we observe in Gaskell’s story, would probably never have taken place.

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Mr Thornton would marry the woman he so passionately loved and desired, but would have to be aware that circumstances, and not her affections, drove her into wedlock.

From what we know about Margaret’s character, if forced to marry John, I venture a guess that she’d have no qualms about expressing her misery and, apart from doing her wifely duties, she’d be unable to form any attachment to him.
What’s more this situation would have been made much more difficult because of Hannah Thornton.

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Although the Forsyte family is very close, and meddling in the affairs of the members is almost like a sport, I felt Irene was supported by them till the moment she ran away (and, in some cases, even beyond that point).

This is evident when Irene discusses her failed marriage with June Forsyte and Soames’ mother.

They both, in their own way, try to help Irene in her misery, offering very different solutions to the crises she had found herself in.

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Margaret would have been offered no such comfort from the women around her.

Of course, one may argue, that once married Thornton would never treat his wife as Soames did Irene.
I’d hate to give the impression I believe John would exhibit the same possessive behaviour by smothering his wife and forcing himself on her.

The relationship between Thornton and his mother proves that he regarded women as his equal and I think he would extend that to his wife, although he adopted a paternalistic approach to Fanny.

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 I believe that John would have offered Margaret as much space and freedom as the times and social conventions would have allowed him.

One thing, though, that the men have in common is they’d both  find themselves under one roof, and in such close proximity, to the women they desire and yet cannot have.

Perhaps in hopes of warming Margaret’s heart, Thornton would have taken actions which could be deemed beneath him, but I’d like to think he’d wait patiently for Margaret to discard her prejudices and open up to him.

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Nevertheless, I truly believe that had it not been for Margaret’s stubborn nature, her disregard for what was appropriate, her recklessness at rejecting a man who was such a good match, she saved them both from a miserable marriage and allowed for events to unfold as they learned more about each other, culminating in some juice kissing and a marriage founded on love.

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Had Irene taken a leaf from Margaret’s book and found the courage to reject Soames despite the pressures, I think she would have encountered a like-minded man, an artistic soul with whom she would have formed a happy marriage with.

Despite being Irene Frostbite rather than Forsyte throughout her marriage to Soames, we learn that she is capable of great passion towards the man she loves.

Had she been released from the prison her marriage had locked her into, I truly believe she would’ve learn to think better of Soames and both of them could have moved with their lives rather than linger in painful limbo.

Speaking  of the possessive smotherer, undeterred by rejection, he would have probably found another object of desire to add to his collection to stifle, another piece of pretty property that would have complemented his position in society.

More importantly, he would have found a woman willing to subject to his vision of what a marriage should be, one who could settle for being merely his wife and a mother to his sons.

In other words, had Irene and Soames stayed true to their hearts, they would have got their ‘happily ever after’.

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If you haven’t seen The Forsyte Saga, you can watch the episodes on YT.

To read more about the concept of love and marriage in The Forsyte Saga, check out  this great post by Feminéma.

Wrapped up in Thornton on Valentine’s Day

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Wrapped up in Thornton on Valentine’s Day

I still need more of your face/body parts for my FanstRA4 project, so please send them my way!

Thank You! to all of you who have but you! *knocks on the screen*  yeah YOU!

Yes, YOU!

I haven’t got your pics yet!

Send them my way please :)

John Thornton Richard Armitage Valntine's Day North and South

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve actually been getting into a frisky romantic mood in the past few weeks, probably due to a need to escape the pressures of RL and exams and such nonsense.

My go-to haven turned out to be North and South, and once again, Mr Thornton kissed and made it all better (although no train stations were involved this time around…).

I tend to rewatch this BBC mini-series about 4 times a year, and when the time comes to pop it into the DVD or my laptop, a girl just knows.

There an itch that only a cravat can scratch.

There are emotions that are forgotten more than a pair of worn leather gloves, and they need to brought to light.

N&S is so much more than merely a love story set in a dirty smokey industrial hell of Milton.

I adore some characters, like the Thornton’s, at the same time I adore to loathe others, like the Hale’s (Yeah, that’s right! I said it! They need to ALL climb out of their self-important arses and get with the Milton program!).

Overbearing Mill master John Thornton North and South

As fulfilling as the series is, I decided to go looking for some fanfics that would prolong my N&S glow.

There’s quite a mixed bag out there, and I was horribly disappointed on more than one occasion when I got terribly involved with a plot (as in 3am and I’m still reading…) only to find out the fic had never been finished.

I’d like to recommend some N&S insipred fanfic, but this is by no means a full list.

Please add any other fanfic recs to comments.

John Thornton collage North and South Richard Armitage

Let’s start off with something a bit saucy.

There are two stories I’d like to recommend, both dealing with the physical aspect of John and Margaret’s relationship after they get married.

I love me some smut, but full-blown slash doesn’t seem to work for these two characters, so I really enjoyed the following stories.

Take Her there with me by Redizded

Mature

The story is an exploration of  how things might be between John and Margaret in terms of sexuality, taking into account their passionate nature, but also the strong Victorian inhibitions and rules that undoubtedly would have influenced any couples’ sex life at that time.

And let me tell you, Mr Thornton does not disappoint ;)

Touch by fiablue

Mature

The story is set during the course of one evening.

Margaret and Mr Thornton are forced to marry as a consequence of their actions during the riot.

Emotions are still running high, and they are both having to make some big adjustments to their life.

It’s an interesting take on sexual tension and Victorian sexuality in general.

Plus, who could resist the urge to touch a sleeping Mr Thornton?

Lavender and Ink by  FadingWinter

Mature

A quick one-shot in more ways than one…

Mr Thornton is alone in his office and can’t stop thinking about Margaret, so he decides to take matters into his own hands… *cough*

Sick of Shadows (chapter 1-8) by lettered

Mature

I really enjoyed this fanfic, although it was never finished (but a girl can hope!).

Chapter 9 continues HERE .

You can find what the author describes as Victorian porn (bless her!) meaning the rest of chapter 9 HERE.

Poor Mr Thornton does the right thing and saves Margaret from ruin by marrying her.

This story is full of angst, and the misunderstandings are thick, but there isn’t much John’s love cannot conquer.

John Thornton, Look Back at Me  by Loyal Wynyard

Mature

You can also buy the book HERE.

John is tortured by the loss of the woman he so desperately loved, only to learn that things are much, much worse, as Margaret is now a married woman.

A Heart for Milton by Trudy Brasure

You can also buy the book HERE.

The is probably the most famous continuation of North and South, and I really enjoyed it.

This tale unfolds the joy, hope, passion, and fulfillment of the love forged between John Thornton and Margaret Hale as the reader follows their journey through the uncertainties of their engagement to the trials encountered in their first year of marriage …and beyond.

Only criticism? Mr Thornton seems to be a ig fan of the missionary position… just saying it like it is ;)

Master of the Mill by whatcatydidnext

Mature

Some of you will loathe the story in which Margaret has to get a job at the mill, Mr Thornton is enjoys some rough sexy time with a slutty Miss Latimer and I’m not even going to start on Henry.

I’m adding this to my rec list because it boldly goes beyond what we believe to be true about our beloved characters.

I hope you enjoy my recs and please feel free to leave yours in comments.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Ye can bet yer scurvey legs I’m missing The Hobbit!

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Thorin Richard Armitage Pirate

Shhhhhh! *whispers* It’s me… don’t look around, pretend I’m not here…

Ahoy, me Hearties!

I should be studying hard, but being away from the fandom has actually opened up a floodgate of RA-ish related thoughts, not to mention a mean case of the North & South itches which I can’t seem to scratch no matter how many fanfics I read, and how many Thornton cravats I tie (and untie) in my mind…

Also, Richard and I had a bit of a tiff yesterday (although only one of us was aware of it for obvious reasons…) but I’ll tell you about it some other time.

I digress.

I have a quick question for you today, and was wondering what your opinion is.

I won’t be seeing The Hobbit in the cinema anymore.

Unfortunately there’s only the dubbed version still out, and I have clearly not yet lost my mind to sit through 3 hours of seeing Richard and yet not hearing him.

I can’t however wait for the release of the DVD, apparently scheduled for release 19th of March in the US.

No, really, I can’t wait.

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

face1130371750gjqnkn

I know I’ll be buying The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD the moment it’s out, but I wouldn’t mind having something to tide me over.

I’ve been checking my usual online sources, but there haven’t been any good copies out, and I’m too afraid to download it from a torrent.

A part of me feels a bit icky about even contemplating it, while on the other hand it’s not like Warner won’t get my money anyway…

So, I have a question for you today, my dear Mayteys, but remember:

Dead men tell no tales, savvy?

So speak your mind or walk the plank!

By the way, if you do decide to cross over to the dark side, you’ll probably need a new Buccaneer name:

OK, Bloody Bones Holystone needs to go and get back to scrubbing the deck (aka studying for her philosophy exam…)!

Wouldn’t you know it, it’s my 1st Blogiversary!

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I was going to act cool on my 1st Blogiversary, casually mentioning it, thanking my readers, then moving on to bigger better things, but then  I decided HELL NO!

It’s my (blogging) party and I’ll celebrate if I want to!

Bear with me please as I put on a dodgy paper hat and blow up a few balloons!

I figured horns are made for hooting and good times are meant for celebrating :)

1st blogiversary

Well holy cow, how did I get here?

No, seriously, how the heck did this happen?

This blog started exactly a year ago with absolutely no clear direction.

It was supposed to be a place where I’d keep all the info I found interesting without clogging up my computer, as well as a quick writing practise before tackling my MA thesis.

In the first months I had told zero people about its existence, as there really wasn’t anything to say on the matter or to boast about.

I really didn’t know if it would be something I’d continue or most probably abandon after the first few weeks.

You must understand that exactly a year ago I was a lurking Armitage Admirer who had only left one comment throughout my entire 6 month craze, but more about that later on.

What I’m driving at is that starting out no one within the fandom had any idea who I was (some undoubtedly miss those good ol’ days…) nor did I seek the support of my RL friends to help push this thing forward, so in the first month of blogging I received a little over 20 clicks and I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I managed to get so many :)

Things have certainly changed, and with the amount of visitors dropping by I really do regret writing better, more interesting posts :)

 I’d like to thank each and every one of you for visiting, commenting, supporting and being an integral part of this experience.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again that without your presence here I’d just be a sad old (mad) cow posting for no one.

Hey, it worked in January but I think it would have lost its appeal by April…

Your friendship means almost as much to me as Lucas North’s bottom in tight denim jeans, and that really is saying a lot!

RichardArmitage Collage2

I’d also like to give special thanks to Servetus at Me+Richard, as she happens to be connected to many of my firsts!

She was the first blog I had visited after watching North and South, when certain Mr Thornton took possession of my heart and soul.

She’s the first blog I ever commented on some time in the autumn of 2011, under a different alias, and sweating buckets worried that I’d look foolish because of what I had written (being rejected by the RArmy was a big fear of mine back then, as everyone seemed so friendly with each other, and I doubted such a tight-knit group would accept me, let alone welcome me with open arms. You live, you learn!).

Servetus had written one of the first comments on this blog and I swear, I had been such a lurker/admirer over at Me+R it felt like a celebrity sighting :)

Anyway, how better to say a heartfelt Thank You! than a Richard Armitage thumb cupcake ( and yes I also think it may well be one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in a while…).

Richard Armitage Thumb Cupcake Servetus Thank You!

Apart from search engines Servetus’ blog refers the most traffic to this site, followed by RAFrenzy!

Thank You for the support of other bloggers!

I adore being perched on your blogrolls, and I’m there in good company, so I’m grateful to you for sticking me there.

I’ll be updating my blogroll to include all of my blogging friends and fellow admirers, so please take a second to click on a few.

We all know how long it takes to write a single post, not to mention updating, checking comments, and in general keeping that machine running, so I can only applaud you for constantly providing new posts for Armitage Admirers worldwide!

Guy of Gisborne collage

Here’s my year in numbers:

I’ve written close to 450 posts in the past 12 months.

There are the good ones, the bad and the right darn ugly ones (sorry about those…).

A few months in I thought it would be the bees knees to get 100 000 clicks in the first year, but it seemed like a bit of a pipe dream.

Wouldn’t you know it, I’m just a couple of clicks shy of doubling that number and will be hitting 200 000 in the next few days, so THANK YOU!

Online traffic is a funny little thing as it often depends on where you’re placed in search engines.

That means that posts that aren’t really all that special seem to attract a huge amount of readers, while other are  popular for a few days after being published, and then go into (semi-) retirement.

Lucas Borth Collage

The posts that have attracted the most views are:

1. On Richard Armitage and Lee Pace

2. Marilyn Monroe and Plastic Surgery

3. DIY Pin-Up

See what I mean?

Anyway, I think the statistics will change in the next few weeks judging by the interest in Richard Armitage and all things The Hobbit.

Fanstra# collage

My favorite posts are:

Fanstravaganza3 was a blast and I absolutely loved taking part in it!

I also really enjoyed putting together all three of my Fanstra3 posts.

I loved punning it out doggy style, seeing Heinz Kruger in his tighty whities, and stripping Richard down just to dress him up again.

I really (REALLY!!!) hope Fanstra4 will happen, because there’s no better way to celebrate the wonder that is Armitage Admiration :)

I also enjoyed blogging in July and August (December being my most flaky month…) as I was on holiday and could spend hours fiddling with images, gifs and posts to my heart’s content.

Gisborne's Boy cake kopia

I especially liked the run-up to Armitage Day and  Operation Armitage.

I really do hope that we manage to have a Richard Armitage-rekated competition every year!

I’d like to take this opportunity to give a special Thank You! to my partner in crime Seba from Gisborne’s Boy  for sharing his amazing talent and helping me with the competition.

I hope we collaborate on many other projects in the future (and if you’re reading this Bug, I’m waiting on your email!).

PinUp Collage

The thing is, in the past year of blogging I’ve made many friends, and lost a few (some I’ve mourned, to others I can only say: Good riddance…)

I’ve expanded my horizons, but also tested my patience and understanding.

I’ve bitten my tongue and stepped away from a fight more time than I have in RL, and I think I’ve also been more generous with expressing my delight, enthusiasm, friendship.

I honestly think I’m a better version of my RL self, so if you don’t like me here, believe me, it doesn’t get any better out there ;)

I’ve gone beyond anything I would have though myself capable of, but I’ve also made a few mistakes, some I’ve learned from, others probably not.

I should really finish by thanking Richard for getting this whole project started, but what I’m really grateful for is that by being such a stand up sort of gentleman he seems to attract the absolute best type of admirer any fandom could wish for.

Are there crazy fans in the Armitage Army?

ABSOFUCKINGLUTLEY!

But I’d like to believe that we’re crazy in our own special, unique way :)

AgzyM 2012 collage

While I’m on the topic of AgzyM (move over Thorin, I’m all about Me Me Me! today), I’ve decided to retire the Dita photo I’ve been using as a visual representation of my online alter ego.

I’ve had such fun with that particular image, but I needed something new, so here it is:

AgzyM IWantToBeApinUp 2013

You know it’s only a matter of time before I stick a beard on this gravatar!

And here is the full body superhero version, because it seems like it’s going to be one of those years when you really need a cape:

AgzyM 2013 Boom

Thank You!

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