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RA Flash Fan Event: The Armitage Fairytale

RA Flash fan event thronton

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At first glance everything was wrong- happiness had been replaced by misery and grief, where trees blossomed, stood monstrous buildings that released smoke as if dragons resided at their very core.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

John Thornton and Soames Forsyte. The Women They Love.

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

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.

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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

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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

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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!

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