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Fri
Jan 30 2015 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 14

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread finishes JS&MN with chapters 65-69, but does not itself conclude, as we will cover The Ladies of Grace Adieu for dessert.

[“Briefly, the snow and the shadows seemed to form a picture of a thin, dark man in a greatcoat and boots. The next moment the illusion was gone.”]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 13

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reread Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers the second-to-last section of JS&MN with chapters 60 through 64, in which magic truly returns to England. (Also, if you’re interested in the upcoming BBC One TV adaptation, there are scattered bits of footage throughout this general 2015 preview video. Why is there no release date yet?! *shakes fist toward the UK*)

[“The clocks struck on and on, long past twelve, telling the time of a strange, new era.”]

Fri
Jan 16 2015 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 12

jonathan strange & mr norrell Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 55 through 59 in Volume III, in which Jonathan Strange enters Faerie and is surprised at what he finds.

[“England is full of magicians. Hundreds! Thousands perhaps!”]

Fri
Jan 9 2015 10:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 11

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 50 through 54 in Volume III, in which Jonathan Strange finally succeeds in summoning a fairy.

[“People like that who must be continually talking themselves and have no time to listen to any one else are quite disgusting to me.”]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 2:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Concluding with The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies

Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit, which is now concluded with this discussion of The Battle of the Five Armies, a.k.a. the adaptation of the last seven chapters.

Previously: we reread The Hobbit chapter-by-chapter (and The Lord of the Rings before it). I liked An Unexpected Journey more than I expected, but found The Desolation of Smaug to be like butter that has been scraped over too much bread—which is apparently the reverse of the general critical consensus.

What about this movie, the last adapting The Hobbit and the last Tolkien movie we can expect for the foreseeable future? (Before someone makes the inevitable Silmarillion-in-fifty-parts joke: it would have to be literally over the dead bodies of both Christopher Tolkien and his son, and even then I wouldn’t count on it.) Behind the jump, I’ll discuss what I thought the movie was trying to do, how well it achieved that, and a bit of what might have been. As always, spoilers for the movies and everything Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits).

[Read more…]

Fri
Dec 19 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 10

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reread Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers the opening of Volume III with chapters 45 through 49, in which Jonathan Strange and Lady Pole react in their own ways to the end of Volume II.

[“Other countries,” he said, “have stories of kings who will return at times of great need. Only in England is it part of the constitution.”]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 9

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 40 through 44, which include Waterloo, a significant action by the gentleman with the thistle-down hair, and the end of Volume II. (Also: the BBC has released the tiniest clip from the upcoming TV adaptation, which alas still does not have a release date; so, if you’re interested, step this way to whet your appetite.)

[“And indeed it is not much like a hallucination brought on by drunkenness. It is more the sort of thing one might imagine if one took opium after reading one of Mrs Radcliffe’s novels.”]

Fri
Dec 5 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 8

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread begins the second half of the book with chapters 35 to 39, which contain several difficult partings.

[“It is John Uskglass’s magic that we do. Of course it is. What else should it be?”]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 7

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 31 to 34, in which there are seventeen dead Neapolitans and one ill King. But before we get started, check out the first promotional photo from the upcoming BBC miniseries—and compare it to these illustrations. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited.

[“Place the moon at his eyes and her whiteness shall devour the false sights the deceiver has placed there.”]

Fri
Nov 14 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 6

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 27 through 30, in which Arabella meets Lady Pole and Jonathan learns to make magic truly useful to those on the front lines.

[“Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. “I suppose a magician might,” he admitted, “but a gentleman never could.”]

Fri
Nov 7 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 5

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers the start of Volume II, chapters 23 through 26, in which we are reunited with old friends and our title characters become student and teacher.

[“My dear Mr Strange! I never even heard of such magic before! It is not listed in Sutton-Grove. I assure you, my dear sir, it is not in Sutton-Grove!”]

Fri
Oct 31 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 4

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 17 through 22, in which we conclude Volume I by finally properly meeting the other title character.

[“Oh! As to that,” said Mr Norrell, scornfully, “I do not care one way or the other. What is the fate of one young woman compared to the success of English magic?”]

Fri
Oct 24 2014 8:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 3

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 11 to 16, in which there is a prophecy and Stephen Black and an unexpected room, and I loathe Jonathan Strange’s father with every fiber of my being.

[“It is the easiest thing in the world to turn a review to one’s own ends. One only need mention the book once or twice and for the rest of the article one may develop one’s theme just as one chuses.”]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 2

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 5 to 10, in which we meet Sir Walter Pole, Miss Emma Wintertowne, and the gentleman with the thistle-down hair.

[“It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry.”]

Fri
Oct 10 2014 8:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 1

Hello, everyone! Welcome the reread of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This week’s post covers chapters 1 through 4, in which magic returns to England after more than two hundred years; we meet the second of our title characters (and are introduced to the first, albeit in a footnote); and an impressive number of themes are established.

You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN (as well as The Ladies of Grace Adieu). Spoilers are, accordingly, also fair game in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

[“He hardly ever spoke of magic, and when he did it was like a history lesson and no one could bear to listen to him.”]

Fri
Oct 3 2014 9:30am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Introduction

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread

Hello, everyone! I’m delighted to return to Tor.com with a new project, a reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, designed to lead up to the forthcoming BBC adaptation (likely to begin in January).

JS&MN is one of my favorite books, and certainly my favorite book of the last decade or so. I love the prose, the characters, the worldbuilding (those footnotes!), the magic, the portrait of English society in an only slightly-alternate Regency… pretty much all of it, in other words. So I’m very excited to have the chance to talk about it in depth.

[Read More]

Thu
Jan 2 2014 11:00am

The Hobbit Reread: A Return for The Desolation of Smaug

poster for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit, which I’ve reopened so we can talk about the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. As you may recall, I liked the first movie more than I expected, and was surprised at some of the ways it adapted events from the larger Middle-earth canon. After the jump, I’ll discuss how I felt about this movie and run through some comparisons with the books. As always, spoilers for the movies and everything Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits). You can catch up with the past reread posts at the Hobbit reread index and the LotR reread index.

This post turned out to be epically long, but it’s broken up into sections for ease of reference, so click the jump link and let’s talk!

[“Like butter that has been scraped over too much bread”]

Thu
Apr 4 2013 11:00am

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 19, “The Last Stage”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous reread of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien wrote about Middle-earth (that is: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we conclude the reread with the book’s final chapter, “The Last Stage.”

[Read more…]

Thu
Mar 28 2013 11:00am

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 18, “The Return Journey”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous reread of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien wrote about Middle-earth (that is: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider the penultimate chapter, “The Return Journey,” which covers more than that title suggests.

[Read more…]

Thu
Mar 21 2013 11:00am

The Hobbit Reread: Chapter 17, “The Clouds Burst”

The Hobbit reread on Tor.com Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit. You can find past posts at the reread index, or you can catch up with our previous reread of The Lord of the Rings. As always, the discussion will contain spoilers for everything Tolkien wrote about Middle-earth (that is: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits); if you haven’t read the book before and would like to remain unspoiled, I recommend reading along with Mark Reads first.

This week, we consider Chapter 17, “The Clouds Burst,” which contains many things indeed (though not, as far as I can tell, any rain).

[Read more…]