On Strange and Norrell and Madness

On Strange and Norrell and Madness

The BBC has once more proved the worth of the licence fee with the stunning adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Now we're all had time to digest the series, I wanted to think on the depictions of "madness" in the adaptation and what writers can learn about depicting mental illness, particularly in the fantasy genre. SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES AND THE NOVEL - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED The relationship between magic and madness "Magic cannot cure madness." - Gilbert Norrell From the beginning, Strange and Norrell was explicit in its discussion of madness and magic, with an alternate early nineteenth century viewpoint. When Sir Walter Pole asks Mr Norrell to cure his wife of madness, Norrell is firm on the point. However, given what we know of Norrell's role in Lady Pole's resurrection and his subsequent distancing from fairy magic, Norrell may well be lying. However, his efforts with Strange on curing the King's madness seem to uphold this assertion. Jonathan...
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