Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (BBC mini-series 2015; Netflix; my local library) is a regency era alternative history detailing the attempt of two “practical” magicians to bring magic back to England.
“We have channelled all of English magic into a butler and then we have shot him!”
Magic was common place in Britain during the era of the mysterious Raven King but for the last 300 years it has been confined to theoretical study only. The fussy, book-loving Mr. Norrell joins forces with the flamboyant, reckless Jonathan Strange to make English magic “Respectable” once more.
Mr. Norrell is aided, cajoled and protected by his mysterious man-servant Childermass, a former pick-pocket who is looking forward to the return of the Raven King.
Jonathon Strange is determined to make his wife Arabella proud of him, but is hindered by Mr. Norrell’s refusal to dabble in anything too outlandish.
Power hungry politicians, the Faerie realm, and the death of Strange’s wife tear the two apart. As they travel from France to Vienna and from Yorkshire to London in order to undo As magic returns and the ancient roads of the Raven King are re-opened the two must decide what is most important, and whether they really will sacrifice everything for a future they may never see.
Mr. Norrell: A party? I wish to go home and read a book.