Y’all, I’m sitting here trying to find something to say about the ending of the story and I got nothin’.
Pa Hale’s death was so sudden and random. I kind of wanted him to get hit by a train or something at the end, ya know?
And then Mags goes back to London to have all of the BORING times. Seriously, the worst part of the novel for me. Nothing happens in the hustle and bustle of London. She begins to miss Milton.
Edith was such a little twit – ‘Oh, you don’t love me as much as I love you, Mags!’ – as she proceeds to pout on the sofa for the remainder of the day.
Also, Mr. Bell felt like a creeper to me. Like he wanted him some Mags in all the wrong kind of ways. The mini-series amplifies this. Their trip back to Helstone was uneventful. Mags just sees how imperfect Helstone is and misses Milton again. Absence = heart fonder and all that jazz.
Then poor Mr. Thornton loses the mill! But wait! His landlady is Mags thanks to Mr. Bell’s demise. She’ll cut him a deal and let him stay on as master – of her and the mill, kinky! The End. The finale felt anti-climactic, no?
As for the mini-series, I’m fairly certain I just drooled over Richard Armitage while somewhere in my subconscious knowing that the BBC had done an amazing job. Mr. Bates as Higgins! Cinematography was also superb – especially the scenes in the mill with all the cotton fluff flying around – gorgeous and deadly. The music was hypnotically beautiful as well…but maybe I’m confusing it with ol’ Richard. I liked the girl who played Mags and I think I liked her character more in the mini-series. And the train station scene at the end, YES. PLEASE. So much better than the book’s ending, but that’s to be expected.
Overall, North and South was a very enjoyable reading experience. I must admit, however, that Wives and Daughters is still my favorite Gaskell so far. I’ve year to read Cranford or any of her other works. Still, I’d recommend Mags’s story to anyone who enjoys Victorian literature or really wants a great depiction of how England was affected by the Industrial Revolution. Gaskell has a real knack for dialogue and killing nearly all of her characters. This book would have been a better zombie re-write than P&P.
Ok – I’m still half asleep and have rambled long enough. None of the above thoughts really showcase any sort of intellectual reading of North and South. It’s just too much of a Monday for all that! Now for some lovely imagery: