The all too common saying; “The book was better than the film/series” hasn’t been so accurate lately, at least with the films and television series I’ve been watching.
I read the fantasy novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell novel three years ago. Now that it has become an 8 episode series on the BBC I can confidently say that Game of Thrones isn’t the only successful fantasy book adaption to television. There is very little in this massive book that the series leaves out and the adaption is a more accurate a portrayal of the book than I would’ve thought to see. It exceeded all expectations for a book that I would’ve called ‘pretty good’ at best. Like with Game of Thrones and Gormanghast before it, this is yet another television series that I can honestly say you would be better off spending your time watching the show rather than reading the novels they came from.
Thanks to it’s accuracy to the original content, both the novel and the series is about magicians during the Napoleonic war and the rediscovery of magic. It explores elements of loss and insanity and does a very entertaining job of it. The world was just as the book described and the only complaint I could make would be that some of the CGI needed for visually portraying some of the magic later in the series could have… nope, too petty to say, even for me. The acting was superb for exploring the colorful characters of the book and unlike the novel, by the end of the the series I can now remember the name of every character in the story. The roles for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell were chosen perfectly with only the real differences being the comparisons that could made between them and the novel’s illustrations; mainly the Gentleman with the Thistle Down Hair.
Entertaining, thought provoking and enjoyable on all fronts, don’t wait for the next series of GoT for your next fantasy fix, it’s already here and arguably better than the latest season. Being a short review I’ll sum this series up with a recommendation to watch it if even the briefest curiosity encourages you.