“I dare not hope. I never was fainthearted before; but I cannot believe such a creature cares for me.”
Let me start out by saying that I’m a diehard romantic, even though that part of me has taken a backseat in everyday life. Pride and Prejudice, is one of my favorite books of all times and Mr. Darcy is one of my non-real life loves (and that was even way way before Colin Firth set fire to everyone’s hearts in the BBC adaptation). When this diehard romantic met Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South, my life changed.
A few weeks back, while browsing through Netflix, I had noticed “North & South” as a recommendation for me. Seeing that it was a period drama and assuming that it was probably more like Downton Abbey, I dismissed it (I will freely admit that I’m not the biggest fan of DA even though I did binge watch all seasons when it landed on streaming service). Something made me start watching North & South, maybe the stern looking yet reasonably handsome guy on the cover.
And then I was compelled to binge watch all the 4 episodes of North & South.
Where was this mini-series all my life?! Where was that smoldering guy all my life?
Produced in 2004, with some liberal liberties as screen adaptions usually have, North and South is a period drama. It is however, not a period drama showcasing a “posh” life of balls and music and walks in the park like Jane Austen, but instead highlights the cold darkness of the fictional industrial town of Milton( most of the shots are almost in black and white). Think of it as a mixture of the romance of Jane Austen between Margaret Hale (South) and Mr. Thornton (North) with the reality of a Dickens amidst dying workers and strikes.
I fell in love with the character of John Thornton. And even more in love with the actor playing him – Richard Armitage. If I did not recognize him on the cover, it was probably because we’ve seen him unrecognizable as the regal Dwarf Prince/King Thorin from The Hobbit. Yes, he has the looks (and the talent) but Armitage’s performance as John Thornton left me breathless in every one of the key scenes with Margaret Hale; especially the very last scene. The proposal at the end of episode 2 and the final scene with the kiss (the artistic liberties that the screenplay took) – an absolutely breathless moment! No wonder the BBC message board servers crashed when North & South aired!
In real life, I’m not one who finds the overbearing strong man attractive (I like Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, but not in love as many fans are. I prefer the quite intellect of Mr. Darcy), but Armitage’s Thornton was strong with a side a of insecurity and passion, exactly as how writer Elizabeth Gaskell described him, and that made me absolutely love the character and the actor. I may have found someone to challenge my feelings for Mr. Darcy!
So for the past few days, while I battle sucky runs and just a feeling of all round despondency, I’ve been taking refuge in one of the best period drama show that I have seen with one of the most hunkiest actors I’ve seen. It’s the little things that make us smile and move along as I get ready for a treadmill run while watching – you guessed it, North & South.