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You guys, this is so so so good! I am halfway through the first ep and had to stop and share. I think I am going to buy the books. It's sharp (oh, the dialogue is to die for) and complicated and the cinematography is gorgeous. I really like Christopher (he corrects the entries in the Encyclopedia Britannica as a hobby! I think that means instant love on my part), I have just met Valentine but I already adore her because she looks utterly straightforward (the very opposite of Sylvia) and is a suffragette who interrupts meetings and protests! Ummm, she and Christopher had about two minutes worth of interaction so far, but I already ship them like mad. Oh, and there is Sylvia. She is perhaps the most complex character in all this. You know, it hit me - she is pretty much what Rebecca must have been like (from Daphne du Maurier's novel). I think she is a loathsome human being but she is beyond fascinating - you can see why everyone is in love with her. I think she is trapped by the Edwardian world more than anyone else.

Sylvia the night before her wedding. P.S., that is not the groom. She is totally amoral (she basically forced her future husband to marry her by claiming she was pregnant by him and not her lover) and totally beautiful.

The sequences leading to the wedding almost felt like something out of Henry Fielding.

Awwww, Christopher with 'his' (he has no idea if he is or isn't) son. Honestly, the whole stiff upper lip thing and repression are way overrated. He actually feels bad that he can't help but be sweet and caring with the boy because that is being soft. Therapy! Except they didn't have it back then.

It's pretty clear that this a marriage of two trapped people who have nothing in common with each other. (Also, Sylvia, stop throwing china. It's expensive).

Like I said, she is spiteful and cruel and a cheater and incapable of love, but she is fascinating and pitiable and trapped.

I just love this shot because it looks like a painting. Christopher after Sylvia ran off to Paris with another man. Personally, I'd be throwing a party, but I am not an Edwardian aristocrat. Also, he doesn't believe in divorce as it's not gentlemanly to do it to one's wife, no matter how awful she was. OMFG, Sylvia=Helen, Valentine=Taggie, and Christopher=Rupert from Jilly Cooper books. Minus all the orgies and Rupert's psycho past, that is. Well, and with FMF being literature and Jilly Cooper...not :P.

Sending his son to be with the kid's aunt because someone needs to take care of the boy. That kid is going to grow up so fucked up.

Sylvia writes him back she wants to come back as she's bored with her lover. And he takes her back because he doesn't believe in divorce and for the kid. Honestly, get a time machine and move to 1970s California, people!

Christopher meets Valentine. As she is running away from an angry mob of dudes because she was just protesting and wrecked their golf game. He helps her escape. And actually, you see the exact moment he falls for her.

Here because I love evening clothes.

So, basically if you love smart, gorgeous dramas full of severely repressed people, come right in.

Oh, and I peeked at the end of PE and

He left Sylvia forever but he won't divorce her. And Valentine says she doesn't care and moves in anyway. This is probably the first time I've cheered for adultery!!!! (Though there is a hint Sylvia will divorce him to marry a more socially desirable parti). And there is pretty much no furniture or anything else but they are about to host a party for his war comrades and she will be his hostess...And I about died when she was making his bed (which I think is a soldier's cot?) and just leaned in to smell his pillow. I used to do it when I first moved in with Mr. Mousie!!!! And there is his asking her to dance! And they look so ridiculously happy! And there is more (kdramas need to have some massive makeouts too).

Basically, I have no idea how they got to this point and I don't care because ship ship ship!

So, yes, I am obsessed.

Date: 2012-10-15 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corlee1289.livejournal.com
I think I have a dangerous and unhealthy relationship with your livejournal, I check it constantly if you've updated with a post so that I can swoon and flail silently alongside with you instead of doing school work OTL


Date: 2012-10-15 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
It's so so good. I cannot recommend highly enough.

Date: 2012-10-15 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Benedict Cumberbatch?!

Yes, please.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-15 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Benedict Cumberbatch... That's why I love british actors, they are less polished but more perfect than any other actor in the States (sorry!). :3

Date: 2012-10-15 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
He is excellent. His character is reserved almost to the point of muteness, but he expresses so much despite that.

Date: 2012-10-15 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cleobulle.livejournal.com
I'd completely forgotten about Parade's End!

I watched the first 2 episodes a fex weeks ago and then stopped because there was no more to watch. I then tried to go and google the book it's based on to find out spoilers about what was going to happen next but I couldn't find much and totally forgot about it.

I might pick it up again.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
It's all out and I have found myself obsessed. It almost never happens with a Western show...

Date: 2012-10-15 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyxu.livejournal.com
I loved the framing and the values of Parade's End, but I kept getting thrown out of the narrative because I couldn't turn off my values dissonance. D:

But it's a beautiful, beautiful show.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
I prefer Victorian literature out of all kinds of literature (no idea why, but I do) and by those standards, PE is positively revolutionary, values-wise. So that doesn't bother me. I mean, for example Christopher's ideas about divorce would be insane for a modern person, but for 1912, they aren't unusual.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyxu.livejournal.com
I know, right, that's what makes it weird! I mean, I watch historical dramas all the time and read regency-era novels! But there's this strange sense of nostalgia in Parade's End for that kind of rarified overbred Old-Boys' Club way of life that I just can't stomach.

Which is a shame, because it's a good story, and an amazing visual presentation.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
See, I don't get nostalgia at all (which I do get with Downton Abbey, actually). I actually keep thinking how much happier everyone would be if they didn't get brought up in Victorian times and got the bad luck of living in Edwardian times and having WW1 and that is what I get from the show a lot (interesting how perspectives differ).

I mean, take Sylvia. She is not a nice person, but in our modern world she'd be a lot happier - for instance, her tendency to sleep around or whatever would not force her into marriage or even be particularly odd. She could do what she wanted in general. And there is little stigma to divorce so she and Christopher (who I am pretty sure would not have divorce views - his views remind me of those Victorian/regency things where a man would never break off the engagement, a woman had to do it. And only divorce grounds were for adultery with horrific publicity) could split. A lot of her spitefulness comes from their utter incompatibility - she wants operatic drama and a husband like a romance novel hero from the 1980s, and Christopher is the last person to give her that. She'd be free to seek it nowadays.

And Christopher - all I keep thinking is if he were brought up in hippie California, how much happier he would be. I mean, this is a man who is ashamed of the fact that he is tender with his child, because his upbringing emphasized stiff upper lip to the degree of rigor mortis. Or the way he is generally repressed. Not a good way to live.

(Valentine actually is very comfortable in her skin but, significantly, she is a social reformer).

I mean, nostalgia doesn't bother me - I enjoy Downton Abbey, but I guess I didn't get that vibe here.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyxu.livejournal.com
Huh, we've basically traded off on our feelings re: Downton Abbey and Parade's End, because I don't feel the nostalgia in Downton - I mean, Lord Grantham is obviously yearning for the good old days but the show as a whole is so stunted in terms of change. I read it as a fantasy for Julian Fellowes to write out his 'last lord's huzzah' kind of thing. And I felt it more last season, but this season as well - if the girls were in the modern world, they'd do better and be happier. The nostalgia here is external.

On the other hand, I think a central theme in Parade's End is actually about the death of Victorian/Edwardian aristocracy and so there is presented in the characters, a certain sense of nostalgia or stubborn clinging to old ideals. (Or, in the case of Sylvia, reluctant imprisonment by them.) The transition period, of course, is the war, and it's accomplished a lot better than in Downton, it's more visceral.

Anyway, at the end (oops?) of Parade's End Tietjens clearly unbends enough to allow himself to be happy. I'm glad it was written that way.

Date: 2012-10-15 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
End of Parade's End - that should have been the title of the last ep :)

I have a problem with DA (not enough to stop my enjoyment of it) because of the way it portrays master/servant, with all the good servants (well, minus the chauffeur), serving the family happily. PE doesn't focus on the servant class so at least that is not there. I get the feeling if I had to be an Edwardian servant, I'd join the Communists.

I think PE does have a liking for 'noblesse oblige' but I guess I view it as different from aristocratic hooray - a sort of difference between 'upper class is awesome and nobler than anyone' and 'such and such has a strong moral view' I find it more sympathetic to change than DA actually.

But I totally understand MMV and all that.

Date: 2012-10-15 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyxu.livejournal.com
Haha, yeah I totally get what you're saying. And you've prompted me to put it on again, and Parade's End is one of those shows that improve on rewatch, because I'm picking things up now that I didn't before!


Date: 2012-10-23 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] algelic.livejournal.com
Seriously, such gorgeous cinematography. I just felt like printing some screencaps and hanging them as paintings in my room. Beautiful scenes!

Oh! You mentioned Rebecca (from the Daphne du Maurier novel)! Oh god, I couldn't stand that book! The nameless "heroine" drove me nuts! But yes, Sylvia is very similar to Rebecca.

The first scenes of "Parade's End" baffled me. I mean, I get why an honorable man would marry the woman (claiming to) bearing his child... but it seems to out of character that he jumped her (or let himself be jumped) on a FIRST meeting right THERE in the train. I had to put that nagging thought aside to enjoy the rest of the series.

Date: 2012-10-23 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
I got the same feeling about the train scene - I just view it as a McGuffin that needed to get the story going - it is very out of character for him.


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