Mar 17, 2012

What's the Matter with Me!? ~ by guest blogger Mary3

When I first came across John Thornton
in North and South, I really, realllly didn't like him. 

OMG! There he was, with a ferociously mean look on his face,
beating up a poor, pint-sized, helpless worker whom he had caught smoking in his cotton mill;
a much smaller man who was begging him for mercy, while the startled
minister's daughter, Margaret Hale, looked on in amazement... shocked, horrified and appalled.
Nope. John Thornton was definitely not going to be an ideal, Darcy-like, admirable hero,
neither to Margaret Hale, nor to me. (Why was I even watching this story about a grimy little mill
town up in the cold hinterlands of England, when I could be re-watching Jane Eyre or
Pride & Prejudice for the hundredth millionth time? What was the matter with me?)

But I stuck with the story and continued to watch North and South
because it was, after all, a period drama, and I love period dramas.

Then, just a few episodes later,
there I was madly in love with John Thornton!
Yes, that very same John Thornton who had beaten up that scrawny Lilliputian worker.
How'd Thornton do that? How'd he win me over and have me cheering for him, and not for Margaret Hale,
when Margaret Hale was obviously the much more admirable character? What was the matter with me?

Well, first of all, John Thornton looked like
Richard Armitage, (mainly because he was Richard Armitage).
Then one evening in the story he explained in a pained, yet stentorian
Armitagean voice just why he had almost beaten a poor scrubby devil senseless;
it was all to save his poor mill hand Eds and Ellas from being burnt to cinders by a weak and selfish lout.
How great was that?!  One simply could NOT argue with his ultra-noble motive for beating the little runt to
a pulp. (Are you going to tell me that one minuscule mill hand is more important than the possible incineration
of hundreds of innocent workers, and now even YOU are asking what is the matter with me!?)

Close to the end of the story, I wanted to shake that Margaret Hale for not appreciating
John Thornton, for humiliating him so, for making him feel unworthy of her and her love.
Could she not see that she had misjudged him badly; that this was in truth a kind,
caring, selfless, passionate and, OMG, so unbelievably tall and awesomely handsome man
whom any sane woman would die for?  What was the matter with her?

Finally, all ended up beautifully after a fortuitous,
felicitous, accidental encounter on a railway platform.
I re-watched that final scene over and over and over again. I couldn't get enough of it. Truth to tell, I still
can't get enough of it. Maybe I'll be re-watching it over and over ... and over ... for the rest of my life.

Have you seen that railway scene?
And if you have, can you blame me for being enthralled, for having developed such
a crush on John Thornton, aka Richard Armitage? Can you still ask what is the matter with me?  
If so, what is the matter with YOU?!

*        *        *        *        *

About Mary Grace, aka: Mary3 ~

Artist and writer Mary Grace Dembeck isn't sure which she loves to do most ... paint or write.

Born in New York City, she has lived in Westport, CT, for the past 45 years. She has exhibited paintings at The National Academy of Design, and her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Ranger Rick, and various other US journals and magazines.

Mary also collaborated on a number of songs with singer Maureen McGovern, and on a children's musical, The Bengal Tiger's Ball , based on one of Mary's poems, and it was performed in a month long run by Ms. McGovern at The Civic Theatres near Orlando, Florida. The musical was based mainly on Mary's lyrics.

Her short story "Act of Memory" is included in the Paul Auster/NPR anthology "I Thought My Father Was God" (in Britain, the book is entitled: "True Stories of American Life".)  It has been made into a short film by British actor/director Jack Ryder (formerly of Eastenders). The film has been entered in the Cannes Film Festival, as well as other festivals, and makes its World Premiere in America on March 24, 2012 at the Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey.  The film has now also been accepted at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California. Jack Ryder's goal is to have the film shown on the BBC this coming Christmas Eve.

Mary Grace is also the author of a collection of children's wacky poetry entitled
MOONSNACKS and Assorted Nuts.

Nat's Notes: Mary Grace is one of my newest RA buddies!
We met on C19 a few months ago when I chose her hilarious caption as the winner of
one of the
Crinkle Zone caption contests.  (She writes the funniest captions!)  We started messaging back and
forth, and despite our age difference (she called me a "young whippersnapper") and living thousands of
miles apart, we felt like "kindred spirits." Mary Grace is so witty and charming...
I've enjoyed getting to know her.

When I asked her to be a guest blogger, I had no idea Mary Grace was a published author!
In fact, it wasn't until she sent me her "about me" information that I learned of her accomplishments.
I was so surprised, since she had never mentioned anything about being a writer in our messages, and seemed so nervous and humble about being a guest blogger.  (As if The Washington Post isn't much compared to The RA Fan Blog!  HA!)  I had to tease her about that. :)  I recently read her book of poems, "Moonsnacks and Assorted Nuts," to my children and they LOVED it.  She has written a few RA-inspired poems, which you can read in the C19 forum... maybe one day she'll publish another poetry book called 
"RA Fans: The Real Assorted Nuts."  I hope it includes limericks! :)


mulubinba said...

Thanks Nat and thanks to you, Mary for this little piece about falling for John thornton.

I have a confession - I actually saw the railway station scene on a YouTube vidoe before I saw N&S. It was a bit of a cheat, but it helped get me through the beating scene. I think I fell for him at the beginning of part 2 when he walks up behind Margaret while she is talking to the two spinners.

mulubinba said...

Just read my typos above .... sorry!! It's the keyboard's fault!

Luciana said...

I'm here asking: What's the matter with us??? Lovely post. Thank you both por it!!!

CDoart said...

Thank you, Mary3 and Nat, for this wonderful story and analysis of what is the matter with us ;o)
What a find, Nat!
I hope to hear more about your work, Mary3!

CDoart said...

Nat, I forgot to tell you, that I love your SFR drawings! Especially the one munching a 'chocolate one' ;o)

BKJ said...

This N&S experience happened to me too almost excactly as you described! :-) Thank you for sharing Mary. (BTW- I believe I've read your poetry book when I was little. Will need to look it up to freshen my memory.)

Anonymous said...

Happy St. Patricks Day to you all!
Nat: just rewatched your RA St. Patty's vid and laughed.

Mary: None of us are asking what's wrong with you-- we're nodding our heads in empahty knowing EXACTLY what you mean! I heart Thornton! (Who doesn't!?)


Gratiana Lovelace said...

Hi Mary Grace and Nat,
You're in good company-we all love JT. And enthralled is a very good word for it. Ha!
Cheers! Grati ;->

Phoebe said...

Ahhh, I loved your post!

I was so shocked by the beating scene so early in the adaptation that I have never gotten over it. Every time I see it I can't help but call out "My John would never do that!"

And we wouldn't be pig-headed as Margaret I am sure. Who could resist his allure?

BTW it is a pleasure to meet such an accomplished lover of the arts. Must find your children's book to add to my 'sit on my lap' library.

Violet8886 said...

Mary Grace is a nice addition to the Guest Blogger group Nat. :) She did a good job. The Railway scene does win you over. I think you fall for his vulnerability and need for love as well as his handsomeness...He is not just a stern factory boss..and Margaret Hale comes to know and understand that and you put it so beautifully Mary Grace. :)

Lost in Books (SiouxsieSioux) said...

Mary is one heck of a witty lady, we've become friends through C19 and she is a kindred spirit who never ceases to amaze. A charming and funny contribution M3!!

Anonymous said...

Richard Armitage is the most divine, long drink of cool, cool water in existence. The longing he is able to express with those intense brooding eyes gives me chills. Simply put, I am in love. I fell for him from first sight. As far as the beating he doled out; the worker WAS SMOKING in a cotton mill! He deserved if. I , for one, ADORE a man who is confident & upright enough to know when a situation calls for violence. As a parent, responsible for the welfare of your child, would you not reserve your brimstone for dire circumstances such as life threatening wrong decisions. He was quite right. I say well done Mr. Thornton... oh and leave the cravat on.

Anonymous said...

He plays a lot of characters named John, doesn't he? Loved John Thornton, my fave so far. He always brings a lot of depth to his roles, which I really find interesting.

Anonymous said...

I had a very similar experience with N&S and I hate to tell you how many times I've watched it. Sometimes I watch it all but most of the time I skip to all the scenes with RA and especially the train scene. Watched it last night in fact.