The Return of Queen V ~ #JNGWatches

Long may she reign.

You all didn’t think the trailer for the second season of ITV’s popular drama Victoria would come out without me writing a blog post, did you?  I hope not, because if you know me well, you’ll know that I’ve been waiting for this trailer for half a year, desperately wanting to know what will happen next for Queen Victoria and her dashing Prince Albert.

I was more than a little obsessed with Victoria when it originally aired (I even wrote reviews of every single episode, the first of which you can read here), mainly because it encapsulated absolutely everything I look for in a television show and story!  It was gorgeously rendered, visually intoxicating, expertly acted, dramatic, funny and entertaining!  It was a class act production, from the sumptuous costumes to the jaw-dropping sets to the extraordinary acting talents of Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Rufus Sewell and many others.  I was blown away by the entire thing, and so happy to see the Victorian era and this impressive, modern-minded queen coming into the spotlight.

The first season ended on a great note, with Victoria giving birth to her first child and grappling with what it means to be a wife and mother while simultaneously being a queen.  This is an interesting dual identity to explore and it is clear from the season two trailer that Victoria’s struggles with domesticity will be emphasized and interrogated.  The trailer does suggest, though, that this season will be even more romantic than the first (if that’s even possible because the first one was an absolute romantic masterpiece!), and it seems that Victoria and Albert’s marriage will not only be put to the test but will also grow stronger and more solidified as they face issues together as a strong family unit.

Okay, so let’s get into this.  I’m going to break apart some of the things I noticed from this dense trailer, the things that stood out to me and that I am most excited for…

(Sidenote: this probably marks my 15th time watching this trailer in the last day…it is totally addictive and there is just so much to take in!)

  • First of all, can I just say that the music in this trailer is perfection?! It sounds very similar to the title theme of the show (which is also absolutely gorgeous and is actually my alarm clock tone) and so has very Victorian instrumental notes, but then it becomes clear that it is a modern song and I think this juxtaposition of the Victorian imagery with this contemporary music emphasizes the fact that this show is modern in many ways and that Queen Victoria’s story can easily be applied to and enjoyed in the 21st century.
  • The imagery and aesthetic is breathtaking for this entire trailer. I like that it focuses solely on Victoria, and on other characters in relation to her, and the way the camera focuses on her and creates beautiful pictures/almost portraits of her is really romantic and gives the reader a warm and intimate feeling.  We are watching Victoria in her most personal moments and it truly does feel like we know her, like we are friends with her or living through her, even in such a short trailer.

“Do you remember kissing me here before we were married?  Everything was simpler then.” ~ Victoria to Albert

  • Oh yes, Victoria, we remember…talk about one of the most romantic scenes of season 1! Having said that, I love how soft and gentle Jenna’s voice is here, and I love that is it clear that she is not only reminiscing on the start of her romance with Albert, she is also a little bit wistful and depressed.  It is clear that she wishes to go back to easier times, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out throughout the season and in her relationship with her daughter.
  • Also, it has to be said that Victoria’s black, crushed velvet dress is probably the most beautiful dress I’ve seen on this show so far! Totally jealous!
  • I love how often Victoria’s hair is down in this trailer, especially in that moment where she is walking with her horse and Albert. It harkens back to Albert’s statement in season 1 that he likes when her hair is down because she is unbound and seems more human and less of a queen.  It’s nice to see that she is allowing herself to be a woman, and not a monarch, in quiet moments with her husband.

“You will always be my beloved.” ~ Albert to Victoria

  • Trust Albert to swoop in and say something ridiculously adorable and sexy right when it seems like Victoria is feeling emotional and vulnerable. Be still, my heart!
  • It’s fascinating to think that the show is going to explore elements of postpartum depression, and how debilitating this must feel for Victoria, considering that she is a queen and is meant to be strong and powerful. I like that the show is willing to delve into mental health issues, and I have no doubt they will do so with grace and tact and that it will add a very interesting layer to Victoria’s character.
  • When the music picks up and all these images are swirling together, particularly Victoria’s corset being adjusted and her in different social situations, like riding and at dances…just wow! This section of the trailer is so artfully done and it encompasses so much without being overbearing.

“To be a queen, I must rule.  Yet to be a wife, it seems I must submit.” ~ Victoria

  • I feel that this is a struggle that women still face: how to be a wife and mother and still enter the workforce, have dreams and goals and talents. This is undoubtedly a tough position to be in, probably more so if one is a monarch, and as a young woman about to get married herself, I am very interested to see how Victoria manages this split identity.
  • I don’t even want to know why it shows Victoria in mourning clothes. I’m not ready to go there just yet!

“God had nothing to do with it.” ~ Victoria

  • I love that Victoria’s sassy nature is coming out again this season, and I also think it will be interesting to see her get frustrated with her family members once again, particularly her mother. She is very in tune to what people say and think, and I am eager to see her deliver some powerful speeches and one liners again.
  • Did Victoria throw something at Albert? Yes, it appears so!  Haha, I love it…that will be an amazing and dramatic scene to see!  (And I should say that this was my fiancé’s favourite moment in the entire trailer.)
  • That last image of Victoria waving like the true queen she is…exquisite!

I have no doubt that this second season of Victoria is going to be spectacular!  Here’s hoping ITV and Masterpiece release a few more teasers in the months to come.

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

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Tale as Old as Time – #JNGWatches

“It’s my favourite part because, you’ll see,

here’s where she meets Prince Charming

~ but she won’t discover that it’s him ‘til chapter three.”

~ Belle

If you’re a longtime follower of this little blog, you already know how fond I am of stories, how invested and engrossed I get in the tales of fictional characters.  I’ve raved about Jane Eyre and her dashing Mr. Rochester, I’ve gushed over the more modern romance between Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire, and I’ve even obsessed over a piece of chick lit. every once and a awhile as well.  I am the type of person who wears my literature loving heart on my sleeve (in all its green glory), and I’ve ranted about other forms of pop culture as well, such as my adoration for musicals like The Phantom of the Opera and plays like Angels in America.  And, I’ve mentioned on countless occasions, that one particular film, from the earliest days of my childhood, touched me on a profound level when I was only a little girl.

~ Beauty and the Beast ~

Arguably Disney’s greatest movie.  It officially came out in November 1991, the very month and year I was born, and so there’s no denying that Belle and I were born around the same time, and may in fact (at least in my mind) be one and the same person.  Now, naturally, I’m somewhat delusional when it comes to fiction, making it such a huge driving force in my life, allowing it to inform many of my decisions over the years, like the courses I studied in university, and the friends I’ve chosen to surround myself with, and the man I’ve decided to marry.  But no piece of fiction has been with me as long as Beauty and the Beast, and I feel strongly that it is responsible for many of the aspects of my personality that I hold so dear.  There’s no doubt that the movies and books we encounter as young children have the ability to shape our thoughts and mold our future, and I was such a young girl when I first watched Belle’s story.  Is it any wonder, then, that I went on to develop a passion for the French language and for novels and the written word?  Growing up in a small town just east of Toronto was also significant, because I identified on so many levels with Belle’s desire to escape her “provincial life”, the “little town” in which she was born and raised.  Is it any wonder, then, that I chose to go off to the big city, to downtown Toronto, for university, and that I have decided to make this very city the home of my adulthood?  Belle, although to many people no more than a cartoon princess, was my soul mate as a child, my role model, and so very much of who I have become is owed to her.

So, imagine my jealousy when I heard that Beauty and the Beast was being remade, as a live action film, and that Emma Watson was taking my rightful role of Belle.  I’m kidding, of course – I was unbearably excited as soon as I learned that my beloved B&B was getting an update, and although I wasn’t sure how I felt about any of the casting, I was eager to give the film the chance it deserved.  I went in with an open-mind (which was surprising to everyone who knows my intense love for the original), and I immediately bought my tickets to see the movie this past Saturday, the day after opening night.

Well, as much as I would’ve loved to be able to critique something about the film and maybe present a bit of a more dignified review, I can’t – the film was nothing short of PERFECT!  I was in tears several times throughout the movie, and every tiny detail of it took my breath away.  This is going to be another rave-y post because I can’t gush about this movie enough.  I was tempted to pay for another ticket and watch it from the beginning again within minutes of it finishing, and if it wasn’t sold out, I probably would have.

I saw the movie with my fiancé, mother and father, all of whom are consciously aware of just how important this story is to me.  The most surprising thing is that all three of them absolutely loved the movie too!  I was expecting my mom to adore it because she has always been just as obsessed with the original as I am, but I was not anticipating just how excited my dad and SS would be about it.  They’re both eager to see the movie again and SS was singing lines from the various songs throughout the rest of the weekend.  He makes a pretty convincing Gaston, I must say!

The movie is touching – that is probably the best word to describe it.  So much of it just took my breath away, from the incredible and jaw-dropping sets to the gorgeous costumes.  I was extremely skeptical about the CGI and hoping that the Beast wouldn’t look too cartoon-y and ridiculous, and in the end I was so impressed with how realistic he looked.  His facial expressions were exact and I had no problem believing that he was actually real.  And of course, my favourite enchanted objects looked exquisite, as usual, and I was quite fond of the reboot and makeover they each got.

The music was just as incredible as in the original, and I was blown away by the musical numbers, particularly the performance of the song “Gaston”.  Was I expecting Luke Evans to be able to sing?  No.  Was I thoroughly impressed with him, on all accounts, but particularly during his  musical number?  Absolutely!  Luke Evans was by far the breakout star of the entire movie for me (probably because I have always had a soft spot for the villain!), and his dancing and singing was absolutely perfect!  This specific scene was easily the most fun of the entire movie, and Evans oozed this confidence that was exactly what the role needed.  He was my favourite part of the whole movie, no question!

From the time my mom and I met Gaston at Disney World!

Credit must be given to the other superb actors though.  Ewan McGregor was hilarious as Lumière, and he performed “Be Our Guest” flawlessly.  Ian McKellan was the dream Cogsworth, and Emma Thompson was the quintessential Mrs. Potts – she also performed the title song with grace and skill.  Emma Watson was, I must admit, a pretty great Belle, and while that character is very dear to me and it is hard for me to say this, I think she was very well cast and did a good job channeling Belle’s goodness and charm.

“How do you feel about growing a beard?” ~ Belle to Prince Adam

(Easily the most adorable and funny line of the whole film, and definitely my favourite!)

The greatest surprise for me, though, was Dan Stevens as the Beast.  I haven’t seen Stevens in any other roles (although SS tells me he’s remarkable in the TV show Legion) and so I had no expectations of him – but, he truly blew me away!  One of the many minor additions to the original is a solo song for the Beast called “Evermore”, which I found so endearing and moving.  Stevens brilliantly acted it and his singing was just great, and I found that particular scene to be so essential to the story because it really added a human quality to the Beast’s character.  There was no doubt, after that scene, that he had truly become a prince on the inside, where it counts.

“I am not a beast.” ~ Adam (aka the Beast)

I’d also like to briefly touch on the controversy surrounding some aspects of the film.  There’s no need to go into too much detail because I don’t want to bring any negativity to this review or give any credibility to this criticism, and I honestly haven’t read too much up on it because the headlines alone frustrated me.  Anyone who’s being critical of the fact that the film does include references to homosexuality is being totally ridiculous, in my opinion.  The film is beautiful, it stays true to its strong message of loving people for who they are on the inside, and it presents powerful role models to young children, particularly young girls.  By including some subtle references to homosexuality, I feel that the filmmakers only made the story more inclusive and more representative of our society, and I think that is simply wonderful!  There is at least one character in this film that everyone can attach to and be inspired by, and I think that is exactly how Disney stories need to be updated and brought into the 21st century.  For anyone who criticizes the film for these sorts of things, I would encourage them to actually see it with an open mind and an open heart, because they may actually learn a thing or two about love and kindness.

Beauty and the Beast deserves 5-stars, if you ask me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!  There is something for literally everyone to enjoy and I am so happy to say that it did the original so very proud!

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

The Crown – #JNGWatches

Good evening Dear Readers and welcome to 2017 at The World of my Green Heart!

My apologies for the extreme delay in posting, but time got away from me over these holidays, since my last blog entry. I’ll mention a bit more about this in tomorrow’s post (yes, that’s right, you’ll be getting two posts in a row to make up for my absence!), but I was specifically kept away from my computer by SS who happened to have 10 days off of work over the holidays. We were able to spend all of these 10 days together – he is right beside me as I write this very text – and I just couldn’t find time to get onto my laptop or even to read. I am finding the time now, though, and I am happy to say that I have many ideas for posts that will be coming very soon! I’m also thoroughly enjoying my current read, Gillespie and I by Jane Harris, so I am certain that I will be finishing it within the next few days, as I get back to work and my lunchtime Starbucks reading routine. I’ve set myself a goal of 18 books in the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge, and what with my full time work schedule and spending every weekend with SS, I think I will be keeping myself pretty busy trying to read a book and a half every month for the next year. Wish me luck!

Anyway, let’s get to the subject of today’s particular post. I’m a fan of the monarchy – actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m a fan of Queen Victoria but that doesn’t mean that I’m an expert on English history by any standards. I know a lot about the Victorian era in terms of literature and culture, and I am a collector of facts pertaining to the queen who gave this time period her name, but that doesn’t mean I know much about King Henry the VIII or Queen Elizabeth I or even the current reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. While I woke up ridiculously early in second year university to watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, I’m not a super fan of the Windsor family really. I appreciate their existence and I like the idea of royal families, but I don’t know much about the current family that inhabits Buckingham Palace.

You can’t imagine, however, just how many people have asked me if I’ve seen Netflix’s new original series The Crown. In theory, it makes perfect sense that they would be shocked that it took me this long to get around to watching it – I’m very vocal about my love for Queen Victoria, so it stands to reason that I would also be interested in (or even obsessed with) Queen E II. I’m not though, so I didn’t feel the same passion to watch The Crown that I did when I watched ITV’s drama Victoria. Not even close, to be frank. But, the phenomenon that is this Netflix series certainly intrigued me, so I sat down this past week and blasted through all 10 episodes with SS.

I have to say, I really did enjoy it. Like I said, I don’t know much about Elizabeth’s reign, specifically the beginning of it in the early 1950’s, and I did learn quite a lot about the economic and social climate of the mid-20th century. Having said that, I did find many parts of the series, particularly the more political bits involving the government at Downing Street, to be a touch boring and hard to follow. While John Lithgow put in a formidable and admirable performance as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, I still didn’t love the parts where he and his fellow politicians were discussing the laws of England. It didn’t seem all that relevant to me and I found it hard to keep track of their issues, concerns and preoccupations.

What I did really enjoying about the series, though, was the relationships it explored, and the way in which the characters within these relationships were portrayed. In terms of more minor characters, I became very fond of King George, particularly during the flashbacks that were used after his death early in the series, and I also became fascinated by his brother, the former King Edward VIII. The conflicts that these men experience, due largely to the pressures of being royalty, are quite surprising, and I was interested in King Edward’s relationship with the divorced woman he chose over his throne. These were elements of English history that I had no idea about, and I felt the brotherly relationship between George and Edward was really nicely portrayed and explored. The same can be said for the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret. Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby play these roles to perfection, and each dialogue they engage in is full of masterfully measured tone and body language that suggests a discomfort and jealousy between the two sisters that I hadn’t previously expected. Their relationship becomes more and more complicated as the series progresses, and as Margaret becomes open about her relationship with a divorced man, and it is very interesting to see the internal tension that Elizabeth experiences as she must choose whether to be a good sister or a responsible queen. I was on the edge of my seat during many of the conversations between these two characters, and I think Foy and Kirby had great chemistry and were very believable as sisters who both love and resent each other.

The breakout star of the series was, for me, Matt Smith as Prince Philip. Wow, that man was something else! I’m not a Doctor Who fan at all and I’ve actually never even seen an episode, but I know a lot of people who are very fond of Matt Smith, and now I can see why. He’s a fabulous actor, and his portrayal of Philip was so surprising to me in every way! Maybe I don’t know enough about the real-life Prince Philip, but I was shocked to find that he is portrayed as a bit of a playboy in The Crown. His one liners are witty and totally unexpected, and he comes across as quite immature and difficult to deal with most of the time. Smith gives Philip an element of the juvenile, but he is also arguably the most memorable character. The scenes between Elizabeth and Philip are uncomfortable and fascinating, and I am very eager to see how their relationship develops over the next several seasons. It’s interesting to watch a series where we know exactly what the ending will be: Elizabeth and Philip will live into their nineties and remain married. What makes this series unique is that it takes the inevitable and complicates it, providing us viewers with a glimpse into the dramas that resulted in the present we are so familiar with.

There’s no doubt that The Crown is a good piece of television, and I’m not surprised that it is nominated for several Golden Globes. My prediction is that it will win many, and I was hoping to see an award for Matt Smith myself, which doesn’t seem like it will be possible considering that he wasn’t even nominated (an outrage, in my opinion, unless I’m missing something and he was in fact nominated…?!). I would, in any case, highly recommend the series because it makes for an intriguing and dramatic watching experience. It is definitely binge worthy!

Let me know in the comments below if you get around to watching it and what you think.

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Christmas Film Recommendations – #JNGWatches

Hello dear Readers!

I thought it was high time that I gave you all some Christmas movie recommendations. Today felt like the perfect day to do this because I just encountered a well-known and much loved film for the first time, and it truly touched my heart.

As you all know, I am an avid, passionate fan of the Christmas season, and one of the pastimes that gets me into the spirit each year is watching Christmas movies every night with my parents. We’ve recently brought SS into the fold, and we watched four movies last weekend alone. My mother and I are unstoppable when it comes to scouring out movies, taping them and scheduling time for us all to sit down and watch them. We have a very good idea of whether or not we will like a Christmas film just from the description, and we’ve found some real winners over the years that have become near and dear to our hearts. Although I can’t possibly go through all the Christmas movies we’ve watched here, I would like to recommend a few of my yearly go-to’s, as well as talk about a couple new favourites.

Forever Favourites

~ Borrowed Hearts ~

Borrowed Hearts is a touching and fun Christmas film that is full of romance and valuable lessons. Starring Eric McCormack as a businessman who has no time for holiday cheer, and Roma Downey as the single mother who turns his life around, this movie features some remarkably charming moments, such as a scene featuring a heartwarming game of Twister, a visit to an outdoor skating rink and a whole host of family moments and traditions. McCormack’s character is heavily inspired by Scrooge, and it is exciting to watch him go from grumpy and surly bachelor to a true family man. Hector Elizondo is also just lovely as Javier Del Campo, another businessman who is more appreciative of family values and who encourages McCormack’s character to focus on love rather than his bank account over the Christmas season. There are strong suggestions that Del Campo is actually an angel, and this is a fun twist that really makes the movie feel even more like a Christmas classic. My mother and I have been watching this film for many years, and it is one of the classics that we won’t skip watching every Christmas season.

~ The Bells of St. Mary’s ~

Strictly speaking, The Bells of St. Mary’s is not a Christmas film. There is one Christmas scene in it, but this classic starring Bing Crosby (Sidenote: Bing Crosby singing just about any Christmas carol is absolutely divine!) and Ingrid Bergman definitely offers something for the whole family. This is the film that my father has always called his favourite Christmas movie, and for a long time we have watched it together on Christmas Eve, after returning from dinner at my grandmother’s house. It tells the story of the priest Father O’Malley who begins working at St. Mary’s Church to get it out of a financial slump. He butts heads with a nun who works at St. Mary’s, Sister Benedict, but they eventually start to see eye-to-eye despite several misunderstandings. I should note that my father and I are not at all religious, and although The Bells of St. Mary’s is technically about a priest and a nun and a church, it does not feel heavily religious in the least, and it delivers messages and insights that can be applied in any setting. Father O’Malley is also an incredible character: he is funny, witty, sarcastic and just plain cool. My father and I have always enjoyed Crosby’s take on this religious figure, and there are a number of very humorous moments throughout the film. You’ll also get a chance to hear Bing Crosby sing, which is the ultimate Christmas treat!

Fun 2016 Frontrunner

~ Crown for Christmas ~

It’s not every year that my mother and I can say we’ve found a new, all-time favourite Christmas film, but 2016 is certainly that year! Just last night, we watched a movie we had never encountered before, Crown for Christmas, and it was absolutely wonderful! It is highly reminiscent of The Sound of Music and (my personal forever favourite) Jane Eyre in that it tells the story of a New Yorker who is hired as the governess for the daughter of a king. Danica McKellar stars as the governess and she is charming and adorable in the role. My mother and I were instantly rooting for her. It is the king, played by famous British actor Rupert Penry-Jones, who really steals the show, though. I have been fond of Penry-Jones since I first watched the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel Persuasion – he is THE Captain Wentworth in my books. Penry-Jones is a consummate British actor, and his traditional good looks and delectable accent made him the perfect choice for the role of king in Crown for Christmas. He has his moments of being cold and distant, but there is an undeniable warmth and goodness that oozes out of him, and he plays the role of father remarkably well. The movie was just so romantic, but also very wholesome, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of movies like The Sound of Music and Jane Eyre, but also to those who may have a soft spot for Rupert Penry-Jones and his dashing persona (I’m sure there are a lot of you out there!).

A New-Old Favourite

~ It’s A Wonderful Life ~

“Each man’s life touches so many other lives.”

I am ashamed to admit that I had never seen the classic (in every sense of the word) Christmas film It’s A Wonderful Life until today. I don’t know why, but I resisted watching it for many years. This seems strange in hindsight because it is a movie that is right up my alley – my favourite films as a teenager getting through high school were the likes of Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady and, of course, The Bells of St. Mary’s, so I don’t know what ever made me think that I wouldn’t love It’s A Wonderful Life. And love it, I did!

I decided to sit down and watch it today after my dear friend CV mentioned to me on the weekend that it is a film she watches every single year at Christmas. CV and I have almost identical taste, and I knew instantly that if it was a favourite of hers, it would certainly make my list of favourite Christmas films. I set myself up in front of the TV with it today, all bundled in my heavy sweater and blankets, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the screen for the full two hours. I happened to watch it in black and white, and I’m so glad I did because I think it felt a lot more authentic that way.

This is the story of a man, George Bailey, who sacrifices everything for the people around him. He is at once a businessman and a family man, and it seems like, for the most part, nothing goes right for him and he can’t really catch a break. His plans to leave his small hometown of Bedford Falls are constantly thwarted, and his dreams of exploring Europe and going off to college are never realized. Instead, George gives of himself to his father by taking over the family business, to his brother by paying for his college education, and to his wife Mary by being a constant source of support to her and their four children. George Bailey reminds me very much of my own father in that sense, and as I watched him toil at work, dealing with one crisis after another in swift succession, I was reminded of the nights when my father would return home from work very late, after a two and a half hour commute. My father never seemed to be tired though, and was always willing to sit down and watch TV with us, offer me and my brother advice with any school dilemmas, or even pick us up from our friends’ houses at all hours of the day and night. To this day, my father works very hard, but he is also a constant presence in our house, a personality that shines in any room he is in. And, he is also the sort of man, just like George Bailey, who has done so much for other people that they are eager and excited to give back to him, whenever they can.

It was wonderful (that adjective is truly fitting in this case) to watch George Bailey in his roles as workingman, husband and father. It honestly warmed my heart, and I nearly cried at the end of the film. Probably what made me so emotional is the fact that my own dear future husband SS is currently, at this very moment, working late, doing everything that he can to build his career, develop a name for himself and set us up with a comfortable and happy life. I am, of course, doing my part as well, and my mother does the same for my father, so it was also very nice to see George’s wife Mary act as his constant support throughout the entire film. It was simply a lovely story to behold, and the underlying message, that a person’s life is so much more valuable than they can ever imagine for the part they play in the lives of those around them, was remarkable and profound. This is a film that quickly became a favourite of mine and that I have every intention of watching every single year!

“Remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

There you have it – I hope some of you may have a chance to watch these great Christmas movies and curl up with your loved ones and some delicious hot chocolate over this holiday season!

xox,

JNG

Girl with a Green (and Red) Heart

my green heart

The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen – A Belated #ManCrushMonday / #JNGWatches

We interrupt our usual talk of True Love and Victorian romances to bring you a little something different…

Remember months ago when I was home sick from work and I binge-watched the Netflix/Marvel original series Jessica Jones?  That was the first time I had ever binge-watched anything; I’m not really the type to sit for hours and watch TV and I’ve always liked the format of watching shows on a weekly basis.  I believe this style of television watching helps to build anticipation and get the viewer excited.  With Jessica Jones, though, something was different: I felt this growing interest, a sort of craving developing to know what would happen next, and as quickly as possible.  I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Jones, both the character and the show she gives her name to, and I would highly recommend this viewing experience to those who not only enjoy superhero fiction, but also to viewers and readers who appreciate strong female characters with feisty and defiant personalities.  Jessica is very complex, and I think it is high time we had more female protagonists like that on our television screens.

Having said all this, I don’t know why I resisted watching the other extremely popular Netflix/Marvel series Daredevil.  In hindsight, I shouldn’t have because there was no chance I wasn’t going to love it…but I kept telling SS that I wasn’t interested in watching it, that I just didn’t think it could blow my mind like Jessica Jones did.  Consider me corrected.

Daredevil is an absolutely PHENOMENAL series!  I think that sums up my reaction to both seasons 1 and 2 quite nicely, but let me go further and give you some reasons as to why I enjoyed it so much.  It is truly (and it is very similar to Jessica Jones in this way) unlike any other superhero movie or television show I have encountered.  The episodes are such high quality, and the acting was superb.  What impressed me most of all, though, was that the action wasn’t simply gratuitous: the fight scenes were beautifully shot and were little works of art in themselves, and I was fascinated by how the choreography allowed the viewer to embody the character of Daredevil for a time.  I believe they did an excellent job of referencing his blindness in these scenes, and of making the viewer feel how disoriented and fatigued he often became.  It was a very unique approach to filming these scenes that in movies usually become cheesy and annoying.

It wasn’t just the choreography and the style of shooting that got me hooked though; I was truly impressed by the stellar acting, as I mentioned before.  I think each and every one of the main characters were complex and well-developed, but I have to give huuuge props to Charlie Cox who was a serious surprise for me.  I had only ever encountered Cox in the movie Stardust previously, and while that’s a great movie, he isn’t exactly superhero material judging by that film.  Imagine my surprise when he totally encompassed the roles of both Matt Murdock and his crime fighting counterpart, Daredevil, or the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.  His glorious abs notwithstanding (although, let’s be honest, I’m pretty obsessed with them now), Cox embodied the aura of a superhero who is not at all arrogant, who is truly a hero in every sense of the word.  He is quiet, contemplative and a little lonely, and that comes across strongly in Cox’s portrayal of his inner turmoil and his fear of letting his closest friends down.  He isn’t an arrogant superhero by any standards, and that was so refreshing to see after recently encountering characters like Deadpool and Dr. Strange whose egos seem to sometimes get in the way of their productivity.  I know this is inherently a part of Matt’s character, but I particularly loved how Cox emphasized his goodness, his desire to maintain his humanity and morality, even amidst the evils he witnesses.  His main focus, as Elektra rightly notes at the end of season 2, is to maintain peace and safety in New York, and he devotes himself not to becoming famous, an idol for the masses, but instead to looking after the people around him, his fellow citizens, who struggle and live in fear on a daily basis.  He is, in many ways, more of a martyr than a vigilante, and that is an interesting concept to investigate and get swept into.

Of course, as I said, the supporting cast is also incredible, and honourable mention must be given to Élodie Yung and Jon Bernthal for their portrayals of Elektra and Frank Castle/Punisher respectively.  In particular, Yung made me hate the character of Elektra, and the way she was influencing Matt, so much that I went on several rants about it…so obviously, that’s some good acting right there.  I really do have to mention the stand-out star, though: Vincent D’Onofrio was absolutely brilliant as season 1’s primary villain Wilson Fisk (who also goes by the name Kingpin, which was news to me, but is apparently very significant to diehard Daredevil fans).  D’Onofrio was an absolute force to be reckoned with as Fisk and his acting gave me chills on several occasions.  SS realized how much I had come to like the character, so he bought me a POP figurine of Fisk, along with one of Matt, to keep on my dresser.  I stare at these guys everyone morning and am reminded of a television series that I was almost too stubborn to watch.  Boy, am I glad I came to my sense and gave it a chance!

daredevil-and-fisk

Watch Daredevil everyone!  I urge you to delve into this truly engrossing series.  You’ll become addicted quickly, and you won’t regret it.  And be sure to dive right in before The Defenders comes out next year…and gives us a chance to see Daredevil and Jessica Jones in action together.  What could be better?!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Long Live… – #WomanCrushWednesday

~ Long live Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria! ~

This is just a quick note to say that I have been missing ITV’s new series Victoria very much. It became a real source of joy for me and was a viewing event I really looked forward to each week.

So, for the second time, I am putting forth Queen Victoria as my World of my Green Heart #WomanCrushWednesday. But, more specifically, this time I would like to make Jenna Coleman, the spectacularly talented actress who portrays the young Queen V, my WCW. I recently snapped up the issue of Glamour UK that features her on the cover, and devoured the article about her. She seemed so down-to-earth and lovely, and I grew to appreciate her talent even more. It’s definitely worth a read – and is that cover photo gorgeous or what?

There’s another thing that JNG has read and enjoyed this week…

queen-jenna-coleman

PS – This is also a good opportunity to thank the lovely Alice and Mary at the Milk & Honey blog for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  This was such a sweet surprise, especially from two bloggers whose writing I have recently become quite obsessed with.  Take a look at their page because it is so creative and unique!  And thank you again to these fellow avid readers for recognizing something in my blog…I sincerely appreciate it!  I think this post portrays how much thought and effort I put into making my posts versatile, so it is so nice to be noticed for that. xox

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Victoria ~ Episode 8: A Young England

Dear Readers, the Victoria Extravaganza Weekend has come to an end.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s story is finished for the time being, and I must now wait until some time in 2017 to see my new friends again. It is strange to think that, if the second season is released in Fall 2017, I will be so close to becoming a wife myself. As with many literary characters I’ve met in recent weeks, Queen Victoria and her Prince Albert presented me with another model for married life that made me even more excited to wed SS (something I didn’t think was possible)! Watching Queen Victoria go from 18-year-old monarch, to strong and defiant queen, to soft and supportive wife within the span of one season was a lovely journey to be a part of, and I will always remember the image of Victoria marrying Albert in Westminster Abbey, declaring that she was an “ordinary woman” on that day. SS watched most of the season with me as well, so it was a wonderful moment when we watched that wedding scene together. To see Victoria and Albert become parents in this most recent episode, the finale, was also incredibly interesting – they were terrified and excited in equal measure and it gave me and SS an model of the type of feelings we may be experiencing in the near future.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this first season of ITV’s Victoria and I am beyond thrilled that the story will continue. This is first class television, from the sets, to the actors (portraying both major and minor characters), to the writing. Queen Victoria may be the centre of it all, but it was also fascinating to get to know some of the minor characters, like the budding chef Francatelli and Miss Skerrett, who have the most Victorian courtship of the entire show, complete with complications, obstacles and heartbreak. Victoria is not only the story of the Victorian queen; it is also the story of the people living in her era, who would become the inspirations for and creators of many of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces.

I can’t speak enough about how much I love Victoria, and Jenna Coleman, and everyone involved in this production. I’ll leave you now with my thoughts on the finale of season one of Victoria…

Episode #8: A Young England

~ “Oh I’m so bored of this!” ~

– Queen V really does not enjoy being pregnant because she cannot do anything, like dance or ride. Prince A isn’t very “sympathetic” and actually goes for a ride himself. Watching V’s frustration is so cute and I love that A is comfortable enough with her not to feed into her. It’s a form of flirting for them in a way!

– People, especially servants, are terrified that Queen V and the baby will die in childbirth. Princess Charlotte was perfectly healthy until she gave birth, died…and Victoria became queen.

~ “She does not like to wait.” ~

– Duke of Cumberland (V’s uncle) is a threat to Queen V and may actually harm her physically. I think this is absolutely absurd and crazy…someone NEEDS to stop him!

~ “I want this to be over…I am scared.” ~

“But there has never been a queen such as you are.”

– “You still see me, Lehzen, don’t you?” = V feels forgotten and unnoticed. She is anxious about losing her identity to the child. She is insecure.

– Prince Ernest returns. I actually find him quite dashing! I hope he can find love (but not in too risky a manner)! He does know how to flirt very well, but he’s also romantic.

– “She is not a queen, and I am not a cow!” Haha! Oh dear! V is very against this whole motherhood business. I doubt that she’ll be a warm and loving mother…BUT she did become a devoted and loving wife, so she may surprise us all!

– Queen V has fans and admirers, but also dangerous stalkers. She is never really safe.

~ “Am I simply a vessel to be protected because I am carrying precious cargo?” ~

– V’s identity is being reduced and she is resentful.

– The Duke of Cumberland actually threatens Queen V. I don’t know why they haven’t thrown him in jail yet!

– “She had no regrets, your friend?” Queen V is afraid that no child can erase from her mind the feeling of discomfort and annoyance she has experienced.

– Francatelli and Skerrett = another forbidden romance, as we are so familiar with in Victorian literature. “You have your freedom, Nancy, don’t give it up for a man.” Politics and risk even plague the lower classes.

* Freedom seems to be the theme of this episode… It is a concern for Nancy, who wants to maintain security in a time that is not always kind to women (especially those of the working class)…AND, it is also a concern for Victoria, who is constrained by her positions of queen and mother.

❥ “I don’t think anymore – I just feel.” ❥

* That is the Victorian era/culture in a nutshell – feel always, and give your emotions free reign!

– Oh my gosh! A carrying V to the bed is sooo romantic! My goodness, I LOVE them together! A will always protect V, although she is still so strong in her own right.

– The Young England Society is conspiring and plotting to kill Queen V! I had no idea that this was a thing…wow! Another great layer of historical drama!

“He might’ve killed you – and then my life would be over.”

* V adores A so much, which is so heartwarming to see. But, as we know from history, A will die eventually and leave V devastated and miserable. I dread that day! While I appreciate that the show is following history and documenting the life of an impressive monarch, it is sometimes horrible to know so much about her life, and her loss of her greatest love.

– Queen V crying because she wants her pregnancy to be over. She is so cute, but she obviously really hates her life right now.

~ “I think the queen is a lot stronger than you think.” ~

– V’s dresses are much simpler in this episode, which is very realistic. She has to remain comfortable.

“I will keep you safe.”

“I know, Albert, but I want to be free.”

– V cannot live in fear forever and she will not have that for her child.

– Francatelli and Miss Skerrett = classic Victorian romance, full of misunderstanding, complications and barriers.

~ “I know I am a better monarch than you could ever be.” ~

– V stands up to Lord Cumberland and refuses to be afraid anymore. !!!

~ “I think I have never heard a monarch say a wiser thing.” ~

– Queen V will support her citizens’ decisions in the justice system and she will not be afraid to meet them and go out.

– A knows that V is a smart monarch and so he chooses to trust her judgment. ❥ “You are my queen.”

– Ernest! Oh dear, this is a risky business!

– V eating chocolates is probably the most adorable part of the episode!

~ “For you, I pray in every denomination.” ~

– People want V to live, more than anything.

– The candles everywhere are so gorgeous! Once again (like last episode), everything truly feels so Victorian!

– V is in labour…and A is asleep! Figures! The moment where she hits him with the pillow is so hilarious and domestic.

“We should call her Victoria, after a great queen.”

* Victoria and Albert lying in bed with the baby is the most beautiful image to end the season with. What a romantic scene and finale in general! I loved it!

Looking forward to returning one day soon with more reviews of the continuation of this incredible story!

Until then, I remain your,

JNG

Girl with a Green (and always Victorian) Heart

my green heart

Victoria ~ Episode 7: The Engine of Change

Hello again dear Readers!

Today marks my second to last review of ITV’s new series Victoria.

I watched this episode a few days ago, but I didn’t have a chance to post my thoughts at any point throughout the week. I also thought it might be a good idea to save my review to post this weekend, and make it sort of a Victoria Extravaganza Event!

I am going to miss this queen more than I can express. I can’t explain quite how soothing it is to watch her story every Sunday before gearing up for the week ahead. Like Jane Eyre, Clare Abshire and so many characters before her, Queen Victoria (specifically as portrayed by Jenna Coleman) has given me another model of strength, force and courage to carry around in my green heart. From the costumes, to the sets, everything about this series has been absolutely exquisite, and I am so relieved that it has been renewed for a second season. I know that, after tomorrow night’s episode, I won’t be seeing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for quite awhile, but I am very grateful that these new dear friends will be returning to me soon.

Here are my thoughts on the second last episode of Victoria…

Episode #7: The Engine of Change

Sidenote: The title credits are still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!!! ❥

– Sick Queen V = Uh oh! Is her fear coming true? She wants kids in theory, but certainly not now!

– Albert likes Sir Robert Peele, but Queen V still does not. He’s no Lord M.

– A is progressive, business-like…he wants change and advancement (ex – the railway).

– Queen V is bored by manufacturing and the Industrial Revolution.

– This Francatelli guy is actually growing on me! His romance with Miss Skerrett is cute!

– Queen V telling Prince A she is pregnant is the most sad thing I’ve ever seen…she looks miserable! But A is sooo excited and it is adorable! She is clearly terrified though!

– “Drina’s” mother wants her to sit around and not work = although it is right to protect the baby, V is still a queen with duties…and a STRONG one at that! Her mother implies that her only “function” is to have an heir.

– V is in love and fears A will think her hideous when pregnant = so cute!

“A love like ours can burn down the city.”

– Queen V names Prince A potential regent; politicians vehemently rebel! Duke of Wellington is kind of mean…why did Charlotte Brontë like him so much?

– A and V flirting in bed is amazing! It gives me life! They are truly in love!

– Queen V’s mother says laughing is bad for the baby. What on Earth?!?!

– A still wants some power! But Queen V must compromise and let him use power through her.

~ “But I’m not a German woman. I am Queen of England.” ~

– Queen V kind of treats her mother terribly, BUT, my mom and I both agree that her mother is quite annoying and a pest.

❥ “Just be your darling self. They will adore you.” ❥

– V and A exchanging looks at dinner is another prime example of how in tune they are! They are a formidable couple!

– Sir Robert Peele is actually kind of sweet. He could be a real ally if he and Queen V worked together.

– “Now, lunch.” I wish I could command people like that! haha

– “You count as alone.” Lehzen is like a mother to Queen V; she wants her around always.

– The politics is complicated, but what I do know is that the Tories and Queen V must get on the same footing.

– Queen V is spooning Prince A! Aww! heehee

– Queen V needs to “guide the conversation” and maintain authority so that her and A can tread carefully and people will not resent Prince A.

– Sooo…naturally Prince A goes off to see the train on his own, even though V specifically asked him not to. Damn it!

– The fact that they all find the train so incredible just goes to show how much we now take for granted…and how far our society has come. So much happened, so much progress was made in the Victorian era.

~ “This is the future.” ~

– Queen V is depressed because she doesn’t know where Prince A is = not so easy when you can’t text someone, eh? 😉

❥ I’m pretty sure the scenes at Sir Piers’ house were filmed at Haddon Hall – aka Thornfield Hall. I can’t be 100% sure because I’ve never personally be there, and have only seen it in the Jane Eyre film adaptations, but the scenery is GORGEOUS and I recognize it! It is one of my favourite sets on Earth! A perfect choice!

~ “…condone or condemn…” ~

– Prince A and Sir Robert Peele are now friends, which is a huge advancement.

~ “I decide what is the future!” ~

– Queen V and Prince A are in a peculiar place: Queen V must maintain her authority, but Prince A wants to help her. He wants to guide the English people too. “This is my country!”

– Queen V goes to see the train. Her and A can discover things together! This is the future of not just England, but the whole world!

– Okay, this Francatelli guy is smooth!

~ “The Prince has no power to be solicited.

“Oh, you’re wrong!” ~

– V: “I am frightened of the pain.” A: “Childbirth is surely an ordeal, but you are equal to it. You have such fortitude.” Queen V is terrified and she admits it to Prince A. He is unfailingly supportive and he wants to share her burden!

– Peele backs Prince A as regent. Nice! He is so firm and I love it – he is actually amazing in this scene!

❥ Queen V at her desk, surrounded by candles is such a gorgeous Victorian image!

– V subtly, and without calling attention to it, lets A help her with her work. The moment when he takes her pen is symbolic of the fact that they are now working as one.

Sidenote: Jenna Coleman truly acts like a queen, right down to her subtlest gesture of leaning her hand on her neck and her small smile.

Speak to you about the finale soon,

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Victoria ~ Episode 6: The Queen’s Husband

Well, Victoria, what I once thought was ITV’s new MINIseries, has been renewed for a second season. This means, much to my supreme pleasure, that there will be more than eight episodes in the story of Jenna Coleman’s Queen Victoria. It also means that I don’t have to go into a little depression in two weeks when the eighth episode comes and the story is finished for the time being. I am so so beyond pleased that this incredible series – undoubtedly one of my favourites ever – will be coming back!

Today, my mother, fiancé and I sat down to watch this week’s episode of the series. I don’t think anything will ever top last week’s episode for me, because it was absolutely wonderful to witness Queen Victoria as a betrothed woman and watch her wed her Prince Albert. Maybe I’ll always be particularly fond of that episode because, being engaged myself, it sort of felt like Victoria and I were engaged together. Having said that, this week’s episode was also incredible and enjoyable, and it was so lovely to see Victoria coming into her own as a wife. My post yesterday portrayed how much I have been thinking about what it means to be a wife lately, and so it was perfectly timed that this episode centered on Victoria’s married life. She navigates what it means to have a husband, how she should be supporting and encouraging him while also maintaining her own identity and power. She also contemplates motherhood, which is something that both frightens and excites her. She is a young bride, just as I will be, and I was so happy to see her and Prince Albert becoming a formidable, united pair. They share secrets, they rely on one another, and they boost each other up. They are also passionately in love, attracted to one another and made more confident by the intimacy they share. It was remarkable to see my favourite queen as a wife, and I know she will only become better in this new role as the series progresses.

Here are my thoughts on the sixth episode of Victoria…

Episode #6: The Queen’s Husband

❥ “My Victoria.” ❥

❥ “Now you have me.” ❥

– V and A have not had much alone time or much of a honeymoon; they are back into the politics and family dinners.

❥ “We must start as we mean to go on – together.” ❥

– Queen V is afraid of childbirth…or is she afraid of being a mother? Prince A is very eager to start a family.

-Queen V implies that Prince A will be bored by business – he is still a foreigner. He wanders aimlessly around the palace because he can do no more/is not welcome to.

* Sidenote: Jenna Coleman is PERFECT and sublime in this role! The way she speaks is so regal – formal and strong. BUT, she also has an emotional fire to her.

– Is Queen V condescending to Prince A? In this instance, the woman has complete control and supremacy.

– My fiancé asks, Shouldn’t they treat him a bit better? He’s the King! … My response, Well, he’s the Queen’s husband.

– There is an important distinction. Although Queen V does not allow Prince A much say in business, she tries to demand respect for him by having him escort her into dinner. “Albert is my husband and should be by my side. It is time that things changed.”

~ “Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Albert.” ~

– Queen V wants him to have an ACTIVE role in her reign, regardless of what has been done in the past. This is confusing though, because she also won’t allow him to read documents.

– In the end, she succumbs to pressure and allows another man to escort her, which is heartbreaking and frustrating, especially for the viewers. She is tormented though, and wants to try harder for him. She is pulled in ALL directions!

~ “This is your home!” ~

– She can be so cold and detached though, especially in public = she needs to let her emotion through and allow it to influence her.

– slavery = illegal in Britain but still legal in the US. The abolition committee wants Queen V to open their meeting…but this is too controversial and she cannot.

– Albert is disappointed in her. Will he be a force for encouraging her to change and be bold?

– Queen V asks Lehzen about birth control = she is reluctant to become a mother right now.

Sidenote: I would love to see Prince A drawn as a sausage! Haha!

– Albert will speak at the slavery abolition meeting = he is not constrained by custom, and the one benefit of this is that he will use it for good. He now has a purpose! “If I am to be held up to scrutiny, it will be for something I believe in.”

– I truly fail to understand the purpose of the servants’ storyline = I honestly barely care about them!

– V and A sleep face to face = how adorable!

– Aww, Queen V jumping to stop herself from getting pregnant = so innocent and naïve, but cute! Heehee!

– Queen V gets Albert his title by being a tad manipulative but also by using her power and influence for a noble cause.

– Ernest’s romance = again, not my favourite storyline (this goes without saying), but it has its intriguing elements, although it is very wrong and immoral!

– Prince A rehearsing his speech is so perfect = he still has a lot to learn too, but he will tackle it head on!

– Prince A sends Ernest home = the rules of propriety may tear apart this brotherly relationship.

– Albert finally walks Victoria into dinner and it is a wonderful moment. BUT, Albert wants more still; he is always pushing Victoria, which is good for her. He also wants his own moment of strength.

– Albert and Ernest’s relationship doesn’t seem to be affected at all. Their relationship is strong and sweet! “You will miss him very much.”

– V seems terrified any time A mentions a family.

– Okay, the servants’ storyline became a bit cute.

– Albert needs Victoria to stay calm during his speech. He is so good at the meeting, making everyone feel important and valuable, as they should be.

– Queen V abandons Prince A. NOOO! What the ….?! Why? This makes me sooo sad and MAD at her! Duty must NOT always come before love!

– I am so proud of Albert for nailing his speech without her! Good for him!

– I can’t believe V would just leave A alone! I am seriously outraged and annoyed by how juvenile she can sometimes be! ARGH!

– Okay, so Queen V had a plan all along, perhaps – she wanted to give Prince A his own victory, in front of everyone.  Fine…

– Queen V cannot agree to abstinence…so a royal baby may be on the way soon! YAY! Stay tuned!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

“I want a wife…” – #JNGReads and #JNGWatches

“Jane, I want a wife. I want a wife, not a nursemaid to look after me. I want a wife to share my bed every night. All day if we wish. If I can’t have that, I’d rather die. We’re not the platonic sort, Jane.”

– Jane Eyre, 2006 BBC Miniseries

“Her entire world ceased to exist except to study Richard’s face…”

“She reached deep into herself for her control.”

The Three Colonels, Jack Caldwell

the-three-colonels-2

Soon enough, I will be finished my current read, my rescue book, The Three Colonels by Jack Caldwell. Given the fact that I unexpectedly stumbled across the book in the Dollar Store, I wasn’t at all anticipating that I would become quite so attached to the story and the characters. My expectations were not at all lifted by the fact that the plot centers on three rather unpopular female characters from Jane Austen’s novels, Caroline Bingley and Anne de Bourgh of Pride and Prejudice and Marianne Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. I haven’t read Sense and Sensibility (it’s the only Austen novel I have left to conquer), but my own experience of Pride and Prejudice and my discussion of it with several other readers have made me convinced that no one really likes or is at all interested in Caroline Bingley or Anne de Bourgh. If anything, the presence of these two women in the plot is mostly just a nuisance to the main, beloved characters.

Having said that, I have grown to really like and enjoy my time with Caroline, Anne and Marianne (who I admittedly don’t know very much about). I have found Caldwell’s story to be very lovely, peaceful and calming to read. I have become thoroughly engrossed in it during my lunch breaks and my long bus rides home, and I have found myself looking forward to reading it throughout my day. I am dreading finishing these next 50 or so pages (hence the fact that I’m writing this post rather than reading) because I don’t want to give up living in the comfortable and warm world that Caldwell, with much help from Miss Austen, has created. This world has been a source of solace and escape for me.

More than that though, I have been taken in by the marital and domestic bliss that Caldwell portrays in his Austen adaptation. As you all know already, especially since I can’t seem to stop talking about it, I am recently engaged. I am also in the midst of planning a Christmas wedding inspired by my favourite literary characters and Victorian time period. This is undoubtedly the most exciting, fun and wonderful time of my life, and I cannot wait until my wedding day in just under 15 months. However, wedding someone is so much more than having a party, feasting for hours and dancing the night away. There are vows to be said and promises to be made, and these precious moments cannot be overlooked.

For me specifically, wedding my fiancé SS means becoming a wife. This is something that I have always fantasized and dreamed of. The concept of being a wife first started to truly intrigue me in high school, when I opened the pages of Jane Eyre and beheld a love unlike any other. A love between two equals who lived and breathed entirely for each other, this romance began to serve as a guideline for me, as a goal for what I hoped to achieve in my own life. At the same time as I wanted passionate love, I also craved the comfort and security that Jane felt with her Rochester. When I watched the 2006 BBC miniseries adaptation for the first time, and heard Edward Rochester declare in the final scene that he wanted a wife to be his companion and helpmate as well as his passionate romantic partner, I was immediately swept up by the idea. Being a wife would mean, I began to understand, desiring someone, wanting them, but also supporting and encouraging them under all circumstances. It would mean giving my life for them in all capacities.

Now that I am a fiancée, this idea of being a wife has taken on new meaning and significance. What will it mean for me to become SS’s wife? Will it mean losing my identity? Certainly not – my Victorian role models would never allow that. But, it will mean taking on a new identity, among the many identities I now possess. It will mean becoming the person (even more than I am now) on whom SS consistently relies. That is a thought that makes my heart soar.

I have many examples of happily married couples all around me, starting with my own parents. I am a reader, though, and so I always like to look to literature to present models for my every day life. And, this is the very reason I have grown so fond of Jack Caldwell’s The Three Colonels. In it, I have found three models for being a wife, and they have provided me with an image of married life that is at once exhilarating and safe.

In The Three Colonels

Being a wife means loving and idolizing and respecting your partner above all others. Anne de Bourgh is taken by Richard Fitzwilliam, although society may not find him conventionally handsome or extraordinary. She is overcome by his intelligence, his kindness and his impressive work ethic. She is proud of his military accomplishments and his reputation. She is attracted to his personality, his manner of speaking to her, his inclination to ask for her advice and give her the power to form her own opinions. She grows to love how he looks because of who he is, and he becomes the most handsome man in the world to her. Her eyes look on him with love, and he becomes the only person she can ever imagine being with. She is devoted only to him.

Being a wife means being strong and supporting your partner, despite your own fears and anxieties. I have learned, particularly recently, that being part of a couple means facing stressful situations together. Sometimes it also means staying firm and having the confidence that your partner lacks. Marianne, Caroline and Anne must each watch as their beloved men go off to fight a war against Napoleon. They must wait at home as their men work diligently to protect not just their loved ones, but their entire country. It is not easy to be the one sitting at home, or to be the one who supports from the sidelines, but it is one of the most important functions that a wife (or any partner for that matter) has. Being a constant source of strength is essential, and these three women are able to dispel their husbands’ fears even when their own hearts and minds are racing. They put their own nervousness aside and bear so much burden so that the men they love can have but a little relief from their anxieties. They are the pillars that hold their husbands up.

Being a wife means never, ever losing your own identity and sense of self. Caroline Bingley becomes Caroline Buford, but she never stops being the woman she always was. She is far too feisty for that. Anne de Bourgh is the mistress of Rosings; it is her property and her relationship with Fitzwilliam does not call that into question, but rather encourages her to be even more forceful about her powers and her responsibilities. She takes on the finances and the politics with class and intellect, and she is truly a match for her politically-inclined beloved. Rather than becoming quiet through her love for him, she becomes louder and more confident in herself. She is anything but sickly and silent.

Being a wife sometimes means being a mother. It means creating a family, a home base. It means creating a life for your husband that will be mutually pleasurable and peaceful.

Of course, being a husband has its own challenges and responsibilities too…but I’ll leave that to SS to discover! 😉

I am hesitating to finish The Three Colonels because I have so enjoyed witnessing three women become accustomed to married life. I have easily identified with all three women, in their different stages of marital bliss, and I have recognized aspects of myself in them and traits that I would like to assume and apply to my own life.

I would highly recommend Caldwell’s novel to any reader that enjoys becoming a part of Miss Austen’s world. You will get sucked into the story, I promise you that!

The Future Wife,

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart