Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is Based on the novel of the same name by Susanna Clarke. It is Set in England during the Napoleonic wars in 1806 and concerns a reclusive Magician named Mr Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsam)Who is living in Hurtfew Abbey in the rural north. Meanwhile the Learned Society of York Magicians, made up of “theoretical magicians”, who believe that magic died out several hundred years earlier are stunned to
learn that Norrell, owns a large collection of “books of magic”, which he has spent years purchasing to keep them out of the hands of others. Mr Norrell demonstrates the ability to make the statues of York Minster talk and move and states his intention to revive the actual practice of magic rather than just study the theory in books. John Childermass, Mr Norrell’s servant, convinces a member of the group, John Segundus, to write about the event for the London newspapers.
Segundus’s article generates considerable interest in Mr Norrell, who moves to London to revive practical English magic. He enters society and meets a Cabinet Minister, Sir Walter Pole. To ingratiate himself, Mr Norrell attempts to revive Sir Walter’s deceased fiancée, Emma Wintertowne, (Alice Englert) from the dead. He summons “the gentleman with thistle-down hair” (Marc Warren) who strikes a bargain with Mr Norrell to restore Emma. While living in London, Mr Norrell encounters Vinculus, a street-magician, who relates a prophecy about a nameless slave and two magicians in England, but Norrell dismisses it. Vinculus later meets Jonathan Strange, a young gentleman of property from Shropshire, and recites the same prophecy, which prompts Strange to become a magician. Meanwhile, the gentleman with thistle-down hair takes a liking to Stephen Black, Sir Walter’s butler, and promises to make him a king. Jonathan Strange then becomes Mr Norrell’s apprentice.
Meanwhile the condition of Emma (now Lady Pole) worsens and her attempts to communicate her situation to Strange’s wife, Arabella are confounded by magic leading Mr Norrell to suspect that Lady Pole’s new life has come at a terrible cost and that the Gentleman with thistle-down hair should not be trusted. Unbeknownst to Norrell, Lady Pole and Stephen are forced to attend balls every night held by the gentleman with thistle-down hair in the Faerie kingdom of Lost-Hope, where they dance all night long. Lady Pole becomes increasingly desperate and suicidal until she eventually tries to kill Mr Norrell.
Then Mr Norrell’s manservant John Childermass (Enzo Cilenti) persuades Norrell to help in the war against France and both Norrell and Jonathan Strange soon find themselves Pressed into service by the Duke of Wellington in Lisbon for his Peninsula campaign. They help the army by creating roads, moving towns, and reviving dead men. Strange then helps defeat Napoleon at the horrific Battle of Waterloo.
After he returns, he fails to cure George III’s madness, although Strange manages to save the king from the gentleman with thistle-down hair. Then socialite Christopher Drawlight, is arrested by his former friend, Henry Lascelles. Strange learns about John Uskglass (the legendary Raven King) and argues that “without the Raven King there would be no magic and no magicians” while Norrell retorts that the Raven King abandoned England and should be forgotten. So Out of frustration Strange pens a scathing review of a book outlining Norrell’s theories on modern magic; in particular, Strange challenges Norrell’s views of the Raven King. Norrell and Strange part company with irreconcilable differences. Strange returns home and works on his own book, The History and Practice of English Magic. However Arabella goes missing, having been tricked into going to the realm of the Gentleman with the Thistle-Down Hair. She then suddenly reappears, sick and weak. Norrell then tries to quash the publication of Strange’s book about magic by using underhanded tactics.
Meanwhile after Having tried to kill Mr Norrell Lady Pole is placed in the care of Segundus and Honeyfoot who have a suspicion that magic is involved. Stephen also meets Vinculus, who recites his prophecy: “the nameless slave shall be a king in a strange country … “Stephen believes it applies to him, but the gentleman with thistle-down hair argues that it could equally apply to the Raven King.
Strange travels to Venice where he meets Flora Greysteel. He tries unsuccessfully to gain access to the Kingdom of Lost hope until Out of desperation he dabbles with dangerous magic that threatens his sanity. When he finally manages to summon the Gentleman with thistle-down hair he follows him to Lost Hope, and discovers that Arabella, Lady Pole and Stephen are all under the faerie’s spell and are being held captive in the Kingdom of Lost Hope. The gentleman with the thistledown hair then curses him with Eternal Night, an eerie darkness that engulfs him and follows him wherever he goes. To escape the danger Flora moves with her family to Padua and secludes herself along with a mirror. Drawlight is sent by Lascelles and Norrell to Venice and is instructed by Strange to deliver replies to Norrell and Childermass, however Lascelles murders Drawlight.
Strange asks Norrell to help him undo Arabella’s enchantment by summoning John Uskglass (The Raven King) while Childermass attempts to break the enchantment over Lady Pole. This Enrages the gentleman with the thistledown hair who attempts to place a second deadly curse on Lady Pole, and murders Vinculus. While summoning the Raven King Strange an Norrell mistakenly conclude that Stephen (The Nameless Slave) is In fact Uskglass. Elsewhere Childermass discovers Vinculus’s body tattooed with many spells of John Uskglass. Meanwhile Norrell and Strange are still trapped in “Eternal Night,” so Arabella and Flora attempt to rescue them, while Strange and Norrell try to escape the Eternal Night.