Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Grand Finale of The Great North and South Crusade

Somehow it almost seems fitting to end on February 29th - a very rare day. It *sniff* marks the end of our quote "Official" quote Great North and South Crusade.

Of course now that so many of us have discovered the love of North and South - the Crusade will never really die.

So I thought we would go out with a Bang! Hold on to your hats - this will be a long one - with LOTS of pictures!

One of the most delightful and unexpected things about this Crusade has been meeting other people - if only through Cyber space.

One of the people I have really enjoyed 'meeting' is Carrie Lofty. She was a Crusader long before we had a Crusade. We've emailed back and forth and I know Sula got to know her better. When we realized how much of a Crusader she was, her being a writer and all, we asked for her thoughts. She very graciously sent us her reply.

Here are her thoughts on an area of North and South I don't think I've come across in all the blogs I've read

John Thornton's heroism is not limited to his romantic relations with Margaret. In fact, his heroic character in North & South is more forcefully demonstrated by his interactions with other men.

Mr. Hale: Thornton's relationship with Mr. Hale, aside from establishing the means by which John and Margaret can properly interact, speaks to his ambitions toward becoming a learned man. He sees proper education--particularly relating to subjects outside of trade, such as history and philosophy--as a means of developing gentlemanly behavior and finding acceptance in elegant society. Thornton never acknowledges these ambitions outright; his spoken goals always center on the success of Marlborough Mills. After all, in a culture that values monetary success and hard work, education beyond the basics would have been seen as a prideful waste of time.

In seeking out Mr. Hale's company and tutelage, he gives away his innermost longings for acceptance--and possibly for a father figure. Mrs. Thornton deems Mr. Hale "too simple for trade," and at the Masters' dinner, Thornton himself admonishes Mr. Hale's simplistic view of Christian charity in business, but this does not dim his good opinion. "Mr. Hale is a gentleman," Thornton tells his mother--not an educated man, or a good man, but a gentleman. His thirst for knowledge and desire for respect beyond monetary success go hand in hand, and Mr. Hale is the man he entrusts with those secretive, unspoken dreams.

The Masters: Not only does Thornton hold gentlemanly aspirations, he is a fundamentally good man. At the Masters' dinner where they discuss fans for the cotton sorting rooms, he insists his decision to have fans installed was based on purely monetary concerns. Healthier workers are more productive workers. Yet he refuses to invest the payroll in monetary schemes. He keeps good care of the Irish workers he imports during the strike. And he never uses tricks or lies to deceive his workers. We see that he wrestles with the moral consequences of his every choice. His unshakable ethics blend with his business sense in a way that sets him above his less scrupulous, less heroic peers.

Henry Lennox: Thornton's brief interaction with Henry Lennox at the exposition is almost painful to watch. We see Thornton--a strong, confident, worthy man--reduced to an outsider because of his birth, his upbringing, and the nature of his fortune. Margaret has already rejected his marriage proposal, thereby exacerbating his basic lack of self-confidence in good society, and Lennox's family connections to Margaret leave him without solid footing. We know he could knock Lennox's head off with a few clean punches, and we know he will always out-earn and out-work Lennox, no matter the endeavor, but his deeply rooted sense of inferiority renders him powerless. He is still lacking a fundamental belief in his own value.

Mr. Bell: Ah, Mr. Bell. Is there a more perplexing character in North & South? By his faithful friendship to Mr. Hale and his generous guardianship of Margaret, he should have been well regarded by Thornton. But his nature stands as Thornton's opposite. He is facetious and sarcastic where Thornton is straightforward and contemplative. Mr. Bell is everything a proper gentleman appears to be, but Thornton's desire for acceptance in polite society never stoops to groveling at the feet of any ole' gentleman. He has standards. Mr. Hale is a respectable man of learning and delicacy, whereas Mr. Bell's influence has been purchased and manipulated by his considerable fortune. Neither is Thornton afraid to demonstrate his disdain: He refuses to shake Mr. Bell's hand at their final meeting, a most powerful snub.

Higgins: Shall I confess to my mini-crush on Higgins? Ok. There. I've said it.

Higgins is everything Mr. Bell is not. He is crass, unkempt, forthright, honorable, poor, generous, caring, and resolute. In short, he is Thornton's equal in all ways save money. We see, as Margaret does, that they are the two men best suited to bridging the tremendous gap between the Masters and the workers. Through his relationship with Thornton, Higgins is able to let go of his bitterness and find respect. Thornton, too, finds respect in that Higgins is the one character who truly understands the sacrifices he makes on behalf of the mill. Higgins has known bad Masters, and Thornton is not one of them.

One of my favorite scenes is when Thornton ventures to Higgins' house. His eyes flick over abject poverty, memories of his impoverished childhood hitting him in the face. They circle around a rough-hewn dinner table like warriors. They back down in increments, each relinquishing bits and pieces of pride until they come to a solid accord--and a handshake. Their intelligence and desire for a better way of life helps bring it about, whereas other men might have fallen back on arrogance or class, missing the opportunity.

They continue to build bridges based on hard work and clever thinking. When Higgins urges him to eat, Thornton admits he had not had stew in years--again, a reference to his childhood poverty. There is caring and respect on both sides. When they meet for the last time on screen and Higgins reveals what he knows of Margaret's brother, they are very near to equals. "I'm nobody's master now," Thornton says. But Higgins' respect never wavers. They shake hands with gusto, reassuring us that their joint efforts toward a better way of life in Milton will continue--a happy ending for more than just John and Margaret.

Thornton's heroism stands tall over those men of weaker character, but he yields to or compromises with male characters who, like him, maintain a sense of dignity, justice, intelligence, and passion. He blends those noble qualities--and a damn fine physical form--to become a perfect match for Margaret and a most memorable hero for us.

I simply LOVE reading her thoughts on this!

Now for something else. At the beginning of the Crusade we mentioned there were two contests; one for some books and one for a copy of the DVD.

But no one took us up on our second contest. And I still have the DVD sitting here waiting for a good home. So instead, I'm changing the rules. Anyone who is interested, leave a comment and your name will be entered in a draw. The draw will be made on - let's see - how about The Ides of March - which would be March 15th.

In case you are interested though - Katie and I both made an attempt at writing that final scene. For all those who watched - it somehow seemed to need one more final little bit. If you are interested in seeing what we came up with, click here.

One thing that Sula, Katie and I did if you remember, was to have a cyber pajama party. We thought it would be great fun to have a large one with many of us joining in. Let us know if you are interested. I think it will be a Friday night - not sure when - but soon. All you have to do is get into your jammies, grab a beer or a glass of wine or a cup of tea or whatever strikes your fancy and sign on to AIM and we will have us a grand party. Again, if you are interested, leave a comment and we will get working on the details.

I have to give a Very Special Thank You to Lisa Kleypas and Sabrina Jeffries for letting us see their thoughts on North and South. And to many other authors I contacted - though none had seen it - at least I got a chance to let them know about it too *g*

I don't have the words really to say how much fun this has been for us. As when I first started blogging, something special and unexpected happened. I got to know people better. I emailed readers I count as friends whom I'd never corresponded with before. I got to meet new bloggers and new readers. I'd love to mention them all but then I'd forget someone and feel bad so - just a big thank you to everyone. I don't know how many people remember but during the Crusade, one anonymous person posted that they were sick to death of The North and South debate. I found this rather amusing since, in a sense this blog is my place - well mine and Katies *g*, so the thought that someone - an anonymous would come and say they are sick to death of it made me laugh. It would be like someone in disguise coming to my house uninvited and say they are sick of my house. Doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. But I did get an email from a friend in support. This is what I wrote back to her.

Since this person posted anonymously I have no idea who it was. If they'd had the guts to give a name, I could have responded what this Crusade has meant to me. How the planning, the thinking about, the chats with Sula and Katie kept my mind off the approaching holidays. Holidays I was dreading since I lost Ron. It helped keep me from going into a deep depression - something that, believe it or not, can easily happen to me. It's also helped keep me sane for the month of house hell I've had - no kitchen, a living room that was in the midst of being redone when I lost my kitchen and I'm constantly dodging boxes and I'm tired of eating fast food.
And through it I've really formed deep friendships with both Kate and Sula. I could have mentioned the absolute thrill it was hearing back from Lisa Kleypas in less than 24 hours after I emailed her to help us. What a lift it gave to me. Or the emails I've exchanged with other authors I've asked to contribute (most of whom haven't seen it - yet)
I also would have said even though it seems we might be going overboard, the absolute joy I feel when someone else has seen it for the first time and *gets* what is so special about this production makes it worth it.
I would have said I've found new blogging friends such as Ana and Thea at Book Smugglers and feel even closer somehow to the ones I already knew - even Jodi, who didn't like it as much as the rest of us *g*.
I would have said it's perfectly all right if someone doesn't enjoy it as much as many of us seem to. There are readers who've loved books I've hated and vice versa. We aren't all clones of each other and each and every person has different tastes.

A final thought - this has been So Much Fun. Again, although this is the end of the 'official' Crusade, it will still go on! I'm still keeping my eyes open and will continue to add to the list.

I can't end without leaving you all with this scene. It's the final scene - everyone who has seen it knows it and probably most have watched it over and over and over. It's the icing on the cake of something very rare. For those who haven't yet seen it - it's a spoiler.
For me, it's the most beautiful and romantic endings I've ever seen - and I've been around for fifty some odd years


Ana said...

You should post a warning: "This post will make you cry!"
Or maybe it's just me? *g*

Kristie, the Crusade was an awesome idea, brilliantly executed! Well done, and a hug to all the Crusaders!

Marg said... can't really be over can it! I have had so much fun on the crusade, and will still be doing my best to spread the North and South love!

I would definitely be interested in a pajama party, although it would most likely be a Saturday afternoon pajama party for me!

Thea said...

Awww Kristie! I'm with Marg--the Crusade is not ever gonna be over. Wonderful post, and THANK YOU for campaigning so hard to spread the word on this beautiful production. I probably never would have heard of it if it wasn't for you and the crusade--and that would have been unacceptable.

Zeek said...

What? Over already??

Aww Hunny, you did such a good job and I can' wait til I finally get to own my OWN copy!

LOVED Carry Lofty's observations today on Thornton! She nailed it!

Christine said...

I didn't realize there was a deadline?! o.O

I'm glad to see you and Kate have so much fun with this... and that you made some great friends out of the Crusade is truly the icing on the cake!

KC said...

what a beautiful way to begin my day, now I'm going to have that scene flittering through my mind all day at work, making me smile at the most inopportune times. hehe which of course will lead people to ask the silliest of questions, Are you in love and who is it?
a cyber PJ party would be great, though I hope you don't mind me crashing as a very recent Crusader.

Jan said...

I would never have heard of or watched North and South without your campaign. I'm continuing to spread the word to friends and family. Thanks again!

Carrie Lofty said...

I would love to do the pajama party thang, but it'll depend on timing. For the first time in 100 years, I have places to be this weekend. Hope I can make it!

Mollie said...

I know I haven't been too involved in the N&S crusade but do know that I LOVED IT too. So glad you introduced it to me. I haven't yet ordered my own copy of it but never fear I will. And eventually I WILL post on it. I WILL DAMNIT. Thanks for finding such a gem and sharing it will all of us!

P.S. I got my book in the mail a few days ago!!! :)

kim said...

What a lovely post and you are right...that is the most romantic ending I have ever seen. *sigh* The clips you have posted here during the crusade, are the only parts I have seen of the series. Nicely done.

Karen McCullough said...

I tend to lurk around a lot of blogs...It's a great way of avoiding actually working. I've been a lurker here for a while. I haven't seen N&S yet, but you've convinced me I HAVE to.

Kristie (J) said...

Jan: that's what it's all about - seeing something you love and being so excited you have to share it with friends. So I've shared it with my on-line friends, who've shared it with their friends, who've I've now met and consider friends.
I also have a friend at work who came over and watched it and loved it and then we watched Vicar of Dibley and a few episodes of Robin Hood. She thinks I'm odd - but she DOES see the appeal *g*.

KC - that scene just starts the day off right doesn't it. Nothing better on a Friday than going in with a smile - knowing that TGIF! (and I don't have to work tomorrow!) And OF COURSE you are welcome to the pajama party when we have it - although I'm not sure Marg will be in her jammies *g*

Christine: Well - there's not a deadline *g*. There can NEVER be a dead line! It's just the end of the (air quote) Official (air quote) Crusade 'cause that's what we said way back in November when we started. It was going to be the end of January, but then kitchen stuff took over my world for a bit and work started. Plus - we had to have an end date so someone could win the DVD!!

Zeek: LOL - no - the RICHard love will never be over. As long as he has a neck, Katie will be panting after it, and as long as he exisists, I will think he's just the total cat's pajamas! And I most certainly will keep spreading the word and watching for new Crusaders - speaking of which - I have to add Renee as a Maybe Crusader. And wasn't the excellent insight that Carrie had - makes one want to watch it again to concentrate on that aspect!

Thea: Once it gets in your blood it's hard to get it out isn't it? I don't know how many times I've scene that final scene - but I still watch it over and over again. I guess one could say I'm smitten. And meeting you and Ana has been *as Tony the Tiger the spokes animal for one of my favouite cereals says* GREEEEAAATTT.

Marg: *g* It will never be over. The love will last forever. It's just that I have to give out the big prize sometime! And it will be Ever So Much fun having you in the pajama party - even if it is mid day the next day for you *g* That will take some thinking won't it - figuring out the time difference.

Ana: Aww - I didn't mean to make you cry :-(
I'm just so thrilled that it's been such a success - and will continue to be as we Crusaders spread the word all over the world - from Canada to the US to the UK to Australia and New Zealand - just think about how it's spread all over. It boggles the mind really when you think of it!

Carolyn Jean said...

I can't believe the crusade is over! I got sort of attached to the crusade. It's like this special club I always imagined myself joining.

Marg said...

Shouldn't be too difficult! There are websites that do that kind of thing for you!

Tumperkin said...


It's over....

So *brightens* - what've you got next for us Kristie?

Tumperkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for Crusading. You made me not only watch it, but buy it (couldn't wait for the second disc to come), and read the book.

And it's been such fun reading everyone else's viewpoints on N&S.

Especially that last piece from Carrie - really thought-provoking. (Forgetting about the men for a minute, I do think his relationship with his mother bodes well for his future relationship with his wife.)

Now, just to round things off perfectly, can you watch P&P and give us the definitive Darcy v. Thornton/Firth v. Armitage post? Pretty please?

Marianne McA

lisabea said...

Kristie(j)~ You did make me cry, dang it. And Carrie? I'm so glad I'm not alone in my Higgins appreciation.

He's hot.

Kristie (J) said...

Carrie: LOL - it won't be this weekend. They just asked me to work overtime tonight and I said yes - kichen bills don't you know, and tomorrow night I have plans. As a matter of fact they are with the same friend who watched North and South etc. with me. We're going out for dinner then back to my place for a movie. Only this time I'm going to introduce her to a certain other movie I adore - one about a gunslinger and a young Amish widow ;-)

Mollie: And I Will be Watching! You are on my list so I expect a report :) Glad the book arrived. I really do need to read it myself!! I keep looking at my copy thinking Read It!

Kim: Hi!! And Welcome! If you think it's romantic just from the YouTube video's, it 100 x1,000 more so when you see it from the beginning! You Must! You simply Must see the whole thing. You can find it all kinds of places - Netflix, libraries - all kinds of places.

Karen: Hello! And welcome out of lurkdom. I've had the opposite problem today. Work has gotten in the way of blogging! Usually I have a few minutes here and there to *cough* blog hop - but I've been doing a different kind of hopping today. I've got the work hop blues - and it will even be overtime - a ten hour day!
I'm so glad you have decided to give this a try. You realize of course you are now on my list! The one I will work on when I get home. It truly is wonderful and if you read what some of the other Crusaders have said on the sidebar - there are a A LOT of others who think the same. And if Richard Armitage does it for yout he way he does it for me -well then - it will be such a feast for the eyes as well as being such a beautifully told story!

Kwana said...

Oh Kristie. What a lovely post. Although I come in late I enjpyd the crusade so much. What a lovey group of women you are. Thanks for all your kind words and instant kindness.

Plese enter me in the contest. I'd wear that DVD out!

Kristie (J) said...

Carolyn Jean: Oh I have a feeling we will still be talking about it for a long time to come :) Until the whole globe has seen it - there are many more out there.

Marg: *g* I think this might be one of those web sites - and yours and everyone else who's blogged about North and South - and this way you don't actually have to join anything

Tumperkin: ROTFL - I don't know. I won't know until it knocks me upside the head and won't leave me alone until I tell everyone I know. I've no idea what it might be until the light over the head goes on.

Maryanne McA: As much fun as it was for everyone else - I think it was more fun for Sula, Katie and me! And I'd love to see your thoughts on the book vs the movie! If you want to email me - I'd love to post it. We can continue with the Non-Official Crusade *happy grin*
I did start watching P&P a couple of weeks ago when it was playing on PBS - but I was watching something else at the same time - and it was the second or third episode. I figured I had to see it from the beginning to fully appreciate it - rather than catching it in the middle and channel surfing at the same time. I will watch it soon though. Pinky finger promise.
And I did so love Carrie's thoughts on how John related to the other men in North and South. She expressed it so well didn't she? And I think John would treat Margaret wonderfully well too. You can see he had such love and respect for his Mum.

Lisabea: I didn't mean to - really I didn't. And there, there - it's OK - we will still have the Crusade. Sometime unofficial can be even MORE fun.

Kwana: It's been wonderful meeting you! And better late than never :) - Any friend of Crusader Megan is a friend of mine. And what a great thing to bond over isn't it. Consider yourself entered!

Brie said...

Aw, so sad to see it end.

Kristie, you did a fantastic job with this crusade. If not for your investment in N&S I would have probably never heard of it. I think I once refered to your spirit in this crusade as passionate. Well I meant that in the best of ways. You had an inspiring amount of conviciton when explaining the crusade to me and that was what sparked my interest, what made my buy it, and it is why I will watch.

CindyS said...

Okay, I'm misty eyed. Love Carrie Lofty's thoughts on Thornton 'the man' ;)

I'll be reading you epilogues soon - I swear my brain is swiss cheese! And I love the pictures and the reminders and Thank God for youtube and the ability to click on the final scene whenever you need a lift!

Thanks Kristie for always finding the bright side of romance and letting us all in the fun!


sula said...

cripes, I hate it when work slams me out the wazoo on a big important day like this and i don't even get a chance to update my blog until the day after. *sniff*

Well, better late than never, right?

Let me just say that it has been an honor to get to work on this with Kristie and katiebabs. We have had some very memorable IM sessions (omg, i can't believe the guy-robin slash vids!) and emails flying back and forth. they're both incredibly self-less ladies with such a passion for great books and great film. for romance, in short.

Oh and I have to say that it's also been a real pleasure to get to know Carrie Lofty in the last month. She's got a sense of humor and wit that totally cracks me up and a clarity in her observations that is so 'right on'. What a great contribution to finish off the official crusade with.

But of course, the crusade will always go on. as long as there are those yet un-initiated to the wonder that IS N&S (and um, Richard!) there will always be a crusade. hehe. Onward and upward!

Carrie Lofty said...

Thanks Kristie and Sula! I had a great time writing it, thinking academically....what makes this hot man hot. Good brain fun.

Katie(babs) said...

Kristie, thank you for introducing me to the lovely Richard Armitage and N&S. Also, your excitement has opened up a new world for many others, including myself. :)
I also think I have a major neck fetish now!

Bridget Locke said...

Miss Kristie-Thank you for getting me into this lovely movie. I've recommended it to so many people, I'm sure they're sick of hearing it. LOL!

You're a wonderful person & I'm glad this lovely enterprise has helped you make more friends. You definitely deserve them. :)

Love you bunches!

Bridget Locke said...

Miss Kristie-Thank you for getting me into this lovely movie. I've recommended it to so many people, I'm sure they're sick of hearing it. LOL!

You're a wonderful person & I'm glad this lovely enterprise has helped you make more friends. You definitely deserve them. :)

Love you bunches!

Susan/DC said...

Reading about romance novels online has not only introduced me to some wonderful books and movies but also to a community of lovely people. Even though I don't have a blog of my own, I do appreciate those who take the time and effort to connect all of us together in the virtual world. So thank you Kristie for introducing me to N&S and Richard Armitgage.

I too read the book and liked it, although toward the end I got a bit tired of Margaret feeling so guilty for lying to Thornton about the man at the RR station. After all, her brother was in mortal danger if caught in England; she shouldn't feel guilty about doing what she could to save his life. This was about the only time I could feel the Victorian morality beating me over the head, however, and I enjoyed the book.

Kristie (J) said...

Susan: You are most welcome! It's just as exciting for me too sharing North and South. And even better is getting to know and bond with other readers :-)

Kaitlyn: You are most welcome! And are all those other people enjoying it too? *g*

Katie: LOL - I think we all know now what you think of his neck. It's been such a riot doing this with you and Sula!

Carrie: if one has to use their brain *huge grin* I can think of no better way of using it than analyzing North and South and all the various aspects of this great series.

Sula: just wait til we have us our next pajama party! If we had fun with the three of us - it will be even that much more fun with many more of us rapturing over North and South!!!!

Cindy: I saw why your brain is cheese (((((hugs))))) And ah yes - YouTube - and the wonderful people who post videos there. They get a huge thank you.

Stacy~ said...

Lovely, wonderful post, ladies, and I'm so glad I was involved in the crusade. I've loved every minute of it, and Kristie, you especially are to thank for keeping the love alive. I will always be happy for the wonderful friends and conversations N&S has generated. You are a treasure.

And the crusade will never really, truly be over, not for those of us who loved it so much.

Dev said...

No, no, no, no, no!!! The crusade can't be over. There are always new people joining blogland all the time! They need to be introduced to the magic that is N&S ~ as long as they understand that I call dibs on Richard and Brendan :-)

Marg said...

Dev, surely you can't have BOTH!

Kristie (J) said...

Dev: Not to worry - only the OFFICIAL Crusade is over. That doesn't mean I'm still not keeping my eyes pealed for new Crusaders or oohing and aaahing over it.

Stacy - it has been such buckets of fun - and what's made it so much fun is all the people who have watched it, loved it, joined the Crusade and talked about it!

Marg: Both does seem a bit much doesn't it - heh heh.

Sarai said...

I am new to the group but recently rented North and South it was wonderful and surprised me at how much I truely enjoyed it. Great work on converting us all!

Kate Davies said...

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short -- but I had to let you know that you've got a new convert. I first heard about the crusade on Stacy's blog and when I finally had a break in my schedule I ordered it from Netflix. Loved, loved, loved it. I'll be buying it very soon. Thanks!