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Post Info TOPIC: Series Two Episode 8


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Date: Feb 21 4:21 AM, 2017
Series Two Episode 8
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LJones41 - I would highly recommend your reading the books.   I would like to share something with you and the other readers of this page. My response goes beyond your question, but I need to post this.  I hope everyone will indulge me.

 

As a woman and a feminist, it has been hard sometimes to reconcile when characters we love (looking at you, Ross) do things we hate (May 9th, kill me now). 

 

I saw the series last summer in the U.S. and then, wanting more, I read all 12 books.  Now, they are my bible, really.  Winston Graham is a genius and I don't say that lightly.  He understands character development, psychology and relationships so well.  I believed he could teach me something.  So I bought my therapist a set of the first four books and we have read the text weekly over the last year (in between real-life stuff).  No kidding.  Sometimes, it feels like a graduate English seminar.  I wanted to know how May 9th happened - how did Ross, Demelza and Elizabeth each contribute to May 9th?

 

Here's what I believe: When Ross and Demelza return from the trial, she doesn't tell him she's pregnant.  She decides he doesn't want any children (okay, he did say that) and, further, she decides he doesn't want her.  (I could cite the text, but it's in there - Jeremy.)  She withdraws and this creates a breach between Ross and Demelza.  He notices her distance, questions her about it, but she will not tell him the truth.  At the same time, Elizabeth has decided that she wants to be princess.  She wants to regain her "ascendance" over him.  (Some of us may know how that is - I don't have him, but I want him to like me best.)  I don't like Elizabeth, but I have some compassion for her.  She is a victim of her class, the culture and the times.  There aren't many opportunities for women like her to self-actualize.  As a consequence, she does the one thing she knows she's good at - she ramps up the flirtation with Ross.  And he is susceptible because of (a) his life situation (death of Francis/poverty/death of Julia), (b) his breach with Demelza and (c) his immaturity. He is flirting back with Elizabeth; he is doing the easy, fun thing instead of the hard work he should be doing with Demelza.  He is not innocent.  

 

After Francis's death, everything intensifies.  This death contributes to Ross's existential crisis.  He resents the unfairness of life - people are not always rewarded/punished for their behavior.  In addition, he has the ongoing pressure of a looming bankruptcy.  The mine accident occurs two days before he receives Elizabeth's letter.  He feels responsible for these deaths.  Finally, May 9th.  Ross is so blinded by his own pain and anger that he doesn't see Demelza.  I believe he cannot reconcile Elizabeth's behavior towards him with her marrying George - the man responsible for many of his and Francis's troubles.  I believe he wants to confront Elizabeth.  He wants a straight answer; he wants her to own up to what's been going on.  He says he will go if she will just tell him whether she loves George.  He knows she does not "love him to distraction."  But she lies.  She doesn't take responsibility for anything.  I believe if she had owned up to any of her behavior, he would have gone home.  Because of everything going on in his life, that's it for him.  She's been acting like a slut and he's going to treat as such.  I believe (as Graham's son has said), that it has all the elements of a rape, but that it changes. Throughout many of the books, this is evident. When Elizabeth is trying to postpone her wedding to George, she is remembering Ross's lips on her neck.  Indeed, the reason she wants to postpone the wedding is to see if something works out with Ross.  It is a challenge sometimes because Graham does not spell everything out in detail.  Instead, we have clues and internal dialogue which give us information.

 

 

 

My opinion of Ross still stands.  I think he was an egotist who thought the world should revolve around him.  Just because Elizabeth had confessed to making a mistake in marrying Francis doesn't mean Ross had the right to expect her to be "loyal" to him, considering that he was already married to another woman.  He was not entitled to having both Demelza and Elizabeth as romantic partners.  Ross doesn't have an excuse for his behavior.  An explanation, yes . . . but not an excuse.  



-- Edited by LJones41 on Tuesday 21st of February 2017 04:22:11 AM

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I very much agree with your comments, Janet. The characterisation is the great strength of the books - particularly Ross, who comes across as a wonderfully three-dimensional figure, so rare in literature. A good man who does stupid and occasionally bad things (as people do.) It also shows how the failure of Demelza and Ross to communicate with each other, each making assumptions about what the other is feeling and retreating into their own defensive hurt, can be so destructive in a relationship.

As for Elizabeth - I think you need to have some understanding of the times, and read that into her characterisation. Also, she was an only child, brought up by doting but strict parents - especially her mother. I am fairly sure that her mother would have made it very clear when Elizabeth and Ross first met that she wouldn't countenance a marriage - Joshua was not wealthy, as the younger son, and had a pretty bad reputation - and Ross was beginning to get a reputation too. She would have seen Francis as a much better match, and would have pushed that on Elizabeth - and I doubt Elizabeth would have been strong enough to stand up to her. I would think she was able to persuade herself that she really did love Francis - until Ross reappeared, and the comparison was right there in front of her. I feel sorry for her - loving Ross (don't we all!) but losing him bit by bit. As she says when realising she has not option but to marry George, she was in a cage. 



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Date: Dec 3 2:32 PM, 2016
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Fijane wrote:

I do agree, Stella, that the big problems can distort all the rest. I certainly feel that, which is why trying to keep optimistic helps. I have managed to get accustomed to George and Elizabeth being totally wrong, and I keep telling myself that they have only ruined Demelza in the last three episodes, which gives me some hope that they can fix it next season. Before the May 9th incident, she was wonderful - it only went wrong with the hitting of Ross at the end of that episode.


 Unfortunately, I don't think it is only Demelza they ruined in the last three episodes, they ruined Ross as well and it was the moment he comes home and says "I had no choice". He never takes responsibility or apologises for the pain he caused her, he just tells her that she is his real love. They have made Ross an insensitive clod and a coward, unable face what he did with either women in his life, he decides to run off to war again but only at the last minute does he decide that he wants Demelza. 

The sad thing is, that next season is suppose to cover Black Moon and half of Four Swans. I believe that they are planning to leave us with another cliffhanger; Hugh and Demelza's tryst on the beach and the reason for it will be clearly revenge.



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I do agree, Stella, that the big problems can distort all the rest. I certainly feel that, which is why trying to keep optimistic helps. I have managed to get accustomed to George and Elizabeth being totally wrong, and I keep telling myself that they have only ruined Demelza in the last three episodes, which gives me some hope that they can fix it next season. Before the May 9th incident, she was wonderful - it only went wrong with the hitting of Ross at the end of that episode.



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Date: Dec 2 10:39 AM, 2016
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Fijane wrote:

OK, a few:

  • Dwight and Caroline - near perfect
  • Verity and Andrew - again near perfect
  • Francis becoming wonderful despite the poor start - excellent death scene
  • Authenticity of the setting
  • Authenticity of costuming and general props etc
  • Many minor characters - Henshawe, Ray Penvenen, Jim & Jinny, Zacky, the Daniels, Hugh Bodrugan, Rev Halse - nearly all have been great (mainly because DH hasn't bothered to change them)
  • Wonderful scenes between Ross and Demelza, especially the ones seated around the table or in the parlour - up until Episode 8 Season 2.
  • Lovely "intimate" scenes between Ross and Demelza
  • Relatively authentic mine scenes
  • Some whole passages of dialogue lifted from the books
  • Quality acting performances - nearly unanimous, regardless of flaws in the scripts

I'm trying very hard not to let the last three episodes contaminate all the good that came before. And to reserve judgement on Season 3 despite the scary previews.


 I do agree with all this, Fijane and it is good to have this list as a reminder. The problem is, I think, that some of the faults are so bad that they wipe out, in my mind anyway, all these good aspects. Whenever there are additions such as George practising his boxing,  Demelza going to Trenwith to talk to Elizabeth, Ross going to sign up again to go to France and many more, they distract from the story and, to some extent, wipe out the good aspects - in my mind anyway. The additions are a distraction and also a distortion of the characters which all take us further from the original story and make the characters almost unrecogniseable. I agree with you about Caroline and Dwight being near perfect, the authenticity of the setting (there has been some amazing scenery and good choices for the settings), Francis' transformation and then his death. However, the intimate scenes between Ross and Demelza have to me seemed unreal, snatched as they are from all the angry exchanges between them. I think their scripts have changed their personalities. So much time was wasted with all the unnecessary additions which could have been used to considerably improve the final episode. Changing the scripts has distorted the characters to such an extent that I found it hard to like Ross and Demelza in some episodes. The bad scripts affected their ability to be the characters they are.

Stella 



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Agree with that, despite all the negative comments I still enjoyed the season overall and am looking forward to season 3



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OK, a few:

  • Dwight and Caroline - near perfect
  • Verity and Andrew - again near perfect
  • Francis becoming wonderful despite the poor start - excellent death scene
  • Authenticity of the setting
  • Authenticity of costuming and general props etc
  • Many minor characters - Henshawe, Ray Penvenen, Jim & Jinny, Zacky, the Daniels, Hugh Bodrugan, Rev Halse - nearly all have been great (mainly because DH hasn't bothered to change them)
  • Wonderful scenes between Ross and Demelza, especially the ones seated around the table or in the parlour - up until Episode 8 Season 2.
  • Lovely "intimate" scenes between Ross and Demelza
  • Relatively authentic mine scenes
  • Some whole passages of dialogue lifted from the books
  • Quality acting performances - nearly unanimous, regardless of flaws in the scripts

I'm trying very hard not to let the last three episodes contaminate all the good that came before. And to reserve judgement on Season 3 despite the scary previews.



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Fijane wrote:

It is making me a little sad that some of you feel so upset with the recent episodes. Bearing in mind that we are still waiting for Episode 10 in Australia (next Sunday), I am not yet at the point where I am not enjoying/loving the show. And I will definitely be watching Series 3.

Yes, there are serious flaws, starting with the total misrepresentation of Elizabeth which, as you say, has contaminated other scenes and characters, and ending with turning Demelza into a harpy. And I really enjoy analysing the episodes, and picking apart the places where it could have been done better. But there has been a lot of good, and a lot of good enough, to keep this Poldark fan happy.


 I would welcome some examples of the good parts because all I can remember are the bad scripts which have had the effect of changing the characters (Ross and Demelza especially). There have been many additions at the expense of the stories in the books. How can this result in series 2 having "a lot of good, and a lot of good enough?" I would sincerely like to be shown these parts. 

Stella



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It is making me a little sad that some of you feel so upset with the recent episodes. Bearing in mind that we are still waiting for Episode 10 in Australia (next Sunday), I am not yet at the point where I am not enjoying/loving the show. And I will definitely be watching Series 3.

Yes, there are serious flaws, starting with the total misrepresentation of Elizabeth which, as you say, has contaminated other scenes and characters, and ending with turning Demelza into a harpy. And I really enjoy analysing the episodes, and picking apart the places where it could have been done better. But there has been a lot of good, and a lot of good enough, to keep this Poldark fan happy.



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Mrs Gimlett wrote:

 When a re-make was announced, everyone said how much they loved the novels and wanted to be 'true' to them.  I naively took this to mean they would faithfully follow the ups and downs of our much loved characters, whilst also acknowledging  that some concessions would have to be made for logistical reasons.

Sadly, after the first few episodes of series 1 (when it was clearly a success), the team felt they should alter things to make it (in their eyes) even more of a success.  Series two carried on in this vein and my own heart sank when I saw how rapidly the muddled and ridiculous trial was dealt with.  It was, I suppose to get it out of the way so that their own ideas could come to the fore. Then it went from bad to worse.

 


 I am thankful for this new adaptation of Poldark, because it gave me a reason to reacquaint myself with this author and these wonderful books. I am a reader, to me it is a more intimate form of storytelling, therefore I don't expect any adaptation to live up to story that is in my mind.  I did not expect that every aspect of the story would be told or that the actors would  physically match those describe in the books, but I did hope though that the characters would be essentially the same. From the beginning though, there have been some decisions regarding the characterisation of Elizabeth, that I have completely disagreed with and unfortunately this changes have now spread to the main characters of this story. 

By creating a warm Elizabeth, they have diminished the devastating effect her inability to love Francis, had on him and made him into a pathetic character instead of a tragic one. Why did they change the basic complexion of their marriage, after his suicide attempt, from one of resigned acceptance, on his part, to one that appears to be loving and warm, for both? Why would Elizabeth, who is so conscience of Demelza's sacrifice during the morbid throat crisis, dress to attract Ross' attention again, at the second Christmas at Trenwith?  Why, if Elizabeth was now happy in her marriage, would she make any confession to Ross? It is illogical. Without the confession, would have Ross' feelings for Elizabeth been stirred up again?

This characterisation of Elizabeth has distorted the entire story and the other characters in it.



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Date: Nov 30 6:00 PM, 2016
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No problem, easily done aww

Suggest to all that when needed it would be easier in future to label both the 70's and the current series say as the first production episode 4, and the second production episode 9 and so on....



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Date: Nov 30 5:25 PM, 2016
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Ross Poldark wrote:
Stella Poldark wrote:

Ross

While of course I agree that the books are unsurpassable, I cannot agree that the first series of the current production was  "average". I think the first series was quite good and much better than the first series of the 1970s.


First series in the '70s not this current series, so "average" in how close I feel the '70s series was to the books....wink


 Ross - I am sorry that I misunderstood. This is not the first time I have confused references to the 1970s productions with the 2015 and onwards ones. confuse

Stella



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Stella Poldark wrote:

Ross

While of course I agree that the books are unsurpassable, I cannot agree that the first series of the current production was  "average". I think the first series was quite good and much better than the first series of the 1970s.


First series in the '70s not this current series, so "average" in how close I feel the '70s series was to the books....wink



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 When a re-make was announced, everyone said how much they loved the novels and wanted to be 'true' to them.  I naively took this to mean they would faithfully follow the ups and downs of our much loved characters, whilst also acknowledging  that some concessions would have to be made for logistical reasons.

Sadly, after the first few episodes of series 1 (when it was clearly a success), the team felt they should alter things to make it (in their eyes) even more of a success.  Series two carried on in this vein and my own heart sank when I saw how rapidly the muddled and ridiculous trial was dealt with.  It was, I suppose to get it out of the way so that their own ideas could come to the fore. Then it went from bad to worse.

Having professed to love the stories, it is a shame they had not the courage of their convictions to bring these wonderful books to life authentically.  We know they are so full that some things have to be omitted, but it is because of their richness there is so much to work with.  Quite unnecessary to dream up new material. 

Personally, I feel cheated.  Over the last few years, audiences have got used to constant edgy drama and violence, but I really think a faithful reproduction would have worked, gradually drawing the audience in and keeping them. The viewing public are not idiots, needing to be spoon-fed action packed cliff-hangers in order to understand a story. It would not surprise me at all if production ceases at the end of series 3, although it would need some serious juggling to bring all the loose ends together.

The two most glaring faux pas in my view were Ross hitting one of his employees and Demelza striking Ross.  If that is what has been interpreted from the books, the writers et al haven't read them properly.   And if the cast members have read the books, how do they feel about the assassination of their characters?



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Ross Poldark wrote:

I've not commented before as I've never had any real interest in any of the films the books always remaining unsurpassable, but average as the first series was now the second series is finally over Demelza striking Ross in the farmyard was for me way, way over the top and by far the clumsiest, most insensitive and unwanted scene of all to date.

Yet furious as WG most justifiably was with the beginning of the first series until they suddenly woke up to just how vital and necessary he really was, I'm absolutely certain he would have been livid with rage, highly insulted and worst of all deeply hurt at this particular scene as it was striking at the very heart of his "children" and all that he held most precious and dear. 

It really does leave you wondering how the actors, DH and the producers and everyone else involved with the production must really feel underneath, and what must now inevitably lie ahead for them all now they've all had time to read the books....


Ross

While of course I agree that the books are unsurpassable, I cannot agree that the first series of the current production was  "average". I think the first series was quite good and much better than the first series of the 1970s. The same cannot be said of the second series and I agree with you about Demlza hitting Ross. Throughout the second series the characters of Ross and Demelza are distorted so much that they have become different people. I recall there is something in Jeremy which describes them as 'different people' since the death of Julia. However it was not meant in the way it is portrayed in series 2 and I agree that so much of Ross and Demelza's dialogue would not have been said by either. In fact Debbie Horsfield's scripts turn the characters of Ross and Demelza into unrecognisable people. I think the quality of the acting was affected by the scripts as the actors struggled to make some lines sound authentic. There was far too much dialogue that would never have been spoken by the characters in the books. It is such a missed opportunity but drama that has to appeal to a mass audience often suffers in this way.



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I've not commented before as I've never had any real interest in any of the films the books always remaining unsurpassable, but average as the first series was now the second series is finally over Demelza striking Ross in the farmyard was for me way, way over the top and by far the clumsiest, most insensitive and unwanted scene of all to date.

Yet furious as WG most justifiably was with the beginning of the first series until they suddenly woke up to just how vital and necessary he really was, I'm absolutely certain he would have been livid with rage, highly insulted and worst of all deeply hurt at this particular scene as it was striking at the very heart of his "children" and all that he held most precious and dear. 

It really does leave you wondering how the actors, DH and the producers and everyone else involved with the production must really feel underneath, and what must now inevitably lie ahead for them all now they've all had time to read the books....



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JanetMaison wrote:
Mrs Gimlett wrote:

Suzanne, One thing Demelza would never ever have done was hit Ross.  She may often have felt like it, but she had scars and memories of that degrading treatment and knew better than to attempt it herself. 

I was really looking forward to the 'breakfast scene' where Ross tried to act normally and she was consumed with anger, pushing everything on the floor.  Of course, had DH introduced the Gimletts and Jud and Prudie had been relegated to their sty in Grambler village, it could all have worked a treat.  Ross covered for her in the books because neither of them displayed their anger to outsiders, unlike  the rancorous remarks which batted to and fro on screen. 


DH completely changes Ross & Demelza's relationship.  The way May 10th was portrayed in the TV series - Ross returns and says you must see I had no choice.  Well, I felt like hitting him for that.  But he never said that in the books, he never would have said it and Demelza would never had hit him.  And, yes, they NEVER display their anger in front of others or with the disparaging remarks that Demelza makes. That is not their relationship. And I love, love, love the scene of Demelza smashing the pottery in the book.  No yelling needed. 



-- Edited by JanetMaison on Tuesday 29th of November 2016 10:59:51 PM


 



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Mrs Gimlett wrote:

Suzanne, One thing Demelza would never ever have done was hit Ross.  She may often have felt like it, but she had scars and memories of that degrading treatment and knew better than to attempt it herself. 

I was really looking forward to the 'breakfast scene' where Ross tried to act normally and she was consumed with anger, pushing everything on the floor.  Of course, had DH introduced the Gimletts and Jud and Prudie had been relegated to their sty in Grambler village, it could all have worked a treat.  Ross covered for her in the books because neither of them displayed their anger to outsiders, unlike  the rancorous remarks which batted to and fro on screen. 


DH completely changes Ross & Demelza's relationship.  The way May 10th was portrayed in the TV series - Ross returns and says you must see I had no choice.  Well, I felt like hitting him for that.  But he never said that in the books, he never would have said it and Demelza would never had hit him.  And, yes, they NEVER display their anger in front of others or with the disparaging remarks that Demelza makes.  That is not their relationship.  And I love, love, love the scene of Demelza smashing the pottery in the book.  No yelling needed. 



-- Edited by JanetMaison on Tuesday 29th of November 2016 10:59:51 PM



-- Edited by JanetMaison on Tuesday 29th of November 2016 11:03:23 PM

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Suzanne, One thing Demelza would never ever have done was hit Ross.  She may often have felt like it, but she had scars and memories of that degrading treatment and knew better than to attempt it herself. 

I was really looking forward to the 'breakfast scene' where Ross tried to act normally and she was consumed with anger, pushing everything on the floor.  Of course, had DH introduced the Gimletts and Jud and Prudie had been relegated to their sty in Grambler village, it could all have worked a treat.  Ross covered for her in the books because neither of them displayed their anger to outsiders, unlike  the rancorous remarks which batted to and fro on screen. 



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I've started a new topic "Rape/Not Rape" for the benefit of those who would like to continue to discuss it.  Please move the conversation to the new topic.



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"Sly satisfaction"?  God, I hate this scene!  I hate it that Debbie Horsfield thought it necessary to change it to a last moment of consensual sex.  And now many fans are going out of their way to condemn or slut shame Elizabeth.  They're condemning Elizabeth a lot more than they're condemnig Ross.  Why?  She is a woman, the secondary female lead and an easier target.  They're so wrapped up in the idea of Ross and Demelza reconciling that they seemed to have this need to villify Elizabeth in the process.  Frankly, I find it rather disturbing.



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SusanneMcCarthy wrote:

I mostly agree, it was well done. Except... I would just like to have had a tad more to show that it really was consensual before they hit the bed. Maybe a breathless, "Oh Ross..." It needn't have detracted from the tension between them. OK, maybe that's a nod to modern sensibilities, but we are watching it in modern times - and so are many of the casual audience who aren't so aware of the way it is in the books. 



On second viewing, I think that we do see that "before they hit the bed". Elizabeth's expressions range from shock, to pretend shock, and occasionally to sly satisfaction, and I think that that was the writer's intention. It was quite a quality acting performance, in my opinion.

(My comment has no reference to whether that is the way it ought to have been, just what I saw in the show.)



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I mostly agree, it was well done. Except... I would just like to have had a tad more to show that it really was consensual before they hit the bed. Maybe a breathless, "Oh Ross..." It needn't have detracted from the tension between them. OK, maybe that's a nod to modern sensibilities, but we are watching it in modern times - and so are many of the casual audience who aren't so aware of the way it is in the books. 

Having said that, I did like the morning after the night before bit. Slowly dawning realisation from Ross that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all, and an inkling of anxiety from Elizabeth that it ain't gonna turn out good. 

And as for that roundhouse from Demelza... OK, I know that with modern sensibilities that would be domestic violence - but she was a miner's daughter, and I bet those miners' wives could hand it out with the best of 'em! (Am I contradicting myself? I don't care!) 



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DH was so faithful to WG's version of May 9th, in fact, that makes some of her other choices incomprehensible and maddening.

 

 

DH was faithful?  From "Warleggan" (1953):

 

'I cant help this either.' He kissed her. She turned her face away but could not get it far enough round to avoid him.

When he lifted his head, her eyes were lit with anger. Hed never seen her like it before, and he found pleasure in it.

'This is contemptible! I shouldnt have believed it of you! To force yourself To insult me when when I have no one'

'I dont like this marriage to George, Elizabeth. I dont like it! I should be glad of your assurance that youll not go through with it.'

'Id be surprised if you believed me if I gave it you! You called me a liar! Well, at least I do not go back on my promises! I love George to distraction and shall marry him next week-'

He caught her again, and this time began to kiss her with intense passion to which anger had given an extra relish, before anger was lost. Her hair began to fall in plaited tangles. She got her hand up to his mouth, but he brushed it away. Then she smacked his face, so he pinioned her arm

She suddenly found herself for a brief second nearly free. 'You treat me -like a slut'

'Its time you were so treated-'

'Let me go, Ross! Youre hateful horrible! If George'

'Shall you marry him?'

'Dont! Ill scream! Oh, God, Ross Please .. .'

'Whatever you say, I dont think I can believe you now. Isnt that so?'

'Tomorrow-'

'Theres no tomorrow,' he said. 'It doesnt come. Life is an illusion. Didnt you know? Let us make the most of the shadows.'

'Ross, you cant intend Stop! Stop, I tell you.'

 

But he took no further notice of the words she spoke. He lifted her in his arms and carried her to the bed.

 

And this is where the scene ends in Graham's novel.  Exactly how was Debbie Horsfield's version exactly what was written by Graham in the above passage?



-- Edited by LJones41 on Saturday 19th of November 2016 03:36:33 AM

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Fijane wrote:

One other thing about *that* scene that struck me. They showed quite clearly, by Elizabeth's facial expressions, that she was quite "excited" by Ross's arrival. Heida did a good job switching between genuine and mock horror, and surreptious satisfaction. And at the very end, they showed the moment where she went from being reluctant to being passionate, quite clearly.


DH was so faithful to WG's version of May 9th, in fact, that makes some of her other choices incomprehensible and maddening. 



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One other thing about *that* scene that struck me. They showed quite clearly, by Elizabeth's facial expressions, that she was quite "excited" by Ross's arrival. Heida did a good job switching between genuine and mock horror, and surreptious satisfaction. And at the very end, they showed the moment where she went from being reluctant to being passionate, quite clearly.



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We have finally been given the controversial episode, after weeks of reading opinions about it from UK viewers. And I liked it ...mostly.

The dialogue was very faithful to the books, and I thought that this was Heida Reed's best performance. It jarred a bit, though, hearing George say "you are so fragile..) while she was standing there in obvious fine health.

With all the talk about the final scenes, I was wonderfully surprised by the first 3/4 of the episode. Ross and Demelza in the house, talking and smiling at each other (not a shrewish comment in sight), clearing the air about the 600 pounds, the cautious happiness of the tin discovery, Verity visiting with James and her happy news. Seeing more of Jeremy - who seems to me to be a different child actor to a few weeks ago, and much more like my image of him. Even the scene of Betty Carkeek's labour was touching, although I have trouble working out why it was necessary. Maybe to make us more emotionally involved in the later deaths?

In all, a great episode, and the scenes with R & D were the best.

It is interesting, with them making Demelza's comments more sharp-edged, I am finding that Ross's responses, which are often direct dialogue from the books, seem more conciliatory. She often says something narky or in a inflammatory sort of way, yet he doesn't react angrily most of the time. This was especially obvious when she was harping on about the smuggling trips.



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Mrs Gimlett--actually I think you make my point quite well. The type of knowledge that Ross had and exhibited was not quite so common, not among the gentry and apparently not even among some of the specialists that the gentry employed. It certainly went beyond weeding and ploughing. One example, in "Jeremy," is Sir John's diseased, prized Hereford.  Even Sir John's trained cattleman was concerned about the cow's loose teeth. But when Demelza asked Ross' advice about the condition, his authoritative response was,"a cow's teeth are always loose." ---I mean, who knew?--- These are the types of details that I always find so fascinating and educational; they make the narrative so real. And they always come from Ross' mouth. WG's research was indeed widely encompassing.



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Ross left school when he was about thirteen years old and basically hung out with the local children. Francis stayed in school and therefore was not as exposed to local life as Ross was. 



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Sorry, I don't think Francis would have had the same exposure to everyday events as Ross did. Or at least, he wouldn't have interested himself in them, even if he noticed what went on.  He was a product of a more cossetted unit.  Verity ran the place like clockwork, presumably very much on the same lines as did their mother in her time.  Francis was born into wealth; no-one ever thought the mine would close - indeed, if he had taken more interest in it earlier on, instead of running off to George's parties, it might not have closed. If George hadn't been his main creditor, it may have survived, but George wanted Francis in his pocket. 

In one of the early books, there is even a mention of Francis having been on a tour of Europe in his (I guess) late teens. 

The difference is, Ross is practical, not afraid to get his hands dirty and Francis expected, and did, live the life of a gentleman without really having a clue as to managing staff and keeping a tight hold on the purse-strings.

 

 



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Mrs Gimlet-Ross' intelligence was never in question, especially not in my mind. Aside from being intelligent, I think he is the most resourceful character in the novels. So of course he would have succeeded at anything he put his mind to. I simply wondered when and how he would have acquired (what came across to me, a modern reader) not just his familiarity with but his expertise in animal husbandry and farming.

Thanks to this forum, I received my answer. 

Without rehashing content with which we are all intimately familiar, it wasn't just planting, reaping, and weeding that sparked my curiosity. It was some of the observations, directions, and advice that Ross made and gave. In comparison, Francis would have been exposed to the same practices as Ross. Yet, when he was forced to take over much of the everyday minutiae of running Trenwith, he was not nearly as astute or successful. I can't imagine anyone, for example, asking Francis if the homemade beer were ready to be casked.  Aunt Agatha, yes; Ross, yes; Francis no.



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Nampara land was inherited by Joshua, who built the house, and as book 1 implies, whilst he and Grace were happily married for 10 years, the land would have been worked.  Even in those days, it wasn't considered a large estate, since much of the land comprised sand dunes, gorse scrub and mining spoil.  However, I think Ross is intelligent enough to know how to plant and plough, reap and weed.  At that time, such knowledge would have been easily picked up.  There wasn't much science involved, as nowadays.

Also, we know that, as a boy, Ross was well integrated into the lives of all those who lived nearby, regardless of class.  All the children would have helped out on the land at busy times including Ross.

When he returned from America, and found the ruins of his inheritance at Nampara, he attacked the restoration as a solutive to his desperate disappointment.  To him, to bury himself in labour was to work off all his anger, frustration and sadness.  He may seem young (at 23) in our eyes, but then 23 was to be half way through life for many, especially miners.  He had been independent for years, really since his mother died and he watched the decline of his father, deciding not to follow in his wild ways.  Although of course, Ross was wild in other ways...



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If I remember correctly, Joshua, the second son, inherited the land on which Nampara stands and Wheal Maiden and Wheal Leisure, and Charles, the elder son, got Trenwith and Grambler, a mine that had been producing since the 1600s but closed on Francis' watch. Joshua started Wheal Grace and built Nampara with proceeds from that mine. (I think all this is in the Prologue of "Ross Poldark.")

Nampara was farmed, but not by the tenants. They were miners working at Grambler and, once Ross opened it, Wheal Leisure. Wheal Grace was staffed by miners who had worked at Grambler until it closed. I think the tenants may have had small personal vegetable patches. 

 



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Both Nampara and Trenwith were estates that were basically large scale farms.  Just like any estate owned by a member of the rural upper classes.  These estates usually had tenants who did the actual farming, which meant the owners were not expected to toil the fields.  But estates like Nampara and Trenwith were also located in Cornwall, which was an area known for large scale tin and copper mining.  It's not surprising that many landowners in Cornwall also exploited their properties for mining.

Nampara was a smaller estate with less quality soil for farming.  It was probably given to Ross' father Joshua by the latter's own father. 



-- Edited by LJones41 on Monday 31st of October 2016 07:28:45 AM

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I might be wrong, but I was under the impression that Nampara was always a working farm. The degree to which the family relied on the farming produce and income just waxed and waned, in inverse proportion to how productive the mines were. As a farm it went downhill when Joshua became ill and died, and Ross just got things working again.

I imagine the big difference was that when times were prosperous, none of the actual family would have done any of the agricultural work.



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I don't know that I find Ross' behaviour on May 9th tolerable because he is set in another era, because I don't tolerate it, but I understand it. I think that modern day society expects us all to be in control of our emotions and forgets that underneath these civilized facades, we are all just animals.

 

I don't find Ross' May 9th behavior tolerable, whether it happened in the 1790s or now.  He simply doesn't have an excuse.  I don't expect everyone to have control of their emotions, because human beings are more or less incapable of exerting control.  That's the way we are.  But that does not excuse Ross' actions.  Not one bit.  I think we're all mature enough to recognize that he really screwed up.  Big time.  And his actions will reverberate throughout the saga.

 

 

I think besides mining workers there would also have most likely been agricultural workers to begin with at Trenwith as well dating right back to Aunt Agatha's father Charles Vivian Raffe Poldark in the late 1600's, so they would most likely have still been there when Francis took over as I remember him complaining at some stage he wasn't happy or content with being reduced to a mere farmer for his livelihood.

It's only natural that estates like Trenwith and Nampara were part of Britain's agricultural industry.  In fact, the majority of British estates merely served as large-scale farms that provided foodstuff for the nation.  But Cornwall's geographical makeup also provided other means for landowners to profit from their holdings - namely mining.  Ironically, Nampara probably depended more on mining, due to the fact that its soil is not fertile enough for large-scale farming.

 



-- Edited by LJones41 on Sunday 30th of October 2016 07:13:46 PM

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Ross and Dark Mare--thanks for these suggestions. I had considered that together Jack Cobbledick (what an evocative name) and Jud (How's yer cows) might have offered a little useful advice, but your comments help fill in the gaps. Similar to his own children, Ross probably participated in various farming activities at Nampara and Trenwith. He probably had ponies growing up especially, as you say Ross, with Tholly around. This would have contributed to his excellent ability to appraise animals, whether at a fair or later in bartering with Tholly himself. ("Women you can deceive me on Tholly but not horses.")

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I think besides mining workers there would also have most likely been agricultural workers to begin with at Trenwith as well dating right back to Aunt Agatha's father Charles Vivian Raffe Poldark in the late 1600's, so they would most likely have still been there when Francis took over as I remember him complaining at some stage he wasn't happy or content with being reduced to a mere farmer for his livelihood.

 



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I think besides mining workers there would also have most likely been agricultural workers to begin with at Trenwith as well dating right back to Aunt Agatha's father Charles Vivian Raffe Poldark in the late 1600's, so they would most likely have still been there when Francis took over as I remember him complaining at some stage he wasn't happy or content with being reduced to a mere farmer for his livelihood.

Also Ross grew up with Tholly with his in-depth knowledge of horses as well as Jud "How's yer cows then missus ?", who in turn would have then brought him into contact with farming folk on local sheep and cattle market days, also going to general fairs such as Redruth where he first met Demelza. Also I think Charlie Baragwanath was into horses as well....



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Perhaps they had agricultural workers at Nampara when Wheal Grace was still open. Or maybe from the ag workers at Trenwith. After Ross' mother died, wasn't he parked over there for days at a time?

 



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Hollyhock - very good points. I hadn't thought about how young he was - 23 - when he assumed all that responsibility.  I agree - he needed a counselor! I have no idea how he acquired his knowledge about farming and animals.  Maybe someone else has an idea???



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JanetMaison--Thank you for sharing. I agree with much of what you say about Ross. Although he assumes a tremendous amount of responsibility after his return to Nampara, he is still quite young and in some ways immature and inexperienced, especially when it comes to women. All the tensions and stresses that you outline would be a heavy weight to contend with during every waking hour, and there was no one that Ross could, or even knew how to, confide in. He really needed a counselor, especially for help in dealing with his grief over Julia; that was still very raw. But I think, as a sign of the times, he was expected to keep those feelings under-cover. I agree that the ever-widening breach between the couple, partly stemming from Demelza's reluctance to tell him about her pregnancy, contributed to his immature and irrational actions, especially when it came to his dealings with, and perceptions about,  Elizabeth.

As an aside, in his early years of struggle, it always amazes me that Ross knew so much about farming and animal husbandry. When and where did he learn all those skills? I can't believe his father would have spent a lot of time teaching him how to be a farmer.



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Fijane wrote:

Just to throw a cat amongst the... you know what...I'm curious to know something else:

I have a theory that we readers of historical fiction fall in love (metaphorically) with these characters partly because they are allowed to act in a way that would not be accepted by modern society (eg May 9th). The behaviour is tolerated by readers because we know that in different times, society attitudes were different. For me, this reflects what I see as a gradual increase of confusion amongst men (and boys) now as to how a man should act. Do we subconsciously wish that our men would act a little like this?

So, my question is, are there contemporary characters (in contemporary stories) that you have "fallen in love" with, as much as you have with characters such as Ross (or Jamie-Outlander, or Rory-Trade Wind etc)? Who are they?


To be honest Fijane, I don't read many modern day stories but I think there are characters that could be just as appealing as Ross or Rory, I haven't read Outlander so I don't know about Jamie. I don't know that I find Ross' behaviour on May 9th tolerable because he is set in another era, because I don't tolerate it, but I understand it. I think that modern day society expects us all to be in control of our emotions and forgets that underneath these civilized facades, we are all just animals. 

By the way, I loved Trade Wind.






-- Edited by MrsMartin on Friday 28th of October 2016 03:48:57 AM

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Ross Poldark wrote:

Lol ! But where would all this leave the Poldarks.... ?


Finding yet another way to make a monkey out of poor George. I suspect Christopher with his Rothschild contacts could find some London press lord willing to trade away the stagecoach affair for an exclusive on the story of rising stage star Bella Poldark's role in saving the French crown jewels from falling into Napoleon's hands on the eve of Waterloo, where days later, her beloved brother fought valiantly and died in the arms of their father, the MP who had escaped French custody and traveled to Waterloo to join Wellington's staff briefly. The story, of course, would be embargoed and timed to break a few days before the start of Paul's trial, at which the mother of the extraordinary young actress and the fallen hero was to testify as one of the victims who survived the killer's attack. If George had helped Paul, paying for a top lawyer for his murder trial, for example, it could backfire on him once Bella's story broke.

Seriously, George was obsessed with the theft for years so I suspect he would care most about finding out who did it, how and why. Demelza, Philip and Geoffrey Charles could tell him most if not all of it. 



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Just to throw a cat amongst the... you know what...I'm curious to know something else:

I have a theory that we readers of historical fiction fall in love (metaphorically) with these characters partly because they are allowed to act in a way that would not be accepted by modern society (eg May 9th). The behaviour is tolerated by readers because we know that in different times, society attitudes were different. For me, this reflects what I see as a gradual increase of confusion amongst men (and boys) now as to how a man should act. Do we subconsciously wish that our men would act a little like this?

So, my question is, are there contemporary characters (in contemporary stories) that you have "fallen in love" with, as much as you have with characters such as Ross (or Jamie-Outlander, or Rory-Trade Wind etc)? Who are they?



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Another beautiful sonnet, MrsMartin. I've printed it out to stick on my fridge.



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I think these are questions that are answered if you read the text closely.



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Ross is so blinded by his own pain and anger that he doesn't see Demelza.  I believe he cannot reconcile Elizabeth's behavior towards him with her marrying George - the man responsible for many of his and Francis's troubles.  I believe he wants to confront Elizabeth.  He wants a straight answer; he wants her to own up to what's been going on.  He says he will go if she will just tell him whether she loves George.  He knows she does not "love him to distraction."  But she lies.  She doesn't take responsibility for anything.  I believe if she had owned up to any of her behavior, he would have gone home.

 

 

Own up to her behavior?  Are you referring to his visits to Trenwith to help her out?  Or are you referring to her confession before Francis' death about her regret for not marrying Ross?  It was a confession made in an unguarded moment.  Elizabeth is supposed to be forever condemened for that?  Is that the reason why she is constantly accused by fans for manipulating Ross?  And I never could understand Ross' outrage over Elizabeth not marrying for love when he married Demelza for reasons other than love.



-- Edited by LJones41 on Wednesday 26th of October 2016 09:15:52 PM



-- Edited by LJones41 on Wednesday 26th of October 2016 09:16:41 PM

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Dark Mare,

 

I loved your sonnet about Ross. That got me thinking of what sonnet would best suit Demelza's mood the morning after May 9th.

SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark, 
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 



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Lol ! But where would all this leave the Poldarks.... ?



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Ross Poldark wrote:

Take your point only I think it goes well beyond that, as I feel the core issue throughout the books is that George had a huge hang up and inferiority complex about being the grandson of a blacksmith, and that this could well have stemmed from when he and Ross were at school, picking up the odd references to the other when back with their parents afterwards so not a question of where the forge actually was.

And I think this is the central theme George knowing that Ross would always play this humiliating card especially in public so he had to be careful and always keep his temper in check choosing instead to increasingly humiliate him in public financially. So more a question I think of being top dog, for example Monk Adderley, rather than a question of personalities as right up to the end both of them never knew that Jeremy had taken part in the stagecoach robbery.

I think it's this constant battle and tension between them that is yet another wonderful element in the books as well, often wondering how WG would have depicted both of them the moment they both knew as I'm pretty sure George would have had a field day ! Again Demelza to the rescue....


 I'm glad someone seems to agree with me that the stagecoach affair had so much potential. It is unfortunate that WG chose to leave that ending unwritten. With this case, George wouldn't have had to pay to plant the story in a scandal sheet. Thirty-plus  years of newsroom experience tells me this would be a national story even in 1815. A story that brings together a cleverly executed theft, an accused serial killer, a deceased young army captain field commissioned by Wellington himself, a handsome sailor, an MP who is also a prominent Cornish banker and entrepreneur and the Duke of Richmond's (I am remembering Harriet's brother's title correctly, aren't I?) brother-in-law and one of the four people who smuggled the French crown jewels into Belgium to keep them out of Napoleon's hands would write itself. 



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