Friday, 20 January 2017

"North and South", review and analysis.
Part 2: The book by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to the series of events which led me to read this book.
Let's be honest, I owe it to the TV adaptation, which I could not get enough of.
As I wrote in my previous post, after watching the 2004 BBC series, I was worried that I might not enjoy reading the original story much. Somehow the lack of Richard Armitage and stunning scenery might have removed all the magic. But at the same time I was hoping for something to complement what I saw on screen, with more scenes and more insight of the characters' thoughts.
Well, I can definitely say that I was not disappointed. Quite the opposite!
What a beautifully written story! In spite of knowing the basic plot already, I could not put the book down until I was really exhausted for sleep deprivation. I don't remember the last time I have been so excited about a book!
I am a bit sorry that I need to give it back to the library. I am waiting to return it as I keep reading my favourite parts over and over again!


Attention please!
This is a weird way of writing a review (or maybe I should say analysis). I first analyzed the TV adaptation and now I am just comparing it to the book. Normally you would expect it to be done the other way round. Remember, I first watched the TV series and then read the book. I am only following the order in which I discovered this really involving story :)
The first impression I had when I read the book was: I am so glad I first watched the film and then read the book. This way I could fully love both. Had I done it the other way round, I would have probably thought: WTF have they done!!!
Admittedly, lots of things have been changed, including but not only the ending part which is a completely different story. To be honest with you, I do not understand why so much was changed. I genuinely would like to speak to my now beloved Sandy Welch and ask her the reason behind several of her choices.
But hey, I will never have a chance to speak to Sandy Welch, so my questions will remain unanswered. C'est la vie!

The plot

The essential elements of the plot which are both in the book and TV series are the following:

  1. Dissenting Mr Hale leaves his job as clergyman and moves to Milton with his family - house and job found thanks to his friend Mr Bell.
  2. Mr Hale's daughter, the young, righteous and a bit snobbish Margaret, meets mill owner John Thornton, who has become her father's favourite pupil. He is a honest man, hard worker, straightforward and a bit rude in posh Margaret's eyes.
  3. Margaret protects Thornton during a riot, and gets hit by one of Thornton's mill workers.
  4. Thornton falls in love with her almost immediately and proposes, but she rejects him.
  5. Little by little Margaret falls in love with John, while he seems to have a lower and lower opinion of her.
  6. Mr Thornton sees Margaret and her brother Fredrick at the train station at night. He does not know she has a brother. He does not know he is in danger in England as he was responsible for a mutiny. He does not know Fred came to see his dying mother. He thinks the two are lovers.
  7. A policeman asks Margaret if she was at the station that night as she has been seen there, and she may help the investigations about a drunk man's death. She lies to the police. Thornton is a magistrate in the case and is informed about Margaret's denial. He helps her in that case. She is not able to explain what happened to him, as she cannot betray Fredrick. Mr Thornton thinks ill of Margaret.
  8. Mr Hale dies, Margaret moves back to London to stay with cousin Edith and her husband captain Lennox.
  9. Mr Bell dies, leaving all his fortunes to Margaret.
  10. Thornton has to close down his business.
  11. Thornton finds out that Margaret has a brother and it was with her at the station before Mrs Hale died.
  12. Margaret wants to help Thornton and makes it look like a business proposal. She will lend him a considerable amount of money and ask for a small interest.
  13. Happy ending at last!!!

Differences and comparisons

The remaining part of this post will focus on what is different in the book from the 2004 BBC drama. And I will share my personal preference each time.

Mr Hale's doubt

Yeah, this makes no sense in the TV adaptation and in the book either. But it does make a bit more sense in the book. At least it is a bit more explained, and even if most of us cannot relate to Mr. Hale, somehow we do see why in the end the clergyman decides to change job and move to such a different place. Sure thing, his friend Mr Bell can help him find a house and a job in Milton, but part of the reason is that it is a very different place from his beloved Helstone.
Mr Hale comes across as both a weak and cowardly person (he made the decision without asking his wife and asked his daughter to give the bad news to her mother!) but also someone a man of integrity who earns the respect of people like Mr Thornton, Mr Bell and even Higgins. I feel a bit resentful towards him, but somehow I am glad his reasons were explained more in the book.
Also, in the book there is more interaction between Mr Hale and Higgins. He goes visit Boucher as well! This definitely did not show in the film! There is much more religious talk in the book, which I am glad was removed from the TV adaptation. But Mr. Hale was a clergyman, so it is likely to have been a big part of his talks.

Book or TV series? Draw.

Mrs Hale

Mrs Hale comes across as even more as a very unhappy person. I mean, it was quite clear from the movie already that she was letting herself die as she could not cope with the change of location and lifestyle. But I had the impression that she was perfectly happy in Helstone, before I read the book. Instead she was already miserable and unwell. And probably regretted marrying for love, as her sister could afford a much better life.
Sure thing, she was probably just a moaner, and she regretted complaining about Helstone once in Milton. Professional unhappy character, with no flexibility skills.
Her relationship with Dixon is much stronger than I guessed from the TV adaptation. Mrs Hale is closer to and confides more in Dixon than in her own daughter. Both Mrs Hale and Dixon also seem to prefer Fredrick to Margaret, even though this may be as well because he is in exile and they miss him.

Book or TV series? TV series. She's more loveable.


Who is Martha? In the TV series Dixon is the only servant following the Hales in Milton. Apparently there is another servant who to be honest does not have a big role in the story... It was not a bad idea to remove her from the cast.

Book or TV series? TV series. She is not needed.

Margaret Hale

YES! The book does Margaret the justice I was looking for. Thank you massively, Elisabet Gaskell.
Margaret and her mother openly despise manufacturers and tradesmen but in the book Margaret is much fairer to Mr Thornton. She comes across as more open-minded. At least she acknowledges that somehow Mr Thornton is better than other tradesmen and defends him when her mother judges him harshly. There are many misunderstandings between Margaret and John Thornton but they try to understand each other more than in the movie. There is generally speaking more communication between the two. They are a bit more patient with each other while trying to understand each other's point of view.
It may be just because Mr. Thornton is her father's favourite pupil, but hat's off for Margaret Hale in the book for not being the diva she becomes in the TV series.
Mind you, she is still a bit righteous and opinionated but we can see where she comes from, her reactions are never over the top like sometimes happened in the film version...
Most important thing ever! She actually makes mistakes, acknowledges them, suffers for them, regrets them. This is the Margaret I was missing. Human! I like her!
In the book we can follow her progressive attachment for Mr. Thornton, her growing love and respect - even if she is denial for longer than necessary. And we fall in love with Thornton with her.
Also, in the TV series, Margaret seems to be the only one who does take action... Some examples? In the book, when she meets Nicholas Higgins and Bessy for the first time, they ask her to visit and she actually initially forgets. When she finally visits them, they forgive her. In the film, she insists on visiting them and they say she will not come, whiles she prove them wrong. Quite different! And... She does not take a basket on her first visit like in the film! Later, a basket is sent to the Higgins/Bouchers by Mrs Hale, not Margaret. Oh and it is very ill Mrs Hale who urges Margaret to write to Fredrick, once again it was not Margaret's initiative like in the movie.

Book or TV series? Book. 1000 times the book. No comparison.

John Thornton

In the book like in the film, Mr Thornton is a strong, dark, somehow clumsy and unrefined Northerner. He is an enlightened mill owner, honest and hard working. But unlike the film, he is a rather sweet and kind person in private. And he is NOT violent at all. EVER.
I can see now why the scene which was created in the BBC adaptation was so controversial. If I had read the book first, I would have been horrified at seeing Mr Thornton kicking one of his men in the factory. Mr Thornton, the original one, is always in control! A very respectable man!
Strangely enough, at the beginning of her friendship with the Higgins', when Nicholas compares Thornton to a bulldog, in the book Margaret claims he is 'plain enough', while in the TV adaptation she clearly said he was more handsome than a bulldog. In the book we fall in love with his inner beauty more than the appearance. In the movie... Well, I can see why they had to change that line... It was not credible to define Armitage 'plain enough'! LOL
I have to be honest, after seeing Richard Armitage I could not help thinking of how attractive Thornton is while reading the book... So it was difficult for me to imagine him otherwise. I have the feeling that the male hero of the book is not as impressive as he could be. Hotness apart, the interpretation Mr Armitage gave of Mr Thornton, in spite of his flaws, gives the character the strength and charisma that is missing in the book. We can forgive him even for being a bit of a violent psycho at the beginning! ;)

Book or TV series? Book because we fall in love with Mr. Thornton's qualities. He is like a raw diamond. Movie because you'll never meet a sexier mill owner in centuries. I'd call it a draw.

The handshake

In the TV series, Margaret refuses to shake hands when Mr Thornton comes to visit, and she is told off later by her father. Later at the dinner party, she shakes hands with him and makes a remark that she is learning the Northerners' ways. In the book, she does not shake hands twice, she is never told off, and when she finally shakes hands with him at the party she does not even notice that she is doing it. Meh!

Book or TV series? TV series. WTF Margaret!

Nicholas Higgins

Well, this is a surprise for me, but after falling in love with Brendan "Bates" Coyle's Higgins, I found that the book character is less strong, both physically and mentally. Actually, the original character is not in great shape, quite ill, and tends to drink too much! He is still a likeable character who will develop a beautiful sort of friendship/collaboration with Thornton, but I think Brendan Coyle improved him a lot.

Book or TV series? TV series. Bates, you rock :)

Fanny Thornton

Fanny in the book is unlikable, like Edith in my opinion. Both are vain and superficial. So different from Margaret! But sickly and weak? I did not have this impression in the movie. She looked quite spoiled and energetic. Or maybe just very young. Anyway, hat's off to the script writers for turning Fanny Thornton into a very entertaining and strong character, who adds a lot of humour to a dramatic atmosphere. She counterbalances the gravity of her brother and mother.
In the book we can also learn more about the relationship between Mrs Thornton and her children. She loves and respect her son and is grateful to him for everything. But somehow she has a soft spot on that younger daughter who is not as strong and as brave as her brother. A bit unfair to poor John... But hey, this is something Margaret and John have in common... A sibling who is more loved than they are!

Book or TV series? TV series. Jo Joyner made me laugh out loud!

Mrs Thornton

Well, I love her, but I owe this to the superb performance of Sinéad Cusack. So I cannot be totally objective regarding the original character. Like for her son, every time I read something about her, I would immediately visualize Sinéad Cusack.
What a powerful and charismatic appearance!
I think I liked the character in the book as well, no big differences here. Apart from her sort of preference for her weak daughter, which was not showing in the film. But she adores her son, and he is much more similar to her than her daughter will ever be.
There are some changes made in the TV adaptation in the part after Margaret is seen with Fredrick late at night, before Mrs Hale's funeral.
First of all, Mrs Thornton and her son talk about that unfortunate fact much more than in the film. She makes him admit that he suspected that man to be Margaret's lover. However he somehow defends Margaret's actions, saying that there must be something terrible she is hiding, but does refuse to explain more to his mother. He does not want to tell his mother that Margaret lied to a policeman!
Also Mrs Thornton in the book reveals to her son that she promised dying Mrs Hale to advice Margaret if necessary. John thinks it is a good thing.
Last but not least, after Mrs Thornton visits Miss Hale to perform her duty and advise her on the impropriety of her conduct, and after seeing Margaret's reaction, we get an interesting insight of her thoughts. Mrs Thornton is somehow happy with the outcome of the conversation! From Margaret's response, she believes that Margaret is bold but not giddy, and that she will never do it again. Also, in her mind she compares Margaret favourably to her own daughter Fanny... The latter IS giddy and weak!

Book or TV series? I'd say draw. Even though Sinéad Cusack is a goddess.


Just one thing. Did he throw that stone? He clearly did in the TV series, but in the book everybody seems to accuse him unfairly... Margaret is sure it wasn't him.

Book or TV series? Draw. I don't like this character at all. Even though I am grateful to him if he threw the stone, as such a beautiful thing happened between Margaret and John thanks to that silly action :)

Ann Latimer

This character was so useless in the BBC adaptation, she did not even utter a sound!
And surprise surprise, she does not even exist in the original story! Ha ha!
No rival for Margaret in the whole book!

Book or TV series? Book, she was so useless anyway.

Henry Lennox

Poor Henry Lennox could have married Ann Latimer had she existed in the book. Two poor guys with little luck in love!
Jokes apart, Henry Lennox is actually useful. He is rejected at the beginning and to be honest nobody apart from himself thinks he will have ever another chance. However, he is genuinely a nice person, helping Margaret with any legal and financial matters. After Mr Hale's death, he is encouraged by Edith to try and propose again, but eventually he does not do so. He understands that Margaret would not have him at last, and moves out of the scene more graciously than in the TV series - see what I wrote about the ending scene in the TV adaptation.
He probably does not even think Mr Thonrton is a rival until the end, yet in the book there is nothing of his nasty remarks to make Thornton jealous. Overall, Henry Lennox is done much more justice in the book. I almost like him!

Book or TV series? Book. Because every character deserves some dignity. Ha!

Mr Bell

Mr Bell in the book appears only later in the story. He does not like Milton, and he visits only when strictly necessary for business, as he owns properties there. In the TV adaptation he gatecrashes the Thornton's dinner party. In the book he appears only after the rejection, after Mrs Hale's death, in a great scene which sadly does not appear in the film.
Also, he does not seem to want to marry Margaret. Phew.

Book or TV series? Book, even though I really like Brian Protheroe's Mr Bell an awful lot. He makes me smile!

The Grand Exhibition in London

This scene is completely invented by the screen player. While I like any scene where Margaret and John exchange a few lines, I would have preferred that they did not cut some scenes from the book rather than adding new ones.

Book or TV series? Book. It was not a necessary scene.

The marriage proposal scene

Ok this is another pivotal points for the plot. In essence it is the same in the book and in the film, but it is much better developed in the book. It is still annoying, and you still want to scream at Margaret for being silly... But it makes more sense when you read the book.
A major difference is the following: while Margaret is laying on the Thornton's sofa with bleeding temples, waiting for the doctor, she overhears Fanny and a servant talking about her hugging John. Fanny is very surprised at the servant's report! Fanny claims that everybody can see that Margaret is after her brother, but that he would never marry her.
So yes, when Margaret gets home and thinks about what she heard, she gets wound up. Margaret is not aware yet of her feelings - better, she is in denial. But that conversation in my opinion triggered the defensive reaction that will lead to rejecting Thornton's proposal. She would have rejected him anyway at that early stage, but not so horribly. But well he would not have proposed so quickly if she hadn't jumped at his neck and hugged him!
Anyway I do have a question for Elizabeth Gaskell. Both John Thornton and Henry Lennox are rejected but still are determined to love her and not give up hope. Where did she find these men? LOL

Book or TV series? Book, totally book.

Mrs Hale's death

In the book, Margaret did not notice that Mr Thornton came to the funeral. He was standing at the back, with head bent down. Nobody noticed him. However he went to talk to Dixon, to enquire about Mr Hale and Margaret. According to Dixon, "Master is terribly broke down. Miss Hale bears up better than likely".
Thornton does not like this answer. First of all, he selfishly hoped to be able to be there to cheer Margaret up. Secondly, the memory of seeing Margaret with a handsome young man just a short time before kills him with jealousy.
However, he said he will visit Mr Hale.
Dixon never mentions to Margaret that Mr Thornton was at the funeral so Margaret never finds out!
However, Mr Thornton's visit is very welcome, as Margaret notices that her father benefits from talking to him.
Mr Thornton eventually looks at Margaret and realises that she has suffered much more than Dixon led him to believe... He speaks tender words to her. She cries. Thornton's heart beats very fast.
Sadly Margaret is called away by Dixon, as she receives the visit of a policeman, who is making enquiries about drunk Leonard's death at the train station.
After denying she ever was at the station and sending the policeman away, Margaret faints. Mr Thornton really hopes to see her again, but eventually goes away wondering why she never came back. Then the policeman talks to him about Leonard's case. You know the rest.

Book or TV series? And you ask? Book! For Thornton's tender words and manners, and Margaret's gratitude towards him. For both being just very human, Thornton wanting Margaret to be distressed so that he could offer his support, Margaret for actually breaking down and not being as stoic as in the TV series.

John Thornton after the rejection

Again, I really loved reading John Thornton's thoughts and reasoning in the book. It adds so much more to the character's depth!
First of all, somehow, in spite of his low self-esteem, Thornton does not completely give up hope after being rejected. He lies to himself a bit, but he tries to convince himself that he needs to prove that he is totally in control.
So he keeps visiting his friend Mr Hale as he used to. He perceives Margaret's presence in the room but does not look at her and ignores her. But he needs to feel her presence somehow.

Book or TV series? Book. Nothing is better than character's psychology!

Higgins asks Thornton for work after the strike and Boucher's death

This is another big difference between the book and the BBC TV adaptation.
In the book, Thornton decides to give work to Higgins mostly because he is impressed by the long time Higgins waited just to be able to talk to him. Not because it was a woman who advised Higgins to ask Thornton.
Actually he understands that it was Margaret who advised Higgins only when he goes to Higgins' place to offer him the job, and finds Margaret in his house... She was just saying that she is disappointed in Thornton when he enters! But she immediately goes away, leaving the two men alone to talk.
Also after offering Higgins a job, Thornton follows Margaret and tries to talk to her about the night at the station, but Margaret cannot reveal Fredrick's secret and explain. So Thornton tells her that he is no longer in love with her. She is very distressed. Good. She does not seem to have many feelings in the movie!

Book or TV series? Book. The TV series is all about Margaret. The book is more fair to all the characters.

Tea at the Hales

This is a scene which was completely cut off the movie. No idea why... I loved it!
So, finally we meet Mr Bell, having tea at the Hales' with Mr Hale, Margaret and John Thornton!
Thornton is determined to keep ignoring Margaret and being cold. However at some point he lets a nasty remark about Margaret not being truthful slip. Margaret is mortified. She does not attempt to talk for the rest of the evening, she sulks in, embroidering in silence. Thornton is not pleased with himself for stooping so low, and hopes to meet her eyes hoping for forgiveness all evening... He is disappointed that it does not happen. He was used to Margaret's strong reactions, not this! This is when in the book Mr Bell understands that there is something going on between the two, and he suggests that to Mr Hale. This is also when Mr Thornton decides that he cannot control himself as he thought and that he needs to stop visiting the Hales. It is much clearer than in the movie when things changed, and I like the fact that for a while he kept visiting Mr Hale. I was so sorry for poor Mr Hale who lost his wife and his only friend's company.

Book or TV series? Book, book, book!

Mr Hale's death

Mr Hale's death happens in Oxford, exactly like in the TV series.
However, in the book Mr Bell meets Thornton on the train from Oxford to Milton, where he is going to bring Margaret the bad news. So Thornton is the first person to find out, and it is not Higgins who tells him!
Then Mr Bell orders Aunt Shaw to come to Milton to stay with Margaret for a few days and then take her to London.
Mr Bell stays at the Thornton's. In the book this is when Mr Bell mentions to Thornton that Margaret has a brother, Fredrick. And again, it is not Higgins who discloses the piece of information!
However, poor Mr Thornton hopes that it was Fredrick the man he saw with Margaret at the station, but Bell is not aware of Fredrick coming to England since the mutiny. Mr Bell suggests that the man must have been Henry Lennox!
Anyway, it will be Higgins later who will confirm that Fredrick was indeed in Milton when Mrs Hale was dying.
Mr Hale in the book is buried in Oxford, while Mrs Hale in Milton. This makes me really sad.
Mr Thornton went to the funeral, but Margaret did not as she was too unwell to travel to Oxford. Margaret leaves one of her father's books to Dixon and asks her to give it to Thornton after she has left for London. In the movie she gives it to him herself.

Book or TV series? Draw, maybe. I am not sure why so many things have been changed, though it does not affect the main plot.

Look back!

OMG this amazing scene is actually not happening in the book!
Thornton's goodbye in the book is cold and distant. Thornton tells himself that he does not find her attractive any more. He does not look at the carriage with those smouldering eyes! Aaargh!

Book or TV series? TV series. You simply cannot unsee that scene!

The visit to Helstone

In the film it looked like everything remained pretty much the same when Margaret and Mr Bell visit Helstone. The new parson and wife made only a few changes (like getting rid of the roses). But in the book, a lot was changed. And Margaret does not thing that it was a bad thing. Somehow she saw that her dad was not a man of action, but more a man of contemplation and meditation.
Unlike the TV series, Margaret asks Mr Bell clearly to tell Thornton that the man he saw her with was her brother. Mr Bell promises he will do it next time he goes to Milton - she asks him to tell him in person.
But... Time passes and Mr Bell does not go to Milton. Margaret is increasingly anxious as she wants Mr Thornton to think a bit better of her... But Mr Bell dies!
In the TV adaptation, Margaret is not too sure what she wants Mr Bell to tell Mr Thornton. However, Mr Bell is aware that he is dying so he goes to Milton to settle his affairs, leaving everything to Margaret before going to South America for the last part of his life. He confessed Margaret that he wanted to marry her (yuck!) but now things have changed. When he talks to Thornton in Milton, he almost tells him about Fredrick but since Thornton does not encourage him to talk about Margaret, he goes away without telling him. I may be wrong, but in my opinion Mr Bell did not really want to tell Mr Thornton. Was he jealous? Was he selfish? I don't know for sure. But I do not like this part.

Book or TV series? Book, 100000 times. A nicer Mr Bell, a less confused Margaret, more suspence while waiting for a letter from Mr Bell to know if he was going to Milton or not. No creepy marriage thoughts in Mr Bell's head. Good.


The speculation thread is much more stressed in the TV series.
In the book there is mention at the beginning to how Mr Thornton's father killed himself after losing everything to speculations. Towards the end there is a mention to Fanny's husband Watson and his investments. And when Thornton is about to close down he does have a discussion with his mother about speculations. But in the movie speculations is discussed between mill owners and businessmen over and over again, with Thornton always understandably being against it.

Book or TV series? Draw. I do not care so much about speculation even though it is nice to be reminded how principled Thornton is!

The ending scene.

Yes, the total f-up.
I see now why book fans did not like this.
I have so mixed feeling about the whole ending scene!!!
To start with, there is no northbound train! You understand my problem here! Argh!
So, Margaret does not go to Milton like in the film, but it is Thornton who comes to London to talk to Henry Lennox.
Margaret is now Thornton's landlord since Mr Bell's death and Henry is Margaret's financial and legal advisor.
Henry Lennox is actually nice to Mr Thornton. The two like each other - later Henry will mention to Margaret what an agreeable person Thornton is! Even when Henry tells Thornton that London's air did Margaret well compared to Milton, he does not sound malicious.
Thornton explains more about his enlightened ideas to Henry and other guests. He mentions to Margaret that Higgins collected names of people who will work for him again if he is able to take on workers.
Everybody likes Mr Thornton.
Maybe Henry Lennox did not understand initially what Mr Thornton meant to Margaret.
But then Margaret asks Henry for a private meeting as she needs his help - and cousin Edith's hopes for a marriage proposal go sky-high. During that meeting, probably the penny drops for poor Henry.
He arranges another meeting between himself, Margaret and Thornton. He makes sure there is a quiet room where nobody disturbs them as they need to talk business. BUT he does not turn up, leaving Margaret and John alone.
What an amazing gesture. So much better than the humiliation to be led on and used by Margaret, to see Margaret and Mr Thornton kissing on a station platform!
The ending scene is more beautiful and less lame.
The main content is the same (and it is brilliant, thanks Elizabeth Gaskell!): Margaret is nervous and trying to explain the business proposal to John Thornton, without Henry's help. She wants to help him but making it look like she is just lending money with a little interest. At the moment all that money is in a bank with no interest. So he cannot have any shame in accepting and start his business again!
in the book, the two are alone in a room. And this is not the only thing that makes the scene so much better.
First of all, as soon as Mr Thornton understands the meaning of the business proposal, he calls Margaret by her name with a tender and passionate voice. She was looking for some papers to look more convincing, but after he calls her again she covers her eyes with her hands. He gets closer, and suggests her that if she does not send him away he would claim her her own. Not only she does not sends him away, but with her hands still on her eyes she puts her head on his shoulder. He hugs her.
"Oh, Mr Thornton, I am not good enough!"
"Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness!"
Yes, some humility from Margaret too. I am so in love with this book!
You see, one of the things I did not like in the BBC adaptation's ending scene was that he does not even somehow asks her if he still has some hope, after being rejected once. The book did exactly what I needed to find the scene credible. And this it not all.
After a while, Thornton takes her hands off her eyes and puts them around his neck asking her if she remembers when she protected him from the stone. He adds that he requited her with his insolence the following day. She replies that she remembers only how wrongly she spoke to him.
THIS. THIS!!! Margaret admitting her faults. Great. I love this more and more!
There is even more. The rose from Helstone.
Mr Thornton did indeed visit Helstone, and not just at the end of the story. We find out because when after some time spent hugging in silence, Thornton shows Margaret a dead flower he kept in his pocketbook.
Margaret does not guess immediately where that flower comes from. She asks him if it was from her, and he mocks her: "Vanity!"
There is no psychic power like in the film (see my TV series review!). I love this more and more.
There is also tenderness and gentle mockery. The scene ends with Thornton guessing that Aunt Shaw's comment will be: "That man!", to which Margaret replies that surely Mrs Thornton's reaction will be: "That woman!".
I did not think it was possible, but yes, the ending scene of the BBC adaptation is much worse in my eyes now. I am glad I watched it before reading the book, and I will still watch it many times anyway! Ha!
However, I do have a complaint. WHY are the endings so rushed! Both book and TV adaptation? Seriously? After endless misunderstandings and suffering and longing...WHY can't we enjoy more than a 2-minute kiss at the train station (TV series) or just a short page of a book? I want to read more! I want to see what happens in Milton!!! I want to know how the relationship between Margaret and Mrs Thornton develops! I want to see Mr Thornton's enlightened experiments! I want to see Mr Thornton and his men working together!
It is not fair!!! Shall I read fan fiction now?