Contact: allikateor @ plurk
Other Characters: n/a
Character Name: Jonathan Strange
Canon: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC miniseries)
Canon Point: Partway through episode 6, directly before his second conversation with the gentleman (but after he drank from his madness tonic, SORRY GAME, you're gonna deal with manic Strange for a bit)
Character Info: Hot damn, it's a wiki. This is a book wiki link, but as here's a few differences between miniseries-Strange and book-Strange, I'm linking it anyway. The most notable difference is that he actually put some points in decency and is a much better husband to Arabella in the miniseries.
Personality: Jonathan Strange declares himself a magician after doing one spell & being told that he's a magician by a man found under a hedge. So basically, he's pretty darn arrogant. Strange is proud of his magical achievements, sometimes showing off and being dramatic for the sake of showing off and being dramatic. And hoo boy does he think he's hot shit. After a few months of studying with Norrell, Strange is berating Norrell for not focusing on the role of fairies in English magic, condemning his ideas. That arrogance ties into Strange's annoyance when he doesn't get his just due. He's pretty darn annoyed at his minimal role in Lascelle's book on Norrell.
He's got mixed feelings about authority. On the one hand, he routinely questions Norrell even when he's just starting in his studies, especially on subjects that Norrell glosses over but Strange thinks important and/or vital. (Strange views this as the prerogative of a pupil, Norrell views this as a deliberate attack on English magic.) But on the other hand, he's perfectly willing to follow Wellington's orders in a wartime situation. No matter what, though, Strange is desperately seeking recognition. Whether from his father, from the army, or from Gilbert Norrell, Strange wants people to think that he's important, or at least competent. When he first goes with the army, he's exceedingly over-eager, trying to show his use to Wellington without really thinking through the suggestions he makes. Later, once he's won the respect of the foot soldiers, Strange seems downright grateful as they salute him.
Strange is exceedingly impatient & impulsive. He always thinks with his gut, doing irrational things (such as breaking into Norrell's house) that are downright stupid but make sense at the time. His impatient nature can translate a bit into scatter-brainedness. After visiting the King's Roads for the first time, Strange is so impressed and so drawn into that realm that...he straight up forgets to tell his wife & friends where he is, vanishing for several hours in the process.
Perhaps nowhere is this impulsiveness more apparent than when Strange deliberately drives himself mad, in order to actually see the fairies. This is a bad idea! And yet, in a spirit of pure #yolo and due to his fervent desire to bring Arabella back, he does it anyway. It's very loosey-goosey with regard to the specific sort of "madness" Strange gains. He's forgetful, hallucinates, his behavior gets even more erratic, he generally takes a level in asshole, and he develops an INTENSE loathing for pineapples.
This impulsive and impatient nature ties into Strange's firm belief in desperate times calling for desperate measures. While Norrell is dead-set on keeping English magic respectable, Strange has no compunctions delving into blood magic or black magic in order to get what he wants or accomplish his goal. That doesn't mean he likes what he does. Strange is visibly shaken when he raises three dead Neapolitan soldiers, praying as he brings them back to life and drinking himself into a small haze when he can't actually kill them. Strange is overall less interested in the 'respectable' and more interested in the esoteric. A book about the Raven King is his favorite book, and he keeps bringing him up in conversation with Norrell. He is 100% up for going back to the old ways, exploring old magic and summoning fairies to try and solve a problem. He's interested in the mysterious and not understood simply because it is mysterious and not simply understood. It's not safe in the slightest, but who gives a damn! It's interesting!
Fighting in the war affected Strange more than he realized. Physically, his hand trembles occasionally. Mentally, it's a whole other story. He occasionally finds himself lost in memories about the war, slipping into something slightly akin to PTSD. That being said, he doesn't mind fighting--if requested to by government or the ringmaster, he'd probably do it. But hoo boy will he downright hate it the entire time.
Despite the fact that he's impulsive and arrogant and can be a bit of a jerkass, one of the people he's routinely kind to is his wife, Arabella. The two are happily married and he really does love her, even if he forgets to show it occasionally. He constantly thinks of her and wants to make her happy, to the extent that Strange's willing to give up practical magic in order to make her happy. When Arabella goes missing, Strange instantly devotes his time and effort to finding out where she is and making sure he brings her home safe. When she dies...well, that's the start of his descent into madness, as he falls into a near mania to try and bring her back, stubbornly refusing that she'll stay dead.
Abilities: this is the part where Strange gets nerfed to hell & back. At this point in canon, he's got ALL sorts of magical skills that are frankly a bit ridiculous. While he does have a ridiculous amount of innate magical talent, it's also honed through actual work and studying books about magic. Strange can cast spells written by other magicians: the first spell he casts is one written by Norrell to see what his enemy is doing. Appearance wise, his spells are a lot more physical, flashy, and flamboyant than Norrell's more subdued method of using magic. Strange definitely can do more than what we've seen him do in canon, but I'm listing what we've seen him do in canon mostly as an example of the sort of magic he does.
SO NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT NERFING because what the fuck Jonathan Strange, why are you so op. At this point in canon, we haven't seen him do extreme levels of magic but, considering that next episode has him & Norrell shoving all of English magic into a butler, he's certainly got potential to be powerful. As a brief note, I'm totally up for further power reductions/clarifications because goddamn is this section ridiculous. Bringing people back from the dead is right out. The offensive capabilities of his magic are limited to destroying one city block or less. Any weather magic will be in a localized area, likewise of that city block radius. Traveling can only happen within the carnival--and the effect will be more like going from mirror to mirror, cutting out the King's Roads entirely, as it's canon specific. Noticeably, Strange doesn't have any defensive magic (he is a GENTLEMAN, tyvm) and doesn't show signs of any healing magic, so I don't have to worry about nerfing that part.
As for scrying, I'll put up a permission post for something like "can Strange creep on your character to find out where they are" for the probable invasive aspects of his power. I'd like add the summoning into that permission post as well, mostly because I think it'd be a bit hilarious if Strange accidentally summoned veteran characters more intrenched with fairy magic. That being said, I'm totally fine outright nerfing summoning as a whole, and definitely plan to outright nerf it with summoning NPCs, unless we have some grand old times with the plotting post. The permission post will also be for perceiving magic. Transfiguration, I'm honestly impartial on keeping it as is or entirely/partially nerfing it—up to you on that one, mods!
Soul Colour: Blueish gray, the color of a merlin's feathers.
Ideal Jobs: Magician, mercenary, scout
Magician: I mean duh. At this point in canon, Strange is one of two practical magicians in England and hot damn is he powerful. He places a lot of importance on his magic and has helped the government through various theaters of war. Likewise, he's more of the performer end of the technician vs. performer scale. Strange's magic is showy, like creating horses out of sand and vanishing into puddles when people aren't looking: aka the perfect sort of magic for the big top.
Mercenary/scout: as part of the army, Strange is used to requests that range from unreasonable to amoral. He's got a firm sense of duty and can certainly work in a militia-like setting. His magic would make him fairly useful in all sorts of random nightrider jobs, whether exploring things/reconnaissance scoutwise or doing...less than savory tasks, mercenary-wise. He still has a reluctance against outright murder/being the cause of a man's death, but has no qualms with incapacitating people as needed.
Reason for Joining: Ideally, Jonathan would ask the Ringmaster to bring Arabella back from the dead. Once that gets shot down, he'd swap his deal to ask for the knowledge of how Gilbert Norrell brought Lady Pole back from the dead...so that when he gets home, he can use that knowledge to bring Arabella back himself.
It's a damn pity that nobody's given Strange the "don't talk to fairies" talk at this canonpoint.
sample one: a thread, in which Jonathan Strange runs into a mirror
The mirror maze had told him enough: magic at the Carnival was quite different from the magic in his world. After all, he had no idea what enchantments had been used to make the mirrors whisper like that, to make them know his secrets, and (most importantly) to prevent him from accessing the King's Roads. They should be here. For even in Faerie (because wasn't this Faerie?) they should be there. Strange had too much faith in the Raven King to accept their absence entirely.
So logically, the solution had to be that whatever magic in the mirror maze that whispered his faults also prevented him from accessing the King's Roads. And now that he was out of the mirror maze, back in the caravan he supposed he must call home, such magic shouldn't bother him, correct? Correct! So wrapped up is Strange in his beliefs and his convictions that it doesn't really occur to him that he can't access the King's Roads because they simply don't exist here. So he touches the mirror in his trailer, whispering the proper incantation as he does so. A moment or so later, he's pulled into the mirror.
The problem with casting a spell to go somewhere that doesn't exist is that you still cast the spell. Even in the Carnival, Strange had magic. So the teleportation spell still worked...it just shot him out somewhere else. So guess what! Sorry random carnival worker, hanging out in your trailer, there's a tall, stately English magician with wild hair and unkempt attire, stepping seemingly right out of your mirror and walking with confidence smack-dab into the trailer...which is certainly not where he intended to go.
The confidence is still there, but it lessens a bit as Strange just pauses. Because what. He knows that spell, he knows how that should work, what exactly is going on. It's bizarre and wonderful and aggravating all at the same time. He's quiet for a moment, and then he speaks. "Huh," Strange simply responds, eyes flitting around the trailer, expression wild and confused. "That's odd."