Funny: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

  • “You must get me a house, Childermass. Get me a house that says to those that visit it that magic is a respectable profession – no less than Law and a great deal more so than Medicine.”
  • When Norrell is asked to animate a mermaid figurehead of a captured French ship so that she might provide intelligence on French naval power.
    "This Mr Norrell did. But though the mermaid could be made to speak she could not at first be brought to answer any questions. She considered herself the implacable enemy of the British and was highly delighted to be given powers of speech so that she could express her hatred of them. Having passed all her existence among sailors she knew a great many insults and bestowed them very readily on anyone who came near her..."
  • Strange rides to see Arabella, and along the way imagines various conversations he will have with her, which keep ending up going badly.
    Oh! she was certain to say, Poor man! What happened to him? - I do not know, Strange would say. But surely you stayed to help him, she would say. No, Strange would say. Oh!, she would say...
  • Strange animates some corpses killed in the war in Spain, who start speaking in a strange language that includes a lot of screams. Strange says this is probably a dialect of Hell.
    "They have learnt it very quickly," said Lord Wellington. "They have only been dead three days." He approved of people doing things promptly and in a businesslike fashion.
  • Strange complaining to Sir Walter (who is a Cabinet minister): "How is a magician to exist without books? Let someone explain that to me. It is like asking a politician to achieve high office without the benefit of bribes or patronage."
  • "The Emperor Napoleon Buonaparte had been banished to the isle of Elba. However His Imperial Majesty had some doubts whether a quiet island life would suit him..."
  • Strange moves the entire city of Brussels to somewhere in America, which Wellington becomes aware of in "his customary imperturbable fashion." He starts issuing orders but then sees four fierce-looking Native Americans riding by.
    "Oh, and De Lancey! Find someone to ask those fellows if they would like to fight tomorrow, would you? They look as if they could do the business."
  • The Frenchmen avoiding a perfectly serviceable road because they are afraid it's one of Strange's magic roads (and that such a road will take them to hell, or worse, England)
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