North and South is shorthand for a trilogy of books written by John Jakes: North and South, set during the antebellum period of American history, Love and War, which takes place during the Civil War, and Heaven and Hell, which covers Reconstruction and the period of western expansion that followed.The focal point of the saga is a budding bromance between Orry Main of South Carolina and George Hazard of Pennsylvania. The two become best friends while attending West Point, but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war. The slave-owning Mains are rural gentleman planters while the big-city Hazards are heavy in industry, their differences reflecting the social divisions that eventually led to the Civil War.The books were adapted into a TV Mini Series starring Patrick Swayze and James Read. The series aired on ABC between 1985-94, clocking in at 1212 minutes. In addition to being a Star-Making Role for Swayze, a number of then-unknown actors Forest Whitaker and Jonathan Frakes, to name two) also saw their careers get a boost.Not to be confused with the Elizabeth Gaskell novel and miniseries of the same name
This work provides examples of:
'80s Hair: Averted for the most part, though Ashton's hair occasionally strains credibility.
Age Cut: Used twice with young Brett and Ashton Main. Orry stays the same throughout.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Ashton wraps her legs around every scoundrel in sight, but doesn't give her husbands the time of day. She suggests to one of her beaus, Forbes La Motte, that James Huntoon's essential decency is a turnoff.
Inverted with Mr. Fenway, who appears to be a milquetoast, dull man.... but is hiding a Machiavellian mind (and Tranquil Fury) underneath.
An Arm and a Leg: In the novels, Orry's arm is amputated following a skirmish. Fangirls don't go for that sort of thing, so Orry instead sees his leg permanently wounded in the miniseries.
John Jakes fought this for a while, but was ultimately convinced that Orry losing an arm would constantly take viewers out of the story, as they'd spend every scene trying to spot how Patrick Swayze was hiding his arm.
Arranged Marriage: At the start of the North and South, Madeline is paired off with Justin La Motte, a wealthy plantation owner who is significantly older.
Artistic Title: A montage of ink drawings depicting the main characters. The sequence is different for each miniseries.
Authority Equals Asskicking: George and Orry both attain high-level positions in the Union and Confederate Army, respectively. George conveniently ends up under Ulysses S. Grant's command, while Orry answers to no less than Jefferson Davis himself.
Bastard Bastard: Bent was fobbed off onto an abusive foster home after his real father, a U.S. Senator, decided to cover up his own marital infidelities.
Beard of Sorrow: Charles Main after his lover, Augusta, dies in childbirth.
Beard of Evil: Cooper Main. Bent grows one in the third miniseries.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Madeline always looks amazing, even when sleep-deprived, beaten, and drugged up her eyeballs on laudanum. Heaven & Hell elevates her to a "Hot Mess" as she works to rebuild Mont Royal.
Been There, Shaped History: Orry and George manage to meet every major figure in the Civil War and the abolitionist movement. In a minor example, Ashton marries the founder of Fenway Pianos.
Beware the Nice Ones: Orry Main has bad luck with trains. The first time he arrives at a Yankee train station, he is harassed for his southern accent, leading into a brawl. The second time, Virgilia's mob stops the train and tries to lynch him. The third time, Orry whips out his cutlass and goes to town on some muggers.
Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Madeline is forced to give up marrying into the Main family, knowing that her 'Negress' blood would disgrace them.
Black and White Insanity: Virgilia is against slavery. Sensible. Believing that everyone from the southern USA is Always Chaotic Evil? Not so sensible. And it keeps going downhill from there, with her ruining her own life and arguably becoming more of a liability to her cause rather then an asset.
Break the Haughty: Ashton collapsing in the dirt when she sees the scorches remains of Mont Royal, which she worked for years to buy back. Her last scene suggests a sort of redemption for the character.
Cranky Landlord: Cooper Main, who we have not seen prior to Orry's death, rides in to pay his condolences and cheerfully reminds his widow that if she misses one payment, she's out on her ear. The remainder of Book Three consists of Cooper sabotaging her business, then pulling his hair out when she keeps making the rent.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Mr. Fenway. It's unclear whether "Fen" was shrewdly playing Ashton all along, or if her nonstop adultery drove him to those depths.
Dark Secret: Ashton's discovery (through Bent) that Madeline's late mother was not only black, but a high-class prostitute to boot.
Dastardly Whiplash: The La Mottes are an entire family of Whiplashes. Elkinah Bent and Ashton Main are the main contenders, though.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Orry is killed off at the beginning of Heaven and Hell. Through creative use of Archive Footage, Swayze walks through a doorway to be replaced by a stand-in, who (silently) bites the dust when Bent stabs him from behind.
Duel to the Death: Orry schools Charles in the finer arts of dueling prior to facing off against a aristocrat.
Another time, some of the Southern villains maneuver one of the Northern characters into a pistol duel with a sabotaged gun so they can murder him legally. Fortunately, the more sympathetic southerners learn what is going on and charge in to stop it.
Evil Is Petty: Bent never forgets. When ordered to quit leaning on George and Orry, Bent vents his frustration by knocking a cadet down a gulley.
Evil Virtues: Ashton's resourcefulness. She manages to go from Riches to Rags and back again, equipped with nothing but her sharp brain and industry (and a little thievery and murder doesn't hurt). Faint praise, but then most of the antagonists are so blackhearted that they don't even have virtues.
Madeline unwittingly makes an enemy by helping Ashton during her abortion. One of the Main family's slaves warns that Ashton won't Madelene to continue on in the family while knowing her shameful secret.
Virgilia, fresh from Harper's Ferry, shows up bedraggled at her family home. Despite the evil in-laws voting to get rid of her, Constance doesn't have the heart to turn Virgilia away. It turns out the bad guys had a point; Virgilia steals the silver and splits.
Freudian Excuse: Bent turns out to be an illegitimate son of a U.S. Senator, who shilled him off on an abusive foster family rather than have anything to do with him.
Henpecked Husband: Stanley Hazard and James Huntoon are married to an embezzler and a sociopath, respectively. Stanley gets bullied into betraying George and selling shoddy equipment to the Union forces, while Huntoon is merely a puppet for Ashton and Bent to carry out their plot.
Ashton's husband, Fen, appears to be a standard-issue cuckolded husband. He shows his true colors by withholding the purse strings to Ashton's money.
Her Heart Will Go On: Orry getting bumped off at the start of Book 3. And Madeline's heart definitely does go on - with George Hazard.
"Hey, You!" Haymaker: Characters have a tendency to underestimate Madeline. In the closing scenes of Book Three, Ashton returns home with a newly-minted deed, announcing that Madeline's being evicted. Madeline chases after her by the arm, begging for mercy... but realizes she's wasting her breath and just decks her one.
Homosocial Heterosexuality: Madelyn is manipulated into an Arranged Marriage based entirely on his friendship with her father. This scenario is gradually rolled up retroactively after the protagonist loses contact with her only to find out that she's suddenly getting married.
Hot Guys Are Bastards: Bent has an uncanny ability to woo the ladies, particularly when he's short on cash.
How the Mighty Have Fallen: In Heaven and Hell, Ashton has been disowned by Orry and now irks out a living as a Sante Fe prostitute.
Informed Ability: Bent repeatedly claims to be an outstanding military tactician, and especially loves to bring up how one of his West Point instructors compared him to Napoleon. We never see any evidence though; he mostly just shoots his own men.
Kill the Cutie: In the third book, Bent avenges himself on George by murdering his wife, Constance.
Laughably Evil: Ashton is plainly played for comedy, despite doing some despicable things.
Lean and Mean: In Chapters One and Two, Ashton is a quintessential fair-skinned, voluptuous aristocrat. By the time 1994 rolled along, Terri Garber was leaner and tanned from her role on Dynasty; it worked perfectly for a weather-beaten, hungrier Ashton.
List of Transgressions: Each time Bent appears, it's a safe bet that he'll rant about all the times George and Orry foiled his schemes.
Not So Different: The Mains own slaves, but the Hazards' factory is a sweatshop, whose accommodations are even worse than that of the Mains' slaves. Orry is ready to remind George of this on quite a few occasions.
Politically Incorrect Villain: Virtually all of the southern villains including Bent, Justin, and Ashton. Aside from the usual bigotries, Lincoln is repeatedly referred to as "that baboon" and "that illiterate".
George's evil sister-in-law won't stop harping about his "Irish slut" of a wife.
In Book Two, two disgruntled ex-employees from the Main plantation (Salem Jones and Cuffey) lead a band of scavengers to torch the house. The siege of Mont Royal ends up destroying the mansion, but the family manages to drive them off.
Pun-Based Title: The people who made the DVD chapter titles had a lot of fun with Bent's name.
Second Act Breakup: In Love and War, Madeline deserts Orry after Ashton threatens to expose her black lineage and disgrace Orry's family. They finally reconcile after the war ends. Only in the miniseries, not in the novels.
See You in Hell: Ashton actually speaks to the dearly-departed (but not really) Bent, saying she expects to join him in Hell.
Silk Hiding Steel: Madeline overhears Justin's plans to have Billy bumped off, but is too woozy from drugs to escape the house unmolested. Justin strikes her, but pauses a moment to tell his slaves to beat it — giving Madeline just enough time to unsheathe a decorative sword and bury it in her husband's face.
Somewhat inverted with Virgilia. This one is a sensitive case: She manipulates one of the Mains' slaves, Grady, into sleeping with her, then springs him from captivity. Grady eventually turns into a firebrand just like Virgilia (whom he marries), and is killed at Harper's Ferry. Their relationship is a complicated one, and Virigilia never stops mourning for Grady; but it really makes you wonder if she married him as part of a mere political statement.
Took a Level in Badass: Charles grew up getting into scraps, took on 3 drunken brawlers at once, beat a man (in accuracy) at a duel, attended West Point, served Texas and fought Indians, as well as chased Mexican gang lords all over the country. When a buddy of Forbes decides to pull a knife on him at Billy's duel, Charles plainly informs him he picked the wrong man for that.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Ashton's plans go up in smoke when she evicts Madeline from Mont Royal, only to discover that the house has long been burned down. She is then led away by her now-husband, signaling her (apparent) reformation.
Woman Scorned: After Billy Hazard leaves Ashton for her sister, Ashton conspires with a criminal to have him murdered.
In the miniseries, Virgilia agrees to serve as Congressman Greene's mistress in exchange for a judicial pardon. In his final scene, Greene reveals that Virgilia's name has been cleared for months; he was just stringing her along in exchange for sex. Virgilia goes berserk and shoots him dead.