Sparkhouse is a sad story, I’m not going to lie.
When I first watched the mini-series on YouTube, it haunted me for days afterwards. Not because of the tragic love story at the center of it all and not because of the gutsy girl who just couldn’t seem to catch a break, but because of John Standring. I just couldn’t seem to get him out of my head.
so I turned to fan-fiction. I gobbled up every Sparkhouse story I could find, I was possessed!
Have you seen Sparkhouse yet? Not sure you want to risk it? Let me help, here are the important parts:
Farmhand fancies employer’s daughter
He asks her out for a drink
It’s awkward and a bit confusing
The next day she tries to let him down easy
She leaves town but then she comes back
Financial problems force her to offer the farmhand a shot at being farm-owner, if he marries her
He warily agrees
Then there’s a Wedding
and a Wedding Night
and they lived happily ever after!
well, maybe not right away…
I’ll let poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox explain:
She had looked for his coming as warriors come,
With the clash of arms and the bugle’s call;
But he came instead with a stealthy tread,
Which she did not hear at all.
She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun,
As he rode like a prince to claim his bride:
In the sweet dim light of the falling night
She found him at her side.
She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye
Would wake her heart to a sudden glow:
She found in his face the familiar grace
Of a friend she used to know.
She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul,
As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm’s strife:
He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm,
And a peace which crowned her life.
29 thoughts on “Sparkhouse: the important parts”
Sparkhouse stayed with me,too. That was the first RA fanfic I ever wrote. I wrote my own ending with them still in the picture and no one else – but mostly for Carol because she was such a polarizing character. You either loved her or hated her, with majority of fans in the latter camp. But I was happy either way, because Sparkhouse, John Standring and Carol Bolton got me writing again.
I never hated Carol, just Andrew!
Reblogged this on My Sort of Bloke and commented:
John Standring is my RP Husband. Thank you for this wonderful (and funny) post. I strongly disliked all the other characters in the story. Richard certainly gave his all playing John. He said once that was the first role to which he showed up in character. It changed his life because – as you know – Standring was the reason Richard was able to audition to play John Thornton. I, for one, am doubly grateful for my sweetheart. He is #1 in my heart! *blushes* 🙂
thanks for the reblog 😎
I’m very fond of John Standring as well. he’s just so shy, and awkward, and sweet; I want to cuddle up in front of the fireplace and share all of my deepest, darkest secrets with him 🙂
Thank you for this post. I have reblogged it. My love for Standring is profound. I agree that Andrew was despicable. He was a selfish coward. When you contrast his behavior with John’s, how can you not ‘fall in love’ with the lovely sheep farmer? I don’t hate Carol, but I have not forgiven her for putting the shotgun to John’s temple. I remember how I gasped at her betrayal. The whole show was very difficult to watch – at least for me. It was a tragedy and it got under my skin.
it does seem like she’s siding with Andrew in that scene at first, but I think she’s just trying to stop the fight, anyway that she can. putting a gun to John’s head would cause him to take notice of what was going on around him but the way Andrew was acting, maybe she wasn’t so sure a gun to the head would actually stop him 😕
Lovely. I am not that into it, but I love RA’s portrayal of Standring. It’s such a classic role. And he really pulls it off. You have to love him! At least I do. 🙂
I’ve only watched it all of the way through twice, mostly I just focus on his parts!
Personally, I think that RA was outstanding as JS. The look on his face after the fight will haunt me forever. I can’t say I liked Carole but I felt for her and wanted her to have a happy ending. I loathed Andrew (could anyone ever like Andrew?) I’ve always thought that JS could have come over as a bit creepy if he had been played by a less talented actor- as it was, I thought of john as kind and gentle and thoroughly decent. And heaven knows, that plot ( and the daughter, Lisa) needed someone decent.
I agree, the character could have come off as creepy & way less endearing if not played in just the right way.
I love this. Very funny. *glow-in-the-dark or cherry flavored? decisions, decisions* Love it. John is my favorite against-type for Richard. A very bold and smart move, I think, for that time. It really is the sign of a brave actor, who is that attractive, to wear that hair. I also love John, and all his quiet shyness, but mostly for his modesty and openness. He really is quite brave, despite his reserved nature. How many people would really dare to confront Carol, especially on a sensitive subject matter (for him) like sex? 🙂
the bar scene is just down right painful & makes me sweat with anxiety every time I see it!
Me too. It is intentional, I think. It’s very tangible. His (John’s) discomfort is ours.
Sparkhouse is definitely a fine example of Richard’s talent 😎
I *love* John Standring. He’s… well, he’s someone I think I’d like to know if he were a real person, but especially if he weren’t married to Carol – she’s not someone I would get on well with. But he’s a lovely man. Sigh.
John is that odd mixture of nurture & release for me: he would need someone to support him in difficult social situations but then in the quiet moments when he feels comfortable enough to be himself, a whole different person would emerge; one who is confident, funny, and alluring.
Exactly. And I prefer the quiet moments myself… if I were lucky enough to hook myself a man who was nurturing, confident, funny, alluring, and enjoyed quiet moments as I do, we’d probably only leave the house to buy fresh milk. :}
some grocers deliver…
Ooh. Be still my beating hermit heart!! lol
I’m always amused when I read the interview in which Armitage describes Standring as “a minor character.”
technically he is a minor character, but in no way is he not an important one; in both plot and in getting the audience’s attention!
I think of the role as a supporting character- but maybe that means minor in movie speak.If you’re not the star, you’re minor. If that’s how they look at it.
that’s how I was looking at it, but now that you’ve pointed it out I can see where it might mean “less important”; in this case I would think it means “less screen time” because the character itself is very important to the plot.
Love your captions, Kelbel. Had to LOL a few times here 🙂
Standring is one of those characters that can be easily dismissed the first time round, but when you watch again you suddenly realise the depth in him. SPOILER For instance, the scene where Carol discusses the marriage with him in her kitchen and he says “So there will be sex?” – Easy to mistake that for Standring’s primary motive, i.e. I marry you and you have to have sex with me. But really wants to make sure that he also has a chance at a fully functioning relationship with her… Anyhow, Standring is not my favourite character, but he is definitely a loveable, positive character. The only one who is consistently so in Sparkhouse.
I had already connected with him when that scene came about, so I understood perfectly that he was clarifying so as not to sacrifice something that was really important to him (a family of his own) and that’s something that does make the character deeper; you get glimpses of that other man that’s hiding underneath. John just doesn’t jump at the chance to marry her like a lovesick fool, you can see that he has reservations: the way he has to get out of the house to try and make sense of it when she first asks him, the way he carefully goes over both the emotional and financial details, and later on when he almost backs out because of Andrew. I think he knows that anything with Carol is not going to be easy but he’s willing to go forward because he does care for her in the romantic sense. and also the fact that she’s his friend and she needs his help; he knows that together they could save that farm and give Lisa a decent life, while keeping each other from being lonely in the process. decent *man*, all the way around 🙂
All of that. (And nice to look at :-D)