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Masterpiece Theater's "The Miniaturist"

Are you watching this new series on PBS, "The Miniaturist"?

 

Episode one was fascinating; a beautiful young woman named Nella (Petronella) is married to wealthy older Amsterdam merchant Johannes Brandt, in the late 17th century. The match is made to settle debts her family had & save them from ruin. Johannes seems kindly (and good looking), albeit very standoffish, towards his new wife (as yet unconsumated) .. but his severe & pius sister Marin is anything but welcoming to their house.

 

The title comes from Johannes' wedding present to Nella, a large doll house that is a miniature of his own house .. a big indulgence that angers Marin. She gives Nella a booklet of merchants, so she can order miniature pieces to decorate the house. Nella contacts a merchant, telling him of several pieces she wants, but never sees him. The package he sends includes more than her order .. like a cradle! She's upset, and writes to the miniaturist formally stopping her business with him, but the packages continue to arrive anyway, and are identical to the big house's furniture & inhabitants. After she places the Marin miniature in the house upside down, Marin becomes ill in church!

 

One of the items sent is a fancy box, identical to one in Johannes' office. In a hidden drawer in the miniature she finds keys .. and looks for them in her husband's office at home. What she finds when she uses the key to let herself into his business office is quite shocking .. so I won't say more here .. but I'm dying to see episode 2!!


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After 2 episodes of sitting at the edge of my seat, I was disappointed & left unsatisfied by last night's series finale! I was surprised about the baby & what happened to tough-as-nails Marin. I was sure that in the end Frans would do the right thing, and Jack Philips would confess he'd made some things up .. but they didn't. I thought the miniaturist would explain herself in full, but her explanation had lots of holes in it. She implied that she was good at reading people (like Marin being pregnant), but that certainly didn't explain her knowledge of details in the Brandt household .. like that chest with a hidden drawer. I didn't understand why when Nella saw that Peebo was at the miniaturist, she didn't ask for him back, nor the miniaturist offer him back .. especially as they were moving away.

 

If anyone here's read the book, I'd be curious to know if everything was explained better there.


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Hi there,

 

Spoiler Alert…for anyone who has not seen this last episode or read the book...

 

@ASTRAEA...Yes, other people have said to me that this last episode was not as thrilling as the first two. I had no clue about the “baby daddy,” although one of my friends said she was thinking that it was Otto all along. I had stuck with the idea that it was Frans’s baby just as Nella was assuming. Now the miniaturist must not have “seen” that coming as she didn’t deliver the miniature baby until after Thea was born and she was “getting out of Dodge.” All the other miniature things came before they actually happened.

 

As for Peebo, the miniaturist did say that Nella might as well take him since she would be leaving.

 

I thought it was a little mysterious that when the pastor asked what Nella wanted on Marin’s gravestone, she said, “Things can change.” And then the miniaturist said the same thing later.

 

If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that the meeting with Nella and the miniaturist was put in just for the screenplay and was not in the book. So readers would have been even more confused than we were, I think. If anyone knows this for sure, let us know.

 

At the end when Nella sits at the desk and says, “I can do this,” it made me think that there could be a sequel, but the author’s second book is set in a different time and place. I didn’t realize that The Miniaturist was her debut novel. I read that she is open to writing a sequel if the story is right. N.

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@catwoman500 - Thanks; I didn't catch the miniaturist making that comment about Peebo .. just that they were moving. I'm not saying this was the case, but how many times do we read a book or watch a movie/TV series, where 3/4 of it is fascinating .. and then it's as if the writer either got bored or didn't quite know how to end things, so it's kind of a patchwork. I can't remember whether I read this about "The Miniaturist", or something else, but the comment was made that the characters were written very superficially, not well-developed. I kept thinking something magic or miraculous would happen, all the way to the end, to save Johannes! Maybe the rope would snap or that stone would shatter, and they'd all take it as a "sign" that he was innocent or at least to be forgiven.


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@ASTRAEA, @catwoman500, Just found your discussion, after watching the 1st episode a few nights ago.   So far I love the costumes and the dark foreboding scenery. 

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IF ANYONE WANTS TO CATCH UP WATCHING EPISODE 1 ONLINE:

 

The Miniaturist - Episode 1


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@ASTRAEA, Thanks. I did get an email from Masterpiece yesterday with a link. I sent it to my friend and she has already watched it, so I intend to watch it sometime today before we meet for dinner so we can talk about it. N.

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@catwoman500 - Good idea! Considering all that we learned about the characters in episode 1, it might be very confusing to try to start by just watching episode 2! As I mentioned in my first post, the episode ended with what would be a shocker today, but would have been even more traumatic in the late 17th century!


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What an intriguing story!

Question...was that the Miniaturist's messenger that Johannes was with when Nella arrived at his office?

That Marin is a real trip, isn't she?

Can't wait for the next episode! N.

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@catwoman500 - I watched parts of episode 1 again, and you may be correct, that the man Johannes is with is the messenger. The first thought is that the whole thing is contrived, but Marin gave Nella that catalog of tradesmen, and Nella picked a miniaturist out herself .. unless there was only the one listed.

 

You have to wonder if the "messenger" is actually the miniaturist himself, and practices "the dark arts" .. making things happen like voodoo with his miniatures, to manage his relationship with Johannes.


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Way too many questions to be answered.  Cat Surprised

This is a very mysterious story. Emily Berrington is the actress who plays the "now you see her; now you don't" Miniaturist.

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@catwoman500 - So you checked the cast, to confirm that at least we know that the messenger isn't also the miniaturist! Hmm .. so I wonder what the link is between the miniaturist & Johannes' family!


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@ASTRAEA, I actually thought the cloaked woman might be the Miniaturist as I was watching and then caught the name as the credits rolled at the end of the episode. Then after we had been chatting I did Google the cast to make sure I caught that correctly.

Yikes...so many questions to be answered and connections to be made!

Yes, the mystery could be because she's a woman and women just were not seen as legitimate business people at that time! N.

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With the crappy weather we're having, I wish we could binge watch the whole thing this weekend! 😉


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@ASTRAEA...YES! LOL! Cat LOL

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Well! Episode 2 was certainly eye opening. Some questions were answered and more popped up. I am still a little confused. Not sure how everything can be resolved in the next and final episode. Wished I had read the book first.

If you haven’t watched it yet…spoiler alert for animal lovers. UGH! N.

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@catwoman500 - I just watched episode 2 online .. OMG! You have to wonder why Johannes wasn't more careful about what he did. And how did that happen to Marin; Johannes isn't even interested in his wife, why touch Marin? And how does the miniaturist fit into all of this? If what she's doing is so hush-hush, why would she have left a package with the neighboring shopkeeper? Why would she have gone into hiding do, and the authorities be looking for her? I'm assuming that Marin was about to take poison to kill herself, or induce a miscarriage. I didn't realize this was based on a book.


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@ASTRAEA, Now you know why I said I had more questions after this episode! Woman Surprised

I was blown away when they showed Marin was pregnant. I was thinking maybe the father was that husband of the sugar obsessed woman...I just don't know.

Jack Philips is the guy that Johannes was with, right?

The Miniaturist is still a mystery to me, too.

 

Book...Yes, the author is Jessie Burton and the book came out in 2014. I had had it on my Amazon list for a couple of years and then decided not to get it, took it off my list, and forgot about it until a friend of mine said she had read it in her book club. Now I wish I had read the book first.

 

How are they ever going to finish this up in one more hour? N.

 

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@catwoman500 - Yes, Jack was the guy with Johannes, and that's why it seemed such a coincidence that he would be the person the miniaturist chose to be her deliveryman .. unless it wasn't a coincidence at all!

 

Aren't they all supposed to be so religious; would Marin be having sex with Lucas?! With Johannes being gay, I can't imagine him having vaginal sex with Marin.


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@catwoman500 - I went to a show & dinner out on Sunday, and didn't want to catch the last 20 minutes .. so I still have to watch it online. Thanks for the warning about animals; I sometimes change the channel during things like that I don't want to watch! So there's only 3 episodes all together? I think that originally there were 6, but they put 2 together each week for the American audiences.

 

I also started watching another documentary on PBS, about Sir Edmund Hillary; the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. It's very interesting; I never realized he was a "kiwi"!


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@ASTRAEA, yes...any bad animal news...I mute and look away!

Wondering what others are thinking about episode 2!

 

Now that you mentioned Sir Edmund Hillary, my brain is telling me that I did hear he was from down under, but that info was apparently buried under everything else in my "attic" Cat LOL N.

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@catwoman500 - I'd have to watch it again; I was too shocked to look closely at who Johannes was with, when Nella came to his office. I'm not sure I would have made a connection with the messenger.


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@ASTRAEA, For some reason I did focus on the messenger, maybe because he was kind of good looking, but surly. It was such a brief glance when Nella opened the door to the office, I couldn't tell, but thought it might be him.

Then I thought it might make sense since he would probably know all about the Brandt house and tell the miniaturist? I also wonder why she (the Miniaturist) keeps appearing and disappearing.

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@catwoman500 wrote:

@ASTRAEA, For some reason I did focus on the messenger, maybe because he was kind of good looking, but surly. It was such a brief glance when Nella opened the door to the office, I couldn't tell, but thought it might be him.

Then I thought it might make sense since he would probably know all about the Brandt house and tell the miniaturist? I also wonder why she (the Miniaturist) keeps appearing and disappearing.


Did you mean that we actually SAW the miniaturist, or that we know they were around because the pieces were made, but never at their studio when a client came? One legitimate reason someone might not be seen, was the attitudes towards women & a "woman's place" in the late 17th century! Despite her skill as an artisan, a woman might not be taken seriousely. There were also restrictions on women getting financing & running businesses.


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This sounds great. Not sure why I missed it. I will have to check it out!