Finally succumbing to all the rave reviews by Poldark lovers, I watched Season 1 of the popular PBS show. The hero, Ross Poldark, played to perfection by Aiden Turner, is a Byronic fantasy come alive. Ross Poldark is complicated, scarred, hot-tempered, passionate. The best part about him and the story are how unpredictable and dark situations and characters can get.
**Poldark Season 1 Spoilers Ahead **
Had to come here to write about my favourite moments in Poldark Season 1.
- The casting music is hauntingly beautiful. The violin (if I identified the instrument right) is ominous. It returns as part of the background score for opportune scenes. The music is just one of the reasons for this period drama to feel timeless. The pages of the book have come alive on screen…
- I know the exact moment the hero became interesting – Ross Poldark meanders through the treacherous tunnels in his Copper mine, dodging an argument with his cousin, Francis Poldark. This cousin is marrying the woman Ross loves to distraction. Francis has come to invite Ross to his wedding. One wrong step and Francis plunges into a water clogged rift inside the mine! Ross looks on, not immediately jumping in to save his cousin. A brooding hero who has shades of grey… If you are into that sort of thing you are cheering, right about now.
- In the precious pre-wedding scenes between Ross and Demelza, with shirtless Ross or trusting Demelza, I would have had a tough choice picking one. There is their first trip to the town. He is off to get a loan to restart his mine. She is busy making a hard bargain to get fish for supper. She is shabby and child-like. He looks wild and stately, somehow at the exact same time. He buys her a travel coat. Her very first coat… That ending scene brings with it an ineffable feeling of happiness. They gallop on horseback, she tucked in front of him, glowing in her new coat. Both savouring victories from the day. A journey that they shared.
- Which brings me straight to the Cornish coast. I will cheat a bit and mention not 1 scene but a recurring theme in Poldark. The blue evocative sea and the verdant fields. All those flowers that pepper the hillside. The setting sun. Even the grey clouds. It’s my imagination come alive. I have spent never ending hours dreaming of landscapes that served as backgrounds in books… of moors and cliffs, meadows and stone cottages. Not Jane Austen. This is definitely in line with Daphne Du Maurier or the Bronte sisters. The Cornwall coast is breathtaking and all the wide angle shots of characters on horseback add to the charm of Poldark.
- Ross is reckless and refreshingly improper. This scene will have you giggling for sure – Ross who is tormented by his unrequited love, Elizabeth, has no time to be polite to the other marriageable females smitten by him. In a comical exchange, a woman suggests that she must have promised the next dance to Ross. Not true. Ross refuses to take the appalling invitation and humour the woman. Instead, he approaches Elizabeth and in front of Francis’s jealous gaze they dance oblivious to gossip.
- Everything leading to Demelza and Ross Poldark’s marriage is thrilling. From how he murmured into her ear that if they made love they would be no better that all the gossip about them, to the glitch free unexpected church ceremony. Even after marriage, I loved how he teased her and trusted her around rich people. Some might complain about his disregard for her worry of matching up to him, but Ross had a glib assurance and an infectious happiness about him that makes it hard to get angry. I was so certain something would go awry, but he didn’t keep the marriage a secret! If it was life and death and I was forced to pick one special moment that made me swoon. It would be in the kitchen, he watches her go about her chores as before when she was his kitchen maid. He studies her with a thoughtful pensive expression. Then unabashedly flirts with his new bride and tells her he will remind her he has a home and a wife with whom he belongs. Sigh…
- In terms of disregard to propriety, this scene is irrefutably one of the best – Francis is worried that Ross will be an outcast after marrying a girl much below his present station in society (Internally he must be ecstatic to see Ross move on from Elizabeth and also fall further down in society’s good books). Ross shrugs and grins. No one will invite him to parties and he does not have to put up with the small talk and hypocrisy of the genteel society… It is an outcome of marriage that he will do his utmost to bear.. our debonair hero claims dripping with droll humour.
- Towards the end of the season when the happier early episodes are all but forgotten, Ross is seen drinking and gambling at a ball. This ball is Demelza’s first appearance at such a grand event. The couple fight because Ross is drunk and not beside Demelza when she needs him. Apparently, Demelza made hearts and heads turn. She would like some protection from the over friendly male population at the ball. Ross is busy squandering money at the gambling table. Demelza adds fuel to fire when she volunteers her necklace, a gift from Ross, as the bet. Turns out Ross knew his opponent was a cheat and this was all an act to expose him. Our hero is a hero after all.
- Undoubtedly the most peaceful moment was seeing Verity get a happy ending, as of Season 1 at least. Ross’s cousin sister had been shovelled into the spinster category. It was declared that her duty lay in caring for the family and she was to never have any adventures of her own. She does get her own whirlwind romance! And we get to see a live duel in her honour!! Plus she elopes and it does not end tragically !!! For one of the sweetest, gentle and caring character on the show, this scene had me cheering.. to see her in the arms of the man she dared to defy her family for.
“You cannot fight all the world. You can only make your own small corner a fairer place.” A peaceful moment, stolen from a tragic ending. Season 2 is here. And I can’t wait to have my favourite moments list grow.
Love Poldark? Swoon along with me..