“Midwinter of the Spirit” is ITV’s creepy adaptation of Phil Rickman’s book about a Diocesan Deliverance Consultant (exorcist in old money).
Single mother, chain-smoking, boozy Rev Merrily lurches from scene to scene, battling the forces of evil to rescue her stroppy teenage daughter Jane, from a terrible fate.
I found the 3 part TV series a lot more scary than the book. But like the novels, I am drawn to our heroine. Is she a good priest?
She’s real. True test for any fictional character for me is: do I care? Yes I do. And keep reading/watching.
Can we idolise her? She’s pretty good-looking for men of a certain age, including her (very dodgy) bishop boss. He tries to hit on her.
She’s also vulnerable having recently lost her husband in a car crash (found with mistress). This makes her an easier target for the bish, and perhaps less effective in her appointed role to counteract the evil plot to do terrible things in the cathedral.
Does the series denigrate church leaders? Personally I don’t think so.
Bad leaders come unstuck all by themselves. Sometimes with the courageous testimony of victim witnesses.
Merrily has pluck. She’s slight but a heavyweight in passion and determination.
She fights for what she believes in. She fights for her daughter’s life.
I’m not going to idealise her. But then idealisation got us into this mess in the first place.
Sure there is the enemy without. The forces of Evil rage in the plot. But surely it is the enemy within that does the most damage?
Our propensity to elevate our leaders beyond the realms of reality, creates our very own untouchable gods? Hence the dodgy bishop who gets away with murder, so the story goes. We look the other way.
Rev Merrily is all human with her fears, panic and nightmarish hallucinations. But I want to read or watch what she does next!